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Tis the Season of Giving – Uplifting Handmade Gifts for Family and Friends

December 11, 2017

Everyone has that friend or two who needs a little special uplifting around the holidays. Maybe they lost their job or perhaps it’s the first year with the kids away at school or maybe their spouse passed away suddenly, and they are all alone this holiday season. Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, but a thoughtful gift can be just the thing to lift them out of the blues, even if only for a moment, and that’s something they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.

Inspirational Needlepoint Wall Hanger

If you’re at all handy with needlepoint, you may want to try your hand at a customized inspirational wall hanging. Often, you can find just what you are looking to say on Examined Existence and it isn’t hard from there to turn a lovely quote into a work of art. If you have some graph paper around, chart out your letters, make the saying and then add decorations around the perimeter like a frame. This is one gift that will be seen daily, lifting your friend up at moments they need it most.

Imprinted or Painted Cutting Board

If your friend or family member spends any amount of time in the kitchen, an imprinted or painted cutting board is just the thing. Start with the board – usually, it is better if it’s wood – and then sketch what you’d like to express. It could be a picture of the seashore, a coffee mug, or simply a brief inspirational poem. You can go all-out or be as simple as you’d like, but the finished product will speak volumes about your love and concern at this time of year.

Custom Made T-Shirts, Bags and Mouse Pads

Even if you don’t have a heat transfer press, you can still design some amazingly creative T-shirts, bags and mouse pads on your laptop or desktop computer. Sometimes a dry, very hot iron will do the trick if the design is small enough, but other times you may need to take your creation to a local T-shirt shop in the mall. They will not charge much for transferring the design you’ve printed at home and the only thing left to do is take it home and wrap it!

For those new to the heat transfer process, always make sure to wash the fabric first with no fabric softener. Also, never launder an item before the transfer has set at least 72 hours. And always print in mirror image.

Hand Painted Garden Stepping Stone

These you can buy at any home improvement store, but the paints you’ll need to get at a craft shop. Walmart also sells some acrylics you can use, but if you are an artist at heart, you’ll soon have a decorative stepping stone that is unlike anything anyone else could ever hope to have. Don’t forget to add that inspirational message to your stone.

These are just a few gift ideas you can use with an uplifting, inspirational message meant just for your friend or family member. Words of encouragement can get them through their deepest and darkest days, so think carefully what you want to convey, find just the right message and from there inspiration on how to use it will hit you. Enjoy your new project. We’re sure your friend will love it!



5 Ways You Can Treat Yourself this Winter

November 29, 2017

The run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas can be more than a little bit stressful. Not only will people be anxiously preparing for the holidays, but they may also be juggling successful careers alongside running a busy home and caring for children. It is therefore important to take a step back from the chaos to simply enjoy life. Check out the five ways to treat yourself this winter.

Enjoy a Day of Utter Relaxation

When was the last time you truly pampered yourself? If you can’t remember, then it has been far too long. So, add a little time to your busy schedule to simply relax and unwind. Treat yourself to a luxurious bath filled with bubbles and surrounded by beautifully scented candles. Spend an evening in bed watching TV or reading a good book. Or you could even enjoy a well-deserved massage from a talented masseuse, who can ensure all those winter stresses melt away.

Experience a Chore-Free Day

Are you tired of washing dishes, doing laundry and decluttering the home? Well, why not take a break from the cleaning schedule and enjoy a chore-free day? Instead of taking on all the responsibility of home-life, simply take a day off. You could even tell your partner and/or children that it is their responsibility to keep the home clean and tidy for one day only – so they can walk a mile in your shoes.

Hire a One-Off Cleaning Service

Do you want to enjoy a spotless home but feel as if you never have the time to perform every task? Cut yourself some slack this winter and hire a one-off deep cleaning service to transform your home into a clean and comfortable space. The likes of Athcleaning can make your property sparkle, so all you will need to do is maintain it once the service is complete, so you can focus on ticking another task off your checklist.

Book a Short Break

Do you want to do something a little different this winter? Break the monotony of daily life by treating yourself to a short break in a stunning destination. For example, you could book a short stay at a luxurious hotel to relax, indulge and make fantastic memories. Even a break for one night or two can improve your state of mind and provide you with a fresh perspective, so you can tackle all your tasks this winter.

Buy Yourself Something Nice

Many people will spend their winter days figuring out what to buy their loved ones for Christmas, which can be a stressful experience – especially if they need to head out to busy stores during the festive season. So, why not treat yourself to something nice as you go Christmas shopping, such as a winter-warming robe, pair of slippers or maybe even a nice bottle of wine? You can guarantee it will make the process a lot more enjoyable – and you’ll enjoy a reward for all your hard work. Go on, you deserve it.


Four Tips for Getting in Control of Jet Lag

November 21, 2017

If travelling is a hobby that you like to do often, then you’re probably all too familiar with the feeling of being jet lagged. After the initial rush of excitement has passed when you’ve stepped off the plane, you suddenly feel like you’ve been punched in the face with tiredness and your whole body feels hungover. Jet lag is a constant companion for travellers who are often switching between different time zones, especially for those travelling east. Moving around different times of the day and night can really confuse your body’s natural circadian rhythm, so, it’s important to know what to do to help you overcome jet lag.

#1. Prepare at Home:

If you’re going to be travelling soon and know that you’re prone to experiencing jet lag when crossing different time zones, it’s important to get yourself ready for the experience long before you take off. The best way to do this is to start a few days before your flight, and adjust your bedtime depending on the direction in which you are flying. Going to bed a couple of hours earlier will make it easier for you to adjust if you are travelling east, whilst those travelling west can go to bed later. If you’re about to book your flight, opting for an afternoon or evening arrival is often a better choice than arriving in the morning.

#2. Watch Your Diet:

You may not have realised it, but aeroplane food could also have an effect on how jet lagged you become when travelling. Food that is heavy in carbohydrates can make you feel very heavy and tired. Eating foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, or even burgers on your flight or during a stopover can make you feel extra tired and increase your need for sleep. If you have a long flight east, filling up on these foods can encourage you to nap on the plane. However, if you’re flying west then you’ll want to stay awake so choose lighter, protein-rich foods instead.

#3. Drink Plenty of Water:

Whether you’re flying out or on your way back home, it’s important to drink plenty of water to keep your hydration at a healthy level. This is especially important for when you are in-flight, since the air inside the cabin is usually quite dry and will cause your skin to dry up and stretch a little bit. However, keep in mind that drinking beverages such as alcohol, which may help you feel sleepy or coffee to keep you awake can add to the dehydration when you’re flying.

#4. Take it Easy at First:

Lastly, bear in mind that whether you’re flying out to somewhere new or returning to your home, a long flight can take its toll on you both physically and mentally. So, take it easy for the first few days and allow your body to adjust or re-adjust to the time zone, temperature, and more. On your arrival home, if you expect to be jet lagged, have a comfortable environment waiting – check out these luxury king size bedding sets to make your bedroom more comfortable than ever.

Did these tips help? We’d love to hear from you!


5 Ways to Ensure That You Are Ready for Anything

November 18, 2017

Life is full of surprises. It is impossible to predict what lies around the corner. This is a scary concept to embrace, but it is a beautiful one too. Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, there is always a chance that something magical will happen and transform your life for the better. If you want to prepare for all of life’s twists and turns, you will need to read on. Below are five ways you can ensure that you are ready for anything.

Pack your bag carefully

If you are going to make the most of every opportunity, you will need to pack your bag carefully. Make sure that you have all of the essentials on hand. Say you get invited to last minute drinks. You will need to have plenty of spare cash and your ID. Instead of rushing home, you should come prepared. On another day, you may run into an important business contact. Carrying around your business cards could be just the thing to help you make a good first impression.

Prepare for travel opportunities

One of the best ways for you to live life to the fullest is by exploring the world around you. Even if you don’t have any trips coming up, you should still be prepared for travel opportunities. You will need to invest in your luggage, sort through your wardrobe, and manage your finances. You should also think about a US passport renewal, as not doing so could completely ruin your chances of getting away.

Develop a strong social circle

When you are pushing yourself to do more, you will benefit greatly from having the support of your family and friends. That is why you need to develop a strong social circle. Fill your life with people who are willing to share adventures with you. You need to avoid people who are likely to let you down at the last minute or put a dampener on your plans.

Organize your life

In life, it is important to strike the right balance between adventure and responsibility. Sometimes you will be unable to go on adventures because you will have to deal with the stresses and strains of the real world. In order to keep these instances to a minimum, you will need to get your affairs in order. Organizing your life is the best way to leave yourself open to exciting possibilities. Instead of being overwhelmed by an endless list of chores, you should have the freedom to do as you please.

Have a backup plan

If you are responsible for the care of children, a family pet, or an elderly relative, you will need to have a strong backup plan in place. Say you are concerned about leaving your animal to go on holiday. In order to feel more confident in your decision, you should find a reliable pet sitter to help you out. Or, if you are worried about taking time away from your elderly relative, you should call on another family member for assistance. Don’t worry this doesn’t have to stop you from being spontaneous. You could simply make it clear that you are planning to treat yourself this year and would be grateful for any help when the time comes.



Is Using Comics and Memes On Your Blog a Good Idea?

November 16, 2017

Running a blog can be fun and rewarding. However, sometimes it can also be hard to always have fresh ideas for content. You may feel uninspired, not have time to write a full article, or want to make a new post without there really being any new news in your niche to cover. Equally, you may find that people aren’t sharing your content as much as you’d like because some people don’t really like sharing long articles.

One way some people get around this is by varying the type of content they post. While you may not have the time to write an article or an idea robust enough to make for a good long thought piece, you may be able to come up with a funny or thought-provoking meme or comic you can post far more quickly.

Why Are Comics and Memes So Shareable?

Memes and comics tend to perform well when it comes to virality and sharing too. While some people tend not to share links to articles on their social media accounts unless they are extremely important to them, believing that many of their friends won’t want to read a 1,000-word diatribe on a random subject that caught their interest, most will share a meme or comic that will appear in full on their friends’ newsfeeds if they think it is good.

Groups and Meme Sites

Another reason memes can spread far faster than articles is that there are so many groups on Facebook, Twitter accounts, and websites devoted to them. Whatever your niche, there are probably meme sharing groups related to it, and if your humor is broader (for instance, it is related to mainstream topics like TV shows, games, news or tech), you can also get some support on sites like 9Gag that are effectively meme repositories.

Creating Memes

Another good thing about memes and simple comics like ‘rage comics‘ is that you don’t really need especially good skills with graphic design, Photoshop, or art to make them. There are some great online meme generation tools like Rage Maker that let you create unique new memes without having any mastery of computer drawing packages.

Using tools like this, you can make new content that is fun, easy to digest and very shareable, without having to go to the time and effort of writing long-form articles.

Memes Over Stock Photos

Another way that using these kinds of user-generated images can be used is to break up longer articles. Rather than using meaningless stock images to make the page look more attractive, why not use memes that relate to the content and which you have made yourself?

This can make your site far more appealing to a wider audience, as having a mixture of short, simple content such as comics and memes as well as longer pieces can mean you can attract people who like both styles of stuff but are interested in your niche. So, why not give it a try?


How to Create Your Own Cigar Room in Your Home

November 13, 2017

For the cigars lovers out there, one of the most frustrating things can be finding the perfect place to enjoy your cigar. They don’t exactly have a mild smell, which means it’s not necessarily something you want to light up in the kitchen or family room. That and it doesn’t really add to the whole experience. Enjoying a cigar should be just that, which typically means a dedicated space.

So, if you’re looking to convert a room or garage of your house into a cigar room, giving you that perfect place to enjoy cigars year-round, then we’ve got some tips that you can use.

Pick the Spot for Your Cigar Room

The hardest part of creating a cigar room in your home is usually picking the best spot for the room to be located. You want to be sure it’s a room that won’t be multi-purpose, meaning it will also need to double as a family room, laundry room, storage room, etc. It needs to be its own dedicated space in order to be done properly. One of the most popular places homeowners pick is a small room in their basement. Even if this means you need to finish off a small room and throw up some walls and door, it will be worth it.

Ventilation – the Absolute Most Important Thing

Now that you’ve picked the spot, it’s time to tackle the most important thing in building a cigar room, and that’s providing adequate ventilation. There is no way around this step, whether your cigar room is small or large, it needs ventilation.

The Cigar Cafe recommends going with a small ventilation unit if you are just building a small cigar room in your house. Something such as the Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-780A will be able to ventilate a maximum of 815 square feet of space. If you’re right at that 800 square foot mark though, you may find that two units are necessary. This will not only clear the air better, but it will do it faster too.

A Source of Fresh Air

Whenever possible, you want to pick a space that also has a source of fresh air. Even with the proper ventilation unit, you’ll still find that fresh air is useful. The ventilation units work to get rid of the smoke, whereas the fresh air will help to clear out any smells that are lingering.

Invest in Cigar Storage

Now that you have the basics in place, it’s time to think about cigar storage. There is a large selection of storage units that are not only made for cigars but also add to the decor and atmosphere of the room. Remember, if the room is over 70 degrees, you risk damaging the cigars. You will want to keep this in mind with your storage too, which is why humidors work well.

Finish it Off with Furniture

The last step to finishing your cigar room is to add some comfy furniture pieces that are perfect for lounging. Leather is often the fabric of choice, as it helps to add to that whole cigar bar/lounge feel.


Things You Need to Know Before Choosing to Have an Unnatural Hair Color

November 2, 2017

Unnatural hair colors originated from the punk scene in the 70’s, and have been popular in various counterculture communities ever since, including goths and emos. However, over the past few years they have made it into mainstream fashion, with a lot of celebrities and fashionistas sporting bold, bright locks.

There is a lot of great hair color inspiration on the web, on sites like My New Hair Styles, to help you find a look to go for. However, there are some things you should know before taking the plunge.

Home or Salon?

If you are interested in getting an unnatural colored look for yourself, whether it is multi-colored unicorn hair, a pretty pastel ombre, or a vivid block of color, it can be fairly easy for most people to achieve, either at the salon or at home.

There are several brands sold in mainstream hair and beauty shops as well as online that can help you get the look you want at home, including Crazy Color, Manic Panic and Directions, plus most salons are able to offer the more complicated color styles now that they have become such a big trend.

The decision on whether to dye at home or in the salon really comes down to how complicated the color look you want is, and whether your hair is already light enough to achieve it. You need light or bleached hair for the colors to show up as intended. If you already have this and are going for a uniform color or a simple streak, dying at home can be a good option. It is inexpensive, and these dyes are essentially pigments suspended in conditioner, so won’t damage your hair. If you need to be lightened first or want rainbow hair, then the salon is the place to go.

Fade Out

Unnatural colors are temporary dyes. They fade out after a few weeks, and you may not really like the faded version of your bold color as it transitions back. To avoid this washed out look you can of course dye it again, but it is something to be mindful of.

Hair Staining

Unnatural colored dyes will stain your hands if you don’t wear gloves, and also just about anything else they come into contact with. This is easy to prevent, but what most people don’t know is that they can also stain your hair. While the bold color is temporary, the final fade may not leave your hair back at the blonde or bleached shade it was before you dyed it, and some lingering color may remain. You can address this in various ways, such as bleach baths and color correctors, but sometimes you will need to dye over it to get rid of that faint tinge. Red and blue tend to be the worst offenders for this.

If you are happy with all of this and ready to go, why not check out some of the beautiful styles online and choose your new, colorful hairstyle?


Personalized gifts for the man in your life

October 30, 2017

The daylight hours are decreasing, Halloween is upon us and the shops are gearing up for Christmas. Without wishing to stereotype, there is no denying that the toughest part of Christmas shopping can be finding the perfect gift for the menfolk in your life – be it your partner, son, father, brother or just a friend from work.

There is truth in the saying that it is the thought that counts, and while there is nothing wrong with simply buying the latest book or one of those handy gift sets that you will see filling the shelves in every store, it can feel like the easy way to simply “tick someone off the list.” A personalized gift, however, is truly unique and provides something that will be treasured for years to come.

Here we look at some personalised ideas to show the man in your life that you care and have put some genuine thought into his gift. Of course, they could also provide just the inspiration you need for birthdays, or just for that special surprise.

Whisky and glasses

One of the staples when it comes to gifting is to buy a bottle of his favourite tipple. This seems particularly to be the case with dads and grandads – how many of us have ended up thinking we will get him a bottle of whisky or rum, because at least we know that’s something he likes?

There’s nothing wrong with that logic, but it can seem a little impersonal, particularly if it is just something you have bought him in the supermarket while doing your grocery shopping. Why not add the personal touch with some personalized whisky glasses? He’ll remember your gift with a smile every time he pours himself a nightcap!


Many women love shopping for purses and handbags, but when it comes to the guys, they will keep using that old wallet till it literally disintegrates. A personalized leather wallet is the perfect gift for any man, and you can find something for any budget, from less than £20 on sites like Amazon to more than £100 for a designer brand.


Of course, whisky glasses and wallets are fine for the older male, but what about the youngsters? There is a growing trend towards personalized pyjamas, which can be a great way to make bedtime fun. Many online retailers list them, and you can even get matching sets in child and adult sizes – novel stocking fillers for father and son!


Class, style and the personal touch. No wonder that despite buttons being far less hassle, double cuff shirts are still popular. You can buy personalized cufflinks from a wide range of outlets, and the great thing is that a man can never have too many. Why not go the whole hog and get him a matching tie bar to go with them?

Personalize to perfection

Personalization is the perfect way to show you have put real thought into your gift, and to present the man in your life with something that won’t be gone and forgotten with the Christmas decorations but will be treasured for years to come.