Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gift Guide: Girlfriends

'Tis the season for giving! And at the top of our list - our girlfriends! We couldn't do life without the help of our mom squad, and can't think of a better set of people to put on our gifting list than them. 

We've rounded up some of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends, and most are under $25! 

  1. PRETTY NOTEBOOKS & JOURNALS - There are five million ideas in our heads at any given time. From daily journaling to writing down the week's grocery list, why not have a pretty notebook to do so? This gold one is one of our favorites!
  2. PRETTY PENS - What goes better with a pretty notebook than a pretty set of pens? We love this glam pen set that comes in a set of four. You can keep them together, keep one for your self and gift the others, or split the set up to gift to different girlfriends on your list.
  3. INITIAL NECKLACE - These sideways initial necklaces have been a huge trend for the last year. We love this block letter style necklace and the idea of giving it as sort of a friendship necklace to all the ladies on our list.
  4. GLAM EYESHADOW  - We love a good eye shadow palette, and this time of year we tend to like to brighten our eyes with the season. This eye shadow palette has just a hint of sparkle mixed into a gorgeous warm set of colors. It's a favorite of ours this season. It is a bonus that it's packaged adorably in our favorite pattern - leopard!

  5. SCARVES - Cozy scarves always make a great gift, and this year we are loving these fun fringed ones. They are super soft, and come in a ton of fun patterns.
  6. BAREFOOT DREAMS SOCKS - These are the ultimate luxury when it comes to cozy feet on cold days. If you haven't put tried them yet, grab one for you and your girlfriends. These are the softest socks ever! They make for such a great gift and come in a ton of colors. They also come in two different lengths - calf height and knee length (these are perfect for boots!).
  7. HAPPY HOUR FUN - When we stumbled upon this fun margarita serving plate, we couldn't resist adding them to our girlfriends gift guide. Because what goes better with girls night in than margaritas?! We love that it comes in a set of six. So you can easily split these too!

  8.  KENDRA SCOTT EARRINGS - A few years ago Kendra Scott Earrings made their debut with their signature stone earrings. Years later we still love them, but once we spotted these new shaped studs we couldn't resist. We love how unique the shape is. They come in a ton of colors and go with everything. Such a great girlfriend gift!
  9. DECADENT BODY WASH  - Philosophy makes the best body washes, and during the holidays they usually come out with a fun themed scent or two. This year's chocolate vanilla scented body wash is so yummy. Perfect for your girlfriend who tends to have a sweet tooth!
  10. LUXURY LIP STICK - Glam lips for your glam girls! This is a splurge item, but your girlfriends will thank you. These lip sticks come in the best moisturizing shades!
  11. SPAFINDER GIFT CARD - Spa days are the best days. The Spafinder gift card is great for girlfriends who live both near and far. We love that it gives our girlfriends a spa day, but on their time at their favorite location.
  12. CANDLES - Candles always make for a great go-to gift. The Capri Blue Volcano candle is our absolute favorite and one we burn year round. It smells AMAZING and this time of year you can find it packaged in a fun glitter jar in a couple of different holiday colors.
  13. CORKCICLE EVERYTHING - We love Corkcicle products and they really do work the best when it comes to keeping your cocktails drinks cold. The Corkcicle canteen and stemless wine glass set makes for the perfect gift to give your girlfriends.
  14. STONE COASTERS - One of our favorite home trends for the year has been the use of stone in decor. These white quartz stone coasters are perfect for the home decor loving girlfriend in your life. They come in a round shape as well, but we love the gold edged natural cut.
  15. BRACELET KEY RINGS - We finally hopped on board the bracelet key ring trend, and we are so glad we did. We thought these fun leopard key rings would make for a great girlfriend gift. They come in a set of four so you can easily gift them all or split them up for inexpensive individual gifts.  

What gifts will you be giving your girlfriends this season? 

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Fall Bruschetta Recipe

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and this year we are thankful we aren't hosting! Hosting is fun, but a lot of work. This year we both get to enjoy being guests and just soaking up time with our families. 

We still contribute though. Because Thanksgiving is a lot of work. Leaving it to any one person to do all the cleaning, cooking, and cleaning again will be a sure fire way to make any host sign up to be on a cruise the following Thanksgiving. 

We have a few easy recipes that we like to bring along as appetizers and sides. One that tops our list is worth sharing. Every time we make this Fall Bruschetta people love it. It looks festive, is a crowd pleaser, and (like all of our recipes) is super easy to make.  We also love that it is a little something different to bring to the table from traditional Thanksgiving food. 

Fall Bruschetta Recipe


Serves 4-8
Prep Time: 5 Mins
Total Time: 25-30 Mins

Fall Bruschetta Recipe

  • 2 cups of diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup of diced apples
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of all spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 8 slices of french bread
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic glaze


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • Toss the butternut squash and apples with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, salt and black pepper. 
  • Place evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. 
  • While the squash mixture is roasting, brush the slices of bread with the remaining olive oil. Set aside. 
  • Place the slices of bread in the oven for 4-5 mins, or until fully toasted.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and top with ricotta cheese and the squash mixture. 
  • Drizzle with balsamic glaze. 
  • Serve and enjoy! 
(Best served when warm.)

What is your favorite Thanksgiving appetizer or side?  

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Kids Holiday Cookie Exchange Party

Tips on how to host an easy kids holiday cookie exchange

The holidays can be such a busy time, but they are also super FUN! I think sometimes we all forget that in the chaos of it all.  Especially when it comes to the kids. The magic of it all never dies...just evolves a bit as they get older. One of my favorite events to host, that is fun no matter what the ages of the kids are, is a cookie exchange. Because who doesn't love a good cookie (or twenty?)? 

Cute Official Cookie Tester Tees for Kids

This is one of those events that seems like it could be a lot of work - but it's not. One year I made the mistake of spending days making cookies. After that I streamlined the process and realized it was much easier to let the kids make one cookie recipe and the rest of the cookies we purchase from the store. We then leave it to our guests to bring either. Some of our friends are major bakers, and others are more like me (and are not). 

This year we did our annual exchange a little early because we had a rare free weekend open that worked for most of our guests. The kids are already so excited about all things Christmas, so we decided doing it a little early couldn't hurt. 

Host a Kids Christmas Cookie Exchange

I went with a fun holiday plaid theme, and found some of the cutest plaid party items at Oriental Trading. In fact, I was able to order almost everything I needed from Oriental Trading - including some adorable "Official Cookie Tester" tees for the kids. 

Oriental Trading always has the best holiday items. From home decor to classroom party needs they've been one of our go-to's for years. They've been running a ton of great sales lately too! Use our special code SQAUD19 to snag great deals all holiday season long. 

The party was a great success. There are some cookies the kids are still raving about, and some I might have hidden in the pantry in mommy's special place for further taste testing. 

Here's a peek at all the details before the sugar rush set in and the kids were banished to the backyard to play it all off. 


  • To keep it stress free, keep it simple! Have the kids bring their favorite cookie to exchange. If that's an Oreo, let it be an Oreo. No need to make extravagant cookies if that's not normally your thing. 

  • Serve just a few drinks - no need to go over board! We served milk (because what goes better with cookies?) in these cute buffalo plaid coffee cups (because what goes better with kids than a cup with a top?). For the adults I might have served something a little stronger. ;) 
  • Bring 1-2 cookies per guest. No need to go overboard because with the idea of an exchange kids will be having a lot of cookies. 
  • No need to have a ton of leftovers! Have favor bags on hand for kids to take home their favorite cookies for later. 

  • Have a well coordinated party with out breaking the bank. We love using Oriental Trading to set the tone for our parties. Through the holiday season you can use code SQAUD19 to access a ton of great deals on top of their already good prices. 

What is your favorite cookie to bring to a cookie exchange? 

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tween/Teen Girl Gift Guide

Anyone starting to freak out just a bit about Christmas that is right around the corner?  I thought I had a good start on things, but now I'm looking at my calendar thinking when in the world am I going to finish all my shopping?

Last weekend I had my kids finalize their Christmas lists and while there was a random few things on their lists (one of my kids wants a set of crutches???!!!) their lists did help give me some great ideas.  One of our most popular gift guides last year was the tween/teen guide and I had a few requests for that one again this year so I compiled the things on my girls' lists to share!

Here's one thing I know for sure about this age brands matter to them. When they are going to school and comparing amongst friends they want the real deal, the name brands and you know what...I'm happy to give it to them. I am usually the first one to opt for the great look-alike, but when it comes to Christmas if they care about the symbol on their water bottle or jacket then I want to give them what they want.  Some may think this is feeding in to the whole Keeping up with the Jones' mentality, but honestly this is the one time of year I actually do buy them what they want so if having the same shoes as every other 13 year old is going to make them happy and confident, then so be it!

Hydro Flask - Remember when I said that name brands matter...yeah, this is one of those instances. All the girls are loving this insulated water bottle that comes in a slew of fun colors.

Waterproof Stickers - It's like they are little girls all over again with the stickers.  Only these are special stickers that go on their cool water bottles.  Amazon has a ton of multi-packs (like HERE) so they can put stickers on water bottles, notebooks, laptops, etc. until their hearts are content.

Metal Straws - All the trend right now is saving the turtles and one way to do that is by using a metal straw instead of it's plastic alternative.  Bonus is these come in a cute little carrying case so they can tote it with them anywhere they go!

Fuzzy Sweatshirts - I took my daughter shopping for some new fall clothes a few weeks ago and I swear her entire cart was filled with fluffy sweatshirts in every color, style and variety. These are a must and please note, they should be oversized. The fluffier and cozier the better!  HERE and HERE

Fun slippers - Who doesn't love a new pair of slippers for those cold winter nights?  These fun glitter ones are a fav!

AirPods - Every tween and teen (both boys and girls) want a pair of AirPods so they can watch YouTube and listen to their music without having to worry about those pesky cords.  (I for one, like my cords, but that is certainly showing my age.)

Pura Vida Bracelets - These bracelets come in every color of the rainbow and have waterproof coating so girls can wear them night and day and not worry about them getting ruined. They love to stack them and wear multiple ones at a time.

Scrunchies - Yep, they are back and also function as a bracelet more often than a hair accessory.

Suitcase - Have an upcoming trip?  A nice grown up suitcase is something she'll use for years to come!

Slushy Maker - This is something I could put on just about every gift guide I make.  Tweens, kids, and grownups alike love this slushy maker.  My kids have one and always fight over who gets to use it, my mother-in-law has one and my husband always wants to use it, too!

Patagonia - Remember that whole brand and label thing.  Yep, that applies to this.  While a bit pricier, I know the quality is great and something that she can wear for a long time!

Crop Tops - I know what you are way, no how on the crop tops.  This isn't really that cropped though...just shorter than a regular t-shirt.  It really is the style and they can were them over tank tops.  Cropped tees and cropped sweatshirts are favorites for my girls. And again with the brand.

Makeup Mirror - Honestly, this is something I would like for myself, but my girls are super in to makeup right now, so this lighted make up mirror would be a great gift and it has a rechargeable battery!

Makeup Brushes - New makeup brushes are fun for everyone! Glitter, rose gold, or other pretty sets make dabbling in make-up that much more fun!  Some other options HERE and HERE.

Makeup - Anything from eyeshadow or Highlighter Pallets to lip gloss sets are fun for girls of any age to add to their collections.

Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat - This is another one of those I want it for Christmas, too, type of things.  These brush cleaning mats go in your sink for an easy way to properly clean all of your makeup brushes.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!! It's been quite a while since I've done a Friday Favorites post so decided one was  definitely in order.  Just sharing some random things that have been my favorites lately! 

My middle girlie is on a 3 day overnight field trip with her 5th grade class and having the time of her life.  She has been SO excited for this trip and although I wasn't able to chaperone, I'm getting lots of pictures and updates from her teacher.

She's having THE BEST time and I just love it seeing how much fun they are having!

For my birthday my family surprised me with a hanging bed swing that I've been eyeing for a while now and I could not love it more!  It's hanging on our screened porch and has quickly become my favorite cozy spot.  The whole family loves snuggling up on it to watch football each weekend!

One of my favorite fall accessories has to be this leopard band for my Apple watch.  I get compliments on it EVERY single time I wear it and people always want to know where I got it.

Well, the good news is if you own an apple watch it is super easy to switch out your bands and this one is under $10! This would also be a fun stocking stuffer!

leopard band for Apple Watch 

I have been wanting a pair of the Golden Goose sneakers for a while now, but Y'ALL...they are around $500!!!  I don't think I will ever live in a world where I could justify that and I know my husband would certainly never think that was a good idea so I've been looking for a good knock-off pair and found them HERE!

Star Sneakers 

These are under $40 and come in a bunch of different colors and prints. I got the gold and love them!  They are a shoe that I feel like describes my style...causal, but a little bit fancy. So perfect to wear with jeans or leggings, but make you feel a little more pulled together than a regular running shoe. There perfect "mom" shoe in my opinion when you want to feel put together, but still have to be running around, driving carpool, at ball fields, etc.

Star Sneakers 

Sizing tip... as recommended I sized up and glad I did. They fit perfect. 

OK, I know there is a big debate about when it is OK to put up your Christmas decorations. I used to always do it the day after Thanksgiving, but the past few years I have done it sooner and sooner and this year I started getting everything out right after Halloween.

I lost my momentum so didn't finish it all, but I got a good start on it and I'm excited to wrap it all up this weekend! Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday and I just love how my house looks all decorated!

Last, but not least for this week is this these handy dandy little tool.  I bought this after seeing someone show how they used it on Instagram Stories and I was fascinated!  It is a fabric shaver that takes pilling off of fabrics. I think it is actually meant for sweaters and clothing, but I used it on my couch and my kitchen chairs and it might be the best $12 I ever spent.

It's battery operated and worked so well. Check out this before and after.

My kitchen chairs had pilling everywhere and it was driving me nuts because they looked so worn. I didn't want to have to recover them and this little tool did the trick!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and we'll see you back here next week! 

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Exterior Home Mini-Makeover (Update)

A few months ago I shared that we were planning to paint our house.  You can see the inspiration post HERE.  It was just a tan to start with and I never really loved it so when it was time to paint I was ready for a change. The problem was I couldn't decide between white or a darker color.

We looked at a bunch paint samples, drove around a ton of neighborhoods, and scanned Pinterest for ideas. We even had our color wheel out in a new neighborhood that was being built and trying to hold it up to compare it to paint colors on the houses.

After going back and forth for a few weeks we finally decided to go dark and just kind of picked one we both liked.

I remember still being nervous after we picked out the color and just hoping it would look good once it got on the house. When I came home after they started painting the first day I LOVED it and couldn't wait to see it completed.

I just love how it makes the trim pop and I really feel like you notice the stone more with the new color.

I'm so happy to see it every time I pull into the driveway! 

Paint color details for anyone that wants to know. 
Siding: SW Thunder Gray 
Trim: SW Canvas Tan 
Metal Roof: SW Caviar 


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