Monthly Archives: November 2014

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This post has been updated and moved to our blog site.


There’s no escaping it – unless you’ve booked a Caribbean cruise.  The holidays are on the way, along with turkey dinners, stuffing variations, frostbitten fingers from hanging outdoor Christmas lights, and credit card limits up to the wazoo.  But carefully, planned, Christmas doesn’t have to be a chore, a workout on your gift giving imagination, and a dark cloud over your healthy meal practices.

Christmas isn’t supposed to be a stressful occasion, it’s supposed to be about family gatherings and special feelings and delicious meals.  So, how do you avoid the stressors often affiliated with the holidays:


1-  Get in the mood.  Whatever it takes.

For me, that means watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  There is nothing like Jimmy Stewart learning the true meaning of life to get your holiday juices revved up.

2- Plan Ahead

Last minute shopping is a surefire way to raise your blood pressure and your credit card balance.  Think ahead.  Decide on gifts that won’t blow the budget and will be appreciated and don’t go overboard.  It’s only one day.   What would you want?  When planning gift giving, I always think about the W5s.  Who, What, When, Where, Why and How Much?

Is it relevant to the person you are giving it to? Where will they keep it?  Why is it something they will appreciate?  How much will it cost me, and does that make sense for my budget?

3- Decide on a #gift, then add a little oomph

A nice bottle of wine is often appreciated.  Homemade treats show that you put thought and time into your gift giving.  A handcrafted mug (see our Pinterest artist page) is one of a kind.  But try adding a little something to make it a gift that lasts.

A bottle of wine presented in a great wine tote is two gifts in one and depending on the wine can be under sixty dollars and it’s reuseable!



Lingerie presented in a cute lingerie bag makes it even more special!



Bake some cookies and include the recipe and this vintage style apron!  You get the idea.





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Another birthday gift? Another Christmas gift?  Another Baby Shower, Bridal Shower, Mother’s Day… Seems like every time you flip the page on your agenda there is another event that requires a gift.  So, what type gift do you get?  U.S consumers will spend approximately 600 billion dollars on gifts this season. Hopefully that won’t be 600 billion dollars worth of unworn sweaters, or gifts that require lots of storage,  or frequent dusting.   Do people actually use all the stuff we think so hard about buying?  Check out these one size fits all gifts perfect for all occasions, all budgets, and all personalities.


Lingerie Bag: Perfect gift for the bride to be, the romantic, the traveller


Leather Suit Bag: Perfect lasting gift for the man in your life


Starbucks Gift Certificate (in your choice of denomination): Perfect for anyone who likes to hang out 

(Whether they like coffee, tea or lattes.)


Canvas IPad Shoulder Bag: Perfect for teens who can’t leave home without their electronic devices (and everyone else)


Bike Pannier: Perfect for the athlete or the Sunday easy-bike-rider


Picture Frame (With Meaningful Picture): Perfect go-to gift that anyone would love

Got a special moment with a friend or loved-one captured on film?  Frame it!  With varying frame costs this is budget friendly and shows you put a lot of thought into your gift-giving.


Motivational Bracelet: Perfect for any woman who could use a happy inspiration



Photo Session: Perfect for new parents


Available at Walmart or at local photographic studios, who wouldn’t appreciate a family photo session?


Tote Bag or Shopper: Perfect for any woman and available in so many styles and price ranges you can get one for anyone! (including the environment-conscious person)



Charitable Donation to a Cause They Support: Perfect gift for the person who has everything



Don’t just pack.  Pack smart.  Pack Safe.


On my first trip to the Caribbean, I was a novice traveller.  Instead of using common sense and doing a little research, I packed my luggage using my imagination.  I imagined a chilly night infested with tropical bugs, and stuffed safari pants and long-sleeved shirts into my luggage.  I imagined nights out at exclusive restaurants and packed a couple of ooh-la-la dresses and two pairs of spiky heels.  I imagined sitting seductively on the beach, my soon-to-be husband leering at me in my 7 different bathing suits (all newly purchased and promising to conceal my stomach, enhance my bosom and draw attention to my legs), and matching coverall (which covered little) along with five sunhats and assorted matching sandals.  My curling iron, costume jewelry, clothes for every possible weather condition, brought luggage over the weight restrictions, and I had to repack at the airport, stuffing things into my carry-on bag.   As you can imagine, when I arrived at my destination, the weather was stiflingly hot.  Did I wear any of what I brought?  Sure I did.  I wore my bikini, one pair of flip flops and a coverall.  I ate in restaurants on the beach in these same non-clothes and never bothered with anything else in my luggage.  It was one of the best trips ever, not to be encumbered by real shoes, fake jewelry and how my hair looked.  What did I learn from this?


  • Pack your luggage using your brain, not using your imagination or your worse case scenario.

Before leaving on a trip, check the weather of your destination frequently, and yearly averages.  But note that weather can surprise you.

  • Pack your luggage twice, zip it once.

Once you have decided on everything you need to bring with you, unpack your suitcase and re-pack it.  Do you really need two pairs of black pants?  Two in-case-of-rain jackets?

  • Color coordinate

Save room in your suitcase for souvenirs already!  Pick a color scheme, ie. Blue, white, red, and put together outfits that can be mixed and matched and pieces that can be worn more than once.

  • Don’t bring anything that needs ironing

Come on!  Who wants to iron on vacation?

  • Bring practical shoes for trips that will entail a lot of walking.

Every time I travel, I bless my Crocs and my  Merrell sandals.  They have taken me everywhere with n’ery a blister.  Do I look sexy in them?  Not really, but I can keep walking when everyone else has to lag behind due to sore feet.  The adventure has more value to me than appearances. (And both companies have some great looking compromises.)

  • Make use of every square inch

Fill your shoes with socks (if you need them) or anything else you can stuff in there without using up valuable luggage space.

  • Invest in one great cross-body handbag

Probably less expensive than most of the purses in your closet, there are some great purses, made especially for travelling.  Chances are you won’t get robbed, but if you did, wouldn’t that be a bummer?  There are some great looking handbags, in great styles and colors that are meant to withstand weather, pickpockets, and identity theft, all the while, keeping you organized.