Stocking Stuffer Musts–If Santa Is Not A Sure Thing

I am incapable of shutting my mouth and smiling kindly when backed into a corner. It is a glaring flaw in my personality. Just today I was telling my mom about a conversation where my inner common sense was screaming at me to just listen to someone I completely disagreed with and let it go. Just listen and let it go. Nope. I firmly ignored that poised inner beauty and let the sweaty, striped capri pant, crazy haired girl with red armpits from laser treatment carry on like a Halloween lunatic. I’ve been this way since childhood. This unfortunate characteristic was the reason for the entire Santa Claus unmasking. The well mannered, quiet girl would have gotten a couple more years of childhood, but the loud mouth had to be protected by her mother. Here is what happened.

Third grade started off with getting an out-of-the-blue giant nosebleed on my new dress, on the first day of school and my teacher would not let me walk the one block home to change my dress. This was a sign, in hindsight. Near Christmas vacation, we were in class doing a Christmas craft. The girl next to me said Santa Claus was not real. I told her if she believed that then he would not come and bring her presents. She said that she knew he was not real. This started a full blown discussion/argument including everyone around our desks and I was the ONLY one on my side. (Ok, Kristen Amy, WHERE WERE YOU, best friend??) I went home and indignantly replayed it all for my mother. A couple of hours later, she took me across the street to our church, early before choir practice. We sat in the sanctuary and she told me that Santa was really named Leanne and Dennis–but really just Leanne because I know my dad wasn’t picking out the presents. I sobbed. I was devastated. I asked if this meant that the tooth fairy also was not real. So many dreams were shattered that night.

IF Santa is not a sure thing for your stocking, may I suggest some must haves to make the holiday stocking commercial, merry and feminine.

BEAUTY Category:

I found the brand Beautycounter and am a convert. They stand on the premise that we must do a better job promoting safer products. Our skin is our largest organ and we slather it with unregulated chemicals. Rest assured that everything this mom owned company sells is safer for you and your littles. I sell it on the side, but these are two of my favorites. I could go crazy telling you about all my favs, but here are a couple. Want more info, http://www.beautycounter.com/katieszurpicki

Cleansing Balm, or aka miracle balm. $80 and lasts about 6 months. The price is steep, but lasts forever and is worth every cent. Cleanse your face with it, remove make up, slather it all over after a day in the sun or a day in a blizzard, rub it over bitten cuticles or tiny cuts. It is the most incredible soothing product I have ever used. The incredible scent comes from essential citrus oils.

cleansing-balm

Beautycounter Body Butter, $39. Winter dries out your skin. You need that extra layer of thickness to protect yourself. My fingers crack, even in 65 degree weather. This is amazing. Again, the scent is from essential citrus oil. You are paying for the extra time in sourcing the ingredients and time spent ensuring its quality and safety. Support safer products. My lion cub has very sensitive skin and this soothes his baby eczema.

beautycounter-body-butter_citrus-mimosa-view1-1534x1168

Lush bath bombs. Perhaps the phrase “it’s the bomb” came from referring to this fabulousness? My entire family loves these. I convinced my child at 10 months that baths were tolerable with the magic dragon egg bath bomb that turned colors as it fizzed. Buy them. Don’t worry if your tub turns a color. A good clorox spritz will get rid of it and you can bathe again with more of these magic balls. http://www.lush.com

Everyone Soap and Lotion, $11ish. I found these at Whole Foods, although available on Amazon.com as well. This is a non GMO and essential oil scented line. This is a HUGE bang for your buck and it’s fantastic. I bubble up the boys’ bath to the tippy top and then turn around and use it neck to toe on myself. This is my new fav for the bathing process.

everyone-soap

Living Proof Dry Volume Blast, $29 sephora.com. I just received an unfortunate haircut that I am referring to as the reverse mullet. I have more styling options with this as my #1 favorite hair product. Spray it after drying your hair, all over, mess it up and finish styling. It is equally as awesome as their dry shampoo. Don’t judge the product by my hair, just trust me.

living-proof

 

Wearables:

Ditch the conventional stocking and fill up some pretty cowboy boots with goodies instead. This is the most versatile shoe ever. I’ve been wearing boots for 20 plus years. I’ve given up my highest heels after having 2 teenies, but boots make me feel pretty and I can chase my cubs at the park in them. If you’re new, don’t go conservative. Jump in. Wear color. Cute dress with boots? Why not. Skinny jeans tucked in? Absolutely. Feeling fat? Boyfriend jeans, cuffed with a hint of boot peeking out. Perfection. No one looks at thighs when you have a detailed boot. http://www.countryoutfitter.com has my favs. Check out the Corral brand. Yes. Please.

pink-boot

Athleta Chauranga capri, $64. It may be the first stripe to make thighs appear thinner and your booty perkier. I swear on all that is sacred that this is the BEST capri ever made. Put an IOU in the stocking with this picture because they’re back ordered until January, but get them. GET THEM!! Amazing. Plus, you can size down. Vanity sizing works for me. They come in a full length tight as well, but the fabrication is not the same. The magic is in the capri.

athleta

Lou and Grey Steeeetch top, $59.50. Lou and Grey has wearable pajama fabrics. It’s the equivalent of a security blanket that has been washed 1000 times. Their fabrics are to die for. The fit is beautiful and skirts the timeless and trendy category in just the right way. I like this top because you can go full on athleisure with it. Pretend you are going to the gym when you pair this with your chaturanga capri. Check out the thumb tab on the sleeve. You look like you are pulled together with fitness goals. Win.

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Thingies:

Thegrommet.com. This site is my current obsession. They launch new products regularly and it is all based upon individual creativity. I. LOVE. IT. MADLY. You also get a video of the product. Check out the chicken launcher game. I was crying with laughter. BUT, to continue with the feminine stocking stuffer, I really eye balled the Impwear laminated cotton bags starting at $24.95. Laminated cotton. This not only appeals to the mother in me, but the clean freak. It is a giant pain to clean makeup bags, but I gag when bags get too dirty. This is a wipe down bag WITH a loop to hook upon things. You have several options in color combos too. Perfection.

JBL Flip 3 Wireless speaker, $79.99 (currently at Target.com). I’m not tech savvy. I know Beats and Bose have these too, but the JBL had the best price and I love it. I hook up my Pandora app from my phone and have been rocking out to Christmas carols (Hello Trans Siberian and Manheim Steamroller) since November 1. I love that there are color options too. Perfect for a techie wannabe.

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Oil Diffuser. I’m not into candles. I don’t like the dust that accumulates on top and I’m over plug ins now that I have discovered the beauty of essential oils. I am a sucker. Plus, I feel fancy blending the scents. I am a scent junkie and this hits the spot. Plus, if you blend Eastern and Western medicine, there is science to essential oils and healing properties. In full disclosure, I rubbed fennel oil all over myself in an attempt to nurse the tiniest tiny longer and it didn’t work. However, I diffuse the left over fennel oil and it works instantly to make me smile with its scent. Amazon has a million oil diffusers to choose from.Youngliving.com has the best oils, but man are they expensive! Their Thieves oil is both therapeutic (hello cold and flu season) and it’s the best smell ever. It comes in cleaning products as well as the oil. It is the icing on the essential oil cake. It is, however, about $41.

thieves

Here are a couple from Amazon that I have loved blending and are in the $7-$12 range. Clove and sweet orange are lovely together and perfect for a cozy winter afternoon. They are not just for the ladies either. My husband asked for a diffuser and starter set for his office. Boom.

now-orangeclove-oil

LaMarca Prosecco sparkling wine. My dad decided he had enough ties and shirts and decided to switch to buying fancy wine. He built a wine rack and started buying wine from The Wall Street Journal recommendations. He has a dot system for coding how fancy the fancy wine is. His children are not allowed to choose bottles with dots on them, certainly not a 3 dot bottle. In fact, after I stayed in my parents’ home for 5 weeks and they were concerned we would never leave, he implemented a top shelf only rule for me. I am only allowed to help myself to top shelf wine. He brought this one home for me one night. It’s very moderately priced and has a great sparkling taste that is not too sweet. Thank you Dad.

Cards Against Humanity Game. This is not a new game, but so funny and wrong. It’s wrong that one might put it in a stocking, which makes it so right. You learn about people and how to play to your judge. For example, I learned my mother generally played the dirtiest card but would never vote for a dirty card when she judged. I love you Mom.

Merry Christmas! 

 

 

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A Movie Moment

Being a little girl in the 80’s was fantastic for watching movies. It was the era of high school movies, which I fervently believed were speaking the truth about teenage life. I was young enough to believe my life would unfold the same way. My beauty and fashion goals were modeled after Cindi Mancini from “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Who can forget the suede fringe outfit for the back to school party?

can't buy me love

Sadly, by the time I made it to high school, it was all about grunge and bobbed haircuts. At least there still were cheerleading uniforms involved…My other favorites were Lucas, Some Kind of Wonderful, Just One of the Guys, Sixteen Candles, and Karate Kid (Pat and I still practice the crow kick now and then). These movies replaced Disney fairy tales with their cool factor. I never wanted to act in the movies, but I wanted to LIVE inside of them; in their world. Every street was quaint and beautiful. Life was visually perfect in the movies. Beauty like that does not seem to exist in day to day life, but there is a restaurant on a certain street that embodies that perfect movie moment; Julienne’s on Mission Street in San Marino, CA.

julienne's 2

Everything about it is picturesque. It is on a charming street with quaint boutiques, and as you come upon the restaurant, you are greeted by cheerful vines and pots of botanical beauty. Twinkling white lights welcome you inside, and it is a hard pressed decision to sit inside or outside because both are interesting. Their breakfast is better than lunch, and starting the morning off in this fashion makes the day more exciting anyhow. I do not fully know what a currant is, but it is fantastic in the house toast.

currant toast

I have yet to have a bad breakfast there! After eating, a trip through the gift shop/bakery is a must. Everything from coffee table fashion books to citrus mint soap is available, and you have to take home a baked treat for later.

cafe

The experience tends to linger throughout the day in my mind, just like a good movie. Julienne’s is a luxury in my life because it allows me to finally step into that perfect movie life.

julienne's

I Stole Out of an Easter Basket

I am on videotape stealing out of my brother’s Easter basket. I was not 2 or 3 stealing out of my teenage brother’s basket; that would have been cute. I was in the 7-9 range, stealing out of my 2-3 year old brother’s Easter basket. I am honestly not sure which bothers me more; the fact that I did it, or that I did not notice a giant 1980’s video camera recording my every move. There isn’t any verbiage on the tape either. It’s like one of my parents was recording an animal in the wild doing what came naturally. I am fervently against stealing, as a side note. Whether it is physically stealing goods or stealing ideas, it is not ok. I do not know what came over me. I am an honest person; I know my flat spots and thievery isn’t among them. I blame the excitement of the goodies in the Easter basket after a mean, competitive hunt for the most eggs. Maybe I was actually just counting his eggs?

Next year the tiny one will get to participate in Easter and I cannot wait. I already talk to him about the true meaning of Easter, but for all children, the egg hunt and basket really are what make it an exciting holiday. The reverence comes later. In honor of the commercial side of Easter, here is what I would stash in my own Easter basket.

MAC lip liner in Whirl.  They are recognized for their Spice color, but I swear it is secretly an eye liner. Whirl is incredible. It is like the color of your lips after a high school make-out session. It enhances red lipstick and is the perfect base to a nude gloss.
MAC+Whirl+Lip+Pencil+Review

Nails Inc Feathers Effect Nail Polish.  It looks like an Easter egg.  This should only be worn on grown up toes or little girl fingers. The only thing creepier than an adult woman accessorized like a child is a child accessorized like an adult.
nails inc

Kai Body Butter. This smells exactly like California in Spring, and it is fantastic. January through April is by far the best part of a Southern California year and this embodies it. I like the idea of smothering my body in the scent.
kai

A Fantastic Statement Necklace, like this one from Anthropologie ($68).  These have always been my signature style. I cannot wear them with the tiny one’s curious fingers, but in a year or so, I will again. When you have a basic, flat outfit, all you need is a wow piece of jewelry to off-set the boring. Costume is usually even more baroque and fabulous than real.
necklace $68

Target Champion Sports Bras.  I need the motivation and I love the colors and fabric. They last forever.
champion-neon-sports-bras

Coffee from Koffi in Palm Springs.  I had a malted mocha latte from there recently and I DREAM about it. So, so fabulous. http://www.kofficoffee.com

Dollywood

Years ago I auditioned for Dollywood.  I sang “Cain’t Say No” from “Oklahoma” and nailed it, big time.  I was the first person called back for the dance auditions.  I discovered at the dance audition that being the first person called back also meant that I was the first person to dance.  We had to form a “jam” circle.  When will an actor ever perform a jam circle in a show???  Now, had they played Jay Z or any Big Band, I would have been fine.  They played techno.  To this day I do not understand techno.  I decided that to really stand out, I would tumble into the jam circle.  Note, I was older than 21.  This worked out ok, but then I started to dance.  I remember thinking to myself, “What on God’s green earth are you doing with your legs?  Get out!”  I couldn’t get out of the jam circle.  I kept trying to make it better.  I did not get the job and this is on video somewhere in their archives.

I reference this because the memory still drives me to drink.  If I am not choosing to calm the fear with a pinot, a friend taught me a fun trick to make water taste better.  I don’t enjoy drinking water but I know that it is good for you for about a million different reasons.  I kind of believe people who say they love to drink water are lying.  I do enjoy mineral water and really love it this way.  If you add a splash of Kern’s Nectar to sparkling water, it makes it infinitely so much better!  I drink this all day long out of a stemless wine glass to make it extra girly and fun.  I have seriously upped my water intake this way and look forward to it.  Small steps….I should have remembered this in the bloody jam circle.