December 28, 2016

The Best of Nordstrom’s Home Sale

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Nordstrom velvet comforter

Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly home sale is so. flipping. huge. this year! What an awesome post-Christmas gift! I edited it down to just my absolute faves which took a while but was a blast. I’m seeing major discounts on the best indoor/outdoor Dash & Albert rugs, Dwell bedding, cozy Barefoot Dreams throws and pillows and all kinds of fun stuff to warm up your house this winter.

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December 20, 2016

Last Minute Toys For Kids (STEM, STEAM and Fun)

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When the boys were really small, I had Christmas down.  We did holiday-themed art projects, advent calendars, Christmas stories, and went to see Santa right after Thanksgiving.  Their stockings were filled with carefully curated items, and Christmas cookies were baked.

I’m slipping.

For the last few years, Christmas seems to take us by surprise.  Now it’s as much of a Christmas tradition to have Mike and I on Amazon at 1AM three days before Christmas chanting, ‘Prime shipping!!  Filter on prime shipping!!”

So.  If you are riding the crazytown train right into Christmas, turnaround and say hi.  We’re sitting one row behind you.

Happily, Amazon does have some seriously amazing options.  We’re talking really and truly special gifts with high levels of Morning-of-Excitement, and even some toy options that were included in this year’s STEM guide (available to newsletter subscribers), but are worth talking about again. (Also check last year’s STEM guide – most of the products featured come with prime shipping options.)  Additionally, I found a few subscription-based gifts perfect for little (or teenage) engineers and artists.

Without further ado….here are a few last-minute gift options that will make it look like you’ve been planning this all along…

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December 19, 2016

Last-Minute Gifts for the Cook


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If you follow me on Instagram stories at all (@elletrain) you know I love to cook and bake. My grandmother was an amazing Southern food cook and baked the most delicious desserts. My stepmother is half Italian and has always cooked and baked fabulous holiday treats and special birthday meals. My youngest brother works in the food industry and is an avid fan and tester of all Alton Brown’s recipes. My mom is an incredible cook who has hosted international dinners in her home where she’s researched traditional foods from various countries to serve to complete strangers. (#brave) I think it’s in my blood.

I didn’t use to love to cook, but being surrounded by such wonderful foodies in my life, I had no choice but to take up interest. Once you spend a little time trying out recipes and building your repertoire of kitchen tools you learn the genuine satisfaction that comes with making a delicious meal or treat. I know many of you out there probably share my interest or know someone who does. For you or them, a great kitchen tool is really a priceless gift that will be used again and again.

Here, I’ve tried to gather useful, beautiful kitchen gifts that I would absolutely love to receive this Christmas. They’re also all available with Amazon Prime shipping, so you have time to get them ordered before next weekend. From mixers to cookbooks, there’s a little something here for every price point and every cook.

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December 13, 2016

Home & Hosting Gift Guide (Plus Foodie Gifts!)

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These are another type of favorite gift to give because I have so much fun picking them out! And maybe buying them for myself! Yep, that’s a box wine cooler you see above. Holiday parties are about to get real fancy around here…I found some delicious gifts for your favorite hostess that has everything and pretty little things for home. Holiday hosting & toasting gift ideas right this way…

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December 12, 2016

Laura’s Gift Guide: For the (Semi) Social Introvert

 

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I like to call myself a social introvert. I love entertaining my friends, but am easily as happy curling up for some Netflix binging. I seriously need half and half in my life. My 60% extrovert 40% introvert self (thanks Meyers-Briggs) constantly battles back and forth between spending time with people or holing up by myself. Just ask my super-extroverted husband and daughter.  So for my gift wish list this year my split-personality came up with gifts for both.

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December 11, 2016

12 Gifts For Your Most Stressed Out Friends

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This year especially, we can all use a little more comfort and joy as we wrap up a tumultuous 2016. As a hardcore Type-A stress puppy, I feel pretty confident that any of these gifts can bring some moments of zen to your most frazzled friends.

I found the most gorgeously soft blanket, cozy microwaveable(!) slippers, a beefcake “activity book” and more to bring on the good kind of winter chill.

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December 9, 2016

Baby Gifts for the Design-Minded

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Lucky me… I got to round up adorable baby gifts! It can sometimes be tricky shopping for the itty bitty ones at the holidays though. You want to get something fun for them, but depending on how tiny they are, they may not be super into toys yet. Sometimes for the littles you’re essentially gifting to the parents, so you want something lovely and cute.

I tried to include a good mix of toys and special items to help ya out this year when shopping for the 0-2 year old loves in your life. Check them out here…

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December 7, 2016

Preschool Picks: 10 Bright Gifts for Your Little One

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Preschoolers are such a cool age – big enough to graduate from baby toys, not quite ready for the tiny pieces of big kid toys – but bursting with creativity, exploring pretend play and interested in figuring out how everything works. So creating a gift guide for them was incredibly fun! These toys are pure joy – think brightly colored, open-ended and safe for hours of boredom-busting this winter and beyond.

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December 5, 2016

Gender Neutral Dollhouses

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When I was three, I got a dollhouse for Christmas, built by my talented Papa (he went on to make grandfather clocks and I’m honored to have one in my dining room.) I was so excited; it was a memory I’ll never forget. As I got older, I remember decorating the walls inside with wrapping paper for wallpaper and placing the delicate furniture my grandmother got me in the different rooms.

I’m grateful for my thoughtful parents who carefully saved this dollhouse that is now sitting in Sienna’s room here in Portland (all the way from Arkansas via a stint in Nashville) and I’m so glad we lugged that around all these years. The coolest part? My papa painted the house yellow with white trim all those years ago…the exact colors of our new house in Portland. (Cue all the tears).

I know not everyone can have a talented Papa around to make a custom dollhouse, but I’ve found some seriously cute, high-quality options that will bring years of joy for your little.

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Why gender-neutral?  Well…for two reasons:  First, here at TME we strongly believe in moving past old, limiting stereotypes and embracing the child you have, whatever that may mean, and….as it turns out, non-gender biased dollhouses are less-gimmicky, more décor-friendly dollhouses, too.  The simpler designs allow for kiddos’ imaginations to run wild and give us mamas who enjoy a peaceful looking home a great option we don’t have to relegate to the toy closet. When on the hunt for these little houses, the designer in me was tempted to only choose the natural wooden ones, but I did find some cute, colorful wooden houses, too.

(My poor child and her black & white, neutral-toned life, haha. Except for the yellow dollhouse, of course.)

Check out the fun options I found below.

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December 4, 2016

Festive, Cozy Flannel Sheets for Kids + Adults

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The nights are dipping below freezing here so it’s finally starting to feel like flannel sheet season! Usually I wouldn’t advocate something that makes it that much harder to leave a warm bed in the morning, but jumping into this cozy nest at the end of the day is bliss.  A fun reindeer print also doesn’t hurt (these are hilarious). The kids don’t have flannel sheets yet and I’m looking forward to surprising them soon – their regular sheets just feel so freezing at bedtime (our old house is drafty, brr)! It’s also a sweet idea to have flannel sheets on guest beds during holiday stays. So welcoming and festive.

The good news is there are still really good options after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, and most of these are still on sale! Check out my top picks for cool, cozy flannel sheets for kids and grown-ups.

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