Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Last Minute Gift Guide

 How crazy is it that Christmas is this Friday? Seriously, the passing of time this year has felt so off to me – I really don’t feel like we should be at the end of December just yet. I will say though I am excited to see what 2021 has in store {fingers crossed it’s something good}. 

Before I get to the gift guide, just let me start off by saying that if you still have a little Christmas shopping left to do shopping local is such a great thing to do this year {and every year}. Covid has been had on everyone this year, but especially local business, restaurants, photographers, and so on. That said, I know time is winding down, so to cover everyone, regardless of where you live, the gifts in this gift guide can be found at big box and main stream retail stores that are probably just a short distance away from your home. 


If you happen to live in the Nashville area, click here to view my shop local gift guide for a few gift ideas and help support our local stores!

One// Free People My Only Sunshine Sweater

I love free people sweaters. The chunky knit pattern, colors, and fabric are always just so wonderful. This sweater is offered in about ten different colors and looks wonderful with jeans! 


Two// Charlotte Tillbury Pillow Talk Lip Secrets Lip Set

Charlotte Tillbury has to be my current favorite makeup/beauty line out there. I always love all the gift sets that make an appearance for Christmas time and this one would be the perfect gift for the beauty lover in your life


Three// Set of 4 Monogram Marble Coasters

Can anyone ever have too many coaster sets? I always love a gold letter against white marble. Plus, the combination always seems to go with any home décor


Four// Rejina Pyo

A gold clutch – need I say more?


Five// Tory Burch Kira Chevron Chain Wallet

I love a wallet on a chain. They can be so easily used as a clutch and the are perfect to use when traveling {fingers crossed we get back to those days again}


Six// Apple iPad Air

Is it so wrong that I like the Apple air based only in the fact that it comes in so many color choices. Perfect for any tech-loving friend


Seven// Canon EOS Rebel

I know, I know, the camera on the new iPhone is amazing, but I still feel like there is something to be said for a hand held camera that can’t be replicated with a phone just yet. This Canon is a great quality camera for anyone. Perfect for an armature photographer or someone who is just looking to up their picture game


Eight// Kate Spade Sparkle Pave Round Studs

I feel like Kate Spade earring are the perfect middle of the road earring and their studs are perfect for everyday wear


Nine// Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

This is my favorite fragrance right now. It is so perfectly balanced and just smells really fresh. Such a great gift for your mom, sister, or friend!


Ten// Pottery Barn Glitter Mercury Glass Scented Candle 

When in doubt just get a candle. Pottery Barn’s candles are always so beautifully packaged and smell amazing


Eleven// Nordstrom Bliss Plush Throw

Who doesn’t love a cozy throw? This throw is available in so many different colors 


Twelve// Holiday Ornament Scrunchie Set

If scrunchies were always as cute as they all now they would have never gone out of style in the first place. This packaging of these is so perfectly holiday-ish


Thirteen// Williams Sonoma Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Love all the food items that Williams-Sonoma always seems to have available during the Christmas months. This one might be a little cliché, but hot chocolate, Christmas, and cold weather just go together


Fourteen// Voluuspa Candle Set

This candle set is so sweet and the packaging is just asking to be given as a gift


Fifteen// J. Crew Teddy Sherpa Topcoat

This is like the most perfect winter coat that has ever existed. The blue color is just perfect and the fabric is just so fun!

Friday, December 18, 2020

For Him Gift Guide

 Why is it that it is always the men in our lives that always seem to be the most challenging to shop for? Whether it’s for a significant other, friend, brother, dad, grandfather, etc. I always seem to be at a loss in this department. I have spent a little time researching gifts ‘for him’ this year, so if you are in a bind, rest easy; I am fairly confident this gift guide will give you a few great ideas! 

For me personally, shopping for guys requires a bit more thought. I just feel like there are more options out there for women when it comes to gift giving… or maybe it just seems that way. With Christmas sneaking up on us one day at a time I made sure that most if not all items included in this gift guide can either be found on Amazon, at the mall, or if you chose to online shop the gift will be on your doorstep just in time for Christmas! Sooo.. here is where you can shop all the item included in this year’s ‘For Him Gift Guide!

One// Faherty Heathered Movement Shirt 

I completely love this company! By the way, they make fantastic clothes for women too! The quality of these men’s shirts are amazing {they seriously last forever} and the material is so soft.

Two// TESLYAR Wood Phone Docking Station 

I don’t know what it is about men and their tech docking station, but this has to trump all other docking stations out there. There are even shelves for glasses and watches…

Three// Apple Watch

When in doubt, just get him a new apple watch! 

Four// Barbour Leather Medium Travel Explorer

Everything Barbour makes is not only so classic, but so tastefully classic. 

Five// KJP Hit The Slopes Sweater

I completely love the fun fall and winter themed sweater KJP comes out with. P.S. if you and your family or significant other is into matching for various holiday pictures these sweater prints are offered in men, women, and children sizes

Six// MacLean Decanter & Double Old-Fashioned Glasses

I love the way a decanter and old-fashioned glasses look on a bar cart, it just really brings the whole look full-circle

Seven// Skin Saviors Set by Jack Black

I know this is supposed to be a men’s product line but I love all of their items. I am always stealing my dad’s Jack Black Lip Balm. Their products are amazing and last forever. This gift really is perfect for any man in your life!

Eight// Apple AirPods  

My sister and brother-in-law are so into technology and I am pretty sure this is their favorite tech item of the year

Nine// Ralph Lauren : In His Own Fashion

Let me just start off by admitting that I completely love the blackwatch cover on this coffee table book! Definitely a book anyone would love

Ten// Leather Poker Set

I feel like this is one of the safest gifts on this gift guide. I mean, what guy out there doesn’t love a good poker game with a few close friends or family members? Mark & Graham makes the most beautiful game collection and this poker set is packaged so beautifully!

Eleven// UGG Men’s Neuman Clog

Warm hands, warm feet, warm hart. Ugg slipper literally last forever and the lining in them is just everything

Twelve// The Forgotten 500, by Gregory A. Freeman

Maybe I am stereotyping here, but I feel like men for the part really enjoy books that involve history, especially when those books are related to years of war. I have heard such great things about this book, and honestly might read it myself

Thirteen// Gentleman’s Handkerchief

Full disclosure, not sure if this is a gift a brother or a significant other would actually enjoy, but I just like the idea that men still carry around a handkerchief  

Fourteen// Light Blue Heather Reversible Corbet Pullover

In my honest opinion, one can never have too many pullovers or too many items in various shades of blue. Love the quilted fabric on this pullover and quality of this jacket really is top notch 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

2020 Christmas Playlist

 What is the Christmas season without plenty of holiday music to accompany car rides, holiday shopping, baking, gift-wrapping, family gatherings, and so on. Christmas songs have become related to so many Christmas traditions and so many Christmas memories. 

It is always fun when a fresh new Christmas song come along, but the Classics have always been my favorite. Honestly, will anything ever top Amy Grant singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or Nat King Cole’s opening line to the Christmas Song – “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”? 


If I have time I might come out with a few other Christmas playlists, but for now here are some of my all time favorite Christmas songs! Playlist can be downloaded on Spotify!

Friday, December 11, 2020

For The Pup Gift Guide

 In my family dogs have always been such a big part of our unit and always seem to become a family member and warm the hearts of everyone. I still have a few other gift guides to put together, but I thought this year we would give a little extra spotlight to our family members who wear fur year round. I know for myself personally they have been such a great source of company, especially when we all had to quarantine back in the spring {fingers crossed we don’t ever have to do that again}.  

I have been doing a little more shopping online for myself and for my dogs… and there are just so many cute items out there for the pup! Here are a few favorites from my dogs to yours!

One// Naked Cashmere Cable Dog Sweater

Ella, my Cavapoo, loves clothes. She always gets super so excited when a new anything is for her. These sweaters are such great quality and perfect for a dog that spends most of their time indoors


Two// Crew Lala Scottish Tartan Belle Bow Collar

Crew Lala makes the sweetest collars for dogs. These collars last forever, the quality is amazing, and the bow always holds its shape


Three// Fleece-Lined Dog Barn Jacket

Hey, dogs can get cold too! In all seriousness though none of my dogs have that extra under coat that a lot of dog breeds do have and they will shake if they’re cold. This coat is so sweet on and fits just right, plus, like the other items I have mentioned the quality is amazing!!


Four// Toile Dog Bowl

Maybe it’s just a me specific thing, but I kind of like the dog bowls to be astatically pleasing with other items that are in the same room. Is that weird? In my opinion you can never go wrong with blue and white and these bowls are seriously beautiful!


Five// Holiday Patterned Ribbon Leash

Mark & Graham have a surprisingly great selection of things for the pet, especially if you have a larger dog. I love this leash for the holiday season and the fact that it comes with a monogram option is just the icing on the cake


Six// Candy Cane Crochet Squeaky Toy

This toy is better suited for a small dog, but how perfect is the candy cane design!?


Seven// Claugia’s Canine Gourmet Christmas Dog Treat Gift Box

I am such a sucker for holiday themed dog treats, and needless to say the dogs get super excited over this gift every year. If you have a smaller dog I do recommend breaking the treats up into smaller pieces since some of them are a little large


Eight// Jax & Bones Gingerbread Jumbo Dog Toy

In my opinion you can never have too many rope toys. They can keep your dog busy for hours and are perfectly suited for any breed 


Nine// Harry Barker Santa Canvas Dog Toy

Harry Barker makes the cutest holiday dog toys. This Santa is a favorite among all of my dogs


Ten// Dream Bone Holiday Rawhide

Because can you ever have too many Christmas treats for your dog? These bones are in the cutest shapes your dog will love them!


Eleven// Holiday Gift Woolie Squeaky Toy

How perfect is this? Love the color combo and the material is super durable 


Twelve// Hide and Seek Plush Dog Toy

I have so many of these hide and seek plush toys for my dogs and this one for whatever reason is by far their favorite. I guess Santa is not the only one who likes milk and cookies…


Thirteen// Platinum Shag Blanket

I am sure a few of you are like me and let your dog sleep in the bed with you at night… I always lay one of these blankets on top of my duvet just to help my bedding stay clean and the dogs love them!


Fourteen// Blue Toile Round Dog Bed

Again, maybe this is just a me thing, but I really like for the dog bed to kind of blend in with the surrounding of the room its in. I love this bed and it looks so much more expensive than it actually is


Fifteen// Crew Lala Grey’s Flannel Belle Bow Dog Collar

After you order one of these collars it’s hard not to order another. I love their flannel material collars for the cold weather months, plus, they are just overall precious!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Links I'm Loving

 It has been a quick second since I have done a ‘Links I’m Loving’ post, which is crazy, because these are usually one of my favorite blog posts to put together. Ever since covid has started I have walked more than I have probably ever walked in my life {I haven’t been going to the gym like I usually do}, and I find myself going later in the day just so I can enjoy the different outdoor Christmas lights that come on just before dusk. Even during such unusual times the twinkle of Christmas lights still puts a spark of magic into the air. I think it goes without saying that 2020 can use all the twinkle lights it can get! 

One// Godmothered

I watched this movie the other night, and it was just such a fun lighthearted movie to watch with the perfect amount of adult humor mixed in. This is a movie that will restore that the idea of happily ever after is still possible, even when it doesn’t seem so and that sometimes help comes when you least expect it and are in the most need of it. 


Two// Barefoot Contessa Chicken Sandwiches

Let me just start by saying these chicken sandwiches are amazing! The might even rival that of Chicl-fil-A. They are a little time consuming to make, but come together beautifully and taste amazing!


Three// What I Saw In NYC

This is my new favorite Instagram right now, I just love all the Christmas pictures the owner of this account has been posting. These pictures will put you in the Christmas mood, for sure!


Four// Sarah Flint Natalie Flat

I seriously don’t know what I did before I heard about Sarah Flat. All of their shoes are amazing, but I am especially loving Natalie flats right now. The bow, point toe, and fit just make for such a polished look that elevates any outfit. Use code SARAHFLINT-BALAURENK at checkout to receive $50 off your first Sarah Flint purchase!


Five// J. Crew Dreamy Henley Pajama Set in String Lights

These are the softest pajamas I own; I think I even sleep better when I wear them. They seem to run true to size and are even cuter in person.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Christmas Movie Classics

 The month is seriously starting to zip by. For once I am kind of glad that December is moving by quickly. I’m ready to move onto 2021! I feel like 2020 has been a year where I’ve been kind of stuck in a time loop and just can’t really seem to get off of go. All the days just kind of blend together and after awhile the same ole same just starts to feel played out. So fingers crossed that everyone is able to experience a wonderful holiday season and that 2021 will be much better. 

However, that doesn’t mean in the waiting period till a new year that we can’t enjoy a few of our holiday favorite movies and traditions. Each year it changes, but I always feel like there are a few movies I ‘need’ to watch in order for it to be Christmas. So… here are my top five movies to watch this year!

White Christmas// This is without a doubt one of my most favorite Christmas movies ever. I just love all the dancing, singing, snow, clothes, and just how perfect the movie is overall. It is definitely a movie that will lift the human spirit.


Home Alone// Is it just me, or does anyone else instantly associate Home Alone with cheese pizza? I love that one of my childhood favorites is now considered to be a Christmas classic.


Miracle on 34th Street// I used to be a hardcore fan of the 1947 version, but over the years I have become more and more partial to the 1994 version. It just has a fresher feel to it and I absolutely love the cast


A Christmas Carol// For me, it has to be the George C. Scott version, or no Christmas Carol at all. He just did such a wonderful job at capturing the spirit that is Scrooge. The movie really shows the true meaning of the Christmas Spirit and the importance of spreading kindness around


Elf// Could Will Ferrell be any more perfect for the character he played in this movie? A human raised by elves ventures to NYC to try to find his biological father. This movie show that an inner child truly lives in all of us. 

The Polar Express// Have you ever noticed that anything Tom Hanks is in is an instant classic. He did such a wonderful job narrating this story and play a few different characters. This used to be one of my favorite Christmas books when I was younger. 


What Are Some of Your Favorite Christmas Movies

Friday, December 4, 2020

Gifts Under $100 Gift Guide

 I am still in slight disbelief that it is the month of December. I am so glad that the end of 2020 is in sight; it’s like the light at the end of the tunnel. This year, as I am sure is the case with many others, has been hands down the most trying year of my life. It has just been filled with too many curve balls and uncertainties… fingers crossed that most of 2021 and the next few years will be smooth sailing for a little while. 

I have honestly had a little bit of a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year, it is definitely different doing 100% of my Christmas shopping online. But decorations, holiday music, movies, baking, and creating gift guides has definitely helped! There are so many sales currently going on which makes it so easy to get everyone on your shopping list everything they want plus some. Today I put together a Christmas gift guide and everything included just happens to be under $100, even when they’re not on sale! 

One// English Factory Knit Combo Dress

English Factory has turned into one of my favorite brands. Their clothes are always consistent in their sizing, the fit is always flattering, the quality is great, and their designs are beautiful. I love how this piece is so transitional and the fact that it can be dressed up or down!


Two// Silver Mint Julep Cup

Being a southerner, a mint julep cup is something you can never have too many of, and they have so many uses: makeup brush holder, pen holder, flower vase, or it can even be used for an actual mint julep! A can’t go wrong gift that will last forever.


Three// Fillmore Vegan Leather Tote, Foil Debossed

This is such a great, high-end looking piece at such a reasonable price. This is perfect for your tote loving friend who loves a classic look toped with a monogram.


Four// Fresh Self-Care Masking Set

I love, love, love, all face masks made by Fresh! You can see such a difference right after using one and they just feel refreshing. I have sensitive skin and sometimes certain face mask and eye mask does not mix well with my chemistry {I have gotten a chemical from an eye mask before, no joke} and I have never had an issue with any mask or other products from Fresh. Such a perfect gift for anyone or even if you need to treat yourself to a relaxing night!


Five// Loeffler Randall Marina Headband

I actually gave my sister this headband for her birthday and when it came in the mail I honestly debated keeping it for myself just because it is so cute… I ended up gifting it, but I also got one for myself! The gold is a little more subdued in person, which makes it perfect to wear for everyday use or to holiday party! 


Six// Plymouth Dog Double Old-Fashioned Glasses Set of 4

These glasses are so beautiful and so perfect for anyone who is a dog lover. I love how there is something about them that makes them feel slightly English and so classic


Seven// Gathering Setting The Natural Table, by Kristen Cassie

This book is so beautiful it can even be featured on a coffee table. Is it weird, or does anyone else like to flip through cookbooks and design books? 


Eight// 14’’ Lavieille Ginger Jar

Ginger Jars are like Little Black Dresses – you can never own too many and they go with everything. Perfect for that friend or family member who loves home décor.


Nine// Ivory Two Tone Window Pane Pleats Scarf

Tuckernuck is one of my favorite places to shop for scarves. They always have such classic looks and their plaids are always spot on. I love the print and the pleating detail on this one, plus, it is under $50! Perfect for anyone on your list.


Ten// Anthropologie Juliette Tulle Mini Skirt

I just love red anything during this time of year, and this shade is just so beautiful. Perfect for the feminine, fashion loving friend or family member in your life.


Eleven// J. Crew Ruffleneck Sweater 

This piece is such a great wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down and worn with either a skirt or dress. Runs true to size and comes in so many different colors.


Twelve// Matouk Champagne Pezzo Throw 

These throws look so beautiful casually draped over the arm of a chair or sofa, or even a bench at the foot of a bed. This is a perfect gift for anyone


Thirteen// Slip Hair Ties 

Admittedly these are slightly a little on the expensive side for hair ties, but so worth it. I always sleep with my hair pulled up and these are the best hair ties for that purpose – they never leave a line and they don’t break my hair off. You might want to get a little something else to go with this gift, but perfect for the person in your life that loves hair accessories. 


Fourteen// Charlotte Tilbury Bejewelled Instant Eyeshadow Palette 

It took me a while to hop on the Charlotte Tibury train, but now that I have, I am a total convert. I love makeup and have more eyeshadow palettes than any one person should have, and Charlotte Tibury’s are my favorites at the moment. I love how the shades do not fade or run throughout the day. Perfect gift for any makeup lover!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

November Reading List

 It just hit me that  when I put together my ‘December Reading List’ it will be 2021. That is one thought that definitely sparks joy within my heart! I know we are supposed to savor every moment of life, but 2020 is a year I will be more than happy to wave farewell to! 

I would love to hear what everyone’s favorite 2020 reads! Leave a comment or email me and let me know!

The Giver of the Stars, by Jojo Moyes

I few years ago I read ‘Me Before You’ and I know so many people loved that book, but I was so emotionally invested in the storyline and I was honestly disappointed in how the story ended and have been a little hesitant to read another of her books. I have heard great things about this book and decided to give Moyes another go and this book honestly converted me back to a Jojo Moyes reader. 


It has such a great narrative and such a strong storyline, I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. It’s a celebration of strong women, knowledge, friendship, and love. 


One Day in December, by Josie Silver

I have been meaning to read this book for years, and it was such a sweet Christmas story, that wove together friendship, love, family, and unexpected obstacles and sacrifices that must be made in life sometimes. It takes you through the lows and highs of life and is definitely a holiday must read!


Christmas in Vermont, by Anita Hughes 

This book is so perfectly Christmas trapped in between pages; but how could it be anything but with a title like ‘Christmas in Vermont’. 


Emma wonders into a pawn shop on Christmas Eve to sell a bracelet gifted to her by her current ex-boyfriend, and walks out with the watch she gave her college sweetheart. Once her best friend hears the stores she believes it is fate, does a little research, and books Emma a room at the same bed and breakfast where her old college boyfriend is staying for the holidays…


The Light We Lost, by Jill Santopolo

The Light We Lost is such a tragic love story and I honestly could not stop turning the pages once I started. Symbolism and meaning is found in every corner of this books and Santopolo did such a wonderful job a weaving the lives of three different people together


All the Ugly and Wonderful Thing, by Bryn Greenwood

I honestly have so many mixed emotions about this book. The main character’s life was an uphill climb, even at a young age. Wavy had a drug dealer for a father, a mother who was always too consumed with her own emotional struggles to be a proper parent, a little brother she become response for, and a man in her life she loved from a young age, but was entire too old for her. 


A powerful novel that is unforgettable 


One Imperfect Christmas, by Myra Johnson

If the Hallmark channel wrote books, this would definitely be one. A sick mother, a daughter who can’t shake her guilt, and a granddaughter who is counting on a Christmas miracle to bring her family back together.