How To Make a Christmas Gift Budget Guide Spreadsheet


‘Tis the season–for spending! And while I hope that you find a bunch of awesome, splendid and fun things to purchase this year I also hope that you have and are sticking to a Christmas Gift Budget!

For the past several years now I’ve used a spreadsheet to help me keep track of all the gifts I purchase, how much I’m spending, how much I’m saving, if they’re wrapped, etc etc. I’ve found that this really helps me keep everything organized and keeps me within my holiday budget! I love to have all my Christmas shopping done by December 1st (and yes–all my shopping IS done for the year already!) But if you haven’t started it isn’t too late–and even if you have it’s still not to late to keep track.

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The Perfect Gift For Him (That Hard To Buy for Guy)

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

Not to toot my own horn…

(don’t you just love it when statements start like that, you know the person is about to do whatever they claim they’re not doing? But back to what I was saying)

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The Perfect Portable Gift For the Guy In Your Life

This shop about a Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speakerphone with rechargeable battery life has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiftingAudio #CollectiveBias

I’ve mentioned before how difficult the guys in my life are to shop for! They’re the kind who when they want something, they go out and buy it! So when the time of year rolls around I have the women bought for months in advance and I’m still scratching my heads as to what I should get the guys!

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Unique & Practical Teacher Gift

christmas photography backdrops

One gift that is easy to forget until the last minute is a gift for your children’s teacher! You want to get something that is sweet, practical, won’t break the bank, and will also stand out in a sea of cookies & DIY gifts.

My favorite gifts for teachers are green & consumable, but also a little something that they will be able to look at and remember your child by. I think that I hit upon the perfect gift for Amber’s teacher this year–so I’m sure excited to share it with you! I like that it’s a twist on classic stand-by gifts that are popular for a reason!

If you’re running late or the time to give your teacher a gift has passed never fear! This would make a perfect New Year Gift (they wouldn’t mind you being late, I promise!) or would be perfect for a teacher’s birthday, or make a great End of the Year Teacher Gift!

Unique & Practical Teacher Gift TreeSmart
Legalese Nonsense: Knowing that I love a good company with a great cause TreeSmart contacted me about writing about their company and products. I was more than happy to and then pass them on to Amber’s teacher. All ideas, mugs, and crafty DIY Green-ness is always mine!

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Starting to Panic? Cardstore to the rescue!
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Cardstore. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

So as you all know I like to be super organized and have things planned out well in advance. However this year thanks to how sick I got in September-October and the four jobs I work that I just told you about, well let’s just say I’m scrambling a bit this December! Something was going to be missed,  and this year it’s been Christmas Cards!

Thankfully was created for people like me! Cardstore removes the hassle from holiday cards by printing, addressing and sending them out for you, AND you get to include your own personalized message. So don’t allow being crazy to keep you from this sweet tradition-log on and create your personalized cards today, I love their huge selection including this favorite one I chose with a fun Bible verse on it!


Christmas Gift Guide 2013 ~ The Perfect Gift for Any Baby

Christmas Gift Guide

Yes–that’s right! This is the kick off post to my Christmas Gift Guide!

Now, now–before you start hurling rotten tomatoes at me and shouting the virtues of Thanksgiving hear me out! I agree–the Christmas trees up in the mall already *are* a bit much. But when it comes to shopping–well I’ve been Christmas shopping since February!! If you were around last year you’ll know I believe in shopping early and staying organized, and then using the month of December for traditions and family — not fighting the crowds and focusing on the material! Every year I try to have ALL my Christmas gifts bought and shipped by December 1st–I’m nearly there!

So with that disclosure I’m super excited to bring you ….

 Graco Little Lounger
Legalese Nonsense: I will absolutely drive to Dallas if it means I get to meet other bloggers, have 3 hours of drive time sans kids singing at the top of my lungs, get fed, learn exercise tips from a pro, and walk away with one of the coolest baby products I’ve ever seen. All mommy thoughts, lack of pregnancy announcements, and before mentioned erratic behavior is all my own.

First off I will preface this post with the fact that NO — contrary to what you seeing me with a baby swing that holds infants up to 30 lbs. might lead you to believe — there will be NO big, exciting announcements from me concerning the expansion of our family at any point within the next-couple-of-years future! (unless you all know something I don’t?!) *However* I know that most of you do have babies, will also at some point in the next-few-years future have one, or know someone who is pregnant right now. I seems like every time I turn around another friend or family member is announcing their pregnancy, so there is a lot of use for the Graco Little Lounger in my life and I knew there would be in yours as well!

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Secret Beauty Tips ~ Julep Nail Polish

Holiday Gift Guide

 We’ve covered starting with a great face and makeup in our secret beauty tips so far. Today we’re going to talk about adding in that extra bit of sparkle and making sure your look is polished–literally!

Julep Boris & Nicole

 Giving yourself an mani-pedi is a great way to give your holiday looks a punch and will make you feel great! I know, I know–if you’re a busy mom like me you probably can’t remember when the last time you had time for a mani-pedi was but during this busy time of year it helps to take just a little bit one evening to refresh!

Julep Boris & Nicole

Secret Beauty Tip: Use the kids bathtime to your advantage! Fill up the tub with toys and bubbles for them and set up a mani/pedi bundle for you–keep reading for ideas!

First gather all the supplies that you’ll need:

  • a tub to soak your feet
  • soft towel
  •  Julep Instant Warming Feet Scrub
  • The Best Pedi Creme Ever
  • Boris & Nicole Nailpolish. (Is it any surprise that I LOVE this color when my name is in it?!)

(you can find all the above (except the tub & towel) at Julep!)

Now soak your feet while you file your finger nails. Then use the foot scrub and give your tootsies and legs a good rub down! After drying apply one coat of nail polish on each of your tooties (you can add an extra coat if you want it to have extra staying power!)

Secret Beauty Tip: When using a powerful nail polish color like a deep red keep nails short-it makes the look classy-not overwhelming

Julep Nailpolish Boris & Nicole

Next paint your nails with 2 coats and check your email while they dry! One thing that I love about Julep nail polish is that it has a very quick drying time-which is a must for me!

Julep Discount Code:  VIP20 receive 20% off on purchases of $20 or more at Julep

Julep is the perfect way to polish up your Holiday look and it would also make a perfect Christmas Gift or stocking stuffer!

Do you have any great Secret Beauty Tips? Please share them with us in the comments below!

Nicole Elliott

Secret Beauty Tips ~ Covergirl Blast FlipStick

Today my Secret Beauty Tip is all about getting gorgeous in a hurry! If you’re a mom you know that you usually don’t have an hour to primp even if you’re going somewhere like a fancy office party–complicated makeup is out when you have little ones poking their heads in the bathroom at the least and climbing all over you/sampling your makeup at the worst!

For this very reason I’m always looking for fabulous makeup that is affordable, easy to use, and gives me great looking results with minimal time and effort! BzzAgent sent me 3 different Covergirl Blast FlipSticks to try out and the timing was perfect! I was sent the shades Minx which includes deep brown and bronzey shades, Stunner which includes bright red and golden shades, and Vixen which includes shimmery red and pink shades.

With my coloring I look the very best with blush and pink based reds. Because of this Vixen is my hands down favorite! I love that with the two different sides there are many different looks I can achieve and I can take the same Blast Flipstick from a pretty pink daytime Playdate lip to a sexy vamped up red lip for a night out on the town! One thing that I love is that the lipstick is super creamy and soft yet has great staying power as well–plus the convenient size and tops make throwing it into your purse for an after dinner touch up a breeze!

Secret Beauty Tip: For a fun, gorgeous, and fast party or date night look use red lips with minimal other makeup. A little foundation, mascara, and a Blast Flipstick and in 5 minutes you look drop dead gorgeous! Apply the lighter shade in the middle of your bottom lip for the illusion of even fuller lips.

Here is my date night look-I got SO many compliments when I posted this picture on Facebook! The Blast FlipSticks would make the perfect stocking stuffer for any beauty lover on your list!

What are your top tips for easy, gorgeous party and date night makeup?

Nicole Elliott

Secret Beauty Tips ~ Relogy

I just LOVE anything beauty, makeup and {practical} fashion related! I recently shared this article on Facebook and it sparked a lot of conversation between me and my friends about how important looking your best is related to feeling your best (which you might remember I also wrote about in Looking Hot as a Mom) Since the Holidays are the perfect excuse to dress up and get sparkily I thought I’d share a few posts with my Secret Beauty Tips (ok so maybe they’re not SO secret–but as a busy mom I feel like they’re my “secret weapons” to looking good and feeling great!) Hope you’ll enjoy them!

Any beauty expert will tell you that the first critical step of any beauty regime is having great skin! However one of my secrets is that while I don’t have sensitive skin-I do have fussy skin! Most of the time I just use a washcloth and water to clean my face because it seems like whenever I start using new face wash and moisturizer it just makes me break out more. Because, yes, at 27 I’m *still* dealing with the occasional pimple (uggg!!!) I’m always up for trying to find something new that will work so when I was contacted about the new Vegan Skincare Line Relogy I couldn’t wait to give it a whirl!

Ever since becoming more conscious about what I put on my kiddos skin because of Amber’s eczema it’s also translated into paying more attention to what’s going on my skin as well. Relogy is a unique blend of botanically-based ingredients promotes healing and has a soothing anti-inflammatory effect on your skin. Cool right? 

Secret Beauty Tip: Set a bedtime for yourself! Enough sleep is vital to looking and feeling your best and if you set a time to begin your nightly routines your body will have a chance to unwind and you won’t skip your skin care routine because you’re exhausted!

I’ve been using it now for a few weeks and I’ve been super impressed! The facewash is foaming and has a very light scent. It leaves my face clean and fresh feeling. What I’ve been the most happy with is the moisturizer–it’s light and leaves my face feeling soft without feeling clogged and my face has cleared up even while using the moisturizer which is awesome! The Seaweed spot treatment works well also–it has a little rolly ball that you place on your problem spots-it helped clear up a few pimples that were rearing their ugly little heads when I first started using the products. Overall I’m very impressed and highly recommend this line!

This line would also make a lovely gift to any beauty lover in your life-as you can see on the top picture they even send it like it’s a high end present! Find out more on the Relogy Website, Facebook, and Twitter pages!

Nicole Elliott