go-to girlfriend gifts to always keep on hand

The best go-to gifts for your girlfriends

Whether it’s baby showers, bachelorette parties, birthdays, or teacher appreciation days – I am often looking to grab gifts for the grown-up women in my life. My requirements for girlfriend gifts are affordability (I’m often in the $20 and under range) and that they’d be loved and used.

In honor of a week around here filled with gift giving, I thought it would be fun to share my favorite go-to girlfriend gifts.

Pretty wrapped gifts

6 go-to gifts for grown up girls

These are gifts I often keep on hand to bless my favorite girlfriends. They’re gifts I run to purchase time and time again.

1) Pre-paid sitter. This is a favorite gift to give for baby showers, birthdays and Christmas. The trick is to know a sitter that your friend trusts and pay her for as much sitting time as you can afford. Hand the present off with a gift card to her favorite coffee shop, or favorite shoe store and she will love you forever!

2) Trendy and pretty nail polish is always a favorite gift to give for bachelorette parties, and birthdays. It’s a smaller gift but can leave a big impact for weeks to come. I love gifting it along with a nice bottle of wine and Amazon gift card for a “me time” movie night in.

3) Pretty gloves are a luxury all my friends love, but never seem to buy for themselves. They don’t have to be expensive to take the cake, Target and other stores have a great selection this time of year. You can always bring this gift up a notch and treat mom to a delicate pair of leather gloves she will love to use every fall… Forever.

4) Expensive cheeses are perfect gifts for friends who love to host (and to bring along as hostess gifts). Check out your neighborhood farmers market or local cheese shop for a selection of fun cheeses, then stop by a thrift store for a great selection of awesome cheese knives. Gift the cheeses with a knife and help your friends be ready for hosting all season long.

5) Bangles – you can never go wrong with bangles! Every gal I know loves a bright bangle, and I have found them easy to stock up on at trendy stores like Forever 21 or J.Crew. Fill a box with a colorful selection to brighten up a friend’s special day. These also work great for cozying up to that teacher you really want to bless.

6) A wallet is one of my favorite birthday gifts to give. Much like the gloves, a wallet doesn’t need to be expensive – just pretty and fun. I love filling them with a couple gift cards for a dear friend’s birthday. A clutch or coin purse works just as well, and creates a thoughtful gift that will be used time and time again.

Wrapping gifts for the girls

Anyway you gift them, these simple presents will take you through all of fall’s festivities and can be snatched up ahead of time to get you prepared for the holidays – which are coming so quick! Head out this week and stock up on your favorites, then enjoy earning the reputation of that friend that always gives the best presents. Happy gifting!

PS. A gallery of my favorite gift ideas.

Posted September 09, 2014 1 Comment
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why don’t we – bake triple berry swirl bread

Triple Berry Swirl Bread

Something about the morning’s recent chill is beckoning me towards baking. The garden berries are ripe and we have family coming in town this weekend – it’s the perfect chance to bake this gorgeous triple berry swirl bread.

The bread looks like one of those breakfasts you’d have to get up at 4am to start, but the recipe is actually super simple – see it right here. Doesn’t the idea of a comfy sweater, lingering breakfast, and sweet bread just sound perfect for this weekend?

While I gather the berries, here are a couple other baking recipes I want to try out soon:

Blueberry waffle cookies

Salted chocolate tart with kettle chip crust

5 bread recipes for fall

Red velvet beet cake

Creme brulee is my favorite – this version with lavender sounds amazing

Almond joy granola

Raisin whiskey buns

Red velvet funnel cakes

Still hungry? Try a treat from our recipe gallery, and hundreds more on the Sweets & Treats, or Food for Feasts Pinterest boards.

Have a cozy weekend.

(Photography by Athena Plichta)

Posted September 05, 2014 2 Comments
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sponge stamped wrapping paper

Sponge stamped wrapping paper

I found a few sponges lying around the house not getting any use (because you know how much I LOVE to clean) and I decided they could be living a much more glamorous life being used to apply pretty paint to paper.

With this fun sponge painting technique we can create wrapping paper, artwork, cards, awesome fabric… really anything! Wrapping paper is a fun and festive way to start playing around with the stamping process. It’s perfect for distracting yourself from that other pesky thing the sponge might otherwise be used for.

Stamp wrapping paper with a kitchen sponge.

Sponge stamped wrapping paper

Stamp wrapping paper with a kitchen sponge and cookie cutters!

To make the sponge painted wrapping paper you will need; sponges, cookie cutters, paper and paint.

Begin by fitting the cookie cutter to the sponge, cut as needed. Then simply dip the sponge with the cookie cutter into your choice of paint, blot if needed, and stamp away creating a new, personalized paper design.

To create the color contrast that we used, choose one base color plus an accent. The sponge is easy to clean, just let it dry before beginning to stamp the second color. Or use two sponges for an even quicker process.

Since the sponge is porous, it leaves an abstract print so this project is not good for those of you who need straight laced lines. But as an artistic print – I can’t get enough of it! Parrots, cows and Scotties is where we began – search your local thrift store, or Etsy for creative cookie cutters and make a batch of these personalized beauties for any party, or gift giving whim.

Sponge stamped wrapping

Sponge stamped wrapping

Just be careful, the stamping gets addictive. Soon you might be buying presents just for the fun of wrapping them!

PS. You could always stamp your wrapping paper with vegetables, that’s fun too.

(Photography by Jocelyn Noel for A Subtle Revelry).

Posted September 04, 2014 2 Comments
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gold foil and dust cake accents

Gold foil cake accents

When it comes to cake decorating the only thing I like more than fancy is easy. When we combine fancy with easy – then I am really happy. Edible gold leaf is super duper fancy (think anniversaries and golden birthdays). It’s also crazy easy, allowing you to look fabulous without the all the work. From start to finish, decorating this cake only takes about 15 minutes.

Gold foil cake accents

To use the gold foil accents, start with an already iced cake. Chill the cake to set the icing – this allows the gold leaf to adhere well.

Gold leaf sticks to everything and anything except for bamboo, so be sure to use wood (not plastic) toothpicks when working with the leafing. Try not to touch the gold leaf. Instead hold the wafer like tissue paper it is attached to and use the toothpick to gently remove the flecks. Apply along the the edging of the cake for a gorgeously fancy gilded effect.  

Posted September 03, 2014 6 Comments
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crepe paper wreaths

Crepe paper wreaths

I am so excited to welcome in a new fall season with you today! Fall is one of my favorite times of year. Everything from the schedules, to the pumpkins, I just about die of inspiration every fall. One thing I don’t love is the loads of neutrals this season can often get drenched in. That’s why I’m excited to continue our annual tradition of keeping fall bright and festive this year.

Starting with these colorful crepe paper twist wreaths.

Crepe paper is a cinch to work with, and these wreaths will bring just the right amount of bright pizzazz to your decorating this fall. Make one for the door. Make a bunch to gussy up a mantel. Coordinate the colors for a quick party wall. You can even make a stash to hand out for cheering on the team this weekend.

Hooray for fall!

Crepe paper wreaths

Crepe paper wreaths

Crepe paper wreaths

Crepe paper wreaths

To make the crepe paper wreaths you’ll need; crepe paper, scissor and a length of jewelry wire. We used 24 gauge wire, but any thickness that will hold your wreath form will work. A good rule of thumb – the bigger the wreath, the thicker the wire.

How to make a crepe paper wreath

Cut the crepe paper into ovals. Make the ovals about 3 inches for the small wreaths, 5 inches for the large ones.

Fold the ovals in half and gently twist around the wire. Continue cutting, folding and twisting until the wreath is fully formed.

Crepe paper wreaths

A festive way to adorn the walls and welcome in a new season of crafty, revelrious bliss!

PS. More bright fall ideas right here.

Posted September 02, 2014 1 Comment
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why don’t we make a #HappiMess

A glitter mess is a happy mess!

Making a mess has gotten a bad rap lately. In our world of perfectly set-out shoots and artfully clean homes – sometimes we begin to feel like making a mess is… the worst thing ever! But, I like to think of it as living. There is no way to live a festive and full life (especially with kids in tow) without making a little mess most days. Whether its confetti stuck in my carpet or flour drenched in the tile grout – messy living is what we do.

Happy and messy is the house I want my kids to remember as home.


Not all messes are bad and some messes (confetti included) are down right beautiful. I am really excited to join up with Delta for their HappiMess campiagn this fall. I will be sharing little glimpses at the #HappiMess we make at home.

Many of you know from this post, that my office and home are one big happy place. I cannot tell you how many times we’ve invited friends over for dinner with confetti still strewn about, and balloons floating above. My work mess and my life mess are seamless in many ways. Lately, I’ve been embracing this mess and realizing how much our guests actually love it. Plus, they really love the leftover cakes we have always seem to have around.

Join with me in this challenge to embrace our messes. Live festivly, and trade in pristine for fun this fall! Why don’t we laugh a bit more and clean a little less? Why don’t we make a #HappiMess? You can share your #HappiMess with Delta for a chance to win a $2400 Delta kitchen and bath prize package!


Why do people treat mess like it’s a bad thing? It’s actually the evidence of a life well lived. When you’re out there making, creating, doing and playing, embrace your #HappiMess and let Delta kitchen and bath innovations help clean up so you can do it all again tomorrow.

Compensation for this series is being provided by Delta. The opinions shared are mine and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Delta.

Posted August 28, 2014 4 Comments
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