My Top Ten Songs of 2015

When a great new song comes out I have a bad habit of listening to it non-stop for days or weeks at a time until I get completely sick of it. Every single time I think to myself- there will never be a new song as good as this one. These are the songs that made me feel that way in 2015:

I will caveat this list by saying these are not necessarily the most beautiful or profound songs of the year (i.e. Adele isn’t on the list). But these songs got me through my daily commute, some very long drives, and about 300 workouts, and that’s all I need.

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Gift Guide 2015: Part 6

Here are some crunch time ideas for those procrastinators out there. I have memories of walking into a Gap only to find empty shelves where sweaters and scarves should be. If you find yourself in such a pickle, here are some other options.

Brick & Mortar Options

  • Bath & Body Works candles, soap, or gift basket (fancier looking candles at Anthro)
  • Board games or puzzles from Target or a pop-up game shop at the mall
  • Fancy phone case or accessories– chargers, cords, blue tooth speakers…
  • Magazine along with a year’s subscription (Barnes and Noble has a magazine for everyone on your list so you can give the actual magazine with the subscription)
  • Sephora Favorites gift box or brand specific gift box (Ulta has several as well)
  • DVDs or a movie theater gift card along with some fancy or microwave popcorn
  • Cookie dough ingredients assembled in a mason jar with the recipe attached
  • Gift card, store specific if you know where they like to shop or Target if you don’t know where they shop

E-Subscriptions

God Speed!

Gift Guide 2015: Part 5

Today we’re brainstorming gifts fir the couples on your list.

Kitchen

Bouchon Bakery

Depending on the culinary skills of your recipient, a fancy baking mix with a pretty mixing bowl and/or spatula is a fun and useful gift. For “fancier” baking mixes, I look to Williams Sonoma. It will look great paired with some of their seasonal or standard accessories like whisks, spatulas, cookie cutters, baking tins, or mixing bowls. If your recipients are already pro bakers or chefs, you might want to replace the baking mix with some premium ingredients like fancy vanilla extract, salt, olive oil, etc. and a tea towel. If you want to show of your culinary skills, consider making your best cookies and packaging them in gift worthy containers that they can reuse.

West Elm Bowls

Depending on how full you think the recipients kitchen cabinets are, I think it’s fun to gift a small set of pretty bowls, mugs, or a serving platter. It’s great to find unique items in boutiques and specialty kitchen stores, but if you want a short cut I think West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Sur La Table, and Williams Sonoma all have good options. If you can spare a few days, most of these retailers have personalized serving trays as well!

Home and Car

Address Stamp

A personalized set of notepads for the kitchen counter or a custom address stamp is a thoughtful and useful accessory for most households. As we know from my post on personalized gifts, Paper Source is my go-to for my stationary needs. You can pair this with a calendar a bottle of wine for a more substantial present.

faufurPB

I think one of the most thoughtful ways to gift is to upgrade something that gets a lot of use. One of these things is a throw blanket because, 1. people tend to accumulate  cheaper fleece or those sweatshirt blankets, and 2. blankets wear out over time and it’s nice to get a fresh one. And God forbid I have a blanket that actually compliments my living room (don’t forget, faux fur, like metallic, is considered a neutral if you’re from New Jersey)! This is another thing that you can get from your favorite home boutique, but I also like the options at Pottery Barn (above) and West Elm. And if it’s a family with young kids or pets, do them a favor and go for something machine washable.

AmazonEcho

My brother cannot stop talking about the Amazon Echo and apparently Oprah agrees with him. It’s basically Siri on steroids. It’s a speaker, it answers questions, and it can even turn your lights on and off (if you get the right light bulbs). Plus they are apparently adding functions every day. It’s a little pricier, so it’s for the people you really like.

Frost Guard

If you’re game to gift something extremely practical, take a look at the Q. QVC sells this thing called the Frost Guard. It’s a windshield cover that is perfect for those in colder climates. Instead of spending time cleaning off your frosty, snowy windshield, you just take off the Frost Guard and get on your way! This is great for people who park outside, and have to rush off to work in the early mornings! Pair with other cold weather accessories or some hot chocolate mix for a bigger present.

Experience

Tickets to a show or sports events, or a gift card to a restaurant is the perfect alternative to a material gift. The trick is catering to their interests and making it convenient for them logistically. Here are a few ideas: