12/14/18

5 Holiday Party Outfit Ideas + Details on All the Retailers That Have Free Shipping Today!

Jumpsuit | Pumps (similar) | Clutch (similar) | Lipstick (shade is 400)
Coat | Turtleneck | Skirt | Tights | Boots (similar) | Bag

Sweater | Skirt | Heels | Clutch (similar)
Sweater | Leggings (similar) | Lipstick (shade is "Dylan") | Shoes

Blazer | Camisole | Leggings | Pumps | Earrings | Clutch (similar) | Lipstick (shade is "Dylan")
Clearly I like to wear black in the winter. Ha! But honestly, it's so easy to put together and adding a red lip instantly makes it more festive. I did branch out with a neutral gold/beige outfit which I love and think would be great for after the holidays as well. The best thing about many of these party looks are they can be combined with other pieces in your closet.

In other news, today is free shipping day in the retail world and I rounded up a bunch of retailers that I shop at that are participating. It's a great time to finish up your holiday shopping!

Ann Taylor - And they currently have 50% off!

Club Monaco - Take an extra 30% off sale items

Express - Everything is currently 50% off!

J. Crew - 40% off everything

Kate Spade - I love her gift section on the site.

Loft - 50% off your purchase

Macy's - This is one of my favorite places to shop for Polo Ralph Lauren things for Miles. They always have good sales.

Madewell - 25% off your purchase

Pottery Barn Kids - 30% - 50% off toys


Target - up to 25% off furniture

Tory Burch - Additional 20% off sale

Shop more party pieces here:


12/13/18

Thoughts on Time Management



Sweatshirt - New Balance | Leggings - Alo Yoga | Sneakers - Nike | Hat - J. Crew | Sunglasses - Illesteva (old but similar here) | Water bottle - S'well

Today's post is going to be a bit of chatty one. I asked on my insta-stories recently what sort of posts or content many of you want to see and I received quite a few questions about time management and how I balance my time with the blog, Miles, life, etc. So to jump right into it and be perfectly transparent, I haven't quite mastered it yet. I work at it every day but it is still a challenge.

When I had a corporate job, I would often structure my to-do list by level of priority or importance. The things that were for my boss or were time sensitive would get done first. For many years, I worked from home with my corporate job so I would set aside a certain day of the week for office work so I could be out in the field the rest of the week meeting with my teams (I was a sales executive). Since I made my own schedule during that time, I did learn how to be more self disciplined which has helped me now that I run my own blog. I took my blog full time 2 years ago but shortly after I did, my father became terminally ill and passed away, I got pregnant and then miscarried, we moved into our current home with my mother and then I became pregnant again soon after. Needless to say, things were a bit chaotic. 

Adding Miles into the mix has definitely brought a new dynamic and need for a certain routine which can be hard some days. I am beyond grateful that my mother lives with us and watches Miles so I can work/run errands/etc. What most surprised me about becoming a mother is the amount of guilt I feel over anything Miles related. I knew people talked about it but I couldn't really understand it until I felt it for myself. That has created an emotional distraction that can make time management challenging at times. But we are slowly getting into a groove and it gets a bit easier every day.  

Here are a few things that I do which help me with balance and time management (some things are very small but still make a difference for me):

  • I clean up as a I go. It only takes me a few seconds to put something back right after I use it but I feel so much better when things are organized around the house. 
  • If something can take me less than 5 minutes, I will do it right away rather than putting it off. Making my bed is the best example of this. I feel so much better once it is made, but sometimes want to skip it because I tell myself "I don't have time". I actually timed myself once to see how long it took me (it was under 3 minutes, sometimes even faster), and I know that I have 3 minutes to spare. 
  • This one is more mental, but I have stopped saying "I'm sooooo busy" or "I have soooo much to do" because it makes me feel overwhelmed. I will tell myself "I have plenty of time to accomplish what I need" or "I can definitely get everything done" which sets me up for success. It's crazy how what we tell ourselves can really affect how well we perform that day. 
  • I will sometimes put an actual time frame next to items on my to do list when I feel that I have too much to do. Seeing how long it will actually take helps me realize I can get it all done. This has made me realize just how much I can accomplish in 60 minutes. It can also show you when you have overcommitted or packed your day with too much just by adding all the time up.  
  • This one is more personal but I know what my limit is when it comes to activities, work, errands, etc. I hate feeling frazzled and run down and will simply say no or choose to skip something in order to be more successful at the things I have said "yes" to. Everyone's threshold is different but being honest with myself about what mine was helped me find a better balance.
  • I am someone that will move on to another task before one is finished because I get distracted easily. Next thing I know, I have 5 unfinished tasks instead of 1 complete one and 4 left to do. I will now finish a task completely before moving on to the next. 
  • I make the basics easy for myself. Even before I was blogging, I had a makeup routine that I liked and could do quickly. A hairstyle that I could work with in the time frame I had to get ready each day. And basic pieces in my closet that I could grab in a pinch and know I look good. It can take time to find all these things but once you do, it can really help to simplify your day. 

I know many of these things seem like simple no-brainers, but sometimes that is all it takes. Balance and time management is a struggle for most people not just myself so I know that it will be a work in progress my entire life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on balance and time management. Do you feel that you have a good hold on it? What are some of your tips that help you balance your time better?



Shop more sweatshirts I'm loving:



Shop more leggings I'm loving:


12/12/18

My Favorite Candles To Burn During the Holidays

I love burning candles all year round, but especially during the holiday season. I like a wide variety of scents from woodsy and earthy to sweet and warm. Here are 8 of my favorite candles that I love to burn now:

1. Diptyque Sapin de Lumiere Candle - I am a sucker for the packaging on the holiday candles that Diptyque puts out every year. Sometimes I like all 3 scents, other times just one or two of them. This year, I preferred the Sapin de Lumiere out of all 3. It's a much fresher version of a traditional fir tree scent which I prefer. And of course the jar and box are one of a kind and beautiful.

2. Thymes Frasier Fir Candle - I first discovered this candle at a local shop near my home and was panicked that I wouldn't be able to find it again. Then I went online and realized that it's a very popular candle for the holidays. Whew! Crisis averted. It smells like a fresh cut Christmas tree but in the most pleasant way possible. 

3. Capri Blue Fir & Firewood Candle - I have to be honest and say that this smells very similar to the Thymes Frasier Fir candle so if you like that one, you will definitely love this one by Capri Blue. I find that both have a long burn time but the throw on this candle is slightly less than the Thymes, in my opinion. (throw refers to how far in a room the scent will reach)
4. Nest Fragrances Holiday Candle - This is a staple for me every year and would also make an amazing gift. While many of the selections in this list are woodsy, this is a nice mix of pine and cloves with pomegranate and mandarin orange.

5. Nest Fragrances Sparkling Cassis Candle - Out of all my picks, this candle is my favorite and one that I would burn all year long. I love it for the holidays but plan to buy multiple backups because the fruity scent is divine! It's a mix of pink champagne, creme de cassis, frosted cranberry and wild fig. I don't even have to light it to smell its scent throughout my entire home. It's that fragrant and lovely.

6. Nest Fragrances Hearth Candle - This was a new candle for me this year and one that I wouldn't normally gravitate towards because of how woodsy and earthy it smells. However, after burning it for the past few weeks, I love how cozy it makes my room smell and the scent is more subtle than others I have. It's a mix of rich wood, frankincense and smoky embers.

7. Byredo Tree House Candle - I already finished this one but I absolutely loved it and thought it would make an amazing holiday and/or winter scent. It's a bit more unique than the other woodsy scents I have mentioned with notes of sandalwood, bamboo and cedar mixed with leather, spice and myrrh. And the bottle is absolutely chic and gorgeous.

8. Diptyque Ambre Candle - If you want another Diptyque recommendation for the holidays, I love the Ambre scent and the Vanille scent too. Both are warm and rich yet not overpowering or too sweet.
*pr samples included

Shop all my candle recommendations below:


12/11/18

All the Books I've Recently Finished




 Sweatshirt | Sweatpants | Slippers | Home office decor linked here

I have been an audiobook listening machine these past few months. I finished 9 books and had to give up halfway through 2 others because I was not enjoying them. There were a few light and easy reads in this bunch, some serious stories and then a couple that left me a bit confused. Leave me a comment and let me know what you are reading or any suggestions of books you loved! 

1. Love and Other Words - This is an easy read and a fun love story. Macy and Elliot grew up together and were each other's first loves. They had a falling out and parted ways which leaves both of them devastated. Years later they run into each other but are hesitant to stay connected and open up past wounds. Neither truly understood why their relationship fell apart and when they finally know the truth, it completely changes everything.

2. Where the Crawdads Sing - I wanted to love this book since it had so many great reviews, but sadly I only ended up liking it. That being said, I still would recommend reading it. Kya Clark grows up alone on the marsh in North Carolina after circumstances leave her orphaned. She stays to herself and only allows a few people into her life. When she lets one of the wrong people into her life and something happens to him, the first person the authorities accuse is Kya. This book is slow moving at times, but the ending really surprised me.

3. Educated - I had a ton of feelings while reading this - from anger, to frustration, to sadness and everything in between. It's a real life memoir about a young girl raised by her survivalist parents in Idaho. It's her account of what happened to her growing up and the unconventional life that her family led. Since the book has been released, her parents and siblings have denied the damaging claims the author puts forth in her story. What she details in the book about her childhood is devastating to read and left me so angry and frustrated for her. She managed to move past her difficult upbringing and go on to accomplish many great things, especially with her education. Obviously we can never know the full story but the circumstances surrounding how she was raised and the events that occurred in her life are hard to imagine. Either way, I thought it was a fascinating story and one that really moved me.

4. A Simple Favor - I heard so much buzz about this book (that was also made it into a movie) so I figured I would see what all the fuss was about. Meh. It was good. Nothing earth-shattering to be honest. Emily and Stephanie are best friends and know everything about each other. Emily seems to lives a fabulous life and one that Stephanie envies as a single mother and widow. One day Emily goes missing and Stephanie believes Emily's husband knows more than he is telling. The story gets twisted and a bit weird, but managed to keep my attention until the end. 

5. The Hating Game - A cute love story that I couldn't put down. Lucy and Josh work together and hate one another. They do everything they can to get each other in trouble and ruin the other's day whenever possible. When both are in line for the same promotion, Lucy decides she is not backing down to Josh and will fight tooth and nail for this opportunity. After a work outing one afternoon, their dynamic begins to change and things get complicated. This is a light and easy read and I enjoyed it from start to finish.

6. The Immortalists - This book didn't instantly hook me but grew on me as the story developed. 4 siblings visit a psychic that tells them the day they will die. While it seems like just a hoax, some of the siblings really wonder if it's true. The psychic's premonition haunts each of them and as their lives unfold, they have to decide if they will believe that date is their destiny or if they have control over their own life. It's a captivating story that kept me interested until the very end.

7. Our Kind of Cruelty - What the wha??? That was what I kept telling myself while reading this book. It is weird. So weird. I couldn't really tell what was actually the truth because the main character was so delusional that I had a hard time figuring out the storyline. Mike is in love with Verity even though they broke up more than a year ago. She is engaged to another man and Mike still believes that they she is playing hard to get. It's a weird book with a very strange ending and I can't decide if I liked it or not. The reviews were all over the place which makes sense now after reading it.

8. All Your Perfects - I've come to love Colleen Hoover books even though their storylines all seem to be very similar. Quinn and Graham fall in love in the most unique of circumstances and their future seems destined for a lifetime of happiness. Sadly their marriage encounters some devastating situations early on that leave them broken and on the verge of divorce. They must figure out if they can move past these struggles and learn to love each other again or go their separate ways.

9. Lilac Girls - It was only after I finished reading this book did I learn that it was based on actual events which made it so much more devastating. The story takes place during WWII and chronicles the lives of three different women and their experiences during the war. For much of the book, I didn't understand where their stories would converge but things began to come together almost halfway through. The majority of the story is about the horrors that took place at the Nazi women's camp in Ravensbruck and all the medical experiments that were performed on the innocent women there. It's a heartbreaking book but nonetheless a wonderful read and a testament to the courage that so many of these women had in the face of such atrocities.

I did read two more books but couldn't finish them because they were not my cup of tea. I tried and tried, but couldn't get through either. I didn't add them to the list but for those interested it was Circe and The Night Circus. I had heard wonderful things about both but sadly they were not for me.

Read all my past book reviews here.

Shop more loungewear sets:


12/10/18

Life Lately on Instagram

Dress | Belt | Boots | Bag | Sunglasses

Sweatshirt | Leggings | Slippers | iPhone cover | Bedroom linked here

Jacket | Jeans | Sneakers | Sunglasses

Coat | Turtleneck | Bag | Lipstick | iPhone case | Home office linked here

Turtleneck | Jeans | Boots | Scarf | Bag (similar)

Sweater | Lipstick

Sweater | Jeans | Boots (similar) | Hat | Bag

Jacket | Leggings | Sneakers | Beanie | Bag 

Sweater | Jeans | Boots | Hat 

Jacket | Turtleneck | Jeans | Boots (similar) | Bag | Umbrella

Dress | Bag | Hat
Dress (sold out but similar here and sweater version here) | Boots (budget option here) | Bag | Sunglasses
Coat | Turtleneck | Skirt | Tights | Boots (similar) | Bag
Coat | Jeans | Boots | Bag | Beanie
Sweater | Joggers
Maree: Coat | Hat | Jeans | Bag | Boots (amazing budget option here) | Gloves
Miles: Jacket | Pants | Shoes | Hat | Stroller
Today's post is a round-up of my Instagram outfits over the past few weeks with links to everything I am wearing. I'm currently sitting here trying to figure out a day to take Miles to see Santa. I am pretty positive there will be some tears but maybe if we catch him at the right moment, there won't be. Ha! #wishfulthinking Even though December moves at lightning speed, I am going to try to do as much as we can to enjoy it. 

I would love to know some of your favorite holiday traditions or activities to do during the holiday season! I am looking for new ones to start and many of you have such great suggestions. 

12/9/18

Weekend Sales Worth Shopping

Coat | Turtleneck | Jeans | Boots | Bag | Beanie
I love this time of year because there are so many great deals from now until early January! Here are some retailers that I love to shop at that are currently having sales:

1. Express - everything is 40% off right now! This chenille cardigan looks so comfortable, my sequined leggings are still available (I wore them here) and there are tons of great sweater options included.

2. Anthropologie - all cozy items are currently 30% off right now (look at all this loungewear goodness on sale!). These joggers I wore here are included in the sale, these chenille leggings look like something I want to put on right now, I'm currently burning this candle for the holidays and it's included and there are also tons of pillows and throws on sale right now too!

3. J.Crew - Still tons of sales going on at J. Crew both for full priced things and sale items. This parka is 50% off and such a great piece, my fair isle sweater is still on sale (I'm wearing it here), their smoking loafers are so chic, my fuzzy fleece that I wore here is 50% off, now is a great time to pick up a pair of basic denim or one of their pajama sets which I have quite a few of!

4. Club Monaco - They are having their friends and family event this weekend so you can get 25% off your purchase. My recommendation is to go straight for their coats - they are the best.

5. Sephora - There is promotion going on for all Beauty Insider members to get a certain amount of any order over $75! Great time to pick up some last minute gift sets (here is a post on 8 of my favorite sets).

6. Target - They are having an extra 25% off on kitchen appliances

7. Colleen Rothschild - She always has great sales around this time and is currently having another promotion. Her cleansing balm and sheer renewal cream are two products I repurchase over and over.

8. Pottery Barn - They are doing 25% off sitewide and Pottery Barn Kids is included too! They always have such cute mirror options (this is the one I have in Miles' room).

9. West Elm - Currently they have 20% off furniture + 25% off everything else.

10. Ann Taylor and Loft - Both have amazing sales going on this weekend. Tons of new arrivals are on sale at Ann Taylor (and so much leopard print!) and I want all the cozy Lou & Grey stuff for winter.

What's In My Everyday Makeup Drawers Right Now

Here are all the makeup products that I am using on a daily basis. Enjoy and don't forget to subscribe!

The products mentioned in the video:


12/8/18

Gift Ideas For the Home and Kitchen

Maree's pajamas | Miles' pajamas
I cannot with Miles' tongue in that photo - he is such a ham! This will be my final gift guide and it's tons of ideas for the home and or kitchen. I asked Stan to give his input on many of these because he is the chef in our home and knows all the good items to splurge on. Here are all my picks:

1. If I could, I would put a fuzzy rug in every single room of my home. These come in so many different colors and sizes and look so soft!

2. My girlfriend has this mirror in her house and it looks amazing (and is under $50)! It comes back in stock frequently so check back because it is definitely worth it.

3. I've seen so many people talking about this Instant Pot and now I really want to try it.

4. A bar cart is such a fun addition to the dining room or living room and can be decorated so many times throughout the year. This one is a splurge but so chic.

5. A pizza oven is not your ordinary gift but one that the entire family can enjoy!

6. Stan is the chef in our house and he loves all the fancy kitchen gadgets. This is on his wish list at the moment (frankly anything from the entire brand would be ok with him).

7. For the men in your life or anyone that is looking for a great knife set, Stan said this brand is fantastic and worth the splurge.

8. I'm not too fussy about my coffee but Stan is and he dreams of owning this espresso machine someday. (or this one if we win the lottery LOL - at that price it better hug me and make me breakfast)

9. For the baker in your life (or anyone that has a kitchen LOL), these canisters are adorable (and so functional).

10. Possibly a gift for yourself if you are looking for a chandelier option for various rooms in the house, this draped one is absolutely beautiful!

11. I love everything Gray Malin and think his pieces make the best gifts. I love his Beaches book and have given it to many of my friends (I have it too), his candle is so chic, I would lose my mind if I received one of his coffee table trays (this one and this one are everything) and of course his photography is what made him famous and would make the ultimate gift.

12. For a last minute stocking stuffer, these holiday mugs are adorable.

I updated The Holiday Shop with some new finds so be sure to check it out!
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