On gift-giving: Something to wear (part 4 of 4)

4 thoughtful gifts.  Something to wear". Part 4 of a 4 part post.  Lovely Matters blog by Heather Walker

If you haven't read our "4 thoughtful gifts", you may want to read this blog post first. 

"Something to wear" is now my 11 year olds favorite category in our gift giving.  Here I'm going to showcase a few of our favorite apparel brands.  Click on images to link to site.

Athleta

I love the company's motto: SHE is the root of power. So, more power to you.  My daughter and I both appreciate the simple and comfortable style of Athleta.  It's our favorite brand to work out in and our favorite brand for school and work.  Here are some new items we have our eyes on.  The fun part for me is there are a few pieces that we share given some of these layered styles can go both ways, fitted or oversized.  

Zara

This is my go-to when I need something unique for a special event or photo shoot for the kids.  Love the clasic feel of the pieces I find at Zara.

Toms

All 6 of us love Toms.  It's a hard brand to pass up when you know every purchase has a purpose.  I think I've had mine for over 10 years and although they have holes I still can't toss them because there's something that feels okay about wearing Toms with holes.  Just me?  And the collection of sunglasses are beutiful!

Here's some random "something to wear" that I think could help with ideas. 

Have you seen this ring?  My active and handy husband could use one of these!  I think my daughter will love this nail polish color.  I recently saw this brand at a salon and it labeled itself as the "big 5 free nail polish" (a safer toxic free option).  Shouldn't all socks be fun like these or these!  Here's a bargain - for $6 I'll give the purse organizer concept a try.  Yes, technically in my eyes that last one you do "wear".

That completes my shopping guide on "4 thoughtful gifts", Something to read, something you want, something you need and something to wear (the post you are on).  I'm hopeful that Santa Clause is reading this blog because I'll be giving some ideas for stocking stuffers as we get closer to December.  

This post contains affiliate links.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.  Learn more here.  

 

On gift-giving: something you need (part 3 of 4)

Thoughtful gift ideas: something you need (part 3 of 4).  Lovely Matters Blog by Heather Walker

If you haven't read our "4 thoughtful gifts", you may want to read this blog post first. 

The "something you need" category is of course, the most practical.  Every year we take a different spin on the word "need".  My "rule follower" child commented that everyone should get a wrapped water bottle.  And my out of the box thinker tries to convince me that this is the category for a rocket launcher.  Here are my ideas:

4 year old 

I truly think my 4 year old would appreciate a special set of flannel sheets for his bed this winter.  We are short a backup set so this becomes his "need".  Love all the target options of flannel I'm seeing this season. *click images to link*

6 year old

A few extra pairs of underwear are in need right now.  So to keep the practicality in gift giving he'll get his favorite package of undies.  All my boys say the Calvin Klein Briefs from Costco are the most comfortable. They aren't online for me to link, but you Costco shoppers know where to find them.

Here's a "needed" solution for getting out the door quick.  We don't wear shoes in our home so this makes the constant on and off very helpful.  

8 year old

This hair gel for my long haired boy keeps his hair under control with the "I'm not trying too hard because I'm a free spirt wild child" feel.  It's a very safe brand (it's made with quinoa and smells like orange peel for goodness sake) and leaves no flaking or crunchy hair.  I originally found this at whole foods and never thought to see if Amazon had in stock until now.  Win!

11 year old

The advantage of my oldest having a phone is that I can contact her when I need to, but only if she has her phone with her.  I think this would be the easiest way for her to take her phone when she goes for a run or a bike ride.

My daughter is at the age where I'm sharing lots of self-care tips and she mentioned her interest in this when she saw at a friends house.  Caring for skin is something that needs to become a habit at a young age.  I was only familiar with the Clarisonic brands but they are over $100!  This one has amazing reviews and is only $22.  

Hubby:

Most men really don't take the time to shop for themselves (especially Dads).  Shopping for my husband's clothing is simple but when it comes to beauty products and self-care it's trickier to know what he might like and actually use.  I found Birch Box, a beauty box subscription for men!  This is a better idea of a gift than my normal toothpaste or wrapped up toilet paper as his "something you need".  Isn't this what a gift should be, something unique that you wouldn't normally purchase for yourself.  Undecided on starting a subscription for him (only $10 a month!) or choosing one of these two gift sets (one-time purchase).

Me (aka: Mama):

My favorite bowls keep getting dropped by my little kitchen helpers.  Bowls definitely fall under the "need" category.  They are only $6, the perfect size, and more durable than most, so I keep replacing them.  

Okay, saving the BEST for last again!  I know you all rushed off to Anthropology after my post yesterday, but this one you just need to click a link!  At the TOP of my wish list is a subscription box to FabFitFun!  I recently saw a friend's box and my mouth was dropped open at all the fun and unique goodies that I'd never seek out for myself.  The box is filled with fabulous finds in beauty, wellness, fashion, and fitness, hand-picked by the FabFitFun team, delivered once per season.  Each box is limited edition and contains $200+ in retail value. The starter box is only 19 dollars!  What??!! Seriously!  Sweetie, if you are reading... hint hint hint FabFitFun has lots of my "needs" inside.  

This post contains affiliate links.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.  Learn more here.  

 

On gift-giving: Something you want (part 2 of 4)

4 thoughtful gifts for Christmas - something you want (part 2 of 4).  Lovely Matters Blog by Heather Walker

Want want want! 

The "something you want" is the gift category I'd probably let get a little out of hand if I didn't stick with the one gift rule.  If you didn't read about our "4 thoughtful gifts", you may want to read this blog post first. 

I have a good idea well before December what's on my kids "want" list.  When I hear them talk about something, or I see something I think they'd like I immediately add to my amazon wish list so I don't forget.  The other "wants" go on their Santa wish list.

I'll start with my favorite,  Kiwi Crate!  Currently my 9 year old and 4 year old receive monthly boxes.  I can't say enough good things about this company and the products they develop.  My 9 year old gets their "Tinker crate".  It's this perfect combination of STEM education and creative tinkering.  Ironically, he dressed as a Rocket Scientist for Halloween and the week before he received a crate with a rocket project inside.  What's been most incredible is how much he tinkers and creatively explores on his own since starting the subscription.  As for my 4 year old, he receives the "Koala crate".  This is filled with hands on learning and crafting.  Last month he put together a working xylophone and wrote his own music with ink stamps.  Art is extremely important to me and this is such a fun way for me to explore learning through art with my littlest.  So, unknown to my 11 year old daughter, her "want" will be the "Doodle crate".  She loves art and never has much of a wish list so this will be a fun surprise.  Here's last month's Doddle crate below.

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I think this is also the perfect gift from Grandparents.  They can choose how many months to subscribe and will be thrilled they are giving such a unique and educational gift.  AND, using this referral link you'll get $10 off your first crate.  They set the bar high on finding other gift ideas... moving on:

Family Gifts for all ages (post-toddler stage)

My younger two are the vocalists in our family band.  We have a cheap toy microphone that barely works, but used often.  It's time for an upgrade to this portable Singing Machine with a bluetooth speaker.  Shocked by the low price!

All my kids play with these.  Time after time, one of the most played with toys in our home.  We only have a small set and can be limiting when more than one child is playing, so I'm thinking we add to this great toy.

Between our love of music and our kids' curiosity on how things work, I think we'd all love one of these.  

Kids and adults love playing with darts, but this one has impressive reviews with its magnets.  Hmm, maybe another idea for my hubby?  Men are just big kids who still want toys.  I'm reminded of this every year at Christmas time.

Legos are always high on the wish list for almost 8 years now in our home.  It's still at the top of my 6 year old's wish list, therefore new sets are hard to come by.  I purchased this set because I don't believe we've ever seen it.

I think my active 9 year old boy would love a fitness tracker like this so he doesn't need to share my old one with his sister anymore.  It's practical and almost a "need" because he's constantly asking me what time it is.  He'd also love this computer kit!  When did being a kid become so awesome!

Gifts for Hubby:

I asked if there was anything on his wish list and he gave me this.  We've had a Toddy for several years but, it's gotten old and this would be less expensive than buying cold brewed coffee. 

Gifts for Me (aka Mama):

10 coupons to sleep in over Christmas break would be the best gift!  Followed by breakfast in bed of course.

But if my family insisted I make a wish list, jewelry from Anthropologie and Madewell would be on that list (click on photos below for links).  I explored the jewelry at both these stores today because jewelry is something, in my opinion, that needs to be seen in person.

I would love to hear the top gifts in your family!

 

This post contains affiliate links.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.  Learn more here.  

 

packing for vacation simplified

5 simple tips on packing simple2

Packing for a vacation really can be quite easy if you keep it simple.  Here's 5 tips on how I pack for 5 (Luckily my husband packs himself). :)  

1.  Do laundry first because naturally everyones favorites are in the laundry.  And who wants to come home to laundry?  Favorites are key on vacation.  I dump all the clean laundry where I have lots of room for sorting.  I then making 1 pile for each of us, putting together outfits as I sort through the clothes.  The rest gets thrown back in laundry basket for the kids to put away.  And then I pull the rest of what I need from our closets.  I had to do the laundry anyway so this really doesn't make the task of packing feel like much of a chore.  

2.  Focus mainly on neutral colors so it's easy to mix and match, and add in a few colors of the season.  Naturally you'll be documenting your vacation so you may want to think about a couple key colors to focus on.  Not matching, just coordinating so that one person isn't in a pastel while everyone else is dressed in fall hues.  

3. Think capsule wardrobe.  I have only used tips from this approach to help me get rid of items, but on vacation I pretend I'm living the capsule wardrobe dream.  Just one thing I love about vacations, we realize how little we really need.  I love the idea that "sometimes to figure out what matters you have to get rid of everything that doesn’t."

4.  Fold and roll.  There's no way we could fit everything without using these!  I have one labeled for each day of the week and its such a helpful tool for the kids to be independent when getting ready in the morning.  All they have to do is find the labeled day.  This organization was very helpful for our disney trips when you quickly want to get up and out and you already have an outfit in mind for each day's itinerary. 

5.  Accessorizing increases your outfit options.  A baseball cap with a shirt and jeans is a completely different outfit than wearing a scarf with the same shirt and jeans. Same with my little ones.  I tossed a burt orange belt and vest into my oldest sons bag last minute as a way to change up the same clothes.

Happy Travels!

5 simple tips on packing simple

Finding balance when decorating for Halloween

Halloween/Thanksgiving/fall might be the easiest time of year to decorate.  It can be as simple as purchasing pumpkins at the grocery store and swapping out some throw pillows.  I can justify purchasing a lot of pumpkins for decor because these will be on display until I put out Christmas. A whole two months away!  A white mum would probably look better than this fern, but keep in mind this is Texas Y'all.

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Let me just say that when it comes to Halloween, I don't do scary!  Darth Vader is about as scary as I'd prefer.  Especially inside the home.  I think I was pulled through too many haunted houses by my older siblings when little.  Last year my kids asked for more decorations as a nice way of saying "we don't look festive enough".  So I tried to step up my "simple decorating" since this was something they got excited about.  These paper silhouettes bats and mice are my favorite because they make a big statement without the clutter.  My kids were seriously impressed when they came home from school to find these and asked if I cut them out.  Ha!  Not for this price I didn't.  I also have some hanging bats and giant spiders I'll put on the front porch as we get closer to Halloween but you won't find anything much scarier than that.     

simple decorating for halloween
simple and easy halloween decor bats

Keeping my home neutral in color helps me change my color decor to go with the season.  I swapped out my pink accessories for orange and now my pink won't come back until Valentines day. Decorating tip: Navy or most darker blues go great with any season/holiday. 

simple and elegant decorating for Halloween

Added bonus when decorating becomes practical and pretty.  This is our dinning room table below.  I always keep cloth napkins here with something pretty beside them.  And the paper napkins go under the cloth ;).

practical and pretty decorating
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