Christmas Gift Guide: Ideas for Everyone on Your List

What if I told you I did all of your Christmas shopping for you?  Technically I didn’t buy them all for you, but this gift guide will provide that same feeling of relief!

It’s that magical, joyful, cozy time of year again, which also means the dreaded Christmas present search.  While the holidays are supposed to be the ‘most wonderful’ time of the year, the stress of fighting crowds of people at the mall, or spending hours online to find the perfect present can leave you feeling less than jolly.

I am one of those people that love giving gifts more than receiving them, and I happen to be a pretty good gift giver.  I typically spend HOURS searching for the perfect gifts for the people in my life, and I’ve compiled a list so you don’t have to.  downloadWhether you’re searching for your mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, I’ve got you covered!  (Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for even more of a variety of budget friendly and unique gift ideas I snuck in at the end.) 

Gifts for Parents-

For the crafty parent– Cricut is a VERY popular item this year!  It’s a DIY dream come true that can personalize home décor, customize clothes, and so much more!Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 5.23.50 PM

Where to Buy: http://amzn.to/2k7AVUJ

 

 

 

For the parent in need of some Zen– Ultrasonic Aromatheraphy Diffuser.  I own this diffuser and it’s the best!  It has a natural looking, earthy, wood element to it, and is so quiet when it’s diffusing.  You can also choose between 7 adjustable LED lights.Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 5.36.08 PM

Where to Buy: http://amzn.to/2j7j9jw

 

 

For the wine loving parent– Coravin Wine Preservation System hands down!  With Coravin you can have a glass of wine, without ever removing the cork!  It uses a special needle that inserts into the cork, so it preserves the quality and longevity of the wine.

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2AIvFx5

For the traveling parent– Samsonite Silhouette Sphere Spinner Suitcase.  I recently got these as a wedding present, and they are the best luggage I have EVER owned.  The handles have this really soft padding, they glide with ease, and they don’t topple over if you over pack them (which I ALWAYS do).Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 5.34.08 PM

Where to Buy: http://amzn.to/2kEWMSP

Gifts For Your Significant Other-

For the romantic partner– A weekend getaway to somewhere local (4 hours max).  Nothing is more fun than getting away together to spend some quality time.  Pick somewhere quiet and secluded, and for bonus points- pack their bag and don’t tell them where you’re going, keep it a surprise!

For the pampered partner- Spa Products.  There is nothing I love more than a good bubble bath, face mask, or luxurious spa gift set!  Here are some of my favorites that will be a guaranteed hit!

Lush Bath Bombs- https://www.lushusa.com/bath/bath-bombs/

Fresh Brown Sugar Bath & Shower Gel  http://bit.ly/2jaL9CI

Caudalie Divine Oil http://bit.ly/2kEYpQr

Arcona Hydrating Wine Mask http://bit.ly/2k7D7eV

For the sentimental partner- Take one of those cork boards that you hang on the wall, and decorate it with pictures, movie tickets, memories of places you’ve been, etc.  It’s an inexpensive sweet way to commemorate your relationship.

For the active/sporty partner– A Fitbit.  Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a Fitbit….(totally kidding), but I do know that for an active person these are gold!  They track your steps, count calories, and keep you on track for your fitness goals.

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2CtB0ZQ

Gifts for The Kids In Your Family-

Fingerlings- These are the breakout toy of this year!  I don’t even have children and it’s all I hear about.  If you’re lucky enough to score one in time for Christmas, you will hit the jackpot of that child’s excitement!Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 5.56.42 PM

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2AL5WnH

Easy Bake Oven- Remember having one of these growing up?  Well, they’re still a hit!  I got it for my niece this year and can’t wait to see her reaction.

Where to Buy: http://amzn.to/2Cs2zTe

Laser Tag- This is what I got my nephew for Christmas this year, and I think he will be SO excited about it!!  It comes as a 2 player game but you can buy extensions if you want to add players.

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2Bo7Ewk

Gifts for Your Other Family Members + Friends:

Amazon Gift Cards

Voluspa Candle Set (these are so pretty)

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2kGQ0MG

Record Player

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2jaoVkE

Amazon Alexa (I LOVE mine and feel so futuristic owning one)

Where to Buy: http://amzn.to/2CsaGir

Faux Fur Blanket

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2k7GAdj

Morphe Jaclyn Hill Palette (I still want one of these…hint hint to my husband)

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2CrMIUK

PopSockets Cell Phone Grip

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2BmzOrz

Disney X Kiehls (for the Disney lover that also loves skincare)

Where to Buy: http://bit.ly/2CJf9hH

I also recommend the gift ideas of subscription boxes (like HelloFresh), concert tickets, plane tickets (for a far away loved one), framed pictures, puppies (if you have the time to care for one), massage gift certificates, books, and more!

I hope this helps your holiday stress!

Mary Kate

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

How I Got Into Club 33….And What It’s Really Like

I recently got to dine at the ultra exclusive Club 33 at Disneyland…and it beyond surpassed my expectations.  There are is so much history and endless rumors circling this infamously secret club, but from what we were told, it was a private place that Walt Disney himself used to dine with and entertain dignitaries and VIP’s.  These days you’ll find celebrities, influential business people, and even presidents dining at “Le Grand Salon”.

I dined at Club 33 to celebrate my “west coast” bachelorette party with two of my bridesmaids.  (Side note: I am truly lucky to have some of the best friends in the entire world, who went above and beyond for my TWO bachelorette parties!…I had both an “east coast” and “west coast” bachelorette.)

Our reservation was for 6:30 pm, which gave us enough time for our 3 hour dinner (yes 3 hours and 5 courses), and it gave us time to go on rides after!  The Club 33 entrance door is right in the middle of New Orleans square. I have probably walked by that door dozens of times and never even knew it was there, which adds to the secretive nature of the club.  We rang the small buzzer next to the door, gave them the name on our reservation, and they buzzed us in.  We were there on a BUSY day in July, and NOTHING was more refreshing that walking out of the crowds and craziness into the beautiful and quiet courtyard of Club 33.  Upon entering Club 33 you’re immediately in The Court of Angels, a beautiful courtyard with peaceful waterfalls and a majestic staircase leading up into the dining room.  While we waited in The Court of Angels, the hosts brought us fresh lemon water, and offered to take a few pictures for us on the staircase, and in front of the stained glass in the courtyard.

Once it was time, we were escorted up the staircase and into the dining room, where we were offered a full tour of the Club.  The upstairs host even offered to let me sign the guestbook, which was strangely exciting.

IMG_3877
Signing the guestbook.

After signing the guestbook, they brought us to our table which was beautifully decorated and adorned with the “33” logo.  Once seated, we began to look over the cocktail list; Club 33 is the ONLY place in Disneyland that serves alcohol, so we each ordered a Moscow Mule.

With cocktails in hand, we began to make our menu selections for all five courses.  Each course was served with butlers that surround your table and simultaneously place each item down at the same time.  I’m sorry to say that I lost track of each course that I tried, but I will say that the ambiance, food, and presentation all lived up to Club 33’s five star rating.

IMG_3879

One of my favorite little touches was in between a few of the courses, our server brought me a few little presents because I was celebrating my bachelorette party.  The first was a “Happily Ever After” pin that Disney Parks had discontinued years ago.  He had no idea that I had actually tried to find this pin when I first got engaged, and was told they no longer make it.  It must have been a little Disney magic at work….along with some Club 33 influence.  The next was a beautiful Club 33 card adorned with a navy ribbon and the inside of the card was signed by all the staff working that night.  The last present was a bag of assorted macaroons with a little ribbon on it;  I am not normally a macaroon person, but these happen to be the best I’ve ever tried.  They also put a “Congratulations” chocolate emblem on top of my last dessert course which was a sweet touch!

On to my absolute FAVORITE part of the night- right as we got our dessert course, we heard the beginning of Fantasmic starting and were able to watch the entire show from our private balcony with a glass of wine in hand.  We had the whole balcony to ourselves, and were high above all the crowds and chaos below…and the wine didn’t hurt either.  THAT to me was the definition of exclusivity, and being able to have that moment with two of my best friends is an unforgettable experience.  I now understand, and can (somewhat) justify that $25,000 price tag to join and $10,000 a year after, along with the 15 year waitlist.

At the end of our dinner and our private Fantasmic viewing, my friend bought us some beautiful Club 33 shot glasses in the lobby.  Because we were going to be staying at the park and going on rides, Club 33 packaged them up and had them sent to the park exit so we wouldn’t have to carry them around all night. Club 33 merchandise can ONLY be purchased from the actual club.  You can’t get Club 33 items anywhere else, so I’m glad I was able to take home a little piece home with me.

A few last things to mention, don’t forget to check out the bathroom.  It is decorated SO beautifully, and there is an amazing lounge chair that you need to try out for yourself.

IMG_3885
Lounge chair in the bathroom!

There are also miniature mouthwashes and paper towels with the 33 emblem.  Take lots of pictures…it is nearly impossible to capture all the details, but having pictures helps!  Last tip is let them know if you’re celebrating something, they truly go over the top to help you celebrate.

Club 33 is more than just a restaurant, it’s an unforgettable experience that I hope you get to try out for yourself!

xoxo Mary Kate

 

Budget Friendly Wedding Invitations

When it comes to weddings, whatever you had in your mind as a “budget”, just multiply that by 4, and then add a few more zeros. That is one realization I have been having as I plan my upcoming wedding. Because your wedding is one of the MOST important days of your life, the wedding industry knows that they can pretty much charge you whatever they want. Despite the fact that prices are exorbitant, I am not a cynical bride. I am still a fairytale, princess, ‘I’ve dreamed of this day since I was a little girl” type of bride. With that being said, the pressure was ON to find a perfect invitation without breaking the budget.

I have been told time and time again that wedding invitations set the tone and formality for your big day. I have tortured myself by doing countless hours of researching and pricing and by this point, I’ve seen it all. (You show me a wedding invitation, and I can tell you how much it cost, where you ordered it, and who designed it). Now that the invitation stage is behind me, I wanted to share with you some of the amazing sites that I used, and how it all works.

The invitations I ended up choosing were from minted.com. I had been looking at Minted for my ‘Save the Dates’, and fell in love with a lot of their designs. I love the idea that Minted supports designers from around the world, and helps gain these artists global recognition. For my ‘Save the Dates’, I ultimately ended up choosing a different website (more on that below), but I knew when it came time to ordering the invitations I would give it another shot. My mom was initially panicked at the idea of not being able to see all of the details of all the invitations in person, but I am the total opposite. Put me on the couch in pajamas with my computer and a glass of wine and I am one happy shopper! AND one of the amazing things about Minted is they send you a FREE sample kit. This is what the sample kit looks like: kit

It comes with all the different paper options, color options, sizing, RSVP cards, etc. You name it, and it’s in the kit, so that you can see everything in person. I ultimately ended up choosing a gold foil design called “opulent border”, but the “bianco” design was a very close runner up.

When I chose the “opulent border” invitations, I wanted to do completely customized wording and change the whole layout. I basically had my own one on one designer holding my hand and reworking the whole invitation for me. Each time they sent me a digital proof, I could change the font, change the wording, basically do whatever I wanted on the invitation. I think the designer and I went back and forth almost ten times to get my exact vision, but it was so easy and effortless that I would do it all over again. (Maybe that’s an exaggeration). But Minted really worked with me and made the whole process as painless as possible. They also offer free address printing on the envelopes, but I chose to hand write mine to give them a more personal touch. My only complaint is that I upgraded to have the envelopes lined with foil, and when I received my package I wasn’t aware it was a DIY project. It’s not difficult, but for a perfectionist like me, I may drive myself crazy inserting those little gold pieces into each envelope. Shipping was quick and easy, and the box came perfectly and carefully packed with bubble wrap and a hand written note from the person that packed the box. I liked that extra little touch! box

If you’re interested in trying out Minted, here is a link for you with a discount code:

Minted Wedding Stationery

Now back to my ‘Save the Dates’, for these I used the website simplytoimpress.com. A few friends had told me about this site for ‘Save the Dates’, and their prices were pretty competitive.  I ended up saving about $100 using Simply To Impress for my ‘Save the Date’s, and they turned out amazing!  They also do birth announcements, wedding invitations, birthday cards, and more!  I have a code for 25% off your order, click the link below:

Click and SAVE 25% on Wedding Announcements.

Good luck planning to all you fellow brides! Here is to one more thing checked off this list!

Xoxo

Tabata…fun word, killer workout!

john-schell-fashion-lifestyle-los-angeles-AP6V2720     A few years ago I was introduced to a workout called Tabata. It is now my nemesis and friend and it never gets easier. However despite being one of the most difficult workouts, I fell in love with it because it is short and EXTREMELY effective. Tabata goes very quickly, it’s 4 rounds of 4 minutes totaling a 16 minute workout. Sounds really easy right? The first time I tried Tabata I thought it would be a piece of cake.   Not so much.   Each of the 4 rounds is 20 seconds of total, all out, as hard as you can go, exertion, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for 16 minutes and see for yourself how quickly 10 seconds of rest feels.

Basically, your body never has a chance to fully recover, resulting in an elevated calorie expenditure and increased endurance.   There are studies that show short Tabata workouts are more effective then 60 minutes of jogging on a treadmill.   So why not shorten your workout and get better results?

My favorite way to Tabata train is to use a treadmill, but you can do it pretty much with any cardio or low impact strength training (just not with heavy weights).   As with everything see what works best for you, and try not to hate me when you’re on your second round of Tabata.

How To Get Whatever You Want…Seriously!

 

What if I told you there is a way to make anything you want a reality? It sounds really cliché and motivation poster worthy, but it’s something I’ve actually experienced and figured out and wanted to share with you. It’s way more simple than you would ever believe and I wish I had learned this at a younger age! It all comes down to three little words, manifesting, the subconscious, and belief.

My “spiritual journey” started when I was living in NYC. I became best friends with a girl who opened my eyes to Reiki, crystals, sage, and basically turned me into a glorified hippy for a while. When she first started talking about energy work, sage-ing your house, and how crystals have energy I thought she was insane.   I used to be one of those “I’ll believe it when I see it” type of people, but after the many miracles that followed I was a believer.

My friend started with baby steps by giving me the book “The Secret”, by Rhonda Bryne. As I sat on a bench in Madison Square park, halfway finished with the book, I came across a little test where you proclaim a quote by Einstein stating “the universe is a friendly place” (and you have to believe it while proclaiming). It sounded ridiculous to me, but I was trying to be open. The next two minutes shook me to my core. Out of nowhere a very obviously homeless man approached me.   My first instinct was to go to another bench because in New York you never quite know what’s going to happen when a stranger gets into your personal space. He stared at me, pulled out a perfect single rose out of his crushed, dirty bag of belongings, and handed me the rose with a smile and then walked away. WHAT….THE…..HELL?? Several people around me all saw the interaction and stared with disbelief. I sat there for a few moments trying to make sense and process that strange magical moment and then decided to walk home. Ironically in my state of awe I left my copy of the book sitting on the bench by accident. I’ve always secretly hoped that someone else was meant to find it and it would change their life too.

After witnessing a miracle like that, my friend convinced me to write a list of everything I wanted and we laid on the floor and did a mastermind manifesting session one night. We listened to guided meditations as we laid on our dirty apartment floors and looked completely ridiculous.   But guess what? Everything on that list, with the exception of one thing, is mine! That one other thing I know is coming, it just didn’t materialize as quickly as the other stuff.

So how does it work? It all has to do with your subconscious. I have read way too many books that talk about the subconscious, because it is beyond fascinating. I want go in to too much detail, but I’ll leave some book recommendations at the bottom. Your subconscious is that small voice inside, your intuition, your ability to breath and pump blood and heal wounds and countless other things that are out of your conscious control. In your conscious state you take in information and process it, but your subconscious is where the magic happens. Whatever you can convince your subconscious to believe will change your reality. To put it basically change your beliefs, change your reality.

So how can you create everything you want in your life? Everyone has their own process of how they go about creating, but I will give you a few tricks and tips and ways to get started. Start small, if you go too big too quickly you might not be able to fully believe and then you’ll start to doubt yourself and be right back where you started. Make a list of 3 things to start that you really desire and BELIEVE you can have. Meditate, get out of your conscious mind, and feed your subconscious through images and imagination. Believe it is happening and let go! Get into a state of gratitude and you’ll receive more things to be grateful for. Don’t push too hard and just enjoy the process of creating your life!

Don’t forget to check out my Youtube video on some crazy things that I have created like $6,000, flying first class, and a MacBook Pro!