The Bay Area finally got truly chilly and now I'm being a baby about the weather. The office has been a pretty cold as well and...
It's the most wonderful time of the year...and I can't believe it's already here. I have barely had time to do my holiday sho...
It's the most wonderful time of the year...and I can't believe it's already here. I have barely had time to do my holiday shopping this year and Christmas is only days away! My cousin got married this weekend in Tahoe-so instead of shopping for all those on my "Nice List" I drank my share of spiked mulled cider or eggnog and roasted marshmallows over the fire with my very large family in the Sierra Mountains. Aka: Bliss.
Even though I still have some gift giving to do with little to no time left, I am excited! I love to give thoughtful presents to friends and family. I think gifts are a great way of showing you care, but also creating a shared moment between one another. For example, my cousin and I scrapbooked together over this summer and got into crafts. So, to show I really enjoyed that time with her I created a personalized "craft bag" for her filled with DIY kits and craft goods. I like to think of those in my life and personalize the gifts to things they love.
For the Spa Lover:
All of these gift guides may or may not contain things that I would buy for myself-but I was thinking of one of my closest girlfriends when I created this set. She loves essential oils, natural beauty products, and quality, locally sourced goods. My personal favorites (I use them daily) are the local Bay Area Etta + Billie products and Turkish cotton towels.
- Etta + Billie Lotions & Body Scrubs
These make my skin feel so smooth and buttery. They do the perfect job of exfoliating while deeply moisturizing your skin. I love the fresh scents from the different scrubs and lotions (lavender, ginger, lemongrass, etc) and the local lady boss behind this brand.
- Essential Oil Diffuser
Between the cold weather and dry heat I love the idea of having this in your home to diffuse essential oils for health as well as acting as a humidifier. I'd feel as if I lived in a spa. Besides, the changing LED lights and soothing oils would really help combat holiday stress.
- Wooden Paddle Brush
Great for massaging your body. Helps unclog pores to release toxins
- Travel Spray
I like the idea of bringing a portable spa experience with you while you travel. Having a special scent that calms and soothes that you can spray anywhere you go is like having a tiny spa to go in your bag.
- Turkish Cotton Towels
I love how little space these towels take while still feeling luxurious. I use them daily in my bathroom and even have bigger ones I take to the beach with me.
- Voluspa Tin Candle
This is one of my favorite candle brands I discovered ~10yrs ago and still love to this day. The scents are lovely and fragrant-without ever feeling overpowering. Luxury candles can really make you feel like you're being pampered and spoiled.
- Organic Cotton Spa Robe
I don't know if there is anything that screams, "Spa," more than a fluffy cotton robe. This super soft robe is made of organic cotton and folds up well to take the spa wherever you go.
- Spa Experience Gift Tin
Rather than putting together your own spa kit to give this is all ready to go with the best of portable spa experiences in a cute tin.
- Essential Oils
Not only are they personal and relaxing but they can instantly soothe, enliven, or balance both body and mind.
- Fig + Yarrow Sea Salt Scrub
I love how this scrub leaves you feeling soft and like you just had a whole body spa treatment. It's so pampering and perfect.
I inherited my wanderlust from my mother, so this list is dedicated to her. She LOVES to travel and it re-energizes her like nothing else. I love gifting to my fellow travel lovers because I can really appreciate how these little gifts can really improve their travels, as well as hope they may remember how much I care about them whenever they use it. I would want to steal the inflatable travel pillow (my last one finally gave out) and the cashmere travel set, because who wouldn't want that!?!
- Cashmere Travel Set
So ridiculously soft and luxurious. The perfect travel set to make you feel at home and comfy on those long flights or when jet lagged and adjusting to the time changes. It comes with a sleeping mask, scarf, long socks, and cashmere bag.
- Transparent Travel Phone Case
I like how minimal, but cute this is. This slim case has a impact-resistant outer shell that protects your device from scratch, drops and dust-which is perfect if you are a frequent traveler like me. This would make me smile every time I looked at it and feel inspired to travel.
- Leather Luggage Tag
Soft leather that is really durable and chic. Smarten up your suitcases and carry-ons with this handcrafted leather luggage tag, detailed with meticulous stitching, hand-painted edges and a signature brand stamp.
- Fossil Leather Passport Case
Upgrade your on-board experience with this sleek leather passport case. The luxe and minimal design is stylish and classic.
- Fresh Lip Balm
My lips always dry out so much when I travel. Fresh Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy smoothes dry lips with a refreshing sugar mint flavor and wild mango butter to help protect and soften your puckers.
- Weekender Bag
Versatile, minimal, and stylish. This could be a gender neutral present that will be used over and over again for ages. Unless I'm traveling for long periods of time I always always travel with a sleek weekender bag and never regret it.
- Inflatable Travel Pillow
These are perfect for long journeys or red eyes when you need to catch some sleep or a place to rest your head. I prefer inflatable over memory foam because once you're done you can deflate it and fold it up to fit in a pocket sized bag-so it fits with my travel light lifestyle. Bonus: with inflatable you can choose the softness or firmness to your personalized liking.
- Wool Scarf
Made from 100% soft lambs wool-this was one of the 10 things I never travel without. Perfect to keep you warm through transitioning climates as you travel, can act as a blanket while on a chilly plane, and triples as a stylish accessory to complete any outfit.
- Gunmetal Headphones
Minimal, stylish, and sleek; these headphones are perfect for traveling. Not only do they block outside noise but their collapsible design allows them to fit easily in your bag wherever your travels take you.
- Soft Leather Phone Charger Wallet
Another of my 10 things I never travel without: I always bring portable chargers on my journeys. The leather wallet comes with a power bank that has a 4000 mAH battery (produces 2 full charges), a micro USB input port and USB output port, and a small leather Stowaway envelope to hold tiny mementoes. Bonus: The arrives packaged in a smart branded gift box and dust bag, so no wrapping required!
An ancient Japanese dying technique gets translated to the 21st century with these adorable presents. I have to admit, I'm obsessed with all of these. I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite when I want every single one! (PS: I might be the Shibori lover in my own life, but I also have some friends I know these would also be perfect for).
- Shibori Print Crop Top
I love how the minimal and structured elements of this top balance the bohemian shibori dye pattern. This is perfect to wear year round-with a crisp white skirt for summer or as a layering piece in the winter.
- Dyed Wool Scarf
While Shibori is often associated with summer, this soft, handwoven wool scarf is so warm and cozy it is perfect for wearing throughout the cold weather or doubling as a shawl for holiday parties.
- Shibori Tumbler
Simple stoneware with a decorative flair. This can also serve as a unique pencil cup for office space.
- Indigo + White Throw Pillow
Cotton and linen blend that is soft and light. This add a smart pop of blue to any room.
- Madewell x Food52 Cocktail Napkin Set
These o-so-giftable goodies would make anyone want to host a happy hour. Crafted locally in Oakland, this set of four cotton cocktail napkins are hand dyed with natural indigo (you get two of each design). Use them as coasters, pop them under a vase of flowers—self-gifting is a thing too, just saying.
- Shibori Phone Case
This minimalist iPhone 6 case was designed by Emma Fineman for Casetify. It's so happy and bright-just think of the joy it will bring your loved one each time they pick up their phone
- Indigo Shibori Style Mudcloth Christmas Stocking
I love that these one of a kind stockings really show off someone's personal style. Pick and choose different ones to mix and match to create a eclectic look above the fireplace.
- Indigo Paddle Cactus Art Print
Perfect for the friend that is head over heels for the cactus home trend right now, but still crazy for blue and minimalism (ahem, like me).
- Women's Indigo Dye Socks
Support a small business while enjoying these super cute dyed socks.
- Vera Wang Indigo Ombre Dishware
Modern and minimal indigo ombre dishware pattern that can be used for daily use or dressed up for more formal dinners as well.
Are you already done with your Holiday shopping, or are you scrambling last minute like I am?
Packing for winter destinations can be a challenge. There is all the layers and bulk of the wonderful pieces that keep you warm. I'...
Winter / Tahoe Packing List:
- Wool Coat
- Down Jacket
- Wool Socks
- Knit Cap
- Leather Gloves
- Wool Fedora
- Leather Backpack / Purse
- Ankle Boots
- Leather Sheep Lined Snow Boots
- Snow Bibs
- Chunky Cashmere Cardigan
- Velvet Button Up Shirt
- Cashmere Top
- Swing Top
- Mountain Print Sweater
- Large Cashmere Pashmina Scarf
- Pick a Color Scheme to Mix & Match: I like neutrals like black and white with one pop of color. That way I know I can mix and match pieces to create several outfits.
- Plan Ahead: I plan an outfit for each day I'm on my trip-including what I'm wearing on the days I travel there and back. I also try on my outfits ahead of time to make sure they all fit still (my weight fluctuates regularly) and that the different "looks" work together. That way I know I won't over pack and bring extras I won't wear.
- Pack Hard Working Clothes: Pack pieces that are versatile and you can wear several ways. My leggings are perfect for lounging around, wearing as PJs on cold nights, or layering under my snow bibs if it's really cold in the snow.
- Choose High Quality Material, Over Bulk: This down coat in my packing list is super warm and high quality, without being bulky. I also like high quality materials like cashmere, leather, wool, tight knits, and silks as they are great for layering and keeping things cozy and warm, all the while packing well and not taking up a lot of precious space in your bag.
- Wear Your Bulkiest Items There: I'm in Tahoe for a good part of the holidays and really need to have snow boots while here. However, they are big and heavy-not great for packing light. My solution is to wear my bulkier items on the day of travel to save space in my suitcase while still getting those necessary pieces to my final destination. On the day of traveling to Tahoe I wore my jeans, snow boots, wool coat, and felt fedora hat as they are the bulkiest items on my packing list and don't pack well shoved in a suitcase. Viola! Problem solved.
This post is for the hostess withOUT the mostess, the procrastinator (hello me), or the low key. If you're having peo...
- Option #1 - Produce: Pass on the floral arrangements and make a bold statement with bowls/platters/dishes of fresh fruits or vegetables (no creative skills required to fill a bowl with produce, unlike artfully arranging bouquets!). You may already have them on hand for cooking around the holidays and-unlike flowers-you can eat them afterwards! I use pomegranates as the giving of pomegranates, persimmons, or citrus is a Christmas tradition in Mediterranean culture, like my family's.
- How - Color Palette: The closer you can stick to a color palette the bolder your styling will look. Learn more about picking a palette from this color wheel tutorial.
- Analogous: For our holiday tablescape we used harmonious analogous and almost monochromatic color palette ranging from rich pomegranate reds to deep eggplant purples with merlot grapes, plums, avocado, and figs in between.
- Complimentary/Contrasting: The most popular example of contrasting colors is Christmas' red and green (think red and green apples). This sort of palette is vibrant and dramatic.
- Neutrals: Think soft colors from nature with shelled brown nuts, cotton white, and muted green artichokes.
- How - Uniform: You don't need your grandmother's fine china to achieve this table decoration. Find uniformity with your centerpiece dishes (that doesn't mean that they need to be a part of a set or match). Ours are all from different sets but tie together with the white. You could also experiment with dishes that are different colors but the same size, or different colors and sizes but the same pattern/style. One example: different colored bowls/platters/plates of depression glass.
- Option #2 - Candles: Never underestimate the drama of a candlelit dinner.
- How - Types / Sizes: You can simply have 2-3 tapered candlesticks standing tall in the center in holders or a candelabra. Or group together several pillar candles of varying heights on a plate. Or go smaller in scale and use wine glasses or small glass containers to house votives or tealights.
- How - Color: White is always the most classic candle wax color and ensures that if you have different kinds of candles they all go together, as opposed to discrepancies of hues with colored wax for candles from different brands or stores. If you do want to use colorful candles and have different colors group them together on a plate and tie a ribbon around them or create balance with each candle having the same uniform holder.
- Option #3 - Nature: Greenery, leaves, feathers, pinecones, twigs/braches...the list goes on and on for what is available this time of year. Bonus: it is often free!
- How - Balance + Display: Don't let nature take over your table. You can put pinecones or leaves in a clear vase or bowl. Branches or greenery can go in a tall vase or be laid down the center of the table with pinecones or leaves singularly spread throughout. Find balance and keep it minimal. It's meant to be easy!
- Work With What You Have: If your only option is paper plates then fold the napkins fancy to elevate the look. Don't have enough matching dishware or a set for everyone? Mix and match the plates and bowls to make it fun and eclectic like here. Staying monochromatic with whites kept the tablescape looking pulled together-even though no two place settings were the same. Placemats or traditional chargers were forgotten to save space both physically and visually. As there were only three of the antique wire chargers the eclectic, mismatched theme continued. A large tart tin was found to make an even number and they were placed at different settings around the table.
- How - Decor: Again, as casual or elegant as you need it to be. Open seating usually works best for my hostess style so I don't like using place cards. Rather, putting something like a piece of fruit (as seen here) on top of their plate or folded napkin is is super fast and simple, yet bold, way to decorate the setting. These also make for great conversation pieces at a dinner party. To top it all, you can send your guests home with their setting decor as a sweet and fun party favor!
- Plate Toppers / Party Favor Ideas:
- Herbs (Sprigs of Rosemary, Sage, Bay Leaves, etc)
- Christmas tree cuttings
- Large Leaf (Ex: Magnolia Leaves)
- Small Present
I really love decorating for the holidays! But living in a Bay Area apartment = no space. If you're like me-or even simply interested in...
|Kit & Forage|
|Dans Le Lake House|
|Homey Oh My|
|The Merry Thought|
|Oleander and Palm|
|Front + Main|
Do you decorate with a tree, even if you don't have the room for it?
Which is you favorite alternative "tree"?
Would you use any of these ideas to create own small space seasonal look?
Here is a collection of all my favorite essential accessories for my fall / winter wardrobe. I use these pieces so much in my cold weather ...
- Wide Brim Fedora
- Baseball Cap
- Large Warm Scarf
- Silk Scarf
- Leather Gloves
- Messenger Side Bag
- Leather Backpack
- Ankle Boots
- Leather Sneakers
- Vest for Layering
- Unique Long Necklace*
Believe it or not, I used to be a huge tomboy. My mother used to complain that people would ask "what her son wanted" etc... (I...
Get the Look:
Hat: H&M (On Sale NOW!)
Sweater: Loft (On Sale NOW! Plus extra 60% off if you use the code: WRAPUP)
Silk Culottes: Anthropologie (Sold Out) (Similar 1) (Similar 2) (Similar 3)
Shoes: Mossimo (Sold Out) (Similar 1) (Similar 2) (Similar 3)
*I borrowed it from a from my blogger pal and OOTD photographer, Nancy. I think I loved it so much I may just have to get my own! Check out her "What In My Purse" post with this tote bag.
If you are like me, you've been madly searching Pinterest for some "Pinspiration" to decorate your home for the holidays, wint...
If you wish to see more follow me on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/theabstractlife
1 // Anthro Mug 2 // Mid Century Modern Christmas Decor 3 // Berry Merry Cocktail 4 // Lightning Wrapping Paper