a deep breath and a fresh start

walrus a deep breath and a fresh start

Welcome back, friends! I hope you’re settling in to the new year, and finding it full of possibility. (I also hope you’ve discarded all of those resolutions that were making you feel bad about yourself. Can we all just agree that promises made at midnight after a bottle of champagne are usually a bad idea?)

I’ve been gone a while, I know. The truth is (picture me leaning in conspiratorially, as we both take a sip of our cappuccinos), I’ve been struggling a bit. 2015 marks the ninth year that shopping has been my cardio, if you can believe that. This little blog is practically a tween, God help us. And though I love it – and all of you – more than I know how to say, the honest-to-goodness truth is that if I write one more story about fall coats, it may be the end of me.

Then too, there’s the tumultuous, love/hate affair I’m having with the internet at the moment. It’s full of wonder and inspiration and beauty…but honestly, more often than not, it feels like a lot to live up to, and I’ve had enough. I want SMC to be more about real life, and less about that immaculate Instagram-filtered version we’re getting much too comfortable with. Instead of constantly making you wonder if you’re doing it right – if you’ve successfully mastered the “half tuck” or are buying enough white lacquered furniture and ironic art to be dubbed one of the ‘cool kids’ – I want this to be a place you can come to feel like you’re doing just fine, thank you. Come in, put your feet up, and why no, I don’t care at all that you forgot to brush your hair this morning. I haven’t washed mine since Thursday.

I’m finally ready to admit – to myself as much as to you – that the time has come, as the Walrus so famously put it, to talk of many things. To take this little site out for a spin and see what she can do. To broaden my horizons beyond the walls of my overstuffed closet.

Don’t fret – I’m still my wholly irreverent, largely superficial self. And shopping will always be my cardio – I’ll never be able to resist telling you when I find the perfect tee to wear with leggings or an incredible sale hits my inbox. But I’m ready to create a bigger world for myself. To tell you what I’ve learned so far…and what I’m learning still. The trips I dream of taking, how I’m navigating the mad, mad world of a chronic patient, my trials and triumphs in the kitchen (ask me about preserved lemons and botulism sometime), and the only slightly nutty reasons I’ve recently taken up the not-even-remotely-hip hobby of birdwatching.

In other words, it’s still me…I just need to spread my wings and see where the wind carries me.

I know it’s a big change. It’s a leap of faith for me too. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you’ll come along.

xox,
B

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a very very merry

happy holidays a very very merry

via Instagram

This morning, I’m getting ready for a Christmas cookie-decorating date with two of my favorite little munchkins. Being a person who prefers “Favorite Aunt” status to “Mom” status, I can tell you there are few things I enjoy more than borrowing my friends’ children for a few hours, loading them up with sugar and sparkly shoes, then sending them home to crash and burn on my friends’ time.

Before I tie on my apron and bust out my 15 varieties of red and green sprinkles (Favorite Aunt status has to be earned, friends), I wanted to officially “clock out” for the season. There’s something so mentally freeing about this last post I do at the end of each year. It lets me know I can finally stop worrying, stop constantly scouting the world around me for “perfect” gift ideas, and trust that I’ve already given you the very best I have to offer up this holiday season.

It also forces me to take a few moments to reflect on the year. I’ve been feeling an almost Herculean “less is more” pull all year, but this holiday season it’s really come to the forefront. All that hustle and bustle, mall parking and express shipping…it is just so completely not what the holidays are about. But of course, it’s a necessary evil. A means to an end. I get it. I don’t love it, but I get it.

My wish for you this holiday is that you find a moment just for yourself. Just one – somewhere amid the madness of family and friends and baking and gift wrapping and shipping and decorating. To sit quietly with a mug of tea or a glass of wine, to look around, and to enjoy some of that beauty the holiday season brings. It may be buried under the piles of tangled ribbon, catalogs and ornament storage boxes, but I promise you, it’s there.

Before I go, friends, I want to give you a big bear hug from the bottom of my heart. Yes, you. For showing up. For leaving comments (or not). For clicking those annoying affiliate links and ads so I can actually afford the fees to keep this site running. For following me on social media (I lost a big ol’ pile of followers in the Great Spam Purge over at Instagram this month, and though I know it makes me a shallow human being, I have to confess: it broke my heart a little. So, if you feel like getting me a gift, click “follow“, will you?). And for just being your wonderful, irreverent, funny, clever, doing-your-best-to-make-it-each-day self. You have no idea how much it means to me to know we’re in this together.

And if you really find yourself getting lost, as we all do at least once before Christmas, re-read this. It’s always good for rekindling a dying Christmas spirit. (As is a swig of highly-sauced eggnog, but it’s less socially acceptable before breakfast.)

Wishing you a holiday filled with beauty, friendly faces and love,
Becki

(PS – If you want to know when I’m back from my holiday hideout, Bloglovin’ or Feedly or something is a good option. Or, you know, refresh the page 10 times a day in anxious anticipation. Either way.)

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even more gift guide goodness

Friends, I hope you’ve loved each and every gift guide we concocted this year. I may be biased, but I know I’ve gotten just about all of my shopping done after going through them all.

But just in case you’re still holding out for one great pick for someone on your list (or for yourself), don’t fret – I’ve been pinning up a storm this holiday season, and my Get Gifting board on Pinterest is jam-packed with ideas. (And then there’s the matter of my Dear Santa board, which is piled high with everything I’m hoping to find under my own tree. Because I’m sure Santa’s social-media-savvy.)

Just in case you can’t be bothered to click through, that handy-dandy little widget will keep updating with my latest finds…so check back as often as Santa will let you.

Follow Shopping’s My Cardio’s board Get Gifting on Pinterest.

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Gift Guide: The Men

men gift guide2 Gift Guide: The Men

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Everyone knows that men are notoriously difficult to shop for. But this year, we’ve got you covered with a men’s gift guide jam-packed with creative, no-brainer ideas for the guys in your life. Whether it’s your spouse, brother, boyfriend, father, grandpa or son, there is sure to be something here that they would love to receive more than that neck tie you’ve had your eye on. Read on

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Gift Guide: The Jetsetter

jetsetter gift guide2 Gift Guide: The Jetsetter

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They joke that their home address is the Chicago O’Hare International airport, their Instagram feed is peppered with exotic locations and impromptu road-trips, and most of their stories start with “When I was in…” . Even if you can’t pinpoint their last known location, here are a list of gifts that any frequent traveler will love to receive…once they’re back in town. Read on

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Gift Guide: The Tech Geek

tech geek giftguide Gift Guide: The Tech Geek

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They know about the latest gadget before it even hits stores, are the resident IT support for friends and family, and if they can’t use a life hack to automate something, you can bet that they’re working on optimizing it. Even if you don’t understand a single word on their wishlist, here’s a list of gifts your favorite tech geek will be thrilled to unwrap. Read on

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Gift Guide: The Gourmet

thegourmet giftguide1 Gift Guide: The Gourmet

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They’re your go-to for the inside scoop on the hottest new restaurants, they always have something delicious bubbling away on their stove and everyone clears their calendars when they decide to throw a dinner party. Here are a few gifts that any gourmet would love to receive for the holidays.

Read on

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Gift Guide: The French Girl

The gift guides are here, the gift guides are here! Before we dive in, let me just say how excited I am to welcome Erin back to the SMC family for a little holiday cameo. She’s done an amazing job of helping me pull these gorgeous guides together, and I’m profoundly grateful…and impressed. Truly, they might be our best yet. Happy hunting!

french girl giftguide Gift Guide: The French Girl
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She’s always effortlessly, perfectly polished, Fashion Week is her Superbowl Sunday, and if she hasn’t already been to Paris, you can bet that a pilgrimage to the City of Love is high on her bucket list. Here are our favorite gift ideas for the chic Francophile (or really, any stylish girl you know) – all guaranteed to have her exclaiming, “C’est magnifique!Read on

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