Runs in the Family

People at work are always impressed with my creativity — probably more so than anyone else I’ve met. I think it is because for so many of them, as New Yorkers, they are limited in time and space to devote the same effort to crafts as other people. It is funny because in NYC you are surrounded by some of the most creative and inspirational people in the world, but it doesn’t always rub off on the general population. Also, since you have so many things at your fingertips, you can buy nearly everything, removing the need for people to make/create things themselves.

I often credit my creativity/craftiness to my family. I grew up in a household that was full of arts and crafts supplies and the “hey, I can make that” attitude. I wore many homemade Halloween costumes, my favorite of which was probably my M&M costume that my mom made out of two cardboard boxes but looked amazing. I always had a homemade birthday cake and when it was our turn to bring snacks to school, it was normally some kind of warm muffin that we made that morning.

My grandmother was extremely creative and passed that skill down to her two daughters (my mother and her sister). My Aunt is definitely one of the most creative people I know, so when I received a package in the mail the other day from her, I was immediately excited as I knew there would be some sort of creative homemade touch to it.

And I was not disappointed.

photo 1

My Aunt made this “good luck in the marathon” card herself, complete with eyelets on the sneaker that she added herself. I have to say, I was impressed. I don’t want to show it to anyone at work because suddenly my Robin Hood-ized crafts don’t look quick as impressive.

In addition to the card, I also received this beautiful bracelet, which I LOVE!

photo 3

Isn’t’ family the best?

Be My Valentine

Matt and I have never really been big into Valentine’s Day gifts. For the past few years, we have been going out to breakfast on Valentine’s Day before work – a fun tradition that I hope to continue for years to come. However, just because I don’t expect gifts, it doesn’t mean I can’t create an awesome “wish list” for all you readers. (You are welcome to all the boyfriends who read my blog and have no idea what to get their sweeties this Valentines Day – I am pretty sure than any of these gifts would be a slam dunk.

Jewelery: Matt has a theory that once a girl has one pair of earings, one necklace, one bracelet and one ring – she is set. Unfortunately for me, he has purchased each of these during our 10 year long relationship, so the potential for me to receive jewelery as a gift in the future is basically zero. Well, I’m here to tell you – his theory is wrong. A girl can NEVER have enough jewelery – the more options she has, the better! Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

Tiny Heart Necklace
Blue Drusy Geode Necklace
Pink Drusy Geode Necklace
Morse Code Necklace

Rose Gold Watch: I had asked Matt for a rose gold watch for Christmas. He found the idea of picking this out way too overwhelming (I guess I can’t blame him). Here are a few of my favorites – the gift of time is a classic.

              

“On Trend” Gifts: If you want to seem trendy but don’t want to spend hours reading through InStyle, Elle and fashion blogs,  here are a few options for you.

Ombre Nail Polish Set
Faux Fur Vest (I can't support real fur)
Eco-Chic Lunch Skins
Color Blocking is the New Black

 

Classic Gifts:
If you aren’t looking to be trendy this year, you can never go wrong with an classic gift.

Flower Bomb Perfume
Cashmere Scarf
Toms - gifts that give back
 
Cards:
A simple and sweet card can be the perfect gift. Here are a few of my favs.
 
        
 
 
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Cliffs Notes: Black Friday

A Quick History Lesson
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 a.m., or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005.

The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are “in the black”.

For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00, but in the late 2000s, many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Bealls) will open at midnight for the first time. Walmart will open at 10:00 on Thanksgiving night and Toys ‘R’ Us at 9:00. In 2010, Sears was open on Thanksgiving day.

And Now the Fun Part
In the days before the internet, shoppers relied on television commercials and newspaper ads that came out on Thanksgiving to alert them to the “door buster” specials and “one day sales” that took place on Black Friday. Now, with a few clicks of a mouse, shoppers can arm themselves with coupons, sale information and even participate in the madness without leaving their home.

Already, some deals have begun (see Amazon’s week long sale and Walmart’s pre-Black Friday sales). For me though, the real fun is being out among the masses. Just seeing folks running through the mall while carrying armloads of shopping bags gives me joy. The added benefit of picking up a few items on sale is just icing on the cake.

There are a lot of websites the comb the internet and put all of the sales in one place. These are a great resource, especially if you don’t get a local paper delivered to your house that contains the store circulars.

Black Friday News
Black Friday Ads

Black Friday Info
Coupon Sherpa (Contains store opening times)
Top Ten Black Friday Blogs (lists some of these sites plus more)
Ask Men (Lists out the top 10 best Black Friday Deals)

If you’re not Facebook “Friends” with your favorite retailers, now’s the time to “Like” these retailers. More retailers are going social, offering special discount codes to preferred friends on Facebook and Twitter. “It’s a good idea to add your favorite stores to your friend list — at least for the time being,” he says.  Retailers like the Gap are even providing Facebook Credit as rewards to users who sign up for its email newsletter.

Another new trend consumers can take advantage of to make the most of leaving the house Black Friday is the explosion of mobile apps that enhance the shopping experience. Keep your smartphone at the ready on the big day to fact-check any deals before purchasing. The best app for price-scanning: Red Laser. And the best app for mobile coupons: Coupon Sherpa. With the Holiday Gift List app you can track your spending and stick to your budget while FourSquare can help you take advantage of local sales and deals based on location, or even freebie restaurant offers of cheap coffee breaks during your shopping spree.

Compare prices. According to ConsumerAffairs.com, Consumer Reports found an electric percolator “on sale” at Kohl’s stores and Kohls.com for $61.99, a discount from the regular $69.99. But those prices are higher than the $59.99 manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Using a Web search, CR found better deals. The best price was $30.03 plus $8.21 shipping at Sale Stores.

Check reviews on sites such as Cnet and make sure you’re clear on the features of those electronics that you are considering. Black Friday is all about rock-bottom prices on no-name goods (or those that aren’t so familiar). That’s fine if it’s not going to be your primary TV, or if you only need a limited number of features on that Blu-ray player.

Look for coupons. Once you know what items you intend to purchase and the stores offering these products for a great price, see who will sweeten the deal. Department stores such as Macy’s and Kohl’s regularly offer coupons that can take an additional 20% to 30% off sale prices. And many online retailers allow you to stack percentage-off or free shipping coupon codes on top of Black Friday prices, making one seller’s price for that cashmere sweater cheaper in the long run. You can find coupon codes on sites such as Gottadeal.com, eDeals.com, Slickdeals and RetailMeNot.

Good luck and Godspeed! Please eeport back on any incredible deals you may find (or hilarious stories you may experience!)

Martha Stewart Craft Show

After waiting outside in line, in the freezing cold temperatures, I got to experience the Martha Stewart Craft Fair. Held in the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offices, 90 different vendors displayed their homemade projects and crafts. Many of the vendors were current or previous Martha employees, so my expectations for the event were very high.

While getting a pick into Martha’s world was exciting and the decor was nice, I was slightly disappointed with the products being sold. Half of the stuff were things that I could have made myself and the other half were things that I wasn’t very interested in. In the end I walked away with a few Christmas presents, but mostly, I left feeling inspired to amp up the level of crafting that takes place in our apartment. And the timing couldn’t be better. With the holidays coming up, and the temperature outside dropping, I can entertain myself for hours in my warm and cozy apartment!

Does anyone else feel a trip to Michaels coming on? I certainly do!