Monday, December 30, 2019

List: Ten things I'm looking forward to in 2020.

With December 31st creeping behind us, it's time to acknowledge the end of 2019.
This past year was nothing but good to me, so it's with a bittersweet feeling that I wave goodbye!
Am I the only one that finds NYE difficult to celebrate?  Saying farewell is incredibly sad to me.
This year has brought my nephew, a new home, new careers, and financial stability.
We ventured to faraway places including St. Augustine, Mystic, Doylestown, and St. Lucia.
My babies grew another year older, smarter, happier, inquisitive, and creative.
Even our dog's life improved with a large back yard to run and play in!
Thank you to the larger powers that be for each and every single blessing.

I can mourn the passing of another year, or I can look forward to 2020.
I could also list out ten unrealistic goals like working out and moisturizing, but I won't do that either.
I'll choose the latter and welcome the opportunities knocking at my door.

Here's to a...
Very happy new year!
& for 2020 to be filled with health, happiness, and success.

Ten things I'm looking forward to in 2020.

1.  To slow down and enjoy every single moment of  the year.
This year I'm going to focus on the current instead of looking to "what's next".
I'm going to stop, look around, and deposit these memories into the vaults of my brain.
My family and children will supersede work.  I'll be present, physically and mentally.  For everything.
Shh, I know this isn't a literal thing, but it's a very big thing for me!

2.  To visit Hope Mills, NC and my God son.
During a planned road trip down south, we set aside two days to spend at my cousin's house.
I'm looking forward to squeezing my baby big boy and watching our babies play together.
Mushy and him grew up like siblings, so it's always a pleasure to see them reunited.

3.  To celebrate my daughter's first communion.
To see my daughter make this sacrament is going to make me cry.
...and then we will have to celebrate, hard!

4.  To go on impromptu date nights throughout the year.
Thanks to being tight on time and money, my husband and I rarely go on a date night.
We typically go out twice a year - once for Valentine's day and the second time for everything else.
Our birthdays and anniversary are the same week.  We got jipped out of date night opportunities!
For 2020, I'm adding two impromptu date nights to my bucket list.

5.  To cheer on my baby girl during her first dance recital.
This year my Mushy Face started ballet and tap lessons.
The progress she's made has been astounding.  Each week she looks more like a real ballerina!
I'm looking forward to seeing her dress up and dance in her very first dance performance.

6.  To spend a day out east.
Every year I say that I'm going to spend a day out east and I never do.
We could walk the streets of the Hamptons, visit The Fat Tuna in Montauk, or even rock a winery!
Or we could do all three, which I totally vote for, but that may be too big of an ask..

7.  To clean out and furnish the finished basement.
We have a beautiful and large finished basement in our home.
It's complete with a guest room, bathroom, living room, and a detached, large laundry room.
Aside from the spicket carcasses, we make zero use of the space because it isn't functional.
In 2020, I'd like to clean it out and make it functional, especially the guest space.

8.   To continuing my education.
In 2020, I'd like to complete 4 of the remaining 5 courses I need to get my degree.
I'd like this to be the final year that I add school to my already impossible schedule.
I'm so close that I can literally taste it!  It's been a decade in the making and totally time to reap reward.

9.  To plant and make a real space for my garden.
This past year we didn't have the time or money to invest in my garden.
As a result, our harvest consisted of three eggplants and nothing else.
In the upcoming year, I'd like to create a space for my garden to flourish and produce!

10.  To visit Disney World with my family!
For the grande finale, we're looking forward to another trip to Disney World this year.
It will be my son's first time visiting this magical place and my daughter's third.
Every time we visit, we come home with countless memories to treasure.
We also have lots of surprises in store, including a trip to Cinderella's castle.  Shhh, don't tell!

What is on your bucket list for 2020?

Friday, December 27, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

I am completely and totally obsessed with...
...the sibling bond that has developed between these two kiddies.
They rarely fight, but when they do, it ends in voluntary hugs and kisses.
Pictured here is my son leaping to his death and my daughter reacting concurrently saving him!
This isn't the first time that she's saved his life.  He's a bit of a daredevil and she's a bit maternal.

I am clapping my hands with joy at...
...the fact that we got babies!!  Well, baby lemons, that is!!

I'm left a little depressed that...
...a year's worth of Christmas prep and the day is over in just a blink of an eye.
As much as I say that I'm going to slow down, I'm having a real hard time learning the art.
Can someone make me an organized, ten step list on the art of enjoying life?  Thanks!

I'm a little disappointed that... Christmas tree died almost immediately.
We paid double the average price of a Christmas tree because we wanted to support a local business.
Well, that's the last time that we do that since this is the second year in a row it died prematurely.  Costco it is!

I'm freaking out because... son has been diagnosed with RSV again.  He gets a new lung infection every month.
We went to a new doctor for a second opinion, and she dropped a bomb on us with the word "asthma".
She said it could take (6) months for her to fully diagnose, but I hate the idea of my baby boy suffering.
Here's where we go for a third opinion because pediatricians just don't seem to care anymore!

I'm trying to enjoy...
...the two week break in between classes.  I enjoyed Corporate Finance but am ready for the next class.

My face drops in defeat every time...
...I realize that I forgot to drink my coffee and it's been so long that the coffee pot shut off!
For the record, I started this post with a full, hot cup of coffee.  Now I just have a full, cold cup and sadness.

I'm kind of angry at the entire world because... one ever told me about Google photos!
I've been backing up all of my pictures & videos to Facebook thanks to being free & convenient.
Unfortunately, this method was at the cost of quality.  All my pics & vids were left blurry.
Google photos doesn't make you sacrifice quality for free, UNLIMITED storage.
You can also create "shareable" albums with family and friends.
They also have a great search feature because the app magically knows everything about what's uploaded.
If you knew about this and didn't tell me, don't worry because I forgive you!  Maybe..

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Life: Merry Christmas!

May your day be filled with all the cheer and blessings that you deserve.
Merry Christmas!

With all of my love,

Monday, December 23, 2019

List: Ten ideas for new holiday traditions.

It's absolutely no secret that I love the holiday season and everything that goes with it.
I mean, I've only been talking about it for two months straight now!
While the presents and feasts are great, my favorite holiday moments are our traditions.

We don't remember the gifts or meals as children, but we do remember our special family moments.
I want my children to be able to cherish the same memories of our traditions and customs.
While we currently have a laundry list of traditions, we are always open to adding new ones.
I begrudgingly accept that our customs need to grow with our growing children and family.
If you're looking for some new ideas, here are ten of my favorite traditions from the past and present.

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Ten ideas for new holiday traditions.

1.  Hide a birds nest in the Christmas tree.
Every year since I was a little girl, we would hide a little birds nest deep into the Christmas tree.
That little nest is supposed to bring you luck and prosperity through the following year.
Here's to hoping that we never find real life birds in our Christmas tree.  I'd die!

2.  Have a nightly Christmas countdown with an advent calendar.
We have a gorgeous wooden advent calendar that my brother bought us years ago.
Every night in December we hang a mini wooden ornament on the knob of the drawer.
If you don't have a formal advent calendar, there are so many fun ones with themes the kiddies would love!
Shottie the chocolate advent calendar from Godiva for mommy!

3.  Designate a day for baking all of your holiday goodies.
Every year we pick a day to have our holiday bake off.
We spend the day making homemade ricotta cookies and red velvet cheesecake brownies.
We make dozens of goodies and tin some for a homemade gift to select recipients.

4.  Use a day from work to play Santa Claus.
My husband and I use a day every year to play Santa Claus.
We send the kiddies off to school and then spend the day together.
We wrap all of the presents, drink hot chocolate, play Christmas music, and watch Hallmark  movies.
Yes, it's definitely a cheesy day but we look forward to it every year!  At least, I do.

5.  Each seven fishes on Christmas eve.
Every year we eat seven fishes on Christmas eve.
If you don't eat all seven, you're dooming yourself to a year of bad luck.
Half the fun is getting your kids to participate.  That's chicken with tentacles and those are crabby patties...

6.  Wrap baby Jesus in tissue paper and reveal him Christmas morning.
As children, my brother and I would take turns unwrapping baby Jesus.
These days it's my daughter's job, but as my son grows older, they will alternate as well.
It's a good way to remind your children of the true meaning of Christmas.

7.  Attend a gingerbread house & pizza party with friends.
Every year my daughter, her BFFs, and our families, make gingerbread houses together.
We drink lots of wine, eat a pizza pie, and laugh and laugh and laugh.

8.  Mail out holiday cards.
Every year we mail out holiday cards with a family photo and cute message.
We wear coordinating outfits and have lots of fun writing personalized notes to our friends and family.

9.  Break apart the chocolate orange.
Every Christmas, my grandfather will break apart a chocolate orange for each of us to eat.
He says the chocolate orange will bring us good fortune for the year ahead.
We just think it tastes good...

10.  Write a note for each "memory", "wish", and "hope" drawer.
My aunt has a little cabinet with three drawers.  Each one is labeled with the different theme above.
She asks us to fill out a note and put it in the drawer to store for the year.
On Christmas Eve, we will read the previous years notes and write new ones.
Some of them make us laugh, some make us cry, and others make me think my grandma is psychic!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Friday, December 20, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

I'm trying to teach my babies...
...self control!  I gave them the Target catalog and asked them to circle what they wanted.
My son ripped up his book and my daughter circled everything inside the catalog.
They then had to condense their list to (12) or less "wants" for their letter to Santa Claus.
They also got a lecture that just because it's on their list doesn't mean that they're going to get it.
They were receptive and I was left gleaming with pride as they shifted their thoughts to charity efforts!
The best part of the conversation was my daughter justifying why it's OK to  l o v e  Santa!

I'm scratching my head at...
...the Play Doh poop maker.  Why does it exist and why does my daughter want it?
For the record, I totally blame a certain rhyming kitty cat...

I am completely obsessed with... newest read!  It's called the The Alice Network.
It's one of those books that you just can't put down, not even when you brush your teeth!

I missed the point in life when... daughter became a fashionista.  She has high fashion demands and an actual style.
While she doesn't understand "brands" yet, she's definitely letting me know what she likes and dislikes.
She's been rocking lightly used hand me downs for the past 6 years and I think she's over it.
If you're curious, it's all about dresses, sparkle, glam, and bedazzling.  Her style screams "disco ball"!

I'm letting out a huge sigh of relief at...
...the ending of my Corporate Finance class.  While I enjoyed the course, the workload was high.

I was so upset I almost cried when... son yanked on a Christmas stocking leaving a giant gash in my fireplace.
My dark wood mantle is one of my favorite pieces in my home and it hurt to see it damaged.
Luckily my handy husband said he can sort of fix it with furniture wax to till the gash and some paint.
I was upset, but REAL thankful that it didn't put a gash in my baby boy's head!!

I'm seriously thinking of a career change to...
...professional gift wrapper!  I love wrapping presents and it's just so soothing.
If you know of a full time gig doing this, please let me know.  I may even relocate for the right price!

I'm completely appalled at...
...a story that a coworker and good friend told me about his kiddies.
His 7 year old daughter ventured off to a slumber party with a friend from school.
His daughter then came home with stories of her co-sleeping with the children's parents.
What makes it worse is that the father was a cop and divorced from the friend's mother!
It's scary stories like this that will make my babies live a life free of slumber parties and creepy parents.
I officially sentence everyone to fifty episodes of Forensic Files.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Life: Gallery Wall

For the longest time my husband was behind me to put together a gallery wall.
As a quick back story, let me start by saying that I was never a fan of photographs.
I don't like them hanging on the walls or sitting on top of the furniture.
My husband on the other hand loves the idea of family photos all over the place.

We compromised with the idea of a gallery wall in the hallway.
Then for Christmas, he gifted me a virtual picture frame, 
which totally went against the terms of our agreement!
He meant the violation as a nudge to get the project started.
Then for my birthday, he gifted me with two picture frames for the wall.
After the second nudge to get the project started, I finally gave in.
I mean, if I didn't, I was clearly doomed to house of photos.

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What is a gallery wall?

A gallery wall is a collection of pictures, photographs, and/or decor tastefully displayed on a wall of a home.

How did you design yours?

The first thing I did was search online for some inspiration.
...which I regret because it was inspiration overload that left me real confused!
That's when I decided to narrow my search with a wish list.

1.  I wanted mismatched picture frames.
2.  I wanted a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures.
3.  I didn't want a photograph to be the focal point.
4.  I wanted it to match my decor.  That meant neutral colors with pops of teal and gold.
5.  It absolutely, 100% had to be symmetrical.

With my wish list and husband in tow, I headed off to Homegoods to finalize the design.
One of the first things I laid eyes on was that beautiful, gold, metal burst of loveliness.
 The second my eyes stumbled upon it, I let out a silent "eep" and knew it was meant to be.
The rest of the gallery wall wasn't so easy.  I picked out my favorite 500 picture frames.
Then laid them out across the aisle until we were able to assemble a symmetrical design.
We made the finishing touches by replacing the frames until we reached perfection.

What do you do with a gallery wall now?

This is my favorite part of a gallery wall.
A gallery wall is something that can always change.
The photos can be swapped and it can grow from either side.
Assuming that it's still symmetrical.  It must remain symmetrical.
To answer the question, you can redesign so that it grows with your family, or just look at it.

Do you or will you have a gallery wall?
Bonus- Guess which frames my hubby gifted to me for my birthday as the 2nd nudge.

Monday, December 16, 2019

List: Holiday gift ideas for your friends and family.

The holidays can be stressful between finances and a serious case of FOMO.
While that's true, the most stress can be in finding the perfect gift for everyone.
I like to give unique, thoughtful, and inexpensive gifts to my closest family and friends.
Year after year that task can become daunting if you wait until the last minute to prepare.

The best way to prepare is to always aware and open to ideas.
I love to window shop and browse local festivals for unique finds.
Throughout the year, I take mental notes on other people's wish list.
Clearance shopping at my favorite stores have also brought me some success.
When all else fails, I go to my favorite online catalogs for some inspiration.
Even still, sometimes my mind goes blank and I have no clue what to get someone.
That's when I rely on other's to give me some great ideas to work with.
...and here I am to be your "other" and supply you with some gift-spiration...

Holiday gift ideas for everyone on your list.

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When I saw this displayed at the book store, I immediately though of my sister in law.
She loves Trader Joe's and is always stumbling across a new product to rave about.
This gift is perfect for your Trader Joe's lover or any organic food junky looking for new recipes.

This gift is festive, practical, and absolutely perfect in every way.
...also, I want one, please...

Those of you that know me know that I have a thing for cookie jars.
Themed cookie jars are practical for storing goodies, great conversation pieces, and a way to get festive.

This idea is gold for the person who loves to entertain and host dinner parties.
The beverage dispenser can be used for something as simple as lemon water or a complicated punch.
Tip- For something extra, fill the dispenser with all the makings of a yummy sangria!

At first glance you may think this is a completely lame gift idea.
Then you'll think of that one person who is obsessed with dental hygiene and the light bulb will glow!

This is a cute way to get the proud nerd on your list something practical.
I can think of several Guardians of the Galaxy fans that would not only love this, but use this
Although, their living partners may not be as happy with it...Luckily, it's just as useful outside!

This is a must read for the book lover on your gift list.
It's a historical fiction novel that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer out loud.
Tip- For something extra, gift it with festive book ends and a book mark.

I'm not a huge fan of single cup coffee makers but they have become overwhelmingly popular.
I mean, how healthy could boiling water filtering through plastic be?  No thanks.
For the K-Cup lover, a pretty and functional place to store all their coffee pods may be ideal!

As a fellow Disney lover, I would completely swoon over this thoughtful gift.
It's gorgeous, festive, completely functional, and would make anyone smile seeing it hung on the tree!

Cologne can be a very personal and expensive gift choice.
This sampler set may be a reasonably priced work around to the dreaded cologne gift.
Not to mention the juniper and sandalwood scent is absolutely perfect.  Gentleman, spray with caution!

Almost everyone loves a great family game to enjoy at game night or during a family gathering.
This twist on a classic game is bound to get the approval of everyone old and young.
Not to mention the laughs...because you will laugh at those real bad drawings!

The baby shark lovers in your life are bound to get a kick out of this decoration!
The kiddies get so many toys during the holidays that it's appreciated when you think outside of the box.

What are your favorite gift ideas this year?

Friday, December 13, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

This baby girl was all smiles when...
...she met Santa Claus and his wife at a very special brunch!
She was excited to get some one on one time with the big guy himself.
She sat on his lap and glowed when he gave her a little candy cane to eat.
While she loved that, her favorite part was singing Christmas carols with Mrs. Claus.

The baby boy was also all smiles when...
...he met Santa Claus at brunch and got to yank on his beard for a solid 3 minutes.
If you're wondering, his beard is 100% real!  No fake beard would survive my little beast.

I'm beaming with pride because... little Mushy Face is blossoming academically and socially.
Her parent teacher conference was more pleasant thanks to her want to succeed.
She struggled in Kindergarten on a social level and with following directions.
I'm proud to say that this is a new year and she's killing it!!
Can I brag that she's a year ahead of herself with reading & writing?  I'll resist.

I'm still giggling because...
...I attended my first ugly sweater party and it was lots of laughs!
While I didn't wear an ugly sweater, I invested in one for my hubby that had me rolling.
It was the typical ugly sweater pattern with a giant Grinch head in the center.
The wording was super appropriate for him saying "Resting Grinch Face"!

I'm struggling with...
...being financially responsible and sticking to my budget.
I find myself withdrawing from savings because I have had zero self control with spending.
Here's to getting back on track financially, including adding to our savings account!
This may be why my hubby got annoyed when I complained about his $2 coffee purchase..maybe..

I'm really annoyed at... job.  They have officially crossed the line with my work life balance.
I was irked when I had to work during my pre-approved vacation day two weeks ago.
I was really annoyed when I got asked to join a last minute call 11 AM Thanksgiving morning.
Now I'm just pissed that they it's officially mandatory to work NYE until 10PM to close out the month.
When you work someone to death, they die.  Enough with the monthly panic because I'm done.

We're looking forward to...
...the gingerbread house party at my daughter's school this upcoming week!
She's been tasked to bring Sourpatch Kids and white icing.
Mommy has been tasked with chaperoning and eating all the candy.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Ideas: Holiday gift ideas for a fabulous lady!

With Christmas around the corner, I'm feeling extra festive!
Playing Santa Claus is one of my favorite things to do so I'm totally glowing.
I love it so much that Santa starts in June!  I kid, I start early to ease the financial burden.
My husband appreciates my love for the holidays because it means that he's off the hook.
His only complaint is that he never knows what to get me for Christmas.
...and buying my own Christmas gift is where I draw the line...

In the past he would venture to R&W for some inspiration.
Every December throughout the past (3) years, my hubby would complain that I quit R&W.
He had to inspire himself and he wasn't very good at it.

In honor of my handsome husband...

Holiday Gift Ideas for a Fabulous Lady

Christmas gift ideas for thirty year old female; christmas gift ideas for young mom; christmas gift ideas for woman; christmas gift ideas for female

I love to send cards in the mail or leave a personalized note with a gift.
To ensure that this can happen, I have a card shaped box filled with cards for different occasions.
These cards are fabulous and my card shaped box is nearly empty!

I love a natural look when it comes to make up.
My daily, five minute make up routine involves mascara, lip liner, and chap stick.
This lovely surprise would be a third of my beauty routine every single day!

Ladies, I'm all about a sports bra when I can get away with it!
...and I know that you can totally relate...

There's nothing better than boots in the Autumn and Winter months.
These boots would be perfect for me since they seem to be made for women around 5' tall.

One of my favorite spots in the house, is a bench under a four pane window the length of the wall.
I like to switch out the lumbar pillow on the bench as the seasons or holidays change.
...and this pillow would look lovely on the bench.  Just saying...

These would do a great job protecting my dark wood furniture.
They would also do a great job making me smile being on display throughout the Winter.
It's also worth noting that they are just one piece of an entire Threshold collection!  Wink, wink

Every lady knows the importance of a fully function eye brow brush!
It's needed to brush our lashes, unclump mascara, and groom our brows.

I've felt a certain way about aprons for the absolute longest time.
It's silly to stay away from a very functional item just because of a false representation.
I'm sick and tired of ruining clothes while cooking.  But, I'm not an old lady, I'm not an old lady...

I love the sparkle, color, and versatility of this nail polish.
I'm also a fan of the OPI brand.  I find it to be a strong polish with vibrant colors.

Earlier this year my job upgraded my phone to an iphone 8.
Unfortunately, they didn't upgrade my case so I'm still using the case from my old phone.
It's been doing the job, but it covers the camera in the back which isn't exactly convenient.
Not to mention, this one is pretty and very feminine.  Love!!

This shirt is festive, comfortable, and the saying is totally true!
I'm always looking for comfortable clothes to do chores around the house.

This past Summer I saw my first ever humming bird and I got really excited.
I told everyone about it and they all recommended that I get a hummingbird feeder.
Even if this one doesn't attract another hummingbird, it's pretty enough to look at!
Besides, I do love me some mosaic!  My house is filled with so much mosaic, that it glistens.

What is on your holiday wish list this year?

Monday, December 9, 2019

List: Ten rules to remember when purchasing a gift.

With the holidays in view, it's time to to talk about the inevitable exchanging of gifts.
They are meant to be lighthearted and fun.  It's not a competition for the best or most expensive gift.
Let's all repeat that together.  Gift exchanges are not a competition.  Good!  Let's say it one more time..
To help keep it lighthearted and fun, I developed a set of rules that I try to follow when shopping for others.

gift rules; present rules; holiday shopping rules; gift courtesy

Ten rules to remember when buying a gift.

1.  Keep the value of the gift to a reasonable amount.
There have been so many times that I suffered gift guilt when receiving an extravagant present.
Chances are the person exchanging gifts with you is going to keep the value reasonable.
Don't embarrass them by going overboard, even if the purchase price was a great deal.

2.  Check with parents before a questionable purchase.
Not all parents are OK with their kids getting an electronic or something with internet.
I'm on team #imagination.  Flash back to the time grandma had to return that ipad gift...
Parents may not want a giant jungle gym to take over their entire living room either.
Others may not be OK with a game that revolves around dog poop, literally.
If you remember one rule, make it this one.  Ask before you give because kids will want it.

3.  Remember that this gift isn't for you.
Growing up, it wasn't uncommon for my mom to buy my father something that she wanted.
One Christmas he was gifted the weather vane she wanted and a new set of silverwear.
He finally told her that going forward he was going to buy himself gifts to give to her.
The bottom line is, don't make the gift about you.  It's about the receiver.

4.  Keep the gift age appropriate.
This is a great tip when purchasing for children.  Always mind the ages listed on the box.
While that's true, it also applies to adults.  Keep in mind the age of the person you're buying for.
Don't go buying granny booty shorts or your teenage niece wrinkle cream.

5.  Research a gift before you purchase it.
Sometimes we buy things because they're popular without really knowing what it is.
You should become informed before investing into any type of purchase, including a gift.
Flash back to the year someone accidentally bought their very young cousin Fifty Shades of Grey...
Remember that electronics should be compatible, some things are inappropriate, and others are of poor taste. 

6.  Always have a spare gift on hand.
Every year I make sure that I buy one or two small gifts and keep them on the side.
I try to make them timeless and appropriate for anyone, such as a candle or hot sauce sampler.
You never know when someone will surprise you with a gift, so remember to always be prepared!

7.  Don't buy something that can be insulting.
You'll want to avoid super personal items like soap, deodorant, breath fresheners, or weight loss items.
Never, ever buy self-help books or anything motivational to change someone into your ideal person.
The last thing you want to do is make someone feel bad about themselves with a passive aggressive act.
If you care enough about them to exchange gifts, speak to them directly about the potential issue.

8.  Do opt for something sentimental.
While we appreciate the scarf, a sentimental gift is usually a guaranteed win.
A gift that is specially designed for them is definitely going to make them smile.
It could be a favorite sports team, gear from their favorite show, or a nudge to an inside joke.

9.  Don't buy someone life long investments.
Unless the person you're buying for handpicked out the item, don't purchase "lifers" for them.
This includes furniture, appliances, or anything that you wouldn't want someone else to pick for you.
I remember when my in laws bought a dining room table.  We appreciated the thought, but it was horrid.

10.  When all else fails, get a good bottle of wine.
Sometimes you just have no idea what to get that coworker, distant family member, or friend.
That's when you should visit your local liquor store and ask for a good bottle under $25.
If the person doesn't drink, then may I suggest a box of the gooiest brownies one can find!

What rules do you follow when buying a gift?


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