Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

10 Tips for Leftover Halloween Candy With a Cultural Twist

09 Oct

Let’s be honest, when it comes to Halloween we’re only in it for the candy and it’s never enough. Halloween may not be traditional in every part of the world, but the custom has certainly caught on. From Ireland (where Halloween originated as All Hallow’s Eve) to The United States (where the custom was brought over by the first settlers), and even to Japan! Halloween has become a global phenomenon that is famous as the one night where you have permission to dress up as your favorite fantasy character. And sure, the costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating are all fun, but at the end of the day it’s all about the Halloween loot, and there’s tons of it. That leaves families all over the world with the same situation every year: Wondering what to do with extra Halloween candy. So here’s a list of 10 smart candy-packed ideas for your leftover Halloween candy to try.

10 Tips for Leftover Halloween Candy With a Cultural Twist

Image by Karla


Keep Reading

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


Just Moved to the USA? Here’s How To Be A Good Neighbor

25 Sep

It’s a little known fact that September 28th is National Good Neighbor Day in the US. This day is set aside to remind us all what it is to be a good neighbor. Such a day is also a good excuse to go say hello to those people across the way you haven’t managed to introduce yourself to yet.  Maybe you’ve recently immigrated to the US from another country, and need to know: What is a good neighbor? How can you be a good neighbor? How do you deal with bad neighbors? How do you balance being a good neighbor with not being a nosy neighbor?

These are hard questions, and you aren’t alone in asking them. Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbors can be tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with their cultural norms, and your results will vary. Here are some of our tips on learning to be a better neighbor (even if you aren’t a huge fan of the guy next door).

How To Be A Good Neighbor

Image by Ron Reiring

What is a Good Neighbor?

Even if you’ve recently moved to the US from a completely different country, you’ll be happy to know that many aspects of being a good neighbor are universal. We all want neighbors who are courteous, who respect our property, and who we can count on in an emergency. Beyond that, it’s essential to know more about your neighbor. Some people are open to a close, friendly relationship from neighbors, while others would prefer their privacy. Here are five ways you can make sure you’ve got the basics covered, and discover more about the kind of neighbor you have.

1. Introduce yourself!

Maybe your neighbor isn’t the social type, and they’ll never talk to you again – that’s fine. But giving them a chance to meet you so you both know each other goes a long way to making your home more welcoming. This is the perfect chance to get to know more about them. Ask about their family. Find out what holidays they celebrate. This question serves double duty: it lets you know when they might be busy with family, and also tells you the best times to send a little gift. Go above and beyond during this conversation by offering to keep an eye on their home when they’re away, or making sure they know they can borrow a cup of sugar from you. This is especially useful in apartment complexes where you are going to run into this person in the hall or laundry room.

2. When you’re wrong, say sorry.

We’ve all done it. Backed into a neighbors trash can, had a party get a little too loud, blocked their driveway or dozens of other little offenses. You hide and hope the incident goes on without remark so you can get away with it. In reality it’s a huge positive step to simply go over to your neighbor and apologize. These things happen (and chances are they’ve done them, too). If you take the first step to show them you’re human, and you aren’t actually secretly trying to ruin their life you’ll likely see a more fun side of them. You can pull this off by:

– Walking over, and explaining what happened. Make sure to actually say the words, “I’m sorry.” Or, “I apologize.” If you broke something, offer to replace it.
– Sending them a delicious sweet gift or cake if you did something especially rude (or you really like them).
– Inviting them over to the next loud party. If they’re part of the noise, they’re less likely to complain!

How To Be A Good Neighbor

Image by ponafotkas

3. Do that extra small gesture

Something as small as picking up their tipped over trashcan, or closing an open gate can make a huge difference in their day. If you build up trust and a small friendship, they might even return the gesture. After all, knowing you have someone that’ll take in a package when it’s raining can help a LOT with stress.

4. Organize a block party

This may seem old fashioned, but a block party  is a good way to get to know everyone more. It’s also a pretty awesome time. If everyone splits up food costs and chores, you end up with a weekend event that’s really enjoyable all around. You might be surprised when you go around your neighborhood looking for contributions to the party. One neighbor might have a sound system to offer; another might have a bouncy house or backyard pool for the kids. Giving all your neighbors a chance to contribute can result in a ton of community fun. You don’t have to do these often, or even make them fancy. The point here is the gesture. Use a Facebook page to coordinate everything and create transparency.

5. Be considerate

This seems obvious, but that makes it easy to forget. You can’t be perfect all of the time, but 4 am is NOT the time to mow your lawn. Make an effort to be considerate and mindful of the others around you and your neighbors are more likely to enjoy your company. Like everything else, it also makes it more likely that they’ll return the favor and let you sleep in Saturday morning.

If you already have a good relationship with your neighbor, just thank them for being there. Living in an area where you’re at least cordial with everyone around you creates an air of safety and peace. The easiest and best tip is to communicate! You don’t have to be best friends, but you may also be surprised at the amazing people around you.

How To Be A Good Neighbor

Image by Delaina Haslam

How should I celebrate Good Neighbor Day?

If you’ve already got the basics above covered, great! This is the perfect day to go above and beyond the basics. Even a small gesture will do the trick if you’re running low on time or money; a simple card with a message about how good it is to know them is sure to put a smile on their face. If you like to cook or bake, then taking your favorite neighbor a casserole or dessert is always a great option, and will help them out with at least one meal. Or, if you’re the kind who can’t boil water, pick out a gourmet gift basket friendly bouquet for them. And if you’ve recently immigrated, don’t forget your former neighbors this day. You might not live close to each other any more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue caring.

What do I do about bad neighbors?

First, pick your battles. Unless one of you is planning to move, you’ll be living near each other for the foreseeable future. Is your neighbor’s behavior merely annoying, or does it consistently interrupt your life or damage property? If it’s the former, consider trying to let it go. No one needs a war of spiraling resentments between neighbors if it can be avoided. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just roll over if your neighbor is always obnoxious or generally destructive.

When you have to deal with that neighbor, the first thing to do is check your anger. Yes, you likely have a good reason to be angry, but until you can calmly discuss a solution with your neighbor, you’re likely to only argue. If you’ve recently moved to the US from another country, remember that there may be cultural or language gaps, and try to give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt when you can. Focus on what will fix the problem. You’re going to have to talk to your neighbor about their behavior, and getting past the ‘You did this!’ stage will be important.  Describe the problem, tell them how it affects you, then request your solution. Be willing to negotiate on the solution if your neighbor is.

What if they won’t listen?

If your bad neighbor won’t listen to a one-on-one talk, then maybe other neighbors can help. This neighbor may be treating them the same way. Or one of them might get the message to him better? Asking for help might be a relief to other neighbors. If you’re part of a Home Owner’s Association, you could bring the issue to them for assistance.

Rarely, you may encounter a neighbor who goes beyond bad into the realm of scary or dangerous. In such a situation, you and your family come first, above being a ‘nice’ neighbor. If you think someone is in danger, call the authorities, and let them handle it. Yes, one neighbor might be very upset with you, but you’ll be being a good neighbor to the others.

You’re ready to go out and shake hands, now what?

– Share your best good neighbor story online and tag us with #GiftBasketsOverseas.

– Invite your neighbors over for dinner, and pamper them with a dish from Cooking with Wine: 3 Easy Recipes to Impress Your Guests.

– Simply send a gift basket with yummy treats.

– Share this post to help your friends be better neighbors too.

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


Your Guide to Unique Rosh Hashanah Gifts

11 Sep

Rosh Hashanah is on its way. Yes – New Year at the end of summer! Many of us don’t think much about this holiday unless your family, friends or business associates observe Jewish New Year, but it’s one of the holiest days of the year in the Hebrew calendar. So, more of your friends than you think are celebrating. Starting on September 20th this year, Rosh Hashanah is the perfect time to reflect on mistakes, and ask for forgiveness – which means it’s a great time to send an apology gift. If you’re not sure what to send, keep reading: This is your cheat sheet to the best Rosh Hashanah gifts you can send this season.


Image by Ron Almog

Keep Reading…

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


5 Tips To Make Your Eid al-Adha Gift Perfect

29 Aug

Eid al-Adha is one of the most popular Muslim festivals observed in the world. “Eid al-Adha” means “Festival of the Sacrifice,” it’s also known as the Greater Eid. The holiday is a holy time for prayer, sacrifice, generosity, and exchanging an Eid al-Adha gift or three with friends, family, and those in need.

During the celebration of Eid al-Adha (which starts on August 31st this year), Muslims commemorate and remember Prophet Abraham’s trials by slaughtering an animal (sheep, camel, or goat). Most of the meat is given away to friends and donated to the poor as an act of willingness to give up some bounties in life, to strengthen ties of friendship and help the needy.

But there are plenty of ways to share the bounty during Eid, and one of the most common is to send an Eid al-Adha gift. Need help with choosing one? The suggestions below will give you an idea of how to be generous during the Greater Eid.

Great food makes a great Eid al-Adha gift

Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


Cooking with Wine: 3 Easy Recipes to Impress Your Guests

17 Aug

Have you heard all the buzz about cooking with wine in your recipes? Yes, it’s true: wine and food is a match made in heaven. It is also true that as long as food and wine are carefully matched, they will complement one another in perfect harmony and bring your everyday cooking to a whole new level without any extra effort. To prove our point we’ve picked 3 delicious and amazingly easy recipes that will make you fall in love with the idea. Just remember, it is very important when cooking with wine, to use types that you would drink. While it is not necessary to use the most expensive wine, it is still essential to use good, flavorful wine. If not – then all those culinary benefits will be lost.

Cooking with wine: soak your pasta

Keep reading

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


Dog House Blues: 7 Ways To Say I’m Sorry

03 Aug

As much as we hate to admit it, we all make mistakes. The part of a mistake that defines you is not the mistake itself, but how you learn and grow from it. The very first thing to do, is apologize. It sounds obvious, but often people hope that the damage will either go unnoticed or be ignored. There’s not real healing if you don’t own up to the mistakes you’ve made, and no real growth if you hope that those around you will be too polite to say anything.

So how do you go about apologizing and making amends? It may sound like a silly question but what makes your apology feel sincere is intent and effort. If you put no thought into it, are you really remorseful? Are you really considering the other person (or people) if you’re just trying to get things over with as quickly as possible?

Your words have weight with an apology gift

Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


Do I Have To? How to survive Bridal Plans & Wedding Cakes

21 Jul

Do I Have To? Your Guide to Wedding Cakes, Bachelorette Parties & Bridal Season

You’re part of the bridal party, and you’ve found it’s more like a bridal army since you’re in charge of tactical decisions like: how many wedding cakes can we taste, are these the best flowers for the bouquet, and really – penis straws? If you’re her best friend, her maid of honor, or have somehow become a colleague’s impromptu wedding planner: this starter guide to wedding planning is for you.

Do I Have To? How to survive Bridal Plans & Wedding Cakes

Keep Reading…

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


Celebrate World Chocolate Day with a Chocolate Drink

06 Jul

We know there’s a lot of unofficial “World [something]” holidays out there, but we think this one is pretty important: World Chocolate Day is July 7th, and we encourage you to celebrate with a decadent chocolate drink! Because what’s better than having a international holiday as an excuse to make sure your chocolate stash if full of delicious wonders! In fact, we are absolutely positive you already know how you’d like to celebrate. You have your go-to chocolate. That fantasy artisan chocolate shop nearby that you couldn’t justify shopping at until now. As well as plenty of friends to give you tip on their go to chocolate craving fix.

World Chocolate Day

While you’re thinking about chocolate bars, brittles, cakes, ice-creams, sauces and more. Take a moment to consider the under appreciate but much beloved chocolate drink this World Chocolate Day! If you can’t think of any new chocolate drinks to try, here are 10 of our some international favorites!

Keep reading…

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


Tips for Cooking With Leftover Wine

22 Jun

What? Such thing as “leftover wine” actually exists? This might sound as rare as the majestic unicorn. Sooner or later we all come to a point in life when an open bottle of wine is rattling around the fridge and the clock is ticking on its drinkability. Whether you’ve just had a party with way too much booze, received a weird wine in your gift basket, or simply can’t soldier through the whole bottle solo, don’t worry. There’s no need to throw out the leftover wine with tears in your eyes. Instead, you can put it to a good use and add a flavorful touch to your everyday cooking.


So versatile both in the glass and on your plate, cooking with wine can definitely bring about its own pleasure. In fact, using wine in your recipes can be even more rewarding. To achieve the culinary glory of wine requires one simple thing: experimenting with wine as an ingredient. But a shortcut to success are these useful tips we are about to share. Keep reading…

No Comments

Posted in Blogs


A Quick Guide to Dia dos Namorados in Brazil

12 Jun

Most countries in the world are already familiar with Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and all things romantic. What they may not know is that in Brazil they celebrate a holiday of love very similar called Dia Dos Namorados on June 12th.  Why would people in Brazil chose to have a separate romantic holiday? Are their reasons religious, or commercial? We’ve taken a look and separated out some of the information about this very interesting holiday for lovers.

Dia dos Namorados

Keep reading…

No Comments

Posted in Blogs