Project Nursery: From Office Space to Baby Room

Coming into my 36th week of my pregnancy it’s safe to say I am in full-on nesting mode!  Good for me, not so great for my husband who is losing his home office to make room for our son’s nursery.  He’s been such a great sport about it, and has moved his office with very little complaining. He’s even done most of the work to get it put together and painted, with me standing in the background directing. It’s turned out to be even sweeter than I could have imagined, and I’m feeling ALMOST ready for him to be here. ALMOST.

It doesn’t even look like the same room, and I’m so excited to share the transformation and details with all of you!

How It Began

A complete mess.  We had just moved all of my husband’s furniture out and were preparing to paint. (When I say “we” I mean my husband.)

project nursery, before photo

before photo, project nursery

project nursery, before photo

After a few hours, it was turning into a whole different room! It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do for a space. Then came the fun part of decorating and bringing in the furniture. (Finally, something I could help with!)

 

The Finished Product

When I first found out I was having a boy I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go with his nursery. It wasn’t until I found this piece of nail art at a huge craft show in War Eagle, Arkansas months later, that I knew what I was going to do with his room! (The lady that made this is extremely talented, and you should definitely check out all of her work on her Etsy shop here.)

fox, string art, boy nursery, project nursery

After finding that piece of nail and string art, the rest fell into place rather easily!

boy nursery, project nursery, pillwofort

(Curtains are Pillowfort brand from Target. Grey and white basket is Room Essentials brand from Target.Diaper organization basket is from Target. Dresser is Stork Craft brand from Babies R Us.)

project nursery, woodsy nursery, boy nursery

(Bear changing pad cover is Circo brand from Target.)

foxes, boy nursery, project nursery, baby

(End table is Simply Basics from Target. Lamp is Pillowfort brand from Target. Glider is Eddie Bauer brand from Target but is several years old. I used it for my daughter’s nursery and purchased it in 2014. The newer version can be found here.)

target, pillowfort, hobby lobby, boy nursery, foxes, project nursery

(Fox pillow is Pillowfort brand from Target. Foot stool is from Hobby Lobby.)

pillowfort, target, bookshelf, circle, gold shelf, foxes, boy nursery

(Circle shelf is Pillowfort brand from Target. Fox is from Target.)

photo-jan-24-11-48-02-am

(Little explorer sign is from Hobby Lobby. Arrow is from Hobby Lobby. Crib is from Target. Sheets are from Target.)

hobby lobby, faux fur rug, white, boy nursery

(Faux Fur Rug is from Hobby Lobby.)

 

I am so in love with how his nursery turned out!  I don’t think it could be anymore perfect.

And now we wait.

 

 

5 Perfect Lip Colors 

I will openly admit I have an obsession with lipstick. Not just lipstick, but lip stain, lip gloss, lip balm, liquid lipstick…so, pretty much anything lip-related. There are always so many new colors coming out that it’s so hard to keep up, but here are some classics that you can always rely on.

1.The Perfect Red
sephora, cream lip stain, red lips

Every woman needs that perfect red lip! I can’t tell you how many red lipsticks I’ve gone through to find that one good one. My absolute favorite is the Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Flame Red. It. Is. Perfection. It’s a lip stain so it doesn’t require retouching after eating or drinking, and it truly does last all day!

sephora cream lip stain, flame red, red lips, lip stain

 

2.The Perfect Natural

brow tips, brows, beauty tips, ideal brows, how to get good brows

I love Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina-Dusty Rose for my daytime lip color. It’s a liquid lipstick so I can apply it once in the morning and am good for the entire workday. It’s smooth and natural, and slightly enhances your natural lip color.

3.The Perfect Pink

pink lipstick, pink lips, bright, pink

It’s hard to choose a favorite pink, but if you’re going to wear pink, you might as well choose a bright one! I love Bite- Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Sangria.  It isn’t a liquid stain so you do have to touch it up after eating or drinking, but it’s so pretty that it is worth it!

 

4. The Perfect Nude

essence, nude lip color

Essence Nude Longlasting Lipstick- Porcelain Doll is a soft nude that doesn’t disappoint.  It’s super cheap (2.99 from Ulta, at the link above) and is a creamy nude that doesn’t look too dull. Nude lips are a great choice when you want to play up the eyes and do a more dramatic look. Finding the right nude can be difficult, but when you find the right one for your skin tone it can pull your entire look together.

 

5. The Perfect Darkanastasia beverly hills, lipstick, liquid lipstick, dark lips

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick- Trust Issues is a gorgeous dark matte lipstick that requires very little retouching. Dark lips are a good choice for a night out on the town and when  you’re going for a dramatic makeup look. Especially this one, since you don’t even have to take it with you to keep reapplying after you drink or eat something.


Make sure you test colors out before you buy them.  Everyone’s skin tones are different so it’s important to find the best lipsticks that will complement you. And have fun with it! You don’t always have to opt for something conservative because you’re too scared you won’t pull something off. As long as you like it, that’s all that matters.

 

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Packing Yours and Baby’s Hospital Bag

If it’s your first time having to pack a hospital bag and you have NO idea what to bring for you or your baby, you’re not alone!  What’s too much? What will you actually use? How many outfits should you bring for your baby? It is so easy to over pack.

Since I’ve done this once before, I thought I’d share the things I plan to have with me at the hospital for myself and my next baby, this time around.

 

For Baby

The hospital will have diapers and wipes, so I suggest you use what they have and save your supply! They will also have the big green pacifiers available for you if that’s the type of pacifiers you want to use. Baby will also get a hat and a blanket, but feel free to bring your own (I know you want to).

milk snob, skip hop, boppy pillow, aden and anais, pacifier, petunia pickle bottom, baby, hospital bag, packing for baby

car seat, hospital bag, bringing baby home

baby blankets, swaddle blanket, baby

  • Boppy pillow– I don’t care if you’re breast feeding, bottle feeding, have a vaginal birth or a c-section, you will want to have this with you! It makes life SO much easier.  The pillows they give you are flat and not super comfortable.  This pillow will help you while you’re learning how to hold and feed your baby. You’ll want that extra support.
  • Car seat– This one isn’t necessarily in your bag, but you will not be able to leave the hospital without one. Doesn’t hurt to install it early so you won’t forget!
  • Pacifier– You don’t have to bring your own, but I plan to. My daughter didn’t like the big green pacifiers that the hospital supplied; I was so desperate to get a little sleep that first night, but I failed to bring any of our own pacifiers, so I was out of luck.  This time around, I’m bringing my own, just in case!
  • Swaddle blanket– Like I said, they’ll have a blanket for you to use, but I’m bringing another one in case any accidents happen (and they will). Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a cute, soft one for pictures, right?
  • Burp cloths– This isn’t a necessity, but I remember going through a TON of these when trying to learn to breast feed, so I will bring a few in case things get messy (and they will).
  • Car seat cover– Also not a necessity, but my next baby is coming in by early March, which is still quite cold here in Tulsa, so I want to have that extra layer of coverage for my kiddo.
  • Heavier blanket– Like I said, it’s still quite cold this time of year where I am and walking out into the cold I’ll want a warm blanket over his body.
  • Going home outfit– You can choose whatever type of outfit you want, but I’m going to bring sleepers for him to come home in.  I like that they cover his feet and whole body, are easy to get on, and I’m sure they’re comfortable for him. I’ll bring one Newborn sized one (in case he’s little) and one 0-3 Month one (if he ends up being over 9 lbs!).

 

For You

The hospital will supply you with the things you’ll need postpartum, like the mesh panties, squirt bottle to clean things, numbing spray, and pads. Leave your breast pump at home! The hospital will have an amazing one for you to use during your stay. Sounds so glamorous, right? Luckily you’ll have that beautiful baby in your arms to remind why it’s all worth it!

packing for hospital, ice pack, phone charger, nipple shield, hair brush, burt's bees

yes to cucumbers, cetaphil moisturizer, packing for hospital

loose shirt, draw-string pants, high-waisted panties, hospital bag

  • Facial cleansing wipes– I want to keep things are simple as possible this time. Last time I brought my entire daily skin care routine with me and didn’t end up using it. I’m sure you’ve read in my other posts that I’m obsessed with the Yes To Cucumbers Facial Cleansing Wipes. I’ll be bringing these with me this time! So easy to use, and they make my face feel clean after using them.
  • Moisturizer for sensitive skin– Your skin will be going crazy after delivery.  It could be dry, could be super oily, could break out, could be bright red from broken capillaries- you just never know.  Bringing a very basic moisturizer meant for sensitive skin is a good idea.
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste– Basic hygiene. I don’t know about you, but I feel like a new woman after brushing my teeth.
  • Nipple shield– I needed these with my last baby, so I’ll bring them with me this time in case he has a hard time latching like his sister did.  The hospital might give you one of these if the lactation consultant thinks you’ll benefit from it.
  • Loose-fitted shirts– I’ll be bringing three loose-fitted shirts with me.  They’ll be comfortable and easy to nurse in. Or if you end up having a c-section, you’ll want things as loose-fitting as possible, I’m sure.
  • Draw-string pants– I brought two pairs of these with me last time, and I’m going to go buy a few more pairs to bring along this time! They were perfect for recovery! My stomach was still bulging weeks after delivery, but it DEFINITELY was in the hospital. Draw-string pants allow you to have them as tight as you need, without cutting into your tender belly.  I’ll be bringing at least four pairs of these. (Bring more pants than shirts in case you get any blood on them and need some backups.)
  • Warm socks– Hospitals are cold! Warm fuzzy socks will definitely come in use! Bring at least 4 pairs.
  • Plastic bag- You’ll need a way to get the dirty clothes home from the hospital. You won’t want them sitting in your bag!
  • Ice packs– If you have a vaginal birth you will LOVE these those first few days! There’s special ones for postpartum recovery, and I highly recommend them.
  • Hairbrush/hair ties– I never fixed my hair in the hospital, so a brush and some ties were all I needed. I’ll leave the other hair products at home this time.
  • Deodorant– A must for obvious reasons.
  • Phone charger– Don’t want that battery going dead when you’re trying to tell your mother how to get to your postpartum room!
  • Slip-on shoes– I’ll probably bring my big comfortable boots to wear home from the hospital since it will be too cold for flip-flops.  Something easy to get on and off will be something you’ll appreciate.
  • Sleeping nursing bras– I’ll be bringing two sleeping nursing bras to wear at night, since they’re not padded and don’t clasp in the back they’ll be comfortable to sleep in.  You don’t really want to wear them during the day if you plan to have a lot of visitors.
  • Regular nursing bras-I’ll be bringing two of these as well to use during the day.
  • Stretchy and high-waisted panties– By the time you’re ready to go home you may want some of your own underwear on. If you like the mesh panties, by all means keep wearing them! I just wanted something I could wear home that made me feel like a normal person again. I recommend finding some very soft, stretchy, high-waisted panties to bring. You can bring a few pairs in case you choose to wear them instead of the mesh ones they give you.
  • Coat– I’ll obviously be needing this since it will be winter, but depending on when your baby is due this could be irrelevant to you.
  • Makeup bag– You can bring it if you want, but I doubt you will get much use out of it. If you decide to bring one, just include the basics: mascara, tinted moisturizer, powder. The simpler the better!
  • Chapstick– You won’t be able to live without it! Bring a backup in case you lose the first tube!
  • Important papers- If you haven’t pre-registered where you plan to deliver make sure you bring your forms and insurance cards so they can admit you.

nursing bras

coatandboots.jpg

socks

 

I think that’s all! The list seems long, but TRUST me, you’ll use it all.  I remember bringing so much more with me last time and I never even touched half of it! (Shampoo, conditioner, facial serum, eye cream, body wash, body lotion, my entire makeup bag.) You think you’ll be put together and will have the energy to primp before your visitors show up, but if your birth is anything like my first- you won’t!

It isn’t the end of the world if you bring too much, so if you feel more comfortable bringing something along that you don’t know if you’ll need or not, just go ahead and pack it. Give yourself the peace of mind knowing that it’s there if you should want it.

 

Did I forget something? Leave your suggestion in the comments!

Good luck, mommas! Wishing you all a smooth birth experience and perfectly healthy babies!

Perfect Maternity Leggings

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for some good maternity pieces. If you’re going to carry a baby around for nine months you might as well be comfortable, right?!  It’s hard to find good leggings that are not only comfortable, but stylish as well. Since I’ve found some that I love I wanted to share them with you. They’re thick, cover the entire belly so they don’t cut you off in an awkward spot, and can be dressed up.

gap, maternity wear, leggings, maternity leggings, winter, pregnancy

 

I have them in black, but Gap.com has them in Heather grey as well. They’re regularly $29.95 and are currently 40% off if you order them online now!

photo-jan-14-5-54-08-pm

Go get yourself a pair or two.  They’ll last you your entire pregnancy!

 

Have you found any great maternity pieces? Share them in the comments!

 

Skin Myths Series: Does Oily Skin Age Slower?

Oily skin: it’s hard to control, it clogs your pores, makes your face shiny, and ages your skin slower? What?  If you are one that has to deal with oily skin then this would definitely be the one positive thing about it. What is it about having oily skin that makes people believe your skin will age slower than someone who has dry skin? First lets talk about what causes the skin to age.

 

Aging Skin

When you hit a certain age (around 25) your skin begins to slow in producing important things like collagen and elastin.  From that point on it’s important to start giving your skin things to help replenish the things you’re starting to lose. Things like antioxidants (found in vitamins C, E, and A), ingredients that will help your skin fight off free radicals, and extra moisture to help build up a barrier of hydration on your skin.  Another thing that causes your skin to age quicker is too much sun exposure.  Wearing a daily sunscreen is one of the best ways to ward off those fine lines and wrinkles.  If you smoke, know that you’re definitely causing your skin to look old faster.  Drink lots of water, and get lots of sleep so your skin can repair itself and keep that skin looking healthy.

 

oily skin, dry skin, aging skin, skin care, fight aging,The Answer

So, does oily skin REALLY age slower than dry skin?

When your skin is dry you see every flake, every crease, every rough patch, and every wrinkle.

This is why it is TRUE that oily skin ages slower than someone who deals with dryness.

Someone with oily skin has that natural barrier of sebum, which keeps your skin moisturized and looking smoother.  Their skin does age, but since their skin stays moisturized on its own they don’t notice the wrinkles as much.  Someone with dry skin only notices the wrinkles more because dry skin tends to show more flaws on your skin.

If you suffer from dry, rough skin don’t fret! You can still do many things to help prevent the aging process.  Use creams and serums at night that focus on replenishing what your skin is losing (I am in LOVE with this Ole Henriksen serum), drink lots and lots of water to help hydrate your skin from the inside-out, and keep wearing your sunscreen. ( Coola SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer is a personal favorite of mine.)

 

Whether you have oily skin or dry skin it’s important to start caring for your face at an early age. You won’t regret it!

Skin Myths Series: What’s Actually True?

We all have heard how chocolate causes you to break out, and that oily skin doesn’t wrinkle as fast as dry skin, but is that REALLY true?  Myths about skin have been around for so long that everyone just believes them without actually knowing if there’s facts behind them. I’m starting a series on the most popular skin myths and will go into what is actually true, and what is just talk.  Let’s start with everyone’s favorite- Can I eat chocolate without it breaking me out?

 

Does Eating Chocolate Cause Breakouts

chocolate, breakouts, chocolate squares, skin, acne

This is probably one of the most popular assumptions when it comes to skin, but let’s talk about what actually causes pimples. Pimples form when pores become blocked by dead skin cells and sebum, making bacteria grow under the skin. The skin then becomes inflamed and that’s where you get the redness and swelling.

So when you eat chocolate, does it affect your skin? You will be relieved to know that eating chocolate does not, in fact, cause you to break out!  Just make sure you’re keeping your consumption in-check. While eating one candy bar won’t cause you to break out, eating lots of chocolate for an extended period of time can cause some issues.  Make sure you’re keeping a balanced diet and opt for dark chocolate occasionally.  Dark chocolate is known to have certain health benefits, such as improving heart health, blood pressure, reducing “bad” cholesterol, and it may also improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, reducing diabetes risk. (source: WebMD)

chocolate cupcakes, consuming chocolate, skin, acne, does chocolate cause acne

According to Dr. Shamban (in his article from the Huffington Post), “there is little evidence that chocolate or any specific fatty foods will cause acne, but we do know that a high-sugar/high-fat diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body — which can lead to acne. Again, although we can’t say that sugary and fatty food directly causes acne, it’s nevertheless true that overindulging in these kinds of food can increase your chances of developing the condition and may displace other nutrients that are critical to the skin’s health.”

So there you have it! This myth is FALSE!  Go ahead and have that chocolate bar. You can mark this off of your list of possible reasons you’re breaking out right now.

If you’re really concerned with acne you can always go in for a facial.  Your esthetician will do a consultation and can maybe have some suggestions as to why you’re having some issues.

In the Tulsa Area?

I’m a licensed esthetician and would love to see you for a skin consultation and facial! I love helping with your skin issues and making you feel pretty!  Come see me at Ihloff Salon and Day Spa.  Call 918-587-2566 to schedule an appointment.

New Year’s Resolution : Smoothies for Weight Loss

As we enter 2017, we all have our resolutions that we want to start focusing on. For a lot of people that means eating healthier and trying to lose those extra pounds that we put on throughout the holidays.  Wondering where to begin?  Smoothies. They’re easy to make, packed with nutrients, keep you full so you don’t feel the need to snack, and can be consumed on-the-go. Not to mention are great for your skin!  There are so many smoothie recipes out there that anyone can find one that they like (this is coming from someone who is a pretty picky eater, and even I have found several smoothies that I enjoy!).

I have found and tried (or intend to try) several great smoothies on Prevention.com to get you started.

1. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

peanut butter, banana, smoothie, weight loss, prevention

What You Need:

 

½ c fat-free milk
½ c fat-free plain yogurt
2 Tbsp creamy natural unsalted peanut butter
¼ very ripe banana
1 Tbsp honey
4 ice cubes

All you do is combine these ingredients in a blender until smooth, and then it’s ready to serve! 

NUTRITION (per serving) 366 cal, 18 g pro, 40 g carb, 3 g fiber, 32 g sugar, 16.5 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 151 mg sodium


2. Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

chocolate smoothie, raspberry smoothie, prevention, weight loss, smoothies

What You Need:

½ c skim or soy milk
6 oz (80-calorie) vanilla yogurt
¼ c chocolate chips (MUFA)
1 c fresh raspberries
Handful of ice OR 1 cup frozen raspberries

Blend together for 1 minute and transfer to glass.  You may want to grab a spoon for this one!

NUTRITION (per serving) 462 cal, 16 g pro, 77 g carb, 10 g fiber, 64 g sugar, 13.5 g fat, 7.5 g sat fat, 174 mg sodium


3. Peach Smoothie

weight loss smoothie, smoothies, peach smoothie, prevention

What You Need:

1 c skim milk
1 c frozen unsweetened peaches
2 tsp cold-pressed organic flaxseed oil (MUFA)

Leave out the flaxseed oil, and blend together the remaining ingredients.  Once smooth, pour into a glass and then stir in flaxseed oil.

NUTRITION (per serving) 213 cal, 9 g pro, 26 g carb, 2 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 9 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 103 mg sodium


4. Strawberry Smoothie

weight loss smoothie, strawberry smoothie, prevention

What You Need:

1 c skim milk
1 c frozen, unsweetened strawberries
2 tsp cold-pressed organic flaxseed oil (MUFA)

Leave the flaxseed oil out, and blend the remaining ingredients together until smooth.  Transfer to a glass and then stir in flaxseed oil.

NUTRITION (per serving) 216 cal, 9 g pro, 26 g carb, 3 g fiber, 19 g sugar, 9.5 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 106 mg sodium


5.Mango Smoothie Surprise

mango smoothie, weight loss smoothie, smoothies, prevention

What You Need:

¼ c mango cubes
¼ c mashed ripe avocado (MUFA)
½ c mango juice
¼ c fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
6 ice cubes
1 Tbsp sugar

Blend ingredients together until smooth and then transfer to a glass.

NUTRITION (per serving) 298 cal, 5 g pro, 55 g carb, 5 g fiber, 47 g sugar, 9 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 54 mg sodium


 

*Find the full list of Weight Loss Smoothies here. 

Don’t forget you can have some fun with smoothies and throw in extra fruits that could go well with the existing recipes. Now go drink a smoothie and boost your energy after that late NYE night!

Images sourced from Prevention.com. 

Hospital Bag: Skin Care for New Moms

Every pregnant woman is faced with the task of packing her hospital bag in preparation of the big day.  Packing for your baby is easy; figuring out what you’ll actually need is the hard part.  It’s easy to overpack when you haven’t been in this situation before. Most women pack all of the toiletries and products that they use at home in their normal routines, but when they get to the hospital they realize they didn’t need nearly any of it! Your skin will be COMPLETELY different after having your baby.  It will be puffy, and oily, and sensitive.  Your hormones are all over the place yet again.  So what will you want to use on your face in the hospital?

Keep It Simple

Most likely you won’t have the energy to deal with your skin (after all, you have more important things to think about!), so you should keep it very simple at first.  Don’t bother bringing your serums, your separate daytime/nighttime lotions, or eye creams.  You should bring facial cleansing wipes for times when you just need a little freshening up, a lip balm, a travel size cleanser meant for sensitive skin, and a travel size moisturizer meant for sensitive skin.  Keep it very basic, because you have no idea what your skin will be like those first few days (Hormones, remember?).

 

The First Few Weeks After Delivery

Your skin will continue to change those first few weeks after delivery, so continue to use products focusing on sensitivity and slowly add in your other products, one at a time.  If you’re breast feeding, remember to read the labels on your products and make sure none of them contain retinoids, or salicylic acid.  If you are struggling with acne breakouts, or discoloration you should check with your dermatologist on what they recommend for you to use during the breast feeding period.

 

What’s In My Bag

cetaphil, cleanser, sensitive skin, facial cleansercetaphil, moisturizer, sensitive skin, facial

For the hospital bag I recommend Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser and Moisturizing Lotion.  Both are super lightweight, and are great for sensitive skin.

Yes To, yes to cucumbers, green, cucumbers, facial wipes, face, skin care, beauty, wipes, hypoallergenic, gentle, Target

For facial cleansing wipes I recommend the Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Facial Wipes.  Stock up on those because you will definitely use them!

burt's bees, lip balm, peppermint, chapstick

Don’t forget the lip balm so your lips don’t get chapped.  I love Burt’s Bees lip balms and refuse to use anything else, but of course you can use your brand of choice!

Just remember, you won’t be thinking about much else but your sweet new baby, so don’t worry about making yourself carry on a long skin care routine.  If you are able to do so, more power to you!  Don’t stress yourself out about it, because it will take quite awhile for your skin to return to a somewhat normal state.  Treat it with care and gentle products and you’ll have your beautiful glowing skin back before you know it!

Unique Stocking Stuffers

It can be hard finding fun and unique stocking stuffers for your loved ones!  There’s only so much you can find at Target and Sephora.  There’s just something nice about finding truly unique gifts that make it feel more personal.  I’ve found some awesome gift ideas for you to stuff into those stockings, or that you can show your husband to guide him in the right direction.

 

Mint and Birch Jewelry 

jewelry, stocking stuffers, custom, necklaces, bracelets, mint and birch

Mint and Birch Jewelry is so beautiful, and can be customized to say basically anything that you want!  Any mother, grandmother,  sister, or daughter would love getting a piece of jewelry like this. Each piece has it’s own price, depending on the size you want and how many letters/numbers you want on it.  There are several different styles to choose from, and definitely unique!

 

Thug Life Shirts

stocking stuffers, unique, christmas gifts, shirt, wife, mom, boss

Thuglifeshirts.com has some super cute shirts and hoodies that I know your mom, sister, or wife would love!  There is a pretty wide variety to choose from, and they’re not very expensive.  (This shirt retails for $27.95.)  Roll it up and put it in that stocking!

 

The Little Market

the little market, luggage tag, travel, christmas gift, stocking stuffer, unique, handmade

The Little Market has so many great handmade gifts under $20, including this luggage tag! If you know someone who does a lot of traveling then take a look at the different options they offer on their website. The luggage tags retail for $16 a piece and each one is unique and so beautiful and make the perfect stocking stuffer!

 

rise and shine bath salts, the little market, orange, bath soak, stocking stuffer, unique

Another option from thelittlemarket.com is the soaking salts!  They retail for $18 and have 8 options to choose from, including this bottle of Rise and Shine Soaking Salts infused with orange.  Who wouldn’t want to soak in a bathtub infused with essential oils to help you relax?

 

Francesca’s 

iphone case, iphone 7, stocking stuffer, francescas, unique

Francesca’s is a wonderful place to find unique stocking stuffers! They have everything from phone covers, to candles, to books. This particular iphone 7 case retails for only $28!  You could find something for everyone, without having to spend a fortune.  Seriously, run by your local store, or check out all they have to offer online!

 

Shop Local

Of course it’s always nice to support your local small shops and boutiques.  I live in the Tulsa area and know for a fact that there are several shops that have some adorable gift ideas! If you also live in the Tulsa surrounding area, you should go check them out!

On A Whim

Black Sheep Boutique

Suite One

Stash Apparel and Gifts

Ida Red

 
But most importantly, I hope everyone enjoys their time with family and friends this weekend. Have a safe and happy holiday!  Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

Christmas Brownie Cookies

A long time ago, I had a friend tell me about this very simple-to-make cookie recipe that is now my favorite holiday treat.  If you like chocolate, then you will LOVE this cookie.  I call them my Brownie Cookies. These are so good that I always have requests to make them during the holidays!  The batch is huge, which is great because you have enough to hand out to friends and neighbors as little Christmas gifts. (Or you just have lots to eat at home for days, which you’ll want to do because they’re addicting.)

browniecookie2

What You Need:

-1 box of chocolate cake mix (I typically choose Betty Crocker Super Moist Milk Chocolate.)

-2 boxes of brownie mix (I typically choose Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge.)

-3 large eggs

-1 cup of water

-1 cup of oil

-a small bag of powdered sugar

-A HUGE BOWL

-2 large cookie sheets

Simple, right?!  I wasn’t kidding when I said it’s easy.

Instructions:

 

christmas cookies, brownie cookies, chocolate, simple, easy, fast, holiday, sweets, sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pour brownie mix into your large mixing bowl, add one egg and mix together.

3. Add the second brownie mix to the mixture, and stir in another egg.

4. Pour in cake mix and your last egg and stir well.

5. Add your cup of oil and your cup of water and mix until it’s smooth and thick.

6. I like to use an ice cream scoop to get the batter onto the cookie sheet.  Leave the cookies about an inch apart so they don’t run together. Put the first cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 9-11 minutes.

7. While the first batch is baking, I get the next batch on the other cookie sheet, ready to pop in the oven. Bake each batch for 9-11 minutes, and continue until your batter is gone!

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8. Let cookies sit for about 6 minutes after you pull them from the oven before you transfer them to the cooling rack.

9.After cookies have cooled for half an hour, dust the powdered sugar over the cookies and enjoy!

The Final Product

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Did you try the recipe? What did you think? I’d love to hear how they turned out for you!  Feel free to share this recipe with your friends!