Modern Girl Gift Guide: From the Heart

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I’m trying my hand at something different this year — no gift guides! I’ve seen so many on my own Feedly page, that I just don’t think there is anything else out there I could offer, except for my own plan for Christmas gifts this year. I’m a little late in the game due to my vacation in Costa Rica, but I’m hard at work this week finishing up making all (err… most) of my gifts. Thats right. This year I am giving mostly handmade-by-me Christmas gifts.

Its not for lack of money, and surely purchasing my gifts would be the easier route with regards to time, but I thought that it might be really nice to give someone a handmade gift thats truly from the heart. They may not turn out perfect, but they will be from me and made by me, and hopefully that is better than anything else!

But for those of you who may be lacking in the creativity department, I have rounded up a few ideas for you:

Custom calendar — I made one of these for my Dad two years ago and he loved it! It was quite silly as every month was a photo of me jumping somewhere in the world (Napa Valley, Paris, French countryside, Cape Cod, etc.).  I think I used Vistaprint.com, but there are so many sites you could use.

Painting — Even if you don’t think you can paint, you can! Guided painting places like The Paint Bar in Boston are popular in so many cities and they walk you step by step through the painting. You even get to enjoy a glass of wine or beer while you do it!

Scarf/Hat/Blanket — If you can knit or crochet (like me!) you can try your hand at making one of these items. A scarf is definitely the easiest, but hats aren’t too much more difficult. YouTube videos are really helpful!

Canning — For those foodies out there, try your hand at canning your own homemade jams and butters, or savory items like picked vegetables and salsa. I’ve had this on my list for awhile — maybe next year I’ll try it!

Whatever you decide to do, the recipient is sure to love it. To me, the best part of receiving a handmade gift is knowing that someone one took their (precious!) time and used it to make something just for you.

*Picture above is from an Etsy shop called eineIdee because 1) I can’t actually show you my gifts here yet, and 2) they are just the most adorable crochet bunnies! 


 
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Costa Rica

If you’ve been following me on Instagram (and if you’re not you should be!) you know that I spent last week in Costa Rica with my family! Its been a place on our “must visit” list for awhile now– my great grandfather was born in San Jose — and we finally made the trip happen this year. We stayed at the JW Marriott in Guanacaste, which is about an hour or so from Liberia — depending on how fast you can drive on dirt roads!

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We did a whole lot of nothing on the trip, and it was perfect! We swam in the infinity pool, lounged in hammocks, searched for shells on the beach, drank fruity cocktails, and watched the sun set over the Pacific every night.

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One day we got ambitious and ventured out on a tour of a coffee plantation to learn how Costa Rica harvests and produces their 100% Arabica coffee. We even got to see some traditional Costa Rican dancing as a “surprise” from our tour guide. The trip to the plantation was an experience all in itself — 2 hours of driving in a van on dirt roads with more potholes than I had ever seen in my entire life. We saw a lot of people riding dirt bikes and ATVs in the road — much better vehicle choices for the terrain!!

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The coffee in Costa Rica is amazing — its such a small country compared to other coffee producers that they focus on quality and not quantity. Definitely a modern girl philosophy! And once we were on the tour it was easy to see why — I was so surprised to hear about how much work goes into picking the coffee beans — one 25 lb. basket only yields about 8 lbs. of finished coffee beans!

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Our beach was so nice and secluded — there were hardly any other people were around! Doug and I took a long walk and I found so many unique shells on the beach that I had never seen before. I smuggled a few home and I may try to make a necklace out of them for next summer.

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I shared most of my sunset photos on my Instagram page, but this one was from our last night and its just too pretty to not post here too. The colors were different every day — sometimes the sky was a bright orange like this night, and other nights were pink.  If you want to go “off the grid” for a little bit I’d highly recommend Costa Rica, especially Guanacaste.  Outside of the hotel property (which was about 10 mins off the main road anyway!) was so rural and had an easygoing, relaxed feel to it. After all, the country’s motto is “pura vida”!


 
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Rules for the Modern Girl

A modern girl…

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Jets off to Costa Rica to discover her family’s heritage!


 
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Tweed Shorts for Winter

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Turtleneck & Shorts: Old Navy / Tights: Hue / Booties: Zara / Faux Fur Scarf: self made
Jacket: Vintage Mink / Earrings: David Yurman / Lipstick: Hourglass

We got a modest blanket of snow right before Thanksgiving — just enough to cover the ground, but not so much that our travel plans were delayed.  We headed up to the beach in New Hampshire for Thanksgiving Day for a traditional turkey dinner with all of the fixings.

I found these tweed shorts at Old Navy a few weeks ago and just fell in love. I can’t wear them to work — but they are so fun for a date night or holiday party. Doug had some reservations about me wearing “shorts” in the winter, but I did my best to explain that with some opaque tights they were okay. And with my fur coat I’d never get cold — its the warmest coat I have ever owned!

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