the holiday gift guide

Can you believe it’s that time already?! I feel like some people start holiday shopping as early as the summer up to September/October, but it’s definitely in full swing by November. I love getting dressed in a cozy vest and jeans, buying a hot chocolate or caramel apple cider from Starbucks, then walking around my favorite shopping streets and areas. I swear, the process of shopping for the gifts is half the fun.

Because I’m not all about the consumerist culture of the holidays, I think I’ll only be sharing one holiday gift guide this year. Everything on this page is sectioned into categories by price and are all under $150. My gift giving philosophy is to give people special things that they may have had their eye on, but never actually bought for themselves. There are certain things like this for me that come to mind such as silk pillowcases and certain accessories. I’d love to have them, but always have something else come first. Those kinds of things make perfect gifts!

So, get your cup of hot chocolate and happy shopping!

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A monogram mug for sipping hot chocolate. A special ornament to add a personal touch to their tree. Seasonal pancake mixes for cozy mornings. A shea butter lotion with vintage-inspired packaging. Coconut body oil for the harsh winter weather. A natural sea wool sponge to exfoliate the skin. A jade roller for cozy self-care nights. A vanilla bean cacao candle for all the happy vibes. A baking set so they’ll make you treats. A chic apron with pockets full of extracts and spices. A gorgeous desk calendar for the year ahead. A Kiva gift card so that they can give back.

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Aesop hand soap to step up their bathroom counter game. Caudalie’s Instant Detox mask for the best pampering routine. Handcrafted Mullein & Sparrow bath salts to support artisans. A set of Herbivore products because one isn’t enough. A cute clay hut for burning incense. A minimalist KeepCup to keep her drink warm on her commute. A set of question cards meant to increase emotional intelligence. A throw blanket to keep cozy on the couch. The What Do You Meme? game because why not? A cookbook that teaches how to perfect the pizza. An essential oil diffuser for natural home fragrance. A pair of Komono sunglasses she’ll wear all year round. A monogram necklace to wear on its own or as a layering piece. A beautiful vanity set for her bathroom counter. The perfect holiday candle from Draper James. A book that teaches how to incorporate crystals into your life.

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A sleek, self-cleaning water bottle for the gym and daily use. A fluffy white robe to wear all winter long. A gorgeous juicer for making that perfect green juice at home. A handcrafted teapot for brewing cozy, warming teas. The Mason Pearson brush that her hair deserves. The cutest Draper James bag to carry all the things. The sculptural earrings that are basically wearable art. An electric tea kettle from Smeg, the vintage chic kitchen brand. The gold bakeware set every passionate baker needs. A splurgeworthy Byredo candle. A pair of Koolaburra boots to keep her feet warm. A six or twelve month subscription to Book of the Month club, so they’ll have something to read all year long.

I hope this helped you guys find a good gift for someone in your life! Let me know in the comments what gifts you have your eye on for yourself, too.

pretty things no. 24

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This month is about all things cozy and warm but also a little bit dark and spooky. I’m celebrating October with my favorite “scary” movies and taking inspiration from them for this weekend’s edition of pretty things.

When it comes to Halloween costumes, I’m the type of person who tends to like dressing not as anything in particular but in a generally chic outfit with a spooky element added on. The perfect thing is this lace mask. You can really put together any all black or white outfit and add this on top to make a chic and easy Halloween costume.

This A.P.C. high-neck blouse made me think of Victorian and Gothic fiction like Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Sleepy Hollow, and Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak. In real life, though, it would look great with a pair of jeans and suede ankle boots!

The Apocalyptic scent from Byredo is so good for October, as it was inspired by “a landscape of ashes and despair”. Sounds depressing, but smells really good and will get you in the mood for Halloween. It has notes of white-hot iron, black raspberry, oak moss, papyrus, dark wood, and birch.

This Hermès Rocabar wool blanket, with its 70s inspired color palette, is like an expensive version of something you’d see in a vintage shop. It just looks like the perfect thing to wrap up in to read or watch old movies.

One of my favorite go-to masks for fall is the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. I used it all the time in college because it smells amazing and exfoliates with pumpkin enzyme, AHAs, and the same crystals that are used in microdermabrasion.

I’m absolutely obsessed with these fauve-inspired earrings from Madewell. Artists in the fauve movement like Matisse and Derain were known for flat, fragmented shapes like what you see with these earrings. They’re the kind of thing you could pair with a basic white tee and jeans for a carefree, French girl vibe.

I have a tradition of buying a pair of themed socks from J.Crew every season and this year, I’m proud to say that I used rewards and coupon codes to get three pairs of socks for $2. Yes, two dollars. I love this pair with dancing skeletons for Halloween!

summer fridays overtime mask review

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Summer Fridays Overtime Mask, Sephora ($44)

I love Summer Fridays. It’s the brand founded by Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores that’s all over Instagram. I was at their brand launch party earlier this year and was lucky enough to be gifted their first product, the Jet Lag Mask. I was so excited when they launched their second product at the beginning of September that I placed an order immediately.

I have a feeling I’ll be collecting each of their products as they’re release, so let’s make it a tradition for me to share my reviews as they come out.

FIRST IMPRESSION

I was excited to see that the package design and ingredients were fitting for fall. I love displaying my Jet Lag Mask because of the pretty blue color and I imagine I’ll be doing the same with this pretty orange creamsicle colored tube. Fortunately, this product was released right around the same time I knew I needed a good exfoliating product. I also knew that it involved pumpkin, so I was sold.

WHAT’S IN IT

The Overtime Mask is described as “a clarifying mask that uses vitamin-packed pumpkin and exfoliating apricot seed powder to polish away dead skin cells for a luminous effect”. Along with the pumpkin and apricot seed powder, it’s also formulated with oat kernel proteins, beta carotene, and vitamin E. As with all Summer Fridays products, this one is certified clean at Sephora meaning it has no parabens, sulfates, fragrance, or silicone and it is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. 🙌

USING IT

The first thing I have to talk about is the scent! It’s a blend of spices like clove, ginger, and nutmeg and seriously smells like pumpkin pie filling. So good! The exfoliant is really light which means it’s not going to be too abrasive on your skin but give a good scrub. If you have super, super sensitive skin, I’d be careful but for the most part, this should work for everyone. After scrubbing for 60 seconds, I left the mask on for ten minutes then rinsed. My face was instantly smooth and glowing! Just like the Jet Lag Mask, I highly recommend the Overtime Mask.

five ways to treat yourself this weekend

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There's something about autumn that just feels special. I really feel like it's the "treat yourself" season above all others. Considering that the earth is going through a major transition and society is as well (back-to-school, etc.), it only makes sense that now provides a great opportunity for a little more "self-care" time. Here are some of my favorite ways to give myself a treat every so often. 

light a candle + read this month's issue of your favorite magazine
I did this the other day with the newly released September issue of Vogue. Set yourself up in the living room or, better yet, in bed with the newest issue of your favorite magazine. Light a fall candle and take your time reading and looking at all of the beautiful photography.

watch a fall movie with a batch of homemade popcorn
There are so many movies to get you inspired for fall. Pick one, get cozy in loungewear, then make a bowl of homemade popcorn to eat while you watch. We make two kinds of popcorn, one is a savory, cheesy version and the other is caramel.

order a seasonal drink + browse your favorite bookstore
This is one of my favorite things to do. Go to Starbucks and get one of the fun seasonal drinks (I always recommend the Caramel Apple Spice) then spend some uninterrupted time browsing your favorite bookstore. Check out all the new releases, classics, sales section, and even the board games. For an extra treat, choose a few things to take home with you! If bookstores aren't your thing at the moment, you can also do this at Target. 😉

visit a cute cafe alone or with a friend for a cheese board + glass of wine
Something I used to do in college as a treat is ride my bike down to this cute French bistro (the head chef was from Lyon) with whatever book I was reading in my bag. I'd order a glass of wine and their amazing cheese plate, sometimes even a seasonal fruit tart. I'd do this on my own most of the time but once, my roommate tagged along and we both ordered the most delicious French onion soup while classic French movies played in the background. 

spend an hour on your pampering routine
We all treat ourselves to sheet masks and things from time to time, but when was the last time you spent a full hour on self-care? Do everything from body scrubs and hair treatments to face masks and oils. I recommend trying Grace's summer beauty reset, which can be updated for other seasons just by utilizing seasonal products and scents.

pretty things no. 21

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This weekend's edition of pretty things is inspired by my newly booked upcoming trip to London! We're going in the spring, first to London and then to Amsterdam for a few days and I couldn't be more excited. I'm already planning my outfits, which makes this the perfect topic for pretty things.

The number one item on my London outfit wish list was a sleeveless trench like this one from 3.1 Philip Lim. I'll be layering it over white tees and blouses for a polished look.

It seems like most travel packing lists involve a leather biker jacket because it's useful for so many climates and situations. I'm partial to beige biker jackets because they look lighter and make your outfit more luxurious.

To me, a pair of patent leather brogues is quintessentially British (just like a Burberry trench). They're a great masculine piece to pair with a feminine dress or blouse to give your look a little edge.

London weather can be unpredictable especially in the spring when a warm day can easily transition into a cool evening. I'll definitely be packing a lightweight scarf that will also add some femininity and color to my outfits.

When I'm in the city, I'm always sure to wear not only a sunscreen but a pollution blocking sunscreen like this one from Supergoop.

I've been mentioning how I plan on styling masculine pieces with feminine ones. This Burberry blouse is the perfect feminine piece to layer under a trench coat or with a pair of heavy brogues.

Finally, who would I be if I didn't recommend a pair of large sunglasses for travel? This black, angular pair from Le Specs will add a touch of glam to complete any look.