Target Holiday Decor

Yesterday’s post was all about fun ornaments for your home & to give as gifts (the sale is still going on – 20% off!) and today I’m back with Target holiday decor… & lots of it. Not only that, Target is having a home sale this weekend, so now is the time to gear up for the holidays with 25% off!

I love having our condo decorated for the holidays. At my mom’s house growing up, we had cathedral ceilings in our living room and would hunt for the biggest tree we could manage bringing home. That’s not possible in the city, but we still do a good job of getting in the holiday spirit over here! This year we are heading away on vacation around the time we usually decorate, so we unfortunately won’t get as much time with our festive decor as usual, but I can’t complain about spending some time on the beach in December.

Read on for my favorites from Target’s holiday decor selection – and don’t miss out on the sale!

Target Holiday Decor

Shop My Picks:

TOP (shop the whole room here):

Merry Xmas Stocking Holder / Garland

White Reindeer 1 & 2 (also in black) / Reindeer Candle Holder

Red GinghamWhite Gingham & Red Plaid Stockings

BOTTOM (shop more from this line here):

Plaid Pillow / Advent Calendar (also love this one) / Letters to Santa

side note: also love this coffee table shown above!

 

Target has SO many holiday decor options that it’s actually overwhelming. Below are several other things that caught my eye!

Target Holiday Decor

Shop My Picks:

Red Glitter Topper Bow / Wicker Tree Base Cover / Advent Calendar

Pom Pom Tree Skirt (also in off-white)Gold Lobster & Crab Ornaments

Nordic Star Blanket / Merry Xmas Garland Banner / Napkin Rings & Napkins

Unicorn Ornaments (& cutest owls!)Station WagonTruck with Tree (ornaments here)

Red Berry Wreath (also this one for 1/3 of the price)

Red & Green Dog Bow Ties / Tree & Penguin Dog Toys

Ornament Gifts from the Anthropologie Home Sale

I love decorating for Christmas – and for me, the best part of it is decorating the tree. Ornament gifts are the best way to think of whoever gave it to you or a special memory that was had. I was an only child for many years and there was always something so special about decorating the tree with my mom with the ornaments she had collected. Aside from getting dressed up for Halloween, Christmas has to be her favorite holiday.

I remember getting so excited about pulling out our ornaments – each year it was like I had forgotten about them and rediscovered them all. There was one Wizard of Oz set she still has that had each of the characters and then a mini version of the book. I would sit there and read that book to myself for hours – the whole thing is even on home video. Ever since then, I’ve collected ornaments and I get that same happy feeling filled with memories as I open up the boxes that have been stored in the attic since the year prior, whether it’s at my house or my mom’s.

Ornament Gifts Anthropologie Sale

Shop the ornament set above here

Over the years, my mom and I started a tradition that my husband I have also adopted, which is picking up an ornament everywhere you travel. It’s fun to look back on amazing trips we’ve taken in the form of trinkets on our tree. Another thing I do here and there is make ornaments out of photos – we did this with our wedding and a few other special occasions and there are lots of sites to do this on like Shutterfly.

Whether you’re into hunting for your own ornaments throughout the year or not, they make great gifts. This morning, I saw Anthropologie is having a 20% off home sale and now is the time to pick a few up for yourself and as gifts! There are lots of cute ones that can tie in well with the personality or interests of whoever the recipient is. If someone gave me the everything bagel ornament, they’d be speaking to my heart.

Here are a few of my favorites – and you can view the whole collection of Anthro ornaments here. The 20% off sale is for all full-priced home items, which also includes fun gifts for kids, along with hostess gifts and items for your own home!

Ornament Gifts Anthropologie Sale

Shop the Ornaments:

Dogs / Unicorn / Cheers / Macarons

 Everything Bagel / Palm Tree / Oyster

Camel / Mermaid / Rainbow / Hamsa

2018 Goals Reset – October-December

Ugh. We’re more than 3/4 through the year and it’s time to revisit those goals I set back in January. In typical Katy fashion, I set them too high. Today I’m taking a look back at what I have done and how I can continue progressing for the next 3ish months.

This time around I’m taking things month-by-month, being a bit more specific and not overwhelming myself with trying to take on too much at once. So far, it’s been helpful to see what I’m trying to accomplish each month because it’s easier to see what is actually feasible.

Goal Setting

PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

Where I’m At: After reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project,” I decided this was something I could relate to. In general, I had hoped to take smaller steps to get to what I’m trying to accomplish because it’s less overwhelming. I’ve been better about starting a draft blog post or jotting down notes when I think of ideas – but I haven’t been making them into finished posts.

New Goal: Good news – I have lots of half-written posts done. Now it’s time to finish and publish these. And as I mentioned above, my overall approach to goal-setting is going to be about making progress throughout each month without overwhelming myself.

FOCUS ON THE BLOG

Where I’m At: I was off to a decent start this spring, with six blog posts in February and seven in April… but then I lost my groove. I have so many ideas but got busy with freelance writing work (yay!) and the craziness of summer. I also want to be better about promoting content I do write via social. My goal of 100 blog posts in 2018 is LOL at this point… I have 23 down so far.

New Goal: Aiming for 2-3 posts/week from now through the end of the year, which will bring in 26-39 more posts. Even on the low end, I’ll at least close out the year with 50 posts, 50% of my original goal. And on the note above, I want to take the time to promote my posts, particularly via Pinterest using Tailwind, which I hope to have all figured out within the next few months. I also have a big goal of going through a blog redesign before the New Year, but admittedly I need to do more research to understand how big of a project this really is.

PUBLISH TRAVEL CONTENT

Where I’m At: Ok… so I’ve only published one travel post so far this year on Daily Katy. BUT in April, I took on a freelance travel writing gig with TripSavvy.com, which is something I had been looking to do for a long time. Admittedly, it’s taken away from my regular blog content, but the reality is that it is a paying, steady job that I needed to get in a groove with before I could spend more energy on the blog.

New Goal: I still have lots of travel content to finish up and publish, including new recommendations from recent trips to Palm Springs, Savannah and soon Grand Cayman! Aiming to publish one travel guide a month for October, November and December. I’m also playing around with a new travel-specific Instagram, @katyctravels, so follow me there!

LEARN NEW SKILLS

Where I’m At: I still have BIG aspirations when it comes to learning new skills. I have this urge to figure everything out for myself, but just don’t have time to do it all – or at least do it all well. I got a new iPad and the fancy pencil thing that goes with it but have yet to try out the Procreate app that I’ve been dying to learn. I also haven’t taken any photography or editing classes either, but I almost had my first gig shooting headshots, which unfortunately fell through due to scheduling.

New Goal: Not going to set this one too high. I’d like to play around with Procreate to teach myself digital calligraphy when the weather gets cooler, which seems like a good Sunday football activity. Next year I can get back into photography.

GROW MY ETSY SHOP

Where I’m At: Zero progress here. I’ve made a few sales on existing items in my shop here and there, but really haven’t spent much time building out my shop. I did create a few invitations and favors for a friends’ baby showers and as gifts, but haven’t yet posted them.

New Goal: Post what I’ve made! I don’t know why this always seems like such a daunting task. And after that, I plan to add a few new types of items to my shop – potentially a 2019 calendar and to do list notepads I’ve been playing around with. I also plan to listen to a few podcasts about how to best promote the products I do have in my shop, especially heading into the holiday season.

READ MORE

Where I’m At: This one was off to a slow start – but I blame my new-found love for podcasts. I was late to the game, but they are perfect for my short commute! Read about some of my favorite episodes/podcasts here. I had set a goal of reading 12 books this year – I’m at at least 8, so actually relatively on track. Definitely not one a month, but two YA trilogies helped me zoom through 6 books!

New Goal: Back to one book a month starting in November. It’ll be an extra bonus if I can get a third in during October or December, but right now it feels like I have a lot on my plate to start. I do want to publish at least one more book review blog post, which I already have in the works.

DECLUTTER

Where I’m At: I’ve been OK at this here and there and am gearing up to do a big Goodwill donation as I change over my summer to fall clothes.

New Goal: Keep working on this – it’s certainly not one of my strengths but I know it does make me feel good when I have fewer things to sift through when I get ready in the morning.

MAKE SMALL HOME UPDATES

Where I’m At: SUCCESS! This year, I’ve successfully revamped my bathroom (see the full transformation and shop everything here) and our condo’s entryway (coming soon!). After being in our condo for over 6 years, it was time for a little bit of a refresh. The goal was/is to not break the bank because eventually we’ll move to a house outside the city.

New Goal: Next projects will probably be finding a good rug and coffee table for our living room, but this may not happen this year. I’ll be on the lookout – maybe something will catch my eye during holiday sale season.

BE MINDFUL & PRESENT

Where I’m At: The 5-year daily journal and gratitude journals were a fail. Turns out that I’m not good at remembering to do things like this and then it feels incomplete and I stop all together. I did try out the Headspace app a few times.

New Goal: I think this will be a never-ending goal, as we could all use a little more of this in our lives. I would like to keep trying the Headspace app more consistently. And I also want to take time to do things like read a book, get my nails done, etc. – sans iPhone. I’m also trying not to mindlessly scroll quite as much.

TACKLE THE LITTLE THINGS

Where I’m At: I think I’ve gotten a little better at doing things like writing my to do list the night before, but still have lots of work to do in this department.

New Goal: Refocus on small things – picking out an outfit for the following day before bed, not letting dirty laundry pile up beside my bed, responding to emails that only require a couple minutes of my time instead of letting them sit.

 

Bathroom Makeover with Target Opalhouse

While it certainly doesn’t feel like it, spring is finally here and I’m feeling the urge to make updates around the house. As you may have seen in another recent post, one of the things that sparked me taking action was the launch of the Target Opalhouse collection (more on that here, including all of my picks for every part of your home).

First up: the bathroom I call “mine,” which is technically connected to our spare bedroom, but my husband and I each took one since we have 2 full bathrooms. When we moved, we literally took everything from our 1-bedroom, 1-bath apartment and plopped it into the guest room. Now it’s 8 years later and while we did get new bedding for the spare bed a couple of years ago, the bathroom has remained untouched.

Bathroom Makeover with Target Opalhouse

Shop the Post:

Shower Curtain / Bath Mat (another option here)

Tissue Holder / Soap Dish / Toothbrush Holder

Soap/Lotion Dispenser / Waste Basket (similar)

Towels (other here & solid colors here)

Gold Frame (similar) / Watercolor Print (similar)

 

I had no idea how much of a difference something as simple as a shower curtain could make. Our old one was brown – I think I was trying to decorate in as gender-neutral of a way as possible! – and it made the bathroom seem so dark when you were actually taking a shower. I always thought it was because the bathroom didn’t have any windows/relatively crappy lighting, but now that I have a light shower curtain, that problem is gone! I also love this one – but ultimately decided to go with more of a blue/green vibe.

[Read more…]

Target Opalhouse Collection Finds

If you read my 2018 goals post back in January, then you know that my husband and I are approaching 6 years in our city condo and I’m feeling the need for a refresh… but without going crazy cost-wise. In addition to tackling closets and whatnot with organization bit by bit, I had a few ideas for ways to spruce up our space. The first things I’ve been on the hunt for are a new shower curtain/bathroom set for “my” bathroom, coffee table, end tables and throw pillows for the living room, and other fun décor like kitchen towels.

I successfully found a couple of throw pillows I liked for the living room but hadn’t had much luck in the other areas until this week. In fact, when I hosted a small group of family over Easter, I ran out to the store to grab some festive floral paper napkins because I felt like we had nothing that said “spring” for the holiday. Enter Target’s new Opalhouse collection… I literally want everything! I had a good amount of self-control and stuck with items that were on my priority list, such as this shower curtain, these throw pillows and some floral napkins and kitchen towels. I’ll be reporting back on what works out in future blog/social posts!

In the meantime, there is SO much to shop in this collection. It’s quickly gaining so much popularity that I personally think Target should make it a permanent line. I bucketed out my picks from the collection by room/category to make shopping easier. Just browse through the widgets using the arrow and click the items you like to be directed to shop.* If you’re not ready to shop, just pin one of the larger images for decor inspiration later!

Target Opalhouse Kitchen, Dining Room & Entertaining Finds

[Read more…]

Weekend Reading – February 18, 2018

This has been a great long weekend and it’s not even over yet. We flew out to San Fran on Wednesday night and have been staying with our friends who live north of the city. It’s been the perfect mix of exploring and relaxing with friends we don’t get to see very often, which included a 1st birthday party for their little one. On Thursday, we took the ferry into the city, grabbed lunch and checked out a few spots we hadn’t been to on past trips, such as the Painted Ladies. Another day was spent in Sonoma at a few vineyards and lunch.

I’m definitely not looking forward to trekking back home tomorrow – but hope you were all able to relax and enjoy the long weekend. On the positive side, it looks like it’s going to be 60 degrees back home for a couple days this week. Before we close out the weekend, here’s some weekend reading with some of my favorite links, shopping picks and sale finds.

Weekend Reading

Links I Love:

  • I’ve been considering trying acupuncture because I have carpal tunnel in my wrist and have heard it can be good for lots of other things too. This post breaks it all down and made me even more into it. We’ll see if I can get over my fear of needles and actually try it out.
  • How cool is Chloe Kim?! I have a slight obsession with the Olympics and have been loving the snowboarders. This article made me even more excited for her big win.
  • This post about how to re-energize yourself at work talks about everything from organization to finding your community at work. The suggestions are all simple, but also important.
  • I started my blog about a month after our wedding and really didn’t put much thought into the layout. This post about how to choose the right template for your website or blog is helpful and made me start thinking about changing mine up in the future.

Shopping Finds:

  • I love a good thermal shirt (two of my favorites here & here). This one is next on my list – it comes in lots of colors and looks super cozy and like it will be great for layering or wearing on its own, dressed up or down.
  • These fun tassel earrings also come in a bunch of colors and look like they are also pretty lightweight. I love big earrings but not when they feel heavy. I might need to grab these in white for spring.
  • I’m into a good leopard print as a neutral and have my eye on these slide sneakers. I think they’d be so cute with jeans for work with a cute top, or with yoga pants for running errands. I also like these, which are on super sale in some colors/sizes.
  • Cozy sweatshirts that don’t look one bit like my old college hoodie that I wear around the house have been on repeat for me lately. This one has a twist hem in front that gives it the look of being perfectly tucked in. I’m into the pink but it also comes in a nice gray – and it’s only $45.

Sale Picks:

  • Last week I posted about this straw bag that would be perfect for summer. I just found a similar black crossbody bag that’s on sale for $24! This one is even more similar – not on sale, but under $100.
  • This leather backpack is on super sale for $115, down from almost $400! I have another bag from this brand and it’s great quality. Their bags are good staple items that will last.
  • Two of my go-to lightweight jackets (that I also wear over t-shirts) are on sale right now. Here is the faux leather jacket and here is another that’s a very soft faux suede.
  • I got these Loeffler Randall heels last year that are perfect for wedding season, but I just spotted very similar sandals that are on sale for just $48. I love that they’re cognac and will go with lots of dresses and other outfits.

2018 Goals

Like most people, I’m not into resolutions. But I do want to be better about setting goals, so I’m going to put them all out here in writing so I can hold myself accountable. I’d love to hear your goals for the year! Maybe next year I’ll get to these before we’re halfway through January… better late than never!

2018 Goals

1. Progress, not perfection. My favorite book of 2017 was the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (more on that here). This is one of her mottos and one that has stuck with me – so I’m making it my main 2018 goal. I tend to have lofty goals and then get overwhelmed and don’t follow through on things. With the blog, I have a great idea for a blog post but then I start and don’t finish it for some reason. Or at home, I’ll avoid doing a closet clean out because I know it will be an all-day project and I don’t want to make an even bigger mess if I don’t finish what I set out to do. So this year, I want to take baby steps and when I have an idea, do a little bit at a time until I get there. The end result might not be perfect, but I’ll be taking steps in the right direction.

2. Put more focus on the blog. I upped my Insta game this year but admittedly didn’t blog as much as I wanted to. With Instagram (& Facebook) constantly changing their algorithm – and the potential that social networks could disappear/change and be replaced with new ones any day – I’m realizing that my blog is the only thing I can truly control. I also noticed that it’s where I see the most success with readers clicking through to items I’m recommending. I’m setting a goal of 100 posts in 2018. And with that, I need to do more sale and product roundups next year! Another goal within this is to pay more attention to my blog and social stats to get a better understanding of what my readers and followers like best. I also plan to continue contributing to other outlets whenever I can.

3. Hit publish on travel content. This goes back to that progress, not perfection thing. I have SO many travel posts halfway completed. I keep wanting to edit photos, add more recommendations, etc. Travel guides take a while for me to get through, but once they’re done, they’re the posts I’m most excited about and proud of. It’s my passion area – I wish I could travel all the time and focus on this topic even more! The goal for 2018 is to dig through my photos and trip notes (yes, I actually take notes on my phone while traveling so I remember all of my favorite parts!) and pull together posts for Italy, Ireland, Hawaii, Portugal and a few stateside locations. I can always update a travel guide with even more recommendations down the road – that mentality may help me get these up on the site!

4. Learn a few new skills. I loved taking photography classes back in 2016 and while I continued practicing and learning on my own last year, I didn’t necessarily learn anything new. I’d love to learn more about indoor photography – it’s just too cold to get outside whenever I want to take pics in the winter! On a similar note, I know I have lots to learn when it comes to editing – I’ve taught myself enough to get by in Lightroom, but I know there are lots of tips and tricks that would make that process easier and more effective. Last year was really the year of me playing around with graphic design, which led to the relaunch of my Etsy shop, Katy Roll Designs! I have so much fun with this and want to continue learning so I can make lots of fun things for the shop. And lastly, I loved taking a calligraphy class recently and would love to take a few more classes (either in-person or online) on this and/or hand lettering. If that fails, maybe I’ll try watercolor…

5. Grow my Etsy shop. I’ve had so much fun starting my Etsy shop back up this year (several years ago I sold handmade necklaces). Graphic design is so fun to me and I love creating new prints or other things for friends and random strangers on Etsy. It’s so rewarding when I get an email saying someone has placed an order! And framed prints make for great gifts. One of my favorite creations this year was a custom design for my sister-in-law where I created a print with her wedding vows to hang on a wall next to a photo from her wedding. I have lots of creations done but not yet uploaded, so I need to follow through on that!

6. Read more. This is an easy one – or at least it should be. I’ve always been a magazine person (I blame working in PR, but it really goes way back to pre-working girl years), but with many of them shutting down print versions, I’ve gone back to reading. I’ve always been a reader, but it was more of something that I did on vacation rather than in my everyday life. I just got this new Kindle for Christmas (no more glare when I’m reading outside!), so I’m setting a goal of 12 books this year – about 1 a month. And with that will come quarterly book reviews!

7. Declutter. I already started tackling a few drawers and rooms and so far so good on the decluttering piece of this, but I have a long way to go. I need to chip away a little at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve been trying to list a few things each week on a consignment app, tossing anything that looks worn in a big giant Goodwill bag and throwing away anything that’s just plain old and unnecessary.

8. Make small updates around the house. We’ve been in our condo for almost 6 years and while I still love it, I think we’re due for a refresh. I’m not talking anything major – just maybe some new throw pillows, artwork on the walls, new coffee table, that sort of a thing. This isn’t our forever home due to space, but we also don’t plan to move anytime soon. We’re in the process of revamping the entryway and it will be nice to come home to when it’s done.

9. Be present & mindful. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to completely disconnect from my phone, but I want to try to cut back on the constant mindless scrolling. I bought this 5-year daily journal and have kept on track with it so far – all you have to do is write one line a day. You write on the same page on the same date each year so you can reflect back on where you were previously. I also started a gratitude journal where I’ve been taking a similar approach and just writing one quick thought a day. We’ll see if I keep up with either or both! I’ve also heard great things about the app Headspace for meditation. I’ll try that out at some point.

10. Tackle the little things. After reading the Happiness Project and starting a bit of my own daily checklist for January (and I tested it out last year), I quickly realized that not letting little things linger is hugely helpful for me. A few examples: making a to do list for the next day before the day ends while it’s fresh in my mind, picking out an outfit to wear the day before, or putting things away right away instead of doing lots of cleanup at once. This also applies to work, especially emails. I can’t figure out why, but sometimes it’s the emails that are so quick to respond to that I take the longest to get back to.

2017 Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales

Happy Black Friday! It’s time to recover from Thanksgiving and kick off Black Friday shopping, whether you plan to do so in-store or from the comfort of your couch. It’s crazy how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have now morphed into a week-long shopping occasion that starts even before Thanksgiving! My cousin and I made a tradition out of outlet shopping on Black Friday several years ago (we go later in the day once the crowds die down!) so that’s where I’ll be headed in a bit, but in the meantime there are so many online sales to shop!

I’m rounding up the best sales below, along with my favorite picks for both gifts for others (or yourself) and everyday style finds to add to your wardrobe while prices are low. All you have to do is scroll through the widgets below and click through to buy. Happy shopping – and hope you’re all enjoying the long weekend with your loved ones.

xo,

Katy

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Gift & Style Finds

Abercrombie — 50% off everything

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

American Eagle/Aerie — 40% off everything

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

ASOS — 30% off with EPIC30 (thru 11/28)

Style Finds:

Gap — 50% off with BLKFRIDAY (thru 11/25)

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

J.Crew — 40% off with THANKU (thru 11/26)

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

J.Crew Factory — 50% off, no code needed

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

LC Lauren Conrad — everything already on sale, plus 15% off with SAVEBIG15 (thru 11/24)

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

LL Bean — 25% off Bean Boots with FRIDAY25 (thru 11/24); 20% off with THANKS20 (thru 11/28)

Gift Ideas & Style Picks:

LOFT — 50% off with THANKS

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

Lord & Taylor — 20% off with FRIDAY; $20 off $175+ with PURCHASE; extra 50% off newly-reduced women’s apparel

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

Madewell — 25% off with DONTSTRESS (thru 11/26)

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

Old Navy — 50% off everything

Gift Ideas:

Style Finds:

Book Reviews – Volume 1

I’ve always loved reading, but for some reason since graduating college I became a magazine girl. I subscribe to basically every magazine on the planet and read them front-to-back, tearing out or bookmarking pages I want to save for later, like recipes or good shopping finds. With print magazines closing down more and more, my mag supply has dwindled, and earlier this year I let a few of my remaining subscriptions expire (aside from Us Weekly and People StyleWatch – need my celeb gossip and style finds!).

And that brings me to my new book review series. I read a couple books on a vacation back in April and remembered my love for reading. So from there, I’ve been mainly reading books, with magazines scattered here and there on my commutes or on vacation. In addition to my work book club and friends, I’ve been getting great recommendations from reading other bloggers’ book reviews, so I decided to start doing my own to help other people find suggestions.

Book Reviews Volume 1

While I’d love to make this a monthly thing, I know my schedule and it’s not always easy for me to find time to get into a good book. So I’ve added a section of the blog HERE and I’ll be adding posts there whenever I get through a good chunk of books like I did here.

Volume 1 includes six books that I loved – most of which are pretty different from one another. Read on for my thoughts on each and click through the links to view them on Amazon so you can read more and download/purchase as you wish! With the help of Amazon Prime, books arrive on my doorstep within a couple of days (yes, I prefer paperback – at least right now because my Nook is old!).

I’d love to hear which books you recommend – please leave comments with books you loved below and I’ll add them to my list!

xo,

Katy

 

Before the Fall: Before the Fall takes place off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard (not sure if it’s because I’m from New England, but I’m always drawn to books that take place here or on Nantucket).. Eleven people, all but one of which are quite wealthy, and their private jet crash just minutes into a flight taking off from the island. Sadly, there are only two survivors: a painter, who was a last-minute oddball addition to the flight, and a four-year-old child who is the son of a powerful man that died on the flight. This is a page-turning thriller – you won’t see any signs of what caused the crash until it was revealed toward the end of the book. Aside from looking for answers on what caused the crash, the book takes you through the lives of each of the people on that flight and how they were ultimately bound together. My only critique was that I didn’t love the ending, but I also can’t think of any better way to end it and think the author, Noah Hawley, ended it the way he did for a reason. One last note: the author of this book also wrote Fargo, which the TV show is based off of. I’ve never seen it before but it’s supposed to be good!

The Happiness Project: 2017 isn’t quite over, but I’ll go ahead and say that this is my favorite book of the year. I don’t normally read books that technically fall within the “self help” category, but this is a must-read that I recommend to everyone. Gretchen Rubin takes you step-by-step through her year of “trying to sing in the morning, clean [her] closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun.” Rubin is honest, refreshing and real – and the book is all backed in tons of research that she did on the topic of happiness, which is applied to her own life. The best part is that while everyone’s happiness journey is (and should be) different, you’ll close the book with actionable steps to apply to your own life, whether you start your own Happiness Project or analyze yourself in a new way. I did try to do my own Happiness Project and while I didn’t make it very far, I took tons of her tips and started implementing them in my everyday life. I would love to pick up my Happiness Project next year… we shall see! Thinking about getting her Happiness Project daily calendar for 2018…

The Husband’s Secret: Liane Moriarty, who also wrote the popular book-turned-TV-series Big Little Lies, does it again with this book. Much like Big Little Lies, this story is told from the perspective of several different characters, all of which are intertwined in one way or another. The thread that weaves each of their lives together is that one of the women, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, discovers her husband has a secret that will ultimately weigh over all of them. She finds a letter addressed to her, which has instructions to open after her husband’s death… but he’s still very much alive. Once that letter is opened, there’s no going back – and the plot takes you through how this secret impacts so many lives of people who barely knew each other before. I actually didn’t read Big Little Lies but binge watched the entire season of the show, and after that I was excited to read this book. It’s an incredibly well-written mystery that I breezed through despite it being almost 500 pages. Highly recommended!

It Ends With Us: I borrowed this book from a friend and didn’t even know what it was about when I began reading. I was immediately drawn in – the only way I can explain it is that it’s a powerful love story that dives into a sensitive subject matter. This quote from Kirkus from STARRED REVIEW says it well: It Ends with Us tackles [a] difficult subject…with romantic tenderness and emotional heft. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.” I can’t go into any more detail than that without ruining it, but just read this book!

The Couple Next Door: I was really into all of these books, but I would say this was the one that I read the fastest. The suspense was killing me and I just had to get to the whodunit part! As the title implies, this is a story about a couple – Anne and Marco Conti – who seem picture perfect on the outside. Then while they are next door at a dinner party, a crime takes place and that starts the complicated storyline of figuring out exactly what happened and who is to blame. Both Anne and Marco have secrets – as do each of the other characters – and this all unfolds leading up to the last twist where the truth comes out.

Luckiest Girl Alive: This one is recommended for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train and while I haven’t yet read the second, I was sold after loving Gone Girl. This is another one where I can’t say too much without giving it all away. Ani FaNelli is a high schooler who seems to have a perfect life – but she’s really hiding something from her past that has significantly impacted her life since then. You won’t see what’s coming as the plot twists in different directions. I couldn’t put this one down!

Shop all of these books here:

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide 2016

The pre-holiday season got the best of me and admittedly I am WAY behind on my gift guide content that I had originally planned (sorry!!). The holidays are now here, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t quite checked everyone off the gift list yet. One of my favorite things on Christmas morning when I was little was opening up my stocking – my mom wrapped every little thing in it so it took forever!

So today I’m sharing lots of last-minute stocking stuffers from either stores you probably have nearby or good old Amazon Prime. Bought all your gifts already? Pick some of these up for yourself – especially the gift sets that are only available at this time of year and are usually great value! Shop everything via the links and images below, where you’ll find even more options in each category.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Hope you all get to disconnect and spend time with family and friends.

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide 2017

Shop the Gifts:

May Designs Desk Calendar / Kate Spade Planner

Tarte Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette / Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette

Deborah Lippman Nail Polish Set / BaubleBar Choker / Kendra Scott Earrings

Tory Burch Keychain / PopSugar Must Have Box Ring Dish

Lavanila Cozy Comforts Mini Deodorant Trio / Rodan + Fields Lash Boost Set

Maria Shireen Hair Tie Bracelet / bareMinerals BARE HAVEN Moisturizing Soft Cream

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick / Korres Greek Nights Volcanic Twist Shadow Collection

Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer / Avon Skin So Soft Triple Phase Oil

Masque Bar Oxygen Bubble Sheet MaskExfoliating Foot Mask / Target Copper Bar Tools

Jonathan Adler CandleLL Bean Slipper Socks / Target Mittens

 bkr Water Bottle / J.Crew Hat / Maybelline The Colossal Big Shot Mascara

 

[Read more…]