This year’s big gift guide is full of all of my favorite things – items I love, items I’ve gifted and even items on my own wishlist for Santa. More than ever, there are a lot of cozy items for staying home and versatile items for all your loved ones in 2020.
I recommend shopping early for shipping times and checking back often as I will try to keep this post updated with new sales throughout the holiday season.
Be sure to send along this post to Santa or drop a hint if you see something you love too!
I know 2020 has been a difficult and very different year for many (myself included) but I hope you are able to set aside some time to celebrate and enjoy, even if it may look a little different this year.
As always, thank you for all your support when you shop and use my links.
5. Giftcard to Cherry: If you’re shopping for someone local to Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston or Austin, a giftcard to Cherry for a mobile mani-pedi is the perfect gift. They can use code: BANNC for $10 OFF their first service. There is a great sale on mani-pedi packs right now as well.
10. Hydracy Water Bottle: This is a great gift for all the fitness lovers in your life. It tracks your water intake each day and pops open with a click of the button. You can use code BAC for 15% OFF this bottle and anything else.
11. Fab Fit Fun Winter Box: The winter box is full of some amazing FULL sized products that can be customized and is perfect to gift at $49 for a $200+ value. Use code BANNC.
12. Barrington St. Anne Tote: This is the best tote from Dallas-based Barrington! It can be customized in 100s of ways and monogramed.
13. Pura Device & Fragrances: A Pura device for the home would be the prefect gift for just about anyone. You can use code BRITTNEYANN for 15% OFF devices and one-time fragrance purchases plus they have some great gift sets right now too. Nordstrom also has some sets here.
14. Jordan Winery Gift Set: Jordan is always a favorite spot to visit in California and is a nice way to support CA vineyards after all the fires this year. I highly recommend sending one of their gift sets.
16. Mostess Boxes: Another way to shop small and support a local Texas business would be to gift one of these boxes. Mostess has the most adorable curated items for all your favorite hostess and cocktail lovers. Right now, they’re having a sale up to 50% off too.
17. Sid Mashburn Mocassin Loafers: For the men in your life – these loafers are a classic, go with everything and I’m told they’re very comfortable too. Right now, they have a buy more, save more SALE and these are $50 OFF!
18. French Lavender Candle: Another way to shop small and support a local Florida business! My cousin has so many of my favorite candles in her shop online.
19. A Bottle of Veuve Clicquot: When in doubt, send a celebration! Apps like Drizly and others make it easy to send a bottle to your favorite bubbly lover or to toast for a virtual holiday season.
21. Hempathy Body Lotion: Vogue has called Hempathy the perfect companion to all your favorite skincare brands and I could not agree more. This would be such a nice pampering gift to give someone and you can get 15% OFF your first purchase.
30. American Royals & American Royals II Majesty Books: These are easily my favorite books I’ve read lately. For all your book lovers who enjoy the royals and DC, this set would be perfect to gift. The author is also from Texas!
35. Men’s Leather Shearling Lined Slippers: These are the best men’s slippers! They’re more expensive but last for years. Pro tip: if the size you need is backordered, reserve at a store and call them – they can ship to you!
43. Monogram Passport Case – Another idea for your favorite traveler are these customized passport cases. They have a few colors and are on sale right now for $24.
44. Record Player :For the musical men and women in your life, this record player comes in a few colors and is the perfect size. Pick up a few of their favorite artists on record too!
45. Freedom Moses Sandals: These sandals live up to the hype! A neutral color would be nice to gift – I have the gold and love them.
46. Name Bracelet: Another idea for a mom to be or mom. This company is also small and local to Texas.
47. Leather Airpod Case Holder: I picked these up for my dad a few years ago and he loves them. If you’re gifting anyone airpods this year, be sure to grab a case.
48. Magazine Subscriptions: One of my favorite stocking stuffers that keeps on giving is gifting Magazine Subscriptions (Southern Living and Travel + Leisure are a few favorites) and with Amazon you can get some great deals starting at only $5!
58. Facial Steamer :I have talked about this on stories but this is perfect for those you have no idea what to get and who love to pamper themselves. It’s also nice for this year when spa and facial visits are missing. It’s a great price under $50.
62. Jo Malone Perfume Gift Set: This perfume set is great to break up for stockings and gift exchanges but also nice to gift so that someone can try a few scents as Jo Malone’s are meant for layering. This set includes 2 of my favorites too and is on SALE for 15% OFF right now.
66. Men’s Barbour Jacket: This is my rec for a classic men’s jacket! Tuckernuck is also having an amazing buy more, save more sale from 20%-30% OFF with code: BIGSALE.
67. Rewined Rosé Candle: Another favorite candle to gift – made from old wine bottles and handpoured in Charleston.
68. Cashmere Lounge Set: Hoodie Pullover and Joggers: The coziest set as we head into winter! Summersalt is having so many great sales these last few weeks. They have gifts with purchase, $20 OFF, free shipping and more surprises + bundles each day. Their new fleeces and PJ sets are great options too.
69. Fuzzy Nonslip Slippers: For an affordable Amazon find, these are the perfect gift. They have memory foam and are super comfortable. Many slipper options this year but that is 2020!
70. Wine Simple Book: More for the wine lovers or those who are new to drinking wine. Pair this with a bottle.
92. Charlotte Tilbury Mini Bronze and Contour Duo: This is such a great price for this duo for a stocking stuffer, gift exchange or small gift. I use the large size and it’s normally $68 so under $30 is a steal and it’s the best of the best IMO.
94. Drybar’s Double Shot Brush Blowdryer: This is a perfect gift for someone who has everything! I have one for myself and gifted it too. Not to be cheesy but it blows the Revlon version away, doesn’t get too hot, smooths and styles your hair and is worth the splurge. Sephora also has it if you prefer to shop there.
100. Lululemon Belt Bag: And last but not least – A great price for a Lululemon pick at under $40. I wear mine hiking, on walks and while traveling sometimes. It clips around your waist or shoulder and has convenient pockets.
As promised, the Sephora Holiday Savings Event is upon us in 2020 so I put together this post with some of my recent favorites this year. If you missed my Spring Sephora Sale post, check it out here as all those items are staples I love, still use and would also recommend for this sale too!
As most of you probably know, some of these beauty items rarely go on sale and this sale is one of Sephora’s biggest and best. Sephora’s Holiday Savings Event is based around Beauty Insider Status – so ROUGE members get 20% OFF from 10/30 – 11/9,VIB members get 15% OFF from 11/3– 11/9 and Insider members get 10% OFF from 11/5 – 11/9. According to the Instagram story polls I did, y’all are about 50/50 between VIB vs. ROGUE status so I wanted to share this by day 1 so you could start to add to your wishlists and shopping carts once you’re able to shop.
Sephora’s program is completely free to join and tracks all your purchases every year plus provides some truly amazing samples to redeem with your points. I try a lot of new products this way and if you aren’t currently signed up, but want a discount – this is the perfect time to get at least 10% OFF and build your status for future sales. You can sign up here now.
As always, thank you for all your support when you use my links to shop. The Sale was very popular in the Spring and I’m so lucky that so many of y’all take my recommendations and send me yours too. If you are reading this on your phone and use the Sephora app, my links also connect and work there too.
Similar to my Spring post, I’ve broken this list down into different categories and included my wishlist and gift sets this year too.
Be sure to use the code HOLIDAYFUN to apply your discount. You can use the code on as many orders as you’d like.
SKINCARE, MASKS & BODY PRODUCTS
*UPDATE for all my Beautycounter picks: They were originally on the Sephora website still when the sale began but they have now taken them off as the partnership JUST ended. I was able to restock with my discount before they removed them but I’m so sorry for those of you that missed it . However, I love these so much that I still wanted to include it in this post with an update. The GOOD NEWS is that if you still want to buy the product – anyone can get 10% OFF when they sign up here with a new email address!
Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel Treatment – I have talked about this peel over and over on insta-stories and it’s because it WORKS! I cannot tell you how many friends I have recommended this to and it’s one of my top recommendations right now. I use 1-2 pumps every other night and it leaves me glowing. It is gentle and has left my skin looking so bright and even too.
Beautycounter Vitamin-C Serum – I’m already on my second bottle of this Vitamin-C serum and it is one of my new go-to’s since Spring. It smells lovely and works so well! My spring post recommended another Vitamin-C but I have since switched to this one and one other (will talk about that one more later). This is yet another BC product I am loving and notice the difference in my skin tone and even-ness. I have freckles and my skin has never looked so bright! I use it every morning and Vitamin-C is essential to any skincare routine so I highly recommend this one too.
Beautycounter Supreme Cream – I use this cream every night – it’s so luxe and helps keep my skin hydrated before bed. I’m ordering my second jar this sale, some people compare it to La Mer and it’s clean too!
Indie Lee Toner – This one was recommended by so many of you and I absolutely love this toner! It’s my go-to for the mornings (I used a different brand at night) and is also a clean brand. I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not 100% “CLEAN” only by any means, I use what works and will always share you with my favorite products that do.
Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Moisturizer – This is a great daily moisturizer. I use it after Vitamin-C and it’s incredibly hydrating. My skin is often very dry in Dallas and this has helped tremendously with that. It has lactic acid and helps with fine lines too. You can buy in a smaller size if you want to try it out for a bit first!
Dermalogica BioLumin-C Vitamin C Serum – This is the other Vitamin C I use now and love too. It is slightly more expensive that the Beautycounter one and I love the dropper! It’s a high-performance serum and also has lactic acid.
Dr. Zenovia 10% Glycolic Acne Control Peel Pads – I recently discovered Dr. Zenovia’s hormonal dermatology line through a PR gifting and I’m in love with all her products so far. I generally do not have acne-prone skin but I’ve become a victim of maskne from time to time and these peel pads are truly amazing. You can use 2x a day or whenever you need it – I immediately notice a difference and my zits are gone within a day or two. It also works for dark spots. I also recommend her spot treatment (it’s often sold out but set an alert for it because it’s a miracle worker!).
Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel – If you’re looking for a clean eye gel serum, look no further! This product is excellent and I discovered it first through a sample at Sephora. It helps with dark circles and puffiness and I love to use before bed too.
Clarins V-Facial Intensive Wrap Face Mask – You have probably heard of this amazing de-puffing face mask a million times but I finally picked it up for myself this year and I’m here to tell you – it works wonders! I recommended it to a girlfriend of mine and she called it “pedialyte for your face”, ha! I could not agree more. I use it mostly in the morning and it helps to de-puff and contour your face – I think this one will go quickly on sale but set an alert if it sells out!
Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Mask – Masking is a large part of my skincare routine and it all depends on what my skin needs that week. This particular mask is great for a Sunday reset and is full of antioxidants and vitamins. My face is always glowing and brightened right after. I recommend adding this to your mask circuit for sure.
Farmacy Gel Sheet Masks – These sheet masks are the best! I love the hydrating one and the brightening one too. They are great gifts and a clean option.
Beautycounter Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser – My last Beautycounter rec on this list is this cleanser (don’t forget to use the new code I posted above)! I love clean cleansers and use this along with my Tula one. It helps to remove make up and oils (also good for maskne these days!) and has jojoba beans that are gentle and exfoliating.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator – I’m often asked what exfoliators I use and this has been a top pick for years! I call it my “skin polish” and love how gentle this is on my skin and how tight my skin looks after I use it. It’s a rice-based powder that you mix and is very lightweight. They also make it in a mini size so you can try it out first and it is even gentle enough for daily use.
Nécessaire Body Wash – If you want to know if the hype is real on Nécessaire – it is! I genuinely love the body wash and use the Eucalyptus one daily. It’s clean and they also have other scents that I’m looking forward to trying. It’s a great time to get it on sale!
Nécessaire Body Lotion – This is the other product I am loving by them and using daily. It’s fragrance free and full of vitamins and omegas. It’s no nonsense and also very hydrating for colder months.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum – Last but not least in skincare, if you decide to splurge on one thing, let it be this serum! I know the price is $$$ but I’m telling you, I have not tried a hyaluronic acid I like better and it comes at a great discount right now.
Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that Drybar products are nothing new to me. I’ve been using this dry shampoo and others for years but LOVE that they have the new large value size of this one now so I had to mention.
Drybar Wrap Party Styling Wand – Last but not least in Drybar world is this curling wand. It’s what I have been using for a few years and I love how you can set the temperature, it automatically goes off after an hour, it has a reverse taper which is great for curl styling and ionic technology.
Nars Mini Orgasm Blush – This is also a longtime favorite of mine but I love that it comes in this mini size now! Great for travel and purses.
Urban Decay All-Nighter Make Up Setting Spray – This product is the only setting spray I love. It helps my make up last and I swear it helps it not get on my other face masks these days. I linked the smaller size as I recommend trying it that way first.
Since the holidays are basically amongst us now, it’s only fitting I include a few of my favorite candles. These are some great holiday scents, stocking stuffer ornaments and some staples too. The sale is the perfect time to try out some new candles. I also picked up this one last sale and am obsessed!
HOLIDAY GIFT SETS
I wanted to include some of my holiday gift set picks this sale too. These not only make great gifts and stocking stuffers but I love gift sets as a way to test new products and use for travel too. The NuFace also has a limited edition option or you can pick up the regular one here (one of the most popular items of 2020 on H&T!).
IN MY CART NOW x WISHLIST ITEMS
I’ve included a few others items below that are in my cart and on my wishlist these days to try next. Continue to check back on this post as I will update it some as the sale goes on.
*Pro Tip: if any of my picks are “sold out”, I recommend signing up for the alerts when they’re back in stock – I have purchased several items like that in the past when I receive the email alert and you can use your discount code as many times as you’d like!
I’m so excited to share today’s travel post with you. So many of you reached out about this trip and wanted to know more so here we go! If you have been following along on instagram, you know that I recently took a trip in October to Colorado and Utah. Well today I will be sharing my stay at The Broadmoor and its wilderness properties in beautiful Colorado Springs.
Also, just a heads up that if you didn’t catch it on my Instagram stories or posts – I saved a highlights for each spot on my profile – here, here and here.
Lucky for those of you in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – Colorado Springs is only a quick 1.5 hour flight away. It is also a reasonable road trip if you are not comfortable flying right now. It was my first time staying in the Colorado Springs area and I was so impressed with how easy it was to get to and also, how close The Broadmoor is to the airport (just a 20 minute Uber or car ride).
This was also my first time at the property as it’s been on my list for awhile now. I am in love with their sister property on the East Coast, Sea Island and The Broadmoor was absolutely everything I imagined out West and more. From its history to impeccable customer service, no detail is missed.
We started by checking in at the main resort and were greeted by the hotel’s assistant manager, Alan, who set the hospitality expectations high for this trip! Afterward, we had a quick lunch at The Grille overlooking the 18th at the picturesque golf course. This was just enough time to recharge following our morning flight and fuel up for what was next.
For the first part of our stay, we were headed to Cloud Camp, a one of a kind wilderness experience at 9200+ feet on the top of Cheyenne Mountain. By now, you probably know how much I love this magical place. It completely stole our hearts – from the mule ride up to the hike down, yoga and stargazing hot tubs, award-winning dining & s’mores -it’s a luxury wilderness experience like no other that is truly like camp for adults and a perfect fit for yours truly!
Yes, mule rides up! I had some of you ask if this was the only way up. However, you also have the option to take the Broadmoor Escalades all the way to the top or you can stop about half way at the mule stables where you can hitch a ride the rest of the way – which I highly recommend.
The fall weather was absolutely perfect and we were guided by the fabulous Alicia up to the top. Truth be told, my mule Binxton was a lot larger than I expected (essentially the size of a horse) but he was my new best friend by the end. It was such a memorable experience up the private road with gorgeous mountain views and stunning fall foliage. The ride takes about 45 minutes or so and our luggage was sent up in the car awaiting our arrival. Also awaiting our arrival was Lisa, Cloud Camp’s incredible manager, who gave us a tour of the property before we headed to our own cabin.
We stayed in the one bedroom Mount Rosa cabin with a loft which was lovely and perfect for social distancing these days plus it was near some of the outdoor hot tubs! (You can see a full tour of our cabin HERE.) We were greeted in our cabin with a bottle of red wine and wellness kits with hand sanitizers and wipes – such a nice touch these days and much appreciated.
For other accommodation options, they have rooms in the main lodge as well as different sized cabins plus the Fire Tower Suite.
Additionally, what is also so wonderful about Cloud Camp is that it’s an all-inclusive experience – meaning that your rate includes just about everything during your stay. All your meals, snacks, drinks, transportation and an abundance of activities. It’s really incredible and well worth the expense in my opinion.
During our stay we enjoyed the evening cooking club which is a tradition there as well cocktails on the deck overlooking Colorado Springs. Dinner each evening is a delicious 4-5 course meal (come hungry! there are many surprise courses & options!) in the gorgeous lodge dining room near the fireplace. Meals are served at set times and it’s such a perfect spot to meet other guests. Typically, everyone is at one big table but due to COVID, they separated everyone by party, however, it’s still a really welcoming and safe atmosphere.
There is a flag ceremony each evening and s’mores by the fire after dinner. We enjoyed early morning yoga with Allie, gorgeous outdoor hot tubs in the woods for stargazing after dinner, guided hikes with Kate and of course, the mule ride. A note about the hot tubs because I receive some questions – they are open for everyone to use, we just “hiked” down in our robes from our cabin nearby and right now, they require a reservation so it’s private and all set up for you complete with fresh towels and bottled waters (bring your wine, if you’d like!).
This place is the perfect spot to disconnect some and enjoy the outdoors (no TV’s but don’t worry, there’s wifi and cell service!) . It would be such a nice choice for a honeymoon, babymoon, anniversary trip or a couples trip too. I seriously cannot wait for our next stay and I highly recommend the mule ride UP and guided hike DOWN scenario (send the bags!).
Every moment is taken care of, carefully planned and is luxury service at its finest. The other item to note about CC is that it’s a seasonal experience so it typically opens in April or May and will close up sometime in October pending the weather. However, they do have the option to book the entire property for the holidays – how amazing would a family Thanksgiving or Christmas be at CC? What a dream!
Just like Cloud Camp, the beautiful Ranch at Emerald Valley is also all-inclusive and full of so much to do – a true luxury ranch experience. It would be the perfect place to take your kids or for a family reunion (which they host plenty of!). It sits at about 8400 feet in the heart of the Pike National Forest. For transportation, the Broadmoor fleets also take you to and from this special secluded place.
The Ranch’s friendly manager, Craig, greeted us with Fall sweets (gluten free for me!) and a welcoming tour. We had arrived just in time for happy hour (which we are told is all the time!). This MAP was also helpful in getting to know the property.
I was so impressed again here with the staff and level of service – nothing like it. The Ranch at Emerald Valley also has a main lodge with a bar and dining room along with a porch and camp fires outside.
We stayed in the Fir Cabin, which was right next to the main lodge and near the lakes. The historic cabin had heated floors and its own fireplace – and we certainly needed it as we woke up to 30-something degrees (you can also see more of our cabin HERE). Both Cloud Camp and The Ranch at Emerald Valley really cool off in the evenings and mornings so packing layers is highly recommended.
We spent the afternoon with a fly fishing lesson (my first time!) and then fly fishing at our leisure with cocktails. They have so many activities to choose from – horseback riding on autumn trails, archery, hiking on trails of all levels, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, lawn games, horse shoes, outdoor hot tubs and more. There is lots to do for kids too and it’s a very family friendly spot.
Everything at the Ranch is very laid back, on “mountain time”, as they like to say. Before dinner we enjoyed hot toddy’s outside followed by a delicious meal – lobster for me! They also have delicious s’more kits for the lodge fires but we opted for extra wine outside instead.
Oh yes, and I’d be doing you a disservice if I failed to mention the Cowboy Coffee! One of my favorite things about the REV was this coffee! It’s made with love and mud and starts flowing by the fire early in the morning. It was so delicious that I even took one to-go for our fall hike one morning and fishing. Be sure to try a cup (or two!).
On the morning we left, we took a quick trail hike through the forest full of Aspen trees and other fall foliage with mountains and creeks all around. At the end of our hike, we decided to canoe across the lake back to the lodge. It was seriously the most perfect morning and activities like this are what make this place so special. There was one else around and all of the activities there are mainly outdoors and most importantly, felt very safe right now.
Just like CC, REV has a seasonality to it due to the seasons so it typically will close for a few months by Halloween each year. Also, fun fact – if you’re up for it, you could actually hike from CC to REV too!
THE BROADMOOR SPA AND SOUTHLAKE SUITES
For our last night at The Broadmoor, we stayed at the main resort and checked into a Southlake Suite with lake views and a lovely patio. The suite was gorgeous with a fireplace, a bathroom full of monogrammed “B” towels (perfect for me!), a living room and separate bedroom. The Southlake Suites are also separate from the larger hotel towers so it felt very private and quiet.
While golf is a main activity at the BM – so is the Broadmoor Spa, which was divine with mountain view relaxation rooms and I checked myself in. It was truly the perfect way to relax and spend the afternoon after all of our many activities at CC and REV. This was my first facial after a long hiatus and I opted for the Legacy Facial along with dermaplaning with Ashleigh – complete with a fresh mask at the end. I left with glowing and bright skin. Masks were required in all areas of the spa as well.
After the spa, we headed to dinner at La Taverne, the Broadmoor’s legendary steakhouse. We ordered oysters (east coast and west coast) with champagne, the tuna appetizer, steak and dessert with a port tasting. Our waiter, Aaron, was so helpful in picking our menu items and like everywhere at the Broadmoor, so welcoming and hospitable.
Another item I found really interesting was all the wine on display in the hallways outside the restaurant. Being the wine nerds we are, we enjoyed seeing all the old empty bottles from all over the world that were stored there during prohibition.
The next morning we had breakfast in the Lake Terrace Dining Room (gluten free avocado toast for me!). I also have to say that if you have any food allergies, I found all of the experiences to be extremely accommodating with many suitable options.
After breakfast, we headed out on the road to Aspen for the weekend and then onto Moab, Utah to check two new national parks off our list.
The Broadmoor absolutely blew me away – each 5 star experience was one-of-a-kind and I found that there is something for everyone. They have also done quite an excellent job with COVID pre-cautions and a “B” safe motto – masks are required indoors, around others and everything is set up to be socially distant and safe without losing its hospitality, charm and famous service.
I think it would be so fun to stay at the BM with kids in the summertime with their pools or holidays with all their decorations. Andif you want my recommendation, if you have kids, I think it would be so nice to bring them (+grandparents or an aunt like me) to the resort and then sneak away for a night at Cloud Camp too!
Special thank you to The Broadmoor and their team for an incredible stay this fall!
If you have been reading along here since the very beginning, you’ll know that today I’m taking it back to my roots with a little hosting and toasting…literally.
Since 2013, this blog and my Instagram content has evolved from entertaining and how-to’s posts to include more travel, skincare and fashion. Ironically, these are all interests that were influenced in my life by my Aunt too (to whom this blog was originally inspired by and dedicated to after she died). So it’s only fitting that as I become an Aunt myself, I am now sharing this journey.
However, when I first started this, I don’t think I could have imagined sharing a
“how-to” for a virtual shower but alas, during a world pandemic, here we are.
To give you some background, my sister is due this summer with a little girl. We have a very big family and with my sister having so many friends, the original plan was to have 2 baby showers this summer to split up the guest lists. With a pandemic upon us, my co-hostess and I decided to make one of the showers we planned with her girlfriends and some family still happen this summer. My sister is having her second shower post-baby with the rest of the family and guests.
For this post, I’ve gathered up some details and tips that helped me along the way as I learned to navigate and plan my first VIRTUAL shower. I know that many of you may be planning or celebrating with a virtual shower for yourself or a loved one soon, so I hope this helps to inspire you for both baby and bridal showers alike!
1. PICK AND USE THE ORIGINAL THEME.
We had planned to use an “Amalfi Coast” Italian baby shower theme. A little ode to my sister and niece’s Italian roots and perfect for a summertime shower too. I think it’s important to keep an overall theme weaved through the details – just as you would a regular shower. For this particular theme, there was plenty of lemons, flowers and pinks.
2. IF THERE IS TIME, MAIL PRINTED INVITATIONS.
I’m old fashioned here and don’t think there is anything quite like invitations via snail mail. If you have time to switch plans around, send the invitations! I worked on my sister’s with Palm Paperie in California and Chelsea was amazing! We had a short turnaround time and she printed everything for us too for a fee. She worked on her invitations, cocktail recipe inserts, favor tags and even a custom Zoom background to match.
(You can shop some of her designs below.)
For the invitation, don’t forget to include the time zone (if you have guests potentially joining from all over the country), porch drop off or mailing date deadline for gifts (I suggest by the day before the shower) and of course, the baby registry information. I would suggest having everyone RSVP via email so you have their email addresses for the Zoom link later on.
Also important to keep in mind is the time of day. At most showers, food and drinks are served and we wanted to be sure not to cut into anyone’s meal times since we weren’t able to feed everyone virtually – 3PM ET/2PM CT worked perfectly for our planning.
3. SIGN UP FOR A PAID ZOOM ACCOUNT.
I recommend using Zoom for a virtual shower. It’s easy and most people are familiar with it. You can easily sign up and pay for the upgraded version for 1 month (cancel anytime) and this way you will not have to worry about going over the 40 minute time limit or guest size limit. You can also record, have host controls, a waiting room and it just makes the entire experience a lot easier. Best ~$15 you’ll spend!
4. INCORPORATE A SIGNATURE COCKTAIL OR MOCKTAIL.
My sister loved the idea of Aperol Spritz served at her shower and so we still made it happen! Clearly this was part of the theme too but we included an insert card with everyone’s invitation with a suggested at-home recipe to surprise her and raise a glass at the beginning of the shower.
I had some time during recent quarantine life to perfect my Aperol Spritz after I mailed the recipe out so here is what I now suggest: 3 oz Prosecco + 2 oz Aperol + 1 oz Club Soda + 3 Orange Slices & toss in 5 Ice Cubes at the end & stir!
Now I realize that in the middle of a pandemic it may not be reasonable for everyone to find Aperol or specific cocktail ingredients but you can also suggest in an email later on that everyone “arrive” with their cocktail or mocktail of choice to toast. For the mom-to-be, we had a little help from the dad-to-be to make sure she had her mocktail in hand!
5. SEND THE MOM-TO-BE A DECOR BASKET AHEAD OF TIME.
Keeping the theme in mind, we surprised my sister with a basket full of shower decor and other items to help her set up her Zoom spot and tablescape.
6. BRING ALL OF THE SHOWER VENDORS TO THE MOM-TO-BE.
We decided to bring a mini shower TO my sister and worked with a few local vendors to do so. First and foremost, her only baby shower request months ago was a giant “cheese board” and we worked with Marissa of Salumi Tampa to put together the most amazing board full of cheeses (pasteurized!), charcuterie, chocolates and more surprises to deliver to her the day of. If you’re local to Tampa, I cannot recommend working with Marissa enough. Be sure to follow her to see her other gorgeous and delicious creations.
In addition to the board for her to snack on, we had a special Nutella cake delivered to her and I ordered this custom cake topper to put on top. We also had custom cookies with lemons and the baby’s name + a flower arrangement delivered to her.
7. SCHEDULE A FAVOR PORCH PICK UP OR MAIL.
If you have a smaller guest list, consider mailing everyone their favor. If not and someone lives local, arrange for a “favor porch pickup” one day beforehand or after. With the majority of the guests living in Florida, we were able to give out favor bags the day before and shipped out favors to all the other guests that lived far away.
For this shower, we chose a rose and lemon coco scent for guests. Don’t forget the mom-to-be! We included larger size of the Voluspa candles for her to enjoy too.
8. BE SURE TO HAVE A HOST AGENDA AND REMINDERS TO FOLLOW.
We wanted this virtual shower to feel as natural and fun as possible even with almost 40 of us on video so I wrote out a little agenda for the hosts to follow ahead of the shower and some reminders so we didn’t forget anything. The total shower was about 1 hour and 20 minutes or so.
Below is a sample agenda x schedule you could use:
Hosts hop on early and play a little music as guests arrive, guests arrive and say hello to mom-to-be as they pop on, mom-to-be gives a little video tour of her set up and surprises, housekeeping items/Zoom reminders, hosts thank guests and toasts to mom-to-be and baby (don’t forget to press record!), virtual game time, open presents (don’t forget to take photos!), dad-to-be makes an appearance for cake at the end and more thank you’s + goodbye’s.
9. PLAY GAMES BUT KEEP IT SIMPLE & SEND VIRTUAL PRIZES!
I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan normally of baby shower games, I find most of them to be cheesy but I loved what we chose for this! To keep it simple on Zoom, we sent out everyone this game virtually via email ahead of the time to select their guesses. I sent a copy to my sister and brother-in-law before to give their answers. We played virtually by reading each statement and then my sister would give the correct answer and her explanations. It was really funny and there was even a moment where I shared my screen and incorporated baby photos of mom and dad too. There was an honor system and we had 2 people that were sent virtual Sephora gift cards the next day for winning! Sephora also allows you to customize the e-giftcards so we used some of the invite there too (see below).
10. OPEN PRESENTS!
This was the most fun part! But because this shower was larger, my sister opened all her shipped gifts and boxes ahead of time and then shared and thanked everyone. For the presents that were dropped off and wrapped, she opened in the traditional format. Also, don’t forget to assign someone to write down all the mom-to-be’s gifts as she opens them.
Last but not least, don’t forget about the little touches and details!
These are ones that can go a long way virtually. A few other items to note: for planning purposes, we set up a shared note on our Iphones to create checklists and share inspiration photos. We emailed out a custom Zoom background for everyone to use (seebelow) and also sent emails to the guests with dates reminders and the Zoom link.
Don’t forget to take photos and videos. Use “speaker view” on Zoom for opening presents so you can see the mom-to-be well. We also dressed up and made sure to remind my sister to have a little at-home photoshoot ahead of time too.
And of course, sit back, sip and enjoy! It will be a shower to remember for sure.
A virtual shower is A LOT of moving parts and coordination but I promise it can be just as special and make your mom-to-be feel so loved. We can’t wait to show my niece someday.
All of these suggestions and tips could also be easily translated to a bridal shower too so I hope you find them helpful or share with someone you know and send along any other questions.
P.S. This was the most dressed up I’ve been in months and I linked everything below.
Skincare has quickly become one of my most requested and popular topics on H&T and with the Spring Sephora SALE amongst us, I thought my picks deserved a dedicated post and a bit more of an explanation.
As most of you probably know, beauty items rarely go on sale and outside of the holidays, this sale is one of Sephora’s biggest and best. Sephora’s Spring sale is based around Beauty Insider Status – so ROUGE members get 20% OFF from now – 5/1,VIB members get 15% OFF from today – 4/29 and Insider members get 10% OFF from 4/23 – 4/27. According to the Instagram story polls I did, the majority of you are VIB so the sale is just starting for you!
Sephora’s program is completely free to join and tracks all your purchases every year plus provides some truly amazing samples to redeem with your points. I try a lot of new products this way and if you aren’t currently signed up, but want a discount – this is the perfect time to get at least 10% OFF and build your status for future sales. You can sign up here now.
Alas, here are my picks this year. I’ve broken them down into different categories including items I already own and love and my wish list/what’s in my cart so far this year. Be sure to use the code SPRINGSAVE to apply your discount. You can use the code on as many orders as you’d like.
TOP SEPHORA PICKS & STAPLES
(items I love and use already)
Drunk Elephant Babyfacial Mask – This one has been in my cabinet for a few years now and it’s because it works! If you’re not used to the product, it will sting some at first but the results leave your skin glowing and baby soft (hence the name). I use weekly on Sunday evenings and follow with the below F-Balm or an oil overnight. If you want a spa-like facial at home, this should be your go-to and dare I say, only item you buy if you just buy one thing this sale!
Drunk Elephant F-Balm – If you buy 2 things, here is one more. This product is one of DE’s newer ones and I’m also a fan. I’ve recently added it to my Babyfacial routine above but it can be used anytime on its own for some quick overnight hydration. It can also just be used as part of your skincare routine if you don’t want to go the mask route but it’s lightweight, either way.
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask – You’ve probably heard of the this cult favorite but that’s because it also works. It immediately makes me feel more awake and I’ve started using it in the morning while my eye patches are on too. It also always comes with me on trips for long plane rides (and post) and can be worn overnight.
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops – If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m not a huge fan of at-home self-tanners. I don’t like the smell and I hate to look orange or streaky. But that’s why I LOVE these subtle drops. You mix them in with a daily moisturizer or primer and you become more sunkissed as the day goes on and your tan starts to develop. A rep at Sephora actually helped me pick out the right “shade” for me and said that most people pick it wrong. Pick what shade you naturally are (for example, I’m pretty fair naturally so I go with “light”). Most people make the mistake of picking what they want to be and it doesn’t look as natural. These are also affordable and last forever so take advantage of the sale now as we head into summer months…because no one wants sun wrinkles from the real thing.
Sephora Collection Cleansing Gel – I’m convinced that this is one of the best kept secrets because it’s the most affordable item on my list (even without a great sale) and it works so well! I use a few daily cleansers but keep this one in the shower and love what it does for my skin, keeping it hydrated. It’s only $10 and makes a great travel choice too.
Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm – When I was looking for a new cleansing balm, this one came highly recommended by many of you. I love how it smells (sort of lime in nature) and I use it as a part of my double cleanse routine in the evenings before I wash my face with a gel cleanser. It gets all my make up and mascara off and leaves my skin feeling refreshed. They also make this in an affordable travel size that I originally bought to try it so that’s also an option.
Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum – Another DE favorite! I compare this to the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic that I love but for half the price! Vitamin C is something I never skip and use this in the mornings primarily. Pro tip: do not stock up too much on this – this product is really “fresh” and it becomes active right away when you open so it’s better to buy it as needed.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – Another pricer make up item that is great to buy right now is this foundation. I don’t typically wear a lot of foundation but when I do, it’s this one and it’s because of how light and “silk”-like it truly is. Fun fact: it was originally made for Armani runway shows and it will last you a long time too. You only need about a pump.
IT Cosmetics Last Blowout Mascara – By now, you’ve probably hear of IT Cosmetics Superhero mascara, which I have loved forever and also use but OMG, this new mascara in partnership with Drybar is pretty much my dream come true. I ran to Sephora as soon as it came out last year to pick it up and try. It’s biotin-infused and gives your lashes a voluminous blowout immediately.
Drybar Money Maker Hairspray – Speaking of Drybar, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out some of my all time favorite products of theirs during this sale including the only hair spray I use – Money Maker! I love how lightweight it is and I smell like a Drybar visit each time I use it.
NuFace Facial Toning Device – if you’re wanting to splurge a bit on this sale and save big – I recommend this NuFace device more than any other tool! It comes with a gel primer and helps to lift, tighten and smooth out wrinkles and fine lines with micro current technology. I use around 5x a week on my face and you can see results immediately and more over time if you use consistently. My routine only takes about 5 minutes and I use at night or in the morning depending on how much time I have.
Drybar Double-Shot Blowdryer Brush – Another tool to splurge on during this sale is from Drybar. The blowdryer brush helps you achieve that volume you get from a salon blowout and is easy to use. I have tried less expensive versions of products like this and was disappointed -they were too big or got too hot and made my hair frizz and so on. This one does the exact opposite – it’s the perfect size, has special ionic technology to combat frizz and provide shine and does not get too hot while using. I’ll often let my hair air dry a bit then use this to style and finish drying and styling. If you’re looking for other hot tools from Drybar, I also have and can recommend the curling wand, classic blowdryer and travel sized blowdryer too.
Jo Malone Wild Bluebell Travel Perfume – Last but certainly not least are two of my favorite Jo Malone fragrance products. I have worn Wild Bluebell for years but I also have a few others scents I love that I mix with it too. What I love most though about this product is the size options. And no matter what your preferred Jo Malone scent, you can pick up your favorite in this “purse” size for a much more affordable price that is easy to travel with too.
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Candle – If you’re looking to splurge a bit on home fragrance during this sale, this candle is in my bathroom as we speak. I love this scent and it will brighten up any room – especially now while we’re all at home.
If you want more recommendations for this sale, here are some other staples I use and love too!
OTHER STAPLES AND FAVORITES
I’ve also included a few items below that are in my cart and on my wishlist.
IN MY CART NOW x WISHLIST ITEMS
(note: a lot of these wishlists items are “sold out” but I recommend signing up for the alerts when they’re back in stock – I have purchased several items like that when I receive the email alert and you can use your discount code as many times as you’d like!)
Again, be sure to use the code SPRINGSAVE to apply your discounts.