2017 Gift Guide For HIM

Gifting is one of my favorite things, and when it comes to finding gifts for my husband, I love it even more, even though he can be a little hard to buy for sometimes since he has pretty much everything and always insists he doesn't want anything. But I can't have a tree empty of gifts on Christmas morning, so I always scour the internets for the perfect gifts for him and sometimes come up with some gems like these! The perfect gifts for my husband and if you're in the same situation as me, (with a husband who never wants anything) here's a list below of some of my favorite gifts that are perfect for any guy!

My husband absolutely loves handmade soaps, so these soaps from The Fredom Soap Co. were totally a no brainer. They smell great, wash great and are filled with great ingredients! The Freedom Soap Co. is an all natural, soap and skin care company who specializes in small batch, handmade items perfect for all skin and everyone, and each product is specially formulated, tested and made completely by hand, right here in the United States! Another reason I love this company so much is because they source so many of their ingredients locally to them, so while you think you're supporting only one small shop, in reality you are supporting many more small shops and local business owners, beekeepers, farmers, brewers and more! Plus in addition to all that, their products contain none of the junk that you find in most products available on the shelves in stores, in Freedom Soap Company products, you'll find only the best, most natural and quality ingredients. A few of our favorite soaps are the coffee and peppermint, activated charcoal, and pine and eucalyptus bar soaps, they all smell so amazing and I have a feeling they're going to make the most perfect stocking stuffers this year!

Watches are one of the most timeless gifts for a man that I can think of. Something that they can feeling stylish while wearing, yet it's so functional and practical as well, and just makes for the best gift. This year I'm adding another watch, this absolutely stunning watch from JORD, to Frank's collection and I absolutely cannot wait for him to find this under the tree and start wearing it, in fact, I may have to give it to him a little bit early, I'm that excited about it haha. This Koa and Black Wood Watch (from JORD's Dover Series) is without a doubt the prettiest watch I've ever seen and also one of the most unique watches as well. The fact that it's made from wood is amazing, especially since I'm obsessed with all things natural wood, and the shiny gears peaking through? That just puts the candles on the cake. It features sapphire crystal glass, a display with hours, minutes and seconds, and the splash-proof koa wood band is pre-treated with tung oils to keep it looking great for years to come. It's also an automatic watch (or self winding), which means no batteries (so no trips to the jeweler for a new battery. Yay!). The rustic look of the wood, and the industrial vibe of the visible gears, give this skeleton wood watch such a classy, unique and masculine feel, the perfect gift for my husband. Every man needs a nice watch, so if you're looking to make a stylish statement this Christmas, make sure to scoop up one of these awesome wood watches from JORD, they have so many different styles and options to choose from and also sell women's watches as well all men's!

We first tried RXBars last year and we're totally hooked now. We've loved every flavor we've tried so far and I was super excited when a box of their NEW (seasonal) flavor showed up at our doorstep recently. Cue all the excitement when I realized the flavor was gingerbread. So delicious and the perfect holiday flavor. We love the great taste of RXBars, but one of the most important factors is that's inside them. Just the good stuff: egg whites, dates, almonds, cashews... just real and good ingredients you can pronounce, packed full of protein and fiber, they're the perfect for whenever you get a snack craving and want a healthier option or for fueling up after a workout. They're also pretty perfect for filling up stockings for Christmas.

Coffee is one of my favorite gifts for my husband, because let's face it, you can never go wrong with coffee, especially when it's a hand crafted artisan roast made right here in the USA, plus I'm a sucker for great branding and packaging and Canyon Coffee's packaging is on point. When I opened the box, the smell of delicious roasted coffee beans wafted out at me and I can only imagine that it will taste even better than it smells. My husband starts every single morning off with a hot mug of coffee, so not only is coffee the perfect way way to wake him up in the mornings, it's also a great reminder that I love him! If you want to make this gift of coffee even better, sign up for the subscription service (you can choose to have your coffee shipped every 2 weeks or every 4 weeks, depending on what your coffee needs/wants are), truly the gift that keeps on giving (plus you save 10% off of the one time purchase list price by subscribing)!

Wallets are another favorite item to gift to my husband, and this No. 52 Buck Brown Vertical Leather Wallet from Stock & Barrel Co. is such a fun and unique take on a wallet that I know he's going to love. Crafted from high quality vegetable tanned harness leather, this awesome wallet will only get better with age as it ages with a lovely patina and gets softer day by day. It contains 4 card slots, 2 hidden pockets and the edges of this wallet are neatly burnished and have the signature bison mark that Stock & Barrel is known for. It's perfect for gifting or keeping for yourself. Stock & Barrel also offers a DIY kit so if this wallet strikes your fancy but you're like "oh! how cool would it be to make this myself", well now you can, find that fun DIY kit (which also make a great gift idea) here and you can learn all about leather working and crafting your own items from leather!

Wooden Wristwatch


November Favorites

Happy November! I can hardly believe that the year is almost over and that the holidays are upon us; I'm slowly checking things off my never ending to-do list over here and getting super excited to stuff my face with all the turkey and gravy and loaded mashed potatoes I can eat in a few days. SO many fun things planned for this next month and there are also some super fun posts and gift guides hitting the blog soon just in time for all of the holiday shopping we'll all be doing. YAY! Anyway, below I'm sharing some of our favorites from the month of November and I know you'll love them all as much as we do!

I'm the worst at remembering to print out photos, so when Parabo Press recently reached out to me to see if I wanted to try out some products, I totally jumped on board! I was so excited to finally have some of my Instagram photos printed off to hang up around the house and create a photo album, and I just love the quality of these prints, the size is also pretty much perfect, 4 inches by 4 inches and they're so reminiscent of Polaroids and old photos which is another reason why I love them so much and chose this size instead of a standard sized photo. I also grabbed a few 8x10 prints of our family to gift to my mom and in-laws, I'm gong to grab some frames next time we're at the store and they'll make the perfect gifts for family. I have a feeling I'll be making many more orders from Parabo, especially since with every order you get 25 free square prints, you can even order just your 25 free prints and only have to over shipping, how cool is that? So many other great personalized items to choose from that can make great home decor or gifts this year!

Bumbelou just released their holiday line and I'm seriously in love with everything! This pirouette dress in plaid is one of our absolute favorites and it'll be perfect for Thanksgiving and ALL of the upcoming holidays! I just love seeing Bella twirl her day away in pretty dresses and she loves this one just as much as I do. This swing dress in grey stripe is also a big favorite, it's made from the absolute softest thermal fabric for optimal warmth and comfort, basically it's like wearing pajamas without actually wearing pajamas and I totally want one of these dresses for myself, Bella has been wearing it constantly and it's so cute paired with tights and little boots. Besides cute and quality made clothes, one of the biggest reasons we love Bumbelou is because they give back! 10 percent of Bumbleou's proceeds from each item sold goes to Compassion International to help underprivileged children around the world. How great is that? There's some other adorable items available over in her shop and that pretty plaid dress will be restocking soon as well so make sure to check them all out and snag a piece or two (or three) up!

Family traditions are super important to us and I'm so excited to add a new tradition to our holiday season this year! The Giving Manger! I first came across this last year and immediately fell in love with all that this is about and the meanings and lessons behind it. The Giving Manger is a fun and interactive Christmas tradition that helps parents teach their little ones to give back, serve others and most importantly, about the true meaning of Christmas and the real reason for the season, Jesus! Each giving manger gift box comes with a lovely book that explains the tradition of the giving manger, a little wooden manger, a bundle of straw that after acts of service and giving are done a piece of straw can be placed in the manger, and on Christmas morning place the baby Jesus in the manger full of acts of kindness, giving and service. We'll be bringing this out the day after Thanksgiving and I can't wait to start using it as a tool to teach Bella to give back even more and do kind things for others, such a great teaching tool and I know she's just going to love it! Jesus was truly about serving others and giving, and this is the perfect way to bring that spirit of service and an extra focus on Christ into your home during the holidays which are otherwise busy and rushed.

Copper mugs have been on my wishlist for a long, long time, I just love the look of copper so I'm super excited to add these pretty hammered copper barrel mugs from Danae Supply Co. to our ever growing mug collection! Perfect for hot cocoa, or mocktails or cocktails, or really whatever you like! They're so shiny and festive so you can bet they'll be making an appearance for hot cocoa and lots of marshmallows during the "spa day" that my mom and I are hosting together for my sisters, stepdaughters and sisters in law on the Saturday after Thanksgiving! These mugs come in sets of two as well as sets of four AND there is also several gift sets of copper mugs and copper shakers to choose from, so if you're stumped on what to gift to that hard to buy for person this year, grab one of these gift sets and you're all set, you'll just have to do the gift wrapping! These handcrafted 100% copper mugs are sure to be the shiniest and most talked about present you receive or gift AND they're something that can be shared and used all year long!



Family Footwear Finds

Pennsylvania winters are known for being cold and lasting for what feels like forever, so making sure our family has high quality, warm footwear to keep us warm during the cold months is high on my list of to-do's every year. I've consistently shopped at Skechers the past few years for our footwear because they have such great quality shoes and have something for everyone, plus their shoes are just so comfortable and stylish, I mean, how could I pass all that up? The answer is, I can't. Haha.

For Bella I chose these sweet little gold booties, I love how they're fun because they're gold shiny, but also neutral and classic, we've paired these with SO many outfits the past few weeks, skinny jeans and tees or sweaters, tights and dresses, they seem to go with all of her clothes and she loves them just as much as I do! the perfect little boots. I also decided to be a fun mom (haha) and let Bella choose her second pair herself! Of course she chose a hot pink pair available with flashing lights, but hey, she loves them so I guess that's what matters most and they're actually starting to grow on me, even though they're not our typical style, they're super cute. She loves both of these pairs of boots, and I love that they'l keep her warm this winter all while looking stylish. They're also both easy to put on, super soft inside and she can even put them on by herself so that's another reason to love them.

Since my husband has to walk a ton at his job (around 10 miles a day) he goes through shoes faster than you can blink an eye, so since he was needing a couple new pairs of shoes I grabbed him these shoes perfect for walking for work days! I love the neutral gray color and he loves how easy they are to slip on as well as how light they feel on his feet. For the weekends, I grabbed these unique faux leather casual shoes for him! I just love leather and these shoes are such good ones!

Of course I needed a couple new pairs of booties to add to my wardrobe too so I snagged this pair, I love the unique suede look and comfy feel to them, and of course this pair just screams winter time cozy. The luxe look of these with the pretty faux fur and neutral taupe immediately grabbed my eye and I've been practically living in them since they arrived and I just love how I can be stylish yet warm in these!

Anyway, we're just loving all these shoes and boots, winter is (pretty much) here and we're all about staying warm and comfortable so make sure to grab alllllll the cozy styles for the entire family over at Skechers!

Thanks to Skechers for sending these shoes in our way in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.


Thanksgiving Must Haves

The Oriental Trading Company is quickly becoming my go-to place for all things holiday, they just have the cutest stuff and at such great prices, plus they're so underrated, I mean, until a couple months ago, I had no idea that they even sold home decor and anything other than party supplies, so it's definitely exciting to get on their website and hunt around for my next great find. And since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I've been scouring their website for cute Thanksgiving themed things and I scooped up some of the most adorable things recently so I thought I'd share them below:

My mom and sisters are coming to visit for Thanksgiving (YAY! So excited to see them), and I didn't wan to have to be running the dishwasher or spending time hand washing dishes the entire time they are visiting, so I grabbed these lovely Thanksgiving Turkey paper dinner plates! I just love the sophisticated turkey design and also made sure to scoop up the matching dessert plates (because pie happens at thanksgiving, lots and lots of pie), as well as the napkins and cups! I'm so excited to use these on Thanksgiving and be able to spend more time making memories rather than cleaning up.

Another fun item I snagged, is this super sleek and shiny premium metallic copper cutlery. I just love the look of copper, and since our normal flatware is copper, I thought these plastic, yes, plastic, forks, spoons and knives would be perfect to keep that sense of normalcy yet keep it fun and utensil washing free (because let's face it, no one likes hand washing flatware). 

Since the prices are so good, I made sure to get double sets of everything so we could have extras and not run out when it comes leftovers time!

And of course, since decor is my favorite, it would'be be right not to pick up a couple new pieces of decor for Thanksgiving, so this pretty glitter maple leaf garland joined us! I paired it with a string of fairy lights for the perfect and most festive autumn glow and of course there are still tons of little white pumpkins around here.

Last but not least, this magnolia and pine cone wreath was just too pretty to pass up. I love how it goes to well with all of our autumn decor, but will also transition so perfectly into Christmas for our holiday decor. You can hang it up, or do what I've been doing lately, and sitting it on the table with a candle in the center. It makes the prettiest centerpiece!

Thanksgiving is coming up soon so if you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, make sure and grab some of these products from over at The Oriental Trading Company! Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Thanks to Oriental Trading Company for sending these products our way in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. :)


October Favorites

Happy October! Well, technically it's almost over, but it's still October for a couple more days at least. This month has been a whirlwind of busy-ness and late nights working on upcoming holiday posts (get excited for all the gift guides y'all, they're gonna be good), baking all the pies and getting Bella's costume ready. Now that it's (FINALLY) starting to cool off here, I feel I can really get in the spirit of autumn and do alllll the fall things (as in heading to the pumpkin patch like we did yesterday and pumpkin carving). I'm sharing some of our favorites from this month so check them all out below!

We've spent practically the entire autumn in Alice & Ames dresses since they're our absolute favorites and well, Bella hardly wants to wear anything else. She loves the twirl factor and how comfortable they are, and I love how classic and pretty they are (she literally gets so many compliments on these dresses when she wears them) as well as the fact that they're such great quality. We recently snagged a couple of the dresses (this one and this one) from their holiday collection and I'm considering going back for another soon (this one), because they're just that good! We're actually incorporating an Alice & Ames dress into Bella's Halloween costume this year, I found an olive green ballet dress (from last year's fall collection) and it'll be perfect for her costume, which is.... drum roll... a dancing sunflower! Something she came up with all on her own and I think it's just the cutest idea ever. so we're rolling with it!

I've had my eye on getting some of those adorable felt ball garlands for forever, but hadn't jumped on it until I spotted these adorable ones from Wooly Sheep Dots (one of my new favorite shops). Seriously how CUTE are these? This lovely "Snowdrift" cream colored felt ball garland is perfect for autumn AND winter, but it's more than perfect for all of the upcoming holidays (especially since I decorate with a lot of white during Christmas) and it could actually work year round in a farmhouse style home! This pink felt ball garland (appropriately called "Valentine" caught my eye since I'm always planning, planning, planning, and I think it's going to be just perfect for Valentine's Day! I'm already excited to put it up and decorate with all the pink and hearts everywhere. Head on over and scoop up a few pretty garlands for your own home for allllllll the upcoming holidays!

Gigi Pip is my absolute favorite brand for women's hats, I just love all of their unique designs and that they have a hat for every style, no matter what your favorite personal style is. I recently got this olive suede baseball cap and it's the most perfect ball cap ever. I've never really worn baseball caps because I just couldn't find one that I liked, one that was functional, yet classy, but wasn't flashy, but this one is so lovely. Perfectly neutral, a great fit, feels comfortable, is a great price and I actually feel cute wearing it! I'm thinking I totally need a few more colors (that you can find here) to add to my ever growing Gigi Pip hat collection!

I've been looking for the perfect apple pie recipe for ages, and recently found "the one". I mean, I used to like apple pie, but now I LOVE it. It was the perfect consistency, not too sweet, not too much cinnamon, just right on everything. So of course I had to share it so you can make it too, I recently blogged the recipe and you can find that post here, I promise you'll never look at apple pie the same way again.

Over on pinterest, I've been pinning about a million ideas for the upcoming holidays (Christmas especially).  The Holiday season is my most favorite time of year so I just can't help but brainstorm all of the ways to make each holiday, especially Christmas, extra special. This year I'm planning on turning our entire home into a dazzling winter wonderland (think of the mall that Buddy the elf decorated on Elf). Yeah, I plan on being slightly overboard this year, since my mom and sisters are (hopefully) visiting for Thanksgiving, I'll wait until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate (we typically decorate a little earlier) so my artistic and talented sisters can help me decorate and cut out and make allllllll the paper snowflakes (a tradition my Dad started years ago after we found it in a childkraft book). If you're on Pinterest and are looking for holiday inspo or just like pretty pins, you can find me on there at @thejoyfultribe or click here to follow along with me over there!

Another one of our most favorite brands, and our absolute favorite hairbow brand, Wunderkin Co., is releasing their Fall 2 drop on October 31st at 10 am MST (or 12 noon EST) and I'm hoping to scoop up that pretty "Frankie" oversize schoolgirl since it's been one of my ISOs for practically forever, and I'm kind of smitten with the black floral big pinwheel too. If you're looking for the highest quality hairbows around (with a lifetime guarantee) make sure to scoop some up when they drop!


The Best Homemade Apple Pie

A couple weeks back, we headed out to our favorite local orchard for apple picking! It was a crisp day, feeling so much like autumn and we picked a ton of apples, golden delicious (my childhood favorite), red delicious, and empire (definitely a new favorite) because I had plans for baking and Bella had plans for apple snacking. Now apple pie has always been one of those things that I loved, but I just hadn't found "the recipe" so I never made it a lot, until now. As you all know, I'm a pie baker, give me all the pies. So the fact that I didn't have a good apple pie recipe is surprising to even myself, but this one, you guys, is it. It's hands down the best apple pie I've ever made, and Frank told me it's the best apple pie he's ever eaten in his life, even Bella (the pickiest eater I've ever known) loves it. So when I made it once, I couldn't help but make it again yesterday, you know, just to make sure the recipe the first time wasn't a fluke (or maybe just because I wanted apple pie again), and nope, it's just as good as it was the first time, maybe even better!  I have a feeling we'll be making a lot more trips to the orchard... Here's the recipe below so you can make it too!


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

9 thinly sliced peeled apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

1 large egg white

In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugars, flour and spices; toss to coat. Line a 9 inch pie pan with bottom crust ans trim the dough even with edge of the pie pan. Fill with apple mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie and place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in the middle of the pie (for ventilation). Beat egg white until foamy and brush over top of pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes (or until crust is golden). Serve warm and enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or chill and serve later!


Swimzip on Vacation

The older I get, the more I care about caring for my skin and passing on good sun care habits to my little girl anytime we are in the sun, whether it be covering ourselves head to toe in sub screen, staying in the shade or wearing UV blocking fabrics while swimming, it's most definitely a super important way of life.

When I was around 14, my family took a trip to the annual Independence Day parade in St. Louis on the 4th of July and I was at that age that well, I thought I was too cool for school. I was like, Nah, I'm good, I don't need any sunscreen. Well, lesson learned. The hard way unfortunately for me. I ended up with the worst sunburn of my life, so bad in fact, that I had huge blisters all over my body, my arms and legs and even face was covered in sunburn and blisters. So after that I became extremely proactive about either staying out of the sun entirely or doing everything in my power to prevent sunburn.

So when we decided to vacation at the beach for 10 days this past month (yep, it was as dreamy as it sounds), I knew we needed something a little extra to protect our skin. I remembered seeing a brand called SwimZip before on instagram and after looking over their website, I knew they were just what we needed! Betsy was so kind to send some pieces our way and they arrived just in time to take them with us on our trip!

For Bella we chose this super adorable Long Sleeve Girl Rash Guard Swimsuit Set in "Sail Away", it was the cutest little swimsuit and what I loved most about it was how well it shielded her sensitive and fair skin from the sun! As well as this adorable ruffled black long sleeved rash guard top with these black ruffled matching bottoms. For myself I chose this lovely black swim dress coverup (that I paired with a pair of black swim bottoms underneath), which ended up becoming my favorite swimsuit of all time (I wore it almost every single day at the beach and in the pool too), and for Frank, I chose this gray short sleeve rash guard swim shirt that was perfect for catching waves in. We seriously spent hours on the beach every single day, splashing in the waves, riding waves, playing in the sand, finding seas shells, and soaking up the warmth of the south.

SwimZip's products feature UPF 50+ UV sun protection – blocking over 98% of the sun’s cancer causing UVA and UVB rays which helps keep you and your family safe for lots of fun in the sun! UPF is the clothing equivalent to sunscreen SPF and SwimZip's designs perfect a day or week (or even longer) at the beach or pool. I just love the “no-pinch” zipper flap behind the zipper and a hideaway “zipper garage." You can definitely tell how much time and thought went into the design process of each piece that SwimZip offers.

One of the things we loved most about our SwimZip swimwear was that we didn't have to use as much sunscreen! Because let's face it, I still don't enjoy wearing sunscreen, I only do it because I know how important it is, but while wearing this I don't have to apply as much which is great! I already can't wait to wear our SwimZip goodies again next summer at the lake and pool and at the beach!

Thanks to SwimZip for sending this swimwear in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.