Holiday Hostess Gifts

posted in: Decor, Design, Home | 8

I can hear the sleigh bells ringing, it is officially Christmas time! I will confess that I have been listening to Christmas music for about a week now. One of my favorite things about Christmas time is seeing family and friends at holiday parties. Here are some tips for picking up great hostess gifts:

1. Plan ahead!

If you know that you have a lot of social engagements this season, then go ahead and stock up on gifts! My favorite place to buy hostess gifts is HomeGoods. You can buy unique and expensive looking items on the cheap. They have a GREAT holiday section (don’t forget to check clearance too). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten about a hostess gift and ended up running to Walgreens to buy a gift plus $7 wrapping paper, $2 scissors, $2 tape, and a $2 bow. That’s about $15 that I had to pay because I waited till the last minute!

2. You don’t have to spend a fortune!

A great hostess gift can be purchased for $5-$15. Buying the wrapping supplies in bulk will save a lot of money too. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your gift wrapping! Instead of buying bags of holiday bows, I buy seasonal ribbon and a tiny box of ornaments and tie an ornament onto each gift. It makes the gift feel more expensive and the receiver can actually use the ornament rather than just throwing away the plastic bow.

2. Make it personal!

Usually my favorite hostess gifts are on theme with the holiday party or are edible. Soaps and candles are safe go-tos but you can easily make your gift stand out by making it a little bit more personal.

For a host or hostess that loves cooking and/ or baking:

Christmas Apron

Seasonal apron


Seasonal cookie cutter

For a host or hostess that has a signature drink / cocktail:



05581d0dec379f4aecf3090074c2a57d_best 79be414bea7fadf1b2c621db8d48e230_best

Seasonal glasses

For a host or hostess that is always on his/her phone:


Portable charger

For a host or hostess that loves entertaining:


Seasonal napkin holders


Seasonal platter/ candy bowl

Have you started hostess gift shopping? How do you prepare for the holidays?

Ciao For Now!


Rockin’ the Sapphire: Reasons to Choose a Gemstone Engagement Ring

posted in: Decor, Design | 3


When Jordan and I first started looking at rings, I would have never guessed that I would end up with a gemstone engagement ring. I always pictured myself wearing a cushion cut diamond with a halo in white gold. Maybe I spent too much time on Pinterest or maybe I watched too many episodes of the Bachelor / Bachelorette.



After looking at many new diamond rings, I decided that I wanted an antique. This is when I started playing with the idea of a gemstone ring. There were so many beautiful rings available within our budget!

Here are some of the deciding factors that led me to ask Jordan to buy a gemstone ring for our engagement:

1. More Bang for Your Buck

Just like all vintage and estate jewelry, you can definitely get your money’s worth. Did you know that new diamonds are marked up 100%-200%? You can read more about that here.

2. It’s Classic

Gemstone engagement rings have been around longer than diamond engagement rings. Some recent examples of gemstone engagement rings include:

Jackie O with her gorgeous art deco ring with an emerald.



Late Princess Diana wore and, now, Princess Kate wears this sapphire engagement ring.



Princess Fergie had a ruby engagement ring.



3. It’s Unique

I have always had my own sense of style. I get more compliments about my ring because it is not the “traditional” looking engagement ring. Some people say “Oh, your ring looks like Princess Kate’s!”  I will gladly accept being compared to Princess Kate and Princess Diana any day of the week, but my ring is actually older than Princess Kate’s ring… by 70 years. So who copied who? 😉

4. Ultimate Birthstone Jewelry

Can’t decide on a gemstone? What about your birthstone? I chose sapphire not only because my favorite color is blue but mainly because I was born in September. I’ve always loved my birthstone.

5. No Upgrade Needed

I find it so sad when girls get engaged and then tell me that they’ll “upgrade” in 5 years. Why not get a ring that you LOVE when you get engaged? I get it, budgets can be tight. But I would much rather opt for a gemstone ring than a diamond ring that is waiting to be replaced.

6. Wearable Art

I’m not trying to “knock” diamonds. There are some really gorgeous new diamond rings available. My vintage ring was made in Moscow (before the Soviet Union), I am not sure who first owned my ring (I can pretend  it was Anastasia) but I know there must be a wonderful story behind it. The history combined with the level of detail and craftsmanship makes me feel like I am wearing art.

7. You can always get a diamond!

Several people have asked me, “Do you think you’ll regret not getting a diamond in a few years?” No way. Later down the road, I may decide to get a diamond ring in addition to my sapphire ring. I can always wear this ring on one hand and a diamond on the other.

My final advice is to get a ring that you love. A diamond just didn’t seem right for my engagement ring. I still admire and love many diamond rings. Don’t limit yourself to what you see on the Bachelor. And most importantly, don’t pressure your fiance to spend more than he has, just to get the carat diamond that you desire.

Get a ring that you love and that matches your personal style, you won’t regret it.

My ring:


Ciao for now!


Merging Styles

posted in: Decor, Design | 2

This week, I finally got the keys to my new apartment. While in college, I never had money to decorate my apartment like I wanted. My major furniture purchases in college were a futon, a dining room table and chairs (which were used more for party games than for actually eating dinner), and two red sofas from some girl on Facebook who was moving across country. These pieces were mixed with my roommates’ furniture and some childhood furniture that my mom let me use.

Now that I have my own apartment, I am getting to actually buy items that I like and that reflect my taste rather than whatever is cheapest and necessary. Jordan and I are getting married next fall so my apartment is the last “girl-only” place I will be living. Since the furniture/ decorations I am purchasing will be in Jordan’s and my first home, I have been taking Jordan’s taste into consideration for every major purchase.

Jordan’s style:

I would categorize Jordan’s style as a mix of industrial and mid-century modern. He traveled to Sweden and Denmark over the summer so he has recently become obsessed with Scandinavian design. (I’m ok with this because I am 1/4th Swedish).








My style:

I would categorize my style as a mix between art deco, traditional, and coastal. I love everything from the 20s, if I could afford to decorate my house like Gatsby’s, then I would. Having family in Miami, I have always been attracted to sea & palm prints. My favorite colors are gold, white, and navy.








Our styles overlap in some ways but in other ways, they clash. My apartment is very much my style (I’m not giving up pink just yet) but I have made sure that all of the furniture will flow nicely with his when we get married.

I can’t wait to post pictures of my apartment once it is completely decorated. I will also be sharing ways that we have “compromised” or worked around our different tastes when purchasing bigger ticketed items.

Do you and your significant other have different tastes when it come to home decor? How have you worked around that while decorating? I would love to hear other’s thoughts and advice!

Ciao for now!