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19 unique Mother’s Day gift ideas

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mother's day gift

Mother’s Day is coming soon! Though she deserves it (and I wish I could give it to her,) I’m not in a place yet that I can send her off to an all-inclusive spa resort somewhere warm. There are still plenty of ways to spoil your mom and make her feel like you splurged on her for a day.

When a lot of people think “mother’s day,” they think of the typical flowers and massage gift card, but there are tons of unique ideas the ladies in your life will find more useful. (But honestly, as long as you steer clear of something like a new vacuum, you’ll be in the clear.)

Letters to My Mom: This is a super creative, interactive gift that keeps giving. The book is made up of envelopes with prompts, as well as times for your mom to open each of the letters. I’ve been sitting on one of these for a few years and every time I sit down to write a letter, I get very emotional. You could even DIY this – gather up some envelopes and write specific dates on the front with times you want your mom to open that letter.

Tickets for an Event: Taking her out on a date is a great way to spend time with her and show her you pay attention to her interests. With the resurgence of a lot of “legacy” performers going out on tour, maybe her favorite is coming around – or pick a musical or play that’s more her speed. If she’s into sports, see if there’s a game near you. Minor league games are even really fun, and often have fun promotions. My family and I love going to dollar hot dog nights!

Greetabl: Dani sent me a Greetabl last year when I was going through a tough time, and not only was it so cute, the tea they packed was super good. They have a bunch of cute things to pick from, so there’s sure to be something there for all the ladies in your life.

Candles: My mama llama loves candles, but she doesn’t buy them too much anymore. Target has a really great selection, and TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are also typically pretty safe bets – or hit up Etsy to find something more specialized for her tastes!

Nisolo: When I think about fine leather goods, luxe leatherwear is near the top of the list. Nisolo is focusing on making fashion more sustainable, and their bags and shoes are super high quality (I could never pass their stand in the Green Hills Mall without taking a moment to feel the smooth leather.

Air Plants: These might be the only plants that I’ll be able to keep alive, but they’re also really cute and add some color to places you might not normally be able to stick a plant. I love these ones with the diamond and gold detailing, or opt for a terrarium instead.

Squarehue: My mom loves painting her nails and I would estimate that the amount of nail polish she has could line the walls of each room in her house. That makes it a super safe bet, though – Squarehue delivers two or three unique shades every month.

Aromatherapy Scarf: NP loves scarves, and her kids always steal them. This actually works out well for me, because I always know what to get her! I love that this one comes with aromatherapy for a little extra relaxation built in.

Maid for A Day: If there’s anything the women of this world need, it’s a day off. (Emotional labor is tiring, am I right?) Local websites like Thumbtack and Nextdoor make it easy to find and hire for all kinds of services, including maid and cleaning services. If she already keeps a spotless ship, think about getting her a private chef or butler.

Charging Purse: There’s nothing worse than being out and about and having your phone die. Sometimes outlets aren’t super available, so even carrying around a spare charger doesn’t help. This bag is cute and light but has enough room to pack the essentials, and it has a built-in charger for epic length shopping trips (the ladies in my family are notorious for these!)

Artwork: Etsy has all kinds of cute artwork you can personalize, from family trees to maps. You could also make it super custom and design something in Canva or Photoshop to print!

Corksicle Wine Chiller: Late spring is the perfect time for a chilled glass of wine on the patio, and there’s nothing worse than waiting for the wine to cool (or is that just me?) Pick up a Corksicle so she can plunge it into any wine – for extra points, pick up a bottle of her favorite for a perfect gift anytime.

Coffee Subscription: If the ladies in your life love coffee (and really, who doesn’t) a coffee subscription is a great way to help them try new blends and take something off their grocery list. Subscriptions from services like Rhetoric Coffee can be customized to the frequency and amount you want (plus it’s super good – check out our Rhetoric review here!)

Herb Garden: Fresh herbs can add a lot to a meal or ice water, and they’re relatively easy to care for. This cute little windowsill herb planter is even cute, and the clean lines would match any decor!

Pajamas: There’s something about a pair of matching pajamas that make me feel really fancy – maybe it’s because I typically throw on sweatpants and an old band shirt and call it a day. My mom loves pajamas too, so a pair of cozy pajamas are an easy and inexpensive gift.

Sleep: Your mom is not getting enough sleep. Trust me. I don’t care how old you are, she never caught up on sleep after you were born. Help her get back to sleep with a premium membership to Rain Rain, an app with tons of rain and white noise sounds. This Moon Beam device also helps relax and fall into a good sleep.

Robe: The best part of any hotel getaway is curling up in those super plush robes. If I can’t bring my mom to the robe, I can bring the robe to her! LL Bean has really luxe robes, and Amazon has a wide selection as well.

Fish Bowl: Gifts don’t always have to be functional – they can be fun as well. This little fishbowl is super cute and would be a great addition to a mantle or desk!

Books: In my family, everyone is a reader – my grandma was an elementary school librarian, and even now she continues to read voraciously. Subscription boxes like the Literary Box from Quarterly are fun for readers – it will introduce them to new authors, and even provide fun insight into the novels and other bookish gifts inside.

April 26, 2017

10 best things that happened in 2016

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This year was a hot dumpster fire, right?! 2016 as a whole was not great for a lot of people I know – and honestly, it wasn’t my best year ever. But, there were a few things worth noting, and in the interest of my ongoing quest to stay positive, here are the ten best things that happened to me this year.

  1. Hey New York City, I Love It When You Turn On Your Lights: I had a lot of really great trips and experiences this year, but the one that was the best was the trip I took to New York a few weeks ago. I went with a few of my best friends and made a ton more friends – oh, yeah, and saw my favorite band play four nights in a row. As a bonus, I also got to see Laura Stevenson for the first time, as well as the precursor band for The Hold Steady, Lifter Puller. (And got a Lifter Puller shirt, which I barely want to take off.) I also ate a lot of pizza, had amazing conversations with an author I have long loved who is also a fan of the band, and just being around people who love the band as much as I do (after almost 10 years of having no one to talk to about them) was pretty cool.

Read more…

December 31, 2016

moving on and on and on

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When I moved to Nashville two years ago, I thought I had found the place I was going to land and set up my adult life. I had friends around me, all the music I could ever want, and a good job. The first month was pretty tumultuous and saw me clamoring to move back to Virginia, to try to take it all back, but I made the best of it and soldiered on for a few more rough months, before finally landing a dream job and spending a lot of time on the go, enjoying the best of Music City.

nashville venues

I think I really did take advantage of it – there’s not a lot I felt I missed out on (except for sleep.) The second year, things started to become a bit more clear, though – like maybe Nashville wasn’t the last stop on my journey after all. The pace, the number of hours I had to work in order to afford an apartment I had no business moving to in the first place, and the desire to see friends whose schedules never meshed (because they were also running around the city to afford a life that is becoming unsustainable for the artists and young professionals that have given Nashville its soul) – I started to second guess the plan. The last straw came on a visit home when I saw how exhausted my mom was – as a third shift nursing home nurse, she was also caring for my grandparents alone, running them to doctors appointments during the daytime and trying to sleep on their couch between helping with making meals or getting my grandma to the bathroom. It felt irresponsible to not help out, since I don’t have a job that ties me down to a particular location.


For a few years, Dani and I had been talking about living together and last fall, it got super serious, finally deciding to move to Chicago when she finished her degree. We’ve both lived away from home for a few years, and we desperately miss the midwestern culture we’ve abandoned, so it’s time to come closer to home. I decided that once my Nashville lease was up, it was time to move home for a few months to help out where I can, and start saving and planning for moving to Chicago.

I love Nashville, and it will always have a piece of my heart. I learned a lot, I changed a lot, and I’m grateful for the time I spent there. This is my goodbye to the beautiful Nashville skyline – I’ll see you later, Batman.

September 10, 2016

thankful thursday: cradle of family

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 I miss the cradle of family, I miss the comfort of home, I miss the way that I used to be more than I have missed being alone

As cliche as it may be, there is nothing in the world I am more thankful for than my family. I might not have the big family some people have (I’m an only child, womp) but I’m super close to my cousins, and my mom has been my best friend for years. Even my relationship with my dad is getting better – something that I struggle with accepting, if I’m being totally honest.

I’m also lucky enough to have three of my grandparents still, and I’m not sure what I would do without them. They’re always a phone call away, and I know they’d do anything for me if I just asked.
It’s no secret that my cousin NP has been a de facto sister to me for years – from sleepless Black Friday trips, to half-marathons in Anaheim, to my first Siesta sunset this year, she’s been there for me through so much. I’ve been working on turning her kids into little mini-mes (to some success!) Thanksgiving has gotten a bit tougher over the years, but we’re always there to help each other through the hard parts.

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I don’t think I’m unique in feeling that my family is one of the most important things in my life, but when I count my blessings, those fools are always at the top of the list.

November 5, 2015

may recap & june goals

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May was such a great month full of family time with a quick trip back to Michigan with NP and the kids, then I rode back down to Nashville with mom for a great staycation and girls getaway to the Smokies. I miss her so much, and I’m pretty sure that my co-workers like her more than me based on the number of people who asked for a week after she left if she was joining me for my shift that evening, and who continue to ask how she is doing!



After she left, I got to have a quick reunion with a lot of my college buds. Even though many of them live in the same city, it’s hard for us to carve out time to see each other, so it’s nice when we’re all able to come together at conferences.


I got to see one of my bucket list artists, Butch Walker, in my favorite venue here – and even followed that up with a secret show the following day at a radio station here in town where I was able to meet him (and fell all over myself trying to speak because words are hard.)


Then on Memorial Day, my friends and I miraculously had the same full day off, so we planned a great pool party! Unfortunately mother nature had other plans and it rained on our parade, but we still made the best with an indoor potluck… and then the power went out too. Luckily my friends are all megatalented musicians and we were armed and ready with a deck of Cards Against Humanity, so we still had a great day.

  • Work out 4x/week Yep! The DeskCycle has been a gamechanger for me here.
  • Track all meals and eat at home 80% of the time I definitely didn’t track all of my meals, but I do think I ate at home 80% of the time. I’m really focusing on cutting wayyyyy back on eating out now that I’m home more.
  • Pay off $1000 to debt check
  • Find somewhere new to live I came down to the wire on this, but I put down a deposit on a new place here in Nashville. 
  • Track and analyze spending

June sees another month full of travel and preparation to relocate once more. I’m still not totally sure where I’m heading, but I’m hoping I can at least prepare somewhat and have a plan come July 31 when the lease is up!

  • Get rid of 30 bags of “stuff” before the move
  • Have seasonal and non-nessecities ready to move
  • Find and book a moving company or U-Haul
  • Return all impulse purchases
  • Stay on my Boston trip budget
  • Pay $800 to student loans
  • Renew passport
  • Sell my old car
  • Find a new desk
  • Post three times per week
  • Sign up for a half marathon and start training with three runs per week

What are your focus goals for June?

June 1, 2015