Friday Favorites: Goodbye, 2017!

Friday favorites goodbye 2017

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Another year bites the dust!

2017 was such a dumpster fire of a year that I’m glad it’s over. It was one of those years you just had to bite down and get through, you know? 2018 is gearing up to be better, and I look forward to setting some goals and crushing them next year!

I’m not sure what that will mean for Afternoon Glow, though. Part of me wants to keep this train going, but part of me wants to take a break for a bit. It’s something I have to really think about over the next week or so. I’m pretty sure, as usual, I’m not alone in this. The new year often brings new goals and aspirations, which sometimes means letting go of old ones. I’ll let you know where I fall on this next week. For now, I have a pile of work to do and to figure out what I’m making for dinner (it’s beginning to look a lot like Five Guys burgers…haha).

Anyway, for the last time this year, here are my Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites

Alright, enough procrastinating! Off to tackle that pile of work, a pile of laundry, and maybe a nap because it’s so gloomy outside!

Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

happy holidays

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Happy Holidays!

I hope that, whether you’re celebrating a holiday today or not, you get to spend the day doing what you love with people you care about. Whether you plan to spend the day with family, friends, or on your own, I wish you a good day full of fun and relaxation – we could all use a little more of both lately!

I’m off to spend the day hiking, eating way too many cookies, and visiting family in the area. Tonight I’ll probably throw on some pajamas, curl up under a blanket with some hot cocoa, eat some more cookies, and watch one of my favorite holiday movies.

Tomorrow is “Thank You Note Day,” so make sure you have your notes, pens, and stamps ready to thank everyone for the lovely gifts and hosting they did this year! I know that’s what I’ll be doing while I recover from my holiday hangover!

Have a happy holidays, and I’ll be back on Wednesday to end the year in style!

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

Finding the right outfit for every holiday event can be exhausting. This year, I’m trying to take some of the pressure off myself and keeping things simple. Pinterest is always a great place to find inspiration, and I have a board just for holiday outfits! While I don’t have too many plans this year (at least not yet), if something comes up I’ll be prepared!

Here are a few “themes” I put together to get you through the holidays with staples you probably already have (plus a few goodies you can pick up for fun)!

The Office Party: Basic Black + Sparkle

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

The office holiday party can be tricky. What you wear depends on a lot of factors: where the event is, who’s going to be there, and whether you’ll have time to change beforehand. I’m a huge fan of wearing black work staples with a little extra holiday “kick.” Any of these outfits will look polished during the work day, then transition easily to a party in the office, drinks after work, or a formal corporate shindig. I usually aim for “festive professional” for holiday office parties, and all three  options fit the bill!

Brunch: Channel Emmanuelle Alt

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

I never understood “dressing up” for brunch with friends, so I suggest taking a cue from my casual, “I-don’t-give-a-fuck” Parisian muse, Emmanuelle Alt. Grab your favorite worn-in jeans, a neutral crewneck sweater, black ankle boots, and top it off with a classic peacoat or blazer. You’ll look chic AF while also giving off that “I didn’t try at all” vibe. If you really want to go a little “extra,” pile on the delicate gold jewelry or a rock brighter colored sweater…or both!

The Family Event: Fair Isle Sweater + Comfy Jeans

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

My family keeps things pretty casual for the holidays, and I also eat a TON during our Christmas get-togethers, so comfort is key. I never got into the whole “ugly sweater” craze because I’m from the Midwest where people still wear them un-ironically (and don’t want people to think I actually like wearing those tacky things). Instead, my idea holiday outfit is a fair isle sweater, comfy jeans (to accommodate for all the fudge I plan to eat), and some comfy shoes/boots. If your family get-togethers involve snowball fights with your sister’s crazy kids, a racist uncle or two, and lots of wine, this outfit will get you through.

New Year’s Eve: Add A Sequin Jacket

2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas

We almost never go out for New Year’s Eve, which is too bad because I have the perfect outfit that fits into almost any party scenario – take jeans and your favorite band tee, throw on a pair of colorful heels, then add a sequin jacket! It’s an unexpected, sparkly twist that requires almost no added effort. Sequin jackets look best with minimal makeup, slightly messy hair, and few accessories. Basically, you can just throw on the jacket and BOOM – instant rocker girl vibes!

If you want to see more outfit inspiration (or want to know more about each look), check out my “2017 Holiday Outfit Ideas” Pinterest board!

My Favorite Holiday Movies

Ah, holiday movies. Unlike Halloween movies, there aren’t many Christmas movies I actually enjoy. It’s not my favorite holiday to begin with, so that makes choosing even harder. Add to this one of my old favorites, The Ref, is now “off the list” thanks to the fact that it stars Kevin Spacey (#menruineverything). However, there are still a few that I don’t mind watching year after year. Here they are (and yes, this is pretty much all of them)!

My Favorite Holiday Movies

Love Actually (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

I could watch this movie just about any time of the year (and I do). It has so many amazing actors in it, and dammit if I don’t cry a little every time I watch it (damn you, Liam Neeson). It’s funny, a little sad, outrageous, endearing, sweet, and with just a hint of that good ol’ British self deprecation.

You also get to see a lot of people before they hit it big on television shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones (hint: he’s also in Netflix’s new show Godless), Mad Men, Westworld, and Sherlock. If this doesn’t get you in the holiday mood, I don’t know what will!

Bridget Jones’s Diary (Netflix)

Okay so this isn’t a “traditional” Christmas movie, but whatever – it mostly takes place around the holidays. In another great feat of British holiday humor, Bridget is a single, 32 year old woman trying to keep her shit together. Spoiler alert: she mostly doesn’t. My husband introduced me to this movie years ago, and we watch it pretty much every year.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

No, this one isn’t even close to a holiday film, but when you watch the first one, you might as well pop in the second, right? I usually have a large glass of wine while watching this one, and you should too!

Frosty the Snowman (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

I used to watch this every year on TV as a kid. I cried every damn time Frosty melted in the greenhouse. You know you did too. Watch it with some kids, and see if it still holds up all these years later (and try not to cry like a little baby).

Scrooged (Amazon, $3.99/rent)

Okay, so I’ll admit this isn’t really one of my favorite holiday movies. However, it’s my husband’s all-time favorite holiday movie EVER. If you like your Christmas movies a little on the dark side, definitely check this one out. It’s got Bill Murray, ghosts, a familiar story, and a bitch with a toaster. What’s not to love?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Amazon, $9.98/blu-ray)

I must have had a bit of a dark streak myself growing up because this has to be one of my favorite holiday stories of all time. The grinch was my jam back in the day! Of course, the message is about how the holiday spirit lives in all of us, even those of us with the coldest, blackest of hearts.

It’s also a nice message about how “stuff” isn’t what the holiday is all about – a lesson I think more people need to hear nowadays. It warms my cold, dead heart and reminds me what the holidays are really about – dogs with antlers tied to their heads because that shit is ADORABLE!

Well, I’m off to throw in one of these and eat my weight in fudge! What are your favorite holiday movies? Do you go super traditional, or do you watch Die Hard? 😉

Friday Favorites

Time Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers

Welcome to another Friday Favorites!

I spent this week reflecting on how far we’ve already come as a country, thanks to Time Magazine honoring the men and women who have spoken out about sexual harassment and abuse. It’s been a long year of protesting, sharing, healing, and hard conversations. I’m glad that we’re ending the year in the middle of progress. We still have a long way to go before women can feel safe and respected in the world, but we’re slowly chipping away at it.

This has also been a week of making wish lists and locally-sourced gift guides here at Afternoon Glow! I am excited to share my favorite things with you and hopefully treat myself to a few of them soon!

Anyways, here are a few more of my Friday favorites from the past week:

  • Well+Good has announced the top 18 fitness and wellness trends for 2018, and I can definitely get behind a few already: cozy activewear, nut milk yogurt (finally!), and women’s coworking clubs!
  • I love burning candles at home, but never really thought much about what was in them until recently. The Chalkboard Mag came up with 11 natural, non-toxic candles that will make great gifts this holiday season – or you can scoop up a few for your home too!
  • I’m already planning and plotting my holiday baking, and this post from Camille Styles has 27 cookie recipes that look yummy and pretty easy to make! I can’t wait to try out a few!
  • As much as I’d love to try some Moon Juice’s Moon Dusts in my morning coffee, I can’t justify paying $40 for a jar. Thankfully, Hello Glow has their own recipe for a Brain Dust that you can easily add to tea, coffee, or smoothies – and it won’t break the bank! I can’t wait to hit up my local health food store to stock up on the ingredients!
  • My canvas duffel bag fell apart this summer, and I’ve been looking for a replacement ever since. I recently discovered Lemur Bags, a company that makes beautiful canvas bags and totes. They donate 15% of their profits to conservation efforts specific to lemurs. I’m seriously considering grabbing this pineapple-print duffel bag!

 

Well, I’m off to a lunch date with the husband! I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday with more great posts!

My #ShopLocal Gift Guide!

#shoplocal gift guide

In addition to shopping online for gifts, now is the best time to #shoplocal! You can find unique gifts for everyone while supporting great local businesses in your area.

The Seattle area has so many amazing local businesses, it’s tough to narrow it down to just a few. Whether you’re shopping for friends and family here, or looking to ship gifts across the country, there are so many great things out there! Here are some things I’m looking at this year to send out to loved ones (or get for myself)!

My #ShopLocal Gift Guide: Seattle

Boehm’s Candies

The Seattle area is home to several local chocolatiers, but this one is my favorite. For one thing, it’s about a 5-minute drive from my home in Issaquah! They have amazing holiday chocolates (including solid dark chocolate Santas), licorice, and even dog treats!

Jungmaven

I found out about Jungmaven through IndieGetUp, a site dedicated to helping you find local shops in your area. They make hemp and cotton clothing, bedding, and other fun accessories. I’m seriously digging the Sherpa Crewneck Sweatshirt – it looks so lived-in and comfy!

Stumptown Coffee

Okay, so technically this company started out in Portland, Oregon, but it’s still a local favorite of coffee shops around the Seattle area. Their Hairbender blend is one of my favorites, and it pairs well with just about anything I put in it! Their packaging is also gorgeous, which makes for a great gift during the holidays!

Big Dipper Wax Works

Based in Seattle, this candle company is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I’ve burned through a few of their Meditation candles this past year, and I can’t wait to stock up on more! They make great stocking stuffers or gifts for the office!

George’s Sausage & Delicatessen

If you’re a good little Polish lady like me, Christmas means eating your weight in kielbasa. If you live in the Seattle area, head downtown to check out George’s for all the kielbasa and Polish goodies you can carry! It’s honestly the best kielbasa I’ve ever had, and I need to get back out there soon to stock up for the holiday season. They also have a ton of Polish candy, pickled everything, and wine…tons of wine!

If you’re looking for local shops in your area, check out IndieGetUp to see what your state has to offer!

The Afternoon Glow 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Every year, I try to put together a holiday wish list, and usually come up short. Not this year! I found plenty of fun things to get for your wellness-obsessed friends, woke witches, and hygge masters!

Enjoy the list, and come back on Wednesday when I share my favorite local gifts from the Pacific Northwest!

For the friend who is all about wellness…and coffee:

2017 holiday gift guide

Stonn Stainless Steel Electric Milk Frother ($6.95, Amazon)

To thicken up a bullet coffee, matcha tea, or a superfood latte, I highly recommend grabbing your coffee-obsessed friends a handheld frother. It’s small, easy to store, and does the job!

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder ($15.00, Amazon)

I’ve recently gotten into adding “extras” to my coffee, and collagen is a great place to start! It’s tasteless and mixes in well with whatever morning drink you prefer. I also find it thickens my almond milk lattes a little more! Give your friends the gift of amazing hair, skin, and nails along with their favorite coffee or tea!

4th & Heart Vanilla Bean Ghee ($10.94, Amazon)

Adding extra fat to coffee is a great way to add flavor and helps your body absorb caffeine more slowly throughout the day. Ghee is a healthy option, and this one contains a little vanilla to add some flavor and sweetness. Plus, the packaging is adorable and would look great in a gift basket!

Kate Spade Travel Mug ($18.00, Amazon)

You can’t have a beautifying drink in an ugly old mug! Grab your friend a pretty one like this floral Kate Spade travel version, and they can start the day on a pretty note!

For the feministas in your life:

2017 holiday gift guide

 

“Feminist Killjoy” Sweatshirt ($23.90, Etsy)

I really, really want this sweatshirt – and I want to buy it for all my fellow “feminist killjoys” out there! It will keep you cozy and warm while dismantling the patriarchy, or telling an ignorant relative or two where to stick their “not all men” argument during your next holiday get-together.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg Prayer Candle ($12.95, Etsy)

I think prayer candles are beautiful. They are even more beautiful when covered with beautiful images of our favorite feminist icons! This Etsy shop also has candles for my other two role models – Ilana and Abbi from Broad City! Get them all, and channel your inner feminist badass!

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan ($17.95, Amazon)

If you haven’t checked this book out yet, get one for yourself and all your bookish friends. It’s an important read if you want to better understand how society, higher education, and advertising have been oppressing women for…well…forever. Since this book is over 50 years old, keep in mind it does largely gloss over women of color and doesn’t address other sexualities – but it was the start of a conversation that later included those groups.

Tiny Smudge Kit ($5.95, Etsy)

I’m not a big spiritual person, but there’s nothing wrong with ridding the world of bad energy however we can, right? This is a great stocking-stuffer idea for your wellness-loving friends, and cheap enough you can grab one for yourself while you’re at it!

For that friend who could use a little hygge:

2017 holiday gift guide

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living ($10.69, Amazon)

The Danes are some of the happiest people in the world – and it’s no wonder! The concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) promotes comfort, staying in the present, and enjoying friendship. They also believe it’s okay to let go of perfectionism to indulge once in a while. This would be a great book for that friend who could use a little break during the stressful holiday season!

Pendleton Plaid 5th Avenue Throw Blanket ($159, Pendleton)

Comfort is a big part of hygge, and this cozy wool blanket would be perfect for curling up under with a good book! They come in so many patterns and colors, you could find one for everyone!

Lavender Scented Soy Wax Candle ($15, Etsy)

Candlelight is another great way to bring some coziness into your life, and this one smells calming and warm. Lavender is a great scent for relaxing after a long day, and staying in the present.

Cable Knit Knee-High, No-skid Socks ($10.90/pair, Amazon)

It’s almost impossible to get cozy vibes with cold feet! These socks are warm, fuzzy, and have anti-slip grip so you can wear them all over the house! I can’t wait to pick up a pair in every color!

 

Friday Favorites: Welcome to December!

friday favorites Photo via Unsplash

Welcome to another edition of Friday Favorites!

This week was rainy and cold, so it was the perfect time to get work done, read a good book, and get plenty of blog posts ready for December! We also managed to get some holiday decorating done last weekend, so the house is all cozy. I’m even working on bringing some serious hygge vibes into my bedroom for winter.

Without further ado…here are a few things I’ve been loving online this week!

Friday Favorites!

I hope you have a great weekend! I’m planning to spend the weekend reading, baking, and shopping for more hygge-approved fun to make my bedroom cozy for winter!

If you want to catch up with me over the weekend, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter! I’ll be back Monday with my annual Gift Guide!

#NoSpendNovember: Reflections + Lessons Learned

#NoSpendNovember

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As the #NoSpendNovember challenge comes to an end, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the past month. It was a learning experience for sure, and I plan to take some of the lessons I learned with me. Here’s a quick and easy breakdown of how things went!

How did I feel throughout the month?

I went into #NoSpendNovember a little anxious, to be honest. I know that I tend to shop when I’m bored, and wanted to break myself of that. For the first week or so, it was tough. Work wasn’t terribly busy, and the weather sucked, so it was hard to re-route my brain when I got bored. To combat this, I spent time at the library, walking outside, and cleaning. None of this is very exciting, but it got me through.

As the month went on, it got easier. The job I had that required going on Amazon ended, so that temptation was gone. I focused on writing for the blog more, exercised more, and got more work done. Instead of going to Target, I went outside for some fresh air. By the end of the month, I now feel like I have a better handle on things.

How much did I save?

I’ll be honest here – I don’t know exactly how much I didn’t spend because…I didn’t spend it. My spending habits aren’t very consistent, and since I work freelance, my paychecks aren’t either. I’d say a safe prediction is about $200 over the past month, which isn’t a lot – but it’s something. I also didn’t work as much as I usually do, so I know it would’ve been a lot more if I had a regular schedule.

Did I ever break my #NoSpendNovember rules?

I did a lot better with this than I was expecting to! Here is how I did with each “rule” I set for #NoSpendNovember:

Stay off my Amazon account

I would say I behaved about 80% of the time. I did have to use Amazon for a copywriting gig, but once that ended, it wasn’t too hard to avoid it. This past week, I only went on a couple times to check for Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

Unsubscribe from marketing emails

I’ve unsubscribed from as many marketing email chains as I could this month. I’d say I’ve gotten off around a dozen or so, and I’m continuing to do this as the month goes on. There are so many on my personal and blog emails that I just don’t use anymore, and it feels good to get rid of them. My inbox is much happier!

No beauty-related purchases

I happily achieved 100% success on this one! I didn’t buy a single beauty-related thing this month! To help with this, I took my own advice and used my stash, and found that what I have is definitely plenty. I plan to continue this for December, then I’ll probably be due to stock up on some essentials (shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, etc.).

Do more DIY projects

Okay, so I fell short on this one. I didn’t get any DIY projects done this month, but I plan to do them in December instead.

Sell some of your shit

I had ThredUp send me a cleanout kit this month, which I’ll fill up with clothing I want to sell through their site. I’ll consider this a success if I can get my bag filled and mailed out this week!

Once a week coffee day / One grocery trip / Black Friday exceptions

I did pretty well on sticking to only the exceptions I made for myself. The weekly coffee shop trips were productive, and I only made a couple extra grocery trips. I didn’t shop at all on Black Friday, but I may pick up a few things online for Cyber Monday.

The only time I truly broke with the #NoSpendNovember challenge was to buy a sweater and dress shoes for a Thanksgiving party we were invited to last-minute. I don’t own “party” clothes, so I let myself off the hook this once. It only cost me $40 for both (thanks to Marshalls!), and the rest of my outfit was stuff I already own, so it wasn’t too bad.

What did I learn?

I learned that challenging myself to spend less during the holiday season is ROUGH. This would have been so much easier to do in August or September! But I guess that’s the point of making it a challenge, right?

I also learned that so much of my “extra” spending has to do with boredom. Replacing those bad habits with good ones really worked, and I hope to keep it up!

What will I take with me moving forward?

I plan to do this challenge more often in the future, but instead of a whole month at a time, I might do one week every month instead. This seems a bit more manageable for me. By the end of the year, I will have done 3 months with no spending, rather than just one month!

I also want to focus more purchasing things I truly love, rather than what “works” at the time. Over the next few months, I’m planning to really purge my life of things I don’t love or need. It’s time for me to let go of jeans that don’t fit, notebooks I never use, and kitchen junk I have no space for. This challenge put me on a path to simplify my life. I can’t wait to put it into practice!

#NoSpendNovember: Use Your Stash!

use your stash

Beauty products are one thing I easily spend too much money on. I’m guilty of buying a new shampoo, conditioner, or body lotion before my current one is empty. I also don’t know why I own so man lip glosses and lipsticks – I rarely wear either.

This month, I’m making a better effort to use my stash. It’s a good idea to go through your beauty stash every 6 months or so to weed out anything that’s expired, dried out, or otherwise not useable. Once you pare down to what’s still good and useful, you can find clever ways to use up what’s lingering in your beauty cabinet! Here are just a few tips to help you use what you have!

#NoSpendNovember: Tips to Use Your Stash!

Tip #1: Decant “almost empties” into travel-sized containers.

Many of us are gearing up for the holiday travel season, and that means getting your travel kit ready. Instead of buying all new travel products, use your stash! For only a few dollars, you can pick up a travel-friendly kit with bottles and containers you fill yourself. Some good items to decant into travel containers are shampoo/conditioner, body lotion, face moisturizer, toner, and foundation.

Also, if you hoard sheet masks like me, pop a couple in your travel kit – they are great to use on long flights! They are also a good reminder to practice some quiet self-care during your trip!

Tip #2: Put “almost empties” on display.

Instead of hiding away your “almost empties,” put them out on the bathroom counter so you can remember to use them up! Out of sight, out of mind is totally true for beauty products! Grab that bottle of toner you’re almost done with, and put away the new one until it’s needed.

Also, whenever you run out of something, check your cabinets before heading to the store! I have a bad habit of buying toothpaste before checking to see if I have one at home. At some point, I ended up with 4 unopened tubes of the stuff! Get into the habit of shopping your cabinets first to avoid over-buying things!

Tip #3: Gift things you’ve never used.

Okay, this piece of advice comes with a lot of restrictions, but you can still do it in some cases! If you have a lot of beauty products or samples you never opened, and they’re still in good condition, give them to family or friends! They can make great stocking stuffers, or put a bunch together in a cute basket for your teenage niece, makeup-obsessed sister, or brunch buddies!

Obviously, avoid giving away products you’ve already used, and anything that’s old/expired. Many of us bloggers get samples mailed to us year-round, and this is a great way to put them to good use!

Tip #4: Find new uses for old products!

This is especially important if you have products lingering around that didn’t work for you. Instead of tossing them out, consider if they could be used for something else! Here are just a few examples of how I’ve used beauty products in a new way:

  • Extra body lotion or conditioner makes a great shaving balm! Just apply a small layer over legs or underarms for a smoother shave, and moisturized skin afterwards!
  • Eye makeup remover (oil free) is great to keep around to clean leather handbags! I use eye makeup remover to get rid of blue streaks on my grey leather handbag left over from my jeans. It works amazingly well while leaving my bag in great condition.
  • Toners or facial mists make really good room sprays! Spritz them in pillowcases, bedsheets, bathrooms, or in your car (not while driving, of course)!
  • Lip colors can often pull double-duty as a cream blush or eye color. Dabbing face powder or blush onto lipstick creates a matte effect without having to buy a new matte lipstick!

So instead of heading over to Sephora…again…try using what you have around the house instead! You might find that if you use your stash, it will save you a ton of money this month!