the art of gifting

Let’s all be real- everyone is on a budget. Or at least you should be. Shopping is fun but it’s even more fun when you know you got a really good deal! As a shopper, I know that I love to buy stuff. I think my favorite part of the holidays is giving though. I just love when I buy someone a gift and they love it (it makes me feel like I succeeded at getting them a good gift). Below I will go into detail about some good gifts that are great on a budget and some tips for getting the most for your money! (just as a warning these are gift that I like, so these might not be right for everyone but I know that if I got it I would love it!)

Tips!

  • Online shop first
    • Online shopping is fun but I prefer to go to the store. Before going shopping you should do some online shopping (as research), it will allow you to see which items you really like. Also online shopping has the low to high price feature which lets you know that these items are more budget friendly!
  • Create a budget
    • Make sure that before you know exactly how much you want to spend. This will allow you to go into stores knowing your budget
  • Stick to your budget
    • I would say a good rule is if your item is 10% or more over budget, you need to evaluate if this is really the right gift for you. Some gifts will be worth it, but at least you will think about it
  • Create a theme
    • having a theme for your gift is important especially if it’s a lot of small items. You want to make sure the person knew that you were thinking when you picked this out, not just throwing random stuff together.
  • Be flexible
    • It’s the holiday season. The store might not have exactly what you are looking for, but they might have something just as good. Just know that it is not the end of the world if you get the navy tie instead of the pastel blue.
  • Imagination is key
    • Marc gave me the idea that if I’m looking for a card for someone, have an imagine in my mind of what I want. Think about the color and message you’re looking for. This tip has saved me so much time (and heartache!)

Gift ideas!

  • Bath and Body Works
    • Bath and Body works is the perfect stop for gifts! You can get three minis (which can be a mix of lotions, body gels and sprays) for $12 I believe.
    • They also have gift kits, but you can mix and match items to make your own (plus they give out gift wrap or will wrap it for you)
    • The combination of rose salve, a pair of fuzzy socks and a mini super hand lotion is about $20. Remember! You can customize your items to get whatever price you want!
  • Build a Bear workshop
    • build a bear sells tiny teddy bears for about $6. Their normal sized bears start at $12! Also they sell asthma and allergy friendly bears so if your giftee (lol the person getting the gift) suffers from asthma or allergies they’re set!
    • The combination of a bear and balloons is very popular for birthday, Valentine’s day, etc. Just remember that dollar stores sell balloons and they last!
  • Forever 21
    • This is one of my favorite stores because they always have little stuff!
      • On their website they have this link called Gift Shop and they even have a list of stocking stuffers started at $1!
    • Forever 21 sells fuzzy socks for about $4, which is about half the price of the ones at Bath and Body Works. Plus they’re in a two pack!
    • Last week I went to forever 21 and in their basics section that had this really cute white long-sleeved crop top. It was super stylish and super comfortable! Plus is was only $6!
    • The jewelry here is also really cute! It’s all fake but it’s great for just a night out!

I hope that this has given you some suggestions on what to gift! Also remember that the thought that went into the gift is more important than the cost!

happy-holidays

“this election is stressing me out!”

I talked to my roommate earlier and she told me those exact words as she’s watching the polling numbers come through. As much as I want to not care, I can’t help but occasionally look at poll numbers to see who is winning. I have already put my political beliefs out there, and I stick by them. I wanted to make a post about how I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the University of Michigan Rally with President Obama yesterday, but that will have to be saved for another day. As an African-American woman, this election is important to me. This election is important to my future children and I can honestly say I’m trying hard to have faith in this country. I’m trying hard to remember that this is the country that despite the racial issues that have been exposed by Trump’s campaign, voted and elected President Barack H. Obama as 44th president of the United States. I’m trying to have faith that we will elect a woman who is passionate about children and women and who has morals. So as the results pour in, Lord please be with America. Please allow us to have the ability to understand right from wrong and to have voted for the candidate on the left who is the right candidate (lol cause liberals are seen as on the left). I thank you Lord for this in advance. Amen.

hrc

#blacklivesmatter pt.2

Lately I’ve been a pretty big news follower. Pretty much all I do on my phone besides text is read articles, especially after the recent shootings. All of the protests are people saying enough is enough. Something has to change and this is how. There are a few things I’d like to discuss first though.

  1. Though this is a time of reflection, it is a time to be smart. Social change comes through policy reform. The best way to get policy reform is economically. People listen when you mess with their money. Be careful about who and where you’re shopping and giving your money to. Reform needs to happen and economics play a huge role. Some may say that boycotting is silly. I just view it as this could be a very big deal, or a very small deal. I’d rather participate and hope it sparks change, then give up before I even try.
  2. Though this is a time of mourning over lost lives, it is a time to celebrate. I love watching Women’s gymnastics for the Olympics. The team this year includes Gabby Douglass (who I just love) and Simone Biles. They are both extremely talented young women whose talents will open more doors for young African-American girls. Laurie Hernandez, a young Latina woman, will be joining them also. I’m happy that there is representation for young girls of color for this year’s Olympics. Representation matters.
  3. Though this is a time of togetherness, it is a time to act. Protests (non-violent) matter. There was a protest in my city today. Though I was unable to attend sadly, I’m proud of Ramoni, one of the leaders of the protest. Actions speak louder than words. Standing up for what you believe in matters. The picture below is from one of the protests in Baton Rouge. I like this picture because you can see how calm she is, like she’s so firm in her beliefs she’s calm. Plus it reiterates that this campaign is not meant to be harmful. It is just to fight for what is right.
  4. Though this is a time for contemplation, it is a time to vote. Voting for this election is more important than ever. One of the canidates is running a campaign based off of hatred and we have to join together to support what is right. No matter your view on Hillary Clinton, if she wins the nomination she’s our chance. I’ve seen many things on twitter about writing Bernie Sanders in. Though this may seem like a good idea, it is just going to split the Democratic vote, allowing other candidates to win. Remember that a campaign built on hate is built off of lies and stereotypes. Also stay away from twitter trolls.
  5. Though this is a time for revolution, it is a time for communication. Not everyone shares the same beliefs. But it is important to be clear with your beliefs. A common “come back” saying for #blacklivesmatter is #alllivesmater. No one said all lives didn’t matter. All lives do matter. That’s why it is important to emphasize that the lives of African-Americans matter because the system doesn’t recognize that they do. It is sad to say that this movement seems to be turning into something that is used to recognized lives lost. It is about the lives being important┬ábefore they are gone. It is important to realize that there are things we can do to try to break the cycle. That is why we protest. That is why we boycott. Because trying is eventually going to lead to change.

Change is going to come. Just wait on it.

blm

 

#blacklivesmatter

With all of the uproar about police brutality, I just wanted to comment on what is going on. Though I know minimal about the recent cases, I do know that police brutality towards African-Americans has always been a problem. And it will continue to be a problem until the system changes. In my opinion, the easiest way to change the system is to be a part of the system and remake it. The relationship between the police and the community is very strained which allows immersion into the system to be harder.  This is due to the injustices that happen. Another way to stop this is through education. This fall, I’m taking a writing seminar called Race, Rioting and Police Brutality in the US in the 1960s. I want to educate myself on my past. One of the requirements for graduation in LSA at University of Michigan is Race and Ethnicities (courses related to that topic). With this, people will gain more knowledge on people and the past/present. I’m glad this is a requirement just because I think it’s important to learn about and because Michigan is a PWI (Primarily White Institution). It’s going to force people to see the world differently, even if they want to act like racial issues aren’t real. We talked a lot about race relations in my sociology class and about how people don’t always want to believe these issues are real and where these issues come from. Everyone should take a sociology class because it’s eye opening. I think this will also spark change in the system. To me, it is crazy that the police get away with killing people, as if murder isn’t supposed to be illegal. I was discussing this with my mother earlier, and she pointed out that this is nothing new. She discusssed different issues, such as segregated water fountains. One day, I pray, that the laws will reflect that the lives of African-Americans matter. The whole #blacklivesmatter movement is simply a reflection of how black lives are undervalued and why they should be valued. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and as a whole African-Americans are not treated with respect. Yesterday there was a protest at my university. I didn’t know, and I happened to just walk past (it was very peaceful). I wish I would’ve went just to see what it’s like to stand up for what you believe in. Literally to stand and support a cause.  I believe that our lives need to matter while we are alive and death should be a reflection of our accomplishments (which happens when you die naturally). Black lives matter doesn’t mean Black lives are the only lives that matter, it’s just saying that those who have been killed unjustly matter. You matter.