Easy gifting thanks to eBay

standard December 5, 2012 Leave a response

I love the holidays. I love the green, the red, the food, the friends, but mostly I love giving gifts. I get such a rush out of finding that thing that makes people’s eyes light up with the delight a child feels on Christmas morning when he realizes that Santa read his note and got him the exact thing he wanted.

It’s pure awesome.

For the most case I know months ahead of time what I’ll be getting for people. The kids make it easy by dropping hints every time we enter any store. My friends make it easy by being their awesome selves. But there are always a couple people, those few outliers, who already have everything and seem to want nothing.

Call me crazy, but I still want to get them gifts, I just need a little help to figure out how to wow them.

eBay, always eager to help delight people, has created a neat Facebook app that allows you to know exactly what your friends are interested in receiving. Just plug in their names and let the app do the work. It’ll read your friends’ Facebook posts and will suggest gifts that your friends might like. Then you can just shop straight from the app and get that gift that will make their day.

The app is uncannily accurrate. My friend posted about ponies yesterday morning and the app suggested that we get him some My Little Ponies. For the most part though, the app has some great suggestions. The only way it could be better is if it allowed the user to search and offer ideas and to reject some of the app’s suggestions.

I’ve been plugging in my family members, my friends, everyone I can think of and I’ve come up with some great ideas for gifts. I just can’t wait to see what they think!

As for the kids, you know, the ones not old enough to be on Facebook yet, eBay has thought of them too! Give the app your child’s name, their age, and their gender and the app will supply smart gift ideas. Your child can click and drag what catches their eye into a list that can easily be shared with friends and family for easy gifting.

To make things even more fun, the app sends you an email addressed to your child, assuring him or her that elves are hard at work fulfilling their greatest wishes.

Check out the eBay Holiday Gift Shop app, I guarantee you’ll find something you hadn’t thought of! And shall we make things more fun? Every day a lucky winner will receive something on their wishlist along with a $100 eBay gift card. So, go on, wish away! You never know what might delight you!

(Please note: eBay is a Splash Creative Media client and I have been compensated to write this post. The opinions contained within are mine and mine alone.)

Extending our Thanksgiving Table to You thanks to Cardstore

standard November 16, 2012 Leave a response

The foodie in our family is my sister. She thinks about food, blogs about food, and when we’re at her house cooks us amazing food.

You’d think that I’d be rushing to her table every Thanksgiving wouldn’t you? But I don’t. You see, Thanksgiving, given that we grew up in France, is one of those holidays that we adopted as grown-ups. We never had a Thanksgiving tradition growing up, so, once we’d moved to the United States, each to our respective sides of the country, we adopted our respective spouses’ Thanksgiving tradition.

In short, she celebrates Thanksgiving at her inlaws’ table with their very extended family. I celebrate Thanksgiving with my inlaws, more often than not at their country club.

In the past I’ve been fine with this separation. The country club meals were always festive and delicious and I’ve enjoyed hearing tales of their significantly busier event. This year however, I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Only a handful of people in attendance, and, as I start to plan my menu, I find myself wishing again and again that my sister could be planning with me.

My table will be beautiful and the food will be plentiful, oh how plentiful, and it will be a lovely event, but the sounds of her four children playing with my two would make it even sweeter, and having her cooking by my side would be simply wonderful.

Alas, wishes are rarely enough to make people appear in your kitchen, so I’ll have to do the one thing that will make my sister and her family feel a tiny bit closer. I’m making her carrot pudding.

I know. Carrot pudding. Doesn’t sound all that great. But, suffice it to say that this is the one “orange” vegetable dish that my husband will eat, ask for seconds of, and then have more for lunch the next day. It is utterly delectable.

Mmmm

I’m not going to share the recipe with you here, that would be too easy! Instead, I’m going to invite you to leave me a comment below sharing one of your own favorite foodie/family Thanksgiving memories. Cardstore will send you a sweet card from me containing the delectable recipe along with a Cardstore discount code to order a card of your own!

Please note: This post was sponsored by Cardstore. The stories, opinions, etc are mine and mine alone. (Except for the photo, that was borrowed, with permission, from my sister.)

Musings on a Challenging Year

standard January 2, 2012 15 responses

I made the card late one night as I sat on the couch and pondered the impossible task of creating a holiday greeting that would sum up this outrageous year without making every recipient feel pathetically sorry for us. It seems so unfair to send a card laced with misery, so party-pooperish of me. And, truth be told, I’m not one to wallow, but, that night, with M’s surgery and possible terrifying outcome still staring is in the face, morbid humor was all I could muster.

I know. I know.

That card made me laugh that night. I shared it with a few select friends and pictured myself mailing it out, or at the very least posting it here, at the end of the year, post surgery, on the eve of finally turning the page on this god-awful year. The thought made me smile.

Last week I opened my saved projects, pulled up that card, and felt no such joy. Instead, I felt overwhelming sadness, because, yes, 2011 sucked, and as such, the sentiment was more than just apt, it was downright valid, but that card, it’s not me, and I’m kinda sad that the me from last month derived so much joy from being so macabre.

I sat there, in front of my computer, facing the last week of 2011, and as tempting as it was to, once again, catalog the horrors that we faced in the last 12 months, I couldn’t help but instead be drawn to the overwhelming gratitude that flooded me.

Weaving itself in and around all the heartache and fear were many, many moments of gratitude and love.

  • Last December we arrived at my sister’s house, ready to celebrate Christmas, but bearing with us a particularly virulent strain of the stomach flu which we shared with everyone. They nevertheless welcomed us with open arms and never held it against us.
  • In March, M was scheduled for surgery (first time around) and his wise surgeon detected an underlying problem that could have caused irreparable damage had it gone unnoticed and untreated.
  • Little L fell and broke a tooth, suffered a subsequent life threatening infection, but was treated successfully by the doctors who know me well and respect my instincts, even when what I’m saying isn’t what they would first diagnose.
  • C tripped and didn‘t break her ankle. The terrible sprain healed perfectly and hasn’t left any lingering issues.
  • M finally underwent the surgery scheduled in March and has come out of it beautifully. His recovery is going as planned. Best of all, we got the unexpected gift of spending two weeks at home together. Last time we spent so much uninterrupted time alone together was on our honeymoon.

I could go on and on. That’s what the whole year was like, hardships cushioned by good fortune and surrounded by silver linings. And through it all – all the other hiccups and challenges – the unwavering friendship and support of the people in our lives. The friends who shared a cup of coffee and a laugh on tough days, the online friends who held my hand late at night, early in the morning, and all the times in between. The friends who actually held my hand  and brought me diet cokes at the hospital – all four times we were there this year.  The friends who helped us laugh through the tears, took the kids when we needed it, were just there all the time. All of that makes it impossible to be bitter about any of it.

December was gentle with us. We started to heal and look forward to what’s next. The reprieve has also allowed me to look back and see so much more than the small glimmers in the dark. 2011 was brutal, but it taught me to be even more grateful for the little things, even more aware of the importance of living in the moment.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Despite a valiant attempt, 2011 didn’t kill any of us (thank goodness!). Instead it made us stronger, wiser, and closer than ever. Now that the page has turned I’m shocked to realize that I might even be grateful for all the challenges we faced (easier to do now that we’re hale and hearty and on the other side). But if it’s alright with everyone, I’d still appreciate a more peaceful and easy 2012.

Happy New Year to all of you. May this year bring you and your family countless wonders and joy – both the kind you’re expecting and the kind that catches you off guard.

Holiday Comforts

standard November 28, 2011 1 response

This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

When I converted to Judaism the panel of rabbis who convened to see if I was “ready” asked me to do two things. First, I had to promise to raise my children in the Jewish faith. Second, I had to give up Christmas.

The first item was a no brainer, I’d already planned on that. As for the second, if I’d been able to say yes with my fingers crossed behind my back I would have. Instead I opted for explaining to them why Christmas was non-negotiable.

I must have been convincing because they let me into the tribe without making me give up my most important family tradition.

I wasn’t kidding either. When the turkey dinner draws to a close I do a little inside dance because the countdown to Christmas is officially on.

Little white lights, fir trees, wrapped presents, and a whole week with my family, thinking, talking, and eating amazing food.

I love everything about Christmas. I love the gift buying, hunting down the ideal present for people I love. I love the smells and the joy that permeates the air. I even love the music. (No, really. I have a Pandora Christmas station. I kid you not.)

And why do I love Christmas so much?

Easy, all that joy, all that cheer, all those presents, tinsel, lights, and ribbon, they all lead down to the morning when we all gather together, my husband, my sisters, my brother-in-law, my mom, and all the kids, everyone on their coziest jammies, around the glittery tree, with hot tea in hand, and let the joy and excitement wash over us.

I don’t care what the year has in store for us. I just know that when that morning rolls around I’ll be warm and happy inside, surrounded by the people I love most making their happiest noise.

It doesn’t get more comforting than that.

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic’s Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective