My first Reddit Secret Santa

My boyfriend convinced me to participate in Reddit Secret Santa this holiday season. It was a first time experience for both of us. Going into it, we didn’t have high expectations, but were mostly excited about making someone else excited.

I spent a lot of time, effort, and a decent amount of money into the gift package I created for my recipient. I won’t spoil the fun here as to who I got, but some of her interests were in cats, puns, and horror. I looked around for some neat gifts, threw in some surprises too (Google Home Mini) and really hoped she would enjoy them. Looking at her review, looks like things went over well.

Now for my Secret Santa…

There was a deadline given that we needed to send our gifts out by, and mark on the Reddit Gifts site that our gifts had shipped. I did this for my person, but noticed my Secret Santa never did. The deadline came and went, and I was under the impression I had been forgotten. I gave up hope, moved on, and went on with my holiday plans.

Eventually, a random Amazon box came in the mail that we are assuming is from my Secret Santa, but they didn’t mention anything about Reddit, who they were, etc. Here’s what I received:

I was feeling a bit optimistic when I saw the outside of the box said “Harry Potter,” something I mentioned as one of my interests. I should note I gave my Secret Santa a lot of information and things I liked to choose from.

The box says it’s a “fantastic” gift box of Harry Potter goodies.

A lot of the items are off branded, and some things are down right random like the finger puppets in the picture above and the pencil with a creature on it.

It wasn’t the most exciting box, and I’d say the Amazon seller shouldn’t really call this Fantastic or claim it’s very Harry Potter-y, but it might be an ok gift for a young child who really likes Jelly Beans, as that’s most of the box.

Ultimately, the gift was a little bit of a letdown since it feels like it wasn’t super thought out and a bit rushed (order placed at the shipping deadline), but I’m grateful that I was remembered in the end with a surprise in the mail. Getting mail is always fun.

I’m not sure if I’ll do Reddit Secret Santa again next year, because it can be a hit or miss, but it was kind of fun finding gifts for a random person and hoping to make their day. Let’s see what this new year brings.

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Skimming the news is the way to go

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted due to a very busy work schedule, but I wanted to stop by and share something that I’ve discovered that I think all of you might like and could use.

While this year is only half way through, there’s been so much going on in the news that it’s hard to keep up with what’s true, what’s not, and what’s worth knowing. A few months ago I was introduced to a newsletter started by two women that has changed the way I get my news. While I majored in Broadcast Journalism in college, I ended up with a job in technology instead. I’m still interested in the news and keeping up to date on the latest happenings but it’s not always easy.

If you’re like me and you want to stay informed, learn something new, and sound like you’re well versed in a variety of topics, you need to check out theSkimm.

What’s theSkimm?
A free and fun daily newsletter that comes directly to your inbox (week days only).

Why should I subscribe to theSkimm?
It’s an entertaining fresh way of getting your news. For those of us always on the go, it’s an effortless way to stay connected to what’s going on around the world. Plus, it’s created by two women, and I’m always one for supporting women led/owned businesses.

Sounds great, how do I sign up?
You can sign up via my referral link here.

theSkimm is completely free, so signing up via my link helps me become an official skimm’bassador, meaning I can eventually help provide feedback, content, and test products/series the company is working on.

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Taking on stress head first

Hi there! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted so I wanted to provide just a quick post that I hope helps you a bit with the everyday bustle of life.

I’d classify myself as someone who is easily stressed or carries a fair deal of stress around with them. However, I’ve found some things that have worked for me to help lower my stress that I wanted to share with you:

  1. Pop Pilates
    • Exercise can be a great way to relieve stress even if it seems intimidating or just something else to add to your long list of things to get done in a day.
    • I’m recommending a particular exercise that will be easy for you to fit into your schedule because you don’t need to leave your home, and you don’t need any equipment – Pop Pilates. You can find it on Youtube, participate in the comfort of your own home, and it’s free!
    • For those looking to take on more of a challenge, I’m currently participating in Piit28 brought you by the same instructor as Pop Pilates. This program does cost money, but once again all you need is your own body, no equipment, and less than an hour of time a day (6 days a week).
    • I’m feeling more energized now and less in a funk because I have something else to focus on.
    • P.S. I’m doing a big review of Piit28 when I complete it at the end of this month, so stay tuned!
  2. Meditate
    • A couple years ago I took a course at work that was about searching yourself, finding out what made you tick, and learning how to relax, breathe, and yes meditate. From that class I was introduced to a great app called Headspace. It’s a subscription service (monthly, yearly), but you can try it out for 10 days free first.
    • I’ve found that going through a guided meditation, even if it seems all hippy dippy, is so relaxing, and really helps my brain relax and learn to let go emotions and stressors in times of need.
  3. Read
    • If you read this blog you know I love to read – check out my reading challenge posts! If you need to escape reality, cuddle up with a book and before you know it you’re mind will be off dreaming of some fantasy world. Last year at the age of 26 I decided to sign myself up for a library card, something I hadn’t had in probably over a decade, and it’s been great!
  4. Use a Planner
    • I subscribe to FabFitFun and in my last box I received a Moleskine Weekly Notebook.
    • I can control my schedule, capture events and projects all in one handy spot and the ability to cross of days is quite empowering.
    • I bought start stickers at the Dollar Tree that I can use to spice things up and track things like days I did Piit28 or meditated.

Hope you find a little time in your day to stop, breathe, and take your mind off of all that you’ve got going on to enjoy some peace and relaxation.

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FabFitFun: Fall Must Haves

FabFitFun Fall box
FabFitFun Fall box

Fall is here, and it’s my favorite time of year! Warm beverages, fall leaves, apples, and cozy sweaters are just a small part of what makes Fall amazing. This Fall I also had my FabFitFun box to look forward to. Check out what’s in store for this season!

First up, the box this season was plain white with fun Fall designs, so it was absolutely perfect to find that FabFitFun included a coloring book and set of color pencils (which they recommend using to decorate your box!). Coloring books are all the rage for adults nowadays!

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Time for beauty products! This box you’ll find yourself with a luxurious body oil, gel for your eyebrows, and a night serum.

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Mullein & Sparrow Mini French Lavender Body Oil
This oil smells just like a fresh bouquet of lavender, it’s heavenly and not too overpowering. They say this oil helps calm your skin, but I also find it helps calm me as a whole, making me feel like I’m having my very own private spa experience. Tip: You can also add this to a bath.

The Browgal Clear Water-Resistant Eyebrow Gel
Full brows have been all the rage lately, so this gel is a great essential for keeping them in place and looking fabulous. The best part, is this gel is waterproof so you can even go swimming and still look great.

Skin Laundry Restoring Night Serum
I’ve been meaning to find some sort of night beauty treatment, so I can’t wait to try this serum out. The serum promises to provide firmness, elasticity, and improve your skin texture.

To go with your beautiful skin and brows, I also received the Pure Cosmetics Nude Collection Eyeshadow Palette. This palette is full of beautiful colors that will look great on anyone.

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Pure Cosmetics Nude Collection Eyeshadow Palette.

So we’ve got our beauty regime covered, so of course it made perfect sense for FabFitFun to include something for your bath/shower.

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Spongelle Bulgarian Rose Body Wash Infused Buffer

Spongelle Bulgarian Rose Body Wash Infused Buffer
This buffer/sponge smells amazing! I love the cute shape and how it comes prefilled with body wash. This buffer promises to restore your skin leaving you feeling like silk. Once the rose body wash has been used up, you can add your own soap to this sponge to keep the buffering going.

Fall is the time of year when you want to feel nice and cozy, and you can do just that with the next two items.

Toesox Toeless Fitness Socks
These socks are so cute and perfect for use on your yoga mats. Slipping and sliding on your mat will be no more!

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Toesox Toeless Fitness Socks

Modcloth Loch and Key Scarf
This scarf is great and oh so massive! The scarf is practically a blanket and there’s nothing better than an oversized scarf when the air starts getting chilly. You can belt, wrap, or poncho this scarf up. So many options, so much warmth!

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Modcloth Loch and Key Scarf

As always, every season FabFitFun provides some sponsored extras as well. This month they provided a couple great bathroom must haves as well, a Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloth box and a tester size Secret Outlast Xtend Clear Gel.

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Overall, I think this Fall box is a great haul. I’m looking forward to using these items this fall, and pampering myself a bit with some of these amazingly smelling products. There might still be some boxes to purchase, so don’t wait, you won’t be disappointed!

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It’s time to love our cores

For the past year I’ve been following Blogilates and her calendars off and on. Work travel has always caused me to stop my Blogilates practice, but I’m gearing up for a pilates workout challenge this month and want you to join me!

First things first:
What is Blogilates? 
A movement, a blog, a fun spirited pilates community created by Cassey Ho. Cassey created a new type of workout called POP Pilates which is a fun, high energy pilates workout set to pop songs and beats.

How can I get started?
If you’re a beginner, which is how I started out, check out her beginner calendar which references videos on her Youtube channel. If you’re not a beginner in the world of Pilates, try out her August calendar for planned workouts for each day of the week!

What’s the challenge?
Cassey has created a challenge for the month of August called Adore the Core (search for #adorethecore and blogilates on Instagram). Each day you’ll have one stretch or pilates move to complete. Check out Cassey’s Instagram post below.

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Blogilates #adorethecore challenge by Cassey Ho.

I’ll be posting on my non-personal Instagram account as not to spam my friends. Feel free to follow my journey there and tag my account!

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