Holiday Gift Guide: My Husband’s M.V.P’s



These are the gifts I’ve gotten my O in the past that have become his absolute go-to things. I’ll never forget our first married Christmas-our third Christmas together. I pride myself on being a gift-giver and pour my heart into each and every thing I give to the people I love. I research, I dig, I start super early and work to the last minute to find or create that special thing I think people want just as much as they need. And I thought I had just killed it. I was beaming. And when he unwrapped the grand finale- a custom tailored jacket I had made off his measurements secretly with the team that made all his custom suits at the time. I designed every detail- Cashmere and Wool, embroidered under the lapel with his favorite Bible verse and lined with the richest silk…his face said “grateful” and not” you’re the greatest wife ever and this is the greatest jacket ever and subsequently, the greatest Christmas ever.” I was confused.

As we sat down for egg-nog french toast, I asked if he was disappointed. He did that thing where you make your voice so high and say “noo, no no” so many times that it’s obvious your answer is really yes. He is a Nigerian man, but the dude blushed. He fumbled with his words and finally said “to be honest, I’m so grateful for everything and you are the best! It just doesn’t really feel like Christmas if I don’t get toys.”

And there you have it, friends. The most important thing you can do when planning the best possible gift for your guy is to know him and keep him in mind instead of just getting what you want him to have. (just me?)

I’ve learned so much since then! We share a Google Drive doc with his Transformer wish list (i realize this is going over everyone’s head but mine…) because I would obviously have NO idea whatsoever where to start when it comes to his toy collection. This is super helpful! If any of you have a collector husband like I do- comic book, superhero, transformers and the like- Big Bad Toy Store is the place you need to go!

For the rest of you (the majority of you) Here are his favorite things I’ve gifted over the years:

Aqua Di Gio Cologne: I wear the perfume version of this and while he rotates cologne, this one is always my favorite.

Daniel Buchler Pajamas-top and bottom: My mom actually gave these to O for Christmas years ago and you’ve never-EVER-seen a guy so happy to change into pajamas. These are the softest, most luxurious feeling pajamas in the world and I’ve gifted him a new color or style every Christmas since.

Stance Socks O is a sock guy. He’s a borderline collector of socks and Stance are the best in the business. These Muhammad Ali socks are going in his stocking this year!

Garmin Fenix Fitness Watch: As a retired professional athlete, the guy has some energy to throw around. When I tell you he straight up broke to FitBits, I’m not being sarcastic. He literally broke them. He takes the absolute best care of everything he owns but they just couldn’t keep up with his activity. He tried a Polar watch and it was closer to what he was looking for, he couldn’t get the results he was needed to see each workout to really track his progress. Mr. Research man found this watch and put it right on his Christmas list knowing it was a big investment, but he’d wear it for years and years. It’s still one of his top 5 favorite thing he’s ever received and wears it every single day.

Frye High Tops: These are different from O’s usual style but he was surprised how much he enjoys them and the rich leather really adds a cool touch to a casual high top.

Bowtie and Pocket Square: Everyone who knows this man knows he loves a good bow-tie moment. He needed them much more when he was dressing up for game-day all of football season and as an NFL analyst in doing the suit-and-tie thing every week, but I still like to get one every Christmas because he always gets the wear out of them. Mixing patterns is a favorite.

Tumi Deluxe Backpack: The quality of Tumi luggage is second to none and since it’s his favorite brand for suitcases, I had a hunch it’d be his favorite backpack too. Tumi thinks of absolutely everything and there isn’t a thing missing in this bag. When we travel, he carries both our laptops, two iPads, books and bibles in here on top of all his personal things with no problem whatsoever.

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones: O is a headphone snob. All I ever look for in a pair of headphones is whether they’re cute or not. Not this guy. Once again, after research aplenty he found he’ll always be loyal to Bose (even if they’re not the coolest or slickest looking headphones on the market) because their quality is just unbeatable. We both have the wireless bluetooth version, but for environments where a guy needs noise canceling technology like airports, airplanes, work, cafes and so on, these are the best of the best. 

AG Jeans: If your guy has an athletic build, you know pants can be tricky. I finally convinced him a couple years ago to swap out his loose wide pants for slim and straight versions and these are the pants that changed his mind. He says they feel like sweats and are the most comfortable jeans he owns, but I just love the color options and how great they fit.

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10 Tips for Traveling with Littles

Thanksgiving is notoriously the “biggest travel week of the year” and while we are staying home and hosting for the first time in many years, we are no strangers to travel with kids. I actually put together this travel video (at the end of this post) in August when we returned home from over two weeks in Italy with our then ten month old and two and a half year old. Let me tell you, we learned a thing or two.

Kids will always throw you curveballs, but I pulled together the things that we found most helpful for traveling with kids and while these particular things apply more to vacation and further distance travel, hopefully there are takeaways for you if you’re braving travel this week!

Friday Feels

Is anyone else in absolute shock, awe and disbelief that Thanksgiving is less than a week away? I was telling O the other day, Thanksgiving always lives in this hypothetical place in my mind called “the end of November.” Every year, “the end of November” creeps up on me and while I’m fully in Christmas planning mode and well aware it’s nearly here, that sneaky Thursday has gotten me again.
I planned out our menu this week and its my first time cooking a fully Vegan Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been making dairy free Thanksgiving for a few years now, but it will be the first in History where I don’t make Turkey or Ham. Let me tell you, there are some feelings! I may or may not have had a bit of a meltdown when letting go of traditions. O has been vegan for over two years and we’ve been without dairy for the better part of two years, but the kids and I just gave up meat in August. While none of us seem to miss it and no part of me actually wants to eat it, the thought of not having it on food-holidays like this one got to me a little bit.
Since meal planning is such a huge part of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this meal planner that has been an absolute win for me. It includes breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day of the week which is huge because I often overlook lunch for the kids (soup-and-rice lunches happen too often around here) so seeing each meal of each day has been a game changer. Even writing in ‘leftovers’ in the lunch or dinner slot and being able to see if there will actually be leftovers to eat was super helpful. I also love that it has a Shopping List at the edge of the meal plan so I can write it at the same time as I meal plan- plus, it tears off so you can keep the meal plan attached and look back on it in future weeks. Win, win!!
Before signing off for the weekend, I wanted to share some picks for Thanksgiving day if you haven’t decided on anything yet! Here are my choices for tops that aren’t form fitting (there is no place for a suction-cupped shirt on thanksgiving. you’re not welcome here.) and under $50!

If you’ve been eyeing up an Anthropologie top or sweater for Thanksgiving, now is your chance! Today, they’re 20% off, so I’ve rounded up my flowy, loose (i.e. mashed potato and apple pie friendly) tops for turkey day:

Next week, I’m so excited to roll out the start of my Holiday content, starting on Monday with a video guide with tips for traveling with kids. We’re staying put this year and hosting here at our house, but we’ve travelled both Thanksgivings since having kids and after our travels to Italy this summer, I made a video of things that were super helpful. It can be intimidating, right?! Tune in next week for travel guides, the start of my Holiday gift guides and everything in between.
Are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Did it creep up on you like it did for me, or are you one of those ladies with a stocked Thanksgiving pantry, already prepping your Turkey brine? Happy weekend, friends!

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Every Day Makeup Tutorial

One of the things I most enjoy watching on YouTube is a good ‘every day makeup’ tutorial. No fancy slides, no cuts or edits- just real life, real time getting ready. My son watches one show (about 20 minutes) every morning during my daughter’s nap. I have exactly that long to get dressed and put together for the day, so I have the routine down to a science. This is the look I wear every day, which I snapped exactly one photo of before heading out the door and realized only now my nightgown was hanging in the background and my attempt at a half-smile failed royally. Real life at it’s finest!