A TSA Friendly Gift for the Traveler

Whether you are looking for a gift for the traveler on your list, or just looking for a simple solution to your own travel woes, 3floz.com is worth a visit.  This online retailer has the solution to all your TSA 3 fluid ounce frustrations.  Carrying some of the best brands in beauty, 3floz.com sells everything in TSA approved travels sizes so you never have to worry about putting your favorite products into those little travel containers, or checking a bag because you don’t have travel size toiletries.

These mini versions of some of your favorite beauty products will keep you feeling fresh, and offer you that little bit of luxury that can be hard to find when you’re traveling.  After all, just because you’re 3,000 miles from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to have your “take me away” moments.

P.S. – 3floz.com is also a great gift idea for anyone you might want to introduce to a new product.  They are the perfect tester size!


Vote for Style

Back in October, I attended an interior design event that was partly hosted by a new company called StyleFactory.  The company caught my attention because of its interactive experience, which allows consumers to be part of the design process by giving them the power to vote products into production.  Over the past several weeks, I have enjoyed visiting the site and have discovered some awesome products.  If you are someone who loves home furnishings, or dreams of being part of the design process, then StyleFactory is worth a visit.  They also have some great gifts for the holidays!

What is StyleFactory?

StyleFactory is an exciting new company that is helping to revolutionize the way that consumers can interact with designers.  It starts with designers (some new and some already established) posting their designs to StyleFactory.com.  Then, consumers visit the site to vote on their favorite designs.  Once a design receives enough votes, it goes into production and is available for purchase!


Holiday Storage: Start Prepping Now

While I know that most of us are just starting to pull out our holiday decor to decorate our home and tree(s), I want talk about packing it all away.  Yes, that is right.  I want you to think about the end of this wonderful holiday season and the dreaded task of de-decorating.

Now, I am not trying to rush to the end of the season due to a lack of love for it; after all, this is one of my favorite times of year.  However, I want you to think about the end of the season so you can start prepping for it now in order to save time and make things flow more smoothly in the future.

While you are unpacking your ornaments and holiday decor this year, take note of the condition of your storage containers – What is broken?  What needs to be replaced? What needs better moisture protection?  What valuables could be better protected?  Make a list and start shopping for these items and containers as you are doing your holiday shopping.  Since you will already be out shopping or flipping through catalogs, it is the perfect time to gather the new ornament boxes, light boxes, wreath boxes, etc. that you will need to store your items safely at the end of the season.  Starting to shop for the items now will save you time and prevent you from making special trips in the future, which will make the de-decorating process much easier and ensure there are no excuses not to have the proper materials to pack away your holiday decor in an organized manner.  Plus, if you start gathering the storage items now, it will give you ample time to watch for sales on the items that you need and allow enough time for delivery on the items that you order online or through a catalog.

To help you get started, here are a couple of products that I love for holiday storage.  I recommend trying to purchase any storage items in the appropriate holiday colors to make it even easier to quickly identify your holiday items within your storage area.

Snap N’ Stack Ornament Storage Box

The Snap N’ Stack Ornament Storage Box helps keep your ornaments safe and easily accessible.  The separate snap-on layers allow you to access each layer of ornaments independently so you don’t have to worry about taking all of the ornaments out from one layer before getting to the next (as many other storage containers do).  These boxes also serve as great storage solutions for ribbon, bows, gift tags, and other small holiday items.

Wing-Lid Light Storage Box

The Wing-Lid Light Storage Box allows you to not only keep your lights safe from breaking, but it more importantly keeps them tangle free!  The container comes with four, plastic Light Cord Wraps that allow you to easily store your lights at the end of the season and quickly pull them out to begin decorating next season.  These containers also serve as a great storage solution for holiday garland.


A Gift for the Entertainer

Now that Thanksgiving has passed and Cyber Monday is upon us, it seems like the perfect time to start talking about gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.  Over the next several weeks I’ll point out some great gifts for everyone on your list so that you can help keep them organized and stylized.

First up on the list is an item that will not only make a great gift for others, but is also a must have for those of us who love to entertain.  Whether you are serving olives or pistachios, the Double Dish from Joseph Joseph is the perfect solution to your woes about how to serve snacks with shells or pits.  The Double Dish has a built-in place to dispose of the unsightly remnants of yummy snacks such as olives, edamame and pistachios (just to name a few).  It not only helps to keep your table neat by hiding the snack remnants, but it also helps save you space since you won’t have to put out a second bowl to catch those nasty remnants.

So whether you are planning your own party, or looking for the perfect gift for the party planner, think about picking up one of these genius little bowls from Joseph Joseph so you don’t ever have to question whether or not to serve those delicious olives ever again.

The Double Dish by Joseph Joseph


Traveling with that Yummy Casserole

While growing-up, I always used to watch my grandmothers and mother wrap-up casserole dishes filled with anything from baked ziti to turkey stuffing.  Their method was simple, inexpensive and effective for short trips.  All it took was some aluminum foil and a large (preferably square) dishtowel.

Step 1 - Cover your casserole dish with aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Next, place the casserole dish in the center of the towel.
Step 2 - Tie two opposite ends of the towel together in a knot over the center of the lid of the casserole dish. Be sure to tie it firmly so the lid is secure.
Step 3 - Tie the remaining two ends of the towel together in a knot on top of the one you just tied. Again, be sure to tie the knot firmly to keep the lid secure.
Step 4 - You are all set. To add a little more insurance that your dish will say warm, place the securely wrapped dish in an insulated hot/cold bag available at your local grocery store.

 

**Note: Always be careful while transporting hot items as they could still spill if not handled cautiously.

Modern-Day Casserole Carrier

 

While I do love the tricks that I have learned from my mother and grandmothers, modern-day products like Rachael Ray’s Casseroval Carrier Set have helped to make life easier.  This bake-to-serve, Stoneware casserole dish will help you transport your yummy casserole right from your oven to the dinner table across town.  The built-in straps help to secure the lid and prevent spills during transit and the zip-up insulated bag will keep your food warm.

I love this product for its versatility.  The casserole dish is great for everyday use, and the collapsible, easy-to-store, insulated bag makes it perfect for those special potluck occasions with friends and family.


Wrinkle-Free Packing

Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder

With the busiest travel day of the year approaching, I am almost certain that packing is on your mind.  You might be asking yourself, “can I make it all fit in one bag?,” or “how can I avoid everything getting wrinkled?”

Here are a couple of tricks that I always recommend to help maximize the space in your luggage and help prevent those pesky wrinkles.

  • Always put your heavier items on the bottom of your luggage; items such as jeans, bulky sweaters and footwear.  Keeping each layer lighter than the layer below it will help prevent creasing.
  • Utilize travel accessories such as the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder – this item helps your tops stay wrinkle-free by keeping them neatly folded and secure so they don’t shift around during your travels.  It also makes it easy to access your clothing and keep it neat during the stay at your destination.
  • Roll items such as t-shirts, sweaters, undergarments and jeans.  This will not only help you maximize your space, but it will also help minimize wrinkles.  Placing a sheet of heavy tissue paper, plastic or packing paper before you roll will take your wrinkle prevention one step further.
  • If traveling with a garment bag, keep your items lined with the plastic from the dry cleaners.  The plastic will help prevent wrinkling.

I hope these quick tips help you arrive neatly pressed at your destination this holiday with everything you need.


Planning Your Holiday Menu

 

Planning a menu for entertaining can be a stressful task. From the food allergies and preferences of your guests, to how the entire menu will blend together, there are so many things that you need to take into consideration.

One of the things that I like to advise my clients to do is to plan their menu at least a week ahead of time and consider the amount of preparation that is involved with each item.  Try to work with recipes that allow for some advanced preparation.  The last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen once your guests have arrived, or stressed out about not having enough time to prepare everything.  While offering great food is of the utmost importance, you want to be sure that you get to enjoy time with your guests and share in the fun.  I also suggest not spreading yourself too thin.  If you don’t know your way around the kitchen very well, the holidays are not the time to try to master the culinary arts.  In other words, stick to more simple dishes.  It will make entertaining much less stressful for you, and I promise your guests will be just as impressed with what you serve.

If you haven’t planned your Thanksgiving menu yet, set a goal to have your menu outlined by the end of this weekend.  In addition, take a quick inventory check of your ingredients to make sure you have all of the necessary items on hand for the big day.

P.S. – Keep inexpensive or disposable containers handy just in case you want to send your guests home with some yummy leftover goodies.

Photo by Lori Ann

Bye-Bye Business Card Clutter

As a child, I loved collecting business cards.  There were so many neat colors and designs, and it was fun picking them up everywhere I went.  Even though I had no purpose for the cards, being that I was seven years old, I took the time to organize them in a scrapbook to keep them orderly and neat.

Funny enough, today I loathe business cards for the mere reason of clutter.   While I still love a well-designed card and the purpose the cards serve, I want nothing more than to get the info into my contacts and the card off my desk ASAP.

Recently, I was introduced to the CamCard – an app that will help me accomplish my goal of quickly eliminating business card clutter.   All I need to do is photograph the business card with my iPhone  (the app is also available for other smartphones) and it scans the information directly into my contacts.  It allows me to verify if the info is all correct, make any necessary edits and even saves a picture of the card for future reference.  Also, I love being able to scan the card almost immediately after receiving it so that I don’t get back logged on entering people’s info into my contacts.

The CamCard app will not only help you eliminate clutter, but it will also save you time when initially entering people’s contact info and when looking for it in the future.

CamCard (Business Card Reader)


A Spot to Plug-in

Living in a small apartment in New York City I am often left searching for space to plug something in, whether it is a toothbrush charger, a beard trimmer, or a mobile device.  Even once I find a spot, I struggle with the messy cord and the item taking up my valuable counter space.

While I was recently out shopping, I came across the answer to my problem – The OXO Charging Shelf.  This simple little invention allows you to charge your phone while keeping it off of the floor or counter-top.  It helps to keep your counter clear of clutter and prevents your phone from being stepped on since you no longer have to rest it on the floor while charging.  It even allows you to wrap up the cord to keep things looking neat and tidy.

OXO Charging Shelf


The PetDossier

After frantically running around to pack yourself for your upcoming trip, you realize you haven’t gotten your pet’s info together for his sitter!  As you rummage around to find the vet’s phone number and write down all the necessary info, you grumble about why you don’t have all of this recorded in one spot already.  You think to yourself,  “there must be an easier way to keep this info up-to-date, organized and easily accessible.”

And, there is.. It is the PetDossier by {yep yup}.  This fun App for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch keeps all of your beloved pet’s info organized in one spot so it is always with you and easily transferable to whomever might be watching your furry friend.  You can store everything from his ID number to his favorite activities and toys, receive alerts and push notifications, and find the closest vet in an emergency situation.

So, this winter while you are away visiting family or soaking up the sun in Rio, you can rest assured that Fido will be safe and sound while getting the attention and treatment that he deserves.

PetDossier by {yep yup}


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