Shop Small – Found it on Etsy

I’ve always loved shopping on Etsy, and it is one of my favorite websites to find special gifts. A few months ago I shared a blog post about a few of my favorite businesses to shop local. Since we’re in the midst of the holiday season, I thought it would be a great time to round up some of my favorite shops on Etsy. In this post I will share shops that I have ordered from for myself or as gifts multiple times. Be sure to check out all of these great small businesses. You just might find the perfect gift for someone you’re shopping for (pups included).

Everthine Designs | San Diego, California: This year I purchased three wooden initials to add to our stockings from Everthine Designs. These initials were the perfect compliment to our neutral-colored Christmas decor. I love that they were affordable (shipping too) and came well-packaged. Aside from these initials, this shop has a variety of items for holidays, babies, pregnancy announcements, weddings and more. Definitely a great little shop to commemorate many life milestones.

Happy Mail Boutique | Newport News, Virginia: I purchased and received the most beautiful glass ornaments from Happy Mail Boutique. The two I have on my Christmas tree are wedding-related and I love them so much. The quality is excellent and they’re actually super heavy and durable. I also love that they came with cloth bags that help to keep them safe in my ornament storage box. Sadly this shop no longer makes the style ornament I have, but she has a new style ornament that comes in a lot of different designs; 2020 themed ornaments included!

Essentially Charlie | Brooklyn, New York: If you know me, you know that I have shied away from using candles over the last year (essential oil user over here). That’s not the case for a lot of my family and friends and candles often make a great gift. A few months ago I was specifically searching for Brooklyn-made gifts for a friend when I came across Essentially Charlie. Their candles are made with beeswax, coconut oil, and essential oils. The shop also includes more specific details on the quality of essential oils used. “We use pure, ethically-sourced, therapeutic-grade oils that are steam-distilled from plants or cold-pressed from fruit/seeds.” I felt more comfortable knowing I was purchasing a candle made without synthetic fragrances. The shop owner was super responsive via message and my order shipped quickly. To complete my Brooklyn-themed gift, I paired this candle with a book about Brooklyn (which I am sure you could find in a local shop too!).

Maywind Market | The Woodlands, Texas: I have purchased 3 or 4 personalized makeup bags for newly engaged friends and brides-to-be from Maywind Market. I love how I could customize the text, font color and tassel color. The size, quality and price are great too, which is why I have gifted from this shop multiple times. I think personalized gifts are so fun during the wedding stage of life. These would also make great personalized stocking stuffers, teacher gifts or co-worker gifts.

A Yellow Fish | Oregon: I love stationery and especially love custom return stamps. I have purchased a return stamp for myself as well as a gift from the shop A Yellow Fish. I think these custom stamps are great wedding, bridal shower or house warming gifts. Although I don’t send a ton of traditional mail, I really love using this stamp for cards and special occasions. I think it’s a stamp everyone should have in their drawer. This shop offers free shipping too!

Qualtry | Lindon, Utah: One of the most used gifts I received for my engagement are personalized cork hot plates. They are cute and always come in handy when we’re making dinner or entertaining. I know the ones I have are from Etsy, but I am not sure which shop they were from. Last year I ordered personalized cork hot plates for a friend from Qualtry. They were pretty much identical to the ones I have. I think personalized gifts are special and these in particular are extremely practical. Hot plates don’t sound like your thing? Don’t worry, this Etsy shop has tons of different items to chose from!

BARKnBABES | Parker, Colorado: One of the first bandanas I ever bought for Henry was from BarknBabes. This shop makes both tie and slip over the collar style bandanas in tons of seasonal prints. I really like that a lot of the prints are double sided, so it’s kind of like getting 2 bandanas in one. I have purchased from this shop several times over the last 2 years and the quality has been great each time. Sadly, Henry has outgrown some of my favorites. It may be Christmas time, but I am already eyeing a Valentine’s Day print for him. I most recently bought Henry a large flannel tie style bandana. His neck is about 19 inches around and he’s a lanky 50lbs. I have to roll the bandana a few times, but I would rather having extra room versus not being able to tie it. I really like the quality of the flannel bandana and Henry has been wearing it for over a year.

Stella Mae Co. | Kannapolis, North Carolina: Another really well-made dog bandana company I have ordered from multiple times is Stella Mae Co. I have purchased a few of these bandanas for Henry and as gifts. These high quality bandanas are made with thick and durable material which is important to me because my dopey dog likes to test my patience by trying to pull his bandanas off. I most recently bought Henry a tie style bandana in size medium. Even with size medium I have to roll the bandana a few times and it fits him great. I see many more Stella Mae Co bandanas in Henry’s future.

Natural Simple Crazy | Medford, NY: The newest addition to Henry’s bandana collection is from my friend at Natural Simple Crazy. This shop makes affordable bandanas that can be customized with your pet’s name. The bandanas from Natural Simple Crazy are slip over the collar style bandanas that come in holiday prints, plaid and camo. Each bandana has a frayed edge which makes them extra stylish for your dog. I ordered a size medium in the Christmas truck print, but I think I large would fit Henry better. These bandanas would be perfect stocking stuffer for you pup!

Please note this site and this post include affiliate links.

Shop Local | Made on Long Island

Hi friends! Over the last year I have discovered a few small businesses that I want to share with everyone. I have purchased multiple items from each local Long Island business, and all are women-owned too. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for a gift, I think these businesses have something you will love. Let’s get to it!

Love Struck by Two

I first discovered Love Struck by Two a year or two ago on Instagram. This business is run by Sheri-Lea Schultz, who is a wife, mom and teacher on LI. I instantly fell in love with the catchy tees, tanks and hats. The signature statements “Island Vibes” and “Raised On An Island” featured on their clothing totally spoke to the Long Island girl in me.

To date, I have two of each of the baseball hats, tees and sweatshirts. The quality of these pieces are excellent. The t-shirts and sweatshirts are buttery soft and run true to size. Earlier this summer I bought the new denim style hat; I’ve been wearing it constantly. It quickly became a summer staple. The signature styles are always in stock, but I especially love the seasonal pieces “Love Struck by Two” features throughout the year like the summer koozies pictured below. Last Christmas I was able to snag one of her limited additional 631 Christmas sweatshirts – I set a reminder on my calendar to be prepared! Other popular seasonal items include denim jackets, tie dye and flannels. The shop also has really cute tees and sweatshirts for Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day.

Two Bridges Handmade

I discovered Two Bridges Handmade (formerly known as Emily Makes) a few years back at a local market. My husband and I were walking through the market when a burlap clutch caught my eye. Around this time, I had actually been looking at similar clutches online for an upcoming trip. With the clutch in hand, I got my payment out and when I looked up I realized I recognized the gal behind the table. This small business is run by local Long Islander Emily Spada. Emily and I grew up in the same neighborhood and were in the same girl scout troop in elementary school. Emily’s girl scout craftiness is clearly still shining bright!

Two Bridges Handmade features a collection of hand-sewn pouches, bags, yoga mat bags and now face masks. Emily’s high quality pieces are top notch, and both products I own stand out for being meticulously crafted with neat finishes. You can tell Emily has a great skill and keen attention to detail. My mom was equally impressed when I showed her my most recent purchase. I have a envelope style burlap clutch and a pouch with a zipper that I am keeping in my everyday tote bag. I think it is so cool that these pieces are handmade, but even more so because I grew up in the same neighborhood as the woman who created them. Emily’s pouches are a great price point for gifts too. Be sure to keep her in mind next time you need a gift idea!

Madison’s Niche

Madison’s Niche is a Long Island boutique for women’s clothing, home decor, furniture and more. This business is owned by Karen McAvoy and now has stores in Huntington Village, Garden City, Sayville, and Stony Brook Village. You can also shop Madison’s Niche online. I love that Madison’s niche has so many great pieces for the kitchen; from serveware and dining to home decor. I recently purchased really cute wooden salt and pepper mills which I personally think look really cute on my counter. Although it is really easy to run to HomeGoods when you need to grab a gift, I think Madison’s Niche is a great alternative and you can support a local business instead. It’s the perfect place to find a special gift for housewarmings, holidays and hostesses.

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Health and Wellness Tips

Hi friends! Today I am talking about health, wellness and a few ways I am incorporating both into my lifestyle again. I have put off getting back on the fitness wagon for way too long. Before getting married, I had a lot of self-discipline when it came to making time for fitness. I never thought there would be a time when fitness was not a part of my regular routine, but a wedding, full home renovation, a puppy and a few years later, here I am. In this post, I am sharing what I plan to focus on to get back into the swing of things.

Please keep in mind, I am not a fitness or health professional. This blog post should not be used in place of professional fitness or medical advice. Always consult with your doctor.

Annual Physical Exam: This is something I can already check-off my list. It had been ages since I had a physical and basic blood work, so I decided it was time. I found a great doctor’s office in my area and a new general physician. I am happy to report all checks out a-okay and now I feel even better having a doctor’s office I really like nearby. Sometimes getting yourself to schedule a doctor appointment, but once it’s done and over with, it is well worth the time and effort.

Drink More Water: Unoriginal, right? Unfortunately, this is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. A few things that I have incorporated into my day to help bump-up my water intake are 1) a great water bottle (like this one); 2) drink water when I wake-up and before bed and; 3) drink a glass of water before a second cup of coffee or wine in the evening. For me, the water bottle I have makes all of the difference. I realized I am pretty particular about the opening or spout/straw. This water bottle (click here) has been my favorite. It’s a manageable size, the top unscrews and I love the hourly reminder lines. The only downside is that since it is made of glass, it’s not that practical to carry with me while running errands because its a bit heavy.

Vitamins: I first discovered Olly vitamins and supplements about 2.5 years ago. What drew me to Olly was that the ingredients are limited and simple. My favorite and continually re-purchased vitamins are Flawless Complexion, Active Immunity, Immunity Sleep and the ProbioticPrebiotic. Although I am not sure if gummy vitamins are the best option, I find that I always remember to take these.

Flawless Complexion was one of the first Olly products I tried. It does not contain biotin, which I believe causes my skin to breakout. Along with a good skincare routine, I feel that these vitamins help keep breakouts at bay.

Active Immunity and Immunity Sleep: I started taking these vitamins (not at the same time) last fall after battling a bad cold. I spend a lot of time in the city and on public transportation, so I need my immune system to be strong. I feel like these have definitely given me a needed boost.

Probiotic Preboitic: After our trip to Italy last year, my stomach was all out of sorts. I know digestive changes are common when traveling, but I was not feeling myself at all and could not seem to shake it. These vitamins helped me get back on track.

Men’s Multi: My husband has been taking these for at least a year and has been happy with them. These vitamins are now part of his morning routine.

Walking: At the start of the COVID quarantine I decided to pull the trigger and get a Fitbit. I was on the fence for a while mostly because I did not love the look of it. It seemed bulky and I also didn’t see myself wearing it to work. Once the quarantine went into effect, I figured there was no better time to try it out. I went with rose gold and pink Versa 2 because I though it was pretty and would matched some of rose gold bracelets I wear. When I first put it on, I felt like it was gigantic {and it kind of is}, but after a few days I got use to it. The rubber band is comfortable and I like that I can eventually switch it out for other colors/styles. The Fitbit vibrates every hour to remind me to get moving. Another feature I have liked is the battery life. Mine has lasted a few days at a time. It also changes quickly. My Fitbit has definitely made me more aware of how little I was walking. I can’t wait for warmer weather to keep my steps up! My dog loves going for walks; so much so that we have to spell out w-a-l-k when we’re not actually taking him for one. My new Fitbit is definitely going to benefit Henry too!

SPF: I have been a pretty avid SPF user since high school, but I can’t say I am consistent all year-round. I have been trying to make a better effort to apply SPF daily to my face, under my makeup. Years ago a dermatologist recommended Elta MD SPF. It’s light-weight and a good option for break-out prone skin. During the recent Sephora sale, I purchased a translucent powder SPF that can be applied over makeup. There are a few different brands, but I went with a SuperGoop! product that is labeled “Clean at Sephora.”I think this will be handy to keep in my bag or at my desk {when normal work-life resumes}.

Healthy Snacks: Over the last few months I have found myself reaching for granola bars and other pre-packaged snacks often. I recently made a conscious effort to choose fruits and veggies instead. In my area, I think Costco is the best place to buy fruit. The price and quality are the best, so I have been stocking up on blackberries and raspberries – my favs!