Gift Ideas for Co-workers

The Holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year but it does come with its stresses.  A big one that I struggled with as I started working in the real world (in a real cubicle with real co-workers) was appropriate for gift giving in the office.

You don’t want to go bananas and buy for everyone but you also don’t want anyone to feel left out.  If you are absolutely certain that you do not want the gift giving to stop at the office, a safe bet is just do small gifts for the people you work the most closely with (as well as the boss man or woman).

In my opinion, it would be ridiculous to spend more than $20.00-$30.00 on an office gift for a person; you can easily get away with spending less!  Below are some of my cost-effective office gift ideas for men and women alike!

  1. Wine Aerators are great gifts for men and women; they are simple, easy, and if you caught wind that someone likes a glass of vino or two, this is an easy solution with a personal touch.  Also easy to find, just google it!  Crate & BarrelTarget, and Amazon are good places to search.
  2. Meat & Cheese boxes are great for all, especially men.  Hickory Farms is famous for this stuff.  They have boxes from as low at $20.00.
  3. A Moleskine notebook is great for anyone.  You can pick them up at any office or stationery store.  Also, visit their website because they come in a lot of different varieties other than the classic black.
  4. Orchids are great gifts for everyone, especially at the office.  They are gorgeous and are actual living, potted plants.  So, they won’t go dying on you (unless, of course, you completely neglect it).  A great site with care instructions found here.
  5. Ornaments are a total no-brainer for those who celebrate Christmas.  You can play it safe with something generic or you can get elaborate and whimsical depending on the person you are shopping for.
  6. An easy gift for gals is a nail polish set.  Sephora makes this really easy as they have multiple sets and options ready to go as gifts.
  7. Chocolates are always a go!  Everyone in the office can appreciate this; instant gratification doesn’t get any easier than Godiva!
  8. A seasonal alcohol is often a good route to go, especially with the guys.  A 6-pack of Sam Adams Winter Lager with a bow attached: voila!  Perfect gift for the guy across the hall.
  9. From beer to more beer….Beer Soap is something that I just recently came across and think it’s a great little gift as well as a perfect stocking-stuffer.
  10. Gift cards are super safe and easy.  iTunes is basically universally accepted as well as Best Buy, Target, etc.
  11. A glitzy compact is a definite go-to for any lady (or gentleman) in the office.  This one from Sephora keeps you on budget and is very cute!

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Men!

The Holidays are almost upon us!  This is my first year celebrating Christmas with my boyfriend as a cohabitating couple and I want it to be a memorable one!  I have a long list of preparations which includes making and stuffing our stockings (one for me, him, and the dog).

My Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Him:

  • Beer Soap
  • Chapstick
  • Mini’s of his favorite candy
  • Razor Cartridges
  • Scratch off/lotto tickets
  • Socks
  • Mini booze bottles
  • Cigar
  • Gift card to a fast food place
  • Gourmet Coffee
  • Starbucks gift card
  • Vitamins
  • To-go aspirin
  • Nuts
  • Tea
  • Holiday thank you cards
  • Gum/Mints/Etc
  • Underwear

That is what I have so far :) Happy Holidays!

 

No more pores!

I have been searching for the perfect products for my face forever. I have experienced many hits and misses, more so misses with a majority of everything I have tried.  I have normal/oily combination skin and have been lucky enough to be blessed with large pores around my nose. However, I think I have found a winner to fix this problem!

“DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer” is my new weapon of choice. I noticed an overnight difference when I used this lightweight serum underneath my make-up and also just as every day wear without applying any make-up.

 

Courtesy ddfskincare.com

Not only does this help my skin look amazing, it feels fantastic to apply AND it’s also an anti-aging product. I have heard that it’s never too early to start  using anti-aging products due to the fact that our skin is exposed to so many things our entire life. Skin starts losing it’s elasticity around age 23-24.

The serum is not heavy whatsoever and it leaves your skin feeling refreshed. I have had serums and moisturizers leave my skin feeling weighed down and applying make-up over top of that is just a recipe for disaster.

This product retails at about $85.00 for a 1.7oz bottle (pictured above). Which I know seems steep, but it literally takes me half of a pump of the stuff for my face. I can see this lasting a long time. However, I was also able to find the product on Amazon ranging from $35.00-$85.00.  I’ll post some pictures later to show you the proof of this amazing product!

May Birchbox Review

Broke girl Sandra Leah and I have recently hopped onto the Birchbox train, and needless to say, we are hooked!  According to their website:

Birchbox delivers the best products and the best insider secrets, without any fuss. Every month Birchbox members will receive a curated box of luxe beauty samples. Each box will span beauty categories and deliver exciting products that fit into both your day-to-day routine, and into those days when you want to turn up the drama a notch.

Being the beauty-fanatics that we are, and with a price tag of only $10/month, we signed up for one initial month.  Our first Birchbox (for the month of May) was delivered a few weeks after our sign up.  It was packaged beautifully in it’s “Gossip Girl” theme and featured impressive beauty product samples.

May Birchbox1. Color Club Nail Polish in Clambake Coral
2. Kérastase Cristalliste Brain Cristal (shampoo) and Kérastase Cristalliste Lait Cristal (conditioner)
3. Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer
4. Miracle Skin Transformer – Body SPF 20 in Glow
5. Kérastase Cristalliste Lumiere Luquide (hair shining serum)

My personal favorite in May’s box has been the nail polish (I’ve been wearing it for two weeks straight) – it’s fun, bright coral color that’s perfect for summer!

Can’t wait to see what this month’s box brings.

DIY Ombre Hair

I am a little behind the times with the Ombre Hair Sensation (I just coined that) which has taken Hollywood by storm.  Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, and Gisele Bundchen are just a few of the ladies of Tinseltown that have made this look famous.  I have been wanting to give this a try because obviously, I will look exactly like them in every way if I copy their hair.

I scoured the internet for DIY videos for a whole 45 minutes and decided that I was ready to give it a try.  I have been coloring my hair at home for about 13 years now so I wasn’t terribly hesitant;  not that experience even matters for this look.  I think my 7 year old brother could have done this for me with his eyes closed.  Also, who wants to spend the “$350.00 Because I live in LA” price at a salon?  Not this girl.

The supplies you will likely need for this DIY project are:

  • A bleaching kit
  • A good conditioner
  • Some toner/toning shampoo (go to Sally’s and ask for purple shampoo)
  • A hair brush
  • Clothes that you would really love to ruin
  • Foil
  • A serious ventilation system for your bathroom (shit gets serious when the fumes start to reach your brain)

People say to make sure your hair is at least one day dirty.  WELP, I had to work that day and I do take showers often.  So, I skipped this tip.  Seriously…it didn’t make a difference as I wasn’t coloring my scalp.

The bleaching kit that I bought came with an applicator bottle.  I assume this is fine to use but I decided to mix it in a bowl and apply with my gloved hands.

Also, before beginning, understand that this will be a 2-step coloring process.  As in, color once…rinse…color again.  Make sense?

Alright, let’s do this.

STEP ONE-

Comb your hair out and part it down the middle as shown below (FYI, I hate taking pictures of myself.  They are purposely blurry and obscure).

STEP TWO-

Decision making time.  How high from the tips of your hair do you want your ombre hair to be in effect?  I went just below my shoulders.

Using my hands, I saturated the hair that I wanted to be colored.

I let this sit for about 8 minutes and then rinsed my hair in the sink.  If you have hair as dark as mine, you will easily see the hair developing and lightening.  Don’t overdo this or you will be a sad, sad panda.  You can see here that it is obviously changing and it has been less than 10 minutes:

Seriously, watch the clock.  Don’t let this get away from you.

STEP THREE-

Completely blow dry your hair.  Apply the bleach to half of what you colored in the first development.  This is important because it will help with the ombre/gradient effect: darkest on the top, fading to a lighter brown, then blondest on the tips.  Hopefully that makes decent sense.  At this point, you can put some foil on the ends to keep the color on the ends from drying out in the air.  See my incredibly chic photo below:

I left this last bit of color on my tips for another 5 minutes.  Feel free to leave it on longer if you have lighter hair or want a more dramatic look.  I just didn’t want it to be so incredibly drastic (a-la Drew Barrymore…seriously… Google that shit) so I didn’t let this process for too long.

STEP FOUR-

Shower time!  I rinsed all of the bleach out of my hair.  Then, I used the toning shampoo to try to remove any brassiness that might be lingering.  Once this step was completed, I did a serious deep conditioning.  I really recommend this as bleach terrorizes relentlessly.

Blow dry and check it out!  If you don’t think it is drastic enough, you should have some bleach left over to go in for a third processing.  Good luck with that.  Your hair will murder you in your sleep.

I was satisfied with my end result and didn’t go back for more.  Yeah, this is an instagrammed photo and I don’t care who knows it.

Quick, Easy and Nutritious Snack!

I promise I haven’t forgotten about you all!  I have had plenty of time to research and look for new and exciting budget friendly things to incorporate into our lifestyles.

Something super quick, delicious and cheap is my new favorite snack: Frozen Yogurt bites! These are so easy to grab out of your freezer and take while you’re on the go and especially great on a hot day when you don’t want to undo your entire diet and splurge on the high cal ice cream.

All you need is a cup of your favorite yogurt (I prefer Dannon Greek Yogurt), wax paper, cookie sheet, and sliced or diced fruit (optional.)

First, place a sheet of wax paper onto the cookie sheet. Make sure this is WAX paper.  The yogurt will stick to parchment paper and cannot be removed easily.

Second, if you are wanting to do yogurt covered fruit, I found it easier to mix the yogurt and fruit into a bowl. Do this, then scoop out candy sized dallops of a piece of the fruit and yogurt onto the wax paper. 

Once you have filled the cookie sheet, place it into the freezer for about an hour.

Lastly, remove the yogurt bites from the wax paper and place into a freezer friendly ziploc and enjoy!! Make sure when you aren’t enjoying these tasty snacks that they remain in your freezer or they will melt.

Currently Obsessed With….Hot Pink Trousers

Long time no blog! Just wanted to make a quick post about a new thing I am currently obsessed with for spring – BRIGHT colors! I recently purchased these hot pink trousers from H&M for an amazing deal of $14.95. Adding a pop of color into your daily wardrobe through shoes, a fun purse, pants, or even a cardigan is an easy way to embody spring.

Image

H&M Trousers, $14.95

Guilt-free Super Bowl Recipes: Homemade Hummus and Homemade Salsa

Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t have to be sinful (see: Buffalo Chicken Wontons); there are definitely some recipes on the healthier side that are still “snacky” enough for a football game. Check out broke girl Marisa’s post on Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips, or read on!

Homemade Hummus

  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cold Water
  • Olive Oil

Combine the garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, lemon and seasonings into a food processor or blender.

Blend, and add cold water and olive oil, one Tbsp at a time, until you reach the consistency you prefer.

Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, or assorted veggies!

Homemade Hummus PlateHomemade Salsa

I found this recipe via Pinterest and it’s amazing!

  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (10 oz) orginal Rotel
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
  • Juice of 1 lime

Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or blender.

Homemade SalsaFood processor overload!

Pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve with multi-grain chips. Yum!

Guilty Pleasure Super Bowl Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wontons

The Super Bowl is right around the corner, and needless to say I am extremely bummed that the Green Bay Packers did not make it this year.  Regardless, the show much go on and there is still a game to play! My friend Maddy passed on this recipe to me and it’s AMAZING. This will be a hit at any Super Bowl party you host or attend; I’ve literally had to guard these with my life so they’re not scarfed down right away!

Buffalo Chicken Wontons

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup wing sauce (recommended Franks)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 80 wonton wrappers
  • Vegetable oil for frying (I use Canola)
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Rub chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, 10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is fully cooked.  After the chicken is cooked, cut into small chunks.

Add diced chicken, garlic and wing sauce in a bowl.  Mix until chicken is completely coated with the sauce.  Stir in the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses until everything is well mixed.

Buffalo Chicken Wonton MixtureSpoon about a teaspoon of mixture into each wonton wrapper.  Moisten edges of wrapper and bring together in the middle, forming a little purse (this works best if the wrapper edges are wet so you can more easily seal them).

Buffalo Chicken WontonHeat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot/dutch oven. Fry wontons in batches until golden (about two minutes on each side) and then drain on paper towels.

Serve with your choice of dressing.

Buffalo Chicken WontonsThese are DELISH! Seriously.

Stay tuned… a few “guiltless” Super Bowl recipes will be posted later this week!