Saturday, December 29, 2018

New Year, New Planner





It's hard to believe that 2019 is just a few days away.... but with a New Year comes new goals, intentions, dreams and aspirations! 

To help keep track of everything the New Year brings, I personally love to use a planner. When you write it all down, you can simply clear your head and visualize all you need to tackle and accomplish!     While many have made the move to digital planners, a paper planner is still the go-to choice for me! 

Many people are un-aware of the various benefits of using a planner.  Planners help keep you organized, assist with time management, improve productivity,  and are an excellent place to store records and help make you accountable. 

If you're looking to purchase a planner to help keep you organized in 2019, below are a few of my favourite picks from PurpleTrail.com 

With hundreds of beautifully designed planners, there is sure to be a design everyone will love! 

Purple Trail also gives you the options to select:
- Size of Planner
- Cover Type (synthetic, laminate, hard cover)
- Layout Options
- Start Date
- Personalization Option
- Optional Sticker Pack & Pocket Folder






If you would like to see more New Year's inspired blog posts or would like to know my goals and dreams for my blog Sarah Lillian in 2019, be sure to leave a comment letting me know! 



* This is a sponsored post for Purple Trail.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Last Minute Gift Ideas





Christmas is only 5 days away, how crazy is that!? If you haven't completed your Christmas shopping  yet don't worry, I have you covered! Below are a few simple last minute gift ideas that anyone on your list will love! 

For Her:
  • Scarf
  • Mittens/ Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Eye Mask
  • Slippers
  • PJ's
  • Robe
  • Purse
  • Makeup Bag
  • Sherpa Sweater
  • Perfume
  • Face Mask
  • Makeup Brushes
  • Bath Bomb
  • Bubble Bath
  • Jewelry (Ring, Bracelet, Necklace, Earrings)
  • Nail Polish 

For Him:
  • Cologne 
  • Work Gloves
  • Pocket Knife
  • Boots
  • Watch
  • Shaving Kit
  • Sunglasses 
  • Work-out Clothing
  • Tool Kit
  • Jumper Cables 
For Everyone:
  • Wireless Speaker
  • Amazon Echo Dot
  • Headphones
  • Cook Book
  • Water Bottle
  • Thermal Travel Mug
  • Throw Blanket
  • Apple Watch
  • Ipad
  • Electric Toothbrush 
  • Pop Socket
  • Board Game
  • Drone
  • Candle
  • Coffee Mug
  • Bottle of Wine
  • Gift Cards
  • Phone Charger
  • Phone Accessories 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Gift Guide: Cozy Girl




1 | 2 | 3 |
4 | 5

The Cozy Girl Gift Guide is by far my favourite gift guide to create. As a homebody, I live in all things soft, comfy, and cozy! I know I'm not alone when I say that when I get home from a long day at work the first thing I do is change into comfy clothes or PJs! Below is just a few suggestions you can get for any cozy girl in your life!


1. Pom Pom Beanie
2. Mug
3. Sherpa Pullover 
4. PJ Gift Set
5. Throw Blanket

Other Suggestions:
  • Candle
  • Fuzzy Robe
  • Slippers
  • Bubble Bath
  • Fuzzy Socks
  • Scarf
  • Hot Chocolate 
  • Tea
  • Face Mask




Tuesday, December 18, 2018

How to Prepare Your Home For Overnight Guests



Hosting guests this Holiday Season? It's important to create an inviting atmosphere that extends through the whole house. By adding a few heartfelt gestures through-out your house, your guests will have a welcoming and memorable stay.

Below are a few helpful suggestions to help prepare your home for overnight guests!

  • Add festive decor in the entryway so the holiday spirit greets them at the door.
  • Make room for their belongings on the coat-rack or in the coat closet.
  • Set out mugs so your guests can help themselves to any hot beverages.
  • Fill a basket with cozy throws and blankets for guests to keep warm.
  • Print out wifi password and put in decorative frame or letter-board.
  • Layer the bed with extra blankets or throws for the colder nights.
  • At the end of the bed, place an ottoman or bench for easy access to suitcases.
  • In the guest room provide a gift basket or tray with bottles of water, nuts, chips, candy, etc.
  • In the guest bath, put out travel size shampoo, body wash and other shower necessities.
  • Provide a pile of fresh, clean towels and facecloths.
  • If guests are doing their own loads of laundry, provide easy access to laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Eve Box




Christmas Eve Boxes are such a great idea and make for a fun, family tradition! Although growing up my family never took part in the tradition of Christmas Eve Boxes I love the idea and plan to start with my future children!

Fill the box with all the things and snacks you need to make a cozy night at home while waiting for Santa to arrive! Although Christmas Eve boxes are typically given to children, they have been much more popular for adults the last few years!

Below are a few ideas for both an adults and children's Christmas Eve Box!

Adults:
  • Festive PJ's 
  • Fuzzy Socks
  • Christmas Movie
  • Candy Canes
  • Sweets and Treats
  • Popcorn
  • Festive Mug
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Throw Blanket

Kids:
  • Festive PJ's
  • Christmas Storybook
  • Christmas Movie
  • Candy Canes
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Sweets and treats
  • Popcorn
  • Reindeer Food 
  • Nice List Certificate 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tips for Hosting The Perfect Holiday Party






  • Make a List- to create a stress-free holiday party you must live by a list! A shopping list, to-do list, or making a schedule of what needs to me made, served and prepared when. Being organized is key and you won't regret it! 
  • Keep it Clean and Tidy- Being the best holiday host doesn't mean you have to live in the world's cleanest house, if you have a messy room just close the door! Spend your time focusing on the rooms you guests will see and be spending time in!
  • Shop and Stock- Start your shopping well ahead of time! Stock you pantry with a selection of cookies, crackers, nuts and other non-perishables, this way you'll never run out of nibbles.
  • Plan and Cook Ahead- Do as much as possible ahead of time. Plan, cook, and clean, prep work is key for a successful holiday party. Make dishes ahead of time, some can even be froze and thawed at your convenience such as quiches and tarts. 
  •  For an easy presentation, use oven-to-table serve ware to help keep food warm and cut down         on multiple dishes and mess. If you're looking for super cute, festive and affordable oven-to-table dishes, I find all of mine at my local HomeSense store!
  • Don't Go Dry- Keep drinks on hand. Stock up on soda, other mixers, wine and local beer. The last thing you want to spend your party doing is fixing drinks. Set up an easy-to-make cocktail bar with pre-cut garnishes, infused vodkas, and cocktail recipes so your guests can help themselves and you can spend your time mingling and enjoying your company!
  • Hosting a large gathering of people at once? Try a buffet style dinner! This gives your guests the opportunity to serve themselves and you want have the stress of a formal sit down dinner. Tip: If using a table, pull away from the wall so there is four available sides, this will keep from lines forming, your guests will be able to enjoy their food before it gets cold and help themselves to seconds with ease.
  • Too many friends and family to host all at once? Have a casual open house so guests can drop by any time between certain hours on a specific day. This will be less stressful and give you the chance to enjoy a more one-on-one setting with your guests. Tip: Prepare and serve food that can be made well in advance. Try making lots of smaller dishes that can be easily brought out throughout the day and evening. 
  • Store a few extra gifts in a closet so you'll never be caught-off-guard when a friend or surprise guest drops by with an unexpected gift! 

I hope these few simple tricks can help you plan your perfect Holiday Party! 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Christmas Acts of Kindness


Tis the season for giving. It's sometimes easy to forget this since we are all busy shopping, wrapping baking and attending various social events. The old saying, it's better to give than receive is true.  Small acts of kindness bring untold joy to others and spreads the spirit of the holidays. You're never too old or too young to help others in your family or community and what seems like a little thing could make a huge difference is someone's life. Below is a list of acts of kindness you can serve this Christmas!


Christmas Acts of Kindness:

  • Shovel the snow off your neighbours driveway and sidewalk.
  • Be a Secret Santa for a family in need.
  • Deliver flowers to patients at the hospital.
  • Invite a lonely friend, neighbour or relative over for dinner.
  • Babysit for a single mom or dad so they can do some Christmas shopping.
  • Send Christmas cards to local nursing home residents.
  • Go through your pantry and donate items to a local food bank.
  • Bring or bake treats for the staff room at work.
  • Pay for the car behind you in the drive-through.
  • Donate blood and/or sign up to be an organ donor- you could save a life!
  • Take supplies to the animal shelter.
  • Smile at everyone you see today.
  • Let someone get in front of you in line.
  • Give up your seat on the bus to another person.
  • Fulfil an Angel Tree request.
  • Feed someones meter.

What acts of kindness do you perform at Christmas? I'd love to know in the comments!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies



As a passionate cookie lover, I can honestly say that these Double Chocolate Chip Cookies are heavenly and this recipe is one to add to your collection!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purposed flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:
  • Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined.
  • Slowly add the mixture of dry ingredients on low speed until well combined.
  • Stir in chocolate chips (leaving a few to add to the tops of dough balls)
  • Cover bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for roughly 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Take dough out of fridge, let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat.
  • Roll dough into balls (I use roughly 2 tablespoons of dough per ball) 
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. 
  • Transfer cookies to cooling rack.
  • Serve and enjoy!
* To change things up, consider using white chocolate chips or adding mini M&M's to the dough mixture! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Decor: DIY Foil Reindeer Frame





Christmas is my favourite Holiday to decorate for, there is something so magical about the fairy lights, greenery and all things that shine and sparkle! 

To add a festive touch to the frames that are hung at the end of my hallway, I decided to create this super easy buffalo check foil reindeer with items I had laying around my house! 


What You'll Need:
  • Frame (any size)
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Aluminum Foil 
  • Reindeer Head Print Off
How to Make:
  • Cut wrapping paper to fit inside frame.
  • Trace Reindeer Head onto Aluminum Foil and cut out.
  • Tape or glue Foil Reindeer onto wrapping paper (don't glue or tape down antlers if you'd like a more 3-D effect)

If crafting isn't really your thing, try framing a piece of your favourite holiday gift bag! You'll still get the DIY feel with less work! 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Secret Santa Gift Ideas



Secret Santa is the perfect gift exchange for a sports team, friends, a large family or even your co-workers, however buying a gift for Secret Santa can be a little intimidating ... especially if you are distant or don't have a particularly close relationship with them! 

If you need help finding the best gift for your Secret Santa, below are a few ideas 'For Her', 'For Him', and for 'Everyone!'

For Her:
  • Candle
  • Mug
  • Tumblr Cup
  • Throw Blanket
  • Nail Polish
  • Mittens/ Gloves/ Beanie 
  • Make-Up
  • Face Mask
  • Fuzzy Socks
  • Jewelry 
  • Bath Bomb
  • Bubble Bath
  • Make-up Brushes 

For Him:
  • Shaving Kit
  • Pocket Multi-Tool Pliers
  • Pocket Knife
  • Wireless Speaker
  • Laser Measuring Tape
  • Go Pro
  • Gloves/ Work Gloves
  • Flask
  • Sporting Event Tickets
  • Sports Team Memorabilia 

For Everyone:
  • Gift Cards
  • Phone Charger
  • Phone Accessories 
  • 2019 Planner
  • Candy
  • Board Game
  • Watch
  • Headphones
  • Slippers

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

How to Save Money During the Holiday Season





Being prepared this Holiday Season can save you a ton of money and time that should be spent enjoying the holidays with family and friends rather than stressing about money, debt and your finances!

Below are some helpful tips to saving money this Holiday Season!


Budget:

- Set a realistic holiday budget. Evaluate how much money you have available to spend over the holidays, how much you plan on spending, and allocating a cushion for emergencies.

- Items to include in your holiday budget:
  • Presents
  • Gift Cards
  • Wrapping Paper and Supplies
  • Transportation 
  • Food
  • Entertainment 
  • Decorations 

Gift Exchange:

- Have a large group of friends? Co-workers? Gift Exchanges make Christmas much more affordable as you only have to purchase a gift for one person! These can include, Secret Santa, White Elephant, etc. 

- If you have a larger family, consider having the adults participate in a gift exchange, but the younger children will still get gifts from everyone!

-If I have multiple friends to buy for, I will buy in bulk (a pack of 18 bath bombs, a pack of 9 nail polish, etc.) and divide them up! 


Host a Potluck:

- If you're hosting Christmas at your house, that doesn't mean you have to do all of the cooking and buy all of the food (which can get very expensive!)

-A potluck will make entertaining guests less stressful and easier for everyone!


Shop As Soon As Possible:

- Starting your holiday shopping months in advance will be less stressful! Stores will be more likely to have specific items, be less crowded, and most importantly you will be able to do your research and find the best price! 

Monday, December 10, 2018

DIY Candy Cane Place Holder




Add a fun and festive touch to your table this Holiday Season with these candy cane place card holders!

What You'll Need:

  • 3 Candy Canes (per holder)
  • Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
  • Ribbon (optional)
How To Make:
  • Angle and glue two of the candy canes together, forming the 'holder'. 
  • Glue the third candy cane to the back of the first two, forming the 'stand'. 
  • Optional: Tie a tiny bow with ribbon and glue to the front of the candy cane holder.

Not only are these card holders the perfect party decor, super easy to make, they are also affordable as you can buy candy canes in bulk! 

If hosting a party or potluck, these place card holders would be perfect with the name of the dish, drink or dessert you are serving! 


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Snickerdoodle Cookies




Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup shortening 
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon white sugar 
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cream together the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cup sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  • Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  • Shape dough into balls.
  • Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, roll dough balls in mixture and flatten a little.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tips for Traveling Over Christmas



Traveling over Christmas can be joyous, exciting and well deserved, but it can also be super stressful! Below are a few helpful tips to shake the stress and make traveling this Holiday Season a little earlier!


  • Organization and planning is key. Remember that many places will book up well in advance at Christmas time as it is a popular time to travel. This includes hotels, transport, tours and even restaurants. Plan ahead of time and make reservations. 
  • Trying to travel with presents can be stressful. You don't have enough space; you're worried something might break. Instead of buying presents, buy something you can do together! Lunch at a popular Bistro, shopping at a local boutique, dinner and a movie, the possibilities are endless!
  • If taking advantage of previous tip, only pack a carryon. Not only will you save time on packing, it reduces your airport time as you wont have to wait around for your luggage, plus you have the added bonus that the airline wont lose your luggage.
  • Research your destination before you leave to see if there are any local Christmas events planned.
  • If traveling internationally, embrace their local Christmas traditions, it will be something you will always remember! 

What are your tips for traveling during the Holiday Season? I would love to know! 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Holiday Drinks & Cocktails



For most people the holidays are synonymous with entertaining.  Whether your gatherings are geared towards a small group of friends and family or you host an annual festive blow-out it’s never too early to start preparing.


Don’t break the bank - Have a few signature cocktails for groups. For a large crowd you may want to offer drinks or punches that can be made ahead and kept in pitchers, or even your slow cooker, rather than mixing one drink at a time which can take you away from your guests.  

Know your audience – If you have a large number of beer drinkers don’t choose to serve champagne. Instead you could have small samplers from local craft beer companies and the same goes for ciders. However, if your guests are wine drinkers offer a white or red sangria with lots of fun fruits or a more seasonal flair with cranberries and oranges.  For traditionalists there are certain obvious beverages associated with the holidays, so you may want to focus on those that contain eggnog, cranberry juice or buttered rum.

Impress your guests – If you’re comfortable behind the bar or have a friend that would love to step into that role for the evening as a mixologist be sure to have ingredients for regularly ordered drinks or offer guests the choice to sample some of your own creations (be sure to try these out before the big event).  

Remember your guests that don’t drink – In addition to pop, juice or water why not try a festive non-alcoholic punch; or have lemon and lime wedges to go with soda and serve in fancy glasses so they can feel special as well.

Specialty Coffees – If you are planning a big sit-down dinner why not end the evening with a specialty coffee featuring your favourite liqueur and a decadent dessert.  These can be just as elegant as cocktails and reflect a holiday mood.

Some things to remember besides the alcohol include: cute holiday napkins; a variety of nibbles; lots of ice; lemons, limes, cherries etc… for garnishing glasses or depending on your drink selections assorted spices and glass rimmers; be sure to clearly identify any non-alcoholic punches versus those with alcohol.  Most of all don’t let guests drink and drive so that everyone can have a safe holiday season.

Simple Holiday Punch
1 (12 oz) frozen lemon or limeade concentrate
1 (12 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate
4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
12 oz vodka
1 (2 L) 7-Up or Ginger Ale 
Add Ice, sliced oranges and cranberries to float on top.
This can also be served without the alcohol.

Cranberry Sangria
1 cup apple cubes (red/green or both)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup honey
3 cups apple cider
1 cup cranberry juice unsweetened
1 bottle sparkling water
1 750 ml bottle red wine
½ cup Triple sec or orange liqueur
Small cinnamon sticks for glasses as garnish

Eggnog Mudslides
1 part kahula
1 part vodka
2 parts eggnog
Whipped cream and ground nutmeg to top.  
Cinnamon stick to garnish

Combine kahlua, vodka and eggnog in cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into glasses.  Add whipped cream and nutmeg.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

DIY Jingle Bell Garland

Have you ever fell in love with an item or a piece of decor but refused to pay the price? I recently was shopping at a local boutique and fell in love with a Jingle Bell Garland, but for 5ft of garland they were asking $40. I knew I could make it cheaper, so I headed to my local craft store!



What you will need:

  • Bag of Jingle Bells
  • Thin Twine

How to make the garland:

  • Purchase 60 to 100 bells depending on how large your tree will be. Make sure the twine you select can be easily threaded through the top of the bell.  
  • Cut a length of twine twice as long as you require.  
  • String a bell to the middle point and tie the twine in a knot. 
  • String the next bell about 3-4 inches from the first and repeat until you are almost to the end. Do the same from the other end also leaving a bit of room on the end to put a loop to wrap around the branches.  
  • I would recommend doing multiple strands to avoid working with excessive strands which can tangle.  
  • To store your garland wrap around a piece of cardboard.


I put my garland on my Christmas Tree, but these can also be used on wreaths, garlands and other greenery.

Below are some pictures to help illustrate the above instructions!












Wednesday, December 5, 2018

DIY Christmas Gifts




December is finally here and it's not to late to start thinking about last minute Christmas Gift ideas! I've always enjoyed making and receiving handmade or thoughtful gifts, there is something so magical about personalizing a gift to match someones personality, include their favourite items or play off their hobbies! 

Below are 3 super simple and affordable DIY Christmas Gifts that you can make this Holiday Season! Almost ALL of these items were purchased at my local Dollar Store or Craft Store and can be modified to fit that special someone in your life!  


Movie Night In:
-Popcorn Tub
-Popcorn 
-Candy
-Chocolate Bars
-Candy Canes
You can also include their favourite movie, a holiday classic or an iTunes or Netflix Gift Card!


Bakers Gift Basket:
-Baking Sheet or Holiday Molds
-Oven Mit
-Spatula or other kitchen utensils 
-Cookie Cutters or Cookie Press
-Muffin or Cupcake Liners
-Disposable Decorating Bags
-Sprinkles
You can also add their favourite boxed cookie or cake mix, or a cook book!


At Home Spa Night:
-Cotton Balls
-Nail Polish
-Hand Cream
-Face Mask
-Nail File 
-You could also add a bath bomb, loofa, or a body scrub!



I hope these simple DIY Gift Ideas can help spark your creativity this Holiday Season and inspire you to personalize a few Christmas Gifts on your list this year! 

Let me know in the comments what easy DIY Christmas Gifts you have made this year or in the past! I love hearing new ideas!


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Whipped Shortbread Cookies



These super quick, easy and delicious shortbread cookies will melt in your mouth and are a family favourite during the Holiday Season!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • Maraschino Cherries (optional)
  • Festive Sprinkles (optional)

Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream together the butter, margarine and icing sugar.
  • Mix remaining dry ingredients and gradually add to batter.
  • Blend until the batter mixture is creamy.
  • Roll dough into 1" balls and flatten with finger-tips or spoon and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • To add some colour, dice up a few Maraschino Cherries OR add some festive sprinkles to the top.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden on the bottom.

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how they turned out! I would also love to hear about your favourite Holiday Cookies! 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Hot Chocolate Station



For me, the thought of a steaming mug of hot chocolate conjures up memories of crisp cold days playing outside, roaring fires and of course the holidays. 

This year I’ve decided to introduce a hot chocolate station to my regular holiday d├ęcor. Not only is it pretty; but very practical, since it keeps all of my favourite drink toppings in one location (except the whipped cream which has to stay in the fridge).  

The station includes:
-dehydrated marshmallows
-packets of hot chocolate
-colorful sprinkles 
-candy cane stir sticks
-milk chocolate chips

I’ve even been toying with the idea of dipping some plastic spoons in melted chocolate and letting them harden to be used for stirring.  As a special treat I purchased some seasonal themed mugs and added some chocolate shavings. For those that are a bit more adventurous some cayenne pepper provides a bit of a kick… but use sparingly!  You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices that you enjoy!

There are so many options when it comes to hot chocolate there is truly a flavor for everyone. I see speciality packets of white chocolate; eggnog, smores or even peppermint flavors at local shops. If you like to give homemade gifts or stocking stuffers you can mix together someone’s favorite ingredients, add instructions and place it in a colorful airtight container or bag.

If you’re planning a special evening you can even add a flavoured liquor or top with a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce.  The sky’s the limit when looking at options, so be sure to have lots of choices if you decide to create your own station.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Gift Guide: For Her






1. | 2. | 3. | 4.
5. | 6. | 7. | 8. 
9. | 10. | 11. | 12.

The Holidays can be a very exciting and joyous time of year, but they can also be super stressful! Especially when it comes to trying to find the perfect gift for 'Her'! To help relieve some of that stress, I have put together a Holiday Gift Guide, with twelve gift ideas that any woman in your life will be sure to love!


1. Fleece Cardigan: What a better way to end your day than relaxing in this adorable Fleece Cardigan.
2. Gold Initial Necklace: Initial or monogrammed jewelry makes for the perfect personalized gift!
3. Coffee Mug: Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, a cute mug is perfect for anyone on your list!
4. Pom Pom Beanie: One of this years top winter fashion trends!
5. Jewelry Box: Functional, stylish and the perfect organization option for any jewelry!
6. Cozy Slippers: Although ideal for the colder months, slippers can be worn year round!
7. Nail Polish: A perfect stocking stuffer or add-on to any present!
8. Scarf: You can never go wrong with a scarf! So many styles, colours and textures to choose from!
9. Laptop Case: This Marble MacBook Case is not only functional but it is also super cute!
10. Gold Picture Frame: Add a cute photo of the individual or a group shot!
11. Blush Pink Purse: You can never go wrong with a purse or tote bag! They always come in handy!
12. Pom Pom Throw Blanket: Cute, soft, comfy, this throw is very stylish and will be sure to keep them warm!


I'd love to know what items you have purchased or are on your list to buy for those lucky ladies in your life!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree

For the past twenty-four years, my family and I have always had a real Christmas tree in our home, it is a tradition that I cherish and hope to pass along to my children one day. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad and I searching tree lot after tree lot for our perfect tree!  Over the past few years, my dad has opened his own tree lot, selling hundreds of beautiful locally grown trees from the South Shore of Nova Scotia, so you could say Christmas Trees are a big deal in our family!



The Importance of Real Tree's:

There is a false assumption that cutting down trees for a few weeks of festivity is harmful for the environment,  while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I am certainly not here to judge you for your tree choice, but instead I am working with the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia to share a few facts to break that negative assumption!

-Real Christmas trees are grown on farms all over the country, taking up to 15 years to reach harvestable size. During that time, these trees are improving our air quality by emitting oxygen, all while providing a habitat for wildlife.

-The Christmas Tree Industry provides thousands of jobs for farmers across our Country!

-Real Christmas trees are recycled as green waste, some communities collect and recycle the trees into mulch, using them as erosion barriers, or sinking them in ponds for fish habitat.

Now, I can see the convenience of an artificial tree, but that convenience comes with a significant  environmental cost. Artificial trees are made from materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and metal. Because they cannot be recycled, artificial trees end up in landfills when they are no longer useful.



Some Fun Facts about Christmas Tree's:

- During the 17th and 18th centuries it was common for people to hang Christmas Trees upside down from the ceiling (seen in recent years as a popular trend).

- Early Christmas Trees were decorated with cakes, cookies, pretzels, nuts and fruit.

-According to the Guinness World Records, the world's tallest Christmas tree was a 67.36m tall Douglas fir decorated and put on display in Seattle, Washington in 1950. That's nearly as tall as a 20-storey apartment building.

- Local Fact: Since 1971 a Christmas tree has been given to the city of Boston from the people of Nova Scotia as a thank you for their assistance after the 1917 Halifax Explosion.

Shop Local:

If you are local and looking for your Christmas tree for this season, visit the Nova Scotia Choose & Cut retail listings at iLoveRealTrees.com 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Recipe's Ive Loved: Magnolia Table

(Pictured: Country Potato Soup)


If you know me, than you are aware that I love all things Chip and Joanna Gaines. A few months ago I purchased Joanna's Magnolia Table Cookbook and it has not disappointed!

The book is broken down into the following sections: Breakfast, Lunch, Soups & Salads, Appetizers & Starters, Side Dishes, Dinner, Desserts and features so many other fun surprises!


Here are 10 Recipes that I have loved and highly suggest you try!

  • After-School Banana Bread
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Baked Chicken with Bacon Bottom & Wild Rice
  • Meat Loaf
  • Brownie Pie
  • Buttermilk Blueberry Puff 
  • Bevie's Chocolate Roll with Hot Fudge Sauce
  • Sausage & Hash Brown Casserole 
  • Country Potato Soup
  • Homemade Whipped Cream

Here are 10 Recipes that I can't wait to try in the near future!
  • JoJo's Biscuits
  • Three-Cheese Quiche 
  • Overnight French Toast
  • Chicken Spaghetti 
  • Lemon Pie
  • Dulce De Leche Apple Pie
  • Chocolate-Cola Cake with Chocolate-Cola Buttercream 
  • Lemon Bundt Cake
  • Mina's Lemon Bars
  • Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies

If you have not purchased your own copy of Magnolia Table, I highly suggest you give her collection of recipes a try! If you would like to purchase her book on Amazon click here or if you'd like to try a few recipes before purchasing, Pinterest has some of her best dishes! 

If you have tried some of the recipes from her cookbook please leave a comment letting me know your favourites or which one to try next! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fall Fashion Flatlays

Fall is by far my favourite time of year to be creative with my wardrobe and come up with the perfect cozy, fall looks! Below are five fall fashion flatlays to help inspire you this fall season. Whether you are dressing for a crisp fall morning, apple picking or a day at a pumpkin patch, these pieces are versatile for any occasion! 



Jeans: Forever 21
Stripe Shirt: Old Navy
Cardigan: Old Navy
Cheetah Flats: Thrifted 



Jeans: Forever 21
Stripe Shirt: Old Navy
Boots: Target
Vest: Garage



Jeans: Forever 21
Shirt: Winners
Cardigan: Forever 21
Shoes: Forever 21



Jeans: Forever 21
Flannel: Target
Cardigan: Old Navy
Shoes: Forever 21



Jeans: Forever 21
Shirt: Winners
Cardigan: H&M
Shoes: Forever 21



I have tried my best to link any items that are still available! What is your favourite outfit shown above!? Let me know in the comments!




*Not Sponsored. All items are purchased with my own money.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Finding The Perfect Business Card

As a recent College Graduate on the search for the perfect job, business cards are something I now have to start thinking about and looking into. On that search I fell in love with Basic Invite. Located in Saint George, Utah, their passionate team has been creating the perfect card for every event since 2006.

If you are looking for the perfect card, Basic Invite has hundreds of business cards templates, but my heart belongs to their super fun and unique clear plastic business cards. Clear business cards add a modern touch to a traditional sentiment, you'll be sure to make a lasting impression through all of your business endeavours. Unlike normal paper business cards, clear business cards are much more durable, cannot be ripped, and will last the test of time! You can now browse over fifty new designs and get customizing! I will absolutely be ordering mine once I secure a full-time job!



It is so simple to design your perfect card with all of their amazing features:

  • Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. 
  • Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.
  • Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as we are with our invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.
  • Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders.
  • Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 


Speaking of Christmas, it's hard to believe that the Holiday's are not far off, be sure to check out Basic Invite's  vintage christmas cards, with so many fun templates it will be a breeze to design your perfect Christmas Card! 




*This post is in partnership with Basic Invite, all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 31, 2018

No Bake Energy Bites: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip



Need a healthy treat or energy to get you through the week? These super easy No Bake Energy Bites are perfect. Only a few simple ingredients, these energy bites taste just like a cookie and are easy to adjust depending on your taste preferences, dietary needs or to add in your favourite treats, nuts or candy!


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dry oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:
  1. In a small-medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir. The mixture should be a little sticky.
  2. Refrigerate mixture for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Take mixture by the spoonfuls and roll into he shape of a ball. You should be able to get approximately 10-12 energy balls out of this mixture.
  4. Refrigerate the balls as you enjoy them throughout the week!

Monday, August 27, 2018

How I Graduated Debt FREE



Graduating completely debt free sounds like a dream for many, but what if I told you ... that dream is possible! I was able to pay for my University Degree as I went, without any student loans or assistance! I was  working part-time, saving my money and sticking to a budget.

Not only was I able to pay for my tuition, textbooks, parking passes and more, but while in university I was able to travel more than I have in my whole life. I saved my money and travelled to Florida (TWICE), Boston, New Hampshire, and Ireland. Anything is possible with a little hard work and savings!

Below are some tips and tricks that helped me graduate debt free:

1. Maintain a part-time job: The most important reason as to why I was able to graduate debt free was that I worked a part time job while in school and full time hours during the summer months. Everyones situation is different, everyone has different class schedules, commitments, extra-curiculars, etc. But if you can commit from as little as 8 hours a week to even 20 hours a week,  that can make huge difference in your income.

After a year or two of attending University, I realized that you are able to "manipulate" your schedule  (for the most part) to make it to fit your schedule. I made it so although my days were longer, I only had classes on Tuesday's and Thursdays, leaving Monday's, Wednesday's and Fridays free to work on top of my already weekend availability.

2. Living at home: Although living at home is not ideal, it was one of the smartest financial decisions I have made.  I was able to save THOUSANDS of dollars A YEAR, putting that money towards tuition, travel, social outings.

3. Make a budget: This may sounds silly and obvious, but making a budget and sticking with it is key. Saving for school was a top priority on my budget, followed by textbooks, parking pass, gas, insurance and other bills. I would make sure that once those were all paid for, then I would be able to spend money on things such as clothing, home decor, fast food, etc.  By planning ahead, I knew that September and January (months tuition was due) would be hard on my income so I made sure that I had a comfortable cushion in my account.

4. Textbooks: I will never understand why textbooks are so expensive, I die a little inside every time I step inside my schools bookstore. My first piece of advice is ALWAYS look for a used copy, whether you check facebook buy and sell pages, classifieds, your local thrift store, flyers posted around campus, this can save you hundreds of dollars. My second piece of advice is to always sell your textbooks once you have completed your course. If you plan on selling your textbooks, remember to keep them in sellable shape and limit highlight and pen marks.

5. Resources: To help save money, take advantage of your schools resources, more than likely you are already paying them as part of your tuition. Whether that be the gym, fitness classes, academic workshops,  free lunches, tutors, bus passes etc.

6. Scholarships: Although you may think that you "don't have a shot", it it always worth a try! A scholarship can go a long way with most schools offering entrance scholarships based on your high school grades, it is very possible to be rewarded for your hard work!

7. Plan Ahead: Always plan ahead, an easy way to do this is to pack a lunch. I have friends who were spending roughly $12 dollars a day on lunches, coffee and snacks at the school cafeteria and vending machines. Multiply that number by a semester and you will be amazed at how much was spent on overpriced food.

I hope you take some of these tips and tricks and apply them to your life when saving for your post secondary education! They have really helped me and there is no better feeling than graduating DEBT FREE!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Talever: Affordable Dresses For Any Occasion

Happy Thursday Friends!! It is officially summer and if you're anything like me that means a busy schedule! Between weddings, work parties, family BBQ's and girls nights out finding the perfect dress can be difficult.

To help you find that perfect dress for any occasion, todays post is in collaboration with Talever, an online women's clothing store that has a ton of super cute and trendy items all for extremely affordable prices! With free shipping for the USA and free worldwide shipping for orders over $39 you are getting a steal of a deal on top of already budget friendly prices! Not only am I loving their prices, but I am beyond impressed with their wide size range! From S-5XL there is a dress for everyone!

Below are four Summer Style Dresses that I have been loving having in my wardrobe!


This off the shoulder mini dress is perfect for summer! Whether you are attending a BBQ, date night, or just talking a stroll along the waterfront this light-weight, embroidered dress is a must have! Mini Dresses are a staple in my summer wardrobe!



A Party Dress is a must have item for summer! Perfect for a wedding, reception, awards dinner, or a summer work party, this beautiful sequin dress is sure to catch everyones attention with its amazing detail, swoop back and sexy fit!


Maxi Dresses are my go to summer dress. Perfect for any occasion, easy to dress up or down,  can be paired with a denim jacket, light-weight and so comfortable! I also love that you can wear maxi dresses right up into the fall months! I love everything about this maxi dress, the fit, style, colour and of course the front slit, stripes or a floral maxi dress and you have me sold!


Casual Dresses should be a staple item in everyones wardrobe! Just as the name suggests, casual dresses can be thrown on and warn for lazy days at home, running errands or a night out with friends! This causal dress has gorgeous flared sleeves, a detailed v-neck and is the perfect Boho Dress!


What is your favourite go to dress for the summer!?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Upbra Review: Does it Really Work !?



Happy Monday! I hope you all had an amazing weekend, Today I have a super exciting post, it is all about bra's... more importantly the Upbra. Let me start by saying I am truly amazed! I have never found a bra that has fit me more perfectly and has successfully given me the lift I have always wanted, my life has been forever changed!

For those of you who have never heard of Upbra and their amazing bra's, let me give you a quick rundown: "The Upbra bra was developed with 3 goals in mind: First, to create a bra that could give the kind of lift and cleavage that women never before thought possible. Second, to make that bra fully adjustable, so that women could select the amount of lift they wanted. Third, to create this lift and cleavage naturally, without excessive padding."

Now, you might be asking yourself how to do these bra's work? Well the answer is simple!
       Inside each Upbra bra is the patented Active Lift technology. This one-of-a-kind design is comprised of two flexible platforms, one within each bra cup, which are controlled by the Upbra's fully-adjustable cleavage control straps. These platforms are concealed within the cups, below a layer of soft fabric. The fabric is specially treated with vinyl hearts and when worn against the body, helps to grip the breath and keep them in place after adjusting to desired cleavage level. And last but certainly not least, is the locking system: comprising of evenly spaced slots at the bottom of each bra. All of these components together form the Active Lift technology.  For more information on how the Upbra works, click here!


Other features I love about Upbra:

  • Their size range now goes from A-DDD and fits true to size.
  • They have now released the Upbra Bikini. To view Upbra's swim selection shop here.
  • The extended hook system- the Upbra has  4-hook system rather than the standard 3.
  • All Upbra bras are made by hand in the USA to assure the highest quality.


After wearing these bras for roughly one week, I can tell you that the t-shirt bra is my favourite, it is beyond comfortable and looks great with all of my outfits! I have recommended Upbra to my friends, family and now I am so happy to share this brand with all of you, they truly DO WORK as you can see from the before and after pictures below, I can't wait to continue to wear them!

As a bonus Upbra is offering my readers $10 DOLLARS off their order with the code: LILUPBRASB10D



If you have any questions or would like to know more information about the products or my experience, please leave a comment!

Thank You Upbra! 
© Sarah Lillian. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.