How To Professionally Wrap A Present

It’s the most wonderful time of the year *sung in Michael Buble’s heavenly voice*

If you can’t already tell from all the lights, decorations, music and malls turned jungles, Christmas is quickly approaching! And while you may have crossed off everyone on your list,  there’s still one more step in the way before you can put a smile (or depending how bad of a shopper you are a “-____-“) on someone’s face. The gift wrapping!

Learn from a pro like me who’s spent 2 years wrapping other people’s present and charging them sometimes more than the gift itself.

(Me: Sir, are you sure you’re willing to pay $15 to wrap up that $10 Forever21 top?)

While professional gift wrappers can make your gift look like gold, it does cost ya a lot of money! To be honest, TOO much money! Like seriously for the 20 bucks you’re paying, might as well buy something else for someone else. So I’m here to the rescue to help you out with a tutorial on how you can do it yourself when it comes to gift wrapping. I promise it’s not as complicated as it looks and if you follow closely, you’ll soon become a pro yourself!

 

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Don’t be a scrooge, be cheap this Christmas season

You can hear the music and see the lights and decorations, so there’s no denying that the holiday season is near. Among the carol singing, eggnog drinking and mistletoe kissing, one of the major attractions this winter is (as always) gift exchanging! Unless you have connections with one of Santa’s elves, your poor and barely surviving wallet is going to take the hit. But have no fear, because if you take advantage of these money saving tips, the holidays can still be merry even if your wallet is starving!

Santa Carrying Shopping Bags

1. Don’t run from the word “clearance”:
Most people pay little or no attention to the racks located at the back of a store. You know, the ones with clothes and items that have little red tags placed over their original price? Some people even believe clothes that happen to be on the clearance rack are somehow damaged or of cheaper quality. However, that silly thought is false. Clearance items are simply clothes that have been on the floor for a while, not necessarily out of style, but not exactly one of the store’s newest arrivals. Why not save 50 per cent on that sweater for your sister? You’re still getting the same great quality as the one in the front, just maybe in last season’s colour.

2. Check out the off-price department stores:
Miraculously, there are whole stores that are dedicated to selling name brand and good quality items for discounted prices! And no, it doesn’t have to be your local thrift store. These stores usually go by the name of Winners, Labels and now Marshalls, which recently arrived to Canada from the States.

3. Constantly read those flyers:
Remember how back in the day, inside your local newspaper, came those colourful and vibrant flyers highlighting store’s weekly deals? That still happens! So keep a look out for flyers and take the time to flip through them. You never know, that camera your dad badly wanted might be on sale!

4. Sign up for online newsletters sent straight to your email:
If hard copies aren’t your thing anymore, then visit the websites of stores and scroll right to the bottom. There you should find a box where you can insert your email address to receive emails in your area of interest. These emails not only illustrate the latest fashion and newest items available but also mention insider sales and possibly coupons!

5. Use social networking sites to find out the latest and greatest deals:
If you don’t want your inbox being flooded with newsletters, there is still a chance to find out about the latest deals. Facebook and Twitter are some of the sites that not only offer you a chance to creep your ex, but also let you “like” and follow your favourite stores that constantly post exclusive coupons and information on sales. Twitter accounts such as @RedFlagDeals have deals conveniently displayed on your newsfeed. By following one, if not all, of these shopping tips, you’ll be able to save a whole lot of money when buying gifts. And with all that extra cash, you can buy yourself the gift you really wanted, but nobody thought of. It’s a win-win for everyone!

@Naomi_ML

Christmas Countdown: Tech Gift Guide

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For the technology fiend in your life, it’s not always necessary to spend hundreds of dollars. From smart phones to tablets to gaming systems, this year the choices are endless.

Fitbit Flex, $99.99
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Support your New Years resolution of getting healthy and in shape with this cool device that tracks how many steps you take in a day, total distance travelled and calories burned, as well as how much sleep you get at night. Using bluetooth technology it syncs to iOS and Android devices and even PCs and Macs. A simple and sleek design and lightweight and comfortable fit, the Fitbit Flex offers data that’s both informative and motivating.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, $119
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When it comes to e-readers you either love them or you don’t. Some people appreciate the ability to carry hundreds of books around while others prefer the feeling of turning physical page after page. However, there’s no denying that e-readers come with plenty of cons and the new 2013 kindle offers up a faster processor, more responsive touch screen, and a better integrated light that’s brighter and whiter and displays more evenly across the screen.

iPad Mini with Retina Display, $419
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With the iPad Air being released this same year, Apple fans are given a choice. But with a great high-resolution display, faster processor and better and improved battery life, the iPad Mini with Retina Display might just be your best, and cheapest bet. According to CNET: “This is not only the best version of the iPad so far but, thanks to its incredible apps options and robust media ecosystem, it’s the best small tablet, period.” Well that sure says a lot.

Vintage Polaroid 600, $180
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With smart phones offering up high quality photos, there’s hardly a need to carry around a separate camera, unless it’s a vintage Polaroid. Take a trip back in time and ride the wave of nostalgia that’ll come with every white bordered photo that pops out of it.

Casio Slim Series Projector, $999
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Hey big spender! This might be something cool to get for the person who has it all. Why limit yourself to watching movies and TV shows on a 90 inch LED television when you could fill your entire living room wall with video. Offering up Wi-Fi, with light bulbds that last longer than the traditional lamps you’ll find in most projectors, it also is more ecologically friendly by being mercury free.

HTC Desire 601, $0 on a 2-year plan from Rogers or $300 outright

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I’ve coined the saying “once you go android, you never go back” ever since I switched over with my Moto X, and testing out this new device from HTC (which runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean) reinforced it. The sleek and ridiculously good looking (simple and clean is best) phone is targeted to “first time smartphone users” with a just-the-right-size 4.5 inch screen, 1.4GHz dual-core processor and a 5MP camera that captures 1080p HD amongst its long list of impressive features. Meaning it’d be a great transition phone for those cavemen in your life who are still using an old BlackBerry curve or heaven forbid a flip phone. Grandparents, dads and moms will love it.

But don’t be quick to categorize this phone as an “old people” device, because it’s far from it. Social media addicts will especially love the HTC BlinkFeed™ which combines all social media updates and news sources into one convenient stream. No need to open up a dozen apps and check different newsfeeds and dashboards; talk about convenience! And for those music lovers who appreciate good bass, they’ll love the BoomSound audio set-up. The phone has dual front-facing bass-friendly speakers. With Beats by Dr. Dre audio enhancement, you’ll hear nothing but the best and most crisp quality in sound. It’s perfect to blast those Christmas tunes during your holiday parties or for those karaoke sessions in the shower.  (Note: it’s NOT waterproof, keep it out of the shower and on the counter.)

Last but not least, one of the most attractive features that has your wallet breathing a huge sigh of relief is the incredible price tag. At just $300 with no contract, this mid-range phone is a steal compared to what most premium smart phones are selling at ($450 to $700; I’m looking at you iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy Note 3). There may be a difference in the specs like less RAM, but it’s still a phone that gives you quality for a great price.

GIVEAWAY: Your very own HTC Desire 601 (Just like good ol’ Saint Nick you can use nothing but the best and latest tech)
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Wish you could run to your closest Rogers Wireless store and grab an HTC Desire 601 immediately, but have a bank account telling you now’s not the right time? Well luckily for you, Rogers, HTC Canada and I have a brand spankin’ new one ready for a home. Thanks to Rogers and HTC Canada, one lucky reader receive their very own HTC Desire 601. To keep it or gift it, that will be up to you. Contest open to Canadian residents only, no purchase necessary, enter below: (Extra bonus entry if you retweet this tweet on Twitter).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

@Naomi_ML

Christmas Countdown: Beauty Gift Guide

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Know a girl who can tell the difference between a kabuki and a stippling brush or owns a whole makeup store at home? Well we’ve rounded up five items that are bound to be on her wish list this season. To save one lucky reader from a trip to the mall, I’ve got a giveaway for one of the most favored beauty brands: MAC! See below for the great prize pack you can win and how to enter.

Benefit Countdown To Love advent calendar, $68
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Enjoy the thrill of opening up a little cardboard door to find a surprise. While you’re 7-year-old self may have enjoyed the small piece of chocolate, this limited edition calender is filled with must-have beauty goodies. Containing Benefit’s bestsellers including BADgal lash mascara and ultra plush lipgloss, everyday will be an exciting one. The calendar includes 24 mini beauty products and also a charm necklace, bracelet and barrette. It’s available at benefit or sephora stores.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, $22.50

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For lips that are ready for kissing under the mistletoe, this Sugar Lip Treatment from Fresh is a best-seller known for its nourishing and protective benefits that glides on easily and stay on. This isn’t your regular drugstore chapstick, and it’s a rewarding investment that keeps lips moisturized for up to 6 weeks. A personal favorite of mine, it also comes in different tints to add some subtle color to your lips!

Marc Jacobs Beauty Showstopper 7-Piece Holiday Set, $107
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This is the first Christmas you’ll be able to give Marc Jacobs Beauty as a gift, the line having only been released earlier this year in August. This special holiday set gives you the best bang for your buck and the opportunity to get a taste of the different products. It’s a $261 value that comes with mascara, lipgloss, eyeliner, eyeshadow and the super chic Makeup bag. Good quality makeup for a great price!

Nicole by OPI Gumdrops nail lacquer, $7
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I’m not one for textured nail polish but these are beautiful. They are easy to apply and leave your nails looking dazzling. These give you the perfect chance to stray away from your usual colors and sparkle is perfect for the holiday season!

Vera Wang Pink Princess Eau de Parfum, $60
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I’ve always been a fan of Vera Wang fragrances, but it’s Pink Princess that has won my heart with its girly smells that combines the scents of raspberry sorbet, pink hibiscus and fluffy marshmallow. Perfumes are always a great gift to give during the holidays and it’s a safe bet they receiver will love it.

GIVEAWAY: MAC Beauty Trio

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Add a pop of color this holiday season with this MAC eye shadow, lip pencil and metallic pigment set!
Contest is open worldwide and no purchase is necessary. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway