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Category Archives: Hosting
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.
- Hill House Ellie Nap Dress: This year’s biggest hit for staying home. It’s perfect for all the new moms in your life too. The Swiss Dot white Ellie dresses are lovely to sleep in too! Right now, you can always receive $20 OFF your purchase with my link here.
2. LumiSpa Cleansing Device: Any skincare junkie will love this to wash their face!
3. ToteSavvy Tote or Diaper Bag Insert: For the mom-to-be or new mom, love this organizer for her favorite tote. It comes in a few colors and is on SALE for $20 OFF. They have a larger deluxe size on sale too.
4. Night Silk Face Mask: Because it’s 2020 and silk is best for the maskne.
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.
7. Nespresso Advent Calendar: For all the coffee lovers in your life!
8. Winc Wine Box or Subscription: Winc is a great idea to send to those you might be not able to see this year for 40% off or 4 bottles for $39 + Free Shipping HERE or you can gift monthly subscription boxes too.
9. Hill House Clean Laundry Candle: Such a beautiful candle and gift box! They have a few scents but this one is great for year round. Again, you can always receive $20 OFF your purchase of $100 or more with my link here
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.
22. Away Bigger Carry On Suitcase with Pocket & Battery: For the travel lover in your life, who might be missing their skymiles and adventures this year – this is the best gift there could be! Both the bigger carry on and the pocket version are great. You can use my link for $20 off. They are also having a great sale on sets right now.
23. Pack of Raffia Headbands: The perfect Amazon stocking stuffer pack of headbands for under $13.
24. Nest Holiday Ornament Candle: Another stocking stuffer or hostess idea is this adorable mini Nest candle.
25. Skincare Mini Fridge: If you have a skincare obsessed one in your life, look no further than this mini fridge for all their favorite products.
26. Barefoot Dreams Baby Socks: For all the new babies, I love love these socks! They come in 3 color packs.
28. Tula Eye Balm Gift Set – Tula is known for its eye balms so this gift set is a great value ($90) and you can get 15% off with BRITTNEYANN
29. Wine Decanter: For the wine lovers in your life – another great gift.
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!
31. Slip Silk Scrunchies: Another nice stocking stuffer or gift exchange idea.
34. Barefoot Dreams Baby Blanket: Another recommendation for new babies!
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!
37. Silk Eye Mask: For the traveling and staying home – this silk eye mask is a splurge that many will not buy for themselves (which is my favorite type of gift!).
39. Nécessaire Body Wash: I can’t even tell you how many people I am gifting one of these scents too – it’s great (and clean) for everyone!
40. Women’s Barefoot Dreams Slippers: With more cozy in mind this year, these would be nice slippers for mom or grandma too.
41. Nécessaire Exfoliator: Along with the body wash, this would be nice to gift too, I love the Eucalyptus one for an at-home spa experience.
42. Wanderlust Blocks Set: Aunt BAC highly approves of these wanderlust blocks for all those future travelers. There are also other cities from around the world that you can shop from this local Dallas company too (15% OFF right now).
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!
49. Men’s Filson Travel Dopp Kit: Another classic for all the men in your life that will last for years and travels to come.
51. On Cloud Running Shoe: This one is on my list this year! Great for fitness lovers and for all those long walks.
52. LEEF CBD Soap: Stocking stuffer that comes in a variety of scents.
54. Barefoot Dreams Unisex Robe: I have gifted this to ladies and men and it’s a classic!
55. Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide Book: Also on my list this year!
56. Barbour Classic Scarf: For your Barbour jacket lovers, the perfect scarf.
57. Leopard Raffia Headband: Another pick from a small and local Texas business – this is the year of the headband.
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.
59. Custom Photo Ornament: For the grandparents!
60. Men’s Workout Shorts: These are the best men’s shorts from Lululemon, they have pockets and are for working out or swim. I like the black and navy classics.
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.
63. Heart Coffee Mug Set – For your coffee and tea lovers.
64. Barefoot Dreams Blanket: A classic for anyone and a great at-home splurge too!
65. Gray Malin Kids Book: I love these books for kids!
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.
71. Drybar Blowdryer Gift Set: This particular set sold out but there is a similar one here on SALE for 15% OFF right now. It is a classic H&T rec every year and I would also recommend this brush blowdryer (it blows the Revlon version away!).
72. Diamond Initial Necklace: Kendra Scott’s fine jewelry line is one of my favorites. This initial necklace would be great for any woman in your life and new moms too. I also am loving all their new engraving options.
73. Silk Pillow Case: Another option that most won’t buy themselves and great for hair and skincare.
74. Truffle Travel Toiletry Case: These toiletry cases are more expensive but very durable and TSA-approved. They come in a few colors and another travel gift option.
77. Tula Eye Masks: Another Tula pick this holiday season. I just stocked up myself for stocking stuffers for my sisters and stepmom. You can get 15% off with code BRITTNEYANN
78. Byredo Candle: A splurge for all the candle snobs!
79. Hydrating Sheet Mask: The best sheet masks for $6! I stocked up on these for stockings too.
80. Golden Goose Sneakers: Another splurge but I love love this gold/silver combo and they go with everything.
81. Derma-E Brightening Eye Patches: Love these clean eye patches to gift too.
82. Restoring Hand Cream: Another 2020 item with all the hand sanitizer, this luxury hand cream would be great for mom or grandma.
83. HRH Royal Style Book – For the royal lovers!
85. Mini NuFace: The Number One seller on H&T this year should be number one on your list to gift or ask for! It’s currently 15% OFF here too. I saved a video on my Instagram profile if you missed it.
86. Men’s Outdoor Voices Shirts: Best men’s shirts for working out or casual wear.
87. Pearl Face Mask Chain: Because it’s 2020 and everyone needs a cute mask chain for work and errands. Also from a local favorite.
89. Diptyque Candle Gift Set: These holiday sets are also a great rec for a candle lover.
91. Gingham Baby Hooded Towels: These baby towels monogrammed are also a favorite to gift.
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.
93. Hand Soap & Lotion + Candle Set: I bought this Gardenia set for my grandma. It’s also a lovely hostess gift and great for a guest bathroom.
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.
95. Men’s Medium Duffel Bag: Another classic men’s item! This is the perfect size.
97. Williams-Sonoma Classic Apron: This apron is a classic and perfect addition to a kitchen-related gift. I love all of the colors and have a few myself. French blue is also nice!
98. Portable Baby Mat: This portable baby mat is an Aunt BAC pick this year. It’s foldable, easy to carry and can be personalized.
99. Kids Toy Straw Basket: One more pick from Aunt BAC to carry around all the toys!
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.
Merry Everything and Happy Shopping!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Holiday season.
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.
We ordered the plates from this collection, these pink napkins and lemon napkin ring holders. We also included balloons, a lemon garland, cocktail napkins, candles and other small surprises. I mailed everything to my co-hostess, who dropped it off to her the day before in a little basket so she had some time to set up. If all the hosts live far away, consider mailing her a box ahead of time full of decor items.
(You can shop some of these items below too.)
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.
I would suggest these macaron candles for any type of shower! They are available in so many scents and the perfect favor that guests will actually use. You can order yours here – and Hadley offers local delivery in Tampa or shipping anywhere.
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 (see below) 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.
Happy New Year! In case you missed my tips for New Year’s Eve – be sure to check out the entire TV segments below for tips and tricks. These party tips can also be applied throughout all of 2017 too.
If you are not following along on Snapchat (bannc) – I share behind the scenes during the filming of these so be sure to add me there for a sneak peek.
When I moved down to Florida earlier this year, I was so excited to start from scratch in designing my new space. It was the first time that my entire home would also be a complete reflection of “me” and, with the exception of a few items, I got rid of everything from DC.
That is also why I was so excited when Havenly reached out and asked how they could help me #GetDecorated down here in the Sunshine State.
Havenly allows you to design your own dream space with professional interior designers in just 4 easy steps and it’s all online (more info on pricing plus a special H&T promo code at end of post!).
When you first sign up, you answer a few questions and create a “Style Profile” which allows them to match you with a designer that fits your style. I was lucky enough to get the lovely Julianne!
I wanted a space that was feminine, grown up but still fun, pretty on the eyes and of course, suitable for “hosting” and “toasting”. I have cathedral ceilings in my living room and two large windows that bring in lots of light so a “bright” design was also important to me.
You then share details about your project with your designer – things like your budget, photos, rooms size and measurements, existing items you’d like to incorporate and most importantly (for me!), your vision (you can even share Pinterest boards). It is all so easy to upload to the site for review, make comments and I even provided Julianne with a list of random things I did and did NOT want.
I also had a few items I had picked up but had no idea what I wanted to do with that she was able to incorporate as well as a few items that I wanted to “repurpose” so she helped give me direction there too (paint colors etc).
This step was so important to me and by giving guidelines and sharing my own vision for my new living room, I felt so comfortable trusting Havenly to work their magic and boy, did they!
In the next step, your designer works to revise your design concepts and you have a chance to comment and provide feedback. Below are my TWO concept boards that Havenly put together for me. It was so fun to take what I liked from both of them to get my final room design.
When I received my concept boards, I was amazed at how Julianne had put together EXACTLY what I wanted but was certainly not talented enough to do on my own – all my random ideas, likes and “needs” into one.
After feedback, my room layout and initial/final designs were then put together (see below for the final product!).
Finally, once my space was completely assembled – they put together a shopping list that allowed me to shop directly from the Havenly site. SO easy! No searching 100s of sites for the products, they literally put them all into your account and you pick and choose what you like best. That’s what I really enjoyed – how she gave me choices and narrowed it down.
I also wanted furniture that I could use in other rooms in the future. For example, I wanted a smaller couch (sette, if you will) so it could be used in a bedroom, large closet or office should I move. I also wanted a multi-purpose type of living room (almost like a studio to some degree) that I could entertain somewhat in so we worked on various seating options and layouts.
Alas, my new items arrived at my door and I began to put everything in its place with the help of my designs.
Welcome to my new HOME! Cheers!
(all details are linked at the end of this post)
Today I’m back with another TV segment I filmed recently.
For those of you that missed my first one on high-low parties, you can see it here.
I am often asked what items you should have on hand for last minute or any time “hosting” needs that you can use over and over again – well, this segment answers those questions and provides some tips too!
Thank you to everyone for your sweet comments & encouraging response to H&T on air! I am so glad you are enjoying them and there will be more to come.
I’ve also included some of the items mentioned in the segment or similar ones below so you could add to your own hosting collection!
You can also shop my dress (c/o*) and rest of my look below!