Author Archives: admin

Teacher Gift Ideas Under $30.00

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 3.21.38 PMHow is it possible that another school year has passed? I can’t believe it! In case you are looking for some great teacher gift ideas too, here are a few suggestions all under $30.00.

iPhone Case $26.00

Spiral Note Pad (New!) $26.00

Personalized Coffee Mugs $18.00

Small Acrylic Note Pad $26.00

Caitlyn Jenner

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Well, you know I had to purchase this book given my love of a good memoir. Say what you will about Caitlyn and the Jenner/Kardashians (depending on what is is, I might agree) but here is one thing I know for sure. Caitlyn has opened up a conversation about the transgender community and her transition has provided an opportunity for people to gain a better understanding which I think should be applauded. Understanding provides an opportunity for acceptance. I hope she has found happiness and I applaud her bravery in sharing her story.

Sephora Finds

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 1.58.43 PMPlease, please, please tell me I am not the only one who can spend hours in Sephora. Even if that isn’t true, lie to me. I need to know I am not alone.

Over the weekend, I somehow qualified for some higher level of membership and I don’t know the qualification requirements but I do know it can’t be a good thing. I am fearful that it is a result of spending some ridiculous dollar amount since I became a member. I imagine that a drug habit would be cheaper than a Sephora habit!

Anyway, here is what I just found and loved. If you are not a Sephora addict like I am then let me share that you can ask for samples of any products. It’s a great way to try before you buy.

Ouai Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner. OMG this left my hair crazy straight, smooth, soft and shiny.

Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Gel Lipstick. I purchased the color “Hey, Stranger” because I don’t have any pink-brown lipsticks.

Replica Beach Walk. If  their goal was to bottle up the sweet smell of a day at the beach, then “bravo” mission accomplished.


Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Here are a few great ideas for your favorite mom!

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New spiral notebooks.

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Large journals.

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iPhone cases, 5 and  iPhone case 6.

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Small Round Personalized Stickers



Personalized Mugs

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Single image Mugs

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Love the idea of personalized nail polish tags for your friends!


The Weekend in Review

One of my favorite new quotes is the following…

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And so because a rainy chilly weekend was not part of my plan… I reluctantly improvised. Here are a few things I read, watch, purchased and enjoyed you might be interested in too.

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How to Murder Your Life. Memoir + Magazine Editor = Super Love. I cannot put this book down!

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I had a a terrible time choosing between my book and this amazing Netflix show, The Fall. OMG!

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I attended two of my favorite 10 year old’s basketball games. (One plus for Basketball over Hockey is the environment is warm!). I am very pleased to see that my $1,500 investment in the hoop plus installation is paying off.  Not to mention, my own personal time spent outside playing with Jackson. Jackson brings an incredible about of energy and enthusiasm to the court. It is contagious and a quick “mommy moment”, when he scores and breaks out that million dollar smile we are both beaming with pride.

Side Note: The $1,500.00 doesn’t include the amount it is going to cost me to fix the dent in my bumper from backing into the new basketball pole. If anyone was making bets – it was 3 days, 3 days until I backed right into it!  Good times.

For fun, here is a recent conversation between Jackson and me while leaving the doctor’s office. (Jackson hurt his toe and it is always a catch-22 with something like this… If you go to the doctor, it is fine. If you don’t it is broken.

Jackson: “I am playing point guard in my basketball games this weekend.”

Me: “Teriffic!” ( let the record reflect that I said this with a ton of enthusiasm)

long pause

Jackson: “For some reason, I feel like you don’t really know what that means.”

Me: “What?” (acting highly offended)

I did get called out for clapping for the other team a few times. I told Jackson that I think sometimes it is important to clap when the kids do well, regardless of the team. A good shot is a good shot.

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I gained one GIANT point in “me vs my closet”.  It was not a question of “sparking joy” but “Have you worn it recently/ever?” and “Do you plan to wear it again?”.  I have also been weeding out items that have been replaced with an upgraded version too. I am not sure how long it takes most people to de-clutter but as you can tell it has taken me awhile. I am happy with my pace and progress.  Maybe there should be a working girl, mom, entrepreneur version of the book where it gives you twelve months to complete the program. Anyway,  I can share with  you two interesting things.

  1. I don’t miss a single thing I have thrown away, given away or sold. Not one.
  2. When I was looking for my 4th grade photo the other day. I went to the basement and was shocked by the fact that there were only a few photo bins. And when I looked thru the pics to get that one masterpiece, I noticed that all the pics I flipped thru were “keepers”.

Any chance you got the new NM Beauty Catalog? I did and fell in love with this perfume…

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Prive Pivoine Suzhou

“A peony accord that is lightly opulent and ultra-feminine, its addiction intensified with Centifolia Rose Absolute and rose essence.”

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Prive Eau de Jade Eau De Parfum

And this one which is actually my favorite!

“Giorgio Armani’s Eau de Jade magnificently refines Eau de Cologne by Giorgio Armani with an infusion of the world’s finest bergamot: the Calabrian Bergamot, fresh and subtle. A masterpiece in lightness, this fragrance reflects the radiance of Mediterranean mornings.”

I could not decide between the two perfumes above. Can you guess which one I got? Yes, you know me so well. Both. Life is too short to have to make such a big decision over the weekend!

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Prive Rose Alexandrie Eau De Toilette

If you like perfume with a Rose undertone, this is to die for. I loved this one too…

And, I totally set myself up for failure in trying this dress on knowing that I would love it and have to have it. It needs to be hemmed but I swear if it didn’t need an alteration, I would have worn it home. I loved it that much! I am not even going to lie and say I needed it. I am going to say I wanted it and every birthday girl needs a party dress. Am I right?


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Vince Dress

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I know I don’t need to justify my purchase, but I have always loved a nice new dress for my birthday.  I am providing evidence from 40 years ago. Just in case.

Side Note: I loved that dress I am wearing. Shocking it is White, right? Oh, and look closely at the pink satin ribbon that tied around the waist. Fabulous!  And I just noticed my cake is on a Silver platter! I cannot stop laughing. Priceless.

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If you are local, Hampton Paper will be featured this coming weekend at Chick’s Picks by Hillary. I worked on packaging some of our best-selling products including our gift wrap, gift tags, framed prints and our new spiral notebooks. The Show is April 27-30 at Vanish in Leesburg, VA. More info here.

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And finally, every rainy weekend needs some beautiful flowers, even if you have to buy them for yourself! I love, love, love the smell of Lilacs.



The Devil Wears Prada

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 5.16.16 PMThe Devil Wears Prada is one of my favorite movies. What makes it even better is that I have watched it probably 100 times with my son, Thomas. I can’t even begin to quantify the milage and laughs we have gotten from so many lines like the following…

“By all means move at a glacial pace, you know how that thrills me!”

” I am just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.”

“I rarely say this to people who are not me but you have got to calm down!”

“Why is nobody ready?”

We incorporate the lines into our daily lives like at the Caps play off game on Saturday I handed Thomas my clutch to hold for a second and said, “Yeah, it’s the Chanel.”

I realize everyone may not get our humor and banter but like I said, we think it is hilarious and per a previous blog on motherhood, these are my favorite moments, the ones that are just little inside jokes between us.

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The belt scene above, you tube video here, is my favorite.  So, when I was packing for our trip to Kiawah, I noticed  these two Calypso shirts in my closet and I started cracking up. I ran into Thomas’ room and said, “Which should I bring? They are so different.”  Truth be told, I am still laughing…

Picture Day!

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 9.40.05 AMOn Sunday, I had the opportunity to chat with my neighbor who happens to be my favorite ten-year-old girl. I am always delighted to chat with another fashionista and what could be more important that a serious conversation about what to wear for picture day?

My neighbor is in fourth grade and shared details about the dress she was planning on wearing and without skipping I beat, I shared what I wore for my 4th grade picture.

A few things to note about this photo:

  1. I thought I looked AMAZING.
  2. I loved that dress. I can’t remember exactly what brand it was (maybe you recall) but I loved it.
  3. The Today Show did a segment in the fall on fashion and recommended adding a turtle neck to a summer dress in an effort to convert it to a winter look. I wanted to share this months ago as I think it is important to acknowledge that I created this look 35 years ago.
  4. Note, even at ten, I loved a white shirt.
  5. There are Purple flowers on the dress. Can you believe there was a time that I loved Purple?
  6. Typically, the two image photo was an option and I always opted out bc I think it is hideous but for some reason, this year it was the only option.
  7. Note the details on the dress. The satin piping and the pearl buttons. Oh my!
  8. My hair was cut at an angle and I took great pride and time every morning to achieve that look with a curling iron.

And, how about you? Can you easily remember what you wore for your 4th grade school picture?

P.S. My sister totally made fun of me for this “look” and when I had an outfit like this one that I loved, I wrote it weekly, usually on the same day each week. She teased me about that too. Please keep this in mind as I am going to write another blog soon that may mention a few things that I did growing up that were, well, not so nice.


Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 2.01.14 PMYou know I love a good memoir and let me be the first to tell you, Hourglass by Dani Shapiro doesn’t disappoint! I find myself forever curious about someone else’s journey and I love when I read something that makes me understand myself better. I find another perspective offers comfort when it is something I can relate to, and even when it is not directly applicable to me, I find it increases my ability to be more compassionate.

I don’t want to share too much in case you plan to read this book but I will mentioned that there are so many thought provoking ideas for consideration and  a few beautifully written sentences that I read over and over because they deserved that level of attention. (You know the kind that stay with you long after you finish the book.)

This was one of my favorite passages:

“How do you suppose time works? A slippery succession of long hours adding up to ever-shorter days and years that disappear like falling dominoes? Near the end of her life, Grace Paley once remarked that the decades between fifty and eighty feel not like minutes, but seconds.”

I also loved her introduction of several thought provoking quotes and poems including,”Could Have” by Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska. She  said she typically gives the poem to her students and asks them to write about what could have happened.

It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.

You were in luck — there was a forest.
You were in luck — there were no trees.
You were in luck — a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant . . .

So you’re here? Still dizzy from
another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn’t be more shocked or
how your heart pounds inside me.


Thought provoking, right?


Beach Reads: Thrillers

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 12.11.14 PMWhile I love a luxurious vacation as much as the next girl, I am also just as happy sitting in my backyard by the pool reading a good book from sun up to sun down.  Although I do miss the drink service and occasionally feel sorry for myself that I have to walk all the way back to my house to get a glass of water!

If you are a fan of thrillers like Gone Girl  then add these three page turners to your summer reading list. They should come with a warning label though, like don’t start reading unless you have the entire day to read the book cover to cover.  All are available on Amazon.


P.S. If you are someone like me who likes to read the book prior to seeing the movie, The Girl Before is scheduled to be a movie directed by Ron Howard.


The Sanctuary Hotel, Kiawah

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I am sitting at the adult pool looking out on the ocean. A beautiful day and it feels like the entire resort was reserved just for me!

I have just realized that Elouise is to The Plaza as Kristin is to The Sanctuary Hotel. Yes, I am planning to live at the Sanctuary Hotel. If you have been to this hotel, you understand my desire to reside here full time. If you haven’t been, add this to you must visit hotels.

The photos I took as well as the ones on their web site don’t do this place justice as they cannot properly capture the elegance and tranquility.

I am going to keep this blog short because I have a lot on my “to do” list today.




So, what makes it amazing? Here are a few details that are not lost on me. They are signs of a good hotel.

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  • Arriving and being warmly greeted by the valet
  • No line to check in
  • Being address by name at all times
  • Fresh Flowers in the lobby ( My mom always said fresh flowers in the lobby are a sign of a good hotel. Truer words were never spoken.)
  • Spacious large rooms with a balcony and view of the ocean
  • Spacious and large bathrooms (large shower)
  • When you ask for directions someone personally escorts you to the location
  • When you order wine or champagne (by the glass) they bring the bottle to the table and pour you a sip first to make sure you like it
  • Cleanliness
  • No line for the elevator
  • A feeling that there are other guests at the hotel but it doesn’t feel crowded
  • Tons of empty lounge chairs at the pool (so you don’t feel like you have to reserve on in advance for the day or feel panicked or stressed there won’t be anywhere to sit)
  • Plush towels and lots of them

This hotel in particular has a beautiful lobby decorated in my favorite colors, sage green and yellow. It is spacious and bright. Everything is near by so it is a short walk from the room to the pool to the ocean to the spa. To me, a nice hotel is when you feel like the staff is always one step ahead of you and your every need is anticipated.

The Spa

  • Enormous and not crowded
  • A menu of services that provides and opportunity to try something new
  • Private changing areas
  • Beautiful waiting areas
  • Excellent magazine selection
  • Clean
  • Plush towels
  • Plush robes and shoes that fit
  • Filled with everything you need but there is still a sign that says “If you need anything please contact the front desk.”


Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 7.43.13 AMI am glad I waited to get a swim suit (or four) as the boutique here had a great selection and it is much better to shop for a suit when you are not in a rush. I also love when there is someone assisting you to provide a second opinion. The Tory Burch and Milly suits are timeless and classic and the Helen Jon is fresh and fun.


Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 7.30.22 AMHere is what is important to a 10 year old:

Chess, golf, waterslides, ocean, bikes, basketball, paintball, chess, wifi to watch Dude Perfect, pools, chess (are you getting the point that I am raising the next Bobby Fisher?)

Here is what is important to a 13 year old :

wifi in which no password is required and a there is no device limit per room

I am having a great time and as per usual, I think I am being super funny but I am not sure if others agree…

Here is a typical text exchange between Thomas and me

Thomas: Where are you?

Me: At the adult pool

Thomas: I couldn’t find you

Me: Because I am so skinny

Thomas: Oh stop!

Here is a text exchange between my friend Beth and me

Beth: Hi Kristin! Are you watching the boys play three on three basketball or are you at the Sanctuary Bar?

Me: Is that a trick question?

Beth: No

Me: I’ll meet you at the bar