Unique Christmas Wish List: Tried and True

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So my wish list for Christmas is very difficult to compile. I usually get what I need/want throughout the year, so Christmas becomes a time of really large purchases. Like a computer or a camera.

However, I wanted to put together a list of items that we own or already got for Christmas that I would really love to receive as a gift, had I not had them.

So it’s like

TRIED AND TRUE: Christmas Edition.

I’ll separate these lists into two categories: Elena and Lexi. Some of the items for Lexi we have already bought but she hasn’t received yet, so I don’t have the photos for except for stock images.


Unique Christmas Wish List


I am notoriously hard to shop for, because I just don’t want anything.

Here are some of the items I would gladly receive without question every holiday in any quantity.

High end Skincare: Vine Vera


I’ve been a fan for the last few years when I first tried Zinfandel and saw amazing improvement in my skin tone. Vine Vera has a line of creams made with reservatol, an ingredient derived from the skin of red grapes and is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants found in nature. Zinfandel line , my favorite, is designed to brighten and lighten your skin tone and it truly works. The new line I’ve been using, Vitamin C, is infused with Vitamin C, Vitamin A (Retinol) and Resveratrol.


The cream is rich, but absorbs very easily and is incredibly moisturizing. My favorite serum feels like a primer, because it smoothes out pores and makes your skin look perfect for make up application. The Peeling Cream is like a gel and is very gentle and is used once a week. It’s a gel like cream that goes on smoothly on your skin and a few minutes later after you wash it off, reveal brand new skin you won’t believe.


Since the creams are relatively expensive, this makes for a perfect Christmas preset that you can ask from your loved one, a splurge that actually creates real changes in your life and your appearance.


Waterproof Camera: Olympus Tough

I have wanted a GOOD waterproof camera for a while now. I’ve gone through different brands and models, unhappy with any of them and their quality. Then a GoPro arrived, but after playing with it, I was still not convinced. So right as I was about to give in and buy a GoPro, I saw Olympus Tough Waterproof Shockproof Camera. After doing some research, I was sold.

  • Bigger camera means slightly better photo and video quality.
  • Wide angle lens without fish eye distortion ( 21mm)
  • 60p movie mode, time lapse and high speed movies
  • Wifi (so you can transfer photos to your phone wirelessly) and GPS ( though I am yet to take the time to figure out the wifi feature)
  • Waterproof to 50ft, Shockproof to 7ft, freeze proof to 14F and crushproof to 220lbs
  • Has a flipout screen and a front shutter button for selfies. This has come in so useful when using a selfiestick because you can see what you’re shooting

I bought it for $290, but it’s on sale right now for $199 ( which sucks, but oh well), so it’s significantly cheaper than a go pro with better features and picture quality than some of GoPros models.


Bikinis: Khongboon Swimwear


Don’t laugh. Yes I know, it seems like such a ill-fitting gift for Christmas. Unless you’re giving that gift to me. We do live in Florida and I travel a lot and I enjoy doing things that usually require wearing a swimsuit. A self-proclaimed bikini lover.


I can never have enough bikinis. So now after discovering Khongboon swimwear on Instagram, I am officially taken. I don’t think you can do better than these swimsuits. Not only do they have unique patterns but the fit is out of this world. I’ve never had a bikini fit me so well or look so good on me.


Now they have several styles and for my body type ( no boobs, no butt, lean body), the best fitting style is this:

IMG_1075 IMG_1111


It goes by different names depending on the pattern style, so you just have to look at pictures to find it.

I just ordered a few more styles (it comes from Thailand so it takes a while), and additional bottoms to bikinis that I already have and I’m super stocked to get them. Eeeeek 🙂 I could receive a Khongboon bikini a day for a whole year a be happy.



Security: August e-lock

This is an unusual item, but I kept using it and thinking about how awesome it is, so I decided to include it as a recommendation. This could be a present for a guy or a girl. In fact, I’d like to get another one for our other doors.


August Smart Lock is an electronic lock that is hooked up to an app on your phone using bluetooth. While you can turn it manually, like any door handle, the best feature of August is that you don’t need a key. You can use your phone to open it electronically, give access to other people in your life, track who accesses your home and when, remotely open it (has to be with bluetooth range, like I would open the door for our housekeeper without getting out of bed).


I can’t tell you how many times I would be returning from our community gym to find the door locked and I don’t have the key. All I ever had to do is open it via my phone. Amazing Gift!


Fashion: Bandolier (use discount code:  fan16)

Another product that I am a dedicated fan of.

It’s a phone case that doubles as a crossbody purse and a wallet with a pocket for cards and ID in the back, and to be honest, after discovering it, I have started HATING having to carry an actual purse with me.


Before Bandolier case, I used Pong and Lifeproof depending on the situation. When I first got it, I figured I’d use it to go out where all I need is a license and a card and use other cases at other times. What ended up happening is that I completely switched to this case and refused to take it off.  I discovered the joy of not lugging a massive bag with me everywhere, because let’s admit it, having to keep track of a 3 year old is difficult enough, I don’t need to carry additional 10 pounds of stuff with me.

What happens now is that you’ll see me with this cool looking strap across my body everywhere I go. I no longer wonder where to put my phone, or where I left it, or whether I remembered to bring my wallet. Everything is here inside.


I have gotten SO many comments on it, I lost count. Aside from being incredibly functional, it just looks really fun on any outfit, especially a black dress. There are multiple styles of the strap and the case to fit everyone’s tastes, but this studded one has always been my favorite.

Since I am pretty rough on my possessions that I use frequently, I go through a Bandolier case every 6 months or so. And when I am in between cases, it’s torture. It quickly reminds me to order another one.

If anyone would purchase me a Bandolier for Christmas, I would be ecstatic because I know I’ll need another one in just a short time.



Shoes: Brian James


If you follow me on Periscope, I mentioned a few times that I am obsessed with Brian James shoes and will not wear anything else. It’s sort of hard to move back to the world of uncomfortable shoes once you’ve tried Brian James.


It’s really no surprise because Brian James comes from the makers of Pediped, but I have never been so comfortable with footwear (which would probably explain why I prefer walking barefoot when I can).

Every single style I’ve tried just fits right and doesn’t rub anywhere. So needless to say, I will never say no to a pair of shoes from Brian James.


Make up

I did a periscope on this saying how I found three make up products that work so well I am done looking. Usually, I try different make up products and colors till I find something I love.

So at this point my foundation, eyeliner and brow needs are covered with these three products. I discovered them when I was in Hawaii and needed something that would stay on all day  while I am out in the water. The foundation is water-resistant, so it’s perfect for those active days outdoors. The eye liner is waterproof despite being a gel eyeliner. And my favorite discovery, Stila Eyebrow Pencil, is a valuable find for those with light eyebrows who don’t want to look like they have eyebrows drawn on or have an angry eyebrow face. It goes on very lightly with the gel applicator and just enhances the eyebrows. First product that actually works for my face.



This year Lexi made her own Christmas list. She has remembered every single thing she asked for in the last months that we told her to wait for Christmas for and has rattled off the whole list to me   numerous times. Well, this was easy. Like last year, we are doing 12 days of Christmas

Her three obsessions right now are:

  • Legos
  • Inside Out
  • Plants Vs Zombies

Inside Out

TOMY  has a line of Inside Out characters. Lexi is obsessed with any sort of figurines and love Inside Out from the books we have been reading ( even though she refuses to actually watch the movie). Some of the items that she received:

Big Plush Talking Joy


Anger, Sadness, Fear, Disgust characters


Joy and the Headquarters playset


Joy and the Console


The playset which can be used alone or with the console is designed to actually project the memories from each of the character memory spheres onto the screen of Consciousness on the playset. You can roll the memories down the path of short term memory.

The console requires 4 AAA batteries, but once powered, the figures and the console glow when brought close to the console for a more realistic play experience. It was really magical when she was sitting next to the lit tree in a dim family room and saw Joy light up: “Mommy, mommy, Joy lit up!!!”



Biscotti and Kate Mack dress



This is more of a gift from me than one that Lexi requested, however when she saw the dress and tried it on, she couldn’t stop twirling. “I am a princess going to the princess garden”, she danced as we walked into the garden.


Biscotti has been my go to store for her special outfits for years now. There is something about their dress styles that just works for me personally. Lots of tulle, sparkle and glitter- a perfect combination for any girls who would love to look like a princess.




BUY IT: Luminous Lace Ballerina Dress



Where do I start?

So a few months ago, Lexi accidentally stumbled onto some youtube videos of Friends Lego sets. That started a current full blown addiction to Legos. Since most sets she was interested in were for 8-12 age group, at first she would have us build with her and was only excited about playing with the finished product. We slowly got her more involved with the process by having her help find pieces.

Now she  takes active part in assembling some of the largest sets and enjoys it greatly. She can build smaller sets on her own with our supervision. So that’s ALL she has wanted to do lately. Needless to say, her top  requests were more lego sets. She has asked for bunny house , Heartlake High, Dolphin Cruiser and Skyra’s Mysterious Sky Castle . She has almost completed Heartlake City, there are only a few sets left and she is asking for them for every holiday she can 🙂


Plants Vs Zombies

If anyone has ever played Plants vs Zombies knows how addictive this game can be. Lexi  watched us play it for a bit and then started playing herself. At first I was a bit apprehensive about her playing the game, but after I started seeing the defense she was building and the thought and strategy she was putting into it, I was amazed.

So now that she has been playing the game, she asked for a set of Plants vs Zombies character toys. Not sure how she will be playing with them exactly, but it will be fun. She reenacts the peashooters and the zombies at home an it’s hilarious.

BUY IT: Set 1 | Set 2


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  • Reply
    December 21, 2015 at 4:32 PM

    That first photo of Lexi in the Biscotti dress is stunning!
    My 3 year old son is obsessed with Legos as well. The bulk of his gifts are Legos. I also think he would love the Inside Out toys. He also loves a book he has but isn’t a fan of the movie. He’s more interested in talking about the different feelings. Merry Christmas!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 25, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      Yeah, that’s exactly how it is for Lexi. She just likes talking about emotions and their part is our lives.
      Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2016 at 4:28 PM

    Hi Elena,

    Thanks for sharing, Love your product review posts. I was curious, have you looked in detail into ingredients for the vine Vera skin care? I know you are into chemical free products. eWG does not have a rating for this brand. Wonder if you have looked into it at all.


    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      January 25, 2016 at 12:19 AM

      The cream is not natural or organic by any stretch of imagination, but it doesn’t have any of the big bad offenders and it really really makes a huge difference in my skin. Especially the brightening Zinfandel line.

  • Reply
    Sushanshi Gupta
    February 2, 2016 at 5:05 PM

    HI Elena,

    Totally out of the topic question, which products are you using on Lexi? Which Shampoo, body-wash, sunscreen, moisturizing lotion? I am looking for some chemical-free organic products for my daughter but could not find anything. Please recommend some. Thanks!

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