Forest Fantasy | Living My Best Life

by Jamie Sanford on December 7, 2017

I have been brewing a blog post about making for some time now. I keep working on new projects that make me have more to say, and so it is very delayed. However, I had to do something about this project.

I have been thinking about making a headpiece for myself featuring large antlers for ages, and I finally managed to do so this past October. My Halloween plans did not work out, so I didn’t have a chance to go out in my costume, which is not so much a costume as me living my forest queen fantasy. I wanted to mark the occasion of this particular project, so I asked William to make some photos of me. Add this to the list of things I have done this year to actively try to live my best life. I know that the phrase is overused to death, but the concept is right. I am over being worried about what other people think about me, and so here I am in the woods.

The overwhelming feeling I had while doing this is that I had no idea what to do with my hands. How do models do this?

Will: “Pose like a statue!” Jamie: *does this*

I wish more of my purple hair was illuminated in this one.

The headpiece on my head is a mixture of faux flowers from Michael’s and 2 different kinds of plastic antlers that I found at Pier 1 Imports and then disassembled from their original locations, and painted to what I wanted them to look like. My dress is from eShakti.

“I’m going to stand behind this plant so my hands don’t look weird.” Look at the antlers though!! This is by far the most complicated thing that I have made, and I am super-proud of the result.

Go forth and live your best life. I know that your version of that probably won’t be wearing a giant headpiece in the woods, but you get the idea.

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Holiday Shopping | Christmas Tree

by Jamie Sanford on December 1, 2017

I will be traveling this year and so won’t be putting my tree up. However, I look forward to the day when I will have a house and will definitely be having multiple trees in my home. I don’t know what “Christmas decor overkill” means.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking these links.

Let’s start shopping with trees.


The variety of trees is remarkable. I am not a person who needs a real tree, I think that’s why pine-scented candles exist.


One of my greatest dreams is an upside-down Christmas tree. They sell them with bases that come out of the top, but I want to actually mount a tree to the ceiling so there’s empty space under the tree. I think it would make an amazing centerpiece over a dining table.


I have a collection of ornaments starting from when I was born. Those “baby’s first Christmas” ornaments are quite fragile now, and so I hang them inside the tree a bit so they do not get knocked to the floor. I have traditional decorative ornaments in gold, as we ended up with a slight gold theme after my husband Will suggested that we supplement the white lights already in the tree with extra gold ones. I also have some Hallmark pop cultures ornaments that were gifts, as well as ones purchased in our travels. I absolutely have too many ornaments for my current tree, which is another reason why I need a house so that I can have multiple trees.


Lights! My main tree right now is pre-lit, but as mentioned above, we haven’t been able to leave it at that. Once Will suggested adding more lights, we have gone a bit crazy. We have the white lights that came with the tree, and we add regular tree lights in gold, and then we add a few more that have ball-shaped bulbs, some with beautiful texture. This adds dimension to the tree that I did not expect, but I love it and will never go back.


Tree toppers! Since my tree is not the sturdiest, we have utilized a simple ornament-style topper for years, like the Christopher Radko one above. Once I get a more substantial tree that can manage a more robust topper, I will likely struggle to pick one that I like. Now that I’ve seen it, I am definitely obsessed with the peacock.

That’s all for me on Christmas tree shopping and decoration. Tweet me with your favorite Christmas tree traditions.

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NYDJ Gift Box | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on November 28, 2017

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I haven’t made a secret of the fact that I don’t love gift cards as a gift. Everyone knows that the holidays are coming, so start shopping early! Here are my top 5 tips for early holiday shopping.

I really enjoy NYDJ products, and so was really pleasantly surprised to see this option for a gift card from their website.

This gift card is extra! NYDJ gets all of the points for presentation here. You receive a beautiful box with a purple ribbon to tie it closed, and when you open it, you get a presentation of a gift card for $124 (standard price for NYDJ items), and a measuring tape so that you can be sure to order the right pair for the perfect fit.

This is a next-level gift card. The presentation alone brings an air of importance and consideration to the gift, even though buying it was as simple as buying a basic one on the cardboard backing.

This is the kind of elevated experience that I want from brands. The gift card + measuring tape here isn’t earth-shattering, but the presentation is wonderful and is beyond what we have come to expect.

Every brand should be trying to reach “beyond what we have come to expect.”

Congratulations to NYDJ on this effort. I hope it is intensely successful.

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Thanksgiving 2017

by Jamie Sanford on November 23, 2017

Here we go again, with the time flying by more quickly than any of us would like. The holidays have officially arrived.

It seems like the right time to revisit my gratitude practice and how it is going. I will admit to not often enough focusing on it, but I still benefit from the foundation of gratitude that I built for myself. I am, in general, extremely grateful for all of the things I have received from the universe as well as the things I have that I’ve worked hard to have or achieve.

For anyone who needs help, let’s start with really low-level, basic gratitude stuff. Starting to look at your life a little bit differently will lead you on a different path.

  • You are alive and breathing and reading a blog post. You can breathe, and see. How many people have you already outlived?
  • You have a computer or other device with which to read this blog post. Your privilege is starting to show. Do you see where this is going?

Let’s level up a bit. Here are some of my own gratitude list items.

  • According to survey data, 40% of Americans would be in financial crisis if they suddenly were presented with a bill of $400 or more. I am not one of them. Will and I have worked hard to do all of the important adult financial stuff that you are “supposed” to do, and the reason that we can do that is because we make enough money to do so. So many people are not in this scenario.
  • I have a home that is filled with the things I love and the human I love the most in the world.
  • My health, for the most part, is quite good, despite all of my efforts to ruin it. (Hello, upcoming goals.)
  • I have made it to adult life with some of the most amazing friendships intact, with people I’ve known for 20 or more years. What they add to my life is immeasurable.
  • I laugh every day. Multiple times.

I could go in and make this list longer, but that isn’t what this is about. For me, it is being present in the gratitude and having that contribute greatly to my happiness.

I do believe that for many people, happiness is a choice. (Click the link for much more on this topic.) If you focus on things you are unhappy about, you’ll be unhappy about everything. If you focus on the good stuff, you’ll realize just how much good stuff there is, and hopefully you can pair that with recognizing your own luck/privilege/good fortune/whatever you want to call it.

Take an extra moment today to create your own mental gratitude list. Good luck!

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Sephora Stock Issue | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on November 20, 2017

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project. This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

I’m back at it with another Sephora.com post, unsurprisingly. Sephora is second only to Amazon when it comes to websites that take all of my money.

I have talked about the sale page on Sephora.com before, outlining the issue of “view all but not really.” They still have this issue.

This issue is with the sale page as well. Let’s get into it.

OK, here’s the sale section. What is that item I see? A Make Up For Ever Nude palette? YES PLEASE.

Out of stock. Grrrr.

As someone who runs an e-commerce site, I know that you don’t necessarily deactivate an item as soon as it runs out of stock. But on a product listing page, it’s really disingenuous to not let someone know that the product is out of stock. Is it a ploy for more page views? I can’t understand why that would be a big concern for Sephora, their business appears to be booming.

It would be simple enough for Sephora to activate “add to cart” buttons on the product listing page, and those buttons would also show items as out of stock when they are out of stock.

Perhaps things that aren’t a game changer but COULD be fixed are not on Sephora’s priority list. I would love to see tweaks made to make their site easier and faster to use.

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