Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Projects You Can Gift or Keep

Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Projects You Can Gift or Keep

There’s nothing I love more about Christmas than decorating the tree. When I was little, my family and I would turn on our favorite Mel Torme Christmas cassette, fill a tray with Christmas cookies my mom had baked, pass around the eggnog, and begin merrily untangling the lights and hanging ornaments. The best part was opening the box of ornaments and being reminded of all the wonderful memories attached to each one. And while they all had a special place…

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Homemade Edible Christmas Food Gifts You Can Make in Advance

Homemade Edible Christmas Food Gifts You Can Make in Advance

I’m not the craftiest person in the world, so it goes without saying that DIY Christmas gifts are not my forte. Give me a glue gun or a needle and I’ll probably end up hurting myself rather than creating something impressive. What I can do, however, is cook. One Christmas, fresh out of pastry school with very little money to spend on Christmas gifts, I used my new confectionary skills to make nougatine with rosewater, pistachios, and dried cherries for…

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Homemade Christmas Gifts For In-Laws Who Have Everything

Homemade Christmas Gifts For In-Laws Who Have Everything

Beatrix stared at us from behind my father-in-law’s desk, her webbed feet and orange bill standing out against the dark wood decor. For Christmas, I had painted a picture of my father-in-law’s pet duck, Bea. The painting now hung proudly in his office as we relaxed by the fireplace. I have the best in-laws, but the one time of year they drive me crazy is Christmas. They have pretty much everything they need and are hesitant to ask for anything,…

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The Best Handmade Over the Hill Gag Gift DIYs

The Best Handmade Over the Hill Gag Gift DIYs

The morning of my 30th birthday I got up, took one look in the mirror, and went straight back to bed. I know 30 isn’t that old, but I figured I had finally been around long enough to really deserve that extra 10 minutes of snoozing. I wasn’t over the hill, but I was definitely nearing the peak, and that made me feel just a little more fatigued than usual. Luckily, I was broken out of my barely justified ennui…

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Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

My wedding day felt like a dream. It was effortless, romantic, and filled with magical moments shared with my husband on our special day. What made it truly incredible, though, was having my nearest and dearest friends beside me, standing with me in their periwinkle bridesmaid dresses as I took my vows. Those wonderful women carried me through that day, just as they had so often in my life. They made me laugh when I was feeling nervous, fixed my…

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DIY Fall Wedding Centerpieces on a Budget

DIY Fall Wedding Centerpieces on a Budget

The aisle of the church was covered with fall leaves, pumpkins were at the altar. But this wasn’t some rustic, abandoned chapel in a field somewhere—it was the location of my wedding. We had done everything we could to bring nature’s autumn artwork inside: the flower girl tossed maple leaves instead of flower petals and my bouquet was filled with deeply colored dried flowers and radiant sheafs of golden wheat. Fall is my favorite season so it made sense for…

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How to Keep in Touch With Friends Over the Summer Vacation

How to Keep in Touch With Friends Over the Summer Vacation

Growing up in a touristy vacation spot, my summer friends were a totally different group than my winter friends. Summer Nina (not to be confused with year-round Nina), Meghan O., and other kids would suddenly move into the neighborhood temporarily, becoming much easier friends to get together with than the ones from school who didn’t live a literal hop, skip, and jump from my front door. But when school started up again, I would inevitably be shocked to learn that…

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16 Creative Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift Ideas

16 Creative Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift Ideas

While most of my teenage years are now nothing but a blur, I distinctly remember my sixteenth birthday. I didn’t receive any material gifts from my parents that year. Instead, my mom took me on a trip to New York City. It was just the two of us, strolling arm in arm in Central Park, scurrying to Broadway box offices in hopes of scoring discount tickets, and snacking on salty street pretzels several times a day. I still appreciate how…

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DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

My sister Kelsey and I are 8 years apart; when she was heading into her pre-teen tween years, I was still a toddler. My parents did an amazing job of keeping us (and our brother in the middle) entertained during the long, hot summer days by coming up with things that we could all do together. Often, these activities could be separated into four categories and were scattered throughout the days of the week to keep boredom from ensuing. We…

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What to Put in a Beach-Themed Gift Basket or Bag for Her

What to Put in a Beach-Themed Gift Basket or Bag for Her

This beach season, you’re probably looking to add something more to your bag than suntan lotion and the newest teen vampire novel—although you totally want both of those too. You want to rock the sun and sand in style, comfort, with a little decadence, and a lot of goodies. You want, nay need, great beach gear. And so do your girlfriends! This year, why not send a beach-themed gift bag to your sister, girlfriend, wife, or best friend? It’s a…

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