21 Gifts to Shop Small This Holiday Season
David and I are serial entrepreneurs. A funny example of this is when we got married for the first time. I understood that I wanted to make individual soap / scrub drops for sale...

David and I are serial entrepreneurs.

A funny example of this is when we got married for the first time. I understood that I wanted to make individual soap / scrub drops for sale to luxury hotels. We bought a bunch of supplies to try and craft them, but after much trial and error the plan failed before I could become the Fancy Soap Queen.

We had several projects beyond that. Some success, but the majority did not succeed for one reason or another. I think it's important to share this because it's easy to see someone's successes and forget all the times they've fallen face down.

All this to say that I have great respect for small businesses and the labor of love from which they are born. To put my money where I want to talk, this year I'm challenging myself to do more of my holiday shopping at small businesses.

Don't get me wrong, I really use and love Amazon. I will also continue to share stuff that I get from Amazon as it really is a modern convenience that makes a big difference. But I think if I can redirect 40% of my holiday purchases to supporting small businesses it could make a big difference. Do you think if we all cut some of their spending and focused it on small local businesses? Pretty cool!

For this list, I combed through a hundred recommendations that you sent me Instagram. It was a tall order because there were so many amazing companies to support. To be as useful as possible, I selected the ones I would buy / buy on my own. Hope this list connects you to some amazing freebies from awesome entrepreneurs.

Good shopping!

  1. Shopbofemme - An artisanal jewelry store based in North Carolina that makes beautiful pieces in a bohemian + feminine style.
  2. Today's gift - Transform precious recipes or handwritten family notes into tea towels and handkerchiefs.
  3. Southern Elegance candles - Simple and elegant candles with aromas to transport you to a simpler time no matter where you are from.
  4. Rubi and Lib - One stop shop for all your party or hosting needs, specializing in adorable printed invitations, gifts, personalized dinnerware and Christmas ornaments.
  5. DIG + CO - They describe their products as makers of fine tools and objects made to love big and last a long time. Their products are so beautiful and for me they inspire a simple lifestyle linked to nature, family and health.
  6. RK woodworking - The cozy bowl! I shared this post my mother-in-law gave me on Insta Stories and you all loved it. You put your bowl in, then microwave to warm it up, then you can remove your bowl and enjoy it without burning your fingers!
  7. The pink redhead - She creates the cutest and most playful floral prints, stickers, cards and stationery.
  8. The Bogg bag - Combining style and functionality, these bags are sturdy, durable and even washable.
  9. The cookie crate - Spread the joy all over the United States by delivering delicious, freshly baked cookies.
  10. Lilywrap - Wrap anything, anywhere with these beautiful, reusable and versatile wrappers that can easily tackle any wrapping project, from a bottle of wine to a football appeal.
  11. Beer greetings - They offer creative and fun packages to give beer (or other drinks, like a hot chocolate kit!) For any celebration.
  12. Heirloomed collection linen - A company focused on keeping things simple, offering aprons, table linens, pillows, kitchenware and vintage items.
  13. Dot and army - Provide durable, everyday cloth napkins (their cocktail napkins would make a great gift), wraps and blankets and kitchen extras.
  14. Sally and Sage - Believing that food and travel are some of life's greatest joys, she brilliantly offers portable spice kits that would be perfect for anything from camping and airbnbs to condo stays!
  15. ChappyWrap - Made from an easy-care cotton blend, these blankets are soothing and warm and proclaimed to be the best blanket you'll ever own.

charlotte small business gifts

I had to create a special section for some of my favorite local small businesses in the Charlotte, NC area. These women-owned businesses put their heart and soul into what they do and it shows and shines in the products they offer.

  1. Stella Sweet Treats - Located in the Lake Norman area, Bonnie is a gifted artist who not only creates the most detailed and delicious cakes for all your celebration needs, but she also has DIY cake kits that come with everything you need to make magic in your own kitchen. Order for her Christmas Cake Kits Will be available soon!
  2. Alpine Mercantile - Located in Mooresville, Alpine Mercantile is a supplier of good, clean stuff. From plant hangers and tea towels to candles, soaps, bath salts, grains and seeds, you can find a gift for anyone on your wishlist here.
  3. The batch maker - Cristina is more than a masterful baker, she has created a community based on the love of people, which she does through her pastry shop. Its bakery, located in West Charlotte, is worth stopping by for a decadent cookie or slice of cake and coffee, but you can also place orders online.
  4. Sniff and save - Jena creates soy, coconut and beeswax candles that not only have the most beautiful aromas, but also support a good cause. 10% of its profits go directly to supporting rescues and local dog shelters.
  5. Jessica Beaver Creative - Jessica creates beautiful silhouettes that can be printed and framed or printed on greeting cards. I love that she can make heartwarming figures of children, but also of animals. It is a timeless way to capture and hold a precious moment in time.
  6. Evans Family Farm - If you are looking for local, honest, pasture-raised meat, you must visit the Evans Family Farm. They offer online ordering and even home delivery of their meats, poultry, grass-fed, non-GMO, raised and processed cruelty-free. You can support them by buying them your holiday meats or by purchasing a gift card for someone you love!

Although this season is about more than gifts, I know how many of us love to show our love through this avenue. What a blessing to be able to give twice - through the gift itself and also by buying from a small business, for whom it means so much. Good shopping! <3>


It’s easy to get confused when it comes to health and alimentation. Even qualified experts often seem to hold opposing opinions. Yet, despite all the disagreements, a number of wellness tips are well supported by research. Here are 27 health and nutrition tips that are actually based on good science.

These 8 practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating and can help you make healthier choices.

The key to a saine diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how réactive you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.

If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you’ll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight.

You should also eat a wide range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.

It’s recommended that men have around 2, 500 kcal a day ( 10, 500 kilojoules ). Women should have around 2, 000 kcal a day ( 8, 400 kilojoules ). Most adults in the UK are eating more calories than they need and should eat fewer kcal.

Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Choose higher fibre or wholegrain varieties, such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on.

They contain more fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer. Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the kcal of fat.

Keep an eye on the fats you add when you’re cooking or serving these types of foods because that’s what increases the calorie content – for example, oil on chips, butter on bread and creamy condiments on pasta.

It’s recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Getting your 5 A Day is easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit ?

A portion of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables is 80g. A portion of dried fruit ( which should be kept to mealtimes ) is 30g. A 150ml glass of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie also counts as 1 portion, but limit the amount you have to no more than 1 glass a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage your teeth.

You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Most people should be eating more fish, but there are recommended limits for some types of fish.

You need some fat in your diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you’re eating. There are 2 main types of fat : saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.

On average, men should have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day. On average, women should have no more than 20g of saturated fat a day. Children under the age of 11 should have less saturated fat than adults, but a low-fat diet is not suitable for children under 5.

Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados. For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee.

When you’re having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. All genres of fat are high in energy, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in energy ( measured in kilojoules or kcal ), and if consumed too often can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.

Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies. This is the type of sugar you should be cutting down on, rather than the sugar found in fruit and milk.

Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars.

More than 22. 5g of total sugars per 100g means the food is high in sugar, while 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means the food is low in sugar.

Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much.

About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in the food when you buy it, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and condiments. Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1. 5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt.

Adults and children aged 11 and over should eat no more than 6g of salt ( about a teaspoonful ) a day. Younger children should have even less.

As well as eating healthily, regular exercise may help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions. It’s also important for your overall health and wellbeing.

Read more about the benefits of exercise and physical activity guidelines for adults. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health.

Most adults need to lose weight by eating fewer kcal. If you’re trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more réactive. Eating a saine, balanced diet can help you maintain a saine weight.

Check whether you’re a saine weight by using the BMI saine weight calculator. Start the NHS weight loss plan, a 12-week weight loss guide that combines advice on healthier eating and physical activity. If you’re underweight, see underweight adults. If you’re worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice.

You need to drink plenty of fluids to stop you getting dehydrated. The government recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses every day. This is in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, lower fat milk and lower sugar drinks, including tea and coffee, are healthier choices. Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks, as they’re high in kcal. They’re also bad for your teeth.

Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar. Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies should not be more than 150ml a day, which is a small glass. Remember to drink more fluids during hot weather or while exercising.

Some people skip breakfast because they think it’ll help them lose weight. But a saine breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health.

A wholegrain lower sugar cereal with semi-skimmed milk and fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and healthier breakfast. Further informationThe Eatwell Guide can help you get the right balance of the 5 main food groups. The guide shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group. Read more about eating a balanced diet and understanding calories.

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