$25 and under gift picks

Over the weekend I hosted a little Christmas cookie party and gift exchange with some close friends. In the past we gave each other gifts that were around the $50 range, but we decided to do something different this year since we have so many babies :) to buy for too. So we decided to keep our gifts around $20 and it was really fun to see what everyone came up with. I got some great things: dry shampoo, a super cute ring dish (below), a mini candle, nail polish, a mini manicure set (below), and a Rifle Paper Co. to do list. Here are a few more great gifts under $25 for friends + kids (with free shipping!):
for the home: mini capri blue candle (my all-time favorite scent!) / ceramic skyline ring dish / candlefish candle tin + matches (made in Charleston)
for the beauty queen: mini manicure matchbook / velvet bow pony holders / french girl rose lip polish (I love the simple packaging)
for your bookworm toddler: abc yoga / all aboard! / technicolor treasure hunt



five things

Happy Friday! This is my third post this week (!!) -- it feels really good to be back to my old schedule. I'm linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha to share a few things that have been on my mind lately:
ONE: It's Crohn's and Colitis Awareness week! For the most part my Crohn's symptoms are under control (thanks to a variety of medications and a restricted diet). I have good days and bad days, but I am very thankful not to be in the hospital like last December. If you have a question about Crohn's or just want to someone to talk to email me! It helps a lot to someone who understand what you are going through.
TWO: Let's talk about Gilmore Girls... I watched all four episodes of the revival over Thanksgiving weekend (if you haven't skip over this section). I was really happy with everything and by Spring (the second episode) it felt like the same old show-- it's amazing how most of the cast members didn't age and fell right back into their old characters. I LOVED Emily Gilmore's sassy one-liners (booty buddy!!), but I wish Jess, Sookie, and Lane had more scenes. I think they dealt with Edward Herrmann's (Richard Gilmore/Lorelai's dad) passing really well and the show paid a nice tribute to him. Some of the guest appearances were distracting -- Rachael Ray and some of the other celebrity chefs seemed unnecessary -- but I loved seeing all of the cameos from Parenthood and Bunheads. Rory had her issues and (for me) wasn't particularly likeable throughout the revival -- which is ok, characters with flaws make them more believable and the show more interesting. As for the last four words, I think they were perfect. The creator Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted the show to end with those words from the beginning, so how can you argue with that? I just hope they decide to do more episodes :)

pink + blue owl hand rattles (while Vi might be too old for rattles, she loves to shake things -- these can be used as little maracas!) / jolly mr. santa / ralphy the reindeer / poppy the penguin / moxie + scout the dachshunds

THREE: I started wrapping presents yesterday and I have almost everything together for Violet's stocking. I'm a big fan of Zubels stuffed animals, so she'll be getting this little guy in her stocking. The dolls are 100% cotton and are made with eco-friendly dyes! Use the coupon SM20 for 20% off your order.

FOUR: Sooo it turns out we are not buying that fixer upper house after all. Our final home inspection revealed that it needs a new roof, windows, AC unit, and furnace. The house quickly turned into a total money pit, and we're not ready to tackle that kind of project. Side note: I really love young Tom Hanks movies.
FIVE: My mom is coming over this weekend and we're making Christmas cookies! We are going to make our family favorites: my mom's sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms with Hershey kisses, and nerds. I'd love to try a new recipe if we have time!

Have a great weekend!


minted gift picks.

Full Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams.

We got our holiday photos back from my friend Liz at Coach House Pictures yesterday, so I spent most of the night picking out our holiday cards from Minted. They have so many great designs AND Minted has really cute gift ideas too! Here's a few of my favorites:
foil stamped art prints: most wonderful time / paris map / petit floral (this would be a great gift for a grandparent or new parents!)

teepeesI love the sunday market (heart and floral), space explorer, and dinostripe prints.

You also can't go wrong with a custom photo calendar or personalized stationery!



cyber monday sales I love (and things I bought).

Happy Monday -- I hope everyone had a great weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving! We spent our weekend visiting family, eating, and watching Gilmore Girls (it was sooo good!) I also did my fair share of shopping. Here are some cyber monday sales that I love: 
sophie & lili holiday girl print -

small business love: 
blue dragon dreams // BLFRIDAY for 30% off + free shipping
freshly picked moccasins // $55 for grab bag of 2 pairs of mocs, you pick the size/gender
sophie & lili // HOLIDAY25 for 25% off most items
zubels // SM20 for 20% off everything

fair trade finds: 
amour vert // GREENFRIDAY for 20% off + free shipping/returns
nisolo shoes // up to 40% off select items

jcrew // MONDAY for 40% off everything + free shipping
land of nod // 20% off everything (including cute play food+ free shipping 
minted // CM2016 for 20% off everything
pottery barn (I want this quilt for our bedroom) // SHIPFREE for free shipping

and these are the things I bought over the weekend: 
- star tree topper
cookbook for a friend (43% off list price)
- sophie & lili holiday girl print bc with that bike it's too cute to pass up
story time book for my niece (23% off list price)
burgundy dress + poppy peplum top for Violet // BLFRIDAY for 30% off + free shipping 
- a personalized notebook for the new year // 40% off 
- skinny black jeans when I realized my old work pants looked rough and I needed something to wear for our family photos!

Happy Shopping!


loving lately: all the little things.

Everywhere I go the stores are all decked out for the holidays! I guess shopping season has officially arrived. Here are a few beauty, tech, and holday things that I love lately:
BEAUTY: I received a sample of LancĂ´me DĂ©finicils Mascara c/o Influenster and it's my new favorite! The extra long wand makes application easy, and the mascara stays on all day without flaking. After seeing the cute Trinket Face Vase all over Instagram, I finally picked one up from Target. It's a cute (and useful) addition to our bathroom for under $10. After reading Anna's post I tried the Revitalizing Eye Cream from Tula and it's magic! The area around my eyes look less puffier and more refreshed. 

TECH: I received an HP Sprocket Portable Printer c/o HP with extra sticky-backed paper and it is such a fun little printer! It connects to your smartphone wirelessly and it's super easy to use. This mini printer would be an amazing stocking stuffer for anyone on your list. It was nice to finally print our a few photos from my phone. Speaking of phones -- I'm due for an upgrade! So I need to buy a sturdy case ASAP-- I have my eye on this one.

HOLIDAY: It's almost time to hang up Christmas decorations!! I can't wait to put up our Holly Red Felt Garland and stockings. And here's a great gift idea for kids: I'm obsessed with these beautifully designed PantryFridge Play Food sets from Land of Nod - too cute!



etsy gift picks for kids.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week! I never put up my Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, but I like to start holiday shopping early so I can buy handmade items that might take longer to produce and ship. We got Vi a play kitchen from IKEA earlier this year, and I just bought her a set of 7 crocheted garden harvest veggies for Christmas. And then before I knew it, I was on Etsy for over an hour and I found a ton of cute gift ideas for kids. Here are my favorites:
I'd love to add this set of 6 apples and crochet donuts to Vi's kitchen. A stacking rainbow is a great way to teach a toddler colors and reinforce stacking skills. The wooden camera and tiger mask are great for pretend playtime. A wooden rocket rattle is a cute gift for a baby and it doubles as a teether. I LOVE these superhero handmade rag dolls -- blonde dollpatriotic doll (my favorite!), african american doll. Vi loves throwing balls around the house, so I think she would really like this wooden bowling pin + ball set (and you can personlize it with your child's name). Monster finger puppet would be a great toy to keep a child entertained in the car or on a long flight (these are really cute too!). Most of these items are made in the USA (the dolls are made in Hungary).



a baby girl sprinkle!

Full Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams.

One of my oldest (we met in 5th grade!) and best friend is expecting her second baby soon - she's having a girl! I got together with a few of her friends and we threw her a "sprinkle" -- a baby shower to celebrate a second child. Here's a few photos from the party:
This sprinkle vase was one of my favorite decorations! Pro tip from another party planner -- use two vases (one large, one small) and then fill up the space between the vases, that way you dont have to use as many sprinkles.
Minted has a huge selection of party decor for every occasion. The Girlie Cakes party decor was perfect for our baby girl sprinkle. We used the personalized banner - treats sign - bubblegum pink striped straws - HOORAY cupcake toppers - small + large modern white cake stands from Minted.
Guests snacked on a variety of appetizers -- veggies with hummus, mini quiches and a huge salad (from Costco!) There were also lots of sprinkle desserts -- funfetti cupcakes, frosted animal cookies, puppy chow, and chocolate dipped pretzels. I was in a sugar coma for hours :) 
We stacked two Minted cake stands on top of each other to create a tower for the funfetti cupcakes.
The guest of honor with here mom + family. All of the lovely party hosts :)
Guests went home with cute DIY sprinkle jars. I loved the adorable scallop circle tags -- they say "thanks for sprinkling your love". 
Thanks again to Minted for helping make this a special event. I had so much fun celebrating my wonderful friend and her new baby.


life lately.

(you can buy this print here, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Girls Inc.)

It's been a tough week. I was incredibly surprised and very disappointed with the results of the election. I am nervous about what the future will bring. But I am also hopeful that we can find a way to come together as Americans. So let's please just try to be kind and respectful to each other. 
Always choose love over hate.

And girls -- "Never doubt that you are valuable, and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams." -- HRC. We will break that highest glass ceiling someday.

And in totally unrelated news (but huge news for our family)... we bought a house!! It's a fixer-upper -- we close in January and we're hoping to move in mid-March. I can't wait to share photos of our renovation plans and process.



five things.

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with Christina, April, and Natasha to share a few things that have been on my mind lately:
ONE: I splurged on a new pair of Freshly Picked moccasins for Vi -- the saltwater purple/sand gray combo is perfect for her Halloween costume.
DIY Heirloom Pumpkin Tutorial / Stephanie from Olive and Tate / (I also love Hope's mantle)
TWO: I am loving decorating with eucalyptus! I posted a photo of our mantle on Instagram, but these spaces are so inspiring. I picked up a bunch at the grocery store (you can also find them online: fresh eucalyptus branches or faux silver dollar eucalyptus garland and wreath).
THREE: I want pretty much everything from J Crew's active line with New Balance. I love stripes, polka dots, and colorblock and they have it all - not to mention almost everything is available in navy. And speaking of J Crew I can't wait for my new winter coat to come in the mail!
FOUR: Bitsy's Brainfood sent over some samples for Vi to try! Created by moms, they have a mission to make healthy packaged food for babies and kids. Their Spooky Snacks are made in a nut free facility and are allergy friendly, certified organic, GMO free and free of artificial ingredients, and they come in fun alphabet shapes so kids can play and learn while they eat! Vi loved the orange chocolate beet and I already ate some of her sweet potato oatmeal raisin smart cookies. Spooky Snacks would be a fun treat to pass out on Halloween.
FIVE: Don't forget to enter my Minted $150 giveaway - there will be two winners!

Have a great weekend!


2016 Minted Holiday Card Picks + $150 Giveaway!

Full Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams.

It doesn't really feel like Fall around here with 70+ degree temps -- I'm not complaining! -- but Halloween will be here soon and then Thanksgiving and Christmas!! So it's time to start thinking about holiday cards. I have a holiday photoshoot scheduled with my friend (and seriously talented professional photographer) Liz at Coach House Pictures next month. Violet is going to wear a classic black and white dress that I bought when I was in high school (!!) in the hopes I would have a baby girl in the future (it reminded me of a similar dress Audrey Hepburn wore in one my favorite movies Sabrina). 

Anyways, now that I have the photographer and wardrobe figured out, I need to pick out my favorite holiday card design. I've ordered holiday cards, Vi's birth announcement, and birthday invitation from Minted over the past few years and I am always so impressed with the quality of the cards, and the unique designs. Minted's 2016 Holiday Card collection did not disappoint! Here are my favorite designs:holiday frame - statement joy (my favorite!) - oh what fun! - golden evergreens - southern charm (I hope one of my Charleston friends uses this design, it's so cute) - writing on the wall

I also love traditional cards without photos. Here are some of my favorite non-photo holiday cards:
blooming year - noeliathe gift (I love the simplicity of this one!) -  vines of flowers - floral joy - woodland joy

Minted is generously giving away $150 to TWO lucky readers -- Enter HERE!
This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents, please enter by 10/27.

What is your favorite Minted holiday card?


DIY no-sew owl halloween costume.

Halloween is almost here!! Last year Violet was the cutest skunk (with a costume from Pottery Barn Kids), but this year I decided to make her costume. Violet is never without her stuffed animal Bernie the Owl, so that seemed like the perfect costume idea. I found a great no-sew idea on Pinterest (here), and I modified the costume to fit my toddler's personality. It was a labor of love, but I really liked how everything turned out!

Here's the supplies you need for this project:
  • A sweatshirt and sweatpants. I lucked out and found a really cute white fluffy coat at a thrift shop for under $5! I used these $5 sweatpants
  • 1/2 yard of fleece in two colors and 1 yard of fleece in a 3rd color – Depending on the size of your wings, you may have some left over.
  • Mini hot glue gun + extra glue sticks (I initially tried using Liquid Stitch but a hot glue gun was faster and more effective). 
  • Sharp fabric scissors (pro tip from my mama: don't use these scissors on anything other than fabric to avoid dulling the blades). 
1. First pick your colors and fabric. I went with light gray and purple fleece and fluffy white swirl-fur fabric (I love how soft this fabric is, but it's a total pain to cut -- it sheds like crazy, so make sure you shake it out after you cut out the "feathers" to release any extra "fur"). 

2. Cut out a tear-shape "feather" template from cardboard. You'll use this to help cut out all of your feathers. I placed the template on doubled over fleece and cut out two feathers at a time. If you use the fur fabric only only cut out one at a time. 

3. Cut, cut, cut out those feathers. Vi's costume probably has over 200 feathers on it... it was a good project to do while I was watching TV at night.

4. Measure your child's wingspan - have them raise their hands up like they are flying and measure across. Mark your fleece with the length of the wingspan. Next, tie a piece of string onto a pen, hold the string in the middle at the top of the fleece with one hand, straighten out the string to your desired length with your other hand (or have someone help!), and draw a semicircle. Finally use the pen marks to cut out the semicircle. 

5. Glue your feathers on with hot glue gun. I started at the bottom of the semicircle with a row of white feathers. I staggered a row of feathers in gray over the white, and then again staggering purple feathers over the gray ones. Repeat this pattern until the wings are covered.
6. Add feathers to the front of your sweatshirt in any desired pattern. I did nine alternating rows of the same white, purple and gray feathers.

7. When you finish the sweatshirt it's time to attach the wings! You can use Velcro if you want to be able to remove the wings, but I opted for the permanent route and attached the top of the wings with a hot glue gun.
8. To finish the costume, glue a few feathers to the front and back to the cuffs of the sweatpants.

Optional steps: Add an Owl Hat! I found a cute knitted hat on AmazonThere are additional options on Etsy too. There are online tutorials on how to make a hat for an owl costume, but I liked the idea of having a nice knit hat that she might actually wear again after Halloween.
You can also make some wings for a friend! I had some extra feathers so I decided to make a matching costume for Bernie.
I can't wait to see Violet all dressed up this year!


five things.

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is doing well, it's been a while so I have a lot of things on my mind lately -- here's five quick things:
 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
ONE: Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue has Mini Melissa rain boots on sale! We bought Vi a pair of light pink duck boots over the weekend and they are so cute in person. I also love the boots with bows. Saks Fifth Avenue has a ton of other styles on sale with their Friends and Family sale -- Vi's classic bow mary janes are on sale and I'm really tempted to buy her a pair of owl mary janes.
TWO: Mini Boden has a limited edition Roald Dahl collection! Everything is so cute and the pieces makes me want to re-read all of Dahl's books. I especially love the Giant Peach T-shirt, Mrs. Ladybird Dress, the BFG cape with it's pretty London cityscape lining, the Alphabet Cord Dress - it's perfect for my bookworm, and the glow-in-the-dark Dream Jar Pajamas. The Rainbow Drops Dress and Veruca Faux Fur Coat are really fun too and soooo Willy Wonka
THREE: H and I finished watching all three seasons of Broad City. It's hilarious and I wish I didn't wait so long to start watching it. All three seasons are on Hulu. I'm also loving Younger with Sutton Foster (she was in Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino's other show Bunheads). It's a lot of fun and a total guilty pleasure show (H does not watch this one).
FOUR: We finally tried Blue Apron! The first week had three great meals and I cooked with ingredients that I hardly ever use. It was a lot of fun -- but of course more work than going out to a restaurant and almost as expensive. We had two meals that we didn't like the next week so we decided to cancel our subscription. While I like the idea of cooking outside of my comfort zone, the meals weren't filling enough for H and too heavy for me. I also didn't like how much packaging they used for every piece of produce (you can recycle everything but it's still excessive). In the end it wasn't a good fit for us. So this week I decided to finally use my recipes on Pinterest. I made Greek Pizza and it was SO good. I also tried a gnocchi recipe which was way too rich (hello cream base, what was I thinking?!) Anyways the whole Blue Apron experience encouraged me to introduce some new recipes into our usual meal rotation.

FIVE: I'm thinking of all of my family and friends in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina stay safe during Hurricane Matthew!! 

Have a great weekend!


creating a conscious closet.

It seems the older that I get, the crunchier I get. This year I made the switch to natural beauty products. And after watching this episode of John Oliver (a favorite!) I want to change the way I shop for myself and my family. 

Deep down I always knew that something had to give when I got great deals on clothes, but I didn't always connect the human and environmental costs of my shopping habits. Fashion is the second dirtiest industry after oil. Clothing manufacturing uses huge amounts of water and then pollutes the ground and water with dangerous dyes and chemicals. And when I read about horrible working conditions and saw images of children sewing Old Navy clothing (for other children!) it really upset me. The International Labor Organization estimates that 170 million children are engaged in child labor. I couldn't help but picture my own daughter in a similar situation and it finally made me want to be more conscious about where I buy my clothes.

I gave up on "fast fashion" a few years ago after being disappointed by the poor quality of clothes from stores like H&M, Zara, and Forever21. But I still have a closet full of Gap and Old Navy, and the brand has a history of poor working conditions for employees and using child labor. I also own J Crew, and Madewell clothes, and (per their website) they cannot trace their manufacturing/production line, meaning they can't guarantee that the clothing was ethically made. I can do better. After doing some research, I found quite a few ethical companies that offer beautiful clothes and accessories at reasonable prices. Below is a list of shops that I have ordered from, and plan to support in the future.

American Giant - Manufactures premium 100% cotton sweatshirts, shirts, bottoms and more for men and women. All items are made in USA with American cotton. I love basics tees, so I want pretty much everything on this site.

Everlane - Classic wardrobe pieces without the typical retail markups. They are transparent with customers and share information about where a product is made and how much it costs to make it. They also work to ensure that the factories they use maintain ethical production practices. I've ordered from Everlane in the past and I'm never disappointed with the quality of their clothes. They have a great mix of casual and dressier clothes, shoes, and accessories.

GiGi New York - High end leather handbags, clutches, wallets and accessories produced in USA. I still use my Tan Tori Tote as a diaper bag for Vi, and love love their Jeni Saddle Bag!

Mata Traders - A design driven, fair trade brand helping to end global poverty and inspire ethical companies and consumers to change the fashion industry. Their colorfully original designs are made by artisans in India and Nepal, and provide a stable source of income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities. Their plaid shirtdresses are perfect for fall and winter.
Adriana Bralette in black + cornflower blue - Martina Lo-Rise Cheeky in black + cornflower blue

Naja - Luxury lingerie at fair prices. They empower and employ women and the line is eco-friendly. They offer a wide range of "nude" colors to choose from and I love all of the hidden little details they put into their designs.

Nisolo - Nisolo means not alone. They believe in ethically sourced, affordable luxury that bridges traditional craftsmanship & modern style for men and women. Nisolo shoes, accessories, and jewelry are all handmade in Peru. I have the Serena Sandals and I LOVE them. They are really comfortable and well made. I want to get a pair in black when they are restocked.

PACT Apparel - Sweatshop-free super soft organic cotton basics for men, women and babies that feel great and go easy on the environment. They sell cute tees, hoodies, undies, and socks.

PrAna - PrAna creates versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories that you can wear during every activity, every adventure, every day. They are one of the first major clothing companies to offer Fair Trade Certified products for men and women. I love their yoga tops and bottoms, and cute dresses (this is on my wish list).


Also I should note -- I'm trying to shop less in general as this is the best way to reduce waste and resources - not to mention save money! 

But when I do shop, I also want to support more small, independent businesses on Etsy, and purchase used clothing (especially for Vi) at consignment shops and on eBay. I will do my best to post Fair Trade and eco-friendly clothing and accessories on this blog in the future. I'm putting together another post with ethically made baby and children's clothing and toys soon!

Do you have any other shops to add to my list?
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