Tag Archives: Christmas

2013 Christmas Gifts That Give Back

4 Dec

gift-giving

It’s that time of year again… Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas shopping is in full swing for many as they try to wrap up their holiday shopping. I definitely fall into that category and find myself thinking about my gift list too many times throughout the day while I should be working. If you’re like me, you want to find something special for each person on your list – something that you know they’ll love and appreciate. Over the past few years, I feel like I’ve realized the value of charity more, and of supporting a cause that you feel strongly towards. So this year I’m going to try to incorporate that as much as I can into my Christmas gift giving. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same!

So, how do you give a charitable gift? There’s always the traditional way of making a donation in someone’s name, which is an excellent way to directly support a cause. However, I like to have something wrapped up that my friends and family can open – the best part of gift giving for me is watching their delight while they open it!  I sought out items online that, when purchased, give back to a charitable organization but that are also sparkly enough to light up someone’s face when they receive them. Here are my suggestions for 2013 Christmas gifts that give back.

Sevenly

Sevenly.org has become one of my absolute favorite websites this year and I can’t say enough good things about this company. They are an organization that chooses a different charity each week, sells merchandise to support that cause for seven days, and donate $7 from each purchase to the charity. From child sex trafficking awareness, to ending teen suicide to supporting adoption in children with down syndrome, they support so many worthy causes, and help bring awareness to the growing needs of our world. Sevenly has some pretty awesome inventory, like the most amazing graphic tees, some fab prints, notebooks, jewelry, accessories and baby goods. You should be able to find something for anyone on your list from Sevenly – a cool tee for the guys, some beautiful jewelry or a print for the girls, and a onsie, tee or stuffed animal for the kids! Their current charity is  Operation Christmas Child, and remember to check back every week to see what they’re selling and who they’re supporting next!

(Bonus Facts: Your Sevenly package will arrive in the coolest designed packaging imaginable – they have some serious graphic designers over there. And each purchase comes with a nifty Sevenly sticker, asking the recipient to snap a picture of them in the product and tag themselves on one of Sevenly’s social media sites. How fun!)

Sevenly-tees

Sevenly cause tees

Sevenly-Prints-and-Jewelry

Sevenly charitable gifts including jewelry, bags, and prints.

Sevenly-charitable-gifts

Sevenly home decor, note pads, note cards.

Toms

Ok, let’s be honest – everyone loves a good pair of Toms! This is a real easy gift idea. Toms makes groovy shoes for women, men and children, and the best part is their motto: One For One. For every pair of Toms purchased, they donate a pair of shoes to a person in need. So you can walk around in comfort knowing that somewhere in the world there is another pair of shoes on someone’s feet who appreciates it more than you can imagine – all because of you. I recently received the leopard print pair as a gift (best gift ever!) and am currently crushing on the serpentine pattern.

But Toms is no longer just offering shoes; they’ve now added eyewear to their wheelhouse. And with every pair of Toms glasses purchased, you give sight to one person by way of prescription glasses, sight-saving surgeries, and medical treatments. There is also a Marketplace page, where you have access to tons of charitable gifts from organizations benefiting various causes. Jewelry, apparel, ear buds, this page has it all!

Toms-mens-shoes

Toms Men’s Classics

Toms-eyewear

Toms Women’s Eyewear

Toms-Marketplace

Toms Marketplace

West Elm

I was recently looking for a birthday gift for one of my dearest friends, and this particular girl (along with her wonderful hubby!) is very involved in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital charity work. So, when I stumbled across the glass bird paperweight on West Elm’s site which benefits St. Jude, it was like serendipity! While on their site I found some other really nice charitable gifts. They have mugs with the designs on them that benefit various charities including ASPCA®Architecture For HumanityOceanaTeach For AmericaDoctors Without Borders, and It Gets Better. Seriously, something for everyone!

west-elm-st.-jude-gifts

West Elm charitable gifts benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

west-elm-charity-mugs

West Elm charity mugs benefiting multiple organizations

Some other great sites to check for charitable Christmas gift ideas are Project7, Sephora, Grounds For Change, and Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Do you have any suggestions for charitable gifts? Happy Holidays!

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Swoon Worthy Christmas Party Looks

8 Dec

Christmas is a little more than two weeks away! Tis the season for Christmas parties, so start planning on looking your best at your family, friend or work holiday function now. Stick with red, emerald (Pantone’s 2013 color of the year!) or gold and you can’t go wrong. I love a cute party dress, but my heart also melts for black skinnies paired with a festive top and sassy heels.

Here are my favorite Christmas party looks this year.

 The Sophisticate

Christmas Party Looks - The Sophisticate

The Life of the Party

Christmas Party Look - The Life of the Party

via polyvore

The Trend Setter

Christmas Party Looks - The Trendsetter

Pair any of these looks with a red manicure and lip color and you’re all set!

Christmas Party Looks - Red Lips and Nails

via polyvore

Which is your favorite Christmas party look?

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Forget It, Black Friday – Shopping From Home

24 Nov

Yesterday was Black Friday, and I was foolish enough to get out amongst the crazies (does that make me a crazy, too??) and hunt for those amazing deals that stores promised us. It’s kind of a family tradition, where no matter how much I don’t want to, I just have to go to at least one store the day after Thanksgiving. Victoria’s Secret, Express, Toys R Us, and Kohls were blowing up my inbox all week telling me to get my bottom to their store and take advantage of all the free stuff they’re going to give me. Well, I ended up getting out late yesterday afternoon – I refuse to be one of those people who stands in line until midnight and then ferociously make a mad dash for the electronics section – and hit up a couple of department and non-chain stores in search of a few unique gifts. While I didn’t make it to any of those mass merchandisers, I did take advantage of their sales early yesterday morning from the comfort of my couch. Which brings me to the topic of this post – the joy of online shopping.

Unless you live in an area where internet coverage is not offered or are in a coma in the hospital, there is absolutely no excuse for you not to shop via the internet this holiday season. I got all the offers and discounts that I was promised in store this Black Friday, plus free shipping, and didn’t even have to get out of my pajamas.  I didn’t wait in line anywhere, I didn’t have to deal with the attitudes of sales clerks who had been working since 11:00 the night before, giving everyone the stink eye, and I certainly didn’t have to drive around a parking lot for twenty minutes waiting for someone to leave so I could park. I shopped at my own pace, taking my time browsing the sites. Doesn’t this sound like a pleasant shopping experience?

Now, I understand that there are some Black Friday and holiday deals that are only offered in store. This is when you have to ask yourself, “Is this item really going to make or break Christmas for the recipient, and is it worth going through all of the shopping madness for?” If the answer is yes, then bless your heart. When you are forced to venture out to the stores for gifts, please follow my simple rules of Christmas Shopping Etiquette, some of which include shopping with a plan, leaving little ones at home, and getting well if you are sick before doing your shopping.

In summary, try to enjoy the Christmas season and don’t make it all about presents. It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, especially with stores constantly in our faces with ads for the latest and greatest gadgets. Only buy (or better yet, make!) gifts that are from your heart to the recipient. And please, stay in and do your shopping from the comfort of your home whenever possible!

Happy Holidays! 

Fall & Winter Nail Polish

11 Nov

I like to pick out my nail polish colors according to the seasons and there are so many fantastic shades to choose from! In the Fall I like deep, berry colors and warm, nutty hues. Around Christmas all I can think is classic holiday red, and in the Winter I want cool metallic tones and maybe some sparkle. I found some great colors from OPI, Essie and Nicole – some of my favorite brands and all are “3 Free” polishes (no Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, or Formaldehyde). Here are my picks for each month.

November Nail Polish

December Nail Polish

January Nail Polish

Which is your favorite color?

Christmas In July

12 Jul

We’re halfway there, people! Only 165 days left until Christmas. You may be wondering how on Earth I could be thinking about Christmas right now, which is a perfectly good question. The truth is, at some point in the middle of the year (usually in July or some other sweltering summer month) I get sick of the 100 degree weather and long for cold, wintery nights, cozying up in flannel pajamas and sipping hot chocolate. Realistically I don’t have to wait for Christmas to do that – I could just crank down the AC and make my house freezing enough to feel like winter, but it’s much more than just the cooler weather that I long for. I love Christmas time and all the things that go along with it that put me in a joyful mood:  little twinkling lights and decorated Christmas trees, holiday music with sleigh bells, big comfy sweaters with snowflakes on them and all of those yummy treats that we seem to only indulge in during the holidays.

So, every year when this Christmas itch begins I start to do little things that bring on that “most wonderful time of the year” feeling. Here are some Christmas in July activities that are sure to help you escape from the summer reality into a Christmasy frame of mind.

Create A Christmas Playlist

Pack your iPod or make a homemade CD full of Christmas favorites like “White Christmas”, “The Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. Whenever I listen to Christmas music it almost immediately puts me in a good mood. You can’t go wrong with a little Bing Crosby!

Watch A Holiday Classic

Dust off some of the Christmas movies in your DVD collection for movie night and curl up on the couch with a holiday classic like “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “Scrooged” or my personal favorite, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.  They’ll bring you that old familiar holiday feeling months ahead of schedule.

Bake Some Christmas Cookies

You don’t have to wait until December to put on your apron and set up shop in the kitchen. There is always more cooking and baking in my family during the holidays than any other time of year, and what better way to treat yourself than to make some traditional holiday goodies in the middle of the summer? Dig up the family recipes and whip up some sugar cookies, cakes and pies.

Start Christmas Shopping Early

You may think it’s too early to start doing your Christmas shopping but the earlier you shop, the more you save. I’m not saying go out this weekend and buy gifts for everyone, but go ahead and start thinking about what you’d like to get people and begin making a list. And next time you’re out shopping and see something on your list that is on sale, go ahead and get it. You’ll have less shopping to do just before Christmas when the stores are packed with people and high prices. (If you do find yourself Christmas shopping with the crowds, however, follow these guidelines for Christmas Shopping Etiquette.)

Do you ever get the Christmas itch in the middle of summer, too?

Merry halfway to Christmas!

Have Yourself A Cuddly Little Christmas

24 Dec

It’s Christmas Eve, and what better way to celebrate than with cute, cuddly puppies and kittens?!

Christmas Vacation

22 Dec

Today marks the official start of my two-week Christmas vacation! I have been waiting for this day for a long, long time. Since January, really. This is truly my favorite time of the year, and not just because I don’t have to go to work for 2 weeks. I so look forward to celebrating Christmas each year, and getting to focus all of my time and energy on doing so is what makes having the 2 weeks off so enjoyable to me.

I started my vacation the way that I planned I would: I slept in (not hearing my alarm at 5:00 a.m. was marvelous), laid around in my new fuzzy Muppet pajamas (thanks, Mom!), drank Christmas coffee (thanks, sissy!), wrapped my husband’s Christmas presents while watching some Lifetime Christmas movies. Of course, I was bawling by 10:00 in the morning – way to go, Christmas Angel. So all in all, I’d say my Christmas vacation is off to a great start!

Here are some of the things I look forward to doing over the holidays:

  • Bake – I love to make special cookies, cakes and cupcakes and don’t ever seem to have the time to do so without feeling rushed.

  • Drive around and admire the Christmas lights on houses – This was a family tradition I had growing up, and my husband and I continue it each year. There’s something about beautiful houses lit up with Christmas lights on a dark night that just feels magical. Of course we listen to Christmas music on our rides!

  • Watch Christmas movies – Christmas just isn’t Christmas without these movies in my house:

  • Spend Christmas with my husband – This will be the first year since we met nearly 7 years ago that we spend Christmas completely alone, just the two of us! We always are either traveling or have company at our house. I’m sure this will be different but very relaxing at the same time!

I hope you all get some time off from work to enjoy Christmas, too! What do you plan on doing to celebrate this year?

Merry Christmas!

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