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It’s “Etsy”llent – DLIH tested, DLIH approved! March 22, 2015

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Fashion/Clothes, Holidays, Review, Shopping.
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Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 6.33.19 PMImagine 50,000 years into the future, where you can go to an outdoor craft fair or market but instead of walking around and seeing the same four things – leather goods, vintage jewelry, handmade knickknacks, and decorative flasks, you can actually search for what you want or get someone to make it for you. Instead of you walking through aisles and aisles of vendors, they magically appear before you with examples, prices, and instructions on how to get more out of what you’re looking for. Enter, the world of Etsy!

“I wanted a nonsense word because I wanted to build the brand from scratch. I was watching Fellini’s 8 ½ and writing down what I was hearing. In Italian, you say ‘etsi’ a lot. It means ‘oh, yes.’ And in Latin, it means ‘and if.'” – Rob Kalin, cnn.com

A nonsense word, what’s not to love! It makes what Etsy is even that much more interesting. For those who aren’t familiar, Etsy is what’s known as P2P Commerce, specifically P2P e-commerce since it’s solely based online. This means that users who can provide a good register on this website as a seller, then users who need that good register as a buyer and BAM! – Crafty, homemade, customizable, funny, sentimental items appear! Like a magic potion.

The “Etsy”llent thing about Etsy is not even what you’ll find, but what you didn’t know you would find. It’s my number one place to go for gifts because I can guarantee that I will find something A. Unique, B. Something my giftee probably will never see in a store C. An item I can customize as needed. Not to mention you’re dealing with a real person, so if you should have a problem or question you’re talking directly to someone who knows the product, if not made it themselves. None of that “custom service call waiting” annoyance.

The thing I especially enjoy about Etsy is that no matter who you purchase from, you’re supporting a small business in America. This site continues to uphold the American dream. Some of these sellers do this as a part-time gig to make a little extra cash with a hobby they’re good at, to some, this is their full-time job; making and selling these handmade or unique items.

Items and sellers of note that DLIH personally recommends:
Boojiboo – sells the most adorable and cute, handmade aprons. I use mine at home and at cooking classes and get complimented every time. Ordering was easy and delivery was very timely.

JeniSewButtons – A wonderful crafter who works with fabric. I had four personalized Christmas stockings made by her – we communicated almost daily for about two weeks to make sure the fabric, names and overall look of the stockings were what we wanted. She sent multiple photos of fabric and was overall a joy to work with. The stockings came out perfect! She can make just about anything out of fabric.

LakeJade – makes the most beautiful and unique glassware items out of photos you send him. We had a small crystal made in memory of a loved one, as a Christmas gift. He made sure it got there in time for the holiday and the quality was top-notch!

Nelson Studio – This is the most hilarious and talented husband and wife team! They make “face mugs” which are essentially hand crafted mugs, bowls and other items with funny faces on them. A picture is only worth a thousand words because the quality is amazing and you can tell they put a lot of time, effort, and love into each mug (which comes with its own name and story!)

DiResta – a personal friend of DLIH! She does the most beautiful jewelry and will make a custom creation! She’s open to almost anything you can think of and incredibly talented! If you want a unique piece for you or a loved one, this is the shop to visit!  Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 6.33.58 PM

Making Life Choices…and Facing Hilarious Realities January 8, 2015

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Apartment Life, Cooking, Dating, Education, Fashion/Clothes, Finances, Friendships, Health and Fitness, Humor, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Men, Real World, Relationships, Shopping, Tattoos/Piercings, Traveling, Women.
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Check out this great post about the Catch-22’s of being in your twenties! Grab a glass of wine, and laugh your bad day away – The 20 Catch-22s Of Being In Your 20’s, by Lauren Martin at the Elite Daily.

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Things New Yorkers Dream Of August 9, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Apartment Life, Around Chicago, Around NYC, Following Your Dreams, Humor, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Moving, Shopping.
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You may have noticed it’s been a little while since anything new has surfaced at DLIH; if you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll also remember that almost this time last year DLIH made it’s long and exciting move from the bustling city of New York to Chicago. When you get older, your desires for how you want to exist change, you make choices about where you want to live and how you want to structure your life. Your age changes, and so does your quality of life. Chicago was a quality of life move, and while New York is still the most bad-ass, capital of the entire universe, moving can give the opportunities that are sometimes impossible elsewhere. So, if you’re wondering why DLIH has been a little more silent than usual…well, you could say that SK has been spending a little bit of time enjoying the things she always dreamed of.
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Running through your apartment…and not hitting any walls. Moving is relentless, it always finds a way to go wrong, or take forever, or cost you your soul. Living in New York, there are generally three main things you need to take into account; distance to public transportation, rent, and how shady the neighborhood might be. Size, really isn’t an objective since size and rent are proportionate to one another. You get what you get, and you don’t get upset, and you hang lots of shelves and make lots of storage units to house all the things you just don’t have room for. Until you get a place that lets you chase your cat all over the place without hitting a wall, or tripping over a shoe, and has a kitchen you can actually cook Thanksgiving in, and not just try to.

Trying to figure out what to do with you empty closest, and by closets, we don’t mean spare bedrooms. Actual closets. That are empty. And you actually don’t have stuff to put in them. And you wonder what you would possibly even buy to put in them. Staying with that theme – kitchen cupboards that needs more of the “cup” part and less of the “board”.

Doing your own laundry, in your own washer and dryer, in your own apartment, and it’s free. You don’t need to climb flights of stairs, you don’t need to run back to make sure no one steals your unmentionables, you don’t need to go to the nearest convenience store to get change for a dollar and you don’t need to lug it all back home. It’s just there! You can wash one thing, you can wash fifty!

grocery530Driving in a car you own! For people who are not from New York, let me educate you, many teenagers who are raised in Manhattan don’t learn to drive, and those who do, rarely actually exercise that talent. You don’t need to because public transit will get you anywhere, and with the traffic and aggressiveness of driving, you don’t really want to. Second point, owning a car in the city is dirty expensive – between parking, the nicks and dings, and I would assume city taxes alone, it’s not at all profitable – plus gas, not just paying for it, but having to find it. Let me tell you – the first time you drive your own car, to the grocery store, and get everything you need, and put it in the trunk, and then simply carry it back to your fridge, your head will explode with joy. [insert head exploding sound here]

So, it’s been an amazing couple of weeks outside of the DLIH world, but fear not loyal readers – we’re still here, with just a little more space to work with 🙂

 

As Simple as Sugar! June 20, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Beauty, Causes, Health and Fitness, Medical, Review, Shopping.
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Anyone who has spent more than ten minutes with me knows that I have an enormous sweet tooth, probably more so than most other people on the planet. If there’s dessert, I’m there, but I recently found a product that is as sweet as sugar (literally!) but rather than making you breakout and plump up, it does something good for your body.

Not too long ago, I did a juice cleanse. What I learned through this process was to pay attention to what really goes into my body. It’s amazing how much your skin absorbs, more than you could ever be aware of. I began to read more and more articles about what makes a product natural or organic, what makes it good for you, and how it can benefit you. I made a lot of life changes after this cleanse, and one thing I definitely wanted to change was my skin care routine. No matter how good a product it, it’s full of chemicals. If you do the research, you find out that actually most things found in nature can do the same job as all those compounds on the shelves of Walgreens. I tried to concoct some of my own formulas for skin care, but there is a reality of life – time, money, energy, effort. Sometimes, those four magic factors don’t always work together. So, I tried a new route, finding something that was natural and healthy but also wasn’t going to crack any paychecks.

Then, it dawned on me (while running on the treadmill, at the gym…okay, okay, it was on the TV!) a Shark Tank product! As a big fan of the show, I’m always shouting “I want that!” but sometimes, forget to follow through. When I saw an update about Simple Sugars, I remembered how much I had wanted it so many months ago. Simple Sugars is a skin wash/exfoliant made up of natural smells, flavors, ingredients and, yes, sugar! Unlike sugar water, it doesn’t leave you feeling sticky and even more clogged, it really does work! If you want to read the ins and outs of Simple Sugars, their website is a great source, but rather than rattling on about the great benefits to skin, let’s chat about what a real life experience with Simple Sugars feels like.

The variety of body, foot, and face scrubs, plus the different smells, or “flavors”, makes it hard to choose which to start off with! Different ingredients have different properties so I went with Coffee for my face and Lavender for my body. I love how caffeine perks up my skin, and the smell wakes me up and comforts me, not to mention, I have used coffee grinds on my face before and love how smooth they leave it. I also love lavender for opposite reasons, it’s so soothing and relaxing and always leaves me feeling refreshed in a calm and rejuvenated way. Simple Sugars work on the skin, but they’re also fun! Mixing it each time (the oil and sugar separate), glopping some onto your skin and getting all soft and smooth as you wait for the sugar to “melt”, then you wash it off and,”aaaaahhh” so clean! The best part – the oil!

I hate any kind of oil on my skin, it makes me feel gross. I rarely use moisturizers because of this, I hate the residue they leave. Simple Sugars oil is different. After you pat dry, or get out of the shower, you instantly feel this silkiness. At first, it really feels like oil, but after a couple of minutes it soaks into your pores and it almost feels like a soothing medication; like when you have a bug bite and cortisone cream makes it stop itching. It’s an experience you have to feel for yourself. I feel like I am making my skin healthier.

The great part of this experience is how relatively inexpensive it is, I paid under $40 for both scrubs that will probably last me a couple of months. I’m excited to try all the different smells and happy healing properties of the different scents and ingredients! Most of all, I am so happy to have found something that is good for me and my skin, and I think is just fun to use, who doesn’t want a mini-at home spa?!

Get your own sweet tooth at SimpleSugars.com and check out this young entrepreneur’s story on Shark Tank! Support American businesses while being healthy and happy!

Happy scrubbing!

It’s a Birch Box! April 15, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Beauty, Fashion/Clothes, Men, Review, Shopping, Women.
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Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz going around about this thing called a Birch Box. I first heard about it when a friend posted a photo of her first Birch Box. Looking at it, I could tell two things – it was, in fact, a box, and it had a lot of small cosmetics, and such, in it. I’ve never been a samples girl, usually when they get thrown in my bag at Sephora or elsewhere, they sit around on my vanity for a couple of months collecting dust until I try them out, all in one day, in an effort to get rid of them. So, the concept of a Birch Box wasn’t really something I thought I would enjoy. The holidays came and when I opened my presents on Christmas morning I had a complimentary 6-month subscription to Birch Box. So, I thought, why not?

First thing’s first, What is a Birch Box?

A Birch Box is Netflix for the girly girl (Men, you don’t have to keep reading, but you DO need to scroll to the last sentence!). Like trying new eyeshadows, perfumes, nail polishes and chocolate (yes, chocolate!)? Then you’ll like Birch Box. Birch Boxes arrive on your doorstep once a month, like a magazine, and are filled with a variety of different new product samples for you to try. They aren’t just samples like you get from a store, some of them are large enough that you can really try them out by using them for a month or two. I got a face primer that I’ve been using since January! A Birch Box can contain any of the following – makeup, perfume, skin care and lotion, hair products, tea, chocolate, nail polish, a healthy snack, fun cards with tips or motivational quotes, and other fun things!

So, how do you know what’s coming to you?

Well, you don’t, but you can control what you like and don’t like. When you set up a Birch Box account you create a profile and by answering certain questions, Birch Box knows what to send you a lot or a little of. If you’re not a nail polish person, or if you really love perfume you can tell them so they don’t send you as many, or send you a lot! If you try a product and you really like it, you can mark it “favorite” on your profile or buy it! For everything you buy you get Birch Box points which can be credited towards purchases! In a way, its like a personal shopper that gets you everything you want in one, easy place, and you try it out first!
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“I’m just not a samples person, I know what I like and don’t like.”

Said, ME!, but I love Birch Box. I’ve bought so many new products in the short time I’ve had it. Sometimes I need something (like face primer) but because they can be rather expensive, I don’t want to shell out for something I won’t like. Additionally, perfume; every time I find one I like, it gets discontinued. I hate shopping for perfume because it’s so time-consuming and there are a lot of brands I won’t even try because of preconceived notions. I found a fantastic new perform through Birch Box, it was sent to me, so in an effort to get rid of it I tried it and I loved it! Birch Box isn’t just about getting samples, it’s really about making your makeup, skin, nail and hair care easier!

…Did I say chocolate before?

Yup! 90% of your Birch Box is makeup and such, but you’ll also get chocolate to try, tea, an other goodies like healthy snacks and granola. So, if free nail polish isn’t enough to be excited about, you can look forward to a scrumptious little something too.

How do you get a Birch Box –> sign-up! you can get different lengths of subscriptions so you don’t have to commit to a full year.

What if you’re thinking, “I’m a guy, this was the most pointless post ever!”

HOLD YOUR HORSES! there’s Birch Box for men! No, it’s not masculine nail polish and invisible mascara, it’s stuff for you guys! check it out on the website!

The Fifteen Items a 20-something Should Own February 27, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Cooking, Fashion/Clothes, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Shopping.
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Inspired by this article, the DLIH 15 Items a 20-Something Should Own:

A Watch:
We live in a world where we use our cell phone for everything, from telling time to following recipes. While this handy (pun, totally, intended) device is definitely a lifesaver, it’s also sucking away at our minds and our reputations. Imagine your Born Pretty Watch 4absolute idol asking you for the time on the street, you could just look down at your watch, or you could shuffle through your bag or pocket to find your phone. By the time you’ve found it, your superstar is gone, or has already gotten the answer. More importantly, being at a job interview, in front of the boss, on an important date, or other defining life moments, having a watch says that you are responsible and care about, not only, your time but other’s. It also doesn’t look half bad.

A Sewing Kit:
The mom’s are long gone friends. Whether you’ve been stitching all your life or simply need to learn how to put a button back on, a small sewing kit with the essentials will help you exponentially. It’s time to be grown-ups. It also doesn’t hurt when someone you’ve got thing for needs some sewing assistance, and you’re their to offer.

A Coffee Machine:
In the amount of time and money you spend at Starbucks, you could have bought 80 coffee machines. Let’s start saving our money for things we need or deserve and stop leaving home fifteen minutes early to stand in line at our nearest Coffee Bean. A coffee machine also serves as something for others, when you have company or overnight guests. You don’t want to be caught with a caffeine addict sleepover and no java to offer them!

A Passport:
A passport opens doors; literally and figuratively. Even if you don’t have any trips planned outside of the country, being prepared never hurts. Owning your passport will not only make you feel like a citizen of the US (and the world!) but open the door to traveling at the flick of a wrist. It can also be a convenient employment document so you don’t risk losing your social security card.

Books:
Kindles are amazing…but they’re not books. There is something beautiful about starting your own library. Invest in your favorite books, or books you have great respect for. You don’t need to read them over and over, but collecting literature and having the option to read it offers a new level of intelligence, conversation, and curiosity. Also, get a library card, it will help you in your adventure to building your own collection.

A Photo Album:
The most fun you can have is reminiscing about old times. NO one is going to reminisce over an iPhone screen. Building a photo album is like building a little home for your past; you won’t look through your albums often, but when you do it can kill hours of time! Remembering where you took each photo, how you felt, and the fun you had, with the people there. Think of your parents, when they wanted to show you their memories, they didn’t pull out a computer, they pulled out an old book of photos.

Board Games:
board gamesNothing is more exciting than pulling out the best board games of your childhood and
playing them with friends during a rainstorm. With every generation, new trends are made, protect the trends you know and love by buying a few! Everyone has their five or six games that they remember fondly!

A Bar Set:
A bar set is a special gift a 20-something can give themselves. A bar set can be anything from a shaker, strainer and the whole shebang, to just a small corner of wine and liquor and some glasses. Invest in nice wine glasses (Pier 1 Import sells them for $1!) and a good cork screw; and if you’re feeling adventurous buy a cocktail book (Bed, Bath & Beyond sells books and sets)

Address Book/Phone Book:
Going back to our anti-technology theme, how many phone numbers do you know by heart? How many addresses? What would happen should you be on vacation and your phone suicides itself into the pool? Now what? Having important numbers and addresses written down not only makes them memorable and easy to find, but also prevents the embarrassing “Hi Guys, phone is dead. If you need me, get me on here” Facebook post. Not to mention, it gives you an excuse to buy a really beautiful, old school, phone book. Your phone should only have immediate contacts; for those people you need to know, but don’t necessarily need to know everyday, you’ve got your phonebook.

A Good Pen:
Growing up means doing grow-up things, it also means having grown-up gifts. When I was little, I didn’t understand why my dad had one really nice pen that he always used during really important moments. Now I get it, there is something about having one beautiful, expensive pen that you whip out during important meetings or check writing that makes you feel like you’ve made it in life…at least a little bit.

A Recipe Book:
Every single recipe comes from online, your head, or your mom. Every time you forget how to make Lasagna you have to re-find the bookmark on your computer, then post it up somewhere “safe” in the kitchen, or waste paper printing it out. I once heard a story about a mother who gave her new daughter-in-law a book of recipes. She said “So you can learn to make my son all his favorite dishes, so they can become your family dishes like they were our family dishes”. I not only thought this was a great idea, but how symbolic, a passing of the torch. Recipes on the internet will come and go, but a recipe book is something you can have and hold forever.

Stationery:
Whether it is something you buy, or something you get custom printed, stationery is old school. It tells people you’re serious, you’re personable, and you go the extra il_fullxfull.184108110mile. It also provides a greeting card anytime you need one without the added expense, and gets you away from the computer and informal, speedy e-mails. It’s romantic but still practical and fun.

Business Card Holder:
The coolest thing in the world, when you’re in your twenties is getting your first real business cards! But then…where to store them? Taking them out of your wallet or pocket looks awful and unprofessional. Even if you don’t have business cards yet, having something in your sight can motivate and inspire you to get that job you want, or get through school.

SK Fashion Post: Winter Weather Warmer! January 8, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Fashion/Clothes, How To, Jobs and Work, Men, Shopping, Tips and Tricks, Women.
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For years I had avoided the  winter weather wardrobe, layering my summer clothes with sweaters and running from building to building. For the most part, it worked, until one year when I was cold all the time, everywhere, and I began the art of winter weather warmth! It’s not as hard as you may think, if you invest in a good coat, warm boots, and some long sleeve shirts and wool socks, you’re pretty much set, with some logic, of course, but what happens when you’re in a setting that isn’t conducive to boots and socks and long sleeve T’s with hoodies? The guide to winter when your office is an ice box.

The cardinal rule of winter warmth is layering, but there is a technique to it. If you’re wearing dress pants or work slacks to work (which insulate about 1% of any heat) throw on some leggings underneath, or a pair of stockings. For guys, long johns work great. Long sleeve cashmere or wool-mix sweaters work best through winter but when it’s a day for a blazer or a dress shirt, you’re going to freeze so throw on an undershirt. I’ve found that quarter sleeve shirts work best, they cover enough to keep you warm but don’t give that bulky feel or stick out. Even a basic T will work as most warmth needs to be kept in your torso region. For women, sometimes layering can actually give you a cute look, like placing  a long sleeve white shirt under a black blazer and pairing it with some bright red, green, blue or gold jewelry to make your outfit pop.89a79f58735a85f73870ffd5a7cf5a34

If you work in an office like mine, heels are pretty much par for the course, and unless you’re the kind of lady whose wearing stockings everyday, your toesies are gonna freeze. There are several solutions here, 1. bring a heater to work, a new, up-to-date one that has mechanisms to prevent fires, 2. Wear socks. Getting some neutral black, or thin dress socks and just keep them at work, put them on with your heels. In smaller offices, or those were everyone is collectively freezing, no one is going to judge you. However, if you have a meeting with the big boss or the record breaking client, take them off and just suffer for the hour that you’re making the sale. 3. Invest in a pair of closed toe, booties, keep them under your desk and wear them everyday. Buy them with some extra room for big, fuzzy, socks! (Guys are so lucky…they have a million dress shoe options for winter, and always wear socks!)

knee highsAnother point of contention  is the ugly turtleneck look. I mean, really, does anyone out there still own one? Here’s a solution, buy a rack of pashmina scarves, three or four will give you enough options to match outfits and also look like your still dressing professionally for your day of duties. Guys can do a nice, warm scarf at their desk, tucked into their suit jacket and then remove for important meetings or conversations.

For the ladies out there, here’s another helpful hint that’ll actually make you not totally and completely dread your skirt-suit. Invest in a bundle of colorful stockings and/or tights. 1. They’ll keep you warm, especially if you can find opaque, thicker ones (sometimes a bit more costly, but worth it). 2. they make the blah of winter not so, well, blah. I’ve found that the colors I enjoy most are black, gray, and maroon or burgundy. I like to wear solid color skirts and then match my tight color to my top. I stay away from anything that looks like I’m in Kindergarten like blue or green, but if you can work it and your boss won’t send you home to change, try it out! A co-worker of mine has layered lace stockings, which provide the warmth of a bikini, over black leggings or darker stockings and it gave it a nice, professional look while adding another layer.

Also, do the to and from outfit. Don’t completely change to get to and from work, but have some variation. Put on a warmer sweater and stick your blazer in a bag, put super warm, boot socks on before leaving the office and change shoes. Some days I’ll even do my hair when I get to the office so I can wear a hat or hood and not worry about ruining whatever locks I have going on that day. Also, for ladies, having an extra set of makeup basics in your desk can come essential for really rainy or snowy days were the elements might make your makeup run.
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Finally….have warm drinks! Stash tea, coffee, or even just drink warm water. It’ll help give your hands a boost of warmth and also circulate it through your body. Keep a mug at work so you won’t break the bank with Starbucks. Use hand and foot warmers, too, if you’re particularly susceptible to being cold and give yourself a computer break and run your hands under some warm water. While most employers won’t hate you for being cold in the winter, there’s no doubt that most of our offices are either too toasty for their own good, or freakishly freezing. So “weather” you’re trying not to sweat, or just trying to get some heat, try these tips for a more pleasant work-wear experience.

Holidays Not-So 101: Kids & Their Gifts December 10, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in children, Finances, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, How To, Shopping, Tips and Tricks.
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There was a year I participated in a charity event for Christmas. Underprivileged children wrote letters to Santa about what they wanted for Christmas, little did they know, we were Santa. We each received a letter or two and bought the children exactly what they wanted.  We then dressed a co-worker up as Santa and as each of the children sat on his lap and took a picture, they received their specially ordered gift. It was one of the best moments of my life, I remember one girl looking right into my eyes and squealing “Oh my gosh! This is exactly what I wanted! How did he know!?”. While I learned many valuable lessons from this experience, there was one that really resonated – kids toys are not cheap!

I somehow remember having about 7 Barbies when I was a kid, more stuffed animals than I could count, and a constant rotation of crayons, pencils, markers, and clay-type art molds. It never crossed my mind that my parents were shelling out for these things. When it said “made in China” I assumed it was priced accordingly. Well, I learned pretty quickly that Barbies start at $20, and that’s never the one your kid is actual going to want. So, this brings me to my Holidays Not-So 101 dilemma, how the hell do you buy kids gifts they want without actually breaking your holiday budget? To be totally honest with you, I have no idea, ask a parent, but what I can tell you is the tricks I’ve used to get them something they want without spending 2 hours in the toy aisle. woman-shopping-for-toys

Trick #1 – Ask their parents. If this is someone you’re relatively close to generally their parent’s will have some kind of gift list that either their kid made, or they themselves have been keeping. Most parents aren’t going to ask you to buy their child a bicycle or the latest doll, so whatever they tell you will definitely be under that $40 mark. If they don’t have anything specific, they can at least give you an idea of what their child might be into these days – Batman, American girl dolls, a specific movie character or board game, etc. This way you can get them something within that theme, without having to get them the actual toy/movie/game.

Trick #2 – Know your options. Remember yourself as a kid, you were excited by a happy meal toy that was lost under the couch in two weeks. Kids love big gifts, flashy lights and funny noises, but that doesn’t mean they require it. Evaluate price per square inch of this toy, maybe a three dollar bear that looks like it’s going to disintegrate isn’t the way to go, but a $25 my little pony the size of your hand isn’t either. There are lots of good deals out there if you’re in stores like Target, Kmart, Toys R Us, and so on. Matchbox cards often sell in a 5-pack for under $10, small toys with “dress-up” or “hair bow” type accessories will usually range between $10-$20. Check aisles thoroughly and weigh out the options, would you like this toy? Even if it doesn’t seem like much to adults, it may be the world to a child.

Trick #3 – Use your noggin. This isn’t so much a trick as a fair warning – for those of us who don’t have kids, we forget that some toys aren’t safe or favored by parents. Look at the age frame, every toy tells you “3+” or “ages 4-9”. Be accurate. Also, no matter what the toy says, pay attention to small parts as they can be a choking hazard, sharp edges or themes that parent’s might not be fond of. Anything that’s too violent, may not communicate an appropriate message, or might be too extravagant or very messy probably won’t be appreciated. If it’s questionable, don’t get it. No matter what you buy, include a gift receipt to give to the parents.

Trick #4 – Ask the parents. Yes, I’m saying it again. Unless it’s a situation where you’re expected to bring the kids a gift (like a family Christmas, or best friend/siblings child) make sure it’s okay with the ‘rents that you bring a little something. Ask ahead of time, or, if that’s not an option, mention is as you walk in, before you hand the gift off to the monster, I mean kid. A simple “Hey, I brought Johnny a little something, I hope that’s okay?”. They’ll either say it’s fine or they’ll say thank you and take it themselves. This might mean it’s not cool, but it might also mean that they don’t want their kid to get wound up, and will give it to him or her at another time. Don’t be offended, they’ll appreciate the gesture, they may just want to keep their kid calm for that moment.

So, while I may not have the most in-depth knowledge, these tricks have worked for me. And if you’re a non-parent, newly crowned aunt or uncle, or simply realize that most of your friends are starting to have miniature versions of themselves, this is a great starter guide for this holiday season.

Ten Things to Do This Fall October 15, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Cooking, Fashion/Clothes, Health and Fitness, Shopping, Weekend with DLIH.
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Before the weather gets too cold to run around and the chills begin to stick to our bones, make a list of ten things to do this fall that’ll make the turning of the seasons exciting, and the loss of summer a little less painful. Here is the collated and DLIH approved list of MUSTS to do this fall! You’ve got until Thanksgiving time to check them off your list…so GO!

Drink a pumpkin spice latte!!!!

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Celebrate a college football victory with people you’ve never met at a bar

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Smell the air! Fall always reminds us of apple picking, back to school, and scarves and boots, take a walk in the tree-est area you can find and watch the leaves turn!

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Get yourself ready for fall! Put your summer clothes away, get your sweaters out, spruce up the place, buy some autumn scented candles and give anything you don’t want to goodwill or charity! Remember to hang DYI or store-bought decorations!

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Pay off your credit cards…or make a plan to. Holidays are around the corner, and you’re going to need the spending limits!

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Play Heads Up! on the first, stormy, fall night-in!

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Learn how to bake a warm, autmuny treat. Some great ideas are: baked brie, pumpkin bread, apple crisp or cobbler

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Bundle up in scarves and hoodies, go to your nearest beach and drink hot apple cider!

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Take a photo for your holiday cards!

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Get in the habit of going to the gym, every time you go, put a dollar in a jar, then reward yourself next fall with a new coat, boots, or a night out!
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Coming Out of Your Shell…One Inch at a Time September 27, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Fashion/Clothes, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Shopping.
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When you move with a cat, experts advise you to put the cat in a single room, with their liter box, and food and water, close the door and leave them in their to acclimate. Well, we never did that because we think our cat is a princess, but that’s not the point. The point is that when it comes to change, I’m very much like a cat. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I don’t like change, but I’m very slow to adjust, I like to keep in my pattern until I feel comfortable to venture out on my own.

When I first moved here, I really wanted to go out and experience everything, but I didn’t. I stayed in my 5 block radius and only went places I knew. I tried a new coffee place, but after not knowing how to order, I retracted back into my shell and went back to Starbucks where I know all the cool kid vocab. However, slowly, overtime, and without any pressure, I began to wonder what was outside of my little room with my food and water, and I felt comfortable to explore without freaking out that I didn’t know what “L” train to take.

I think branching out, whether it’s because you moved, you’re trying to start a new chapter, or you just want some space, can be hard. Really, doing anything alone and without knowledge of how it will end is hard, hence, this post. I felt like if I could do it, it would inspire others to also take a step outside of  their safety circle. Come with me on my adventure…
imageDay One: When you gotta go, you gotta go…to Target. And when you’re significant doesn’t feel like driving you and you never got around to learning stick shift, welllll your option is to go or to not go. So, uncomfortable, and awkwardly pretending I don’t need to look at the train map while I do, I headed out. I went, I bought, I conquered, and then I went to TJ Maxx, in a totally different part of town. Bonus points: I took the bus home. I’m starting to feel like a local, and local who probably looks terrified and smells of tourist.

Day Two: I’m coming back from the gym, the place I frequent the most except my home, because it’s basically my home anyway. I’m alone. I’m starving. My significant other ate without me. My option is to go to the sushi place I’ve now been to three times in two weeks and the people are starting to recognize me…in that bad way. So, I sucked it up and I went to Whole Foods. An entire three blocks away from the farthest point I’ve been EVER, near my apartment. And it was great! (Minus the guy outside Whole Foods who tried to offer me drugs, a true rarity for my area. Maybe he really likes Quinoa, hm?)

Day Three: Once you’ve done it, third times a charm, hardly seems like work at all. So, I headed downtown all by my lonesome and actually enjoyed my trip down. You think being a New Yorker, mass transit comes easy to me, but quite the contrary. When you’re in a city and you don’t know every single stop on every single line, it’s like a pattern of panic but maps on smartphones ease that anxiety. So, I bought some work clothes for 40% off, and got convinced by the nicest saleswoman ever to buy a brand new lipstick shade, I discovered a bunch of steak houses I can’t afford to go to, and a giant mall on the Magnificent Mile that has a Potbelly on the top floor (hidden treasures!..A Potbelly next to a Cache, go figure). Before I knew it, it was 6:30 and I was on my way home, like it was any other day, like I live here. Feeling like I finally live here.

People think that if you’re courageous, and ambitious, and adventurous that you’re never scared. People think that when you jump into the deep end you didn’t give a second thought, but the truth is that before we even get to the diving board we analyze every outcome, push the fear down way, way low, and right before we finally jump, we put on a brave face to show everyone we aren’t a scared little turtle, we’re a cheetah! Getting used to change takes time…let it, before you know it, it won’t be change, it will be what feels normal.