Not another Secret Santa! Unique Ideas to Spruce up Your Office Gift Giving

christmasI’ve been at my job for over seven years and have had mostly the same people on my team. As a result we developed a routine for how we dealt with Christmas in the office. However, recently we’ve hired a few new people and it’s quickly becoming clear that the Christmas status quo will have to be changed.

Now I don’t want to get to ‘Bah Humbug’ here, but sometimes I feel like office Christmas celebrations at the office can be a bit of a chore.  Plus doing the same old “Secret Santa” or “Yankee Swap” can be kind of boring.  However — you probably spend as much time with your co-workers as you do your own family.  So, snap out of it! And take the time to think of a good way to celebrate with them.

Here are some unique ideas: Read more

8 Wines to Try This Summer

Paula Rizzo Drinking WineSummer has always been my favorite season. First because my birthday is in the summer and I think everyone becomes attached to “their season.” But also I love cooking outdoors and enjoying great summer wines!  You know how I feel about Pinot Grigio but there are many others to choose from.

So get your spatula in one hand and your wine glass in the other and let the grilling begin! Here’s a list of great wines that I’ll be trying this summer for under $20:

  1. Enza Sparkling Rosé: Straight from Italy, this sparkling wine has a refreshing strawberry and green apple flavor. $15

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10 Ways to be Happier Right Now!

Put happiness on your to-do list! (Photo Credit: blogs.vancouversun.com)

Put happiness on your to-do list! (Photo Credit: blogs.vancouversun.com)

It’s so easy to get sucked into a bad mood.  You know it’s happened to you before.  Someone in your office is a Debbie Downer and takes down the whole crew.  Or you get stuck in traffic on your commute in and it spoils your entire day.  I try my hardest not to let these things affect me but it’s really difficult.  After keeping a gratitude journal and recognizing the things that I’m happy to have in my life, I’ve learned that happiness can be found anywhere– you just have to be willing to look for it. Even the simplest of things that we experience everyday have been proven to brighten our moods and increase our happiness. Most of the time, it’s the little things that matter most! Find your inner happiness by incorporating these 10 easy steps into your daily routine:

1.     Plan a trip, but don’t take one: We all know what is feels like to look forward to something– one of my favorite parts of trip planning is getting to talk about it weeks before the actual date arrives! Just the effect of an anticipated vacation has the power to boost happiness for eight weeks. A study published in the Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest point of happiness came during the planning stages of a vacation. If you can’t take time for a vacation right now, put something down on the calendar anyways and remind yourself of the future trip—it will give you something to look forward to when you’re feeling down. Check out my Pinterest board for a little inspiration.


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Checklist for a Stress-Free Dinner Party

Rhoihessewoi

Rhoihessewoi (Photo credit: Jay Vice)

Spring is the perfect time to throw a dinner party. As the weather warms up, it’s such a treat to gather family and friends outside onto your deck, rooftop or terrace for a nice meal. But we all know, party planning requires more than just sending out the invitations. Between the cooking and cleaning, entertaining can be a nightmare.

However planning ahead will change your life.  With a few preparation tricks, you’ll enjoy your time and be the hostess with the mostest.

1.     Check your cupboards first. Make sure that you have the right amount of serving dishes, wine glasses, etc, so that you’re not rushing around the day of the event. Lay everything out ahead of time so you’re certain that you won’t have to scramble to find it last minute. Do the same with your ingredients before you start cooking.  Or if you’re ordering food — price out a few caterers early.   Read more

Add Fun to Your To-Do List With These Food Apps

Party

Party (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Weekends are great for crossing off to-do’s, but you can’t forget to add fun and relaxation to the list.  Going out for a date night or hitting happy hour with your co-workers are fun ways to unwind from a stressful week. Here are some (free) dining and drinking apps to try out:

                                                             

                                                       Drinking Apps

Untappd: If beer is your go-to drink, this is a great app. Not only will it give you a list of the most popular local bars but you get to share and read beer reviews. Whenever you try a new beer, snap a photo with your phone, upload it, and review it. The app keeps track of all the brews you’ve tried and gives you suggestions.  You can also follow friends to see what they are drinking and you can earn badges for your beer tasting!

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