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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Making Gift Baskets

A short primer on making gift baskets

Gift baskets make a thoughtful, personalized gift suitable for just about any occasion. Although you can purchase ready-made gift baskets, it can be fun to make gift baskets filled with goodies you know the recipient enjoys. Your giftee will be flattered to find that you took the time and exercised your creative side to customize this present.

You may have thought that making gift baskets was a task for the professionals, but once you put your mind to your project, you'll be delighted to find your finished gift is both lovely and personal.

Before you go looking for a basket, decide on the contents. It need not necessarily be the traditional food basket. Let's say you're making a gift basket for your teenage niece's birthday. Teenage girls love costume jewelry, nail kits, bubble bath and beauty products. Just fill that basket with individual items like this and you'll be her favorite aunt. If you're making a gift basket for your Grandma, who loves to knit, get an assortment of fancy yarns. What you fill your basket with will determine the size basket you will need.

You should have no trouble finding a suitable basket. Department and discount stores, drugstores and garden shops are just several of the places to find the perfect basket.

A nice lining material for your basket makes your gift just a bit more elegant. Confetti, raffia, tissue paper, colored cellophane and fabric or lace all work well. Suit your choice to the contents, basket and your giftee's taste.

If the basket you choose has handles or a loose weave, some pretty ribbon woven through or tied makes your basket more decorative. A visit to the crafts store yields many other decorating possibilities to make your gift a knockout. Dried and artificial flowers, little bird ornaments and strings of battery-powered tiny lights are just some of the good ideas you'll run across. Party supply shops are another good resource. They stock coordinated items such as tissue, balloons, ribbons and party favor items that can double as a basket decoration. With a coordinated theme basket, a matching place card can be tied to the basket as a gift card.

Take your time arranging your decorations. There are lots of ways to combine your decorative materials. When you're happy with the presentation, fill your basket. You may find you have leftover decorating materials, but they can always be saved for when you're making gift baskets for someone else, which will surely be soon. You're an expert now.

Party Planning Tips

Useful Party Planning Tips

Throwing a shindig is intimidating to me to say the least, with so many preparations and details to keep track of throughout the process. The very idea of a whole crowd of folks in my home is enough to leave me running for the Tylenol! However, I have found the secret of hosting the best bashes on the block -- in the form of party planning tips that I have found right on the Internet.

Let's begin with a timetable. I get a little hung up on when to mail out the invitations and how far in advance to make the food. There is plenty of great information online that helped me schedule out my celebration, with the best party planning tips to keep my entertaining efforts as stress free as possible. For example, I learned that a lot of yummy appetizers and desserts can be made ahead and frozen until the big day -- great advice for the hurried hostess!

When it comes to sending out the invitations, etiquette begins to come into play. I couldn't remember the proper way to address invitations, how to let my guests know that kids are welcome, or the wording to alert invitees to the appropriate dress code. Well, it's all laid out on a number of fantastic websites that offer useful party planning tips in addition to supplies and decorations. Talk about one-stop shopping!

Another great feature of websites offering party planning tips was the ability to browse the pages for recipes (like those make-ahead desserts!) and games that would keep my guests laughing. How about ideas for favors and decorations? I discovered those too, including advice on how to put together themed events, birthday parties, anniversaries, and more.

If I am preparing for a really big night with many guests and tons of food and entertainment, I would probably want to hire a professional who specializes in party planning tips to make my job much easier. I have found coordinators who will help me plan a menu, put together entertainment, and decorate my house to any theme under the sun. And all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the action! This can be a great choice for those huge, overwhelming shindigs, and I have found listings for professional planners on the Internet as well.

Don't let your next bash cause stress to mount in your happy home. With the help of party planning tips that you can find on the Internet, you will be able to sail through your next shindig in style. Time to celebrate!

Gift Baskets For Women

There are times when choosing the right gifts is hard, but one of the easiest types you can get is when you are going to shop for a woman. Many men would scoff if they heard me saying that, but I think getting gift baskets for women is one of the easiest shopping endeavors that you can undertake. This is because there are many things that appeal to almost all women, and because the variety out there is huge and almost endless. You may find that of all of the types of baskets that you can find out there, you are going to find the biggest selection when you look for ones for women.

There are always exceptions, but most women love things that smell good. Their personality will determine what those things are, however. Many love candles and scented lotions, but not all women use these very often. They probably do love things that are made to make their homes smell good in one way or another. You know the type of women with which you are dealing, so you can find gift baskets for women that are tailored to their wants and needs, and they are going to be very easy to find.

No matter who you are, you want to relax. That means finding gift baskets for women that have to do with relaxation are almost always going to be a hit. You can find baskets that offer a leisure activity like going to the movies, or a day on the golf course. Just remember, however, there are some golfers that do not consider golfing relaxing. Think of the things that woman loves to do and what makes her feel refreshed when choosing. Some many even appreciate a basket full of things that will offer them some peace and serenity when they go to take a bath. It can be that simple.

You can make up your own gift baskets for women, or you can buy them already made. Making them on your own is not always easy, and can be time consuming. You don’t have to make them on your own to get something truly personal. There are web sites that sell general types of baskets, but many will make one tailored to your exact specifications. Even better, they can deliver them to your woman friend on a certain day. That is great when someone does not live right next door but you want the gift to be on time.

Chocolate Gift Baskets

The universally perfect gift: chocolate gift baskets

Is there someone out there who doesn't love chocolate? Granted, there are a few who don't swoon at the thought, but this demographic largely represents people who are allergic to the substance! Chocolate attains the status of sinful to those in a constant battle with added and unwanted pounds. However, you've got to indulge yourself once in a while. After all, you only live once, and a life bereft of the joys of chocolate is simply not complete. So, next time you're racking your brain for ideas for a gift, think chocolate gift baskets. Naturally, you must be sensitive to your recipient's issues. If he or she is constantly dieting, this may not be the kindest gift. Otherwise, a chocolate gift basket is the gift of choice!

If you're already a connoisseur of this delectable bean, you know where to begin your search for a truly gourmet product. If not, here are a few pointers to guide you in your selection.

If you enjoy chocolate, but have no detailed knowledge of the subject, you may puzzle over the new proliferation in chocolate bars, with labels proudly declaring cacao content. You may have noticed these large bars of chocolate, stating 60% or 70% and even 80% cacao content. The higher the percentage of cacao content, the more bittersweet the flavor. As an admitted and dedicated chocolate freak, I can tell you that 70% is my limit of snacking unctuousness. Beyond that, such chocolate belongs inside a croissant in delicate amounts.

So when you're shopping for a chocolate gift basket, you want to look for cacao content as a signal of ecstasy for the consumer. However, there's much more to a heavenly chocolate experience.

There's a good reason that Godiva and a number of other world famous chocolates have earned their righteous place in the world of chocolate divinity. For example, Belgian chocolatiers are so fanatical about their production methods, the best chocolatiers employ a heated truck delivery system whereby the chocolate is tempered only once, on its travel to the manufacturer. Chocolate which is tempered more than once is considered to be inferior.

French and Swiss chocolates are also world renowned. Europeans love chocolate and are quite persnickety about their chocolate indulgences. When looking for a chocolate gift basket, you just can't go wrong with a choice from a European vendor. If your giftee likes chocolate, they'll adore you for your discriminating choice from this market.

Now let's get down to the practical value of a chocolate gift basket. Did you know that chocolate contains antioxidants? Yes, it's true. In sufficient quantity, your chocolate gift basket can help ward off cancer! The problem is that you'd need to eat pounds and pounds to make a case for the health benefits. It's a nice thought, though a bit far fetched.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Graduation Party Supplies

Graduation Party Supplies that Create a Memorable Event

My oldest son is in the esteemed class of 2008, so I am already on the hunt for items to celebrate his big day. After spending an entire afternoon driving and shopping and driving again, I realized that the old fashioned-way of hitting the mall simply wasn't going to cut it for this event. Granted, I found several aisles of graduation party supplies -- but they featured the same tired themes over and over again, with no sense of creativity or originality.
Of course, I wasn't going to let that get in the way of throwing a big bash to celebrate my son's accomplishments. Instead, I just started searching for graduation party supplies online, and before long, I found exactly what I wanted. How easy to simply hunker down at my laptop and click on the sites that looked interesting. How fun to confer with my son when I found graduation party supplies that looked enticing, complete with table decorations, paper goods, and favors for all the guests. How convenient to shop when the time was right for me instead of waiting for the stores to open in the morning.
Shopping for my son's graduation party supplies online allowed me to have a wider selection of merchandise to choose from, and better prices as well. I was able to compare costs at numerous retailers in a single session without wearing myself out, which was a welcome change from how my shopping trips usually go down.
Anyway, I couldn't believe the wonderful array of colors and patterns of graduation party supplies that I found -- from the basic "Congratulations Class of 2008!" designs to goods that sported individual school colors and plenty of novelty items to add personal flair. From pre-printed invitations to personalized thank you notes, I was able to purchase everything I needed to observe this important milestone in style.
I also discovered plenty of great ideas for throwing the end of school bash in a manner befitting my graduate. Some of the websites I browsed offered lots of awesome tips for games, music, and more. A few of these celebrations actually had a method to the madness, like a luau or casino theme that would tie the whole night together. The hardest part for my son was choosing the graduation party supplies he liked best; after all, this was the last big hurrah that everyone would remember from high school!
After plenty of browsing, my son and I finally settled on the graduation party supplies that we would use for his big day, and we even purchased a keepsake book for all of his friends to autograph and a coordinating picture frame to keep a photo commemorating the event. All of it -- the decorations, paper goods, favors, and even wrapping paper -- was found online and sent right to our front door, which made for the easiest planning ever. Forget the "Pomp and Circumstance"; convenience and ease is the best way to go!

Hosting a Bridal Shower

Hosting a bridal shower she'll remember forever!

Some cultural traditions get so worn, with the same old agendas. The bridal shower is one such tradition. It's kind of like a birthday party where the kids play pin the tail on the donkey. The traditional activities get worn out. Everyone who receives an invitation feels they must just buck up for the sake of the bride and participate graciously. This is a shame, because your wedding is such a joyous occasion. A bridal shower shouldn't be relegated to a paint-by-numbers affair. Here are some imaginative ways to host a bridal shower that walks the talk.

If you're going to be hosting a bridal shower, you want the bride's party to be memorable, to stand out as a genuine celebration she won't forget. This calls for some updating on the usual bridal shower activities. Of course, you want all of the guests to feel comfortable and be truly entertained.

You'll want to have food that's munchable, buffet style so that everyone can grab a bite in between chatting. A sit-down style dinner tends to add a formal note that's not conducive to partying. Plan a menu that consists of exotic appetizers that everyone can sample at their leisure. Empanadas, dolmades, stuffed mushrooms, Coquilles San Jacque and crab cakes will satisfy the most discerning appetite. Have a good supply of small paper plates to encourage guests to taste here and there.

If you're hosting a bridal shower, you probably know the bride well. What rocks her world? Is she an extrovert? What's her favorite music? Try a Karaoke style entertainment theme. Let it all hang out. Everyone will join in. If she's the introverted and shy type, don't embarrass her with activities like this. Scale your entertainment to suit your guest of honor. For example, if she's the poetic type, have your guests present her with gifts of hand written romantic poems and a nice leather journal to keep them.

Hosting a bridal shower takes imagination, at least if it's to stand out in her memories. As for gifts, try to think outside the box. She'll probably receive more toasters and blankets than she can use. Again, think of her personal interests and the romantic aspects of her coming marriage. If she's a music freak, organize a gift registry of your own with your guests. She'll love a collection of CDs to enjoy on her honeymoon. If this couple lives to scuba dive, organize a registry of scuba diving gear and paraphernalia. Take up a collection to fund a mini-getaway.

When hosting a bridal shower, the bottom line is that you want to truly honor the bride and make sure everyone has fun, according to the bride's dreams. This party happens once in a lifetime.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kids Party Favors

Choosing Kids Party Favors

There is nothing quite as exciting to a child than their own birthday party. Though we tend to downplay our age as we get older, we get really excited about turning five, six, ten, sixteen, and even eighteen. When you are planning your kids party, you do want to make it all that they want, though that is not always possible. One thing you can do well is to choose the best kids party favors that you can find based on a few different things that you should take into consideration.
The biggest consideration with kids party favors is the age of the kids. This will mean that you have to think about safety when you have younger kids. You don’t want to get anything that they could eat, swallow, or otherwise choke on. If you are dealing with children under the age of five or six, you can get kids party favors that are of the latest children’s show, or you can just go with things that go with the theme of your party. Think about things that make some noise, are brightly colored, and that have some sort of value when it comes to playing games together.
For older children, you do have to put a bit more thought into your kids party favors. You may not have to worry as much about something being a chocking hazard, but you do have to worry about things that might break and cause cuts. Children that are five to ten years old may be very hard on the party favors for kids that you pick, and that means getting some things that are durable. They don’t have to last forever, but something that won’t break before the party is over is always a good choice. In this case, you can find something that goes with your party theme and all will be well.

Children older than ten are going to be a bit harder to buy for when it comes to party favors for kids. You have to think about the latest trends when buying. What is great, however, is that you can always just ask your child what they think would be a very cool type of favor. They may already have something in mind. If you don’t know, and your child doesn’t seem to know, you can always get gift certificates for kids party favors. You won’t want to spend much on them, but you can find something that works if you think about it a little bit.

Coffee Gift Baskets

Coffee Gift Baskets are Great

What's that one thing you crave every single morning, afternoon and night? I'm talking the beverage that's loaded with caffeine and rich flavor. You guessed it! There's nothing like a wonderful cup of freshly brewed coffee. Regardless of whether it's a piping hot latte with vanilla, an iced coffee with mocha, a frothed up cappuccino or a simple cup of drip java, no other beverage can compare. SO, now that coffee is on your mind, maybe you should consider some of the amazing and affordable coffee gift baskets for sale on the web.
You know those times when a birthday, the holidays or a random special occasion arises, but you have no clue what to purchase for your friend, spouse or loved one? Well, you might want to consider coffee gift baskets next time. More than likely this is a sure hit! Unless you're acquaintance is one of the very few who doesn't like coffee, a gift basket is perfect. Now, you're probably wondering where you can find such scrumptious gifts. Fortunately you don't have to look far. Online you will encounter the best selection of coffee gift baskets known to mankind. This is a good thing no doubt. After all, it doesn't get much more convenient than shopping on the web. All you need to order your next coffee gift basket is a computer with Internet access and a credit card.
Major coffee companies such as Starbucks commonly offer coffee gift baskets and all sorts of other items. Maybe you just want to send someone a fresh bag of coffee beans. This is also an option via the Internet. Choose from all sorts of coffee brands, flavors and roasts. The key is finding a dealer who's able to provide you with coffee gift baskets that offer really fresh coffee beans. In other words, they should have been roasted within a few days to a week ago. This will make for a much better cup of coffee and the person you're purchasing it for will certainly notice. Keep this in mind when you're shopping the web for coffee gift baskets and fresh beans.

read more on Favorite Coffee Brands

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tips For Fun Bachelorette Party

Getting married to the man of your dreams happens just once in a lifetime, at least one can only hope. That means that friends are going to want to do things with you before you tie the knot. Though being single and married are not always too entirely different - with the exception of the dating detail - these rites of passage are still popular today. Men have their parties, and everyone knows about them, but not everyone thinks about the bachelorette party that many women love to do for their friends when they marry.
What each group of friends choose to do for the bachelorette party will depend on who they are and what they have always liked to do. The traditional stripper party is not always what they choose, and actually, these are becoming more and more uncommon. Instead, women choose to do what they love the most, and what reminds them of why their friendships are so special. This means that naked men may not be involved in any way.
One of the more popular types of bachelorette party that many have today is the bar hop. This is something that is a lot of fun if done right. One of the first considerations would be about who is going to drive. Someone must remain sober. You can always hire a car if you wish, and that is always fun. The bride to be can wear a veil, and everyone can then buy her drinks if they wish. Most hit four or five, if not more, bars on their trip around town. Those that don’t drink won’t like this type of bachelorette party, of course, but they can plan outdoor events like hiking or camping if they wish. Anything goes these days.
When it comes to having a fun bachelorette party, you have to have favors. Some are rather tame, and some are a bit racy, but that is part of the fun. When planning a party for a bachelorette, you can keep their personality in mind. You can find some of these favors in your local party store, but you may find the biggest and best selection if you look around online. Just remember to order early so you have what you need long before the big day comes. You can also find ideas online if you aren’t sure what you want to do, and other great wedding party related items.