Small Business Saturday

I want to start writing a little more about other people, and how we can do our part helping from home, if at all possible. I set up a few interviews with nurses — friends and strangers alike — to tell us about what it’s like in the COVID units, but today I want to write about some small businesses worth supporting. It’s been surprisingly difficult for me to find places to support, as I think a lot of them aren’t circulating on social media platforms as much as they could be.

visa

Barrel Oak Winery
While other businesses pushed to stay open and keep selling their products no matter what, Barrel Oak Winery quietly closed and said that their customer’s health was their number one priority. I absolutely love a company that genuinely cares about its customers, and this winery is particularly amazing because of the love they have for dogs! It’s my favorite winery in Virginia because of all the pups you get to meet when you go to the winery. They’re currently offering free shipping and some pretty good discounts when you buy in bulk. Check out their website today to stock up for the coming weeks of quarantine.

Buskey Cider
This is one of the first places I found strictly from social media. I had been looking for a place to get a few nice summer drinks from, and Busky Cider looked promising, as they had fun flavors of hard cider like tart cherry and peach iced tea. They were super accommodating with delivery, and very friendly and appreciative of business when I called them to set something up. I later learned that they had so much business in my area that they were going to make regular trips back, which is fantastic. If you live somewhere in Virginia, check out their schedule and they are probably delivering near you at some point. They’re really hustling and deserve some good business!

Grocery Delivery
Notice how I didn’t put a company name here? I have found some people on Facebook who have done grocery runs for me, or referred them to friends and family. This is fantastic because the individual gets to keep 100% of the profit, plus the tip. It’s a difficult time for everyone, particularly people who’s livelihood has been affected, so this is a great way to really reward someone for their hard work. I also have looked into it, and it seems like certain big retailers have stepped up during this time to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, and companies like Walmart are offering good benefits to working during the pandemic. If you use these services, just be sure to tip the best you are able. People who are working out right now deserve hazard pay, and we can provide that by offering generous tips.

All Good Things
I am obsessed with letter writing, journaling, gift giving, and everything of the like. This is the cutest website I found that opened in July 2017. It’s normally open for business in Dallas, TX, but in the meantime you can shop online and follow them on Instagram for some really fun, creative posts.

Pronto
The sisters who created Pronto opened shop in January, and have been still selling online throughout the pandemic. In short, their work does print, ship, design, social, and event branding. Their Instagram is bright and cheery, and offers a little taste of what they do in their feed.


Finally, I know some really fantastic girls who own their own boutiques. If you’re feeling like you want to dress up a little more — or find cute, comfortable loungewear — during these quarantine times, check out each of these and support a small business to update your wardrobe.

August Bay
August Bay is currently having a sale, giving 25% off cozy clothing items that are perfect for relaxing indoors while staying cute. I’ve been conflicted some days of wanting to feel cute and be comfortable, and cute sweats are a perfect marriage of the two. August Bay offers free shipping and returns for all purchases, so there’s no harm in shopping up a storm on their website.

Clothed in Strength
Clothed in Strength is the cutest etsy shop around. From inspirational phrases to Christian messages, these tees are well-made and affordable. There is currently a 15% off discount on the site, too!

Ever Row
Ever Row was created and owned by sisters, and gives the best summer vibes on my Insta feed. It actually usually has 2 stores in South Carolina, so it’s really important to shop online until they’re able to get back to selling things like usual. Right now there’s free shipping on any order. The site is super easy to navigate and fun to shop through.

Mini and Mine
This is the CUTEST site for mommy daughter matching outfits. Mini and Mine was actually started back in February, right before all the COVID-19 stuff started escalating in the United States. It’s a monthly subscription service — that you can start and cancel at any time — that sends you a set of matching tees for your child and you to wear together. It’s such a fun idea, particularly for quarantine pictures in the coming months. Follow their Instagram page to see the last couple of sets — and some pretty cute mother daughter duos.

The ML Edit
The homepage says, “Cabin Fever: shop the chilly day essentials,” which feels perfect for this crisp April day. Check out the company’s Instagram feed for a good feel on what their vibe is, and feel good about your purchases, knowing you’re supporting someone’s livelihood.

Money Can’t Buy Love

But it sure can show love!

The first Love Language I want to touch on is “gift giving” because although it seems incredibly simple and is arguably the “easiest” of the five, anyone with this as a top LL will tell you otherwise. It’s not at all materialistic or about the amount of money you spend. Gift giving as a love language is never about money; it’s all about the time you put into thinking about your partner for picking out something you know they’ll love.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.01.48 PM.png

I would definitely argue that nurture plays a large role in developing your Love Language as an adult. Ever since I was teeny tiny my mom has always loved surprising me with little goodies and treats. When I was a kid I would sometimes crawl into bed at night and feel something fuzzy against my feet. I peeled back the covers to find a little stuffed animal with a note attached, telling me that I was special and incredibly loved.

When I reached high school she still loved me this way and often left little cookies and notes scattered in the kitchen for me to find when I got home from cross country practice. I still have some of those cards to this day, and I have a really hard time throwing away letters because they are one of the most special things to me.

Even at 26 I will sometimes come home to find a little tube of lipstick or another fun cruelty-free beauty item on my bed. It makes my day every time, and the notes always give me a smile and my heart joy, too. Just knowing someone is thinking about you when you are away is a really special feeling.

Since I feel well-versed in gift giving, I wanted to come up with a little list to help people who might not be fluent in this love language yet. Just because one of the LL’s isn’t important to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t to your partner! It’s great taking this quiz and knowing your significant other’s results, as it can be hard to use LL’s that feel foreign to you. Working on speaking your partner’s language, though, can be a really rewarding task. I highly recommend reading the 5 Love Languages book if you haven’t! It teaches how to love on a whole new level.

Ideas for Guys to implement this LL:

  • Flowers. This is the answer to so many of life’s relationship problems. If you get in a fight flowers are great to say you’re sorry, but they’re also amazing for anniversaries, birthdays, sick days, and even “just because.” When gift giving was my top love language I used to always say that someone could go outside and pick me a bouquet of dandelion weeds and I would still find the gesture incredibly sweet. As I said before, it’s not the price sticker on the bouquet that we find so charming, rather it’s the sentiment that goes behind the gift that really matters.
  • Bring her favorite dessert home. This is one of the most underrated things, but I’m going to give my mom props in this post for always bringing me a new dark chocolate bar to try. She keeps my “chocolate drawer” (Yes, this is a thing in my household) stocked with my favorite Trader Joe’s 73% dark chocolate, and often brings home little treats from trips to the grocery store or when she goes to the neighboring town that holds the best gluten-free cupcakes around. The chocolate is great, and it always makes my heart so happy that she thinks of me even when I’m not around.
  • As a special treat girls love jewelry, but we know it’s expensive. Robert happens to be the best guy I’ve ever known about picking out beautiful jewelry. I’m always wearing something that he gave me, and it makes me smile and think of him when he’s not around. When we first started dating I wondered if this was Robert’s LL, as he always seemed to have a new little present for me. Two favorite stories come to mind with Robert. First, was a journal he bought and gave to me on our fourth date. It was a really beautiful leather journal — the kind I had always dreamed about getting, but could never justify buying for myself. I wrote in it the entire time he was deployed, and I just recently finished the last page. The second was actually a really goofy gift. I told Robert about someone calling me a mean name on my blog when I first started writing it, so he got me a book called, “Insults And Comebacks: Lines for All Occasions,” and told me to flip through it the next time someone got nasty with me. I’ve never actually used it for that purpose, but it made me laugh and cheered me up — and prepared me for the very few nasty comments I got during the Tom Brady YouTube video going around (Listen, I’m sorry I don’t watch football and had no idea I was “interrupting playoff season — I was just trying to do something nice for someone I love!). I still keep this book on my desk as a reminder that I am loved by the people who truly know my heart, and to write about things that scare me, even if I know everyone won’t be a fan. I’m still working on that.
  • Leave a sweet note on her pillow. This melts any girl’s heart, and whether she goes to sleep before or after you, it’s great to fall asleep with a smile on your face or wake up to a bright “good morning” from a loved one.
Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.00.34 PM.png
My dad recently got my mom the most beautiful bouquet of red roses for their 30th anniversary. This made my heart so happy, especially when I heard that he actually went into DC to find the best florist around, and asked for a specially made bouquet.


Ideas for Girls to implement this LL:

Since I feel very familiar with gift giving as one of my love languages, I’m going to use all personal examples. Please feel free to sound off other ideas in the comments! I am always looking for new ways to love, and would appreciate your tips.

  • “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” There is a reason this is such a popular idiom that is thrown around — because it’s so true! I am going to make a massive generalization and say that 95% of men love to eat. Bringing him his favorite dinner, surprising him with a treat, or packing a Snickers or Almond Joy (Yuck! That’s Robert’s favorite and I always feel funny buying it; I wish we were friends when we were younger, as he would have been the best person to trade candy with after a giant Halloween haul… “Here, I’ll trade you all my Almond Joys for your Peanut M&Ms and Junior Mints!”) in his lunch is a fantastically simple way to show him he’s on your mind. Add a note for extra sweetness!
  • Guys are so darn hard to shop for — at least the men in my life are — because they seem to buy the things they want. Pay close attention to what might be old or worn. I gave Robert a gift from Tom Brady and the Patriots on his 30th birthday this year (Oh gosh, I need to tell this story soon! I can’t believe I keep forgetting), but it was so darn hard to figure out what I wanted to buy him this year. I treated him to dinner and gave him a present 4 months late because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find anything that screamed “Robert” to me. I ended up realizing the answer was right in front of me when he pulled out his worn leather wallet to pay for a toll to Boston. In that moment I smiled widely and decided that I needed to get him a nice new leather wallet. Not only would he think of me because he would see it every day, but he deserved to have nice things that were used as often as a wallet. I think this is hilariously enough one of the proudest presents I have purchased, as it took me such a long time to come up with it.
  • An experience can be a great gift to give a guy who is difficult to shop for. Whether it’s tickets to a football game or concert or an impromptu date night, he’ll be excited that you took the time to come up for a special day just for him. This is a great gift for guys who really value quality time as another love language.
  • Jerseys, event tickets, and video games are all nice presents, but they can be expensive to do on a really regular basis. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, get creative and make little surprises that he’ll love. Whether you go back to my #1 tip about food and decide to bake his favorite food or put together a nice picture frame for his room, you can always get creative with your presents.

For girls and guys:

Let’s mix 2 love languages and add a pinch of “Words of Affirmation” to gift giving. Cards and letters are incredible everyday gifts, as they hold a little piece of someone’s heart inside. I have an enormous box next to my bed that holds some of the most special letters I’ve received from friends, family, and Robert. I call this box my “happy box,” and will sit on the floor and read a handful when I’m feeling lost, sad, or just want to smile a little before bed. Several of the letters have become worn from use, but they are some of my most prized possessions. Each card couldn’t have cost more than $5, but the words painted on the page are what really hold value for me. This is the perfect example of gift giving not being about the money spent, rather the thought put into the gift that really matters.

Lastly, pay attention to the things your significant other loves. This is the easiest way to choose a gift, whether it’s a food or drink or a gift from their favorite store. People who have gift giving as a primary love language don’t care so much about the item you give to them as they do about the thought you put into the present. Instead of spending a lot of money on something just for the heck of it, feel free to choose several small tokens of love to spread out through the month. Giving to your loved ones won’t just make them happy, but I find that giving the perfect present makes my heart even more joyful than receiving things.


This is my first post about The Five Love Languages cheat sheet. Come back tomorrow for tips on using another LL. 🙂

FabFitFun Unboxing Video

I am finally starting to feel a bit better. I was really sick all last week, and although I am still in the middle of recovering (POTS makes it a real “B” to heal after anything even remotely shakes my health), I am at least able to get out of bed and walk around some now.

Today I have a little YouTube video to share with y’all! I got my FabFitFun box and wanted to open it on camera to show everything inside the spring box. I’m still getting used to being on camera (And have no idea how to edit anything — help!), so any and all advice is appreciated. 🙂

Overall I really liked this box — possibly even better than the “Editor’s Box” I got last time — and I’m already obsessed with some of the makeup I got in it. I’ll be writing reviews on that in the near future.

I hope y’all have a great Monday, and thanks for watching!


*I should note, though, that I made a mistake and it’s actually not $40/month, rather it’s $50/box, which is every three months or so. With my coupon code it is $40 for your first box, though, so make sure to utilize that if you want to try it out!

Cyber Monday Shopping Tips

I love a good deal. Having a chronic illness is expensive — especially since it doesn’t give me enough time (Or energy. Or strength.) to have a real job. My catch 22 to this is that I absolutely love buying people presents.

I’ve found a few great money saving hacks for my fellow college and grad students, high schoolers, and whoever likes to save a little money. I figure even if I was rich I would try to save money here and there, as that leaves more to donate or have to spend on little treats that I don’t need!

First, let’s talk cashback. Cashback websites are all about paying you to shop. Yes, that sounds too good to be true, but no, it’s not sketchy. Here’s the lowdown: stores pay these companies to advertise. These companies keep part of that money, and pay you the other part. This kind of advertising actually works really well because even I’ve found myself going to sites that are offering a special cashback deal to see if there’s anything worth spending money on. Here are my favorite sites (And if you decide to sign up, use my links, as we each get bonus sign-ups for the referral!):

Top Cashback: This website is almost always the best one for cashback percentages. They’ll give you money into a Paypal account, Amazon gift card, or American Express rewards card. I usually use the Paypal option, as I just use it again for other online purchases.

Ebates: This website offers great referral bonuses, and they send you a check in the mail instead of the options Top Cashback uses, and often offers bonus offers along with the cashback (Such as a $5 or $15 incentive to shop at a specific store).

Who Should Use These Sites?
Just about anyone who does a decent amount of shopping online or if you’re purchasing something big like a computer, an iPhone, or a television! The purchases really add up, and the way I see it, these checks I get back can go into the “TREAT YO SELF” shopping fund.

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 5.27.40 PM.png
This picture kind of cracked me up because of how hard they tried to hide the numbers on this terrible looking credit card, haha!

Moving on.

Rewards and Subscriptions and Shipping — Oh my!

As I’ve mentioned before, I love giving presents… But I also love getting them, too! There are a few places I really love being a rewards member of, but I would encourage you to ask about any of your frequented shops having a program you could join.

Let’s talk Sephora. Ahh, how I love makeup. I have very high expectations for Sephora’s cyber Monday sale, despite them hardly doing anything for Black Friday (Online at least!). If you plan on shopping at Sephora more than twice this year, you have to join their Flash 2 day shipping. This is such a great secret on their website, and I don’t know how it isn’t really the talk of the town. Basically you pay $10 for free 2 day shipping for a year. A YEAR!!! Like, how could I not sign up?! I have purchased things as little as an eyeliner and gotten it shipped to my house quickly with the free samples they let you choose with any purchase. It’s seriously so amazing. This is the main reason I choose Sephora over Ulta now.

I’m not done with our Sephora conversation, though. Join their beauty rewards program ASAP! Not only do you earn free products, but you also get a gift on your birthday… And they’re usually really nice! This year I believe I will get a Marc Jacobs lipstick and eyeliner. I’m excited to try them out since his makeup is cruelty-free! My birthday is December 3rd, so I’ll definitely be back to talk about that if I love it.

Ulta does have a great rewards program too, as I feel like I’m always getting coupons in the mail. Sign up with the link above or in stores, and they will also give you a birthday gift during the month of your special day. This year I’ll be getting an Urban Decay eyeshadow, which is also a cruelty-free brand… Hooray!

FabFitFun is a new favorite subscription box of mine. I have some exciting news regarding this, but I’ll be sharing that a little bit down the road. Use this referral link to get $10 off your first box (so it is only $39.99), which is going to be kind of amazing. The thing I am most excited about is the Modcloth blanket scarf, which is going to be great to have all winter long. Robert’s family lives up in Massachusetts where it is absolutely freezing (though he assures me it’s “only a few degrees” colder than DC. A few degrees in the winter make all the difference!), so I’m definitely stocking up on some warm clothes for my visit this winter.

fabfitfun.jpg
Everyone will get a blanket scarf, necklace, and mug, along with a bunch of other full-sized products!

Not so into makeup or girly subscription boxes? A billion other places have reward programs, but I figured I would just touch on another favorite of mine — Starbucks! I love their mobile app, and get rewarded for all of my purchases. Not only do you get free coffee just for drinking coffee (Or peppermint hot chocolate if you’re a kid at heart like me), but you also get a free birthday drink and random deals Starbucks decides to send your way.

Lastly, my friend Robin has a company that works to help animals in need. She’s offering $5 off your purchase of $30 or more today only, so check out her website here! My favorite item is definitely the anchor toy for pups.

That’s all I’ll touch on today, as I feel like I kind of rambled, but these are some of my very favorite sites I use all the time. Feel free to let me know about others in the comments, or ask any specific questions and I’ll do my best to answer! 🙂