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The Pocketful of Joules Holiday Gift Guide of Things I Actually Own and LOVE

9 Dec

I’m not a huge gift guide kinda girl. The last time I did one here on the blog was 2017 (and I still stand by everything on the list if you want to check it out here) but usually blogger gift guides are full of a bunch of crap they want you to buy so that they can earn money. And they don’t even HAVE or USE any of the stuff! They just pin a bunch of expense stuff so that they can make money off your clicks.

#sorrynotsorry #truthhurts

However, I do really like to recommend things that I love… so I decided to put together this list. Every single thing on this list is something that I have and use and LOVE. For real. And I have included links to each item, because in a few weeks I’ll have to pay next year’s blog hosting fees and every little click helps keep Pocketful of Joules up and running.

For those of us who are still scouring the web for some holiday gift ideas, I put it all in one place. I hope you find it helpful!

Stocking Stuffers I love:

The best $8 black opaque tights. I got them from Target and have worn the same two pairs a ton of times (I wash them in the washer on cold and let them hang dry). They haven’t stretched, run, or gotten holes. And they are EIGHT DOLLARS! Here is my initial review and here is a direct link to them on

The best no-show socks for sneakers. I have them and use them with my Rothy’s slip-on sneakers every single time I wear them. I’ve been throwing mine in the washer and dryer for almost a year and they are holding up perfectly. Here’s my initial review and here is a direct link to them on Amazon.

The best wooly insoles for toasty toes. I hate to have cold feet in the winter, so I have favorite kind of insoles for boots AND a favorite pair for loafers/flats. Once again, I’ve put both kinds of insoles through the paces and they have proven time and time again that they are worth the $10 – 12 investment. Here is my initial review and here are direct links to the boot insoles and the loafer/flats insoles.

The best nail color strips EVER. I love the look of painted nails, but I’m really rough on my hands. I’ve done gel manicures for events, but always end up ripping the polish off my nails and then having terrible looking nails until they grow out. My favorites are the glitters because you notice any chips a lot less with all the sparkles. I highly recommend: Tokyo Lights, Russian Around, Dripping in Diamonds, Coming up Rose Gold, and anything similar (they are always coming up with new designs). Here is my initial review and here is a direct link to the Color Street website (I’m not a rep).

Awesome Gifts:

A Home Chef subscription. We’ve been using Home Chef for over a year and we LOOOOOOVE it. It is a great way to try new meals and a great way to find the time (and energy) to cook healthy meals during the busy workweek. You can read my initial review here and my one-year follow up review here. And here is my referral code for $30 off your first order (and I also get $30).

My favorite face masks. If you have a beauty lover in your life, you might want to give them some fun face masks to play with! My absolute favorite is the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. A less expensive option is a 4-pack of Karuna Hydrating sheet masks but be sure to check your local TJMaxx and Marshalls, because I’ve found them there for even cheaper! Here is my initial review.

A cozy cardigan for snuggling. If you have a cozy-lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with a Barefoot Dreams cardigan. I’ve had mine for about 2 years and it is still the item I reach for most as soon as I walk into my house in the winter! Here is my initial review and here is a direct link to the cardigan I own on the Nordstrom website.

My favorite shoes. I’m still a huge Rothy’s lover and have tried ALL the different styles at this point: flats, points, loafers, sneakers, and Chelsea boots (aka hightop sneakers). The pairs that get the most action in my wardrobe are: Chili Red points, the Camo Cat sneakers, the Wildcat Chelsea boots and the Spotted loafers. If you do plan to give Rothy’s as a gift, I recommend getting either a physical or virtual gift card (find them here), as sometimes it takes a couple tries with sizing. Here is my initial review and here is a special code for $20 off your first purchase.

Favorite Kid Gifts

The Bad Guys book series. Jack loves this kids comic book series so much and we’ve read them each at least twice by now. The newest addition to the series is coming out right before Christmas, so it’s a perfect time to add it to your kids stocking (or under the tree)! Here is my initial blog post on the series and here’s a bundle of books 1 – 5, book 6, book 7, book 8, book 9 and a preorder link for book 10. We own 1 – 9 and Jack will be getting book 10 for Christmas.

The Dogman book series. Another great comic book series of hardback books! Jack started reading these with me last year and they are still a huge winner in our house. Here is my initial blog post where I talk about the series and here is a boxed set of book 1 – 6, book 7, a preorder link for book 8. We own 1 – 7 and I’ve preordered book 8 for Christmas this year!

LEGOS. You can NEVER go wrong with LEGOS. Jack has been obsessed with them basically since birth. We started with the megablox, upgraded to Junior LEGOS and are now on the larger LEGO sets. For Christmas this year, Jack is getting a Minecraft LEGO set which combines two of his loves! I ordered this one.

Is there something on the list that you’ll be adding to your wishlist?

Disclosure: I didn’t receive any of these items for free and decided to recommend them because I actually like them all. There are some Amazon and ShopStyle links, and referral codes in this post where I could earn a (very) small amount of money for referring someone. This is TOTALLY NOT why I recommended them, but a nice little benefit to me if you decide to click through.

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My Christmas Wish List

2 Dec

Each year I have a terrible time coming up with a Christmas wish list. The problem is, if I want something… I stalk it until it’s on sale and then I just buy it for myself! So, when Christmas rolls around, I don’t know what to ask for. However, around this time each year my mom asks for my Christmas Wish list… so I had to think up something.

I’ll put together my list of things I’ve bought over the last year and loved for you soon (maybe next week?), but for now, this is my exact list I gave my mom. Maybe it will help some of you figure out what you might want!

Gray Stripe Tablecloth, $17.99 (find it here) and Chevron Place mats, $4.99 each (find them here).


We use a tablecloth on our kitchen table because it’s pretty beat up and I can’t commit to spending a bunch of money on a new table. I have a couple I rotate between, but could really use a new one to add to the mix. I picked out this tablecloth and place mats from Target because they are neutral, but still pretty fun.

CleverMade EcoBasket Reusable Grocery Tote Bags, 3 pack, $29.99 (find them here)


We shop at Aldi, which means that we have to bring our reusable grocery bags with us each time. I have a few from a previous school fundraiser that I’m currently using, but I don’t love them. I did a ton of research on Amazon and found this 3-pack of collapsible bags on Amazon and they seem like exactly what I’ve been looking for.

L.L. Bean Wicked Good Camp Moccasins, $79 (find them here)

Source: L.L.

I pretty much ask for these same slippers every 2-3 years because I wear them from September to May. I love the L.L. Bean version because they are super fuzzy and warm inside and have an actual sole in case you need to run outside to take the trash out. They also go on sale around the holidays, so don’t pay full price!

Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla coffee, $6 (find it here)


I know it’s not very fancy, but it’s awfully useful. Both Travis and I make a pot of Dunkin Donuts vanilla coffee every single morning and I just can’t start my day without it. I feel like I’m buying it ALL THE TIME, so I figured I’d stick it on my Christmas list!

Hard Cider Tasting Pack

We loooove hard ciders, so a mixed tasting pack of a bunch of different ciders to try would be pretty great! Most of the liquor stores by us allow you to mix your own 6 pack, so I’m hoping for a cornucopia of cidery goodness.

There was nothing super crazy big or cool on my list, just a bunch of useful odds and ends. I actually love receiving items that I can immediately put to use… so this list is just a little bit of perfect for me.

Bonus Husband Round: As I said, I’m terrible to shop for — which includes my husband trying to buy me gifts. Last year I told him to take Jack to Homegoods/TJ Maxx and spend $50 on random stuff I’d like and it worked out wonderfully. This year, I’m planning to do the same thing… but I also realized my favorite pajama pants were starting to get a hole.

As it turns out, Soma is having an online sale right now so I ordered myself a few new things and will be sticking them under the tree from my husband. It’s a win-win for everyone!


Here’s what I ordered: Embliss Knit Lace Trip Sleep Top, Cool Nights Lace Flutter Sleeve Top, Lace Trim Sleep Pants, and Cool Nights Pajama pants. Sizing tips: I’ve found that the pants tend to stretch over time, so even though I typically have a large butt I get a medium in Soma pajama pants. I stick with larges for tops though!

What do you have on your list this year?

Disclaimer: This post contains ShopStyle and Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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Spoilers for the Winter 2019 Causebox

25 Nov

One of the things I really like about Causebox is that they release spoilers before the box is out. This is pretty awesome because if you’re an annual member and not thrilled with the spoilers, you can pause your box!

They just released the Winter 2019 Causebox spoilers, so let’s check them out together:

Imani Collective Knit Throw Blanket, $120 retail value


First up is this oversized throw blanket in either slate or cream (annual subscribers get to pick and monthly subscribers will be surprised). We have throw blankets ALL OVER our house and I am of the mind that you can never have too many, so bring it on! I’m going to pick the slate gray version pictured above.

Choice 1:

  • Samara Luxe Jewelry Box, $42 retail value
  • Artisan Direct Gold Servings Spoons, $39 retail value
  • SIIZU Convertible Mittens, $33 retail value

For the first choice, annual subscribers get to pick between a travel jewelry box, servings spoons, or mittens. I don’t really have much use for any of the items — I already have gloves AND mittens, and I don’t travel with much jewelry, so after some back-and-forth I decided to pick the gold serving spoons.

Choice 2:

  • VITIV Daily Hair Vitamin, $30 retail value
  • PUR 4-in-1 Correcting Primer, $33 retail value

This was another tough choice – I had to pick between a spray in hair vitamin or a correcting primer. While I have plenty of hair conditioning stuff already in rotation, I decided to try out the primer simply because I’ve never tried a primer before. I’m not really a full-face makeup person (usually I just do my eyes and chapstick), so I thought it might be fun to give it a try.

Choice 3:

  • Machete Holiday Hair Clip Set
  • Foxy Originals Mix & Match Stud Earrings
Source: Causebox Instagram

This was an easy choice… I hate the hair clips! They just look like something that you can find at Walgreens for a dollar, so I did not want them in my box. As for the earrings, I basically never change out my diamond studs… but if I did, these are awfully cute. I’ll either gift these or try them myself at some point.

Every season, members receive a limited edition curation of products from the leading socially conscious brands. Some of them are designed exclusively for CAUSEBOX. Each box is designed and filled with love. From the original artwork on the outside of the box, to the lovingly handmade products that fill it up, there is love in every detail. The cost is $49.95 per quarter if you subscribe annually, or $54.95 per quarter if you subscribe by the quarter. I don’t have a referral code to give you, but if you click on their website you might see a pop-up with a promo code on it:

Are you a CAUSEBOX subscriber? What is your favorite spoiler for the Winter box?

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

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Home Chef: 1 Year Check-In

19 Nov

I did my initial full review of Home Chef about a year ago. If you need a refresher, you can find it here: Reviewing Home Chef.

Home Chef wasn’t my first try at meal service deliveries though, as I had previously tried Blue Apron and Hello Fresh too. So, I thought I’d do a quick one-year check-in and let you all know if we are still loving it.

Short answer: YES. We still love Home Chef and are sticking with it.

Each week, I have 21 meals to choose from. TWENTY-ONE options! There are tons of meals every week: poultry-based, seafood-based, meat-based, or just veggie-based. We typically stick with a 2-person serving size, but if I know it’s something Jack will also love I’ll bump it up to 4-servings and have leftovers. However, many times the 2-serving portion totally stretches enough to include our 2nd grader too (so keep that in mind if there are smaller kids in the house).

Let’s take a look at one of my upcoming orders:

Here are the three meals I picked to be delivered on December 17th:

  • Sweet and Spicy Coconut Mahi-Mahi with charred baby box choy and pineapple rice
  • Roasted Red Pepper Steak Linguine with spinach and Parmesan
  • Shrimp Bruschetta Risotto with Asiago and grape tomatoes

Our total for this week is $63.70 for the three meals.

And here are alllll the other options I had for that same week:

Pretty impressive, right?! I could have added meals, protein packs of meat, salads for lunch, or even a smoothie!

We’ve been using Home Chef for over a year now and I will typically get 1 – 2 orders delivered each month. I love the variety in the options and that we get to try lots of different dishes in the comfort of our own home. I also make sure to keep an eye out for their “Home Chef Express” options which take 10 – 15 minutes to make when I know I have a busy week coming up.

Give $30, Get $30 Referral Code
If you would like to try Home Chef, you are welcome to use my special referral code: Those who sign up using the referral invitation will receive a $30 discount off of their first order and I will earn $30 in Home Chef credit towards a future order.

If you do decide to try Home Chef, please let me know what you think! A little tip though, when you sign up for your first delivery go in and immediately “pause” your second delivery date. That way you can try out a box and decide whether you want to keep the subscription before having to pay for a second box. Then, if you don’t like it just hit “cancel” and you won’t get any more boxes or be charged more than your initial payment.

{Disclosure: This was not a sponsored review. I paid for my Home Chef subscription with my own money. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own. If you choose to use my special referral promo code, I will receive a credit towards my future Home Chef orders. For anyone who does decide to use the code… my tummy thanks you!}

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