Unlike last year, I decided to do my gift shopping early this year. In fact, I’m already done! Wow, I didn’t think I’d ever say that this early in the season, but man it feels great! My main goal was to be able to enjoy the fun of the holiday season without any stress or hassle. To that end, I set out to get all my gifts purchased before the end of Thanksgiving weekend so that I could go into December with less time dedicated to shopping and more time set aside for gatherings with friends and family.

My secret to getting all my shopping done early? Simple. Gift the things you love.

Amazon Echo Dot (Currently on sale on Amazon for $29.99) 

I love easy-to-use electronics that make my life simple. The Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, and send and receive messages. Alexa doubles as my personal Google,  providing  information and reading the news. You can even use it to read books aloud; how cool is that?! The unit is about the diameter of a coaster and tucks away easily behind picture frames, which is where I hide mine. The perfect addition to anyone’s home or office.

Other great gadgets & gizmos I recommend (and have purchased and will be gifting):

  • AncestryDNA – Genetic Testing Kit ($69.00 on Amazon) – bought 3 of these to gift this holiday!
  • Membership to Hulu (given via gift card purchased at a big box store like Target or Walmart)
  • Scratch-Off Travel Map – ($32) to keep track of where you’ve been. This one is super cool…you scratch off the areas you’ve been to, revealing different colors all over the world.
Beauty Gift Sets | Sephora & M.A.C. (all under $30/each)
One for you, one for me! I kept one for me! Loving this color from MAC mini set called “Boca”

Clearly, I love makeup. In fact, I firmly believe lipstick saved my life…you can read more about that here. Makeup and beauty products are a great way to explore and express yourself, and they’re fun to play with! I’m always researching and testing out new products I think are worth buying to be able to share my thoughts with all of you. So, for the holidays, I tend to lean towards gifting products I’m currently using myself. It’s the old ‘one for you, one for me’ shopping technique that gets me into trouble though.

Makeup and beauty gift sets are a sure bet for the gals in your life. I buy lipstick for everyone for every holiday. My task was made easy by Sephora and MAC who launched a huge variety of gift sets, including a 4 pack of full-sized lipsticks for just $29.00! Yes, if you’re a friend of mine, please pretend to be surprised when you open that one!

Other gifts I love giving (and receiving!) are:

  • Clinique Skin Care Package ($66 right now at Macys.com)
  • PLAY by Sephora ($10/month) A monthly beauty subscription box that is delivered right to your door. I used to subscribe a few different ones and I just signed up for this one! I can tell you from experience, getting a gift delivered to your door everyone month is exciting. The recipient will love you!
  • Succulent Garden (starting at $25) This is such a beautiful gift! Choose from a medium sized individually gotten succulent to a Deluxe or Premium garden. The succulents you choose come in an elegant planter box.
Lulu’s Garden – Succulent garden pictured is $55
Burke Williams 3-Day Spa Pass & Skin Care Products

Something I can’t stop talking about or obsessing over recently is self-care. This includes working out, taking a walk, reading, eating a well-balance meal in peace, or enjoying a cup of coffee without the constant intrusion of media, noise, and interruption. Whatever you enjoy doing that brings you some calm, you need to make time to actually do. For me, it’s the simple day to day things that help me feel good about myself like taking care of my body and my skin. I take Zumba classes once or twice a week and walk to the beach on the weekends.

Recently, I invested in a skin care routine, which has made so much difference in how I feel about my complexion. About three times a week I take maybe 15 minutes at the end of the day to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisture my face. I have a handful of products I’m currently using in rotation that focus on clearing dead skin and adding loads of moisture.  My little “at home facial” has been giving me real results. My skin looks and feels noticeably youthful which makes putting on makeup an easier task as I now use less product.

One of my favorite gifts to give is the spa experience. Just ask my mom – she gets a spa day from me at least twice a year, and I might be her favorite child for it! I recently had the joy of receiving a Spa Style Facial at Burke Williams, Mission Viejo. This 50-minute facial included extraction, cleansing, and moisturizing using professional techniques and products from the Burke Williams skin care line. And, guys can I just say – wow. I saw the results immediately – I mean, immediately.

Excited and ready for my Spa Facial at Burke Williams Spa, Mission Viejo

For the holidays, you can give the gift of a spa experience to someone on your list with a Burke Williams holiday gift card package starting at just $150. But, wait! With the purchase of ANY gift card package, you will receive a bonus gift card back (starting at a value of $50 and up, depending on the package you purchase), AS WELL AS a 3-Day Spa Pass. The pass includes three complimentary visits to a Burke Williams Spa near you, use of the spa and amenities, and 20% all services; a value of $225. DOES IT GET ANY BETTER? I think not. To learn more about treatments and gift card packages, visit BurkeWilliamsSpa.com.


I hope this article gave you some good ideas for gift giving. This holiday season, take time to relax and enjoy the people you love, that’s what you’ll remember the most. And, if all else fails, donate money to worthy cause in the names of people who have plenty to be thankful for. Some of my favorites are Orange County based non-profits listed below:

Laura’s House

Second harvest Food Bank of OC

Children’s Bureau

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