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Friday, February 24, 2017
Mia is like most beagles. She's curious. Energetic. And easily distracted.

Competing on the agility course at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show, Mia is most certainly a smart, agile dog. But her handler couldn't quite keep her on task. The announcer tries to give her a little help by saying, "Don't be a beagle! Don't be a beagle!" But Mia can't help herself, stopping to sniff at the grass and 

Check out the hilarious video of Mia's epic performance:

She might not have taken home "Best In Show" honors, but she definitely won the hearts of the audience.

 Your "Beagles Will Be Beagles" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 17, 2017
You wash your hands a lot. Try not to touch your nose, eyes, or mouth too often. Stay away from sick people. And yet, here you are, down with...something. Maybe it's the flu. A cold. Bronchitis. Viral. Bacterial. Who knows? And the way you feel, who cares, right?

You just need something to do while you recover. Something fun that doesn't take a lot of energy.  Something that won't tax your system, but keeps you busy enough not to lose your mind while you recover, right?

And if you're not the one down with the flu? Well, then you need to keep your patient occupied, don't you? Today, I want to share (from experience) three ways to beat the flu season blues:

  • Rediscover coloring. Adult coloring books are not only popular right now, they're fun and relaxing. No wonder we loved coloring as kids!
  • Do puzzles. Word puzzles, jigsaws, dot-to-dot - puzzles are perfect for keeping your brain so busy that you don't have time to think about those awful body aches or the stacks of work piling up on your desk while you're out.
  • Watch your favorite shows. Binge streaming is great, but there's nothing like loading up the DVD player with your favorite, commercial-free movies. 
I'm hoping you and yours don't get the flu this year...but if you do, now you know what to do!

Your "Cough, Cough, Sneeze" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 10, 2017
'Tis the season to be pregnant - at least among my friends and family. That means lots and lots of baby showers are in my future. And for brand new parents, it means there is tons and tons of advice in their future. I can't even count the tidbits of pregnancy and baby wisdom passed down through the generations in my family. With the advice new parents get from friends and coworkers, it adds up to more than any person can remember.

 So I thought I'd boil down three of my favorites (you know, the ones that really work!)
  • First (and most important in my opinion), sleep equals more sleep. If your new bundle of joy is waking up too early, put them to bed earlier, not later. Believe it or not, they'll sleep longer. 
  • Second, give an eyedropper of plain water every single day. Let's face it, baby will have to take some kind of medicine eventually. Getting them used to the eyedropper early makes it seem like just a part of any other day, which means you won't have to battle baby when it comes time to take medicine.
  • Third, help your colicky baby sleep with white noise. My grandmother used to turn on the vacuum and leave it running to help us sleep. I'm told a noisy box fan or even a TV tuned to static can calm your child and help them get through a difficult night.
As you head out to baby showers this spring, you'll hear lots of advice from friends and family of the parents-to-be, most of which they won't remember. So jot down the three tidbits I just shared on the gift card. They might not remember the gift you gave, but they'll love you for giving the gift that keeps on giving - tips they can actually use!

Your "Making Room for Baby" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 3, 2017
I always say, “I never win anything!” But that’s not strictly true. We went to a local casino and played slots for about two hours - I won ten bucks. Last year, I entered a raffle for a free spa day for two and I won. I also won the bake sale contest at my daughter's school for commanding the highest price for my seven-layer chocolate dream cake. The prize was only bragging rights, but it was still a win.

Winning little things can be the best fun. Just look at all the stories of former jackpot winners who found out the hard way that money didn't open the gate to happiness. From overspending to bothersome relatives, they faced a myriad of problems that came with all that money. That's why small wins can be better. After all, no long lost relatives will be banging down my to get their piece of my $10 windfall or a day in the mud baths.

People just like to win. It feels good. It's fun. It makes us laugh. We feel lucky for a little while. And with the odds temporarily stacked in our favor, it doesn't matter how small the win, we're on top of the world. That's why we play.

Your “Win Responsibly” Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 27, 2017
It's Have Fun at Work Day! Or maybe it's tomorrow. The "Interwebs" can't seem to agree.  Since we don't work tomorrow, we choose to celebrate today. Everyone is in on it, including management.

It's not a formal holiday, but we'll get a free lunch (pizza!), we'll goof off (some), play silly tricks on each other, and swap funny little desk gifts.

Have Fun at Work Day is a smart idea, no matter what day you celebrate. After the chaos of the holidays, school vacations, etc., rushing right back into the work routine can leave a person exhausted. A day of silliness lets employees relax a little, which makes us happy, which makes us more productive. Everyone wins.

As long as we don't turn it into Margarita Day as one coworker who shall remain nameless suggested, we should have a blast - without anyone getting fired!

Your "Working Happy" Gift Guru,
Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 20, 2017
When you're married with children, Valentine's Day can end up being less than romantic. One year both my dear husband and I forgot all about it. We were both on business trips and caught up in the mania of trains, planes, and automobiles while trying to manage things at home for the kids. We didn't even call each other that day! Lucky for us, we both married forgiving people.

With family, work, and all the little etceteras that compete for our time and energy, romance sometimes has to take a number. But not this year. I'm already laying plans to surprise Dear Hubby with an evening he'll love.
  • First, my husband really hates getting "all fancied up" to go out, so I'll whip up his favorite dishes at home and serve dinner by candlelight. 
  • Second, he doesn't really like traditional Valentines, so I've decided to go a bit "naughty" this year. 
  • Finally, I've arranged for the grandparents to take the kids overnight. Nothing spoils the mood like kids making retching sounds while you're trying to get your romance on. 
When you've been married as long as we have, missing the occasional Valentine's Day is no big deal. But when you can make the occasional Valentine's Day perfect in every way...well, that's a very big deal.

Your "Courting Cupid" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 13, 2017
A winter cold snap really puts me in the mood for baking. It fills the air with delicious smells and heating up the oven also warms the house, which means we get double the bang for our energy buck. Plus...the best of all...sweets!

Cakes are my favorite. From basic to simple to elaborate, I love sweet, airy cakes.
The kids like cookies - probably because it's easy to swipe a couple when my back is turned. My dear husband prefers brownies or pies.

It will have to be brownies, because I've never mastered the fine art of pie. I'm great with the fillings, but I can't seem to roll out a decent crust. They're always too sticky (which makes a wet mess) or not sticky enough (which makes the pie fall apart completely). But who knows? If this cold snap holds, I might take on the elusive perfect pie crust again. If nothing else, it'll keep the house warm!

Your "Bake It Up" Gift Guru,
Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink

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