10 Gifts Under $35 You Need to Buy Your Twenty-Something Gal Pals for the Holidays

Y’all!!! It’s finally Thanksgiving break for me, and I cannot wait to stuff my face with all the food, spend some much needed quality time with my family, and SHOP!

But if you’re anything like me, buying your girlfriends gifts for the holidays can be freaking stressful. As a graduate assistant who has no other source of income other than my modest stipend, buying gifts for anyone is quite challenging. I also think it’s pretty hard to buy gifts for your twenty-something girlfriends when everyone is at such different stages in their lives. I have besties who are still in college, some who just graduated and are starting their careers and/or are moving in with their boyfriends (so excited for you Ayla and Kris!!!), and others who are off getting married and having babies (wuuuut). So, I’ve complied a list of ten gifts that I think would be perfect for your twenty-something-year-old besties, and they are all under $35!!!
FinalGGgals

  • Buxom Plump and Contour Lip Trio | $20 What girl doesn’t love a good lip color? I’m obsessed with Buxom products, but they’re quite expensive (a typical full tube of lipgloss is $20). This trio is the perfect color for the fall, can be worn every day, and literally lasts forever.
  • Baublebar Criselda Ball Shoulder Duster Earrings | $29 I die over these ball shoulder duster earrings and have quite a few pairs. I’ve linked Baublebar earrings, but you can also get a similar pair of them here ($13). They’re perfect for your girlfriends who love dressing up / adding fun touches to their outfits.
  • Tarte’s Maneater Mischief Eye Set | $22 I’ve used Tarte’s Maneater mascara and eyeliner for months and absolutely love them. This gift is perfect for your makeup-obsessed girlfriends, especially those who love a killer winged eyeliner.
  • 4pc Cheers Stemless Wine Glasses | $10 This gift is a steal!! This set of four stemless wine glasses is perfect for your  wine-lovin’ gal pals who just moved into their own place! Oooooor just your wine-lovin’ besties.
  • Single Image Frame Marble Finish Black & White | $15 I love anything marble, and this frame could go with anything! I think it’s so special giving friends a cute picture of you and them, especially if you’re like me and don’t get to see you friends very often. The more personalized the gift, the better!
  •  Gilligan & O’Malley Pajama Set | $20 Y’ALL!! If you don’t buy these for your bestie, at least buy them for yourself. These are the most comfortable pajamas I’ve ever worn in my life! Don’t get me wrong, I still love sleeping in bae’s t-shirts, but these pajamas are liiiiiiife. Seriously. They’re the softest and would make such a great gift! (Also, does wearing pajamas now mean I’m/we’re #adulting??)
  • Becca Lit-From-Within Kit | $20 Get ya girls this highlighter kit and their Christmas tree won’t be the only thing getting lit this year haha. This Becca highlighter is hands down my favorite and is so pigmented. It’s also a travel size (which is what I currently own), and I think it’s the perfect size. It’ll seriously last you forever.
  • She Believed She Could, So She Did MantraBand | $35 This is one of my favorite sayings, and I think it would be such a sweet gift for your bestie, especially those who are just starting their careers or are just about to graduate!
  • Prosecco Pong | $25 This is such a fun gift for your girlfriends who love to drink / play drinking games! It would also be a perfect for a girls night over the holiday break.
  • Monogrammed Porcelain Mug | $5  I love giving mugs for presents, and the monogram adds such a sweet touch. Pairing this with some of your friend’s favorite coffee blends, giving them one of your favorite blends to try, or even adding a special holiday blend is a great, affordable option for a more personal gift.

I’m so obsessed with all of these products and hope you’ve found them helpful! I’ll be posting more gift guides on the blog soon, and you’ll be able to locate/shop them all under the “Holiday” tab on my home page. Happy shoppin’!

XO,

Ashlyn

Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So Freakin’ Done with Grad School

For those of you who aren’t keeping up with my blog or haven’t had the chance to read some of my most recent posts, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my grad program over the last year. After this summer, I was ready to drop out, but decided I just needed to finish. However, here I am with three weeks left in the semester, and I still can’t help but to feel like I’m wasting my time.

 I’ve also been MIA on my blog for a few weeks, and I really get frustrated at myself for not keeping up with it because, honestly, it’s really the only thing I enjoy doing. BUT my other “responsibilities” keep getting in the way: I have to keep up with my school work, plan lessons for the classes I’m teaching, and grade grade grade all of the freakin’ time. And on top of all this, I’ve also been battling severe anxiety and depression.

Because of this, I sought out therapy to work through my mental health issues and to help myself find clarity about whether or not I should drop out. I’ve been dealing with this internal conflict all semester, and it hit me a few weeks ago that the program I’m in isn’t going to help me be the best version of myself, give me any skills that I’ll need to be successful in the career(s) I’m interested in pursuing, and just doesn’t seem to be fulfilling in any way. And coming to this realization seemed to be making my depression even worse.

I mentioned to my therapist last week that I feel like I’m wasting my time in this program, and that I should just drop out now (even though I only have two classes left…) to get on with starting my life / career. I told her I thought being in the program was making my depression even more difficult to cope with, and I didn’t think there was anything I could possibly get out of the program by finishing it. This is the advice she gave me:

  1. Thinking that your wasting your time is wasting your time.
  2. No matter where you’re at in life, always try to find some purpose in what you’re doing.
  3. If you’re not putting 110% into what you’re doing, you’re always going to feel like you aren’t getting anything out of it.
  4. If you feel like you are wasting your time, what can you do about the situation?

Hearing this, I was honestly floored. I sat in her office, contemplative about what was I doing to make the situation better for myself. I knew I was under contract to teach for another semester, had already taken out student loans, and didn’t want to regret any decision that I would make, but I also knew that I laid in bed most weekends throwing pity parties for myself because I hated that this is what my life had come to.

I quickly realized that I was half-assing all of my assignments, put minimal effort into planning my lessons for my students, skipped classes more than I had my entire life (and if you know me personally, you know this is a huge deal), and wasn’t giving 100% in my relationship with Josh. I was living every aspect of my life in mediocrity, and I needed to stop. But how?

It’s not as easy as it seems to stop thinking that you’re wasting time when you’re truly unhappy in a situation, but until you’re giving 110% effort to at least try to get something out of whatever you’re doing, that feeling won’t change. I don’t want to look back on my time in grad school five years from now and feel regret, but I also don’t want to feel bitterness if I continue the program and still feel unfulfilled.

As the semester comes to an end, I have a lot of reflecting to do. If I do continue, what can I do next semester that will ensure that I make the most out of my classes? But also, how will I be able to utilize a degree in English in a way that will help me reach my goals after graduation? I need to ask myself why did I even decide to get this degree?

I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset that we’re wasting time when we’re at a place of uncertainty in our lives. However, it’s what we do about it—what actions we take and the positive mindset we create for ourselves—that is the only way to overcome this negative thought process. I truly believe that there is always a rhyme or reason behind where we’re at in our lives, and although it isn’t always clear, there is always something that we can learn from it. I’m still searching for that purpose, but I am trying to start giving 110% in all areas of my life (which means more blogging and doing more that makes me happy!!!) in attempt to find it.

What are some ways that you overcame feelings of uncertainty or feeling like you were wasting time? Let me know in the comments below!

Xo,

Ashlyn


*S/o to Blackbear ft. Gucci Mane’s “Do Re Mi” for the inspo for the blog title!! I’m obsessed lol.