40th Birthday Swag Bag: Blog Hop

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What would you place in a 40th Birthday Swag Bag?

My friend, Susie Orman Schnall, author of On Grace launched the “40th Birthday Swag Bag: Blog Hop” last week (visit Susie’s original post HERE).

I’m so grateful she asked me to take part by imaging what I would place in a 40th birthday swag bag. Susie gave me these categories: book, beauty product, snack food, music album, and “my choice.” It’s an imaginary, virtual swag bag representing any milestone birthday (30th, 40th, 50th, 29th, 29th, 29th), so the cost of the items isn’t an issue.

Elizabeth Moyer, lifestyle blogger extraordinaire at Pretty Pink Tulips is also posting her gift bag items today so be sure to visit her blog, too, for great gift ideas. Below are items I’d place in the swag bag. I hope you enjoy!

Next on the blog hop: Posting Monday, May 26 will be Pauline Wiles, writer of anglophile women’s fiction and the wonderful Saving Saffron Sweeting available HERE. Also, Nicky Wells, author of the fab Rock Star Romance Trilogy, who’s brought her fictional rock band, TUSQ, to life with a downloadable rock ballad, will be posting next week. See Nicky’s book collection HERE.


CourageJacketWebSince I’m already busy buying copies of this book to give to all my friends, I’d place a copy of A Kind of Mad Courage: Short Stories about Mothers, (S)mothers & Others in the swag bag. This collection of short stories from 19 writers celebrates mothers and motherhood through beautiful stories written by talented writers from around the world.

Edited by Francine LaSala and Samantha Stroh Bailey, here’s what (and who) you’ll find in this collection: Stories from Laura ChapmanFrancine LaSalaNikki MahoodHeather McCoubrey, and Karen E. Martin each presenting a unique take on impending motherhood, while Sheryn MacMunnkc wilderand Julie Valerie (that’s me!) portray the end of the journey. Samantha Stroh BaileyLouise Wiseand Maria Schulz show the pride and peril of dealing with teenage daughters, while Elke FeuerDiana Shafter Gliedmanand Donna Valenti demonstrate that a mother’s work is never done, even under the craziest of circumstances. Regina-Cash ClarkWendy Janesand Monique McDonell explore the impact on lives in which mothers go “missing,” while Carey Heywood and Jen Tucker warm your heart and tear it out, respectively. 


hydragelcremeCoco Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Gel Creme – certainly not the most affordable moisturizer on the planet at $87 but it work wonders. I’ve never been one to wear a lot of make-up, but I do invest in treatment products and have always felt an investment in a good moisturizer will (hopefully) carry me through my coming years.


benjerryMy guilty pleasure? Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Delicious chocolate ice cream with marshmallow, caramel, and fish made of fudge. Strange thing, I don’t really like ice cream. But I can’t say no to this particular ice cream nor can I resist a Dairy Queen Chocolate Blizzard with mini M&Ms.





Two songs that blow my mind every time I hear them:

(1) Ed Sheeran’s “Kiss Me” (Bakehouse Session). So unbelievably hot.

(2) Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” – best lyrics ever.


trapp candleThe swag bag wouldn’t be complete without a No. 13 Bob’s Flower Shoppe candle. Ladies, this is the best candle ever made and it’s one of my most favorite things to buy as a treat for myself. My entire house smells like this candle because I light the candle almost every day and move it around the house as I go about my business. I love the scent so much I even leave the box from the candle in my car so I can enjoy the fragrance everywhere I go. Love, love, love it. You will, too!

Well, that’s it for my 40th Birthday Swag Bag items.

I’d love to know what would you’d place in a 40th birthday swag bag. Please, leave a comment below. If you’d like to see more great swag bag items, visit Susie Orman Schnall’s original post HERE and lifestyle blogger Elizabeth Moyer’s Pretty Pink Tulip’s post HERE.

Next on the blog hop: Posting Monday, May 26 will be Pauline Wiles, writer of anglophile women’s fiction and the wonderful
Saving Saffron Sweeting available HERE. Also, Nicky Wells, author of the fab Rock Star Romance Trilogy, who’s brought her fictional rock band, TUSQ, to life with a downloadable rock ballad, will be posting next week. See Nicky’s book collection HERE.

Happy Birthday to us all! Yay, swag bags!


17 thoughts on “40th Birthday Swag Bag: Blog Hop

  1. Julie – this is amazing!! I love everything you’ve chosen and I especially can’t wait to check out the book you recommended. Thank you so much for participating and I’m looking forward to seeing what Pauline and Nicky pull together for next week!

    • This blog hop is so much fun, Susie! Thank you for inviting me to place a few items in the virtual gift bag. I’m getting so much inspiration from the gifts – Elizabeth Moyer featured a pen collection I loved to write with when I was living in NYC. I’ve lost touch with that brand and now I’m inspired to order a few. I know it wasn’t your intention for people to actually purchase items featured in the swag bag – but the suggestions are so great I’m finding myself wanting to do a little shopping.

      Can’t wait for next Monday’s items from Pauline Wiles and Nicky Wells. What a fun way to start the week!

  2. OMG I can’t wait to dive into your SWAG bag! What a great blog hop and thank you for inviting me to take part. Now let’s crank up the music and dive into that ice cream before it melts…. YUM! What fun!!

    • So glad you’re hopping along on the 40th Birthday Swag Bag Blog Hop, Nicky! I can’t wait to see what you place in the bag next Monday (May 26). After reading Susie and Elizabeth’s grab bag items – I want to go shopping!

      And yes, we simply must start eating that ice cream before it melts. It’s URGENT!

  3. Julie,
    I want to come to your party! Such great picks. I hadn’t heard of that book yet, so glad to have your recommendation. Ben & Jerry’s is a lifelong fav of mine and I usually have a candle burning all the time and have always loved Trapp!

    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!!!
    xoxo Elizabeth

    • Trapp candles are the best, aren’t they? And I love Le Pen. I am so glad you featured them in your post because I’m going to order a bunch. I looked in stores for the longest time and couldn’t find them so I eventually gave up. Now I feel like I’ve been reunited with a beloved writing instrument! So great connecting with you over this Swag Bag Blog Hop. Huge thank you to Susie for making the introduction!

  4. I am extremely un-hip when it comes to music but I do love the Plain White T’s. Devastated not to be able to pick 😉
    And I’m a big fan of lovely candles, so will look out for this brand. I think I might have to take some of my picks across the Pond next week – thanks for the invitation.

    • Sorry, part of comment got gobbled I think – I wanted to say I might have picked Hey There Delilah, if you hadn’t already done so…

      • I think women everywhere agree “Hey There Delilah” is a very powerful song. 😉

        I am really looking forward to your swag bag picks because you’re my source for interesting blog posts about culture and recipes and other lifestyle things. You could probably canvas your recent posts and come up with amazing gifts in seconds flat. 🙂

        Looking forward to next week, Pauline! Thanks so much for hopping along.

  5. Since I’m gonna be 40…someday (hah! 2 years and 2 months from tomorrow. do the math…), I thought I’d jump on this comment thread. 🙂
    Book: Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda
    Beauty product: I don’t really give much focus to beauty products. Maybe a gift certificate for a spa day instead. Otherwise, Ahava hand cream. I love the way it feels and smells.
    Music: Any of Jamie Cullum’s CDs. He has such a sexy voice and it’s so easy to chill out to after a long day.
    Snack: Frango mints (I think they’re mainly sold in Chicago, but I’m sure you could order them online.)
    My choice: DVD of When Harry Met Sally because it’s such a timeless chick flick.

    • Oh, yes! When Harry Met Sally is a wonderful choice, Melissa. In fact, we should fill a birthday swag bag with nothing but chick flicks. I’d toss in anything with Hugh Grant. And my all time favorite chick flick: P.S. I Love You based on the book by Cecilia Ahern and starring Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, and Harry Connick, Jr.

      In fact, you’ve just inspired a blog post. I think I’m going to ask my readers what their favorite chick flick is – I’m going on a girls weekend in June and we were just talking about this the other day.

      Thanks, Melissa. For the comment and the idea!

  6. It’s been a long time since I was 40, but if I were making a 49th birthday swag bag I would include:
    Book – THE LIFE LIST by Lori Spielman
    Beauty Product – SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex
    Snack Food – Watermelon and Berries or popcorn
    Music Album – Enya – A Day Without Rain (long time fav for relaxing)
    My Choice – Bouquet of Daisies

  7. Yes! The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman. I love that book and Lori is the sweetest author on the planet. Great choice. Watermelon and berries sounds delish and the Enya soundtrack – couldn’t agree more. I played Enya to my babies while I was pregnant. I’d put headphones on my belly and play it softly. I think they loved it. They’ve all turned out okay so far… And the daisies? We sure have a lot in common, Michelle, because they’ve been my favorite flower since I was a little girl. So much so, I had them all over my wedding. They were everywhere. SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex is the only thing on your list I don’t know about. Going to go check that out now . . .

  8. Pingback: Best Chick Flicks of All TimeJulie Valerie's Book Blog

  9. I would put things in my 40th swag bag that I like
    Bath and Body works along with a shot glass and a small patron bottle.

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