Typically, we come to the conclusion that our purse has reached its expiration date for one of four reasons: a) Zippers or snaps are broken, canyon-sized holes are made, and it’s just generally falling apart at the seams; b) We’ve run out of ways to store our unhealthy surplus of bags; c) Our lives have evolved to the point where the purse size no longer works for us; or d) We’re addicted to buying them and the ‘new purse’ excitement has worn off the one we’re currently using so… onto the next one. If Option C is your reasoning, we can definitely empathize with the struggle. When things like work, family, friends, relationships, etc. change, so too does your purse size. A working mother of two is going to have very different bag needs than a single college student in her twenties. We all know and abhor the struggle of switching our purses on an almost daily basis. Constantly digging through the three or four bags that you use on a regular basis because you left your favorite chapstick behind again is the bane of your existence. But how do you find the perfect sized bag for all of your needs? Here are some tips to help:

woman holding purse

1) Consolidate and Get Organized

Prior to choosing your perfect bag, you need to consolidate your belongings and figure out what you really need. This means tossing all of the three-month-old fast food receipts, loose change adding an extra two pounds, and lonely earrings missing their other halves. The last thing you want to do when you get a new purse is transfer the mess from your old one. In addition, it’s extremely difficult to tell what size purse you need when half of your current purse is lipsticks. You may even be someone who needs to go down a size in your bag to keep yourself more disciplined. If you’re someone who’s carrying a bag that’s much too big for your needs, your bag may become 50% purse, 50% trash purely so that you’re not carrying a big bag of nothing.

2) What is the bag for?

Once you’ve removed all of the excess items, ask yourself- what is this bag for? Is it an everyday purse? A bag to take hiking? Shopping? Work? To the coffee shop to work on your screenplay? All of the above? Trying to have one purse for every occasion can be extremely difficult and likely impossible. If you get a huge purse, there will still be days where there’s barely anything in it. If you get a tiny one because you don’t carry a lot day-to-day, you’ll likely need a big one more often than you think. If you’re trying to find one that you can use as often as possible, we recommend making a list of the activities you do on a normal weekly basis and what items you bring to those events. And if there was ever a time to be completely honest with yourself- this is it. People tend to talk themselves into thinking they’re more minimalist or needy than they actually are when they’re buying a new purse. This is how wrong-sized purses are bought, only to gather dust in the closet.

woman holding small bag

3) What do you need every day?

As a general rule of thumb, your purse should be big enough to fit what you need with you on a daily basis with a little bit of wiggle room in case you need to add one or two things throughout the day. So, in addition to your previous list, make another small list of the things that you need with you everywhere you go. You could be a more minimalist person who just needs their phone, wallet, and keys and they’re good to go. On the other hand, you could be someone who likes to carry their makeup bag, phone charger, and a book with them (just in case). Now consider both lists and what type of bag would suit those items. If you generally only need your phone, wallet, and keys, for example, a small purse or wristlet would be the best option for you. If there are a few extra items you need on a daily and weekly basis, however, a medium-to-large sized bag would work best.

Make sure you go with a size that would suit you most often according to your weekly schedule. For example, if you made your list and you see for 6 days a week you’d need a tiny bag, but on Sunday you’d need a bigger bag to take to the gym, go for the tiny bag. It’s much better to have a tiny bag that works perfectly 6 days a week than a huge bag that works for 1 day.

4) Organization, Space, or both? Get the most out of your bag’s size!

Now that you have a general idea of what size bag you need, the next thing to consider is storage space. The interior of a purse is extremely important when it comes to shopping for size. You may not believe it, but (by some bizarre magic trick) there are some tiny purses that can fit more items in them than some medium-sized ones. How, you ask? Well, it’s all about the interior.

When a purse has no interior organization, your items tend to get squashed in a weird pile. We all know the struggle of trying to re-organize your items because they only fit into your purse if they’re each in specific spots. If you’re someone who often looks like they’re wrestling their purse, we recommend looking for bags with organized interiors. They’ll have pockets for your phone, wallet, makeup, and an outer pocket for easy access to your keys. This way, you’re never wrestling your bag because there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place! Beware, though, bags that go overboard with their organization pouches and dividers end up limiting the space in the bag rather than creating it. When you’re shopping for a new bag, we recommend trying it on and putting your essentials into the bag to see how efficient its space usage is and how much is leftover. Who cares if you get weird looks if you walk away with a fly new bag?

woman holding large bag

5) Shape and Weight Distribution

The last thing to consider when buying a new bag is the shape and weight distribution. Like we said earlier, the wrong purse can make your items a weird mish-mosh of pieces. If your items fit in the wrong way, there will be weird pieces jutting out and it may make the bag uncomfortable to wear. When you try on the bag with your items inside, make sure when you walk that you aren’t getting stabbed by your lipgloss or that your phone isn’t smacking right against your arm or hip. That may seem fine initially but think about that happening every day over and over. We can almost feel the bruises. And keep an eye out for any zippers that may end up ripping some of your clothes because that purse will end up costing so much more money than it’s worth.

In addition, make sure you consider how the weight is distributed on your body. For people with a lighter load of items, for example, an over-the-shoulder bag would be an excellent fit. However, for those who have several heavier items to carry each day, possibly including a laptop or camera, an over-the-shoulder bag can be grating. You’ll constantly have to switch back and forth the side you’re carrying your bag on as each shoulder grows unevenly more painful. For those who carry heavier items on a day to day basis, we recommend a stylish backpack in lieu of a traditional purse. As they become increasingly more fashionable, there are several adorable styles to choose from and you can say goodbye to shoulder pain. For those who this applies to, make sure you bring your heavier items (laptop, camera, etc.) to shop or measure them beforehand because the last thing you want is to get home to find that they’re the wrong size.

If you take each of these points into consideration as you shop, finding your perfect purse should be a snap!

Ah, the joys of cooking.  There’s just something about the food we make ourselves…it simply tastes better.

In this blog, we’re focusing on one ingredient, in particular: lemon extract, and how it can be added to your baking routine this year. As they say, when life gives you lemons, Make Life Better with homemade lemon extract!

Lemon extract can be used in recipes that need that lemon-infused flavor. Bundt cakes, cookies, muffins, and various other loaves of bread are some of the more common recipes that would require lemon extract.

We want to give you a brief rundown on this zesty ingredient. Lemon extract is a concentrated form of oil that’s derived from lemon peels and alcohol. Given the fact that oils often contain active ingredients from herbs and plants, there are health benefits that are associated with this ingredient:

  1. Stress reduction – Lemon extract is full of essential oil compounds that could help reduce both psychological and physical stress.
  2. Immune system booster – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which can help strengthen the immune system and prevent various respiratory system infections.
  3. Detoxification – Lemon extract has many diuretic properties that make this oil a viable solution for detoxing. Furthermore, the detoxification properties of lemon extract can help prevent urinary system infections.

Keep Moving Mama is a blog, whose author, Wendy, writes to help reach moms with her message that focuses on food, fitness and the confidence to find balance in both.

This influential blogger wrote a blog that was dedicated to making a homemade lemon extract, and she just happens to use our Citrus Pro 4-in-1 multi-tool in the process! Here’s her recipe:

Homemade Lemon Extract

  • Lemon peels from 3 lemons
  • 6 oz. Vodka
  1. Peel zest from clean lemons. (Just the yellow peel, not the pithy white.)
  2. Add lemon peels to a jar.
  3. Fill the jar with vodka and seal.
  4. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. Shake about once per week.
  5. Strain peels and store in a jar. Use in your favorite recipes.

Rather than choosing the store-bought variety, which can cost you more money than you’d probably like to spend, consider taking the time to make your own lemon extract.

Being an adult can be a series of neverending inconveniences. Laundry, vacuuming, doing the dishes, cleaning your closet, paying bills- all while trying desperately to find time for work, exercise, family, friends, and…well… you. It’s hard to find even a second in the day that’s not already occupied and, on the rare occasions you do, the last thing you want to do is make a complicated dish. Yes, you deserve to treat yourself, but if it comes down to whether you’re going to spend two hours cooking after a long day or eat a bowl of cereal… well… we both know which you’re going to pick.

You admittedly have some easy recipes nailed, but they can get boring after a while if you’re not ‘changing things up’. But usually, when you hear that phrase it means adding an extra three hours onto your already tightly choreographed routine. Well, what if we told you that simply basting some new sauces onto the various meats you use would spice up (literally) your cooking? Here are some of the best store-bought sauces to help make your meals exciting again without adding any extra time to your cooking routine:

1) BBQ Sauces

A genuinely delicious BBQ sauce can be hard to find straight out of the bottle. Luckily for us, some celebrity chefs and experts have made public their favorite versions so we can get that finger licking taste we love without the hassle of following a complicated recipe:

stubb's bbq sauce

Photo Credit: Amazon

a) Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce

Giada De Laurentiis, host of the Food Network’s show Giada At Home, told The Today Show that this was her favorite store-bought barbeque sauce because it’s the “Perfect balance of sweet and tangy with just a touch of warmth so everyone in the family can enjoy it….It’s so versatile I even use it in on eggs in the morning.”

sweet baby ray's sauce

Photo Credit: Target

b) Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce

This little number appears fairly regularly on any top ten barbeque sauce list- and for good reason, too. Chef Lawrence Page of WE tv’s “Hustle & Soul” told Today, “I like the fact that the sauce is sweet, hence the name, and doesn’t have a heavy ketchup-like taste. For every cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s, I add two pinches of cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon, 1 teaspoon ground white pepper and 1 teaspoon of dark Vermont maple syrup. The maple syrup really adds a nice sweet and smoky flavor to ribs when grilling!”

c) Trader Joe’s Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Another sauce that’s made its rounds on various platforms, including coming in as the number one ranked sauce on The Kitchn. It has a solid deep flavor that is just a tad bit sweet, perfect to add to your meat of choice. According to The Kitchn, some native southerners who tasted the sauce described it as feeling like home- doesn’t get much better than that!

2) Marinara Sauces

Any Italian grandmother will tell you how tough it is to find a good marinara sauce. In fact, if she found out you were getting them store-bought, she’d probably smack you with a wooden spoon. But, despite what Nana thinks, you can actually find some great marinara sauces pre-made.

a) Trader Giotto’s Traditional Marinara Sauce

This sauce is described by Thrillist as, “A hearty sauce, with strong, unabashed flavors — black pepper, fennel, oregano, parsley, fresh-cut basil — and large chunks of stewed tomatoes that maintained their dexterity from start to finish. It smelled wonderful poured over hot pasta, its barbecue-like sweetness cut with the lovely acidity of an aged Cabernet.”

Rao's homemade marinara

Photo Credit: Amazon

b) Rao’s Homemade Marinara

Rachel Ray Every Day ranked this sauce it’s number one spot among store-bought sauces, stating, “Rao’s Homemade Marinara has a complex flavor (spiced, but not too spiced) and a smooth texture we keep going back to. This splurgy sauce is great on its own, but to make it even more impressive, add meatballs or some fresh herbs.”

riserva marinara

Photo Credit: Walmart

c) Classico Riserva Marinara Pasta Sauce

The Chicago Tribune did their own taste test for several pasta sauces and this sauce ranked among the top three that they tried. They described the sauce as having a ‘bold, earthy flavor’ and a hint of sweetness.

3) Burger Sauces

When done well, burgers are one of the tastiest food groups around. But, when you’re making them at home, it can be easy to get stuck in a routine when you like what you’re doing. You have to change it up sometime though and simply adding these sauces to your routine can help you get out of your burger funk.

Photo Credit: Target

a) Aoili

Adding any variation of an aioli (whether it’s a garlic aioli, chipotle aioli, etc.) will add a creamy texture to the burger. This one, in particular, is made with chipotle peppers and has a very natural flavor- perfect for burgers, fries, or even sliders.

thousand island dressing

Photo Credit: Walmart

b) Thousand Island Dressing

This dressing may make you think more of a salad than a burger, but according to Saveur, “The classic blend of mayonnaise, pickle relish, and chili sauce goes beautifully with the flavor of charred beef.”

vermont maple sriracha

Photo Credit: Vermont Country Store

c) Vermont Maple Sriracha Sauce

If you’re an avid spicy food eater and you’re looking for your next favorite flavor, add a little bit of sweet to your spicy with a maple sriracha sauce. This one is made in Vermont (as you could probably guess) and has a mouthwatering balance between a medium-heat spiciness and a touch of sweetness. If this one, in particular, doesn’t appeal, look around in your local grocery store for a creamy maple sauce or some other sweet sauces to add to your burger. You’ll thank us for it.

Feathered hair, blindingly bright colors, shoulder pads, bulky jewelry, and scrunchies. All we have to do is name a few fashion pieces and you’re now thinking of an entire generation of people. It’s crazy to think about how much fashion can define eras and culture itself–that a feathered hairstyle could represent a whole generation or that a hat could represent an entire culture…but it can. While wearing your favorite hat, you could discover anyone from a fellow sports team enthusiast to someone from your home town when you’re on vacation in another country. In fact, some hats have come to represent cultures not only on a national scale but on a global scale as well. Let’s go on a-head and take a look at some hats that have become a symbol for their culture:

sombrero

1) The Sombrero

Although the sombrero has become a colorful and decorative head accessory, it was originally created for the humble purpose of keeping the sun from the wearer’s eyes. Its signature wide brim accomplishes this very effectively, and even the name ‘sombrero’ comes from the Spanish word for ‘shade’ or ‘shadow’. The exact origins of the hat are a mystery, but it has long been associated with wealth, economic status, and Spanish culture.

2) The Fez

Variations of this tiny bright red hat can be found all over, from Cyprus to Serbia. It is most commonly associated with Morrocan and Middle Eastern Men’s dress, and rightly so since Morroco is responsible for originally giving it that signature shade of red using dye from crimson berries. The hat became popular during the Ottoman Empire because, in an attempt to modernize the uniforms, Sultan Mahmud II banned turbans and made the fez part of the standard military uniform. Now, the hat can be found everywhere from the Middle East to making loving appearances on Doctor Who.

3) The Tam O’ Shanter

This hat has been the long since chosen accessory to the kilt for Scottish men all over their country. In fact, the hat was worn exclusively by men until the 1920s until comparable hats called ‘tams’ were introduced into women’s fashion. But this wasn’t the first iterations of the bonnet since Scottish men had been wearing variations of these hats since the 16th century. The hat was officially given its name in the year 1790 when Robert Burns published a poem using the name and it’s stuck around ever since.

Man Wearing Ushanka

4) The Ushanka

Even if you didn’t know its name, you’re sure to recognize this stereotypically Russian head accessory. One of the most reliably warm and cozy hats around the world, it’s most known for its characteristic ear flaps and actually gets its name from the Russian word for ‘ears’ (ushi). What was once a political and cultural symbol of the Soviet Union is now worn casually by both its citizens and those in other countries during their respective winter months.

5) The Tyrolean Hat

Coming to you straight from Central European countries like Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, this little forest green hat originated in Tyrol which is located between present-day Italy and Austria. We may not see too many of these walking around in the U.S., but you’re sure to recognize it from films like Sound of Music. Even in its native countries it’s no longer considered stylish day-to-day wear, but it’s still seen as a symbol of Tyrolean and Bavarian culture, popping up a few times a year including the Oktoberfest season.

6) The Conical Asian Hat

According to Matador Network, this hat isn’t specific to one country or region, but hats of this style have cropped up in several countries between East and South Asia. Similar to the Sombrero, it was designed to keep the wearer safe from the sun, but the Conical Asian Hat has the added benefit of protecting the wearer from the rain. This made it an excellent choice for farmers and it remains both useful and cultural to this day.

woman wearing beret

7) The Beret

You may notice some similarities between the Beret and the Tam O’ Shanter. Similar floppy hats have been popping up all over Europe as far back as the Bronze age, with different countries creating their own variations. However, you may be surprised to learn that the actual Beret wasn’t mass-produced until the 19th century. To the surprise of no one, it became extremely trendy and the military beret was adopted by several armies after the first world war.

If you’re having a bad day or feeling just a little under the weather, a soothing cup of tea could just be what the doctor ordered. No, literally: certain varieties of herbal tea contain plenty of health and medicinal benefits. These ten are our favorites.  Sometimes all you need is a hot cup of tea, a blanket, and a Netflix binge to help you feel better.

PEPPERMINT 

  • Supports digestive health
  • Fights off cramps
  • Ends stomach pain
  • Possible antibacterial and antiviral properties (not tested in humans)

HIBISCUS

  • Effective against high blood pressure
  • Fights oxidative stress

Note: hibiscus tea shouldn’t be consumed when taking aspirin or hydrochlorothiazide due to interactions.

SAGE

  • Improves mood
  • Improves blood lipid levels
  • Improves cognitive functions and memory
  • May protect against colon cancer

ROSE HIP

  • High in vitamin C
  • Effective at reducing inflammation
  • Good for weight management
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Reduces stomach fat over a prolonged period
  • Fights aging skin

CHAMOMILE

  • Excellent sleeping aid
  • Antibacterial effects
  • Fights diarrhea and stomach ulcers
  • May relieve premenstrual symptoms
  • Could improve insulin levels

ROOIBOS

  • May benefit bone health
  • Lowers cell toxicity
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Lowers cholesterol

LEMON BALM

  • Improve elasticity of the arteries
  • Increase in natural enzymes in the body
  • Improves mood
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduce anxiety

PASSIONFLOWER

  • Relieves anxiety
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Promotes calmness

GINGER

  • Remedy for nausea
  • Prevents stomach ulcers
  • Reduces inflammation
  • May help with diabetes

ECHINACEA

  • Boosts immune system
  • May shorten the duration of the common cold
  • Soothes sore throats
  • Clears stuffy noses

 

Remember to use our Jokari Tea Infuser for best results. It can hold bagged or loose leaf teas and the built-in plunger lets you press your tea for a more intense flavor, without the mess.

 

As we get further into 2019, we reflect on the previous year’s happenings – the highs, the lows, the successes – and hone in on things we want to do better in the New Year. How can we Make Life Better?

When you look back at 2018, many of us tried to Make Life Better each day, at least in a tasty and healthy way, as food culture and healthy living propelled the kitchenware category. In a HomeWorld Business magazine article, Senior Editor Lauren De Bellis outlined the highlights of previous years:

“Foodie culture propelled the kitchenware category into the spotlight this year. Between the increased sophistication of tastes, a continued interest in at-home meal prep, as well as a renewed confidence in their cooking skills, consumers actively turned to the kitchenware category for innovative tools and gadgets,” said De Bellis.

These are themes we expect to continue in following years. After all, now that we’ve all developed a sophisticated palate keen on the tastes of healthy and delicious foods we might never have thought to try, why not continue with goals that not only make us healthy, but happy?

Whether you began this positive journey this year or are ready to jumpstart a happier, healthier life next year, follow these tips on how to cook and eat better this New Year!

Meal prep.

The whole point of “meal prep” or meal preparation is to make life easier, and ultimately better, for you during the week. We all lead busy lives and sometimes that busy gets the best of us. This leads us to make unhealthy choices when it comes to our meals.

While the new year may be here fast and furious, take a moment to slow down in the kitchen. Take some time to plan before you begin your actual prep as this will make the process simpler and smoother and save frustration in the kitchen (nobody wants that ingredient in the mix!).

While it’d be great to meal prep for seven days of the week right away, don’t feel you have to jump right into the process. As fitness expert Kayla Itsines said, “If you are just starting out with meal prep, don’t overwhelm yourself! Cooking up a whole week’s worth of meals is a big task and even the best of us can struggle with that. My biggest tip is to ensure that it is manageable. I recommend sticking to a few days at a time to help you get used to the process.”

Allow yourself a little help

Asking for help is important for a lot of things in life, healthy cooking and meal prep is no exception.

You’re only one person. You only have two hands. It may seem obvious, but we understand the conflicted struggle we all sometimes feel about it because we want to tackle everything ourselves! Even if you’re going to be that independent go-getter, go at it in a way that makes it easy and efficient for you. Our Baggy Rack provides a hands-free way to fill baggies with all of your ingredients or freezer meals. Also, Erasable Food Labels are good tricks of the trade when it comes to meal prep.

Get in check with proper portions.

We developed our Healthy Steps Collection to provide the tools of the trade when it comes to healthy eating. So many of us struggle with proper portions. We get that! That’s why we created each item in this collection to easily measure single servings.

Coolest Gadgets recently highlighted our Healthy Steps Pasta Basket as a way to “keep your pasta cravings in check.” Each basket helps you measure a single serving of any type of pasta. Fit up to four baskets in one pot; this even allows you to cook everyone’s favorite pasta at the same time! Time-saving and possibly life-changing.

What are your goals for next year? Share it with us by using the hashtag #MakeLifeBetter!

Paula Deen Tree Storage Bag Design Sketch

Another sign that 2019 is officially off and running? Most of us begin taking down our their holiday decorations and packing them away for another Christmas to come (except that ONE neighbor. You know the one. Christmas ’till July….) With National Take Down the Christmas Tree Day just around the corner on Sunday, January 6, we wanted to take you behind the innovation of a particular storage and organization item related to this holiday. The  Tree Storage Bag within our Paula Deen Holiday Collection was created o help (festively) Make Life Better.

Begin with a concept sketch

Every product starts with a problem, followed by a solution. The big question we always ask is, “How can we Make Life Better?” After sketching out several concepts, it’s an amazing feeling for our team when we reach that “Aha!” moment. We analyze a design sketch and come to the conclusion that, “That’s it! This is the solution to the problem.” Check out one of the design sketches for our Tree Storage Bag!

Think about the features and benefits

A new innovation doesn’t hold the power to Make Life Better unless it has various features and benefits that not only make it unique but also make it useful. In designing the Tree Storage Bag, as with any new item, we went back to the basics. What were the problems we were trying to solve?

Bulky Christmas trees are often difficult to fit back in the same boxes they came from the store in. Plus, over time, those cardboard boxes simply don’t stand a chance…they will inevitably start to deteriorate. A sturdy bag of cloth fabric construction would help solve that problem.

So, now we have a sturdy tree bag, but how can we make it easy for end-of-Christmas elves to carry and store it away for another joyful holiday season? By incorporating carry handles and a drag handle, this provided two easy carry options. A sled plate with glide wheels makes the bag easy to pull (much like a wheeled suitcase), even up the stairs.

Adding a personal touch.

With the Tree Storage Bag as part of our Paula Deen Holiday Collection, we wanted to work with our friend and celebrity Paula Deen to add her own personal touch to add to the design aesthetic. The holidays are about celebrating and enjoying time with friends and family, so the red and white toile fabric was designed to pull in that aspect.

“The pattern was inspired by my family’s decorations from years past,” said Paula Deen. “I hope you love it as much as I do!” From a Christmas wreath to sketches of ornaments that hung on Paula’s very own family tree, to her signature “Hey, Y’all,” the toile fabric used throughout the holiday collection is a perfect reflection of Paula and her signature style.

Goodbye holidays. Hello New Year!

When do you take down your Christmas tree? Let us know if you could use a little bit of this kind of innovation in your life by using the hashtag #MakeLifeBetter! Best wishes for a Happy New Year. 2019 is your year to Make Life Better.

Whether it’s a Christmas gift or a birthday present, something for Hanukah or even just because, wrapping a gift perfectly is almost impossible. You could always use a gift bag–especially if the object is oddly shaped–but being able to use wrapping paper properly is important. And there’s always the risk of not having quite enough paper to wrap your gift. What to do, what to do?

 

The first step to wrapping presents beautifully is being well-organized. Our Jokari Gift Bag Organizer will help you keep your supplies organized. Clear pockets let you know what you have and you can store everything from gift wrap and ribbon to tissue paper, scissors and scotch tape.  You can hang it in your closet and never have to worry about finding all of your supplies again.  Just another way we help Make Life Better. Once you have all of your supplies in front of you, you’re ready to go. Here are a few foolproof methods to ensure a perfectly presented package each time.

METHOD ONE (Great for when you’re either running low on paper or you didn’t quite cut enough…)

1. Lay out your paper and place your gift diagonally so the edges of your gift create the third side of a triangle with the wrapping paper.

2. Fold over the top two corners and tape them down.

3. Continue folding and flipping as needed before tapping the gift shut.

METHOD TWO (For cylindrical objects)

  1. Measure the object. Add about four inches to the circumference. Use a tape measure for best results. Also, measure the height from top to bottom and the diameter of the flat side (if it has one).
  2. Cut out tissue paper or wrapping paper using the dimensions you just measured.
  3. Place the object in the center of the paper.
  4. Wrap the paper around the cylinder.
  5. Twist both ends to close, adding a ribbon if you so desire.

For other oddly-shaped presents, try giving your giftee an item related to it- gift wrap a hockey puck if you’re giving them a stick, for example. Consider using double-sided tape for a cleaner presentation. Work on a smooth surface. Hardwood floors are much easier for gift-wrapping than plush carpet. And don’t forget to get creative with bows, ribbons, and tinsel for bigger objects like bicycles or train tables. Creativity is key to making presents perfect. Just remember even if you run out of paper or it turns out a bit sloppy, all that matters is that it comes from the heart.

 

 

The holiday season is a hectic time. We race around trying to make the holidays perfect and it seems there’s never enough time in the day. But rejoice! There are steps you can take to get the holidays in order by first getting yourself in order!

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Keep these tips and ideas in mind as simple solutions to get more organized for the holidays and upcoming New Year!

Space-saving stocking stuffers

It’s often hard enough trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one, so smaller items like stocking stuffers usually go by the wayside and end up being last-minute purchases. These last-minute purchases usually result in small gifts that don’t mean much of anything to that excited person reaching into the stocking on Christmas morning.

Think about the personalities and needs of the gift-receiver. Is that person a foodie? A wine connoisseur? A coffee or tea lover? There are many gift ideas to fit these personalities, including small, space-saving gadgets for the kitchen.

Declutter for the New Year

While there are plenty of kitchen gadget stocking stuffers, there are just as many stocking stuffers and gifts that relate to storage and organization for the rest of the home.

The closet is often a trouble spot when it comes to organization. There’s just never enough space! Be the best gift-giver you can be when you, again, think about the needs and personalities of the receiver. Do they collect a lot of baseball caps? Do they travel a lot and need a better way to keep clothing and accessories together?  Does mom have a million purses? Storage solutions that keep these organized and make life better for the gift-receiver show you get it!

Another great way to declutter for the New Year is to get prepared after the holidays with items to donate. Tear old clothing out of the closet that’s now replaced by new items just received and get ready to donate. It’ll be a fresh start for you and a chance to help those in need.

Holiday storage and organization

After the New Year hits, it’ll be time to take down all of the holiday decorations (seemingly after you just put them up!). Instead of loading everything back up into those tattered cardboard boxes used year after year, consider sturdier options that are as functional as they are pretty! Our Paula Deen Holiday collection will help you look forward to putting decorations away and greet you year after year when it’s time to put them up again.

And don’t forget to enter our annual Paula Deen Holiday Collection Giveaway! One lucky winner will receive the entire Paula Deen Holiday Collection as well as an autographed photo of Paula!  Contest ends December 17, 2018.

Happy Holidays from Jokari!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re all a little more grateful in the last few months of the year, so why not let someone know you appreciate them? There are some things in life that everyone should know how to do and today we’re going to make life easier by brushing up on our writing skills, thank-you note style. You may have been forced to write them as a kid, but now that you’re a grown-up, it’s time to revisit this lost art and learn to send a sincere note of gratitude.

For this task, we enlisted the help of an expert: Michelle Detwiler is a high school English teacher (and self-proclaimed grammar snob) that lives in Asheville, North Carolina.  Michelle teaches letter-writing every semester and gave us the following tips:

  1. Date your note. That being said, you need to write your note in a timely manner. If you get a gift, you should send a thank you note as soon as possible…but definitely within a month.
  2. “Dear (state their name),” is the correct salutation.  Oh, and make sure the recipient’s name is spelled correctly. This may sound like a no-brainer, but if your uncle spells his name “Stephen” and you write a note to your Uncle “Steven,” you’re not setting a very thoughtful tone.
  3. The first words on your note should be “Thank you.” Thank the person for the gift, mention the occasion, and talk about something specific you will use the gift for or like particularly enjoy.  “Someone took the time to get you a gift,” Michelle said, “Don’t write a generic note that doesn’t show the giver that you know what you’re talking about or that fails to mention that you enjoy the gift.”
  4. Thank them again for your gift.
  5. End with a closing (“Sincerely,” always works) and sign your name.

“And DEFINITELY don’t email a thank you note,” Michelle added. It’s true…everyone likes to get something other than a bill in the mail. Who knows? Maybe 2018 will be the year we bring handwritten notes back in style.

Rather give than receive? Stay organized with the Jokari Gift Wrap and Bag Organizer.