Have you ever had a meal so good that you didn’t want to brush your teeth before bed because you never wanted the taste of delicious steak to go away? If your answer is no then you’ve obviously never been to Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf. (And incase you were concerned about my dental hygiene – yes I did brush my teeth that night). Last night Jackson and I went there for a dinner to celebrate my birthday and his new position on a prestigious choir, (ok we had the reservation before we realized those things, but it’s always more fun to go out for a celebration) and the whole meal reminded me why I truly love good food.
It’s officially the new year and everyone is talking about their resolutions – except for me.
Honestly, I hate new years resolutions for the sole fact that they stem from such negative feelings about ourselves. With the focus primarily on how much weight we need to lose, what we failed at in 2017, or the old saying of “new year, new me” the constant need to change ourselves year over year astonishes me. In fact, I’ve already seen posts from people beating themselves up because they already “failed” at their resolution. It’s been three days! There are so many opportunities to make things happen, don’t get down on yourself already! It may be a new year, but I am the same, self-loving me that you’ve known and (hopefully) loved all year.
While I don’t want to spend the year attempting to change who I am at my core, or resolving to change how I look, I do want to go into 2018 with some goals that I can accomplish. They’re not meant to change me, but they are some things that will help me grow as a person.
Am I the only one who can’t believe 2017 is just finally coming to an end? Looking back on this year and all of the things that have happened it’s hard to believe some of it was within the past 365 days. From travel to work to my health, so many big changes and events happened for me this year that it’s hard to comprehend that I haven’t had a few more breakdowns. If I had to describe the year in one word it would be learning.
Every part of this year taught me something new about myself and about others – whether the lessons were good, bad or still undecided.
Continue reading “2017: What I Learned”
I don’t know about your parents, but mine are so hard to shop for. My mom is so picky that usually she sends me a link to exactly what she wants (though I admit I do the same thing back to her), and my dad never really wants us to spend our money on him. He stands by the greatest gift my brother and I ever game him being a pajama set from Target because he only had one pair with a hole in them prior (he really is a minimalist). But the holidays are all about being thankful and spoiling the ones you love, so I have a lineup of gifts that scream “I LOVE YOU” to the people who mean the most to you.
Eucalyptus & Sea Salt Scented Candle | Henri Bendel, $40
This candle will have mom thinking she’s on the beach front instead of in a winter snowstorm. The sea spray notes are balanced by chilled orange and the rejuvenating scent of eucalyptus. With eucalyptus being one of my favorite scents in the world choosing this candle was a no brainer. And one thing I love about Henri Bendel candles is how strong they are. Their candles really brighten up the room and refreshes the space.
Self-Care Kit | Scratch Goods, recommended products total $83 – $87
Scratch Goods is easily my new favorite place in the West Loop. Founded by two high school friends, Maureen and Elizabeth, their line was created to fulfill a need for natural, affordable skin care products. As soon as I tried my first set of goodies from them I was hooked! The products are fabulous and, unlike many brands I’ve tried, don’t irritate my sensitive skin. It’s so hard for me to find products that don’t turn my bright red or make me break out and these do the trick! Any products from their line would make a perfect gift for mom, but below are my recommendations for what I would put in my self-care starter kit:
- Jade Roller ($25): My jade roller is my new favorite thing I own. It feels amazing, is easy to use (you literally roll it over your face), and has some amazing benefits. Mom’s new jade roller will promote blood flow & cell turnover, reduce any puffiness, stimulate collagen production, smooth overworked facial muscles and leaves skin glowing. On super puffy mornings she can cool her roller in the fridge for extra pore minimization (or any time of day, doesn’t only have to be used in the morning!), but my personal favorite way to use mine is by warming it up under hot tap water after applying my face oils and using the roller to help open my pores for maximum absorption. If you were only to pick one product for mom this would be the must-have.
- Matcha Mask ($18): This mask is the perfect option for mom. It was created as a tightening, anti-aging mask that detoxifies while lightening dark spots on your face. The ingredients are matcha, bentonite clay and sea clay, making this a perfect combo of tightening, detoxifying and brightening. While I have yet to try this mask – I personally use and love the charcoal mask which is a great option for deep cleaning pores – this is high on my list of things I’m dying to try.
- Mask Brush ($6): The mask brush is pretty self-explanatory, but it makes the perfect add-on when giving the gift of a matcha (or sea or charcoal) mask. The brush is perfect for a flawless mask application, and keeps mom from having to use her hands or ruin a makeup brush trying to figure out how to get her mask on. They also have gorgeous, handmade mask bowls that are a wonderful addition if you’re looking to add more to your mom’s gift.
- Face Oil ($34 – $38): Face oil + a warm jade roller after a face mask is one of the greatest feelings in the world. While using mine I was texting my boyfriend about how happy I was I invested in all these new products and how obsessed I was with all of them. While the face oils don’t need to be exclusively used after a mask (Nicole, the fabulous employee helping me at Scratch Goods the other night, told me she uses her heavy oil morning + night), they do feel especially amazing after one. They have three options for oils: light face oil ($34), heavy face oil ($34), and a 15% zinc face oil ($38). I personally use the light face oil because I was worried about how my sensitive skin would react to oils, but any are a great option depending on what our mom likes. The light face oil is intended for normal to oily skin and absorbs quickly, while the heavy face oil is a more intensive moisturizer for normal to dry skin. And the 15% zinc face oil is described as a premium, restorative face oil rich in zinc that works best with skin drink.
If you live in the Chicagoland area I highly recommend stopping by the store to pick out the perfect set for your mom. They are extremely helpful and can help pick out the perfect products depending on your mom’s skin type and preferences. And, through the end of the year, if you bring unopened toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, tampons, razors, etc) items to donate to Sarah’s Circle they will give you 10% off you in-store purchase!
Gifts For Dad:
Wild Man Starter Kit | shopamongtheflowers, $38
This Wild Man Starter Kit is the perfect gift for dad. It offers a box of plant-based products that are soothing enough to help him unwind, while still feeling manly enough to make him think he just finished a hike through the mountains when he finished. (If only all “hikes” made us feel as refreshed as this box does) The kit includes a wood pile man mist, whipped coconut body butter and a bar of cold process soap with a backwoods scent. It’s the perfect care package for dad while mom is using her Scratch Goods goodies.
Sock of the Month Club | Yo Sox, $72+
A sock of the month club subscription is the gift that keeps on giving (for 6 or 12 months depending on the subscription you buy). I love this idea because dad gets socks for up to a full year, reminding him every month how loved he is. Plus, every time he wears his new socks he’ll think of you. I love the subscription to Yo Box because they have such fun patterns and prints, so every month he’ll get a unique, fun pair (or two) of socks. This gift is guaranteed to put a smile on his face.
Gifts For Both:
Cooking class | Sur La Table, $69 – $85
A cooking class is the perfect gift for a couple – especially mom and dad. It gives them a fun night out, something special to do together, memories to make and ends with a delicious plate of food. Sur La Table offers a wide range of classes from tamales to paella to homemade pizza to cookies, so you can pick the perfect class for mom and dad. While I’ve mentioned Sur La Table, there are cooking classes offered at different locations, stores, and restaurants through the US, so no matter where your family lives you can get them a cooking class for a perfect holiday date night gift.
What did you get your parents this year?
The holidays are the perfect time for love. Someone to curl up with on a cold night, to go ice skating with, or, if you’re from Chicago, the perfect date for Zoo Lights and Christkindlmarket. But it can also be a stressful time trying to figure out the perfect gift for the one you love. No matter your budget there are great gifts you can get that aren’t an over-the-top cliche. Whether for him, for her, or a gift for the two of you to enjoy together, below are my picks for the love of your life.
Congratulations! You (and hopefully your waistline and wallet) survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I hope you were able to fill your bellies with delicious food and your closets, stockings, houses and more with amazing new buys – I know I stocked up with some self-care goodies from Scratch Goods and some new work clothes from LOFT and I am so excited to get both packages in the mail.
In the wake of an entire weekend centered around treating yo’ self, today is a day truly dedicated to helping others. Happy Giving Tuesday.
I don’t know about you, but sometime I have the most trouble finding the perfect gift for my best friends. I mean, I want to get them something they’ll love, something they’ll use, and something unique. It takes me so long to pick out the perfect gift for each one that I’ve become the queen of gifting a month late. But with these picks below I no longer have to worry about not having a gift in time. Below are my top picks for your bestie this holiday season: