christmas tree

We went down to Half Moon Bay a couple weeks ago to get our Christmas tree. We started this tradition last year, when we cut down our own tree for the first time. It's a nice excuse to go down to the coast and let a certain little dog run on the beach...

...and take flight!


homemade treats

Still working on finishing your Christmas shopping? It's not too late to whip up some homemade treats! Homemade goodies make great gifts for people that can be hard to shop for or you don't know that well. Most people enjoy a delicious treat, and will appreciate that you put time and effort into making them something.

Cookies or fruitcake are of course the traditional foods to give this time of year, but the internet is chock-full of other creative options. In the past few years, I've made jam, lemon confit, and granola to give as gifts. If you're in a time crunch, I recommend spiced nuts or granola- both are relatively easy and can be made in an afternoon (or at midnight on Christmas Eve if that's how you roll...).  For more ideas, check out these round-ups from Country Living and BuzzFeed.

If you do end up making something, be sure to make more than you think you need.  Having a few extra treats stashed away can be a lifesaver when you need a last-minute hostess gift, or your neighbor surprises you with a gift and you've forgotten to get them anything.  

[both photos from Country Living]


gift guide: gold digger

Ok, ok, so my last gift guide of the season isn't really just limited to ladies looking to score a rich husband. But when I noticed how many metallic items there were on my list of potential gifts, well, I just couldn't help myself. So here's a round-up of great gifts for those attracted to shiny things, whatever their social aspirations may be...


give away: hand in hand

I'm excited to announce a special holiday give away today! 
Ellington & French is a boutique in Berkeley that has recently re-launched their website with online shopping. They were so excited to have some of their products featured in my gift guide, they wanted to offer one of my readers the chance to try them! 

The lucky winner will receive an all natural bath set, featuring a soy candle, bath salts, and a bar of soap in the scent of their choosing. These beautiful bath products (that normally retail for $82!) are a great way to unwind during the stressful holiday season, and of course they would make a great gift. 

To enter the contest, simply visit their website to check out Hand in Hand's scents. While you're there, you may want to pick up a little something for yourself or someone on your list- they've got lots of great gifts to choose from and they're currently offering the first 25 customers a free gift with purchase. Once you've chosen your favorite scent, leave a comment on this blog post with the scent you'd choose (I'm torn between Orange Blossom and White Tea)

One lucky winner will be chosen from the comments at random. Contest ends Sunday at Midnight. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

Update: Kait from San Francisco is our lucky winner! Thank you to all who entered! 

[top photos from Ellington & French, bottom photo from Hand in Hand]


gift guide: the foodie

For friends who love to eat and drink, it's far too easy to fall into the habit of always buying them a delicious treat for the holidays. Why not try a little something different (and longer lasting!) this year with one of these food-related gifts: 


gift guide: the dude

Boyfriends, husbands, brothers...Dudes of all kinds can be tough to shop for. Don't give up and just buy them slippers again- try one of these awesome gifts instead:


gift guide: girly girl

If you've got a girly girl on your list, whether it's your mom, your younger cousin, or your BFF, you've come to the right place. If she likes dressing up, smelling good, and all things sparkly, this list of presents is sure to make her smile. 


gift guide: the pencil pusher

Pencil pusher, desk jockey, paper person- whatever affectionate nicknames you may have for the desk dweller in your life, it seems one can never have enough office supplies. Does their desk need a little sprucing up? Or maybe you just want to find a little something to compliment their extensive sticky note collection?


gift guide: the hostess

Whether you need an actual hostess gift, or a holiday present for a friend who loves to entertain, these gifts are sure to please any hostess with the mostess.

gift guides!

It's officially December, and you know what that means- Christmas shopping! If you didn't get all your shopping done during the crazy Black Friday/Sunday sales (is Black Sunday a thing now?), I'm here to help with gift ideas for all your favorite people. I've been on the hunt for fun, unique, and affordable gifts for everyone. I'm emphasizing affordable here, because I've noticed that many gift guides seem to feature one or two reasonable items, and then throw in a $600 sweater and $800 suitcase out of the blue. I don't know about you, but I don't know many people who can spend $600 on a single gift for a friend (though if you do, tell them I want to be their friend!). To keep things a little more practical, I'll be capping the gifts in my guides at $100, with most items under $50. 

First up is gift ideas for the hostess with the mostess- but stayed tuned over the next couple weeks, I've got ideas for moms, co-workers, foodies, and even those hard-to-shop-for dudes. 

[photo via Vogue & Vintage]