Gift Guide: Hostess

I have to admit, this year I am taking full advantage of barely thinking about the holidays but this year my sister and I are hosting our entire family for Christmas Eve dinner and over 40 Italians in our basement is going to be a little intense. So to not stress out about it I am going to get myself some of these little hostess gifts to make myself feel better.

My go to gift, for any party or event is always wine and this is my favorite winery in Temecula, CA. I have had my eye on these champagne flutes and are perfect for the holiday season. How festive! For your non-drinker this cute mug and cookie tray are amazing to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve full of this William Sonoma hot cocoa. For your home decor loving hostess, these coasters from Anthropologie are too cute or a beautiful coffee table book never fails.

A party is never complete without a charcuterie board so this holiday cheese plate is perfect. My sister bought this candle from Target and I am pretty sure each and every hostess on my list will be getting one. This scent, Friendsgiving, is fitting from October through the New Year.

If you need some more holiday gift giving ideas check out my gift guides for your jet setting friends or stocking stuffers that were posted earlier this week. I am still working on next week’s gift guides for him and her. Have a great weekend! xoxo

Gift Guide: Traveler

I love to travel – in case you’re new around here. But my best friend is an insane traveler. I not so secretly want her travel life. Last week was her birthday and some of these items were on the list we were choosing from. I got this travel steamer at the beginning of the year and it’s been to Vegas, across the country, to Florida, Atlanta, and upstate Connecticut. She has defiantly gotten her use this year. Also this Rebecca Minkoff travel tag charger is too cute.

For a few small gift for any travel loving girl’s desk is this global, a cute travel journal from Urban Outfitters or these amazing travel sized candles. Who doesn’t want their hotel or Airbnb to smell like their home? Any travel girl, or New Englander, need these amazing L.L.Bean slippers. They’re perfect for inside the house, walking the dog or driving shoes for a long car ride. And they are soooo warm!

This Loft cardigan is amazing. The perfect thing for changing temperatures or a cold airplane. And my favorite git of the season. I love this Vera Bradley cosmetic case.

Another gift guide coming your way Friday  to bring to all of your upcoming holiday events.

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

I feel like I start picking up stocking stuffers for people as early as September every year. Whenever I find a cute winter accessory, a piece of stationary for someone’s desk or basically anything that screams cozy, I grab it knowing I can gift it to someone with a gift card and call it a day. These are the gifts that add just a little extra to a gift for someone (because everyone likes opening multiple gifts no matter how tiny they are). Cozy socks, winter headbands, gloves, hats: all of my favorite gifts! These are great for both guys and girls and any age. (Full disclosure, I already have a shopping bag full of winter accessories for gifts this year.) I love all EOS products but this Organic Stick Lip Balm is my favorite.

I went into Aerie last weekend and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by their pajama options. So cute! And I absolutely love these shorts. For your beauty loving friends, a cute set of brushes is always a good go to or this mask by Lush. I am obsessed.

This year I have a ton of holiday content coming your way so make sure to keep your eyes pealed for a little bit of travel, home, recipes and more gift guides. See you Wednesday!

12 Non Boozy Things To Do in Las Vegas

If you’ve been around here for a while, or even a little bit, you know Las Vegas is one of my favorite places. Now if you’re not from the southwest I understand that this can make me sound like a complete lush. Even as a travel agent, I find myself justifying Las Vegas as a perfect long weekend getaway. But there have been many trips where I have gone to Vegas and done non boozy activities.

So instead of justifying myself over and over again, I thought I’d compile a list of 15 non boozy things to do in Las Vegas.

1. See a Show
Oh my goodness this has to be one of my faovirte things to do in Vegas. And now with the new TMobile arena, there are even more options of shows to see. I’ve seen a few different Cirque de Soleil shows, Blue Man Group, Jennifer Lopez and so many more different shows while in Las Vegas. And there are so many more shows that I want to see. (Like Backstreet Boys and Britney!) These shows are absolutely fantastic and there are options for everyone’s style.

2. Grand Canyon Tour and the Hoover Dam
The first time I went to Las Vegas, my sister and I joined our parents for a little family vaca. My parents had gone the year before and weren’t really into visiting the Grand Canyon again, so my sister and I woke up early one day, took a taxi to a hotel downtown and hoped on a bus tour to the Grand Canyon. It was pretty interesting learning about the history of Boulder City and how the Hoover Dam was built. Our first stop was the dam, where we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed out to the Grand Canyon. For our first trip out to the West, it was definitely worth the visit.

3. Freemont Street Experience and Zipline
All the way at the north end of the current strip is Freemont Street. This is where the hotels that built Las Vegas are still standing. At night you can head down to Freemont Street via taxi, Uber or even the bus system, and check out the light show. Hanging over a few blocks on famous Freemont Street is a huge screen of LED lights. When I was there last there, the show played lights to classic rock music. And if you’re up for it, there is even a new zipline that runs down the street.

4. Venetian Canals and Gondolas
Just like Italy. Okay maybe not but this hotel is definitely somewhere you can spend the day exploring the high end shops, taking a ride on the gondolas, and ending the night with some pasta. The Venetian is defiantely one of my favorite hotels to get lost in.

5. Seven Magic Mountains
Last summer, after our trip to Vegas to see Garth Brooks, we stopped off of route 15 to see the oh so instagramable pieces of art along the freeway. Check it out here, and next time you’re in Nevada, check out these rocks. They are absolutely enormous and a sight to be seen.

 

6. Stratosphere thrill rides
Not something that I have done, or will do, but if you are a thrill seeker you need to visit the Stratosphere. Here you can bungee jump, go on a rollercoaster and a set of swings, all sitting 1,149 feet above Las Vegas Blvd. Or if you’re like me you can watch all of the crazies from the observation tower where they have a cute little restaurant. (If you really want to freak someone how, bring them here and don’t tell them about the bungee jumping… then watch their face as someone falls off the side of the building… it’s great.)

7. The Neon Museum Las Vegas
The Neon Museum is a pretty cool stop for any history or entertainment buff. With 6 acres full of old neon lights and signs, these signs show the history of Las Vegas and pays omage to some of the cities most famous attractions.

8. Golf…or better yet, TopGolf
TopGolf came to Las Vegas a few years ago, and now you can’t go there without a wait. Anytime you want to hit some balls, you can head over to the four story dirving range between 9am and 2am, attached to the MGM Grand. There are climate controlled bays where servers can serve you food (or booze) between your practice swings. There are even two pools, VIP cabanas and private suites. Very Las Vegas.

9.Helicopter Tour of the Strip
I haven’t done this yet, but it is definitely on my bucket list. For myself, I may need a little vino to get myself up in a helicopter but for most people, this can be a non boozy activity. I’ve always loved the view of the strip from up high. On my last trip to Vegas, I was that annoying guest at check in asking if there was anything better. I went back three times but the view was pretty good.

10. The Mob Museum
Based in the old Las Vegas Courthouse and Post Office the mob museum was built to show the history of organized crime in the US, which is actually a lot of the history of Las Vegas. This has been a place I’ve wanted to visit in Las Vegas since it opened about 5 years ago.

11. High Roller at the LINQ
The High Roller is new to the strip but has quickly become a part of the Las Vegas skyline. This beautiful, huge Ferris wheel sits right in the middle of Las Vegas Blvd. behind the LINQ hotel. You can take the trip during the day or at night, in a “cabin” with an open bar, or how I like to view it, from the ground at the Promenade at the bottom. Hanging out at the Promenade is a nice little afternoon of stopping in the stores, grabbing a drink at one of the restaurants or bars or even a cupcake at Sprinkles.

12. Fountains of Bellagio , Mirage Volcano and Treasure Island’s Pirate Show

Most people visiting Las Vegas make it a point to check out the Bellagio’s water show that goes off every half hour to 15 minutes each afternoon and night depending on the day. But there are other shows along the strip that don’t get as many spectators. Depending on weather both the volcano at the Mirage and the pirate show at Treasure Island are really cool and fun shows to stop and check out.

 

 

Why the Fall is the Best Time to Visit California’s Central Coast

Living in Southern California wasn’t always a vacation. I worked in retail management for the majority of my 7 years in California and that meant my phone was attached to my hand even when I wasn’t clocked in. But there was one place in California that I could always go and good news for me, service wasn’t really the greatest. (Or at least I could pretend to have bad service and usually my boss believed me.)

The central coast is a place that will always have my heart. I’ve written about Solvang, Carpintaria, El Capitan, Pismo Beach and Avila Beaches. As soon as I drove north on the 101, leaving Ventura, it was like I was entering this place where people didn’t have real jobs, no one cared what time it was, and beach life was the only life.

Uhg take me back.

I went during the winter, spring, summer and my favorite time: fall. Each year that I was on the west coast, I took a weekend trip north to get away and veg out before the chaos of the holidays began in the retail world. It was a place that I could reset and had no worries.

The beach in the fall
I grew up in a New England beach town my whole life. When I was 23 and moved to Los Angeles the beaches just were not the same. They were packed. You had to fight for parking and a spot on the beach. Going to the beach ended up being more of a project than fun. The central coast beaches are smaller, less crowed, and way more townie than anything you will find in Orange County or Los Angeles. I love it. Small shops, seafood restaurants and beach side bars… just a few of my favorite things. It felt just like home.

Closest you can get to fall foliage
Okay, you’re right. Last year we found Oak Glen, CA and that was a little piece of fall in Southern California but not like in Avila Beach. One of my favorite places in Avila is the Avila Valley Barn. They have amazing fresh fruits and veggies, homemade baked goods, Mexican corn on the cob, tractor rides, a corn maze and animals throughout the property.

Take advantage of your fall wardrobe
My first fall in California I went pumpkin picking on a not so crisp October afternoon. I was so excited to do some fall activities that I dressed up in my knee-high boots and sweater to get into the fall spirit… and I wanted to die. By the end of the day I had run to the car to switch into my flip flops and threw my sweater around my waist and just wore the tank top that I had under my top layer. The weather north of Santa Barbara is completely different then the hot fall weather in southern California.

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