Tag Archives: ideas

Gifting Do’s & Don’ts, Backed By Research

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Gifting Do’s & Don’ts, Backed By Research

Did you know that gift-giving can strengthen relationships? I know it sounds like a silly question and most of us probably have that in mind already when we buy gifts. But there was a study that measured which kinds of gifts are better at strengthening relationships between the giver and recipient.

The findings are so cool and timely so I’m going to share some do’s and don’ts of gift-giving based on the surprising insights I got from that paper. The paper was published by the Journal of Consumer Research and here are the do’s:

Gift something experiential:

The paper has one major discovery and it’s clearly stated as its title: Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Social Relationships Than Material Gifts. By “stronger social relationships,” the paper was referring to a combination of things like feelings of closeness and satisfaction with the relationship.

Experiential gifts, as you may have guessed, can come in the form of a concert ticket, a trip to the beach, a spa treat, or passes to Disneyland. Or if you’re like someone I know, it can be a stress-free home makeover. Hey friend, you know who you are!

Anyhow, according to the study, because the emotions evoked by an experiential gift is stronger than emotions evoked when a material thing is received, it tends to bring people closer to their relationship goals. Are you starting to wonder now what experiential gift you can give to the special people in your life?

Give an explicit request:

Yes, it may take the surprise out of gifting, which is kind of sad. But based on a related study, gift recipients do like to get what they had wished or asked for. For example, cash gifts (or GC’s) are always cool! I know there’s nothing romantic about cash gifts unless it’s a million dollars but I guess, in some instances, this can be great for kids or for adults who receive them from their parents. You may not want to give something like this to someone you’re romantically involved with, though!

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And now for the don’ts…

DON’T rely on expensive gifts:

Beware of being lured into buying expensive gifts that the recipient may not appreciate at all. Research tells us that people can appreciate both costly and budget-friendly gifts. The monetary value they assign to a gift is usually lower than how much it costs. Ouch.

That said, unless you’re sure that a particularly expensive item will make your loved one jump for joy, don’t be afraid to look for a more affordable alternative.

DON’T make it a surprise:

As I mentioned before, people love receiving what they asked for. So, unless your friend asked you for a surprise, don’t be afraid to give them something that’s on their wish list.

DON’T overthink it:

Here’s the one that hit me the most: The study revealed that sometimes, thoughtfulness can lead to a gift that the recipient likes less. I think this is especially true when in our attempt to make a gift special, we end up with something we like rather than what the person likes.

This is not to say that being thoughtful is overrated. If thoughtful results in something meaningful like having an old, sentimental photo restored and framed, then it’s okay. Otherwise, it’s better to get a little sneaky in finding what a person likes.

There’s another article that says, the world’s best gifts are time, experiences, meaningful and sentimental gifts, and gifts that the person likes. That sure makes a lot of sense! Use the tips above and make your holiday gifting a success.

Lil Red’s Black Friday Shopping Pro Tips

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Lil Red’s Black Friday Shopping Pro Tips

Howdy!! In a mere handful of days it will be my favorite holiday of Thanksgiving because FOOD… and family, of course. 😉 And, with Thanksgiving just around the corner means that Black Friday will be coming in hot on its heels. I, personally, have never gone Black Friday shopping before because I suffered through five years of working on the day during my time in retail.

It’s no surprise that I have no desire to be within twenty feet of a mall on Black Friday. But, Lil Red lives and breathes shopping so allow me to grace you with these pro tips for a successful Black Friday haul:

Be Nice:

Although this has nothing to do with scoring the best deals, it has everything to do with being the best person. Please, please, PLEASE be kind to your retail and restaurant workers on Black Friday and every day. Those who have never worked a Black Friday before honestly have no idea how stressful it is and a rude customer can be enough to completely ruin someone on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Say please and thank you, try not to leave destruction in your wake as you shop, and be mindful of the other shoppers. And, always remember, you literally just spent the day prior celebrating all you have to be thankful for so if you don’t get what you wanted, there’s no need to punch someone in the face about it. Je-sus!

Do Your Research:

Now, having said all of that, the first step to a successful Black Friday is to do some research. It’s a mixed bag of which stores reveal their deals before the day and which don’t, so try investigating by either calling the store or going online. This will help you to decide the best order in which to shop. If there’s a hot deal going on right at midnight for something you have your eye on, then twenty-five percent off at your favorite store can wait.

Often times, stores repeat the deals that they had in year’s past so also bear that in mind when you are making your preparations.

Make A List:

Once you have a general idea of where to go and when, it’s time to make a list of what you would like to purchase. I know I always mention list making – but, damnit, it’s helpful! If you have specific things in mind that you want to buy on Black Friday, you cannot hit the stores willy nilly. It’s important to coordinate your wants with the deals happening so that you can create the best course of action for the order of stores you want to visit.

Time Is Of The Essence:

So you have a plan of what you want, the deals happening, and where you want to go. But, the thing is, so does everyone else. It’s all in the timing when it comes to Black Friday shopping. If you are shopping for specifics, you can’t spend too much time in one store or you might jeopardize getting the other things you want. Get in, grab your item, check out, and head to your next location. Then, once your shopping is complete, feel free to revisit anywhere else you want to spend more time in.

However, if you are going shopping just for the fun of it, take all of the time in the world. But, remember, if you do shop at a leisurely pace, a lot of the stores will be pretty picked over by the time you get there.

Know When To Say When:

Black Friday shopping is awesome for nabbing a big electronic for a song or doing your Christmas shopping. But, don’t be crazy about it. If you find yourself spending way too much money or shoving other people to get to the next place or hot item, then you’ve probably had enough Black Friday. Go home, take a chill pill, and try again on Cyber Monday when you’re not in the general public. 😉

Speaking Of Cyber Monday…

If you’re not keen on the craziness that is Black Friday, Cyber Monday is just days away and you can enjoy the deals from the comfort of your own home. Just remember to do your research prior. This might involve signing up for emails, which could notify you of the deals ahead of time (The same goes for regular Black Friday shopping!).

Get ready, get set, and shop with Lil Red’s Black Friday Shopping Pro Tips!

Have you been Black Friday shopping? Do you have any crazy stories from working or shopping a Black Friday? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Cycling Safety Tips Women Should Always Remember

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Cycling Safety Tips Women Should Always Remember

Cycling is an exhilarating activity that many people enjoy. Sadly, it does not seem to be a sport with a lot of women involved. In fact, only 29 percent of cyclists in San Francisco are women. Meanwhile in Barcelona, there’s only a single female cyclist for every three male cyclists.

Women deal with many struggles when cycling, which include violence, discrimination, and harassment. Just as much as people need to be educated against such behaviors, women also need to learn how to protect themselves when cycling – whether it is from rude drivers or from potential road accidents. Enjoy cycling by staying safe. Here are eight safety tips that women can apply when they hit the road:

Gear up:

Cycling requires you to be on the road, which means that you will be exposed to hazards every driver faces. Make sure to wear appropriate attire. Don’t let anything hang loose, as it could get snagged along the way. Wearing a helmet is also an extra protection that will save your life. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, especially on easily exposed areas like the back of your neck. And upgrade your bike to improve its condition and to ensure your safety.

Be seen:

The more you dress like a peacock, the more you will stand out and get seen on the road. Always wear high-visibility gear when cycling. Choose ones that are not only reflective but also breathable. Bringing along a backpack will cover the majority of your back and block your high-vis outfit. You can opt to invest in a reflective backpack to make you visible from the back.

Keeping the lights on will also help you see the road at night and make you visible at the same time. Bring backup LED lights just in case the main lights go off.

Stay alert:

Always keep your eyes on the road and have a presence of mind when you go cycling. Look out for other drivers, motorists, and fellow cyclists. Even pedestrians walking their cute pets can distract you in one second. And anything can happen in that single second.

Follow road rules:

If you haven’t biked or driven lately, you may need to get a refresher course on the road rules, especially ones that are applicable to cycling. Most importantly, know the bike safety rules. This will help you prevent the most common cyclist accidents.

Be confident:

Cyclists have as much right on the road as motorists. Be confident in your decisions and abilities. To keep safe on the road, let road users know your intention clearly early on. This will help keep traffic flowing. Avoid road accidents by steering clear from vehicle blind spots. Staying close to the side or behind a moving car will not end well for you in case an accident occurs.

Prevent doorings:

Always be on the lookout for possible doorings. You will never know when accidents will occur, so you should take steps to minimize this occurrence. Watch out for parked cars and look ahead at their mirrors for any vehicle occupants. Avoid riding inside the door zone as doors could spring open unexpectedly.

Be safe by bringing along some first-aid supplies, such as an elastic sports tape that will help relieve inflamed muscles. These should come in handy if you ever encounter a dooring or any other accident.

Ride smart:

Plan when to ride ahead of time. Early mornings or evenings will let you ride in less traffic and keep you a lot safer. Avoid peak times, especially if you ride anywhere near shopping centers or school zones. If you find yourself riding in such settings, though, be extra careful. Watch out for pedestrians and drivers and always be prepared for anything.

Stay secure:

Keeping yourself safe also means keeping your trusty steed secure. Don’t forget to include a bike lock when you prepare for a ride. This is especially useful when you’re taking a quick stop and have to leave the bike in an unfamiliar area.

Both women and men have the right to participate in cycling. Just like any sport, there are many hazards that surround it. But these shouldn’t stop people from doing the activities they love. Simply follow the rules of the road, apply the right safety tips, and you should enjoy cycling to the fullest.

Featured Image By: Shutterstock

How To Plan A Stress Free Home Makeover

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How To Plan A Stress Free Home Makeover

Giving your home a makeover is an exciting task. From picking out paint colors to choosing your furnishings, the whole process of redesigning your home can be a lot of fun. The problem is, there are just so many different styles of interior design to choose from, so selecting the right one for your home can be a tough choice.

Without careful planning, a home makeover can become a stressful situation to be in. Taking on a project that is beyond your expertise can be overwhelming, as can committing to too much expense. A home redecorating project should be a positive process, rather than a stressful experience.

No one wants to spend money, time, and effort on a home redesign only to find that the results aren’t what they expected. To beat any expectation versus reality disappointment, it is a good idea to plan your project carefully:

Sort Out the Practicalities:

When you are trying to create the home of your dreams, it can be hard to focus on the practicalities. However, getting the practical side of your redecoration project sorted out leaves you free to concentrate on turning your dreams into reality. It is useful to calculate your budget right from the start, so you know exactly how much cash you have to play with. Without knowing how much you can afford to spend, you could find yourself running out of money before completing the project. This would leave you with a half-finished room, while you try to save more money to finish it.

As well as knowing how much you want to spend on your interior project, you need to work out a realistic timescale. This is particularly important if the room needs to be completed by a set deadline. For example, a baby’s nursery that you want to be completed before your little one arrives.

Identify Your Goals:

Once the practicalities are decided, it is time to think about what you want from the redesign. To identify what you want the room to do, you will need to think about what you currently like about it, and what you would like to change. This could be anything from making it look lighter and brighter or completely changing its use. These aims will provide you with a starting point for your design and something specific to work towards.

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So cool!

Pick Your Style:

Selecting the look of your new room is one of the best parts of the project. Think carefully about what you want the place to look like and then search for some inspiration to help you picture the look more clearly.

When choosing a style of interior design, it is useful to think about the overall vibe that you are trying to create. If you want to create a homely feel, then a rustic interior design look will enable you to incorporate some lovely textures for a timeless style. If you are after a boutique hotel type finish, then you will probably be looking for mirrored furniture and silk or plush velvet upholstery.

Prepare the Room:

To be able to redecorate, you are probably going to need to strip the room back to basics so that you have a blank canvas to work with. This means that a lot of items will need to be removed before you even get started. It is useful to declutter the room first. Decluttering will help you to get rid of all the items that you no longer want or need. It will also help you to free up more space in the room.

Once you have decluttered, you will need to move all of the furniture out of the room so that the decoration can begin. Try to plan your space so that you are able to store all these furniture items elsewhere in your home. Anything that can’t be moved will need to be covered so that it avoids any paint splashes or other damage.

Carefully planning your home makeover will make life a lot easier. The whole process will be far less challenging if you know exactly what you want to achieve and how you are going to make it a reality!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

This Is How Not To Spend All Of Your Free Time Cleaning!

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This Is How Not To Spend All Of Your Free Time Cleaning!

Busy parents are always looking for ways to minimize tasks in the home, so they have more quality time to spend with the kids. Of course, it is also crucial that jobs such as cleaning aren’t minimized to the point where the home is no longer hygienic or livable for the family that dwells within. Happily, there is a middle way, and it’s to find hacks that allow a thorough cleaning, but don’t take up too much time. A topic you can read more about in the post below:

Vacuum, don’t dust:

The first tip that can help you save time, yet still have a clean home is to cut down the amount of dusting that you do. This is because many traditional forms of dusting just end up moving the particles around your space, rather than getting rid of them.

Instead, why not use the specially designed hose attachments for your vacuum? Something that will not only make getting into those tricky nooks and crannies like the ones in the pantry a lot easier, but will also remove the dust particles from circulation. In fact, if you like, you can add another step to your dust removal system in the form of a HEPA air filter. A device that does a similar job to a vacuum by removing particles from the air, but it can be used all of the time.

Keep floors sparkling:

Floors can undoubtedly take a lot of time and effort to keep clean, only to be trampled all over by the family as they come in and out of the home. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you give up on this task altogether. Far from it, in fact! You just need some methods of cleaning the floors that don’t take up all your spare time.

Luckily, there are several methods to choose from, depending on the types of flooring you have in your home. One, in particular, to be aware of is a robot sweeper. A small round device with brushes that can help to keep your wood, laminate, or tiled floors much cleaner – with no back-breaking work for you at all.

Fear not if you have carpeted floors because, fortunately, there are carpet and rug cleaning specialists out there that can come to your home and offer a same-day service. Something that will leave you free to spend plenty of quality time with the kids while the cleaning is going on.

Clean as you go:

Finally, if you approach cleaning your home as a big job that needs to be completed every week, you can easily spend far too much of the weekend doing it. That is why you should practice the ‘clean as you go’ technique, instead. Something that you can learn more about here, and that will help you regain precious time to spend with your family.

Cleaning isn’t the most fun part of life but it must be done. Use the hacks above to make cleaning your place easier, quicker, and totally stress free.

 

Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

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Lil Red’s Holiday Shopping Pro Tips

Helloooo! There are some who holiday shop in the summer, there are those who wait until the last minute, and there might be a group of you who is getting their shopping done now, like myself. No matter what your shopping style, purchasing gifts for your loved ones can be a big task. No one wants to give a dud of a gift and this can be a huge stresser if you have someone on your list who’s difficult to shop for.

Lucky for all of you, Lil Red is an absolute pro at holiday shopping and I’m here to break down some of my favorite tips to make your experience much easier. Check it out:

Listen Up:

When trying to get inspired with gift ideas, I make an extra effort to put my listening ears on. For example, I purchased a gift for my mom this year because she flat out said in conversation that she would like this specific thing. Done. If you’re struggling for ideas, spark up a chat with the person you’re shopping for, because the answer might come a lot easier than you think. Discuss favorite things, favorite previous gifts or experiences, and the like and you should have a firm idea of what to purchase by the end of it.

Make A List:

I know that I put this suggestion in my shopping tips every year but that’s because it’s important. Keeping organized while completing your shopping is key because a jumbled mess just means extra stress. Write down everyone who you need to buy for, list some ideas of what you would like to gift them, and cross them off once the task is complete. This will also help you when you are making your rounds in store and online because it will give you a better idea of where to purchase what and you won’t end up back at the same place a million more times.

There’s No Shame In Gift Cards:

I always used to think that gift cards were a cop out but I have grown quite fond of purchasing them for gift giving occasions. Whether it be a ten dollar Starbucks gift card along with other goodies or treating the giftee to a night out for dinner and a movie – gift cards can go a long way. Gift cards are a great add on or full gift and it makes your shopping experience a lot easier if you are coming up short for ideas.

Give An Experience:

What do you give to the person who has it all? How about an experience! Take your favorite sports nut to a game. What about a spa day for your mom? Or take your favorite body modified blogger to the tattoo shop for the afternoon! Haha, either way, gifting experiences is a sure fire way to please even the most difficult person to shop for and you will both have happy memories to cherish afterwards.

And Remember…

Yes, holiday shopping can be stressful. But, it should be fun too! Being able to treat your loved ones to something special is a beautiful thing. Remember that, and your shopping experience will start feeling a whole lot better.

What are some of your tips and tricks for holiday shopping? Who is done with their shopping already? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Five Ways To Make Your First Apartment Feel Like Home

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Five Ways To Make Your First Apartment Feel Like Home

It’s one of the most exciting milestones of adult life: moving into your first apartment. Heading out on your own is a great chance to go shopping for fun decorative items and really make a space your own. After all the stress of hunting down a place or trying to find new condos for sale, it’s a chance to get creative and enjoy your new space. Once you’ve navigated the stress of moving day and hauled in that last cardboard box, how do you go about making the place your own? Start with some of the following:

Start With A Deep Clean:

The first step to reclaiming any space is to give it a deep clean. Even if your apartment is brand new it will have been standing empty for a while, gathering dust. Wipe down all of the surfaces with disinfectant, thoroughly mop the floors or vacuum, clean the oven, and scrub the bath or shower to create that fresh start.

Repaint To Add Character:

Repainting is a quick and cost effective way to make a space your own. It immediately changes the feel of your space and adds some personality. Remember to opt for a tester pot before diving straight in, as colors can look very different in different lights and spaces. Neutral shades give a timeless, classic feel while vibrant shades make a statement. Do some research on color psychology to understand how you want your home to feel.

Sort Out Your Storage:

A harmonious home is a well organized one, and that’s easy when you have a place for everything. Invest in some clever storage solutions – freestanding shelving units are a great way to both store and display favorite items and can go with you if you ever move. Opting for sofas and beds with inbuilt storage is also a great idea – you can’t tell it’s there, but it gives a lot of capacity. A stylish storage ottoman can provide extra seating or act as an informal coffee table but it also lets you hide away items that don’t quite have a home yet.

Design A Great Lighting Scheme:

A great lighting scheme can transform the look and feel of your apartment, but most people don’t pay it enough attention. Think about the lighting requirements you have in each space – from bright LED strip lighting or spotlights in task focused areas like the kitchen or the bathroom, to lighting that creates cozy, more intimate spaces, like a beautiful floor lamp. You could also use statement pendant lights to really define a space and add a lot of drama and character.

Add Your Sentimental Items:

That collection of vintage china, the knitted throw passed down as a family heirloom, or those treasured photographs make your new space your own by giving them a great display. You may have artworks you’ve collected over time or a collection that you want to show off – these are the touches that will really make an apartment feel like yours.

With the tips above, your new apartment will feel like you’ve been there for forever and will turn it into home sweet home!

Featured Image By: Pexels