A Gift That’s More Than Just a Gift

It’s not unusual to feel stressed when you realize you need to find a gift for someone’s birthday, plan a party or decorate your home for a holiday and your schedule is too packed to allow for leisurely shopping, planning and decorating time. Just imagine how wonderful it would be to have a special go-to idea or plan that eliminates that stress. Fortunately, there are some tips to follow that will give you an enthusiastic, rather than stressed, approach toward special occasions and holidays.

Shopping Made Easy

One of the best ways to save time and give exceptionally thoughtful gifts is to find a gift source that offers gifts for all occasions. Jim Shore figurines is an ideal example of a source you can depend on to find gifts for kids, teenagers, adults friends and family. Disney theme collectibles can delight a child and revive happy memories for teens and adults. Giving a young child a collectible can be a teaching opportunity. They can learn that some gifts are meant to be played with while others are to be appreciated for their artistic beauty. You can start a trend by giving friends and family collectibles for special occasions. You won’t have to wonder what to give them and they will eagerly anticipate the next item to add to their collection.

Holiday Decorating

If you acquire a collection of holiday-themed figurines, you can quickly decorate your home for all special occasions. Figurines don’t require much storage space. You can rotate the figurines as the seasons change or as specific holidays roll around. You can choose a central location in your home as a display space or incorporate the figurines in various decorative ways throughout you home. Your family and friends will be impressed with your style and creativity and you’ll be pleased with how quickly it all came together.

You can choose party themes that coincide with the collectible gift you plan to give someone on their special day. Regularly exploring collectible gifts may inspire you to give someone a surprise gift when there’s no special occasion. Gifts to encourage and comfort someone often become treasures that they can see, touch and be reminded of how much you care. Always remember, it’s okay to buy a gift for yourself simply because it makes you smile.

Treating Pets Like Royalty

When you're on vacation, your pets can be on a vacation as well. There are boarding facilities that offer suites that are comfortable and feature amenities that the pet would find at home, such as a cot or a blanket. Facilities will also provide food and water as well as time outside for the dog to play. A luxury dog hotel offers a bit more in the way of freedoms that are offered and amenities to make the dog feel like it's in a castle instead of in a kennel.

With most hotels, the staff will contact the owner of the dog to make sure that they are still planning to arrive. This is to ensure that the space will be used. The staff will also find out if there is any special treatment that needs to be offered or if the dog has any dietary needs that the staff needs to abide by, such as a food for a healthy weight. Most luxury hotels offer a spa package that includes a bath and a massage. This helps the pet relax while away from home. It's a good idea to make sure that this service is included if the pet has never been away from your before as it can be a way for the pet to focus on the attention instead of being away from home.

When the dog is inside the suite, there will likely be some kind of sound. Some suites have a television that is set to an animal channel while others play soothing music. A benefit of your dog staying in a pet hotel is that someone will take the dog outside for walks and play time during the day. If the dog has been spayed or neutered, then there could be play time with other dogs staying at the facility. This is a fun time for dogs as yours might not interact with others at home. Dogs are fed a high-quality food and given water during the day. Treats are usually given as well. Your pet is treated like royalty at most luxury hotels, allowing you to focus on your vacation and time away from home.

Urban Hymn, letting a song lead a new path

I was sent a screening copy of Urban Hymn.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Life is full of choices. Sometimes those choices are easy and others are quite difficult.  The new movie, Urban Hymn, a young girl's difficult choices. 

Although sounding like an old person, kids today have a rough life.  Growing up too fast, too many temptations, lack of direction and a multitude of other issues are part of every day life.  For many kids, it is just easier to choose the like path, follow the crowd and basically give up.  The new movie Urban Hymn examines how a young girl can make a different choice by finding her voice, literally.

This movie examines the relationship of a social worker and a young girl. The young girl has a talented singing voice.  The social worker recognizes this talent and encourages the girl to explore her talent.  The hope is that this talent can bring the girl out of a less than ideal place.  But, the decision isn't as easy or clear as it seems.

Many of the characters and scenes are realistic.  As much as we want to over look it, kids make poor choices, use foul language and may be walking down a bad path.  If they are lucky, someone will try ton intervene and make a difference.  Unfortunately, many kids don't have a positive influence.

Even with a good voice in their ear, kids have to choose the right path.  Standing out from the crowd is often more difficult than the repercussions from a bad choice.

Urban Hymn is a good conversation starter.  The movie isn't easy to watch and it shouldn't be.  The dirty side of growing up is real even if no one wants to see it.  Change is possible, but only when the problem isn't ignored.

Although this movie isn't for young children, it could be a worthy watch for parents.

Urban Hymn is out now and available for download.    To learn more about this movie, visit their social media pages.  Facebook  /  Twitter

Tax Day Specials Bring Savings Relief

Tax Day have you down?  Very few people look forward to the annual tax day.  Luckily a few companies are brining some tax day savings relief to your day.

Here are a few savings for this Tax Day.

Planet Fitness

From Saturday, April 15 – Saturday, April 22 consumers can receive a free HydroMassage at any Planet Fitness location. De-stressers need only bring in a coupon available on PlanetFitness.com (starting April 15) before relaxing their cares away.

From Wednesday, April 12 – Tuesday, April 18, those who file their taxes digitally this year can receive $4 off any $10 purchase placed through order.noodles.com using the code “TAXDAY17” at checkout.

On Tuesday, April 18, any guest who dines in-restaurant can purchase a $10.40 Tax Day Meal Special. Offer includes a Half Chicken Individual Meal with 2 sides, cornbread, a regular fountain beverage and a cookie.


Benefits of Studying the Arts

Subjects like music and art are critically underfunded throughout the country. Some are even being eliminated due to budget cuts to education. It is incredibly unfortunate that these valuable, worthwhile classes are often some of the first to be sacrificed. Students of all ages gain much more than concrete knowledge and skills through the pursuit of these activities. The associated dividends are great. Continue reading below in order to understand the tremendous benefits of studying the arts.

Kids gain a ton of confidence through the mastery of skills required in artistic endeavors. From playing those first scales to completing a difficult song without mistakes, instrumentalists become more self-assured along the way. Theatre performers most certainly gain confidence as they learn to maintain a stage presence and project their voice. Stepping out of one's comfort zone is required of most types of art.

The ability to maintain attention on multiple components is a common theme throughout the arts. Musicians, both vocal and instrumental, must be able to think ahead while they are performing in order to avoid mistakes. They also must listen to those around them and observe the conductor so that they remain on tempo.

The ability to keep going despite difficulties is essential to success in any pursuit, and it's a skill that is highly valued by employers. Artistic lessons require students to persevere if they hope to achieve even moderate proficiency. Each new song or skill that is learned provides motivation to continue. The development of this attribute is reason enough to support the arts, as it will benefit your children throughout their lives.

Problem Solving
Another practical skill learned through exposure to arts programs is the ability to solve problems and think critically. Across the board, each art form provides ample opportunity to solve problems because each new project must be interpreted in unique ways. Students need to determine the steps to take to bring words on the page to life through line delivery in theatrical productions. A ball of clay doesn't become a vase on its own, and paints must be spread across the page in a particular fashion in order to create the masterpiece an artist envisions.

These are merely a few of the advantages kids gain by studying the arts. There are plenty more. Artistic pursuits are fundamental to the growth and development of our future.