The Holiday Gift Guide - The Guys


When it comes to shopping for the men in our lives, it can be tough to find something they really love or even need. Why do they make it so difficult?! I basically have to beg Kollin to give me an idea of something he wants. He literally never asks for anything new unless the old something is falling apart so as you can imagine, a gift simply because you thought he’d love it is kind of a weird experience for him ha.

But, when it comes to the guys we love, there are a couple categories that are an easy go-to no matter what your man is like. First, clothing he’ll wear all the time. Whether he is into sports, working out or just lounging watching the game on Sunday, he can always use some sweatshirts, athletic t-shirts or his favorite sports team’s shirt. Kollin is a big Cubs fan so last year I couldn’t find anything I liked for him and just started buying a ton of Cubs items; t-shirts, golf club covers, sweatpants, etc. He loved all of it!

The second category that pleases most men is a watch. No matter their style, having a watch is something they can use for years to come. If you find an inexpensive one, pair it with a watch box so he can keep it safe and display his growing collection.

Lastly, the utility/functionality category is the easiest to fill. A new water bottle he can take to work or on his workout is something he’ll use all the time. A backpack or bag for work is a great option for the guy who is commuting, bringing work home or just likes to take things with him wherever he goes. I gifted Kollin this one when he got into law school and he LOVES it. It is on the pricey side, but comes with a lifetime warranty and is the perfect size for an everyday work bag or even travel personal bag.

I’ve added some more great gifts in a variety of price ranges below and hope this helps find something he will love! Be sure to check back to the blog for more gift guides leading up to Christmas! Thanks so much for reading!

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#TheWeddingEdit - Smiling Bright


If you’ve known me for the past 5 years then you probably know that I love Coca-Cola. Growing up, my sister and I had a coke here and there as a treat on the weekends or after school. Fast forward 10 years and enter late night study sessions in college. I’ve never been a fan of coffee and didn’t want to try energy drinks so I started having a Coke or Diet Coke during study sessions for a kick of caffeine. Before I knew it that caffeine kick was needed more often and I just yearned for the taste. In between classes, on the weekends, out to eat and even just hanging out at the sorority house it was either Diet Coke or water in my hand. Should’ve stuck with just water!

The Diet Coke addiction continued after college and once I started working full time it definitely wasn’t ending. One of the side effects I started noticing the most? My teeth were yellowing. Ugh. Once Kollin and I got our proposal / engagement photos back I actually noticed the difference more and more. With the wedding coming up next year and wanting to look great on our big day, I started looking into whitening options. Kollin and I both tried Crest Whitening Strips and while we could see a difference after a few sessions, he couldn’t continue as it made his teeth too sensitive and the whitening just didn’t last. So I was determined to try something else, starting with quitting the Diet Coke! I talked to my dentist and he told me about whitening at the dentist and while it definitely had great results for people, the price point was not something I could do. Thinking about just continuing the Crest White Strips, I was so excited when Smile Brilliant reached out for me to try their whitening process.  

The Smile Brilliant team sent me their Whitening System including custom tray molds, whitening gel, desensitizing gel, and everything needed to help me smile brighter. Once everything arrived I spent the first night making my trays, which took about 40 minutes. First the top mold and then the bottom. Everything was pretty straight forward, but came with step by step instructions and a back up mold in case something didn’t go right. I mailed back my impressions and got my trays about a week later in the mail. Once they arrived, I started my first whitening session.

I’ll admit, I was a bit shocked by how long the process took given that Crest White Strips was about 30 minutes and you throw them in the trash and you’re good. With Smile Brilliant, it’s the real deal so there are some more steps in the process to make sure everything is working properly. The first step, whitening, takes anywhere from 40 minutes to 3 hours depending on your personal preference. I only did an hour max and then moved on to step two, desensitizing which was 15-30 min depending on how sensitive your teeth are. This was usually only 15-20 minutes for me.

After the first session I saw a noticeable difference and even Kollin made a comment about how white they looked. I continued for three more sessions and liked the level of whiteness I reached and am going to continue to whitening up to the wedding. I immediately felt more confident, wanted to smile more and felt so good about pictures that would be taken in the future. I’ve added some of my before and after pictures below - this difference is just after two sessions!

I’m so excited to be sharing an exclusive offer to The Creative Brief readers from Smile Brilliant! You can receive 15% storewide using code “thecreativebrief15” AND you can enter a giveaway for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit to get a kit or products of your own! You can enter to win here!

The Smile Brilliant team and the entire process has been so great for me - the product worked, my smile is brighter and I’m so happy to pass this amazing brand onto y’all! Comment or message me below to ask me any questions you might have about the process, Smile Brilliant or anything else. Thanks so much for reading and good luck in the giveaway!

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Thank you to Smile Brilliant for sponsoring this post. It’s brands like yours that make The Creative Brief possible! All opinions are my own.