2018, Christmas, DIY, Gift Guide, Holiday, Seasonal, thanksgiving

Mindful Shopping Over the Holidays

Every year I see jokes about Black Friday shopping and maxing out credit cards, but lately I’ve been noticing a trend of more mindful shopping and gift-giving.

I’ve been noticing parents requesting experiences for their children instead of things (from those insistent on buying gifts), and sticking to the: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

I am also going to suggest, as the title of this post implies, mindful shopping this holiday season. Continue reading “Mindful Shopping Over the Holidays”

Christmas, Gift Guide, Holiday, My Favorites, Wishlist

10 Gift Cards I’d Love to Receive

Gift cards have a reputation of being a bit of an unoriginal gift. Generally they’re associated with the giver not taking time to really consider what the receiver would want, or that they waited too long to get a gift so they’re just going to the “Gift Card Mall” at the grocery store. And I get it. If someone asked you what you want, and you took the time and effort to make a concise list keeping a budget in mind, and they still just got you a generic gift card, you wonder what the point was in putting all the time and effort into it. And you don’t want to seem ungrateful, because they didn’t have to get you anything at all!

Continue reading “10 Gift Cards I’d Love to Receive”


Top 10 (Always Win) Gifts for Her

The gift giving season is upon us! This is my absolute favorite time of year, so I am particularly excited for this holiday blog series. That being said, it gets really hard to buy gifts for people you don’t really know well. I know we’re doing a Secret Santa gift exchange at work, and there are plenty that I have no idea what I would get them. So whether it’s a coworker, an in-law, or the mail carrier, here are ten gifts that will be sure to put a smile on her face, and will actually get used.

Cute Mugs
Whether it’s one that she can use at home, or one for the gal on the go, a cute mug is definitely a good choice. Even if she’s not a coffee drinker, she could use it for hot cocoa, or even hot tea. Getting creative, traditional mugs can be used for anything from cereal and ice cream, to chili and soup. There are so many options, especially with all the trendy ones out right now EVERYWHERE.

Touching on the same subject, acrylic tumblers are UBER popular right now. And the best part? They’re easily customized DIY or professionally. I know quite a few people that are always carrying them around filled with water, juice, or whatever cold beverage. And they don’t even have to be acrylic; there are also stainless steel and glass ones.

You will be hard-pressed to find a woman who doesn’t like a good scarf. Infinity scarves are a great choice in trendy prints. Even regular scarves are worn by woman in untraditional ways. They can also be worn all throughout the year.

Sticking with a traditional vanilla scent is usually a pretty good option. Everyone loves the comforting scent of warm vanilla. Another good option is clean linen. Just try to avoid floral or heavily perfumed scents unless you know the receiver has no allergies, as anything that even smells like flowers or nature can set some people off.

Fuzzy Socks
Just thinking about fuzzy slipper socks puts a smile on my face; especially ones with slip-resistant bottoms. There are times when all I want to do is snuggle up with big pajamas, a sweatshirt, and my fuzzy socks on the couch with some coffee. Or maybe your gift recipient is like my best friend who has hardwood floors in her house and has to wear socks all the time to keep from killing her feet. Regardless of the situation, fuzzy slipper socks are a welcome gift.

If your giftee gal is anything like me, she constantly has lists and lists and lists in millions of notepads and spiral notebooks and sticky notes all over the place. Having a dedicated notebook to keep everything has been a huge blessing, since I am so scatter-brained and will forget everything unless it’s written down. Ironically, I have one of the best long-term memories of anyone I’ve ever met. It’s a thing. Don’t worry about it. Writing everything down in a cute journal makes it easier to remember to get it out of my purse and look at it later, too.

Nail Polish
Even if she doesn’t paint her fingernails, she probably paints her toenails. Getting trendy and/or classic colors will help ensure that it gets used either everyday, or at least a few times a year. Plus, getting multiple colors gives her many options and keeps you from getting it completely wrong.

DIY Gift baskets
Does she need a personal pamper session? Or maybe she and her S.O. are yearning for a much-needed date night but don’t have the means. Gift baskets are a great way to give someone an experience instead of just a tangible gift; and sometimes, that can mean so much more. I’ll definitely be sure to do a post on DIY gift baskets here soon, if you need ideas.

Picture frames
You can never have too many pictures of yourself/your kids/your S.O./your family/your furbaby/your favorite celebrity. Picture frames help class those pictures up, especially if they’re just pinned to her cubicle wall at the moment.

Stationary/note cards
I always see monogrammed note cards and stationary in the gift sections of stores. They’re so cute and way more useful than you probably know. You’d be surprised at how many times a notecard has come in handy when I forgot to buy a birthday card or needed to write a thank you note.

Good news! All of these items (except the gift basket, of course) will be part of a holiday gift giveaway from me to you! To enter, you must be following me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter; share the post (on one or more of the platforms*), and then comment on this post telling me you did it, the platform you used, and your username (so I can find you to notify you if you won). Don’t forget to use the hashtag #cupcakerisingholidaygiveaway. The contest will end Saturday, December 12, at 6 PM CST, and a winner will be announced the following Monday, December 14th. Good luck, loves!

*Sharing the post multiple times won’t up your chances of getting picked, but it will make me smile lots :).

Hoping that you have a fun, safe, and happy holiday season with love,


So You’re Going to a Holiday Party: Host(ess) Gifts

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, and the holiday season officially beginning, holiday parties are getting into full swing. I don’t know about you, but I have officially reached the age where red Solo (and Hefty) cups have been replaced by wine glasses and champagne flutes; and jeans and a tee have been replaced by nice blouses and tasteful pumps (and tacky sweaters) at holiday social gatherings. Over are the days when we could show up empty-handed or with a six pack and all would be well. Don’t get me wrong, my friends and are happy to just be together, but now we’re getting to the point that it’s obligatory office parties and acquaintance events to which we also get invited. I’ll stop beating around the bush and just say it; host(ess) gifts are required*. It doesn’t matter who it is, it’s just good manners.

But what do you get someone you don’t know that well? How are you supposed to judge their taste based on the five minute conversation you have on your coffee break? Or maybe it’s a family member with whom you’re not very close. Here’s an easy guide on relatively generic, but still tasteful gifts for the host(ess) this holiday season.

Candles/Wax Warmers
You don’t have to get fancy and gets $40 wax warmer from Scentsy. I know it’s for a good cause, but sometimes they can get ridiculous. I’ve seen them for as low as $15 at Walmart that are nice and reliable. I know that Glade has their own, and Target’s range from $10-20 for anyone’s style. But what if you’ve never been to their house and you don’t know what they’d like or what would fit with their decor? This is the point that a candle comes in. Bath and Body Works frequently has their 3-wick candles on sale 2 for $24 which is a great deal. Especially if you’re in the market for a new candle, or you have multiple parties to attend. You can always hit up Yankee Candle, or get their candles from Target. They’ve got great scents for the holidays, or basic vanilla and clean linen scents. The only thing I’d say to avoid would be anything floral or nature-scented. People with allergies can be pretty sensitive to those in particular.

This one is a relative no-brainer, as it’s pretty stereotypical. I’m aware that not everyone drinks, but the chances of them being able to re-gift it if it’s a decent bottle are pretty high. If you know them well enough to know whether they prefer white or red wine, that’s ideal, but if you don’t, getting one that you like is a good idea. It gives you something to talk about and bond over. But what if you don’t know wine? It can be intimidating to talk to sommeliers, but they are there for just that. And if you’re worried they’ll try to upsale you on something you didn’t want, ask a wine-loving friend for advice or to accompany you when you shop. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your new favorite drink!

Gift Cards
I will admit that I’m not super fond of giving gift cards. They’re generally impersonal and show a lack of thought (in my own humble opinion). That being said, what’s a better way to give a gift to someone you know nothing about than a Visa gift card that they can spend almost literally anywhere? It doesn’t have to be an outrageous amount; $25 is good. It shows that you thought about them enough to bring something without getting it completely wrong. You could also grab a Target or Walmart gift card for whatever amount suits your finances best.

Flowers/Small Plants
How easy is it to swing by the grocery store and pick up a decent bouquet? Or maybe you’re lucky enough to live near nursery and you have your pick of gorgeous seasonal arrangements. It’s always a nice gesture and plants have a nice way of subtly livening up a space. A nice choice if the recipient has allergies are succulents. They require very little maintenance and are beautiful. If you can find it, aloe vera is a great plant to give (and receive), is inexpensive, and is highly useful (especially for those that like to cook and/or are accident prone).

*Obviously, as with any gift, it is up to the buyer to decide how much they can spend (if any at all) and if a host(ess) gift is required to attend an event, it’s probably not somewhere you want to be anyway.

I hope that basic list helped. All parties/events are different, and you should always use your personal discretion to best red the situation. Have any other items to add to the list that are good for all company? Feel free to leave a comment, post on my Facebook page, Tweet me (@cupcakerising), or comment on my Instagram.

Happy Holidays!

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