Archive for the 'Tips and Advice' Category

The Perfect Last Minute Holiday Gift 20Dec12

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about giving the perfect holiday gift. I have friends and family who have still not completed their holiday shopping for important people on their lists. I know some are simply procrastinating, but I know some of them are still just having problems coming up with great gifts to give to the people they love. As time gets closer to the holidays, these friends of mine are running out of time to find the perfect holiday gift.

After having given this some thought, I thought of one item in particular that most people in my circle would actually really appreciate. The item that can be personalized, picked out specifically with a theme for each individual person, and age appropriate for any person on your list is a puzzle. puzzlePuzzles are a great gift! You can find puzzles with any photograph, picture, or design, and that are big and small. There are some puzzles with a lot of small pieces, and some with a small number of large pieces. Some are simple, and others are more challenging to put together. What I know is that completing a puzzle is a great puzzlefeeling. I also know that some people get so proud of themselves, and love the picture on the puzzle so much that they actually frame the finished product. Plus children can definitely use puzzles as a learning tool; in fact, I bought my niece a puzzle for the holidays this year—she is one year old and she is loving it.

Anyway, if you are still on the hunt for the perfect gift, I would recommend finding a puzzle that will gift card holderspeak to the remaining people on your holiday list. Of course, gift cards to the perfect store placed in a gift card holder can be a great gift, too, but if you have a chance to think of a puzzle that might work, it might be just a little extra personal than a gift card this year.

Sock Monkey Gift Card Holder 29Nov12

Well it is officially that time of year; holiday gift shopping is in full swing. Your email inboxes are likely jam packed full of offers to all of your favorite stores. You are probably seeing all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales being extended. You may also be seeing all different kinds of online offers that cannot be beat. We are definitely saturated with different gift ideas for the friends and family in our lives. Everywhere we go, whether online or in person, holiday gift buying season cannot be missed.

This year I got smart. I decided that I would start my holiday gift shopping early. By starting to shop and think about the items I needed to purchase, I was hoping to make this holiday gift giving season less stressful on myself. The outcome: it worked! By the time Black Friday rolled around I was down to needing to buy just a few more gifts. By the time Cyber Monday ended, I sock monkey gift card holderwas just about done. There are always the tricky people on my list though. And if you are anything like me, you just hate the idea of giving a gift card. However, sometimes a gift card is actually just the perfect gift, and in those situations I am not sad to go the gift card route. With that being said, I also have a need to wrap every gift I give, even if it is a gift card. So I have to get creative. Look at what I recently found, the Sock Monkey Gift Card Holder. The Sock Monkey Gift Card holder is not only super cute, but I can actually put it in a box and wrap the box. This way the recipient of this gift card will still have a package to open for the holidays from me. It’s perfect!

With just a few more gifts to purchase I am right on track with the holiday season. I do not think I could have planned this any better. I am pretty sure that while everyone else scrambles to find the perfect gift just in time for the holiday, I took my time early and found the perfect gifts long before the holidays arrived. What is your plan of attack for gift giving this year?

Holiday Shopping 26Nov12

Welcome back from Thanksgiving weekend! I hope everyone had an amazing holiday and had a chance to eat delicious food, spend a lot of time with family, catch up with friends you have not seen in a while, relax, and of course, shop on Black Friday.

With that being said, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who works in all of the retail stores open on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday. I was not one of the shoppers out on Thanksgiving, as I was spending the whole day and night with family and friends, but I love Black Friday shopping with my mom and was out of my house and off to the mall by 5:00 a.m. that morning. Black Friday shopping is so much fun and all of my favorite stores always have great sales. Shopping this year on Black Friday was not as much fun since there were not nearly as many people in the mall as usual probably because many people were there at midnight when the stores opened, so that kind of sucked the fun right out of waking up early to get moving, but mom and I still made some damage. A nice number of holiday gifts were purchased at excellent sale prices that cannot be beat!

I definitely still have some gift shopping to do and for some people on my list, I already know what gifts I need to buy that I was not able to find while Black Friday shopping. Other people on my list will need a little more thought, and some people on my list are just impossible to come up gift ideas for. I am fairly certain that I am not the only one with this problem. Thankfully, there are Gift Finders that can really help in these sorts of situations. gift finder The Gift Finder will help to narrow down different gifts to purchase or give you different ideas of items to purchase for those people on your list who are difficult to purchase for. I love Gift Finders and all of the help they provide.

So, if you were one of the lucky ones who got your entire holiday gift shopping done on Black Friday, you can now sit back and relax while you watch the rest of us scramble to find the perfect gifts. For those of you like me who still have a few more gifts to buy, I wish you good luck and hope you find what you need. Do not forget, just in case you need a little help, a Gift Finder goes a long way. Happy Shopping!

Guilt-Free Holiday 21Nov12

I know everyone is probably tired of hearing all about Thanksgiving by now. So I thought today instead we might discuss what to do to not feel guilty about taking a full day off and relaxing with our families and not thinking twice about eating too much and indulging in our favorite foods. What’s the point of having a holiday to lay low if we are worried about everything?

For those of you like me, who do not want to let one day of indulgence throw you completely off your healthy track, I have a few suggestions for you to have a guilt-free holiday. First, make sure to stick to your routine as much as possible. If you generally workout once a day, keep it up. inmotion ellipticalGranted, if you are like me and have to travel several hours to get to where you need to go for Thanksgiving, you may have to miss a day. I am lucky and my mom knows exactly what I need, so she went ahead and signed me up to take a boot camp class at her gym on Thanksgiving morning. This way, I can start my day off right, and then after my workout I will not feel so guilty about lying around on the couch all day.

There are also some of you may wake up as early as possible to get in as much shopping as possible on Black Friday. Yes, walking around the mall and running around finding the best deals might count as cardio, but I have an InMotion Eliptical at my parents’ house so I can just on that to get in an extra work out after my shopping.

The workouts you end up fitting in over this holiday weekend may not necessarily be your normal workout, Versa-Bell II 25 lb. dumbbellbut at least it will be something to keep your body moving. Make sure to utilize the resources you have. If you are going away, see if there is a gym you can go to as a guest, or if the people you are staying with have any dumb bell weights for you to use or maybe even a working treadmill to squeeze in a quick workout. manual treadmillDon’t forget, jumping jacks, crunches, pushups, wall sits, squats, lunges, and stretching, can all be done right in front of the television. What do you plan to do to stay on track this Thanksgiving holiday weekend?

Last Minute Thanksgiving Prep 20Nov12

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this week? I just cannot believe that in just a few days I will be hanging out with family and friends watching football and parades, eating and drinking, and of course Black Friday shopping! I hope that all of you who are taking on the huge responsibility of hosting Thanksgiving dinner have managed your time and are prepared for this holiday that is so quickly approaching. Since the time is sneaking up on me, I thought it might be for you as well. And while I know we have discussed Thanksgiving Day planning, I thought today would be appropriate to discuss everything to do that has become last minute.

When it comes to planning and organizing for a big family and friend feast like Thanksgiving, some items simply slip our minds. Two things I think frequently stress people out are decorating for Thanksgiving and cleaning. Of course we want our homes to look perfect for the holiday but with the cooking, shopping, and preparation, cleaning and decorating get pushed aside sometimes. I am here today to help you get your whole house in the Thanksgiving spirit without taking too much time away from everything else.

ez covers Let’s first talk about decoration. If you are not crafty, and if you have no time, consider EZ Covers. With the EZ Covers you can change the whole look of your dining room from normal to Thanksgiving festive by covering your chairs in a different color fabric.

Second, let’s talk about cleaning. If you find that you do not have the time to scrub your hardwood or tile floors after making a mess in the kitchen cooking, robo floor sweeperno need to worry. The Robo Floor Sweeper can take care of that for you while you do whatever else you need to get done. The Robo Floor Sweeper can clean the floor while you put the EZ Covers on the chairs, and make any other last minute change you need to complete. Robo Floor Sweeper is just like having an extra person in your house for you to help with the cleaning. I love it when I can check items off of my “to do” list even when I do not have to “do” them myself!

So I am sure you are all very busy and very excited about the upcoming holiday. I know it can be a lot of work if you are the host of the party, but I truly believe it is all worth it in the end. I do hope that my easy cleaning and decoration tips help make your planning a little bit easier. I hope you have a great holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!

Looking Forward to the Fall Season 06Aug12

Well friends, another summer weekend is gone, and another work week begins. I know it has been August since the middle of last week, but it just dawned on me this past weekend how quickly this year is flying by. I could not believe my eyes when I was in the store and items to decorate the house for fall, Halloween, and yes…I even walked past one store that was actually already selling Christmas tree ornaments! Now, the stores are trying to rush my year (that is already going by very quickly) away, but I am still trying to enjoy the last bit of summer…though there are so many great things to look forward to.

twist n clip

While I know the summer is great and there is nothing quite like the sun staying up longer making our days last, sometimes the end of summer and beginning of fall can be such a great time of year as well. Two awesome things that typically begin in the fall are football and camping. Yep, the end of the summer is the time to start thinking about the sports and camping items to buy for this coming season. Those of you who like camping probably cannot wait for the cooler temperatures to settle in so the time spent camping, hiking, eating, and sleeping outdoors won’t be full of thick humidity and mosquitoes. This crisp, cool temperature of early fall is the best time for you to enjoy the great outdoors. Aside from camping, fall means football. Now, if you do not enjoy football, I am sure someone in your life does. People like to play football, watch football, talk about football, and even get so involved, play fantasy football. I guess I, too, can start to get excited for fall.

Camping and football – two excellent things to look forward to for this upcoming season. I feel like someone in everyone’s life likes one of these two activities. Outdoors and sports are great activities to do with friends and family – they really do build a great sense of community. They also can help the kids learn teamwork, and it keeps them outside, active, and off the couch – how can that be a bad thing? Whatever the reason, sports and camping are fun fall activities. I hope you find yourself getting ready to enjoy them soon.

Gifts for Fathers Day 13Jun12

I hope everyone has started planning for the big weekend this weekend. This weekend is Father’s Day. This weekend is the weekend we get to take care of our dads, our pseudo dads, our husbands who are the fathers of our children, and our friends and/or family who have recently become dads. It’s Father’s Day, and for me that means my dad (for this one day of the year) has to let me take care of his and he has to accept (and love) his Father’s Day gift from me.

Gifts for Fathers DayNow, let’s be honest, most of the dads in our lives have a hard time accepting gifts and other people doing for them because they always (and enjoy) doing everything for everyone else. But we get this day to celebrate them, and I think, secretly, they actually enjoy the attention we give them on Father’s Day as much as they might say, “Don’t do anything special,” and (my least favorite line) “Do not get me a Father’s Day gift.” My dad knows none of these things are options. He can fight with me forever on it, he knows it’s a waste of his breath. If you’re anything like me, you love buying gifts, but finding the perfect gift is important – and with as difficult as dads can be, it is even more difficult to buy the perfect gift for dad. So, let me let you into a little secret, visit Gifts for Father’s Day from Taylor Gifts. On this page you’ll be able to find Father’s Day gifts for all of the dads in your life of all interests – no matter how hard it is for them to accept the gift we give.

Now after the hard part of buying a Father’s Day gift is done, what’s next is to give him the gift in the most special way he will allow. My dad doesn’t allow much. So this year, it’s just going to be a simple brunch with the whole family. I think my dad does the whole Father’s Day stuff to make the rest of us happy, but to be honest, I am happy that I get to celebrate my dad. My dad very rarely let’s me give him gifts, so this is one of the two days in a year he will accept my gift to him. I hope you all have a nice Father’s Day this year with all of the dads you celebrate with.

Ultimate Tote Bag 19Mar12

Do you guys every have those days when you leave your house at 7 in the morning and don’t get back home until well after 11 at night? This very rarely occurs in my world. I generally allow myself time, and create a schedule in which I can check back in at home, maybe change my outfit from daytime to evening, sit down to check my email, or do whatever it is I need to do at home. The other Saturday, the opportunity to go home simply did not happen.

I had a million errands to run during the day, and an event (luckily it was a casual event, not fancy) to go to in the evening. Fortunately, none of this was a surprise, and I knew in advance that there would be no time in between running errands and going out to stop at home for a break in between. Let me tell you the few things I learned:

1. It is very difficult to come up with an outfit casual and comfortable for the day that can also be worn to a party at night

2. Even though you charge your cell phone the night before, you still should have an extra charger with you just in case your phone starts to die

3. Bring snacks in case your dinner plans get shifted to no dinner or late dinner

4. Flip flops are okay to wear to any event

5. No matter how heavy it might get, bring a tote bag to carry your regular wallet, cell phone, keys, lip gloss, and chap stick; but also bring with you a small brush, a light jacket or cardigan in case it gets cold, touch-up makeup, and a small brush in the tote bagTOTE BAG

I have to tell you that I did all of these things since I did think ahead to my busy day, and I am not sad for one minute that I planned for the full day 100%. I guess no one really thought anything of me having a larger tote bag instead of a purse because no one asked me why I was carrying such a large bag or even asked me what was in it. It seems I may not necessarily be the only one who has had to plan for such long days. I will say though, while I was able to do it, I would still much rather have a chance to go home to break up the day.

Kitchen Organization 21Feb12

It has been something I should have addressed a long time ago. I have avoided it because I just didn’t want to think about how to go about resolving the problem. I wanted to continue to ignore the clutter, and just pretend like it would eventually be okay when I move one day. But my kitchen is small, I like to cook and serve, and I have too much stuff and not enough cabinets in the small kitchen.

I have been storing serving pieces, baking dishes, and small appliances that I do not use every day on top of the refrigerator and on top of the cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling. The other week, I opened the freezer door and a serving plate (luckily small and plastic) came tumbling down on my head. I knew at this moment that I needed a better solution to the lack of storage in my kitchen. Since it is not a home that I own and just an apartment I rent, I cannot redesign the kitchen to put in new cabinets that I like that will work for me. But I can search through different kitchen organization products to find some way to make my kitchen more manageable.

slim slide pantryThere are different ways and things to do in order to organize things better. My mom has something similar to the slim slide out pantry built into her kitchen, and she uses this for her spices – brilliant! No more digging around in search for the spice you need in a cabinet above your head! For me, I need more help in the serving pieces and appliance storage. four tier shelf” width=For this, I found the perfect product: a four tier shelf. I can keep it just outside my small kitchen, it holds everything so I can see what I have, and doesn’t take up too much space from my living area. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before!

8 Pocket Coupon Organizer 26Jan12

We are getting near the end of January. Have you kept your resolution for a full month? I am especially interested in those of you who chose to save more money. What are you doing to save more money and how is it going?

8 pocket coupon holderEvery day and I am bombarded with emails from my favorite stores. It takes everything I have not to look at all of them and shop every day…because who doesn’t like 30% off? I also joined several groups to receive emails about discounts on places and things going on in the area. Of course, I will never stop clipping coupons and saving them in my coupon holder for all of the hard copy coupons I get in the mail and particularly for the grocery store.

In addition to coupons, I have just been better about not purchasing things I don’t need, keeping up my coffee savings account, buying things on sale at the grocery store, and making sure to use what I have in the house before I buy new food items that will go bad. Tell me what your plan is and how it’s been going.