In My House

Gifts That Give Back

In this season of giving, what can be better than a gift that, when purchased, also provides a charitable donation? Here are six gifts that give back. Happy shopping.

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1. Toms are a favorite of mine because they’re cute and comfy, but the company also provides a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes purchased. The company does a variety of other charitable work as well. (Toms) 2. These adorable animals are a bit pricey, but every purchase helps battle childhood hunger. Each animal has a name, birthday, and favorite quote. (Cuddle + Kind) 3. These colorful stackable bracelets make a great gift and benefit a variety of great causes. (Pura Vida) 4. Kohl’s Cares stuffed animals each come with a book and purchases benefit the local community. The price point is usually between $5 and $10, making them a great inexpensive gift. (Kohl’s) 5. Each bottle of One Hope wine purchased benefits a different charity. (One Hope Wines) 6. A portion of the purchase of these celebrity-designed spatulas goes to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and No Kid Hungry. I have purchased a few of these. They are sturdy and can withstand high heat. (Williams-Sonoma)

In My House

Six Festive Advent Calendars

I love advent calendars. When I was little my great-grandmother would give my brother and me the cardboard ones filled with delicious chocolate pieces, always with a festive scene on the front. Now, there are so many candy and non-candy options out there when it comes to advent calendars. These are a great way to celebrate the holiday season every day of the month while also keeping in mind the true meaning of the entire Advent season.

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1. The Rifle Paper Company artwork on this little tree makes it truly special. (Anthropologie) 2. This wooden box features piece of a Nativity scene, perfect for remembering the true meaning of the season. (Meri Meri) 3. I love anything to do with The Nutcracker Suite, including this handsome soldier. (Pier 1) 4. My daughters absolutely loved this Playmobil Advent calendar last year. You can reload the pieces to use again year after year. (Target) 5. This calendar is a miniature mountain with a tiny colorful tree for each day of Advent. (Anthropologie) 6. Why should the humans have all the fun? This Advent calendar has 24 tasty treats for dogs. (Williams-Sonoma)

In My House

Some Fall Favorites

Fall is in full swing so I thought I would share a few items for this wonderful time of year. We had snow here over night, but I’m holding out hope we’ll continue to see some beautiful fall days ahead. So light a candle, put something yummy in the slow-cooker, load up on Halloween candy, and go ahead and order yourself a pumpkin spice latte.

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1. I have been burning this Golden Chestnut candle as the days have started turning colder and it smells amazing. (Yankee Candle) 2. I love the colors of this $20 felt wreath. (Target) 3. I like sending Halloween cards and the artwork on this is too precious. (Rifle Paper Company) 4. This is a spoiler alert on the hubby’s Buzz Lightyear Halloween costume for this year. He’s such a good dad. (Target) 5. I bought these booties a couple of months ago and am excited to pair them with tights and dresses this fall. (Report, available on Zappos) 6. A cozy plaid scarf is a go-to item all fall and winter. (Gap)

In My House

Little Moments of Gratitude

On most mornings I go to work before my husband and daughters leave the house. I back out of the driveway as the sun is starting to come up and can still see them through the dining room window, rounding out their morning routine. In this moment I am enveloped by the warm feeling of being so grateful for the three of them. They don’t know that in those precious seconds each day, my mind is completely on my love for them.

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Photo by Tayhart Photography

It doesn’t matter what I have on my plate at work that day. It doesn’t matter how difficult my two-year-old might have been at bedtime the night before. It doesn’t matter that my dog yaps at the deer or the neighbor dog every single morning. I take that moment to feel thankful for what I have. A job to go to, a cozy house to return to at night, and a husband, daughters, and schnauzer who make it all worthwhile.

Moments later I’ll be knee deep in budgets, emails, and meeting agendas. Life is busy and it is easy to be feel bogged down. Remember when I copped an attitude with my husband over a lost sock? The more stress creeps into our lives, the more challenging it is to really feel gratitude.

It seems like there is a lot of talk about being present and living mindfully, but I’m still trying to figure out what that all means. I think one way of doing that is to find more moments to let the gratitude wash over me. They’re so good for the soul.

In My House

My 2019 Summer Suitcase

I am finding it hard to grasp the fact that June is already almost over. With July comes our vacation to Alaska. I’m a little apprehensive about a nearly six-hour flight with a two-year-old and a four-year-old, but I’m really excited to visit the Land of the Midnight Sun for the first time. Weather is supposed to be in the 70s while we are there, which is perfect in my opinion. Here are a few favorites that will be in my suitcase.

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1. I fell in love with these floral pants and ordered them online a few days ago. They haven’t arrived yet, but I’m excited to dress them up or down for work and play. (Loft) 2. I love the poppy color of this dress. (J.Crew) 3. I am a big fan of Babiators for the girls because of their durability and awesome guarantee policy. (Babiators) 4. We are loving all things Toy Story 4 in our house right now after seeing the movie this past weekend. Both of my girls have been sporting this tee regularly. (Target) 5. I am always looking for swimwear that looks cute, but stays in place while I am playing in the pool with my daughters. This tankini set fits the bill and the price is right. (Gap) 6. My office has a no-denim dress code, but I have been living in this skirt on my days off. (J.Crew)

In My House

Pantone 2019 Color of the Year: Living Coral

Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year is Living Coral. I’m liking this bright shade during this very long winter, especially today when yet more snow is forecasted. Here are a few fun items in this cheerful color.

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1. The ruffle detail on this shirt adds a fun touch. (Anthropologie) 2. I’m absolutely in love with these flats. I haven’t ordered them yet, but they’re haunting my dreams. (Modcloth) 3. This dress makes me think of a beach vacation even though it’s February and freezing today. (H&M) 4. Every year Ulta comes out with a nail polish in the Pantone Color of the Year. I’m loving this one for a pedi. (Ulta) 5. I love Primary for beautiful basics in rich hues. This coral shade is actually called Azalea. (Primary) 6. This Pantone swatch mug would be a perfect gift for the graphic designer in your life. (Redbubble)

Books, In My House

Books: Looking for Lovely

I write about most of the books I read, and that means writing about the ones I didn’t love. I didn’t love Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs, but I really liked certain parts, which was a enough to keep me going. Downs is a public speaker and author of several inspirational books. This is the first of her books that I have read.

In some chapters I was irritated by this woman, but not to the extent that Rachel Hollis drove me nuts in Girl, Wash Your Face. Downs does annoying things like name-dropping country music band Lady Antebellum, but then she throws the reader a real-life gem of wisdom on finding ways to find beauty and joy in the simple parts of life. Her honesty about her battle with food addiction and depression is inspiring and brings meaning to the message of the book.

Downs does a good job of balancing hardship and humor. For instance, she is not afraid to poke fun at herself, writing about things like the earrings she wore in middle school that featured a pig’s face as the front and the pig’s behind as the back. I had those exact earrings!

Looking for Lovely is a quick read that provides the reader some nuggets of genuine, applicable ideas for being joyful and positive. It is worth weeding through a few lackluster chapters to grab onto them. The overall message of finding happiness in simplicity resonated with me, even if it wasn’t my favorite book of all time.

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(Image from amazon.com)