Thanksday #97 :: Stocking Stuffer Edition

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YA. ALL.

My name is Monica, and my last Thanksday was ONE YEAR AND 10 DAYS AGO. I haven’t blogged here in general in NINE MONTHS. I’m not sure what to say about that, other than my creative cup has overflowed because of Be Still Be Free, and there were no words left for over here.

However.

I’m starting to feel a shift coming…thoughts and such have been swirling around in my mind and heart, and my fingers have been itchy, and I’m starting to gravitate toward writing again. Maybe that’s because it’s quiet in my house during the day now (thanks, Kindergarten!) and so I have time to think the thoughts.

At any rate, I can’t make any promises about what the future holds over here, or that I’ll have any sort of consistent writing schedule. What I can promise though, is that once a year I’ll do a Thanksday. (I’m all about setting realistic goals.)

That being said, I thought it would be fun to do a Thanksday that is focused on items you could consider for stocking stuffers for your daughter/sister/mom/friend. I don’t know about you, but stocking stuffers are the HARDEST things to buy. You don’t want to give 500 packs of gum and candy canes, right?

So as I was thinking about it, I realized there are some various items in my life right now that I ADORE, and would be darling for Christmas stockings. These run the gamut in prices, so there’s something for everyone…and in case there’s something here you might like for your own self, you could always accidentally send the link to this post to your husband.

Ahem.

Without further ado, here are this year’s Thanksdays!

1. Dead Sea Minerals Dead Sea Mud Bar Soap ($4). Okay, guys. My skin has never looked better since I started using this as my daily face soap. Perhaps my clean(er) eating has something to do with it, and maybe my spinny-face brush too, but from the first day I started using this I noticed it looked and felt a bazillion times better. And I was able to buy it at my local grocery storewhich for the mountains is a huge win.

Soap-Mud1

2. Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm ($3). You can tell me all about your EOS, your Susie Chapstick, your Carmex and your Vaseline, but I will turn up my nose and shun you, because this is the only chapstick I will ever use, forever and ever amen. I do not want the original beeswax, the tropical, the Acai or even the Blueberry and Dark Chocolate. Give me Pomegranate or give me death, I say. (Not literally. You know what I mean.)

BURTS BEES copy

3. Peter Thomas Roth Pore Putty Pore and Wrinkle Reducer ($38). Straight up, here’s where I’m at: I’m officially “in my 40s” now and cannot, any longer, rely on grocery-store makeup to do the trick. I could get away with it in my 20s for sure, and slid by in my 30s…but the time has come when my pores are enormous, the wrinkles are coming and Maybe it’s Maybelline isn’t going to help me. I can’t remember where I found out about this product, but I have to tell you it’s easily my most favorite facial product ever. It’s extremely lightweight and non-greasy (don’t let the name “putty” deter you), and can be worn alone, under make up or even over makeup. Between the Dead Sea Mud soap and this, I literally use nothing else on my face most days — not even powder. Supposedly, the longer you use it, it “provides long-term clinical benefits to help reduce the appearance of pores to impart a smoother, more youthful look.” I haven’t used it long-term enough to verify this, but I will tell you I am very well pleased.

PORE PUTTY

4. Yankee Candle Mistletoe Car Jar ($5). Forever and always and all the year through, Christmas tree smells will always be my most favorite. I grabbed this little number over Thanksgiving and immediately put it in my car and have driven with happy grins ever since. Granted, my brother-in-law may have nicknamed me Buddy the Elf because of how gleeful I am over the whole thing, but I just called  him a Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins and carried on with my pine dreams. (There are other scents too, of course, but why even bother?)

CAR JAR

5. Nordstrom Gift Card (Any Amount!). Did you know that you can use a regular Nordstrom Gift Card at a Nordstrom Rack store? ‘TIS TRUE. Is there anything better than having a gift card for a great pair of boots you find on sale at the Rack? ‘TIS NOT.

NORDSTROM

6. Starbucks Christmas Blend Espresso Roast (on sale right now online for only $10.46, regularly $15). This will always make my favorite things list each year, because it’s amaze. The regular Christmas Blend roast is delicious too, of course. Who wouldn’t want a stocking that smells of coffee?

CHRISTMAS BLEND

7. Darling Magazine Subscription ($64 Yearly Subscription). If you don’t know about Darling magazine yet, you need to get thee on the ball. Started by a former Christian book publisher, it’s an oversize, gorgeous quarterly magazine that prides itself on celebrating “The Art of Being a Woman” and proudly boasts in NO RETOUCHING EVER. Just read their mission statement which is on the back cover of every issue:

DARLING MISSION

Their photography is breathtaking, no advertising ever, and every single photo, article and fashion item is modest, uplifting, encouraging and delightful. You know what it’s like to read this magazine? It’s like your eyes take an enormous deep breath.

DARLING CURRENT ISSUE

8. Return to Tiffany Round Tag Key Ring ($135). OKAY YES, I PUT SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY ON THIS LIST. A girl needs to dream, right?? And this is fairly affordable (by Tiffany standards) and I just adore it. There’s also a plain tag that’s engrave-able (wouldn’t a nice BE look sweet on there??) and the best part of the gift is that darling blue box and ribbon. Can you imagine my her sheer delight pulling that box out of her stocking??

KEY RING

9. Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb Travel Spray ($26). My favorite scent, hands-down, is Rosewood by Banana Republic. I’ve worn it for ages and never once thought to look elsewhere until I discovered it’s now discontinued. Soon after my tears dried up, Nordstrom sent a booklet in the mail with samples of current fragrances, and lo, I fell hard for this one. I have no idea what it would actually smell like on me, but it’s “a floral explosion, a profusion of flowers that has the power to make everything seem more positive.” I don’t even normally like florals, but something about this was spesh. And the travel size of this lets you give it a good try without committing to the full size.

FLOWERBOMB

10. Live Inspired Write Now Journals ($7). I found one of these journals years ago at some cute store in Nashville, and fell head-over-heels. The paper is great quality, the lines are light and not too bold, it’s an odd-over size,  yet has just a small number of pages. I don’t know what it is about these, but I can’t get enough. There’s a wide variety of cover options, sure to make your journaler’s day.

JOURNAL

Well friends, that felt good. I hope you’ve been able to get some new ideas for that special loved one in your life, and I think there’s just enough time to find something and get it ordered!

What are some of the things you love to give? Leave a comment and share the love.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thanksday #94: Snowpocalypse Edition

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They’re sitting at the kitchen counter with snacks, giggling at the Dino-Puffles on ClubPenguin.com. She’s got her fuzzy peace-sign pants on and he’s changed his clothes for the third time — from pajamas to his football uniform to his soccer uniform. Earlier we watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and then he had his “football game” while she and I snuggled in the chair.

The snow came to the mountains quickly yesterday and after just 20 minutes of school we all got our kids home — in our four-wheel drive cars on our unpopulated roads covered in powdery snow, not ice.

We’ve all been home together for more than 24 hours — warm, clothed and fed — and my heart is so full I could burst.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, my friend who’s pregnant was in her car for seven hours trying to get home, and her husband got home hours later after abandoning his car and walking five miles. I’m thankful she wasn’t the woman who gave birth in her car. I’m thankful her husband got home safely.

Family members of ours had friends who slept overnight at the school while jury duty kept another one from being all the way across town, inevitably stuck for the night. I’m thankful they were able to get home and were all together last night under the same roof.

One friend didn’t get home for over eight hours, which included abandoning her car and walking miles home with her daughter. I’m thankful she made it home safely.

Another spent the night work while her child spent the night at school. Her child thought it was the coolest adventure ever. I’m thankful they had warmth and shelter and could rest knowing each other was safe.

Some other friends live close enough to walk to and from school and were able to get to their kids quickly and back home quickly. I’m thankful they stayed outside helping cars that were stuck, and providing food and drink to those who needed it.

My news feed on Facebook last night was bleeding with people desperately trying to make it to their kids, to their homes, to any shelter they could find whatsoever. Prayer after prayer escaped my lips as my stomach wrenched trying to imagine not being able to reach my children, or my husband, or my home.

I cannot even begin to imagine.

And as quickly as my news feed bled desperation, it suddenly began bleeding hope as friends began offering homes to stranded strangers, as businesses stayed open and provided shelter, as four-wheeler owners offered to make runs anywhere possible to get people home.

“A giving person will receive much in return, and someone who gives water will also receive the water he needs.” (Proverbs 11:25)

I’m thankful that when it really matters, people put aside differences and simply see each other as brothers and sisters in need, and reach out like a good Samaritan to simply help.

I’m thankful that Facebook became a place of reassurance, help and hope. I’m thankful the news feed was filled the heart of Christ last night instead of arguing, gossip or slander.

“Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first.” (Philippians 2:4)

As my kids are snuggled warm in our nest, and our house is filled with laughter, food and warmth, I know I’m blessed. But as I watch brother helping brother, and friend helping friend, I realize that those in the thick of it…they are the ones who are truly, eternally blessed.

“Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give.” (Luke 6:38)

I’m so thankful to those who provided prayer, shelter, food, vehicles, provision and help in any way whatsoever. May it be poured back into your lap pressed down and shaken together. God is smiling on you.

“I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.” (Matthew 25:40, Voice)

Please continue to pray for those trying desperately to reach each other and home. 

What are you thankful for this week?