The Best Kind of Mail

I love getting goodies in the mail, don’t you? I’ve been saving up all these wonderful items I’ve purchased over the past 6 months to share with you here on the blog. I also love supporting small businesses, and most of these fun things are from small shops or companies.

Hubby & I just started taking a finance class (Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, whoo hoo!) and with that and the holidays right around the corner, I won’t be shopping much at all in the coming months. But at least I have my goodies to tide me over. So here… check ‘em out!

I adore these stamps I ordered from Elise Joy’s first pop-up stamp shop back in April. Perfect for Project Life, envelopes, whatever. And isn’t the way she packaged her stamps so cute? Love all the washi tape. I’ve been saving these stamps to use for my Project Life albums and I can’t wait to incorporate them now that I’ve been scrapbooking again. Elise just expanded her stamp line and has even more cute stamps in her new stamp shop!

Also in April, I purchased some washi tape on Etsy from PrettyTape (top) and WashiWishes (bottom). Perhaps Elise is part of the reason I recently became obsessed with washi tape! It’s just so darn versatile. I’ve used it in my planner to highlight events and in a couple scrapbook layouts. I totally designed the digital washi tape on my blog around the time I ordered these pretty rolls of tape. Oh, and again… the packing is just too cute!

This past May, I purchased this beautiful chevron set from Goodnight Moon on Etsy:

I met Amber from Goodnight Moon several months ago at the Milblogging conference in Arlington. I thought she looked familiar because it’s been a few years now that I’ve read her blog, but I didn’t know it was her for sure until I saw the adorable bag she carried with her. I recognized it from her shop. And after the conference, I selected a couple items for myself in my favorite color combo (red, white, and black). But Amber also sent an extra item she made, and I just adore it!

Let’s just discuss how pretty this packaging is from Capturing Couture. I love how they wrapped it up like a little present! I also love the camera strap I ordered. It is SO nice. I purchased the “Summer Biss” camera strap from the Bohemian Collection. It’s beautiful, such nice quality, and has a really comfortable strap. My camera needed a little pizazz, and this did the trick! I so recommend this to anyone and everyone.

Last but not least (and I will be totally devoting a separate post for this)… my Erin Condren Life Planner in viva españa – mod floral. I ordered this back in July, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Like, obsessed. So much so that it needs its own show-and-tell. I love that it’s customized with my name! And the EC customer service is excellent. But, again… the packaging is just swoon-worthy. Printed boxes? Color-coordinated stickers? This designers says: it’s to die for.

And yes, I love packaging. In fact, I was a packaging designer for a couple years at one point. I love the way things get wrapped, packaged, shipped, you name it. I also love mail. Mail is great, but pretty mail is even better. Something I try to keep in mind even when mailing out plain ol’ greeting cards.

A Few of My Favorite Things

With Christmas less than 24 days away, I put together a little list of a few of my favorite things. I debated calling this list “What I Have That You Need,” but refrained from it so you wouldn’t know how bossy I really am. But for reals, friends, this stuff is the best. And basically, you just need it all. Mmk? K.

♥ Smashbox HIGH Definition Healthy FX Foundation
WHY YOU NEED THIS: It’s amazing. The coverage is flawless, and it goes on beautifully with a big, thick bristled brush or makeup sponges. It’s oil-free and full of all kinds of ingredients to make the most of your already gorgeous skin.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: If you live by a military base, I buy it there at the PX. If not, check out Sephora or Amazon.
♥ Project Life
WHY YOU NEED THIS: Because your time is precious, and you’re really too busy to scrapbook. But you still want to print & save your photos, and maybe there are a few things you want to remember about them. Project Life is really just a big photo album with journalling cards to help you document your life. It’s scrapbooking for us busy folks. Take a photo, print your photo, fill out a little journalling card and BAM! you’re done. Best part? It’s all color coordinated, there are 4 different themes to choose from, and you can order the pieces individually to get what works for you.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: Check out Becky’s website (creator of Project Life) for a full list of products. The one I have (in my list above) is the Amber theme with the old binder. Now all the binders are new & even better quality! I’m just waiting for everything to get re-stocked so I can order mine for 2012.
♥ Vera Bradley Tote Bag
WHY YOU NEED THIS: It’s the perfect big tote to toss anything you like into it. I use mine just for work Monday thru Friday. It fits my lunch bag, my planner, my makeup pouch, my wallet, and a whole lot else. I have the “Vera” style in “Suzani,” which I love because the color is so versatile— black, brown, tan, and pops of color.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: On base at the PX. But Vera is sold everywhere. Lots of Hallmark stores or Crabtree & Evelyn carry Vera. There’s also the Vera Bradley website.
♥ Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch
WHY YOU NEED THIS: Rose gold is beautiful, and such a nice change from silver. It’s a lighter, pinky gold, so not as brass as solid gold watches come off. I wear it with gold, silver, white gold, anything. It adds a little flair to any outfit!
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: This one was a birthday gift from Joshua… though I’m pretty sure he got it at the PX. Check in store at Macys or online at Amazon or Zappos.
♥ iPhone 4S
WHY YOU NEED THIS: Best. Phone. Ever. My favorite thing about it? The 8 MP camera. Yuhhh… it takes incredible photos. Next favorite thing? How easy it is to access email, Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, and my blog list. Next? That I can organize my apps into little groups. I have a group of utility apps, music apps, health & fitness apps, finance apps, shopping apps, and entertainment apps. Seriously. You don’t know what you’ve been missing until you have this.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: Best Buy Mobile. But it really doesn’t matter. It’s the same price everywhere. Get the smallest size (16 GB), it’s all you’ll need.
♥ Sperry Top-Sider Nassau Boat Shoes
WHY YOU NEED THIS: The warm-weather version of boat shoes! Suede, cute tassels, and leopard print soles. What’s not to love?
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: On base. They’re also on sale at Zappos now. Snatch them up quick!
♥ Urban Decay Naked Palette
WHY YOU NEED THIS: The best palette out there for rich, smooth, neutral eyeshadows. I saw this palette about a year ago, and after reading a million raving reviews online, I had to have it. But it was backordered. So of course that meant I had to have it even more, right? When it finally became available again online at Sephora, I bought it. Then it sat in my makeup drawer for the last 9 months. I finally took this baby out about 2 weeks ago, and I’m in love. It’s everything they say it is and the shades are very blendable. Get it!
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: Online at Sephora.
♥ Organize Now! A Week-by-Week Guide to Simply Your Life & Your Space
WHY YOU NEED THIS: This book goes week by week, room by room, section by section with all sorts of tips and checklists to fill out as you go. I love that it looks like a planner— so cute. I’ve gone back to it over the years and my plan for 2012 is to conquer the whole book. The newest edition is a pretty orange color (the first was green).
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: A bookstore, not sure which since I’ve had it for so long. It’s definitely at Amazon, too.
♥ Keurig Brewer
WHY YOU NEED THIS: Mmm, hot drinks. Variety. No clean up. This is a favorite in the Ploscik house because I do not drink coffee, but Joshua does. So he gets his flavored coffees, and what do I get? Hot Apple Cider, Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa, Chai Latte, Southern Sweet Iced Tea, Brewed Raspberry Tea. Oh, so many possibilities. 
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: This was a Christmas gift last year from my daddy-o. Ours is the Special Edition B60— not sure what that means, but it has a removable tray to fit go-cups under it and 3 different brewing sizes. Check out Amazon, Target, Walmart, Kohls, Bed Bath & Beyond… just about everywhere has these babies.
10 ♥ Breaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack
WHY YOU NEED THIS: What? Don’t we all have our guilty pleasures? It doesn’t matter that I listen to this obsessively on my drive to-and-from work each day. It relaxes me. So it will relax you, too. Movie-seeing and book-reading not required.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: In store at Target while it was on sale. 
11 ♥ Jo Totes Rose Camera Bag
WHY YOU NEED THIS: It’s the prettiest, girliest, most functional camera bag ever! At $89, it’s one of the most affordable, too. My Jo Tote fits my Canon camera, 3-4 lenses, and all of my regular purse contents so that I only have to take this with me when I’m going out & about with my camera. Love, love love.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: Online at JoTotes. There are a bunch of other gorgeous colors & styles, too.
12 ♥ Tupperware Vent ‘N Serve
WHY YOU NEED THIS: Um, hello? Who doesn’t like to keep their food fresh? Haha, really though— this is my favorite Tupperware. They’re microwavable containers and they are FAB for leftovers. The next day, I can pop it straight into the microwave and voila! No extra dirty dishes. I know Tupperware can be expensive, so if you’re in the market to invest in some— this is my #1 choice. 
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: I hosted a party with my mom a couple years back, so I got the full set at a huge discount. Definitely do it that way to save the most money.
13 ♥ Hobo Lauren Clutch
WHY YOU NEED THIS: It’s a double frame clutch wallet that holds all your IDs, cash, cards, phone and even lip gloss! I got this after reading the amazing review on PinkLouLou’s blog. I wanted a neutral color so I got it in Stone. I love that it’s my wallet but it’s also a clutch, so I can carry it in my purse or on its own.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: LouLou is right about shopping around. I got mine on eBay! 
14 ♥ Ugg Bailey Button Triplet Boots
WHY YOU NEED THIS: They are like slipping your feet into heaven. I really never got into Uggs because they were so ugly. Then, just a month or so ago, I tried on my first pair ever— barefoot. They were so comfy they became cute. So cute, they are my new favorite boots. Love.
WHERE I BOUGHT IT: Also on base, at the PX. Definitely shop around for these… I paid nowhere near the $200 price tag on the Ugg website!

Trending

Lately I am loving:

♥ Feathers in my hair (on a headband— no fuss & super transitional!)

♥ My new red Filofax (in Adelphi red with my favorite new Vera Bradley pen)

♥ iPhone 4S (how did I go so long without one of these? I feel so CONNECTED)

♥ OPI Silver Shatter nail polish (over OPI Black Tie Optional)

Registry Wish List

{Lenox Simply Fine Chirp 4-Piece Place Setting}
With my bridal shower fast approaching, Joshua and I have been tidying up our registry at Bed Bath & Beyond. Let me just say, registering is soooo overwhelming. I kid you not. I don’t even know how people register at more than one store. My bridesmaids scolded me on not having enough items, so we went back and registered for more. And more. And then some more. Now we have 175 items, whoo hoo! And a guest list of 120.
In case some of you brides-to-be find registering equally intimidating… or for those of you who just like shopping for pretty things… here are a handful of my favorites that Joshua & I registered for. It will be exciting to see if we receive any of these items. And if we don’t… we just may be going on a little shopping spree of our own.
My first favorite thing that we registered for is this Lenox set of fine china, above. I love the colors, love the birds, love everything about it! I can picture us having intimate dinners together with this set, and hosting large family suppers for holidays and special occasions. I’m just so in love with the print… I even registered for the entire bathroom ensemble that matches!
{Lenox Simply Fine Chirp Fabric Shower Curtain}
Next on the list, we are in desperate need of pots and pans! In my last few apartments, I had hand-me-downs from my family. When I moved home for a year to save some money, I gave it all to other family members in need of it… namely, my cousin and brother. When Joshua & I moved in together, we bought a cheap (I’m talking $14 on clearance) pots & pans set at Target… it’s completely awful. The pans are misshapen, the lids don’t fit, everything cooks unevenly… ugh. Having this set from Calaphon would be quite lovely:
{Simply Calaphon Non-Stick 10-Piece Cookware Set}

Next up: cutlery. Who doesn’t love a nice set of knives? Right now, we’re using a Target set my Daddy Dearest bought for me when I moved to Cleveland after college. It’s quite good, and has lasted me the past 4 years, but it in no way compares to or has all the bells and whistles that this Henckels cutlery set does. It’s so expensive, but so beautiful. Definitely would last us from now until eternity!

{Henckels Four Star II 7-Piece Cutlery Set}

Ohmygosh, how I’d ever love a KitchenAid Mixer. Yes, they are huge and take up so much counter/cabinet space. But they’re so useful! Especially since I love to bake… so awesome! I went back & forth deciding if I wanted a red one or a pink one. Joshua made an awesome point that I’ll be the only one using it, so I can really get whatever color I’d like. We have red appliances in our kitchen now, but I don’t intend to keep the mixer out on the counter. So pink could/will work. And it’s so feminine & pretty! What color would you choose?

{KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Stand Mixer}

I love wooden utensils. This Calaphon set would be awesome and not scratch our pots & pans! A good wooden set doesn’t get icky and lasts forever, too. We’re asking for these and a set of wooden spoons!

{Calaphon Turner Wood 3-Piece Utensil Set}

Ever since making quesadillas with my aunt, uncles, and cousins back in New York, I’ve wanted the quesadilla maker they had. It’s so easy to use and makes perfect quesadillas! I can just picture making them together with Joshua, and someday… with our kids. :-)

{El Paso Chile Company Quesadilla Maker}

My love Joshua is obsessed with this Dial-A-Drink cocktail shaker. It has a recipe dialer that turns to tell you the exact ingredients for a bunch of different drinks, including Whiskey Sours, Cosmopolitans, Manhattans.

{Dial-A-Drink Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker}

Seriously, isn’t this the prettiest trifle bowl you ever did see? I have some great recipes that would look just beautiful in this. I can just imagine serving desserts to company from it… all layered and lovely and super delicious.

{Anchor Hocking Trifle Bowl}

Another of Joshua’s favorite registry items is this flatware set. It goes with the awesome bamboo dinnerware set we want that is no longer available at Bed Bath & Beyond (but we bought 1 of the 2 sets we need when it was on clearance, and we will be purchasing the other from JCPenney’s as soon as we can!). I think the knife is ridiculous and silly, but my mom says I need to “let him win” sometimes and get the set he wants. So hopefully for Joshua, this will be it!

{Cambridge Silversmiths Larch Satin 45-Piece Flatware Set}

So as of right now, we have a full-size bed. But our plans for after the wedding are to move that bed into our guest room, and get a queen size bed for our room. We picked out the most beautiful comforter set & pillows for this future dream room of ours. It’s both masculine & feminine, and oh-so-luxurious.

{Chevalier Queen Comforter Set}

And of course, a couple of beautiful new sheet sets for our future bed! This black damask set is my favorite. Black sheets are just sexy. Really.

{Wamsutta 500 Damask Sheet Set}

Have you ever had a registry? What were some must-haves on yours? If you’re making a registry, what are you putting on it? I’m ever so curious. :-)

Gifted

“Santa” was incredibly good to me this year. He spoiled me for the second year in a row. I’m so excited for all the incredible gifts Joshua gave me, because so many of them relate to the goals and resolutions I have for 2011! We’re both really looking forward to the new year and all it is already bringing us: moving to Virginia, Joshua’s new duty station with the Marine Corps, the launch of my design business, and our wedding, to name a few! 
Here are some of the beautiful things I was gifted from my love this year. I feel so blessed and loved and thankful for not only the things he gave me, but mainly for Joshua himself. I’ve found a man that I adore, respect, and would do anything for… and I know the feelings are reciprocated.

1. The most beautiful, sparkly, diamond earrings I could dream of. Such a surprise! They were hidden in the very bottom of my stocking and the last gift I opened. I never want to take them off!
2. Domino: The Book of Decorating, to make our new home pretty! The subtitle is “A room-by-room guide to creating a home that makes you happy.” ‘Nuff said.
3. A soft & fuzzy white bathrobe! It’s soooo soft and makes me feel like I belong at a spa.
4. A gift basket full of Japanese Cherry Blossom scented goodness from Bath & Body Works.
5. The Nest Home Design Handbook, also to make our new home pretty! This subtitle is “Simple ways to decorate, organize, and personalize your place.” We’re both excited for this since it will be all our own furniture and belongings!
6. Burberry Sport perfume. My favorite scents are those with fruits & musks mixed together. This scent is perfect!
7. The Versace sunglasses I’ve been lusting after for over a year now… these were actually an early Christmas gift he gave to me on Black Friday when we scored an awesome deal!
8. A Canon 50mm lens I asked for that’s great for portrait photography, along with a UV filter he surprised me with… I can’t wait to use these for the engagement shoot I have coming up next month.
9. Lauren Conrad Style. One of my goals for 2011 is to be more fashionable and really find my personal style. Joshua, being the fashion nazi that he is, approves!
10. Another fashion book! The Lucky Shopping Manual: Building and Improving Your Wardrobe Piece by Piece. I can’t wait to read this!
11. Riesen in my stocking. Mmm. So delicious.

He also put little handwritten notes in each gift, saying some special about each one. It was pretty much the sweetest thing ever. I’m just so in love with him, and our lives together. Merry Christmas, everyone!