What I Wore: Last Christmas

Monday, December 30, 2013

...meaning of course, this is the last Christmas post you'll get out of me. Once I finish this post, I am gutting my house and taking down all the decorations. I can only live in the inside of a FAO Schwarz before it makes me feel a little axe-murdery.

In the meantime, how was your Christmas? Ours was pretttty awesome. Especially because all of my gifts were actually delivered on time, which was nice because last year they didn't come until the 26th and that was a huge fail. The only bummer this year was that my family in Canada was without power for the entire week. I was worried the whole time and didn't get to FaceTime as much as usual because it was a phone battery wasteland. We did get to chat for a while Christmas night so that made up for it.

My husband did awesome this year, but he is a good gifter so I didn't expect anything less. Some of the highlights were definitely a Kindle, a super cool cuff bracelet, this set of Coach rings, a Nintendo 3DS XL (yes I play Mario Kart like it's my job, shut up) and my fave gift, a wedding band for each kid, seen here. Seriously, I feel like when I got engaged and couldn't stop staring at my own hand. My husband is a gem and not just because he gives me jewelry.

I also got some shopping money from my parentals, which went to good use the next day when I went out for dinner/shopping/late-night crepes with my friends. I bought a black-on-black leopard blazer and it's everything to me. 

So now I'm happy and bejeweled and ready to clean my house.

 Cardigan: Charlotte Russe (similar) (plus size and on sale!)
Tank: c/o modbod
Shoes: F21 and I'm sure they were cobbled by the devil himself (similar) (probably buying these) (love and less basic)
Pearls: Aldo (cheap!) (similar) (perfect basic)

This is what I wore the Sunday before Christmas. I only ever drag this sweater out around the holidays because I like that it's festive, but not like, Christmas tree festive. 

I should also point out that between holiday food and having a new IUD installed (sorry brothers) I gained a smooth 5 pounds in December. Yeaaaaaah that's gonna have to stop. Workouts commence on Thursday and I am terrified. 

Also, I felt the need to post this picture, clearly depicting my husband being a dork. He buys me jewelry so I will tolerate this kind of business. It's the secret to our marital bliss and by marital bliss I obviously mean mutual putting up with each other.

OK, cue obnoxious cleaning music! When I was a kid, my mom would make us clean while listening to really old music, like The Mamas and the Papas and The Turtles. I make my kids clean to Britney Spears and B.O.B.

It's a legacy, really.

5 Ways to Rock a Holiday Party Like it's Your Job

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

-- I'm headed out for a day of festivities. My son's preschool has a party and I have a few more things to pick up before I can come home and do some serious wrapping. For now, here's this awesome repost which will be handy if you're off to any work parties and you're feeling intimidated and frumpy. DON'T THAT'S LAME! Also, see the link below if you're wondering what you should wear. It's my Christmas present to you. But seriously, I have to go I'm late. --

Last week, we talked about what to wear. This week, I want to talk about how to act. Not because I want to rule your life, but I genuinely think -- especially if you're a SAHM -- that the invitation to a swanky work party can be a little intimidating. After all, you spend most of your time cutting crusts off of your kids PB&J, not sampling crustini. I just don't want anyone to feel intimidated or even worse, second-class, because you feel out of place during these stressful holiday parties. So, I assembled five tips that should keep you out of trouble and away from the walls for one night at least. Ready?

1) Dress Appropriately.

Yes, we talked about festive wear last week. But I also wanted to stress how important it is to dress for the party you're attending. That way, you don't show up and feel totally uncomfortable because everyone is in cocktail dress and you're wearing your favorite snowman vest, you know? I covered what to wear to which type of party here so check it out and work accordingly. My no-fail party look is a pair of trousers and a blazer worn with a pretty/festive cami. Easy peasy and works every time. When you look good, you'll feel more comfortable and less like hiding in your hubby's shadow all night. It'll also help with those feelings of "Everyone is so cool and I'm so frumpy" too.

Also, can I remind everyone to think about footwear for parties? Those knee-high boots might look great with the outfit, but if a party is in someone's home, they might want you to ditch the shoes and then everyone can see your mismatched socks. I tend to go with flats for home parties and heels when a party is in a restaurant, since at a home I'll be standing or going shoeless and at a restaurant, I'll be sitting.

2) Bring a Hostess Gift.

K, you don't need to do this if you're like, hanging out with a group of girlfriends and you all equally planned the food, etc. But when one person was clearly in charge of a party -- especially if it's someone you don't know well -- bring along something. It can be food, drink, plant, whatever, just stay away from anything kitschy or to adorn the home unless you know the hostesses tastes. It's just good breeding and it gives you something to do at the front door other than say "Hiiiiiiii."

Also, you only need a hostess gift when the party is in someone's home. Don't bring something if it's a catered event in a reception center or at a restaurant... unless you want to make your waiter very happy.

3) Head for the Food.

OK, this might sound like a weird piece of advice, but it's one of my favorite party tricks. When I don't know many people at a soiree, I'll go where the food is for a few different reasons. First, it helps to keep my hands busy so I'm not standing around like a weirdo. Second, it's a good place to make small talk with new people. Last, EVERYONE likes to talk about food. EVERYONE. So when you're chowing on your crab appetizers, you can ask the person next to you if he's ever been to that place down on State St. that serves amazing lobster ravioli or if he's tried the new Mexican restaurant. It's the world's easiest small talk and you can hold your own.

4) Don't Talk About Your Kids.

Unless you're with your other mama friends, keep the kid chat to a minimum. Your boss or your hubby's boss probably don't want to talk about your potty-training two year old. Not only is it probably mind-searingly boring for them, but it paints this picture of someone who can't socialize outside of her kids. One or two super-funny anecdotes? OK, fine. But talking about how your four-year-old looooooves peas to a captive dinner audience makes me crazy. And I actually have kids. Some other topics to avoid? Religion and politics. Just don't.

5) Check in Once or Twice.

I get that a cell phone can be a party security blanket when you don't know a ton of people, but tapping away on your iPhone the entire night is bad form. Not only is it rude, but it means you don't get to know anyone and therefore will spend next year's party doing the same thing. If you have to check in with the babysitter once or twice, that's fine. Just don't be THAT person. Put your phone down and you might actually have a good time.

Does that work for everyone? Doable? I should point out that these rules are for like, any party more formal than Aunt Myrtle's Annual Christmas Fondue Dip. While you still shouldn't snotty and phone-obsessed there, you can probably talk about kids and stuff your face with less abandon with your close relatives and your friendsies. Or, like in my husband's family, when his Grandma brings out her alter-ego, Wanda. She has a prosthetic face. A PROSTHETIC FACE. That's a little more casual than your garden variety work party.

Just don't feel intimidated by the all-powerful Holiday party. It's not there to make you feel crappy, but a chance to hang out with a new set of people. Come prepped and ready and you'll hold your own and actually you know, enjoy yourself this year.

What I Wore: Confessions

Monday, December 16, 2013

One more week to get everything done -- and I'm soooo close. Just some odds and ends left now.

Meanwhile, our party season is in full swing over here. I like to have a few outfits in my back pocket so I can get ready reaaaaallly fast after a crazy busy day. Confession: I've worn this one for parties twice this season, so don't tell anyone because it's a rare occurrence. Most recently I wore it to a Christmas dinner with the girls I volunteer with at the hospital. I ate a ton and laughed so hard I thought I was going to be sick which is basically my gauge for any good night.

What am I doing with my hand here? I don't know. 
Jacket: Steve Madden (super cheap) (similar piping) (pretty!)
Jeans: c/o Liverpool Jeans - Abby fit (here)
Boots: F21 (similar) (pretty cheap!) (love the buckle)

Sorry about the pic... I waited too long and lost the light so it sucks more than usual. 

Also, another confession? I bought these boots on a whim but didn't love them because they had a cuff at the top, which looked kind of pirate-y. Then I had a stroke of genius and clipped the threads that held the cuff down and unfolded them and now I wear them daily - they have a wedge heel which is awesome for elongating the leg and still making it possible to walk on crappily shoveled sidewalks.

Third confession: I'll probably wear this again before the year is up. Not today though -- I'm having lunch with friends and then I have a doctor's appointment which means it's sloppy clothes for me, hooray! 

Have any Christmas confessions for me?

Freaky Friday: How Not to Give

Friday, December 13, 2013

I still have one more thing to do for work and I am procrastinating because I feel like Freaky Friday is more important. SO that's how much I love you.

Also, is it me or is this weekend the kickoff to all festivities ever? I'm starting to get a little anxious about it. I had one party on Tuesday already and then there's two more tomorrow and several next week.

Not to mention all the kid's junk I have to do. Like, really, elementary school system? The week before Christmas is really the best time to ask that children come to school dressed like characters from The Grinch? Why do you hate me?

Still on my list of things to do:
-figure out something for neighbor gifts
-figure out teacher/gymnastic coach/preschool/literally anyone who has ever so much as blinked in my direction gifts
-purchase food for our big shindig on Christmas Eve. I also made my mom send down traditional English Christmas crackers, which don't exist here in the States. As in, my kids and husband assumed I meant crackers for eating and didn't know why I was making such a big deal about it. I have failed as a mother.
-buy toothpaste for stockings because for SOME REASON the last four times I went stocking shopping, I forgot.
-Wrap. I wrapped presents for two hours last night while watching really bad ABC Family Christmas movies. I am not done yet. I did, however, find out how both The 12 Dates of Christmas and The Mistletones ended. Hint: They fall in love. They always fall in love.
-Avoid Wal-Mart like my life depends on it. I tried going last night while my daughter was at gymnastics. I don't want to talk about it.

What's on your list still? Feeling overwhelmed yet?
That's OK. Take a break and make fun of bad gift ideas with me and you'll feel better. 

 For a delicate flower of a friend who doesn't want to "bulk up" by lifting 2L soda bottles. 

 My friend Carolyn sent this over. 
Don't you hate it when you give a gift and you're not sure if the recipient really "gets it?" 
No worries.

 The best way of saying "I was going to literally light this stupid money on fire but then I decided to buy you a Louis Vuitton waffle maker instead."

 To save you from ever having make conversation at dinner again. 

 Comes free with a note that just says "RUN." 

 Companion gift for this wine glass ring? 

 For that friend who thinks she's Internet famous. 

 The only thing better than ratty hair extensions? Ratty hair extensions made from gross clear LED strands. 

 Yeah, it's all fun and games until your horse impales you because he's not your freakin' entertainment.

Protip: Sometimes, it's better to not give at all. 

 Brooke sent this over. I'm assuming she agrees with me that this would be ideal for that friend who's a crazy cat person but doesn't yet know it.

 For a husband who fetishizes what it would be like to be a banana: mid-peel.

For a whopping 3.2 seconds of amusement. 

Don't you feel better now? I do.

Now spill: What is the worst gift you've ever gotten?

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For You

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Am I the only one who hates being asked "What do you want for Christmas?"

It's not because I don't like getting presents. Let's get that straight right now. I LOVE PRESENTS. But I never know what to say. Honestly, most times, if I want something, I'll just get it myself. So it's hard for me to think up something that I would want someone else to get me.

Luckily, I married someone who totally understands my need for presents and is excellent in the gifting department. Even when we were poor newlyweds, he'd scrape together enough to pull off some miracle. I just joked the other day that he totally shot himself in the foot because now it's completely expected.

Still, I like to point him in the right direction. Here's some of the stuff I'm asking for this year so you can get ideas for yourself.

Shhhh it's OK to be a little greedy during the holidays.


I have a Keurig machine that I LOVE. I don't drink coffee (yes I understand the irony in having a really nice coffee machine when you don't actually drink the stuff) but I am a huge herbal tea drinker and the kids use it for hot chocolate. Of course, now I feel self conscious about my mugs, which made their way into my kitchen like, 10 years ago and are hopelessly cracked and mismatched. So yeah, the party animal that I am, I asked for nice mugs*. Love these monogram ones. But I'll take any that don't have stains from the kids using them as paint cups.

*Not to be confused with nice jugs. I mean, those would be nice, but hardly an ideal way to pull off a Christmas surprise.

(kate spade new york Monogram Mug Collection)


Since I live in the Arctic and all, my hands are freezing when I drive. Yesterday, my daughter had a presentation in school and since I'm supermom, I was literally putting together visual aids while standing in the school parking lot and lost all feeling in my extremities. A really nice pair of driving gloves would make me so much happier when I'm procrastinating.

(Carolina amato Bow Moto Gloves)


OK, I'll be brutally honest here. I wanted these and so I totally bought them yesterday for myself. I am ashamed. Then I told my husband that he could wrap them up and pretend they were for him if he wanted. I'm a nice person. But I LOVE shoes for Christmas. Here's a tip though -- if you want shoes as a gift, have a general idea of what size you are in different brands so you're not bummed when they don't fit Christmas morning.

Or just buy them yourself. Whatever. THEY WERE ON SALE.

(Call it SPRING - Mccalman (Brown) - Footwear)


This just in: I'm a total bookworm. And I love getting them as gifts. My favorite gift books are Ken Follett ones -- The Century Trilogy, Pillars of the Earth and Worlds Without End. Because I actually have time to read over the holidays, I like a big fatty. I can usually chew through one in a couple of days and it's super satisfying.


Honestly, I totally just send links of stuff I love to my husband on Gmail Chat all day. This was one that I wanted -- Naked 3 by Urban Decay (I actually want the first one as well, so either way). Quite frankly, it's something I probably wouldn't justify buying myself, but an easy peasy buy for my hubs. He favors things he can buy online and then have sent to the house. I've found that the easier I make gifting on my husband, the happier he is to do it.


Oh please, you knew it was coming.

I love jewelry for Christmas because I love thinking about it everytime I wear the piece later. I've gotten some of my favorite jewelry for Christmas.

One of my fave brands? Givenchy. It's super reasonably priced for high-end jewelry and it looks suuuuper decadent. I mean this bracelet? Shut up. They also do really pretty drop earrings as well. I have a set of Givenchy bangles and a necklace and they've held up really well.


I'm kind of a gadget girl, so I love getting electronics for Christmas. I even l have a Nintendo DS from like, seven years ago and love new games and whatever. But one of the best/most thoughtful gifts my husband bought me was a luxe pair of Sony noise-canceling headphones. I have a hard time concentrating on work with lots of noise and mind block everything out. Love! Just remember that electronics can be anything -- while you might not want a new iPhone dock, you might be really into some kitchen gadgets or a new tablet (I seriously couldn't function without my iPad and LOVE getting accessories for it.)

Anyway, those are my picks for a Merry Christmas. What are you asking for this year?

What I Wore: Festive Frigid

Monday, December 9, 2013

Global warming my eye!

Growing up in Canada, I was no stranger to the cold. I grew up right on Lake Ontario, which meant we got ice storms and really wet snow like, every day in the winter. My older brother had a car that we lovingly called the Ratmobile that lacked a working defroster, so my job was to sit up front and wipe down the windshield while he blasted Beastie Boys all the way to school.

Oh, memories.

When I moved to Utah, I found that winters to be unbelievably mild. In comparison the Great White North, winters here are super short and pretty warm. Like, I barely ever wear a jacket warm. So I feel like my hardy Canadian body has lowered its defenses over time.

And this last week has been SO COLD. I barely left the house all week because I just couldn't deal with it. And when I did leave the house, my poor SUV was struggling. Because did I mention we also got 18 inches of snow? Because we totally did.

So EXCUSE ME if I only got properly dressed like, once and ended up looking like a lumberjack. What else was I supposed to do?

Vest (how glad am I that these are back in again?): JCPenney (here) (similar) (similar)
Chambray: A store in Canada that starts with Urban but I can never remember the rest 
Pants: Almost Famous (here) (maternity I die!)
(I seriously want to invest in another pair of Fryes, so I'm on the prowl. I wear these so much, especially when it's all slushy and gross outside. Do you have a favorite? I feel like there's so much pressure to pick the perfect ones!)

Anyway, my frigid clothes ended up looking kinda festive with all the green and red. And I'm OK with that. Because if it's going to be freezing, I'm glad there's at least a little snow to make it feel Christmas-y, too.

But seriously. Like, above 0 would be handy right about now. I only have so many puffy vests. And by "so many" I mean two.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For Your Coworkers and Neighbors

Friday, December 6, 2013

So, am I the only one filled with a huge internal sigh when it comes to buying for larger groups? Like, I LOVE shopping for my kids and husband. But factor in people that I don't know all that well and I start to stress. And this year, my husband is with a new company, so I need to figure out their office culture before I even start. Either way, I like to make things easy on me by getting the same/similar stuff across the board. It simplifies my shopping and ensures we don't look like we're playing favorites. Here are some of my fave ideas that I've used in the past.

Also, I should point out that although I work, all of my editors and coworkers are online. This means I don't have to give them anything. Mua ha ha. Instead, I have to worry about what my husband needs to bring to his office. 

1. Homemade Goods

OK, this one is a no-brainer. But keep in mind that there may be people with dietary restrictions, so only make baked goods if you're sure everyone can eat them. I'm excited – this year, I bought tags that say "Don't get too excited: I made this myself" and plan on putting them all over my neighbor gifts as a preliminary warning.

Can I also point out that homemade stuff doesn't have to be a plate of cookies? My husband has a coworker who has given us a jar of his special steak seasoning for the last three years. And I LOVE IT. It's amazing and I use it on everything and get depressed when it runs out come November. So if you have the world's best homemade salad dressing, jam or something else, gift that. People have enough cookies.

2. Something for the Home

I've always liked giving a neutral Christmas decoration for neighbor and coworker gifts. They're easy because you can buy a bunch all at once and then wrap 'em in cellophane for giving and it's done and over with. And seriously, unless they're celebrating Hanukkah, most people are happy to have a new Christmas ornament or whatever. I just try to stay away from religious stuff. A "Let it Snow!" plaque is less polarizing than like, a full nativity.

3. Necessary Stuff

How much do you really know about your coworkers anyway? In the past, I've used stuff that my husband has mentioned about his coworkers to get the ideal gift. One of his coworkers was a complete foodie, so it was a no-brainer to grab a gourmet cookbook and a gift card to an indie restaurant. We also gifted his entire office with new fancy shmancy water bottles after they all complained about not drinking enough water. Then we look like the good guys. I can haz Christmas bonus now?

Another idea I saw that was brilliant for neighbors was a roll of wrapping paper with tape and scissors attached. Super cheap and can I tell you how much I would LOVE that? I am always out of tape.

4. Something Indulgent 

I give teachers, gymnastics coaches and female coworkers the same thing every year: Wallflowers from Bath and Body Works. Seriously, they are a crowd pleaser. And, since I have 5 plugged in at any given time, I constantly have bulbs in every imaginable scent. Teachers really love them because let's face it, kids are smelly. It's just a little something that gives a boost in the weeks after Christmas.

Plus, BBW always has multiple deals, so it's no biggie to pick up soap, hand sanitizers, lotion and whatever else. Wrap it with a cute card and you are done, my friend. Just keep in mind that this only really works with female coworkers. Guys don't want hand lotion, even if it smells like cookies.

5. Skip It

One of my favorite years was when we ditched buying for every person in the family/neighborhood/5-mile radius and did a Sub for Santa instead. I felt like I was buying less "have to" stuff for people who didn't really need it and instead, bought for someone who was really in need. I love doing Sub for Santa and it's always a little tender to explain to my kids the purpose.

If everyone in the office/neighborhood is burned out on doing huge gift exchanges anyway, pipe up and suggest this instead. There are organizations dedicated to doing Sub for Santa, or you could call a local school and see if there's an anonymous family who could use a boost.

Alright, thus concludes this year's gift guides. Hope you got some ideas. If not... I'm sorry. Just remember that if you don't get the absolute perfect gift to the absolute right person....

... it's OK because everyone is drunk at the work Christmas party anyway.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For Your BFF

Thursday, December 5, 2013

OK, back to the actual prezzies. Thanks for all of your comments and shares yesterday. You guys are my favorites.

I should preface this by saying that my friends and I don't exchange presents at Christmas – we have a "Favorite Things" party. We get gussied up, go out to dinner and everyone brings their "favorite thing" wrapped up. I think the limit was $30 last year? Girls help me out, I don't remember.

Anyway, we then draw names and whatever name you get, you get to keep that person's favorite thing. It's so fun and an awesome way to find out about new products. Last year I did my favorite gloss and a scarf and I got agran oil for my hair. Love!

So when we're gearing up for our party, I'm not only thinking about whatever my favorite thing was that year, but something that one of my friends would love to get. Luckily, I hang with a pretty girly crew, so I can usually bet that shiny, pretty things are the order of the day. We're well-matched that way.

So whether you exchange gifts with a group or you want to let your BFF know that you think she's better than salted caramel gelato (OK, that's another one of my favorite things introduced by a friend), there are tons of options.. especially in the pretty, sparkly and thinky realms.


I love gifting makeup palettes. For one, you can get creaming deals over the holidays and for two, they come with so many colors that your makeup-loving friend is bound to be happy with her options.  This is a time when I go high-end or designer. Quite frankly, a designer palette will run you about $30 and it feels special. Still, if things are tight, the ELF Studio collection is BOSS and about $3 per product. Also, Diorshow is my favorite mascara of all time until the end of the universe, so that's an option too.



What BFF doesn't want something sparkly over the holidays? A weird one, that's who. You need to rethink your priorities, BFF. This is not the time to look for something demure. The bolder and more glittery... er... the better. I even save pretty jewelry boxes throughout the year so I don't have to gift these like, on a cardboard backing.



I loooove giving books as a gift. I read like no other. If I don't have a book on my Kindle and a stack on my nightstand, I get panicky. So naturally, I love sharing my favorite tomes with my friends. I probably read somewhere around 60 or so books this year and here are five of my faves.

For the history lover: 
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption; Lauren Hillenbrand

For the scandal-obsessed:
Gone Girl; Gillian Flynn  

For the inner teen:
The Fault in Our Stars; John Green

For the cinephile:
Serena; Ron Rash (it'll be a movie with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence next year and it is CRAZY) 

For the hopeless romantic:
You Before Me; Jojo Moyes

Those are my best ideas and cheap picks. Now, what do you do with your friends? Exchange gifts or do a party? I do love our party idea -- less stress when there's a group of 10 girls. But I'm open to new ideas! And check back tomorrow for neighbor.coworker gift ideas.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For Kids

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Are you guys ready? I'm gonna drop some knowledge on you right now.

What if I told you that it doesn't matter what other people buy/get/do/don't do for their kids at Christmastime?

Yesterday, after seeing my 6th article on why a mom does/doesn't do Elf on the Shelf for her kids, I posted on my Facebook page that the Republicans and Dems could learn a thing or two about debate from these women. Seriously, it has been bananas.

One mom says she doesn't do it because it takes the spirit away from the holidays.

The other says she does it to make magical memories for her children.

One debates that it's lying to her kids.

The other says her children are only little for so long,

One legitimately said the elf is satanic.

Yeah, can we go ahead and just stop right there?

Why is it that at Christmas time, moms get so smug? Instead of you know, actually enjoying the holiday, we feel the need to constantly defend the "whys" of our choices and why they're superior to any other.

Look, parenting is hard at the best of times. So I get that parenting is even harder at Christmastime. You want your children to enjoy it, without completely spoiling them and exhausting yourself in the process. So when you see Instagram posts of your favorite pretend  elf causing mischief at someone else's house, you have a reaction to it. You say you're too tired to keep that up for a month, or you Pinterest new ideas to step up your game.

In the end, I think the best magical gift for your children would be to get off Facebook and stop debating with people you don't know/like. Getting heated about what someone else is doing for their kids at Christmas has no purpose. Comparing festivities, parties, present amounts and yes, even a family tradition like Elf on the Shelf robs you of the spirit of the season, regardless of what side you're on.

I don't care if you overindulge your kids, if things are tight this year, if you go all out or you're a Christmas minimalist. You don't have to justify your reasons to anyone. It's OK if someone chooses something else for their kids. It doesn't affect you at all.


So, I guess my "Gift Guide" for kids is this: Give them what you can. If that means creating elaborate elf scenarios, so be it. If that means taking your kids to see the town nativity, go for it and good on you. If you're more of a cardboard chocolate advent calendar person, cheers -- that's what I grew up on. If you love giving a boatload of presents, be my guest -- just don't go into debt over it.

But remember that what you can give your kids is different than what others can give their own brood. Let's lay off the smug, slap on a smile, and stop justifying ourselves all season long. Let's focus on what's important, which probably isn't being "right" on the Internet. Let's remember that it's actually really truly OK to disagree.


An elf-owning, but constantly-forgetting, tired, movie-crying, present-shopping, premade cookie dough-baking, lights-loving, religious-undertone creating, sometimes uptight, but usually nice Mom.

PS: Please do not comment on this post about why or why you don't do Elf on the Shelf.

I don't care.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

Monday, December 2, 2013

How was everyone's holiday? I am kind of exhausted after it all. I did Black Friday shopping and Saturday shopping, so I feel like my legs and feet are calling "Uncle!" today. But luckily it was trauma-free. My friend and I didn't go out until Friday morning and I think all the crazy rioters were home in bed by then, so it was low key. I still got everything I needed and I'm feeling very accomplished. Yes, that's all it takes.

So, I thought that this week, I'd forgo my usual posting schedule for some gift ideas. I LOVE giving gifts. Gifts are totally my love language. It's because I'm so awkward emotionally and am terrible at verbal and physical love. But can I buy you a present? Oh yes I can!

I take great pride in my gift-giving abilities. And first up: The main man in my life. Buying for my husband is a pain because he's a very even keel person. He doesn't ever get too mad or too sad or too happy -- he's always in the middle. So it's taken years for me to know what he really likes, because when I ask him what he wants, he'll say nothing. THIS IS ANNOYING.

Now, I put a plan in place and basically operate within the same realm each year. It makes it less stressful because I already know what types of things to buy, I just switch up the actual items. Here are my five must-haves for hubby shopping and what I spend on each.

1. A Higher-End Functional Piece: Budget around $100

My husband does like the finer things in life, but he'll never buy them on his own. I use Christmas as a way to buy a nice functional piece to which he can't say no and that will last him a really, really long time. I've done jackets, boots, nice sunglasses, a watch, pricey cologne (that I like obviously) etc.



2. A (Couple of) Fun, Trendy Pieces: Budget around $50 for both

My hubs works in a pretty casual office, so he rarely needs really professional clothes. He usually heads to work in dark jeans, a button up and a cargo jacket. So I like to buy a couple of trendier shirts that he can wear to work but doesn't feel like a total dork wearing out as well. He's picky, so I don't push too hard for something new. Instead, I look for interesting details, like a shirt with grommets or a super subtle pattern. I'm also mindful of his favorite brands -- that way, I know the right size and that it's something he'll like.

3. Something Fun: Budget around $30 to $50

My husband doesn't play a lot of video games -- we have a PS3 but it's really a glorified DVD player. Still, when I'm in Canada, he likes to play, so I usually get him a new game, CD or something else that's fun and just for him -- no "we" gifts. But Wii gifts would be fine. But seriously, I like to look for some type of gadget, game or movie that says "Hey I know we have completely different tastes in everything but I will put up with watching Skyfall multiple times because I love you."

4. Something Practical: Budget around $50 to $100

Let's face it: Guys sometimes suck at buying stuff that they need. I don't know about yours, but my husband will make do with something just to avoid going to the store. So I make sure one of my gifts is something that he really needs, but probably wouldn't buy himself, like some new speakers for his car or an iPhone dock for his office. Just something that enhances his life but that he may not have considered.


5. Something Thoughtful: No budget -- usually these are the least expensive.

While I might be an emotional robot, I do like to include something thoughtful. This is usually something family-related that only my husband and I would really "get." One year, I ordered a custom keychain that was stamped with all the important dates in our family -- both of our birthdays, wedding date and then our kids' birthdays. He loves it. I've also done family pictures, think-y books for my scholarly huz, mementos that I picked up on vacation and an entire scrapbook I made myself in an uncharacteristic bout of creativity during our poor newlywed phase. He keeps all of this stuff forever and it makes Christmas morning that much better.

While these are the 5 categories I try to hit, I usually buy other stuff as I come across it. He does wear a suit once a week for church, so ties and church shoes are necessities, even if they aren't "wow" gifts.

I think, in the end, your husband/boyfriend/life partner just wants to know that you were thinking about him. So whether you like to dress him up or geek him out, if you put a little thought into it, he'll get it.

What do you buy your husband for Christmas? I'm always up for new ideas.

Check back tomorrow for another gift guide!

What I Wore: Jumping the Gun

Monday, November 25, 2013

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Yup, I did it. I jumped the gun. My house is officially Christmas-ized. And I will never get the glitter out of my hair. I've taken like, three showers and I keep finding it in there. Ah well, I'm happy to get it done and that I can focus on the rest of the holidays. I'm super excited for Thanksgiving and not just because of Black Friday. While I already had Canadian Thanksgiving, I still love making my mama's recipes for family down here.

And yes, she wanted to know why I made fun of her on the blog.

And my dad didn't care and asked how to use Microsoft Word.

Anyway, these outfit pics were clearly taken before Christmas barfed on my house. I looove wearing my leather pants with a mid-length boot. It makes them so much less "10 Things I Hate About You" Club Skunk and easier for day-wear. Not that I minded Heath Ledger in leather pants, but that's beside the point.

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Cardigan: I have no idea I bought it in Canada
Boots: Payless (similar) (similar)
Bracelet stack: Gift from brother, Marc Jacobs, local boutique. It's just a literal stack of bracelets.

It's dawning on me that I'll have my kids home for almost a whole week. What am I going to do with them!? We already bought tickets for Frozen on Thursday night -- we always see a movie after Thanksgiving dinner and it's one of my fave traditions ever. Because I hate football and just want to be in a dark place to digest my turkey.

So am I the only one who decorated this weekend? 

Freaky Friday

Friday, November 22, 2013

So the other day my dad sent me an email with a funny picture. Then, while FaceTiming with my mom, he came in the room and asked if I had seen it. My mom was like "Where did you find that picture, Ricky?" (Yes, my dad's name is Ricky. Not Rick or Richard. Ricky. It's the best.) He was like "Pinterest!" My mom was like "Uh, since when do you use Pinterest?" And he just quietly shuffled out of the room.

Now, you must understand that my parents are the two most unintentionally hilarious people ever. My mom is like hyper-confrontational and opinionated and my dad is a sweet Mr. Magoo type and together, they are awesome and provide endless hours of entertainment for me and my brothers. Observe this exchange which occurred when  watching "Date Night" with my parents, brothers and kids and the strip club scene started.

My Dad: OK, kids, you need to go play somewhere else.
My daughter: Why, Poppy? (I die with cuteness overload because my kids call my dad Poppy)
My Dad: Because this is an adult film.
Me: Um, can we call it a "grownup movie" because I really don't want her telling people we let her watch an adult film.
My Mom: Yeah! Double-XL!!
Me: That's a clothing size. You mean XXX.
My brother: WHY ARE YOU SO OLD?

And yes, Double-XL has in fact made it into the family vocabulary for anything racy.

Anyway, as an ode to my Pinterest-loving dad, I got sucked into the archives over at everyone's favorite everyone-is-better-than-me showcase to find some bad fashion. Let's all say thanks to Ricky for providing this opportunity.

By the way, this is the picture he sent me:

 He's a biker. So naturally when he saw my favorite thing and his favorite thing together, he knew it was a win.

And yes I want one. Can you imagine grocery shopping with that bad boy?

 This is an ostrich feather veil. They use it as torture devices for people whose hands are covered in paint and can't scratch their noses.

 For when you don't have time to touch up your pedicure before you wear heels at the pool like a shmuck.

How to: Tell your mom you're sick of being in charge of bringing rolls to Thanksgiving dinner in a passive aggressive manner. 

 This is how I reacted to these shoes.

An entire statement necklace made from 6-inch geodes? Really? I just...

 In high school I had a pair of clogs (shut up) and when I wore them to class, one of my male friends was like "Well, well, well, look at those clodhoppers" and I never wore them again. But partly because my dog ate them. REGARDLESS, I hear his voice in my head in relation to these shoes.

 Remember when Ann Taylor got busted for grotesquely Photoshopping their models so they looked like weird, skinny aliens? OK, they do that daily. Here, here and here, if you're interested. Just wear this dress and you can skip the Photoshop and look like a skinny linebacker instead.

These would be a nightmare for my creepy little baby hands. And by nightmare I mean full glove.

Alright, thanks to my Dad for inspiring FF today. He's the coolest.

Also, I didn't put up Christmas last week, but it's happening tomorrow. I just bought a new wreath and I like, can't even function right now because I know that I'll be listening to Michael Buble come morning time.

The 10 Commandments of Scarves

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So my cute cousin Sarah was asking me about scarves the other day and I realized that I had done a 10 Commandments of Belting but that I had left scarves out in the cold. And, since they're totally my favorite way to accessorize, they deserve a little love. So, beginners unite! Let's talk scarves.

1) Thou shalt tie thy scarf in different ways. For whilst a basic tie is nice, thou shalt be more adventurous. Thou shalt also watch this video for ideas.

2) Thou shalt contrast thy number of layers to the size of thy scarf. If thou art wearing lots of layers, thou shalt wear a simpler scarf -- otherwise, thou might lookest like a hipster. If thy outfit is simple, thou can wear a larger scarf.


3) Thou shall tuck the ends of thy scarf if thou is wearing a neck with a deep V. It lookest like an ascot and is delightful unto me.

4) Thou shalt belt a voluminous scarf, lest thou be mistaken as with child.

5) Thou shalt make a boring outfit exciting by using a patterned scarf. I wouldst say "Jazz up" but thou knowest I hate the term. Still, thou shall not be afraid of prints.

6) Thou shalt never drape thy scarf over thy shoulders, for thou art not an eccentric old artist lady.

7) Thou shalt stop being confused about how to wear a scarf when thou shall buy an infinity scarf. Lo, it is one continuous loop and thou needest only slip it over your head. Thou can do that.

8) Thou shalt wear thick scarves during the winter and thin scarves during the summer. Thou shalt look for wool-based scarves right now, because winter shall arrive soon.

9) Thou shalt layer necklaces over scarves, if thou art adventurous.

10) Thou shalt never overthink scarves. Scarves shall be fun accessories and should not be intimidating. If thou art intimidated by an article of clothing, thou shalt be checked by thy doctor for social anxiety.

Thou may also ask scarf-related questions in the comments section.


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