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His & Hers Gift Guide – What They’ll Actually Use

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This time of year, I’ve been getting a lot of searches that link to this post from last year: Top 5 Gifts for the Hard to Buy For Person Who Has Everything. I want to offer up some more gift ideas this year. But I don’t want to give away my surprises of what I’ll be gifting.

Instead, I thought I’d create a different kind of list.

Part One – His

If you read last year’s post, you’ll know that my shopping for my husband is very difficult. He usually just buys what he wants when he wants it. And no matter how much thought I put into them, the gifts I get him end up in a drawer or on the shelf in the closet. So, instead, the HIS GIFT LIST will include items that Rob has either bought himself or has been given, but that he uses all the time.

Part Two – Hers

Here you will get a my Christmas Wish List. No, this is not a post to get what I want for Christmas. Besides, probably only one person I’m exchanging with actually reads this blog. And I’m pretty certain my mom is done with her Christmas shopping already. 😉 Instead, it’s just a list of things, that if offered to me this holiday season {or any old time}, that I would not turn down! It’s meant to give you ideas for women you may know like me.

Let’s start with the guys, since they seem to be the hardest to shop for, right? For additional ideas, please read Running with Racheal’s post from last year.

Great Gifts for Guys

{aka items Rob uses ALL THE TIME}

  • Smartphone – His iPhone is the one gift that Rob thanks me for throughout the year. He doesn’t know now, how in the world he ever lived without it. The thing is, it was a surprise a couple of years ago. He didn’t even know he’d want one. Because of the never-ending thank yous, it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
  • iPhone Wallet – Rob bought this for himself within the last year and it’s made his life so much simpler. When getting ready for work in the morning, he no longer has to go in search of his wallet and his phone. It’s all together now. He found his on eBay and there are several styles. His is pictured below. He gets compliments all of the time. They are cheap, too!
  • Extra iPhone Chargers – Rob found these cheap online, too. I never strayed away from my one charger that came with my iPhone. But once we got extra, it made life so much easier! I can’t tell you how nice it is to have one in my car, one to keep in my suitcase or carry-on, purse, one for the office and the living room. Rob keeps one at work, too. It was handy when we left one behind on vacation to have extras on hand. Only downfall: When we finally upgrade to iPhone 5 or later, we’ll have to buy all new ones. But no matter, these were seriously cheap.
  • Flashlight(s) – Laugh all you want, but whenever we need a flashlight we can’t find one. This year, a friend of ours put flashlights in our golf tournament goodie bags. Of course, they were meant to keep in our golf bags to look for lost balls. But since we are too lazy to look for them are such good golfers, we use them around the house. Now, if we had about 5 more of those…
  • Lounge Pants – I don’t know about you, but we live in comfy pants over the weekend. That is, until we leave the house, of course. We’ve received lounge/sleepwear pants for Christmas a couple of times and now I don’t know what we’d do without them. They come in many styles. Rob’s collection includes Guinness and ESPN lounge pants, among others.
  • Packer/Wolverine Gear – You can never have enough gear to cheer on your team. Just make sure it is the size, style and fit that your recipient likes. I’m just sayin’, when I get him this kind of stuff, it always gets used!
  • Hammock – Once upon a time, Rob bought a hammock from Hammocks.com. And on any beautiful day in the spring, summer and fall, I come home to him reading, relaxing or napping in that thing. The dogs join sometimes, too! We bought our friends, who invite us up to their cabin every year, one as a thank you gift. It’s a priceless gift, really. It may be hard to think about when it’s so cold, but that’s why they are on sale today! We recommend the Quilted Island Bay with metal stand. Rob’s tip: Get coupons and promo codes when shopping online by typing in “Hammocks.com Coupon” instead of just “Hammocks.com” to save extra dough!
  • Dinner out – Rob nearly always takes me out to dinner, so it’s a special treat when I buy. Sometimes, I’ll make my own little certificate stating such {as I explained in this post} or what restaurant I’m planning on taking him, like I did for his birthday one year.

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Great Gifts for Gals

{aka gifts I would Graciously and Gratefully accept}

  • Socks – Not kidding here. As it grew colder this fall and I had to put the sandals away, I found that many of my socks were either missing a sibling or developed a hole. I’ve thrown away quite a few. I like fun, funky socks, but they can be hard to rotate within the wardrobe and Rob isn’t a fan. So even just comfortable black socks will do!
  • Turtleneck Sweaters – Are these out of style? I’m having such a hard time finding nice ones! I’m a freeze baby. So in the winter, I like warm sweaters. When I’m trying to overcome Pirate Eyes in the early, black a.m. of winter, I don’t want to have to think about my outfit before work. I want to put on a warm turtleneck sweater and dress it up with a scarf. DONE. Solid colors are best… and timeless.
  • Alligator Clips – This is the name Rob gave to a hair clip I used to rely on all of the time. I’ve lost it since our trip to California this fall and just feel LOST. I am all about low maintenance when it comes to my hair and rarely use a hair dryer. I used to twist it and put it up with my alligator clip when wet. Later in the evening or the next morning, I can wear it down without having to do very much with it! We’ve search stores everywhere for more, but just found them online under other names – beak clip, Japanese clip, concorde clip. There are lots of colors and styles to choose from!

Beak Clip

  • Opolo Mountain Zinfandel – This is one of our favorite wines, but it’s not really priced for everyday. So it’s a treat when we get it!
  • Davis Family Vineyards Pinot NoirGuy Davis knows his Pinot. I never actually liked Pinot Noir until I tasted his at his tasting room on a trip to the Russian River Valley. You can’t find it in stores, so you’ll have to order some. Might as well get a case while you’re add it. Your life will be transformed.
  • Davis Family Vineyards Wine Club Membership – Hell, why not just join the club? I did join the Davis Family Vineyards Friends and Family Club after that trip, but canceled when we needed to buckle down to buy our house. I should just get back in this club and swear never to buy a cheap bottle again and savor every drop of this wine. Quality over quantity, right?
  • Other Wine Goodies – I love this post by grapefriend, with some unique wine-related finds. In particular, I’m intrigued by the wine2go flask and the rewined carmenere candle.
  • Champagne – I love me some bubbly. But it’s extra special to receive a bottle of real champagne!
  • St. Germain – This elderflower liqueur is one of my all-time favorites. I haven’t met a cocktail I didn’t like when it’s made with it.
  • High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – At one point, we bought a Groupon to join an olive oil club. Each month for three months, we got high quality, expeller pressed Italian olive oils! We didn’t continue because it took us all year to use them. The third bottle is almost empty, so we’re in the market for more. I also love this idea of adopting an olive tree and receiving the olive oil produced from it.
  • Cheese of the Month Club – Um. I’m from Wisconsin. I’m a Francophile. No brainer.
  • Fruit of the Month Club – I’ve always wanted this! Fresh fruit delivered to my door every month, yes please! I’ve been eyeing the Arizona Orange Company for two years now…
  • CSA Share – I absolutely adored my CSA box in the summer! But it just proved to be too much food, even split with a friend. They had solo shares this year, but were more basic and sold out right away. If you want to give someone a CSA share, make sure the pick-up location and window is doable for them.
  • Donation to a Cause I Support/Admire – Like a Pet Rescue or Shelter, such as Homeward Bound, where I found Sophie almost 9 years ago and the Carver-Scott County Humane Society, where we found Shamrock this year. When friends of ours refused to let us pitch in for the timeshare and rental car when they invited us to join them in Hawaii, we donated to the Marine Mammal Center in support of the endangered Monk Seals on the island of Kaua’i. We were lucky enough to see them there.
  • Packer Gear – Can never have enough!
  • Packer Tickets – Hey, I am getting higher up on the waiting list; but if anyone can spare a pair, we’ll take ’em! {We support our team during winning AND losing seasons!}
  • Gourmet Coffee – I’m always willing to try a new brew.
  • Tickets to Evita – I love musicals and Evita will be in Minneapolis this year. I loved the music in the movie and have never seen it performed live.
  • Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake – Laugh if you must. I had a roommate with whom we bought these for each other’s birthdays! The Bonus is that the two of us shared it, so we both got to pick away at it All. Week. Long. It’s been years since I’ve had one, though, so maybe my tastes have changed. Wouldn’t hurt to find out!
  • Gift Certificates – I know some people think that these are impersonal, but I love them. They say to me, “I know you like to shop here, so pick out what you want!” or “We really loved this place and thought you might like it, too.” I also like to save them to use as fitness or weight loss rewards. Here are some great places for which to receive gift cards:
    • Sul Lago – Our favorite restaurant “South of the River.” The very first time we visited, we saw about a dozen or so people come in to order gift certificates at the bar!
    • Restaurants – We like to dine out, so any place we haven’t tried, under our Restaurant Impressions Wishlist will do. Otherwise, we always like to try other people’s favorites, so recommendations are welcome.
    • Kohl’s – I don’t buy clothes very often, but when I do it’s because I need something. Kohl’s is close and familiar. I like to save gift cards here as rewards to myself. I’ve found a lot of good deals on workout gear here, too!
    • Barnes & Noble – I don’t have a Kindle or Nook. I still read real books. But I really think B&N gift certificates are good for travel guidebooks. We love to travel. If you know someone is traveling somewhere, buy them the most current guidebook. Or, they can walk right into a store and flip through guidebooks to see which ones suit them best.
    • Spa – I don’t know any girl who wouldn’t appreciate a spa day or to choose their own spa treatment. Just a pedicure can do wonders.
    • Movies – We don’t go to the movies often, but when we do, we ask ourselves why we don’t do it more!
    • Car Washes & Oil Changes – Okay, this one sounds really impersonal. But truthfully, I hate spending money on this kind of stuff myself. So having a card to just use whenever it is needed would be so wonderful.
    • Amazon Gift Card – Well, because you can use it for ANYTHING!

All I truly need for Christmas is health, love, spending time with family and reconnecting with old friends.

However, sometimes we just fret over that perfect gift for a loved one. So I hope these his and hers lists inspire you with ideas for the rest of your shopping this year. Or sit down and make out your own list. You might just come up with something for someone else!

What is a gift you wouldn’t turn down?

Did this post give you any ideas for someone else?

Cheers~
Carrie

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SBS: Love with Food – Happy Holidays 2012

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It’s Subscription Box Saturday… And I don’t even know how to write this next post without mentioning my heartache for the victims and their families of the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday. It’s difficult to post something light-hearted after hearing that news. And I’m not sure what to say that hasn’t already been said. There is no way to make sense of such a tragedy and my heart goes out to all of the families and the community during this difficult time.

Right now, it seems a little silly to write a post on a box of food I receive every month. But I’m going to do it anyway. I mean, Love with Food does donate a meal to a hungry child every month for each box that they ship out. And that is something to feel good about right now.

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Here’s my attempt at a concise post with a break down of this month’s “Happy Holiday” contents:

PicMonkey Collage1

Nunes Farms Honey Cinnamon Almonds – These nuts taste great! Still, I’d eat them if they were in front of me or given to me, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them.

Madcasse Mini Chocolates – Chocolate in miniature form – how could one go wrong?! Actually, I already bring a Dove dark chocolate with me to work everyday for my 35-calorie chocolate fix.

Nikki’s Gingerbread Boy Cookies – I forgot how much I love gingerbread cookies. And these are the best! Full-flavored with a light layer of frosting. Rob ate the head. I ate the body. {Okay, so I gave him a foot, too.}

Taffy Town Holiday Salt Water Taffy – Cute with fun holiday flavors.

Hills Brothers Mocha Mint Cappuccino – Waiting to make one cold winter morning or when I need a chocolate fix!

Kara Chocolates Candy Cane Mint Chocolate Truffles – Another bite-sized piece of chocolate, with a hint of that candy cane minty flavor.

479 Degrees Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn –  The sample I received was just 100 calories – perfect for a snack. However, I promised to share this with Rob. We love caramel, so of course we enjoyed it. Most notably, I couldn’t believe how fresh it tasted for packaged caramel corn!

Belgian Milk Chocolate Dipped Nutter Butter by Big Chocolate Dipper – Um… Why didn’t they come up with this sooner? The only way to make this better? Dark chocolate, please!

This is just one example of a gift you can get that hard-to-buy-for-person who has everything. A Love with Food subscription box is only $12 per month {including shipping} and a meal is donated to a hungry child for each box shipped out. Fit for foodies!

What is your favorite holiday treat and why?

Cheers~
Carrie

November Foodie Pen Pals – Reveal Day!

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This is the second time I’ve participated in the Foodie Pen Pals program!

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Today is Reveal Day.

Q: What does this mean?

A: I reveal what was sent to me by my Foodie Pen Pal. In addition, the person I sent a box to reveals about what I sent.

This month, I sent a package to Chelsea over at Yasha’s Crazy Life. If you want to see what was in her package, be sure to check out her blog! {Teaser: The wasabi almonds were her favorite.}

I received my package from Antonia, who lives in a small town from Tennessee.

The first thing I discovered in my box:

Banana Moon Pies!

My husband said he hasn’t seen Moon Pies since he’s lived down south. Here’s the kicker: He’s allergic to bananas, so these were all mine! Muwhahahahahaha! In addition, these were actually mini Moon Pies, so they were only 110 calories per pie! {I say were because they are long gone.} Antonia says that Moon Pies are a Tennessee tradition. Gotta love that.

The entire contents of the box:

My November Foodie Pen Pal Box

In addition to the Moon Pies I found Peanut Brittle, Cascadian Farms Organic Cinnamon Raisin Granola, Old Timey Syrup with Antonia’s favorite buckwheat pancake recipe, Pocky Chocolate-covered Biscuit Sticks, Quaker Quakes Cheddar Cheese Rice Snacks, Nescafe Memento Mocha Coffee Mix.

Her hand written note described her favorite snacks:

All Foodie Pen Pal Boxes must contain something written – it’s what makes you a pen pal, after all!

I’ve tried everything except for the syrup and pancake recipe. My husband said the peanut brittle is the best he’s ever had! The granola makes a perfect breakfast cereal. I followed Antonia’s suggested and stirred the Pocky into my coffee. Those are long gone. The rice cake snacks were perfect for on-the-go. And the Nescafe Mocha was so easy: Just add hot water. I liked this so much that I’m going to use the coupon Antonia included to get me some more!

Thank you, Antonia, for such a lovely Foodie Package!

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If you’d like to participate in the Foodie Pen Pals program, here’s the best part:

You don’t need to have a blog to participate!

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up by the 4th of the month that you want to participate.

2. On the 5th of the month, you are assigned a Foodie Pen Pal.

3. You communicate with your pen pal about any food allergies or preferences, as well as where to ship the package.

4. By the 15th of the month, send $15 worth of food to your pen pal that may include homemade goodies, local treats or just some of your favorite discoveries that you want to share! The box must also contain something handwritten.

5. You’ll receive a package from another Foodie Pen Pal, who was assigned to you.

6. If you are like me, you squeal with delight when your package arrives.

7. You enjoy said goodies, which you may have never known about otherwise.

8. If you are a blogger, you post about the package you received on the last day of the month – Reveal Day! {If you are not a blogger, you do not need to do anything, but thank your Pen Pal, of course! However, if your Pen Pal does blog, you can choose to write a guest post, if you so wish.}

Now that you know all of this, please note that there has been a *change* for December:

For the month of December only, the Foodie Pen Pals program will be donating to charities set up for Hurricane Sandy victims. Instead of being assigned a Pen Pal and spending $15 on a box of food, participants are encouraged to donate that $15 to the FPP Charity for Hurricane Sandy program. There are currently over 1000 Foodie Pen Pals. Therefore, if we could raise $15,000. Won’t you join us?

As I understand it, the Foodie Pen Pal program will return to its original state in January.

If you’d like to see what I received in my last FPP box, click here.

Did you have a Pen Pal as a kid?

Cheers~
Carrie

Love with Food – November 2012

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Okay, so I was going to start saving my subscription box posts for what I plan to call “Subscription Box Saturday”, but my Love with Food box just arrived! And I just couldn’t wait to share.

Why?

Because Love with Food is doubling its donations for the month of November to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

You see, each month, a meal is donated to a hungry child for every subscription box of Love with Food that is shipped out. Not only have I loved the samples I’ve received, but I’ve loved this mission from my very first box.

But in November and December, for every box shipped, Love with Food is donating TWO meals to food banks located in the hardest hit areas of New Jersey and New York.

If you’ve even had an inkling of checking out what this subscription box of fun snacky samples is all about, why not try it now and help out your fellow Americans at the same time? Even better, get some great gifts out of the way by subscribing friends and family. Just a few clicks and you are done to treat yourgift recipients who live across the miles. And it’s the only $12 per month gift you’ll ever be thanked for… over and over again!

Now… for what came in the box:

Thanksgiving 2012 Love with Food Box Contents

This month’s fall favorites come from Amy Roloff of Little People, Big World on TLC. I’m not familiar with the show, but I know I’ll be familiar with these treats real soon!

I haven’t tried a-one-of-them, but here they are {clockwise from top left}:

  • Fruit.0 Organic Fruit Snack – Mango Pear Pineapple flavor – This feels like juice in the pouch, but I’m guessing is more like the GoGo Squeez Applesauce I received in a previous box.
  • Mini Crunch from Mrs. May’s – Cranberry Almond – 100 calorie snack with minimal ingredients. This is going in my lunch for an afternoon snack at work!
  • Inka Corn – I’m not sure what to make of these. The package reads “Roasted Giant Corn”. They kind of look like giant corn nuts {if I remember correctly what those look like}. This is a salty snack I’m likely to share with my husband.
  • Pumpkin Spice Tea from Stash Tea Company – I’m *almost* over the big fall pumpkin craze. Almost. I’ll give this a shot at work as well.
  • Chocolate Chunk Cookie from Skeeter Snacks – You had me at “Cookie”. Oh, who am I kidding? You had me at “Chocolate”.
  • Truffle Piglet from Hagensborg Chocolate – I bring one piece of dark chocolate with me to work every day. Yup, this will be the one I indulge in tomorrow!
  • Original Mulling Spices Blend from the Aspen Mulling Co.“DIRECTIONS: Mix contents with 8 oz. cup of Apple Cider or Juice, Red Wine, Tea or Brandy. Serve Hot or Cold.” Can you guess which one I will be doing? 😉

It seems that I am missing two items from my box that are listed on my insert: Turkey Bak Kwa Jerky from Little Red Dot Kitchen and Bhakti Chai.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful, most definitely during the month of gratitude. After all, one of the reasons I receive these boxes is to donate to a good cause. Still, I don’t know if they ran out or just missed these items, so I’ll still let Love with Food know…

This month also came with a few discount vouchers:

In case you’d like to see what’s come in my past boxes, here’s a link list, along with my favorite snack from each!

October 2012Açai  Strawberry Sesame Strips

September 2012San Franola Granola with Raisins

August 2012Coconut Toffee Peanuts

My First Love With Food Box

And if you are curious and want to check Love with Food out for yourself, click here.

Have you tried any of the snacks listed above?

If so, which ones and what did you think?

If not, which of the snacks above would LIKE to try?

Cheers~
Carrie