Christmas is right around the corner, and we have found the best gift ideas for everyone on your list. Whether you are looking for a book worm or movie buff, a foodie or an outdoor explorer, this guide will give you a gift idea (or five)!
I consider myself a pretty frequent shopper. Just ask my husband – it’s by far his favorite thing about me. (Hehe.) I’m always browsing online for clothes, home goods or future holiday or birthday gifts. I’ll load up my virtual cart, and every once in a while, I’ll even “Submit Order.” Even when it comes to the day-to-day type of shopping, I genuinely enjoy going to the grocery store or a quick Target run for some cat litter and Sinex. But despite the thrills I get from shopping, it truly is rare that I pay full price or buy something without earning cash back, and that’s mostly the result of a few easy-to-use apps. I’ve rounded up my all-time favorite cash-back apps for you below! And trust me, I’m not trying to get all spam-my on you; I’m just genuinely stoked about the amount I’ve been able to earn back on things I’m already buying, so I wanted to share the wealth. (Literally.) And maybe, just maybe, if you’re earning money back on that must-have pair of shoes, you can justify some of your shopping habits. Happy shopping!
I had the wondrous fortune of marrying the love of my life this past weekend, and it was everything I had ever imagined that it would be.
The morning of our wedding, I got ready with my bridesmaids and our moms at the venue, and Skyler had left me four gifts to open.
The first was a beautiful leather bound notebook with archival pages in which Skyler detailed our entire relationship. From when we first met in college to the day he proposed, and leaving room for the rest of our story. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made so excited to marry him that afternoon.
The second gift was a small fan. If you know me at all, you know that I get very warm very easily. Throughout our engagement, we had joked that if it were warm outside, I would need a fan to hide underneath my dress to keep me from profusely sweating. I’m marrying a jokester.
The third box enclosed the most beautiful earrings that I’ve ever had the privilege of wearing. (I’d love to give him all the credit here, but I picked them out myself, just like he picked out the watch I gifted him. Can’t win ’em all.)
And the fourth gift was massive, and horribly wrapped. The box opened to reveal three GoPros that Skyler had rented to help us capture our wedding day. A videographer was one thing that I questioned throughout the entire planning process. Did I want one? Did I need one? Would it be worth the added cost? Ultimately, we decided against it. Or at least, that’s what I thought. I was so giddy at this surprise, and I couldn’t wait to see the footage we’d end up with.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve loved every single minute of reliving our wedding day through the eyes of the people that love us the most.
Here it is: our wedding video.
PS: I can’t wait to share our beautiful photos with you – as soon as I get them! Hazel Lining is amazing, and has been working hard on making us look way better than we really do!
Thanksgiving is now officially behind us, and the gift-giving season of Christmas is (acceptably) in full-swing. At home, our stockings have been hung, our tree has been decorated and gifts are already wrapped and waiting patiently under the tree for Christmas morning. I’m telling you – I love this stuff. Swoon.
I’ve always been head-over-heels in love with Christmas. For me, it’s everything. The colors (white and gold), the sounds (“Last Christmas”), the scents (pine trees and baked goods), the traditions (candle carousels, Chinese food and Charlie Brown trees) and the sights (gifts under the tree and smiling faces). I believe it brings out the best in people – the spirit of Christmas is kind and giving.
But my favorite thing about Christmas is giving gifts. And not just any gift. The perfect gift.
My whole entire life, I have loved fall on the farm. 153 sprawling acres of nature calling my name.
I used to play in the leaves and the flowers until I squealed. In my little grip, I carried the small pumpkins my grandma used as decoration in the front yard. I even tried to befriend the farm cats. Something about this place as the weather gets cool and the leaves begin to change just has always felt like home.
This year, I’ve been lucky enough to spend two wonderful autumn weekends here (and next weekend makes three). My days have been filled with walks to the barn, sipping on hot coffee, and sitting on the picnic table reading Real Simple. But the best part has been spending time with my family.
I drank PBR with Claude, and as I type, he’s making his traditional Saturday night pizza. (He buys a pepperoni pizza from a local joint, picks it up, brings it home and towels off a hefty amount of grease. Then, he adds his own peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and cooks it a little more. Truly, he’s been doing this every Saturday since I can remember.) I got to catch up with my aunt Michelle, whom I don’t see nearly enough. I may look exactly like my mother, but my adoration for the finer things in life comes directly from her.
I played with my baby cousin Stella, who in all sense of the word is not really a baby anymore. She walks, she talks (“Ab-by! Ab-by!”), and she laughs the kind of laugh that is loud and moves her entire body. (And, as it turns out, her love for the leaves on the fall is the same as mine at that age.) I even got to spend some quality time with my mom and all my brothers on a spontaneous lunch excursion to Pennsylvania.
And, I got to bake my very first apple pie with Granny. On our drive home from Pennsylvania, we stopped at Peter’s Orchard in Adams County to load up on Northern Spy apples. We were on a mission to bake the perfect pie. As soon as we got home, we started coring, and peeling and slicing, and soon we had the most wonderful, decadent, aromatic apple pie I’d ever seen. And, it was the fruit of our own labor — no pun intended.
Ingredients: 6-7 cups Northern Spy apple slices / Sugar / Cinnamon / Nutmeg / Salt / Flour / Pie crust (store bought, or my homemade recipe)
Directions: Preheat oven to 375° / Evenly coat sliced apples with mixture of dry ingredients. / Fit half of pie crust dough into the bottom of a pie pan. / Add apple mixture to pie pan. / Top with 4-5 small pads of butter for a little extra oomph. / Cover with remaining pie crust dough. / Lightly brush top with milk and eggs. / Sprinkle sugar onto pie crust. / Bake 50-60 minutes. / Enjoy your lovely fall treat.
A few months ago, my friend Hailey told me that the first floor of her apartment building was under construction. “I think it’s a dress shop,” she said excitedly. Fast forward a few weeks, and I had offered to watch her devilishly handsome little pup, Moe, while she was out of town for work. I pulled up to sidewalk, and there it was: glitteR & gRit. A dress shop, indeed. In each window hung some of the most unique and beautiful wedding dresses I had ever seen. It was dark outside, and the delicate lighting inside made these dresses seem like they were glowing.
Fast forward a few more weeks, and Hailey and I decided that we wanted to play dress up at glitteR & gRit during Shop Late Night in Lawrenceville. No, neither of us are engaged (or even close to being engaged), but hey, we were curious. It turns out this little dress shop had also piqued the interest of my photographer friend, Rachel Tokarski, who was shooting the event that night. After an hour, Hailey and I had each tried on a few dresses, developed girl crushes on the owner, Erin Szymanski, and fell absolutely in love with glitteR & gRit.
Fast forward another few weeks, and I had volunteered to participate in a stylized bridal shoot. I arrived to the shop on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, and dove headfirst into the madness of my first ever bridal photoshoot.
I hopped into the director’s chair to have my hair done by the wonderfully talented Candice Orlandi. Next, the lovely Julie Marckisotto made me look like a brand new person in the makeup chair. I slid into a stunning Elizabeth Dye gown, grabbed a whimsical bouquet provided by Mt. Lebanon Floral, and headed out the door. Rachel chose an old red church a few blocks up the street for our first location.
After I changed into my second gown, a delicate dress designed by UPoppy, added a bohemian fascinator to my new updo, darkened my makeup, and swapped out my elegant and earthy bouquet for a more playful one, we headed out to the railroad tracks to capture the true glitter and grit of this bohemian style.
Many thanks to all of the talented women that made this wonderful Reclaiming Romance shoot a reality! I can’t wait to see what’s next!