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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE #1: Steph’s Wishlist

BAHHHH WHAAAAAT’S UP YOU GUUUYSS!!! We may’ve taken a wee 8-month hiatus cuz, you know, sometimes life takes over and blogging falls by the wayside, but let’s be real: WOULD WE EVER LEAVE YOU HANGING FOR THE MOTHER-LOVING HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES??? Pssshhht. Hayle naw.

So like the 9-year olds we still are (and because our parents have been demanding these lists since August), we’ll kick off our rebirth into the blogosphere with our holiday wishlists, and hope you gals (better yet, you guys who are shopping for you gals) will get some good ideas from ’em. Also on deck is our Gift Guide for Dudes (because you jackwagons are so hard to buy for it’s stupid), and a Gift Guide for the Home… cuz it’s where the heart is, yo.

Beyond Black Friday, we’ve got stockpiled goodness to spew to you about what we’ve been up to this year (TV shows, exterior before & afters, etc), the best beauty products we’re slaves to, mixed tape mash-ups, books on our reading list, 5 things you GOTTA do when you’re renovating, and so on & so forth. Long story long – we’re back in biz, people.

Howsabout I start us off with a way-too-long-list of everything I never knew I always needed:

1 – Calpak Ambeur 2-Piece Set in Rose Gold, $285 | 20% OFF WITH CODE MORE17: Because holes in my jeans are cool, but holes in my suitcases are not. Luggage is the one thing I use all the time but never think to buy for myself… my current suitcases are about as used as a dirty pirate hooker, so it may be time to upgrade.

2 – Merry Edwards Russian River Valley 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, $33 per bottle: This is one of the best sauv blancs I’ve ever had. The sommelier at Eddie V’s in La Jolla recommended it one night when I asked for a crisp and grapefruit-y sauvignon blanc, and man he did me proud. I’d take a case of it, Santa… just kidding.

Not really.

3 – Beach Lover Ring Set, $95: Gold, size 8.5 please, so I can wear it on my little sausage link of an index finger. A good stacking set is hard to find, and this one is perfection. I love that it looks like you found each one individually, and then when you layered them they miraculously looked MFEO. This site actually has so much great stuff… also love the Oval Ring & the Sunrise Cuff Ring almost just as much.

4 – Ivory Element Handmade Soup Plates Set of 4, $32: I waited to get these so I could put them on my list and now they’re out of stock in ivory, which makes me want to punch myself in the face with brass knuckles. We used these in the blush shade for the HGTV kitchen shoot at Karrie’s (which PS I hear is coming out sometime around June 2018), and she ended up keeping them and they’re PERFECT. Aesthetically, they have a handmade / organic quality to them, but functionally they’re great – they’ll take the place of your dinner plates AND your bowls. If they ever come back in stock, I was about to tell you that these silly bowls are #1 on my list.

5 – Lululemon All the Right Places Pant 28″, $128: Midnight Navy, size 6. Same idea here as with my luggage – I just had the crotch of my favorite yoga pants sewn up, which I know thrills my Dad to no end, almost as much as when I use my shirt sleeve to wipe my nose. May be time to add another pair into the rotation.

6 – Pizza King Take & Bake, Shipped to CO: because Ringing the King is heaven on earth. and takes me straight back to 1987 and traipsing in there on summer nights with my dirty knees and dirty Keds and hearing John Mellencamp playing in the background. Or to high school, after basketball games in the Winter time. Maybe people who didn’t grow up in Muncie don’t get it (*COUGH* Chris), because their half-baked breadsticks and Royal Feasts aren’t peppered with the same nostalgia, but to us locals, you utter “Pizza King” and we all start foaming at the mouth. PS, the deadline for delivery by Christmas is December 11th.

7 – BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron, 1-1/4″, $39.99: Because apparently this is the mac daddy of curling irons.

And also, it did this to this chick’s hair –

8 – Cotton Napkin Set of 6, $62: Auntie Otie makes THE BEST NAPKINS. I put her stuff on a gift guide some 5 or 6 years ago and they sold out before I bought them and I’m still a little butt-hurt about it. These are laid-back, farmhouse mountain house beach house rad. If I didn’t entertain so much or use cloth napkins every day I’d think this was silly, but (you know this jam, right?) I firmly believe that you have to divide something’s cost by the number of times you use it to get its true value. Which means these are less than free.

9 – Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, for GLOWING skin, $45: According to my homegirl Cup of Jo, “It’s a Korean beauty cult favorite — Sephora keeps selling out, and beauty reviewers are going ape.” Worth a shot!

10 – Oosie Daisy iPhone 6 case: Oh wait! I just bought it on eBay for $5. So never mind. NEXT.

11 – Eberjey Gisele PJ Set in Medium, Color: Ebony/Bellini, $120 | 20% OFF OVER $200 with code MORE17… which means you have to combine this item with the luggage / #1 to get a fatty discount. Signed, I’m a skank. Co-signed, at least these make me a legit adult meaning I won’t be running around in men’s boxer briefs and tank tops at my friends’ parents’ houses anymore.

12 – Oh, ye know. Just a house. I bought my first one 11 years ago, which I affectionately named “the Money Pit,” because between flooding and hurricanes and one special set of tenants who got busted by the insurance adjuster with a full-blown pot farm in the attic, it was a good Murphy’s Law kinda time. But it’s about time to put down some roots and settle back into a sweet little casa of my own.

13 – Large Tray in Light Rattan, $85 | 20% OFF WITH CODE GIVETHANKS: The dark is sold out which means this one isn’t far behind. 20.5″W x 13.5″D is the perfect size to top a coffee table, a cocktail bar or even a bedside table. We’re currently having an upholstered ottoman made out of an antique rug (safer for Gus), and we’ll need one of these on top. Honest to goodness, I’ve never bought a tray that I don’t use.

14 – Philips Compact Pasta Maker for Two, $159.95 (or the bigger version for $280 here) | 20% OFF + FREE SHIPPING WITH CODE THANKS: Remember that part in The Holiday when Cameron Diaz is listing all the things she really wants and says, “I wanna eat carbs without wanting to KILL MYSELF.” Bahhaha. The struggle is real, my friends. This week I’m slamming pasta but on the regs, I make everything I can with almond flour… and I’ve had a few almond flour pastas that are SUPERB – they taste like real pasta, but nuttier.  What stinks is they’re hard to find (like, key to One Eyed Willie hard to find… not even at Whole Foods), and you have to order them for about $15 a box. No spanks. I’d rather make my own almond flour pasta weekly with this bad boy.

15 – Kai Skylight Candle, $48 | 25% OFF WITH CODE SHOPSMALL: Because it’s subtle & sweet & clean & smells like Hawaii. I wore the Kai perfume for awhile and every time I did, people would linger in my nook sniffing and snorting after a hug and be like, OMG WHAT IS THAT?

16 – Handwoven Jute Basket (Large 15″W x 21″D x 15″H), $221 Member. This is admittedly an absolutely stupid amount of money to pay for a ^#%@ basket. But I l-o-v-e it and use these EVERYWHERE – under consoles, filled with throw blankets in a living room, filled with firewood on the hearth, at the foot of a bed, etc.

17 – Hadlee Tassel Loafer, size 10, color taupe, $79.95: Because I have to wear dressier flats a lot to work, and these are uber classic without being a bit boring.

18 – Pom Pom Chandelier Earrings in Blue Oxide, $242: I have 2 speeds – pearl studs, and gigantic statement earrings. And if I was gonna spend on any, I’d do it on these. These are like wearable artwork…. and sure to dress up any jeans + white tee number, aka my every day uniform.

19 – Antique Persian Rug, 6’3″ x 3’5″, $545: Yours truly needs another antique rug like I need a hole in the head, but #rugsaremydrugs. In all seriousness, the salmon & aqua hues in this are STUNNING and super unique. But more importantly, what a lot of people (and my clients) don’t initially realize is that antique rugs don’t really decrease in value. And good ones are HARD TO FIND. I don’t have one of them that I’m not using and loving right now. They add so much color & soul to any space… and this seller has some really goods ones. Post on rugs soon to come 🙂

20 – Jackie, $39.99 per month. Our girl Janae (former owner of Pink & Navy in Anna Maria Island, FL) is the genius stylist behind this new venture, and we COULD NOT be more stoked. Think of her as your most stylish best friend / personal shopper who sends you a box of hand-picked, absolutely perfect things every month. As in, amazing things you’ve never seen before but gasp when you do.  Janae legit has the most spot-on style of anyone we’ve ever encountered…  probably times 10. Jackie is $39.99 per month, you tell her what you’re into and what your budget is, and you keep what you want & send back what doesn’t work. Whatever you end up keeping, that $39.99 monthly fee goes towards. You can cancel anytime… except you won’t. Karrie’s currently using it and already a belieber. And as a girl currently living in the most remote part of Colorado / aka the Hallmark Hall of Fame where there isn’t a boutique for 200 miles, this is a must.

21 – The Wren Leopard Flat, size 10, $140: This smoking-loafer style flat is my favorite (most comfortable) shape, and omg – zoom in – they’re like UGGS on the inside. GYAH it’s like a mullet version of a shoe – yes please.

22 – A baby Gus. Can you even. The thought of a little fluff muffin keeping Gus company, keeping him young, trotting along behind him… it’s about enough to make my heart explode. Maybe when we settle into a #12.

23 – Personalized Stationery, Nancy Sharon Collins, $-probably a lot. It’s kinda like the menu at a spendy restaurant that doesn’t list prices – you have to inquire for them because I think everything she does is custom. So we’ll call these a pipe dream and say that a Minted gift certificate is just as lovely.

24 – Patagonia Men’s Retro Pile Vest in El Cap Khaki, size Small, $119: Because they make it in women’s, but the colors are cooler in the men’s.

OR – God Bless eBay – this one, which I also love.

26 – Farmhouse Breadboard Cutting Board, 1900’s, $169. At 31.5″ x 16″, this sucker is massive.  And massively rad. As good for wall decor as it is for a big ol cheese board as it is for photo shoots (shart, I should buy it now), this horse is a gem.

27 – Woodhouse Day Spa Denver, The Woodhouse 80 Minute Hydrafacial, $285: I had a facial here last Winter when I was in a state of desperation because my skin was so dehydrated that no amount of goop could rescue it. But this did. It’s in a historic 2-story house in the middle of downtown, and it is so serene that I wanted to stay there in my fluffy white robe all day sipping tea. If I was getting married or just needed a spa day with my mom or bestie, I’d book it here.

That’s all I got!  Karrie, yer up y’old skank.




Healthy Through The Holidays

healthy thru the holidays

The holiday season is notoriously packed with parties, office happy hours, and family gatherings. Although these events are probably not the time to announce your road to gluten freedom or discuss your latest cleanse, the holidays don’t have to be one long painful backslide into unhealthy habits. No one wants to be a buzz kill with food limitations but you also may not want to undo your hard work in the gym or enter 2016 feeling less than fabulous.  Here are ten super simple tips to help you enjoy the holiday season while maintaining your waistline, your health, and (possibly) your sanity.

1 – Nail The Basics.

The first step in staying healthy and sane through the holidays is nailing down your basics and non-negotiables. Do you know what few things make you feel good and keep you going no matter what?  Jot down your top three healthy habits and stick to ‘em like glue. Mine are water, workouts and staying gluten-free. Knowing my non-negotiables helps me navigate the indulgences with some ease.


2 – Water. Speaking of water….I always keep a bottle on hand and sip throughout the day. Winter weather usually ushers in dryness. Between harsh temps and heating units, dry skin and drier internal conditions are inevitable if you aren’t paying attention. Plus when it is 10 below you are less likely to sip on a glass of water than when it’s a sunny 92. In addition to helping keep skin looking supple and keeping your gut moving in top shape, water can help you fend off cravings. We know that food cravings can often be dehydration in disguise. When you feel a craving coming on take 5 minutes and hydrate first with a cup of lemon water or even herbal tea. Still hungry? Great! Time for a healthy snack.


3 – Schedule your workouts like you do your parties.

Making your health and fitness a priority during holiday season will help you keep your energy up, keep your immune system in top shape and keep you feeling fabulous, o boost your workout, visit the Health Care Guys website to buy the best supplements in the market. When I get busy this time of year I check my week schedule on Sunday night and jot down on each day what time I plan to have a
healthy body healthy mind dianabol and workout for the upcoming week. Monday? 430pm HIIT session. Friday is always morning yoga. Post-it notes in the bathroom, laying your clothes out the night before and employing an accountability partner all help. Yes scheduling a 6am yoga session with a pal may feel painful on a cold December Thursday morning, but you both will be better for it. And hey it may even just help you not reach for that 2nd and 3rd glass of Pinot at Wednesday’s happy hour.

no regrets

4 – Sleep.

Yep, you heard me. Getting into bed and getting your 8 hours will help you stay fresh and healthy going into 2016. When we get sleep deprived, we are much more susceptible to colds and viruses especially this time of the year. This is not the time to skimp on sleep. I know this may mean DVRing the latest episode of Scandal but by tucking in early, your body will thank you!


5 – Keep your daily meals in check by meal prepping.

Pre-cooking a few dishes on Sunday such as a soup, a few chicken breasts and a big batch of vegetables like sweet potato and sautéed greens can help you stay on track during the holidays. You may not be able to control much about what Aunt Marge serves on Christmas Eve….but I am betting most of your breakfasts and lunches during the holiday season are up to you.  By having a meal ready and waiting at night or by pre-packing your lunch you can stop from mindlessly reaching for holiday snacks, catered office lunches or grabbing a less than healthy dinner when you are tired.

Meal Prep, Megan McGrane for Covet Living

6 – Bring a dish to share

This is a tried and true basic for making sure a gathering has a dish you can enjoy, especially if you have food restrictions or allergies. It can also help the host feel more comfortable if they are nervous about cooking a dish to your limitations. Reach out a week in advance to your host and offer to bring a side dish or two to help take some weight off of their shoulders since they are graciously hosting!  A few of my favorites to share are: a roasted cauliflower and kale saladshaved brussels sprouts with cranberries and quinoarosemary and garlic mash, or this SUPER simple Ina Garten appetizer.

Ina Garten Recipe | Megan McGrane for Covet Living

7 – Aim to keep alcohol to 2 days per week

It is so easy this time of year to fall into the habit of enjoying a cocktail (or four) multiple times per week. Happy hours with co-workers, catching up with friends, holiday parties, and gatherings with family are endless. Alcohol is full of empty calories and the impact on your waistline is compounded by the occasional martini-fueled food choices (fries anybody?). When planning your week and your workouts(refer to item 3!) pick a couple of events each week that you plan to enjoy. This will help you keep the other 5 days in check.

Champagne Coupes

8 – Enforce the ‘worth it’ rule

I don’t believe in depriving yourself of something that only comes around once a year. But there is an important distinction to be made. Treats and less-than-healthy dishes are practically always within arms reach during the holiday season. I like to ask myself before eating something I normally would not eat, “is this worth it”?  This is the chance to check yourself before your wreck yourself. Ask if you are mindlessly diving into a day-old cookie tray from the break room table because you are stressed at work…Or are you about to take a nice slice of grammy’s apple pie that you only get at Christmas? Is this your dad’s famous Christmas Eve appetizer or a weird pig in the blanket at the office happy hour? When your dish passes the ‘worth it’ rule, have your serving, eat slowly, and enjoy it!

Salted Caramel Donuts

9 – Relax and Breathe

Your holiday season will not be perfect–we don’t live in a Norman Rockwell painting.  Family members can stir up old stuff that is upsetting. Your travel plans may be foiled by delays or cancellations. Taking a breath and accepting what is in front of you is a great first step to keeping your holidays light. I love using the meditation app Buddhify, which has guided meditations aimed at helping you breathe your way through various scenarios. At work? Feeling anxious? Traveling? The app has mediations for these and more. It helps to check out of your own mess and check into your breath for a few minutes. You may be surprised at what a six minute meditation can do when you are stuck on a plane idling on the tarmac.


10 – Stop Worrying and Start Enjoying.

Yes, I hope you workout, hydrate, get rest, and pick your treats wisely. But if you take one tip from this article, it is to stop sweating “these last 10 lbs” or how “gross” you feel from a weekend ski trip with pals filled with wine and take out. Go read this on the Sakara Life blog. The author brilliantly explains why we waste a whole heck of a lot of time sweating what we ate last night, a missed workout and the elusive last few pounds, instead of savoring the moments that brought us joy in the first place. May your holiday season be filed with laughs, a few workouts, a little meditation, some really really good food and a healthy entrance to 2016.

Sakara Life


Guest Blogger Megan McGrane is a Physician assistant, health coach, former college volleyball player, Autoimmune Warrior.

Megan McGrane for Covet Living