Parties are great! …Lots of friends and family spending time together to celebrate a special event or milestone for one of their own. Almost every party has a gift giving aspect. Whether there are gift exchanges, presents for one person, or a “Chinese gift grab” it can be difficult to make your gift stand out from the crowd.
While gift giving has become increasingly dull over the years, there are certain ways to spice it up and put more meaning and personality into every present you give. I’m talking about personalized wrapping paper!
I will now take you through the steps to make better presents, from the outside in!
1) Decide how you would like to personalize your wrapping paper. You can use recycled goods (like newspaper), blank specialty papers that you can then customize, or you can have your personalized gift wrap professionally printed.
2) Decide what you would like the theme of the wrap to be – it should be consistent with the type of gift you are giving. Is this going to be sentimental or funny? Reminiscent or goofy? It very much depends on the recipient of your gifts. You would definitely have a different look depending if you are presenting your gifts to a young child, best friend, co-worker, or mother in law.
3) After deciding on your customization method and your theme its time to secure your materials.
- Recycled paper is the easiest to acquire. Look for leftover newspaper or magazine. These will save trees, but can still give a first class look.
- Specialty paper can be picked up from any local craft store, along with the art materials needed to customize it.
- For a professionally personalized gift wrap – you should start looking at online stores. Search for the terms “custom wrapping paper” or “personalized wrapping paper” and you should find a number of different manufacturers that allow you to use your own pictures and greetings to customize a roll of gift wrap for any occasion! Prices start around $14.95 per roll (1 roll will usually wrap 3 medium size gifts).
*There not much more unique than a roll of custom wrapping paper covering a dozen customizable cookies!
4) Give yourself a high five (just as long as no one is watching). You have used your creativity and now your gift is the star of the party. Be prepared for others to ask “where did this come from?”, “how did you make this?”, “can you teach me how to be so unique?”…and it will feel pretty good…!
Reasons for personalized gift wrap:
- Makes gifts more meaningful
- Can make up for presents where you “didn’t know what to get them”
- Will make your gift stand out
- It will be remembered for years to come
- Saves trees in most cases (personalized gift wrap is usually saved and kept as a keepsake or it goes into a scrapbook or memory book)
About the author:
Chris Wise was an event and hospitality major from the University of Central Florida. He is currently working on starting his own customer appreciation program and he also designs customized stationery like Baptism invitations and photo gifts in his spare time.
In a world filled with delicious desserts, how is one ever to choose? Luckily for me, the great thing about getting my degree online is that I can travel the world, eating exotic pastries all while finishing up college.
I have always had a major sweet tooth, and I have loved every second of jetting around the globe in search of the next great dessert. Here are a few of my favorite exotic desserts!
Cannoli – Originated in Sicily, Italy, a cannolo (singular) is a tube-shaped, fried pastry dough stuffed with a sweet, creamy filling. Often topped with a drizzle of chocolate or crushed pistachios, cannoli are wonderful finishes to any meal! I first tried these when I was in Italy, but I order them every time I go to my favorite local Italian restaurant.
Mango Sticky Rice – A traditional summer dessert from Thailand, mango sticky rice is a fabulous dish primarily comprised of sticky rice, mangos, sugar and creamy coconut milk. I ate this refreshing dessert on a vacation to the beaches of Thailand, and it brings me back every time I order it at a Thai restaurant.
Crème Brulee – This decadent dessert hails from France, and is made up of thick, creamy custard topped with caramelized sugar. Served in individual ramekins, crème brulee makes the perfect dinner party dessert. I love to make this for guests when they come over and they are always impressed.
Flan – Often referred to as crème caramel, flan is a creamy custard dish with a rich, complex caramel flavor. Slightly giggly, this dessert is slightly similar to crème brulee, but much different in texture. I love to eat this dish after a particularly spicy meal to cool off my mouth and soothe my stomach.
Baklava – Crunchy, sweet, nutty and gooey, baklava is a traditional Greek dessert that succeeds in winning me over every time. Featuring layers of flakey phyllo dough and nuts dripping in a chewy honey mixture, I ate my weight in Baklava as I toured through the Greek Islands last year.
Remember, just because you can’t pronounce or have never tried something doesn’t mean it won’t be delicious!
It’s that time to play the #StarSmile game again! For your chance to win, you have to guess the name of the celebrity whose smile is pictured below. You can enter by tweeting your answer @Smileycookie with the tag #StarSmile or by leaving a guess in the comments section of the StarSmile post on our Facebook page. At stake is a dozen gourmet sugar cookies that we’ll deliver fresh to your door.
Guess as often as you like and we’ll keep adding hints on Facebook and Twitter every now and then to help you out. We’ll randomly draw the winner from everyone who guessed correctly at 3 PM today.
But enough of the contest mumbo jumbo, can you tell us who this beautiful smile belongs to?
Cookies make life better. They just do. It doesn’t matter if you are a little kid or a grown adult, people of all ages and sizes love eating a good cookie. Cookies have been around for ages. People from across the world love to make and bake cookies. So what is so special about this simple piece of food? Well, it just seems like cookies make life richer. If you really think about it, cookies aren’t just a delicious food. They can make a difference in someone’s day.
Cookies can welcome a new neighbor, brighten the day of a sick friend, say thank you to someone you appreciate and even say I love you to those you care most about. And the best kind of cookie is a homemade cookie. You know, the ones you can smell cooking in the oven just waiting for you to sink your teeth into? And the best part about homemade cookies is you don’t have to be a pro at cooking to make most cookie recipes. In fact, there are tons of fun and simple cookie recipes to choose from. Cooking is a great way to unwind, relax, and send joy into someone else’s life.
Here are two of my most favorite cookies recipes. They are easy to make, easy to share and I promise will make your day better. You can find them on this great website. Cooking has never been so easy and these cookie recipes are fun and fast.
• These Lemon cookies are fun and easy to make. Kids will love to make this simple recipe with great success. What I really like about this recipe is that most of the time I have these things on hand. That means no strange ingredients and no expensive trips to the store. Remember to let them cool and then move them quickly to a plate. These cookies are a great choice when you have surprise or last minute guests.
Quick, Easy -N- Fast Lemon Krispies Recipe
1 box lemon-flavor cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 cup crisp rice cereal such as Rice Krispies
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Stir together the dry cake mix, butter and egg in a mixing bowl. Stir in the cereal.
Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are golden. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing to a cooling rack.
Makes about 30 cookies.
• There is something about combining chocolate and peanut butter together. I mean it is simply delicious. And once you try these cookie bars you will want to make them over and over again. Since they are bars, you can make them in top speed with delicious results.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars Recipe
1 C. peanut butter
6 T. butter, softened
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 C. flour
2 C. chocolate chips
Cream peanut butter, butter, sugars and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs. Add flour and 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Spread in greased 9 x 13-inch pan.
Bake 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining chips. Let stand for 5 minutes and then spread.
About the author: Diane Johnson primarily writes about online education, pell grants, and anything else that interests her. She enjoys cooking, reading, and sports.
Do you like to bake cookies but can’t find a unique or cute way to send them? Here’s one idea. Why don’t you try cookie gift baskets? It’s very easy to do. Plus, you get to express yourself too. Do you want to try it?
The truth is there is no exact or one way to present your cookie gift basket. In fact, the possibilities for your basket are endless. If ever you run out of quirky concept or plan, the styles below can help you:
1. A traditional gift basket is common. It is easy and fun to make too. Plus, you can purchase decorative baskets from any craft store near you. Lay a piece of fabric at the base of your basket. Next, place your cookies inside plastic bags. Tie the bags with colorful ribbons. Place the plastic bags in the basket. That’s it.
2. You can entertain or amuse your friends with your cookie basket. You might want to use tin cans or toy drums for friends who are musically-inclined. If you want, you can wrap the cookies with a music sheet.
3. If you are into combining colors, you might want to try layering your basket wrapper. Cut out designs or forms on the outer layer after you have wrapped the basket with your base layer. For example, use a black paper as your base layer. Then on another orange paper, cut out Halloween icons such as pumpkins, witches, etc. Wrap the orange paper around the black paper to see the effect. Cool, huh?
4. You don’t need to use a basket all the time. You can use other ideas such as toys wagons, wheelbarrows or baby bath tub if the occasion needs it. For baby shower gift, you can fill a baby tub with rubber duckie cookies. For a beach themed party, you can go for pails with cookies inside. These are cute ideas and you can invent as many “basket” ideas as you want.
5. If you are going for a simple presentation, you can just wrap your basket with clear cellophane. This way, your assortment of cookies can still be seen. Tie the cellophane with cute and colorful ribbons to create a contrast. Better yet, turn fabrics into ribbons. This idea allows you to incorporate fun patterns to your gift basket.
6. For intermediate bakers, you can create cookies shaped like flowers. Put craft sticks into your dough before you bake them to add “stems” to your cookie flowers. As soon as your cookies are cool enough, frost them to add colors to your flowers. Prepare your cookie basket by placing a florist’s foam. Carefully stick and arrange the cookies to make them look like a bouquet. Cover the revealed foam to make the presentation more believable.
You don’t only get to satisfy your taste buds with this activity. You also get to express yourself and show your creativity. I am sure that you can come up with clever ideas for your cookie gift baskets. If you have more, please do share them.
Author’s bio: Marcy Gray likes sharing her tips and tricks, and opinion through writing. In addition, she likes to write about various topics such as Baby Shower Decoration Ideas and Removing Skin Tags Yourself.
Our StarSmile Competition continues to grow in popularity, so this week we’re going to make it even harder. For your chance to win, you have to guess the name of the celebrity whose smile is pictured below and the role they are playing in the movie this photo is from. You can enter by tweeting your answer @Smileycookie with the tag #StarSmile or by leaving a guess in the comments section of the StarSmile post on our Facebook page. At stake is a dozen awesome cookies that we’ll deliver fresh to your door.
Guess as often as you like and we’ll keep adding hints on Facebook and Twitter every now and then to help you out. We’ll randomly draw the winner from everyone who guessed correctly at 3 PM today.
But enough of the contest mumbo jumbo, can you tell us who this is?
Baby showers are the perfect way to celebrate a pregnancy and welcome a new baby into the world. What are the most important ingredients for an unforgettable baby shower? Cheerful guests, silly games, a fun, baby-related theme and good food, of course! Cakes are almost always an essential part of a good baby showers, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Some great ideas for themed cakes include teddy bears, diapers, a stroller or even a great big pregnant belly. But cakes stop being quite so beautiful the minute they are cut into, and their memory will fade after the baby shower is over and the cake is eaten.
Cookies, on the other hand, work beautifully as party favors for baby shower guests. They will make the guest remember the baby shower and smile even after the party is over. Cookies can also be a nice gift for the mom-to-be, or can be given to one lucky guest who wins one of those infamous baby shower games like “guess the birthday” or “don’t say baby”. For the uninitiated, that is a popular game at baby showers, during which guests try to avoid using the word “baby” – whoever says the word the fewest times, wins the game. Back to cookies. This is a list of great baby shower cookies.
Baby gift baskets
Smiley cookie baby gift baskets come in pink or blue, and contain 36 freshly baked mini cookies with a beautiful smile. There is also a bib that says “I’ve got the milk…you bring the cookies”. These gift baskets are the perfect gift for moms whose pregnancy signs include sugar cravings! Their cuteness may actually make someone cry, so watch out!
A star is born
Are you an expectant mother who wants to show your baby shower host how much you appreciated the party? There is nothing better than these star-shaped and colorful smiley cookies to say a big Thank You to the person who put in all that hard work to organize your shower. “A star is born” can refer both to the baby and the shower host! You’ve got to love the dual meaning.
These cutie-pie hearts are just gorgeous to give as party favors! Wrap a few of them in cellophane and tie a bow in pink or blue, depending on whether the baby is a boy or girl, around them. Add a personalized card with the date of the baby shower, and you’ve got a lovely reminder of the shower for every guest.
Make your own cookie!
Did you know that you can customize your own smiley cookie? If your perfect cookie is not on the site already, or you just want something a little more personal, you can choose from any of the shapes and add any color you want. Did you like the heart-shaped cookie, but want it in blue for a boy? No problem! How about a pink cloud to represent the way we feel during pregnancy? You can have it!
Would you like to read more about baby showers, pregnancy and babies? Head over to Trying To Conceive. If you are hoping from a visit from the stork, their ovulation calendar will help you determine your most fertile days.
Haven’t bought dad a gift yet? Don’t stress out – we have the perfect opportunity for you to win dad one of our great Father’s Day Gift Baskets!
2 Lucky Winners are going to receive one of our Father’s Day Gift Baskets
We are giving you 5 separate chances to win and recommend doing them all.
1. Answer the following question by leaving a comment below – Why should your dad/husband receive a Father’s Day Gift Basket?
2. Visit our Father’s Day Gifts and tell us which gift basket is your favorite one.
3. If you decide to Follow us on Twitter or you already do, leave us another comment letting us know you have. We would love it if you would retweet our giveaway too. That would be AWESOME!!
4. If you decide to head over to our Facebook page and click on the Like Button (OR use the toolbar below). Then leave us another comment letting us know you did!
5. If you decide to blog about our giveaway and tell all of your friends, please leave us a comment letting us know you did with the URL of your blog post.
We are going to close comments and draw winners on Tuesday June 14 @ 9 PM EST.
First off, we were completely overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of applications we received for the Big Cookie Testing Team. There were so many great stories detailing how Smiley Cookies and other baked goods have played a role in fostering relationships with friends and family that we had an extremely difficult time narrowing down the field. Unfortunately, we want this to be a testing team, not a mob, so we had to pass on many candidates that would surely making excellent testers.
With that said, we’re very pleased to announce the following cookie enthusiasts as our 2011 Big Smiley Cookie Testing Team:
- Anne Yopp Marshall
- Julia Martinez Morris
- Cenedra Magargal
- Kim Baird Mozdzierz
- Laura Waltz
- Ashlei Erker Matthews
- Susan Bates Fichter
- Little Miss Vanity
- Wendy Guyton Clevenger
- Alexis Bobick Bajich
Those chosen for the team will receive a Facebook message with instructions on how everything will proceed later today. For those of you who weren’t chosen, we are offering 20% all Smiley Cookie orders (except gift cards) for the next 3 days to say thanks. Just use the coupon code “TESTTEAM11” until Wednesday at midnight. Also, we’ll be announcing a special discount for all of those who applied on the Big Smiley Cookie once it is available to the public.
Again- a huge thanks to everyone! We have lots of other great new cookie gifts in development so there will be more opportunities to join testing teams in the future.
If you have a family member or a friend in the hospital, remember that the continued safety of the person in the hospital is the primary concern. You can always send the get well gift basket or get well cookies later.
You’ll be surprised to learn that visits to a patient in a hospital often harm the patient’s health. A patient may wish to be left alone or may need to rest — a visit can leave the patient feeling stressed rather than relaxed. Follow these five rules to ensure that your hospital visit does good things for the patient.
1. Ask the patient beforehand if he or she would like to have a visitor and, if so, when. Don’t just go to the hospital expecting to see the patient — you may be exhausting an already weakened person.
2. Wash your hands before you enter the patient’s room. if you don’t, you may be bringing some infection into the room with you. Try not to touch the patient too much or handle the same objects the patient will be handling later. If you are sick yourself, do not visit — call on the telephone instead.
3. Realize that the patient is not there to entertain you — be polite and let them talk. In fact, the patient may not even want to talk, but will still be comforted by your presence in the room.
4. Avoid talking about their drugs and their general condition. You’ll easily pick up the signs when the patient is ready for you to leave. Rather than stay for an hour, it may be more pleasant to stop in for ten or fifteen minutes several times during the morning, afternoon or evening.
5. Make the visit special by leaving something to brighten the room and make the patient more comfortable. Color is always a good choice in a bland room. Bring in a balloon or flower bouquet of bright cheery colors, or give a get well gift basket crammed full of useful and enjoyable items. Food is good too, such as some get well cookies in a get well cookie basket, but check with the hospital staff first to see if the patient is on a restricted diet. Another get-well gift for a patient is a warm comfy robe and slippers to compensate for those strictly functional hospital gowns.
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