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!

 

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.

Progress Report

Just a quick little check in! I’ve been on my “lifestyle change” diet for about a week now and have some positive results thus far. I’ve lost 7 pounds already! Now, before you get excited because of this miracle, it was that time of the month for me last week (sorry, TMI) so I’d guess that 2-3 of those pounds are legit.

Regardless, this is good news! Way to boost my ego to help me keep on trucking.

A reminder on what I’ve been doing:

-low carb (basically no processed carbs, sugar, flour-based products)
-no artificial ANYTHING
-only drinking water
-lots of fruits and veggies
-turkey and tuna for a big portion of my animal based protein
-no soy!

I’ve been doing the 100 workout basically everyday with different forms of cardio thrown in.

Give it a whirl! It’s definitely worth the effort.

Somebody That You Used To Know-Gotye

I am at it again!  A great song and a great cover from YouTube.

I don’t know if I have been living under a rock or what, but I just heard Gotye’s (pronounced Go-To-Yay) “Somebody That You Used To Know” on the radio last night and immediately fell in love.  The song is so emotional, yet hip and upbeat.  Gotye sings about the common feelings one endures after a relationship comes to an end.  It features Kimbra who sings from the perspective of the woman in the relationship and she is just amazing.  Also, the video is gorgeous!

Canada’s Walk Off the Earth did a cover that is so great, it reached almost 15 million views in just one week!  Truly remarkable.

Please listen (if you haven’t already) and you will also fall hard for it.

Gotye ft. Kimbra:

Walk Off The Earth:

Lifestyle Change.

It is always on everyone’s mind, even you boys!  What can I do to lose weight fast and keep it off?

I don’t want to just go on another crash/fad diet (until something new comes out, ha)!  I want to slim down, get toned, and be healthy.  I have a plan.  Drum roll….

“Eat Healthy, Work Out”.  What do you think?  Sounds simple but it is much easier said than done.  I work from 6:30am until 5:00-6:00pm.  With the Los Angeles traffic, I usually get home around 7:00pm.  Sure, I have the time when I get home, but i’m often so tired!   But, these are the excuses that are keeping me from my goal weight!  No more crap 🙂

I want to eat healthy and work out in order to lose 6-8 pounds.  This sounds realistic so I am going to really go for it! No more jerking around!  Perhaps I can use this blog to publicly shame myself into staying on track?  

My Edibles Plan

  • Cut out all simple carbs like table sugar, items containing high fructose corn syrup, baked goods, chips, etc.
  • No more bread (yes, even whole wheat) unless it is sprouted wheat, made from rice flour, or quinoa.
  • Cut processed foods down to a minimum (nothing canned, packaged, artificial sweeteners, butter substitutes, etc).
  • No more soy!  I know this sounds crazy but i’m over it.  I heard that soy products (think soy milk, protein bars, etc…edamame should be OK as it is not processed yet) are incredibly difficult to break down and can hinder weight loss!
  • Eat more good fats like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, raw nuts, etc.
  • More complex carbs!  Think fruits, veggies, sprouted wheat, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
  • No drinking alcohol, juices, diet sodas, etc.  Basically just water.
  • No more artificial sweeteners! I already mentioned this in the processed food no-no’s but I thought I would reiterate as I have a big problem with this. Mmm, Splenda!
My Work-Out Plan
  • Work out 5 days a week!
  • Cardio for 3-4 of the days.
  • Weights of some sort 2 days a week.
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch even on the 2 days I am not working out.
If I follow my own rules, maybe I will look like this:
Or this:
But hopefully not this:
Woof, scary.
__________________________________________________________________
I will track my progress online.  I will let you guys know how it goes!

PS:  I am in a friend’s wedding in April and the dress is a size too small.  So….I might be needing a crash diet in mid-March.  Let the Googling begin!  I kid, I kid!….kind of….

The 100 Workout

Clear out that coffee table and draw the blinds (seriously, you don’t want your neighbors to catch this)!  Time for another in-house workout from the interwebs.

I actually found this workout through Pinterest but no one owns it…. I hope.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Princess.

At first glance, I thought it looked easy.  Then I realized it probably wasn’t that easy.   It was challenging but not impossible.  Improv is always good!

Tips from an amatuer:

  • Take the jumping jacks seriously.  These aren’t for slacking off and rest.  Go quickly and use correct form.
  • The squats are killer!  If this part is easy, you are definitely doing it wrong. Check your form here.
  • The leg lift part might seem vague.  I took that as an inner thigh leg lift, seen here.  I tried to do as many as required at this stage on EACH leg.  IE: 70 on the right, 70 on the left; 30 on the right, 30 on the left.  This was challenging.  Do what you can 🙂
  • Don’t skip the run at the end!  So important to get that bit of steady cardio in.  But, in my opinion, 10 minutes is for whimps.

I am definitely going to keep this one in the rotation and will track my progress and share BGT!

Almost Lover-A Fine Frenzy

I am unsure if this will become a trend on BGT but I am a sucker for a good cover of a great song.  I suppose it does drift from the original intent of our blog but what the hell, youtube is cheap entertainment, right?

Below is the video for A Fine Frenzy’s song, Almost Lover.  An incredibly gorgeous, sad tune that we all can relate to.  Below that is my favorite cover of this song available on YouTube.  Sanna Taskinen masters it beautifully with so much emotion.  You want to cry for her as she lets it all out.

A Fine Frenzy:

Sanna Taskinen:

Enjoy!

A Massage for Half the Price!

Everyone has stress that causes tension and often, we need an outlet!  Massage has always been an enjoyable, pleasurable, and luxurious experience.  Unfortunately, the luxury comes at a steep cost.

Spas, wellness centers, and the like offer great massages with a great atmosphere.  But, the cost for these can be $130-$190 for only 50 minutes.  It is honestly outrageous.  Of course, you are paying for the frills that go with the experience.

Photo Courtesy of INARI Salon & Spa

Don’t get me wrong, we all want a great experience.  But what if you just wanted to get in, get a great massage, and get out?  That is where The Massage Place comes in handy.  Their 60 minute massage is $47.00.  Yes, $47.00!  And you can choose from a variety at the same price:

  • Swedish
  • Deep Tissue
  • Reflexology
  • Sports Massage
  • Pregnancy Massage
  • Thai
  • Shiatsu/Acupressure

No matter the option you choose, it will cost you $47.  Yes, you skimp on the sauna, glorious sitting room, and cucumber water.  But, if you are truly just looking for a professional massage without the bells and whistles, I highly recommend The Massage Place.

Unfortunately, The Massage Place is currently only serving Souther California, suckas.  

Grooveshark Free Music Streaming

In a pinch for that perfect song but you don’t want to go to the iTunes store to buy it?  Wish you could listen to it for free without doing something illegal?  That is why I love Grooveshark.  You can legally stream music instantly from your computer and they literally have almost any song you can think of.  It is similar to Pandora but I think it is better as there are no commercials and you have more control over exactly what you want to hear.

Grooveshark is free and easy to sign up.  I just logged in through my facebook account. You can make your own playlists, listen to stations, and much more.  Being a free streaming surface, you can’t actually save and download any of the songs.  You always have to stream from the website.  This is sort of a bummer for people who want to make the music portable.  For this, Spotify is great.  You can download the app on an iPhone or Android and take the streaming wherever you like!  As expected, these free music options all have opportuities to splurge for a “premium account” where you get perks, better access, etc.  I never opt to go this route as the basic functions are all that I need.

At the end of the day, I’m a Grooveshark fan but do whatever works best for you.  Happy listening!