Gift Guide | Stocking Stuffers for Everyone

It’s glorious December and the time has finally come — the holidays! Bring on the hot cocoa, the perpetual (and shameless) display of Christmas music on my Pandora station, the hunt for the “perfect tree”, the warm glow of twinkling Christmas lights, flannel shirts, holiday cheer, snuggling up with a good book by a cozy fire, Christmas movie marathons on ABC Family, and of course, the chaotic mayhem of gift purchasing that we all secretly adore. But whether you enjoy the pandemonium of Black Friday sales (or just being in a 1 mile radius of the mall during the month of December) or not, picking out the “right” present for someone can be difficult in itself. So why stress over the smaller things, like Secret Santa gifts or stocking stuffers?

Below is something I cultivated with some fantastic stocking stuffer/gift ideas that will please just about everyone – depending on their area of interest. Hopefully it can at least help you get inspired – it’s definitely made my wheels turn! Everything in the gift guide below is priced under $100. Enjoy!

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1. For the Work Out Queen. For those who enjoy hitting the gym or going for runs, a water bottle is very much a necessity. The ones I’m seeing right now from Victoria Secret are seriously AMAZE because they all have clever phrases and sayings, like the one pictured (“I Just Can’t”) which I actually say on a fairly regular basis. { Water Bottles, $14.95 from Victoria’s Secret }

2. For the Business Gal. I cannot think of too many girls who do not love Kate Spade – and these monogrammed business card holders are so lovely. This gift would be perfect for the busy business chick who is always on the go and attending networking events. { One in a Million Business Card Holders, $30 from Nordstrom }

3. For Host with the Most. Okay, if you have not already invested in Cards Against Humanity, it is about time you do. They are hilarious, fun and…okay, yeah they’re definitely inappropriate, but they make for a great time! This gift would be perfect for the friend who has a sense of humor and enjoys hosting parties and events. { Cards Against Humanity, $25 from Amazon }

4. For the Outdoorsman. So there are actually people out there who absolutely love camping and didn’t just go for their very first time in 29 years like I did. But all joking aside – there are so many outdoor enthusiasts or just people who enjoy gadgets (like my husband, who is a little bit of both). This LED Pen Light is one of the hottest on the market right now and has received rave reviews. It’s compact, lightweight and conveniently clips anywhere. { Streamlight MicroStream LED Pen Light, $24.99 from Cabela’s }

5. For the Style Savvy Guy. If there is one thing I love on a man, it’s plaid and flannel. It also happens to be a very trendy/fashion-forward look this season. This knit scarf from The Rail is extremely well priced for the excellent quality you are receiving and would pair perfectly with a structured military jacket or peacoat this Winter. { Red Check Knit Scarf, $20 from Nordstrom }

6. For the Tween or Teen. Do you have someone a little younger in the family and have no idea what to get them? I run into this problem time and time again. This Essie nail polish collection is seriously adorable and perfect for a small gift or stocking stuffer! { Essie Winter 2014 Mini Four-Pack, $17 from Nordstrom }

7. For the Man Who Enjoys the Finer Things. Do you have a father, brother, friend or significant other than enjoys grooming products? There is no shame in the game because any man that takes care of himself gets an A in my book! The Art of Shaving is a prestigious mens grooming retailer and they have some of the best products out there. This starter kit contains pre-shave oil, shaving cream, after-shave balm and a shaving brush. Aside from unscented, it also comes in an array of different smells such as Sandalwood, Lemon, Lavender, Ocean and more. This would make the perfect stocking stuffer for him. { Starter Kit, $25 from The Art Of Shaving }

8. For the Whiskey Drinker. To me, this seems like the best gift ever for those who enjoy a glass of whiskey. These whiskey stones bring a new meaning to “serving your drink on the rocks” because instead of using ice which will ultimately water down your beverage, the stones will stay cold and allow you to enjoy the flavor of your whiskey without diluting it. { Whiskey Stones & Gift Set, $20-$58 from Uncommon Goods }

9. For the Beauty Aficionado. One of my best friends has gotten super into makeup and has been learning various application techniques via YouTube Channels and bloggers – apparently it’s this whole subculture that I was completely unaware of. At any rate, I credit her to getting me into things I never even knew I needed or wanted! I just got my first eyeshadow palette and it was pretty much the best decision ever. Eyeshadow palettes are a great gift or stocking stuffer because you get a lot of bang for your buck. These Urban Decay Naked Palettes have been getting a lot of positive attention – they’re so pigmented and pretty!  { Urban Decay Naked Palette, Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette, Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette – $54/each from Sephora }

10. For the Fashionista. Hellooo – I am obsessed with this (first and foremost). How adorable is this Kate Spade iPad folio? Great for the fashionista – just pair with some killer heels and bright red lips – you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. { Kate Spade New York Speak of the Devil iPad Case, $85 from Nordstrom }

11. For the Newlywed. Who doesn’t love a sweet, little trinket dish? Particularly if you are a newlywed (or soon-to-be Mrs.) so you have a safe place to put your ring and other jewelry when you are not wearing them. There are so many trinket/ring dishes out there but I just love this one – which one of my bests just so happened to purchase for me when I got married.  And may I add, it looks fantastic on a vanity! { Mr. & Mrs. Ring Dish, $12.95 from Crate & Barrel }

12. For the Pups. Come on, we could not possibly forget our beloved fur babies, right? If your pups are practically your children and have stockings like mine do, they deserve a little something special as well. If you’ve grown tired of just giving them treats and toys, how about a swanky new collar? I am so in love with these bow tie and flower ones from the SillyBuddy Etsy shop! There are literally over 200 choices available and they seriously the sweetest things I’ve ever seen! { Bow Tie and Floral Dog Collars, $45-$57 from SillyBuddy Etsy Shop }

13.  For the Vintage Lover. If you are looking for something special and unique for someone with a kindred spirit, how about a special, vintage item? You can hit any antique store, but I do also enjoy scouring Etsy for my handmade and vintage gifts. I’m not sure where my random brass pineapple trinket obsession recently came from, but goodness – they are pretty! { Vintage Brass Pineapple, $76 from OrchidandUrchin Etsy Shop }

14.  For the Sports Fanatic. Purchasing a gift for someone that eats, sleeps and breathes sports? Getting them something related to their favorite team is always a safe bet. I mean after all, one cannot have too much sports memorabilia! This knit hat is very suiting for the Winter – ’tis the season, right? { Mens Dallas Cowboy New Era Black Sport Cuffed Knit Hat, $24.95 from NFL Shop }

15.  For the Sugar Junkie. Wanting to stuff someone’s stocking with candy? Maybe you want to purchase something a little different or more sophisticated than what you would typically find at a store? One of my girlfriends recently shared this site with me and everything looks AMAZING – particularly the champagne gummy bears. YES, you heard me. Champagne. Gummy. Bears. No further explanation needed. { Champagne Gummy Bears, $20 for a 12.05 oz box from Sugarfina }

16.  For the Chef. If you know someone that really loves to cook, a custom meat or cheese cutting board would make an excellent gift choice! You can find custom cutting boards on Etsy but I just happen to know a guy named Andy (owner and operator of Handy Andy of Charlotte) that does the most beautiful and intricate work. He makes each of his one-of-a-kind cutting boards by hand and with lots of love.  He’s based out of Charlotte, NC but is able to ship all over and can be reached at alehman39@gmail.com. { Handy Andy Custom Cutting Boards, 9x12x2 board, $79.99} *Contact Andy for other size and price options as he can build made-to-order pieces but also has several that are complete and ready to ship.

Fall Favorites | Home Edition

Happy Fall Y’all!

It’s hard to believe my favorite month is coming to an end relatively soon. Less than two weeks left of October and then we are on to November (which also happens to be my birth month). This was a great weekend because Shahin and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary on Sunday. It was magical and filled with brunch and bloody marys, pumpkin picking, and DIY projects around the house. We plan on taking a belated anniversary trip to Asheville in November and combine it with my birthday – excited to brewery hop and re-explore one of our favorite cities! Oh, and my parents gifted us the Pistachio KitchenAid Mixer I’ve been swooning over – I guess they know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Can’t wait to pick out what I’m going to bake first (meanwhile, it looks super adorable on my kitchen counter). Happy Anniversary to us!

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Speaking of things for the home, it just so happens that my Fall Favorites list directly correlates with this theme. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite fall items and decor pieces (including some delicious smelling candles) that completely encompass Autumn. As always, everything is very reasonably priced…so no need to break the bank. Enjoy!

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Fall Favorites Home

1. You & Me Doormat, $45 {from Lulu & Georgia}  2. Branch & Twig Pie Server, $18 {from Anthropologie}  3. Pumpkin Buttered Rum Candle, $14.95 {from Crate & Barrel}  4. Threshold Set of 3 Decorative Fall Figurines – White, $22.99 {from Target}  5. Go Where Love Grows Wooden Sign, $50.00 {from Etsy}  6. Hello Love Teacup & Saucer, $19.00 {from Etsy}  7. Hand Embroidered Fall Hoop, $22 {from Etsy}  8. Rust Plaid Throw, $99 {from Crate & Barrel}  9. Boulangerie Jar Candle, Pumpkin Souffle, $26 {from Anthropologie}  10. NEST Moroccan Amber Boxed Candle, $34 {from Bloomingdales}  11. Plum & Bow Golden Fox Pillow, $39 {from Urban Outfitters}  12. Farmhouse Pottery Pie Dish, $24 {from West Elm}  13. Happy Pumpkin Spice Season Print, $19 {from Etsy}

 

Fall Favorites | Bucket List Edition

Happy Fall Y’all!

Last week, I decided to kick-off my “Fall Favorites” through the month of October (since it’s my favorite month and all). My previous post was the Style Edition which focused on cute kicks, scarves, hats and all of your autumn essentials! This week I wanted to focus more on my favorite part of Fall (I know…it’s surprising that clothes and accessories aren’t, right?). One word: activities. I mean, really…it would not truly be Fall without “autumn-esque” things to do. Now, please keep in mind that some of my suggestions are geared more toward the local, North Carolina-based crowd because I am providing specific examples, however, if you’re not in North Carolina, this may get your wheels turning as I’m sure you can find similar activities in your area! So without further adieu, enjoy my Fall Favorites – Bucket List Edition!

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1. Apple Picking / Hard Cider Drinking / Apple Pastry Tasting

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It’s not as cliche’ as you think, I promise. Grab your friends or your significant other, find a local apple orchard and make a day of it! The best part is that some of these orchards offer an array of different goods and activities beyond apple picking! Many of them even have hot, apple cider in addition to hard cider (when you’re craving an adult bev), as well as delicious apple donuts and pastries. There are a few I recommend in the Carolinas that are not far from all of you Charlotteans — Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill (in York, SC), Sky Top Orchard (in Flat Rock, NC) and Justus Orchard (in Hendersonville, NC).

2. Visit the Local Farmers Market

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Sure, you can do this practically any time of the year, but there is something very autumn about going to the Farmers Market to pick up some ingredients to make a delicious pie or strudel while grabbing a bunch of wildflowers to spruce up your cozy, little home. What a fun Saturday morning activity and a great way to kick-off your weekend! My absolute favorite Farmers Markets in Charlotte are: Atherton Mill, King’s Drive Farmer’s Market, & Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. I can say that I’ve been to all of them and they each offer something very special and unique – check it out if you haven’t already!

3. Visit the Biltmore & Watch the Leaves Change in Asheville, NC

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Asheville, NC is hands down one of my favorite cities in the U.S. It’s artsy, warm, quaint – but even more, as soon as autumn rolls around – the entire place transforms into a magical wonderland! I am absolutely convinced that there is no where else on this earth where the leaves change as beautifully as they do here. Plan a little weekend retreat in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, visit the largest privately owned home in the United States (the Biltmore Estate), and enjoy the scenic paradise that is Fall in Asheville.

4. Brewery Hop in Your Lovely City

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Who doesn’t enjoy a craft beer? Even more, a LOCAL craft beer? But even beyond that, a SEASONAL, local craft beer? I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. I’m a big fan of any type of Octoberfest type beer or a pumpkin beer – it’s pretty much my weakness. I am also a big fan of supporting local. So what better way to get into the Fall season than taking a little brewery hopping tour and checking out the craft beers each have to offer? It’s a great way to take in the autumn air, support your local businesses while enjoying a delicious beverage! My favorite local pumpkin beer is NoDa Brewing Company’s Gordgeous (and I may be just a tad biased because I love the people there). What are some other excellent breweries in the Charlotte area? Check out Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Triple C Brewing Company, Sugar Creek Brewing Company, Heist Brewery, Birdsong Brewing Company, The Unknown Brewing Company, Four Friends Brewing and more!

5. Pick a Pumpkin

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I know, I know. Traditional. But a classic. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin picking – and it never gets old!

6. Festivals, Festivals, Festivals!

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Autumn is the time for my favorite thing ever – FESTIVALS! Not even just music festivals…I’m talking legit festivals filled with activities and fun! It provides you with hours of enjoyment with your friends and loved ones – that’s a win in my book. Below are a list of my favorite local/North Carolina festivals that you should definitely add to your Fall Bucket List!

1. Carolina Balloon Fest

2. The Renaissance Festival

3. Uptown Charlotte BBQ & Blues Festival

4. Stechoa Valley Harvest Festival

5. North Carolina Oyster Festival

7. Create + Implement a Fall Tradition

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I am a HUGE fan of tradition and as a newly married couple (our 1 year is actually next weekend!), I want to create as many meaningful traditions as possible for us to carry with us our whole lives. My husband’s family’s tradition was making Cincinnati style chili and watching Halloween movies each October 31st while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Last year was the first year we adopted this same tradition because it was one that I want us (and our future family) to have. What traditions do you have or wish to have?

8. Go Camping / Eat S’mores / Sleep Under the Stars

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What is more satisfying on a crisp, Fall evening than sitting around a fire with some of your closest friends, making s’mores and sleeping under the stars? This was the first year I’ve ever gone camping in my almost 29 years on this planet – crazy, right!? And let me tell you, I had an absolute blast! Throw on the flannel shirt, grab a few pals and drive to the mountains or nearest campsite. Camping is a great activity for Autumn because it’s not too hot or too cold – enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!

9. Try Out Some New Fall Recipes

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What better way to embrace Autumn than utilizing the seasonal fruits and veggies available and implementing them in a meal? Below are a few of my favorite Fall recipes that you’ve got to check out!

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts with a Maple Glaze

Root Vegetable Pan Roast with Chestnuts & Apples

Potato, Dried Apple & Chorizo Hand Pies

Bourbon Maple Apple Cider

Fall Browned Butter & Cinnamon Spiced Rice Krispie Treats

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

10. Snuggle Up with a Warm Throw + a Good Book

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As the weather gets cooler this season, take some time to yourself by snuggling up in a blanket on the couch while reading a good book – add a mug of hot chocolate and you have a recipe for pure bliss. There are so many incredible books out there that I’m dying to read this Fall. Below are the ones I have on my must-read list!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I know, I’m a little late on this one because it’s already a movie but I REFUSE to see the movie until I’ve read the book – so I’ll probably knock this one out first.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham – Sounds extremely intriguing – about all of the experiences that make up your path in this world such as falling in love, feeling alone and more.

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki – A historical novel about Benedict Arnold’s wife.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Sounds gripping and suspenseful – check out the description on Amazon!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – I’ve heard great things and it sounds super powerful – definitely looking to give it a go.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Takes place on the Italian coast…(#TBT take me back to our honeymoon in Positano, Italy). So reading this one.