Hi all! In prep for Cyber Week (can we admit we’re excited?) wanted to share some steals, deals, and items to consider for gifting this holiday season.
First up, luxury gift picks:
Next, we’re poised to stock up on shirts, skirts, and sweaters. The following retailers typically have 30-50% off all items and we’re keeping our eyes peeled to post the official details as soon as they’re available:
- Ann Taylor [The Friends of Ann Event – 40% off with FRIENDS40]
- Banana Republic [40% off with code STYLE. Also applicable at Old Navy]
- Gap [40% off and free shipping with code ITSFREE]
- Eddie Bauer [Veteran’s Day Sale up to 60% off]
- J.Crew [40% off cool-weather essentials with code LAYERUP]
- Lands End [Take 40% off regular prices with code WALNUT]
- LOFT [Currently 40% off everything! Use code HAPPY]
- Talbots [Sale is on sale! Extra 40-50% off]
- Tommie Hilfiger
When it comes to beauty, we’re all about the value gift sets. Here’s what’s catching our eye from Sephora:
And Neiman Marcus:
And if you’ve got Glossier on your wishlist (us, too!) here are our giftable recommendations:
For those who tuned into my No Spend October: Month With No Spending Challenge, where I outlined 5 “simple” rules for not buying stuff for 31 days…thanks for keeping up! For those who didn’t, here’s the synopsis:
I decided to challenge myself with 31 days of no spending on clothing, accessories, beauty products, footwear, or home decor.
While the rules were relatively simple, I failed by Day 7 (accidentally), by ordering 2 packs of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. On one hand, they were 2/$10, and on the other, I needed to up my cart price to unlock free shipping. And, in my defense, I kind of forgot that face wipes qualified as a beauty product (and only because I listed it in my rules, knowing full well I snatch these up way too often).
When the package from Walgreens showed up (ok, I admit it, I’m the lazy person who orders toilet paper and allergy meds for delivery), I realized I had not one but two (2!) packs of face wipes already stashed in my linen closet. So, I really had no reason to cheat, especially when I already had a very similar product on hand.
Upset that I cheated while I actually had virtually the same thing on hand, I knew I had to do something about it to prevent future unnecessary purchases. So, I inventoried every skincare / makeup / beauty product I own.
I took every product out of my medicine cabinet, drawer, undersink stash, linen closet, storage drawer, and nook and cranny I could think of. And I put it all in one spot. Out in the open to see.
When I Googled this phenomenon (of wanting to inventory all of the things I have to remind myself to use them and that I don’t need to repurchase the exact same things I already have plenty of), I found many people use sophisticated Excel spreadsheets to track what they’ve got and what gaps they have in their makeup collection, for instance. I wasn’t feeling that ambitious, so instead I grouped like things and took photos. After all, this way I could easily search + see what I’ve got, vs. navigating to a specific section of a spreadsheet.
This exercise helped me discard items I no longer need / use. It helped me reorganize my medicine cabinet and place items I use / should use regularly within plain sight. In doing so, I felt really good about “all that I’ve got” and it significantly diminished my yearning to “buy more stuff just because.”
My inventory exercise highlighted the fact that I have a lot of stuff, and I really don’t need more until I use all of this up. For instance, my makeup / skincare / haircare collection includes…
48 lip products.
8 full-size hair sprays. Eight?!
8 products containing SPF.
8 body lotions.
14 face lotions / moisturizers. Some were samples, but still… I have a really hard time choosing just one fave, ok?
23 makeup brushes / applicators. Sad thing is, I’m not sure what is used for what, and still feel like I’m missing some key brushes? Please advise.
7 different mascaras.
1 reigning blush champ. You guessed it, NARS. At least I got that one figured out, right?
I wish there was an easier way, but physically corralling like items, counting and photographing them really helped drive the point home. This is similar to the Kon Mari exercise of pulling all items out (of a closet, or dresser) and going through each item one by one, to decide if it stays or if it goes. If it stays, it should be something you find beautiful and/or useful. Something that brings you joy. If not, it’s just taking up space, creating clutter, and you’d be better off without it.
Despite this exercise, over the course of the past few weeks some new-to-me products stood out . And in some cases, they screamed out. I really wanted to try them, but also wanted to fulfill my challenge to the best of my abilities (you know, outside of that early slip-up).
To suppress the need to shop, I collected each item in a list to keep an eye on and if come November I still wanted them, well… I guess they’d be fair game.
Here’s the list of products that’ve caught my attention recently:
- dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
- dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub
- ColorPop (Lips / Eyes / Concealer)
- Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette (now $27!)
- Outdoor Voices Leggings
- Target – Project 62 (most everything from this line – especially these picks!)
- EverlyWell Food Sensitivity+ Kit
- Glossier You Perfume
Have you tied any of these? Are they worth the hype?
Also, you’ll be proud to hear that during this time I not only rediscovered stuff I already had (for free, in my own closet / mini drug store), but I also corralled all my product samples into one spot so I had the ability to still enjoy those high-end luxuries (at least a little bit of ’em).
If you’re considering embarking on a month with no spending, I’d encourage you to do it! Create your own rules, and try to stick to them. When you’re feeling sad that you can’t add new things to cart, clean out some drawers, your closet, or medicine cabinet, and re-discover some items you already have.
If you’ve done a month (or more!) without spending on clothing, accessories, etc., comment below to let us know how it went / what you learned!
By the time the weekend rolls around, I’m exhausted. Like, nap on the couch past dinner exhausted. Perhaps I’m just “getting old”, but chances are there’s a little more to it. In order to embrace relaxation and get in good habits, I’ve tried / am planning to try the following:
- At-Home Treatments
- Spa Treatments & Alternative Medicine
1. Calm App
I’m pretty sure this app was advertised to me on Instagram, and I happened upon it at a time when I literally needed to calm down (seriously though, how did they know?). Since then I’ve been playing around with it, and have been very pleasantly surprised. I’ve also heard great things about the Headspace app (tagline, “Meditation Made Simple”), but I have yet to try it myself. If you have a review of it, please let me know in the comments below!
Calm provides meditation, sleep stories, and music, all focused on helping you get to a calm, serene place.
2. Beautyrest Sleeptracker
Tagline: “Monitor your sleep. Understand your sleep. Improve your sleep.”
In our experience, The Beautyrest Sleeptracker does exactly that! You can monitor up to 2 sleepers with each kit – just pair the smartphone app with your device over WiFi and you’re set! The entire setup process takes about 10 minutes.
The amount of data it collects with every single sleep is pretty incredible. Each morning, you’ll get an email with your Sleep Report. You can also pull up “Sleep Analysis” stats within the app, such as your week-in-review or month-in-review metrics.
Ok, this is a screenshot of the highest sleep score I’ve received since using the Beautyrest Sleeptracker system. I’m really not a great sleeper, typically going to bed pretty late and needing to wake up early for work. But, this data can be used for good, and those “under 65-point” scores can only improve by being armed with this data!
I received this Sleeptracker product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes : )
I’ve been lucky to be able to test-drive spa-like products in the comfort of my own home, like:
This Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm is such a treat! It comes with a white muslin cloth you dampen with warm-to-hot water and then place over your face for a mini-facial. Leaves your skin soft and glowy!
I only recently started using this Erno Laslzo White Marble Peel, and I’m already hooked! It’s packed with Vitamin C and works quickly to scrub and polish your skin. It’s a 2-step process that only takes a few minutes, but the results are noticeable right away. Find Erno Laszlo at Sephora.
And when all else fails (or you’re just in the mood to stay in and do nothing), the old scented candle + blanket + red wine trick works, too. On that note, my favorite candle is Baies by Diptyque. I also love a good Frasier Fir, when in season, or Volcano by Capri Blue in the summer.
I’ve been a long-time runner and biker. But, it gets darker and chillier here in the Midwest, I find it difficult to exercise outdoors. So, I’m going to try a series of new workouts this winter, including:
1. Orange Theory
2. Corepower Yoga
5. Spin (we don’t have a SoulCycle in MN though. …maybe that’s a good thing?)
…Anything else you’d recommend? I’ll be writing a full-length post on this soon : )
Spa Treatments & Alternative Medicine
5. Up Next: I’m going to try Acupuncture, Salt Room Therapy, and pay a visit to the Aire Ancient Baths NYC. I’ll create a supplemental blog post reviewing spa treatments & alternative medicine after experiencing all of the above!
My most recent massage was at Elements Massage – Saint Louis Park, as part of their grand opening week!
I enjoyed their welcoming lobby, and the ability to choose from these 4 aromatherapy scents to be used throughout my massage. I went with Radiance (although it was a tough call!). More details on the experience coming soon as part of the full Spa Treatments & Alternative Medicine post : )
Last but not least, travel. When I get out of my routine and outside of standard scenery, my mind opens up. And on that note… we’re headed to NYC this Thursday and can’t wait for plenty of exploring ahead. But, it’s never too early to plan another trip. Suggestions welcome!