Christmas Gifts For Everyone On Your List 2014 Gift Guide

I love giving presents. I enjoy looking at all the websites and going to all the stores to find the perfect present for everyone on my list. Shopping for a close friend or someone you know super well can be a cinch, but there are always those few people that are a little harder to shop for. Check out my Pinterest board for gift ideas!


Gwynnie Bee Review Update

As I announced some time ago, I am having a baby. Soon actually, but that isn't the point of this post.

Most of my pregnancy I was able to wear my normal clothes. I did purchase a couple pairs of maternity pants to wear with my tops. For work I wore a lot of dresses and a pair of nice black maternity pants paired with tops I already owned On the weekend, I wore more casual dresses, yoga pants, and shorts.

At about 6.5 months into my pregnancy I got much bigger and a lot of my old clothes were a bit snug or short to wear. I knew that I didn't really want to buy a bunch of maternity clothes. Maternity clothes are pretty expensive for only getting a couple months wear out of them. That is when I remembered Gwynnie Bee.

I don't talk much about my size on this blog as that really isn't the purpose of my posts. I have fluctuated in size my entire life. Gwynnie Bee caters to plus-sized figures, even through they carry items in sizes 10-32. After putting on 20 pounds of baby weight, I knew they would have clothes to fit my bigger body.

For those of you that don't know how Gwynnie Bee works, it is often called the Netflix of clothes. Stylists from Gwynnie Bee acquire different clothes that are then lent out to different members. Each member goes through the different selections and puts items in their closet. Gwynnie Bee then sends you items. You can keep the item as long as you want. You send it back and then they send you another item from your closet. If you love the item, you can even buy it. You don't get to pick what you get next, that depends on what is available to be sent out.

Gwynnie Bee gets new items sporadically. While I have 47 cute things in my online closet, I haven't found too many new things to add. A lot of the clothes are patterned, or bright, or not seasonally appropriate. I do wonder who is picking the clothes out because I find a lot of the new stuff pretty unappealing. However, those that are more fashion forward than I am might really like the selections.

I am not due until late November or early December so I plan on sticking with it until then. Since there is no commitment to an item and I need stuff to wear, I am willing to dress outside of my normal comfort zone a little bit.

 I'll do an update to this post in a few weeks to let you know if my thoughts on the service have changed.

Update: I have CANCELLED my subscription to this service. I had a promotion for two months at half price. I was paying about $40 a month but after the promotion I would have to pay $80 to get three items as a time. 

Of all the items that I received, I ended up only wearing two of them. All the other items either didn't fit right or were not very attractive in person. If I received more items that I actually liked and could wear, the price might be worth it. However, with the current selection of clothes, the slow turn around time, and the sizing issues I couldn't justify $80 a month. I'd rather buy something I know I like and that fits. 


Surprise.. I'm having a baby.

It has been eons since my last blog post, but I knew I couldn't post anything until it was safe to announce my pregnancy. I am officially in my second trimester now! I don't think I can truly express how happy I am about bringing a little one into the family. Last time I had the misfortune of having a miscarriage which was devastating. Now I am at the point in my pregnancy where the chance of miscarriage is greatly reduced.

The next few months my posts will be all about getting ready for baby and about life as a pregnant woman.

I am so excited!


Dresses Dresses & More Dresses

I really love dresses. If you do not believe me just look at my Pinterest board devoted to dresses. I have over 500 dresses pinned. I wish the weather in Portland was nice enough to wear dresses more often, but with the winter rain and wind it is hard to wear dress for most months of the year.

Temperley London | Ave Styles |  Maldonado Dress

 I absolutely love these three dresses. The colors and the patterns are so fabulous!

 Here are some comparable finds that I like just as much.

Will and Graceful Dress $97.99

Dolce Vita Ares Dress $109.99

Lea Dress $38.99


In The Kitchen: Cookbook Collection


I have a bazillion of them. No joke. 

I have about half that many cook books on my Amazon Wish List. 

It might be an obsession. Not sure.

You can tell a cookbook is truly loved when pages are worn or have water spots. Maybe there are traces of flower between the pages. Or notes in the margins.

I have several books that are still pristine. Not a single earmark in sight. No chocolate thumb prints. No love at all. 

Most avid cooks will have their list of cookbooks they swear by. I am no different.  I don't subscribe to any eating philosophy. I am not paleo, or vegan, or devout myself to the Mediterranean Diet. I am an equal opportunity eater and my recommended cookbooks will exemplify the diversity in my eating habits. 

Joy of Cooking: Some of my first experiences cooking came from this book. It had pretty much any recipe a 13 year girl could imagine. This book is a classic staple that belongs in every kitchen. 

Molto Italiano: I know I am probably the only person on the planet that does not really like Italian food. Spaghetti and meatballs. Not for me. Marinara sauce. Forget about it. However, my husband picked a recipe out of here to make for my birthday a couple of years ago and I didn't hate it. Gasp! As Italian cookbooks go this is the one to have. However some of the ingredients he uses may be hard to find in some communities.

Chevys Fresh Mex Cookbook: I would eat Mexican food and "Mexican" food everyday of my life if I could. No lies. Yes this book is from a restaurant that happens to have multiple locations throughout the United States, but don't knock it until you try it. Some people were upset that they don't provide all of the recipes in this book, but duh. They want to stay in the restaurant business of course they are going to keep a few house secrets. Some of these recipes can be tedious but your mouth will thank you for your patience.  

Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: I actually bought this book for my husband for Christmas. However, I have been the one to actually try and make something from this book. I will say a lot of the recipes are on basics. Like how to make pickles or make a good chicken stock. Other recipes can be expensive to make because of the ingredient list. However, the food that comes from these recipes is amazing. I recently made their version of the chicken and dumplings recipe, which was anything but traditional with the ricotta spinach dumplings. Buy it now! 


Giving Feedback: Say Goodbye To The But Sandwich

If you are in any type of relationship you have at one point or another given feedback. You give feedback to your subordinates at work, you might give feedback to your friends, and you even give feedback to your significant other.

I can't tell you how many times people have suggested using the "compliment sandwich".  The compliment sandwich has been made extremely popular particularly in the media. It has been in Family Guy and Hart of Dixie.  Unfortunately it originated from actually practices in a work environment. I hate to break your heart but Family Guy did not invent the compliment sandwich....

Regardless of the origin, there is no place for the compliment sandwich when giving constructive feedback.

Dennis Morrow, my professor, really stressed to us that this is really a but (butt) sandwich. When you hear the compliment, you know the but is coming.... Putting another compliment after the but doesn't really help. It further diminishes the feedback. Giving someone a compliment sandwich is really anything but a compliment. To the listener it just sounds like you don't care.

Instead of the compliment sandwich, Dennis gave the class a really great feedback model. At first the model sounded really strange but after doing a demonstration in class it really made sense.  Again, I won't give the whole thing away as I really suggest people take his class.  No I am not getting paid to promote his classes, I just believe that they are that good!

We learned to identify the behavior or action we see. Followed by saying what we think the action means and how it makes us feel. This model can be used for positive feedback also. In class, I volunteered to do an example for everybody.  I also forced my friend to volunteer, whoops.

I said to Joe: When I see you actively listening, I assume that you care and this makes me feel encouraged.

For a criticism you could say: When I see you arriving late to work everyday for the past 7 days, I assume you do not understand the importance of being on time. This makes me feel concerned.

For your relationship you could say: When you forget to give me something for Valentine's day, I assume you are not thinking about me. This makes me feel hurt.

Isn't this such a novel idea. I am not sure how I will apply this to my professional life as different work environments use different forms of feedback. However, I can really see how using this in my personal life will be of great benefit.

Hopefully, he will tell us more about giving feedback next week.