Blogtober Day 24: Boyfriend Gift Guide

Let’s face it, folks. Holiday shopping season is here. I have already completed half of my shopping, so I think that I am doing well for myself. That said, I want to talk to you about the hardest person that is on my list – my boyfriend. For me, I always have the hardest time picking out gifts for him. This is especially true as the years went on, because I feel like I have already gotten him something like that, and I need to venture out into new territory. However, I’ve figured out a few great ideas for you to gift your special guy this holiday season – whether you’ve been together for a month, a year or many years. Trust me, he’ll love it.

Amazon Gift Card:

It seems as though everyone is shopping on Amazon more than ever before. What I like about giving Amazon gift cards is that it’s pretty much an easy way to give someone something that they love. I mean seriously. You can find anything pretty much on Amazon. Therefore, giving him this giftcard is a way to put some money towards something that he will love.

Sports/Music Merch:

My boyfriend loves the Red Sox and the Browns. Needless to say, it’s become a bit of a go-to to give him something with their logos/colors on them. That said, if there is a band, a television show, team, or anything that your guy loves, I am pretty sure you can find something with it on it.

Gift Card to His Favorite Place:

This is a great option to couples who have just started dating. If there is a place that he gets his morning coffee, why not get him a gift card? Or, if he has a regular lunch spot, why not buy a gift card there? This is a great idea, because it not only shows that you listen, but it’s guaranteed to be something that he enjoys.

Kindle/tech:

If your boyfriend likes to read, why not buy him an e-reader? Or, if he likes to listen to music, why not get him a smart speaker or a pair of headphones? Or, if he wears an Apple Watch, why not get him a band? There are so many different things you can do with this depending on the person, and trust me, he will love it.

Water Bottles:

I don’t know about you, but I always think that these are a great gift for anyone because hydration is really important!

#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 23: Ways To Take Yourself on A Date

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, we all need time for ourselves. One of the things that I learned before getting into a relationship is that you need to get used to taking time out to take you on a date, and make the time for yourself to do so. For me, it’s the ultimate form of self care.

Now, it’s not as fancy as I’m trying to make it sound. It can be a variety of things. That said, here are some great ways to take time out for you.

  • Go out for a mani/pedi: This might be hard to do during the current pandemic, but getting your nails done is the ultimate way to relax and make time for you.
  • Go to an event that you enjoy: Sometimes, there are events that you can’t find someone to go with you, whether it’s because no one is free or because they aren’t interested. However, instead of not going, why not go by yourself? I have gone to so many book signings by myself and it honestly is the best. It puts you in the best mood because you are doing something you enjoy, and you may just meet some cool people.
  • Grab a coffee: Prior to COVID, I would bring my e-reader to a coffee shop and sit and read. Now, I make a latte with my Nespresso. Whatever the case may be, grab a coffee and just chill.
  • Go shopping: Every now and then, we all can use a solo shopping trip — whether it’s from Target or to the mall. Therefore, why not make it a day? Get some lunch. Grab a Starbucks drink. Whatever the case may be, just going out and treating yourself is honestly the best.
#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 22: 5 Amazing Places in New Haven County To Hike This Fall Season

I love hiking especially in the fall. One of my favorite parts about living in Connecticut is the fact that we have the fall foliage this time of year. And, let’s be honest — Connecticut has so many different and unique places to enjoy that foliage. Since the pandemic, I’ve been really trying to do a lot more walking and hiking.

Today, I am talking about some great places for anyone in the New Haven, Connecticut area to hike. I want to preface it by saying that it doesn’t account for every place that you can hike in the area. These are just the places that I enjoy and want to share with you.

Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden:

This park has been my go-to for years. Hamden is my hometown, and I love hiking this trail. Now, I have never hiked this during the fall, but this trail is amazing to hike during all seasons.

Osborndale State Park in Derby:

I recently discovered this while waiting for my car to be fixed. This place is extremely gorgeous. It has a beautiful lake, but also a lot of space to hold events. I haven’t really explored it, but it’s definitely a great place to visit.

Hubbard Park in Meriden:

I love this park, but like Sleeping Giant, I have not visited this park in the fall, but when I did, it was gorgeous. What I love about this spot is that you have a ton of great views, and then you can take a trail to Castle Craig. I highly recommend checking it out.

Eisenhower Park in Milford:

I really love this park in the fall. I have hiked it recently and loved exploring. It is a great place to see foliage, and go for a fall walk. And, if you live in Milford, the dog park is right next store.

East Rock Park in New Haven:

Last but not least, I wanted to shoutout my favorite park in the area. I love East Rock because the summit is absolutely amazing, because of the view. You can actually see up to Long Island Sound, which is incredible — especially with the fall colors.

So, these are some great places to hike in New Haven county. Where is your favorite place to hike?

#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 21: What I Love Wednesday October 21

Happy Wednesday everyone! I can’t believe that the week is halfway over already. I am so happy to be into the home stretch of Blogtober. While I am enjoying the chance to connect with other bloggers, I am ready to slow down with the blogging for a bit. That said, I am still so excited to share some of my favorites this week. So, without further adue, here are this week’s favorites.

Kindle Oasis: I have had my eye on this since May, but $300 for an ereader was just not happening. I decided to hold off and wait until Prime Day to purchase it. I am so glad that I did, as it was marked down $80. I’ve only had the Kindle since Friday, but I’m absolutely loving it. I love the larger screen, the page turning buttons, and it honestly fits so comfortably in my hands. If you’re looking for an ereader, I highly recommend this one.

Emily in Paris: So, in the span of two days, I binged watched this. This is surprising, because I never binge watch shows that often. But, there was something about this one. It is about Emily Cooper, a twenty something who is successful in marketing and has to travel to Paris for work. She leaves behind her culture, and her boyfriend who she tries to do the distance with. While the show is completely unrealistic, I am beyond obsessed with it. There is drama, a love triangle, and friendship. It’s definitely worth the binge, and I seriously hope that they renew it for a second season.

Chevron Bracelet: I mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but I am obsessed with this bracelet. It was only $10 on Amazon and is perfect for layering on your wrists. I got it on Sunday and I’ve worn it pretty much every day since. I like it that it goes with both silver and gold, since I can never seem to pick a side, and the quality is amazing.

Thriller Novels: It must be the spooky season, but I have been in the ultimate spooky mood as of late. This has translated in my reading taste as well. I’ve read one horror novel, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix, and three thrillers, including You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, and The Guest List by Lucy Foley. What I love about these types of books is that they are the type that you just can’t put down because you need to know what happens next. This is perfect if you’re in a reading slump. I am currently reading Reputation by Sara Shepard, and hope to finish a few more before the end of the month.

Bath and Body Works Champagne Toast Body Spray: I was finally able to get into Bath and Body works everyone. Needless to say, I went a little crazy because I knew between the current pandemic restrictions as well as the holidays coming up, it would be challenging to get a chance unless I went early in the morning. They had a special where it was buy 3 get two free, I had a ton of coupons, and it was a good deal. I fell in love with this scent after testing out the body lotion and knew I wanted the spray too. I’ve been wearing this body spray since I got it and I’ve been loving it. It smells kind of like a perfume, but a bit lighter. I really recommend checking it out.

What are your favorites this week? Let me know in the comments below.

#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 20: My Favorite Amazon Accessories

From Prime Day to just the overall COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been purchasing so many different items off of Amazon that it’s not even funny. What has been drawing me into them has been simply how affordable everything is.

Recently, I dipped my toe into buying some of their jewelry, and have been surprised about how good the quality the pieces were. That said, I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of the pieces I’ve picked up in the past few weeks and have been really loving.

White Chevron and Gold bracelet: I received this in the mail on Sunday and I have not taken it off since. I actually saw this on a YouTuber that I liked, and since it was only $10, I decided to go for it. I’ve worn it with both my silver and gold jewelry and it works great. It does fit pretty snug, and I have an average wrist, so keep that in mind if you were to purchase it.

Initial Necklace: This pendent looks so much like the bracha one that it’s not even funny. I really like the pendant, because I am a sucker for all things initial related. However, I am really pleased because this piece is about $10 as well, and comes with a longer chain that is perfect for layering. The quality is pretty good and it’s a great value for the price.

Leather Apple Watch Band: I mentioned this in a What I Love Wednesday a few weeks back, and I really love this watch band. I love going to Amazon for all of my watchbands, because they have a great quality for an affordable price. I actually have three of these, and I swap them out depending on the day. I have not worked out with them on yet, but hope to soon.

Dome Ring: I love these dome rings, but I honestly really don’t want to pay the price for an expensive one. I found this one on Amazon for $12. I’ve washed my hands with this ring, and the plating has yet to come off. How cool is that? Furthermore, what I really enjoy is that it does not turn my finger green. I have sensitive fingers, and have constantly dealt with issues with that. This ring however? Not so much.

iPhone Cases: I think Amazon has become my one-stop shop for anything technology case related. I picked up this phone case in the white marble and have really been enjoying it. During Prime Day, I also purchased the leopard print and the purple marble as well. What I like about it is that it’s cute, but also durable. I drop my phone constantly, and this has managed to survive many falls. And, for the price, it’s honestly worth it.

Curb Chain Bracelet: I started with a bracelet and now I am ending with one too. I love this bracelet, and have been wearing it a ton. I love it because not only is it affordable, but the chain is really thick for the price. It is also easy to put on and off, which is even better. The chain bracelet trend is something that is continuing into the fall, and I am here for it. This bracelet is an affordable way to get into the trend.

So, that is it for my favorite Amazon accessories – thus far. Do you have any favorite Amazon purchases? Let me know in the comments below.

#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 19: Fall Date Ideas

Fall is the most aesthetically pleasing time of the year — especially if you live in New England. And, there are so many fun activities to do — activities that are perfect for date night.

That said, I want to preface my list by saying this — just because I say date doesn’t mean that it’s an activity for you and a significant other. It can be a fun and unique first date idea. It can even be a fun day to spend with your friends. No matter what, this is just a great way to get you out there and enjoy the season.

  • Bake something.

I love baking and there are so many fun fall desserts on Pinterest or even mixes at the grocery store. My personal favorite honestly is the Pillsbury Pumpkin cookies.

  • Go on a fall hike.

I love hiking and seeing all of the fun colors. Connecticut has some great places to go for a walk, and walking is honestly one of the best ways to spend some time together.

  • Spooky/Halloween movie marathon.

I’m not a fan of anything scary, but there are so many fun movies out there such as Hocus Pocus, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Beetlejuice. So, just grab some popcorn and have a cozy night in.

  • Go to a pumpkin patch.

Pumpkin patches scream fall. End of story.

  • Go apple picking.

Apple picking is a great way to not only spend some time together, but it gets you a fun walk in and grab apples for baking pies.

What is your go to fall date? Let me know in the comments below.

#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 17: Local Small Businesses to Check Out This Holiday Season

Christmas time is almost here, even though things are going to be looking at lot differently this year than in years past. Many of us – myself included – are going to be using online shopping as a resource to get shopping done more than ever before. For many of us, we’ll be turning to Amazon or other larger for our shopping. I mean, how many of us have shopped Prime Day?

That said, I want to try to give some small businesses around the state a huge shout out. Luckily, many of these now have online options – or are online completely. So, without further a due, here are some great small businesses to check out this holiday season.

S.V. Decker Jewelry: This is my top store for both men and women for good reason. I am a huge fan of this brand, because of the quality of their jewelry is on point. I have so many pieces of hers, but I recommend that if you’re looking for gifts to get the year necklace, the gemstone necklaces or a pair of her statement hoops.

R.J. Julia Bookstore: Located in Madison, this is single handedly a booklover’s dream. Prior to COVID, this was my go-to place for book signings. However, this is the best place to get gifts for the book lover in your life or even kids. And, you can now purchase their books online, which is really amazing.

Shop, Luv Mimi: Shop Luv Mimi is an online boutique based in Milford, and I had the opportunity to feature her on a Women Who Work. They have the cutest pieces, which is perfect for if you’re shopping for your girlfriend, mom, daughter, bestie, etc. And, the best part? You’re getting quality clothing at a really good price. Definitely a win if you ask me.

Pennyweights: I love this jewelry store because it is so affordable. Many of their rings are $11. And, they are sterling silver. They have become my one stop shop for necklaces, bracelets, rings and even earrings. And, if you can’t make it to their New Canaan location, they are online at Etsy.

Inside Living Style: This is the perfect place to get any kind of home gifts – perfect for someone on your list who just moved out or recently purchased a house. They have so many unique items – from coasters to mugs to pet supplies, and they are fairly priced. I personally love their keychains, as they make great stocking stuffers.

Evan’s Toy Shoppe: Christmas is all about the toys, am I right? Well, Evan’s is your stop for all things toy related – no matter what age you’re shopping for. And, yes even when you’re an adult you’ll have fun there embracing your inner child.

Happily Ever Erica: This Connecticut-based Etsy shop is your one-stop shop for all of your stocking stuffers and gifts for your girlfriends. Happily Ever Erica has scrunchies, coasters, face mases, key chains and so much more! I interviewed Erica a little while ago, and I’ve become obsessed with all of her stuff. What is great is that many of her items are cute and affordable, which is amazing. Furthermore, her shipping is quick, and even comes with a handwritten note from Erica herself.

Toy Chest: Located in the center of West Hartford, Toy Chest is the perfect place for anyone who has a kid. What is different compared to Evan’s is that they also sell furniture as well as toys. This is perfect for the new parents on your list.

Merle’s Record Rack: With the rise of vinyl, this is heaven for music lovers. Merle’s has everything from CDs, cassettes, vinyls, and so much more. I bought a record player earlier this year, and I have been loving it. However, other than Urban Outfitters, there really isn’t a place to get vinyl. This has a lot more older vinyls, which is great if you’re looking for classics such as Goodbye Yellow Brick and Dark Side of the Moon.

#Blogtober20

Blogtober 18: Was Quarantine a Way to Press Pause?

I binge watched Emily in Paris recently and one quote from the show seemed to have stuck with me – “Americans live to work. French people work to live.”

The more I thought about it, the more that I thought that it’s true. It’s definitely true in my opinion that a part of American culture is the hustle culture. I see it within my own friend group. I know so many people who not only work a full time role, but have a part-time side gig as well.

For some people, it truly makes sense to have to work many jobs. Life and adulting is expensive and some people need it to pay for student loans, debt, etc. For others – myself included – it is a way to take a hobby and earn a little extra money on your own terms (which is why I am planning to open an Etsy shop in 2021). However, I can’t help but feel the pressure of getting a side job as well as my 9-5 one.

According to a report on Bankrate entitled The Average Side Hustler Earns Over $8K annually, 37 percent of Americans work a side job. Furthermore, the article says that 50 percent of millennials do the same as well. And, while some of these side hustles are truly a way to have a little fun, others are not. As many of us know, burnout culture is on the rise.

A little while ago, I saw a tweet that talked about the fact that quarantine is not a productivity contest nor everyone should have to come out of it with their next side hustle. However, I want everyone to think about quarantine – at least for those who had to work from home and stay home.

For me, it was a chance to indulge in the things that make me happy. Crocheting, watching addictive television shows, playing Animal Crossing, reading and blogging are all a few things that bring me joy in between working from home.

Since the pandemic began, I’ve seen so many of my friends do the things that bring them joy from baking to trying something new. Which I’m sure if the pandemic never happened, they never would have done. I think quarantine was this big pause button. And, I’m going to be honest here, I think we needed it.

This is why I am choosing to reject hustle culture. I am going to continue to work hard at my full time role. However, I am choosing to also fill my life with things that I enjoy. I am going to blog whenever I feel it is a good time for me to blog, and when it’s not, I am not going to. I am choosing to make time for rest, for making blankets, and reading every book I can. Balance and boundaries are essential in this life – including this one. For me, this is about only having one full-time position, and making time for my hobbies. For me, it’s actually using my vacation days. My work will get done, and I will remain productive. But, I will be sprinkling in some fun as well.

I think many people choose to hustle because they feel better about themselves whenever they are busy. And, there’s no shame in that. For those types of people, that works. But, I am going to challenge you. What was the last time you took a moment to enjoy your life? Or, to enjoy something that may not make you money, but puts a smile on your face? If you can’t think of it, then I want you to carve that in. Let’s use some of that time off to relax, take trips when things slow down, and just take a step back to for a cleansing breath.

At the end of the day, I think that it’s important to remember that while it’s important to work hard, but it’s important to enjoy life as well.

#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 16: Eating My Way Around CT: Scratch Bakery

For years, I’ve always managed to end up at a bakery during the weekend. Whether it’s my mom wanting me to pick up bread for Sunday dinner, stocking up on treats to eat during the week, or even indulging in something over the weekend, I always make time to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Recently, my weekend bakery trips have been to Scratch Bakery in Milford, Connecticut. Scratch Bakery is located at 84 Broad Street, which is in the Downtown Milford area. What I really love about Scratch Bakery is that it has a variety of things. You have the usual bakery suspects – breads, cookies, cupcakes, etc. – but it goes beyond that. They serve coffee and lattes as well.

First, let’s talk breakfast. They serve a variety of breakfast foods, such as pastries, egg and cheese sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, and bagels. Furthermore, they even have special items that you can get on certain days of the week, such as a breakfast pizza, which consists of a “variety of toppings.”

Additionally, they also serve lunch and have a wide selection of sandwiches and salads. They have something truly for everyone, from their Not Your Kid’s Grilled Cheese (the Ultimate Comfort food if you ask me), to their Hummus Sandwich on Ciabatta (which looks amazing to me). And, you can add bacon or grilled chicken to any sandwich as well, which is amazing if you want an extra dose of protein. According to their website, lunch is served on Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 11:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and not served on Sunday.

Now, let’s talk about my favorite part about Scratch’s menu – their bread and their dessert. I’ve been getting their bread a few months now for my avocado toast in the morning, and I am loving it. Their bread always tastes so fresh and delicious. They do have an extensive bread menu as well, and you can purchase a whole loaf for about $6.50. Their flavors include: honey flask, ciabatta, cranberry pecan rye, and so much more. Furthermore, what’s really cool is that they even offer stadium pretzels on Wednesdays as well.

Finally, I’ve saved the best for last – their dessert menu. And, boy are their desserts delicious. I’ve been getting desserts from there pretty much since I started dating my boyfriend because he would bring in treats to my job at the time. They have a variety of brownies, cookies, and cupcakes. Some of my personal favorites are their confetti cookie, their salted caramel brownies, Rice Krispie treats, and their cupcakes. Furthermore, you can also order a cake for a special occasion as well.

Overall, I highly recommend you check out this bakery whenever you are in the Downtown Milford area, whether you are looking for a cup of coffee, bread for the family or even just a little treat. I’ve honestly enjoyed every single thing that I’ve had there, and hope to try their lunch menu at some point. And, while Scratch is now officially open to customers to come inside, you can still order your goodies online as well – perfect if you’re like me and constantly on the go or just want to be in and out.

#Blogtober20

Blogtober Day 15: Popular Books That I Have Not Read (But May Want To)

As many of you know, I am an avid reader. I try to read at least one book a week, and mostly succeed. Like most bookworms, I do have a large TBR (to be read) list. On my Goodreads, this is over 500 books. Yup. I want to read a lot. That said, I wanted to share some of the bestselling books on that list that I have not read yet – but surely want to.

Now, please note that “popular” to me is defined as books that I see constantly on my Bookstagram feed, Booktube, and in the bookstore or book section at Target.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I have had this on my bookshelf for almost three years, and it’s something that has always been on my mind to read but never got to. However, I have heard that this book is one that I must read. I’ve been getting more and more into historical fiction, and I think that I want to pick this book up next.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: I heard of this book, but never really wanted to pick it up until recently. I don’t know much about this book other than it is a dystopian that is set in a videogame. It sounds interesting, so I do want to give it a try.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I’ve had this book on my Kindle for years, and yet I still haven’t read it yet. I also recently got a physical copy of the book for my birthday, which is a sure sign that I should move this up on my TBR. This novel is the first one in the Outlander series. It is about nurse Clare, who is on her second honeymoon in 1945 with her husband. Suddenly, she finds herself in 1743 and falling in love with another man. Clare suddenly finds herself between two different time periods – and two different men.

Okay, after reading the synopsis on Goodreads, I am very interested in picking this book up soon.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I am all here for that. I’ve been wanting to read this since I was in college, and I bought the series during COVID. I am hoping to get to one more fantasy series this year, and this one may be it since it has been on my TBR long enough.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: I recently added this one to my TBR, and it seems that since then, it’s been popping up everywhere. I do anticipate picking this book up sometime during the month of October though, since it has a lot of spooky touches that I have been craving. I’ve heard that it’s more of an adult version of Twilight, which I am really excited to learn more about since I was obsessing over Midnight Sun when it came out a few months ago.

What are some “popular” books on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below.

#Blogtober20