Gift Ideas for Girls Under $50

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* all links in this post are amazon affiliate links *

‘Tis the season for shopping and since I know a thing or two about what girls are into having two myself, I wanted to share some gift ideas for girls under $50. Yep, no gift on this gift guide is over $50 and all these items can be bought on Amazon Prime, which is my best friend during the holidays and all year round.

12 Gift Ideas for Girls Under $50

(ages 7 – 12)

giftideasforgirlsunder50

My girls are ages 7 and 10, so we can assume these are gift ideas for girls ages approximately 7 – 12. My girls are into arts, crafts, selfies, Musical.ly, putting on endless “shows”, reading and recently have found a new obsession with baking.

Serafina and the Black Cloak


Someone shared about this book its series on Facebook as excellent books for my oldest daughter’s age (10) and recommended it as a book we can both read and discuss.  I love to read so I thought we would give this series a try. The reviews are excellent.

 iPad Mini 2 Case

Girls are asking Santa for an iPad Mini 2 this Christmas and one of his elves told me they scored them at the Costco in Tustin for $199 (steal of a price, best I can find).  If they are lucky enough to get one, this case came highly recommended.  Nice to be able to stand it up and the stand then also doubles as a handle.

Emoji Pillows

So silly. The girls love these. Browse around for different options of Emojis. This one though, is my fave.

Funny story I have to share about emojis. My 7-year old was using the pile o’ poop one a lot and I had to talk to her and tell her that I really didn’t care for the poop because it wasn’t really appropriate and she FLIPPED out. She was so upset.  Turns out that the whole time she thought it was chocolate. LOL

Plush Craft

One of my girlfriends told me her daughter LOVES these different Plush Crafts so I got two different pillows for both my daughters. Looks like a fun holiday break craft.  I got my youngest the cupcake, and my oldest a Monogram one where you can do your first initial. Cute.

Echo Dot

My girls are her friends make up shows and dances to be preformed for the adults ALL. THE. TIME. The Echo Dot is a hands-free voice-controlled device with a built in speaker which I thought would be perfect for them.  So now instead of having to endure  music from an old iPhone, the Echo Dot bluetooth speaker is going to come in VERY handy. Plus the adults will now at least get to enjoy Justin Bieber with better acoustics.

American Girl Baking Cookbook

The girls and I got hooked on this cute show over Thanksgiving called the Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network which inspired them to start baking. So far they have mastered brownies, snickerdoodles and this week, a pretty darn tasty chocolate chip cookie. It’s nice to also have a real cookbook to use instead of going online for recipes, so I thought this cookbook would be fun for them. Great reviews, and anything Williams-Sonoma does is good with me.

Tabletop Selfie Stick and Tripod with Remote


Is anyone else a little concerned with the amount of narcissistic kids we may be raising as a result of the Selfie Generation? Me neither. Hee hee. So why not let them take it a step further with this tripod that also can be a selfie stick AND has a remote so the girls can position themselves for their next Musical.ly production and hit record with the push of a button.

Sip by S’well Insultated Water Bottle


Obsessed with my S’well bottle, it goes everywhere that I go, and I love this line Sip by S’well which has fun designs for the kiddos. This lemons on pink design is too cute.

Set of 48 Brand New Sharpies


The girls do art and are constantly coloring and crafting and there is nothing, I mean nothing better than a brand spanking new set of Sharpies, am I right? Love the 80s Glam and Electro Pop shades.

Wits and Wagers

Our family loves this game!!! It’s a great family game, and great game even just for adults.

 Mermaid Tail Blanket with Matching Doll Tail

Cozy Minky fabric made into a mermaid tail blanket? Can you even stand the cuteness? This one even comes with a free side one girls can use for their dolls. Lots of cute colors. Love.

Espresso Kids Floor Easel


By far one of the toys we have gotten the most milage out of is this floor easel.  I love that the easel is somewhat tasteful and blends into our living room. Hours of time spent drawing on this, especially when the girls play school.

Happy shopping mamas!

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10 Affordable Holiday Photo Card Sites

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disclosure: all links in this post are affiliate links

Now I know some of you were on your game this year and might even have your holiday cards already in the mail (good for you).

For the rest of us, I wanted to share 10 affordable holiday photo cards websites to check out this holiday season. Hint: Get on the ball and order them soon because most all of these sites have major sales and holiday card promo codes right now. Here are 10 sites and designs I picked, will list in order of most affordable based on the designs that caught my eye. But make sure you browse around the sites too, because most have a good variety of designs and affordable price points.

Affordable Holiday Photo Cards

Prices listed for the design shown are for a sample 100 card order.

 Zazzle ($0.62 ea)

Click here to get to Zazzle holiday cards

It was fun for me to find that Zazzle, an amazing website for customizable gifts (think bags, iPhone cases, pillows, aprons, I mean you NAME it!) also has a fab line of holiday photo cards. For a steal!

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Target ($0.99 ea)

Click here to see Target’s holiday cards and affordable pricing

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Storkie ($1.09 ea)

Click here to get to Storkie holiday cards

I loved this recycled postcard…

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Tiny Prints ($1.14 ea)

Click here to get to Tiny Prints holiday cards

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 Tiny Prints is a long time favorite of many, for good reason. Their Studio Basics designs are the most affordable holiday photo cards and are also super cute.

I had to show this design too even though, a little more pricey. Just fell in love with the barn door…

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Pinhole Press ($1.49 ea)

Click here to get to Pinhole Press holiday cards

Pinhole Press is a fun find, offering beautifully simple photo cards, I loved their different collection of collage photo cards too.

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Minted ($1.65 ea)

Click here to get to Minted holiday photo cards

I have been a long time fan and customer of Minted and once again, will be ordering my cards through Minted again this year.

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I love Minted also offers matching FREE designed envelopes and FREE recipient address printing.
Here is just one example of their cute envelope designs.  And again, it’s free!

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Paper Culture ($1.74 ea)

Click here to get to Paper Culture holiday photo cards

Modern, eco-friendly cards and for every order, Paper Culture plants a tree.  Tons of cool new designs this year.

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PurpleTrail ($1.89 ea)

Click here to get to PurpleTrail holiday cards

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Artifact Uprising ($2.20 ea)

Click here to get to Artifact Uprising holiday cards

Now this probably falls outside of the “affordable” range, but seriously, I just loved this one!

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The site offers the most beautiful photo gifts for pretty much everyone on your list.  Beautiful photo books, Instagram books, calendars, and more.

Thanks for looking and happy holiday photo card designing! 

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Minted Giveaway!

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[Disclosure: All  links in post are affiliate links + I received complimentary cards. 100% my own opinions. Minted is my fave.]

Minted Giveaway 2016

MY MINTED GIVEAWAY 2016 IS OPEN NOW AND ENDS 12/3/16

- – – >   All you have to do is CLICK HERE and enter your email address  to enter   < – – -

I am a minted.com fanatic when it comes to their holiday card selection, user-friendly ordering system and unique designs from around the globe. This is my fourth year ordering my cards from minted and every year I continue to marvel at the new products continually added for the holidays! This post today is all about how to create your perfect Minted holiday card along with a special Minted giveaway where three winners have the chance to win a $100 Minted credit to put towards your holiday card or gift order. Oh, JOY!

minted giveaway 2016

So before I get started on why I love Minted’s holiday cards, I want to make sure you enter to win $100. All you have to do is CLICK HERE and enter your email address.

Did you do it? Awesome. Now let me tell you a little about why I love ordering my holiday cards through minted!

Black Friday Deal!

Minted’s best deals of the year are going on for Black Friday (extended to 11/27) and includes 20% off all holiday card, gift and art orders of $150 or more or 15% off all orders. Use code BF2016.

Minted “Find It Fast” Feature

By far, my favorite feature of designing holiday cards with Minted is their “Find it Fast” feature, which allows you to filter your holiday card design search depending on different parameters like number of photos, type of card, photo orientation, price, etc. Then, click “On” at the bottom for the Find It Fast feature, and it will populate your photo(s) into a ton of different designs.

I can’t tell you how much this  cuts down on the time spent selecting a design! You can actually see your photo in all the different ones to quickly sift through and find the ones that work.

mintedfinditfastfeature

The Personalization Options are Endless!

When you see a design(s) you like, select “personalize” and you will be taken to a screen where you can further customize your card.

Many of the designs have different color options you can try on, different border choices, zoom options, font choices and options to edit text or wording.  I heart options.  Make sure to keep clicking “save” so you can save some favorites to share for opinions if you wish.

minted personalization

On to the Back!

Once the front of the card is complete, you should be  ready to print, right? WRONG! Minted gives you a ton of personalization and customization options on the back too!

Did you have a hard time choosing a favorite photo for the front? Add some photos on the back! Want to share a few highlights from 2016? Add some text! So many fun choices to make your card special.

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The Envelope Please…

But folks, there’s more! Now comes the envelope!

Minted’s Address Assistant and FREE recipient envelope printing is another HUGE benefit to choosing Minted to print your holiday cards. The matching envelope elegance just puts their designs over the top!

A few years back I entered in all my recipient addresses so now when I order my cards, my friends and family’s names come printed FOR FREE in a darling matching design on the envelopes!  Do you know what this means?  I no longer have to get in a fight with my computer printer while attempting to print my own labels! Hallelujah!

After the envelope is gussied up, your design is complete! This year they even have matching POSTAGE designs! Wow.

mintedenvelopes

Our Family’s 2016 Holiday Card

When scrolling through all the designs, this design grabbed me. I love the “Love is All Around” wording, because of the love we have experienced from so many people this year with loss of my beautiful mom.  Love truly has been all around us.

Happy Holidays from my family to yours this season and I hope you have the opportunity to design your own Minted holiday card. Good luck on the giveaway!

love is all around

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New Year, New Home Update?

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This article is in partnership Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen

As a homeowner, there comes a time when you notice certain rooms in your home are looking a little, well, outdated. If visions of a new year remodel are dancing in your head this holiday season, I hope this post gives you some design inspiration as you plan your new years home resolutions.

The first areas to show signs of aging are usually the kitchen and bath, where outdated materials can tell the tale of days gone by. Home improvements like new cabinets, fixtures and countertops can make a dramatic difference and bring you back to the current day.

Keeping your home updated can also be a smart investment, and the kitchen and bath deemed are wise choices when prioritizing. A minor bathroom remodel came in #1 with a minor kitchen remodel following at #3 in this HGTV article on the top 15 home updates that add value to your home.

kitchen bath remodel

Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen

San Diego-based Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen specializes in bath and kitchen renovation. This family-owned and operated business has been creating beautiful living spaces for more than 33 years.

Offering their clients unique services such a dedicated project manager, day-to-day schedule with exact start and completion dates and a 5-year workmanship warranty, Remodel Works helps take the anxiety out of remodeling so you can focus on the exciting aspect of your stunning end result.

Here are some before and after photos of recent Remodel Works projects I loved when checking out their gallery online.  You won’t believe the dramatic differences! Let’s start with two of their kitchens.

A Transitional Kitchen Design

Here’s the first before photo. A rather uninspiring kitchen, right?

before

before2

And afters!

after

after2

Transitional design is one of the fastest growing choices when doing a kitchen remodel.  A transitional design marries the warmth of traditional design with the clean, simple lines of contemporary style.  Transitional spaces project balance and harmony.

And gray is the new white when it comes to kitchens and I love the contrast of the charcoal countertops with the white cabinets and subway tile. Un-cluttered, striking and beautiful.

A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Design 

Here is another example of a kitchen before Remodel Works came in. Kitchen design has sure come a long way since then…

before4

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And the afters!

This beautiful kitchen embodies many of the current trends in kitchen design: transitional and farmhouse.

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Once again, it is transitional, blending traditional warmth with contemporary elements.

In combination, the shaker style cabinets, retention of the cozy hardwood floors, farmhouse sink, wooden barstools and dining table make this this a modern farmhouse style kitchen.

One I wish were mine. Sigh…

after6

New Year, New Home

My husband is going to be really bummed I worked on this post because I am typing this in our outdated kitchen and have a lot of new ideas with what kind of updates we could do! Time to start planning ahead, and budgeting. Will you all help me with choices if he gives us the green light to proceed? Wish me luck!

In the meantime, for more information on Remodel Works Bath & Kitchen visit www.remodelworks.com.

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Marriage Advice Better Than “Don’t Go To Bed Mad”

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My husband and I celebrate 15 years of marriage today, and while that makes me feel giddy and proud, there is also something about the fact we have been marriage for that long, that is making me feel really…old. Like, really? Has it really be 15 years? Wow.

We have been through a lot in those 15 years.

The first 14 pretty much fell in the “for better” category.  When life is sailing along crisis-free, it’s easy to take life for granted. This year, with the tragic loss of my mom, we have been undoubtedly been through “for worse”. Yet, he has stood by my side every step. God bless him.

For all the awful things I am going through grieving the loss of my mom, I think how awful it must be for him, to always being the strong one while watching your wife grieve. But we made it through, and we are still making it through. Witnessing his commitment to us has strengthened us. It might be one of the silver linings, we are stronger as a result of this “for worse” year. Nothing tests a relationship like crisis.

Marriage Advice

Photo cred: Melissa Wilson

 

My mom and I had the time of our life planning our wedding back in 2001. We were two peas-in-a-pod with our love for parties, celebrations and “cute details”.  The wedding was the party to end all parties for both of us and we had SO much fun together.

After the wedding, she gave me as a gift, a secret journal she kept starting with the day we got engaged. In it, she documented all the details of the engagement, planning and wedding and all the things we did together.

At the end of the journal, my parents both shared their tips and advice on marriage. My parents were married 46 years and were one of those couples that had something special. They were genuinely, truly happy together.

Here they are on August 16th, 1969…

parents collage

I pulled out the Journal today to read her words again.

Here are some my mom said…

“The promise and commitment of marriage is the most incredible gift.”

Treat your husband as your best friend every day of your life.”

“There will be ups & downs, highs & lows, but always be there for each other.”

Listen to each other and compromise if needed.”

“….and kiss him every night when you or he walks in!”

“Always” and “nevers” advice from my dad…

“Always listen to your partner twice as much as you talk. After all, God gave us two ears and one mouth.”

Never use sarcasm with each other, it’s often times an insult in disguise.”

“Always remember what is easy or difficult for you might not be easy or difficult for your partner. Embrace your differences, for they are what makes your marriage unique.”

“Always make your partner look good in front of others.

Never keep secrets from one another. Share feelings and try not to keep things inside and you’ll both grow.”

Never make major decisions when you are acutely emotional. Wait a day, take 100 deep breaths.  Most of the stupid decisions I have made in my life have been during times of high emotion.”

“Always treat your partner even better than you would your best friend.

“Never set your partner up to fail, rather set your partner up to succeed.

And then my moms ends with…

“And now you can even better understand why I love your father so much! He is an incredible person, I am so lucky to have him as my partner in life!”

Someone hand me the tissues.

This past weekend we celebrated our anniversary in Laguna Beach and had dinner at The Deck, which used to be a wedding venue called Pacific Edge, where we got married.

When we walked in I felt immediately nostalgic, thinking of that day, my mom and how special that place was to her as well. At that exact moment,  a guy walks right towards me with this amazing monarch butterfly on his finger and I tell him I believe it is for me. He hands it to me. I just know it was a sign from her, letting me know she is still right here with us.  Hug your loved ones today friends. Give your husband or wife an extra kiss. Appreciate each other.  Life is fleeting.

thebutterfly

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