Holiday Giving: Welcome Baskets for Refugee Children

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to share an idea with you all in case you’re looking for a way to give back this Christmas. Imagine arriving in a new country with a few suitcases and a whole family looking for a new start. Organizations that assist with refugee resettlement are always looking for donations of household items for the families they help. Reach out to one in your area. Many accept “baskets” that you can create with a number of items to help a refugee family get settled in their new home; such as a Kitchen Basket (with cutlery, coffee pot, etc), Cleaning Basket (with cleaning supplies), Hygiene Basket (with personal care items), or Linens Basket (with towels and blankets).

However, if you know of a specific family, either through the resettlement organization or your church, why not create Welcome Baskets for all the kids? This is an awesome alternative to Operation Christmas Child (a popular way to give back during the holidays that’s also, in my opinion, a little sketch and misguided). Shopping for children is a lot of fun, and shopping for children who recently arrived in our country with little can make a BIG difference.

Here’s an example of a Welcome Basket I recently put together —

First, consider the ages of the kids you’re shopping for. Next, make a list of a few items to hunt for. You’ll want a mix of practical items and fun stuff you think would make them feel more welcome in their new home/country. Finally, hit up stores like the Dollar Tree, CVS, and Target for affordable finds.

This basket is for a little girl who is 3. I found this perfect purple basket at Dollar Tree and filled it with…

  • a bar of soap
  • a pack of colorful band-aids
  • play-doh
  • cotton swabs
  • sippy cup
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • a pack of construction paper
  • barrettes
  • stickers
  • tooth brushes
  • a pack of socks
  • a plate
  • tissues
  • a night light
  • and a magic towel

If you’re making several baskets you can stop here (all of these items were under 20 bucks), but since I’m only putting together a couple, I’ll probably also include a doll/stuffed animal, a coloring book, and a pillow with a set of pillow cases. For older children you could fill a backpack and include more school supplies!

Anyways, I hope you’ll consider gifting some items to a local refugee resettlement organization this holiday season! These baskets are a lot of fun to make and if they can help welcome a child, then I believe, they are certainly in the spirit of Christmas. 🙂

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Gift Guide 2017: Fathers, grandfathers, father-in-laws, uncles and any other jolly gents!

Christmas is just around the corner! Today, I’d like to conclude my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide with the final installment. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at various price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

Chemex coffee maker which was selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times. (Amazon, $41)

Clipboard calendar, plus 12 carefully selected photos of his favorite little folks. (Artifact Uprising, $30)

This Daniel Wellington watch in a classic style that will complement any outfit for any of his outings. (Daniel Wellington, $229)

A piece of art featuring his favorite cocktail. (Etsy, $9 +price of a frame)

A pizza cookbook to fan the flame of his latest passion. (Amazon, $15)

A cool place to stow all his essentials when he gets home after a long day. (Etsy, $32)

This snack subscription box for new goodies at his doorstep every month. (Love With Food, $7.99/month and up)

A tiny multi-tool that packs a mighty punch. (9 tools in 1!) (Amazon, $30)

L.L. Bean’s toiletry bag which he’ll think is fitting for his seasoned traveler status. (L.L. Bean, $30)

This kitchen counter air fryer for the crispiest most delicious french fries (without the guilt!). (Amazon, $85) 

A sturdy pair of winter adventure shoes for all those walks in the woods. (The North Face, $110)

A New York Times bestseller which is described as, “an excellent, hyperliterate, genre-pantsing detective novel that deserves every inch of its…blockbuster superfame.” (Amazon, $11)

P.S. Gifts for the gals in your life! Gifts for the guys in your life! Gifts for your Mama! 

Gift Guide 2017: Mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, aunts and any other sophisticated gals!

Christmas is just around the corner! Today, I’d like to continue my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide with the third of four installments. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at a variety of price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

Dearfoams slippers to keep her feet toasty warm  while padding around on the hardwood floors. (Amazon, $25)

A roses and rosé chocolate bar because who wouldn’t love something so girly and decadent? (Compartes, $10)

A pair of wooden earrings that are totally unique — just like her! (Etsy, $28)

A holiday platter for entertaining at Christmastime. (Wouldn’t it be so cute to serve homemade cookies on?) (Anthropologie, $41)

Rosemary eucalyptus body creme to wrap her skin in all-natural luxury. Bonus: It smells divine and helps improve circulation, too! (Beauty Box 5, $15)

A felt letterboard so she can display all her favorite quotes and quips. (Etsy, $50)

A candle with notes of juicy citrus, fresh spring water, and sweet mango. (Bath & Body Works, $13)

Stunning bottle stopper so even her wine can have a piece of beautiful bling. (Belle & June, $80)

Beyond Belief, a memoir about Jenna Miscavige Hill’s escape from Scientology, because you know she’ll find it fascinating. (Amazon, $10)

A winter white coat to bundle up in during chilly outings and errands. (Moorea Seal, $200)

A cookbook full of down-home classics for vegetarians (and the meat eaters who love them)! (Amazon, $17)

P.S. Last year’s gift ideas for the moms in your life!

Gift Guide 2017: Brothers, boyfriends, best dudes, husbands and any other groovy guys!

Christmas is just around the corner! Today, I’d like to continue my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide with the second of four installments. I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

A stack of gentlemanly stationery so he can fire off a quick note via the USPS instead of group-chat text messages. (Minted, $50)

Backgammon for those cozy evenings in when all you want to do is curl up by the fire and roll a set of dice. (Amazon, $33)

A cocktail grow kit so he can harvest happy hour fixin’s right on his own windowsill. (Uncommon Goods, $12)

A game to store in the trunk of his car for easy access during backyard parties and afternoons at the beach. (Dick’s, $50)

The complete series box-set of The West Wing so he can watch episodes whenever his heart desires. (Amazon, $130)

A Breakfast in Bed Gift Box to accommodate relaxing (and yummy) Sunday mornings. With a promise to prepare and serve on a platter, of course! (Taste Trunk, $49)

A classic pair of kicks to accommodate miles and miles of urban exploration. (Nike, $50)

Moisturizing skin cream invented by a Japanese pharmacist in 1957. (Yu-Be, $25)

A handmade wall clock to hang on his office wall and imagine sailing to distant lands. (Etsy, $37+)

Marble wine cooler to chill whites on the kitchen counter before dinner. (Crate & Barrel, $25)

These gray trousers, crafted from fast drying and breathable Japanese denim, would be the perfect pair of pants to bring on all his upcoming travels. (Banana Republic, $118)

P.S. Last year’s gift ideas for the guys in your life!

Gift Guide 2017: Sisters, girlfriends, best friends, wives and any other lady loves!

Christmas is just around the corner! Today, I’d like to kick-off my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide with the first of four installments. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at varying price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

An enamel pin of Frida Kahlo to add to her jean jacket’s growing collection of flair. (Etsy, $8)

Make a donation in her name to an organization or cause that is trying to make the world a better place. Think: Orca Conservancy, Border Angels, Center for Reproductive Rights, and She Should Run.

A mermaid face mask that’s like a super-food green smoothie for her skin, resulting in the ultimate glow. (Lealani Skincare, $32)

Beautiful crescent necklace to dress up any date-night outfit. (Mr. Kate, $75) (Or this gorgeous choker!)

A kit to help her concoct her very own body lotions. (Grow and Make, $30)

Vegan suede mules in a subtle dusty-blue to freshen up her go-to jeans and tee look. (Moorea Seal, $68)

A set of tapas plates to make her 3 pm snacking habit feel appropriately fancy. (Wayfair, $30)

The ultimate bag for toting farmer’s market finds and library loans. (Tom Bihn, $50)

Cotton pom pom duvet cover to give her bedroom a touch of whimsy. (Amazon, $60)

A memoir written by a pair of famous sisters. (Amazon, $12) (Or this book if she prefers pop-science reads. And this one if she’d like an inside look at an interesting life.)

A pair of wine glasses to make her giggle. (Macy’s, $10)

Cozy long-sleeve tee to remind her of the wise words of our man, Bob Ross, “Nothing in life is a mistake…just a happy accident!” (Cents of Style, $35)

P.S. Last year’s gift ideas for the ladies in your life!

mid-week round-up

Yay Wednesday! I forgot how exhausting the week after Thanksgiving is. Can’t it just be Christmas already? I want more festivities and less work, lol! After spending Thanksgiving day at home in Miami (complete with a traditional feast), Chet and I headed to St. Petersburg for a long weekend with my mom and sister (and ANOTHER meal, #gimmeallthestuffing). We ate, shopped, enjoyed some vino, and even checked out a rad exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts that featured hundreds of costumes from the Star Wars movies! Now it’s on to decorating for Christmas, yahoo!!! Hope you’re having a great week, and here are some links for your reading pleasure…

Katie Couric in 2012: Matt Lauer pinches me on the ass a lot.

DIY Christmas gifts that people will ACTUALLY want.

Related: More Christmas DIY’s

This would be fun for game nights!

Build a custom, foodie gift box to send to family far away.

From 1960 until her death in 2011 at the age of 82, Christa Wolf dutifully recorded every September 27.

Related: One Day A Year (1960-2000) and One Day a Year (2001-2011)

Unrealistic optimism makes people think bad things are less likely to happen to them than to others.

Money Diaries, where Millennial women go to judge each other’s spending habits.

Why working women with migraines suffer in silence.

The tension between creativity and productivity.

For a snuggly New Year’s Eve celebration in your living room.

Little House on the Prairie and the truth about the American West.

Ain’t coming back again.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 5 Reasons I Can’t Get Enough Dolly and TV Recommendation: Westworld.

Getting Your Car Road-Trip Ready

Sponsored post.

My husband and I just got back from a Thanksgiving road-trip to St. Petersburg. And since moving to the far reaches of the world (read: Miami), long-haul treks in the car seem to be our new normal. Whether it’s getting out of the way of impending hurricanes or heading out-of-state to spend holidays with family, we’ve covered a lot of miles in the car.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for getting your car road-trip ready. Winter holidays are fast approaching and you might want to load up your car with presents and hit the dusty highway. But I would encourage you to make a list and check it twice to ensure you reach your destination stress-free and safely!

  1. Check tires. First, check the level of wear to your tires, and the level of air inside them. For wear, you can make this assessment yourself if you feel comfortable or have them checked out by a professional. For air, consult your car’s manual for the recommended pressure and use a gauge to test if your tires comply. If you don’t have a gauge, most gas stations will have one available.
  2. Check fluids. Brake fluid, oil, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant can all be checked by popping the hood of your car. Almost all cars allow for easy access to check these fluids and should be clearly indicated on their caps. If you are in any doubt how to check these levels, you can always consult your manual or a mechanic.
  3. Test lights. Grab a buddy and check to make sure all your lights are working. Test the headlights, brights, turn signals (front and back), as well as brake lights. The last thing you want on your trip is to get slapped with a citation for a light being out.
  4. Clean and organize. Next, clean out the interior of your car and make sure all windows and mirrors are wiped down and clear. Place all your important documents in an envelope in your glove box. Consider other items you might want to have close at hand, like tissues or sunglasses, and stock your car accordingly. Grab a designated trash bag to keep your floorboards from getting overrun by trash and use bins to corral items that might roll around and cause a distraction.
  5. Prepare for emergencies. Finally, invest in emergency preparedness items to keep in your trunk. You can create your own kit based on the time of year and landscape of your drive or you can purchase one like THIS or THIS. Items to consider: Jumper cables, water, blanket, first aid kit, tools, flashlight, and energy bars.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle that meets all your road-trip needs, hop on over to CARS.COM. This fantastic resource is full of info on all sorts of models.

How do you get your car road-trip ready? What do you think makes a great road-trip vehicle? Share in the comments below!

A Planner Round-Up

I recently found my perfect planner. If you’re still on the hunt for yours, I have a few ideas…

Erin Condren Lifeplanner
$55

Classic never goes out of style. This bestseller is a coiled book and allows for a completely customizable look! Build your book just how you want it and find the style that fits your life. Choose between weekly planning layouts, embrace a color scheme, and customize your cover and the coil.

The Simple Elephant
$20

Use exclusive sections to craft positive affirmations, goals, and gratitude statements to renew your commitment, feel inspired, and live happier every calendar day, month, and year. Use the mindmap and vision board to drill in goals and fully engage with both sides of your mind.

Brit + Co Planner
$15

Use the Brit + Co Spiral Bound Planner to stay on schedule. It comes with monthly and weekly calendars, lined and grid paper, to-do lists, activity pages, and blank pages for doodling the day away.

Lemome Bullet Journal
$15

Timeless style and a simple versatile design make this a perfect choice for bullet journaling. The dotted grid pattern helps guide your writing, while staying out of the way of your drawings and doodles. The dots, spaced 5 mm apart, are light enough to blend in once the page is filled. 

$18
A hardcover notebook that’s small enough to go everywhere you go and big enough to work with all day long, whether at home, work, or in transit. The Confidant hardcover notebook comes in Light Gray & Charcoal. It’s available in 3 sizes: Pocket, Flagship, & Plus—AKA Small, Medium, & Large. But every version opens flat and features quality lasting paper.
 
$34
What’s on the agenda for 2018? This classic covered spiral planner, features gold foil and an elastic closure. The agenda holds 17-months of weekly and monthly calendar pages. There’s also a pocket folder with ruler, as well as sections for notes, celebrations, and contacts.
Which one suits your style best? Do you have a tried-and-true planner you love? Comment below and share! ❤ 

Wines to Enjoy This Thanksgiving

Are you drawing a blank about what wine to pair with your upcoming Thanksgiving feast?  As I’ve mentioned before, I work a few nights a week at a local wine store, and I love passing along the nuggets of knowledge I pick up along the way. Let’s chat!

Light bodied reds pair exceptionally well with turkey and heartier vegetable sides. So a Pinot Noir is a lovely addition to any Thanksgiving table. Look for bottles from California with flavors of cherry or strawberry and hints of spice or woodsy notes.

If you’re looking for something a little heavier, but don’t want to overwhelm all those classic Thanksgiving flavors, grab a Malbec. There are tons of great bottles in that perfect under-$15 sweet spot. Pick one up from the Mendoza region and enjoy!

Of course, not everyone is a red drinker, so it’s nice to have alternative options. Chardonnay is a classic for Thanksgiving. A hearty, fruit forward flavor profile is best. Keep your eye out for flavors and aromas to complement the ingredients on your table. Apple, Vanilla, and Nutty profiles create a beautiful bridge between beverage and meal.

If you’re looking to create a fun and festive ambiance, you’ll want to include a Sparkling White. Not only do sparkling wines signify celebration, but the nutty-fruity flavor profile of most bottles works great with Thanksgiving foods. Go for something with a softer style, like a Prosecco or a bottle labeled “demi sec” or “dry”.

Looking for something a little more unexpected? Try a Pinot Gris. This Alsatian style wine has a rich and spicy character but maintains a beautiful sweetness in finish. The flavors and mouth feel are a bit more complex than other options, making each glass a fun experience for guests.

Finally, Beaujolais Nouveau is released every year on the third Thursday of November (today!) and is a fun wine to include at Thanksgiving. The wine plays into the idea of a harvest celebration as its release signifies the first wine of the year. It’s an easy-to-drink wine with low tannins and a classic grape flavor.

Do you serve wine with your Thanksgiving feast? Which of these bottles sounds like the winner for your table this year? Let me know!! xoxo

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? As you might notice from the links below, I’m starting to get in the holiday spirit! I love schemin’ and dreamin’ about Thanksgiving foods, gift shopping, decor, Christmas cards, and blog posts for y’all. 😉 What are YOU excited about for the upcoming season? Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and here are a few links to explore…

A bright spot in Bowling Green! This woman was one of the nicest people I met during my time at WKU. #TeamCharita

It’s holiday gift guide season on the interwebz and I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s a gift guide for him and one with a “cozy at home” theme. (<-I’ll take one of each, plz!)

Related: All the Finding Delight gift guides of the past!

How flippin’ cute are the holiday cards from Hello!Lucky?

She took on Colombia’s soda industry. Then she was silenced.

A round-up of cute & unique stocking stuffers from ModCloth.

These DIY kits would make great hostess gifts!

I’m loving the meal prep series over on Budget Bytes. Check out this tuna & white bean salad prep. Yum!

Related: Here are the divided glass containers she uses.

A big impact, no-bake dessert board, just in time for the holidays.

Frustration sets in after a coal mine health study is suspended.

Sammy Sosa’s brown skin no longer exists.

P.S. Finding Delight posts from the archives — On Believing and Being Believed and My Top 4 Healthy Lifestyle Intentions. xoxo