Friday Favorites #17

Happy Friday! It’s December, everyone. We made it. What are you doing to take care of yourself this month? I’m focusing on everything comfy and cozy and peaceful. My list of favorite things this week will really reflect that! November turned out to be a pretty crazy month trying to prep for Black Friday sales and keeping my customers happy, but now that the calendar has changed I find myself really wanting to just hunker down and snuggle up. I also want to embrace every little joy that is attached to this season, using as many of my senses as possible. Celebrating the season – like by making a full Christmas mug and holiday tea station – has really become one of my greatest joys these days. It’s the little things, right? They add up.

Harney and Sons Gingerbread Festival Tea
I’m not sure if this is a new tea blend for them, but I don’t remember seeing it until a few weeks ago. I immediately ordered it because it was something different from my current winter teas which are almost all varieties of peppermint. Plus the white and gold tin looks so pretty and festive! I’m not actually a huge fan of gingerbread, I really don’t like ginger, but it’s a flavor the guys all love so I figured they’d like it even if I didn’t. Anyway, I brewed my first cup of it last week and I LOVE it. It seriously tastes like drinking a gingerbread cookie. I’ve never had a tea that tasted so absolutely spot on. It continues to amaze me! So if you like gingerbread at all – this is a great one to try! I like ordering directly from Harney because they almost always have deals, shipping is free, and it arrives pretty quickly. Plus – supporting small businesses is very important to me and even when something can be found on amazon these days, I’m trying to move past that middleman and order directly from the company.

Bixby Vanilla Creme Brulee Coffee
As I’ve gotten deeper into my coffee journey, I stopped buying cheap pre-ground and especially artificially flavored coffee. I really buy almost exclusively from Brandywine Coffee Roasters because their beans taste worlds above everything else I’ve tried. But I do LOVE variety (it’s a bit of a problem), so I get lots of emails from other small roasters. Anyway, when I saw this Vanilla Creme Brulee coffee – that are actual beans with actual vanilla mixed in – I just had to try it. Actually, to be honest, I ordered it for my mom for Thanksgiving, but it didn’t arrive on time. And when it did come it smelled so incredibly delicious that I kept it for myself. (Sorry, Mom.) And it IS delicious. True coffee beans that taste so intensely of vanilla. It’s really good. Try it. And if you want it to taste even better? Use it to make Half Baked Harvest’s Salted Caramel Brulee Latte. I did that for the boys and I the other day – incredible!

Oatly! Barista Edition Oatmilk
I continue to search for the perfect creamer alternatives now that I’m drinking coffee every day. I don’t drink cow’s milk on its own – I never have – so I always feel weird about putting a lot of it in a latte. I was trying a few different almond milk creamers, but a lot of times you could see them split in the coffee and that seriously grossed me out. I finally did some research on the best milk alternatives specifically for coffee and oatmilk came up again and again. And multiple articles listed Oatly! as the brand to get. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find Oatly! in the stores I checked around here. But I finally gave in and ordered a six pack online and it came really quickly. And I love it! It honestly don’t have any kind of weird off tastes, the barista edition foams up beautifully, and it won’t split in your coffee. I usually froth mine with a bit of a flavored syrup (from J.T. Cooper) to get some sweetness. Clearly it’s not stopping me from getting more sugar into my body, but at least I’m not putting the fake junk of marketed coffee creamers anymore. I’ve also found that I really like Chobani creamers. I’ve had all flavors except the Cookies and Cream and loved them all. Anyway, it’s just something different to try if you’re looking for a milk alternative!

Dreamothis 10 lb Sherpa Weighted Blanket
Okay, I hesitate to recommend this blanket to you just because it seems to be sold out everywhere right now. But…I’m OBSESSED with it. When weighted blankets became a big thing a few years ago I bought one for both myself and Caden. And we both hated them. They were too heavy, too slippery, and mine came in two separate parts that had to be snapped together so you could wash the outside and it was just way too much of a hassle. But last month I had some Kohl’s cash and I’m always checking for new cozy blankets to help beat the winter chills. I saw this weighted SHERPA blanket and I just had to give it a shot. My expectations were low, but…I’m completely in love with it. The 10 pound weight does not feel overly heavy and the sherpa on both sides make it oh so comfortable. It really traps in the heat too. I can literally feel my blood pressure going down when I put it on top of me. I keep it on my big reading chair for relaxing, but I’ve also used it for a few naps and feel like I’ve slept better than ever. I was able to order another one from Target a few days ago that I’m going to keep on my bed specially for my nap time! Though the boys have discovered the blanket too and now they both want one, but they seem to be sold out. Target does restock things like blankets fairly regularly, so hopefully they’ll come back. I did see it on the QVC website as well, just for more money. Dreamothis does have a few other weighted blankets on the Target website, they just don’t look quite as plush and cozy. I love this one, though. Jack does too! Yesterday he laid down around 8am and didn’t get up for eight hours!

Lauren Conrad Extra Soft Pajama Sets
Looking for some really soft and warm pajamas for winter? These are IT. I love them. I’ve slowly been replacing all my pajamas that aren’t as warm or comfortable. These are cute too!

Fabletics Leggings
Now that I’m into “working out” (okay, really just biking), I’m realizing how much more confident you feel when you’re actually wearing workout clothes. A few months ago a friend of mine was having a Zyia party, so I ordered a few pairs and I absolutely hated them. Mostly because they were so tiny – meant to be stretched very tightly – and I was at the biggest size which was probably a little bit too small. Anyway, I’m happy to have tried them out, though, because it led me to look for alternatives. And Fabletics are the winners! I never considered them before because I don’t like companies that make you have a recurring credit every month – even when you always have the option and ample opportunity to cancel that month’s charge. But when I realized they had SO many plus size options, I really needed to give them a go. And I’ve been so, so happy with the pairs I’ve gotten so far. They seem to be really high quality, they fit me really well, I love all the color and style options, and they seem to have a lot of good sales for VIPS (especially around Black Friday!). This morning I wore HOT PINK leggings on my bike ride. And I felt pretty cool lol.

Crocs Fuzz Lined Shoes
So you’re probably well aware by now that I seem to have neverending foot problems. And I think they’re not getting any better because I’m barefoot walking on hard floors about 98% of my life right now. I went on a big internet hunt a few weeks ago for slippers that would be supportive and warm and not feel like wearing anything too restrictive. I did actually order some, but they haven’t arrived yet. I also decided to get these Crocs – mostly because even though they’re not that stylish, I know that they fit me. And finding ANYTHING that fits my feet properly is basically an impossible feat. So this felt like a sure bet and I’m very, very happy with them. I’ve been wearing them most of the day every day this week and my feet don’t hurt at all! I love the fuzzy lining and strap because they feel warm and cozy, but they also don’t have those weird bumps that are on regular Crocs and can sometimes get irritating. I’m really glad I got them.

Soap & Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream
Here’s another thing I started using to try and help some of my other foot problems! For awhile there the bottoms of my feet were so callused, but also cracking and peeling and there were days I could barely even stand up, let alone walk around. So I FINALLY grabbed one of the many products I’ve purchased over the years, but never consistently used, and decided this would be the time I finally stick it out. And it actually only took a couple of days to significantly soften my feet. I also dug out a foot grater thing I purchased a long time ago and that really helped as well. But the foot cream is great! I also got a Soap & Glory body butter that feels and smells amazing. And then since I like those things so much I also just started using a Soap & Glory face wash that smells heavenly too!

Native Limited Edition Holiday Body Wash
Speaking of things that smell great – and going back to my idea of FULLY embracing the season through all of your senses – I discovered that Native makes some really delightful holiday scented body washes (and other products). For Christmas they have a Candy Cane scent and a Sugar Cookie scent. I have both of them in the shower right now. I also have a sugar cookie deodorant! I’m all in, guys.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
This is something that I’ve been using for a really long time and never thought to share it with you! Now that we’re back into cold weather I’m really trying to make sure my lips never reach the point of being chapped and peeling. I’ve always been a lip balm addict, but I like putting something heavier on at night meant to truly hydrate your lips. These balms from Laneige are certainly more pricey than something you would find at Target, but I think they work really well. And they come in a lot of fun flavors! I’m currently using the Mint Choco one every night. I have a little pot of that and my heel cream sitting prominently on my nightstand so I’ll never forget to use them!

Calm Christmas
Okay, I’ve got one more recommendation for you that I think would be a great way to really get your MIND focused on Christmas. This book is meant to be started in late November, but you could still start now and be fine. It’s a really great book about getting the right attitude around the holidays and finding quiet and calming ways to truly enjoy the season, rather than get caught up in the busyness and commercialism of it all. It feels especially poignant for this year when most of us will not be celebrating in the ways that we usually do. I’m not done with the book yet, but I’ve loved reading bits of it here and there over the last few weeks. It’s available on amazon as well, but I really prefer the cover version that Target sells. It’s beautiful!

Friday Favorites #1

I’ve been learning a lot about the importance of an email list. I’ve started paying attention to the weekly and monthly newsletters that I most enjoy reading and they all have one thing in common – they’re lists of recommendations and favorite things. So with no real originality, I’ve decided to do my own version of the same thing because it makes me so happy to share the things I’m most excited about, especially when they’re new and unique. The exception – for now – is that this will appear as a new weekly blog post installment that’ll pop up on Fridays. I don’t have an email list yet, and quite honestly I don’t have the time at the moment to figure out how to make one. So in the meantime, I can’t let all these awesome favorite things be wasted, so I’m starting today with where I’m at! These might be short, they might be long, but I’ll try to stick to things that have really brought me a lot of joy in just the past seven days.


  • I am obsessed with THIS GRANOLA RECIPE. I’ve tried many granola recipes in the past few years, most of which had a peanut butter base and some chocolate thrown in to make it all a lot more dessert-like. But I needed something simpler for Caden’s birthday party a few months ago to top granola and fruit and gave this a shot. I LOVE it. Brown butter maple granola by Two Peas & Their Pod. It’s delish.
  • Trader Joe’s Uncured Black Forest Bacon. About six months ago Costco sold a three pack of thick sliced brown sugar bacon that was AMAZING. And like basically everything I fall in love with at Costco, I never found it there again. I’ve been on the hunt for something of similar taste and I finally found it at Trader Joe’s this week. I picked it up because the coloring was unique – it’s very brown. It must have some sort of sugar rubbed into it or something. But seriously, it is legit good. The only downside is that I believe it was around $6 and there are only 7 slices in the package. I’m not sharing it.
  • This week at Costco I picked up a giant wedge of Beemster Classic Aged Gouda. Gouda is one of my favorite types of cheese and I love nutty aged ones the most. My previous favorite has been Trader Joe’s 1000 Day Gouda, but this one is also REALLY tasty. The cashier confirmed it was a new item she’d never seen before, so chances are it won’t be around for long.


  • If you need any kind of encouragement that you are OKAY and you are ON THE RIGHT PATH, listen to this incredible spoken word album by Arielle Estoria. She was at the Hope*Writers conference I attended and blew me away. I listened to Symphony of a Lioness while I was at my sewing machine and it was truly so powerful. I highly, highly recommend it.


  • Is anyone else watching Succession?! Greg and I ran out of things to watch together, so we started this up after I kept hearing Knox and Jamie rave about it on The PopcastAnd they were right – it is SO GOOD. I can’t believe how intense the show can be when barely anything is actually happening. It’s great acting.


  • TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods. I feel like I shouldn’t even let people in on this secret of mine because it’s where I find allll my greatest gift ideas and treasures. These stores are AMAZING if you’re willing to go to them often and visit different locations. I’ve always loved them, but my obsession has really gone up a level or two in the last few months. I finally had to make some gift sets for Heartstring Annie to justify buying some more great things. My absolute favorite thing to hunt around for is mugs. I’ve been finding so many great Christmas ones lately that I finally gave in and switched out my fall mugs this morning. They bring me so much joy!


  • Counter Culture Coffee. I recently spent DAYS going through Food and Wine’s extensively researched list of best coffee in every state. I created an amazon list of every single coffee I’d like to try from all of those roasters. (The LIST stops me from wanting to immediately buy them all for fear that I’ll forget and miss out on something amazing. Mind games, guys. Always.) Counter Culture Coffee was on the list and low and behold, they were the featured local coffee at all the grocery stores I stopped at on my trip to North Carolina. I purchased and brought back the Hologram and Big Trouble blends and have been drinking them this week. They’re creamy and delightful!
  • August Uncommon Tea’s Big Easy Blend – sweet green tea with lemongrass, pineapple, and barley. I’m trying to drink multiple mugs of green tea every day to help detoxify my liver. I NEED a big variety, though. I get bored so easily. I ordered a bunch of sample size packs from August Uncommon and so far this has been my favorite. Maybe my favorite of all the green teas I’ve tried so far. It honestly just tastes like pineapple, which is delicious in my book!
  • Speaking of green tea, I also just found out that Harney and Sons makes their famous hot cinnamon tea in a GREEN variety! Their black hot cinnamon tea used to be the only kind of tea I’d ever drink. And recently, Greg has become obsessed with it, drinking it all the time. The boys love it too. When he ran out a few weeks ago I was THRILLED to see that it also comes in a green variety for me! And honestly, I can’t even taste the difference between the two. It tastes just as good as the black – and it’s better for you. (It ALSO comes in herbal!)

I think that’s it for my first installment of Friday Favorites! See you back next Friday for more great finds!

A Guide to all the Gift Guides

Every year I look forward to all the unique gift guides that various websites and companies release. I’m a gift giver by nature and am ALWAYS looking out for the next greatest treasure. Both for others and myself! I decided it would be really fun this year to create a couple of guides composed of basically all my favorite things. What makes my guides unique is that almost every single item I recommend is something I own and love or something I’m hoping to get in the near future. This is the most tried and true groupings of gifts you will ever find!

Gift Guide for Those Who Love Rainbows

I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I am OBSESSED with rainbows of color. I think I could have added about a hundred different things to this guide, but made myself stop at sixteen.

Gift Guide for the Coffee Enthusiast

I only started drinking coffee two years ago, but it’s become quite a passion! In the last six months or so I’ve really been venturing out and making the most of my coffee drinking experience.

Gift Guide for the Bookworm

I love to read and I love bookish things. Grab a couple of things on this guide and you’ll have the perfect gift for the reader in your life!

Gift Guide for People Who Love Great Food

I picked out my favorite kitchen and food related gadgets, as well as my favorite sauces and treats. Everything on this guide is trued and true and high recommended.

Gift Guide for People Who Love Their Pets

I love my pets and I love to spoil them! This is a great collection of items I’ve purchased for my cats and dog, as well as a few fun things for myself.

Gift Guide for Women Who Deserve Fun and Unique Treats

I needed a catch all guide for all the fun things I needed to recommend that didn’t fit into the other categories. Most of these things I own or have used as well, with a few more things I’m coveting. All of these gifts would be perfect for the woman in your life that deserves something special.

Gift Guide for Those Who Love Rainbows

1//Evereve Harriet Isles Melly Plaid Scarf $20
Always hunting for a fresh and fun new scarf to get through the dreary winter months? This rainbow option is gorgeous!

2//Evelyn Henson Confetti Hearts Mug $20
I bought myself this mug at a gift shop in Charlotte and am IN LOVE with it because I am obsessed with rainbows and hearts and mugs. It’s delightful!

3//Craft a Life You Love by Amy Tan $12
A rainbow of creative inspiration for the artist/maker/dreamer in your life. 

4//MOMA Color Wheel Umbrella $50
I stumbled across this the other day and thought it was gorgeous! If I had a more regular need for an umbrella I’d definitely buy it for myself.

5//Kendra Scott Adjustable Bright Mix Gold Bracelet $78
This is on my own wish list this Christmas! I adore rainbows, but don’t yet have any rainbow jewelry. I came across it randomly and instantly fell in love. I own many other Kendra Scott bracelets and they are of excellent quality.

6//Rainbows Happen Coloring Book $12
I’m pretty sure I need this in my own life. Coloring books are great for kids and adults alike, but coloring rainbows might just be the best for everyone. 

7//Pipsticks Rainbow Sticker Set $21
Pipsticks is an amazing resource for incredibly unique and fun stickers. I’ve purchased many in the last few years and use them in my planners and journals. The rainbows are of course my favorites, but there is such an eclectic range of stickers you’re bound to find something for everyone on your list.

8//Eyes Forward Heart Open Journal $15
A Lisa Congdon creation that would make any rainbow lover swoon.

9//Library Card Pin $10
Anyone a collector of unique enamel pins? This rainbow library card is so sweet!

10//Modcloth Chasing Rainbows Glitter Socks $10
Modcloth is one of my favorite places to shop for cute and unique clothing. They also have a lot of great accessories like these fun rainbow socks! Be sure to search for rainbows on the site to find a plethora of matching rainbow tops, pajamas, rompers, and more! 

11//Rainbow Unicorn Stamp Set $24
Unity Stamp Co. is where I buy almost all the stamps I use for the tags I put with my dolls over at Heartstring Annie. They have a great selection of rainbow stamps, but also any other stamps you could possibly want! They release new stamps all the time, the sales are great, and the selection is amazing.

12//Diamond Cosmetics Rainbow Nail File $1
A super cheap and fun little stocking stuffer for the rainbow lover!

13//Petite Checklist Journal $9
This little beauty keeps showing up in my facebook ads and I need to have it. So pretty! So inspirational! So full of rainbow delight!

14//The Honaker Homemaker’s String Art Prices Vary
I found this amazing string art maker at a craft fair last year. I’ve purchased two of her signs (a rainbow and a “CREATE”) and they’re both the perfect additions to my sewing room. I love how many signs creates in rainbow colors, but the rest of the signs are wonderful as well. 

15//Love Big Magnet $5
I recently discovered Lisa Congdon and fell in love with all of her rainbow art creations. This cute little magnet would be a really sweet stocking stuffer or addition to another gift.

16//Heartstring Annie Rainbow Haired Dolls Prices Vary
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least include a link to my own colorful creations! I’m (clearly) obsessed with rainbows and have found a lot of fun ways to incorporate that colorful flair into most of the dolls I’ve made in the last few months.

Gift Guide for the Coffee Enthusiast

1//Cosori Electric Kettle $70
My mom gave me this for my birthday and it just might be the best kitchen gadget ever. It is WELL worth the splurge pricing. I specifically wanted it for quickly heating the perfect temperature of water for my pour over coffee, but the entire family now uses it daily for tea as well. 

2//Pour Over Coffee Dripper $20
While I only started drinking coffee two years ago, I’ve become quite a connoisseur! Of every coffee making method I’ve tried, this is by and large my favorite. It’s the perfect size for a single mug of coffee and cleanup is an absolute breeze. It’s cute too!

3//Brandywine Coffee Roasters Coffee – Any Flavor! Prices Vary
I am obsessed with Brandywine Coffee Roasters. I’m a sucker for unique packaging and I’m a recent convert (because of them!) to properly harvested and roasted small batch fresh coffee beans. I’ve enjoyed every bag of coffee I’ve purchased from them.

4//Smart Coffee Warmer $25
Do you like having a mug of coffee next to you, but need to actually set it aside while you work on things and always wish it wouldn’t get cold so quickly? This seems like the perfect solution. I’ve added one to my own Christmas wish list. 

5//Onyx Coffee Advent Calendar $120
I have a small obsession with advent calendars and am always really excited to see unique ones pop up each year. While I wasn’t ready to splurge on it this year, I am greatly coveting this holiday selection from Onyx.

6//Handheld Milk Frother $15
I love this thing! My favorite way to use it is to whisk up the creamer in my mug while I’m waiting for my pour over coffee to finish dripping through the grounds. It’s just this tiny extra step that really brings your everyday coffee to the next level. Cleanup is really quick too, with just a quick spin under the faucet. I love that this particular one comes in different colors. (I really love color – can you tell?!)

7//Peppermint Bark K-Cups $12
I don’t use my Keurig as much these days, but I always come back to it for these peppermint bark k-cups every holiday season. They’re my favorite of all k-cup options!

8//Salted Caramel Sugar $5
Do you love adding that tiny bit of extra joy to your daily cup of coffee? This is the perfect sprinkle of sweet and salty to elevate all the flavors in your mug. 

9//Mint Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans $11
I was very recently introduced to the awesome taste and quick pick me up a chocolate covered espresso bean could deliver. I of course immediately went out searching for a better variety and came across these. They are AMAZING. If mint isn’t your thing, has a wide selection of other flavors to try as well.

10//Olympia Coffee Holiday Blend $20
I’ve heard rave reviews about how sweet and creamy this limited release holiday coffee is. I hope to try it myself!

11//Christmas Morning Candle $12
I find this candle every year at my local TJMaxx and Marshall’s stores. It has the most scrumptious coffee scent – and it’s the perfect non-offensive scent to keep lite around the house at Christmastime. 

Gift Guide for the Bookworm

1//Frostbeard Studio Bookstore Candle $18
I have an unhealthy obsession with bookish themed candles. I’ve purchased from many companies and this has been my all time favorite scent – by a mile! I buy it again and again and light it up anytime I’m going to be at my desk for a long period of time. It makes me so happy!

2//I Saw Her At the Library Art Print $26
I have a large framed print of this next to my favorite reading chair and it makes me so happy. It encompasses all my book love in such a sweet picture. Society6 has many great bookish art prints if you search around. This is another of my favorites, also on my wall.

3//The Hating Game by Sally Thorne $10
This book did come out a few years ago, but it’s buzz just keeps on growing and is in the process of being turned into a movie. If you have anyone on your list who loves a great rom com, this book is for them. I ADORE it. One of the sweetest and most swoon-worthy books I’ve read.

4//Novelly Yours Joshua Templeman Candle $15
I haven’t yet smelled this candle (it’s on my list!), but it would be the perfect accompaniment to a copy of The Hating Game, my favorite books of all time!

5//Read Like a Girl Tote Bag $20
Out of Print has a fabulous array of bookish totes and they often have great deals and sales around the holidays. My favorite tote bag is of a library card (in multiple colors!), but I’m really digging this Read Like a Girl print as well.

6//Quills Coffee Inkwell Blend $15
A fun little play on words in a themed bag of coffee would surely be appreciated by any reader. I haven’t tried this yet myself, but it sounds delicious!

7//Literary Bookmark Set $14
These bookmarks are so cute! They’d be a lovely gift for anyone who had a strong appreciation for the classics. 

8//Atomic Habits $16
Who couldn’t use an approachable guide to building better habits? This all encompassing book would be perfect for anyone who has even the tiniest desire to better their lives.

9//Book of the Month Subscription $15/month
I’ve tried out a bunch of book subscriptions in the last few years and this is the only one I stick with. As much as I love the surprise aspect of other services, my chances of loving the book were pretty slim. I like that you can choose your own BOTM book each month, or skip a month if nothing appeals to you. Well Met and Bringing Down the Duke were two of my favorites from this year. (Affiliate link above.)

10//Out of Print Bookworm Socks $12
I love these socks that celebrate a love of reading AND rainbows. I’ve purchased them from Modcloth, but they are also available at the Out of Print website (along with a ton of other great bookish items).

11//Bibliophile $17
This is a gorgeous book for any book lover on your list. Great topics, book lists, and beautiful illustrations. It’s one of my favorites!

12//Read Harder Book Journal $12
This would be a great book tracking journal for anyone who wants to be more challenged in their reading life. Pair it with a good book and you have a fantastic gift!

13//Pride and Peppermint Tea $15
Prefer tea? Novel Teas has a great assortment of bookish themed teas in unique book shaped containers. If your gift recipient happens to have a favorite book with an accompanying tea in its name, that would be the perfect gift.

Gift Guide for People Who Love Great Food

1//Tex Mex Cookbook $20
I can’t say enough great things about this cookbook. If you like Mexican and Tex Mex food, just buy it. Everything in it is so delicious. 

2//Half Baked Harvest Super Simple Cookbook $18
This is the second cookbook recently released by my favorite food blogger. I’ve marked almost every single recipe in this book as something I want to try. The few I’ve made already were winners with every member of the family. It’s a great cookbook.

3//Presto Salad Shooter $40
This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! It’s called a salad shooter, but I actually use it for cheese. Freshly shredded or grated cheese is going to taste ten times better than the bagged variety with added chemicals. You can shred an entire block of cheese in just seconds. I love it!

4//Mezzetta Habanero Hot Sauce $15 for 3
I’ve probably tried hundreds of hot sauces in my adult life and over and over again I come back to this one. If you love spicy food, this hot sauce is THE BEST. 

5//Dirty Dick’s Hot Sauce $7
It took me awhile to come around to liking the sweet and spicy combination on a taco and now I can’t have enough of it! I especially love this sauce on regular beef tacos.

6//Maldon Sea Salt Flakes $6
If you don’t have a bowl of Maldon sea salt flakes permanently out on your counter, you are not truly living. I’m serious, these incredible salty flakes enrich literally everything you eat. My favorite way to use them is sprinkled on desserts, but they’re also perfect for finishing off meat, french fries, and more. 

7//Salt Cellar $14
You obviously also need a salt cellar to store your sea salt flakes. I prefer these wood ones with a swivel top, guaranteeing they can always easily be covered, but they’re also very easy to open. 

8//Victorinox 6 Inch Chef Knife $39
This is my tried and true knife that I use every single day for cutting meat. I do sharpen it with a cheap hand sharpener every once in awhile just to make the chore go more smoothly, but it’s the perfect size for my hands and always works so well.

9//Victorinox Paring Knife $17
Of all the knives I’ve ever bought, this has been my favorite and stood the test of time. It’s the absolute perfect size for basically all your non-meat cutting needs. It’s perfect.

10//Reusable Grocery Bags $15 for 5
Buying a couple sets of these particular reusable grocery bags has been life saving for me this year when I go on bigger grocery runs. I always use them in stores that require you to bag your own items – it saves so much time when you don’t need to fight with those ridiculous plastic bags. They’re also incredibly strong and can hold a massive amount of food. 

11//Better Than Everything Bagel Spice $9
Not all spice companies are created equally. I love experimenting with blends from various companies and can very quickly tell the difference from something cheap and something of quality. This is a fabulous blend of everything bagel seasoning (with a few surprise ingredients!), but be sure to check out all the rest of their spices too. 

12//Mini Whisk $8
Other than my tongs and my garlic press, this is probably the most used – yet totally random – kitchen gadget I own. My favorite thing to use it for is mixing up lumpless glazes and sauces, but it’s also perfect for eggs or anything else that needs a quick stir. 

13//Zyliss Tongs $15
Not all tongs are created equal! I’ve had two sets of these tongs and they’ve lasted at least ten years! I use them almost every day.

14//Dulcey Blonde Chocolate Baking Feves and Crunch Pearls $32
This is quite possibly the best chocolate treat I’ve ever eaten in my life. If you can get your hands on it – DO IT. The downside is that buying directly from their website comes with an enormous shipping fee (because it’s the most reliable, they say), but I love them so much I needed to share.

15//Smokin T’s Smoked Tomato Sauce $8
I first tried this at the State Fair and loved its unique smoky richness. You can use it as a sauce, marinade, or dressing, but my favorite way is to simply eat it with tortilla chips. I love the “With a Kick” version, but there’s a non spicy variety as well. 

16//Glitterati Eleganza $18
For the person who loves having just a tiny sweet treat here and there, this is the perfect solution. I purchase these to add as little thank you gifts to all my Heartstring Annie orders. The Eleganza mix is my favorite, particularly the amaretti flavor (you can also buy just a bag of those!).

17//Instant Read Meat Thermometer $22
Everyone needs a good instant read thermometer. I love mine for quickly checking the temp on meat. This particular one comes in many different colors!

Gift Guide for People Who Love Their Pets

1//Made by Cleo Cat Collars $16
This is the only place I buy collars for my cats and has been for years and years. So many great styles, always fresh inventory, and a lot of personality for your little kitty. 

2//Blueberry Dog Collars $14
This is the brand of collars I always buy for Annie. With her size and long dark hair, I never want her to be mistaken for an aggressive boy, so I pick out the girliest of collars for her. I love all the floral ones, but she switches to holiday styles in fall and winter. 

3//Grounds and Hounds Sunny Spot Coffee $15
This coffee company gives 20% of all their provides to help save dogs in need. AND they make incredible coffee! I drank Sunny Spot all summer long as the best cold brew I’ve ever tasted. I also really love the Good Boy dark roast.

4//Silver Paw Pet Tags $33
Have you noticed that your pets’ cheap dog tags need to be replaced again and again? While I had a rough time shelling out $33 when I bought this tag for Annie, it has proven to be of incredible quality. Two years after I purchased it, it still looks brand new. 

5//Ireland Dog Necklace $54
How cute is this gold dog necklace?! It would be such a sweet gift for the dog lover in your life, especially if their dog looks similar to this little pup! Local Eclectic is an awesome site for unique jewelry of all kinds.

6//Mudpuppy Dog and Cat Puzzles $17
I think these puzzles are just the cutest thing! If I’m going to take the time to sit down and work on a puzzle, I’d want it to be filled with cute little animals.

7//Just My Catitude Mug $12
I love this sweet little cat mug! Modcloth is such a great website for so many cool finds.

8//Best Friend Stamped Tag Necklace $113
I have always really loved wax seals and was so excited the first time I realized people made them into necklaces. I have a small collection now and this is one of my favorites. It’s the perfect representation of how I feel about the bond I have with my Annie. 

9//Corgi Mug $14
Anthropologie always has the cutest mugs! Oftentimes you can find great styles with dogs or cats on them as well. 

10//BarkBox Subscription Prices Vary
I did a trial run of this over a year ago and was amazed to see they were the first toys Annie has ever played with that she didn’t completely destroy within a day or two. In fact – I’m not sure she’s ever destroyed a single Bark Box toy she’s received – and she plays with them all the time. We have one of the biggest subscription sizes with an extra toy and a couple of different bags of treats each month. I’d be buying these things in the store anyway, for a much lower quality, so I really think the subscription box is worth it – especially if you have a dog who loves to play! (Affiliate link above.)

11//KitNip Box Subscription $20/month
So I picked this up as a lightning deal a couple of months ago just to see if my cats would enjoy it. Keep in mind, my cats are 14 years old and haven’t been super interested in toys in years. But these toys? They LOVE them. It’s fun to get them a little treat each month – I think it keeps them young!

Gift Guide for Women Who Deserve Fun and Unique Treats

1//Mantraband She Believed She Could Bold Bracelet $35
I LOVE Mantraband bracelets. I’m a huge believer in the power of words and the more you see them and say them to yourself the more you will internalize and live them in your daily life. Having a mantra right on your wrist is the perfect way to carry a special message with you. I own several, but my latest favorite is this bold variety. I have this exact mantra in silver and gold and wear one of them almost every single day. Mantraband bracelets are very high quality while also being meaningful and relatively inexpensive.

2//Baked Bread Candle $16
I am always researching new candle companies, looking for unique and delightful scents. I picked a Baked Bread candle because it sounded so different and tasty. I admit the initial yeasty smell was pretty weird, but once it’s lit up it smells divine! It’s one of my most treasured candles that I only light when I know I can sit right next to it and savor the scent.

3//In THEBALM of Your Hand Greatest Hits 2 Palette $32
The packaging for this company never ceases to awe me. I love a good packaging and these vintage-esque drawings with funny names bring me so much joy. This particular palette looked most appealing to me with colors I tend to wear most often in blushes and eye shadows.

4//Cricut Maker $349
I got one of these for my birthday and it is AMAZING. I haven’t had a ton of time to explore all that it can do quite yet, but I love having exactly what I need for awesome crafty projects right in front of me.

5//Lug Double Dutch 3 Bag $85
This is THE perfect travel bag. It’s a little big for MY everyday needs, but I find it to be fantastic every time I head out on a vacation. There are so many compartments, it’s lightweight, it’s high quality, and it can hold and shocking amount of things. I love it.

6//Minted Notebook $16
I love a great notebook and can always use more. Minted has a huge selection with so many different color options in almost every style. They can also be customized to be a planner, address book, or regular journal. I want them all.

7//Floral Monogram Ornament $10
For a bit of whimsy, I love these floral monogram ornaments. They’d be perfect for a tree, but also completely appropriate to hang on a wall. 

8//The Bouqs Co. Flowers Prices Vary
Bouqs has all the flowers I never knew I wanted. So many gorgeous bouquets that you’ll never find in the grocery store!

9//Too Faced Christmas Star Face and Eye Palette $44
This looks like so much fun! Adorable Christmas packaging from a great makeup company in a huge variety of colors. Great value too.

10//Thai Lemongrass Spray $13
As far as universally liked scents go, I think fresh lemongrass is hard to beat! I love spraying this relaxing scent in my reading areas.

11//Woolrich Blanket Prices Vary
It is COLD where I live. Every year we’re piling on more and more blankets, fighting over the ones that are the coziest. I picked up two of these this year and they’re just like snuggling in a fluffy marshmallow. My cats are obsessed with the one on my bed and fight for prime seating on it every single day.

12//Lisa Leonard Stacking Rings $60
I’ve been a fan of Lisa Leonard jewelry for many, many years. My current pieces that I wear most often are a set of stacking rings with Caden and Shepard’s names on them. They’re unique and bold and a perfect fit. I’m especially happy with Lisa Leonard for rings because she has such a huge variety of sizes. My fingers are very (ahem) large and I have a pretty difficult time finding rings that fit at any other jewelry stores.

13//Charmed Candy Studs in Mint $45
Local Eclectic is a fantastic source for really special jewelry. I love looking through their newest designs. Their rings are actually my favorite, but don’t typically come in my size. I keep getting caught on these cute little studs too.

14//Stitch Fix Prices Vary
I get about 75% of my wardrobe from Stitch Fix. I have a hard time finding clothes that fit in stores – plus who has time for that nonsense?! Stitch Fix has become an essential way to add great items to my closet. (Contains an affiliate link.)