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Stocking Stuffers You'll Want to Keep Yourself!

Well well, long time no talk!  I've missed you all as I've taken time to focus on other baskets, but alas, the holiday season is here and I am ready to rock and roll!  I don't know about you, but as a professional shopper, I feel like I'm typically pretty on top of the big stuff.  I know what's reasonable to put under the tree and while it may sometimes seem like a lot, I also have 30 years of shopping experience and know EXACTLY how to get more than the most bang for a buck, so I'm typically pretty successful at making it happen.  Then the week before Christmas comes, I pat myself on the back, and suddenly am saying "Crap!  I forgot about the stockings!"  Que me running to the local CVS for toothpaste, body wash, and chocolate Santas (that will probably get thrown out a few weeks later).  

Anyway, this year I'm wising up and have put together a list of the best stocking stuffers you will actually WANT in your stocking!  So without further ado, behold my top 5 little gems of Christmas 2018!

1. Real Techniques mini contour brush.  Perfect for blending ShadowSense under cheekbones and creating your perfect subtle look for the holidays and beyond! 

2. ShadowSense.  With the same budge proof power of LipSense, this stuff is my go to for multiple reasons and the perfect compliment to the brush mentioned above.  I use as shadow, liner, concealer, blush, and as a contour on the rest of my face.  Talk about cutting back on the amount of products I use, this stuff can truly can do it all! 

3. How cute is the adorable holder for your brushes?  I have to admit, I have mine thrown into my bag amongst the rest of my makeup and isn't it a rule that you can always find every brush except for the one you are looking for?  Might need to invest in this myself, especially since I apparently have a penchant for all things marble.  

4.  A bright pink lip color.  Sure, my mind is still locked on deep berries and holiday reds, but with New Years and Valentine's Day next on the docket, you'll be sure to have something to be excited to wear! 

5. How cute is this little motivational jewelry tray?  I don't know about you but the ring dish my MOH got me for my engagement is seriously one of the most used organizational pieces in my home and honestly I could probably use another in other areas of the house.  

So there you are.  The things a girly girl's stocking dreams are made of!  Which are you asking Santa for this year? 

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How to Spend Money for Twenty-Somethings

This might be the least searched post title I've ever created because honestly, what twenty something has trouble spending money?  I know I spent plenty of it.  Some of the right way and some the wrong way.  Mostly on pure necessities.  Things like a car, food, concert tickets, breast implants... I digress. Honestly I don't have many regrets when it comes to how I spent my money, but more that I didn't seek more of it.  Nonetheless, as I near closer to 40 than 30, I can't help but feel that I have a good chunk of knowledge to bestow on anyone willing to listen.  So here it goes.  Five things you definitely should spend money on (or save for) in your twenties.  

1. Retirement.  This one I actually STARTED out doing right and am sad to say I haven't continued.  Upon accepting my first out of college job I took pride and putting a solid chunk of each paycheck toward my aggressive 401K thinking I started now so I'm going to be set for life.  Righhhhht.  Enter a mortgage, childcare, wedding expenses, and a family's worth of grocery shopping... thank GOD I did this in my early twenties or I would probably not have a single dime to my name!  Please I am begging you.  It may seem far away but trust me when I tell you your expenses WILL increase.  Do it while you don't have a ton of responsibilities beyond yourself.  You never know what life is going to throw you down the road. 

2. Personal growth. And I'm not really talking resume builders here.  In fact if I had to name my #1 top waste of money in my life, it would be my college education, but that's a topic for another day.  I'm talking about opportunities to look introspectively into your own soul and learning to recognize the God sent goddess that you are.  It's now my firm belief that it's not a lack of education or opportunity that tends to hold people back, but a lack of belief in themselves.  A lack of awareness about their own impact on the world.  Get a book.  Register for a conference.  Go to mass.  One way or another, you MUST invest in your spiritual growth or you will feel lost and confused for the rest of your life no matter how successful you look on paper.  

3. A space you love.  I tend to go back and forth on this because I realize that cleaning and decorating will never get me a paycheck, but I also know all too well the mental chaos that can ensue from disorganization and a space that is not cohesive.  Ok, maybe that's just a personal problem on my part, but I definitely feel a sense of peace and clarity when everything is in it's place and I am surrounded by a feeling of "home".  Be it an extra comfortable mattress or an adorable piece of decor, these touches are not to be overlooked.  Your environment definitely effects your psyche.  Make it easy on yourself.  

4. A quality ANTI AGING skincare regimen.  Yes, even in your youth, you NEED to start treating your skin right.  Just like when we talk about investing your money young, the same goes for your skin.  Now is the BEST time to set your skin up for an amazing future and slow the again process from square one! Luckily I learned this early and although I have certainly tried many different brands, I definitely remember my college roommates all but making fun of my Mary Kay TimeWise as though I was too young to purchase such a product.  But I didn't listen because I knew better.  Today I've discovered something even more revolutionary that is actually helping my cells to turnover faster thus bringing those new, youthful cells to the surface and minimizing wrinkles before (and after) they begin.  It's a necessity for gals at any age... especially you young ones! Commit now and look forward to comparing your selfies today to the ones 20 years from now and saying hmmm... I don't look all that different!  Don't wait until it's too late. 

5. Epic vacations.  When I was 24, my roommates and I spent 3 nights in Vegas and I'm pretty certain it still might be 3 of the best nights of my life.  We dressed to the nines, networked with ease, and were treated like queens at literally every one of the hottest nightclubs on the strip.  We shared tables with celebrities (Dennis Haskins counts right?), walked straight past the lines, and drank like fishes until my body literally went straight into vodka rejection mode.. but I rallied on.  Granted, it wouldn't exactly be the vacation I'd be seeking today, but "epic" is still the word that comes to mind.  No matter how much you keep up, you won't be able to put on a slinky dress and be comped your every desire forever.  Do it while you can.  Create those memories.  You'll keep those forever. 

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How I Get Fall Styles for Less

There's something about Fall.  Suddenly people are finished with the bikini life and they're ready to get dressed.  And when they go to their closets they wonder what in the world to wear.  And when you wonder what to wear, you'll inevitably want to go shopping.  Luckily for me I consider myself a deal finding expert and get quite a thrill out of it if I'm being honest.  Even if I won the lottery, I'm still totally convinced I would not change my current shopping habits because there's just something internally rewarding about getting the bang for your buck.  Sure I'd go on a lot more vacations and probably spruce up my house, but as far as fashion?  I'm stuck in my ways and yes I think they're best the ways.  That's why I've decided to fill you in on one of them today and that is my ongoing love for Jane.

No, it's not a person.  It's a website.  And if you STILL aren't shopping there, you're really missing out.  Jane is a site for people who want the latest fashions but don't want to spend a ton of money.  It's a site for people who like me, get a thrill out of finding the BEST deal at the right time (all deals change daily and they sell out if you don't jump on them!). It's a site for people who are sick of looking for a needle in a haystack.  Because if you're a fashionable "basic" girl like me, you don't want to spend hours scouring a million different boutiques for exactly what you want.  You want them all in one place.  And that's what Jane is.

Below I've put together some of my favorite looks, all of which can be found on Jane - clothing and accessories included!  I've also paired with my favorite lip colors because now that I'm into that life, it has too become a part of the outfit!  No, I did not link each individual piece because the cool thing about Jane is that inventory changes daily, so what's there today may be different tomorrow, but guaranteed if you like these, you'll find them coming back again and again.  Comment below with your favorite look and stay tuned for my Target haul coming up soon!

Look #1 - Florals, browns, and fringe booties!

Look #2 - Oversized sweaters, Pointed Flats, and Wines!

Look #3 - Graphic tee, side pony, and a double leather wrap!

Look #4 - Flowy blouses, head wraps, and subtle pink lips!

Look #5 - Plaid, Criss cross necks, and plum pretty gorgeousness!

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5 Things You DON'T Need On Your Baby Registry (And What You Should Get Instead)

So this post might seem slightly out of place in my life, and no, I am NOT pregnant for those who might now be speculating.  I'm writing this because for some reason I seem to have a record number of pregnant friends suddenly seeking advice.  Well if you want my #1 piece of advice it is this: Take it with a grain of salt.  I can't even tell you the amount of things people swore I needed that I didn't even use, thus prompting me to share my experience and throw my own two cents into the mix.  

And now, without further ado, here are the things you totally DON'T need on your registry...

1. A Rock n Play.  I can't even begin to tell you the number of people who told me I needed a Rock n Play, and I suppose if you have the room for it, you go Glenn Coco. I on the other hand have a tiny house.  We don't have a ton of room for extra pieces of furniture all over the place.  Instead,  I went with Boppy Loungers (not to be confused with a traditional Boppy pillow which is entirely different) and my kids LOVED them!  Also as somebody with her living room on a totally separate floor than her kitchen, these were really easy to carry up and down the stairs whenever we needed a change of scenery.  

2. Swaddles.  Babies love swaddles they say.  It makes them feel secure they say.  Well let me tell you, even my 2 lb. 5 oz. little hampster babies wanted NOTHING to do with the swaddle.  They were legs out, arms out escape artists from the second they hit the isolate and it never stopped when we got home either.  What I did end up using 8,000 of, which surprised me, was receiving blankets.  I could just lay them on top of them to keep them warm without making them feel trapped in.  I'll admit, when I ended up with so many after my shower, I thought to myself nobody in their right mind would ever need this many blankets.  Wrong.  In those first few months it actually becomes a part of their outfit because they're being carried in it all the time.  And being the OCD matchy matchy mom that I am, the blanket of the day HAD to coordinate with the sleeper, which had to coordinate with the other sister as well.  It's a good thing I had so many choices after all! 

3. A swing/bouncer of any kind.  I had both.  For both children.  And a variety of types because I bought them all second hand.  I'll admit they looked adorable sitting in the corner of my living room, but if I'm being quite honest, I was probably lucky to get a good 3 minutes out of either of them before a child was screaming bloody murder to get out.  They just did not like it.  The thing that they DID find entertaining above all things for legit months and months of their life?  The activity mat.  Jungle gym.  Whatever you want to call it.  For them, this was the big deal.  Smiling, batting, reaching, laughing.  They even had their first full on infant conversation on this thing.  No doubt because they were both so ecstatic about what they were seeing, albeit in their squeaky infant sort of way.  It might seem plain Jane to you, but seriously do not overlook the awe of the baby activity center.  There's nothing better when you're stuck lying on your back while mom folds your laundry.  

 4. Dr. Brown's baby bottles.  Is it like a rule that "good moms" use Dr. Browns?  I swear everyyyyybody and their mother (pun intended) uses Dr. Browns.  I'm sorry but you are ALL doing it wrong.  I chose the Playtex drop-in system and guess what??  I don't wash bottles.  Ever.  Just a quick soap squirt into the nipple and quick rinse and we're done folks.  Yes, my kids made the mess of all messes when I first introduced it.  Yes it took practice to get more in their bellies than down their face.  But ya know what?  They get used to it.  They learn.  You're life is easier and you have less time washing dishes and more time loving on those beautiful babes.  I would never use another product.  Period.

Tip: Start with the SLOW FLOW nipples and you can increase gradually as they get bigger. ;) 

5. A bathtub.  I actually never registered for one because quite honestly I didn't know where I would store it when it wasn't bath time, but I DID get one of those cushiony bath mats that I thought I would lay down in the tub instead.  It's still in the packaging in our attic somewhere.  Personally I found it super easy and quick to bathe my kids in the kitchen sink until they were too big to fit there anymore.  And by that time, they are happily sitting up and playing with toys in your regular tub anyway.  I just find the whole baby bath tub thing to be quite cumbersome for something that's not being used all that frequently.  I don't have a link for my replacement idea because it's the kitchen sink and mother's loving arms, both of which you have already! 

And just as a side note, feel free to apply my initial advice to this post as well, which is take my words with a grain of salt.  My kids are not your kids, and truly, they will let you know what they need AFTER they get here! xo 

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