Gift giving guide for hard to buy for people



Not done shopping yet, either?

Those hard to shop for people stress me out and I buy their gifts last because it is so hard to buy for men…..I mean them.

So whilst I’m combing the web for last minute gift ideas for someone that remains unnamed, I’ll share some ideas for those hard to buy for, those who have everything, those that need nothing, you get the idea. And they are all under $100.

This body wash has to smell manly and delicious all at the same time. It says it is a “best sellers gift set”. This is nice for men that don’t wear cologne, it just gives a hint o scent after the shower.

Molton Brown gift set $45

Molton Brown
Molton Brown


The world’s best umbrella by Blunt.  { It’s a LIMITED edition, they may run out of umbrellas!???}  The recipient of this gift will be oh so chic and protected from the elements until he takes that $70 umbrella into the restaurant and leaves without it, on it’s first time out.

world's best umbrella
world’s best umbrella

This is totally cool! A wine, rocks, or beer glass with the city of your choice! Uncommon Green wine glass $15 each. Everyone is from somewhere or lives somewhere or wants to live somewhere, just make sure you pick the right city.



How could you go wrong giving a ice cream bowl  that keeps your ice cream cold {with a stainless steel insert}, while your are eating. This is sweet, unique and no one would return it!  Big Love ice cream bowl $63.




Yes, this is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a pair of socks, but, have you ever tried them? They really are different then cotton, so soft and so warm. I mean no one would ever go buy these themselves, so it is a great gift.

Cashmere socks @ J. Crew  $75 (but currently 30% off!)

cashmere socks
cashmere socks


These picture frames are beautiful and unique! They are not black! hah. They come in copper and brass and cement! Great addition to anyone’s gallery wall, {because everyone has one now}. I think the gallery wall will be one of those things that my kids will remember when they are adults and will have this conversation with a friend “did you have a gallery wall in your family room?”  “Oh yeah totally dude. Like why did everyone think it was such a great idea to hang all these pictures all over the place in no particular order?” “Yeah, so 2014.”

But anyway, since it is 2014, I think these are very cool. And yes, I have a gallery wall.

Anthropologie $38-$118

copper gallery frames
copper gallery frames


How about swim trunks? Get ready for that big winter vacay to the beach, right? Maybe you can’t gift the actual plane tickets so maybe the trunks will do….

Penguin stripe trunks $69

Penguin swim trunks
Penguin swim trunks


This is so fun for kids and adults! Use this mug with soup and oyster crackers, cheerios and milk, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Uncommon Goods $24

basketball mug
basketball mug


How about a sweatshirt that shows your love of another state, probably the one you were born in? Super cute if you are from somewhere cool like California and maybe not so cool if you are from a state that is unrecognizable or Arkansas.

The home T. $65

"home" T.
“home” T.


Okay, time is a wasting. Finish up that list and don’t forget anyone!



buffalo plaid obsessed




What is “buffalo check” exactly?

Oh sorry, it is actually buffalo plaid and this is what the dictionary says:

a plaid with large blocks formed by the intersection of two different-color yarns, typically red and black.

I know my kids {and probably my dad } may think of this as lumberjack plaid, but it is not, because I love it and I am NOT a lumberjack and most days I don’t have a beard.

It is a classic and traditional print that is also current and festive and winter ready. It is so popular it covers the board from clothes to accessories to home. I mean you just can’t go wrong by showing up in a red and black plaid something.

Piperlime jacket
Woolrich Boots
Woolrich Boots
Free People Mini
Free People Mini






plaid scarf
plaid scarf




Anthropologie Skirt
Anthropologie Skirt
Herschel Backpack
Herschel Backpack
J. Crew Phone Case
J. Crew Phone Case
Scotch plaid tape
Scotch plaid tape




Urban Outfitters Flannel
Urban Outfitters Flannel                                                                                                                    
ShopBop appetizer plates
ShopBop appetizer plates



And then there is this theory :

{I told you plaid was in style!}



Cupcakes for Christmas (and every other day)


I am writing this post purely just to make you a jealous fella.

Do you know anyone who doesn’t  love a perfectly frosted delicious cupcake?? I had the privilege of joining up with some girls from the Windy City Blogger Collective to go in the kitchen and frost my own Sprinkles cupcake! I could not pass it up.

Here is how they had the spread laid out for us in the kitchen. First, a treat for us all! woo hoo! A mini cupcake and a mini hot chocolate and a large sugar rush.

mini cupcakes
mini cupcakes
Sprinkles Kitchen

After we sugared up we could pick a cupcake of our choice and frosting of our choice, then attempt to make it look professional and perfect like the Sprinkles people do. { I’m not sure any of us succeeded, there is some secret wrist maneuver or something that we could not quickly be taught.}

Although there are many flavors available daily, and some additional flavors only on specific days, the flavor of December is Gingerbread and Chocolate Peppermint. {The flavor availability calendar is on their website} Gingerbread and chocolate peppermint are available every day in December! This is the time, people, to get to Sprinkles for your Gingerbread fix.

This is a Gingerbread cupcake {no, I did not frost this one silly head.}

SprinklesGingerbread Cupcake
SprinklesGingerbread Cupcake

Here are our cupcakes, frosting and decorations. Yes, that is a bowl of cream cheese frosting.


The girls at work!


This is how many cupcakes I ate…..


On the Sprinkles website, you can special order cupcakes for any event under the sun. These boxes (in the picture below) are filled with the decorations, there are even pink crocodiles. {not sure what event that is}


If you are looking for a gift for someone that has got you stumped, how about a sugary sweet “JOY” box? One dozen beautiful chocolate peppermint, gingerbread, red velvet and vanilla cupcakes in a box!


Or how about these cupcake mixes? GREAT gift idea or stocking stuffer @ $14.

Oh my gosh all of this cupcake talk, seriously, had to have one. {Seriously, not even lying, my trainer called while I was writing this and eating this: (how do THEY KNOW??) Grrrrrrrr.}

chocolate peppermint and a glass of milk
chocolate peppermint and a glass of milk



cozy cardigan



IMG_3069                   I love cardigans, they are of course cozy. This big, warm sweater is from Anthropologie, got it 25% off on black Friday!

This weekend it warmed up enough to go outside and take pictures {in the cardigan}. We also cleaned up all the leaves that were still in the yard. I also had a little project to take care of. When we bought our house there was this nail stuck in the front brick, probably where the previous owners hung a wreath. KN tried to pull the nail out but that sucker would not budge.

So of course if there is already a nail then I thought I should get a wreath too. I bought a beautiful “real” wreath with the pinecones and the red bow, rushed home to hang it on the hook only to realize that the bottom of it hung below the bush in front of it which looked stupid. Ugh.  Solution? Chop that sucker back a good 4 inches and  change the hook on the wreath so that it would hang higher. All I can say is, if it wouldn’t have been warm this weekend then the wreath would still be hanging too low behind the bush, like an after thought.  Now it looks like we are all festive and put together. Because we are….

Back to the cardigan. 3 ways. With a dress, with leggings and a blouse, and with jeans.










{Anthropologie cardigan here, Vince dress on sale,}

{Banana Republic tank sold out, similar here, Black leggings at Anthropologie, Zara shoes}

{ Anthropologie floral t-shirt, 7 for all Mankind jeans, Boutique Nine boots}



Shopping ideas for black Friday


Let’s play a little game where we pretend that we are going to go Black Friday shopping to buy gifts for other people…….

And here are a few things that “other people” might want.


Madewell is having 25% . How about this lovely classic, updated sweater, long enough to wear with leggings and boots.

The always turtleneck sweater, 3 colors, on sale $74



I’m going out on a limb here because, of course, we don’t know what the  actual sale will be, but I can bet that Banana Republic will  have at least 40% off most things. This is a great time to buy your holiday outfit(s)!

This drapey jumpsuit is fabulous!! In black or gray $74 at 40%off.


Banana Republic jumpsuit
Banana Republic jumpsuit

Dick’s Sporting Good‘s website has a few pre-Friday deals. We all need a cozy Nike sweatshirt to add to the rotation of tops we wear with our Lulu Lemon legging/yoga pants….

Select Nike fleece 25% off.  Nike swoosh out printed hoodie, 5 colors, sale price $41.25


Nike sweatshirt
Nike sweatshirt


J. Crew is having 30% off select items and maybe Friday they will add some more deals to the sale. This blouse is so beautiful with a pair of slim black pants.

Mixed media bib blouse $90.

J. Crew blouse



The Limited is having 50% off now, so it is kind of hard to imagine that there will be any more % off this weekend.

This one button blazer is $44 on sale! Deal!




The Limited blazer
The Limited blazer


Nordstrom has a few things on sale. They don’t have any door busters or anything but there are markdowns up to 40% off and sale items are extra 20% off on Friday only!

These Sam Edelman booties are 33% off,  $149.95 to $100.46 in black or brown.

Sam Edelman booties
Sam Edelman booties


At Zara, they are killing me! The website just says that there will be a sale on Friday, not on what and not how much. Did I mention that I love this store? So many gift giving ideas here? LOL.


Check out this faux fur jacket. I need to get me some faux fur. (oops I mean someone else)  Regular price $129.00, and if I got to pick the sale, I would say 50% off! = $64.50.



Zara faux fur jacket
Zara faux fur jacket

Ann Taylor has started their 40% off everything sale. So many classic pieces at this store-cardigans and blouses.

This sweater dress with some thick tights, boots and a scarf would be super cute and cozy.

Boatneck cable sweater dress, $139 less 40% =$84!


Ann Taylor sweater dress
Ann Taylor sweater dress


Have a fabulous Thanksgiving! Carb up for the marathon shopping weekend!

Like everyday, count your blessings and get on your knees and say thank you.



sick and crabby



So, I have been sick for the last week. Coughing and coughing and coughing. My family is tired of it, my husband is like, “Um, how about you go stand in the hot shower”, I know he just wants five minutes of non-coughing peace. It has also dampened my spirit and brought out the serious crabby patty in me. I couldn’t even come up with my Friday Favorites because I was too crabby to think of 5 “good” things.

So on that note, I am just going with 5 things that are irritating me right now besides coughing:



1.) In style magazine’s gift guide. Why do I still get so excited when my monthly magazine shows up in the mail? Because 5 minutes into it, it just usually makes me mad. In the gift guide they have suggestions for giving a $400 espresso machine and $165 candle. Who gives gifts like that? To who? Please, if you bought me a $165 candle, reconsider, nothing can smell that good.

2.) This Tory Burch sweater. Why does it make me crabby? Because, the “fashion bloggers” wear this sweater to kick around in the beautiful fall leaves in front of their big mansions or on their way to work in L.A. on a “cold day”. I don’t have a $350 sweater and I don’t want one because I would feel guilty if I didn’t wear it every single day and I have never owned anything that I wanted to wear every single day. And furthermore, it is never cold enough to wear a sweater, but warm enough to not need a coat in Chicago.


3.)Dumb and Dumber To. ‘Nuf said.


4.) I hate Comcast. Why is there a service that is cheaper if you include a phone line in the “package”  for a home phone that doesn’t exist? We don’t use a home phone line but it is cheaper if we keep that in the package. That makes sense. And furthermore, why when KN called to add the NFL Red Zone to our “package” {which is crazy expensive} does it not even WORK WHEN WE ARE PAYING FOR IT???? I am going to start my own cable company. $50 a month, I mean seriously, I would have ALL OF THE CABLE CUSTOMERS.

5.) Starbucks coffee cup selfies or whatever you want to call it. Starbucks started in 1971, that is 43 years ago, and yet everyone thinks it is just the cutest thing to take a picture of their afternoon latte and let everyone know about it. It used to be unique to have a Starbucks, now there is one on every corner, it used to seem like a luxury to spend $4 on a cup of coffee, now it is considered a necessity. I don’t care about your Starbucks, ok? Or your lipstick print on the lid. Or how often you buy one.

I warned you I was in a state. But it is Thanksgiving week so I am going to turn that frown upside down and keep counting my blessings ;)



alternative workout

just-browsingI know I have brought up workout wear or athleisure before. I guess it’s because I am obsessed with comfortable clothes and I do work out just about everyday.

Here are a couple of sites that have work out clothing {that do not rhyme with mumu yemen}:


SODO. This is a men’s only site. KN and I stumbled upon it in Seattle which is where it is from. He has quite a few pieces and really likes it for working out and lounging around and yes, he wears it to work too. Great fabric and washes well. sodo-apparel-sports-workout-clothing-for-men-text-logo

Elevate 1/4 zip
Elevate 1/4 zip



Long sleeve cool down





I came across this website because they mailed me a catalog! First off, yay, how did they know how to find me? Second, how fun are these tights? I mean I can’t wear black e’ry day, right?
Sweaty Betty is from the UK and they are starting to open stores on this side of the pond. sweaty_betty_logo

I have these:

Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty


Have you heard of Fabletics?

This is the the new thing that Kate Hudson is promoting. I have not tried it but it is kind of interesting. You become a member, then pick things you like and they will send you a new 3 piece workout outfit, every month, for $50. You have the option to opt out by the 5th of the month.   Cute stuff!


This online sight is called Cozy Orange. They are geared toward yoga but work out clothes are work out clothes, right?


Cozy Orange
Cozy Orange
Cozy Orange
Cozy Orange

Okay, that’s all for now.

Guess I should go work out….




friday favorites


How could I never say SHOPPING as one of my Friday Favorites? Here I am at Zara, I took KN in there to show him how cool everything is, maybe to try and help him understand why I love this place…..

1.) I put on a few things and KN took pictures, made me feel like it was mine even though I left it all (most) behind. It was kind of like when I online shop, I fill up my cart with “oh I have to have that” and ” these stilettos! Got-to-have” and “for sure I need this knee length faux fur vest” then I hurry up and X out before I go find my Visa.  Here are a few pics of things I wanted and absolutely did not need.

white coat
This would be a great work look, if I had a job….

(Zara wool coat here, Handbag, Boots)


There is realistically probably only one day out of the year to wear this awesome cape jacket in Chicago.
There is realistically probably only one perfect weather day, out of the year, to wear this awesome cape in Chicago.

(Zara Cape here)

2.) Taylor Swift’s new song and video!! Did you know that there is an app for her new video that is interactive? It is an app  for a phone or iPad, you can follow them around this mansion and click on things,  and tilt your phone this way and that to look around and go in different rooms in this mansion. Very cutting edge, even if you have no interest in this at least you know what the kids are doing. {Oh, and ladies, I was definitely not checking out the stud muffin in this video, but you should,  even if you can’t stand T Swift you should watch the video just- to- check- him- out.}

Blank Space video here.


3.) Salad in a bag. I know these have been around for a long time, but you are still saying you don’t eat a healthy lunch because you don’t want to take the time or you don’t have the ingredients.  With these you don’t have to, so quit making excuses. Everything is in this bag and it is better for you than a string cheese and 2 chocolate chip cookies and a latte.  I have tried a few of these, I recommend the Southwestern, Sweet kale and the BBQ ranch. (I did not like the kale with brussel sprouts).

Taylor Farms website here.




4.) Pureology Curl Complete.

Biggest hair problem for me is dry hair and frizz. There are all kinds of combinations of hair products that I mix together, depending on the level of humidity, to try and contain the frizz. Just got this curl complete this week and it seems to be a good product for the current  frizz/humidity/star alignment conditions. Also, got the shampoo and conditioner.


5.) The fashion world takes itself very seriously. WhoWhatWear has this as a topic: “9 life-saving style secrets to get you through the winter“. Being the fashionista that I am, I am studying and taking these tips very seriously, life saving serious. I mean, I am even putting it on the friday favorites. Me to KN ” Of course I need $140 mittens, I might not see spring 2015 with out them!!”




Acne Studios mittens here


Enjoy your weekend! Remember to contemplate your blessings too, not just your problems. XO




weekend wrap up



First off, confession. {I am not a Nascar fan.}

But yes, I did find myself with a garage/pit pass at the Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. Don’t be a hater. I know that’s how it always goes, right? The non fan gets the pit pass, the “I love Nascar so much I even have a Nascar bedspread fan” never even gets to go to a live race.

{sorry not sorry}

Anyway, we had a terrific time. I loved being behind the scenes, seeing the cars close up, being right in the pit when the cars came in for the pit stops, seeing the driver’s wives, and almost getting run over by the winner, Kevin Harvick as he turned off the track onto Victory Lane. (We were so not supposed to be standing there, but we really had no idea what we were doing).

Since, I have been doing some quick travel trips with KN lately, I am trying to be a professional at packing. It’s a process I am still working on because when I got out of the shower in Phoenix I realized that I did not pack my comb.  I’m yelling in the bathroom “Oh, this is not good,  this is a serious situation”.

KN says I can use his. {hahahahahahahaha}




I do not like to over pack.
1.) Since you have to pay to bring a suitcase, I only take a carry on.
2.) You have to be able to hurl that carry on into the over head compartment all suave like, not like you have a weight set in there  when you don’t even lift weights.
3.) If you pack more than you wear, then you have to wash everything anyway. Otherwise your dirty clothes and shoes are all jammed in with the clean stuff, there is no way I am hanging that back up in the closet.

My packing theory is about maximizing outfits and shoes.

{2 pair of shoes, 2 jeans, one dress, one dressy top, one t-shirt, one long top, one pair of leggings}

I wore these jeans that are stretchy and comfortable, a long shirt, out, (no tucking), a light jacket, because I am always freezing on the plane, and comfortable shoes.



{ AG jeans here, J. Crew shirt sold out, similiar here, Converse sneaker here , H&M jacket no longer available, similar here}


We landed, went to the hotel, changed and then went out for drinks.  Kept my jeans on, changed my shirt and my shoes, and we were off.




{bcbg top here, similar shoes here}


We ran into Michael Waltrip.

Michael Waltrip


I had no idea what to wear to a Nascar race. {My funny ha ha sister suggested a Nascar t shirt, daisy dukes and cowboy boots.} But since I don’t have that……

Also, I was told I had to wear closed toe shoes and no sleeveless shirts. So I adhered, but as you can imagine, everyone there had on tank tops and sandals. Oh well.


{white jeans here. J. Crew t-shirt (old)}

That night for dinner, I wore the same heels as above with this dress you have seen here, which is perfect for packing because you can roll it up and it won’t wrinkle. {We were so tired that I didn’t remember to take a picture.}

Then to fly home, I wore the same converse sneakers with black leggings and a long shirt, because I needed to look presentable for the meeting at school that we went straight to.

I had to mention the black leggings because I really like them and they are from Soma intimates, which is probably not somewhere you would think to buy leggings! They are called slimming leggings. (no this is not me!!)

Soma leggings


Have a great week and try and stay warm, since the polar vortex is starting early this year. XO


friday favorites

Not your everyday sweatshirt.
Not your everyday sweatshirt.

You have no idea how badly I wanted to make one of my friday favorites nutty bars….. (see Wednesday’s post).

But that would be weird or #funnynotfunny.

Now that its chilly willy, I am mad for the sweatshirt phenomenon. Every single store has some sort of trendy sweatshirt. This is fabulous for us and bad for the dry cleaner. Cute, warm and washable, I say yes to that. Also, those crew necks are an invitation for a scarf. Yes, we love scarves too.  I better load up.

1) Saw this cutey at J. Crew yesterday, as soon as it goes on sale I am grabbing one:

J. Crew

2) Details here, on the back! Still a sweatshirt but fancy. At


3) Quilting is another on-trend option. It can be a traditional look or very current. This one at Nordstrom.



4) How about this drawstring waist? Unique! At Mango.


5) This sweatshirt has a built in shirt tail! You don’t even have to come up with the shirt-it’s already there. From bcbg.


Have a superb weekend and stay warm in your new sweatshirt! I’m going to Phoenix where it is 82, so I’ll be leaving my sweatshirts behind.



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