A Fun Holiday Activity

Each year, the New York based employees in my company come together to celebrate the holidays. Last year we spent the evening ice skating at Bryant Park followed by a fun pizza dinner.


This year, we tried something different that none of us had done in years – a gingerbread, aka graham cracker, house competition.


We split into teams of two, based on the random number we chose, and spent 40 minutes creating the best house possible. Some teams created elaborate, multiple story houses while others created small but sturdy homes.  This was an inexpensive team building activity that resulted in lots of smiles, conversations reminiscing about childhood traditions and laughter.




If you’re looking for a fun, holiday activity to do with co-workers, friends, family or children this is a perfect option.


Here are the list of ingredients we provided each team: 

  • Aluminum tray which served as a base for the homes
  • 1 package of Graham Crackers (We made the houses from graham crackers since these were easier to find then gingerbread.)
  • Bowls of candy/decorations including:
    • gum drops
    • junior mints
    • square pretzels
    • red and green M&Ms
    • peppermints & candy canes
    • Necco wafers
    • Sprees
    • Lifesaver Gummies
    • Nerds
  • One tub of Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
  • Spoons and knives
  • Paper Towels

The only issue was at the end of the competition, we didn’t know what to do with the completed homes. For now they are decorating our office but in the future, I’d love to find somewhere to take them such as a nursing home or childrens shelter. Next year, we may do a cookie decorating contest so we can take the completed projects to a Ronald McDonald House, youth home or other place where kids and families could enjoy the finished products.


Holiday Gift Guide – Gifts Under $25

This year, I have four different occasions calling for Secret Santa gifts. Even though I should be accustomed to this aspect of the holiday season, each year I feel clueless. After searching the internet for ideas, I’ve pulled together my top picks of under $25 gifts.  You won’t find any gift cards included in this post as I do my best to avoid gift cards. Even though they can make the perfect gift, I find them a bit too impersonal. I’ve done my best to include at least a few items that can be given to males, majority of items which are workplace appropriate and of course the four items I’ve picked for this year’s Secret Santa gifts.

Secret Santa Gifts Under $25

  • We buy both the traditional peppermint back and the cup version in bulk on Black Friday as it’s the perfect gift for neighbors, co-workers and family alike. If you’ve never tried it, they give out samples during the hoilday season in all the William-Sonoma stores. Trust me, one sample will turn into five if you’re like me. $12-$25
  • This Ole Henriksen On-The-Go set is perfect for that friend who is always dashing from her workout to the next social commitment or spends a lot of time jet-setting. $15
  • Over 8,200 consumers have made the KMASHI External Battery Bank the best selling iPhone batter pack on Amazon! The compact power bank can charge to iPhone, iPad, and Android at rapid speed and contains 6.5 hours of charging when full! $11.89
  • This Sephora Perfume Travel Sampler is perfect for any female as she is sure to like one of the seven scents featured in this mini set. Even better, she can exchange the included voucher for a FREE rollerball or travel spray of her favorite fragrance! $25
  • This Contigo 20 oz snap seal travel mug makes the perfect gift for anyone on your list! A spill-proof way to carry a smoothie, coffee or other favorite beverage to the office, this will quickly become their favorite to-go mug! $12.99
  • This candle brand has a cult following and now that they’ve made a mini size in six different scents, it will make anyone’s home smell delightful during the holidays and beyond. $12.00
  • This tiny Bluetooth speaker will allow everyone on your list to enjoy great sound quality wherever they go. Perfect for beach weekends, home office, cooking in the kitchen or at the park, this delivers up to 12 hours of sound! $15.85
  • This Jack Black Lip Balm set is perfect for anyone on your list! The hydrating and SPF protecting lip balm comes in four delicious flavors ranging from mint to mango. The brand makes it masculine enough for a guy but the benefits make it perfect for everyone! $25
  • This scarf will keep both men and women alike warm and cozy regardless of whether that’s in their freezing office or on the commute. $16.50
  • An ornament that is personalized to their hobbies, interests or their city is a great gift for anyone on your list who decorates a Christmas tree each year.  I typically find great ornaments at Anthropologie, Macy’s and Paper Source!

Your turn: What’s the best Secret Santa gift you’ve received or given? 


Thanksgiving 2016


Hi, friends! Happy Tuesday! This post was actually supposed to go live yesterday but unfortunately, my draft mode didn’t work. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend and were able to enjoy some time with friends and family.  After enjoying five days of relaxation, Monday was  a VERY busy work day. I can’t remember the last time I took five days off of work, blogging and most social media without an actual vacation. This Thanksgiving staycation was exactly what I needed. Now, I get to kick off my favorite month of the year, December, energized and ready to accomplish everything on my personal and professional to-do list between now and the Christmas holidays.

In fact, I disconnected so much that when I went to my iPhone just now, to download images for this post, I realized I took a grand total of six pictures over the past five days.

Wednesday I spent the day relaxing in the city, casually running errands and enjoying a few things I rarely have time to savor and enjoy. I took a mid-day Strength class at Uplift, enjoyed a leisurely lunch at ByChefChloe, got a hair cut and watched a movie.

Thursday I started Thanksgiving with the fun and festive Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot 5-miler. This year my sole goal was to enjoy the race and gorgeous weather with my good friend Mary. We chatted the entire five miles, keeping a 9 minute jog/1 minute walk pace since neither of us have run very much lately. If you stay in New York City next year for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend this race. It’s very reasonably priced AND runners get great swag including a winter hat and medal.


The rest of Thursday was spent in the kitchen with Bo as we prepared a Thanksgiving feast for six. We kept things simpler this year since we were hosting a smaller group and two of our guests were coming directly from a Thanksgiving lunch. Our menu included: perfect roasted turkey, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potato casserole, corn bread and pumpkin cheesecake.


After cleaning up from Thursday night’s festivities, Bo and I spent the rest of Friday and Saturday together enjoying the sights, tastes and sounds of Manhattan and Brooklyn together. We went for a run together, took a special, 60-minute Turkey Burn Flywheel class with our favorite instructor, Josh Arden, tried a few new restaurants and went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We ended Saturday with a combined birthday and anniversary dinner at Battersby, a wonderful restaurant that has been a neighborhood highlight since it opened in 2011.

We started transitioning from vacation mode to work mode on Sunday, spending much of the day running errands, doing laundry, cleaning the house and finally decorating our home for Christmas with Russell and Meg. The four of us spent Sunday evening decorating, catching up and laughing our way through Die Hard. Somehow, Meg nor I had ever seen the movie and after questioning how it was listed as a holiday classic Bo insisted we watch it.