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    Happy New Year!

    January 23rd, 2014 Alicia

    2014 is upon us! It’s amazing how quickly time flies. Every time a new year comes around, I like to take some time and reflect on the past year and everything that happened in it. It’s always good to take some time and review what is going on in your life. What did you accomplish? What were your setbacks? What did you do to improve yourself?

    Setting new goals for the year is something I always like to do in January. Unfortunately, I don’t always stick to my goals. ;) This year I’m trying something new. I’ve bought myself this lovely Fine Leather Journal, and I’m keeping a plan of action. Did you know that you’re 60% more likely to follow through with your plan if you write it down, rather than rely on motivation alone? It’s true! While motivation is GREAT, it’s often times short-lived. Writing down your plan of action, including how you’re going to execute your plan leads to consistent action! Write down your new behaviors or goals… the Who, What, When, Where and Why’s. Be consistent in reviewing and updating your plan of action, and then rely on your motivation to inspire you.  Here’s to a great 2014!

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    Confectionately Gourds

    October 28th, 2013 admin

    Guest Blogger: Dustin Lawrentz

    Your senses may suspect something otherworldly about the pale pepos you’re sure to spot among the Halloween decorations this holiday season. You won’t be able to put your finger on it; could it be the shimmer of iridescence on the writhing vines, is it the milky smoothness of its’ colorless flesh? You step closer, eyes wide, cautiously. Is that the sugary scent of confectionary sleight of hand?

    You suddenly realize, much to your chagrined delight, that witch craft had no hand in this work of alchemy. The immaculate jack o lantern before you is in fact a sculpted cheese cake of the absolute highest caliber, crafted by master San Franciscan artisans, whose virtuosity does indeed approach the supernatural.

    You won’t be the only one bewitched by such a curiosity. Among the mesmerized are Good Morning America, Bon Appetit, and Oprah’s Wedding Issue. This little ball of white magic will certainly cast a spell on any entity, paranormal or earth-bound. It’s hypothesized to be a usable vampire repellant and an excellent ghost trap, but field studies are still being conducted to prove this conclusively.

    Whether you’re hunting ghosts or hoping to be a distinctive host: This All-Hallows Eve, our Whimsical White Pumpkin Cheesecake is the best way to trick and entreat your local spirits.

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    Trick or Treat!

    October 21st, 2013 admin

    Guest Blogger: Aubry Peters

    Halloween is not typically thought of as a gift-giving holiday. My mother, however, has made an effort to send me a little care package every year on Halloween. It’s never anything big and flashy but it’s always something nice and thoughtful. She knows that I love the Monster Cereals like Boo Berry and Frankenberry, so she usually sends me a box of those and some candy. Even though I’ve long outgrown trick or treating, it’s still kind of nice to get some candy on Halloween.

    This care package was always very nice and it made me smile. I think of how that little bit of extra effort on a holiday where you don’t expect anything made me happy and how it brightened my day. It made me want to do the same for those people that I care about so I decided to send a little something this year to someone and pass on the tradition of gift giving on Halloween. This year I am sending the Halloween Tower of Treats  to someone special to remind them that whether or not you view yourself as too old to trick or treat, you’re never too old for treats on All Hallow’s Eve.

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    Bosses Day

    October 16th, 2013 admin

    Guest Blogger: Chris Zolotko

    Boss’s Day which falls on October 16th this year, is an observance is not a nationwide public holiday in the United States. If it falls on a weekend, then it is celebrated on the working day closest to it.  The concept of it began when Patricia Haroski, an employee with State Farm Insurance, registered the holiday with the United States Chamber of Commerce with the hope to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors and show appreciation for her boss and other bosses. Four years later in 1962, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner gave support for Haroski’s registration and proclaimed officially the day Boss’s Day.

    We should help celebrate our supervisor or manager by giving a spectacular gift.  It will show our appreciation for teaching us and/or dealing with our mishaps, and simply signing our paychecks. It’s good to show them that you actually do care about them, because they aren’t just your boss they are a person as well!  Building a friendly relationship with your boss can do wonders in the work place! So go buy a Bossbot from our website or a nice bouquet! Remind them your not just a subordinate but a friendly co-worker!

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    National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    October 4th, 2013 Konnie Kitt

    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This special month dedicated to those who have been affected by breast cancer was first celebrated in 1985 by the American Cancer Society and the company now known as AstraZeneca. It was established to remind everyone that mammograms are the most effective weapons in the fight against this disease.

    We are all affected by breast cancer, or will be at some point in our lives. Whether you have struggled with a family member or a friend who is dealing with the disease, have dealt with it yourself, or whether it is something you will deal with in your future, we all will be touched somehow or another. In the United States, this year, approximately 232,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 39,000 women will die from breast cancer. With the current detection methods and advancing treatments, the death rates have been decreasing since 2002. Such good news!

    Recently, my 90 year-old grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery, and is currently more active than she has been in years. I recently had a childhood friend who passed away from breast cancer. I, myself, had a mammogram come back abnormal about 2 months ago. I had to have a biopsy, which came back clear, but it sure made me think. I did a lot of reading, a lot of soul-searching, and a lot of praying while I waited for results. It also made me a lot more dedicated to the fact that I will be tested every year, without fail!

    This is a month to pay tribute to those who have lost the battle with breast cancer and to celebrate those who have and are waging the war against this powerful disease. Whether you want to give a gift, a card, a phone call, or a hug, that special woman (or man, as they can be diagnosed as well) will appreciate the thought and the gesture. And wear that pink this October!

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    Back to School

    September 5th, 2013 Konnie Kitt

    My children would absolutely hate me for wanting to blog about this subject, but, like death and taxes, it must be done. Parents and retailers everywhere are already thinking about this upcoming event. I am not speaking of Labor Day or Grandparents Day. Nope, the day that makes children everywhere quake and parents do a little happy dance??? BACK TO SCHOOL! (Screaming, rioting, gnashing of teeth).

    When my children were little, money was extremely tight so I would spend most of the previous school year and the summer searching ads, trying to find the best deals on clothing and school supplies. I would just keep a spot where I would put all the pencils, crayons, paper, etc to pull out when the backpack was ready to be loaded. One of my biggest problems is that I hide things too well and often can not find all the things I put away, at least until all of the kids have graduated from high school!! I seriously think that I will be able to donate all those “well-hidden” items and supply an entire school! But, oh, I loved the challenge of the 1 cent sales at the office supply chains or scoring a brand new box of crayons for a quarter!

    Now, when it came to back-to-school clothing, we would accumulate the requisite socks, underwear, and shoes, along with new shirts, pants, and skirts all throughout the summer as the sales presented themselves. The clothing was then put away at the top of the closet of the child, not to be touched (under penalty of Mom’s stink-eye) until school reconvened in the fall.

    As we near that bittersweet time this year, are you a hoarder like me, or do you simply go out in one fell swoop and purchase everything at once? Are your kids getting older so the list from the schools nearly requires a second mortgage on your home? Do any of you, like myself, have a first timer in college? Wow, that is an eye-opening experience! I am just dreading the fact that one book may cost more than I have actually spent on supplies in the last 13 years!

    Here’s to you parents! When they head out the door that first morning, take a few minutes to sit and just enjoy the peace and silence. Just think, you have about 9 hours until the homework and projects begin!

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    Celebrate August

    August 10th, 2013 admin

    For those of you lucky enough to have been born in August, you are in good company. August is a month with a fascinating history. Next time you are asked about your August birthday, impress your audience with your knowledge of the month:

    -August is Panini Month. Yeah…. you need to know, because those things are delicious.

     -The middle of August is normally when the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower appears for viewing

     -August is Goat Cheese Month. You should have goat cheese on your paninis. Happy birthday!

     -August is also Happiness Happens month. Do goat cheese and paninis make you happy?

    -August is named after Augustus Caesar, Roman leader who experienced a number of military triumphs in this month of the year. Also named after him is Caesar dressing – you can put some on your panini. You’re welcome.

    -August’s birth flower is the gladiola.

     -The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held the first week of August each year. Hey, paninis with goat cheese make good travel food.

     Now your brains are a little fuller with some August facts. Happiness happens – enjoy this lovely end of summer month! With panini!

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    Friendship Day

    August 2nd, 2013 admin

    I believe in showing appreciation to our loved ones every chance we get. Small things even, like saying “I love you” or sending a quick text in the morning to tell someone “Have a great day!”. We shouldn’t only show our love on holidays that are specifically for an individual. But if we’re honest with ourselves, showing our love or appreciation either doesn’t come easily or can be simply forgotten. As humans, we are just always so busy, which makes holidays great because we can take time and shower someone with kindness and love. People will claim a lot of holidays are created by “Hallmark” and the retail industry to make money, but does it really matter? When it comes down to it, holidays are FUN! And even if we happen to always show how much we care about someone, it’s just nice to make a day even more special for the people we love!

    With all that being said, I have to admit . . . I LOVE HOLIDAYS! Sometimes I look up random holidays on the internet for fun, almost every day is National/International “this” or “that”. The upcoming holiday that I’m super excited about, but just recently found out existed, is Friendship Day! Okay, so maybe this actually was a holiday created by Hallmark many, many years ago, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. The holiday falls on the first Sunday of every August, which means this years Friendship Day is just a couple days away, on August 4th. There are so many ways to show our friends we are thinking of them and Friendship Day gives us a reminder that even our friends should be told we care. I think friendships can sometimes be one of the things we forget to celebrate. We call people our best friends, hang out, and have a good time – but how often do we do something a little different and thoughtful?

    My best friend and I have been friends for over 15 years. We went through Elementary, Middle, and High School together. We’ve had our ups and we’ve definitely had our downs. After High School we went our separate ways and spoke every few months on the phone and sometimes on social networks, being that we always lived in different states. But our friendship has always been strong and real, because those real friendships never go away. I’ll always remember the silly weird things we’ve done and all the hard times we’ve both endured, survived, and helped each other through. At times I don’t feel like I show how much I appreciate her, especially when she’s done so much for me. So earlier this year, when she retired from the Airforce, I decided to surprise her with a couple of fun gifts not only to show that I was thinking of her but also so that way she could have something to remember those moments of becoming a civilian again.

    The first gift I got her was the Be Happy Bouquet which I added a balloon to. The bouquet I chose is one of our many amazing gifts that are hand delivered by our fantastic design centers located all over the country. I had to order the gift last minute because the date wasn’t set in stone on when she would sign her retirement papers. I ended up ordering the flower arrangement the same day she actually signed the papers. Now you may be thinking it must have been hard to get this arrangement out on such short notice . . . but it wasn’t!!! I ordered early that morning and she received it later that afternoon. I was so excited all day long, because she wasn’t expecting it at all and I couldn’t wait to see how surprised she was! I chose the Be Happy Bouquet because it’s one of my favorites. It’s bright, cute, and .  . well . . . happy! I think it’s one of the best bouquets to give friends in general. In fact, most customers who order this gift give it to their friends on their birthday. Not only is it adorable, but it’s also reusable, which is cool because when the person you get this for uses the mug, they’ll think of how you got them something so thoughtful and nice.

    I remember my friend texting me with how surprised and stoked she was to get it – she even texted me a photo with the arrangement and the next time I was on Facebook, I saw that she posted it online as well. Not only did it make her happy, but it made me feel better knowing I was able to find a way to show my appreciation for our friendship and my excitement for her to come home.

    She was leaving a couple days later and heading back to our hometown, but I knew I wouldn’t see her right away. I live about thirty minutes away from her parents home, where she was staying temporarily. Since she was getting in late I sent her a wine basket to her parents home from our warehouse. I didn’t have time to bring it to her myself so shipping it through Fed-Ex was very convenient. My friend was once again surprised and her whole family pulled out wine glasses, popped the two bottles of wine, and celebrated her homecoming. It was a hit! Once again, pictures were posted on Facebook, so even though I wasn’t there, I still got to enjoy her and her families celebration as well.

    When my friend got her own place closer to me, I of course went to visit. By the time I had a chance to visit, her apartment was pretty much all unpacked and everything in their place. I sat in the kitchen while her and her boyfriend very nicely made lunch. As they were moving around the kitchen I noticed they were using the basket, from the wine gift I sent, to hold fresh fruit on their counter. And as she reached for a glass in her cabinet, I saw the Be Happy mug with the rest of her dishes. These gifts that I ordered online made a way into her home and a part of her everyday life. That, with the memory of surprising her when she least expected it, was completely priceless.

    As Friendship Day nears, remember that even the smallest things make a big difference. You can completely turn someones day around, put a smile on their face, and make them feel incredibly special. Our friends – who can be someone we’ve known since childhood, family, co-workers, or someone you just recently met – all deserve to be thought of, even if it takes an International holiday to remind us to do something a little different.

    Our gifts, no matter what you choose, will make someone feel deeply appreciated. We have flower arrangements that we can deliver the day you order them and we have so many items that can be shipped, like gifts that you can personalize or engrave, gourmet baskets with reusable and stylish baskets/carrying cases, and so much more! Whether you’re ordering a gift for Friendship Day or even just ordering a gift on any ole day just to surprise someone, you will be able to find that special something here. I know this because I have experienced it myself again and again.

    Like I’ve said before, we all get busy, so take a moment and show someone that you’ve been thinking about them by sending them something special and heartfelt, because believe me, it’s such an awesome feeling knowing you made someones day!

    Posted in Birthdays, Flowers, Gift Baskets, Gift Ideas, Holidays | Permalink | No Comments »

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    My Favorite Turnover Recipe

    July 26th, 2013 admin

    Bear with me, I’ve got a sweet tooth today. I woke up this morning and thought to myself, “Oh man. I reaaaally could use a blackberry turnover.” Nevermind that it’s something resembling 6am, and nevermind that they aren’t traditionally a breakfast food. This morning my brain was not to be dissuaded. A turnover I want and a turnover I must have! Sadly here I am at GiftTree, writing to you all about turnovers instead of baking them… but I assure you that when I get home, I will be whipping up a batch of these, which is a great (and also SIMPLE) recipe for blackberry turnovers.

    Here’s the best reason this is a simple turnover recipe – for your turnover crust, you’ll just use a simple Pillsbury Grands (or similar) biscuit dough. The recipe should make 16 if you use all of the biscuits. And the turnovers can be frozen to eat at a later date, too.

    Ingredients:

    Pastry crust:

    2 – 16 oz. Packages of Pillsbury Grands refrigerated biscuit dough

    Filling:

    4 cups of blackberries

    ½ cup of sugar

    Icing:

    3 oz. Cream cheese, softened

    1/3 cup powdered sugar

    2 tablespoons of water

    2 tablespoons flour

    1 tablespoon sugar

    1 tablespoon brown sugar

    2 tablespoons butter, softened

    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (no imitation extract – it matters!)

    ¼ cup butter, melted (keep separate from the softened butter)

     Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350*
    2. Place the biscuit dough on a flat surface and roll the biscuits out until they are flat, then set them aside
    3. To make the filling, sprinkle the sugar over the berries, adding a tablespoon of water if needed to get the sugar to stick evenly to the berries. You can add slightly more sugar to taste if needed.
    4. Blend the cream cheese, powdered sugar and water together in one bowl
    5. In a separate bowl, mix your flour, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract
    6. Cut the butter in the flour/sugar/vanilla mixture until the entire bowl is a crumbly consistency
    7. Pick up your rolled-out biscuits. Put a generous spoonful of the berry filling in the center of each biscuit.
    8. You have two options with the icing – You can add a dollop of the icing inside the turnover at this point with the berries, or alternately you can wait until you’re done and then use a pastry bag to ice the outside. My preference is to take a dollop of the icing and put it on top of the berry filling inside of the turnover.
    9. Fold your full turnovers over to create a half-circle shape, and seal the edges by folding them over and pinching them together
    10. Dip the turnovers (carefully, as they are now full!) in the flour/sugar/vanilla mixture to get the outside coated in it
    11. Place the turnovers on a nonstick or greased cookie sheet
    12. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden, then cool for at least 20 minutes
    13. ENJOY your blackberry turnovers!

     

     

     

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    I Scream, You Scream….

    July 19th, 2013 admin

    Did you know that July 21st is National Ice Cream Day? Maybe you did: considering that 90% of the United States eats ice cream, but did you know why? Back in 1984, our president at the time, Mr. Ronald Reagan, not only declared that the 3rd Sunday in July be National Ice Cream Day, but also declared the whole month of July as National Ice Cream Month! Pretty awesome, right? He said that these events should be celebrated as well. Well, I agree with him. Ice cream is wonderful. It’s one of those rare foods that you can eat when you’re feeling sad or down, and it can actually make you feel better! At least, it works for me. My favorite ice cream in the whole world is Mint Chocolate Chip, with lots of chocolate syrup. Kind of boring one, I know, with all the interesting different flavors of ice cream that exist today. A few interesting flavors? Bacon, Crab, Garlic, Green Tea and Oyster. None for me, thanks, but to each their own. Know somebody that loves ice cream so much that they deserve a gift on National Ice Cream Day? Get them GiftTree’s Engraved Ice Cream Bucket with Scoop (Gift #6894) for just $39.95! A metal alloy container that keeps their ice cream chilled while they eat it, it’s the perfect fit for a pint of their favorite Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs ice cream. Comes with a lid and a scoop, all contained nicely in a cute GiftTree gift box. And the best part? You can have the side of the Bucket engraved!! With a maximum engraving area of two lines, and twenty characters on each line, it’s perfect for a name, a date or a short message (like Happy Ice Cream Day!). That ice cream lover in your life is about todiscover who the coolest person in theirs is!

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