Birthday Gift Ideas for the Entire Year

Reading time: 2 minutes 22 seconds


One of the topics that we used in this week's speaking assessment was gifts, and one of the prompts was "the idea that humans are selfish and only give gifts to receive some in return." I watched as my student, one of the sweetest girls in her grade, experienced the complete and utter realization that she may indeed be a bitch. I knew this because I experienced it at the same time. πŸ˜‚

I have always loved giving gifts to the people I care about because it is how I show them that they matter to me, so I always love giving gifts based on my observations of their daily routines, which, trust me, is not as creepy as it sounds. I have a friend who is constantly cold, and she loves Lord of the Rings. She even made a Tree of Gondor hoodie for herself, so for her birthday one year, I gave her a Tree of Gondor blanket to match her hoodie.

The point is that I think my student and I both do this, but we suddenly realized that we may only be doing it because we want it reciprocated, so take note, Men Who Are Lining Up Around the Block Just to Date Me.

Regardless of your reasons for gifting, be it birthdays or random occasions like Spaghetti Day (which is today, btw), here are some ideas.


Something For Their Home

If your recipient has recently moved, getting them something for their new home would be great. Just make sure it's something unobtrusive and out-of-the-way. Unpacking their own shit is stressful enough without more stuff to have to put away, so think small like wine glasses (because you can never have too many wine glasses) or one of those maps where you can scratch off countries you've visited.

Something For Their Hobbies

If your recipient has an obvious hobby that they either talk a lot about or have shared with more people than just you, a gift that they can use for that hobby is another option. Why I added that disclaimer about it being an obvious hobby is because you don't want to accidentally oust someone's secret hobby, like getting your niece luxury smoking accessories because you want to be the cool aunt, but then she gets in trouble, and you get called an enabler. πŸ‘€ Some safer bets are those collapsible water bottles for hiking enthusiasts or a sports fanny pack (or whatever they're called) for people who go running on a daily basis.

Something That Creates Memories

If your recipient is going through a Marie Kondo phase, and you don't want to give them more worldly possessions that don't spark joy, give them the gift of experience. Take them to a wine tasting or to a cozy afternoon tea, or go all-out and take them racing on a professional course or take them skydiving! The point is to do something you will both enjoy and remember for much longer than they'll keep a physical gift.


Something Personalized

Personalized gifts, I feel, are the best. It shows that thought and effort were put into the gift and that it didn't come from a last-minute dash through Target (although, let's be honest, it's impossible to dash through Target). The forever-cold friend I was talking about, when I was leaving for China, gave me a fridge magnet she designed herself that features one of the many inside jokes we share. To this day, it is still one of my favorite gifts, despite how simple it may seem on the surface. If that's too intense, you can go the route of getting an engraved thermos for a tea-obsessed friend or a custom eyeshadow palette for a makeup lover.

At the end of the day, regardless of your selfish or otherwise reasons for gifting, it's always nice to get free shit, am I right?

What birthday gifts do you like receiving?
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Shapewear for All Shapes ft. Cosmolle*

Reading time: 1 minute 18 seconds


If there's one thing I love about the holiday season, it's all the free time I get to really invest in dressing up and experimenting with more outrageous outfits (think long, slinking dresses, plunging necklines, and extraextravagant jewelry) that are way too time-consuming for everyday wear. What's annoying about these outfits, though, is the need I feel to wear shapewear in order to get the smooth, seamless lines I want. That's usually fine and dandy, but the problem is that most shapewear products are hella uncomfortable and feel terrible to be in, especially if you have to be seated for extended periods of time. Also, ironically, some shapewear products are chunky, and you end up with more lines than when you started. πŸ˜‚

This is where Cosmolle Shapewear comes in.

One product range that caught my eye is the tummy control shapewear, not so much for the flat belly but for the way it can keep your belly looking the exact same way before and after a meal. πŸ˜‚ I don't like looking like a potato after eating, ok, especially if I looked like fresh fries when I walked out the door.

Another product range that targets my list of shapewear pet peeves is the seamless body shaper. This one I find ~revolutionary~ because these shapers smooth out everything you want to smooth out while staying comfortable and breathable. Moreover, they retain their seamless quality even with the lace and mesh detailing.

As the icing on the cake, Cosmolle's philosophy is all about defining your own beauty by shaping your body your way for your shape. They believe that yes, shapewear is body positive because shapewear should not be about hiding imperfections; rather, it should be about enhancing your natural features, and with just a little lift, that inner TLC can shine through. After all, when you feel like you look πŸ”₯, you always actually end up looking πŸ”₯.

  

Cosmolle's offerings may still be small, but their products span multiple categories to meet different needs for different situations, ranging from shorts and panties to bodysuits and slips; hence, they suggest trying out their shapewear for casual outfits as well.

What are your thoughts on shapewear being body positive?
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Last-Minute Gift Ideas ft. Basic Invite*

Reading time: 1 minute 10 seconds


The holiday season is a time when many of us reconnect with family and friends. I know I, for one, reconnected with many a cousin this year as well as an old high school best friend. Because these are last-minute reunions, these folks are not on my holiday shopping list, especially since I prepare my list months in advance, so since time was not on my side, I found a great alternative: Basic Invite.

My rationale is this: cards are the easiest and speediest way to show someone you're thinking of them without breaking the bank, but my gripe with many store-bought cards is that they're generic and don't really communicate my ~aesthetic~ or my brand of humor. Don't get me wrong; premade cards are great for the occasional thought-of-you gift, but for situations like this where you're rebuilding relationships, I personally would prefer something custom and personalized.

That's why I love Basic Invite for their cute holiday cards that are Truly Custom™. What they mean by that is that they offer (almost) unlimited colors. Unlike the majority of online stationery companies out there, Basic Invite allows us to customize every element on each design from a selection of more than 180 colors, including the recipient addresses on each envelope, which is provided at no additional cost. Even the envelopes come with a whopping palette of over 40 different colors like crowd-pleasing pastels (cream cotton and lemonade) or colors that are more my speed (cranberry and peacock). That definitely beats out a rando card from a grocery store.


Besides that, Basic Invite offers other cool products like a company holiday party invitation and clear business cards and even free websites. Y'all should definitely check 'em out for all your invitation needs, especially right now when they're offering 15% off every order with coupon code 15FF51.

Basic Invite is also on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

What last-minute gifts do you usually give?
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Weekly Reading | August 1, 2019


College

It's August, and incoming college freshmen are probably bursting at the seams with excitement, or was 17-year-old me the only one who felt that way? πŸ˜‚ College is definitely a fun time (except for that twice-a-year panic around Finals Week when you question all the choices you've ever made that landed you in that position), but don't forget that you are still pursuing an education, so here's a post about choosing a career path because it's never too early to start thinking about post-grad life. I also found a post for those of you considering joining sororities and a post about making the most of limited dorm space.

"College Real Talk: Choosing A Career Path" via Living in Full Bloom
"What I Gained from Joining Sorority Life" via The Blonde Lifestyle

Wellness

Of course, while you want to take college seriously, you should also keep your wellbeing in mind because burnout is a real thing, and it can cost you more time and productivity in the long run. This is coming from personal experience because I admit I didn't make the most out of my undergraduate years, so when I was getting my master's, I figured I can sleep when I'm dead and seized every opportunity that came my way. Needless to say, graduating a semester later than planned was the best case scenario, lol.

"5 Ways to Clear Your Head and Get Inspired" via The Classic Brunette

Lifestyle

I also found some lifestyle posts for all y'all incoming freshmen to consider. The first one is my favorite. It's a letter-to-self about embracing your cultural identity. While I'm not bicultural, I can relate in the sense that I struggled in my undergrad years to fit in with the White majority to avoid being other-ed as an Asian woman, so I really think this post can be helpful for my fellow POCs to, if anything, realize that you are not alone in feeling like you've lost your identity. Then, to take it down a notch (or 50 πŸ˜…), here's a post about becoming a morning person and one about going green.

"Cultural Identity: A Letter to My Younger Self" via Sweating Champagne
"How to (Realistically) Become A Morning Person" via Ampersand
"Beginning Steps for Going Green" via Leslie Nichole

For travel, beauty, and home posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What is or was your favorite part about college?
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Weekly Reading | June 27, 2019


Travel

It's summer, y'all! πŸŒž While I hate summer weather, I still appreciate the break. It's actually low-key one of my favorite parts about being a teacher: you (mostly) get breaks when your students get breaks, and for my school, summer holiday starts in July. I'm definitely going home for the summer, but I haven't decided if I want to do any traveling outside of that, so if you're in the same boat, here are some travel posts.

"How to Get This New Yorker to the Beach" via The Champagne Edit
"My Paris Guide: Eat, Sleep, and See" via Atlantic-Pacific

Beauty

Traveling is fun and all, but that pesky summer weather is inescapable (unless I travel somewhere in the southern hemisphere, I guess), and one reason I hate summer weather is I tend to break out in the heat and humidity, so I looked up some skincare posts.

"8 Reasons Why You Have Bad Skin" via Mally Elizabeth
"What Your Breakouts are Telling You" via The Brunette with A Blog
"How I Treat Breakouts" via Life with Kendal

Home

Then, of course, apart from traveling, some of that free time can go towards the home. Reorganizing and shopping for the home are great and all, but you know what the best part about them is? I can stay my ass indoors! πŸ˜Ž

"The 8 Best Home Decor Shopping Websites for A Girl on A Budget" by Marian Osrat
"Styling A Living Space with Vintage Thrift Finds" via Style Lullaby

For career, blogging, and wellness posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What are your summer plans?
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Weekly Reading | April 4, 2019


Career

For those of you in the job or internship market, I found a post about not being too quick to accept a job offer. I also found a couple posts about best practices for after you accept and start a job or internship.


Blogging

For my fellow bloggers, I found a post about why you need an email list as well as a post about how you can build one. I also found a post about why it's ok to say no.

"5 Reasons Every Blogger Needs an Email List" via Just a Girl and Her Blog
"It's OK to Say No in Blogging" via It Starts with Coffee

Wellness

Finally, I found some wellness posts, one about how to stop sabotaging yourself, one with a self-care challenge, and one about how to take ten minutes out of your day for yourself.

"10 Ways You're Sabotaging Yourself and How to Stop" via eyeliner wings & pretty things

For college, fashion, and lifestyle posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
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Weekly Reading | March 28, 2019


Fashion

It's spring cleaning time, so here's a post about maximizing your closet space. Then, since you have way more closet space now, here's a shopping guide for wearing ruffles and a roundup of some European fashion bloggers to inspire you! πŸ˜‰

"Ruffles Shopping Guide" via Keep Calm and Chiffon

Lifestyle

Last week, I found a couple of posts about how you can treat yo'self to feel more in love with your life. The first post talks about cheap and easy ways to pamper yourself (including a DIY spa night), and the second post talks about small steps you can take to live a life you love. One of the steps Kiara mentions is unplugging, and I found a post about ways to do that.


Blogging

My fellow bloggers might not want to unplug too much, though, but we can consider fresh ideas for our brands, one of which is podcasting, which seems to be taking the interwebs by storm lately. The first post talks about why podcasting is becoming such a trend, the second post talks about how we can go about starting a podcast, and the third post talks about podcasts for bloggers and other creatives.


For more fashion and lifestyle posts as well as college posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What spring cleaning plans do you have?
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Weekly Reading | March 21, 2019


College

With the end of another academic year looming large on the horizon, you're probably in the midst of applying for internships or jobs, so last week, I found a couple of posts with tips that'll help you land the perfect internship or job. For those of you who are graduating, first of all, congratulations! I also found a post about what to expect after college.


Fashion

Also for graduating seniors, I found a post about how to update your wardrobe. For everyone else, here are a couple of spring fashion posts.

"Post-Grad Wardrobe Guide: What to Buy & What to Toss" via Eyeliner Wings & Pretty Things

Lifestyle

I also found posts about spring cleaning and streamlining your life.

"Spring Cleaning Your Life" via Sophisticaition

For more fashion posts as well as blogging and food posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
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Weekly Reading | February 14, 2019


Lifestyle
Let's get something out of the way first. Yes, it's Valentine's Day. No, I don't celebrate, but I know some of you love celebrating love, so I don't scoff at the day; it's just not for me. I did, however, include a Valentine's Day post in this week's Weekly Reading for those of you who love Love Day but want to explore less clichΓ© ways to celebrate.

Moving on, it's already mid-February (crazy!), which is usually the time we start falling out of love (😏) with our New Year's resolutions, so here are some pretty helpful tips from the team over at Inspirations & Celebrations, tips that I'm using myself because I'm starting to feel myself slacking. I also found a beginner's guide to investing because that's something I'm looking to start doing now that I'm more late-20s than mid-20s. πŸ˜‚

"10 Ways to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick" via Inspirations & Celebrations

Career
Another aspect of your life to take a look at is your career because that can be the greatest source of negativity, something you really don't want to start the year off with so much of. Take a look at this post from The Motivated Millennial's Hannah about identifying and coping with a toxic workplace. The start of the year can also be a time when layoffs happen. The Champagne Edit's Dana shares ways to handle getting laid off. Finally, to end this section off on a (slightly) happier note, I found a post about writing the perfect email.

"4 Tips for Toxic Workplace Survival" via The Motivated Millennial
"How to Handle Getting Laid Off" via The Champagne Edit
"How to Write the Perfect Email" by Devon Delfino


Blogging
If your New Year's resolutions include starting a blog but you're in college full-time and finding that there's too much going on and shit's hitting the fan, fret no more because here's a post by Kristen about how she manages her blog while in college without losing her mind. I also found some posts about photos for your blog and corresponding social media: one has tips for mobile photography (which is great for bloggers who are just starting out or for bloggers who prefer taking photos on their phones) and one has tips for editing those photos before exporting them to social media, specifically Instagram.


For more blogging posts as well as fashion and food posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!
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Weekly Reading | December 27, 2018


Fashion

"How to Care For Denim" via Cuddlepill

Blogging


Food

"Healthy Low-Carb Chicken Pad Thai" via Healthy Helper
"The Best Red Sangria You've Ever Had" via Lights Camera Catwalk

For more fashion posts as well as college and lifestyle posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
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