Tag Archives: Mugs

Perfect Hostess Gifts with Lovely Wrapping.

hostessgiftpinI grew up with a mom who taught me to write thank you notes. In fact, my packing list always includes them if I am staying with someone. I like to write it while I am there and then leave them for people to find. She also taught me about hostess gifts. Up until recently, my age exempted me from the hostess gift in most cases. My friends didn’t really have homes and I wasn’t visiting them for housewarming parties or dinner parties. But we grow up, you know?

I have six go to hostess gifts. I also use these as little gifts when the occasion falls for it. The reason there is six is because they never fail, especially for the price. (Okay, I have never given the elephant planter but I could not resist including it).

Let me give away a secret. They are all from Anthropologie. I wish Anthropologie was sponsoring this but they are not. It’s just that for my price range (the mugs start at $8,) I can get a friend something truly lovely and let’s be honest, they usually think it is more than $8 because it is from Anthro. There, now my secret is out.

When I was at the Influence Conference, I wanted to get my roommates a little something. It wasn’t a straight up hostess gift because who is the hostess of the hotel room? But it was a Hey-I’m-Glad-We’re-Rooming-Together gift, a gesture of goodwill. I gave them these Anthro mugs because I am on a budget with a capital B.hostess1

Just to give you some reference, the initial mugs are only $8 which seems pretty reasonable to me for a thoughtful gift. The city mugs–which include some of the best cities in the world: SF, Rome, NYC, Paris, London, more–are just a few dollars more. None of these mugs ever miss.

The candle below is my go-to gift for pretty much everything (there are two sizes). You may have heard me call it my Oprah gift because if I could I would buy you all one and say, “You get a candle, and you get a candle, and you get a candle!!”

The scent is divine. It is the best smell in the entire world. And the jars…When the candle is done (so sad), you simply put the galvanized container in the freezer overnight so that you can pop the little wax out easily and it’s a beautiful place to keep things. The biggest one I’ve included here (there is an even bigger one but I’ve never bought it) is the perfect amount for my aunt, who loves the candle too. I get her one every year. There is also a baby version (closer to the mugs prices) that would be a great hostess gift that comes in a variety of iridescent shades and galvanized silver (I just saw they now come in beautiful emerald and red…how perfect for the holidays!).

I don’t feel bad giving a candle (you know how a candle can be kind of impersonal) because this is the candle. Once you try it, you can never go back.

And yes, I sure did include the elephant planter. There is a giraffe and a zebra too. Why bring flowers and a bottle of wine when you could bring this with a succulent? It’s new so I can’t vouch for it the way I can for the mugs and candles but I can say: it’s an elephant planter.

Also, just want to share that Anthro is doing free shipping right now. Click below and shop those items or others.

Part of giving a great gift, in my opinion, is presentation. It’s not a matter of the look of things and wanting to be seen in a certain way. It just shows you went the extra mile and took care with those $8 mugs (also I just thought of this: what a great stocking stuffer to stick a gift card in?). I live in a studio apartment as I have mentioned 1000 times so I don’t have a wrapping paper room. Shocker, I know. I’ve found that brown kraft paper is great because you turn it into anything. I love the look of it with twine. In this case, I mimicked the initial theme of the mugs and tried to pick colors I thought or knew the girls liked. It was a blogging conference so I chose flowered paper because…my blog title.hostess2

I knew I had to include something elephant related so I cut out tiny cards in the shape of the elephant from that same paper and wrote a short note to each of them and tied it with twine to the mug handle. Then I tied everything up with twine because I like how it looks.

(I see this look at stores and it’s so expensive. Go to Amazon and I think I got the twine at Etsy. Please. It’s brown kraft paper.)

By the way, ignore the wet part of the brown paper in the photos. It was modgepodge and dried clear. Finally, I must keep it real. I ran out of the brown paper while wrapping these! So I rationed it out and gave them all an equal amount and then I told them the truth and we all laughed. See, things don’t have to be perfect. You just have to care.

I am always searching for the perfect gift for people. If I find it in June, I will buy it for Christmas. Check out my pinterest board for some really awesome DIYs and products!

Follow Flowers in my Hair | NB Creative Inc.’s board Gifts on Pinterest.
Aren’t those prices reasonable? Like I said, they are my go to all year round but not going to lie, they will come in handy at Christmas. What is your go to?


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When the dog bites, When the Bee Stings | Volume 3

It’s that time of the month again. No, not that time. (Was that joke too much?) Once again, I am linking up with Mia and Kelli and sharing my favorite things of August which means it is September which means my friend texted me: Can you believe summer is almost over? To which I responded: I don’t want to talk about it. Now will come the real test of my reentry into Chicago. No Pumpkin Spice Latte will save me from a Chicago winter. But now I am off topic. Here are some of my favorite things.

This corner on my desk is not staged. This is my real life. Also please note I have papers in piles because it is a big desk but this corner. Mmm.I love everything about it:IMG_8178

Mug (The EveryGirl) | Elephant Art | Russell + Hazel Acrylic Tape Dispenser| Kate Spade Acrylic Gold Tone Stapler

When one of my best friends married, I got her these mugs with the initials of everyone in the family. Well, they’ve added to the family so I was so happy to go and buy this “A” mug which I kind of also think is the prettiest.IMG_8200This part of my bookshelf is my favorite because of the version of the version of Jane Austen books I found on sale and also this candle from Anthro. If you have been around for any amount of time, you know that I consider this candle to be my Oprah gift. As in, you get a candle, you get a candle! I would buy everyone one if I could. It is a life changer and I have too many. Fact.IMG_8190

Jane Austen: the Complete Works | Capri Blue Volcano Candle
These pillows massively on sale at West Elm bought with gift card. Booyah. (Oh yeah, and they are still on sale along with all the other pillows.) Also this couch to be revealed at a later date. Home Goods. So cheap and so comfy. Just how I like my couches.IMG_8185
These File Folders or the notebook (which I don’t have…yet):IMG_8205

This 2015 Great American Authors Calendar By 1canoe2:IMG_8207I bought it for myself and then realized it was so perfect for a friend so I also gifted it. Paper goods. They kill me. I am on a stationary hiatus currently.IMG_8209Finally, I don’t know if you have been paying attention on Instagram but macarons. #MatchYourMacaronsIMG_8037justdessertsThis link up is always so fun. Thanks to Kelli and Mia!MonthlyFaves ButtonOne more thing, you know these? The shoes I am obsessed with because of how they look and how comfortable they are and how on inexpensive they are? Yeah, well they are more on sale here:IMG_7881What were your faves this month?





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Five on Friday: Post Christmas

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 1.30.03 PMI am linking up with A. Liz AdventuresThe Good LifeCarolina Charm, and Hello!Happiness. Thanks for hosting, Ladies!

This is my first official Five on Friday and not only am I excited but I hope the structure gives me the blogging bug again. Christmas threw me off a bit; plus, we were all sick…including my little sister.SONY DSC





 …Merry Christmas, I love you.

Two of my three cousins aka the twins...obvi they love taking pictures with me

Two of my three cousins aka the twins…obvi they love taking pictures with me

On my mom’s side of the family, where I spend Christmas day, I am the only girl cousin. I get ganged up on and made fun of and mostly, love every second of it. But I mean: sorry that I just don’t love watching sports the entire day long. Is there no compromise left in the world? Granted, I purposely do things to annoy them. I need to prepare them for the world, you know.

However, this year there was a new rule & we laughed so hard. We (let me honest, they) could say anything they wanted to me as long as they added: “…Merry Christmas. I love you.”

Here is an example: “Nina, I want to punch you in the face…Merry Christmas. I love you.” (Disclaimer, we are not an abusive family but get four boys together and there is rough housing. They don’t touch me because I’m a girl. They just use their words.)

The bigger picture is that I laughed so hard with both sides of the family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I mean so hard that I thought I was going to lose it. I collapsed to the floor several times in spastic giggles. It felt so good. Laughter is the best medicine, according to, you know–me.




Go West, Young Man. Go West, Young Woman.

Do you feel my pain?

Do you feel my pain?

This morning my brother started the drive to Portland. My dad decided that this was an ideal time to take a picture of the three of us kids. It couldn’t have been when I had makeup on? Or at least no bed head? And maybe a Hogwarts sweatshirt wasn’t the most chic outfit option? Even Ava needed to be bribed with chocolate. (All I know is, no one offered me chocolate to smile).

So I hugged him tightly even though we will both be on the west coast. It is insane to me that our parents produced two kids who are both ending up out west (at least for awhile). You have to understand. I grew up 15 minutes from both side of my grandparents. As we drove up to my aunt’s we talked about how crazy it is that as different as we are, as different as we view the world, we refuse to settle (not that staying in Illinois is settling, but opportunities presented themselves or we created opportunities.) We both want adventure and boy, are we getting it. I never thought I would end up in San Francisco. Manhattan? Sure. Philly? Yeah. I don’t think San Francisco would have even come to mind but here we are. You can fall in love with a city.SONY DSC




It’s not about the gifts. But…

And it’s not; it’s about Jesus. But my mom found a Hogwarts Alumni sweatshirt. How cool am I? So, so, cool. I also got a lot of elephant things, these pillows I’ve been coveting, the Naked 3 pallet (woot, woot) and even more exciting–money towards a new computer. Hip, hip, hooray! Currently I am typing on a computer from my sophomore year of college. This past quarter, when it came to hitting my number and bonus, my motivation was: computer, computer, computer. So needless to say, I’m excited!

via//I won't be getting a decal but I do love this clever one

via//I won’t be getting a decal but I do love this clever one





Like Cher said, if I could turn back time.

These two crack me up

These two crack me up

It’s been a huge blessing for many reasons that I’ve been able to spend a huge chunk of time with my family during this season. But it’s going by so quickly. We joke that we need to go on Shark Tank for something and I guess mugs aren’t going to cut it long term (although there is a sale right now; 15% off with the coupon code comfortandjoy). Well, I nominate the idea of investing in bottling  time so that when I laugh around the table with my aunt and nonna, I can just stop time. So when my cousins make faces at me and I fall to the ground laughing, I can just call time out. 

One night I just could not sleep and went out in the middle of the night just to take pictures in the snow.

One night I just could not sleep and went out in the middle of the night just to take pictures in the snow.





I love being a big sister from a Mod Fam.

momava2My brother is only two years younger than me and my sister is three years old. I love that I get to talk about adult things with my brother. I love watching my sister enjoy the magic of the season with such childlike wonder. You know, she is just happy whenever anyone gets a present. “Oh my gosh, Dad! That’s amazing! I love it.” It was a shaving kit. Ha.momava1

Furthermore, I love my mom. She is so great. Watching my mom come over and give my little sister, who she chooses to love because she loves me, her present, was lovely. Miss Sandi (mia mama) gave Ava books. Which is perfect because on her Thanksgiving placemat, Ava said she is most thankful for books. Yeah, Girl! That’s my sissy! Watching Ava “read” these books to my mom side by side on the couch, made my heart just squeeze and squeeze and squeeze. Let me be clear: the fact that we can all be in a room (Mom, Dad, Stepmom, Ava, and Me) with minimum to no awkwardness is a complete God thing. A complete God thing. None of us can take any credit it for it. But we can all be thankful for it.

Well that’s five,


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Tidings of Comfort and Joy??

First, I wanted to let you know that StraightMugging is having a huge sale with new styles. Check it out and use the coupon code COMFORTANDJOY for 15% off. 

I often describe my mom as a pinterest mom before pinterest existed. For as long as I can remember–be it a school project or a Christmas card–my mom is the ultimate when it comes to creativity.

Below is a Christmas card that my family sent out many, many years ago. My brother and I were obviously not cooperating . I actually remember the day. Joe, a baby, was genuinely crying and then I just decided well this stinks, and decided to cry too. bah humbug

My mom took lemons and made lemonade and to this day, people talk about this card. Every year, I make this my profile picture on facebook and every year, I get many, many, many comments and likes. This, in fact, is probably one of the most infamous moments of my childhood and friends and family still talk about my mom’s creativity.

I would warn you to not to mimic it but I just don’t think you can. Those are genuine tears.



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Straight Mugging


So, I have been very busy trying to get this little blog off the ground. I do love her so. But I like to have a full plate at all times. You know how your plate looks like on a normal dinner night? Okay. You know how it looks like on Thanksgiving? That’s my plate. That’s how I like things to be. So I started a shop on Etsy where I am selling my wares–my wares being, yes, you guessed it! Mugs.

Personally, I love a good mug, not only to drink out, but to eat soup from as well. I also really love to put my pens and pencils or make up brushes in them. So much fun.

I am fairly artistic and very crafty but I needed to choose something I could do in my apartment. HAHA.

I tried to stick to four major categories–Downton Abbey, Beyonce, Mean Girls, and Harry Potter. What can I say? Who doesn’t enjoy a little Dowager Countess with her Beyonce? Tina Fey and Professor Dumbledore? A few of my mugs have veered off the beaten path…Nelson Mandela quote, anyone? As well as custom orders.


Here is my storefront.

This is the number one selling mug these days.






A very close second is this one, from Mean Girls.


Hope you are wearing pink today. This mug inspired me to make another from Mean Girls: “You can’t sit with us.”

Here are some from Downton Abby. I love them.

Matthew's Mug

Matthew’s Mug

Sybil's Mug

Sybil’s Mug

Dowager Countess

Dowager Countess

Dowager Countess

Dowager Countess

Find Mary’s mug on the site as well. She’s my favorite. Or maybe the Dowager. But I think the Dowager is Mary in 50 years so who knows?

The rest are just some I like:

"Who runs the world? Girls!" Beyonce

“Who runs the world? Girls!” Beyonce

The compliment mug

The compliment mug

"It's always impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

“It’s always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

Finally HP. I love this set.

One side

The set.

So, go on and check out what other mugs we have. There are quite a few more, plus we do custom. Be sure to use the coupon code FLOWERS for 10% off because I love you, my blog readers. And don’t worry, I won’t let Straight Mugging ever come between us (and promote it like crazy)…it’s just, if you want to know what I’ve been doing with my week…I’ve been mugging. Straight mugging.





P.S. Stay Tuned next week for a big announcement. Oh, joy. Another difficult blog post to write. But I do love it–writing, it is.



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