Tuesday, December 16, 2014

All About Scarlett!

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Today is the first day that I feel well enough to blog.

My daughter is one week old today! It's been a crazy week filled with extreme joy, fear, and pain.  I was induced on December 9th and had a 21 hour labor which resulted in an unplanned c-section.  Scarlett was posterior which ultimately meant that her face was towards my back.  In the end after two hours of pushing (luckily I was able to get an epidural at only 3cm!) I had to have a c-section because she was just not coming out. After each contraction I had intense back pain which was due to her being posterior.  The pain was outrageous and honestly the contractions didn't hurt as much as the back pain. I do think my epidural was wearing off at this point.







I never planned on having a c-section, nor did I think I would possibly need one.  I was extremely scared and upset.  Honestly, I blacked out during the surgery because the next thing I knew I was back in a hospital room and my mom and husband were holding her.  I was in so much pain that I didn't even know what she looked like for hours.  I couldn't hold her, nor did I even want to. 

After Scarlett was born, I had some complications.  My heart rate was sky high and fluctuated between 140-160.  The doctors and nurses were concerned and couldn't believe I didn't have any chest pains or heart palpitations.  I went through a battery of tests including a CT scan, a heart sonogram, and multiple EKG's.  In the end everything was fine, I just had extreme anxiety from the whole birthing experience.

My hospital was beyond wonderful.  The nurses and doctors took excellent care of Scarlett and myself, and I felt like I was in good hands from the minute I checked in.   The c-section recovery has been rough.  I needed help getting out of bed and felt truly helpless.  By day 2 and 3, I felt well enough to take a shower and walk around minimally.  Taking a shower, drying my hair, and putting on makeup made me feel like a new person.

I came home on Saturday and felt okay.  By Sunday I had extreme nausea and felt very weak.  I also weighed 4 lbs more than I did before I gave birth.  My feet looked like balloons and reminded me of a cartoon character.  Even after resting a lot I never felt better.  I wasn't able to keep anything down and just felt like death and very weak.  Today, (Tuesday) is the first day I feel better.  CVS gave me a prescription for anti-nausea and it WORKS!! I've also lost 17 lbs of fluid in about 3 days which I attribute to the weak feeling.

Scarlett is a wonderful baby and only cries when she wants to eat. When she's not sleeping she is content to just hang out and look around. So far in her short week of life, I've discovered that she loves to eat, makes cries and noises that sounds like a kitten, and is very strong. She also loves her Halo Sleepsack Swaddle.  From the minute I had her, she's been trying to pick her head up by herself.  She's a tough little girl and I can't wait to watch her as she grows.  We had a doctor appointment yesterday and the doctor said she is wonderfully healthy.

My mom has been here helping me every step of the way and I'm so appreciative for her assistance! It's certainly an adjustment with a new baby.  I'm learning to balance time and sleep when she sleeps, etc.  I do feel like I don't have any time for myself but I'm learning to make what time I have work.

I look forward to sharing many Scarlett updates with you in the near future!






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Saturday, December 13, 2014

IMUSA Helps You to Bring Flavor to The Holidays

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If you're looking to put a unique spin on a traditional Christmas dinner this year, I have the perfect suggestion for you.  Skip the side dishes like mashed potatoes and casseroles and invite flavor into your mouth with empanadas.  These pastries can be filled with meat, cheese, or even fruit.  The possibilities of what to stuff them with are endless.  All you have to do is choose whether you bake or fry them.  Maybe you'll enjoy the side dish change so much that serving empanadas will become your family's new Christmas tradition.  The holidays are all about making memories after all.


IMUSA is the leading brand of Hispanic housewares and culinary brand ambassador of international cuisines.  The line of cookware is innovative, authentic and affordable.  IMUSA's products help bring the abuela's (grandma in Spanish) recipes to life while also capturing the adventurist spirits of culinary dreamers. The product line includes tortilla warmers, steamer pots, panini makers, pots and pans, rice cooker and so much more. There is definitely something available to help you begin your culinary passion in the kitchen.

From December 1st-25th, IMUSA will be giving away one product a day across their social media pages! Today, one lucky winner will have the opportunity to win an empanada maker.  If you've never had an empanada before, you haven't truly lived.

This handy little machine will make delicious empanadas to delight your taste buds. 


Plug the machine in and in minutes you can make delicious filled pastries that are baked and full of flavor.  Fill your dough with shredded meats and cheeses for the perfect holiday side dish.  There's no reason why you can't serve dessert empanadas either at your holiday table. Chocolate and banana empanadas or caramel apple would make the perfect sweet treat.  I could go for a rich and sweet chocolate and banana empanada right now!

How can you go wrong with chocolate and banana?  A classic flavor that always makes stomachs smile.

Head on over to IMUSA's Facebook and Twitter page for your chance to win.  Maybe you'll be their next winner!

*DISCLOSURE* IMUSA provided me with monetary compensation in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are my own.  



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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Scarlett Rae is here!

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You'll notice my lack of posts this week, but I have a good reason for that. My daughter Scarlett was born on Tuesday! She was 8 lbs 4 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. My husband and I just love her and she's a very good baby so far! 
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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Capture Holiday Memories With Canon This Holiday Season @BestBuy #CanonAtBestBuy #HintingSeason

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With Christmas just around the corner, it's implied that many memories will be made.  If you don't already have a camera to take priceless memories with, it's essential you purchase one soon. Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras to capture the holidays with.


Why not check out the Canon EOS Rebel T5i? This is one of the best-selling DSLR's on the market. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality. If you're looking for special features to give your pictures they personality they deserve, the camera certainly delivers.  Can't you just imagine editing your pictures to make them pop to send out for Christmas cards? This certainly saves you time and money from hiring a professional photographer to take your family's holiday pictures.  

Canon lets you take professional pictures that will make you feel like a photographer.  The camera features an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor and image processor that ensures crystal clear pictures.  

Everyone knows the holidays can wreak havoc on your wallet, that's why Best Buy has a special money saving offer for you! Head on over to Best Buy to learn how you can save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i.  

Disclaimer:  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Slingbox M1 Giveaway

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The holiday season is upon us.  If you haven't already started buying gifts, you really should start now. Those gifts won't buy themselves you know! Many of us will be traveling for Christmas and we won't be home to watch our favorite TV shows.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could bring your shows on the go and watch them whenever you want? It's time to make those TV dreams a reality.



Slingbox is here to make sure you never miss your favorite television show or movie again. With this handy little device, you can enjoy full high-definition movies, sports, and TV shows either live or recorded from your home TV.  You're then able to watch them on your internet-connected tablet, phone, laptop, or 2nd TV.  Just download the Slingbox app on your smartphone and you're good to go.  You can even watch your favorites from overseas! The best part is that there are no monthly fees. This would make a great Christmas present for a friend or a family member, or for anyone who travels a lot.

I'll make you fall in love with TV all over again. You'll never miss anything now. 

The first thing that I thought of when learning about the Slingbox was missing your shows when you go on vacation.  I recently went on a cruise in July and was gone about two weeks total.  Of course I had everything DVR'd at home, but it was really annoying to have to wait to get home to watch my shows.  It would have been so nice if I had a Slingbox so I could watch everything on the go and not miss anything.  With Slingbox, you can have all of your most loved TV in the palm of your hand.



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Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Help on Your Journey to Conceive

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Many women in life struggle with getting pregnant.  They go to fertility clinics and try special herbs and medicines to help speed up the process.  Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could get pregnant quickly and easily?

Ready to get pregnant and want to do it as quickly and easily as possible? Then you should be thinking about trying the Conceive Easy TTC Kit. It’s a super helpful all in one kit that can help you to boost your fertility and get pregnant faster. The kit comes with a wide variety of products designed to help your fertility and conception experience be the best it can possibly be. 




There are seven main causes of infertility, which you can read about here. About ten percent of couples have fertility struggles, but you don’t always need prescription fertility treatments to deal with those issues. The kit is made of all natural ingredients that can really boost fertility without any harsh side effects, making it a great choice for any woman who needs a little help in the fertility department. 





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Netflix #StreamTeam December 2014-All Hail King Julian

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New Year's Eve is just a few weeks away.  Doesn't that seem hard to believe? This year really did fly by. Whether you are planning a big party or ringing in the new year quietly with your family, I hope you have a fun and memorable night! Don't forget lots of snacks and drinks either.



Netflix has a special treat for you that will get you moving and shaking in no time.  On December 19th, an original hilarious and insane new series will arrive on Netflix.  If you're familiar with the movie Madagascar, then you'll recognize King Julien who's a character from the movie.  The series titled "King Julien" will take on the jungle's craziest adventures in the new comedy.  He'll be joined by his loyal sidekicks Maurice and Mort along with a whole new cast of colorful animals.  Your children will fall in love with King Julien the minute they watch the series.



My plans this New Year's Eve include taking care of a new baby.  My due date was today but it doesn't seem like my daughter will be making an appearance.  That could change though! What do you have planned? 

While you wait for December 19th to approach, why not check out these other titles with King Julien's friends from Madagascar?

1. Merry Madagascar
2. Madly Madagascar
3. The Madagascar Penguins: A Christmas Caper

You can't forget about these holiday favorites that everyone loves either:

1. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
2. Mumfie's White Christmas
3. In Search of Santa
4. VeggieTales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving

The teens and parents are certainly not left out with the following selections:

1. Love Actually
2. The Office: Season 2 Episode 10, Christmas Party
3. Christmas With the Kranks
4. Arrested Development, Season 2 Episode 6, Afternoon Delight

With an array of titles to choose from, entertainment is at your fingertips.  Whatever you and your friends or family choose to do this New Years, please have fun and be safe.






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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Haba USA Review

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This time of year is very busy for all.  Between preparing holiday meals, buying gifts and traveling to see friends and family, we're constantly vying to get everything done at once. If your family is traveling this year, it's essential that they have durable and reliable luggage. Don't forget about your children either! They will love having their own suitcase that they picked out to pack their clothes in. What kind of luggage does your family use?



Haba USA is a gold standard baby and children's brand that is loved by many. They have an eco-conscious approach that aims to increase children's happiness and facilitate development.  The brand creates wonderful toys and games that become cherished objects for children of all ages all over the world.  Choose from many types of toys including blocks, plush and wooden toys, puzzles, dolls, and so much more.  Not only are toys offered but backpacks and luggage too are available.  There's certainly many options to choose from that will delight any boy or girl on Christmas morning.  If you have a child with an upcoming birthday, surprise them with wooden blocks or a magnetic game that will make them smile.  Keep Haba USA in mind for any of your future toy or game needs.  

I was sent an adorable Wildlife Trolley Suitcase in the Wildlife Elephant print for my daughter Scarlett.  Even though she's not here yet, she will be very soon! As soon as I saw the suitcase I fell in love with it.  I instantly imagined her wheeling it through the airport it as we traveled to visit Grandma for future holidays.  The suitcases come in a range of wildlife patterns for boys or girls including turtles, giraffes, rhinos, and more.  Your child will love having their own animal themed suitcase and they will be so proud to use it.

I'm an adorable pink elephant.  What more could you want?

Is your child at that age where they want to be more independent? If so, letting them have their own suitcase is a perfect way to showcase that independence.  This adorable suitcase is perfect for little hands to wheel around the airport or train station with.  Space is certainly not an issue as the interior offers a deep main pocket with mesh pocket and zipper divider. Don't think there's only storage inside either, there's a large zippered compartment on the outside too.  Pack your child's clothes and shoes on the inside while you pack a few toys in the outside storage pocket. 

If you're looking for a cutesy suitcase for your daughter, this is definitely the perfect pick for you and her!  The colors are bright and vivid and full of personality.  I absolutely love the elephant which gives the suitcase an extra zip of pizazz.  The suitcase is easy to wheel and I have no issues with the handle being raised or lowered either.

I can't wait until Scarlett is old enough to use this suitcase herself, I just know she'll love it! What little girl wouldn't? In the meantime, my husband and I plan on visiting my parents in February and I'll pack her clothes in this for her.  It's just too cute to not use right away! 

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Haba USA for providing me with a complimentary suitcase in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own.  







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Winter Accessories Every Girl Needs

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There’s only one way to survive winter; with a boatload of trendy accessories to keep us looking cool and feeling toasty at the same time. Providing you have the following accessories, you could turn the most summery of outfits into a winter get-up. What will you buy from the list?

A Chunky Snood

A snood is the perfect winter accessory. If you don’t know what one is already, you must be living under a rock! You can wear the snood multiple ways; just take a look online and you’ll see. My favorite way is to wrap it around my neck like a scarf before pulling it over my head to create a hood/scarf effect. It keeps me extra toasty when the weather is frosty!  

Winter Boots

Winter boots are a must. I don’t mean Ugg boots either ladies; Boots that are toasty on the inside but look flattering worn with any outfit are a great buy. There are lots of different lengths to choose from, so you’ll need to pick yours depending on your favorite style. They can be a little pricey, but they are worth it if they’ll last you years.

A Trusty Bag

All girls need a trusty bag, whether it’s winter or summer. However, bags change in the winter and are much classier. They are usually made from materials such as leather and found in nice, rich colors; a bit like Shinola bags. Make sure your bag doesn’t let you down by choosing something sturdy.

Thick Tights

Throw some thick tights on with any summer dress and a cardigan and you’ll instantly have a cute outfit perfect for braving the cold. Wearing a summery dress with winter essentials creates a nice contrast too; very fashionable! If you like to be a bit more daring, you can even find tights with crazy patterns on them to funk up your outfits.

A Smart Coat

I really shouldn’t have to explain why every woman needs a smart coat, should I? There are plenty of winter events that call for a smart coat, so you don’t have to sacrifice your health to look good.

Ear Muffs

Ear muffs are the cutest, coolest way to keep your ears toasty. However, you won’t even need to mess up your hair with a hat! This is why so many girls love ear muffs. If you’ve never had a pair, now is the time to try them.

A Russian Hat

Russian hats are another great accessory for keeping our heads and ears warm. You won’t feel compelled to constantly pull your head gear over your ears, as this hat is designed to keep them warm at all times.

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Mittens

Mittens are warmer than gloves as they keep the heat in better. If you always have cold hands, mittens are the perfect solution!

If you’ve got these accessories in your wardrobe then there’s no need to worry. You’ll have a trendy, toasty winter. See you next time!  

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Get All of Your Camera Needs at @BestBuy This Holiday Season #CamerasAtBestBuy #HintingSeason

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The holidays are a magical time for making long-lasting memories with family and friends. Gather around the tree on Christmas morning and open presents while spending quality time with loved ones.  This Christmas may be an important one as it's your baby's first one, or maybe your child is now old enough to understand opening presents and is excited about it. Whatever the reason is, recording holiday memories to watch for years to come is priceless.  Choose Best Buy this holiday season for all of your video and picture needs.



Step into Best Buy for the latest cameras and camcorders to capture all of your memories. I'll be detailing three cameras below that come equipped with built in Wi-Fi so you can share your photos with ease.  

Nikon's D5300 DSLR with 1855 mm VR lens is certainly a camera I'd love to own! This 24.2 megapixel beauty comes with an advanced lens that enables you to capture sharp photo and video footage.  An optical image stabilization helps to prevent blurring which ensures perfect image quality.

Let Nikon help you to take beautiful photos this Christmas.


The camera is available in red or grey, depending on your taste and preference.  The best part is that you can instantly share your photos after taking them thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi.  

Many people are loyal to Sony Cameras and choose those over any other brand.  My first digital camera was actually a Sony! Have you thought about purchasing a Sony Alpha A6000 Compact System Camera with 16-50mm retractable lens?

I love the look of this camera, it has such an old-fashioned feel which really appeals to me. 

The Sony Alpha features a 24.3 megapixel sensor that makes it easy to shoot in stunning clarity.  With such megapixels, you know you'll be taking the clearest and crispest pictures possible.  It's available in white or silver and the built-in WiFi allows your to share stored content across all social media devices.  In case you were wondering, I prefer the black camera over the silver for Christmas ;).  

Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is the perfect pick if you're working with a tight budget.  This 16.3 megapixel camera allows you to shoot, share, and use Android apps.  The sensor lets you capture sharp images and high-definition video footage.  The 4.8" touch screen simplifies operation and the built-in WiFi makes sharing stored files easy.  Choose from either white or silver depending on your style.  

Say Cheese! 

The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is a must for anyone with an Android based phone.  Any recipient who receives this underneath the tree on Christmas morning will be delighted.

Visit the Best Buy Holiday Gift Center to see more wonderful camera options.  Whether you're giving  one as a gift or shopping for yourself, I know you'll find the perfect camera that fits your needs.

*DISCLOSURE* The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  







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Monday, December 1, 2014

Hints and Tips For Arranging The Perfect Party

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Whether you are arranging a party for a friend, a get together for yourself or a work event it stands to reason that you are going to want things to go as smoothly as possible. Arranging a party can seem like hard work, but really as long as you get organised and keep on track with
where you are it can be much easier than you imagine.


The Needs of Everyone

Before you can really get your teeth stuck into arranging a party, you need to think about the type of party you want to arrange. A big part of this will be to do with what the occasion is and who will be attending. You'll probably arrange something different for an 18th birthday than you would for a 50th wedding anniversary for example. It isn't difficult to get sorted, just think about what is most appropriate for the people who are going to be attending.

Getting Organised

Once you have done this you can start to think about the party itself and getting organised. Without a doubt at this stage you need to create a party checklist
. This gives you the chance to tick off items that have been arranged so you can see where you at. This also lets you know what needs doing before the event and whether you need to work a little harder in order to get things done in time.

Hiring The Right People

No one is suggesting that you are able to do all of this on your own, so there is nothing wrong with hiring people to help. If you need lots of help then you could hire a party planner but this isn't essential. If you are going to hire their services then it is vital that you check their services and ensure that they are up to the job. Most companies should have you can see or testimonials that you can read before you hire their services. Services you could consider hiring includes caterers, DJ's and even furniture hire if that is needed. Speak to the party venue that you have in mind and see how much they arrange for you and how much you are expected to do yourself.


Getting The Venue Ready

A big part of the party is the venue that you supply. Most of the time you will need to decorate this yourself but that really isn't difficult. One great tip is to fill the room with banners and balloons galore. These are relatively inexpensive so a great way of decorating a room without worrying too much about the cost. They also come in a whole range of colors so getting something that complements your chosen color scheme won't be difficult.

Depending on the type of event you are arranging you might also need to consider table layouts, seating for everyone and even whether you are going to have a seating plan or not. Lighting, staging and even getting the bar setup are all things that you might to consider.
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Made with Love: 5 Easy Gifts To Make At Home

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I’m pretty sure a handmade gift is the one of the nicest things you can give friends and family. The mistake most people make (myself included) is being over ambitious in the choice of project. Spending the hundredth night in trying desperately to finally finish that boring scarf or awkward jumper is enough to send anyone running to the shops. The trick is to pick projects that aren’t too challenging in the first place, so you can take your time getting them just right. I’ve put together a list of my 5 favourite foolproof gift ideas to make your job just a little bit easier.

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Image Source: Nessia’s Ring

1. Knitted Baby Blankets

The old ideas are always the best and, as every new mum will tell you, you can never have too many baby blankets! For that reason alone it’s important you choose a wool that is machine washable at high temperatures and super soft. If you’re pressed for time, opt for a chunkier yarn that will knit up faster. The stockinette stitch is a great choice for these little blankets since it’s bumpy on one side and nice and smooth on the other, perfect for baby!

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Image Source: Bec Gusler

2. Pot Holders

A twist on the classic quilt and much quicker to whip up, you can make these these useful gifts in colours that match the kitchen your intended recipient. You don’t need much to make a great pot holder, a decent sewing machine, quilt wadding and a collection of colourful fabrics scraps will pretty much do it. Not much of a seamstress? Don’t worry, www.GrandmaLikesToSew.com has some great tips and tricks for beginners as well as a list of online tutorials.

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Image Source: Umair Mohsin

5. T-Shirts

OK so this one is more of a homemade update than a homemade gift but it’s a great one for getting the kids involved. A couple of simple white T’s and some fabric paint is all you need to create your masterpieces. You can make some stamps out of potatoes or sponges for a bit of a change, personally I find the kid’s love plastering painted handprints all over it.

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Image Source: Abby Lanes

4. Calendars

Another brilliant way to get the kids involved, print out blank calendars (you can get templates online and stick them to sheets of coloured A3 paper. Let the little ones loose with the paint and see what masterpiece they come up with.

For a slightly more grown up look, you could always use a personalised calendar service. Technically it’s a bit of a cheat on the handmade theme but since it's still personal and surprisingly time consuming, I think it still counts as a great homemade gift idea.

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Image Source: Chris Isherwood

4. Truffles and Cakes

Saving the best to last, cakes, cookies and truffles are the stalwarts of the homemade gift industry for good reason! Quick and easy to whip up, these treats are guaranteed crowd pleasers and fantastic for filling gift hampers and goody bags. For a gift with wow factor, I would highly recommend Dandelion and Burdock Truffles. These guys are a bit fiddly to make but well worth the extra effort -I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love them at first sight!

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Everything you ever wanted to know about Christmas Hampers!

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Giving someone a hamper full of festive tasty treats for Christmas is now a well-established tradition. But how did it start?

The history of the hamper
You may be surprised to learn that giving someone a hamper of food dates right back to William the Conqueror. Originally a French tradition, the concept of giving baskets of treats for a special occasion was introduced to England in the 11th century.

It was after the development of the railways during the Victorian era that the tradition of giving Christmas hampers really started. As the railways grew, it became much easier to send perishable items right across the country before they spoiled. Employers, such as those with large estates, also used to give their employees hampers at Christmas as a kind of bonus. Ensuring that all their staff had enough food and drink to enjoy a happy Christmas.

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Hampers in the USA
Once the idea of giving hampers came across the pond to the United States, it quickly expanded and is the basis of the whole concept of gift baskets. As you probably know, gift baskets are now given for almost any occasion. From welcoming a new neighbour with scones or cookies, to luxury beauty products for a birthday - or a hamper full of nappies and toys for a baby shower.

Ready made Christmas hampers
There are many companies that sell pre-made hampers, consisting of a whole range of tasty and festive foods and treats. These typically include smoked meats or hams, cheeses, fruitcake or plum pudding, relishes, jams and wine or port. More modern versions may include olive oil, handmade pasta or even champagne and caviar.

You can also find speciality hampers that are suitable for people with special dietary requirements, such as wheat or dairy allergies. You can even buy vegetarian, vegan and organic hampers these days.

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Homemade Christmas hampers
You can even put together a hamper yourself for a more personalized gift. It’s easy to source the wicker hamper itself; you don’t need to opt for an expensive artisan version. Many homeware stores are a great source of cheap baskets, boxes and ‘storage solutions’. Then you can have fun choosing what food and drink to include, depending on the person you’re giving it to.

If you’re really going for a personal touch, you could make the food and treats yourself. Make a batch of cookies, mince pies or chocolate sweets. You can even personalize them by writing the recipients name on some items with icing. Or, if you have a stock of homemade pickles and jams, you can add these too for a mix of sweet and savoury flavors.

Don’t forget your presentation skills. You can fill the hamper with store-bought hay or shredded tissue paper before adding your items. Or, you could even shred some of last year’s wrapping paper for a festive touch. And finally, invest in plenty of ribbons to tie to the handles and make everything look pretty. Opt for festive colours such as red and green, and maybe include some gold touches too.


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Start Now if You Want to Look Fab This Christmas!

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We all want to look positively sparkly during the Christmas period. December is probably the month we have the most to do; work parties, gatherings with family and friends, and sometimes even impromptu nights out. This means you should start as early as possible if you want to look amazing for them at a moment’s notice. Here are some things I like to do to get prepared:

Your Beauty Routine

You probably already have a beauty routine, but you need to make sure that you’re keeping it consistent ready for Christmas. Here are some of the things you can do in preparation for it:

  • Give yourself a weekly home facial complete with a face mask.
  • Exfoliate your body and face a couple of times per week.
  • Moisturise as often as possible, especially after a bath or shower. The winter cold can really dry out your skin!
  • Cleanse, tone, and moisturize twice per day. Use products with an SPF to protect my skin from the harmful environment too!
  • Strengthen your nails with hand cream and cuticle oil. Try to keep them filed to a nice length too, ready for polish before your parties!
  • Book an appointment at the salon if you want to look extra special. I can never do my eyebrows right myself, so sometimes I book in for a wax and tint. Eyelash tints are great too, as they define your eyes with no need for eyeliner or mascara!

Hair

I try to get my hair done at some point in December so I know that it’ll look fab whatever I decide to do to it. My hairdresser freshens up my color (for an occasion as special as this one, I don’t do it myself), and I have a nice amount cut off to make it look healthy and thick. I try not to wash it too often, as this can make it greasy. I do use hair treatments every so often though to keep it in great condition. Treatments are a must, especially if you plan on using heated appliances over the festive period like me!

Makeup

I never like to go overboard with makeup, but it’s nice to try something new at this time of year. For example, a simple glitter eyeliner could really spice up your look. Practice first to make sure you like it before you attend those all important events.
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Outfits

I like to know what I’m wearing well in advance. I note down all of my parties in my calendar, what sort of thing I’m planning on wearing, and then I’ll hunt down similar fashion online or in my favorite stores. I do like to get in the festive spirit, so I think you can’t go wrong with something red, sequinned, or both!

It’s never too early to start preparing for Christmas. The earlier you start, the less stressed you’ll be on the day. If you have any tips, leave a comment to let me know. Thanks for reading!

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Collage.com Review and Giveaway

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If you walk into my home you'll see a variety of pictures both framed and on the walls.  The photos range from wedding pictures of my husband and I, to our dog, and of course pictures that I've taken too.  I think it's important to display meaningful pictures that make you smile each time you see them.   When my daughter is born, we'll surely have lots of framed pictures of her too.  What kind of photos are in your home?


Collage.com offers custom photo creations that make ideal Christmas presents for anybody this holiday season.  Go ahead and have fun creating the custom piece of your dreams.  Why not wow Grandma this year with a high-quality fleece photo blanket featuring her grandkids? If you have a family member who recently got married, they'd love a photo album featuring their wedding photos.  The website also has custom posters, canvases, phone cases, photo cards, Christmas ornaments, photo calendars and so much more.  Whatever your custom needs are, Collage has you covered.

If you're looking for a unique Christmas gift this year, I have the perfect suggestion for you. Collage's aluminum prints would look wonderful on the walls of anyone's home.  An aluminum print offers a modern alternative to the classic canvas.  These lightweight prints aluminum panels show off your photos in high-definition.  Dyes are directly infused into the metal which gives your images brightness and definition like you've never seen before. Memories don't get more vivid than this!

I had the opportunity to try out an aluminum print for myself.  I knew I wanted to surprise my husband with the print, so I chose a wedding photo of us in an 11x14 size.  You can choose from a variety of sizes depending on what your needs are.  The creation and ordering process on the website was very easy and in moments my order was submitted.  Shipping was very fast and my print arrived yesterday.

What I instantly noticed about the print was that my wedding photo did not take up the whole print.  There's a white space on the top and bottom that I wasn't expecting.  I would prefer that the picture take up the whole print, I think it would look better that way.  It would be nice if in the future Collage could offer that.
It's hard to capture the aluminum perfectly because it is slightly glossy.  This picture was taken 15 months ago now!

I was impressed with the fact that the picture was printed on actual aluminum! Technology is so interesting and the fact that this method of printing exists is very cool.  The colors are rich and sharp and I am satisfied with how the print came out.  If you were wondering, the picture is actually cool to the touch due to the aluminum.  My husband loved being surprised with the print and he was very excited about it.  He couldn't believe it was printed on aluminum!


As you can see, the hardware needed to hang the picture is already included on the back.  Simply put a nail in your wall and hang your print wherever your heart desires.  My husband and I are currently deciding the best place for the print to hang.  We have a lot of wall space that is blank, so it shouldn't be hard to find a good space for it.

The ultra thin design of the print is sleek and modern.  Canvases can be bulky and take up a lot of wall space, but the aluminum saves space!

If you're looking for a fun and different way to display your favorite pictures around your home, please check out Collage.com.  They will be waiting for your order.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Collage.com for providing me with a complimentary aluminum print in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are my own.  

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