This post is sponsored by Bed, Bath & Beyond.

The holiday season is always a bit nutty starting with Halloween through New Year's Day, but this year feels beyond nutty. We're talking a hurricane of madness where most plans have fallen through due to sickness and work deadlines. Throw in birthdays, hosting guests and doctor visits and you can find me with the door closed practicing deep breathing. So, leisurely shopping for Christmas gifts around town as I sip a latte is but a dream. In reality, I need one stop, amazing shopping to tackle Christmas, and that's why all of our gifts for our family are from Bed, Bath & Beyond this year. They have something for everyone including our golden-doodle, Wendy. I guess you can say I've sleighed the holidays, well, at least Christmas gifts.

You have to see what I found. I even bought myself the best gift of all...(a gift that keeps on giving, of course). And, we opened up our gifts early this year, so that I could share why we love them.

ELLE: Ice Cream Maker / $19.99 - This isn't a traditional gift for kids, but it really should be. Elle's favorite food is ice cream and she loves to bake with me. This ice cream maker does all of the work for you. You just add your ingredients, and then theres a little slot to add in any mix-ins. So, this is something that your kids starting at 4 years old can pretty much do themselves with a bit of assistance measuring. It has a little storage bowl inside the machine that you can pop out and place in the freezer for easy storing. To complete the gift, you can buy a kid's apron and chef hat.

LEVI: Vtech Smart Wheels Treasure Mountain Train Set / $49.99 - Levi is really into trucks, cars and anything he can roll across the floor. This Treasure Mountain Smart train set takes things with wheels to a whole new level. It comes with a battery operated train that goes its own. The set comes with balls that he can plop through different parts of the mine onto the train. It's SO cool! Elle actually loves it just as much as Levi and she is 4. It has really is a gift they can share.

RYAN: Top Shelf Bevel 3-Piece Whiskey Set / $89.99 - Ryan is a whiskey man. We started a bar set when we were first married with a shaker, ice bucket, etc., but he didn't have a decanter for whiskey or old fashioned glasses. I thought this would be the perfect, sophisticated way to grow his tools. The beveled glass makes for a beautiful display too. We look forward to doing some holiday entertaining in the coming days, and this is perfect for it.

WENDY: Pawslife Orthopedic Step-in Dog Bed/ $59.99 - Truthfully, Wendy has not received a Christmas gift since the kids were born (yikes). Not even a special bone (oops). She is seven years old, and the dog bed we first got her is just as old, but ragged and worn out. This year we got her a new bed that is more cozy than the first. And, even though I don't like to think about Wendy getting older, I know that one day she will, and this bed will make it easier for her to get up and out of it.

ME: Nespresso Maker Bundle / $187.49 - Though this may be the most expensive gift on the list I must tell you this is a gift for the WHOLE family. Okay, more so me and Ryan, but good coffee is truly the gift that keeps on giving because I then have energy to get through my day with a smile on my face vs. a frown. Plus, we have a bit of a bad habit of frequenting coffee shops regularly, and we're really trying not to do that. Since using this Nespresso and automatic frother I haven't even thought about going to Starbucks in the past five days. It's that good, and it's going to save us money in the long run.

I also got myself this "Awesome" mug to help start my day on the right foot.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; this post contains affiliate links. 

Coffee & Cuddles


Coffee and cuddles rank in my top 10 things I love most in this life, so of course, I love this t-shirt design from Dove Tail Vintage. Simple graphic t-shirts are a huge trend right now in fashion. I love this fad because t-shirts are so comfortable and easy to wear, but I also love them because you get to know a little bit about the person before they ever speak a word.

Maybe I'll get some free coffee and a hug this morning?!...One can only hope!

These t's are super soft, and I adore the wide open neckline. They are designed to be a bit loose, so it works for my growing bump. YAY! Visit their shop today to see their other designs and get FREE SHIPPING when you enter code: avestyles.


If you want your own Coffee and Cuddles t-shirt make sure to enter the giveaway today (Monday, March 30th). To enter:

Follow me on Instagram (@avestyles) Leave a comment on my IG telling me your favorite coffee spot and who you like to get cuddles from.

Follow Dove Tail Vintage on Instagram (@dovetailvintage).


Date Night In


Whether you can't find childcare or you simply want stay in your comfy clothes, date nights at home can be just the ticket to celebrate Valentine's Day. You don't have to get all dressed up and kill your toes in heels for you special someone to find you sexy. In fact, studies have shown that men prefer women with less makeup and natural lip colors. And though they may love beautiful lingerie, on the outside, skinny jeans and a t-shirt can be sexier than a tight red dress. In light of that information, I have created a date night and a makeup look with Memebox and SN Makeup Artist to show you how to look great for a date night in.

Memebox-89 webblog
Memebox-89 webblog

1| Think like a Hepburn. Audrey Hepburn was adored by men just as much as women. She was the epitome of the classic, girl next door. Wear you black skinnies, a button up shirt or turtleneck and a pair of flats. Maybe even plan to watch Roman Holiday with your beau.


2| Vintage inspired makeup. Forget the eyeshadow and just apply a black winged eyeliner. A pale coral lip is a great complement because it gives you some color, but not too much. I love Memebox's giselle lip crayon. Simply apply around your lips. It goes on smooth and has a bit of gloss to it. It's only $7.00 and you can get it for an additional 10% off when you use the code AVE10 at checkout. This applies to any lip crayon, lipstick or lip tint product.

Memebox-72 webblog
Memebox-72 webblog
Memebox-75 webblog
Memebox-75 webblog

3| Coffee or wine, please. I don't know about your guy, but my hubby loves a great glass of wine or cup of coffee more than food. Granted, there needs to be food, but spend some thought on what you will be drinking just as much as what you will be eating.

Memebox-83 webblog
Memebox-83 webblog

There you have it! A simple, cute date night look that's comfy and sexy. PS - don't wait for Valentine's Day to have a great date night in. You can do it anytime with ease. Just don't forget your lip crayon and use your AVE10 code at checkout.

Memebox-53 webblog
Memebox-53 webblog

Photos by Michelle Herrick; art direction, styling and modeling by A.V.E. Styles, makeup by SN Makeup Artist.

Enjoying Life Sip by Sip - Cayenne & Cinnamon Honey Latte


I spend waaaay too much money at coffee shops and restaurants, especially during the summer. AVE Styles intern, Alyssa Hodson, is in the same boat. Together, we have decided to start a recipe series of our favorite foods and drinks that won't break the bank. Get to know Alyssa more and share in our yummy adventures! Waking up to the sweet aroma of coffee brewing in the morning is one of my fondest memories of when my grandparents came to visit.  My parents do not drink coffee, so it must have skipped a generation and hit me full force.  When I was young, one of my favorite parts of going to the store with my mom was getting to sample their coffee and cookies.  If you asked me how I took my coffee, I’d say there was little coffee compared to the creamer and sugar.  But now, if you asked me how I take my coffee, I take it seriously, very seriously J and on a budget.  Coffee can definitely take quite the bite out of a budget!  I was lucky enough to have Starbucks as a part of my meal plan as a college student (thanks GCU), but I am now graduated and I still need my coffee.  I may emphasize that I need coffee that tastes good and doesn’t break the bank.

So I have been experimenting at home and attempting to make coffee as good as my local coffee shop, which I do understand is quite the feat to overcome.  I used to have a cheap coffee pot that in turn gave me cheap tasting coffee.  I’ve learned so far that something as simple as trying a different brewing method or grinding the beans right before you brew may seem little, but they can definitely affect the taste of your coffee.  I decided to go shopping and was able to find a coffee press for $5 (Most of them run around $20, but I found this gem at Ross).  I would suggest buying the coffee beans whole and buying a grinder separate.  Heads up though, don’t grind your beans too small or you’ll find a lot of pieces of coffee beans in your coffee cup and not at the bottom of your coffee press.  Not very pleasant when you have to chew your coffee.  If you want to use your coffee press right away and don’t have a grinder, no worries! Just find a coarser ground coffee that you like.


Check out this link on how to use a coffee press:  http://stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/press-pot/. And this link for more information on the actual brewing method for fellow coffee snobs: http://www.sweetmarias.com/brewinstr/brewinginstr.frenchpress.php

To spice up your coffee life, here’s one simple recipe that we've tried and liked.  It's sassy and sweet with hint of cayenne pepper (the sass) and with honey (the sweet) and cinnamon to balance. You can even pour this over iced coffee if you prefer cold drinks in the summertime.


Cayenne & Cinnamon Honey Latte

For 2 cups of coffee:

1/8 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

2 Dashes of Cayenne Pepper

1 Tablespoon of Sweetened condensed milk

1 Teaspoon of Honey

2 Cups of Hot Coffee

Helpful Hints:

1)  When mixing the ingredients, try throwing the Cinnamon and Cayenne Pepper along with the coffee grounds when brewing the coffee. For example, if you used a coffee press I throw the cinnamon and cayenne pepper along with the coffee grounds in the beginning, so that they leave the taste and not the clumps of powder.

2)  Then pour the mixture over the sweetened condensed milk and honey.

3)  If you use a different type of milk, you could even try steaming it beforehand and then pouring it into the coffee.

4)  Also, these measurements are according to taste, so if you like your coffee with more of a kick, throw some more cayenne in there! If you would like it less sweet, hold the honey. The coffee cup is your canvas.