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Gifts Under $20

It’s officially Christmas week. The holidays we have been waiting for are slowly creeping up on us. To me, it seems like Christmas is still weeks away because this is one of my favorite holidays of the year (and probably because all of my shopping & wrapping is done!), but for many the stress of finishing last minute gifts is setting in. So, for those of you who are still wondering what to get that special someone: here you go! Gifts that will make people smile for under 20 bucks!

For your chill married friends: Give your friends this awesome tea set for Christmas. Target offers you The Tea Spot Tea & Teacups Gift Set. At a modest price of only $19.99 it comes with two fancy mugs as well as two different types of tea; Meditative Mind Tea & Snowflakes Tea. If you want to bulk it up, you can add a tin of tea biscuits or pirouette cookies and make your own fancy gift basket for only a few dollars more.

For the beauty junkie who has “everything”: I’m a makeup junkie who people say has pretty much everything under the sun. But there is one thing I can never have enough of, and that is lip gloss. Give her the Sephora Brand Magic Lip Gloss Set. It comes with six glittery shades which are perfect for fancy holiday looks, and the colors are gorgeous. I especially like the Silver and Gold. It also comes with a cute lip gloss brush and is only $10.00. Also, with every Sephora order you are able to choose three free samples, they can be for you, or for that makeup addict on your list.

For your SO’s parents or in-laws: For me, shopping for Keith’s parents used to be scary. I never knew what to get them. Now I know a lot more about what they like, but if you’re celebrating Christmas with your SO’s parents for the first time, why not try a Harry & David Snackbox? I personally love H&D products, especially their amazing Moose Munch confection. This snack box comes packed with Cheddar Cheese, Sesame Toast, Smoked Sausage, Caramel Moose Munch, Mixed Nuts, and Honey Mustard. With all of the yummy snacks in this box, and for a price of only $19.95, it’s a perfect gift to share.

For your creative writer pal: Do you have a friend who never leaves home without a small notebook or her journal? Do you often find her writing in her journal when you had plans to leave the house an hour ago? Does she tell you that her writing is “almost done?” This year give her the best writing journals she can ask for! A pack of Moleskine Journals is an amazing gift for any writer. They now come in this fancy and pretty pink, but you can buy them in a range of colors. Barnes & Noble is offering this gift for a very fair price of only $12.00 when you order online.

And for those other giftees that you’re stumped on:
Your little cousin or close friends kid wants to be a chef: Betty Crocker’s Kids Cook is an awesome full color book that has kid friendly recipes for that aspiring chef to experiment with. A few of the recipes are: Squeeze and Scribble Pancakes, Whatever Pizza, and Puddle of Fudge Cake. ($17.95)

Your guy who smokes but hates cold hands: Gap Fingerless Gloves. They come in a cool red striped pattern. Functional and badass at the same time. ($14.50).

Your college pal who likes planning and Harry Potter: Harry Potter 2010 Calendar. Awesome full color photos of your favorite witches and wizards. ($13.99)

While giving that perfect gift can be stressful, especially if you’re still shopping for it, I always remember Glamour’s advice from last Christmas. “You don’t have to be Ivana Trump to give an awesome gift.” I live by that. It’s always, ALWAYS, the thought that gets put behind the present you’re giving. Hope you all have a very happy holiday and a merry Christmas. Enjoy the festivities!


Things I Love: Wednesday

It’s the middle of the week, and though I began compiling this blog on the train ride home from NYC, I figured it was time to share with all of you the things that are keeping me cheerful this week.

Last Christmas was when I had the pleasure of trying out Philosophy’s bath and body products. My cousin got me Snowman Body Wash/Shampoo and it was great! This Christmas season they are featuring a “Recipe Box” including Red Velvet Cake and Sweet Creamy Frosting body washes/shampoos. The cool thing about Philosophy’s products is that you can wash your hair and your body at the same time. What a time saver! Plus these two products smell delicious. I purchased mine at Ulta for $18.00, and have been using them every day. My skin is soft, the lather is FABULOUS, and it feels like I’m bathing in cupcake batter. Definitely a great stocking stuffer or gift for your friends! It also comes with two real baking recipe cards!

Next up, Tom Perrotta! I was introduced to his books by my friend Kelly. She let me borrow a book called “Little Children” and I ended up buying it for myself and telling as many people as possible to read it. But this isn’t about “Little Children”, (though that’s a great read) this is about “The Abstinence Teacher.” This book kept me hooked from the beginning. One of the main characters is a teacher, and it just shows what teachers have to go through when the “man” steps into your classroom. The book also gives a look into the world of religion, and what happens when religion and public education mesh together. (It’s disastrous in my opinion–but that is a whole other blog post). To me, the characters were believable, and I loved the flashback style Perrotta used.

Going on with the book theme, my next obsession is Goodreads. I joined it because I’m currently compiling a reading portfolio/unit for a Sarah Dessen novel for my class. I was planning on creating a Goodreads project, but figured I should be familiar with HOW the site works, not just what I’ve heard from fellow bloggers. Needless to say, I’m hooked and I have tons of fun ideas for my future students to use and explore this website. You can add me and I would love that. I especially like the site’s trivia section. It’s infinite!

Finally, exchanging recipes is something else that I’ve recently gotten into. If you remember from Easter I received a recipe box and am currently working on filling it. At my Aunt’s house on Thanksgiving I planned to exchange recipes via snail mail with my cousin’s brother. I sent him a Manicotti recipe and my Taco Dip recipe. The art of letter writing is NOT dead. I love writing letters, and I love getting recipes. Do you have any favorite recipes?


Things I Love: Thursday!

As of 7:30 this evening, my first week of classes for the Fall Semester of 2009 has been completed. I’m taking 4 classes and really only need 3 to graduate, but took an extra one to remain full time. I’m taking The Teaching of Writing, Special Education, Reading & Literacy, and Ceramics! I can’t wait to be able to snap some photos of the projects I’ll be making. I’m not the most artistic person, but ceramics was something I always loved in high school. Maybe it’ll help to relax me throughout my last semester before I Student Teach? So, with the new school year up and running, I’ve found some new things to love, and some things that will be keeping me happy for this important and bittersweet semester.

I’m at school at really crazy times, so I sometimes need a snack to tide me over during that awkward after lunchtime but before dinner time period. I saw an ad for Ritz Crackerfuls in my US Weekly, and they were referred to as “The Grown Up” version of cheese and crackers. They pack 5 grams of whole grains per serving and are made with real cheese. I’ve tried the cheddar and picked up some of the four cheese flavor today. They really do satisfy you when you need a crunch, and anything with cheese in my opinion automatically gets points for me.

It’s only been two days but so far I’m loving my Ceramics class. I’ve rolled out all four of my slabs for my tile series project and look forward to smoothing them out and starting my carving on Tuesday. The only thing about working in clay for 4 or more hours a week? Dry hands! I constantly wash my hands as it is, and have raved about this lotion before, but if there are any other ceramics students out there, I definitely recommend this! Eucerin is the best product ever! Wash your hands and apply when your hands are still a bit moist. Works like a charm and absorbs quickly.

Since we’re all trying to cut back on expensive purchases I switched from my beloved MAC Green Gel Cleanser to try a cheaper alternative by Neutrogena. My friend Kathleen recommended it to me and I’ve been using it for over a month now. It smells delicious, has fun little beads that refresh and exfoliate, and it truly does wake me up when I’m washing my face in the morning. I still miss my MAC, but during these times, it pays to be frugal where you can.

And last but not least…I love Keith. He’s been keeping me calm throughout the first week, and trust me that is a full time job. Not only does he take me out for dinner, he lets me poke his nose, and is just plain awesome. I never include him in a TIL post, but it should be mentioned that I definitely do love him. <3


My ULTA Experience

Just recently, the town over opened up an ULTA, which for those of you who don’t know is somewhat similar to Sephora, a big huge makeup/beauty store, which I’m convinced is what heaven will look like for me. I’ve been to many a Sephora before, but having a makeup store less than 20 minutes away from me is dangerous and amazing all at the same time. Kathleen & I woke up early and got to ULTA at 9am, hoping that we would be one of the first hundred customers to snag a gift card though much to our dismay there were people lined up as early as 7:30 in the morning. We did not leave empty handed though! I purchased some Benefit Kitten Shimmer body/face powder and Kathleen picked up some OPI nail polish, but after waiting in a line that wrapped around nearly the whole store we received our free gifts at the register.

My free gift pack included a shimmery purple eye shadow, Kiwi color reflecting finishing spray, curl texturizing creme, and vanilla hand and body lotion. I haven’t tried the finishing spray or lotion yet, but the eyeshadow is gorgeous and subtle and the curl creme is amazing. The scent is light and somewhat powdery and it makes my curls nice and tight, but soft as well. All of the sample sizes are so close to a full size bottle/tube! This trip was definitely worth the wait in line.

The main difference between my beloved Sephora and ULTA is that one whole side of the store was dedicated to drugstore brands ranging from Garnier hair care to Maybelline mascara. Which goes to show you that you don’t have to break the bank when shopping at ULTA.


New Additions & Wristlets

[Since Keith provided some of the “material” (ha) for this post, first and foremost, please check out his online portfolio flatblackart.com. He’s an amazing artist and is bringing his art to the internet. Follow him up on Twitter as well! It’d make his day!]

I truly feel like a real fashion lover as I have bought my first piece of Coach all by myself (with the help of my Macy’s charge, haha). This was not an impulse buy either. I saw this Coach wallet a few months ago and managed to pick it up on sale (almost 50% the original price), and decided this was the one for me for a few reasons. It has the classic black on white logo design which will never go out of style. It’s a classic piece that can be paired with almost any purse. And the inside has room for a check book (which also came with the wallet, it has the same pattern!), and plenty of room for cards and cash. I’m absolutely in love with it, and here she is:

And finally, the second two things I had to show you guys were two gifts I received. Keith and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary together on the 6th of June and he surprised me with a wristlet from the Juicy loves Sephora collection. I’ve never owned a wristlet but always wanted one for bars/concerts and one to take to weddings since they’re so much easier than carting a purse around. It’s absolutely beautiful and I love it!

And my Mom and Dad so generously bought me a Coach black on black wristlet for my good grades. Yes, I get presents for good grades! Got a problem? Tell someone who cares, I’m a spoiled and appreciative only child. Ha! I’ll be taking this to the two weddings Keith and I are attending later in the summer.

I tried out my Juicy Wristlet for a party last night and it worked beautifully. It was so much easier than toting one of my big bags around and it can be safer too especially at parties and other big gatherings. I carried my license, one credit card, some cash, my cellie, gum and smokes.


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