CHRISTMAS IN JULY – PART 2, 2017 ed.

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Featuring the 4F’s of Christmas (My own guide to great Christmas gifting).

FAITH/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT.  Whatever your faith or lack there of, it’s always a good idea to gift something that contributes to someone’s personal development.  Last year a friend gave me a Happiness Journal.  It was lovely and an awesome gift whether you’re spiritual or not.

FINANCES.  Money is never a bad gift.  Let’s face it, the times that we live in are not easy for everyone and I always know someone who can use a quick infusion of cash or an American Express gift card.  So get a great card and slide in a couple of bills.

FOOD.  This is a new gift area to me, but I really enjoy receiving either food items (Cheryl’s cookies  anyone) or food gift cards.  My mom loves Panera Bread – you can’t go wrong with a gift card that buys her breakfast and lunch.  If I was shopping for my sister it would be P.F. Chang’s all the way.  In short, we all have fave foods – why not make it a part of a gift.

FUN.  This gift takes a little more creativity.  Maybe it’s a Groupon deal or a gift certificate to a dance class.  Maybe it’s movie or concert tickets.  Perhaps a friend needs a new golf club or set of balls.  Either way you can’t lose when fun is  part of the gift.

Be Inspired.

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CHRISTMAS IN JULY – PART I, 2017 ed.

Because it’s never too early to start planning…

Christmas will be here before we know it.  Although the weather is still warm (at least where I live) and the days are long, I’ve found that great gifts take some planning.  Especially when it comes to the holidays and multiple gifts.

A Simple Guide to Creating Your Christmas List

A good friend who knows that I have a gift blog shared a clever method of selecting gifts for kids.  But it’s so great and simple that I think it will work for anyone.  So I dusted it off and included it here.  

Simple Christmas List - Christmas in July

I’ll offer my take on this soon!

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The Sweetest Thank You

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It’s quick, easy and relatively inexpensive (pinky promise)…

My team at work had a major success last month (hence the lack of blogs, my bad).  I was able to sign off on some bonuses/awards for them – which is great.  But I prefer something just a little more tangible to show my appreciation for all of their hard work.

Et voila – Cupcakes!

Gourmet cupcakes make a great thank you especially for small office get-togethers.
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I got these from Kupcakes and Co. (a great spot not too far my from job that opens up at 7 a.m.)  Their cupcakes are so good and they have gluten free options.

And Cookies!

I also had the opportunity to thank some of our non-profit teammates who helped us reach our team success.  If you’re familiar with this blog then you know I love sending Cheryl’s Cookie Cards.  I went a little bigger this time and splurged on a cookie pail.

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I was completely charmed by this cow-themed one “Moochas Gracias” – that cow face still cracks me up!

See easy!

Be Inspired.

 

 

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Kiss the Barbecue Chef: Host & Hostess Gifts

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Because Memorial Day kicks off the summer barbecue season….

Barbecue season is awesome.  It’s warm and everyone is able to enjoy a season of really great food.  So when someone opens up their home, try to remember to thank them.

Here are some thoughts:

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Photo from Etsy Seller: Embroidered Stitches

BRING THE BEVERAGES

A case of water or a couple of bottles of soda will do.  You can also go a little upscale and bring a bottle of wine or a case of beer (points for the hosts’ favorites).

If you want to be their favorite guest, bring two bottles or cases – one to enjoy at the cookout and one for the host/hostess to enjoy later.

A GREAT APRON

I don’t know why I love this idea so much, but I do.  There’s nothing like seeing someone at the grill with a great apron on.  It’s handy and fun.  My favorite type of gift.

A couple of sites to consider:

  1. The Apron Place.  Has it ALL including a section just for men.
  2. Chef’s Closet.  Has the cheapest aprons that I found.  You can also embroider them.  If aprons are going to be your go-to gift for summer events, I suggest you buy in bulk.  If you’re crafty and handy with clothing paint, purchasing from this site also allows you to do your own thing with minimal investment.
  3. Etsy.  Etsy never fails.  

A POST-EVENT ACTIVITY

Because the hosts are typically running around – sometimes weeks before the event – all other activities often get put on the back burner.  So I suggest a gift card for dinner at their favorite restaurant or a movie gift card.  Something that can be enjoyed after everyone has gone home.

Be Inspired.

 

 

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FUN & EASY SPEAKER GIFTS

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Cheap, Fast and Good – You CAN have all three….

In my past life of planning conferences one of the biggest stressors was finding the perfect speaker gift.  In my personal life, this comes up again and again as I look for gifts for church and sorority event speakers.

This past weekend one of the ministries I serve on had an event with multiple panelists.  So on the hunt I went for nice (and inexpensive) thank you gifts.  Between Hobby Lobby and Walmart I was able to come through with cheap and easy speaker gifts (that only took me about an hour to put together – I promise).

Here’s what you need:

  1. A Small Glass Container ( Hobby Lobby had them for IMG_027050 percent off – about $1.25 per jar)
  2. Gift Tags (the hanging ones, not the sticky type)
  3. Candy (M&Ms or mints – but if you go the chocolate route keep the candy cool)
  4. Colored Markers or Pencils

Instructions

All you have to do is clean the jars and drop in some candy.  The special touch comes in the gift tag.  Using your colored markers or pencils write a nice message on the gift tag.  Tie it around the jar and voila, a fun speaker gift.

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MAKING MOTHER’S DAY

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Because gifts should include a little kid sweat equity…

I’m a big fan of gifts.  But when it comes to Mother’s Day I get immediate throwback feelings to my childhood and the fun and creative exercise of making cards for your mom.  In school all we were given was construction paper, glue, and markers but somehow as children we all managed to make Mother’s Day magic.

So when it comes to this holiday I like to go a little old school and back to my kiddie roots with the adult benefit of letting someone else buy the materials and do the clean up.

I grab my nephew (the resident kid in my life) and head out for an afternoon of ceramics painting and lunch.  We usually visit Color Me Mine or All Fired Up.  But the good news is that there are craft centers in every state.

He picks out a gift for his mom, I pick out a gift for my mom (his nana) and we go to work.  I also do a little grown up magic and add in a gift card or two (from me).

If you’re looking for a great Mother’s Day gift idea and a way to occupy kids for an hour or two it’s a great option.  Just don’t wait too long – firing the ceramics usually takes about a week.

Be Inspired.

 

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IT’S WORLD BOOK DAY

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So Gift a Book…

Here are my top 10 books to gift and receive- in no specific order…

  1. Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin.
  2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  3. Fabulosity by Kimora Lee Simmons
  4. Domino: the Book of Decorating by Deborah Needleman and John Middleton Murry, Jr.
  5. Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
  6. 36 Hours 125 Weekends in Europe by Barbara Ireland
  7. The Coveteur: Private Spaces, Personal Style by Stephanie Mark and Jake Rosenburg
  8. Honey I Love and Other Poems by Eloise Greenfield
  9. Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider’s Guide to the Sweet Life
  10. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling.

Be Inspired & Gift a Book.

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GIFT ABOUT BOOKS: MARCH

Get Books March

Transparency Time….

I will turn 40 years old in less than a year.  Most days I’m good with it – really good with it.  As in excited, can’t wait for this next decade and all of the confidence and peace that all who have gone before me swear comes with this age.

But then there are days when I’m not okay and not because of the number.  After all, Aaliyah said that “Age ain’t nothing but a number” right?  And she was right (or maybe it was Timbaland or Missy Elliot or whoever wrote the song) – but either way I am fully on board with this sentiment.

So it’s not about the number, it’s all about ME.  And being completely, wholly, authentically me and whether I have reached this place or not.

These two books – in their own unique way – have spoken to that anxiety.  So if you know someone coming of age (it doesn’t have to be 40), I think these books make great gifts:

STYLE YOUR MIND by Cara Alwill Lebya

Style Your Mind
Don’t downplay the greatness of a classic workbook. Written by Cara Alwill Lebya (author of Sparkle and writer of The Champagne Diet blog) this thought-provoking guide has really helped me craft out a true vision for myself. It takes a while to get through – if you’re serious about it – because the questions are serious. It’s like having a life coach on your terms. It’s great gift for any woman plotting her way. I think that everyone should go through this type of exercise at least once every five to seven years.

YEAR OF YES by Shonda Rhimes

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So I’m about a year late to the game on this book – BUT – everything happens when it’s supposed to happen and I’m reading it at the perfect time for me (don’t judge me). But I’m finding that there are others who haven’t read it so it makes a great gift because it’s an AWESOME read. I enjoy the writing on her shows, but I’m loving her book even more. It’s honest, transparent, and I can see myself in parts. I’m inspired – not necessarily to say “Yes” – that’s her journey – but to chart my own course fearlessly, which is a great gift for anyone.

Be Inspired.

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Gifts for People Who Don’t Want Gifts

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Because there’s always a solution…

I was having a conversation with a teammate a few weeks ago who found himself wanting to purchase a birthday gift for his wife who really didn’t want one.  Once I got over being flattered that he had actually visited my blog to come up with ideas, my mind started turning.

No gift – sacrilege!  (Well not really, but it’s my blog so I can say that.)

So if you’re in this position (as we all will be at some point), here are my personal go-to gifts for people who never want gifts:

BOOKS

I’m a huge fan of books as gifts – perhaps because I am a bibliophile and can never resist.  But what I love about the gift of books is that first, knowledge is power and gifting it is never a waste, but second (and most important) there is always a book to match someone’s interest.  Photography, travel, fashion, art, etc. – there’s always a great book on it.

A MEMORY (In Photo Form)

In this day of digital, printed pictures can actually be really special.  So if you have someone who doesn’t really want or need anything, find a great photo that epitomizes the best of your relationship (maybe a candid from a first date or a high school photo that you both had forgotten about).  Get it printed (it’s super cheap) and put it in a frame.  If you’re not that formal, you can always put it a card.  #herestomakingmorememoriesdi76z659T

AN EXPERIENCE

I’m big on gifts of experience although I rarely highlight them on the blog…. mostly because they are so personal.  But they are also incredibly memorable.  So plan a dinner that the kids help with for mom’s birthday or schedule that hot air balloon ride that he’s been talking about for years.  Maybe you do a movie marathon.  The best part is that price shouldn’t be a factor.

….And don’t forget to buy a card (that’s non-negotiable).

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