To top
22 Nov

SoFortWorthIt’s Holiday Gift Guide

holiday gift guide

Welcome to my FIRST annual Holiday Gift Guide, a curated collection with something for EVERYONE on your list. In the spirit of full disclosure, this list began with me shopping for you, but it quickly turned into me shopping for me! I literally have, want or I’m about to buy each one of these amazing items on this list.

Gifts for Her

From me time to bee time, these gifts are sure to delight any lady in your life.

 

I am a huge fan of the three beauty brands on this list: Origins, Kiehl’s and Tata Harper. These travel-sized kits are a perfect way to test out a new skincare routine without going all-in just yet.

 

I recently purchased The Mexican Home Kitchen and Holy Cocina, y’all! It’s the best! Start off with the salsas – you’ll never open another jar again. Also, I can’t get enough of The Defined Dish. My family goes gaga for the healthy Whole 30 recipes.

 

Staying healthy isn’t just about what you eat, it’s also about your environment. I’ve been mindful about this for years, and this holiday season, I am hoping Santa brings me a set of clean and green ceramic pots and pans from GreenLife. (Did you get that, Santa Jason?)

 

If you love your fancy with a dash of awkward – and really, who doesn’t? — then Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina candle is for you. And yes, I already own this and trust me, it’s a real conversation-starter!

 

There’s been a lot of buzz about this gift; a… wait for it … a personal beehive kit! I have dreamed of raising bees and harvesting my very own organic honey, but the process and responsibility seemed daunting. Enter the FlowHive, a genius kit that simplifies the entire process, making it easy and fun to host a hive.

Gifts for Him

It can be a challenge to find perfect gifts for guys. I kept my husband in mind when I compiled this list of must-haves for the man in your life. 

 

The Otto Wilde Griller will make your man embrace his inner carnivore. A game-changer for grillers, it makes grocery store steaks taste like they came from a big-bucks steak house in five minutes flat.

 

Who doesn’t need an electronic docking station? We keep ours in the kitchen, and it holds all of our devices, keeping them organized as they charge. Remember to buy an extra pack of cords to go with it — trust me, you’ll need them!

 

These On Cloud shoes were the #1 seller on my Father’s Day Gift Guide, which didn’t surprise me. Our whole family has become obsessed with them ever since my brother Scott gifted them to all the guys for Christmas last year.

 

And speaking of obsession, this Mark & Graham waterproof roll-top backpack has been on my mind ever since our good friend Warren brought one to our lake house. Fill it with ice and beverages and you’re good to go for the entire day!

MIZZEN + MAIN is officially my husband’s very favorite shirt brand in his entire closet. They don’t wrinkle, and you can wash and wear without ironing. The website does a great job of walking you through their sizing chart, too.

Gifts for Tweens and Teens

Your teen or tween may not say thank you IRL, but they’ll definitely share their appreciation with their Instagram and followers. These post-worthy presents are sure to please even the pickiest Gen Z-er.

 

The Apple Airpods Pro doesn’t suck. Enough said!

 

Growing up with Mrs. Pac-Man in my childhood game room, I have an affection for arcade machines. This tabletop version has all the feels of the arcade version, without the crazy price tag – or the coin slot.

 

You won’t have to worry about too much screen time with these Razor rides. They’re the ultimate in grab-and-go outdoor fun! (Accessorize with a helmet and pads so you don’t end up swapping screen time for scream time.)

AND FOR THE HYPEBEAST … 

My kids have gone BAPE for Stockx, an online marketplace for streetwear like sneakers and hoodies. From standard gear to the most exclusive collabs, it’s the SUPREME site to pick up anything that’s dropped.

But wait there is more…

These are the gifts that you never knew you needed! I hope they bring you as much joy as they brought me.

Just remember, when in doubts: gift cards for subscription services, food, and clothes will please anyone on your list.

 

I know it’s super easy and convenient to buy everything over the internet, but if you can shop local as much as possible, I know our Fort Worth retail business sure could use your support for this holiday season.

 

Also, in case you missed it, I just published my Ultimate and Best Christmas Events and Activities in DFW AND the best dang Advent Calendar List you have ever seen.

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and remember, Jesus is the Reason for the Season! Enjoy shopping for you and your loved ones! xoxox

16 Nov

Advent Calendars Aren’t Just For Kids

Advent calendars

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and you know what that means … time to bust out the Advent Calendars! 

I’ve had a long-standing obsession with advent calendars since I was a little girl. I always loved the combination of anticipation and reward – not only did each day bring me closer to the Big Day, but each day brought its own little treat, a tiny surprise hidden behind a tiny door. And the person buying the baubles that brightened each December day was none other than my mom. She poured her heart into giving us the most creative and fun-filled Advent Calendars in all of Ridglea. Back then, I knew Advent Calendars were magical, and I still feel the same way.

Now that I’m an adult, I often think about how amazing it would be to level up and indulge in the Grand Kahuna of Advent Calendars: Like this one made by Tiffany & Co. in 2019. This colossal calendar stands four feet tall and contains 24 individual Tiffany blue boxes, each filled with a luxe treat and tied with white satin ribbon. What kinds of luxe treats are in those boxes? That depends on the depth of your wallet — the advent calendar price begins at $112,000. A girl can always dream, right?

But Advent Calendars don’t have to break the bank to capture your heart. I think the best ones are the most thoughtful, with themes that speak to something that interests you (or the person you’re gifting). That’s why I’ve come up with this curated collection of the best, most interesting– and yes, even affordable—themed advent calendars.

I’ve got boozy calendars, candy calendars and calendars for your precious little furballs. There are beauty calendars, candle calendars and even a jewelry calendar (hint, hint Jason!). But my very favorite calendars on this list are the classic wooden ones that you fill with your own goodies. Y’all have been asking me about them for years on IG, and I’ve finally sourced them just for you!

Enjoy shopping and spreading joy during this holiday season – one day at a time. xoxox

63 of the Best Advent Calendars for Purchase!

Ideas to Help You Stuff Those Calendars!

With all of the excitement of opening Advent Calendar surprises, I wanted to share some ideas and sources I utilize for filling our own children’s calendars. I’ve posted many links below to give you a head start, but here are my suggestions for sourcing all the fun for your little ones.

  • I always have the best luck at Dollar Tree, World Market, Oriental Trading and Froggies 5 & 10 in Dallas.
  • Party supply stores have a great selection in their party favor section.
  • Get some $2 bills, S. B. Anthony $1 coins, and other bills. A hundy is always fun to open.
  • Of course, you can’t go wrong with lottery scratch off tickets.
  • Candy from your local neighborhood convenience store.
  • Toys in 25cent vending machines at Walmart and grocery stores.
30 Mar

Life Lately: Sheltering in Our Place

Famous country music star Pat Green described our life lately so well when he posted this quote on social media, “Self-isolation is like Vegas in my house. We’re losing money by the minute, cocktails are acceptable at any hour, and nobody knows what time it is.”

HI! Happy Monday!!!

The days have blurred together since we flew out of town for our Spring Break ski trip to Deer Valley, Utah on Saturday, March 7th. And oh what a memorable Spring Break that was in the history of family vacations. Who knew a global virus would take over the world right at that moment?!? 

I’m not going to lie, these last two weeks of life have been quite the adjustment in finding our comfort zone with our “new norm.” I know it’s probably been the same with you, too. We are all in the same rough waters (or tsunami), just some of the boats look different than others. 

My heart hurts so much for the people who are suffering and have lost their income and their ability to make ends meet or even be able to buy food for their family. This is definitely one of the most difficult parts of this viral crisis. I hurt seeing our city’s economy in its current condition. So many of our friends have had to completely change their business models and some have taken a total loss temporarily, or in many cases, permanently. 

Most of my days are filled with laughter and humorous friends texting me various memes of a very well-end… (well if you know what I mean you just giggled and if you don’t, send me a DM), but some days have wiped me off the planet. As the mom and only female in the family, I have become everyone’s housekeeper, chef and personal bitch. I have truly never cooked so much food in my entire life, only to feed it to 3 bottomless pits for stomachs. Thank goodness Jason took over being teacher for our new world of homeschooling, otherwise the principal side of me would bring on the corporal punishments (and considering both my boys are taller than me, that would be interesting to figure out).

Dealing with my anxiety and clinically diagnosed OCD has been the hardest part of this entire COVID-19 crisis, and that first week back from Spring Break was by far the lowest for me emotionally. I had a massive panic attack and had to take medicine (which I NEVER DO) to bring my heart rate down and gain control of my spiraling. 

FUN TIMES WE ARE HAVING AT THE SMITH HOME. 

Fast forward 18 days since we’ve been home from spring break, and life lately is feeling so much better (from where it had been). Here are the things I did to help get my head back in the game:

Top 13 activities that helped improve my mental health game

1. BUY PRE-MADE MEALS

My intentions of cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner like Martha Stewart ended after three days of feeding bottomless pits who were always hungry. I set out to buy all the frozen food I could find so this mama wouldn’t be a bitch in the kitch! 

2. LIMIT NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Between FOX & CNN ruining my spring break, and finally having a meltdown along with the stock market, Dad Dunaway had a “Come to Jesus” with me over the phone and told me to get a grip. Everyone is in the same boat on the spectrum. His advice: Stop watching the news. Stop reading articles on Facebook. And stop drinking.

Also, he recommended reading THIS article on why long-term investors should never sell stocks in a panic. It really helped calm my anxiety.

3. HAPPY HOUR WITH YOUR GIRLFRIENDS

Speaking of drinking. Sorry dad, I know I told you I wasn’t, but I am…with my girlfriends on House Party, Zoom and Facetime. GNO, I mean Girl Day QuarWINEtine starts about when carpool would normally roll. (A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.) 

4. JAMMING OUT TO MUSIC PLAYLISTS

We tell Alexa to play a genre of different types of music, including Christmas Classics Radio, Beastie Boys, Counting Crows and The Police, just to name a few. Having this escape lets us do just that, escape. Besides, music soothes the soul.  

5. ORGANIZE & DECLUTTER

There are benefits to having OCD, and since it’s on fire right now, The Organized Nest might want to hire me when everyone comes out of hiding. My pantry hasn’t look this good since before I had children. My closet is next! The Purge has begun, but now’s the time to get it gone! (Follow me HERE for a future announcement on when and where I will sell my designer duds.)

6. COOKING SPECIAL RECIPES IN THE KITCHEN

Ok I know I am contradicting #1, but when you are cooking for the joy of cooking and not because your family is going to starve to death, there is something therapeutic and joyful that comes from this activity. Stay tuned to my blog, cause I’ve added a new recipe plug-in and I plan on sharing family favorites and legendary recipes from both of my grandmothers, Sally Dunaway and Nancy Winn.

7. GROW BABY – GROW A GARDEN

Yup! I busted out THESE old grow boxes that we purchased over a decade ago and I’m starting a garden. I ordered organic plantings from HERE, which will be delivered the first week of April! Let’s hope I don’t kill my future fresh groceries (before they sprout). 

8. EMPOWER YOUR CHILDREN TO HELP

Many of you who have housekeepers or use a cleaning service had to let them go or put them on paid #Coronacation. More than ever, I completely understand the saying, “It Takes a Village.” Between the grocery errands, cooking, cleaning and laundry, I was turning into everyone’s personal Sherpa! We now have a full chore schedule and everyone does their part to make our world run a bit more smoother. 

9. GET IN SHAPE GIRL, YOU KNOW THE FEELING

We’re all doing a lot more from home than we used to, including eating around the clock. Now more than ever though we don’t have an excuse to get moving. Whether it’s a family walk, a private walk, a walk with the dog, or a ride on your Peloton – we all need to be moving. And it’s helped me not just for hoping to still wear my wardrobe when we’re let out of house arrest, but also for the mind-body connection. 

10. CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY

If you know me, then you know I’m a professional bath taker. I mean, I LOVES me some bath time. It’s my meditation when my body can completely relax in a buoyancy of bubbles. It’s that relaxing time just for me that keeps me sane, especially when I’m doing my bathtub beauty routine. (Make sure you’re taking time alone with all this new togetherness.)

11. FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT

With everyone on a device for school, work, connecting with family and friends, you’d think the last thing I’d suggest is watch TV. But making this something to look forward to is what’s keeping us in check, and that we’re a family that just need to spend time laughing together. We make popcorn, change into a fresh set of PJ’s for the night and enjoy these precious moments. Also, we just ordered some amazing puzzles on Amazon and have busted out the old fashion board games and deck of cards! 

12. STOP AND SMELL THE ROSE

I have to be honest, that first week post Spring Break had me down in the dumps. And whenever I’m down, fresh flowers always lift my spirits. Doctor’s orders! Without hesitation, I picked up the phone and ordered 2 arrangements (one for my mom) from Cityview Florist & Gifts to brighten my day. Their generosity never ceases to amaze me. When they were forced to shut down last week on Monday night at 11:59 PM, they decided to deliver over 70 floral bouquets to clients, friends and family. But great news, as of this weekend, they got a city ordinance in place and can now do “no contact” deliveries.  

13. THE POWER OF PRAYER

Last but definitely not the least. Leaning into the Lord now, more than ever, is the most important thing you can do for your mental health. There is nothing more powerful than the power of prayer. You can hand over all of your fears to Him and TRUST that His plan is perfect. If you are looking for a wonderful church home, I’ve attended Christ Chapel Bible Church since I was in elementary school in the early 80’s. They have multiple wonderful services streaming LIVE all week, plus their Sunday service. 

Remember that we are all in this together. Stay safe and be healthy, and STAY HOME if you can. And a BIG thank you to everyone in the medical field and to all the people in the service industry helping our crippled city keep moving forward.  Godspeed! 🙂