Friday, December 19, 2014

Silly Work Party Ideas

Holiday time usually means company holiday party time! Depending on the energy and culture of your office some of the following might be a go or a complete no-no, so proceed with caution...

1. Pajama Party for the Holidays: This one reminds me of being a kid in school. Wear your bright PJs and robes, drink hot chocolate and possibly sit around telling ghost stories. Everyone's got great adult ghost stories. Try this out for an informal way to relax and celebrate going into VACATION mode! Plus, it feels like adults are back into sporting onesies...

2. Silly String Fight (after a white elephant gift exchange): Everyone does gift exchanges, but have you ever followed those up with a fight? Silly string is cheap (messy of course) but a load of fun! My agency just had a silly string fight with close to 70 people and it was a blast! Plus we sold the cans at a profit. That may or may not work for you, but for a youth-serving agency this was a fun, simple and crowd-pleasing way to fund & and "funraise".

3. Murder Mystery Dinner  (office luncheon style): Everyone knows this premise. Now just bring it into your office. Folks can dress the part and the mystery begins. I think of this as something set in the 50s like the movie or game "Clue!" Have fun and don't forget to incorporate the dressing up part!

4. Comic Book, Graphic or Erotic Novel Exchange: This is a hilarious twist on the classic gift exchange! Imagine the books people will pick? Now it isn't always PG-13 so exercise caution if your workplace is more censored!

Do you have a fun idea for a holiday party? 
 Comment and elaborate below!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Gotta Have that Starbucks Latte...." Mom Parody Nails It!

They hysterically funny Moms at "What Up Mom" have done it again. As a follow-up to their smash hit parody of "I'm So Pregnant" they have released a parody of Taylor Swift's new hit "Blank Space" that almost every Mom can relate to. 

I have to admit that I LOVE this Taylor Swift song and this video makes me pretty grateful that my kids are past this stage in life, but I still feel so "old and tired!" 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Be Cautious of the Upgrades in Your Life

Upgrading your life seems simple enough. Maybe you're in the market to upgrade a new smartphone, a gaming system, or perhaps it's a room remodel or a bigger home altogether, whatever the upgrade, be careful! Yes, caution is key when upgrading your life. 

We recently confirmed we'll be upgrading our home to its larger counterpart (unit B in a two unit complex). We can use the space. It's the easiest move proximity-wise and on and on are the list of pros, but there's also cons. As much as this might be exciting news, I'm actually making a very calculated move and here's why:

More space sometimes means collecting more STUFF and we don't need more stuff. When novelty wears off stuff usually equates to junk, and junk sometimes means things we didn't need to begin with. I much rather have more space to fill with love and memories then suddenly start raking in debt because ofcountless upgrades. That's the first reason to proceed with caution.

Next, I have to make sure my family is keeping things simple in the middle of a home upgrade. Thanks to this move, my oldest son will finally get his own room. Seems great, but suddenly he expects to fill that room with new stuff. His most recent requests include a new television and PS3 gaming system for his room. This coming from a kid who barely watches television or uses his existing Wii gaming console. There's no need for more stuff just because my child is upgrading to his own bedroom. In fact, I've already prepped him to expect the following when he transitions to own-room-status... 

a) larger more organized closet 
b) new bookshelf with new books 
c) new desk for homework and reading

Yeah, none of that sounds like he's getting a TV and PS3... now how to get him to scratch those off his list to "Santa?"  

Things meant to upgrade and simplify our lives could actually divide us. More stuff could very well result in less quality family time. Gadgets and gizmos take over and before we know it we've upgraded to new tablets and smart phones and we're surrounded by virtual worlds and exchanges instead of real-life connections and conversations. My hubby purchased a new iPhone 6 for me in order to upgrade my camera. However, I'm often drawn to it sending work-related texts and emails. This habit reminds me to exercise caution. If I don't practice restraint and remind myself to be present a smartphone upgrade could soon turn into a big fail and bad example for my children.   

Are you cautious when upgrading your life?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gift Ideas for Him

The guys on my Christmas shopping list are always the hardest people to shop for. Maybe because it's because I am not a dude, or because I don't have any brothers but when it comes to gift ideas for men I am always stumped.

Here are a few ideas for the men on your holiday list...
  • Beer Making Kit-  If the men in your life are anything like the men in mine they enjoy a nice cold beer. A home-made beer making kit is a cool gift for your favorite beer drinker. You can buy the full kits and even buy the ingredients to make whatever kind of beer they like. If they like an IPA or a nice hefeweizen there is a kit for that! 
  • Go-Pro Camera-  If you have a man with an active and adventurous lifestyle a go-pro camera is a great gift. These little cameras are a great way to document a race or a sweet skateboarding session. 
  • Tool Keys- I don't know how many times we have had to scramble looking for a flathead or phillips screwdriver. Or if we are out and about and have the need for a screwdriver and there is not one to be found. These tool keys are a lifesaver. They fit right on your keyring and are there whenever you need them! 
  • Beard Pack- We all know that beards are all the rage right now. And even though a man with facial hair is super manly looking, they still need to take care of their magnificent beards. Beards should be washed, oiled and waxed to keep them soft, clean and looking fantastic. 
  • Sirius Radio- The men in my family all listen to talk radio and podcasts. My husband in particular is a big fan of the Jason Ellis show. Satellite radio is a great gift for the man on your list who loves music and wants to be able to listen to it wherever he goes. 
What are you buying the men in your life?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Being CHEAP Gets Expensive!

I'm a self-proclaimed cheapskate. Regardless of increased earnings, I am ALWAYS looking for a deal. Maybe it's just something I inherited from my infamous father who preferred wearing holey shoes than invest in a new pair. Now, I'm not that extreme, but I am frugal. I often go on and on about my frugality on this very blog.

But not everything that's cheap, is worth it!

My mom has always had this spanish saying with the gist being: "what is cheap ends up being expensive!" The saying means to convey that buying cheap gets expensive in the long-run. Sure, you could nab $10 sneakers at Walmart, but you'll find kids wearing these "puppies" out in record time. If you end up having to buy $10 shoes on a quarterly basis than you might as well have spent the forty dollars to get a decent pair from the onset (for my kid that means Nike sneakers from the MALLLL!)!

Those .50 greeting cards don't always turn out!
Just today I was reminded how something cheap doesn't make for the best deal. Annually, I purchase our holiday photo greeting cards on You just can't beat their prices. Prices range from .28 to $1.00 per card and shipping is free or for about $2 you can pick up prints same-day, in store. This sounds like a great plan, until it's not. I spent over an hour trying to purchase this year's perfect personalized greeting cards on a faulty site thanks to all of us cheapies inundating it at once. That right there means I may be saving a few bucks, but I'm definitely not saving time! And I hate wasting my time. UGH!

I gave up on the site and when I came back to it hours later I was finally ready to check out. I jetted over to pick up my prints and sure enough I was underwhelmed. Sure, the 25 personalized holiday cards only came to 12 bucks but the print quality was not what I expected. The proof didn't match the final result and my husband's input was the following... they're not bad, they just look like they cost $12! So, I may have saved some cash not using other online hot spots like Vista Print or Shutterfly all for the sake of cheap & easy, but now I wish I hadn't. In fact, when I reorder a new, better batch than what was intended to be cheap... turned out to be EXPENSIVE!

There's a lot of things that turn out this way when seeking a deal. You may get that cheap outfit, but soon it falls apart. You may select the inexpensive no-name electronics, but those gadgets don't always end up lasting as long as their more expensive counterparts.  

The best way to avoid the pitfalls of "cheapdom" is to go with discount department stores that actually sell name brand high-quality items. My favorite is Nordstroms Rack. Now, if only they sold same-day personalized holiday greeting cards! 

What are your cheapskate horror stories? Come on... we all have at least ONE! 
Share yours in the comment section below!

Friday, December 12, 2014

More Money Than Beyonce

As 2014 comes to an end there are lots of different "top" and "best of" lists coming out. I recently looked over a list with a surprising #1! Forbes Magazine has just released "The Worlds Highest Paid Musicians of 2014" list and the top earner was a shock to me.

Lets take a look at some artists who are near the top....
  • Mikey Cyrus with $36 million
  • Katy Perry with $40 million
  • Taylor Swift with $64 million
  • One Direction with $75 million
  • Justin Bieber with $80 million
Some of the top earners are....
  • The Eagles with $100 million
  • Beyonce with $115 million
$115 million!! That is like Oprah rich. That is crazy but what's even crazier is that Beyonce was at the #2 spot and the #1 earner topped her by $505 million!! Yes you read that correctly. $505 million more than Beyonce. Even crazier is that this artist has not released a solo album since 2001!

The highest paid musician of 2014 with a grand total earning of $620 million is none other than...


Thanks to his deal with Apple, Dr.Dre tops the list. This year he sold his company Beats for $3 billion, yes with a 'b'.  This deal alone banked Dre $40 million.

I bet no one forgets about Dre now.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Setting The Holiday Mood

If you haven't jump started your holiday season by setting the mood at home, here are some quick and easy ways to get to it...

Streaming twinkle lights in your bedroom. Kids especially dig this one! My kid claims she's afraid of the dark though I think this is a tactic to sleep with mom and dad. Twinkle lights not only remove her excuse but get us all feeling festive! Plus, her room matches our tree and roof! Lights are pretty much... EVERYWHERE!!!!

Scented Candles. Pick the holiday scents, of course. Pine tree is my favorite. There's also fun scents like peppermint and holiday cookies/pie!

Serve traditional holiday meals EARLY. Why wait until Christmas dinner? Add the usual fixings to dinners leading up to the big day. Add stuffing or cranberry sauce to your usual meats and suddenly you're feeling in the holiday mood!

Holiday Art and Crafts (check out the before and after below). My sister did this with my kiddos and you better believe my tribe is in the holiday mood now. This was one of four holiday-inspired craft creations. Our Xmas tree is now full of homemade crafts! It's super sweet.

Give Early Xmas Presents. This is especially sweet as a way to show your children they've been extra nice! After all, Santa only comes early for the "non-naughty" ones! At least, that's one way to spin it. My early gift was a new iPhone! I must have been great wifey this last year ;)

How do you set the holiday mood in your home?