Homemade Gift Ideas

There’s absolutely no reason to go broke buying gifts throughout the year for friends, family and co-workers. Nothing means quite as much as a gift that is made with love and care. Planning ahead and making all your gifts will save you a ton of money and a lot of headaches. Here are some terrific homemade gift ideas that are easy and fun to make:

Dollar Store Gift Baskets: Your everyday dollar store is a gift giving haven. You can make really inexpensive gift baskets using dollar store items. For instance, you can divide sets of fingernail polishes, candles, soaps, etc. or separate multi-pack food items like hot cocoa or crackers to make multiple baskets. Most dollar stores also have a great selection of plastic totes and storage containers that can be used in place of the traditional basket holder.

Bath Salts in a Bottle: Nothing is easier to make than scented bath salts. Just use equal parts of Epsom salt, baking soda and sea salt. Add some scents and pour into craft bottles that have been decorated with ribbons or other embellishments. Make sure to include instructions on how to use. No one should soak in bath salts for more than 20 minutes! It can be very drying otherwise.

Body Mists: Body mists are cooling, refreshing and very popular among the ladies. To make your own, pick up some spray bottles at your local pharmacy, beauty supply or craft store. Sterilize and fill each of them with distilled water. Add your choice of essential oils and you’re ready to give a lavish gift!

Hand Painted Golf Tees: Sometimes coming up with homemade gifts to give the guys can be a challenge. Here’s an easy and great gift to make them. Buy some ordinary golf tees and give them all a custom paint job. Choose neutral or wild colors. Or monogram them with the recipient’s initials.

Decorated Bird Feeders & Houses: You can usually find unpainted and inexpensive bird feeders or bird houses at your local craft store, and in various shops online. Hand paint and decorate any way you choose for a thoughtful gift. You can even package them up with bags of bird seed.

Pen Holders: Ordinary cans make the best pen holders in the world! To make, simply wash and dry empty vegetable or soup cans. Drill small holes on either side near the tops of cans (to tie on handles on later!). Paint them any way you want. When dry, use heavy gauge floral wire to make handles. Decorate with glitter, fabrics, ribbons, craft jewels etc. Tie a raffia bow to the handles and you’re done… practical pen holders, awesome gifts.

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The Perfect Christmas Gift Ideas For Men

Are you looking to purchase the perfect gift for the special gentleman in your life? There are plenty of wonderful gadgets, tools, trinkets, and other types of gifts that will surely have him shouting for joy this holiday season. Here are some of the more popular Christmas gift ideas for men:

Sporting Goods

It’s probably a pretty safe bet that the man in your life is into some type of sporting activity whether it be basketball, baseball, golf, hockey, tennis, fishing, or any other type of activity that would normally be considered a sport. Chances are pretty good that he’ll be totally satisfied with a new golf club, or a new fishing rod, or any other type of gift related to a sport that he thoroughly enjoys.

Sports Memorabilia

If he’s a big time sports fanatic, then you will certainly make his day by presenting him with an autographed football, baseball bat, golf towel, or any other autographed item form his favorite sports icon. This is perhaps one of the more difficult gifts to acquire, and it may not even be possible at times, so perhaps you might consider settling for sports memorabilia items such as pictures, plaques, bar furniture, clothing, and more.

Electronic Gadgets

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the different types of electronic gadgets that can given out during the Christmas season. Hand held poker games, portable DVD players, cell phones, and camcorders are all wonderful gifts that men thoroughly enjoy and can never get enough of.

Tools

Who ever heard of a guy that has too many tools? The truth is that a man can never have enough tools in his toolbox, workbench, or wherever it is that he keeps his equipment for performing every day maintenance tasks around the house or apartment. New socket wrenches, drill bits, hammers, all-in-one tool sets, power drills, or any type of power tool will make the perfect addition to that special someone’s collection.

Music

If the guy you’re shopping for is big into music, then you might consider purchasing him a new mp3 player if he hasn’t already got one. Does he have an iPod? Perhaps you might want to buy him a new pair of high quality earphones or an iPod docking station that can double as an alarm clock.

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Holiday Gifts: 15 Best Gifts for Runners

The holiday season is approaching and finding the perfect gift for a runner can be a struggle, especially if you are not a runner yourself. It is easy to assume that the only things they're going to want are running shoes. Fortunately, there are many other good gift ideas that provide comfort or help runners recover more quickly from long runs or races.

Compression Garments

Compression shorts, socks, sleeves, and pants are all the rage in the running community because of their comfortable materials, styles, and colors that coordinate with their running attire. Compression gear squeezes ever so gently to enhance circulation, help reduce swelling, and aid in optimal recovery while wicking sweat from your body. While compression gear can get a little pricy, they're a highly recommended gift because they provide a layer of protection from the winter weather. Prices range from $ 7 to $ 258.

Running Watch

A running watch is at the top of every runner's gift list for a very good reason: it provides information on time, distance, heart rate, and more. The watch help runners set goals and measure their progress without using pen and paper. They can simply download the data onto a computer and view whatever information they want. So if you want to splurge a little, a sports watch is probably the most exciting gift that any beginning or experienced runner would want. Prices range from $ 150 to $ 400.

Music Player

If your runner likes to listen to music or audio books during their workouts, a music player may be the ideal running gift. While many runners opt to listen to music from their smart phone, the concern is that the sweat and moisture may cause unintended damage. MP3 music players are inexpensive and a durable alternative, which allows runners to still play their favorite music to stay motivated. There are a lot of great choices with some of the best MP3 players being reasonably priced and most offering quality sound. Prices range from $ 30 to $ 490.

Hydration Belt / Pack

Proper hydration is one of the key elements to any runner performing at their peak whether training for a 10k or 26.2 marathon. Depending on your runner, a handheld 12-ounce water bottle with a pouch is a useful gift for runners of all levels. They come with an adjustable strap that tightens to your hand so you can run without actually having to grip the bottle. However, a handheld water bottle simply does not carry enough water for a long distance runner. It would require too many pit stops to refill. Long distance runners tend to use hydrations packs / belts, which will allow them to run greater distances and still remain hydrated. Generally, hydration systems hold between 18 and 100 ounces of fluid and include pockets to carry food, cash, a phone, and other essentials. A hydration pack is an excellent marathon gift choice for a distance runner. Prices range from $ 10 to $ …

Hindu Wedding Ceremony

I was recently invited to attend a Hindu wedding ceremony. Having never experienced a non-Christian wedding, I was excited about the event. On the surface, it was very different from other weddings I’ve attended, but the focus on unity and love is universal throughout many cultures, I think. I’d like to share my experience.

The ceremony started in the morning with the bride and groom splitting up. The bride’s family and friends gathered in one area, while we were ushered outside with the groom and his family and friends. A beautiful and ornate archway was constructed in front of a side door to the hotel. We all gathered around it as the groom took part in rituals preparing him for the ceremony. The rituals included a few members of the bride’s family as well as the Hindu priest.

After the rituals were complete, we all walked through the archway into the hotel. Personally, this part seemed particularly touching to me, as the groom’s family and friends were participating in the ceremony rather than just observing.

Next, we entered the ballroom where the main ceremony would take place. We sat in rows facing a large stage which was decorated beautifully, and we were given programs so we could follow along with the ceremony. Each one may differ, so this ceremony isn’t an example of all ceremonies, but it gives you an idea of what one may be like.

The Hindu Wedding Ceremony

The Hindu wedding ceremony is a long and elaborate ceremony, with every step rooted in Vedic tradition, signifying various aspects of life that is to follow after the wedding. The mandap – a canopy or marriage stage – is decorated with flowers and with a fire as witness, the Hindu wedding ceremony begins.

Var Aagman (The Groom’s Arrival)

The groom arrives for the wedding with his family and they are all greeted by the bride’s family. The bride’s mother then performs a welcoming ritual and leads the groom to the mandap.

Ganesh Pooja (Worshipping Lord Ganesh)

The wedding ceremony begins by offering a prayer to Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesh is worshipped so he may remove all obstacles, blessing the bride and groom.

Kayna Aagman (The Bride’s Arrival)

The bride is escorted down the aisle to the mandap by her maternal uncles upon arrival. The bride’s father takes her hand and leads her into the madnap. The bride and groom are separated by the antarpat (curtain), which is lowered once the Mahraj (Priest) invokes a prayer for the couple.

Kanya Daan & Hastamilap (Giving Away the Bride)

In the Hindu religion, the Kanya Dann is considered the most significant offering a bride’s parents make. The Kanya Daan symbolizes the bride in the form of Goddess Laxmi and the groom as Lord Narayana. Here the bride’s family displays the act of giving.

Jaimala (Exchanging of garlands)

At this time, the bride and groom exchange fresh flower garlands, signifying the acceptance of one another and to pledge respect for one another as …

Men’s Underwear As Gifts

Underwear can be a great gift to give to a man. If you are close to that man, underwear can be a very good gift to get a little bit more personal to him. However, you should remember that such a gift is a very personal gift and you should only give them to people that you are close with. Don’t think about giving such a gift to your boss unless you are that personal with him. Also such a gift is easy to get for a man. There are many varieties to choose from. These have started to come in various styles and keep in touch with the trend. If you are close enough to get him underwear as a gift, you can also get him some experimental types of underwear just to have some change in your relationship. This change will keep your relationship spontaneous and more interesting.

You should know what your man seeks before you buy him underwear that he would like to wear. You should have an idea of what he likes. If he is a man that likes comfort more than anything else, then he would prefer to wear cotton weave briefs and micro briefs that are really comfortable. You can buy him these so that he feels as comfortable as possible. Being comfortable would also mean that he can have confidence and be himself. If your man is worried about support, there are various types of underwear that will help to provide support where it is required. These can be of boxer length or regular brief length. The specialty fabric of such underwear is what sets them apart from the rest.

There are many men who are worried about underwear lines through their dress. For such men, there are the underwear thongs that help to keep low profile. There are many other such types of low profile underwear that do not show up as dress lines. This is true even if the man is wearing a tight fitting pair of pants. Also if your man is really very concerned about lines showing up then he can also try wearing G strings. This many men might reject at the very idea, but others who have tried such an underwear find it absolutely liberating. Once you get your man started on wearing g strings and thongs, he might even get addicted to it. Therefore you should encourage him by buying him a pair.

If you want to gift him sexy underwear, you should try your hand at the designer collection of men’s underwear that has hit the market. Such underwear has become very popular today. There are a lot if designs to choose from. Also because of the number of the brands in the market, most of the designer underwear is also available for competitive prices. Therefore even for a reasonable rate, you can get designer underwear for your man. There are many too chose from. You should get him some that will make him …

10 Unique and Affordable Wedding Favor Ideas

1. Tote Bags

Perfect for any season and oh-so useful, personalized tote bags make excellent wedding favors. Plain tote bags are inexpensive, and they are easy to customize yourself, should you wish to make your own wedding favors. Short on time? Some wedding shops offer personalized totes, but they will cost you more than if you design them yourself.

2. Sunglasses

Having the ideal summer wedding? Candies and chocolates might not be the best wedding favor to leave for guests in the hot summer sun. Sunglasses are a great way to keep your guests comfortable and to remind them of your special day for years to come. A plus? Frames come in a variety of styles and can be personalized in so many ways. You are limited only by your imagination! Like tote bags, sunglasses can also be personalized professionally by many wedding and party vendors.

3. S'mores Kits

Perfect for weddings in late summer or early fall, individual s'mores kits are another creative alternative to more conventional wedding favors. These can be as basic or as decadent as you prefer, and thus they can work for any budget. All you need are some graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars and cute craft supplies to make these adorable and unforgettable gifts for your guests.

4. Candy in Personalized Wrappers

A bit more on the traditional side, personalized candy wrappers and candy seem to be mainstays when it comes to wedding favors. From those oft-present Jordan almonds to the more modern chocolate bars, this is another easy and inexpensive way to add a personal touch to your wedding. Why mess with a classic? Choose your candy and pick out those personalized candy wrappers . It's a great way to make an impression on wedding guests with a sweet-tooth, and it also makes for a well-appreciated shower or bachelorette party gift.

5. Individual Bath Salts

Do-it-yourself bath salts are all the rage these days. Whether they are for personal use, a Christmas gift for a relative or birthday gift for a relative, chances are you've already got a recipe or two on one of your Pinterest boards. Individual bath salts are a unique and affordable way to pamper your wedding guests. Luxurious, little jars of bath salt also make wonderful bridal shower favors.

6. Hangover Rescue Kits

Hangover rescue kits or "cures" are a must-have if your guests will be drinking. From a personalized bottle of water, to a hangover remedy-packed kit, you can make this wedding favor as simple or as complex as you like. As with the other do-it-yourself ideas, this concept is flexible and budget friendly. Hangover rescue kits also make great bachelor and bachelorette party favors!

7. Individual Hot Cocoa Mix

Planning a winter wedding? Get your guests in the comfy, cozy mood with these individual hot cocoa favors. With some jars, craft supplies and some ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, you can create some of the most memorable wedding favors possible! You can customize the …

Review of the ‘Gift Basket Connectory’ by Rita Wilhelm

Rita Wilhelm runs one of the top gift basket businesses in the US. In the Gift Basket Connectory she has compiled a large variety of resources to assist newcomers in starting their own successful businesses.

Membership at Wilhelm’s Gift Basket Connectory gives those interested in learning about the business access to the most comprehensive range of relevant resources and information available online. In the resources that she has put together she shares her secrets and has compiled her years of experience and knowledge so that you can get started right without making the mistakes that so many newcomers to the industry have made.

The knowledge base that she has created is both strong on the practical side of product creation as well as the business side resulting in well rounded information that can fast-track any amateur or hobbyist straight to the mindset of a gift basket professional.

The kit includes videos that teach you how to make professional gift baskets right from scratch and offers insights into which baskets sell better than others and how you should go about pricing and advertising your creations. She outlines some of the start-up considerations that new players should be aware of and sets out an action plan to guide beginners through everything step by step.

Wilhelm is an expert at winning corporate clients and she outlines a complete approach about how to go about establishing and maintaining these lucrative relationships. She also includes detailed information about how to market your gift baskets on the Internet.

The Gift Basket Connectory includes brochure templates, website templates, business forms and a list of wholesale suppliers.

The package also includes access to an industry marketplace as well as one of the largest gift basket business forums on the Internet with over 58,000 posts.

Currently priced at $129 as an annual membership fee, it comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee.

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Rich People & Coupons – A Chicken and Egg Question

My grandparents used to save pieces of string. They would fold up tin foil, put it in the drawer to be re-used. They lived very simply and frugally. My grandparents were young adults during the Great Depression. It changed their lives permanently. They were also quite well off financially. Defies logic. 

 

I have recently read that higher income people (over 70K/yr) use coupons frequently and conversely, low income people hardly ever use them. Now I grant you that 70K can hardly be classified as “rich” in today’s world but there is enough of a difference between the two income groups that it too defies logic. You would think low income people would eagerly embrace using coupons to gain any advantage they can, and that people with a comfortable income would not feel the need. But such is not the case.

Like the old mind-twisting question, “which came first, the chicken or the egg”? I wonder, did rich people become rich by using coupons? Or did they start using coupons only after becoming rich? In other words, were they using coupons even when they were poor? Which came first, the coupons or the rich? 

 

There used to be a commercial on TV for Midas Muffler in which a rich miser guy would drive up in his old car, asking about the guarantee, the clerk would say, “What is a man with your money worried about a guarantee for?” To which the old millionaire would reply, “How do you think a man like me got to BE a man like me?”

In my opinion, I think probably it boils down to attitude, a mindset. I think having an attitude of being careful with money, taking advantage of every coupon they can find, starts in people and eventually these type of people become rich. It’s an attitude of not throwing away money, of understanding that the time spent clipping coupons saves way more than it costs. These types of people would rather spend the money on other things that they enjoy. I contend that people who develop the habit of using money wisely are the ones who become rich. The poor stay poor because they continue to make bad choices. No one holds you down, in this country we are free to break out of our circumstances but it takes work, no one is going to hand it to you. The American difference is we have the freedom to move from lower to upper class. Everyone faces prejudices of one sort or another. Feeling sorry for yourself or using an excuse is a cop out. Why allow anyone else’s attitude toward you to hold you back? Why give them that power over you? 

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Auspicious Wedding Feng Shui

Selecting Wedding Colors for Good Luck

As soon as a bride announces that she’s engaged, friends ask, “What are your colors?” While many women choose colors based on nostalgia or what will look good on their bridesmaids, color choice really should be taken more seriously.

When a bride plans her wedding, she pays close attention to the meaning of each detail… except color. And since everyone has such strong reactions to color, doesn’t it make sense to choose colors that are harmonious and beneficial for the couple so that their special day will be a happy one?

Colors shouldn’t be a clash of elements

When it comes to selecting colors for a wedding, it is important to consider the colors that are being paired. Many times, colors are chosen that are opposing according to feng shui. For instance, blue and yellow are often combined. This is a class between earth and water elements. Pairing opposing colors creates opposition from the start.

Harmonizing colors makes a wedding go smoothly

Think about pairing colors based on their harmony together. A good example of this is the bride a groom. Interestingly, the most harmonious and beneficial pairing of wedding colors comes from the tai chi symbol of yin and yang.

That color pairing is the colors of black and white. Black is yin (female) and white is yang (male). This is why, when a man wears a black tux, his male energy is harmonized with the female color, and when the bride wears white, her female energy is balanced with male energy.

Feng shui is often referred to as a technique for creating harmony. Harmony – in feng shui – means that colors, elements, shapes, and numbers are all supportive and beneficial for one another. It’s often used in homes and offices, but the technique can also be used for weddings.

Pick colors with auspicious meanings and that promote happiness

When it comes to matrimonial happiness, the bride and groom might want to take a cue from the Chinese. To the Chinese, red and gold together create success and harmony. These two colors together are especially auspicious for making families get along well, too. And keeping relations friendly is very something important when two families come together, often for the first time.

Weddings are happy occasions, but they can often (unfortunately) be punctuated by heightened emotions, ill feelings, and sometimes, anger. Diffuse the situation (especially if you know there are some ill feelings in the family) by creating a color palette that is harmonious and will draw positive attention toward the happy couple — rather than amplify any negative feelings. Better still, select color choices that will benefit the bride and groom and put them on the road to marital happiness.

WEDDING COLOR CHOICES CAN CREATE GOOD OR BAD LUCK

Color combinations that create BAD LUCK:

* Greens and metallic colors (white, silver, gray, gold)

* Red and blue

* Black and red

* Green and yellow

* Yellow and blue

* Red …

Rock Climbing – Christmas Gift Ideas

We all know someone who’s idea of a good time is hanging off cliffs. If you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas for a rock climbing enthusiast, here’s some unique rock climbing gift ideas.

Rock Climbing Gift Ideas

You can always tell a rock climber by their appearance. White chalk fingers, bleeding knuckles, bent fingers and…a grin a mile wide. Whether they are climbing in indoor climbing gyms or hanging off Half Dome in Yosemite, rock climbers are very receptive to rock climbing gifts. Here are a few gift ideas that will make you a favorite with them.

1. Rock Climbing Gym – Most metropolitan areas now have rock climbing gyms. These gyms are typically indoor areas where rock climbers can work on their techniques. Walls come in a variety of terrains and with differing holds. Membership costs range all over the place, but climbers will love the gift. This is a particular good rock climbing gift idea for people living in big cities and who can’t head off for an afternoon of knuckle crunching.

2. Climb International DVD – The Climb International DVD is a highly recommended financial planning tool for rock climbers. Why? Well, the DVD contains climbs from exotic locations such as Thailand and China. After watching the DVD, the average rock climber will suddenly start saving every penny from their paycheck, rolling nickels and generally being as cheap as possible. The goal? To save enough money to travel to these locations for a personal rock climbing adventure. The DVD can be a bit hard to find. Search for it by name on any search engine and you should be able to find it. Expect to pay roughly $20 for this mouth watering movie.

3. Build Your Own Indoor Climbing Wall – You have to be very careful when giving this gift. This book gives step by step instructions on how to build an indoor climbing wall. This, of course, requires one to have a space in which to build said climbing wall. Basements and garages are typical locations, much to the chagrin of spouses. Personally, I wouldn’t put my name on the “from” section of the gift card. You can expect to pay $10 or so for this evil little book.

4. Climbing Holds – Climbing holds are plaster molds that are put on a climbing wall. They come in all kinds of vicious shapes, which are perfect for bending fingers in truly unnatural positions. If you know someone who has built a climbing wall in their garage or house, this is a perfect gift. Since each climbing hold is more or less unique, just pick the ones that grab your fancy. They come in a wide range of prices, so it is often best to shop by what you can afford. Helpful Tip: Look closely at the holds. If you can’t imagine how a hand would possible hold onto a particular hold, that is the one to buy!

5. Nomad Rock Climbing Journals – A little …