10 Secret Santa Gift Ideas Your Girls Will Love, All Under $25

Secret santa gift exchanges are one of my favorite holiday activities. There's something about keeping who you're shopping for on the down low that makes it extra exciting! In fact, there was so much anticipation between myself and my roommates that we just had to do our swap last weekend. So what if we caved in during just the first weekend in December? The only problem is that I'm still getting Elfster reminders that my gift exchange will be happening soon...

In case you're still looking for the perfect gift for your secret santa exchange or just a cool find for your bestie, here are some of my favorite, most lust-worthy items this season (all 25 dollars or under!). 

1. Tarte lipsurgence lip gloss

Though I've never been one to focus on colorful eyeshadows or time-consuming eyeliner techniques, I'm a total lipstick/gloss addict.  I love adding a pop of color and often feel that my look is incomplete without it. So, if you know a beauty guru like me, this creamy tarte gloss could be the perfect gift. It's also only $19, so you still have room to add in her favorite candy or something if you're sticking to a 25 dollar budget! I like this color in particular, because it's noticeable, yet not too bold. 

2. JUNIOR WOMEN'S BP. 'HERITAGE' PLAID INFINITY SCARF

Do you love this scarf or what? It looks so warm, and I am obsessed with the burgundy color for winter. One of my roommates put together a "cozy" themed gift box for our secret santa exchange, which I thought was such a great idea. This scarf would work perfectly if you wanted to steal that theme! 

3. Madewell marl polka dot trouser socks

These socks are so cute! They're also super budget friendly, so you've still got lots of room to create the perfect little gift bag. 

4. sugar lip polish

I've talked about my love for Fresh Sugar products before, and I'm confident that any girl would love to receive one of these items as a gift. These are the types of products that you don't know you need until you have, but once you have them...I'm such a sucker for the therapeutic lip balm (trust me, it is so worth the price), and I'm sure that would make a great gift too!

5. ban.do love potion flask

I've been seeing ban.do products everywhere lately, and I always want to snatch up all of them! I wouldn't usually think of a flask as a gift for one of my girlfriends, but this one is so fun and adorable that it might just make an amazing and unexpected gift. If you and your girls are over 21, it would also be super cute to add this to a "going out"/party themed gift box. 

6. scented candle in glass jar

I'm a big fan of candles, and my roommate obviously knows this since she just bought me one for our secret santa swap! As long as you pick an awesome scent (please no sugar cookie, yuck), you can't really go wrong. 

7. boohoo plus evie justin bieber printed tee

Anybody who knows me, even just slightly, probably knows that I have a huge crush on Justin Bieber. I wouldn't call myself a hardcore fan (though I used to be), but I still have a lot of love for him. On top of that, I also just really like this shirt. So, whether you know a fashionista who's down with reppin' JB or have a friend that's a low key Belieber, this shirt's pretty darn cool. And let's be honest...once a Belieber always a Belieber. Am I right? 

8. BCBGENERATION SPOKEN WORDS GLITZ AND GOLDTONE BANGLE BRACELET

Quoted bangles and other jewelry are some of my favorite gifts to get other people, because they're meaningful. I always try to pick a message that I truly think will inspire that person and also a style that I think she'd actually like to wear, too. It's such a classy option!

9. SUNNYLIFE CACTUS SOAP ON A ROPE

To be totally honest, I kind of can't remember what was going through my mind when I threw cactus soap on a rope onto this list. However, it's definitely Insta worthy, and everybody needs soap at some point. It's also much less than 25 dollars, so there's room to pair it with some other gifts as well (like bath salts and a loofah, for example). 

10. EXPRESS BAN.DO AFTER THIS WE'RE GETTING PIZZA WATER BOTTLE

Are you surprised to see another ban.do product on this list? Don't be. I'm all about this water bottle, and I feel like the text is something that I'm either thinking in my head or actually telling my friends constantly. This is a great gift for just about anyone who likes pizza. 

So, what are your secret santa gift exchange ideas? I want to hear all the DTLSs!

How to Get Voluminous Beach Waves in just 5 easy steps

I've always been a fan of beach waves. They look so effortless, yet chic, and give lots of added volume to any hairstyle. However, I tend to wear my hair naturally, simply because I have a serious problem with getting up out of bed in the morning without hitting snooze at least three times. Until recently, there never seemed to be a quick fix to achieving voluminous locks without sacrificing my beauty sleep.

Lucky for me (and you) though, I learned a few tips and tricks from my hairdresser after I told her I just had to have this Lucy Hale lob. Here's the lowdown:

1. start with the right base product

One mistake I was totally making was that I was using any shampoo and conditioner that I could find. That's a total no. Volumizing shampoo is where it's at. I like to start off this beachy look with Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume Silicon Free Shampoo and Sheer Volume Weightless Conditioner. This line is specifically designed for women who want full-bodied, thick locks, which is why it's perfect for getting that initial volume before styling. 

2. curl

This step is simple. Put in some curls! I use a one inch iron and make sure to style in large chunks away from my face. I only hold the iron in place for about 5 seconds and then release, which creates soft, loose curls. Determine which temperature to use based on your hair type. 

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3. straighten (the bottom)

Here's how you avoid prom curls and get that effortless Lucy Hale look from the beginning of this post: straighten the bottom! Make sure to do one curl at a time and only straighten the ends. 

4. tease

Tease the curls using a fine comb for some added volume. 

5. lock it in

Lock the style in with Pantene Pro-V Airspray Strong Hold Hairspray

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Do you love how easy this look is or what? Now beach waves don't have to just look effortless, but they can also be a go-to, minimal effort style. Love it

And don't forget to get the volumizing hair products used in this tutorial here. They truly do make such a difference with lightweight ingredients that keep hair thick and full-bodied for up to 24 hours!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PANTENE. The opinions and text are all mine.

Easy and Healthy Breakfast Burrito Bowl that Will Keep You Fueled All Day

Most people who know me well know that I am not a breakfast girl. In fact, I pretty much hate it. Pancakes, French toast, sausage, scrambled eggs, you name it...Thanks but no thanks. I have to be either A) in a very odd mood, B) on vacation somewhere that the food is totally baller, or C) hungry AF, if I'm even going to fathom eating something close to breakfast food. 

However, we've all heard it time and time again. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I've also heard that it's best to "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper." AKA, you want to eat the most substantial foods early on in the day. This gives you energy and assures that you'll have time to burn off some of those heavier foods before bedtime.

I'm actually very interested in this king, prince, pauper theory, so in the spirit of that I've been testing out some new breakfast recipes. I wanted something that would be super filling, but still feel like breakfast for those of ya who traditionally love this early meal. 

So, that's where this breakfast burrito bowl came from. And let me tell you, I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day if this was what they were serving. It's absolutely delish and jam packed with nutrients that will keep you full way past those traditional 11 a.m. hunger pangs. 

Here's what you need...

INGREDIENTS

1 small or medium sweet potato

1/2 avocado

1 lime

1 egg

2 cups kale

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)

instructions

Cook sweet potato in microwave by pricking with fork and heating for 8-10 minutes (until tender)

Cut avocado and sweet potato and add all ingredients to a bowl

Fry egg and add to bowl

Squeeze lime juice on top, mix, and enjoy!

So, are you a breakfast eater? Could you be converted with this nutritious morning burrito bowl? Let me know what you think!

November Popsugar Must-Have Unboxing

Thank you to Popsugar for sending me this month's Must-Have Box to try!

How is it that November is already coming to a close? I was shocked when I received this month's Must-Have Box last week -- it just seemed so soon! Really though, this month is wrapping up, and the season is bound to fly by with the holidays in full swing now. So much to do in so little time *insert unamused emoji here*. 

Anyways...despite my surprise at the pace this month seemed to expire at, I was so happy when November's box showed up. Here's a peek at what was inside:

kendra scott elaina rose gold bracelet in white pearl

By far my favorite item in this month's Must-Have Box, I am high key obsessed with this Kendra Scott bracelet. It retails at 50 dollars people, so it's something I never, ever would have splurged on. That's why I'm so happy it came in this month's box (which only costs $39.95 per month BTW). What a steal! It's so dainty and beautiful, and I really like that it doesn't have a clasp. 

Oogie's gourmet toffee butter popcorn

You guys know my second favorite thing after shoes, jewelry, etc. is food, right? Errr maybe it's a toss up...Either way though, I loved the toffee butter popcorn included in this month's Must-Have Box. I notice that Popsugar usually includes some kind of food item in each month's box, and I totally have a sweet tooth, so this was right up my alley. 

Meri Meri star party picks

I'm not hosting much for parties anytime soon, but I love these picks just the same. They're so fun and will likely show up in a recipe post at some point. 

Stowaway cosmetics dawn to dusk palette

If you've read this post, you know I love my glittery shadows. I haven't tried this palette yet, but I have a feeling I'm going to like it...a lot.  

Pehr chambray runner

I'll admit, I didn't really have a spot for this in my house at first. However, it's super cute, so I made room. It's perfect for the holiday season, and the color is gorg. 

aj goods handmade decorative wire bowl

I can be picky when it comes to home decor, and this bowl is a bit minimal for my taste. I like colors and drama, and unfortunately this piece has neither. However, it's still totally functional and something I'll definitely use. Not every item in subscription boxes can suit everyone's style 100 percent of the time!

Overall, this month's Must-Have Box was a win. It's going to be hard to beat October's box though, which was literal perfection. Regardless, it's always exciting to receive each month's box in the mail and see what's inside!

What do you think of the November Must-Have Box? Any other subscription boxes I should try?

Also, don't forget to use the code SHOP5 to get $5 off your first Must-Have Box!

Thankful

At this point, our Thanksgiving dinner has officially concluded (though I'm about to go for round two in a hot second here). There's still so much to be thankful for though, so I thought I'd share a few of my top favorites here. It's been a long time since I've done a personal post, since I'm always concerned about bringing my readers the most valuable content possible, but today seems like the perfect opportunity to open up. Here's what I'm most thankful for this year:

family

Obviously, family is at the top of my list. My parents have provided me with much, much more than I have truly needed throughout the years and have quite honestly spoiled me rotten. I am so grateful for their generosity, which has allowed me to experience many things that some people even twice my age haven't had the opportunity to. 

I'm also thankful for my extended family and for Richard's family. I love them all and cannot imagine what my life would be like without them! 

my sport

I don't talk about it much on this blog, but I've been riding horses for 13 years. It's a huge part of my life, and I practice about five days a week and compete on my college's equestrian team on weekends. Some people have trouble accepting equestrian as a sport ("the horse does all the work"), but trust me, you try and control a thousand pound animal and get it to jump over countless scary looking obstacles and then let's talk. 

Overall, I am so grateful that I've had the amazing opportunity to call myself an equestrian for the majority of my life. I'm also very appreciative of my horse, Ted (pictured), and all that he's taught me in just over a year of working with him. I've definitely become a much more confident and persistent individual due to the experiences that I've had both riding him and participating on my school's team. 

my other half

Anyone who knows me personally knows that Richard truly is my other half. I don't post about him often (which bugs the hell out of him, haha!), but he's my best friend and forever love. He's a huge reason that this blog still exists, because there have been many times when I've wanted to quit. He is such a bright light in my life, and I love him for it! 

my readers

Whether you just stumbled upon The Blonde Chiffon today, or have been a reader since the very beginning (hi mom)...

Thank you. 

I never expected to get this far with blogging, or to have the number of readers and followers that I do today. Your unending support continues to shock me, and means more than you could ever know. I absolutely love this job and wouldn't trade if for a thing, so thank you for encouraging me to pursue it and continue to create content on a regular basis. 

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I'm off to plan next month's content and search for a new show to binge watch on Netflix. Any suggestions? 

Photos by Katia Popik Photography