I had already written out nearly all of this post before today, so coming back to add this introduction feels…weird. One of our cats, Pumpkin, unexpectedly passed away at 4 am yesterday morning. I won’t go into all of the details now since this is supposed to be a happy post on good things + favorite things right before the holidays, and our fur baby dying certainly isn’t that. But I wanted to share since I’ll probably be a bit not myself on Instagram and social media and the like today/this weekend/etc. Ironic, given that this week’s podcast episode is all about Loss + Heartache around the Holidays. If you’ve lost someone or something and this time of year is tougher because of it…you’re not alone. I feel you. And I saw something this morning that talked about “Christmas in Heaven” and I didn’t get farther than that without crying, but maybe all of our someones + somethings are already celebrating Christmas in Heaven together.
OK OK onto this month’s favorite things – everything from the Shutterfly photo book that I’ve gotten so many questions from readers on since first sharing, to the Spanx leather leggings dupes and great personalized gifts…
I had had a lot of hype over Abercrombie flannels but hadn’t pulled the trigger before this year. Come Black Friday, Abercrombie did a faulou 50% off everything promotion, so I snagged this one – and I think I’ve worn it 17 times since. It’s such good quality and a real flannel. Wear it by itself, layer it under a pullover sweater, pair with a cardigan, jean jacket or faux leather jacket – or wear over a black or white tee and leave it partially or totally unbuttoned. It’s a really versatile piece that works beyond just this season – although this specific color combo feels V CHRISTMAS.
I first tried this brand from a press package and was instantly impressed – it’s legit cooling + plumping to your lips but NOT drying – and for a liquid lipstick, that’s quite the combo! This shade in particular I pulled out for the season and lovelovelove that it feels seasonally apropos without being a classic red (although obvi I lovelovelove me a good red lippy – ha!). The formula is fabulous because it’s non-drying, again, and doesn’t crease or crack because it’s got Hyaluronic Acid inside (my fave) + Volulip™ for plumping and hydrating at the same time.
3.) THRIVE podcast!
The THRIVE podcast isn’t exactly new, but it’s been a favorite since its birth back in September. ICYMI, I LAUNCHED A PODCAST! Thrive was born from the idea that you (yes, you) deserve more in this life than to simply survive – you deserve to thrive. You deserve to live out loud, take control of your past, and better yourself every single day for the future. Each week brings practical, tactical tips with a mix of solo + interview episodes, ranging from cancer survivors to multi-passionate entrepreneurs and everything in between.
It’s been SO fulfilling to create podcast content each week without worrying about algorithms or stats – just to create value. Some of my personal favorite episodes thus far…
- How to Trust that God is Still Good When all Sh*t is Hitting the Fan
- Becoming Fearless & Living Life on Purpose (with Annie Spano)
- How to Leave Bad Choices Behind & Make Better Ones Today
- What to do when your Career doesn’t go as planned (+ How to pivot to something unconventional)
- 12 Practical Tips for Becoming a Better, More Confident Negotiator
If you’ve tuned in + loveloveloved what you’ve heard, would you consider giving THRIVE 5-stars and/or a written review? iTunes REALLY places value on that so it’s so incredibly helpful every single time one of you drops yo’ thoughts! I APPRECIATE IT.
Also, here’s THRIVE on Spotify if you’re not an iTunes fan!
I finally bit the bullet and got hand-tied extensions last month! I went to my girl Mary + her biz partner Cara at Mane Techniques. I’m SO proud of my girlfriend, Mary – she’s an absolutely *incredible* stylist and has been doing this for years, rose to the top of her previous salon as basically a prodigy, and now just recently opened up her own place with Cara! They’re hand-tied extensions AND color specialists. I had been mulling over extensions for a hot sec ever since suffering from postpartum hair loss pretty extensively. A WHOLE extensive extensions blog post to come in early January (stay tuned!), but for now just wanted to include as a favorite because I feel like a new woman with a voluminous head of hair! I did a lot of research on extensions before going with hand-tieds because I’ve heard horror stories – and the goal was to end up with MORE hair, not less from damage post-extensions. Hand-tieds have the best reputation from what I’ve seen/heard, so stay tuned for more thoughts – for now, total favorite! For my local girls, make SURE you hit up Mary + Cara at Mane Techniques for yours!
I’ve always been a BIG BIG fan of Dr. Scholl’s – they’re one of my all-time FAVORITE shoe brands. It’s funny, because most folks might associate Dr. Scholl’s with nursing homes…but girl, these ain’t yo’ grandma’s shoes. These booties are my latest obsession for the season; the sherpa-lining is so cute, and they’re waterproof! The two have just been on repeat back-and-forth depending on the rest of the respective outfit (whether or not flats or heels is best). They’re just SO comfortable; I own maybe 10 pairs of Dr. Scholl’s at this point and they ALL have that in common. So they’re truly perfect for all-day wear.
This is the newest addition to our bookshelves! And they quickly became a bestseller with y’all, too, which I was so happy to see since it helps support a small shop! How great of a gift do these make, too?? Especially if you’ve got expecting girlfriends or new mamas on your shopping list. She also makes them with pet names + pawprints so every member of the fam is accounted for!
You’ve probably heard me rave a time or two about Spanx faux leather leggings – for good reason. They’re truly FABULOUS. Yes, they’re a splurge being nearly $100 for a pair. BUT.
They’re really worth every penny. And you guys know if I say that I truly mean it because a.) only #RealTalk from me and b.) I share affordable clothes constantly…so if clothes from Walmart and $26 sweaters from Amazon and $21 dresses (Code ERICA15 for 15% off of that, too!). They’re legit WARM – warmer than jeans. They suck ya in like any good pair of SPANX should, and they uplevel any outfit that would otherwise call for black leggings – without looking or feeling basic. Ive raved about them so much it caught me off gaurd when I realized I don’t think I’ve actually included them in a Monthly Favorites roundup before – ha! They’re just a no-brainer fave in my book. 😉 And Katie’s too, because she bought a pair this season and now swears by ’em, too!
I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered the rumored dupes that are often on sale for under $30 – seemed to ogood to be true, quite frankly. BUT – they’re also fabulous. They’re not EXACT – they’ve got a bit more “crackle” effect than the real Spanx -but they fit + feel nearly identical.
They’re sold out online right now, understandably so – so just stay tuned + check back since I’ll let you know at the first sign of restock!
I recently picked up this palette and have loveloveloved for everyday wear. I typically reach for shimmery neutrals for everyday and layer them accordingly, so this palette is really versatile for that – but can also be darkened and smoked up for a smoky eye on a night out. The pigment is great and lasts all day, and it’s just a really quality palette. 5-star reviews and a fan fave – for good reason!
I saw this granola recommended by quite a few of my girlfriends on Isntagram so tried a few bags – and holy cow, your girl is hooked. I picked up abag of Birthday Cake to start because I’d heard SUCH GOOD THINGS and wow – talk about delish.
Safe + Fair is wild, too, because you can shop by allergy type and/or diet (kosher, gluten-free, etc) for your snacks. Everything they make is free of a laundry list of allergens and tastes just so good. After Birthday Cake I picked up a Holiday Bundle: Gingerbread Cookie + Chocolate Candy Cane. Both also fabulous. So THEN come Black Friday, I took advantage of the deal they had and got a big bundle pack that also had the Honeycrisp Apple because word on the street was that it was the best. And y’all – ALL SO GOOD. I ended up stocking up as gifts for Christmas, too, because they’re great for snacking solo or for adding onto yogurt, etc.
Besides granola, they also have chips that are sortof like a pea chip? Then kids snack mixes and baking mixes, too. Heads up – there are a ton of discount codes circling the web, too. I use an Chrome extension called Honey to help find the best deals + discount codes on things at checkout and with every purchase it got me about a 20% discount, which is better than the codes circling Instagram, so I’d recommend adding that extension and seeing what deal you can score!
If you’ve been following along for awhile, these are no surprise. I’ve been using Shutterfly for YEARS (I even got to work with them a few years back – dream project!) and I continue to use them because the Shutterfly photo book I make each year is both mine + J’s FAVORITE gift for Christmas. I make one for J to round up our year together, writing out little “Remember when…” notes to commemorate dates + fun times together through the year. It’s the best way to remember the little things, too, and not just “bigger” moments. One of the first things we did the morning Pumpkin passed away was pull out our Shutterfly photo book from each year to look at her page, since I had documented from the day we brought her home onwards. They’re our favorite way to walk down memory lane and we both are OBSESSED.
I’ve recommended them specifically in Gift Guides this year, too, but wanted to note here now since this year’s book is my best work yet and will be gifted Wednesday morning – CAN’T WAIT. 😉
HAVE YOU TRIED ANY OF MY MONTHLY FAVORITES YET?
And what have been YOUR Monthly Favorites? Would lovelovelove to know!
P.S. ICYMI and wanna get caught up on or last month’s favorites, just click here!