Cheap, Fast and Good – You CAN have all three….

In my past life of planning conferences one of the biggest stressors was finding the perfect speaker gift.  In my personal life, this comes up again and again as I look for gifts for church and sorority event speakers.

This past weekend one of the ministries I serve on had an event with multiple panelists.  So on the hunt I went for nice (and inexpensive) thank you gifts.  Between Hobby Lobby and Walmart I was able to come through with cheap and easy speaker gifts (that only took me about an hour to put together – I promise).

Here’s what you need:

  1. A Small Glass Container ( Hobby Lobby had them for IMG_027050 percent off – about $1.25 per jar)
  2. Gift Tags (the hanging ones, not the sticky type)
  3. Candy (M&Ms or mints – but if you go the chocolate route keep the candy cool)
  4. Colored Markers or Pencils


All you have to do is clean the jars and drop in some candy.  The special touch comes in the gift tag.  Using your colored markers or pencils write a nice message on the gift tag.  Tie it around the jar and voila, a fun speaker gift.

Be Inspired.

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Because gifts should include a little kid sweat equity…

I’m a big fan of gifts.  But when it comes to Mother’s Day I get immediate throwback feelings to my childhood and the fun and creative exercise of making cards for your mom.  In school all we were given was construction paper, glue, and markers but somehow as children we all managed to make Mother’s Day magic.

So when it comes to this holiday I like to go a little old school and back to my kiddie roots with the adult benefit of letting someone else buy the materials and do the clean up.

I grab my nephew (the resident kid in my life) and head out for an afternoon of ceramics painting and lunch.  We usually visit Color Me Mine or All Fired Up.  But the good news is that there are craft centers in every state.

He picks out a gift for his mom, I pick out a gift for my mom (his nana) and we go to work.  I also do a little grown up magic and add in a gift card or two (from me).

If you’re looking for a great Mother’s Day gift idea and a way to occupy kids for an hour or two it’s a great option.  Just don’t wait too long – firing the ceramics usually takes about a week.

Be Inspired.


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So Gift a Book…

Here are my top 10 books to gift and receive- in no specific order…

  1. Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin.
  2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  3. Fabulosity by Kimora Lee Simmons
  4. Domino: the Book of Decorating by Deborah Needleman and John Middleton Murry, Jr.
  5. Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
  6. 36 Hours 125 Weekends in Europe by Barbara Ireland
  7. The Coveteur: Private Spaces, Personal Style by Stephanie Mark and Jake Rosenburg
  8. Honey I Love and Other Poems by Eloise Greenfield
  9. Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider’s Guide to the Sweet Life
  10. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling.

Be Inspired & Gift a Book.

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Transparency Time….

I will turn 40 years old in less than a year.  Most days I’m good with it – really good with it.  As in excited, can’t wait for this next decade and all of the confidence and peace that all who have gone before me swear comes with this age.

But then there are days when I’m not okay and not because of the number.  After all, Aaliyah said that “Age ain’t nothing but a number” right?  And she was right (or maybe it was Timbaland or Missy Elliot or whoever wrote the song) – but either way I am fully on board with this sentiment.

So it’s not about the number, it’s all about ME.  And being completely, wholly, authentically me and whether I have reached this place or not.

These two books – in their own unique way – have spoken to that anxiety.  So if you know someone coming of age (it doesn’t have to be 40), I think these books make great gifts:

STYLE YOUR MIND by Cara Alwill Lebya

Style Your Mind
Don’t downplay the greatness of a classic workbook. Written by Cara Alwill Lebya (author of Sparkle and writer of The Champagne Diet blog) this thought-provoking guide has really helped me craft out a true vision for myself. It takes a while to get through – if you’re serious about it – because the questions are serious. It’s like having a life coach on your terms. It’s great gift for any woman plotting her way. I think that everyone should go through this type of exercise at least once every five to seven years.

YEAR OF YES by Shonda Rhimes

So I’m about a year late to the game on this book – BUT – everything happens when it’s supposed to happen and I’m reading it at the perfect time for me (don’t judge me). But I’m finding that there are others who haven’t read it so it makes a great gift because it’s an AWESOME read. I enjoy the writing on her shows, but I’m loving her book even more. It’s honest, transparent, and I can see myself in parts. I’m inspired – not necessarily to say “Yes” – that’s her journey – but to chart my own course fearlessly, which is a great gift for anyone.

Be Inspired.

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Gifts for People Who Don’t Want Gifts

Because there’s always a solution…

I was having a conversation with a teammate a few weeks ago who found himself wanting to purchase a birthday gift for his wife who really didn’t want one.  Once I got over being flattered that he had actually visited my blog to come up with ideas, my mind started turning.

No gift – sacrilege!  (Well not really, but it’s my blog so I can say that.)

So if you’re in this position (as we all will be at some point), here are my personal go-to gifts for people who never want gifts:


I’m a huge fan of books as gifts – perhaps because I am a bibliophile and can never resist.  But what I love about the gift of books is that first, knowledge is power and gifting it is never a waste, but second (and most important) there is always a book to match someone’s interest.  Photography, travel, fashion, art, etc. – there’s always a great book on it.

A MEMORY (In Photo Form)

In this day of digital, printed pictures can actually be really special.  So if you have someone who doesn’t really want or need anything, find a great photo that epitomizes the best of your relationship (maybe a candid from a first date or a high school photo that you both had forgotten about).  Get it printed (it’s super cheap) and put it in a frame.  If you’re not that formal, you can always put it a card.  #herestomakingmorememoriesdi76z659T


I’m big on gifts of experience although I rarely highlight them on the blog…. mostly because they are so personal.  But they are also incredibly memorable.  So plan a dinner that the kids help with for mom’s birthday or schedule that hot air balloon ride that he’s been talking about for years.  Maybe you do a movie marathon.  The best part is that price shouldn’t be a factor.

….And don’t forget to buy a card (that’s non-negotiable).

Be Inspired.

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BLACK GIRL MAGIC: Brown Girls Unite

And Buy from this Site….

A lot of my inspiration comes from Instagram, which is where I found Brown Girls Unite. Even better the artist behind the IG has a shop that puts her art on wearable and giftable items.

She also has a pretty awesome mission statement. The artist’s goal is to empower girls of color to dream without limits and aspire to be great things in life – and indeed she does.

I’m partial to their Greek-inspired tote bags and have already gifted a few. But I also indulged myself by purchasing their beach towel and now I’m jonesing for a beach trip to unveil my new swag.

I love sites like this because they remind us that art isn’t just good for avatars, but that it should surround you.

It also makes awesome gifts.

Be inspired.

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Combining two of my great loves…

Transparency time.  I’m a nerd.  I’ve been a nerd, I’m still a nerd.  I’m a book reading, glasses wearing, teacher’s pet style nerd.  I would like to be cool and sexy and hip – but alas as Lady Gaga says, “I was born this way,” and by this way, I mean NERD.

But this blog gives me the opportunity to do something awesome and that’s combine two non-human loves of my life – giving great gifts and finding awesome books.  Hence this new addition to my blog.

Here are the books I’m loving and ready to wrap as gifts:

The Coveteur

First up, the Coveteur: Private Spaces, Personal Style. Created by the owners of the completely boss site – the book is gorgeous just the like their virtual space. They’ve chosen a diverse group of personalities to profile and each submission is extremely well curated.


Next, but no way second, is Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home. First of all, how happy am I that the magazine is back?! Second, how jazzed was I that they came out with a second book? The first one – nearly 10 years old – came out about the time I bought my house. This one doesn’t disappoint either. I’m already inspired. It’s a great gift option for a new homeowner.


The Bomb Life: My Brand. My Terms (Claire Sulmers)

Last, but most def not least, is The Bomb Life: My Brand. My Terms. by Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily/The Bomb Life fame. I first came to know her from Instagram and came upon her book in my Amazon reading list by happenstance. If I admired her before, now I’m a complete fan and as a fellow writer I’m inspired. This books offers a fun and humbling look into how she came to create her eponymous blog and some #blackgirlmagic. Hint: there’s really no magic, but a lot of hard work and dues paying.

Be Inspired.

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In other words, what about your friends…. cue the TLC 90s hit song.

I’m a single girl and I try not to forget about my girlfriends on Valentine’s Day (single or not).  Because when it comes down to it, to paraphrase Charlotte from Sex and the City, girlfriends are often your soulmates.

“Maybe we can be each other’s soul mates. And then we can let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with.”                        ~Charlotte, Sex & the City

If you ever suffered through the high school homeroom delivery of Valentine’s Day Grams and Carnations, then you know that it’s often your girlfriends who come to the rescue.  So when it comes to “Galentine’s Day” I’m giving your permission to keep it “high school” and don’t leave your girls hanging!  

Send a card.

“Galentine’s Day” cards abound in local chain stores like Target. But Valentine’s Day cards work just as well.

Send a little jewelry.

I’m partial to Alex and Ani bracelets as gifts. But there are so many choices available. You can be creative and look at too!

Treat her to a makeover or mani/pedi.

You can’t go wrong with a Sephora gift card (or your friend’s favorite makeup counter of choice).

Pay for her favorite coffee or tea drink.

You can also treat your friends to a latte at Starbucks. Best thing about this gift is that it emails well.

Be Inspired.

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There’s nothing like a prize inside…

It’s always great to receive something unexpected and this gift offers the perfect surprise.  If you are planning to send a card (birthday or otherwise), consider adding a little untraditional twist because although I love to get a card with a cash or a check, I’m not opposed to jewelry!

You can pick up a simple (and flat) piece of jewelry on its own card from a local store – try Lou Lou or even Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.  So just grab your greeting card and simply tape the jewelry card to the inside of the greeting card so that it doesn’t shake in the mail.


It’s simple and relatively inexpensive.  Just don’t forget to add a little extra postage (just to be safe).

Be Inspired.

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