Friday, November 25, 2016

Gift Guide 2016 vol 1 : what I'm wishing for this year

When I was six years old I mailed my Christmas list to Santa for the last time. I carefully thought about what my little six year old heart desired most and carefully wrote it down; quit the task for someone still learning to read and write. I anxiously awaited Christmas morning when I could tear into all the presents I'd earned from being so good all year. But sadly on Christmas morning I didn't receive a single thing I'd asked for that year. All my presents were the matching of what my big sister had asked for instead. Poor little six year old Hillary was devastated and never wrote down a Christmas wish list again. Until this year; 19 years later I've finally recovered enough to write down a Christmas list again. Here's what I'm wishing for this year

The number one thing I want this year is a mermaid tail blanket. A few years back my mom bought me a snuggie as a bit of a joke gift, but it's turned into one of my favorite things; I feel like this is the new snuggie. I really love the look of the handmade ones on Etsy, but those are about $145 which is a bit much for a blanket. I tried to convince my younger sister to make me one but instead she's making scarfs for the needy. I'd love that flannel nightshirt; it just looks so cozy. I've reached the age where sleeping in my old sorority tees and nike running shorts isn't my favorite anymore. I have the best summer pajamas so now I need a good winter alternative. I've been wanting Cravings for months. I love Chrissy Teigen; she's so funny and real. If you don't think the food she Instagrams looks gorgeous, you're kidding yourself.

The other thing I want is a new work bag. The handles on the one I'm using now are wearing out so I think it's time to be replaced. I'm torn right now on what I want. Part of me wants something fun and similar to the Lilly tote I'm currently using, and then part of me wants something more grownup in a neutral hue I'll use for years to come. Or maybe I'll go with something in-between like a Longchamp or Jon Hart tote.

PS: The reason I didn't receive any of those gifts that Christmas when I was six was because I received them all a month and a half later as big sister gifts when my baby sister was born. I wasn't too excited about having another sibling and my parents thought if the new baby gave me these gifts I'd like her more.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Should I buy them a gift? A guide to deciding who I actually need to buy for

With the biggest shopping holiday just days away gift guides are everywhere. Now I'm not going to knock on bloggers posting gift guides because I plan to share some too this season. But let's all be honest with ourselves and admit that it's gotten a little out of control. There is lots of money to be made during the holidays, and props to the people who hustle and make that money, but if we aren't careful there's a lot of money to be wasted during the holidays as well. For the past few years I've used this guide to deciding who I actually need to buy for and it has helped cut my costs. Here are my four questions for asking yourself "should I buy them a gift?"

1. Will this person buy you a gift?
I always feel so awkward when someone buys me a gift and I don't have one to give in return. You may not care at all. I always like to have a few small gifts on hand during the holidays for the person that I didn't expect to get me something and then did. Trying to think of who'll buy me a gift and getting something with them in mind makes me feel like I'm getting a jump on my shopping

2. When was the last time you saw this person?
Just because you don't see each other every day doesn't mean you shouldn't buy them a gift, but you also shouldn't buy someone a gift just because you see them everyday. Are they the person that overtime you are together it's like no time has passed, or are they that friend from high school you secretly hope not the run into while you're home for the holiday.

3. Will a gift be meaningful to this person?
Some people love gifts, some not so much. Some people would enjoy a thoughtful card with a handwritten note more than whatever you're going to buy them from Nordstrom. Some people love nothing more than unwrapping a gift.

4. Do you actually like this person?
This should be the obvious no brainer question, but sometimes I think we forget to ask ourselves this. Simply put, if you don't like someone, don't buy them a gift.

There's no magic formula to deciding if you should buy them a gift. I wish this were as simple as an old Seventeen Magazine quiz where a certain number of yes answers meant one thing a certain amount of no answers meant another. These are more questions to make you pause before you buy hit purchase on something from every gift guide you'll see this season.

How do you decide whom to buy for?

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Friday, November 18, 2016

what I did on my first trip to vegas

A few posts back I shared my tips for your first las vegas trip, but I realized after hitting publish that I didn't really share what I actually did on my trip. So today I'm going to share what I did, the good and the bad. There is so much to see and do in Vegas there just isn't a way to do it all in one trip, so hopefully my reviews will help you decide what to do on your next trip. This is in no particular order

Brunch at the Flamingo - The Flamingo does a $20 bottomless mimosa brunch, and well you get what you pay for. The food selection was small and the service was slow. But this was the cheapest meal of the trip. While I probably wouldn't recommend the brunch, the actual flamingo habitat is a must see.

Monte Carlo - This is where we decided to stay because the rooms were cheap and they have a lazy river pool. We ended up not using the pool because there was so much else to do we just didn't get to it. Overall we had a good experience; the staff was great, but the decor was dated. They're going through a revamp that should help with the dated factor. While they're on the Strip they are bit far down and I think I'd prefer to stay more in the action next time.

Frontier Airline - This was my first time to fly Frontier, and I'll be honest I was really nervous. All you hear are bad experiences but mine was really pleasant. The flight from Denver to Vegas is super short, it actually took us more time to get to the Denver airport than we were in the air, so that might have been part of if. Because it was a short trip I was able to fit everything in a personal item sized backpack and brought my own drink onto the plane. The staff was all nice and I lucked out and got randomly assigned to a window seat each time. Bottom line, it was well worth the $60 I spend and I would fly Frontier again.

Julian Serrano - This tapas spot inside the Aria was a recommendation from our concierge. It was a bit pricey, but tapas always are, but so so delicious. The stuffed dates were the best thing I ate on the trip.

Piece of Me - Britney was my favorite part of the entire trip and well worth the price. It was super high energy and she sang all her classics and danced the whole time. Plus you can buy a frozen drink in a take home cup.

Mesa Grill - So many people recommended Bobby Flay's restaurant that we knew we had to go. We went for lunch on our last day and I'm so glad we did! The food was great; our food was delicious and every plate that got put down on tables around us looked delicious too. Also the portions were surprisingly large, but make sure you save room for dessert!

Sprinkles ATM - Whomever decided to add this to the Strip is a pure gift from God to the drunk people. I don't want to be overdramatic, but my chai latte cupcake saved my life that first night. My feet hurt and I was drunk but that cupcake made me feel 100% again.

Bellagio Fountains - I thought these were slightly overrated, but they're iconic and you have to see them. We stopped during the day and at night and they were more fun at night for sure. I really enjoyed the elaborate flower displays inside the hotel more.

Things I want to do on my next trip:
Beatles Love Cirque show
Fremont Street
High Roller

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Monday, November 14, 2016

five ways to have a better day

I think we can all agree this last week has been a little rough. Maybe your candidate lost last week, or your team was crushed this weekend, or you broke up with your boyfriend two weeks ago and he got a puppy the next day. Oh just me on that last one? Or maybe you're just having a serious case of the Mondays. Regardless of the reason I think we're all in need of a little good ole fashion cheer up. Once you've decided you've had your share of pity party shower cries here are five ways to have a better day!

1. Buy yourself something - It seems silly but getting a gift, even from yourself, is sure to put a smile on your face. Back in college when I was having a tough week I'd go to our local pharmacy grab a cup of white chocolate with brownie bites TCBY and a bottle of my favorite nail polish. These fun fuzzy socks, this pineapple candle, or the best gummy bears ever are all great inexpensive choices to use as a treat yourself.

2. Call your mom - Maybe it's just me, but talking to my mom always makes me feel like I'm 8 years old again and all my problems in the world are gone. It doesn't have to be your mom, maybe it's a sister or your old college roommate, but everyone has that person who helps make them feel at ease.

3. Go outside - I don't know how it is where you live, but it simply beautiful here in Vail. We're having unseasonably warm weather, which isn't great for the ski forecast, but makes any time outside the best time of day. Fresh air always does me good.

4. Watch a favorite movie - Or go on a Netflix binge watch session. The point is just to get your mind off of whatever is making you sad or anxious. Watching someone's fictional life always helps take my mind off of my actual life.

5. Take a nap - My motto in life is when in doubt, take a nap.

What is your favorite way to have a better day?

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Monday, November 7, 2016

4 things to binge watch on Netflix

I had three days off work last week and decided to have a Netflix binge watching day. I recently purchased a new Smart TV for my room, a big upgrade from the one I was watching from freshmen dorm life, so this was the perfect way to break it in. I wanted to share a few of my current favorite Netflix picks incase you're in need of a good binge watch day too.

1. Master of None - Aziz Ansari's show is so perfect I watched every episode in one sitting. It's funny and real at the same time, making for enjoyable yet relatable viewing.

2. Grace and Frankie - I watched this one based on a friend's recommendation and I'm glad I did. It took a few episodes before I really got into it, but now I'd recommend it to anyone.

3. Gilmore Girls - If you haven't already started watching in anticipation for the new episodes you better get to it. Gilmore Girls is the perfect silly, feel good binge watch.

4. The Crown - I usually am months behind on Netflix trends, but y'all The Crown is so good. It's the most deep of these, but I promise you'll be hooked from the start.

I wish Netflix had these shows, but until then these are a good alternative. What are you binge watching on Netflix?

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