Gift Guides

Holiday Favorites



Prepping for my upcoming ornament/cookie exchange party this weekend is proving to  be an effective method for getting me into the holiday spirit. Not to mention I found some really lovely classical guitar Christmas tunes that I cannot stop listening to. Today, I am sharing a select few of my holiday favorites. Enjoy!

Illume cedar candle. This candle is AMAZING. I found it years ago at an Anthropologie and have bought one for nearly everyone I know at some point or another. It literally smells like Christmas and the scent lasts for years. This is an extra-large size with over 40 hours of burn time. Happiness in this candle.

Samsung nx300 Mirrorless Camera. This looks amazing and I have heard great things about it. It’s small and compact and is touted to take incredible photos. Added bonus– you can switch out the lenses! I love this because my phone does not take the best photos. This is lightweight, small, and as close as you can get to a DSLR without having to lug around a bulky piece of equipment.

Le Labo Perfume. This perfume line has a cult following, and rightly so as it is pretty much the most amazing perfume in the world. It is a little pricey, but worth every penny. I love scents of all kinds and this perfume is pretty much perfection. This one is also a favorite and makes me feel like I am dancing around a campfire in the middle of a deep green forest. *swoon*

Gray Rock Soap. The mother of one of my co-workers started this company upon retirement. This is seriously amazing soap. It is 100% organic and sustainable. All materials are grown on the family ranch or sourced from the free-roaming animals (i.e., goat milk and honey). They even use essential oils pressed from plants grown on-site. It smells amazing, makes skin super soft and clean, and has a super low carbon footprint. I love!

Fitbit Flex. I am so  curious to know how many miles I walk each time I am on practicum (I literally think my office is .5 miles from the hospital wing that I do clinical work in, and I walk back and forth at least 2 times each time I am there. Not to mention the dozens of floors of stairs I climb. I am digging the flex because it is small enough to still wear with my beloved Kate Spade Gramercy watch.

Membership to the Actor’s Theater of Charlotte. See previous post for more info. I cannot recommend this one enough!

Manduka Yoga Mats. In my experience, once you commit to upgrading to a quality and lasting mat you either become a Jade lover or a Manduka lover. I was lucky enough to receive my first Manduka (a PRO nonetheless), from my awesome sister-in-law several years ago at Christmas. It is like the Cadillac of yoga mats. It has just a little extra length and width  than the typical mat, a little more cushioning than my first Gaiam, and comes with a life-long guarantee. Manduka has since released a PROlite mat (just a little less thick and about half the cost) and the eKO mat which is made of all recycled materials and is super grippy. You cannot go wrong with any of these options!

Glossier Skin Care. I recently discovered the Skin Perfecting Tint and am in love. It feels like nothing, looks super natural, and does not clog my acne prone skin. I was sent samples of their moisturizer and masks with my initial purchase and loved them as well. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of their line. And I love their philosophy of skincare as makeup. Because that is how it should be. You can use the link for 20% off you order.

Anything Anthropoligie or Papaya Art. I feel like this doesn’t need much explaining. Anthro is pretty much a feast for all senses and much like the happy little space inside my imagination came to life in a store. I worked at Free People back in the day and have been into the brand ever sense. I am really into anything that Anahata Katkin does and could spend a very long time looking at the beautiful images on her site and blog. Her style has been incredible inspirational in the evolution as a painter and mixed media artist. She also inspired my recent obsession with making greeting cards 🙂


What items are on your favorites list this year?

Gift Guides

Holiday Gift Guide- For the Graduate Student


phd or graduate student holiday gift guide


I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and share some gift guides for this holiday season. Up first, gifts for the graduate/PhD student in your life. These selections are of high quality, are long lasting, will leave an impact, and surely be appreciated.


1// Personalized correspondence cards are always an appropriate gift. Writing on and sending personalized stationary is a diminishing art and one should not underestimate the impact of writing handwritten notes following interviews or to thank a professor for going out of their way to help in some way. Whether you choose to include the graduate students title (an especially lovely option if they are a recently minted PhD), choose a traditional monogram, or simply use their name, this gift will surely please and will prove quite useful for future endeavors. I own this set and love it. This is also a fantastic option.

2// Cuff links are always a great option for men. There are so many fun ones available, but this pair is both understated and classy. Perfect for any conference, interview, or formal event.

3// If you want your PhD student to feel special, to provide motivation to continue working toward graduation, or to celebrate a successful defense, a personalized glass or mug with their current or future title etched or engraved is an excellent option.

4// Initial necklace. This is simple, can be dressed up or down, and will never go out of style. Perfect for the student of any age.


On the Go

1// Monogrammed luggage tags are sure to be appreciated for all business and leisure travel.

2// A rolling suitcase (splurge) (save) is a most welcome accessory for business trips and conference presentations. Likewise, a quality garment bag used to store suits and professional business attire is essential (less expensive option).

3// A chic travel bag to hold personal items and technology (and that spare pair of flats to change into once the interview/presentation is over) is a must. The Lo & Sons O.M.G. bag provides organization and protection from the elements. A larger size is also available. As an added bonus, there is a sleeve which can be used to fit over a luggage handle. This tote by Longchamp will forever be in style. If you are looking for a more traditional purse that can be used in meetings or at presentations, this bag and this bag are great options.

4// Men will love this leather messenger bag. It is well-made and can be used both traveling and on the job.

5// A quality wallet will surely help one feel professional. I love both this option and this option. This bifold is a great option for men.



1// A tablet is an amazing gift at any point. Used to check email, update calendars, read and edit documents, or play Candy Crush, this is sure to be a highly utilized gift. Apple offers this smaller version. Drew test drove this Microsoft model in the store and loved it. Finally, I have been using this Samsung model for the past three years (also available in a larger size) and have found it essential to boosting my methods of productivity and procrastination.

2// A phone case is always a great option. This iPhone case offers extended battery life.

3// Any and all photo opportunities can be captured either with a new DSLR camera or with this sleeker and more portable option.


Planning and Time

1// A paper planner will forever be useful. This zip-option is an upgrade and this one can be personalized. Moleskine planners are forever chic, and I have loved using this Lilly planner (so much fun with the prints and stickers) in the past.

2// Nothing says professional like a watch. I love love love my Kate Spade Seaport watch. The Gramercy is an amazing option as well. This option has a nice night vision feature for him.


For the Home

1// Most time now-a-days is spent in front of the computer reading, editing, and researching. Why not invest in a nice office chair (or ball)?

2// Nice bedding and monogrammed towels are always amazing gifts- for graduate students and not!

3// Nothing helps boost confidence better than a steamer to eliminate wrinkles. This portable steamer is a must-have for business/conference travel.


I hope you enjoy! I would love to hear what you think about these selections. Grad students, what would you add to this list?