I thought long and hard whether or not to write about our 2017 family motto:
This is a family, and family means that no one gets to do what they want to do.
It would be therapeutic for me to unpack all that statement has meant. But it would be a downer. Instead, I am going to try to come from a positive place, and share a few of our best go-to items of the year. These are not #ads. I have no idea if I am even legally allowed to publish any of this…nevertheless these are the gift ideas I feel like sharing.
Georgia will kick off the list with Sky Organics Shea butter. This poor baby suffers from significant eczema all over her body…such a bummer that she did not inherit her dad’s Asian skin, which feels identical to the surface of a dolphin.** Since she isn’t endowed with the Flipper-skin that he has, I have to use this cream which really does help her flare-ups. It’s all-natural and isn’t greasy the like many of the physician prescribed ointments. I have recently discovered that it’s hand cream, under eye cream, and also happens to make great furniture polish. I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume it’s edible too, so stay tuned for a recipe entitled “Georgia’s Shea Butter Veggie Dip.”
Next, Olivia presents Kinetic Sand. Coming from Hawaii, I had a very hard time making the transition to purchasing sand… but I had to face the facts. Our endless summer days are over now, and this tactile messy-play little lady can sit with this stuff for hours. To be sure, four out of my five kids play with this really well. Yes it gets everywhere, but it is kinda like playdoh in that it adheres to itself, you can dab clumps of it together so most of it gets back in the box. I vacuum every day anyway. I recommend the natural colored sand, as the dyed sand does leave color residue on things. I purchased a shallow container and a few sand tools to keep her occupied.
Okay. I hope what I am about to say is not offensive to anyone reading. A huge trend has been developing in the US over the past years: adult coloring. I have seen invitations for wine and coloring, and most recently my local library offered adult coloring time in the evenings.
So, *uh* there was a need to establish a gathering place for adults wanting to color? Oh my word, I go to Target, and just stare at the adult coloring book collection completely incredulous. What adult has the ability to enjoy themselves by coloring? Is it just me? If you are an adult who has time to color, then I am living my life all wrong. And you could make money teaching classes on time management skills. Oh. Then you would not have time to color.
Was that a digression?
Anyway, an adult coloring with a child is a super way to chill out with them, and so Adair is going to represent our family for the best colored pencils ever (Prismacolor). They are pricier, but Amazon offers great deals on them from time to time. They color so smoothly and most importantly, the “leads” do not shatter inside of the pencil. When you sharpen these pencils, you get perfection every time. Crayolas are dead to me.
Best gift of the year for Margaret was a last-minute decision on my part, which turned out to be a huge hit: a pair of white chucks and a package of colored sharpies. Yes, I let her write on her shoes. That’s me trying to let go in some areas. Also it’s a silent tactic/attempt to divert from all the incessant teenage angst pre-tattoos on her hands/wrists/forearms. She’s gone crazy tatting up the shoes, having her friends sign them, and she wears them constantly.
Everyday, Liam rocks my favorite thing for him this year, which are his classic Adidas Sambas. These shoes have been a god-send to me as a mom of five living a house with no closets. Basically, I think I am going to get away with only having to buy him one pair of shoes (besides his robo-oafs for school. Google “boys school shoes England“. Ugh. Yes, they all wear these). One single pair of sambas take him to every event of his life from the skate park, to PE, to cross-country club, and straight into the pew at church. Don’t need multiple pairs of shoes for a simple guy, and these puppies hold up. Worth the money.
Nickel and Suede Leather Earrings. I am completely obsessed with these. GAGA. I was hesitant to buy for years because of the cost, but when she came out with camo, I could not hold back any longer. These featherweight earrings are genius, so stylish, and makes wearing this size jewelry actually practical. They are so worth the money and make me feel amazing. Plus it’s a nice way to support small business–I won’t tell her whole story but let’s just say Kilee is my ICON for style and entrepreneurship while mothering five kiddos. It’s been so fun watching her progress over the past 5 years or so! Beware of knock-offs. This product is perfection. She also told me to buy these chokers, so I did. I just wish I had managed to meet her in person when we were living in the KC area.
If I am being honest, my husband’s favorite thing of 2017 is hands-down the 1987 Land Rover (Defender) 90 that he purchased three seconds after we got off the airplane in the UK. One of these puppies can not be easily acquired in the USA and so I am going to have to link to you the runner-up: Lululemon ABC Pants.
Eric has been rocking what I call “ball pants” for years… what he calls a “gusseted crotch.” (Prana and Outdoor Research also happen to make awesome products with the family jewels in mind. )The ABC pants go from trail to city to any nighttime social event without missing a beat. He has even used them as running pants. He owns several pairs–they are an investment but he wears them constantly.
While we are on the subject of Lulu, let me mention their pants in the British sense of the word: the Namastay Put undies. Yes these are also pricey– but they hold their shape and do the job of killing the VPL. I can barely walk past a Lulu without grabbing yet another pair. Get these, now.
Beauty faves I love putting on every day: When it comes to living primal/paleo, beauty products are truly where I go off the rails. I just love finding stuff that works amazingly. I’m showing my true colors here, because if a product makes me *feel* more beautiful, I will not be able to stop spraying it, applying it, dabbing it or rubbing it in. I will call it prioritizing looks over my health.
In fact, you should know that my favorite song of 2015 happened to be Amy Schumer’s Girl You Don’t Need Makeup. It’s disturbing how much I love that song.
LIPS: L’oreal Infallible Pro-Last Lip. This is my ten-dollar answer to the LipSense products that were everywhere in the US before I left. I put this on in the morning, drink coffee, go to the gym, eat a burger, make out with my husband, wash my face, brush my teeth, and it’s still on the NEXT morning. I am pretty sure it’s nail polish. But this stuff is awesome. My first-love product in this same category is Chanel Rouge Double Ultra Wear. I have been wearing the Chanel since about 2008 but it’s starting to get hard to justify spending the money, so I converted to L’oreal.
LASHES: L’oreal has another big winner for me with their new Lash Paradise mascara. Now, a loved one once told me that my eyes look like venus fly-traps…so I may not be the right candidate to push mascara products. However, this is another drugstore conversion for me. I am a former Lancome cils booster+definicils user, and I no longer need those products. Thanks, L’oreal. My venus traps can live on.
EYEBAGS: Garnier Clearly Brighter Anti-Dark Circle Eye roller. This is the concealer I have been wanting since I was 19 but I had to wait until I was 37 for it to be invented. Two words: not cakey. Hides reality with amazing precision. Find it in the skin care section, not the cosmetics.
HAIR: Style Sexy Hair H2NO dry shampoo. I use it every day, and on my pre-teen whose hair looks, well, like it needs to be washed. No white residue and you really can go a third day without washing if you need to. Smells great, and actually makes your hair feel clean. It is at a price point slightly lower than salon professional brands, but slightly higher than what you would expect to pay. The extra cost is worth it, I have tried all the dry shampoos and this is the best I’ve used.
That’s all folks. Top seven gift ideas for the family, plus some no-fail cosmetic suggestions that have made me feel human all over again every morning. Thanks for stopping by!
**I stole that joke from Ali Wong.