Gifts for the one who has Everything

We all know those type, the type that is impossible to shop for because they have everything they could ever want.  They never wait for holidays to get the things they like, they just buy them and you are stuck with absolutely no ideas besides getting them the same gift card you got them last year!  I have a hard time shopping for my husband and my mom. Over the years, I have found some great ideas that are pretty fool-proof for these impossible gift-receivers.  Do you have any gift ideas?

1. Personalized Pet gifts.  Yes we have all seen the photo gifts such as snow globes, calendars, canvases, you name it!  However, what is one being that can do no wrong?  A person’s pet.  One of the best gifts I received was a picture of my cat and dog (below!) on an adorable Easel from Shutterfly.  For around $20, you can customize an adorable gift for just about anyone!

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2. Tickets to an event!  What better gift than one you can benefit from?  Tickets to your honey’s favorite baseball game, weekend get-away, or the perfect theatre show for your mother-in-law?  You cannot beat spending time together and these gifts are the gifts that keep on giving.  There is something to look forward to and you can get creative with the packaging. For example, if you want to plan a girl’s weekend for your BFF’s birthday, you can pack her an adorable personalized canvas and fill it up with goodies and the itinerary of what you plan on doing.  Canvas from  Personalization Mall.  On  budget?  There are so many event-inspired gifts on Groupon and Living Social such as Paint Nights, Weekend Get-Aways, and even extreme things such as Sky-diving! tote

3. Blast from the Past gifts. This is perfect for people you have grown up with. Maybe they loved a certain type of retro-candy or have a thing for 90’s music. They will love the thought you put into a customized retro-gift basket! Personally, I would be thrilled if I opened a Super Nintendo on Christmas Day! Check out Ebay for some really awesome gifts that will be totally unexpected and awesome!

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Healthy Eating Habits Made Easy!

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Eating healthy ALL the time can be really frustrating. I try to make my eating and cooking habits a lifestyle rather than a diet so I feel like I am not depriving myself. Here are a few tips I swear by that will help you stay healthy, on track, and still satisfied.

1. Always be prepared. If you have a crazy day at work, when you get home and there is nothing to eat, you are more likely to indulge in something unhealthy because you are so hungry. When I go grocery shopping (usually on Sundays), I plan out what is for lunch and dinner for the week. For example, Monday: crock pot bean soup, Tuesday: Seared Eggplant with veggies, Wednesday: Grilled chicken with butternut squash, and so on.

2. Before a big party or event that you know there will be tempting food, eat something before the event. Heading to a gala where dinner is at 8pm and you know you will eat all the bacon-wrapped scallops in sight? Munch on something before the event to fill up your tummy. Some carrots with hummus or whole grain toast with some peanut butter will hold you over until dinner!

3. Cut out added sugar. Whether it’s juice, soda, snacks, try to avoid foods that are sweetened. Drink water as much as you can and eat foods that are naturally sweet like fruit, cinnamon, and coconut flavors. I even put cinnamon in my coffee instead of sugar and it’s delicious! Also, when I do drink juice, I mix up half with water, For example, if I am drinking cranberry juice, I fill the cup up halfway and the rest with water. This way you get the benefits of the juice with half the sugar.

4. If it’s 10 cents, it’s probably crap. You are better off raising your grocery budget or spending more time coupon-clipping then you are trying to eat on $20 per week. Veggies are actually cheap compared to meats so you can get a cart-full of organize veggies, skip the steak and you will have spent less money! I try to eat organic and watch for sales as well as being resourceful with leftovers.

5. Eating out can be healthy too. I love to dine out and eat well at a nice restaurant; I just pay attention to the menu. First, if it’s a table with bread, I tell them to take it away… It’s way too tempting to just sit there. Also, try to do a veggie side. Craving a burger? Go for it once in a while but get a side salad instead of the fries and you will save half the calories. Checking out the menu online beforehand is also a great idea so you can see if they have healthy options or provide nutritional information.

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Out of the Blue

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world.  I am so blessed with a large family and great friends.  My mom is one of five sisters and all of us cousins are so close and make an effort to stay in touch and spend a lot of time together.  This past Sunday, my cousin and his beautiful wife took us out on their lovely boat, “Out of the Blue” to Greenport, NY.  It was an amazing day filled with lots of laughs, occasional mischievous behavior, and a whole lot of drinks from Claudio’s.

We saw the amazing “Skyfall” Yacht from the new James Bond Movie.. absolutely stunning.  And yes, that’s me hanging off the nose of the boat. 🙂

We also visited Vine and Branches, an amazing store with infused olive oils, vinegars, and other flavorful items.  You can try sample of them all.  We walked away with a melt-in-your-mouth white truffle oil.  Next stop was the Greenport Brewery and a stop at Greenport Fire which is all cigars and hot sauce aka heaven for the hubby!

 

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Sandy toes + salty kisses

I feel so lucky to have spent 4th of July (my favorite holiday!) on St. John at the “carnival celebration”, which includes a floating bar, the best Caribbean drinks, and dancing all night in the beach and in the water!  The fireworks were incredible and it was one of the best 4th of July’s I have experienced.  Our trip was amazing, especially because I was able to go with my UCONN college roommate and her husband along with my husband.

Are you traveling anywhere this summer?

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Just a few favorites from the trip:

Painkillers. The liquid form. The most famous local cocktail. Bought some fresh nutmeg, bay leaves, and cinnamon to endeavor to make a homemade version. Recipe here.

Visiting the Baths at Virgin Gorda. Breathtaking views and incredible beaches.

The Soggy Dollar Bar at Jost Van Dyke. Sunny place for Shady people is their motto! Coolest bar ever, especially because there is no way to enter this island unless you swim to it.

Oh and I can’t forget the adorable animals. Donkeys (apparently they like Doritos), the goats that travel in large packs, and of course, all of the fish and sea creatures I saw while snorkeling!

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