#tbt Favorite Things Gift Exchange, Part 2

You may recall my friends and I have an annual themed gift exchange every year, and this year was no exception! The theme was favorite things last year, and we decided to continue the theme this year because we loved it!

Last time my favorite things were Voluspa candles and Clinique chubby sticks, both from Nordstrom. I guess my favorite things haven’t really changed this year because I gave Simpatico hobnail glass candles in Reindeer and some hard candies I picked up in France (which are actually made in Italy and can be bought here. #touristfail).

My gifts were well received, but the fun part is always seeing what ideas others come up with! Everyone gets three gifts (we pick names out of a bowl). I received a Venti Starbucks travel cup with a gift card (already used the cup, saving the card!) from Bridget, ingredients for Lauren’s favorite grilled cheese sandwich, and a wonderful Rosy Rings Fireside-scented candle and Lollia perfume from Natalie. Other awesome gifts included a movie gift set, complete with movie tickets, wine juice boxes, and popcorn; sphere ice molds; and more delicious Seda France candles.

The other “present” that was new to me was Lauren’s selfie stick! Seriously, it’s so fun and hilarious once everyone starts having a few cocktails. I’ve included a sampling of our best photos for your amusement!

Another year, another wonderful exchange hosted by Bridget. I secretly hope we continue with the theme next year because I love sharing my favorites (I will do something different than candles, I swear!), and receiving my besties’ favorite things, too.

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VIP Paints Candle-Making Class

For my birthday in October, I asked Nate if I could buy a Groupon for us to go to a BYOB candle-making class, and he said yes!

So we recently headed to VIP Paints–with a six-pack of Anti-Hero in hand. The studio is really intimate, with artwork on the walls and shelves filled with paintbrushes and supplies just waiting to be used. The tables were already set up when we arrived with mason jars and wicks, wick holders and thermometers, and more.

Our instructor was great–helpful, informative, and kept the class moving along in a fun, relaxed environment. First, we picked out our candle color and scent as the waxes were heating up. I went traditional with light purple with a lavender scent, while Nate chose hunter green (manly!) with a citron mandarin scent. We dropped the colored chip into the hot soy wax and waited for it to warm. Then, we each poured in a shot glass full of our scent, mixed it all together, and waited for the temperature to cool to 100 degrees.

Once cooled, the soy wax could be poured into the mason jars. An important part of this step was making sure to keep the wick straight. The color lightens as it hardens, and we were very pleased with our new candles! Had to wait 48 hours for them to fully harden, though, to ensure they were ready before using them.

Would I do this class again? Definitely, and I recommend it to you, too. It’s not difficult, yet an extremely fulfilling project. I love candles (one of my favorite gifts to give and receive), so it was nice to see how they’re made to see if I could possibly make them myself. I also haven’t explored Pilsen all too much, so it was a fun way to get out for date night (there were friends and groups in our class, too) and support a local business.

What comes with date night? Dinner, of course! Our experience at DeColores restaurant coming soon…

VIP Paints
1907 South Halsted
Pilsen

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Spotlight: Favorite Things Gift Exhange

For at least 10 years my friends and I have been having gift exchanges around the holidays. Each year we have a theme for our gift giving; we started with undergarments (one pair naughty, one nice, haha), and moved on to jewelry, “as seen on TV”, beauty products, and this year: favorite things!

Here’s the gist: you pick one of your many favorite things and buy three of the item for the exchange. Then each person’s name is put into a bowl three times, and each person picks three names out of the bowl. You get to enjoy those girls’ favorite things!

So what favorites did I bring? I love candles (I have one burning as I type!), so I brought three Voluspa candles in delicious scents like persimmon and pink grapefruit. I paired those with Clinique’s chubby sticks. Ladies, you must try these–they’re both moisturizing and the color lasts. My color of choice is Richer Raisin, but I got an assortment for the party.

My gal Bridget was an excellent hostess, and I gotta say, I thought the theme was fantastic. I came home with a makeup bag, cleansing wipes, chocolate, lip gloss, nail polish, nail files, and self-tanning towels. What a fun way to try out products that are approved by those you love: your friends! Other gifts from the night included large ramekins, jewelry cleaner, and nipple balm for your lips!

The best part? Spending time with my gals, of course!

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