• 5 Last Minute Gift Ideas

    How To

    ‘Tis the season for…last minute shopping! Yes, for all of you who are guilty of this, this blog is for you. Not only are these some great ideas for gifts but they can all be found in one place…Courts of course! Check out some of our last minute gift ideas and don’t be caught empty handed this Christmas or any special day of the year.

    Small appliances
    The beauty about small appliances is that they’re always needed! Maybe you’ve got a friend who’s into baking and a KitchenAid mixer would make his or her day or maybe you have to get a gift for someone who’s on a health kick, then a nice blender or NutriBullet would be perfect. Whatever the appliance, we’ve got you covered!

    Personal care
    From hair trimmers to blow dryers to foot massagers, our personal care section on shopcourts.com is perfect to find a last minute gift! Getting a gift that relaxes and makes you feel beautiful? Yes please!

    Tech accessories
    For the tech lover in your life, we’ve got accessories to fill their needs and wants! A nice pair of headphones, laptop cooling fans, flash drives, cameras, wall mounts for TVs, tablets and even notebook cases, we’ve got last minute gifts for the digital genius in your life!

    Fitness gear
    Got a fitness nut you need to get a gift for? Then look no further! If you don’t want to get the expensive gift of an actual piece of exercise equipment, why not just get them accessories? We’ve got gloves, yoga mats, and medicine balls for the person who hits the gym on the regular!

    Gift cards
    A gift card is the ultimate last minute gift! Chances are, you’re shopping last minute because you’re unsure of what to get. Say goodbye to worrying with a handy gift card! We’ve got cards with different denominations and they’re valid for 12 months!

  • Things You’re Allowed To Say No To

    How To

    Being nice or having the constant need to please others is exactly why a lot of us are overcommitted and frankly, need a little break from people. Rather than going by the motto of, “It’s nice to be nice”, give yourself a break and put your needs first. Most times, some of the things listed below we don’t want to engage in anyway and it’s quite fine to decline! Here a few things you’re allowed to say no to.

    Fancy dinners
    So your friend is feeling fancy and wants a night out on the town, inclusive of a pricey dinner at a well-known restaurant. The problem is, you’re trying to save your money! It’s okay to say no to this but you have to be sincere and honest. Try saying, “It’s not the best week for me” or simply suggest somewhere else that won’t stress your bank account!

    Second dates
    So you had a terrible first date but for some reason, the person wants to relive the moment again with a second date! Oh no. It’s definitely okay to say no to this and embrace the awkward pauses that come with not really knowing someone. Tell them, “Thank you for the invite but I’m going to have to pass.” It’s honest and respectful so that the person’s feelings aren’t hurt.

    Working late
    You’ve put in a full day of work and 15 minutes before you’re about to leave, someone in the office asks if you can stay back when you’ve already got plans. If it’s not urgent or if you’re finding that it’s becoming a pattern, it’s okay to say no. The best thing is to explain the situation sincerely. It’s fine to say, “I have a personal commitment tonight I can't miss” and then give an alternative of when you can help. Trust us, it’s good to set boundaries in the workplace!

    Untimely job offers
    You went to the interview and you got a call saying you got the job! The problem is…they want you to start right away but you’re only available until the week after. It’s fine to say no and ask your employer if it’s okay to start when you’re ready to give the job your full time and attention. They’ll appreciate the honesty and you can mentally prepare for your new job!

    Free work
    If you’re in a creative career like digital work, artistry, photography, crafts, etc it’s possible that you’ll encounter persons asking for favours…all the time. The problem is, creative work is hardly seen as “work” and often times people will ask, “Can you come take our family portrait?” not realizing that it’s a service you’re providing. Say no to free work in a respectful manner by stating, “I’d love to! Would you like to see my portfolio and choose which package you’d like to have done?” People won’t be as offended as you think!

  • 5 Ways To Give Back At Christmas Time

    New Technology

    Of course we know that giving back doesn't only have to happen at Christmas. We urge you to always keep those who are less fortunate in your minds and hearts. Here are 5 ways to give back at Christmas time or any other time of year.

    Donate
    Christmas comes with a lot of traditions like family dinners and gift giving and these things aren’t always easy to come by for everyone. Take the time to donate extra clothes and food to those in need and help make their season as joyous as yours. Also, don’t forget about the kids. Buying extra gifts or simply having your own kids donate extra gifts they’ve gotten can bring joy to another family.

    Volunteer
    There is nothing more rewarding that volunteering your time and services to help others. Whether it’s helping to feed the homeless or cleaning up the community, giving your time is a great way to help and spread positivity. You can even get the kids involved; charities, shelters and churches are always looking for extra help this time of year!

    Pay it forward
    A random act of kindness can completely change a persons’ day. This season, why not try paying it forward? You can buy lunch for someone in line at a restaurant, pay for someone’s groceries (if you can afford to) or buy an extra cup of coffee to give away. However you choose to pay it forward, the act of selfless giving will always be appreciated.

    Lend a hand
    If you live in a tight knit community, why not lend a hand? Offer to take an elder to the grocery or help a neighbour with their gardening. You can even bake bread or other foods to share with everyone. Lend a hand and give back to your community. We’re all in this together after all!

    Spend time
    For those who don’t have their loved ones living close to them, you should still try and spend time with them. Take a drive and visit your family or if you have family abroad, set aside time to Skype them and catch up. You can never take each day for granted so make the most out of it and keep the people you care about close. Plus, who else can you spill all the family secrets to?

  • 5 Things You Should Do Before You Leave Your Home In The Morning

    New Technology

    If you don’t feel centered, then the day is going to feel off. That’s why you should never leave home without putting your mind, body and soul together! Here are 5 things you should do before you leave your home in the morning.

    Get Up The First Time
    Step away from the snooze button! Okay, now force yourself to get out of bed. Hitting snooze interrupts your sleep and can actually make you feel groggy, irritated and more tired when you do wake up. Try waking up with the alarm and starting the day!

    Make Your Bed
    Remember when your mom would force you to make your bed? Yeah, you should definitely keep up the habit! It turns out that making your bed every morning actually helps you start your day on a productive foot. Plus, coming home to a made bed makes ending the day even sweeter!

    Avoid Your Phone
    Now this is hard because a lot of you are glued to your phones. No judgment here because we are too but checking it as soon as you get up in the morning slows you down quite a bit and can add stress! If you check your work emails or messages as soon as you get up, chances are you’re going to feel unmotivated to start the day. Try to get through breakfast before you swipe!

    Move Your Body
    Some people love to exercise early in the morning as opposed to the evening because they say it jumpstarts their day. Now, if you’re not one for putting on workout gear in the morning then a routine with simple stretching to get your blood flowing will do the trick. It’ll also put you in a better mood.

    A Little Positive Affirmation
    You know that saying that if you say it enough times it starts to be true? The science of positive affirmations is tried and proven! Whilst you’re eating breakfast or getting dressed, be sure to say your daily goals out loud or give yourself a, “Today is going to be a great and productive day.” You’ll feel confident, motivated and ready for whatever the day will throw at you…most times anyways!

  • How To Save Money This Christmas Season

    How To

    'Tis the season to be jolly and also for excessive spending on gifts, décor, food and drink, and everything else we buy to get into the Christmas spirit. Oh boy. Every year your account can take quite a hit when you’re trying to spread goodwill and cheer but here are a few ways you can keep your budget from riding off on a sleigh!

    Make a list
    Just like Santa, you’re going to have to make a list. Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be, and then write the ideas of what you want to get each person and how much you’re willing to spend on them. This way, you won’t be shopping blind and spending willy-nilly!

    Edit your present list
    Just as you made a list in the first tip, if you’re up for it, you can have a little discussion with your close friends and family about gift giving in general. Sometimes people can agree to not exchange gifts or only buy presents for the kids. There’s also the option of Secret Santa if you’ve got a big family. All great ways to manage your budget!

    Check out those deals
    At Courts, we’re huge fans of the seasonal deals and discounts! Be sure to check out social media pages to see when companies will have discounts and be sure to jump on them! For people that love online shopping, be sure to check out sites because businesses are always posting online deals for the season!

    Cut back on the drinks
    The drinks are flowing for the Christmas parties but you don’t want your wallet taking the hit. Check out deals on whatever alcohol or other drinks you want this season or urge your guests to bring their own bottles to help take the stress off. It'll also be a great way to serve them exactly want they want!

    Maybe try DIY
    If you’re at a loss for an idea, you can look up easy DIY gifts like picture frames, baskets, cookies, cushions and so much more that you can try your hand at. All you need are the supplies!

    Start shopping NOW
    The greatest advice of all to save money this season…Start shopping now of course! It’s not as early as you think and it’ll help spread out how much money you’re spending all at once so it doesn’t come as a huge shock to your or your account! Plus you’ll be prepared and you can skip out on the Christmas rush!

  • The 5 Best Sleep Hacks We Know

    How To Bed

    Ah yes....a great sleep, the kind where sugarplums dance over your head and you don’t even need to count sheep. It's something that’s unfamiliar to a few people. If you’re one of those night owls who can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep then look no further! Try these 5 simple hacks to sleep better and longer in no time.

    Check your mattress
    Do you find yourself tossing and turning and flipping your pillow for hours during the night? It’s possible that it’s time for you to get a new mattress! A mattress has an average lifespan of 7 – 10 years so check the date and see if you're overdue for a new one. Fortunately we know just where you can find your new mattress – Hint hint!

    Get on schedule
    The power of the ritual! It’s definitely not to be taken for granted and we use it on our kids so why not keep it going? Prep your body and your mind to recognize that it’s bedtime by developing a bedtime ritual. You can try taking a relaxing shower, drinking a cup of warm tea/milk, reading a book, listening to soft music, etc. Eventually your body will associate these actions with sleep and you’ll be catching z’s right on schedule!

    Put your phone away
    Using your phone before bedtime can hinder you getting the sleep you want. What happens is, even though you’re mindlessly scrolling, your brain is actually becoming quite wired. Try putting your phone on a desk out of reach so you can resist any temptation to check your messages before bed!

    Get in a workout
    A simple 30-minute workout every day will help your body burn off any excess energy before you go to bed. Plus it keeps you physically and mentally healthy which in turn relax you overall.

    Don’t change your routine
    Remember that great schedule we talked about before? Try not to break it! If you’ve already got a routine/bedtime ritual, upsetting it can actually cause sleep problems for you. Set a specific time to go to bed and try your best to stick with it! We’re creatures of habit after all, so a schedule is just the trick to getting a consistently great sleep.

  • 4 Unique Wrapping Paper Ideas

    Decorating

    Christmas is just around the corner and although a lot of us have not begun to think about what gifts we’re planning on buying, it doesn’t mean we can’t think about how to make them look extra special. Wrapping paper is great but sometimes we end up buying the same kind as everyone else because they’re a.) Being mass-produced and b.) The price is good when you buy the big sets of 4 rolls. However, if you want your gifts to have an extra distinctive touch and save some cash, check out these 4 wrapping paper ideas!

    Photo by hgtv

    Charming recycling
    Don’t be so quick to throw out that map your Aunt left behind from her last visit. Maps make great, visually stunning wrapping paper, are easy to find and in most cases, they’re free! Ah yes…our favourite word. Add a personalized tag to match and you’ll be good to go!

    Photo by blog.etsy.com

    Art skills
    If you’ve got a little time to spare to get down and dirty, then potato stamps are for you! Remember back in your school days when you would make stamps from anything? Well, it’s time to revive that skill. Carve a pattern into a potato half and dip it into paint. Place the pattern however you want over some simple brown paper for a rustic, easy and totally unique wrapping paper!

    Photo by shopwalkinlove.com

    Be creative
    You can order plain white paper online or go to your local craft store and get plain brown paper for this next one. Got a witty Christmas phrase or sweet sentiment to give? Then go ahead, pick up a marker and get to writing! It’s really easy and it’ll definitely be wrapping paper they’ll want to save and not just rip apart!

    A little tape
    Washi tape, also known as coloured or patterned tape is the way to go! Take drab wrapping paper to the next level by using coloured tap in different shapes, lengths and patterns for an extra unique look. Spread your creative wings this season!

  • How Often Should You Clean These Household Items?

    Cleaning How To

    Most times, because we don’t see dirt, we don’t bother to clean certain objects. If you’ve been wondering when you should wash your pillows or clean your fans, then look no further! This is how often you should clean some of these regularly used household items.

    Bed sheets
    Answer: Once a week
    Yep! Once a week, strip those bed sheets and put on news ones. Wash them according to their labels and a good rule of thumb to help them keep their shape is to make your bed every day. (Which is also a great way to start your day on the right foot!)

    Computer/Electronics
    Answer: Once a week
    Your laptop, keyboard, phone, mouse, any technology you use on a daily basis should be cleaned once a week. With regular use, these devices become covered in bacteria and dust so make sure and give them a once over with compressed air or a special cleaning cloth.

    Pillows
    Answer: Every 3 to 6 months
    Did you know that most, if not all, pillows are machine washable? You should throw them into the laundry every 3 – 6 months to remove bacteria, mold, dead skin (yes, we know!), odors and anything else that gets trapped whilst you catch your z’s! The pillowcases themselves should be washed every week with the sheets.

    Bathtub/Shower
    Answer: Once a week
    Pick a day of the week to clean your shower to help prevent any lime scale or mold buildup!

    Ceiling Fan
    Answer: Once a week
    For those of you who have ceiling fans, you know how easy they are to overlook because the dust that collects is out of reach. Out of sight, out of mind. Get a step stool and wipe the fan blades once a week. You’ll be surprised how fast dust collects up there. The same can also be said for those pesky standing fans.

    Small Appliances
    Answer: Once a week (AND a month)
    Depending on how regularly you use those small appliances like your microwave, coffee machine, toaster, etc, a good rule is to wipe down the exterior of these appliances every week but do a deep clean of the interior once a month. This will help keep the appliance working more efficiently and will help them to last longer.

    Mats/Rugs
    Answer: Once a week
    Oh the joy of having mats and rugs in your home. They look great but they get quite dirty, especially if they’re in high traffic areas. Some rugs come with cleaning instructions but you can always give them a once over with the vacuum once a week. The same goes for smaller mats. Once they’re machine washable, go ahead and throw them in the machine to get rid of all that built up dirt.

  • 6 Gifts To Get A Secret Santa You Don’t Really Know

    How To Event

    Let’s set the scene…it’s Secret Santa time in the office and you somehow pulled Theresa from Accounts and you’ve never talked to her before. Now, you’re racking your brain trying to think of what to get her on the budget you were given. No worries, here are a few gift ideas for people you don’t really know!

    Fragrances
    Now fragrances are very easy because most people enjoy them (Who doesn’t like to smell good?) and they’re relatively easy to come by during the season. Pick something small like a combination of lotions and body sprays in a neutral scent like cucumber and voila!

    Try some sweet DIY
    If you’ve got the extra time and are really into baking then the DIY route is for you! Bake Christmas cookies, sweet bread, black cake...really the options are endless and wrap them up in a unique package for your secret Santa.

    Think muggy
    Coffee mugs and/or travel mugs make great gifts! Look for one that’s inspirational or just plain funny that they can keep in the office and use for their morning coffee.

    Books, books, books
    If you don’t know what they’re into reading that’s no problem. How about a really cool coffee table book? The next time you go to the mall, check out which ones the bookstores have in stock. You’ll be surprised at the interesting coffee table books you can get…from the world’s most famous photos to books on India. Plus, they’ll act as added décor in their home!

    Something for their desk
    Journals and stationary, small plants or a funny/inspirational photo or mug are all great to give to your secret Santa to keep on their desk. It’ll show that you went the extra mile to get them something different but still useful!

    Tech things
    Tech accessories are always a cool gift to give and it’ll definitely look like you tried! Try looking for power banks (back up chargers), novelty headphones, laptop sleeves or a phone stand to hold their phone on their desk. They’ll be both practical and appreciated!

    Don’t forget that because you don’t know the person it doesn’t mean you can’t ask around the office for ideas or hints as to what they would like to help narrow down your search.

  • 5 Ways To Stay Focused At Work

    Home

    It’s 2:00pm and your eyes start to slowly drift away from your computer screen and your body starts to feel like it needs a nap ASAP! It’s called the afternoon slump and usually happens for a variety of reasons like you had a carb-heavy lunch, you’ve been sitting still for hours or you’re simply dehydrated. Whatever the reason, here are 5 ways to beat the afternoon slump and stay focused at work!

    Write out realistic goals
    Always remember to be realistic with yourself. It’s never productive to say that you’re going to get everything done in an 8-hour day because it’s an unrealistic goal to set. Write out your goals for the day the night before and break them up during the day so you don’t get overwhelmed. For example, you could say you’ll accomplish from numbers 1-3 before noon and so on.

    Stay away from social media
    Social media sites are full of articles, comics, quizzes, viral videos, the list goes on and on and when we’re on these sites, we can spend hours clicking from page to page. (So bad yet so good!) Tell yourself you’re only going to visit them when you have extra free time or during your lunch break. Don’t let your brain be bombarded with useless information during your work mode!

    Try the 60-90-minute rule
    Set your focus to a timer. 60 – 90 minutes is a great time frame to sit in and put in the work. No distractions. When the time is up, take a walk or eat a snack and then get back into it!

    Water your body and your mind
    Water refreshes you and wakes you up, trust us. Keep a water bottle close and battle dehydration that can make you feel sleepy!

    Get in your zone
    Cut ties with the outside world for a bit by putting in your headphones. The world is a noisy place and an office is even noisier. The printer is going off, your colleagues are talking about their plans, the phones are ringing, etc. Put in your headphones and zone in so you don’t get distracted. If you can work whilst listening to music, choose something soothing to help keep your mind in a productive state.

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