Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hello & a Mini-Update.

Life Lately & Happy Holidays

Hey guys! I hope all of you had a magical week filled with lots of holiday cheer. We had a very understated, low-key Christmas celebration & now we are moving onto celebrating the New Year. Amongst all of the holiday hustle & bustle I had a bit of an oops-accident moment & fell down a few stairs at our house. Luckily I wasn't hurt too badly, but I do have a new fashion accessory that I will be rocking for a few weeks...

All I know now is that I do indeed have a broken foot, I should be seeing a specialist sometime in the next week & then I will know more about the exact length of time I will be looking at for my foot to fully heal.
In the meantime I will be returning to my regular blogging schedule with Monday Muses, Fall in Love Fridays & all of the beauty-filled loveliness throughout the rest of the week. :) 

Until my next post, here are our Holiday Cards for the 2013 festive season. If you are a friend or family member who is wondering where your card is...well, it should be arriving sometime within the next week as I haven't had a chance to send them out yet. Whoopsie. Broken foot & stuff, you know...

as always, love from alaska

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fall in Love Friday. Acceptance. Kindness. Love. & Hope.

Acceptance. Kindness. Love.

Well you guys, it has been a while since I have posted anything for my Fall in Love Fridays series. When I initially started posting these thoughts I wasn't quite sure how long they would last or how many of them I would be doing. It has been nice to take a bit of a break from them & focus on my holiday posts & Gift Guides, but this week I really feel the need to get back into love on Fridays & share this post with all of you. 

 When it comes to people in my life there are few that have been around forever. I used to fret & wonder if perhaps it was me, if maybe I was just too flawed & I wasn't meant to have people who would walk through all of life with me. Since moving to Alaska & building a family with Justin I have come to the realization that it is far from being about quantity, it is certainly about quality. Now I keep my circle of friends small & embrace the amazing family I was gifted with. Over the years I have fallen out of touch with people I thought would of been in my wedding, I've become close with others that I never would of imagined sharing life with & I've accepted myself. 
I've accepted that I am irrational, impulsive, blunt, a bit of a pain, slightly OCD, creative, ridiculous when it comes to organization, an over-thinker, a worrier, & most of all I'm a person who deserves to have people in her life that INSPIRE her instead of DRAIN her.
I have let go of friendships that were toxic & held onto those that have given me room to explore & grow. I've stumbled & made more mistakes than most, but I'm no longer afraid to hide them or to shelter those I love from my weaknesses.

 I'm layered with imperfections. 
I am beautiful.
I will not apologize for who I am, I will apologize when I have been wrong.
Often I feel like we are not kind enough to ourselves. We do not give ourselves enough love when we succeed & are quick to judge our souls when we struggle or fail. 
Give the essence of your beauty enough kindness to flourish & pass it onto others...

 Be kind. Unconditionally. 
Find a way to be kind to everyone you meet. Whether your religion is the same. Regardless of their morals. Be kind.  When it is hard to see eye to eye with another person. When you feel frustrated by someones actions. When the words to fight come easier than the act of kindness.

In a world where it is so much easier to be mean & cruel. In a world where hatred flows from every possible social media outlet...let yourself be loved. Love yourself & give that love to others. When someone close to you struggles, reach out & give them the love you needed when you were hurt. If you see someone taking a lot of awful comments on social media, leave a positive note. As women, we especially need to stop cutting each other down & pulling each other down by the roots of our hair. Our journey as women is hard enough...we need to be united in love & grace as sisters, not ripping each other apart with hate & negativity.

If you are fighting a hard battle right now, no matter what it is. I want you to know that tomorrow is on it's way. There is light beyond your darkness. You have survived the eye of the storm & your sunshine is about to arrive. When the world seems to be against you & the worst of yourself seems to have taken control...there is hope. 

Accept that you are different. 
Be kind to your soul.
Love when it seems impossible. 
Have hope for your future.
Be accepting of others.
Share your kindness, always.
Love yourself at your weakest. 
Hope when you are afraid...

as always, love from alaska

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nikoli's Gift Guide (Gifts 6 Year Old Boys)

Gift's for a Strong Willed, Outspoken, Active, Dirt Loving, Adventurous Boy

Hey guys! I know the holidays are so rapidly approaching & this weekend really marks the end of the shopping season, so I wanted to make sure that I shared Nikoli's & Danielle's 2013 Gift Guides. Much like Lilliana's, which you can see here, I'm going to share a few things that we are considering purchasing for Nikoli this year. I will be shopping in Anchorage over the weekend & I will be keeping an eye out for these items as well as some other things...

As I mentioned in Lilliana's Gift Guide we are planning on getting each one of the kids their very own subscription box. Nikoli is so curious by nature & anytime we have done an sort of science based projects together he has loved them. Appleseed Lane sends 2-4 science & math based projects monthly & the boxes are designed for kids ages 4-10. I've put a lot of thought into which box to get for each kid & plan to have them each pick 1 project out of their box to do alone with me/Justin/both of us & 1 to do with their siblings. That way each kid will be able to get some one on one time with Justin & I, as well as share the fun of their box with their siblings. 

While my mom was here in November we were discussing some of the AMAZING presents she always found for my brothers & I. Among them there was a Rokenbok set for my youngest brother Paul, while we were talking about it we could not remember what the exact name of the product was. Somehow I stumbled upon the Rokenbox site during my gift search & I'm so glad I found it! Nikoli absolutely loves building with his LEGOS & I think this will only expand his love of building & creating things. Plus I think Justin is going to seriously love playing with Nikoli & his Rokenbok set. This is a great product that you can continue to add to each year. I only hope that I can find it somewhere locally because I don't think it will arrive by the holidays! 

Cranium Cadoo Board Game
We love playing board games with our kids, but I will be the first to admit that Candy Land & Shoots & Ladder have gotten a little...old. I have been searching for a new fun game to get each of the kids this year & I think Cranium Cadoo will be a perfect combined gift. I would link to a reliable site to purchase from, but I can not really find one. There seem to be some for sale on amazon & ebay so I'm not sure if the game is no longer being sold or made or what. I will keep an eye out for it this weekend & hopefully I will be successful in finding one because I think we will have so much fun playing this together. I LOVED the original Cranium game & spent countless hours in high school playing it with friends, so out of all of the games I could select for the kids I'm going with this one, partially for the nostalgia & partially for the laughs.

I'm certain that I want to get each of the kids an Interactive Story Buddy from Hallmark this year. For the last 3 years at least I have gone into Hallmark to pick out their ornaments to put in their stockings & I spent at least 20 minutes checking these little creatures out. I finally feel like the kids are old enough for the concept of these & that it will increase their passion to learn how to read. For Nikoli I selected the Jingle puppy as he loves our dogs so much & currently his favorite movie is 8 Below. If you are looking for a great toy to send to a grand-kid, niece or nephew check out Hallmark's Interactive Story Buddies Line or their Recordable Story Books. 

Lincoln Logs Sets 
Lincoln Logs, if you've ever stepped on a LEGO & thought that hurt...haha! I have so many memories of playing for hours with my brothers with Lincoln Logs. We built our dream cabins, farms, houses, & other buildings. I think that Nikoli will love having a set of his own to build with. I may just try to find one big set to give to all 3 of the kids. Luckily, all 3 of them are great about sharing with each other (97% of the time) & they enjoy building with LEGOS together so hopefully the same will happen with Lincoln Logs. This is a great gift if you are looking for a good, strong gift that will last for a very long time, as long as no dogs or puppies find them! 

Anytime I see anything with moose or Alaska printed on it, I feel a strong urge to purchase it. Then you add it to a pair of really adorable little boy pajamas & well the must-have cross over is made! Hopefully I can find these locally as a lot of stores near us carry Carters pajamas. If not I will just place an order online & start obsessively checking shipping notifications & updates. 

Land of Nod-The Great Indoors Sleeping Bag 
Land of Nod has some of the most adorable sleeping bags that I have ever seen! These are perfect for sleepovers & camping nights in. Since they are not rated in any particular way for weather or temperatures I wouldn't plan to take these tent or truck camping. I want to also find a small-ish tent that I can set up for the kids & I in the living room so we can camp in over the weekends this winter. With how long our Alaskan Winters are I'm always trying to find new ways to keep all of us occupied & having fun! 

Other Items I'm Going to Keep an Eye Out For:
-Socks (The boy always needs socks!)
-Small LEGO Sets

I hope all of you are having an amazing week & that you will be able to finish your holiday shopping without too much stress or BAH-HUM-BUG-ING! 
as always, love from alaska

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

25 Random Things About Me!

25 Random Things About Your AlaskaLove12 Blogger

In honor of my birthday coming & going yesterday, I thought it would be fun if I share some things about me with all of you. Since I turned 25 I thought that would be the appropriate number of things to share. I know not every one loves these types of posts, but whenever other bloggers post them I find them totally interesting. So here we go...25...

1.) I use the words obsessed, literally, whatever, ridiculous & obnoxious way too much. Also, the phrases; "I totally love it!" "That's sketchy" & "Are you freaking kidding me?!" are over used in my language of crazy. 

2.) One of my dreams is to own a huge house somewhere so that all of my family, friends & all of Justin's family can stay together. Along with this dream I would also like to have the funds to bring everyone to the giant-family house so that no one has to stress out about traveling or plane tickets. 

3.) Teal is the color of my lifeblood, every single shade.

4.) I create insane scenarios in my head that leave me upset, terrified & sad.

5.) I'm a mild gamer. I stayed up for 48 hours straight to beat Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell & it took me 4 months to complete Super Mario Galaxy. Probably if I had more time in each day & didn't love reading to my kids so much, I'd be a full on gamer.

6.) Sci-Fi is my favorite genre of TV & movies. Doctor Who to Sherlock, Eureka to Warehouse 13, Lost Girl, Haven & Torchwood.

7.) I fell in love with make-up, hair & all things beauty related when I was in children's theater because I loved how easy it was to transform someone into a character using make-up & by doing their hair. 

8.) I'm not extremely great at DIY projects, but I do want to continue to learn & do more.

9.) I can organize the crap out of anything, but come to my house on any day & there will be baskets of laundry (clean & dirty), dirty dishes, & scrap pieces of paper scribbled on everywhere.

10.) I only eat pudding when I'm feeling homesick & especially when I'm missing my Grandmother.

11.) TGIF, I miss you.

12.) Sparkles. Glitter. Shiny. Sparkle. Glitter. Shine.

13.) While I initially went to college to become an athletic trainer, then switched to an English Major, then dropped out....all I want now is to be an entrepreneur & happy.

14.) Reading is my favorite relaxing activity of choice.

15.) I hope that one day Justin & I are blessed with the opportunity to grow our family. 

16.) Country Music makes my heart a good way.

17.) Our theme for our wedding was When Pigs Fly, & now we have a dozen flying pigs as decor scattered around our home. 

18.) My children & Justin can make me laugh harder than anyone else. Each of them have caused me to snort, & have some form of a liquid beverage come out of my nose.

19.) I participated in competitive sports from childhood until college & I can't wait until my children start play sports & I can be a coach. 

20.) I believe any woman deserves to feel her best & most powerful with or with out the edition of make-up or hair styling products.

21.) While I'm a total beauty girl & a bit high maintenance when it comes to my skin care routine I would take off & live in the back-country for months again in a single heart beat.

22.) I do not like peas. Not even a little. Not even at all.

23.) Coffee has the ability to take me from a raging-bear-woman in the morning to a slightly calmer-more grounded individual with the first sip.

24.) Aside from family & friends of course, one of the things I miss most about WI is being able to go to professional sports teams games. It really bums me out that my kids can only experience the Brewers once each summer & right now I don't think they will ever tailgate at Lambeau.

25.) I'm so grateful about having the last 24 years of my life & I look forward to what the next ones will bring. 

Well guys there are 25 random things about yours truly. ;) 

as always, love from alaska

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lilliana's Gift Guide. (Gifts for 6 Year Old Girls)

Gifts for a Creative, Quirky, Fun Loving 6 Year Old Girl

With Christmas rapidly approaching Justin & I are making the final lists of gift ideas for the kids. Admittedly, we always seem to wait until the last moment to finish our shopping & this year is no exception. I did post a mini-gift guide back in October that you can check out here. We are still considering everything that is on that list, & have found some other great options as well. I will be doing a gift guide for each one of the kids & since Miss Lilliana is technically the oldest her Gift Guide is up first! 

Justin & I both love our subscription boxes & the kids are always so excited when they arrived we decided that it was time for each of the kids to have their own box of fun each month. The Happy Trunk offers 2 types of subscriptions, one for children aged 3-7 & one for children aged 8-11. For the first grouping each month the box is filled with 2-3 projects that are art, craft or science related. If you are planning to subscribe to the second age grouping, each box will have 2 projects, one that is science based & one that is arts & crafts related. The 3-7 age groups box has a theme each month & the 8-11 grouping does not. 
I love that this box has a combination of science, arts, & crafts activities for both age groups. Lilliana will have so much fun doing each activity & I know we will both learn something new each month from her Happy Trunk. I've mentioned it before, but the Alaskan Winters are long & while we try to get outside for at least an hour or two daily there are some days where the weather just doesn't allow for it. On those days we will now have the kids subscription boxes to keep us busy! If you are interested in getting or gifting a Happy Trunk subscription you can do so in 1, 3, 6, or 12 month increments. Check out past boxes & pricing here.

This set made some serious waves when it hit the market, as it is geared towards inspiring young girls to pursue a future as engineers & scientists. While there are many arguments about allowing young girls to play with toys such as Barbies versus something more educational based like GoldieBlox, I believe that much like most things in life there needs to be balance. Lilliana's favorite colors are pink & teal & she loves playing with Legos as much as she does dolls & Hello Kitty. :) She would love playing with this & I know we would have many wonderful hours together learning & exploring. Unfortunately, this is sold out on the GoldieBlox set is retailing on amazon for almost $85! Luckily there are a couple stores in Alaska that are supposed to have it in stock so I will be reaching out to them tomorrow. If this is a must have on your list this year, I suggest checking out local toy & educational stores in your area.

Sometime this year both of our girls fell in love with Monster High & these characters have been on top of their lists to Santa. This set of 5 is only available at Target & there is another version with 5 of the other characters that you can check out here. I will be keeping an eye out while I'm shopping for anything that is Monster High related, from bedding to Wii games these stylish, friendly monsters are everywhere! 

When it comes to all things beauty, my girls adore the world of make-up, skin-care & nail-products as much as their momma does! Of course neither one of them are allowed any actual make-up at their ages, but they love lip glosses, balms & nail polishes. I always wanted one of these toy vanities when I was little & I know this will make Lilliana dance & jump & squeal on Christmas morning when she sees it under the tree. My only hesitation with this particular version is that there are not any customer reviews of it on amazon at this time. I usually do not purchase a thing without reading dozens of reviews! I will probably take the risk on this one though. :) 


Each year we get the kids a couple of new pairs of pajamas & long-underwear at Christmastime. We give each of them a pair to wear to bed on Christmas Eve & then the rest of them magically arrive from Santa. This adorable nightgown is from Oshkosh B'Gosh & you can see it here. I also really like this 2 piece fleece snowman print set from the Children's Place.  

How cute is that adorable little puppy?! We have officially reached our doggie max here in the Leader house with 3 full grown pups, but that doesn't mean the kids have stopped asking for a new puppy. I think Lilliana would just love everything about Bell, from her bright blue eyes all the way to her little bell on her collar. Bell's story is about a pampered puppy who finds herself in a snowy new world. If you are interested in other Interactive Story Buddies from Hallmark, you can check them all out on their site. :) 

Have you found a more adorable sleeping bag?! When I saw this I checked to see if there was one for grown ups! Lilliana does have a sleeping bag that we use for camping & traveling. But this one would be perfect for sleepovers & weekends when all of us camp out in the living room together. You can opt to have it personalized or to go without the name on the bottom white stripe. 

There are a few other items that I will be keeping my eye out for while shopping locally. I would like to find a good sled for Lilliana as well as an assortment of books, warm winter clothes & some art supplies. :) 

as always, love from alaska

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Photo Sessions with Kids, Tips, Tricks & Tiny Prints Photo Cards!

Kids, Holiday Photographs & Tiny Prints

With Christmas & New Years Eve right around the corner I wanted to share with you some of my tips, tricks & advice for photographing your own children for the purpose of holiday cards or other photo related gifts. I'm going to share with you some of the photos I've captured of our crew as well as some of Tiny Prints amazing holiday cards that you can use to take your photo & turn it into something wonderful & memorable to send to your loved ones. 
As I've mentioned before I have been a fan of Tiny Prints & Wedding Paper Divas for a long time. Tiny Prints had an amazing selection of fall & Thanksgiving themed cards that inspired me to take my camera, my kids & a beautiful fall day & capture this...

 All it took to snap that photo was a sunny fall afternoon, 3 well rested & fed kids, some outfits we already had, my camera, lots of patience & even more caffeine. I took about 300 pictures that day & out of those there were about 50 I felt happy with, 10 I could choose from for the purpose of our cards, & this 1 photograph fit the best with the card I loved! 

Of course Thanksgiving has come & gone. Mother Nature has spoken & the mall Santa's have arrived making it the prime time for holiday themed pictures & the perfect time to send out a Holiday or Christmas Photo Card from Tiny Prints. 
Before you can select a card to work with, you need some photographs & while the idea of taking your own pictures may seem frightening & overwhelming, it is something anyone with a camera can do! Plus, if you have been having your photos professionally taken this could save you some $$$ for booking future bigger family shoots with your favorite photographer. ;) 

1.) Plan ahead. If you are wanting to capture the majority or all of your photos outside, pay attention to weather forecasts. I had intended on taking all of our photos outside, then it was -2* & then it rained for a week & now the snow looks awful. So, I had to change gears & photograph inside in front of our Christmas tree. Even if you plan ahead, prepare to have to be flexible & accommodate some factors that are out of your control. Now, some things you can certainly control...
This was one of four decent photos I was able to capture outside. I took this in our front yard & the kids were such troopers because it was below zero!
2.) Select a color palette. At first I wanted everything to be black, white, silvery & sparkly. It didn't work out(I'm saving hope for New Years photos). For our Christmas pictures I went back to the drawing board & after a trip to Target I had decided to go with a holiday I accented with black & some touches of sparkle for the girls. 
3.  Learn how to use your camera. This is especially crucial if you are a novice photographer like I am. I shoot with a Canon Rebel t3i with the stock lens. In order to take these pictures I did some online research & took notes on what settings would be ideal for capturing the best pictures I possibly could. If you do not have a powerhouse dSLR camera just use what you do have or borrow a camera from someone you know. For the purpose of Christmas Cards you could even make an iPhone photo with some filters work! 
4. Select your backdrop. Now there are hundreds of ideas for a background setting & I'm betting that so many of you are way more creative than I am & can come up with something much more spectacular than an Alaskan Christmas tree! If you are going to be using lots of lights like I did, refer to tip #3 & make sure you research what settings are ideal. Do the same if you are going to venture outside for your little photo session.

5. Making your kids smile & laugh. The reason I firmly believe in taking my kids pictures myself, is because I know what to do or say to make them laugh. There isn't a photographer telling them to say cheese & they are comfortable being themselves with me. For the Be Merry card above, I was burping. Yes, burping, while it is frowned upon in social circles & around our dinner table, it always makes the kids laugh. You want to capture authentic smiles & laughter, not forced posed moments. The card above was me asking the kids to make some cute faces. While I think they look adorable there isn't nearly enough glee or joy on their faces! Figure out the best way to make your kids truly laugh & then be ready to capture the moment. :) 

6. Timing. If you have younger children who have a nap-time plan to shoot your photos at a time when they are well rested. I wouldn't recommend taking pictures an hour before when they are supposed to be napping. I have found that our best pictures happen after breakfast, usually we have to break for a snack in the middle of our session & then I can capture some more adorableness. 

 7. Brace yourself for imperfections. Due to the settings I needed to use to be able to shoot pictures directly in front of the Christmas tree there were quite a few semi-blurry pictures, slightly blurry pictures, & each of the kids had some bloopers from closed eyes to tongues sticking out. Taking pictures of your own kids is tricky, it will probably take a couple photo-shoots for you to find a rhythm that works for all of you. Allow yourself some time to edit the pictures you love & don't be afraid to delete the ones you don't. The worst thing that can happen is that your first attempt is a total failure. If that happens, take a deep breath & plan to take some more pictures another day. 
8. Have Fun! Allow your self to relax & just have fun capturing these memories! The more relaxed you are, the better your pictures will be. Your kids can probably sense your tension & frustration, so find a way to keep things light & filled with holiday spirit. We listened to the soundtrack to Disney's Frozen during our session & I allowed the kids frequent breaks to get up & get their wiggles out. If you are feeling really brave set yourself up with some artificial snow & let the kids throw it around for some really fun pictures! While it will probably leave your space a bit of a mess you will have some amazing pictures captured & your kids will have had fun taking pictures! 

9. Pick your card(s)! I had the hardest time selecting just 1 card to send to our loved ones. Tiny Prints has such a beautiful selection of cards, from simple & understated to sparkly & chic there is something for everyone. There are multiple editing options as well as a variety of layouts to choose from on just about every card. :)
 For those of you that are receiving a Leader Family Christmas Card this year it is among this selection I've featured. The pictures are just mixed up on other cards so I'm not giving everything away.

I'm going to show you some of the other wonderful holiday items Tiny Prints has this season. So if Christmas Cards are not for you, there is still something to suit your holiday spirit. 

1. Personalized Holiday Gift Tag Stickers 
Glitter & Glee Personalized Gift Tag Sticker

2. Holiday Invitations 
 Whether you are hosting a Christmas Party or a New Years Eve Bash, Tiny Prints has a beautiful variety of cards for you to choose from! 

3. Easel Art. 5x7 Glossy Easel Art. Christmas Countdown, Dry Erase Board
 I just love this picture of Danielle & her favorite snowman head ornament! This easel stands up & would be an adorable gift to give to a kid so that they can count down to Christmas next year. 

4. Personalized Mugs. 
 If you have a coffee drinker or a tea lover on your gift list, check out Tiny Prints selection of customizable/personalized mugs. This option doesn't feature any photographs, but you guys know I can't pass up anything that has some sort of chalkboard-texture on it & I love a good monogram! There are tons of other choices of mugs that allow you to add a selection of photographs & more vibrant colors. Most of the mugs you can choose between black or white, 11oz or 15oz. :) 

5.Thank-You Cards. 
 After the holidays has passed it is always polite to send out a little Thank-You card to those who helped make your celebrations a little more festive. This is my favorite one from Tiny Prints collection this year. Can you guys tell that I'm loving everything gold, sparkly & shiny this season? Or any season...haha! 

You can find everything I've featured from Tiny Prints here.

I hope that this post helped those of you who are planning to take your own holiday card photos this year & that it inspired some of you to pick up a camera & hold your own mini-family photo session. Like I mentioned above, I'm a total novice when it comes to photography. I have 2 semesters of high-school photography class under my belt & lots of hours spent behind the camera capturing our family's special moments. If you have any, tips, tricks or advice to share please do so! :) 

Of course I had to share with all of you the photos that just didn't make the cut this year. :)

 as always, love from alaska



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Etsy Gift Guide. Handmade. Homemade. Vintage.

My etsy addiction grows more & more all of the time. I love searching for handmade, homemade or vintage items. I'm a bit of a collector when it comes to etsy pieces & 99% of the decor from our wedding was purchased on etsy. Now whenever the holiday season approaches I turn to etsy to find gifts that are personal, well made & unique. 
Each of the items in this gift guide are available in various shades, prints, colors, flavors or shapes. Making them the perfect gifts for you to customize, personalize & give to all of the most special people on your shopping list this holiday season. 

For the Beauty Guru
Magnetic Makeup Palette Eye Shadow Storage Organizer-Water Resistant by another soul
I loved my Z-Pallete & had gotten months of use out of it, until I made the mistake of leaving it out on my bathroom counter & one of the kids decided to play the Perfect Storm while I was taking a shower downstairs. Luckily, the only casualty was my Z-Palette. Due to it not being water-resistant at all the bottom was completely soaked & is now all wrinkly & soft. None of my shadows were damaged, but I have been looking for a water-resistant version ever since. A few weeks ago I stumbled across the anothersoul shop & then I saw that there were gorgeous, water-resistant palettes available! One of these would make the perfect gift for the make-up loving person in your life. You could also purchase one & then order some single shadows from mark or MAC to jump start someone's collection. If these two prints aren't what you're looking for, just head over to the anothersoul shop to see all of the beautiful, unique, & chic designs.

For the Handbag Lover
Leather Laptop Briefcase in Cranberry Red Leather from JennyNDesign
Do you have a true handbag lover on your gift list? Perhaps a working mom, student, or entrepreneur powerhouse? This leather bag from JennyNDesign is a work of something wonderful. I'm on the hunt for the perfect leather bag myself & I think I have found just the one. This bag is large enough to carry a 17' laptop & all of your daily essentials. I think this would also be great as a chic-not-so-baby-styles-diaper bag. Plus leather is an investment & this bag would last forever! 

For the Fitness Fan
Yoga Bag in Asian Snake Tattoo with Zipper Pocket by shantidesigns
If you have a fitness fanatic or health conscious nut that you're shopping for this holiday season, a unique bag like this would be loved & appreciated. I'm not usually a fan of skulls, but this print is just so cool that I would love to have it myself! I know a few friends who would like a yoga bag with a personal touch like this one, if the print doesn't suit your gift recipient check out shantidesigns for more options. :) 

For Your Favorite Little Kidster

Red Elf Pointed Wool Hat Bulky Chunky Wool Kid Knit Hat by Solandia
Giving gifts to the kids in my life is one of my favorite things about the holidays & I just can't get over how adorable this hat is! Kids are only little & young for such a fleeting period of time. Right now if you have little ones in your life who love wearing what you pick out for them or have a one-of-a-kind sense of style, this elf-pointed creation is for them! It's just so adorable! It also would serve a functional purpose & be quite warm on the chilliest of winter days. 

For the Hostess
Assortment of French Macarons from Sparkles Macaron
French Macarons have been having a moment for a while now. Sparkles Macaron is based in California but they will ship an assortment of the little delights to the pastry lover on your gift list. You can select from a 12, 24, 48, 60 or more assortment & there are a variety of flavors to pick & chose from. These would make a great hostess gift! 

For the Glamourous Lippie Lover
Wooden Lipstick Holder/Organizer
If you have a lipstick lover on your list, you've just found the perfect gift! While I'm a huge fan myself of acrylic style organizers, there is something so grown-up & modern about this wooden lipstick holder. It will hold 8 lipsticks & 8 liners, from the looks of it you could also store roll on perfumes, eyeliners, mascara & other small beauty items. This would be great for pulling your current favorites out of your collection & showing them off, after all there are some gorgeously packaged beauty products! 

For the Newlyweds or New Home Owners
Alaska Shaped Wooden Cutting Board by AHeirLoom
AHeirLoom creates wooden cutting boards shaped like all 50 states! I think this would make a great gift for any newlyweds or new-home-owners. It does take about 2-3 weeks for your order to be completed, so if this is a must have for someone on your list...I suggest making a "gift certificate" for the board you purchased & then have it mailed directly to your recipient. Of course with etsy, you can directly message the seller before you purchase to find out the exact time it will take for your product to be made & shipped. 
For the Interior-Decorating-Goddess
Moroccan Vintage Handira Wedding Blanket from BoutiqueMaroc
Out of all of the things in this Gift Guide, this is the one that I WANT. I became obsessed with Moroccan Wedding Blankets when I was planning our wedding & I still haven't stopped dreaming about having one of my very own. Each blanket is handmade & is meant to bring good blessings to the bride on her wedding day. If you have a true interior-decorating-goddess to shop for, a Moroccan Wedding Blanket is just the right gift! They do come with a rather steep price tag so you can always check out the rug, pillow & other options that are inspired by this traditional piece. 

For Your Far Away-Loved Ones
Holiday Crochet Snowflake & Wood Ornament by Woodstorming
This is such a beautifully simple piece. I can not believe those snowflakes are crocheted! The detail is just breathtaking & so so winter-wonderful. I would love to have this hanging in my own home right now. I think this would make a great gift for a family member or loved one who lives far away & isn't always able to make it home for the holidays. That way, each winter when they take this piece out to decorate they will be fondly reminded of home & the ones that love & miss them. I really like to try to give gifts with a bit of sentimental meaning & I think this one would help create a special moment between the giver & recipient. (This piece is also available with black snowflakes!)

For the Bacon LOVER
Kitchen Bacon Home Print by KITCHENBATHPRINTS
If you are wondering where all of the manly-men gifts are in this guide, I have already posted one that you can check out here. I just recently discovered this print from KITCHENBATHPRINTS & I think Justin would love it! Bacon, much like French Macarons is having a serious moment among foodies & breakfast lovers alike. Give this print along with some bacon from Broadbent's & you will have one happy bacon lover on your hands. 

For Your Niece, Little Sister or Group of Besties
Snow Globe Style Glitter Mix Filigree Cocktail Ring from DollVicious
These rings are so festive & glam, I would love to wear all 4! These would be great for the super-stylish-you-wish-you-could-raid-her-wardrobe-niece or sister on your list. Or if you have a super close group of girl friends, your Carrie-Samantha-Miranda-Charlotte close group, these are a refreshing option to the friendship-bracelet trend. 

For Your Mini-Artist
Large Crayon Case with Pad of Paper by Mama Made
This is a must-give-gift for my 3 kids! They are all little artists & this would be perfect to have for on the go days & to take to restaurants, waiting rooms or other places where I need to keep them polietly occupied for more than 3 minutes. Each case comes with spaces for 16 crayons (Crayola crayons are included!), a pocket for finished artwork, a slot that can hold a 50-sheet 5"x8" notebook (also included!) & a secret pocket, perfect for holding stickers or other little things. :) Mama Made also has a great line of cloth-towels, reusable snack bags & on the go-functional must-haves for kids & mommy's alike. 

For Your Mother-in-Law or Aunt
Cranberry Fig Handmade in Alaska Cold Process Soap by Meadow Creek Boutique
Meadow Creek Boutique is one of my favorite Alaskan-Made companies. I have purchased numerous bars of soap & each one is just as amazing as the next! Cranberry-Fig is the perfect festive soap bar & I think it would make a great stocking stuffer or gift to an Aunt or Mother-in-Law. You can also choose a 3 bar of any kind set in the Meadow Creek Boutique Etsy shop & I would recommend the Blue Energy (My favorite!) & Indian Summer soaps as well. Both of those aren't as festive as the Cranberry Fig, but there are lots of options for you to choose from! 

There is my 2013 Etsy Gift Guide! Do any of you shop on Etsy frequently? Which shops are your favorite? :) 

as always, love from alaska

*None of these images are my own. All of them were taking via screenshot from the shop they are from on etsy. This post was not sponsored in anyway & all of the views/opinions expressed are solely my own.*