Christmas Gift Guide: Kind-Hearted Picks

22 November 2017

Something different for you today!

This year I have been intrigued and inspired by my friend Nicole’s commitment to buying new clothes only from ethical sources. Admittedly, it’s not something that has been a huge priority in my life thus far, and it’s not an area I know much about — BUT, what better time to dip in a toe than the gifting season? With all the gift guide hoopla happening right now, I think companies that do good deserve a spotlight just as much as any.

Whether you’re splurging on a friend, adding a pricier item to your personal wish list, or taking advantage of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, there’s never a better time to pick up one of these items than this week! I hope you find something to love here!

P.S. A note from Nicole, who helped me find most of these picks: “I think ‘ethical’ is open to interpretation. It could mean produced ethically, with the community and the environment in mind, or created under a business model that benefits society in some way. It’s also worth noting, for background, that while some companies are scrutinized and criticized for the way they contribute to their causes, I think any company that has a net positive impact on the world could fall into this category. (I’m thinking of TOMs as an example — criticized for not using their money and influence to actually improve the infrastructure that causes the ground to be unsafe to walk on, and instead just handing out shoes.)

ethical gift guide

I’ve marked with an asterisk those companies that have current or upcoming Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales!

*A gorgeous maxi skirt from Francis + Benedict, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that employs Togolese seamstresses and invests their profits in the same communities to benefit orphans, widows, and those in poverty.

A striped ceramic tray from The Little Market, Lauren Conrad’s online market supporting artisans around the world. (Go, LC!)

*A dainty wire cuff bracelet from Nisolo, who provides fair wages, community support, and support of independent artisans.

A Kitchen Traditions recipe box from Belle & Union, made from trees killed by a fungus. Infected/dead trees are often burned when the more eco-friendly option is to recycle them into usable goods!

Punjammies lounge pants from Sudara, who empowers women in India to live in freedom from human trafficking through living-wage employment and skills training.

*A pair of cozy socks from Bombas, who gives a pair to a homeless shelter for each one purchased.

*A sleek backpack from Everlane, who is devoted to radical transparency and the best and most ethical factories around the world.

A beautiful leather clutch from Fashionable, who manufactures directly in the communities they wish to impact, creating jobs and ending the cycle of charity dependency.

*The coziest flannel pajama pants from Boll & Branch, who uses fair trade cotton and donates with each purchase to help end human trafficking.

A pair of swingy earrings from Sseko Designs, who hires high-potential women in Uganda to support their college educations.

A stylish pair of shoes from Rothy’s, made from recycled and recyclable materials (water bottles!) with low-impact production.

A colorful throw from The Little Market.

*A pair of floral yoga pants from Naja, who employs single women and prints their materials digitally for less chemical runoff and water waste.

A beautiful vase from The Commons, who’s reviving a community in NC and uses recyclable/earth-based materials.

A slouchy tee from Sevenly, who originated the 7-day “cause campaigns.”

Finally, a sheet mask from Yes to, who is cruelty-free. Do it with a friend :)

Friends, I would LOVE to hear: What other companies do you love who are doing good? This list only scratches the surface, especially since that can be defined in so many ways! Please chime in!!

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Christmas Gift Guide: Sisters, Moms, and Best Friends

20 November 2017

Happy Monday, friends! With Black Friday/Cyber Monday fast approaching, I’m making my list and checking it twice for all of the loved ones in my life. I’ll be sharing gift ideas in a few different categories this week and next in case you’re stuck on a certain someone! Up first: your best girls.

P.S. A note on prices: though everything here is under $100 (and a few are just $10!), I did include a range. In both sides of my family we’ve gone to a gift pick system, where the siblings draw names and there’s a $75 cap per person, and I figured some of you may have done the same! Or maybe you’re looking for something to add to your personal wish list for a generous parent to gift you :) I hope you find these ideas helpful!

gift guide for gals

Blue swirl planter | This beauty would look perfect in almost any home decor scheme.

Flannel blanket scarf | Just one of many gorgeous patterns – only $11 right now!

A copy of your favorite book | A fool-proof gift idea for almost anyone: buy her a copy of your favorite book and inscribe it with a note about why you think she’ll love it. This is one of mine.

Gingham platter | With four different color options, you’ll find one to suit her style.

Thistle Farms hand soap | Thistle Farms is a Nashville business with the mission to heal, empower, and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. Their soaps or lotion would make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer.

Silver picture frames | These frames are on everyone’s wish list this year, and for good reason! A group of them looks so classic and pretty.

Floral melamine plate set | After being sold out for MONTHS, these appear to be back in stock!! I am a little bit obsessed with them and they are at the top of my wish list!

A subscription to Bon Appetit | Or the magazine of your choice — but I have to say, BA is bringing their A game. The writing is witty and fun, the style is so distinct, I love their culture features, and — oh yes — the recipes are good, too :)

Packable cream bow hat | The only word for this hat is darling. Even if someone says they don’t look good in hats, they’ll look good in this one. (Raising my hand here!)

A volume of Write the Word | I’ll be gifting these to a few loved ones this Christmas. No matter where your friend is in her faith journey, these journals will meet her there!

Delicate monogram necklace | Choose her own initial, her significant other’s, or her baby’s – it will be a treasure any way. I also like this bolder option.

Gingham pouch | These sweet little pouches (also in navy, gray stripes, and blue stripes) are just $10! At that price, you can buy them for all your friends and tuck something sweet inside.

Bow gloves | She may have everything, but does she have bow gloves? :)

Blue tansy mask | I have been using this for months and LOVE it! The nice thing about gifting a mask is that it can be incorporated as an “extra” into whatever skin care routine she already has. Pro tip: I often buy my Herbivore products here, where this mask is 25% off right now!

Watermelon baggu | This would just make her smile anytime she pulled it out :) At this price point, it’s also a great candidate for filling with an extra treat! (And if watermelons aren’t your thing, there are a million more patterns!)

Any other great gift ideas to share? Please do — I know readers would love to hear!! I’m also a BIG fan of experiential gifts, especially if you live in the same place — a gift certificate for a manicure or coffee shop and a date to go together, a coupon for a free night of babysitting, etc. (Side note: I think we should all trade babysitting nights with other couples more often, yes?! I wish this was more of a thing…)

P.S. Last year’s gift guide for gals – lots of great ideas I still stand by in this one! :)

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Toddler favorites at twenty one months

16 November 2017

Many of you requested June’s wish list or a June gift guide when I asked for your input, so before we get into gift guides proper for 2017, I thought I’d offer up another installment in my Baby Favorites series! Except now it’s a Toddler Favorites series!! (Sniff, sniff!)

Here are a few things June, John, and I have been loving lately, many of which would make great gifts for the toddlers in your life…

— So we don’t actually have a Cozy Coupe, but our neighbors do, and June makes a beeline for it whenever we go outside. Thankfully, they very graciously share!

— Once we outgrew the utensils featured here, we replaced them with this Ikea set. (I bought ours on Amazon since we don’t have an Ikea nearby!)

— June’s aunt and uncle gave her this stroller for Christmas last year, and it’s been a hit ever since! She likes to push stuffed animals around in it, and I like that the design is simple :)

— June wore these shoes pretty much every day this summer. The only downside is that they can kind of start to smell after awhile, but a quick spin in the washer takes care of that!

— June loves to flip through books in her very own chair, a birthday gift from my parents.

— Since switching schools we are now packing a lunch every day, and I couldn’t resist this unicorn thermos!! Too cute!

— We just flew for the first time with our car seat, and this travel bag kept it safe and sound (and clean!).

— We have one of these bento boxes for packing lunches, and I love it! Hoping to get a second one for Christmas so we’re not washing the one we have every single night.

— As June’s legs have gotten longer, car kick mats have become a necessity. These are basic and do the job.

— We haven’t started potty training yet but bought this simple potty to ease her into the idea. She is a big fan of sitting on it, often fully clothed :)

— Once she saw her cousins using water bottles this summer, it was all over for the sippy cups. (For a time — thankfully she’s back to tolerating them!) This colorful bottle satisfies all her big girl dreams.

— Three favorite books in the rotation right now: Peekaboo Wild, Good Night, Gorilla, and Sheep Go to Sleep.

P.S. I will be posting an additional gift guide for kids, including a few items on June’s wish list!

Past family favorites:
The first six weeks
Five months
Eight months
One year
Fifteen months

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Minted Christmas cards + a giveaway!

14 November 2017

Updated: Megan S. is our winner and has been emailed! Thank y’all so much for participating! :)

Having an almost-two-year-old this year is making me even MORE excited than usual for all things holiday! June is talking up a storm all of a sudden, and I just think she is going to be thrilled by a tree in our house (!), Thanksgiving dinner, matching jams with her cousins, decorating sugar cookies, and twinkly lights everywhere.

Of course, it will take her a few more years to appreciate some of the things I love most about the end of the year — sending and receiving Christmas cards being one! We’ll be mailing Minted cards again, and I’d love your help choosing a favorite!

Minted Christmas card options

1. Jingle | 2. Luke 2:14 | 3. Wonderful Love | 4. Berries of Fun | 5. Fun Botanical Frame

No fancy professional photo this year, but I have to say the iPhone portrait mode + the PicTapGo app does a pretty darn good job! Of course, everything looks good framed by a Minted design :)

This year I was drawn to some of the more lighthearted, colorful designs to match our bold outfit choices. And as always, I’m partial to the cards that include a nod to Christmas’s true meaning! (I love that you can easily filter by “religious Christmas” on their search page, if that’s your thing.) Since I knew which photo I was going to use from the get-go, their “show with my photo” tool helped me narrow down my favorites quickly.

No matter which design you choose, you can use their sophisticated design software to easily adjust your photo as well as the placement of text elements, fonts, colors, and sizing. Minted also offers the most darling envelopes, shiny foil designs, free addressing, and extra-thick stock, if you’d like.

Now for the extra-fun part: I have a $100 Minted gift certificate to give away!! To enter, just comment below with either your favorite option from our Christmas card finalists, or the Minted design you’d most like to order for your family! (Or both!) I’ll randomly choose a winner next Tuesday!

Now back to work on designing our accompanying newsletter! :)

Minted has graciously gifted us our Christmas cards, but I chose to write this post, and the opinions are my own! I have loved everything about Minted — especially their crowd-sourced designs — for many years, and it is my joy to share what they’re up to with y’all!