SisterShares

Adventures to Have While Saving for Bigger Adventures – Los Angeles Edition

In comparing my adventure list from 2017 to the one I’ve made for 2018, I’ve found that about a third of my adventures this year are a little more on the pricey side (pricey as in more than $100 each). In 2017, I went on a lot of smaller adventures, discovering that some of the best adventures are the ones that are both close by and inexpensive.

Inexpensive adventures make it so much easier to adventure to more places and more often. 

Like anyone else, in between bigger adventures I need time to save money but don’t want to sacrifice going out and experiencing different things.

Here are 20 things to do in LA if you’re looking to have an adventure that will allow for some space to save for bigger adventures or if you’re just looking for a way to have some fun without breaking the bank:

  1. Hike to the Hollywood sign (Free) – If you’re feeling outdoorsy, grab some water and take the 5 mile hike up to see the famous Hollywood sign. This is a great way to get some exercise and have an adventure.
  2. Go to the Getty Museum (Free admission +$15 for parking) – Not only is the Getty Museum filled with beautiful and thought provoking art, but the grounds are truly amazing.
  3. Go to the Getty Villa (Free admission +$15 for parking) – If you’re feeling super adventurey and you have the whole day to spare, you can visit both the Getty Museum and the Getty Villa (located in Malibu) on the same day and only have to pay for parking at one of the two.
  4. Griffith Park Zoo (Free) – Good for hiking and exploration.
  5. Griffith Observatory (Free admission + Parking) – This is a beautiful place to look over the city if you visit during the day and a perfect place to see the stars if you visit at night. You could also pair this adventure with hiking at the Hollywood sign and visiting the Griffith Park Zoo, as the three are all in the same general area.
  6. Visit the Bradbury Building (Free) – If you love architecture, you will love this place. It makes for a quick adventure, as you are not allowed to go up the elevators or most of the higher staircases but nevertheless, it’s still worth the visit. It’s located right next to Blue Bottle Cafe which is a cute place to grab a cup of coffee.
  7. Visit The Broad Museum (Free + Parking) – Visit one of LA’s most well known museums for free when you reserve your tickets ahead of time on their website.
  8. Take a hike at Escondido Falls in Malibu (Free) – This hike is about 3 miles long roundtrip and if you’re lucky, the waterfall at the end of the trail will have lots of running water.
  9. Enjoy some time at The Grove (Free) – I visited this outdoor shopping area for the first time during Christmas this year and it was magical. Regardless of when you go, it’s a great place to walk around, people watch, or do a little shopping.
  10. Visit the California African American Museum ( Free + $12-$15 Parking) – Check out this museum from Tuesday-Sunday for free, just pay for parking and be aware ahead of time that parking is cash only.
  11. Visit the Museum of the Holocaust (Free + Parking ) – Even parking is free if you can snag one of the limited free spaces in the museums underground garage.
  12. Visit the Last Bookstore to get your book fix (Free + Metered parking) – This bookstore not only has a major selection of books, but it’s also infamous for it’s book arch, color coordinated book wall, and wacky bookcases that look like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
  13. Check out the exhibition galleries at the California Science Center (Free + $12 Parking) – Admission to the exhibition galleries is free and you have the option to pay for admission to the museum’s special exhibits for under $20.
  14. Take in the beauty of the Wayfarers Chapel (Free) – Wayfarers Chapel is a breathtaking glass chapel overlooking the water in Palos Verdes which is in LA county but not quite in LA. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the rose garden which is right next to the chapel.
  15. Check out the view at Signal Hill Park in Long Beach (Free) – Again, not located in LA but still in LA county. This view is spectacular at night, and you can enjoy it for free. If you have some extra money to spare, head a few miles down the road from the park and grab a bite to eat at SteelCraft. SteelCraft is an outdoor space with a variety of different food options, including a waffle spot that I definitely recommend.
  16. Roam through the Venice Canals (Free) – Pick a good weather day and head over to stroll through the beautiful canals of LA.
  17. Grab a flower inspired drink and piece of cake at Bia Coffee in Koreatown ($6-$14) – Bia Coffee isn’t the most inspiring as far as interior design goes, but they have rose and lavender infused coffee, lemonade, tea, and cake. The drinks and the cake are so aesthetically pleasing and they are even garnished with edible flowers. I would definitely recommend checking it out at least once.
  18. Grab a latte with your picture on it at Carerra Cafe ($7) – This super cute cafe will put any picture you want on top of your drink of choice. It’s also located directly across from the infamous pink wall in the event that you wanted to get in a few trendy LA pics.
  19. Soak in the ocean breeze while drinking a cocktail at the Strand House in Manhattan Beach (about $15 per drink) – This restaurant is one of my favorite places to soak in the sun, breeze, and ocean views while sipping on a mimosa. They also have killer homemade donuts if you feel so inclined.
  20. Ride the SkySlide (Less than $30 + Parking) – Where else can you ride a glass slide on the side of a skyscraper?

 

Hoping this list gives you some ideas for a worthwhile adventure at a cost that leaves a little extra money in your wallet.

Happy adventuring ♥

30 Days of Intentional Kindness

#30daysofintentionalkindness

Now that the craziness of the holidays has come and gone, most of us are beginning our journeys toward making this year our best year. What better way to begin the year than committing to filling the next 30 days with intentional acts of kindness.

There are over 2.5 billion active social media users. In true idealist fashion, I can’t help but think what if even just .1% of those users (that’s a tenth of a percentage, not even a whole percentage) committed to doing 1 act of kindness a day? That would be about 2.5 million acts of love each day that our world so desperately needs. 

I have listed 30 simple acts of kindness that I will be committing to doing during the month of January. I will be using my Instagram story to keep me accountable and hopefully inspire others to also participate in 30 Days of Intentional Kindness. Some acts will be done out of order, as I know that the act of the day may not necessarily fit with my agenda of that day ( for example, what if I don’t go out to get coffee on the 3rd day?). The point is to spread as much kindness as you can, not just to cross things off of a list. If you can do multiple acts on a single day, more power to you! Kindness is contagious – let’s get to it.

Here’s the list: 

Day 1 – Share a piece of wisdom – pass along something valuable to someone else in hopes of making their moment, day, or life a little better. *I have done this via my previous post from today which can be found here.

Day 2 – Donate old clothes/ household items – The beginning of the year (or month, or week, or day) is the perfect time to go through your things and declutter. Get rid of things you don’t need and even better yet, donate them and pass them along to someone who can use them. Look up shelters, churches, or donation centers like Goodwill or the Salvation Army in your area and detach from the unnecessary.

Day 3 – Buy a stranger’s cup of coffee – When buying yourself a cup of coffee (or tea, or a smoothie, or whatever else you drink), pay for the person behind you as well. You never know, you could create a chain reaction and inspire them to buy a coffee for the person behind them.

Day 4 – Leave an instant inspo – #instantinspo is something my sister and I began doing back in September when Target put all of their spiral notebooks on clearance for two cents (thanks Back to School). I have a serious obsession with notebooks and needed a reason to buy them all. We bought 500 notebooks and have been leaving notebooks paired with handwritten notes everywhere we go. The notes encourage whoever finds the book to write down their goals, dreams, prayers, and aspirations and to remember how powerful they are. You might have to wait until September to get the 2 cent deal on notebooks, but they regularly cost about $1. Today, grab a notebook, write a note of encouragement, and leave it somewhere for a stranger to find.

Day 5 – Buy a song on iTunes from a local artist – Most people don’t realize how expensive it is to make music for the aspiring artist. It costs thousands and thousands of dollars of an artists own money to get in the studio, pay sound engineers, create merchandise, travel to venues to perform, and so many other expenses you would never know about if you don’t either create music yourself or know someone who does. In the age of social media, more often than not, we have the privilege of listening for free. Today, spend the $1.29 to buy a song from an artist off of iTunes. It’s not about the money, it’s about showing that you recognize the sacrifice and dedication they put into their work. Such a simple act can be a push for your favorite artist to continue creating the music you love.

Day 6 – Ask to speak to a manager to report something good – Too often, customers only ask to speak to a manager if something is wrong, leaving those who are going above and beyond to never be recognized for their positive efforts. Today, when you have a positive interaction with an employee, ask to speak to the manager to tell them what a good job that person is doing.

Day 7 – Bake something for someone – Who doesn’t love fresh baked goodies? Today, bake something to give away where you see fit. If you can’t bake, gift something store-bought. It’s the act that counts.

Day 8 – Comment something positive on a stranger’s social media post – This takes two seconds to do. Leave a positive comment on the post of a person whom you don’t know and don’t follow.

Day 9 – Send a “Thank You” card – Think of something good that has happened to you recently and mail a card to simply say thank you. Most of us only get bills in the mail, so imagine the surprise when receiving a ray of sunshine via snail mail. The card can be for anyone – a friend, a family member, a colleague, an employee at a store you visited. Pass along kindness by way of saying thank you.

Day 10 – Donate money to the homeless – Who does a couple of dollars make more of a difference to, you or a homeless person? Give with a generous heart, knowing that God stores up treasures for you in Heaven according to the treasures you share with others on this earth.

Day 11 – Pay a compliment – Tell a random person you like their outfit, remind a friend how contagious their laugh is, or tell your boss how their leadership skills have positively impacted you. Whoever you choose, give them something positive to reflect on…you never know how that may affect their day.

Day 12-  Tape coupons to appropriate items at the store – A good amount of us (at least here in California) get tons of coupons in the mail, mainly for things we don’t actually buy. Today, when you’re headed to the store, grab one of those mailers out of your mailbox and leave a coupon for a stranger to find. I mean, I sure would like to find a coupon for money off of an item already taped to that item.

Day 13 – Text someone first thing in the morning to say how important they are – Start someones day off with a quick message to say how much you appreciate them…it can set the mood for their entire day.

Day 14 – Donate old books to the library – I love the library. I truly believe it is such a privilege to have access to so many books for free. Today, support your local library by donating those books you never read anymore.

Day 15 – Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while – Take an extra few minutes to call to say hello to one of your family members that you haven’t talked to recently. We are all so busy and often forget how much of a blessing it is just to be able to call our relatives at all.

Day 16 – Tape a dollar to an ATM– Happy depositing!

Day 17 – Tip extra- When you’re dining out, leave a few extra dollars on top of what you were already planning to tip.

Day 18 – Leave something for the mail person– Our mail carriers are so often forgotten because we rarely (if ever) see them. Leave a note, a gift card, or a small present in or near your mailbox (with a tag that says it’s for them) to say thank you for an often thankless job.

Day 19 – Leave a positive review – Similar to day 6, so often reviews aren’t posted unless it’s for a negative reason. Take a few minutes of your time to post/write/call in about a positive experience you had at a store or with a product.

Day 20 – Send an “I’m thinking of you” card or letter – Grab a card or a piece of paper and remind someone you care about that they are on your mind.

Day 21 – Donate money to a GoFundMe account– Social media has provided us so many ways to help each other. Pick a GoFundMe account that you trust and support, and donate a few dollars to the cause.

Day 22 – Tape an inspirational note in a book – Leave an encouraging note in a book at a store or a library for the reader to find when they get to a specific page.

Day 23 – Go over and beyond for someone you live with ( or for a neighbor or a friend if you live alone) – It is so easy to get in a routine with the people we live with (or around) that we forget to show them how important they truly are to us. Today, do something for someone in your household (or neighborhood or whatever) that requires a little extra effort on your part. Perform a household chore for them, bring them lunch, wash their car, the ideas are endless.

Day 24 – Leave a lotto scratcher for a stranger to find – Imagine how fun it would be to find an unscratched lottery scratcher, just waiting for you to see if it’s a winner or not. Tape a scratcher to a gas pump, give one to a store clerk, or just hand one to a stranger. It’s a fun gift of chance.

Day 25 – Spend time in prayer for 10 people– Make a list of 10 people who could use some prayer today. Spend 1- 2 minutes praying for each person on your list.

Day 26 – Instagram shoutout someone who inspires you – We are all inspired by someone. Take two minutes to give a shoutout to someone who positively impacts you via social media.

Day 27 – Surprise someone you love – Take a moment to do something for someone you love. Send flowers, stop by to say hello, provide an act of service they weren’t expecting – whatever it is, offer a pleasant surprise to someone close to your heart.

Day 28 – Share your gratitude – Incorporate gratitude into a conversation you’re having, tell someone that you appreciate them, or just put good vibes into the air. Either way, spread thankfulness for what you have and encourage others to do the same.

Day 29 – Leave a “you’re beautiful” note on a bathroom mirror– Why do we look at ourselves in the mirror? To make sure we look good! Tape a note to a bathroom mirror (or any public mirror) to remind the person looking at themselves that they are beautiful.

Day 30 – Do an Instagram giveaway! – Who doesn’t love to win free stuff via Instagram? Today, give away something to one of your followers. It doesn’t have to be something crazy or big, just something to say that you appreciate the connection you have with other individuals via social media.

 

 

This list can be incorporated into your daily life or used specifically when you start to feel out of touch with humanity. Let’s start a kindness movement, one day at a time.

 

Share your experiences with me and hashtag #30daysofintentionalkindness on any of your social media posts pertaining to this post!

 

How to Have an Extra $365 at the End of the Year

How would you like a check at the end of the year for $365? What about a check for $500? $1000? The amount is up to you.

The post after this one will give the breakdown for a project I’m working on during the month of January called 30 Days of Intentional Kindness. The first day’s call to action is to share a piece of wisdom that can positively impact someone else.

The piece of wisdom I would like to pass on today is the importance of saving money and creating margin in your life. If you were to save $1 a day, at the end of the year you would have an extra $365. $10 a week gives you over $500 at the end of the year, and $80 a month gives you over $1000.

There is an app called Qapital that has totally changed the way I save money over the course of the past few months. I have previously written about it, so bare with me as this post will be very similar to one from October. This year I want to cultivate better saving habits and Qapital is helping me do it. This app is super easy to use and makes saving money a no brainer.

Here’s what you need to know about this method of saving money:

1. Install the app. It is currently only available to users in the United States, but it looks like they are working to expand in the near future.
2. Link the app to your bank account (it’s secured).
3. Set a goal, and decide which rule you would like to apply to your savings plan. This part is my favorite. There are so many rules you can choose from; pick one that best suits your goals and current financial status. For example, you can select a rule that makes it so every time you use your debit card, Qapital automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and saves that amount for you. So, if you spend $8.25 at the store, Qapital will round your purchase up to $9.00 and put the 75 cents into a secured savings for you. There are other rules that you can chose from such as automatically save a dollar (or more) a week, automatically set aside 30% of your earnings for taxes in the event that you are a freelancer, or even set up a reward system for when you hit your fitness goals.
4. You can withdraw your money at any time, even if you have not hit your goal amount yet. It does take up to 3 business days to see the money in your bank account.
5. It is free. There are no hidden costs. The company makes its money through a visa card they offer as an additional service. Qapital also has a version of overdraft protection, meaning that if there is less than $100 in your account, they will put a hold on any pending deposits until you have more than the minimum required amount of $100 in your bank account.

It’s that easy.
Realistically, what are the chances that you will miss an extra few cents when you’re already making a purchase? On the other side of it, those few cents can really add up when you save them. Imagine if you saved $3 a week using the round up rule. $3 a week x 52 weeks in a year is still an extra $156 in a year…$156 that you would have spent without even realizing it. The best part is, you are in control of how much you save. If you can afford to round up to $2 for every time you use your debit card, do that. If you can afford to put away $10 a week, do that. Even if you saved $1 a week for a year, you would still be saving money AND cultivating a habit that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
As I mentioned in my previous post about Qapital, this is not an ad. I would never endorse something I don’t actually use. As an added bonus, Qapital gives all of their users access to an invite code. This code will give you $5 to get you started toward your savings goals.
I hope this piece of information will be as beneficial to you as it was to me when I received it, and will kick off your 2018 savings in the most positive way.

Goal Writing for the New Year

img_1151

In 2017 I committed to making no New Years resolutions.

I know not only statistically, but also personally, that making New Years resolutions rarely ever  works or leads to actual results. Instead, I told myself that I was going to focus on self-growth, allowing myself to evolve naturally through the experiences of this year.

So, as with anything else, I made a giant list on a poster board of all the things I wanted to accomplish, try, or experience in 2017. I looked through magazines, Pinterest, various websites, anything that triggered any kind of inspiration and considered what would be valuable enough for me to put my energy towards. I wrote everything down and then crossed things off the list as I did them. This process turned out to be one of the best, most fun things I could have done for myself. It kept me intentional all year long, gave me things to look forward to, challenged me, and pretty much did away with any possibility of boredom because I always had ideas on hand. A lot of people follow this same concept with pictures (as you are essentially making a vision board), but I connect better with words, hence the list.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your own list:

  1. Write it all down – Have you been wanting to try out a new restaurant? Write it down. Have you noticed a character flaw in yourself that you’ve been wanting to improve on? Put it on the list. Are there people in your life you’ve been wanting to spend more time with? Add it to your board. My goals ranged from “Get closer to God” to “Watch all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies” and everything in between. No goal or desire is too small or too big. Just write it all down.
  2. No pressure – This list is meant to be personal. There is no right or wrong way to do it; you are doing it for you. It doesn’t matter how many things are on your list or how many things you do or do not accomplish by the end of the year. It doesn’t matter if you share it with others or keep it to yourself. It is simply a way to remind yourself of the things you want and to keep you on track.
  3. Focus – I look at my list daily and keep a picture of it in my phone for when I’m not home. This helps me to stay focused on the things I’ve written down. You will either control your day, or your day will control you. When you have something to focus on, you are more likely to better utilize your time and resources.
  4. Include things that you have no idea how you will accomplish – If you know how everything will work out, there is neither faith or adventure involved. When you include things that are your true desires and you put prayer, positive energy, and hard work into seeing them manifest, life has a funny way of conspiring to ensure that they do. I included things like “Positively impact at least 100 people” and “Find my area of competence.” I had no idea how either of those things would come to be, but as the year progressed, I found myself in positions that allowed me to spread positivity and love in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Toward the last few months of the year I started to feel like maybe I had found my thing as far as what I feel I am best at. Two of next years goals stem from these goals and are written on my 2018 board as “Positively impact at least 1,000 people” and “develop and master my area of competence (creativity, connection, and positivity). I have no idea how I will do either of those things, I just know that I will.
  5. Don’t worry about rank or order – For some people this won’t be a problem, but I feel this is important to mention for anyone who is super particular like me. The point of this list isn’t to try to get things done in any kind of order or pattern; it is more important that you let your ideas come naturally and write them down as you think of them.
  6. Leave room for the unexpected – Through this process, I found that many of the things on my list ended up being things I didn’t really care about doing, which worked out in my benefit because I was able to disregard them before doing them and instead put my energy toward something else. I also found that there were things I ended up serendipitously accomplishing in ways different than I had originally imagined. For example, number 81 on my list read “Get a new car (Maserati Ghibli).” I didn’t end up getting a Maserati, but I did unexpectedly get a new car that is not only beautiful, but works so much better for me at this stage in my life. Depending on the length and depth of your list, leave room to be okay with not crossing everything off. My 2017 list was 123 lines long- many of the things I listed did not get done. However, I still did many additional things that were not originally listed, and I know for a fact that I would have accomplished so much less had I not made a list at all. Go with the flow, this is all a learning and growing process.

 

If you’re looking to make next year full of growth, adventures, and intentionality, grab a poster board and get to writing. May the coming year, be our best year yet.

Holiday Gifts for Every Budget

With the passing of Thanksgiving, we can now fully step into Christmas mode. As much as the coming holiday is supposed to be about celebrating Christ, let’s be real – we’ve been programmed to associate Christmas with presents for as long as any of us can remember.

Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars on Christmas gifts, with much of that money being charged to credit cards with crazy high interest rates. On top of that, because we are all so busy, gifts are often generic and lacking thought, or they are things we won’t ever actually need or use. In case you haven’t already noticed from my previous posts, I am all about making money stretch and using things to their fullest potential.

If the cost of gifts is stressing you out or if you just need a refreshed perspective on gifting options, I’ve got you covered. Here are a few gift ideas listed according to budget:

 

Gifts that cost $0:

  1. Letters – Ironically, my favorite Christmas as a gift-giver was a year when I literally had no money to use for presents. When you’re low on funds you’ve got to get creative, so I made a list of all the people I would have given a gift to had I had the money. Then, I sat down and wrote each of those people a letter about how much they truly meant to me. I reflected on old stories, jokes, and lessons they’ve taught me; I said the things I would say if I never got a chance to speak to them again. When Christmas rolled around, everyone cried – myself included. In a world saturated with material items, the things that are heartfelt are truly priceless.
  2. Acts of Service – If you don’t have the money to spend or choose not to spend money this year, can you spare some time? You’d be surprised how many of the people you care about could use a helping hand. Maybe you can offer to help a relative clean out their garage, or hand wash a friend’s car for them. Step back to observe who and where you can serve, and then do it.
  3. The Gift of Time – If no one has brought it to your attention lately, you can always find a way to make more money, but you will never have more than the 24 hours you are gifted each day. We are all so busy that often times we forget the power in clearing our schedules for a bit to just sit, talk, and be with our loved ones.
  4. City Freebies – Look for free things your city offers. In Los Angeles, many of the museums are free to attend as long as you get your tickets in advance. In LA, Orange County, and the Bay Area, having a library card gives you access to free tickets to different attractions; I’m sure this applies to cities all over the world. Take a few minutes to see what you can find in your city, snag some tickets, and plan an adventure.

 

Gifts that cost $30 or less:

  1. Groupon and Living Social– Don’t forget about these great websites that help you get more for your money, not just during the holidays, but all year long. You can find vouchers for anything in your area from restaurants to activities to services like haircuts and massages. Why pay $50 for something you could pay $30 for? If you’re gifting a voucher, simply purchase it, print it out, and wrap it up.
  2. Memory Books with FreePrints.comFree Prints is exactly what it sounds like – a website that will print physical copies of all the pictures you’ve been hoarding in your phone or on your computer. Make a photo book of all your favorite pictures with written captions to preserve the memories for a lifetime. A 5×7 photo book with 20 pages is free- just pay the shipping which is less than $10. Free Prints offers one free book a month. If you need more than one book or you don’t have time to wait for it to be shipped to you, Walgreens offers the same type of books that will still run you less than $30 and you can pick them up in stores.
  3. Passes & Subscriptions – Keep your eyes open for deals on gifts that will keep giving past December 25th. If you want to give a pricier gift but don’t want to dish out all the money at one time, look for a fee free way to make monthly payments. I gave an example of this in a past post where I talked about how $1 a day gives you the freedom to go to Disneyland almost any time you want. If you know a foodie, Graze has amazing snack boxes that contain 8 kinds of snacks, are delivered biweekly, and cost $13.99 a box. If you know someone who loves makeup, for $10 a month, Ipsy will send them five items to try from name brands that are trusted around the world.  Again, do your research and see what kind of monthly gifts could work for your recipient and your wallet.
  4. ZeroUV – This is a personal favorite. ZeroUV makes quality sunglasses for the most affordable prices. You can pick up any of their glasses for less than $15 a pair, worldwide shipping is free for orders of $20 of more, and they have hundreds of styles.  All of my and Julianna’s glasses are from ZeroUV, and if you’re looking for an inexpensive gift that looks and feels like it costs way more than it does, I would highly recommend them.

Gifts that cost $50 or less:

  1. Themed Gift Baskets – Use your creativity to put together a personalized gift basket. Load up on snacks and cheap movies to create a Movie Night at Home basket or pick up a mini crock pot from Target or Wal-Mart and fill it with nonperishable ingredients, recipe cards, and cooking utensils. The possibilities are endless.
  2. Swell Bottles – A couple of years ago, I receieved a Swell bottle as a Christmas gift, and I have been in love with the bottles ever since. Swell bottles keep cold drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for 12 hours. They have so many different collections and designs, and this beautiful ombre speckle bottle reminds me of the night sky. The bottles range in size from 9-25oz and in price, with the largest bottles coming in under $50.
  3. If you’re in Southern California, GLO Nail Bar is my favorite place to get a pedicure. While they have a huge menu of amazing services, my favorite is the Bubbly Champagne and Rose pedicure- they literally wash your feet in champagne. This pedicure costs $50 at the Costa Mesa location ($60 for the Newport Beach/Corona Del Mar Location), but you can get an equally refreshing classic pedicure for only $30. All of their services include complimentary beverages (they have wine and champagne!) and candy from their candy bar. If you feel like giving the gift of pampering, Glo Nail Bar won’t disappoint.

Gifts that cost $100 or less:

  1. Interactive Scrapbooks – This gift takes a little bit of planning and time, but the final product is worth it. Grab a blank scrapbook from a craft store and put your creativity to work. I did this one year and used the theme “For when you’re feeling.” Each page featured a gift for a specific mood. For example, one page read “For when you’re feeling mysterious” and contained an envelope with tickets to a murder mystery dinner. Another featured a certificate to learn to fly a plane and was titled “for when you’re feeling adventurous.” Another featured five $1 lottery scratchers with the words “for when you’re feeling lucky.” You can make this gift fit your budget by deciding how many pages you want in your scrapbook and how much you want to spend for each page/activity.
  2. Photo Blankets – Use Shutterfly to customize your very own photo blanket. These blankets come in different sizes, materials, and can fit up to 8 different pictures of your choice (for fleece blankets). Shutterfly also has tons of other photo gifts and almost always has some kind of sale or promotion going on.
  3. Give the Gift of Ancestry – Do you know someone who’s always wondered about the origins of their ancestors? Ancestry.com has at home kits for under $100 that tell you about your ethnicity and potential relatives. Give the gift of connecting the past to the present and the present to the future.
  4. A Clutch that is also a Reminder – Gift a clutch that also serves as an inspiring reminder for your loved one. India Hicks makes a black and gold Flat Stanley Pouch that reads “The Future is So Bright,” ($68) and I am obsessed with it.

If you feeling like splurging…

  1. Encourage an Adventure – The gift of an experiences lasts so much longer than any tangible item. If you’re able to splurge this year, gift a set of plane tickets, book a private tour, or even plan a staycation. Again, utilize internet resources and look online for available experiences. One of my favorite gifted experiences was a helicopter tour around San Francisco, which included flying over and under the Golden Gate Bridge. I purchased the tickets through Viator, and each ticket cost roughly $250. There are plenty of companies that offer once in a lifetime experiences all over the world. This gift can truthfully fit under any of the previous categories, as adventures can range in price starting at free and up.  For the sake of this category, go big.
  2. Invest in their business Do you know an aspiring entrepreneur? Do they need an investor? Do they have a website yet? Is there a seminar they should attend that will propel them forward with their career goals? Websites like WIX, Shopify, and Weebly amongst others offer custom websites and domain names for a yearly price. Websites like National Seminars Training allows you to search for upcoming seminars by state and provides you with topic information, and seminar dates and prices. Give the gift of  an investment in their business and help them grow in an area they will appreciate the most.
  3. If you’re in Southern California – This is a splurge that is currently still on my list, as it is a true splurge. The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Los Angeles hosts a helipad yoga class where groups of up to 10 guests can participate in a 90 minute yoga class, and a 50 minute spa treatment for a total of $3,500. What an unforgettable gift for 10 of your friends (or for 9 of your friends and yourself)!

 

No matter what your budget looks like, there is an amazing gift you can give this holiday season.

Let me know if you’ve decided to gift any of the listed ideas!

Happy Holidays and Happy Gifting, xo.

SisterShares – A Fun and Easy Way to Give

download

With the holiday season in full effect, I wanted to take a minute to SisterShare one of my family’s favorite traditions.

Every year, we come along side Samaritan’s Purse to participate in their Operation Christmas Child. Unfortunately, with the rise of so many dishonest organizations, it can be really difficult to know to which places are safe to give. Samaritan’s Purse is an organization that delivers spiritual and physical aid to those who need it most around the world. They provide necessary resources along with the love and hope of Jesus; their mission is to simply, serve as He did.

Operation Christmas Child is Samaritan’s Purse’s way of delivering tangible goods to children during the holiday season as a representation of God’s love. Shoeboxes are filled with a variety of items and delivered to children in more than 100 countries.

I love this cause. It honestly makes giving so convenient, and it allows me to get my son involved. You can either fill a physical shoebox yourself and drop it off at one of their 5,000 drop off locations across the US, or you can build your shoebox online and they will package it for you. Their website has information on how to do both.

Here is the breakdown of how easy it is to construct your shoebox via their website:

  1. Go to the Samaritan’s Purse website and click Operation Christmas Child.
  2. Select “Build a Shoebox Online,” and then ” Start Building.”
  3. From there, the website will walk you through the steps to completing your box. You will get to choose a gender, age group, and items you would like to include in your box. This is a great way to involve your younger kids/siblings/etc in the giving process, as you can sit down together and allow them to make these choices.
  4. Choose essentials, a wow item, toys, and accessories to include in the box. You also have the option of including a personalized message and a picture.
  5. Each box costs $25.00 with an additional suggested donation of $9 to help with processing, shipping, and additional materials. The $9 is only suggested, not required. However, it does allow you to follow your box and find out which country it went to.

 

If you prefer to fill a box on your own and drop it off, here is a helpful list of suggested items to include. Filling a box yourself allows you to contribute according to your own personal budget and can serve as an encouraging factor towards doing a little sorting through things you may already have at home. I know in the past my son has had several toys that were never even taken out of the package and clothes that he outgrew before he managed to wear them. You would be surprised with how much you can give just solely considering the things already in your possession.

While Samaritan’s Purse does collect shoeboxes year round, National Collection Week begins tomorrow, November 13th, and lasts until November 20th. 

Head over to their website or grab a shoe box out of your closet and fill a child’s heart!

God bless.

SisterShares- StyleCon OC 2017

StyleCon OC 2017

If you aren’t familiar with StyleCon, it’s a convention that brings together fashion, beauty, marketing, and influencers. This convention allows like-minded people to come together to share ideas, network, and get familiar with new brands, trends, and entrepreneurs.

On top of all of the fun booths and displays, StyleCon presents a panel of influencers who give insight into different topics in the style world. The panel focused on the Beauty of Empowerment as this year’s theme and what could be better than that?!

In case you didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s convention, I’m Sister Sharing the scoop on a few of my favorite products and discount codes you can use to try the products out for yourself!

A few of this year's favorites

SKINCARE

AnjaliMD Skincare is a line of serums, masks, and cleansers designed to give you the skin of your dreams. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Anjali Butani, who is the mastermind behind AnjaliMD Skincare. The thing that stuck out about what she said to me was that much like I am looking for the best in all situations, she is looking for the best in all ingredients to bring together for skin care. Not only is she brilliant and invested in her clients, but she has also found a way to harness the power of the Bodhi Tree into products that we can easily add in to our skin regimen. She also has an adult acne line for those who have troubled skin like me.

Use the code: BEAUTY10 on her website for 10% off your next order. 

Double dare OMG! face masks BLEW ME AWAY. The company creates multi-step face masks, with the first step being a bubbling mask that you can put on over your makeup and it will remove your makeup. Mind blown. They have different masks to target different problem areas, and they even have a mask that includes diamonds and pearls in the ingredients. They also have super cute OMG! headbands to hold your hair back while you wash your face. The masks range in price from $6.00 – $8.50 and are convenient, effective, and honestly, just so fun.

Sebamed is a skincare line that strives to balance the pH levels of the skin. They offer a variation of products for all different skin types. I have incredibly sensitive skin, so their line of hypoallergenic products really suit the needs of my skin. They’re currently running a promotion for 10% off of your first order when you sign up for their newsletter. 

 

MAKEUP

While Sigma is known for their brushes, they also have a wide range of cosmetics and are releasing their new Chroma Glow palette that can be used as an eyeshadow, a highlighter, and/or a blush.

Use the code TROYSIGMA for 20% off anything on their website until the 18th of this month.

Beauté Wise has released a double ended eyeliner pen. I love it because it allows you to choose between a thin point or a thick point, it goes on dark without having to apply it multiple times, and it dries instantly.  It also comes off really easily (I used the Sebamed face wash to take it off) and it doesn’t leave behind any of that black residue that can make you look like you have racoon eyes.

Physcians Formula has a bunch of products for your eyes, lips, skin, and face, but I am obsessed with their Butter Blush and their Butter Bronzer. The butter blush, bronzer, and highlighter all smell exactly like coconut and the packaging reminds of me a tropical getaway!

Copy and paste this code to get 50% off of your first order of $50 or more : FRIENDZ0K8LWQGUYYM50 

CLOTHING

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t love BooHoo. Honestly, this code was just too good not to share.

Use code LALA60 to get 60% off everything until the 21st of this month (US residents only).

SNACKS AND DRINKS

Stirrings has been one of my favorite companies since I was introduced to them last year at StyleCon. They have created mixers that make cocktails a breeze. They have 12 different flavors, with my favorites being the peach bellini and the lemon drop martini. The mixers themselves do not contain alcohol, which makes them perfect for fun and festive virgin drinks as well. This year they featured their pomegranate martini mixer with sparkling water in place of vodka and it was so refreshing! They also make matching rimmers and syrups for all of your cocktailing needs.

It can be hard to find a protein bar that actually tastes good, but FitJoy makes GMO and gluten free protein bars that you’ll actually enjoy eating. Their bars pack 20 grams of protein each and come in flavors like lemon square and chocolate iced brownie.

Use the promo code FITJOY15 to get 15% off of any order. 

Bouquet Bar offers trendy gift boxes filled with things like snacks and beautiful flowers. Honestly, the orange boxes are alluring all on their own.

Use promo code STYLECON15 to get 15% off your next order.

 

Let me know how you like any of the products you end up trying! None of the codes listed above are directly linked to me, just had to Sister Share them with you.