Photo-Fun Birthday Party

One of my very favorite group shots, they all look so psyched.

Last week my daughter turned twelve, and every year we do two parties: one for friends and one for family.  My daughter is an  incredibly creative spirit and has always liked her parties to reflect her personality and what she’s currently obsessed with–this is always a (fun) challenge for me, the Mom, as we attempt to find something unique, fun and thematic to her tastes and passions.  We started by going through her favorite things–theater, art, music–and talked about a few different ideas for each: taking friends to a Broadway show, doing a karaoke thing (again–Oh No!), or doing an art themed celebration.  And then I remembered her love of photography. She’s on Instagram, takes pictures of EVERYTHING and as soon as I mentioned it, she was game! But how to have a “Photography Party”? Good question.
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50 Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Image courtesy of Stewart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re anything like me, you believe the best gifts come in small packages. That’s why I LOVE buying stocking stuffers. When I was a youngster, every year I knew that there would be one very special gift in my stocking among the little fun things that were also there and it was always so much fun anticipating where it would be–under the chocolate Santa…after the silly putty…before the socks? Below are some fun and unique stocking stuffer ideas (some links are also available to see some of my picks for each) meant to inspire and delight your recipients…and feel free to add your ideas in the comments below.

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Pre-Holiday Sale Guide

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To gear up for Thanksgiving, and prepare for Chanukah and Christmas, I’ve put together a list of food and decor deals perfect for a host/hostesses, family gatherings or even a party you’re hosting (leave the centerpiece to someone else, and have it shipped too).

So enjoy these offers, feel free to post any others you know about in the comments, and look for updates and new posts as the season continues.

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Holiday Hostess Gifts

Image courtesy of Ron Bird / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despite my passion for gift-giving and shopping (it’s kind of the whole premise for this blog) when it comes to the holidays, hosting and feeding my family and friends takes the cake–literally and figuatively. I love preparing the menu, decorating our house with my husband and kids–well, he watches and directs while we decorate but it’s still really fun–finding a fun activity for guests to break the ice and then pulling it all together. That said, I also visiting family and friends: our annual tradition of going to my aunt’s for Christmas Day, celebrating New Years Eve with my husband at “our” restaurant where we had our wedding reception, watching all the kids and grown-up men get sweaty and hungry playing soccer (or maybe it’s football) on Thanksgiving at my in-law’s.

Whether it’s an established tradition or a new invitation that finds you celebrating in someone else’s home, it’s customary to bring a token of thanks. I’ve written about hostess gifts before, and my “rules of the road” (a bunch of them will work for the holidays too so feel free to check them out again, particularly this one and this one) but these gift ideas focus on unexpected and holiday specific ideas to warm the hearts and homes of your hosts.

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The Santa Dance

Santa Hat

image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My post today isn’t going to be a gift list or guide. Sorry in advance, although it IS slightly gifting related.

Before you continue reading any further, make sure there are only adults present–no children (or inner children) peeking behind you or reading over your shoulder. There are some “holiday spoilers” in this post, if you catch my drift. Alright, now that you’ve done that, I can share the rest of this with you.

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Writing Themed Gifts

20121114-231601.jpgBefore the in-flux of posts about what to give and what to get kicks into high gear, I thought I’d write about something that doesn’t have to cost very much–gifts about writing. The idea for this came from my son the other night. After a particularly tense evening between him and his sister (and me), my son asked me for a notebook. Just an everyday, lined notebook for him to be able to jot down his thoughts and maybe the occasional doodle. I was so inspired that my digitized nine-year-old wanted such a simple creative outlet for his thoughts that it got me thinking about how some of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever gotten (and given) have been similar.

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10 Ideas For Holiday Cards

20121103-212712.jpgGetting my first holiday card usually does one of two things depending on how organized I have managed to get myself:
1. Makes me so excited that the holiday season is in full-swing
2. Gets me panic-stricken that I am already behind in getting my cards out the door (or in some cases ordered at all).

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What I’m Giving: Electronics & Appliances

gift_boxes.jpgOne of my very favorite parts of the holidays is (no surprise) the gift shopping. I like to start picking and choosing few months in advance and I’m happy to say I’ve already got a few socked away. Most gifts I purchase are things I already have, love or want…things I can get behind, so to speak. The following are some electronic and appliance items I’m thinking about for this holiday season and I’d love to hear about what you’re pondering in the comments below.

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Practical Gifts: Be Prepared in an Emergency

emergency_kit.jpgThe aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is reverberating across my hometown and I expect it will for a while. The news is still on almost 24/7 and there are still areas without power, water, heat and compounding that, others have lost their homes, their lives and loved ones. As a New Yorker, it’s incredibly eerie and reminiscent of the events of 9/11 and to some extent, the Blackout of 2003 when we were glued to not only the news but the ticker-tape text augmenting the audio/visual on the screen–as if there just was just too much information to consume no single person could actually digest it all.

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