2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Frugal Novice
Browsing Category

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

Fun, Eco-Friendly Holiday Decor from Cascades Boutique {Giveaway!}

I LOVE Christmas and decorating for the holidays, especially now that we have the boys and get to see their excitement about it all. We put up the tree, wrap presents, string lights and place various knick knacks around the house.

We tend toward liking modern design, so I was really intrigued when I came across Cascade’s Christmas trees made out of recycled cardboard. Isn’t the print on this one fun?

I decided the Massimo tree would be a good fit up in my office – after all, I spend a bulk of each weekday in the space, and all I had in the way of Christmas decor was a tiny “Merry Christmas” sign pinned to my door.

Well, problem solved:

Isn’t it fun? It’s 77″ tall, so it has the presence of a real tree with none of the mess – and it makes a modern statement that is really eye-catching. It ships flat, and then you piece everything together like a puzzle. It was really simple with the directions they provided, and I could imagine that kids would have a blast with assembly! Check out the fun tree-topper:

It even came with LED lights and some pine-scented spray. Fun, right? I love that it’s made from recycled cardboard, too. Cascades is an eco-friendly boutique, which also makes me feel good about any products I get from there.

Now, I’ll admit this tree is a modern take on holiday decor, so it may seem kind of different to some – but with the various color/print options available, I think there’s something for almost anyone. They have a white tree that would be really fun to let kids decorate for their playroom or bedroom!

Cascades also has recycled packaging paper that is GORGEOUS. I seriously love these designs – they’re right up our alley. The fun prints, some with hints of silver, are all on 100% recycled paper. Which one is your favorite? We like them all but especially love the one with red line drawings all over it.

Another great product from Cascades is their recycled holiday napkins. I like that they’re tall and narrow, and they depict a cozy winter scene. They add a special touch to holiday celebrations, and are inexpensive, too!

One lucky reader will win their very own Holiday Kit from Cascades Boutique, including a tree, wrapping paper, and napkins (value of $115.70)! This is going to be a QUICK giveaway to allow time for the winner to receive your prize and hopefully use it this holiday season! This giveaway is open to all U.S. and Canadian residents. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Monday, December 12. By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Visit the Cascades Boutique site and comment below to tell me what your favorite product of theirs is!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Note: Cascades Boutique sent me a tree, wrapping paper and napkins to facilitate my review, and is providing a Holiday Kit for a giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

How to Enter the BIG Giveaway!


UPDATE: WordPress will only allow a password to be 20 characters long, so just enter the first 20 numbers as your password!

This giveaway is only open until 10 a.m. Central Friday, December 2 so be sure and enter now!

I love games, so I hope you’ll enjoy this fun way to enter for your chance to WIN $50 CASH and a prize pack totaling $179 in value!  Halle Joy necklace ($39), Crayola 2GB MP3 player ($46), a selection of kids’ movies ($60), & two great Kushyfoot products ($34), all pictured below:

Every day throughout November, I have posted a number randomly on one of my gift guide posts (it could be in any of the categories). These numbers are single digits, and look like this:

Hunt them down in the order they’re provided (I’ve included dates to make it easier to keep track).

UPDATE: WordPress will only allow a password to be 20 characters long, so just enter the first 20 numbers as your password!

Go to the password-protected post. ONLY those people who know the correct 20-digit password (the first 20 numbers, in chronological order) can view the post and comment to enter the one-day giveaway of $50 cash, to be delivered December 2 via PayPal!

Note – This is NOT the entry post – go here to enter the password!

New {& Charming!} Bedding Collections from Kate Spade New York

We’ve been wanting to make over our bedroom (well, let’s be accurate. I have been wanting to – I don’t know that the thought has crossed Brian’s mind!) for a while now. It seems like it’s always the last space in our house we think about, but I like the idea of having a beautiful, serene space to end and begin the day in.

That’s why I’m loving kate spade new york’s newly introduced, expanded bedding collection, featuring four new styles inspired by the simple silhouettes, vibrant colors and classic sophistication the brand is famous for.  Each collection includes a duvet cover, shams, coverlet, sheet set and decorative pillows, and are available at Bed Bath and Beyond for $39.99 – $199.99 depending on item selected.

Check out the collections below – aren’t they great? I especially love the Whisper Whirl collection, but they’re all really fun!

Dragonfly Drive features the signature kate spade new york dragonfly emblem embroidered on both the duvet and shams.  Lattice print accents, ribbon detailing, and a soft green pallet put the finishing touches on this garden-inspired collection.

With just a wink towards nautical inspiration, Newport features navy and gray ribbons neatly tied into bows across a cream duvet.  Polka dot and stripe accents create a perfectly preppy look for any bedroom.

The sophisticated gray and pink pallet of Thistle Street is an ideal backdrop for the playful floral design featured on the duvet and shams.  Subtle in design and neutral in color, the collection lends itself beautifully to a variety of design and color themes while still remaining a focal point.

Whisper Whirl features white ribbons in a swirl effect on the duvet and shams over a soft blue pallet reminiscent of a clear sky.  Stripe accents add a touch of tailoring to a collection that is otherwise as light as air.

Don’t forget, you can find these collections at Bed Bath and Beyond for $39.99 – $199.99 depending on item selected. Dress up your bedroom, or give someone the gift of a total bed makeover!

Kwik Media Photo Items – Custom Holiday Gifts

With the advent of digital cameras, we all tend to take a ton of photos. With cameras on phones, it becomes even more prevalent! Why not take advantage of this trend and create a custom photo gift for people on your list?

As a parent of young children I can definitely attest to the fact that grandparents love photos of their grandchildren. It gets a little old giving them framed photos time and time again, though. You can only get so creative with frames, and then eventually people will start to run out of space for them all!

Now it’s easy to create something more unique for your loved ones – just in time for the holidays, Nero has added a new, enhanced service that will let anyone design and print beautiful custom photo books, calendars and greeting cards through its free Nero Kwik Media software. I ordered a photo book of the boys for my grandma, and I know she’ll love it!

Kwik Media lets you collect photos from all the PCs, Android smart phones and tablet devices in the family and then sync, manage and produce memories for a lifetime in smart, professional looking photo books and other projects.

The service makes it much easier to create projects from start to finish. Kwik Media streamlines the whole process – allowing you to import photos from different devices wirelessly, assemble your favorites into a file, and then make edits like red-eye removal, enhancing and cropping, with just the click of a button.

Instead of using a bunch of different programs Kwik will have all your photos ready to choose from, just pick a project and drag your photos into the order you want.

Once your layout is finished, you can choose from a huge selection of themed clip art to give your project your own personal style. Just pull in by drag and drop and size to your preference. Kwik Media lets you give every project a personal touch.

Photo products ordered through Nero Kwik Media are printed regionally from professional printers. Books typically ship within five to 10 business days.

Kwik Media has other functions. You can use tools to create slide shows and post photos and videos to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and other online social networks.

You can also use Kwik Media to manage your music and videos. For instance, you can use the software to burn content to DVD and Blu-ray discs so all your entertainment is in one place.

Visit http://kwikmedia.nero.com to download the free software and get started – and view this video to find out more:

Note: I received a code for a free photo book for writing this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

A Gift for Anyone: Blockbuster Total Access – Giveaway!!

If you’re looking for a gift that works for virtually anyone on your list, a gift subscription to Blockbuster Total Access just might be your answer. And be sure to check out their Black Friday deal – I think it would make a great stocking stuffer, at the amazing price point it’s at.


Blockbuster Black Friday weekend super deal UNDER $10:

Perfect for a hostess, white elephant or last-minute gift:  Gift Subscription Cards In-Store

  • Give 3 month By Mail subscription for only $9.99 (originally $30.00)
  • Unlimited By Mail rentals (one out at a time) of movies and games and unlimited in-store exchanges


Blockbuster holiday gifts UNDER $50:

Perfect for kids and families: the Blockbuster Giftable Kids Pass

  • Give one month, 6 month or 12 month passes for access to any kids/family movies and games

o   1 month = $4.99

o   6 months = $24.99 (get 1 month free)

o   12 months = $34.99 (get 4 months free)

  • Perfect for grandchildren, stocking stuffers and your nieces and nephews!


Perfect for Blu-ray movie lovers: the Blockbuster Blu-ray Bundle

  • Get a Blu-ray player for only $49.99 (originally $99.99) when you sign up for a 1-year subscription to Blockbuster Combo Pass or Blockbuster Total Access
  • The Blockbuster Combo Pass ($7.50 for first month; $14.99 each month after) includes a subscription of unlimited access to every rental (game and movie) in-store, and one movie or game a month from Blockbuster’s online By Mail service
  • You can give both as gifts, or keep one for yourself and give the other away!
  • Perfect for preparing the family for long days indoors and family holiday entertaining!


Perfect for a personalized gift: Build Your Own Box Set

  • Put together 3- ($24.99) or 5-disc ($39.99) sets of new movies $12.99 and under in a special gift box that doesn’t need wrapping
  • Or
  • Put together 3- ($19.99) or 5-disc ($29.99) sets of previously owned movies in a special gift box. Show someone you really know them with a personalized selection of movies in one giftable box!

One lucky reader will win the Blockbuster Black Friday deal – a three-month mail subscription! Use it for yourself or gift it to someone on your list – either way, this is something virtually anyone would enjoy, so I am excited to be holding a giveaway for it! This contest is open to all US residents 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Monday, December 12. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Comment on this post telling me what movie would be first on your list to check out if you win the Blockbuster subscription!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Note: Blockbuster is providing the three-month subscription for the giveaway. Any opinions provided in this post are honest and my own. I was not compensated monetarily and did not receive any products for this post.

Out of Print Coasters Add a Fun Touch to Home Decor

Brian and I love to read,  so we totally got a kick out of the coaster set from OutOfPringClothing.com. This set provides a nod to eight literary classics, including one of my favorite, Pride & Prejudice!

Even the packaging alone on the coasters is clever – it looks like a canvas-wrapped hardback book with a belly band. Love it! When the coasters are stored in the case, they become the pages of the book.

The coasters are water-resistant and make a graphic statement. They’re also a great conversation starter, since most people will have read a lot of the books referenced on the coasters.

These coasters would make a great stocking stuffer for any book lover, or even just anyone who likes pops of color in their home decor. You can buy the coasters here – they retail for $20.00. They also have tote bags, phone cases, clothing and more!

Note: I received a set of the coasters for review. All opinions are honest and my own. I was not compensated monetarily for this post.

Quick Draw Giveaway – $25 Gift Code!


It’s time for another Quick Draw giveaway. This will last about 24 hours, with it closing at 10AM Central.

I’m really excited about the prize – a $25 gift code to Melissa & Doug! This is one of my FAVORITE toy companies, so it’s awesome to be able to share this with y’all. They have great wooden toys, puzzles, arts & crafts kits, and more.


So, here’s how today’s giveaway works:

Find the giveaway numbers hidden among product pages on my Holiday Gift Guide. You’re looking for something like this:

Find the numbers for November 13th, 15th, and today (17th).

Enter the numbers as the password on this post.

Leave a comment on the password-protected post.

Voila! You’re entered to win!

If you have any questions, please let me know. Happy hunting, and good luck to everyone!!

Remember, do not comment on THIS post – go to the password-protected post to enter!

Cars 2: Lightning McQueen Alive


Looking for a unique toy to give this holiday season? Well…

Lightning McQueen Alive is no ordinary toy. Check out some of the features:

I was even impressed with the packaging – it will be sure to make an impact with anyone who receives it:


To really get an idea of what this car can do, you’ll have to check out the videos below. We were amazed at how realistic the animation of McQueen talking is, and all of the different driving sequences he can complete.

Despite what we originally thought, this toy is meant for older children or for adults. J loves it, but because it’s pricier (we found it retailing for $62 in most places) we make sure we’re around when he plays with it. It is a huge hit with both of the boys, though.

The vehicle charges by “gassing up” at the Allinol tank, which takes 6 AA batteries. It’s easy to attach & detach, and to tell when McQueen is ready to go, thanks to the red and green lights on the gas tank.

You can find the Lightning McQueen Alive here if you’d like to buy it for someone on your holiday list! It’ll be sure to stand out to any Cars fan, young or old.

Note: We received the Lightning McQueen Alive from Mattel for review. All opinions are honest and our own. We were not compensated monetarily for this post.

Voice Rockrz Mic


Help your kids find their inner rock star with the Voice Rockrz Mic. The interactive microphone changes a child’s voice as they perform with just a tap of the included accessories (a ring and a bracelet) to the Mic target zone. There’s a hi-note effect, an echo-tastic effect and a robo-riffic effect. You can also add concert sound effects like audience applause or a drumroll.

By plugging in any MP3 player into the jack, kids can rock out by singing along to their favorite songs! The mic is available in blue or pink, and requires 3 AAA batteries, which are included.

Our boys had a blast with the mic – they love hearing themselves talk and sing, so amplifying their voice and adding funny effects just made it 10 times better. Here’s a mini-performance from C, including a mic-check and everything.

Halle Joy Jewelry – Necklace Giveaway!

Halle Joy creates beautiful collections of fashion jewelry, handbags, and accessories to enhance the physical, mental, and spiritual beauty of those who wear them. They’re also committed to making the world a better place. Find out more in this video:

So, with Halle Joy you get the best of both worlds – beautiful products, with the knowledge that you’re helping make a difference in someone’s life!

I received this necklace for review:

Isn’t it pretty? It’s a classic heart silhouette with some sparkle. It’s not my style specifically, but I can still appreciate the beauty of the jewelry, and how well-made it is. They have a ton of different styles of jewelry and bags, which makes it a pretty sure thing that you’ll be able to find something for virtually any woman on your gift list! You can also let the recipient know that a portion of the proceeds from every piece Halle Joy sells goes to support worthy causes around the world. You even get to choose your favorite cause to support at checkout.

One lucky winner will receive a necklace from Halle Joy! This contest is open to all US residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Wednesday, December 7. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Visit the Halle Joy site, then comment below telling me what your favorite product is!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Note: I received a necklace to review, and Halle Joy is providing one for the giveaway. Any opinions provided in this post are honest and my own. I was not compensated monetarily for this review.

Make a Statement This Christmas with Custom Cards from TinyPrints.com


I’ve been a huge fan of Tiny Prints for a long time – they’ve got a ton of beautiful, modern, well-designed cards to choose from. Their Christmas cards are no exception. I was browsing their site just the other day (although I’m still a little in denial that it can really almost be time to start thinking about Christmas cards already!) and came across these three designs that I’m pretty much in love with:

See what I mean? Each of these designs is unique and distinct, but they are all so, well, pretty!

Now that I’m older and have friends scattered throughout the country (and even some around the world), the tradition of sending cards has become more important to me. As we receive cards, we tape them up on the back door as a kind of gallery to view throughout the holidays. How do you display your holiday cards?

If you’re looking for a way to make a statement and send a card that your friends and family will love displaying in their homes, be sure and visit TinyPrints.com to find a card that’s just right for you!

Note: I will be receiving cards from TinyPrints to thank me for my post. All opinions in this post are honest and are entirely my own. I was not compensated monetarily for this post.