Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Reflection and Most Popular Blog Posts of 2020

How many times have we heard the word 'unprecedented' this year? Gosh, I don't even want to know and I'd be fine if I never heard it again. In fact, I looked up some synonyms just for this post so I did not have to subject anyone to another use of the 'u' word! 

In an anomalous move, I am going to take the week after Christmas off from posting content here. I have been blogging for 11 years and have always made sure to keep the content coming during that week-long period between Christmas and the New Year. 

To be honest, I'm a little burnt out. I need a break to get inspired again. I'll be back on January 4th! I'm hoping I'll feel refreshed and ready to kick off 2021 on the right foot. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram. With that said, if you are looking for some content during my absence, I'm linking some of the top blog posts according to my Google analytics. And then my mini-reflection below... 

I wish I had some sort of eloquent reflection about this year. Something profound or inspirational that could tie things up into a nice little package with a bow on top. I haven't been able to find the words to accurately express how I have felt this year. To be quite cliché, this year has truly left me speechless. Maybe someday I will find those words, but it's not today. 

I can, however, express to every single one of you, my sincerest gratitude. You have stuck with me through a year that was unlike any other (see, still no 'u' word!!), and for that, I cannot thank you enough. The internet, as a whole, has been unforgiving this year, yet you all have been supportive, kind, and showed me a world that I hope everyone is able to see. There are so many wonderful people out there.

From the hundreds, if not thousands who sent me the most thoughtful words when I shared that we were postponing our wedding, to those of you who have share beautiful photos you find of blue and white decor or other things you think I'd like, those of you who chat about your favorite menu item at Taco Bell, those of you who share your love for Nancy Meyer's films with me, those of you who send me the cutest photos of your dogs, those of you who ask how my 94-year-old grammie is doing amidst the pandemic, those who trust me enough to ask for and value my advice and opinion, and those who send over incredibly kind messages about why you enjoy following me- your positivity, kindness, and thoughtfulness shine through. This year was tough, too tough in my opinion. The world can be harsh and unfair, but each and every one of you makes the world a better place.

Last year I wrote a post about things I was looking forward to in 2020. To be quite frank, my stomach churns when I read it. In fact, I've only read it once this year and I have not been able to revisit it since. I could feel the joy and excitement radiating from my words for all that 2020 was to be. So instead of looking back, I want to share some of the things I hope and pray for today, tomorrow, and further in the future.   

I hope and pray for good health for you, for me, for my family, your family, my friends, your friends... for everyone. 

I hope that we can all be a little kinder, more forgiving, and gentler to ourselves and our neighbors. 

I hope we can all always find something to be grateful for... even in the darkest moments. 

I hope we can all find peaceful and happy moments this holiday season and beyond. 

I hope that when you visit my little corner of the internet, you feel lighter and more positive than when you arrived. 

I (selfishly) hope that I am able to marry the love of my life with all of our loved ones present.

I hope that we all feel valued and loved and we all make others feel valued and loved. 

So, here is a picture of me with a gin martini in hand, sending you all a virtual cheers and the biggest hug imaginable. As Tiny Tim would say, 'God bless us, everyone.' Thank you, Merry Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Jeans// Nude Flats// Lip Color (in babe) 

With Christmas coming up this Friday, I wanted to switch things up so I could squeeze in a lately post as I know this is everyone's favorite! Tomorrow will be a sort of reflection so that's why I have swapped today and tomorrow! 

I'm sitting down to write this on our couch in front of the Christmas tree listening to my favorite holiday playlist of the year, 'Christmas cocktail jazz' on Spotify. It doesn't really feel like Christmas week to me. Normally, we would have so much going on. I'm just really trying to enjoy simple things like my beautiful tree and this wonderful playlist. 

I ordered a bunch of organizational bins and I am going to tackle our garage organization during the week between Christmas and New Year... thrilling! But truly, I am excited to have that all organized. Since March, I have organized every single inch of our home, and the garage is the only thing left!

Wearing: I bought very few things for myself during Cyber week but this cream tweed jacket was one of them. I LOVE it. It feels so chic and classic and I feel really good when I'm wearing it. 
Eating: We've been eating a lot of soups lately because of the cold and snow. We recently made my mom's ham and bean soup and it's so wonderful. It's full of flavor and very hearty and decently easy to make. This is the recipe that is so many years old! 

Drinking: Ready for allll of the bubbly later this week. My top favorites are Moet and Veuve and my budget favorite is Chandon! 

 We have The Flight Attendant next up on our list of shows to watch. We have been hearing it is good. It's on HBO. 

Loving: We got a Nintendo Switch. My sister has one and we played it over Thanksgiving and we loved it. Since it's the Nintendo brand, it feels very much like N64 from my childhood. It has all the same (but updated) games like Mario Kart, Mario Party, etc. The cool thing about the Switch is that it comes with a screen, kind of like a Gameboy and you can detach the controllers and then hook it up to play on the screen. So you get a console and a portable system all in one. I was into N64 when I was little but never really into any other video games. We always had all of the systems because my sister loved that stuff, but it was just never my thing so I am surprised as to how much I love playing Mario Kart. It's so much fun! 
Wanting: I am all shopped out!!! Here are some things on my radar recently. I actually really look forward to the after Christmas sales when you can get a lot of decor and tablescape items on major sale! 

Pittsburgh: I know we will be doing a lot of local takeout during the week between Christmas and New Years and I have a little list of local Pittsburgh favorites, here

Quoting: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." - Linus Van Pelt, A Charlie Brown Christmas See more of my favorites, here. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Most Popular Items of 2020

I've been looking back on analytics from this year as I do at the end of every year. Really, I check them weekly, monthly, and yearly, but it's always the most fun to see the bigger picture at the end of the year. 

So today I'm sharing the most popular items of 2020. I think a lot of the items are very representative of 2020- lots of lounge items, which was expected. However, there were a few items in the mix that surprised me! Did you scoop up any of these popular items?!

The Green Blanket// I don't think anyone is surprised, here. In my opinion, it's also the best thing I bought all year. See a full post about this blanket, here. It is currently 20% off! 
Gap Funnel Neck Sweatshirt// This one is no longer available but I basically lived in these sweatshirts from about May-June and then I pulled them back out this fall/winter. I try not to highlight items that are no longer available as I know how frustrating that can be for all of you, but this was such a good one and I know many of you also have this sweatshirt. I keep an eye on it to see if it ever comes back in stock. At one point, they were marked down to just $15 per sweatshirt. I ended up snagging all 3 colors for less than what a sweatshirt usually costs. 
Faux Fur Vest// This was my favorite purchase of 2019. My mom, aunt, and grammie now all have one, too after seeing me in it. It's so beautiful, so soft and just instantly makes me feel a little more fabulous. You can read all about this vest, here

Classic White T-Shirt// Truly the best white tee for just $14ish! Full post about this, here

Blue and White Curtains// These are the curtains that we have in our living and dining area. They are SO nice for such a low price. The fabric is heavy and textured and they are fully lined. I could not recommend them more. I know many of you have sent me photos of them hanging in your beautiful homes, too and they really do work with so many different styles. 

Hyper Focused Sports Bra// This is seriously the BEST sports bra. It goes in and out of stock and sometimes it will go on sale. I have a full post about it, here

Blank NYC Jeans// Love these casual jeans so much. I typically prefer a darker wash but I find these flattering and very comfortable, especially for the price. 

Racer Run Shorts// I collect these in every color they come out with. These are what I wear to work out in the summer months. They have a more modest inseam than a lot of athletic shorts and I like the thicker waistband. 
Prelit Christmas Tree// This is the Christmas tree that we have and we love it. It's pretty inexpensive compared to other prelit trees. I have a full post about this tree, here
Pink Linen Dress// I bought this dress last winter on sale as something I was going to wear on our honeymoon this past June. Well, obviously our honeymoon never happened so I wore it a few times this summer anyway. I didn't wear anything else that I bought because I wanted to keep them tucked away but I couldn't resist this one dress. It's incredibly beautiful. 
Enchanted Garden Maxi Dress// This one kind of surprised me as I didn't feel like it got a lot of traction when I posted about it, but I wore it SO MUCH in early spring. 

Veja Campo Sneakers// This was the #1 blog post of 2020 so this did not surprise me at all. 

Black Gown// I posted this black gown to my Instagram stories just the other day and was floored by how many of you all wanted a link! It's my go-to dress for any black-tie events. It's just gorgeous and I feel so good in it! 

Grasscloth Mirror// These look like Serena and Lily but for less! We have two of them in our bathroom! They're really well-made. 
Dark Wash Skinny Jeans// Seriously the best dark wash jeans!! I have a post about them, here
Tweed Jacket// Mango makes so many good, affordable tweed pieces. This jacket is something I wear often. A similar one, here

Button Back Pullover// This is another one that surprised me as I feel like I didn't share it a ton. But you guys loved it!! It's such a fun thing to wear because of the big gold buttons on the back. 

Crewneck Sweatshirt// This is a great, affordable sweatshirt. It looks and feels like something Lululemon would sell for 3x the price. It's lightweight terry and slightly cropped. 

Soft Joggers// I have these in navy and white stripes and it seems that they are not longer offered in that print, but if they were neon orange, I'd still wear them because they're that soft. They are very lightweight, the fabric is thin but doesn't feel cheap. I hope they make more prints/colors soon! 
White Eyelet Dress// LOVE this dress so so much! I wore it when I was in South Carolina at Montage Palmetto Bluff and then again for Easter at home. The eyelet is truly stunning- it's s a showstopper and would be perfect for a bride-to-be! 
Faux Diamond Studs// These were in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale again this year. Whenever they go on sale, they're a really good deal. They are beautiful, hold up perfectly with tons of wear and truly look real. Side by side with my real diamond earrings, you can't really tell the difference! 
Peacock Sweater// The color that I have is sadly sold out but this is a beautiful sweater. The thick crewneck and swing shape of it are so unique. It's a classic but it feels a bit updated and chic. 

Concealer// This is a cult-favorite and it's unfortunately quite pricey, but in my opinion, this is worth EVERY PENNY. I get bad dark under eye circles and this works better than anything I have ever tried! 
Shorts Pajama Set// This is a great, inexpensive cotton pajama set. With so many different color and print options, it's so cute for bridesmaids! 

Terry Joggers// I lived in these during quarantine... who are we kidding, I still do. They're very affordable and comfortable. They are just an all around basic jogger. 
White Jeans// Best white jeans EVER! I have a post about them, here

Leopard Print Booties// I scored these during Cyber week for just $32. They are so fun! 
Grasscloth Coffee Table// We got this coffee table this year and I LOVE it. It finished off our living room furniture and I am so pleased with how it looks in the space. It's really well-made... I have yet to properly style this, though, ha!! 
Pajama Set// I have several sets of these. They're a classic and just an overall good basic. I scored them at half off so wait for a sale! 

Tinted Lip Balm// The best! The berry color is my favorite. It's a very subtle amount of color that is perfect for everyday wear. It's foolproof! 

Slipper Slides// I scored these in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale this year and I love them so much. They are so warm and cozy. 
Park Slope Pullover// Dudley Stephens it truly worth the price, in my opinion. I'm in something DS at least once a week in the winter months and this year, my fleece pieces are gettins SO much wear. They are soft, cozy, and well-made. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

What My Dog Has Taught Me

I shared on Instagram that December 16th was my 3-year anniversary with Henry! For those of you who have been reading for a while, I grew up with an Australian Cattle Dog, Mac, who sadly passed away in 2018, just a few months after I got Henry. We had 14 wonderful years with him and we think he was around 16 years old when he passed. He had a great life and we had a great life with him. 

Even though I grew up with a dog, my parents were the main caretaker of Mac and so a lot of the responsibilities didn't fall on me. I was somewhat nervous to get Henry, especially since I was living in an apartment and I traveled a lot, but I went for it and he changed my life for the better... it sounds dramatic, but I could not be more sincere in that Henry is one of the best decisions I have ever made. He is truly my best friend. 

Shop the Toys:
In honor of his 3rd year, I thought I would share some of Henry's favorite toys and items in case you need some last-minute dog gift ideas- all on Amazon! It is so important to monitor your dog at all times when they are playing with any toys- I watch Henry like a hawk! I wanted to highlight these Dog Wipes as they are plant-based, hypoallergenic, alcohol-free, paraben, and sulfate-free. Finding 'good' dog wipes was so important to me. Dduring the winter months, salt is really bad for a dog's paws but we also do not want him ingesting any salt (when he licks his paws) and these wipes clean his paws without making me worried he is ingesting anything bad from the wipes. 

Plus, I thought I would share some of these lessons that Henry has taught me and how he has helped me to grow as a person. 

'Nothing makes you smile more than looking into the face of a dog that loves you.' - Source

Unconditional Love. 
I definitely knew what I was in for in terms of love because I loved Mac SO much...I still do. When he passed away, a part of me went with him. He was our family member and a hole was left when he passed away. Just like Mac, Henry is a part of our family. I love him so much it is truly indescribable. I love that Andrew and my family truly love him, too. 

I also see the love that Henry has for me, Andrew, and the rest of my family. The joy he gets when he sees my mom is both hilarious and heartwarming. 

Caretaker Instincts
I am not someone who is innately a caretaker. I don't really know how to describe it other than just saying my personality is not really that of a caretaker. With Henry, though, I find myself caring for his well-being in a way I never really thought was in me.  On Henry's 1st anniversary of his gotcha day in 2018, we had an emergency situation with him and at first, I wasn't really sure what to do. He obviously cannot speak and it was very late on a Saturday night so no vets were open. I didn't want to make a big deal out of something that could have been nothing, plus emergency vets are so expensive, but I also was not about to risk his health. I was torn, but I made the decision to take him to the emergency vet that is open 24/7, and it turned out that I did the right thing. I can't describe the feeling that I had, but I knew deep down in my gut that something was wrong and taking him in was what needed to be done. Thankfully, all was fine in the end and we laugh about it now, but it was scary at the time. Dogs and all pets for that matter, cannot advocate for themselves and so I have really found myself making sure I am always advocating for him- whether in an emergency situation or even at our yearly vet visits.

'The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.'- MK Clinton

There is joy in the every day.
I always knew Henry made me happy. That was never really in question, in fact, I've read that just petting a dog (doesn't even have to be your own) can help decrease anxiety and increase serotonin levels in the brain. This year has been really rough, but even on my worst days of 2020, I have always been able to find joy thanks to Henry. I know that sounds cheesy but it's so true.

The responsibility is not a burden.
People say that having a dog is a huge responsibility. I personally don't know if I would consider it that huge, though! I think if you have never had a dog before, then it's a much greater leap, so maybe that is what I am missing, but I really don't find Henry to require much day-to-day. Sure, I feed/walk/play daily with him, he goes to yearly vet checkups, and I make sure he has his medications and vaccinations and all of that, but I think there are a lot of much 'harder' responsibilities in life. I don't find any aspect of caring for Henry a burden. The only thing that can be tricky is making sure we have someone to watch Henry if we are traveling. We have it easier than many as we usually rely on my parents (so grateful). When we were going to be gone for 3 weeks on our honeymoon (RIP, honeymoon), we were so lucky to have my parents on deck to watch him for such a long period of time. If my parents are unavailable, we have one of Andrew's best friend's who watches him. We have not yet had to board him, but that's also always an option. One time, we couldn't find anyone else available (it was a December weekend before Christmas 2019 so everyone, even my parents were busy/out of town) and we had a wedding in Philly. So, I canceled our original hotel and found a dog-friendly hotel and we brought Henry with us. It took a bit of flexibility and time, but it always works out! 

Selflessness is Important
I find myself putting Henry first in certain situations... which, if you don't have a pet, that might sound a little crazy! 
Take nothing for granted. 
You know that saying 'you don't know what you have until it's gone'. That is 100% not the case with Henry. I literally wake up every single day and thank my lucky stars for him! There are so many things I am thankful for each day when it comes to Henry. I feel lucky that he is in good health, I feel grateful that he is safe and out of the shelter he was in, I feel grateful for the joy and happiness he brings to my life, I feel so incredibly lucky that he is so well behaved and so loving. I have found so much to be thankful for in him!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Saturday Shopping

I cannot believe we are just 6 days away from Christmas! This has been a weird holiday season but I've done my darndest to keep things festive and my spirit bright! We had a record snowfall this week- the most snow Pittsburgh has seen since 2010, which is crazy! As soon as I went outside the next morning, I definitely knew it was more snow than we have seen in a while but didn't realize it was the most in a decade! I think we got around a foot of snow! It came up to Henry's body which was SO funny to see him trudging and leaping throughout. We had to dig out an area so he could go potty, ha! It does seem like he absolutely loves snow, though!! Needless to say, we have really been enjoying it, too. The snow looks beautiful and feels so peaceful and calm. In years past, I would have enjoyed the snow for a few hours, until it was time to go out and about, then I would have become a grinch about it! But, because we are pretty much at home all the time, it's honestly really enjoyable. I am grateful for this opportunity to slow down and truly enjoy this snow.

This snow has also made me appreciate our home so much (not that I didn't before, but just appreciate it even more). It's such a cozy retreat and I am so thankful for this space that we have made into our home.  

Anyway, we have 6 days to go and I know for certain that some of you all are still shopping for gifts... many of you have even DM'd me asking for recommendations. If you didn't catch it, yesterday, I wrote a post about last-minute gift ideas. Plus, I have an Amazon page where I save all my finds and favorites and update it often. You can see links to all of my previous gift guides at the bottom of this post, too! 

And then below, you can see items I've just been loving lately... these are random items and so they are not necessarily items that will be able to arrive at your doorstep before Christmas. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Gift Guide: Last Minute Gift Ideas and Stocking Stuffers

Gift Guide: Last Minute Gift Ideas and Stocking Stuffers
This is my stocking that my aunt made for me for my first Christmas in 1990. I can't believe it is 30 years old! It says 'Sydney' all the way around the cuff! My favorite part of Christmas is shopping for and filling stockings and opening my own stocking. I think the little gifts are always the most fun and really show that you pay attention to the person's likes! 

We are down to the wire with gifts as we are one week away from Christmas. Gosh, it doesn't feel like it's that close, does it?! I am glad to report I am entirely done with my Christmas shopping and everything is wrapped and ready to go! I love shopping for other people but it does feel good to just be done with that- it's a big chore!! 

However, if you are like my fiancé and love a good last-minute challenge, this post is for you! I'm sharing items that you can order and *hopefully* get by Christmas... I say *hopefully*, because, between the crazy snowstorm we just had and all of the shipping delays, I just don't think anyone can guarantee anything anymore... 2020, no surprise here.

I tried to be a little broader/generic with the last-minute gift ideas so hopefully, they would please whomever you still have to buy for! I also made the stocking stuffer guide heavily Amazon-based because they have a label on each item that lets you know that you can expect to receive it before Christmas! 

Anthropologie has free shipping with orders $50+ that should arrive in time for Christmas Eve... this is the last day for it! 

Tuckernuck has the option to order up to 12/21, but you have to choose $15 expedited shipping. 

Shopbop is owned by Amazon so you can order by 12/20 if you have Prime to get everything in time for Christmas. 

Bloomingdale's is offering free shipping in time for 12/24 if you order by today. 

Williams Sonoma is allowing standard UPS orders by Christmas if you place your order by 10pm PST today! It's not on all items, though, this landing page is filled with the items that qualify. 

J.Crew you have up until tomorrow (Saturday 12/19) to get your order in time! 

Nordstrom is marking individual items in with green font that says 'arrives before Christmas'. You can use a filter to filter out anything that would arrive late which is super helpful. They also do curbside pickup! 

Another option is to order online and do curbside pickup. A ton of retailers are doing this! I've done it before and it could not be easier.

And lastly, gift cards are always 'safe', especially for local restaurants or businesses!! 
Gift Guide: Last Minute Gift Ideas and Stocking Stuffers
Shop Last-Minute Gifts:
Cocktail Mixing Set// This is a good idea for someone a bit younger, as the older you get, the more likely you are to have these items already. Maybe it is a newly minted college graduate who is just getting into cocktails or a couple who just got married or someone who bought their first home or moved into their first apartment! We utilize cocktail tools often and especially this year as we have been making a lot of cocktails at home vs. out at bars and restaurants. 

Silver Tray// Such a cute little tray that could be used in the bathroom or on a chest or as a jewelry catchall. You could add in some pretty candy and wrap it with cellophane and a bow! 

Woodfire Candle Set// This is set is something I bought in early November and it comes with 3 candles. The size of each candle is much bigger than a typical votive and it smells wonderful. It doesn't have a crazy holiday scent to it so I think it works for all winter season. You can put one in each stocking if you have a bunch to fill or give as a set... a cute hostess gift or just something nice to give! Even with the smaller size, the scent fills the room very well. 

Gel Kit// For this, you have to buy online and pickup in-store. 

Scalloped Basket// I love this basket and use it all of the time for tablescapes or just holding fruits from the store on the counter. You could fill this up as a gift basket with things for Christmas morning from your local market. 

Packable belt bag// When I walk Henry, I often use a belt bag to hold my phone as I like to be able to have my hands free. This also might be a great gift idea for a mom with small children as they often need their hands free as well! 

Cashmere Travel Wrap// On sale right now for just $99, this is such a luxurious gift at a really reasonable price point! There are 12 colors to choose from. I'd personally select a neutral! 

Suede Boots// These are stunning and also by a brand favorited by Princess Kate. They have a water-resistant treatment on the suede, which is important if you live somewhere snowy! I want these!! 

Leopard Print Slippers// I think slippers are always a practical, 'safe' gift. I wear through my slippers within one season sometimes (even if they're great quality) just because of how much I wear them. I also totally believe you need different slippers for winter vs. summer! 

Carving Set// This is a great gift idea for possibly the host/hostess of your holiday meals or maybe for someone who does a lot of entertaining. Wusthof is a really quality brand- we have a knife set by the brand and they are fantastic. 

Infused Olive Oil Gift Set// A great gift idea if you are stuck on what to give someone. I also think it's the perfect fit for anyone who loves to cook! 

Gift Guide: Last Minute Gift Ideas and Stocking Stuffers
Shop the Stocking Stuffers:

Playing Cards// How cute are these?! 

Tealight Votives// I love the scallops on these... an inexpensive little gift for someone who loves to set the table! 

Rechargeable Lamp// This is a mini lamp that is wireless and can be recharged. The perfect little thing for an outdoor table. I got this for my mom as part of her birthday present and she loves it. 

Key Ring// I have this and it's not really the highest of quality but I really like it attached to my LV keyring wallet and my car keys when I'm running errands. It makes me hands-free and also right now, I specifically bought it so I could use hand sanitizer without having to hold on to anything. 

Placemat and Napkin Set// So many cute prints and patterns and the price is so affordable. 

Chanel Lip Balm// I asked for the 'Intense' color for Christmas. I have the 'deep' color and it is really moisturizing and is just great everyday lip color. 

Toothpaste// For someone who appreciates good dental hygiene (hopefully that is everyone, haha!) but also appreciates pretty labels. At $10, it's relatively pricey compared to drugstore brands, but this is the kind of thing I LOVE to find in my stocking- something I might not necessarily ever buy for myself!

Oven Mitt// Such a cute little oven mitt. Pair this with something else cooking-related like a spatula and it makes a cute little host/hostess gift. 

Ice Roller// I have this and use it often. It really works to depuff and feels SO good in the mornings. 

Wine Aerator// A great wine tool to have on hand. We use it every time we open a bottle! 

Hand Cream// My go-to hand cream. I put it on every single night and it smells wonderful. The scent is light and not overpowering. 

Cozy Socks// I have several pairs of these to wear around the house and they are so soft and just so nice to have in the winter. 

Heated Eyelash Curler// I don't have this but would definitely love if it came in my stocking! It apparently heats up and lifts your lashes! 

Cashmere Shampoo// The only thing I use to wash my cashmere!

Sanitizing Device Wipes// Talk about a very 2020 appropriate gift! These wipes are individually wrapped so you can stow a few away in your handbag. You can use them to wipe down your phone, keys, etc.

French Sea Salt// A little luxury that the recipient will be able to enjoy for months to come! 

Basic T-Shirt// Such a good basic at a good price (just $14). They also make this for men! Size up at least one size because it does shrink quite a bit in the dryer. 

Bananagrams// I love this game! We have played it so much this year and it can be played with only two people. 

Lip Sleeping Mask// I use this every single night. It truly hydrates my lips better than any other lip balm there is! 

Face Cream// Everyone from a skincare snob to your dad will love this rich night cream. It's basic with no fancy ingredients but oh my goodness does it hydrate my face SO well. I am never without a tub of this and my fiancé uses it too! 

Luxardo Cherries// My dad and fiancé love old-fashioned cocktails and these are the only cherries they use for their drinks. They're $20/jar, which I personally think is a little expensive (for cherries) so I always like to put a jar in his stocking as a treat! I wonder if they would like these cherries because they come in a blue and white jar LOL!

Thursday, December 17, 2020


Can you believe we are just 8 days from Christmas? WILD! This year has been so hard but it feels like it has gone by so quickly, and really, for that, I am grateful. Always. A. Silver. Lining. Onward and upward to 2021, friends!!!!!

This week was pretty low-key. Everything here in PA is pretty much shut down so no indoor dining, no gyms, etc. so there is truly nothing to do. 

Last Thursday, though, we did Zoo lights at the Pittsburgh Zoo and it was really cute and helped me to get into the Christmas spirit. We went with my parents and we got Iron Born pizza first and ate that in the car and then drove around the zoo, and then drove around some Pittsburgh neighborhoods to look at lights. Us passengers sipped on bubbly and it was just too fun and maybe something we would not have done in any other year.

We got a TON of snow yesterday. I haven't seen this much snow in a while! I am someone who loves the snow. I love to ski and just that overall vibe, so I always welcome snow. However, it can be quite hindering but I find that because I have nowhere to be this year, the snow is very cozy and calm and beautiful. I took Henry out yesterday as it was getting dark and he LOVES the snow. He just romps around and sticks his nose in it! Another thing I've been able to truly enjoy a little more this year as opposed to in years past. 
We also celebrated Henry's 3rd gotcha day yesterday. We adopted him back in 2017 and it was truly the best decision I ever made. I took him on a long, snowy walk, he gave him ice cream, and he got to pick a new toy! He brings joy to my life every single day and I could not be more grateful for him. 

Wearing: This Pearl Sweater has become a favorite of mine. It's so nice and thick and cozy but I feel fabulous when wearing it because of the pearl details. 
Eating: I am just so happy that Mediterra opened in the South Hills (right on Beverly Rd.) and we have gone a lot since it opened. We ended up getting a gift card as indoor dining is closed but we still wanted to make sure we were supporting them! This is their parma cotta sandwich and it was incredible. I also live for their tuna!! They do takeout, too! 

Drinking: If you have a peanut butter and whiskey lover, a great last-minute gift idea could be Screwball Peanutbutter whiskey. My fiancé just got it and he says it is incredible- I like neither peanut butter nor whiskey, so I sat that out. 

Sale: The Company Store is having an end of season sale and I honestly cannot believe some of the prices on their linens. SO good. If you are looking to treat yourself to new bedding, now is the time to do it! This down blanket is a steal, as is this duvet cover, and this pillow cover

 I had never really watched TLC before March but I started with 90 Day Fiancé before the 90 days, then moved on to more from that series. Now I've recently been watching Plathville which is... interesting to say the least!!! 

Listening: I was a guest on Dr. Kim Swale's podcast. I had so much fun recording with Kim and we chatted about maintaining and fostering close family relationships between parents and young adults. I also chat a bit about our wedding postponement and more! The audio got slightly jumbled so it sounds like I am interrupting a bit, but I swear I was not, haha! Anyway, I'd love for you to give it a listen! 
Loving: I just used my sweater shaver for our counter stools this week and it's just so satisfying. A cool gadget gift as a stocking stuffer! 

Loving II: I've loved seeing the snacks and drinks out for the delivery men and women all over Instagram so we decided to do it, too. We have ordered so much this year and I feel like this is such a simple way to brighten someone's day and get in the holiday spirit! 
Wanting: Not too much on my list... if you are still looking for gift ideas, my guides are linked below! 

Pittsburgh: Did you all know that Indiana, PA is the Christmas tree capital of the world? I had no idea- it's only about an hour from Pittsburgh! How neat! 

Smelling: I bought this back in early November and have been burning it ever since. It smells wonderful. It's not overly 'holiday' so I really think you could burn it all winter long. It just smells like a cozy winter cabin and has slight notes of spices, a little bit of a fire scent, and ever so slight fir tree scent. 

Quoting: Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” — Abraham Lincoln // See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Walmart Plus

I've shared this before but I am the oldest cousin in our entire extended family on both sides. My sister is 4 years younger than me and she is the second oldest with our other cousins younger than that... needless to say we haven't purchased toys or anything like that in a very long time. 

On the other hand, my fiancé has nieces and nephews. I LOVE shopping for them. Love love love it! No matter what time of year, each time we see them I have gifts in tow because it makes me so excited to see them happy and it's nice to be able to surprise them with a little something since they live in another state and we don't see them as often. 

Our neighborhood put together an 'angel tree' where we were able to choose a child to shop for and give gifts to for the holidays and I had so much fun with that, too! I love giving gifts and there is something so special about giving to children!

And, we have the sweetest neighbor who is a toddler and it's so fun to find things to drop off on their doorstep for him! 

I've been ordering everything from Walmart using my Walmart+ membership since Walmart always has so many gift options for children. Walmart+ just launched in September and I signed up that day, so I've been able to use the membership for the past 3 months. It's $98/year and you can sign up for a free 15-day trial before committing. You can select a monthly plan for $12.95/month. With the one year option, rather than the monthly option, you save $57.40/year in membership fees.

Earlier this month, Walmart+ just added the benefit of free delivery with no order minimum on items from (previously, you had to spend a minimum of $35 to get free shipping, benefit excludes oversized/freight and Marketplace items). Now, if my local store doesn’t have something I need, I can get my items shipped to me for free without any order minimum and they’ll arrive with next-day or two-day shipping!

If you have ordered grocery delivery in the past then you know these services usually come with a delivery fee. If you place two orders for free delivery from your store ($35 minimum, restrictions apply) each month the membership pays for itself every month (based on the $7.95 non-member delivery fee). Membership benefits of Walmart+ are dependent on location, so check out their site to see what benefits are in your area!

Delivery and shipping from Walmart+ has been quick and reliable and I will have all of my gifts wrapped and ready to go by Christmas! 

Just to give you an example of things you can get using your Walmart+ benefits: 
- Holiday Gifts 
- Advil/Ibuprofen/other medicines 
- Dishwasher or washing machine pods
- Toilet paper
- Beauty/skincare
- Dog food/pet products
- Coffee pods/grounds/etc. 
- Light bulbs 

Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

My Favorite Winter White Jeans

I wrote this blog post back in early fall where I talked about wearing white jeans during the fall/winter/spring months and shared some inspiration photos. 

I realized after that post, I never did a post about these jeans that I got shortly after! They are the most PERFECT shade of ivory for the fall/winter season and so well-made and comfortable. I think they sold out for a while but I found them back in stock on two sites, here and here

In the photos above, they are showing a little brighter than they actually are. In-person, they are creamier and definitely ivory vs. white. They fit a little more like a trouser and the unfinished hem gives them a little bit more of a laidback vibe. I'll hop on Instastories today and share a side-by-side of these jeans compared to a crisper white pair of jeans so you can all see the difference! 

I've become a big fan of this denim brand over the past year or so. Their jeans are just SO comfortable and not only do I think it is because the fabric is high-quality but the fit is just incredible... I feel like the few pairs that I own have been tailored to fit. 

I am wearing my usual size 27 and I would say they're true to size. They do have stretch to them, but they don't stretch out and get overly baggy after a few wears. The jeans keep their shape. I would say since they do have a good amount of stretch if you are trying to decide between two sizes, choose the smaller size! 

I really like these jeans paired with navy. You can see in the photos above, I am wearing the Park Slope fleece, but I also really like this shade of ivory paired with pastels like pale pink and blue.

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