How To Host A Great Party On A Budget

Everyone likes getting together, having some drinks and sharing some laughs, but going out to a restaurant or bar is incredibly expensive. Hosting parties at home still presents a cost, but much lower than going out.

Alcoholic Drinks

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If your party includes alcohol, a good way to limit the amount needing to be spent is to make a large pitcher of one drink. Most guests don’t mind contributing one bottle of alcohol when attending, so with a couple bottles, soda pop and some other flavours, an inexpensive but delicious night can be had. I recommend ensuring your alcohol has been in the freezer for a couple hours and that the pop is cold to help keep the pitcher cool longer without as much ice. Also investing in re-usable solid cubes can keep the pitcher cold without watering down the drink.


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If you have a knack for baking, no one will turn down brownies, cookies or cake. Generally the cost of making a couple plates of food is much lower than ordering pizza. I like to do a variety of foods so that everyone can enjoy no matter their diet. We do a veggie plate, a wrap plate (deli meats with cheese and sauce wrapped up in a tortilla and cut into bite sized pieces) and a treat plate. If you are expecting extra guests, a bag of chips is never a bad idea. Depending on your guests, flex your cooking skills and be creative!


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Contrary to what films and TV show us, it is very unlikely that a dance party will break out throughout your home, what is more likely is that people will mill together and have conversations while others will sit quietly alone. To even it out for everyone board games, video games like Super Smash Brothers and trivia can help bring everyone together and make the night more fun. If it is an adult party, drinking games and beer pong can also bring people together. If you don’t own board games, chances are one of your guests will, so ask around and most guests are happy to lend.


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Across the year we host for many events and holidays, each of which I try to build a theme for. New Years is always a fun one to decorate for with white and gold balloons from the dollar store and hanging golden stars. We get paper plates for each holiday which sit under $5.00 a pack and a table cloth which is usually $3.00. All together we decorate our home for under $20.00 and it is great fun. For more complete holidays like Halloween, the basic table cloth and paper plates are also included, and for around $10.00 I can cover the entire house with spiderwebs. Add a couple balloons and some theme matching desserts to complete the look.

Have A Plan

Having a rough idea of where the night is going to go and have a back up plan. If you are planning a board game night and not enough people show up, make sure you have back up entertainment available. Should more people show up than expected you should have a bag of chips or extra food available to be able to feed everyone. Think ahead and try to expect the needs of your guests.

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Prepare Your Home

The basic cleaning before guests come over applies, but beyond that, have an extra roll of toilet paper easily reachable so that a guest isn’t in the uncomfortable situation of calling out for assistance. Remove sensitive information from common areas and ensure your from closet has room to accommodate the outerwear of your guests. Set out extra seating before guests arrive and have food items ready before the start time of the party. Have clear marked out of bound areas or make sure to inform guests rooms or areas of the home that should not be entered during the festivities.

Have Fun

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Your guests can tell when you aren’t happy or comfortable during the party. Planning ahead of time and having food and drink easily available to your guests will reduce the stress of trying to get drinks and get items for your guests. The more “self serve” you set things up, the easier your party will be and you will have more time to have fun with your guests, rather than constantly trying to be the prefect host. Don’t forget to enjoy this time.


Timeless Gifts

There are two tiers of gifts in my eyes, the first tier being gifts that will serve a purpose aside from decoration that are long lasting. The second tier are trinkets or short term gifts. Flowers, wine, food, cards and things of that nature just aren’t lasting gifts. The value of lasting gifts is more than just a good gift, but something that can be used often and enjoyed is a wonderful thing to both give and receive.


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Homemade or purchased, a blanket is a long term hug. People grab blankets when they are cold, sad or need comfort. A blanket never loses its usefulness, as it can be used every day for many years. The receiver of a good blanket will think of you often, and be grateful to have such a wonderful thing. Making blankets can be quite time consuming and expensive, but if you have the skills and motivation, it will mean a lot to someone.


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A good knife, multitool or even a set of tow straps can not only be a great gift, but can get someone out of a bad situation. A good knife will open gifts, cut ropes, pick out splinters and so much more. A multitool can do most of the necessary maintenance inside your home. Tow straps and cables can get someone out of the ditch or get their car started.

Mittens / Scarves

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Very much like blankets, these are great useful gifts that help keep you warm and safe! No one will say no to a good pair of gloves or mittens as they are supremely useful and do need to be replaced every couple seasons.

French Press / Teapot

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Not everyone has these items, but make sure to check if they do before getting them one. French press coffee is simply divine and a good teapot will last a lifetime, not to mention it allows them to make delightful hot beverages!

Paintings / Photography

Painting – Eva Blakeman

A good piece of artwork can change a whole room! You can often find great, unique art pieces from local artists at reasonable prices, or paint something yourself! Blow up a good shot or get a framed landscape piece!


It’s important to know what kind of books your gift receiver enjoys before picking one out, but a good story can be re-read until the binding gives out. There are some great books I would recommend for creatives here.


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This is a costly gift, but one that can bring a lot fo joy to the receiver. With the popularity of modern polaroid cameras (which cost much less than a DSLR) they make a great gift for those who like to keep visual reminders of happy time, scrapbookers, and the people who still keep photo albums.

Re-usable Coffee Mug / Water Bottle

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This gift is great for two reasons. The first being that they are environmentally friendly gifts, the second is that it can help reduce costs to your friend down the line. Not to mention how much it hurts to burn your hands on thin coffee cups!

Cute USB Stick

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I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t need portable storage these days, and with the variety of interesting designs for USB sticks these days you can match their interests, TV shows or hobbies when picking out USBs!

Framed Photograph

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For a more personal gift, framing a photo of the two of you together or in the case they are married, a photo you have taken of the couple, is a very sweet gift. Facebook photos just aren’t the same as one on your desk, so I would strongly recommend this one.

I won’t say not to buy your lady flowers or bring a bottle of wine to a party, but for birthdays and holidays, these make great gifts! If you have more suggestions for great gifts, leave them in the comments!

Perfect Cosmos

Now I realize cosmos are a pop culture drink of choice, but they are also my absolute favourite. Anytime we go out for dinner I order one (I also wear incredibly high heels to ensure I won’t be the one driving.. hehehe it’s a handy trick). Anyways, for many years I’ve thought about making them at home but we didn’t have a shaker and I didn’t feel it was worth the money to get a martini shaker just so that I could have an authentic cosmo at home.. but my honey found one at Value Village for $3.99 so I went out and grabbed ingredients and with a little experimentation I believe I have made the most delightful rendition of the cosmo right at home!

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Since martini glasses can be notoriously messy, I recommend a white wine glass, as it will still keep your fingers away from the drink, keeping it cooler, and is much easier to walk around with, as it won’t be spilling everywhere.


  • 3 oz cranberry cocktail
  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1 oz cointreau
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • a shaker full of ice

Simple to make! Fill your shaker up with ice, pour your liquids in, put the cover on and shake like you won the lottery! Pour into your glass and enjoy this perfectly balanced drink that isn’t too sweet or too tart!

I used Smirnoff Vodka, Compliments Cranberry Cocktail, Liptons Real Lime Juice and Cointreau in this recipe. You can of course use your favourites, and instead of Cointreau you can use any triple sec that you like.

If you use a straight cranberry juice rather than a cocktail this drink will be much more tart, so you may consider using simple syrup or diluted sugar to help sweeten it up a little. That is if you want the hint of sweetness that is.

Please drink responsibly, don’t drink and drive, and leave your favourite Cosmo recipe in the comments!

Great Cosmetic Gifts This Christmas

Not everyone loves make up, but for those who do, these products will definitely put a smile on their face Christmas morning.

I’ve always looked at make up as “one size fits all”, and while for the most part that is true, there is a way to shop for others that makes it inclusive. For example, buying baby pink lipstick or neon blue eyeshadow for individuals who tend to stay to more neutral tones makes the gift less useful for the individual receiving it.

This list is filled with easy gifts, guaranteed to be used and enjoyed!

Going Coconuts Collection – Colour Pop

This beautiful collection is comprised of a 9 shadow pallet filled with neutral tones, three pressed shadows that glimmer and shine, two bronzers, four lip tints and a two piece lip care kit! These beautiful, neutral toned items are great for medium-dark to light skin tones! It comes in at $67.00 CAD and you can find it right here.

Love Lust Disco Shadow Palette – NYX

This ten colour palette boasts his high impact shimmer in its gold and bronze tones. There are two other palettes in this line as well. One is your rose palette, the other is an icy tone with shimmering blues and cold whites for that high glamour glow. Each palette is $25.00 and can be found here.

Spray Your Grace Baking Spray – Beauty Bakerie

This setting spray is paraben free and incredibly cute! It has ginger and aloe extracts to soothe the skin and it comes from a smaller, independent cosmetic company that not only creates beautiful cosmetics, but is very devoted to charity work and contribution. This spray comes in at $18.00 and can be found here.

Rose All Day Palette – Karity

This $25.00 palette has a lot to give, coming hard with a combination of fine shimmer, matt and sparkling powders. This could easily be a go to palette for just about anyone. The company boasts that their products are cruelty-free, long lasting, ultra pigmented and have minimal fallout! You can find this palette, right here.

Rose All Day Kit – Winky Lux

This lovely little kit comes packing with six high pigment shadows which come in four different finishes as well as a colour changing lip balm that changes to match your skins pH. Not to mention an adorable bag to go with them! This kit comes to $30.00 and can be found here.

12 Piece Elite Set – Firma Beauty

These brushes will blow you away. With firm handles, the softest bristles and great quality, anyone would happy to receive them. This twelve piece kit + the brush box comes in at $74.99 and can be found here. I have to say I own a few firma brushes and they are my favourites.

In The Nude Eyeshadow Palette – Makeup Geek

This nine shadow palette hosts matts, shimmers and foiled textures that compliment most skin tones. It comes from a cruelty-free company and is vegan. It comes in at $29.99 and can be found here.

Jolly Holiday Mini Velvetines Set – Lime Crime

These beautiful red toned liquid lipsticks come together to give beautiful coverage and bold colour. From more nude to bright red these will be suitable from the office to the dance floor to a wonderful date night. Coming in at $47.99, they can be found here.

Bright Lights, Big Hollywood Glamour Kit

This little kit packs big glamour with its deep shades of red, a lip pen, a wonderful mascara and a light grey and silver shimmer shadow that will pull a winter look into the spot light. It comes in at $57.00 and it is an online only pack. You can find it here.

Not everyone loves make up, but for those who do, these products will definitely put a smile on their face Christmas morning. If you have any other products you want to share, please do in the comments.

Great Christmas Gifts 2019

The holiday season is marching towards us, and with it, comes immense financial stress. I do not hold to the idea that the holidays should wreck your bank account. That being said, there is a social contract that requires the giving and receiving of gifts so let’s get into it.

1. Poinsettia

This festive flower is a good gift if you intend to gift it before Christmas Day, as it will last weeks in their home, given that they water it. I would recommend it for in-laws, grandparents and more distant relatives. Though it is good to note that they can be toxic to pets.

2. Purdy’s Chocolate

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You can’t go wrong with chocolate. Purdy’s is a great option, as you can pick out just the right chocolates to match preference and they will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure no allergic reactions will ruin someones Christmas. ( We have a friend with a very aggressive peanut allergy and the sweet women in the shop where very careful and very helpful in putting together a safe box for him to enjoy. )

3. Knitted Mittens

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Some of the best gifts are the practical ones. A good pair of mittens go a long way in our winter months and will be appreciated for years. I received a sturdy pair a few winters ago from my Aunt and couldn’t imagine heading out without them now!

4. Puzzle Books

A lot of people really enjoy curling up and doing some sudoku, crosswords or mind teasers every once and a while. A good puzzle book can be hours of relaxation and contentment for many. I would categorize this as a good “mom gift”.

5. A Bottle Of Top Shelf Booze

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For the adults in your life who really enjoy sitting back with a glass. If you have an idea of what they generally drink, get the higher shelf option for them. Red wines, scotch, bourbon, liqueurs and cognacs make for excellent gifts that will always be deeply enjoyed.

6. An Instant Polaroid Camera

I would recommend this gift strongly for teenage girls who already have love for photography. This is a gift that could lead to a lifetime of joy in the arts, and many kept memories they will be able to keep forever.

7. Hot Sauce Sample Pack

These spicy gifts will absolutely be enjoyed! Every hot sauce enthusiast would love to test out different recipes to find the perfect one for their signature dish.

8. Art

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It may feel a little strange to gift a painting or sculpture you’ve made, but the time you put into the piece makes it only more special. If you don’t feel like painting, pick up a piece at your local art fair and support your local artists!

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9. Incredibly Comfortable Socks & Slippers

Nothing beats good wool socks on cold winter nights and warm, soft slippers to sneak around the house in the morning. Make it a whole set with a sturdy housecoat and you now have a perfect Sunday morning!

10. An Ultimate Beard Care Kit

Any man with a beard has struggled to keep it tame, well trimmed and has suffered incredibly discomfort any time they have had to shave any portion of it. A good shaving cream, beard oils and sturdy combs are the beginning of a great beard. Add some conditioners, shampoos and texturizers and whooo that beard will be beautiful.

11. An Art Kit

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Children love to create, so why not enable them to do so? Sketch pads, watercolour paper, paints, inks and colouring pencils can make any plain day into an adventure into imagination. Many pre made kits are available in art stores, or put together a monogramed kit by shopping around a little!

12. Jenga

This time old game is fun at any age. Children love to play it, and adults love to turn it into a drinking game. You can’t go wrong with this classic gift.

13. Model Car

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Everyone has their favourite car, and luckily most have a die cut available painted and ready to gift.

Those are thirteen great gifts, and hopefully they helped you figure out what to get that tricky relative or friend. I hope everyone has a great holiday season, please drink responsibly and enjoy yourselves!

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Great Christmas Gifts For Loved Ones