by gillian claire

12.12.2017

Affordable Hair Care for the Whole Family!

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Well, I've come across a really cool hair care brand that I want to share with you and you'll never believe where I found it... WalMart!


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I love finding products that the whole family can use! Since we live in a tiny condo, saving space is always a priority! Like their name says, Everyone products can be used by everyone in the family and the best part is that they are paraben and sulfate free! 
Everyone™ is made by EO Products, a family-owned body care manufacturer founded in 1995. Everyone™ believes people shouldn’t have to choose between a product they can afford and a product that’s good for them and their family.

I purchased the Everyone Balance Shampoo + Conditioner to try out. I'm really picky about what I use on my hair since it's bleached and color treated. It's imperative that I use sulfate free products to keep my color which can be really hard to find at an affordable price! These 20oz bottles were only $9.97 each- not bad!


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I love that Everyone™ products use organic ingredients and also pure essential oils for an aromatherapeutic shower experience! I chose the Balance Shampoo + Conditioner hoping that it would make my hair a little more "smooth and shiny". These products smelled heavenly and I'm really happy with my results.

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I love that the whole family can benefit from my new Everyone hair care products! I'm a complete hair snob and will of course keep using some of my higher end products on my blonde hair but I love that I have found something affordable, sulfate free and nontoxic to add into my rotation!


Here's a little video I created with Everyone; take a look if you want to see my cute kitten make an appearance at the end!


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12.11.2017

Holiday Gift Guide: Outside the Box Ideas for Men!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. Product was provided by the client for review; however, all opinions are mine alone. #WorldsSmartestToothbrush #PhilipsSonicare #OprahsFavoriteThings #CollectiveBias

Unique Gift Ideas for Men By Gillian Claire_MG_1419-4

I'm really excited to have put together a little gift guide for men this year on my blog! I feel like it can be really hard to shop for men this time of year without being bombarded with the usual "alcohol and sports" ideas. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm totally married to a sports guy and there is nothing wrong with beer or sports but come on, our guys deserve more that just that, right? I tried to give you a little outline of ideas here if you're looking for some direction when shopping for the men in your life!


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// Something "Artsy" //

I love this "300 Writing Prompts" journal that I found- such a fun idea for a guy who likes to write! Other artsy ideas are music, a cool piece of art or tickets to a show!

// Something Trendy //

My husband is pretty trendy and stylish. Of course, a wallet is not a new idea by any means but hey, it's a staple of life for most guys! I think this cool canvas green wallet is super unique and cute! 



(You can shop this image by clicking above!)

// Something Electronic //

Electronics are something I usually see geared towards men's gift giving during the holidays but I tried to think outside the box! How perfect would this Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Toothbrush be under the tree this year? This toothbrush is actually featured on Oprah's Favorite Things List 2017! I have been an Oprah fan for years and love using her Favorite Things List to help me think of gift ideas for the holidays!

This year I have discovered the amazing benefits of using an electric toothbrush! I don't think I can ever go back to using a traditional one and this Philips Sonicare DiamondClean from Amazon is way better than what been using from the drugstore! Philips Sonicare is the number 1 Dental Professional recommended brand and this is their "best ever toothbrush for complete oral care". It has 4 modes and 3 intensities to help you focus on your whole mouth, teeth, gums and tongue. Additionally, you can connect with the Sonicare app to get real-time feedback and personalized coaching on your oral health! I'm pretty blown away by this technology!


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// Something to Eat //

A way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right? I thought this little popcorn set was such a neat gift idea! Get your guy some fun snacks or maybe cooking classes for the two of you to take together. In my house, it's my husband who does all the cooking so I honestly think he'd even love a cookbook! 


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// Something Cute //

Girls aren't the only ones who need a sweet gesture! I think this, "I Love You a Latte" mug is just manly enough but still a super sweet way to show you care. 


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// Something Sweet //

It's weird to me that chocolates are always thought of as a feminine gift because men have a sweet tooth too! I decided to incorporate that all encompassing, "dudes love alcohol," idea here with these Caramel Rum Truffles! (Yum!) Other "sweet" ideas could be a tin of cookies or a gift basket full of your guy's favorite candies and treats!
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I hope that my gift guide gave you a few ideas for the guys on your Christmas list this year! Do you also get frustrating looking for gifts for men or is it just me?

Happy Shopping!

12.10.2017

A Unique Family Gift Idea with 23andMe!

*This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of 23andMe.*
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If you're anything like me, purchasing gifts for family members can be a little overwhelming! I always think that my sisters and my sons are easy to shop for but there are some family members, such as my mom and my husband that I find more difficult. It can be so hard to think of unique gift ideas for family members year after year!

I was really excited when 23andMe reached out to see if I would like to share their DNA Ancestry Service on my blog as a unique gift option for the holidays! I have been hearing more and more about these ancestry kits lately and I think this would make such a perfect and memorable gift for family members who are hard to shop for! 

Not only does this make a fun and personal gift; it's something that the whole family can share in together to find out more of who they are and where they come from!

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These kits are super easy to use and come with step by step instructions. It's as easy as registering the kit online, sending in a saliva sample, (packaging included!) and then receiving an online report in 6-8 weeks of your results!

23andMe offers two different Personal Genetic Services: their Ancestry Service (shown in this post) as well as their Health + Ancestry Service. The Health + Ancestry Service provides insights on your genetic ancestry, traits, health and more. 23andMe analyzes the information extracted from your DNA into 75+ reports that can be accessed online and then shared with family and friends!

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I'm gifting my 23andMe Ancestry Service to my husband, Aaron, this year and I can't wait to see how much he enjoys learning more about his family history and sharing with his siblings and parents! This would be such a great gift for a spouse, parent or grandparent and something that I think your family will be talking about for years to come!


23andMe has special holiday offers going on between now and December 26th. 

12.06.2017

Happy Birthday to Roman: My TEN Year Old!

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Can you even believe this tiny baby is TEN today? My heart can barely take it. It's gone by in a blink but at the same time it seems like an entire lifetime ago that I was 21 years old meeting my precious purple baby at 3:01 am on a cold winter Cincinnati night.
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This boy, my Roman, made me a mother 10 years ago. I always, always wanted to be a mom and Roman made all those years of playing with Cabbage Patch babies come to life for me. Roman's baby years were a dream, we spent almost every moment together and he became my entire world. 
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Ten years later, and Roman is still a dream of a child. He's good natured, kind, loving, compassionate and sentimental. He's sarcastic as hell (thanks to his parents) and definitely has a fly off the handle temper. He is the most passionate child I've ever seen and spends hours and hours practicing his sports moves in the living room.
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This has been one of the hardest years of Roman's life because one of his best friends was tragically killed in a place crash in September. I've had to watch this sweet, innocent boy venture into those dark places of life that you hope your child will never have to know. It's been hard but he's pushing through; we're pushing through together. The morning we found out he had passed, before I knew, I sensed a deep pressing feeling that I needed to be more for Roman. I had no idea that we would later find out Benny had died but now I know that they were related. That's what I've tried to do since that day, be more for this boy. We've done more arts and crafts and we got a pet cat that we adore. I've spent nights talking and crying with Roman about death and life. 
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10 years of motherhood and I'm still figuring it all out. It's a lot harder now than it was in those easier and simpler, sweet baby days. If I could give any wisdom and mothering advice after doing it for ten years, it would be: 

Laugh with your kids and allow them to bring out the child in you. 

Have dance parties and let them jump on the beds. 

Don't ever hold too tightly to your "parenting type" because I guarantee your views will ebb and flow.

Most importantly, tell your kids you love them everyday. Tell them multiple times a day. You can't ever tell someone you love them too much.
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Happy TENTH birthday Roman! I love you, moon....

flashback ;)


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xoxo,
Gillian

12.05.2017

Holiday Gift Guide: For Hippie Mamas!

*This post contains some affiliate links*

I'm so excited to share this holiday gift guide all about present ideas for the "Hippie Mama!" Some of the stores I've included are: Target, Kohls, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and even some awesome small shops! I hope you enjoy. :) 
Hippie Mama Gift Guide Holidays By Gillian Claire

1 // Soaking Salts

I'm a sucker for anything that says "detox" to be honest! I love that this company, Herbivore Botanicals, was founded by a husband and wife in their kitchen. They use amazing raw ingredients in their products!



2 // Black Lava Rock Aromatherapy Necklace


The Knotted Nest is a mama-owned small shop located near me in Denver, Colorado! I love this Lava Rock Aromatherapy necklace. It works as a diffuser with essential oils; how perfect for a stressed mom? This shop has many beautiful items and they donate a portion of their proceeds to families in the process of adoption!



3 // Trinket Moon Dish Set


I love, love, love anything moon themed and how adorable is this little gift set? It comes with 3 pairs of earrings and would make a perfect stocking stuffer for any Hippie Mama!



4 // Macrame Wall Hanging


Every hippie needs a wall hanging and how beautiful are the colors in this one? It comes from another mama-owned small shop: Krafting with Krissy. She also makes adorable matching mommy and me knit hats!



5 // Mountain Peak Necklace


I have wanted a necklace like this forever! This one from Shein is super inexpensive and it's perfect for a mountain dwelling mama like myself!



6 // Good Vibes Only Sweatshirt


I just saw this sweatshirt when I was at Target the other day and fell in love! Bonus: it's made of super soft material!



7 // Custom Dyed Dress from Sugs' Shoppe

I have followed Tami on Instagram for years and she recently started designing beautiful clothing! I love these dresses and they make me feel like I want to be frolicking in a field of flowers in the summertime!


8 // Velvet Hair Scrunchies


How adorable are these scrunchies from Urban Outfitters? I love that scrunchies are making a come back; it fills my 90s-girl heart


9 // Starry Night Incense Set


I kind of want to buy this incense set from Anthropologie just for the beautiful packaging!

 
10 // Color-changing Himalayan Salt Lamp


Ok, this is one of the number one things on my Christmas list! I am so intrigued by the idea of salt lamps and this color-changing one is from Kohl's! We just painted our bedroom and I am trying to create a more "retreat" type feel in there for myself. 
Don't you think this would be the perfect addition?


11 // Macrame Wall Hanging 


Oh hey, another gorgeous macrame wall hanging! This one is from the Etsy shop; The Serenity Road. I love the way Kimberly incorporates color into her pieces; they are stunning!


12 // Pacifica Gift Set


You guys know how much I love beauty products and Pacifica is a favorite because they make clean beauty products! Also, their packaging is just always perfection...
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Did you see anything that's on your list? Or perhaps find something to add? 
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Happy Holidays, Hippie Mamas!




Don't forget to enter my giveaway on Instagram right now to win a year's supply of Zhena's Tea
It ends on 12/7 and it's super easy to enter.




11.30.2017

Keeping the Holidays Simple, (Tips from a Minimalist!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyHolidayEscape #CollectiveBias


Having a Minimalist Holiday (2)

It's easy to feel so much pressure as a mother during the holidays to create fabulous celebrations and traditions and make everything perfect. Honestly, this does not come naturally to me. You know that simple living + living small are important aspects of my life and sometimes it's hard to mesh that with the elaborate expectations of the holidays!

I am a minimalist and I actually don't even like having a Christmas tree- hah! This will be my 10th Christmas as a mother (can you believe that!?) and I'm still on my own personal journey of finding ways to make the holidays memorable while staying true to my values of simplicity.


Here are a few things I'm keeping in mind this holiday season so that I can enjoy spending time with my family while keeping things simple + stress free!

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Taking a Step Back


Especially working in social media and as a blogger, I find myself being inundated with images of families making things and doing things and crafting things and celebrating almost 24/7 and it can make me feel like I'm not doing enough....


I have to remind myself often that social media is only a snapshot of real life. Families aren't really doing something fun and planned out every day of the week. Also, bloggers create and take wonderful pictures as part of their job. Even though this is part of my job as well, I can still easily get wrapped up in the cycle of thinking my life doesn't add up.


It's important for me to take a step back and remind myself that the internet isn't real life. I also find it helpful to take a step back from the craziness of Christmas in the real world as well. I love Christmas shopping but the stores this time of year are just beaming with lights and decorations and commercialism. It can just be too much. I like to participate in the experience but to also remember that I don't need to be out in that craziness constantly.


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(Grab a coupon + pick up a copy of REALSIMPLE® at Safeway!)

Creating Me Time

As a busy working mom, having "me time" is so important, especially during the holidays! There is more to do and more to plan for this time of year and I need to create time for myself to relax and stay centered.

You already know that coffee is imperative for my me time and I love relaxing with a candle and something good to read to help clear my mind.

Right now I am reading the holiday edition of REALSIMPLE® magazine for inspiration! I love flipping through the pages of REALSIMPLE® because it is full of beautiful imagery and simple, lovely ideas! I like to keep a notebook on hand because creative thoughts always seem to flow when I'm looking through magazines. Right now I'm looking for gift ideas and maybe a couple new things to try with my kids this holiday season. I'm also thinking about the blog and what kind of content I'm looking to put out in the next couple of months.

I picked up my copy of REALSIMPLE® at Safeway. I like stopping by the Safeway in our neighborhood to pick up a coffee because it's always clean and relatively quiet there and this magazine was right by the checkout, perfect!



Making Simple Traditions

Lastly, I have to remind myself that our family doesn't have to do what every other family is doing.

Overall, we keep things simple this time of year and that's ok! I don't make homemade Christmas cookies with my kids but we do always buy a gingerbread house kit to work on together! My wrapping paper comes from the dollar store every year and it's not Instagram-perfect under our tree but the boys are just as excited to tear into their presents! We don't visit Santa at the mall but we talk about the wonderful spirit of Christmas often during these months and it's such a magical memory that I make with my little boys.
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I hope you found these tips inspiring if you're looking to pare down and keep things simple and easy this holiday season! The beautiful thing is that we are all free to create the type of holiday we want. Some people love being on the go and want to pack these months full of as many experiences as possible and that's perfectly ok too!



For me, I'm going to keep on keeping things simple...



XOXO,
Gillian
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I found my holiday edition of REALSIMPLE® at Safeway.
Grab a coupon and pick one up for your "me-time"!

11.27.2017

"Spring Cleaning" in the Fall.

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Bona but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.


I have been going through some crazy Fall Cleaning vibes lately. "Spring Cleaning" in the Fall is huge to me because I love freshening up and organizing my house before Winter hits! First of all, I like getting the house ready for holiday visitors. Secondly, I love doing some deep cleaning and organizing before we are all stuck in our tiny house all Winter long!

I made a list of 10 things that I'm working on accomplishing before Christmas. I hope it sparks some ideas for you to put on your "Fall Cleaning" to-do list! 

✔️ Get New Front Door Mat

I still had my watermelon doormat out so I caved and bought one of the new Joanna Gaines doormats! (Just like everyone else- ha!) I love how simple it is and it will be perfect for Fall and Winter! As a minimalist, I've actually never been into doormats much but I've realized this year that it's such an easy and simple way to add a cozy touch to the house!

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✔️ Paint Our Bedroom

We have painted our entire house since moving into our condo 4 years ago except our bedroom. Our bedroom has been the last room to get any love and it's depressing because that is where I go to relax! Aaron spent two weekends ago painting it gray for us and it looks beautiful. (Although to be honest, it looks purple, oh well!) I'm hoping to keep the motivation going within our bedroom and work on making it more of a retreat and less of a catch all mess!

Hang Artwork

Hanging artwork is one of the easiest ways to make the house feel cozy and for some reason it always takes us forever to actually hang things! I bought this wall hanging a year ago on clearance at Target and it took me 2 seconds to make a big change to our hallway by hanging it over the electrical box! I have a few other pieces of art that we've collected over the year that I'd like to get up on the walls in the next month!

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✔️ Take Old Mattress Out of Kids' Room

Since we got bunk beds for the boys in the past year, we've had their old full sized mattress still sitting in the room taking up space. On Thanksgiving, Aaron had his brother help him finally take it out to the trash. Their room is so much more spacious and nice now!



✔️ Clean Out Outdoor Closet

Cleaning out and organizing our porch closet was a big undertaking that I tackled over Thanksgiving weekend! Nothing was accessible before and there was a ton of stuff that needed sorted and thrown out in the trash. This picture is the after: it looks so neat and tidy now!


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✔️ Go Through Kids' Clothes

This went hand in hand with cleaning out the porch closet. Most of the bins in the photo above are full of clothes that the boys have outgrown and are either waiting for Asher (or a future baby...?) to grow into. I had so many piles of clothes in our laundry closet that I needed to sort through and put away in these bins. I also added a couple more that I was able to empty out from the boys' room. 

Wipe Down Appliances in Kitchen

I always like to wipe down the appliances in the kitchen before we have holiday guests, such as the dishwasher, front side of the stove and refrigerator etc. It's not something I think to do everyday but once I spend time on it I realize how grimy everything has gotten! 

Go Through Kids' Toys

We always get rid of a good amount of old toys before Christmastime since the boys are about to get a lot of new ones! I tell my kids that Santa brings more toys if their room is organized and has empty empty so this works perfectly- hah! We still have some progress to make on this one...

✔️ Clean out Hall Closet

We had one pretty atrocious hall closet that I've been wanting to tackle all year. I finally did it while Aaron was painting- success!

Clean Floors

I am really bad about cleaning the floors on a regular basis but it's something that definitely needs to be done before having holiday visitors. I like to shampoo our carpets and also deep clean the hardwood floors. You've seen me talk about my favorite hardwood floor cleaner, Bona PowerPlus before!

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I do not love dragging a giant bucket of water and a mop around my kitchen and the Bona mop and Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner make cleaning the floors so much easier! It also makes for super easy wipe down and cleanup after visitors. Bona makes reusable as well as disposable dust and cleaning pads. 

Bona PowerPlus has an oxygenated formula that loosens and removes heavy dirt build-up so you can deep clean your hardwood floors with minimal effort! 


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My little Asher always loves to join in the cleaning efforts. We call him our, "helper boy" and he loved testing out our new Bona products! Our kitten, Finn, joined in the efforts as well. :)

Be sure to visit the Bonafide Fanatics page to sign up for Bona's newsletter so that you can receive coupons and seasonal offerings!


Do you do "Fall Cleaning" in your house? Happy cleaning, friends!

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