Tag Archives: presents

Not a Gift Guide: 5 Presents I am Actually Giving to People.

Let’s be honest, there are gift guides galore. You don’t want another one. Today I am showing you what I am actually giving people, as in I bought and paid for with my own money and wrapped all by myself. It’s not aspirational; it’s reality. The great thing is, the prices are great (and there is a lot on sale) because the fact is, between moving and other situations, I have to be very careful what I spend.5 Presents I am Actually Giving to People

I divided it up into five categories: Paper Goods, Beverage Related, Trinkets, Candles, Books. Come and see all the cool things. Here we go…5 Presents I am Actually Giving to People:

(You can click directly on the image or find the link).

1. Paper Goods

I love to get beautiful calendars for my friends. I happen to have a friend who loves everything Garance Doré does (it’s really beautiful work; you should check it out) who I found a Garance Doré desk calendar for her and another friend, who is receiving a coffee themed gift, is getting a  beautiful coffee and tea calendar. My friends and I seem to trade calendar gifts like these back and forth because once the month or year is over, you can easily frame your favorite or cut it out to send to someone (I plan on doing both with my 2015 calendars gifted to me).

The emoji stickers I just think are so much fun. Even though I am giving them away, I think they could make a great addition to my planner (or anyone’s) and are the right price for me.

2. Beverage Related

The city vignette mugs from Anthro have been making me do the heart eyes emoji all day every day. Yes, their options for monogramed mugs are also beautiful (gold ones here, classic black here, floral here…proving that Anthro doesn’t have to be out of your price range) but these mugs which depict cities I love, cities the people I love happen to love, are beautiful. Several people are getting these.

A bottle opener shaped in a state so you can remember where you came from? Done.

Finally, my dad was one of the hardest to shop for because I always try to spoil my parents and with my budget this year, I am not able to. So I was going to get him a Starbucks card (let’s not even get into how much Starbucks he drinks and how well they know him) and I still am but I am including this mug as well.

3. Trinkets

I love a good trinket and can prove it with the amount of bubble wrap and boxes packed full of them currently. These are some of my favorite. I love the animal planter (which has several animal options) where my friends or family can take care of an easy succulent.

Obviously, I love anything elephant related. The dish has my heart because it says “Forget me not” and as you know, an elephant never forgets. The ring holder is equally cute.

I love foxes. And I love that this has a lid. Also, if the person is particularly foxy, that is a bonus. It’s a super long story but one time, whenever I called a specific person, the song Foxy Lady played. I’ll take it.

Finally, the giraffe is one I own and adore myself. It’s practical to hold the jewelry I take off at night and also so very pretty.

4. Candles

You may think it odd that candles have their own category here but if you have been around long enough you know that the Capri Blue Volcano Candle (in any form) is my Oprah gift. As in, if I had my own show, it would be a part of my favorite things. I would also give them away as she did cars: You get a candle, You get a candle, and You, and You get a candle!

The regulation size Capri Blue Volcano Candle is a great gift for a hostess or anyone really. I have a relative who expects one every year and so this year, this is her present and it fits perfectly in my budget for her.

For my friends, who I wish I could spoil more, the Mini Capri Blue Volcano Candle is the perfect option and price. I am partial to the Rose Gold option and a lot of people are receiving that but I did go off book for a few people too when it came to the finish.

Also, you have to keep in mind that when the candle is gone (so sad) these containers can be placed in the freezer for a few hours and then the wax pops right out and a beautiful trinket container (or a container for anything) remains.

There are other great things that carry my favorite scent (diffuser, room and linen spray, soap, and more) but this year the hand cream is new and amazing. I wish I would have put it on my list to Santa. No, but seriously.

5. Books

Of course, if you know me at all, you know I am giving books as a presents.

This Jane Austen collection is to die for, personally. The set would be incredible but my friends will have to deal with getting one at a time from me because of my budget.

Last year, I gave my sister the Rifle Kid’s Classic, Little Women. This year, I am giving her A Little Princess. There are other options too (for instance, I was between A Little Princess and Heidi this year). While she isn’t old enough for these yet, they are beautifully made and someday, I hope she cherishes these stories as I did and do.

Coffee table books (in some cases literally) are always nice because I don’t think people buy them for themselves. I love Humans of New York as do most people I know so Humans of New York coffee table book was a great option as well as the Humans of New York Stories book. And the Barista Book fit right in with a theme I had going on with a present for friends.

**Please also do not forget to consider gifts like these that can really change the world.

By the way, these links are affiliate links. If you don’t know what that is or if you are scared of them, don’t worry. At no cost to you whatsoever (I promise!), by purchasing these things from my blog, it helps to support the running of my blog.

I am linking up for Five on Friday with April and Oh Hey Friday with Karli.

Look for an incredible story about Monday’s post (incredible, incredible) on Monday and have fab weekend, friends!




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Brown Paper Packages 2.0 Thanks to Hallmark.

Like the song says, I am a sucker for brown paper packages tied up in string. They happen to be some of my favorite things. Last year, I wrapped all of my packages this way and my younger brother made fun of  me (ask him how he wraps his presents…ha!) so I decided to add some pizzaz to my wrapping this year and make thing pop. To do so, I popped on over to Hallmark Gold Crown.

I think I have been pretty clear that Hallmark has it all when it comes to the holidays. They totally hit it out of the ball park when it came to my Christmas Cards and they didn’t disappoint with the wrapping paper either. I wanted to mix and match metallics with something classic and Hallmark more than delivered (they even had some brown paper too which mixed in with the metallics looks amazing!).wrappingpaper2If you know me, you may also know this fact. While I typically get my Christmas shopping done early (and I have), I lolly gag when it comes to wrapping. I enjoy wrapping one present but ten or twenty? No. But when I got home, I went on a wrapping spree because I found so many ways to mix it up with what I bought.wrappingpaper5The pretty wrapping paper inspired me to take my time and not rush the process. I enjoyed choosing which paper combinations would go with which present for each person. I love the classic richness of the Christmas Floral paper I chose with the fun metallics.wrappingpaper3I even got creative, as I am wont to do, because I was inspired by the paper. I used a page from a book I have multiple copies of to cut out a tree (tutorial coming soon…I am making garland…) and made a homemade tag for my friend. I feel like it adds a personal touch that’s charming against the grown up wrapping paper.wrappingpaper1Hallmark Gold Crown has not let me down this holiday season. I cannot wait to finish my Hallmark has it all and get them in the mail. And I cannot wait to pass out these presents and watch people’s faces as they open them. But I have to admit, I will dearly love the look of them under my tree until Christmas.wrappingpaperHow is your holiday shopping going? Have you popped into a Hallmark lately?




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Santa Baby Beauty.


I have mixed feelings about Gift Guides this time of year. On one hand, I love them because I truly have found great things to buy for family and friends or to add to my own list.

They also work for me because my family treats Christmas presents as a gift registry. You make a list and then a single person is designated to give people the correct gift that fits in with their price range and to make sure there are no duplicates. For example, my mom is that person (on both sides of my family) for me and my brother. My stepmom does it for my little sister. And on it goes. So in many ways, gift guides are perfect to help me “register.”

On the other hand, it’s that time of year again when everyone is doing gift guides. I mean, they are starting to slowly trickle in but after Thanksgiving there will be a flood. But I cannot ignore the Sephora VIB sale which starts on Friday. Plus, this week has been heavy with Monday’s Do I have it out for Men? post and yesterday’s Veteran’s Day post. And then there is still discussion about last week’s The Only Way I Can Keep Blogging post that still has great discussion going.

So here we go with some beauty, babes.

One place that does not disappoint is Sephora with their Holiday Beauty Bundles (PLUS, can I say AGAIN, if you are a VIB member, you get 20% off starting Friday!). If you love make up at all, if you are frugal but like nice things, if you have any other females to buy for, these beauty sets are where it is at. They are worth waiting all year for because of the price for the quality and quantity cannot be matched.

You can click on the boxes below or the links. In fairness, I always let you know when/if a few cents of your purchase is fed back into the blog. That’s the case here but it’s at NO cost to you. Zero.

These are my picks and I’ll tell you why. I give you, Santa Baby Beauty:

These crazy pretty brushes are probably the only thing on the list that I added because they are pretty. I am a sucker for both rose gold colored things (who isn’t these days?) and leopard.

Tata Harper does amazing, natural skincare. A friend of a friend works for Tata (she’s a real person!) and I’ve seen the instagram pics on her farm in Vermont to prove how “down to earth” these products are. I’ve also used them and they are fab. The downside is the price. Isn’t it always? But you can’t beat their complete skin care system and mask for this price.

This–Urban Decay Setting Spray–isn’t a beauty bundle but it’s supposedly on sale for Christmas. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews on this. Honestly, I am going to go into the store to try it out before I add this to my “official” Christmas List (trust me, we have a “maybe list” and the “official list). If it lives up to its hype, I’ll actually be saving money in the long run because it sets everything so well. But for the price I need to know it works.

I love this Living Proof Hair Set. It’s such a great brand for any type of hair and this set is perfect for your toiletries. Sure, when I am hope I have special shampoos and conditioners for my curly hair but I do love this brand and what it stands for. And I do love that I don’t need to think about if I can check my luggage based on hair products.

Stila is an awesome all around brand and this is a price you cannot beat for what you get. I’ve bought Stila packs like this before and I love them still. If ever there was a time to purchase, it’s now because have I mentioned the holiday deals that Sephora has?

The same goes for Tarte. A few years ago, I got a version of this and it was/is amazing. You get so much for the money, it’s insane. I happen to love Tarte as a brand. It’s a great place to start if you want you want to move up a level from drugstore make up. No hate for drugstore make up!  It’s just the brand I recommend when my friends say, “I have no clue about make up but I want something nice.”

So this Dry Bar set…If the day should ever come, when my Chi hair dryer dies (just discovered that my baby is on major sale at Ulta right now), I believe I would replace it with this (honestly, that sentence was so hard for me to even write…my blow dryer is almost ten years old–eeep–and it was an investment in the time for sure but my baby and I have been through some times and traveled the world together). I am impressed with DryBar and their products as well. Again, for what you are getting, this is a good price. If you think I am joking, you have probably never had your hair blown out by a blow dryer that cost over a $100. I am not saying that to be a snot. I am saying that because I have very curly hair and that price point is a game changer. The other hair dryer I would consider is Harry Josh because I have heard good things everywhere I turn.

Usually, Sephora comes out with a mascara box, a lip box, their “faves for the year” box/the hot box, and an eyeliner box even. The lip box this year? Amazing colors and amazing brands.  I just felt for the price, even a girl who love her lippies like I do, would have plenty. And what a cute case.

Speaking of lips, I love Tarte’s LipSurgence. Basically, it feels like a lip balm and yet you have the color. The color isn’t as bold as a lipstick because it pulls from your own natural lip color so it’s automatically flattering. While lip gloss has it’s place, none of that stickiness is involved here. I bought one of these 18 months ago and use it on the daily almost and I just finished it. Love.

Merry Christmas, ya bodacious babes! (Get it…Like Home Alone?)



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Tids and Bits: The Christmas Edition

Yes, it’s another Christmas post. Maybe because I am up to my eyeballs in shipping and wrapping and writing Christmas cards and packing all the presents up for everyone at home and for the only time, all year, my apartment feels too small. Yes, I live in a studio and truly for the rest of the year, I’m content. But stuff is just exploding and no matter how organized I try to be, it just keeps exploding. I’m also positive that no matter how organized I try to be, I am going to forget something that I need to pack for Chicago. This is just a fact I’m trying to live with.

So I will probably be borrowing a car and doing last minute errands. I can’t really predict what they will be and it is annoying because all my shopping has been done for weeks but I know, know, know, I will forget something and it’s basically just the Nina Chaos Theory not to be confused with the Nina and Chelsea Road Trip Chaos Theory. Oh, boy, that’s just a post in and of itself. I’m not going to fight it.

So it got me thinking, of last minutes things everyone might be needing.

Screen shot 2013-12-15 at 5.04.14 PMLet’s talk about gifts for the host and/or hostess. I also think these are good last minute gifts for just about anyone on your list and they’re from stores nearly everyone has nearby.

  1. The Candle. Yep, I am recommending this again. It is amazing. It’s my Oprah gift forever and ever. I love you Capri Blue Volcano Candle. Muah. (I really don’t even need to go on but I will.)
  2. Flowers. Do you have a Trader Joes nearby? They always have beautiful and reasonably priced flowers. I prefer to create the arrangement myself because like I thinking showing up with a poinsettia in my arm. Plus, they are toxic for dogs and ain’t nobody got time to be responsible for somebody’s puppy chewing on a red flower and having to go to the emergency vet. Some pretty white flowers with red berries would be perfect. I’ve seen this on instagram more than once and it’s gorgeous. Whole Foods also has great flowers which is more expensive but again, I know the selection will be great.
  3. Polar Bear Measuring Cups. How cute.//Anthropologie
  4. Gourmet Vanilla. Here is the thing with wine. Everyone does it. Is it good wine? Who knows? Is it bad wine? Who knows? Everyone brings wine. Do you want to be like everyone? So unless you have an amazing wine that is akin to my amazing candle in that you are known for it and you love giving it, this is a great alternative. I personally proud of myself for thinking of this alternative. It’s something no one would buy themselves and that’s what hostess gifts should be. I think?// William & Sonoma but you could also go to Whole Foods as well.
  5. Gourmet Hot Chocolate. I swear I thought of the vanilla on my own and went to the William & Sonoma website which then reminded me of their Peppermint Bark hot Chocolate. //William & Sonoma.

Screen shot 2013-12-15 at 5.04.25 PMLet’s talk about music. There are some Christmas songs I hate. Confession: I hate the Beatle’s Christmas song. I love the Beatles but I hate that song. And I hate the Wham! Song. Hate. I like classic. I typed that and then I saw what was first on the list. Oops.

  1. All I Want for Christmas//Maria Carey
  2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on Open Fire)//Nat King Cole
  3. Home//Michael Bublé
  4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town//Bruce Springsteen
  5. White Christmas//Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney
  6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas//Judy Garland (my favorite)
  7. Carol of the Bells//Home Alone Soundtrack
  8. O Come All Ye Faithful//Casting Crowns (great version)
  9. Winter Wonderland//Jason Mraz
  10. I’ll be home for Christmas//Bing Crosby
  11. Hark! The Herald the Angels Sing//Jewel
  12. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree//She & Him
  13. Baby, it’s Cold Outside//Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw
  14. It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas//Harry Connick Jr.
  15. Joy to the World//Sufjan Stevens

Screen shot 2013-12-15 at 6.01.51 PMI tried to put these in order of priority for me to watch but it gets a little bit dicey in the middle. And you will notice some absences. I don’t like The Christmas Story. There, I admitted it.

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life
  2. White Christmas
  3. Love Actually
  4. Elf
  5. Die Hard 1 (What? It is a Christmas movie.)
  6. Home Alone 2
  7. Miracle on 34th Street (the Dylan McDermott version, most definitely)
  8. Fred Claus
  9. Home Alone 1
  10. The Grinch

Wow. These lists were harder than they looked. Where’s my Christmas Cocktail? (Just realized this will post in the morning but I’m writing in the evening so it’s a fair question.)




P.S. Y’all (my friend, Heather would be so proud of me using this word; although maybe I’m not allowed because I’m a yankee?) Anyway, I would be honored, thrilled, elated if you would follow me on Blog Lovin’ (I FIGURED OUT HOW TO GET THAT BUTTON THE SIDE BAR THERE ALL BY MYSELF! That is crazy to me). Just give it a click.

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Holiday Gift Guide (Part 1)

I love giving gifts…to the point where it can be a problem for my bank account. I just love finding the perfect gift for the perfect someone. Some people like matchmaking…I do this instead. And I think I am pretty good at it, too! So making a holiday gift guide made me really happy inside. So happy that I am also going to make two more for the next two Fridays because I have so many gift ideas! So, um, I hope you like it because I liked making it.

Either I own these items, I am asking for them this Christmas, or I am giving them to people this year. You would think: Nina, how is that going to work? What if those people read your blog? Oh, silly reader, (you’re not silly, I promise) don’t you know that I am horrible at keeping gifts a secret? Horrible. Beyond horrible. I just get so excited; I can’t keep it to myself.

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  1.  Mini Capri Blue Glass Candle//$12.00//Anthropologie//Why it’s on the list: I’ve said this before on this blog but if I was Oprah and if I had a television show and if I did a Favorite Things show, this would be a gift on the list every single year. I love the smell more than anything. It’s the perfectly subtle and dreamy. It  just makes everything right in the world. Then once the candle is finished, I have a glamourous container for anything. These minis are even more fun!
  2. Ceramic Jewelry Plate in Mint//$19.50//J. Crew//Why it’s on the list: Isn’t she lovely…Isn’t she wonderful…Doesn’t she like to display her jewelry?
  3. Luxor Pillow in Wheat//$30//Belquist (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: I won’t lie to you. These pillows are on my Christmas list. Hopefully, I’m not on the naughty list because I love the textile that is used and I can’t wait to see them on my gray bed. (Hint, Hint, Santa aka Mom!) Also, I love supporting women who make things. Period. I searched high and low for the perfect pillows with a hint of glint for a long time and as soon as I saw these, I knew they were it!
  4. Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug//$10//Anthropologie//Why it’s on the list: Anthropologie is typically out of my price range but Nonna didn’t teach me nothin’ for nothin’. There are great finds at anthro (like the candle) that are totally within my price range (I just won’t be sporting one of their dresses for awhile or purchasing their bedding. Best of all, you can wander through anthro and live in a fairytale for FREE). Who doesn’t love a golden monogram? This is the perfect gift for your girlfriends or your boss (outstanding pencil holder) and really, who wouldn’t want to drink hot chocolate out of this (but probably not both without washing it)?
  5. Wine Bottle Basil Garden//$36//Why it’s on the list: I love Basil! And I love easy things like this. In fact, you can grow an entire herb garden this way! A great gift for moms or anyone who likes to cook (Nonna, close your eyes!).
  6. What would Blair Waldorf do? pencils//$8 for 6 pencils//The Carbon Crusader (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting a woman making things. She has a ton of pencils that say different witty sayings. What I’ve done in the past is buy some and add them to a group of gifts. Perfect gift for a friend: the mug, the candle and a pencil.
  7. Aromatic Stress Treatment//$80//Aromatic Irritability Treatment//$65//Aromatic Bedtime Treatment//$60//Tata Harper//Why they’re on the list: Because they WORK! These are the most expensive item on the list but frankly, I don’t know what I did before these oils. I happened to get a deal on them that since passed but I am giving these for Christmas to some people. Don’t be offended if you get the irritability one, okay? But in all seriousness. Yes, I am gifting these to a few people and it is all they will get because it is luxury. What is amazing about the brand in general is everything is COMPLETELY natural and you are paying for the PRODUCT not the packaging. I have many friends in beauty and they will tell you that when you pay for high end products that is where the money is going–the packaging. That ain’t so in Tata Harper’s case. I’m in love with these.
  8. The Original Sequin Hanger//$18//Pearls and Pastries (Etsy Show)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting women who make things. At first, you think, why does anyone need a sequin hanger? And then you realize: why does anyone not need a sequin hanger? I have one that hangs on a mirror and another I am planning to hang in the bathroom with a print. The hangers are very well made as well. What a fun unexpected treat, I say.
  9. Bubbly Gold Champagne Flutes (set of 4)//$34.50//Why it’s on the list: who likes champagne? This girl. I love these flutes because they have a Kate Spade feel without the price tag. I think they’re so fun.
  10. Scour the World Gold print//$30//Everygirl//Why it’s on the list: I just love this saying. And this blog. So I love this brand.
  11. More Adventures, Less Plans Card//$4//columbusandtutu (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting women who make things. I found this shop when a friend sent me a handmade card and gave me an early present of an art piece (hint: it includes elephants!). The card my friend sent me was perfect and honest and handmade. Again, this would be great to pair with a pencil and two or three of her cards.
  12. Keep Not Settling iPhone 5/5s case//$34//Everygirl//Why it’s on the list: I have a severe fear of settling. Let’s keep not settling. Blog post for later.
  13. Cabana Stripe Notebook//$16//Sugar Paper//Why it’s on the list: I love this list and I love this brand. I am very picky when it comes to notebooks and line sizing and this one is perfect and chic.
  14. Threshold Wood & Brass Bar Cart//$129.50//Target//Why it’s on the list: So it is expensive but what a great gift for a couple? Maybe your parents need a hip gift? Or maybe someone you know and love (a lot) that lives in an apartment would like it? Maybe your guy fancies himself a mixologist? I also happened to spot some gold, retro cocktail accessories at anthro.

Anything you’re adding to your Holiday lists? Anything catch your eye for someone else? Let me know!

Yay, Gifts!



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