Holiday Gift Ideas for Those Who Have it All

Shopping; for yourself, its pretty easy. When you have to pick out a gift for someone else…not so much. Its a nightmare at the best of times, and, during the holiday season, so much worse. There is only one thing worse than shopping itself during the holidays and that is shopping for people who have everything. Not literally. Unless they’re a celebrity who have the cash flowing faster than water from your faucet, thats a stretch. But, they certainly have everything they want. Good luck getting any ideas from them as to what to buy them for the holidays.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. All you need is a few fresh ideas to keep your head above water. Avoid the hair-pulling, tears of frustration and last-minute gifts that have you cringing with guilt. These ideas will help you with those pesky people who refuse to throw you a bone.

Bring Back Something of Value

old-stuff

This works best for old friends and family members, even long-term partners. Its simple, too. Find something with sentimental value- make sure it holds significant value to the receiver. The older, the better. And, if you can manage, try to pick out something that ties the two of you or other members of your family or friend circle together. Memories are something more meaningful than any amount of money can buy. Of course, there are the ungrateful few who will look at you gift and think, “how cheap…” so avoid those people. Target the ones you know will appreciate the value of your sentiment and ignore the lack of financial worth.

 

Gift Cards

These are pretty self-explanatory. They’re the got-to gift idea for extended family members or last-minute emergencies. Some people think it shows a lack of thoughtlessness. On the contrary, I couldn’t imagine someone being happier than when they realize they get to shopping for themselves instead of putting on a fake smile and whipping out the best “I love it” impression they can muster. Save yourself the worry. Save them the disappointment. You can’t go wrong with a gift card.

 

Bake Something

Don’t offer your best friend a plate of cookies and expect unending gratefulness. If you know them well enough, you can do better than that. Not even your parents would appreciate a half-assed attempt at something they did for most of your life. Grandparents? Aunts and Uncles? Perfect. They’ll look at the most botched up cooking attempt as think of it as an ultimate act of love. Just remember that sugar and salt have two entirely different tastes.

 Something To Do

This idea takes a little bit more consideration. Depending on the person, it can be really easy or really hard. If you’re unsure, it may be best to take a different route entirely. But, if done right, you can give someone a gift, an experience and a memory to last a lifetime. It can be something as simple as a trip to the local aquarium or zoo. No one is ever too old to point in awe at animals and underwater species. You can also splurge for a rock climbing lesson or a horseback trail ride. Its a perfect idea for anyone with a sense of adventure. Its also easier than hunting around for something you’re not even sure the gift-receiver will like. Keep in min individual personalities, though. It may not be a good idea to buy bungee jumping tickets for someone afraid of heights. Just a thought.

 

A Day At The Spa

This isn’t just for women, though its definitely a more popular gift for women. Spas offer a variety of services depending on the company and location: manicures and pedicures, massages, steam rooms and mud baths are a few of the services most will offer. Its the perfect gift for a parent or a hard worker who would appreciate the alone time and a little bit of pampering. Just remember that reviews count. Don’t send them somewhere off the grid to save a few bucks that will turn their day off into an off-day.

Handmade Items

Whether is jewelry, woodwork or any kind of crafts, handmade items are a perfect gift for anyone. Most of the time, you can save some money and you can let your creativity run wild. Picture frames, scrap books, wood-carvings, simple jewelry, or unique decorations…you name it, you can make it.

Yourself

It sounds a little corny, we know. Truly, the best gift you can give those closest to you is yourself. Time is a precious thing. Sometimes, in the everyday chaos of life, we forget to appreciate the short but important moments we have with people. Appreciate the people you have in your life and let them appreciate you, too.

 

 

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Habits You Need to Break for the Holiday Season

The holiday season has arrived. Its a time of love, joy and the spirit of giving….

Let’s be real, though…the holidays, to most, are about gifts, good food, good company and time off of work. The next couple of months are packed with family gatherings and home-cooked comfort food, late night parties and last minute shopping. In short, the holidays are stressful. We buy things we can’t afford for people we barely see. We buy things for ourselves, we know we shouldn’t (but we can’t resist). We spend more time at the mall or bar than we do at the gym. Our activity bar drops to how far a walk we have to the kitchen and our beds. To make things worse, the holidays are a near-guarantee for weight gain.

It’s no surprise and who’s to judge? Between unending errands and the general stress of the holidays, it’s to be expected. We tell ourselves we’ll cheat a bit, then get back in line for New Years. Sometimes we do…sometimes we don’t. Our pennies are scraped and spent, and the family/friends/lover drama begins.

For those of you who have been dreading the upcoming holidays, your significant other (or lack thereof), your empty wallet and your hibernation body, there are a few tips you can follow leading up to and after your holidays celebrations. If you can make these adjustments a habit, they’ll be easier to keep up and, before long, it’ll be second nature to you.

1. Don’t Starve Yourself

I know you’ve got your eye on the prize. You’re waiting for the large meal with the anticipation of fasting to make more room for seconds, thirds and fourths. Or, you’re trying to erase some of the guilt ahead of time. No matter what the circumstances, trying to forgo food altogether is a recipe for disaster. When your body goes into starvation mode it holds onto as much of your body fat as possible. It’s an instinct of survival that you can’t teach your body not to do. If you go long enough without eating, once you start again, a similar issue occurs. Your body doesn’t take into account what you ‘want’ it acts on what you ‘need.’ Healthy eating and activity is a longer process, yes. But, in the long run it’ll have better, long-lasting results.

2. Don’t Snack TOO much…

Snacking is good for your body. Smaller, more frequent portions of food is better  than eating a couple huge meals a day. You’ll be satisfied more often and it’ll keep up your metabolism, BUT that doesn’t mean you should snack excessively. Eating three or fours snacks between each meal isn’t an ideal habit to get into. Balance is key!

 

3. Don’t Bypass Breakfast

This is lot more important than you think. Not only does breakfast jump start your body with some much needed fuel, it also jump starts your metabolism. When lunch or snack time rolls around, you won’t be ready to stuff your face and your will have an easier time digesting your remaining meals.

4. Smoking

The percentage of smokers has significantly decreased in the last few years. The most drastic of those decreases was in  the teenage population. Its a good start, but there is always room for improvement. As corny as it sounds, quitting a habit like smoking can change you life. Sure, when the going gets rough, all you want to do is get that lighter igniting. In our most stressful times, smoking is a saving grace. The power they hold over us makes it easy to forget the disastrous list of side effects. Quit while you can. Learn to cope without. You’ll be doing your body and your mind a favor.

5. Avoid Alcohol

We aren’t saying to avoid it completely. That’d be ridiculous. Most of us are going to need all the help we can to survive these coming weeks. Alcohol included. Just moderate your drinking. You don’t want to spend money you could be using on gifts. And you definitely don’t want to be that poor, passed-out soul that ends up in everyone’s shaming selfies.

6. Being Ungrateful

We spend way to much time worrying about what we don’t have over the holidays. If you’re reading this, you’ve got more than a lot of others. Stop wasting your time whining over the unfairness of the world. Think about the things you do have- the things that should make you grateful. It doesn’t have to be material items. Family, friends, a roof over your head, that is more than enough.

7. Ignoring Your Lack of Sleep

If you’re having trouble sleeping it could be more serious than you think. A few all-nighters for school is one thing, but constantly struggling to get a good night’s rest is like flicking the first domino to a whole line of them. Not making an effort to improve your sleep? Well than don’t say you didn’t expect them all to be crashed to the ground.

8. Getting Hung Up on the Past

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We make stupid decisions sometimes. We can’t go back in time and change it, but we can choose to move forward and learn from those mistakes. Other times, people make stupid decisions that effect us. We wish we could, but we can’t change others. Stop allowing the past to be apart of your present and your future. Leave it where it belongs and move forward.

9. Stop Trying to Be Like Others

You are your best when you are yourself. Its okay to admire someone- to look up to them or aspire to be more like them. Ultimately, though, we can only find happiness when we are true to ourselves. Comparing ourselves to others is only a set-up for heartbreak, for ourselves AND for others. Don’t be that person. Be your person.

10. Don’t Wait for the World to Come to You

It won’t. If you haven’t figured it out yet, opportunity isn’t served to everyone on a silver platter. It takes time, effort and courage. Don’t be scared to make daring jumps towards your desires. The only way to fail, is to try. If you don’t try you can’t fail, but you definitely won’t succeed. Don’t wait for happiness to come to you. Go looking for it. You may find more than you could have imagined.

 

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7 DIY Treatments to Revive Your Hair

Winter is coming. And, for most of us, that means putting our hair through all kinds of chaos. Which also means desperately trying to find successful hair treatments. The heater at home does enough drying out, in itself. To make matters worse,  most of us face a huge drop in temperature during the cold season. That means more hot showers and using heat-powered products on our hair.

It doesn’t always seem like a big deal.A quick hair-dry here and there when we’re running late and don’t want our hair to freeze. It won’t kill us, right? True, but it is killing our hair and draining out all of the moisture. Trying to fix the problem once the damage is done can be a long and hopeless process. Not to mention, an expensive one.

While you can’t always quit while your ahead, you can at least take some precautions and add on a few treatments to improve the life of your hair through coming cold. Even better, you can do it all with common household products and avoid emptying your bank account.

1.Beer

Yeah, it seems weird, right? But a beer mask can do wonders for your hair and help you avoid using volumizing products that tangle your hair and dry out your scalp. The recipe requires ½ cup of flat beer (let it sit for a few hours), 1 tsp. of sunflower or canola oil and one raw egg. One you’ve got the mix down, how you apply it is up to you. Some may opt for the less-messy path of using a spray bottle. If you want to get a good soak on your hair though, dipping it back into a bowl of your beer mask will do just as well.

2. Honey

To prevent or revive dry hair, honey is one of the best natural ingredients to go for. No matter the cause: be it sun damage, curling irons, flat irons or just one too many shampoos, honey masks are nothing short of miraculous. The consistency is thick and hard to handle, so consider adding an oil of your choice to ease the application process. Make sure your hair is damp when you start the process and don’t forget to massage. Massaging is a vital step in any hair care treatment. It helps open up your pores and let the mask soak deep into your roots.

3. Avocado

Its not just a delicious ingredient that we love to see on our plates. The benefits and uses of avocados are countless. Frizz hair, is just one of many things the green superfood works wonders on. It isn’t the cheapest produce you can buy, but the mask will show results for up to two weeks. Arguably one of the easiest masks to master, all you do is mash up, smear on and let sit for fifteen minutes.

4. Egg

Raw egg is a holy grail of beauty regimes. It reveres some of the worst damage to your skin and hair. While some products or treatments meant to target one problem can cause another (dry hair treatments making your hair look oily and visa-versa) raw egg treats both. The fat and protein in egg is what moisturizes while the whites of the egg remove unwanted oil. Talk about versatility.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

I first came across this product when I had some severe sun poising due to my sensitive skin and acne treatment. I did three-parts water and 1-part apple cider vinegar and it put my raw aloe to shame. Nothing took the burn out of my skin like ACV did. Of course, how astounded was I to discover that its usefulness surpassed pain relief and stretched out into beauty. It doesn’t smell great but its amazing, trust me. A handful of beauty gurus swear by the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Some claim its a cure all. It improves skin and hair from a number of issues- acne, dullness or dryness. All it needs a little red cape and an orchestrated theme song.

6. Yogurt

It tastes good. Its good for your body. Its good for your health, so why wouldn’t yogurt be good for your hair? Greek yogurt, especially, is perfect for very brittle hair. If you dye your hair or style it often, yogurt masks can make return a lot of life lost. The fattier the better and you can do it as often as you want. Apply it to dry or wet hair before shampooing and the effects will be immediate.

7. Coconut Oil

We had to save the best for last, of course. Coconut oil is, and always will be, one of the most influential and universal beauty products. You can use it as a moisturizer, a make-up remover, chap-stick, nail treatment. The possibilities of coconut oil treatments are endless. It is one of those grocery store buys that puts the most expensive, top of the line, products to shame.

We aren’t perfect. We do shitty things to our hair that only adds to the damage of our environment, the sun and the climate we live in. But, it doesn’t have to be a hassle taking care of your hair. These simple DIY treatments deserve to be put to good use. So, even if the heat is on blast, we took a hot, shampooing shower everyday instead of every other, and we’re dying it for the second time this month, it doesn’t have to end in the funeral of our hair.

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How to Make Your Own Watercolor Mugs

Watercolor mugs are recently popping up more on my Pinterest feed. They’re simple, cute, and seem fun to DIY! With the holidays getting closer, it’s time for me to try my own watercolor mugs. The task seems simple: buy a mug, dip it in some nail polish, let it dry. So in the name of DIY, a friend and I are setting off to the dollar store to buy some cheap, white ceramic mugs to transform.

watercolor mugs

What we are getting for this project is a ceramic mug (typically white), a tub of warm water, and nail polish. First, clean and dry off your newly bought cheap mug. This is to make sure it’s ready to be pretty. Next, fill the tub or bowl of your choice with decently warm water, warm enough so that it won’t cool off too quickly. This next step you have to do very quickly, be ready! Pour the nail polish colors into the warm water and dip the mug in immediately after. Once the mug is covered, slowly remove it from the water. It should be beautifully marbled and ready to use after a few hours drying!

multicolored watercolor mugs

This project is easy on paper, but it actually is decently difficult. During my experience, I had to wipe down my mug with nail polish remover at least three times. My first attempts at these watercolor mugs were not pretty whatsoever. But that’s wht I do it, to let you Glamorous people learn form my mistakes!

When filling the tub or bowl with water, really make sure it is warm, almost even hot. Secondly, use nail polish colors you like but won’t mind being completely used up. I chose to use my three favorite colors and ending up with sad, half-filled bottles leftover. Lastly and most importantly, you have to be extremely quick to dip your mug in after pouring the nail polish into the water. For some reason, if you wait a second too long like I did, it comes out all goopy and weird.

Even though these DIY watercolor mugs weren’t this easiest project on the block, they still came out pretty and were fun to make! Make your own versions and tweet us at @GlamorousPaper with photos of your creations. Go forth and be artsy!

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5 Things Every Woman Should Know How to Do

As women, we have hundreds of years of stereotypes and gender-expectations that we are still overcoming. We’ve come far, but equality is still a work-in-progress. We all have our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and what better way to improve both than to break down gender stereotypes and take on the tasks often thought of as ‘masculine.’ Why rely on men when we can rely on ourselves, right? We can do more than fold laundry, cook and take care of the kids, and we’ve been proving it to the world more often as time goes by. So, in the spirit of the strength of women, here are a few things that we think every woman should be able to do on her own.

1. How to Change a Tire

One of the worst things that can happen to any person is getting a flat tire. When you don’t have a spare or don’t know how to change it, you’re pretty much S.O.L. And, if it happens in the middle of nowhere, you better hope you brought some walking shoes. Most cars come with donuts, but some come with full size spares. Regardless of what you have to work with, its imperative to know how to change the tire yourself. Relying on strangers for help can be risky, especially if you’re a woman.

It’s the sad truth of the world that changing a tire is thought of as a more masculine trait. I’ve lost count of how many woman I’ve heard say, “I always had my (insert any male figure) to do that stuff.” Except, when you don’t have them around to save you the physical and mental struggle, who will help you? Better learn to help yourself!

2. How to Be Independent

This is a knowledge that should surpass gender, sex and sexuality, to be honest. Although, in my experience, the pressure to settle down or have a partner is most heavily put on women.Being on your own isn’t easy. For some, it’s impossible. It is important to be able to find your independence and comfort in the ability to function without the help of others. That’s not to say that you can never reach out to family or friends when in need. Rather, it’s a process that helps you find yourself; your strengths and weaknesses.

Being independent is not a concept as simple as “being single,” either. It’s more about relying on yourself and being able to live without dependency when its not an option. Discover yourself. Learn to love yourself. Knowing yourself and loving yourself will, in turn, give you the foundations for a more confident and stable role in future relationships, be at business, familial or romantic, etc.

 

3. Checking and Maintaining Car Fluids

Another car-related how-to. I know, it’s often confusing and annoying. I always thought to myself, “what’s the point?” when I could always ask my dad for help. At least, that was until my car refused to go over 30 mph on the highway. The cause? Old and low transmission fluid. It was a lot scarier than it sounds, though it could have been worse. Like many people, I got lucky.

We all know it can be easy to ignore something as (seemingly) simple as checking your fluids. You’ve got 1 million other things to worry about, so it’s the last thing on your mind. But, the easiest way to keep your car running longer and smoother is to check and maintain your fluids, especially your engine oil, on a regular basis. Don’t be that person that putters into the auto shop with “rip me off” stamped across to your four head. Know everything you can about your car. Just for the simple fact that you’re female – you are an easy target to be taken advantage of.

 

4. Hang a Picture
 
Decorating is fun. Putting a special touch to any place you rent or buy is what makes it ” your home.” It can be a chance to show off your unique style, your character and your skills. Whats not fun is spending twenty minutes trying to figure out if a frame is leveled or watching the dry wall crack as you hammer a nail into it. If you can’t get the frame or art piece leveled, you’re bound to drive yourself (or an unsuspecting guest) crazy. Like most things in life, YouTube can save you a lot of trouble. There are plenty of videos explaining what tools are and how to use them. Its a few minutes that will save you a lot of frustration. So before you hurt your home or yourself, do a little research.
5. How to Balance a Checkbook
 
This how-to seems a bit irrelevant since writing checks is something of a rarity, nowadays. Still, its a habit that can help you keep track of your money and maintain your savings. Since debit and credit cards make accessing your money effortless, losing track of your balance is easy. Not to mention, when its all gone, you can’t even remember what you spent it on.
Checking your statements online or in the mail is important but carrying a checkbook around can help, too. You don’t have to write checks, its the money tracking you’re after. Anytime you hit the ATM, swipe your card or even use cash, jot it down. It also helps to make note of where the money is going. This way, you don’t have to sweat over the possibility of your card getting declined or wonder what you’re spending all your hard earned money on. Its a good habit to get into if you’re looking to build up your savings or just to keep better track of it.
 There are countless other tasks, both day-t0-day and more serious, that society often assumes women can’t or shouldn’t do. These are just a few petals picked from the entire flower. Just remember, anything they can do, we can do, too. Be strong, be resilient and be knowledgeable.
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