Santa shopping can get hard as the kids grow up. Shopping for college girls? Even harder! I’m here to give you the lowdown on what’s hot, what’s not, and what every college girl would be thrilled to find under the tree on Christmas morning. I’ve split up the gifts into categories: things to splurge on, some wardrobe essentials, and stocking stuffers. Let me take you through my College Girl Gift Guide!
If you’re looking to splurge, accessories are where it’s at. I’m talking about shoes, bags, and jewelry. Instead of splurging on fancy clothes that may go out of style, gift your college girl some accessories that will last a lifetime and will always be on-trend. This red Gucci crossbody is stunning and so classic. It will add a pop of color to any outfit! If red isn’t your color, then this black Rebecca Minkoff will surely do the trick. Now, for shoes. Golden Goose is always trending and in style, and this hightop version is adorable with cheetah accents and blue laces. They may look hard to style, but they can go with any and every outfit. Tory Burch and Gucci sandals are perfect gifts even in winter! These fan favorites are practical, yet still designer. Lastly, Uggs are back! These black mini Uggs are perfect with any loungewear outfit and on-trend. And these cheetah slippers are adorable- you know my love for animal print!
Wardrobe essentials make the perfect gift as well. I’ve included clothes, accessories and some beauty. Your daughter will be obsessed with these Agolde jeans (size down!) and this black Free People puffer coat. Of course, you can never go wrong with sweaters and graphic tees as well. Free People and Urban Outfitters are the perfect places to shop for these on-trend items. This black leather jacket from Topshop will surely compliment every outfit and will become your college girl’s cold-weather staple. Loungewear and pajamas have been a necessity this year, and have become their own trend. These graphic sweatpants by Boyslie are taking the internet by storm (hello, TikTok!) and your college girl will love them. Add on this Champion hoodie and Def Leppard graphic tee and she’ll be Instagram ready.
Lastly, some random finds and stocking stuffers will top off the best Santa delivery of all time. These RayBan sunglasses are adorable and flattering on everyone. Sephora has some amazing gift sets right now, and this Drybar bundle is complete with a blow dryer, brush, and their best products! Hair accessories are all the rage, like these headbands, scrunchies, and claw clips. Is your college girl obsessed with her phone? This multi-pack of extra-long iPhone chargers and adorable leopard phone case will become her new favorite tech accessories. Finally, top off the stocking with some gold jewelry: these tiny gold hoops are perfect if your college girl has multiple ear piercings, and this gold Baublebar ring is adorable in a stack on her hand. Layered gold jewelry is trending, so gifting her multiple pieces to layer and stack will be perfect!
Follow me on LikeToKnowIt to see and shop all these ideas. Happy gifting!
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
– William Wordsworth
I oftentimes find interesting stories or posts and I think “this is really good, I want to share this.” In grade school, my favorite day of the week was Friday when the teacher would lead “current events.” Each student was charged with the task of bringing to school a newspaper clipping to share with the class. I loved sitting in the reading circle and couldn’t wait until it was my time to shine. This was a terrific way to learn new ideas, form critical thinking, and develop presentation skills.
So, I am bringing back current events of things said, something I read, and something I learned. I may even toss in something I loved about the week.
Something that I read and learned – I subscribe to The Washington Post digital paper. It’s $1 week and you can choose all kinds of news that interest you. For me, it’s books to read, weekly meal planning, health, fitness, baking, the top stories for the week, life after 50, cookbooks, 5-minutes or less of top political stories, and About Us. The latter is about candid conversations about identity in America. This article is a must-read about something I had no clue – the “Verzuz” phenomenon. Basically, two artists perform (or in the case of producers, play) up to 20 songs of their discography and discuss them while streaming on Instagram (and now AppleTV) in a nominal “battle of the bands” — though, really, it’s viewers who win. Beginning in the early days of the coronavirus quarantine, matches were between current stars, but over time “Verzuz” has evolved — technologically and otherwise — to include the greats of past decades. This past weekend featured Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight with their special guest Dionne Warwick!
Something I love – I discovered the new Netflix series Get Organized with the Home Edit. Of course, I binged all the episodes and now I am bored. But, I signed up to attend Joanna and Clea’s Virtual Book Club Tour. I paid the extra bit to get signed copies of both of their books. The show makes me want to sort 10,000 pieces of rainbow candy into glass jars and sip champagne while I do it.
And I love this: Pumpkin Spice Latte Chex Mix
- 8 cups Cinnamon Chex™ cereal
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 package (12 oz) white vanilla baking chips (2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Place cereal in large microwavable bowl; set aside.
- In a 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter uncovered on High 30 to 45 seconds or until melted; stir in brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of the pumpkin pie spice. Microwave uncovered on High about 1 minute or until smooth and bubbly. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in bowl; stir until evenly coated. Microwave uncovered on High 3 to 4 minutes, stirring after each minute, until cereal is glazed and toasted; leave in bowl, and set aside.
- In a medium microwavable bowl, microwave white vanilla baking chips uncovered on High 45 seconds; stir. Continue heating in 15-second intervals, stirring vigorously after each, until chips are melted and stirred smooth.
- Pour melted chips over cereal in bowl; stir until well coated. Transfer cereal to a large food-storage plastic bag or container; add powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool, about 20 minutes.
Have a great weekend y’all.
Mr. Bee has perfected the best BBQ dry rub and we want to share his recipe with you! It’s especially good on pork ribs and brisket. We keep a jar full of it for the moment we are in the mood to smoke meat. To save money, purchase your spices in bulk at Whole Foods or Central Market. If you by them already bottled in the grocery store you are paying for the container and labor, rather if you buy them in bulk, your spices are probably at their freshest. Let’s your ribs rule!
Mr. Bee’s Best BBQ Rub:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 black pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
3 TBL Tumeric
1 TBL Garlic Powder
1 TBL Onion Powder
*optional add 1-2 tsp of Cayenne pepper to kick it up a notch.
Mix thorough and store in an air-tight container.
Self-care is so important, but especially during these strange, surreal times of COVID. Here is a helpful article from the Mayo Clinic with coping tips and strategies. I have not entered a hair or nail salon since March, so I am trying to provide my own full-service experience. I wanted to share with you two products I’ve recently discovered that have changed my life and put a smile on my face!
First, Color Street nail strips. Someone gave me a sample about a year ago and I was impressed with the long-lasting results. When a friend hosted an on-line “nail bar” recently, I thought I’d order a few sets.
Color Street is 100% nail polish strips that provide base color, and topcoat in every strip with the bonus of no drying time. The colors are vibrant, the finishes glossy, and they easily adhere to the nail instantly. The nail polish strips keep their good looks up to 10 days, and they’re easy to remove with any nail polish remover. I applied the French manicure set nine days ago and they still look amazing – and that is with swimming almost every day! It was super easy to apply them. I just did it while I was watching Murder, She Wrote (yes, thank you COVID).
Starting today, I am hosting my own Summer Self-Care “nail bar!” Follow this link to shop. There are several deals right now including BOGO on the French manicure sets. I have already ordered another set, and I may order more because I can get the look of a French manicure for $14 ($7 with the sale)! They are also offering buy three – get the fourth set of your choice free.
Okay, let’s switch to toes. Let’s face it – pretty toenails are like jewelry. They really elevate your sandaled feet. I purchased the Poppy, a universal nail polish bottle handle which makes it so much easier to paint your nails, and a pretty shade of pink from Olive and June when they were running a 20% sale. Once I tried the polish, I was hooked. It is the most amazing, long-wearing polish I have ever tried. I went back and bought the Everything Box, again with the 20% promotion. While I mostly use the polish for pedicures, when I gave myself a manicure, I was able to go about six days before I noticed a chip on my fingernails. The color above on my toes is Sweet & Gracious.
If you have a birthday coming up, this would make a great gift for yourself. I definitely have had more time to think about the nice things I can do for myself. Pretty nails always elevate the mood!
My graduate school class this summer is focused on Food Insecurity. I wish everyone could take this class to have a better appreciation for how much food we waste both in our homes and in the retail food industry, and the number of people right here in Texas who don’t have enough to eat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is essential to know that though hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are distinct concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort. In contrast, food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.
One of every six Americans, equating to over fifty-four million people including eighteen million children- faces the reality that they may not be able to provide for their next meal. Food insecurity affects eight-hundred million people globally, including seventeen million households in every county in America.
In Texas, fourteen percent, or one in seven Texans, experience food insecurity. That is 1.4 million Texas households and over four million individuals. Texas is one of just fifteen states with higher food insecurity than the national average. Experts in many fields have called upon organizations to find new ways to address this serious, sometimes invisible issue. One World Everybody Eats (OWEE) is a response to this call.
OWEE is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing food security and building community through its pay-what-you-can non-profit restaurant model.
OWEE cafes create spaces where people of all ages come together, eat a nutritious, chef-prepared meal in dignity, and form strong bonds to foster an interconnected community. OWEE community cafes serve four-thousand meals each day or over 1.4 million meals a year in both non-profit and for-profit restaurant settings. Currently, sixty community cafes operate in the United States, and over fifty others are in the planning stages in six countries. Texas has two cafes – one in Fort Worth, called the Taste Project, and the second in El Paso, called the Mustard Seed Cafe. In 2018, OWEE founder, Denis Cerreta, accepted the 2017 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award on behalf of the network of community cafes.
In Tarrant County, thirty-six percent of the food insecure population live above the poverty level and receive no government help.
Since I am studying the community cafe concept, I wanted to experience first-hand the Taste Project’s atmosphere, food, and concept. Located at 1200 S. Main Street in the near Southwide district, the cafe is perfectly positioned near a bus stop and across the street from the JPS Health System offering a chance for hospital employees to eat something other than hospital-cafeteria food. Our first time to venture out to a restaurant since the pandemic shut down in March, we appreciated the cafe’s precautions for safety concerns by reducing the number of guests in the cafe through a reservation-only system. Additionally, many of the tables were removed allowing for a generous distance – definitely more than a six-feet separation.
We were immediately greeted by our server, who wore a mask and presented us with paper menus. Their mission and purpose are printed on the back of the menu so I took the time to read it after I decided on my lunch.
Taste Project’s mission is to feed, educate, and serve our community so they may “…taste and see the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8.
We believe everyone should have access to healthy nutritional food. Our vision is to see the Fort Worth community become the solution to the challenges the community faces as it relates to hunger.
The Taste Project, a non-profit restaurant, focuses on healthy, quality meals made from fresh ingredients. Our menu has no prices. This is a give and take concept. We ask guests to do one of the following:
1) pay what you can afford,
2) pay what you would typically pay, or
3) pay what you would typically pay, plus a little extra.
I took a minute to walk around the historic building, once a printing press, taking in the loveliness of the space – stacks of crisp white china waiting for food to be lovingly served, friendly staff, and a clean, bright, and airy space to enjoy your meal.
Our meal did not disappoint. It was beautifully presented and tasted delicious. I ordered shrimp tacos, Mr. Bee ordered a cheeseburger, and Miss Bee chose the Elote Bowl. The menu is changed seasonally to keep the costs down in order to cook with readily available ingredients.
The restaurant was founded by Chef Jeff Williams. Jeff has always had a burden for feeding people. Jeff grew up in a family of four, and both his parents worked hard to put food on the table. He remembers the times when food was scarce and his parents would skip meals to make sure he and his sister were full.
Jeff understands first-hand the stress his parents encountered to put food on the table in tough times. And it’s a familiar story of many of our neighbors in need. Soup kitchens are good, but not everyone feels good about going there.
That’s why, in 2012, Jeff and his wife Julie founded Taste Project, a sustainable solution to ensure none of our neighbors go hungry. But Jeff also wanted a place that eliminated the stress and fear his parents faced. A friendly place that feels like you’ve just come home. And a place where you can get more than just a meal, but also hope. Here’s a video message from Jeff:
If you have a heart for volunteering and giving back check out their website, specifically their “How you can help” page here. Most of the staff are volunteers so this is perfect for people who love to be around food! My professor and her family volunteer often in the kitchen helping with food and meal preparation.
You can also purchase a Meal Token. When you purchase a Taste Project Meal Token, you can enjoy a meal of your choice at Taste while committing to support the only sustainable solution to end hunger in Fort Worth, or simply pass it on to someone as a gift.
Our check arrived. You’ll notice there are no prices or suggested payments. You simply pay what you can. Sixty percent of the guests who dine at the Taste Project are in need, with twenty-five percent paying a $1 or less.
Currently, the cafe is only serving during the lunch hour. They stopped their breakfast service during the pandemic, shut down for a brief time, and are currently operating their 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. lunch service. So, next time you are wondering “where will I go for lunch today” think about Taste Project and be a part of the solution to fight hunger.
A few weeks ago, I shared a photo of our beverage center in our family room. I love built-in cabinets, probably because I am a kid of the 70s when built-in desks and bars were the rage. During a renovation several years ago, I talked with our contractor about my idea for a beverage bar on an unused wall space in our family, and she thought it was a terrific idea. I sketched what I wanted, and off we went to make it happen. A nod to the retro cocktail parties is the smoky mirror backsplash. Mixing up a cocktail or an espresso on our bar makes me giddy.
Since we are still practicing social distancing, our parties are now for two. We like to curate new cocktails and have a library full of mixology books. But sometimes what you end up with isn’t quite what you hoped. I thought it would be fun to try a monthly cocktail subscription box and make a “date night” of the experience. I just received my first box from Shaker and Spoon. The concept is simple – each month, Shaker and Spoon send you a kit full of ingredients to create a cocktail based on the month’s theme (check out my Instagram Stories to see me unbox the kit).
Shaker & Spoon was founded in 2015 in Brooklyn by two designers (Mike and Anna) with an overfilled liquor cabinet. Tired of buying apricot brandy and cream sherry and not using them again, of needing hard-to-find ingredients at 10 p.m., of trying that complicated cocktail recipe only to be disappointed once it didn’t turn out they embarked on their new business. Now, with their monthly cocktail club, you just pick up the bottle, and they take care of the rest. With their help, you’ll mix that drink perfectly—and always be the tastemaker in your circle.
This month’s box is called the Girls Just Wanna Have Bourbon, which Mr. Bee will be super happy with because bourbon is his go-to. Each box contains supplies to make three recipes – four drinks each, you provide the liquor. Shake, stir, muddle, and more: each box is built around one spirit, showcasing various styles of cocktail-making. You can read more here about this month’s box – each with a unique story on the mixologists who create the recipes.
The recipe cards (and how-to videos) guide you through mixing and garnishing the cocktails, step by step, and the glossary explains any unfamiliar bartending terms. Just follow their instructions, and you’ll create bar-quality drinks for yourself and anyone you’d like to show off to! Here’s one of the recipes we will be mixing up this weekend “Baba, Let Me Tell You One Thing . . .” starts with an intensely flavored base of bourbon, lemon, tea, cardamom, and bitters and tops it off with the sharp and subtle spice of ginger beer. This is bourbon at its bubbliest, making for a perfect bridge over Dark and Stormy–reminiscent waters into brighter days ahead!
Monthly subscriptions vary in price depending on your plan. I chose the $50 a month (you can cancel anytime), which if you divide it by twelve cocktails that run about $4 a cocktail, making it a happy hour worth celebrating, especially if you already have the liquor on-hand. Here’s the link to subscribe and stir up some fun times! Cheers!
Good Saturday to you! I’m looking forward to keeping up these Saturday chats to check-in on what I’m up to and spend time with you. This week on Home with a Twist YouTube we are sitting at my bathroom vanity so I can share my favorite skincare and beauty products with you.
Having more time to indulge in the bottles, creams, and potions I have tucked away in my cabinets, I decided to start getting them out and giving myself spa treatments with stuff I already have on-hand. Are you finding you have more time to use a facial mask or soak in the tub since we have not had as many demands placed on us?
Here are the products I talked about in my video…
Texas Collection Lavender Salt Scrub. It’s an HEB product which makes me think it came from my Austin besties. Sadly, it’s no longer available.
Philosophy Pure Grace Body Lotion – smells just like soap and water. I use this right after I bathe. I smell so clean and fresh.
Dove Deodorant Invisible Dry Spray – keeps me from sweating!
Flower Beauty Supernova Celestial Skin Elixir. A wonder in a bottle – this revolutionary skin elixir hydrates, primes and smooths for a soft ethereal glow. Packed with a blend of antioxidants and multi-dimensional pearlescent pigments this ultra-lightweight fast-absorbing oil is the key to the most smooth, radiant makeup application. It has a blend of six antioxidant-rich oils work together to nourish, protect & soothe skin. Includes restoring Jojoba seed oil, antioxidant-rich Camellia seed oil, and soothing Kukui Nut Oil.
Thrive Causemetics Lash Extension Mascara. Perfect for short lashes. For every product purchased the company makes a donation to help women thrive. To date they have donated nearly $30,000,000 to over 50 charities supporting women in need. I forgot to mention in the video you should replace your mascara on a monthly basis to keep your lashes free from bacteria growth.
Face setting sprays – I like Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Hydromist. It helps to set your makeup, gives me a fresh feeling against my skin, has firming properties, and reduces the visibility of pores, lines, and wrinkles. I can use that!
Cocoa Woods Fragrance by Nest. I couldn’t recall the fragrance notes – so I looked them up – essence of bittersweet cocoa wrapped in sequoia wood and white sandalwood with exotic hints of tiare blossom and Thai ginger. Let’s just say, Mr. Bee likes how it smells. I like to spritz it on right before bed so my jammies smell pretty.
Olly Restful Sleep Gummies all-natural gummies I chew two about an hour before I want to go to bed. They just help me feel relaxed and they’re supposed to help support a healthy sleep cycle. I spray my sheets with lavender spray and fill my essential oil diffuser with lavender. My room smells good!
So that’s it for this week. Let me know in the comments if there are topics you’d like for me to cover. I love our time together. And, I appreciate you following my journey to #celebrateeveryday. Stay well!
Two fun pieces of mail arrived this week and I wanted to share them. So, I sat down on my patio a few days ago and made a video! It’s kind of like “Show and Tell” which was my favorite thing to do in elementary school. So, go pop some popcorn or make a cup of cafe au lait and enjoy the next 14 minutes or so with me!
Here’s what I talked about — Just Knock Knock
You go to their website and take a quick quiz on the style of your home, the amount of sun vs shade your flowers will receive based on where you plan to display the flowers, the type of pots you will use, and where you live. They put together two big pans of flowers, ship them, and you plant them! The flowers are $65 and delivered four times a year for each season. Like I said in the video, I could easily spend this or more and come home with more flowers than I need. They take the guess-work out of it by selecting three varieties of plants that look terrific together.
The company sends you an email when the flowers are shipped so you can be watching for them. The plants arrived perfectly packaged with instructions printed on the box on how to safely unpack the plants inside. They were perfect! Check out my Instagram to see my flowers.
Mod Sprout is the maker of the adorable seed pops! Oh, my goodness they are so cute. From their webpage – Help save our pollinators! Seed Pops are designed to be planted into the ground or a container. Just unwrap, plant and grow! Each Bumble Bee, Butterfly and Hummingbird Seed Pop includes a curated selection of perennial wildflower seeds, compost, clay, coconut husk and planting instructions. Once planted, the wooden stick serves as a plant marker.
Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds play an integral role in our food supply. These creatures are facing extinction, due to variables including modern agriculture practices and increased use of pesticides. The need to save our pollinators cannot be overstated. Be a part of the solution and plant a garden today! This set of 3 pops is $14.99. Such a cute gift idea. Remember those galvanized gardens we put in last year, well these seed pops will be perfect! You can find all our gardening videos at my Home with a Twist YouTube channel here. While you are there, please subscribe. I only need 75 more subscribers to have my own custom channel!
Last in my box are the Field and Fleur candles. They don’t seem to have their own website, rather are sold wholesale to pretty much any store that carries candles. Jabo’s Ace is a dealer and they sent me two beautiful scents. Botanical Garden is an essential oil-based blend of delicate florals including subtly rosy Geranium and lush Ylang-Ylang. These soft floral notes rest on a base of earthy Vetiver and warm Patchouli made more grounding and soothing when combined with nature’s ultimate relaxation tonics: -Chamomile and Lavender. Burn time 85+ hours. And Cut Grass – just look at how gorgeous the green color is! With top notes of clover and green grass, this fragrance finishes with fresh-cut wisteria and jasmine. The perfect home fragrance for the woman who wears citrus-based perfumes and colognes. Burn time 85+ hours. All candles are made in the USA and come nestled in a pretty wicker basket. If you live close to a Jabo’s Ace Hardware (locations in Fort Worth, Keller, and Coppell), be sure to stop in and see The Cove gift selection. They have something for everyone. Jabo’s have been long-time supporters of my blog and I really appreciate them.
Stay tuned for more fun. #Staywell.
I love to collect pretty books that Mother used to call “Coffee Table” books. I’m sharing a few of my favorites…
Martha Stewart Flowers “Accompanied by beautiful photographs of displays in Martha’s home, bursting with ideas, and covering every step from seed to vase, Martha’s Flowers is a must-have handbook for flower gardeners and enthusiasts of all skill levels.” One of the kind people I worked with recently gifted me an autographed copy of this gorgeous book. It was such a thoughtful gift and one I will treasure always.
Modern Mix by Eddie Ross. “With more than 350 full-color photographs, time-saving tips and real-life shortcuts to decorating and entertaining beautifully on a budget, Modern Mix will open your eyes to the extraordinary possibilities within your reach and inspire you to live every day colorfully and creatively.” Bestie gifted me this one. I adore it. Eddie’s style and love of beautiful finds came from his grandparents. The book is full of sweet stories of their relationship. I would love a tour of his dish collection…
The Art of the Scarf by Libby VanderPloeg is such a cute book! Holley from What Would Holley Wear fame treated me with this fun read — one of Miss Bee’s favorites. “From belts to turbans, tops to bags, as well as all the classic knots and drapes, The Art of the Scarf is a must-have book for women who love to add that little something extra to every outfit.”
The Art of the Party by David Stark. I had the terrific opportunity to hear David speak at an event planning conference in Las Vegas a few years ago and he autographed my copy during a book signing. “Renowned event planner David Stark reveals whimsical, artistic, unexpected designs often created from sustainable, industrial, or low-cost materials to inspire readers—whether planning a wedding, dinner party, or holiday gathering—looking for ideas for their own events.”
So Much to Celebrate by Katie Jacobs. This is my newest acquisition. Katie has a beautiful blog Styling my Everyday. She is a stylist, photographer, graphic designer, and foodie. A fourth-generation Nashvillian, she’s been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Southern Living Weddings, Nashville Lifestyles as well as on Inspired By This, Fashionable Hostess, and The Scout Guide. She’s also a content contributer to one of my favorite retailers — Draper James! Her book takes you through an entire year of seasonal celebrations and holidays. It’s truly a how-to guide on entertaining.
It’s so hard to pick a favorite. You really can tell a book by its cover!