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,

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.


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.


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.

Everyone Soap and Lotion, $11ish. I found these at Whole Foods, although available on 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.


Living Proof Dry Volume Blast, $29 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.




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. has my favs. Check out the Corral brand. Yes. Please.


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.


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.

lou and grey.jpg

Thingies: 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 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.


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 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.


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.


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! 



Facial Hair and Lasting Impressions

Kabuki Bronzing Brush $17

A fact of life is that there are some things that just follow you that you cannot get rid of. I will be discussing this in a superficial light, not in a serious, non-joking way of something like herpes simplex II. If you were to ask someone who knew me in high school what instantly came to mind when they thought of me, there would be 3 possibilities, I would guess. I rank these how I hope they would fall. #1: She sang well. #2: She had huge boobs. #3: She was a goody two shoes. (damnit) It is what it is. There was a very nice girl I knew growing up who very unfortunately had to go to the bathroom in a solid way at a party, and she will be forever known as the girl who pooped at a party. These are not things that people label to be mean (at least as adults), but it is a brain searing image of who you are and it just does not go away, unless you have breast reduction surgery. That opens up a new avenue of labeling. I am rambling about this because one of those things that people remember is facial hair. I am wary of people thinking of me as Katie hairy face, or that girl with the creepy hair sticking out of her cheek. Make up brushes can make you that girl if you are not careful. Most make up brushes come in colors that are not natural to downy, blonde, normal facial hair so it really stands out. I know that if I notice someone with a random facial hair, the next time I see them I involuntarily check to see if it is still there. Think about it. I bet you do too.

I have used the Body Shop Kabuki Bronzer brush for years because it does not shed, ever. I bought it on impulse as a treat to myself while stuck in the Denver airport, and it is my most favorite make up tool. I have used it for finishing powder, blush, bronzer, or as a general blender between all of the above. The hairs are very soft, it fits nicely in my hand, and it is not outrageously priced at $23 (currently on sale online for $17). I have had my brush for years. I know you are supposed to replace them, but it still seems to do the job for me and it still has not marked me with unwanted facial hairs.

When Television Takes Over

Patrick and I were tardy to the party for a certain television show called “Breaking Bad.”  We had been meaning to watch it for years, but just started it two weeks ago on Netflix.  It has taken over our lives.  My husband works like a tornado, so we do not talk very much during the day, but our communication has started to make us sound like junkies.  Here is a typical conversation: 

Pat: I’m working late tonight, but I’m going to try and get out of there by 8 so we can get an episode in.

Katie:  Let me know if you’re going to be late.  I can’t wait.

Pat:  Did you find out how we can get the last 8 episodes Netflix doesn’t have?

Katie: No and I don’t think I can handle waiting until they get it.

We get absolutely nothing accomplished once the episodes start.  They leave major cliff hangers at the end too, so you have to keep watching.  Netflix has 54 episodes and we are on about episode 47 in slightly over 2 weeks.  We aren’t sure how we are going to function in the evening once there are no more episodes to watch.  I heard once that a definition of an addict is not how much or how often, but it is the ability to stop, or the lack of ability to stop once started.  By that definition, we are Breaking Bad addicts.  I have dreamt about it.  I think about it often and wonder what I would do given those life circumstances.  I do not feel ashamed, except at my lack of productivity.  I could chalk it up to bonding with my husband, but that is a stretch since we do not talk except to clarify during an episode.

Since I get nothing accomplished anymore, I have to cheat.  Showering is a must, doing hair is a maybe.  I had simply quit with any type of body color enhancer and embraced my natural pastiness, since that was a nighttime ritual.  Then a magical moment happened; I was introduced to Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs cream.   I had heard of the spray and recommended it with the disclaimer that I had not used it, but I did not know about the cream.  I was a little hesitant with the idea of leg cream, even though I love self tanner and regular lotion.  2 friends swear by it, so I tried it.  It is glorious!  It takes roughly 1 minute to apply.  It adds just the right amount of color and, once dry, stays on and does not smudge.  I forgot about it, slept in white sheets, and woke up with nary a smudge on the sheets!  I think the color it creates is PRETTIER than self tanner.  How have I gone this long without it?  It comes in 4 shades and is sold at drug stores for around $10.  It is my own attempt at camouflage and subterfuge.  Yes, I am reaching.  Now, it’s time for another episode.

sally hansen

Laura Mercier’s Amazing, Fantastic, Christmas-like Promotion You Cannot Miss

I love a good deal when shopping. My heart beats a little faster, I panic a little that I will somehow lose it, and I love sharing the story. I like to give great details and my husband would prefer I shorten the story to “what”, “how much”, and “will it benefit me?” I usually low ball the cost to lessen a possible blow. When we first started dating, he got nervous around my parents and outed me. I believe his words were, “You know she lies about how much things cost, don’t you?” Later I clarified, #1 he is to be on my team at all times, and #2 I do not lie about the cost; I simply round down. If something cost $84, I’m going to say $80. Call it retail math—and do not correct me. I know it should be $85, but it’s my story.
Laura Mercier has an AMAZING promotion going on for ONE DAY ONLY. (I have already been and it makes my heart beat faster just typing this. What is wrong with me?) You must run to it! With any Laura Mercier purchase, they are giving you a gift of a full size tinted moisturizer compact, in your shade. This is not a cheesy gift where you get to choose between 2 off colors they are testing out.  This is a pull it from their stock, in your color, and you take it home. I. AM. NOT. KIDDING. I quizzed my Nordstrom stylist hard about it. It is a $45 gift that you receive with even a single item purchase.

If you do not know about Laura Mercier, their philosophy is flawless skin and their foundation line is something you should try. It is lovely. They come close to making me believe my skin resembles my early 20’s skin. I felt fresh and dewy, which I have not felt in a while, but perhaps that is a topic for another day. For your item to purchase, may I suggest their tightline cake eye liner. You use a wet brush and paint on your eye liner. It lasts all day and the liner itself will last you years.


My friend shared with me that her very favorite cosmetic is Laura Mercier’s shimmer block. It can be used as eye shadow or as an illuminator for your face. Imagine yourself with a JLo glow.

Laura_Mercier_Shimmer_Block_Pink_MosaicNow, I cannot speak for all of the other retailers, but Nordstrom said all of their stores are participating in this unadvertised cosmetic adventure.  Here are the small print details you can use to help build your strategy for a possible hostile take over at the cosmetic counter.  I will be sitting with my dewy face at the park, with my beloved teeny, enjoying my glow.

Receive a complimentary Tinted Moisturizer Creme Compact with any Laura Mercier purchase.

Expires May 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm. Limit one per customer, available at
participating Laura Mercier cosmetic counters with complimentary shade match
for one-day only. Offer exclusive to U.S. residents aged 18 or older.
Participating retailers include: Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue,
Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Blue Mercury, Belk, Cos Bar, Bergdorf
Goodman, Henri Bendel, Von Maur, Holt Renfrew and select boutiques nationwide.
MSRP: $45.

Glitz and Glamour

Staying home with T meant going from 2 incomes to 1.  We refer to that talk as our “come to Jesus” meeting.  In heartfelt conversation, Patrick told me I was going to have to drop my Sephora habit.  There is no lip gloss that excites me as much as my child, so this was no problem.  I took stopping impulse purchases as a sort of personal challenge.  Recently, I did need a new eye liner and I have been reading about the fabulousness of liquid liners.  I fail with liquid liners.  It is as awkward a moment for me as the time I told the owner of my company that I had an addiction to zappos and then spent the next few hours worrying that she took that statement at face value instead of the humor I had intended.  I digress….I found this amazing liquid liner that I can do really easily for $5.50.  It’s “Glam Liner Aqua Luxe” by NYX, and it’s brown with gold flecks.  The tip is really thin, so it seems error-proof to me, and it lasts all day without smudging.  I like to use brown pencil liner from underneath my lashes and then use this above my lashes for a stand out eye.  The sparkle in it is girly enough without too much in an “am I too old for this” kind of way.  I am so excited with this fabulous bargain.  It is a fraction of any other eye liner I have ever had and it is the BEST!  I got it at Ulta, but they also have a website,

nyx glam liner