Warding Off Stress: Helpful Tips & Tricks

Warding Off Stress: Helpful Tips & Tricks

April is Stress Awareness Month. Stress – in one way or another, everyone on this little blue planet deals with it. Whether it’s in the workplace or the home, in our bodies or our minds, with family or among friendships, stress is a real factor that has a huge impact on our lives. It’s an every day battle, and unfortunately for some, it can be a lifelong war. The good news we can fight back! In this day and age, there is an arsenal of weapons to combat everyday stress. Relieve stress with some of these tips.   Three Healthful, Stress-Fighting Tips 1. Get Enough Sleep. It’s crucial to human function that we all get enough sleep. Sleep allows our bodies to rest and our brains to recharge. Studies show that not getting enough – or getting low quality – sleep can have a dramatic effect on mood, judgement, memory and more. Most people between the ages of 18-49 need around six to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, especially due to worry, develop a routine that helps you get relaxed and ready for bed. Some gentle yoga, a warm bath with epsom salts, aromatherapy or chamomile tea can all help. And avoid screens! The blue light from TVs, laptops, tablets or smart phones have a directly negative effect on sleep quality. 2. Eat Well. We all want to eat comfort foods when we’re stressed out, and it makes sense: your body is actually craving carbohydrates. Carbs produce serotonin, giving you those nice, happy feelings. But if you’re eating unhealthy carbs in the form of...
It’s National Clean Off Your Desk Day!

It’s National Clean Off Your Desk Day!

Marie Kondo is all the rage these days. Her Netflix series “Tidying Up” is one of the most popular shows on streaming services right now. On the show, she explains her KonMarie Method™ – a simple way to organize the home so that you’ll never have to do it again. But do you think this applies to office spaces, too? Today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. This day is an opportunity to clean off your desk and get the new year off to a fresh, organized start! Here are some helpful tips to organize your own desk create a workspace where you feel productive and energized. First, File Away (or Throw Away) Items and Papers That Are No Longer Needed. You might want to silence your phone & put your computer to sleep to make this step as distraction-free as possible. Then you can rest assured that you probably won’t accidentally throw something away that you still need. Then, Remove Everything Remaining From Your Desk & Set Aside. Take everything off your desk and wipe down the surface with a damp cloth. Depending on the material of your desk, you may want to use glass cleaner, disinfecting wipes or wood cleaner. You can take this time to clean your computer monitor with the appropriate cloth, as well. Next, Place the Used & Useful Items Back. Gently clean each item as you place it back on your desk, from the tape dispenser to the keyboard and mouse. Place every item in a spot that works best for you, strategically. For example, are you left handed? Your journal would...
Why We Gift Wednesday (Care Package Edition)

Why We Gift Wednesday (Care Package Edition)

Welcome to another edition Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving. Whether it’s honoring the relationships that we have, feeling grateful for an occasion or a special time of year, or relishing life’s simple joys, Why We Gift Wednesday is all about giving and generosity – the expression of appreciation for life’s many happy moments. It’s almost September and that means one thing – back to school (or in this case, off to college). Is there a member of your family who’s off to college within the next few weeks? We think one of the most thoughtful gifts you can send is a care package! One of our happy customers, Donna, sent us this message: “My first grand daughter started college. She was worried about getting fresh fruit to eat. I sent a basket of fruit to arrive on her first day. She was so excited and posted eating a handful of red grapes on social media. She said it was “perfect”!” That really got us thinking. The beginning of the year is often stressful for college students, especially in those early years where everything is new. Sending along a care package to help ease the hardship of the first quarter is a great idea! But what goes into the perfect care package, you ask? Here’s a short list of thoughtful items and ideas to include in your care package – these ideas were collected with the idea of promoting health and wellness in those early college years! Back-To-School Care Package Ideas Sleeping mask & ear plugs to ensure a...
The Ultimate Camping Checklist

The Ultimate Camping Checklist

Ahh, how we love the summer camping trip! Honestly, can you think of anything more delightful than sleeping under the stars? What’s better than days filled with swimming holes and hiking trails? It’s probably the most fun to help the kids toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs over an open fire? And even more enjoyable, imagine being in a place where you wake up and sip coffee on a cool morning in the middle of nowhere. If you love camping like we do here in the Pacific Northwest, you know that a successful camping trip takes a whole heap of planning and prep work. Therefore, we decided to write the ultimate camping checklist – a helpful guide to enable you to camp smarter, not harder. Above all, a successful camping trip is a well-planned camping trip. Feel free to print this out and tailor it to your own family’s needs. Onward!   Information and Safety are the key to camping success! Let’s start with the most important ESSENTIALS. Printed Campground Reservations and Phone Numbers Paper Maps of the Area Field Guides, Guidebooks to the Area Fishing Licenses Emergency Phone Numbers Written Down Emergency Roadside / Outdoor  Survival Kit First Aid Kit Magnetic Compass Sunblock & SPF Lip Balm Insect Repellent   Shelter is the first and foremost order of business, so let’s go over the CAMPING GEAR. Tent Tent Poles & Stakes Tarp (for Ground Cover) +1 Extra Tarp Mallet or Hammer (for Driving the Stakes) Sleeping Bag for Every Camper Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress for Every Camper Patch Kit & Air Pump for Mattress Pillows Extra Blankets...
How to Make Chocolate Charcuterie Boards

How to Make Chocolate Charcuterie Boards

Cheese boards and charcuterie platters grace pretty much every party food table these days. Sure they’re delicious, but why not think outside the box and create your charcuterie board out of chocolate? It’s a heck of a lot more interesting than a bowl of candy! We promise your party will be the most memorable one that your guests attend this year! Here’s how to make chocolate charcuterie boards that will be raved over, devoured and talked about long after the party is over. Step One – Choose Your Surface. Slate is a great choice, as it provides a dark surface for the food to stand out, and plus if you want to label anything, a piece of food-safe chalk does the trick. Don’t have a slate? A wooden cutting board, a serving platter of any material or even a cookie sheet will work like a charm. Step Two – Choose Your Arsenal (and by that we mean chocolates). The most important thing to remember when deciding what’s going to go on your chocolate board is this – mix it up, in every sense of the word. Vary greatly between flavors, textures, sizes and shapes. For example, the last chocolate board we made here at GiftTree (sorry I forgot to take a picture!) had Godiva milk chocolate cashews, white chocolate cranberry almond bark, Ghirardelli dark chocolate raspberry squares, Dolcetto wafer rolls, tablets of solid dark and milk caramel chocolate and even some chocolate covered biscotti. Get creative! Milk chocolate malt balls, brownie bites, wafers, chocolate dipped apricots, pretzels… the possibilities are limitless. Step Three – Artfully Arrange & Garnish for Eye-Catchiness.  Unwrap...
Create Your Own Halloween Party Platters

Create Your Own Halloween Party Platters

Halloween is the season for frightfully good treats and ghoulishly good decorations. So when it comes to creating your own Halloween party platters, don’t skimp on the creativity! We have a few ideas to turn your Halloween party into a monster mash. Mummy Hotdogs Ghosts and goblins of all sizes will love this super fast (and adorable!) snack. Begin by preheating oven to 375°F. Unroll a tube of dinner roll dough and divide into four rectangles. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into thin strips. Wrap several strips of dough around each hotdog to look like bandages. Bake until dough is lightly golden brown and hotdogs are hot. Add eyes by cutting out two tiny circles of provolone or other white cheese. Please next to each other near one end, and top with a small black olive bit on each. Optional: Add a half slice of American cheese before wrapping hotdog with dough.   Creepy Pizza Bagel Bites As a quick appetizer, turn pizza bagel bites into a spooky, savory treat. Kids will love help making mummified bagel bites, and can begin by slathering your favorite bitesized bagels with your favorite pizza sauce. Layer thin strips of mozzarella to look like mummy wrapping. Add olive eyes and bake until cheese is melted and the sauce is hot. For those who prefer a few more olives on their pizza, a creepy crawly spider design is as easy as 1-2-3. Begin by layering mozzarella on top of sauced bagel bites. Cut several olives in half lengthwise, and slice several more olives into rings. Cut the rings into half again creating half circles. Place a couple of half olives on the bagel cut side down, and add four ring halves on each side...