Holiday Gift Guide for the Millennial Woman

The holiday season is quickly approaching and with that comes the frantic thought of trying to cross everyone off of your shopping list. No need to worry, I’ve got you covered!

  1. Love Your Melon beanie or hat. First off, I can’t say enough positive things about this organization. They were founded in by two college students with a mission to improve the lives of children battling cancer by donating 50 percent of their proceeds to nonprofit partners to combat the fight against pediatric cancer. How can YOU help? Buy the millennial or any age lady in your life for that matter a stylish hat this holiday season! The ‘Black Speckled Gold Foil Hat‘ is only $35. It’s 100 percent cotton and is made in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The ‘Crimson Washed Baseball Cap‘ for $30 is another one of my favorites, naturally I would choose the red color because it’s my favorite. It also comes in a sea glass, navy, grey, and khaki color.
  2. Urban Decay Cosmetics Naked Ultimate Basics. These are all neutral, matte shades in a convenient square compact. “I love the depth of color. I personally love working with matte because it looks great every day, but they offer enough smokey colors where you can turn it into a night look,” commented Olivia Mercer. She received the pallete last year for Christmas and after using it every single day she still has not depleted the colors. It’s available for $54 at Ulta!
  3. Copper 16oz. Corckcicle Tumbler. These cups are amazing and perfect for a young professional or college student on the go. They are stainless steel with triple insulation with the capability of keeping cold drinks chilly for up to 9 hours and hot ones for 3 hours. They come in a variety of colors for only $24.95, I love the copper. However, you can’t go wrong with the classic white, black, or silver.
  4. Sugar Lips Blooming Beauty Collection. She’ll feel like she hit the jackpot when she opens these puppies up and tries them out for the first time. The lip treatment has SPF 15 providing a plethora of moisture with oils and antioxidants. PLUS, many of them are tinted with a subtle, but perfect amount of color. Shop the set at Nordstrom Rack for $38 // A usual $48 value.
  5. Hunter Boots. THE actually best. Like if a shoe could be a GOAT it would be these boots, hands down. I had wanted some for quite some time and “Santa” bought them for me last Christmas. They come in a variety of heights and colors and work great in the spring and summer on rainy days, fall season with leggings and sweaters, and transition perfectly into winter with fleece inserts when the snow begins to fall. The ones pictured are ‘Original Tall’ in black which cost $155 // they come in matte or gloss.
  6. Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Alex and Ani Bracelet. Truthfully, any Alex and Ani bracelet would make an awesome present for a millennial woman (I’ve touched on it in previous gift guides). I’m just partially to HP because after all, it’s Harry Potter. The Deathly Hallows one is $28 and comes in silver and gold. There’s also a Lumos set of 3, Hogwarts two tone option, and numerous necklaces and rings. //If the person on your list isn’t a Harry Potter fan, search for a bracelet that may have meaning to your relationship with them or perhaps a passion of theirs.
  7. Gemstone iPhone 6//7//8 (and plus) case. A no brainer if you happen to be also buying her a new iPhone is to pair it with a stylish case. Personally, I’m a huge fan of marble and rose gold is trending; this case hits both of those points while providing a sturdy, protective defense for your precious cargo. Snatch it up for $20 at Nordstrom Rack or search similar ones online. // Personally I love Amazon Prime, it’s inexpensive and arrives quickly!
  8. Memory Foam Bath Pillow. I stumbled upon this as of lately while searching my Target app and you can bet it’s on my Christmas list this year. The Spa Sensations large white pillow suction cups onto the tub for optimal relaxation, what’s not to love? Oh, and it’s on sale for $16.14!
  9. Wet Hair Brush. These IntelliFlex bristles are miracle workers, helping to glide through white, tangled hair with ease without the hassle of using products…OR worse, ripping out chunks of your luscious locks. There’s countless colors and designs to choose from for just $9.99, I’m a fan of the plan light wood option.
  10. Aromatherapy Diffuser. It converts water and oils into mist to both humidify whatever room it’s placed in, but diffuse the scent while preserving health benefits. The one pictured is a ‘NextGadget BPA Free Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser’ for $42.99 on Amazon Prime. There’s so many good ones to choose from, it really just depends on the decor in which room you plan to place it. // Here’s a couple other options from Kohl’s — ‘Ellia by HoMedics Soothe Essential Oil Diffuser for $39.99‘ and ‘Serene House Aura Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser for $59.99.’
  11. Essential Oils. The 8 Essential Oil Set pictured from Amazon has eight essential oils that can be used for aromatherapy, custom massage and body oils, diffusers, vaporizers, oil burners, inhalation, perfume, blends, spa, home care and cleaning products. So many options!
  12. Maria Shireen Classic Design Hairband Bracelet. There’s nothing worse than having a hairband on your wrist in a professional setting, at a fancy event, or on a daily basis for that matter when it doesn’t fit right with other bracelets and jewelry. This solves that issue. It comes in silver, gold, or rose gold for $45 a piece OR you can buy the trio set for $120.
  13. Cozy Slippers. These Abound Mellanie Faux Fur Pompom Slippers from Nordstrom Rack for $24.97 come in burgundy, grey, black, and blush. Here’s another Pom Pom Slipper option for $9.99!
  14. Bath Bombs. I freakin’ love baths. After a long workout, day, or week it’s nice to take an hour or longer and just relax. Not only do they offer a relaxing vibe and sometimes calming scent, but they’re uber fun. // Shop bath bombs at Ulta here.
  15. Ivanka Trump’s Women Who Work book. I don’t care what your political beliefs are, I think Ivanka has great insight on women in the workforce. It’s a fabulous read for young professional ladies in need of a little extra motivation in their careers and life in general. // Buy the hardcover copy for $20.80 from Barnes & Noble.
  16. Starbucks Gift Card.
  17. WOLF Caroline Leather Travel Jewelry Case. It’s always tedious to throw jewelry into ziplocks or perhaps in a travel makeup case when on-the-go. Necklaces get tangled, earrings get lost…it’s just not a good situation. This black leather, quilted case is so cute and compartmentalized perfectly to fit everything in an organized manner. // Buy it from TJ Maxx for $39.99. Also, here’s the same case in red.
  18. Charcoal Face Mask. This ‘Origins Active Charcoal Mask’ for $27 is heaven in a small, squeezable tube. “Bamboo Charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers, White China Clay absorbs environmental toxins, Lecithin dissolves impurities. Skin looks clear, feels perfectly pure.”
  19. Waterproof bluetooth speaker. This ‘Soundbot Water Resistant Bluetooth Speaker‘ is $14.48 and comes in white, green, blue, pink, and yellow. It provides high definition sound with up to 6 hours of playtime when fully charged. Not to mention, it is compatible with both Android and iPhones, tablets, iPods, MP3 players, and other bluetooth capable devices.
  20. A watch. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with buying someone a nice, classic or perhaps trendy watch as a gift. It’s a classy, statement piece that truly never goes out of style and is extremely useful (even in the cell phone attached world we live in today). Any neutral color one is a wise choice. In particular, I love gold and rose gold tones; especially this ‘Skagen Rose Gold and Beige Women’s Watch‘ for $49.99 from TJ Maxx.

Gifts for the Millennial WomanComments, questions? Leave your thoughts below, I’d love to hear them! Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram @CamerasAndCoffeeBlog.



Redefining “Thankful”

It will never happen to me.

They’re normal thoughts that inevitably cross our minds when we encounter or hear of a tragedy, accident, or unfortunate event that happens to someone else.

As I was driving home to Wisconsin Rapids on Tuesday, November 22 for an extended Thanksgiving weekend with family my mindset on how loosely I use and feel about the rather emotionally packed word, “thankful” completely changed-just in time for the true value of the term to sink in the hardest it ever has before.

I knew it had been raining for the good part of the afternoon and the forecast called for more rain into the evening hours.  I checked the weather outlook, the temperatures appeared to be well above freezing (abnormally warm for this time of year).  So I decided to hit the road as planned after I finished on air in the six o’clock news.  The highway was fine from La Crosse to Tomah, as I pulled off I-90 and decided to go through McDonald’s for a burger and fries after realizing my hunger needed to be met before the rest of the trek home.  I scarfed down my burger and snacked on my fries as I got back on the road, shortly there after turning onto Highway 173 towards Babcock.  If you’re at all familiar with this road, you know that it’s built on a former main line for the Wisconsin Valley Railroad, traveling through central wetlands, and seemingly never ends.  I always joke that my biggest fear is breaking down, running out of gas, or getting into an accident on this stretch because (1) I’m afraid of the dark (2) It’s practically a scene straight out of a horror movie, but I never imagined something would happen.

About 10 minutes into that long, desolate stretch of highway, I called home to let them know my whereabouts and talked to one of my younger brothers, Ridge.  I joked about being stuck behind a semi truck (which always seems to happen on that road) and told him I should be home in about 30 to 40 minutes, even though I was most likely further out than that (I always underestimate just how long it takes to travel on that stretch and then make the drive from Babcock, through Nekoosa to Wisconsin Rapids).  As I hung up and set my phone back down into my cup holder, I had this odd, eerie feeling as if something wasn’t right.  For a fleeting moment I thought “What if I don’t make it home?”  I know it sounds so peculiar, but now, reflecting back it was as though God was trying to warn me.

For a few minutes I thought back on my fairly decent track record with driving and my one accident as a junior in high school that wasn’t my fault.  Those thoughts were fleeting as my attention quickly turned to how excited I was to get home, surprise my 17-year-old brothers with an early Christmas present tickets to the Badger, Gopher football game on Saturday, and to spend time with my loved ones.

I was driving under the legally marked speed limit off 55 miles per hour, had both my hands on the steering wheel, was not using cruise control, had my seat belt properly strapped across my body and buckled tight, and was singing Dan + Shay’s new song, “How Not To,” when the unthinkable happened.  I hit a slick spot on the road, catching slush under my tires I began to fishtail.

I remember trying to turn my steering wheel in an effort to straighten myself out on the narrow roadway while gentling pressing the break as to not make matters worse, but the situation escalated nonetheless.  My jeep slid sideways into the other lane before tipping into the ditch on my passenger side and flipping upside down.  Someone asked me if I was screaming as that would be their initial reaction, but the truth is I can’t remember exactly what was said other than “No!”  I know as I began sliding I started to say, “No…no…no…” and as the ditch became more apparent my tone, volume, and urgency escalated into a yell and a slight cry as I put both my hands up to the ceiling to brace myself against the roof of my vehicle.  As I felt myself flipping and heard the crunch of my vehicle against the quiet marsh ditch, my only thoughts were, “Please God, let me make it home to my family.”

It all happened so fast, but rather slow at the same time.  The thoughts that passed through my mind in that fleeting moment and the images of those I cherish most that flashed before my eyes are things I will never forget.  Before I knew it, I was upside down, looking around my vehicle in a state of shock I reached for my phone that was now lying on my windshield (thankfully) still plugged into the outlet charging (keeping it from shattering or flying around my vehicle to an unreachable spot).  I immediately called 911, letting them know I was somewhere in the middle of Highway 173, had went off the road, and that I was okay.  While talking to dispatch, a light abruptly began shining through my driver’s window.  Shaking, I stretched out to roll down the window.  It was a man who had been traveling behind me and watched the accident unfold, a UW-La Crosse student.  He tried to open my door, but was unsuccessful.  Thankfully, he was able to open my back passenger door as I unbuckled my seat belt, crawled into the back seat and texted my dad, “I went off the road on 173, I’m fine. You’re going to want to come.”

I turned to look at the front seats to see items that were sitting beside me just minutes ago floating in water.  I began grabbing bags and handing them to him, as I attempted to calm myself down and embrace the fact that, “I’m okay, I’m okay.”  He told me to take my time as I attempted to joke about how I over packed and now it’s an inconvenience in more ways than me making multiple trips out to my car to leave my house.  He helped me carry my bags to his car as we sat in the heat attempting to warm up, waiting for police and first responders to arrive.

When fire fighters and responders arrived on scene they checked to see if I was okay, I just kept saying, “Yes, I’m fine,”  looking over at my vehicle in disbelief that I was indeed, fine. They left, calling for a tow truck, leaving me with a local first responder as I continued to wait for police and my dad.  I sat in the truck, tearing up on and off as I attempted to wrap my head around what had just happened.  I was texting my best friend, roommate and dad when they arrived on scene.  I relayed to the officer what had happened, watched the tow truck flip my Jeep over, pull it out of the ditch, and up onto the bed of the truck as I saw my dad pull up behind the officers I walked over hugging him and both my brothers as tight as I could.

My vehicle was towed to Rapids and aside from my engine being waterlogged and a few minor (barely visible) dents on the roof and passenger side it’s fine too.  I’m still in disbelief and rattled at what happened and most likely will be for quite some time, but the important thing is just how thankful I am that I am okay.  A variety of outcomes could have followed the incident and I’m grateful for the way things unraveled that evening (and for my incredible guardian angels that were watching over me). The scare of the unknown allowed me to reflect and realize just how incredibly thankful I was in that moment and am over this holiday season and at this point in my life, not just over Thanksgiving.  I have a loving family who are truly my best friends, incredible friends and connections scattered throughout the state and in different parts of the country, and a job I love that allows me to meet new people, share stories, and positively impact the community I’m blessed to still call home.

Whatever God has in store for my future or for your future is unknown, that’s why it’s called the future.  While it’s nice to plan, dream, and wish for things you want to accomplish and obtain, sometimes it’s best just to stop and appreciate what you have right now, in this moment-your life.  Personally, there’s countless goals I hope to achieve, places I want to travel to, new adventures I would like to try, and certain people who I pray to have by my side through it all.  But the truth is, who knows if any or all of those things will actually happen.  Trials and tribulations have a way of showing us what really matters and guiding us in the direction we’re supposed to go.  Learn from mistakes, find the strength to move forward from hardships, and trust in His plan.  I may not know with certain what’s going to happen from year to year, monthly, hourly, or even from minute to minute.  However, one thing I do know for sure is that this moment is something you can’t get back.  Listen closely to others, create new memories, cherish old memories, hug your loved ones tight, and love unconditionally in the present because things can change in the blink of an eye.