Nobody is happy getting a gift card

Nobody is happy getting a gift card

Over the recent years, our growing indifference to the gift-giving tradition has seen us putting less and less effort into getting people gifts that at least express our sentiments. Instead, our spirit of giving has been degraded further by corporations that, in a bid to “optimize” and standardize the tradition, have created the excellently marketed but rather pointless gift alternatives famously known as gift cards.

Why Gift Cards are absolutely the Worst:

1. They show defeat

Gift-giving in the modern world has quite a few unspoken rules. One of most observed ones is that cash is not a gift and anyone shelling out banknotes on Christmas is branded with the t-word (tacky).

Gift cards are sort of a lazy middle-ground between tackiness and thoughtful gift-giving. They don’t express any sentiment; they just show the recipient that your relationship is worth about $25-$50 worth of stuff they weren’t really looking to buy in the first place. What’s more, people who buy gift cards for others often do it as a last minute resort and unwittingly break a cardinal rule of gift giving etiquette: never show how much you paid for a gift.

2. They’re less valuable than cash

Since gift cards often don’t carry any sentimental value (at least not from the giver), they’re more or less grouped with cash in the hierarchy of appropriate gifts. However, they are actually of less value than cold hard cash for a number of reasons.

First, a good number of gift cards cost more than their face value. The buyer may have to shell out an additional $5 or so on top of the actual cost of the card, which is odd and quite illogical to everyone except the corporations pocketing the tidy profits. What’s more, gift cards may have annoying activation and inactivity fees which the user has to pay before they can use the gift card itself. In other words, gift cards make the recipient pay for their own gift. That’s not how gift giving works, is it?

3. Few people actually get around to use them

Imagine gifting your 17-year-old nephew with a $15 Barnes & Noble’s gift card even after finding out that he is exclusively into punk rock bands and skateboards. It is highly likely that the gift card will spend the better part of the next year or two stashed in a drawer full of old baseball cards, after which it will most likely have expired.

This trend is not limited to teenagers either. Consumer Reports discovered that 34% of all gift card recipients completely forget about them almost immediately while another 36 % just don’t know what to buy with them. The result is often the same; the gift cards are left to gather dust in the back of some old drawer while “spillages” (gift card balances) of close to $1 billion help to further line the pockets of the companies dishing out these effective money traps.

4. Gift cards leave leftovers

If perchance, the recipient of the gift card decides to make full use of it, they may find that no matter what they do, they can’t completely deplete the value of the gift card. For instance, they may use their $25 gift card to buy a $22 outfit at Target, leaving an annoyingly useless $3 balance that they just can’t find a way to spend. This is the case with most gift card purchases. For example, this website is offering free gift cards.

Leftover balances are bound to appear and there is little that can be done about that. In the end, these balances either pile up with the rest of the spillages or force the owner of the gift card to shell out extra money in order to get some value from the $3 balance left on the gift card.

gift-card-sellers-bad-idea

5. Not everyone enjoys a trip to the store

When you give out a gift card, the unspoken words usually are “you will have to go get your gift yourself”. While gift cards from online shops may save us the trips, others require us to locate a store that accepts it, browse several options, and possibly cut at a long checkout line before finally getting some value out of it.

Gift cards might have seemed like a good idea when they have introduced a few years ago but now it is clear that consumers got the short end of the stick on this one. Next time you’re thinking of an impromptu gift for a not-so-close relative, something personalized (even a personalized mug) is miles better than any gift card you can get.

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Precision and speed are the two most important advantages and characteristics of a nail gun. Framing nailers are pretty much bigger in size and weight than conventional nailers and are used to join two pieces together.

In this article, we have specified the five best framing nailers out there to choose from, for beginners and experts to use with extreme ease.

If you want to learn more about nail guns, check out our partner’s review site.

5. PORTER-CABLE FR350B 3-1/2-Inch Full Round/

Porter nail guns are one of the best, reliable toolsThe porter cable nailer is a pneumatic nailer which means one of the most interesting features is that it need not be charged as it works on air pressure and would require an air compressor. The porter cable nailer is suitable for small DIY work at your house, and even for contractors as it is very powerful. This nailer is also designed well, providing the user with a comfortable and controlled grip. The reversible rafter hook along with this nailer may be overlooked by many but it is one of the key features that this nailer provides. It uses 21-degree plastic collated nails. The tool-free adjustable depth of drive is also another handy feature.

Pros:

· Powerful

· Ease of use Cons:

· Selectable trigger

· Toe nailing.

4. BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch/

The Bostitch brand itself speaks of quality and craftsmanship. Although it is a pretty light gun with several features, it is a complete professional’s gun. This nailer will not be suitable for small sized DIY projects at home. The push button depth of drive is also a very handy feature as it doesn’t require any other tools to adjust the depth. The most intriguing and most efficient feature that sets this nailer apart from the competitors is the replaceable nose piece. Although it requires some effort to switch the nose piece, it can be easily converted from a framing nailer into a metal nail connector within no time. It is specifically very pricey as it is made out of magnesium.

Pros:

· Interchangeable nose pieces

· Weight

· Magazine

Cons:

· Price

· Complicated to use

3. Freeman PFR2190 21-Degree Full-Head/

The freeman PFR is a budget friendly pneumatic nailer which shoots at a pressure of 60-115PSI and weight at 8.5lbs. It is made up of magnesium body which makes it comparatively less heavy; its cylinder is made up of aluminum and has Teflon O-rings. The driver blade is made of heat treated steel and is incredibly sturdy. This budget nailer does not drop out many features pertaining to its price. In fact, the nailer comes along with a case and also has a seven-year warranty on it which proves the build quality. It is completely oil free, making it convenient to use. It has various firing options such as single and rapid allowing the user to choose.

Pros:

· Kit

· Teflon O-rings

Cons:

· Two triggers

· Maintenance

2. Paslode 902600 CF325Li Lithium Ion Cordless /

Considered one of the best framing nailers, this is a cordless nailer that is extremely powerful and is suitable for small works as well a heavy duty work. The Paslode 902600 CF325Li uses lithium ion batteries which are gas powered eliminating the need for an air compressor. It uses the lithium-ion battery and fuel cells to drive the nails. It has a battery life of 5 hours and can drive up to 6000 nails during that time. The nailer also comes with a quick charge feature where a two-minute charge will allow you to drive 200 nails. It is costly but comes with several extra amenities and add-ons such as a carrying case, battery, 5/32 inch hex wrench, safety glasses and a charger.

Pros:

· Cordless

· Fast charge

Cons:

· Battery life

1. Hitachi NR90AES1 2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Plastic Collated

The most revered brand in nail guns Hitachi has not only produced a highly efficient framing nailer but also a very easy to use one too. The Hitachi NR90AES1 is designed ergonomically with a no slip grip attached to it. The depth adjustment controls on the Hitachi do not require extra tools and can be done by hand. The magazine is manufacturers from anodized aluminum making it easily replaceable. It is light at 7.5lbs and is also extremely well balanced to provide easy maneuverability and use. Loading the gun is easy and requires minimum effort making it the perfect equipment for beginners. It can hold up to 70 nails at a single time. It is resistant towards wear and tear.

Pros:

· Ergonomic design

· Weight Cons:

· Not oil-free

This weekend I threw a baby shower for a dear friend of mine who is expecting twin boys.  I wanted the theme to be something you don’t see every day-something country, but not overly so-and not super farmy.  So, I settled on a Wild Wild West themed shower.

I stuck with one vendor for this party, as it was super short notice (I literally threw this together in less than 2 weeks!).   I contacted Andrea from TheGreenGrassGrows on Etsy, and she was incredibly generous in providing me with all the paper decor items for the party, which included the banners, cupcake toppers, tent cards, and favor tags.  She created these AND shipped them to me within the two weeks.  What a trooper, am I right?
As the pictures show, her products are beautiful, and she’s been featured on every top party site: Amy Atlas, HWTM, and more.  She has a beautiful blog and a great Facebook page!
When I arrived at the shower location, I was really disappointed to discover that my non-damaging wall hooks wouldn’t work.  The walls were concrete.  It took a little creativity and to get it to work, but I finally got it the way I wanted it.
Interested in nail guns or framing nailer reviews? Read the article here.
I hung feathered garlands on one side of the table, along with teepee themed favors which included feather slap bracelets, peanuts, beef jerky, candy corn, moo tails, and these pens that I made into adorable arrows.

I’ve been battling the party itch for awhile now, but finally succumbed to the pressure.  A few of my friends and I LOVE Duck Dynasty, so I threw a fantastic Duck Dynasty themed get together.
I will say that this party took some work-but it was WAY worth it.  I teamed up with some awesome vendors to throw the ultimate duck loving, camo wearing shindig.  Check it out!
I used printables from BisonBleu on Etsy.  (Just so you know, she’s the ONLY one that offers printables for Duck Dynasty themed stuff-so if you’re in the market, she’s your one stop shop for printables!)   She’s amazing to work with, too.
Framing nailers are a great tool for everyone who is interested in home improvement. You don’t need to put lot of energy by trying to use hammer. Nail gun will do everything for you.

I threw Annabelle her third birthday party over the weekend, and it was perfect! Annabelle loves “Shaun the Sheep”, so I based my party theme around the show.  Honestly, I haven’t seen many good “Shaun the Sheep” parties online, so I contacted a bunch of awesome vendors to throw an awesome, one-of-a-kind “Shaun the Sheep” party!

Read my article about Framing nailers and learn more.

I started with these pom poms. I made them by hand, and they were surprisingly easy. If I can make them, you can make them. It’s a basic pom pom, but I didn’t fluff them into a full circle. Just a half circle.

I then just took black and white card stock, and made some general sheep head outlines from screenshots of the show.
The “Shaun the Sheep” website had some awesome templates and ideas, so I took white yarn, along with their printable heads and legs, and made some cute yarn pom-pom sheep!
As you can see, I used tissue paper grass on the table.  I searched EVERYWHERE for a good tissue paper grass, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I finally stumbled upon www.shindigz.com, who stocked the tissue paper grass, along with some of the goodies for the goody bags, including the animal finger puppets and the farm stickers.
I love making goodie bags.  And BisonBleu worked with me to create all the printables for this party.  The little boxes were perfect for my theme, and they were so easy to put together! She also created the banner, the water bottle wraps, candy bar wraps, thank you tags, invites, and cupcake toppers (Which I ended up putting on the serving utensils) BisonBleu is one of the best in the party planning biz. No joke. All her work is wonderfully detailed. There’s no end to her creativity, and I am so honored to work with her!
The “Sheep Poop” is Raisinets, and the fake grass in the mason jars is green Twizzlers pulled apart. They were a huge hit! (What three year old doesn’t think poop is funny?)
I also scored these milk bottles for sweet tea at 50% off at Hobby Lobby. They fit right in with the theme.
The cake and cupcakes came from Confused Confections in Lexington, Kentucky. They were a dream to work with, and gave me exactly what I was looking for!
And a pinata! I made this pinata from scratch, and I used 2 different layers of paper mache.  I purposefully did it light hoping it would break easily, but that sucker wouldn’t break for anything! We had to do it inside due to the weather, and thankfully nobody was hurt. LOL. I went a little overboard with the candy. That pinata weighed every bit of 40 lbs!
I also included these cute cookies in the goodie bags.  They’re from a new retailer on Etsy, TheSweetBCookies.  Not only are they cute, but they were soft and yummy as well! The kids loved them. She’s got incredible attention to detail when it comes to the cookies, and she has a huge number of designs available, along with custom cookies.
Annabelle loved her party, as you can see, and it was so much fun to throw! I want to give a huge thank you to each vendor that I worked with for this party.  Feel free to check them out below!

Late August I headed off to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. About 45 minutes away from Cancun, it’s a secluded place right on the coast.

While most tourists enjoy the all-inclusives, my friend and I stayed in a hotel and sampled local fare. We also visited some cool nearby places – one of which I will never forget. One very cool thing is that food in Playa is incredibly affordable, which makes things pretty easy on the budget when it comes to filling your belly. You just gotta know where to go, and know some basic Spanish.

I’m going to be dishing out details and pics on some of my favorite places I visited in Playa Del Carmen, along with an awesome giveaway, so stay tuned!

(And while I love touched-up shots, all of these are SOOC so you can see how incredibly blue and beautiful the beaches are!)

I know you’ve seen those adorable robes sweeping Pinterest boards. From girl’s spa days to bachelorette parties and birthday gifts, satin robes are IN. And for good reason. They’re not heavy to wear, and are perfect for lounging around.

When I decided to take my trip to Playa Del Carmen, I figured that having a light robe to wear would be nice, and AnyzA’s robes on etsy were a perfect fit.

I wore my robe almost every single day. Whether it was after a shower or as a swimsuit cover-up, the robe came in very handy. It was light enough to be comfortable, and short enough to be wearable and cute. I got one for the friend I traveled with, along with one for Annabelle.

Let me tell you – a kiddo in a robe is just about the most precious thing ever. It also doubles as a costume.

And of course, dressing up in matching robes is always fun. Even if it does involve a Steak N Shake hat and an Ale8One.

AnyzA has given me the opportunity to give away a beautiful hot pink adult robe that looks just like this one!

With the height of wedding booking season coming, along with Christmas, these would make great gifts – even for yourself! Enter below!

I have seen this pin all over Pinterest. It’s a beautiful, ethereal-looking candied apple called the “Galaxy Apple“.

When I saw it, I KNEW I just had to do it. I had no idea what it took to make it, I didn’t know if I would like it, it was just calling to me — and like a moth to the flame, I had to do it.

I watched a video in which a gentleman when through hoops to make his, and I read a blog post about another blogger making some, but I wanted to try it with what I had. I ended up doing it two ways. First, the way the pin suggests — with Jolly Ranchers, and the second way, with a candy coating made from scratch.

I didn’t even take a picture of the Jolly Rancher Galaxy Apple. It was just too bad. First and foremost, the pin suggests you bake the Jolly Ranchers for 5 minutes at 250 degrees.

That doesn’t work. It just leaves you with hot Jolly Ranchers.

I cranked my oven up to 350, and I had molten Jolly Ranchers. I dipped my apple, and it just didn’t give the apple much color. I brushed the glitter on anyway, and just wasn’t impressed. So, I decided to start the candy coated galaxy apples, and as you can see from the pictures, the apples turned a little bit more spooky than galaxy, but they are definitely amazing to look at.

 Galaxy Apple Recipe:

3 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
Food coloring (I used black…what I had on hand)
Pearl dust or other edible glitter

Prepare apples and workspace. Mix ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Using a candy thermometer, get it up to 300 degrees (or a very thick boil). Mix in food coloring. Dip apples, and place on a non-stick surface. Using a paintbrush and water, paint on edible glitter.

Now, making these candy-coated apples is messy. I, at one point, was completely overwhelmed with the amount of concrete hard sugar coating I’d somehow gotten all over everything. Whatever you put your apples on, make sure it’s coated in non-stick spray, or be prepared for apples adhered to your surfaces. I actually broke a plate while doing this. So, concrete shards + molten hot sugar = not such a great situation.

I’ve never eaten a candy apple, so I’m not sure how they taste. They are really interesting visually, and would definitely make an awesome “poison” apple or Halloween/Harvest party food. You could definitely use other food colors, and other glitter colors to co-ordinate your Galaxy Apple with your event.