Author Archives: Kristi

How To Survive the Summer Commute

Because I am a true California girl, summer is by far my most favorite season of the year. I love the long days, endless blue skies, and the super warm weather, not to mention the nights we are able to BBQ and dine al fresco at our local eateries.

However, one thing I do not love is my long commute in the blazing heat! Sure, I have a working air conditioner (thank goodness for that), but with a long drive and black interior in my car, it sometimes feels like I am heading to and from the office in my oven.

There are a few simple items that have really helped make my commute just a tad bit easier. The best part? Most of them are simple staples that you probably already have laying around!

Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This type of water bottle is an absolute essential for me. When looking for a bottle, I found out that one of the most popular brands is S’well. I must admit I was a little surprised at their cost per bottle ($25-$35). What could be so fabulous about this type of water bottle? However, after a sip of surprisingly still cool water from my water bottle after it sat in 100+ heat for an hour, it became very clear that the money was well spent!

I keep this filled up for my drive to and from work, and I am happily refreshed with cool water whenever I need to take a sip.

Windshield Sun Shade

I have to admit this is a relatively new addition to my car’s accessories. Whenever I thought of windshield sunshades, I was immediately transported back to the 1990s with accordion-style cardboard shades (which were just plain awful!). However, I am excited to announce that the market carries a number of different options, which hopefully make them a bit easier to use. I chose a two-piece vinyl material option, which actually folds up into a very small bundle. While it takes an extra minute or so to put it up, I’m always so grateful to return to a car that hasn’t had the front seats baking in the sun for hours (hello shorts, skirts and dresses!).

Old Towel

Along the lines mentioned above, grabbing an old towel to throw in your trunk is such a great idea. I cannot explain how many times I have thrown it over my driver’s seat leather to provide a little extra coverage from sun coming from one of the side windows. It’s also a great accessory to have when you’re wearing your cute summer outfit and you cringe when your bare leg hits your car’s warm interior. Nothing genius about this idea, just a nice-to-have.

Lip Balm

I am a major lip balm queen and typically have a tube of this in just about everything I carry. However, I find that it’s not always super accessible. I leave a tube of my favorite balm (Burt’s Bees) in my drink holders for a quick moisturizing swipe through my commute. While I have found other brands tend to get mushy when they are left in a hot car, Burt’s Bees seems to hold up a bit better (though it definitely softens a bit).

Extra Sunglasses

Sunglasses are my other must-have during the summer. Like lip balm, I tend to have a few pairs in different work bags and purses, but always seem to find myself scrambling for a pair when I get into the car. I like to conveniently keep a back-up pair of sunglasses in my door compartment. That way, whether I have my purse within arm’s reach or not, I have something to get me through the drive.

For those of you that commute through the hot summer, I hope these tip help make your drive a bit more convenient! Happy Summer!

Gift Ideas for Pregnant Friends

One of the many things that I have learned on my journey to becoming a first-time mom is…boy do today’s babies need a whole lot of stuff! As my husband and I prepare for the arrival of our little kiddo, our previously minimal home style has been taken over by large boxes of everything imaginable to keep a small human happy.

While I have fully engaged in the organization and planning of all things needed for our little kiddo, I have been blessed to have several family members and friends who have gone out of their way during my pregnancy to remember to ‘treat’ me as well.

Finding things for pregnant ladies is not the easiest thing. You’re going through so many different changes and transitions and I have been so touched at what these amazing people have thought to gift me.

Jewelry and Accessories

No matter what stage of pregnancy, it’s highly likely you’re not really comfortable in your clothes and not really feeling exactly like yourself. Accessories and jewelry are a great gift for pregnant women because it’s something they can add to their new wardrobe and can utilize during and after their kiddo arrives.

Snacks and Edibles

Anything edible is a good choice. Whether you’re in the “I’m starving every minute of the day” period of your pregnancy or you’re suffering through morning sickness and trying to experiment with different foods that might help, getting a gift bag with a variety of treats is always a welcome gift. Bonus Tips: Whole Foods and other stores have fabulous healthy and clean options for those moms that are particular about ingredients.

Relaxation Elements

Finding your zen time during the midst of this crazy life transition is always a challenge. A scented candle or a delicate lotion is a nice way to pamper your pregnant friend with a few relaxing elements that can put her into a state of relaxation.

Cooling Items

No matter what season it is, your friend is likely feeling warm! If you’re like me, I didn’t time things well and now I’m in my final stretch in the heart of summer. My mom and my good friend were so thoughtful to think of how overheated you can get and gifted me personal fans to help stay cool in these final weeks.

Beautification

Nothing is better than a few beauty products to make you feel just a smidge better. Whether it’s an exciting and bold lipstick color or simply a few fix-its (like my Glossier items shown below) – gifting a few makeup treats to your pregnant friend will always be a welcome treat.

The arrival of a new baby is an incredibly special tim, and it’s also a wonderful time to shower baby’s new mama with a few things to keep her feeling supported.

My Favorite 3…Homemade Hostess Gifts

Summer is here and for me that means lots of opportunities to catch up with friends and family! Whether it’s gathering together for one summer birthday or holiday weekend, or simply a weekend BBQ, I find myself constantly thinking about good hostess gifts to bring.

The older I get, the more I appreciate homemade and edible gifts. While my friends and family have plenty of space for an extra item or two in their homes, I’ve come to appreciate not having ‘another thing’ to add to a shelf or cupboard (even if it’s too cute for words!). Homemade (and preferably edible) gifts are a great way to pass along a small token of appreciate to your host, but minimize the ‘stuff’ that gets added to their homes.

Not to mention, summer is a great time to get into your kitchen and enjoy some of the best flavors of the season. Below I’m sharing three simple ideas for homemade hostess gifts.

Seasonal Homemade Jam

I was fortunate to grow up with a mom who loved to make her own jam, so for my first 18 years of life I really didn’t have much awareness of Smuckers. Enter college…when I forced to fend for myself on the food front…and well, my standards dropped a bit. No really, for my entire 20s, I’d say. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve been reintroduced to the joy that is homemade jam and preserves. It truly is just a notch better than anything you can buy in the store, and it’s a great way to take advantage of seasonal fruit.

Fresh-Baked Homemade Bread

I know the first thing that everything thinks about when it comes to homemade bread is….yikes! yeast is scary and unchartered territory! I had the exact same thoughts, but then was introduced to No Knead Bread from Brown Eyed Baker and boy did that help breakdown my fear of how to make bread. This is an incredibly simple recipe that only takes a round or two to get the hang of it. It turns out delicious and can be wrapped up in parchment paper and seasonal ribbon for a festive touch.

Crunchy Homemade Peanut Butter

My dear friend Sarah and her husband came over to our home for dinner and in her bag of treats she gifted me an adorable jar of homemade peanut butter (I know, she has the best handwriting and presentation skills). I’ve always enjoyed natural peanut butters, and was super excited to try this one out. It was amazing, and since it went right into the refrigerator it did not separate, so no mixing was needed.

Even though the summer season can be incredibly busy, it’s a great time to pull out your pots and pans and experiment a bit in the kitchen. Plus, it’s a great way to put together a cost-effective and personalized gift for friends and family.

Happy cooking and baking!