5 Top gifts for the baker in your life

storage

Storage

Even if your baker has all the right ingredients, they would be nothing without a place to store them! Storage for flour, sugar and spices doesn’t have to be boring either. Look for customizable containers, like ones with chalkboard or corkboard, so your baker can easily identify what he/she needs,  while still looking personalized.

serving tray

Serving trays and platters

Presentation is everything. A cake is more delicious on a beautiful serving tray, and cupcakes tastier when they’re arranged on the perfect platter, so make sure your baker has both! Whatever the baked goods, a classic serving tray will suit any occasion and will be a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Look for time-tested colors, designs and materials so your baker can use these wares for many years to come.

timer

Timer

Any experienced baker or cook knows that keeping track of time while making three different things can be quite the task. Help your baker manage with a timer. Be it retro, classic or super-fancy, any timer will help your baker create their best work.

pastry set

Pastry set

Every baker knows that a good result starts with a good beginning. That’s why a pastry set, which normally includes a rolling pin and a rectangular working surface, is key. It will make the kneading, rolling and folding so much more enjoyable and will keep your baker happy!

Decorating tools

Every baker is also a perfectionist, so make their life a little easier by providing them with the right frosting and piping tools. It could be a simple frosting knife, an entire piping set or a revolving cake stand, but no matter what you choose, your baker will love using these tools to make their work even more beautiful.

More gift guides for cooks

Little gifts for big bakers
Top gadgets for the kitchen
Great cookbooks for chefs of all kinds

Decorating tools

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5 Savvy gifts for his groomsmen

Savvy Gifts for Groomsmen

for his boys

Cheap thrills only go so far so when it comes to dishing out some awesome gifts for even the wackiest of groomsmen. So we have you covered! Here are some of our favorite picks for unique gifts for your dapper groomsmen before your big day.

1

Ork Posters

Ork Posters Los Angeles

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to love the typography-infused geographical art works for different cities. Give these bold prints of each groomsman’s home city or current city, or a reminder of an awesome time spent in another city. With more than a dozen US cities and several European cities to choose from, it’s an epic display of your gratitude.

(Ork Posters, $22)

2

Carry-On Kit by the Art of Shaving

Shavin Kit

Every man does it, so why not enjoy the process? We’re talking about shaving. Huge kudos to the masterminds behind the Art of Shaving, for we can now give the gift of hygiene in a trendy way that keeps your groomsmen well-groomed. The kit comes in a convenient carry-on package with signature oil, cream, brush and after-shave balm for a clean feel you and your bridesmaids will love.

(The Art of Shaving, $60)

3

Holga 135 by Lomography

Holga Camera

Why yes, film cameras still exist. And thanks to the little plastic camera company that could, Lomography is constantly on the edge of something new in the analog photography department. Now the traditional Holga is packed in a 35mm format, allowing your artistic gentlemen to capture life in the legendary style Lomography is known for.

(Lomography, $49)

4

Beer Stein Shot Glass

Beer Stein

Live large with these playful shot glasses that look like beer steins. Conveniently packaged in a set of six, give each groomsman an entire set or break up the set to include as one element in a larger gift bag. Cheers!

(Urban Outfitters, $12)

5

Gift Card by Ticketmaster

Gift Card

When all else fails and you still don’t know what to get your groomsman, sneak one of these his way. Good for concerts, games and theater productions, Ticketmaster is the reigning king of entertainment and will surely leave your best man in good hands.

(Ticketmaster, $25-$250)…

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Great ovenware sets

stoneware set

Stoneware set

You can never go wrong with a classic, quality stoneware set. The best ones include pieces like a square baking dish, oval au gratin, rectangular casserole dish and mini cocottes. A set with an enamel glaze that’s chip-, scratch- and stain-resistant glaze can be used in the oven, broiler, microwave and freezer.

bakeware set

Bakeware set

From muffins to pies, breads to cookies, there’s nothing a complete bakeware set can’t handle. With a round cake pan, a cookie sheet, muffin pan, loaf pan and roasting pan, the baking possibilities are endless. Many sets on the market are made of FDA-approved nonstick carbon steel and can weather up to 450 degrees F in the oven.

cookie bakeware

Cookie bakeware set

For the cookie connoisseur, look for a cookie bakeware set complete with nonstick carbon steel cookie sheets, a cooling rack and a silicone baking mat. Commercial-grade pans come in handy for baking perfect cookies every time. Toss the set into the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

ceramic bakeware

Ceramic ovenware serving tray set

Live to serve? Consider a ceramic bakeware serving tray set that can go straight from the oven to the dinner table. Many of the baking dishes are nonporous and are safe in the oven, microwave, freezer, refrigerator and dishwasher.…

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Hey, big spender: Most luxurious hotels for Valentine’s Day

Auberge du Soleil
Photo credit: Auberge du Soleil

This Valentine’s Day, shack up at one of the world’s most romantic hotels. We’ve searched high and low for unique amenities that enhance romance. You’ll never want to check out of these four romantic hotels for Valentine’s Day.

For the elaborate pair

1

Auberge du Soleil

Wine country inspires romance. At Auberge du Soleil, even the exterior of the hotel looks romantic and warm. Covered in lush greenery and landscaped like a magical garden, this Napa Valley hotel invites romantic liaisons and total relaxation. Enjoy local wines as you explore the grounds and visit the spa for some dual pampering. Don’t miss the soaking tub, the private patio and the big fireplace by the king-sized bed.

2

Hotel Kakslauttanen

Don’t let the mouthful of a name fool you. This is one of the most romantic, magical places to spend the night with your loved one. The glass igloos at Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland are exactly what they sound like. The temperature-controlled glass domes give guests an incredible view of the nighttime stars and the northern lights. Luxurious bedding and a private bathroom give you the chance to cuddle up under the winter sky without roughing it.

3

GoldenEye

This iconic resort on the north coast of Jamaica has inspired lovers for decades. Stay in one of the lagoon suites with your own private dock or command your own staff in the spacious Fleming villa, which includes a totally private beach. Find out why Ian Fleming was inspired to write about so many seductive, mesmerizing women in his James Bond novels. GoldenEye brings lovers to the heart of tropical paradise. The only hard part will be leaving.

4

Stroudsmoor Country Inn

Want to stay in the Poconos without staying at one of the big resorts? Get away from heart-shaped everything and stay at a small-scale inn with fantastic rates. Stroudsmoor Country Inn is situated on a huge mountaintop property. It’s quaint and delightfully old-fashioned, perfect for couples who want to get away from the bustling pace of modern life. At Stroudsmoor Country Inn, find romance on leisurely walks in the quiet mountain atmosphere around the inn or enjoy spa amenities together on the property. Book a cabin for your own soaking tub and private porch.…

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Fun, educational puzzles for kids of all ages

Toddler: 1–3 years

puzzle

Chunky wooden puzzles

These simple, wooden puzzles come in themes ranging from farm animals to cars and trucks to basic shapes. The thick pieces are perfect for small hands and fit into matching spaces on fun, colorful boards. The pieces often are designed to stand upright for additional play. These fun games are perfect starter puzzles for toddlers.

puzzle

Progressive collage puzzles

Progressive puzzle sets include multiple puzzles with three, four, five and six pieces. When assembled, the puzzles form familiar objects such as fruits or veggies. As your toddler masters the three-piece puzzle she can move on to the more challenging four-piece and five-piece puzzles. The individual pieces are durable and large enough to be easily manipulated. Look for sets made with kid-safe materials such as vegetable-based inks or paints.

Preschooler: 4–6 years

puzzle

Cube puzzles

These fun and challenging puzzles are completed by arranging blocks to create recognizable images such as vehicles, sea animals, or pets. Each puzzle is six puzzles in one, with a different image for each side of the cubes.

game

Picture matching games

These games are excellent for vocabulary and beginner reading. By matching cards — one with an image of an object and a word, its mate with a scene containing the same object — kids learn to decipher words based on the associated pictures. With varying levels of difficulty, and whimsical pictures, picture matching games are fun and educational for beginners or more advanced players.

School-age: 6–13 years

puzzle

Classic jigsaw Puzzles

Once children have reached school age, they may be ready for more advanced interlocking puzzles with more pieces. Look for 50- or 60-piece puzzles that create pictures tuned to your child’s interests. Sports, fairy tales and cartoon characters are all popular themes.

puzzle

United States map puzzle

A fun way for kids to learn basic geography, map puzzles develop matching and fine motor skills, and, depending on the puzzle, can also develop vocabulary. Association is reinforced with pictures of popular landmarks or attributes for each state, such as the Golden Gate Bridge for California or a cowboy boot for Texas. For a more interactive experience, find a puzzle that will say aloud the names of the states and their capitals.…

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Beach bag essentials under $100

1

Sunscreen

Sunscreen

Sunscreen by JASON offers long-lasting protection and prevents premature aging due to prolonged sun exposure. (JASON, $10)

2

Laundry Bag

Laundry bag

After hitting the showers, toss your sandy bikini in this super-chic beachwear bag. (3floz, $30)

3

Floating cover

Floating cover

Splash Dash protects your favorite electronic device from water and it even floats! Comes with waterproof earphone jacks. (Amazon, $25 )

4

Scarf

Scarf

These fun and fancy fashion scarves are designed to be worn around your neck, shoulders and hair. A versatile accessory for those windy beach days. (AprilMarin, $26)

5

Beach towel

Beach towel

This Mosaic beach towel offers softness with the flavor of Marrakech to create a must-have summer essential. (UGG, $55)

6

Sandals

Sandals

Adjustablethong sandals by Aetrex feature anti-microbial technology embedded in the footbed to protect against fungi, bacteria and algae. (Aetrex, $100)

7

Glasses

Sunglasses

Seashell shades by Chloe come in brown with a gold-tone logo and offer UVA and UVB protection. ( Buydig, $99)

8

Bucket

Bucket hat

With UPF 30 construction and lightweight, breathable fabric, you’ll be protected from the rays with the Arroyo bucket hat.  (Outdoor Research, $37)…

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Hot gifts for the coffee addict on your list

Primula 1-liter carafe

Keep it hot

For those who nurse a cup of coffee all morning, keeping it perfectly warm is key. This classic Primula 1-liter carafe (Amazon, $20) will keep his pot of joe warm and ready for refills. This carafe pours easily with one hand and has a spill-proof top to keep messes to a minimum. Check your nearest Home Goods store for great coffee accessories.

20130618170826631 - Hot gifts for the coffee addict on your list

So tweet

Why not add a smile to her morning with a happy little coffee cup? The Threshold Early Bird mug (Target, $14/set of two) comes with a spoon that conveniently stores in the handle. Who says the early bird gets the worm? We say coffee is better. T.J.Maxx carries a wide selection of coffee mugs — from cute to classic — for everyone on your list.

Bonjour Hugo French coffee pres

So impressive

Serious coffee fans swear there is no better way to make a cup of coffee than with a French press. The Bonjour Hugo French coffee press (Kohl’s, $26) makes eight cups, is simple in design and easy to use. It features a silicone-rimmed press to prevent scratching of the carafe and a wide spout for easy pouring.

Gevalia French Vanilla ground coffee

Not the same old grind

Coffee lovers often have favorite blends — but they love trying something new. What about an amazing flavored coffee that will wake up his taste buds? Gevalia French Vanilla ground coffee (Amazon, $19/ three 8-ounce packages) has a wonderful aroma and the mild flavor of delicate vanilla. Check out your nearest Marshalls for a variety of flavored coffees.

cream and sugar servers

How do you take yours?

Does her perfect cup of coffee have a bit of cream and sugar? Even if your coffee addict prefers hers black, she will want to offer a choice when entertaining. These embossed cream and sugar servers (Crate & Barrel, $17) are styled like cartons for a fun look on her coffee table or buffet.

stacking mugs

Coffee for the crowd

One thing we know about coffee lovers — they tend to stick together. When the crowd comes to her house, they won’t be satisfied with wimpy portions. These stacking jumbo mugs (Cost Plus World Market, $18/set of six) are the perfect size for someone who really loves coffee — and doesn’t want to refill too often. Also available in red or chocolate brown.…

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5 festive outfits to wear to a Thanksgiving dinner

Dinner in the city

Dinner in the city

‘Tis the season of oxblood, and Thanksgiving is the perfect day to wear it in this H&M blazer ($50). Put it over your favorite basic tee and add a statement necklace like this one from Forever21 ($20). Black stretch skinny pants go with just about anything. If you wear them to a dinner party, you’ll be able to breathe, even when you’re stuffed! Try these from Forever 21 ($23). Gallop over to your dinner party in a pair of knee-high boots. These mixed media wedge boots from Charlotte Russe are made of leather and suede ($43).

Trendy holiday dinner party

Trendy holiday dinner party

A sweater dress is an effortless way to look holiday-ready. This dress from the Kardashian Kollection at Sears will hug all of your curves and accentuate your waist with a thin belt ($35). Fight the cold temperatures with chic leather gloves. H&M has an inexpensive pair with textile lining that will keep your hands nice and toasty ($25). Finish the look with a pair of your favorite ankle booties. Bakers’ platform booties will make your legs the envy of the dinner table ($90).

Shine on, nosh on

Shine on, nosh on

Add sparkle to the season with a skirt that has shine. Find this fun and festive mini-skirt at Express ($60). Add a sheer blouse that can easily be dressed up or dressed down. Try this vivid blue blouse from Cotton On for a pop of color ($30). Put some pep in your step with a pair of comfy wedge booties. Try these lace-up booties from Kohl’s this Thanksgiving ($50).

All about the glitz and fam

All about the glitz and glam

We’re so glad it’s sweater season! Wear a fall-inspired pullover with some detail and texture, like this one from Target ($30). The sequin detail transforms a plain sweater into a festive one. Pair with your favorite dark-washed skinny jeans out of the drawer for this look. These mid-rise Levi’s at jcpenney ($40) are always a favorite. Instead of a regular pair of flats, opt for oxfords, which are hip and trendy right now. Cathy Jean has the perfect distressed oxfords, at a great price ($25).

Stylishly thankful

Stylishly thankful

Stand out from the dinner party crowd in a patterned dress like this jersey dress from H&M ($30). If it’s cold outside, add some black shiny tights and invest in a peacoat, a wintertime closet essential. You can get one in any color or just stick to …

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Valentine’s Day gift deals

ProFlowers.com Valentine's Day deal

Traditional flowers

Flowers are the staple gift for any Valentine’s Day celebration. They work for a first date or a 50th Valentine’s Day together. During the month of February, long-stemmed roses spike in price, but with LivingSocial.com you don’t have to worry about that. They teamed up with ProFlowers.com to offer a deal where you spend $15 and get $30 worth of flowers, sweets or anything else on their website. If traditional is your style, this deal is for you.

Pearl pendant from Sacred Jewels

Pearl pendant

Jewelry is another traditional gift that will dazzle your darling. The downside is it can get pretty pricey. LivingSocial makes it easy to give the gift of jewelry with their awesome deal on freshwater pear pendant necklaces from Sacred Jewels. This deal offers a beautiful freshwater pearl necklace, valued at $140, for just $23. It’s a Valentine’s Day steal!

Chocolate-covered strawberries from Shari's Berries

Something chocolate

The easiest way to make sure your Valentine knows exactly how you feel about them is show them how you feel with a little bit of sugar! Give them something for their sweet tooth with these chocolate-covered strawberries from Shari’s Berries. For only $15 you get $30 to spend on gourmet-dipped goodies! Hurry and head over to get your someone special this delectable gift from LivingSocial.

Groupon and Collage.com deal

Get creative

Gather your favorite photos of you and your sweetie for this personalized gift. Groupon and Collage.com teamed up for this personal and fun Valentine’s Day gift. Arrange up to 300 photos into one of the 99 shapes available at Collage.com for only $15 (valued at $30). This is a gift that you can enjoy for many years to come.

Share a gift -- Name a star

Share a gift

Picture star-gazing with your valentine and picking out your star. It doesn’t get more romantic than that! With this deal from Groupon, that’s exactly how you can spend Valentine’s Day this year. You can name a star for only $14, a savings of more than 50 percent. With this gift you can also download software to show you exactly where your star is so you can find it on any date you share.…

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Shop songs: Ultimate New Year’s Eve songs from iTunes

Woman wearing headphones

Ring in 2013 right

Songs and music often become a soundtrack to our lives. It’s important to choose occasion songs appropriately, because studies show they’ll be associated with the memories you create for the rest of your life. Here is SheKnows’ ultimate New Year’s Eve playlist that will have you dancing and laughing until midnight and well into the new year.

1

“Red”
Taylor Swift

Red Taylor Swift

This year wouldn’t even be right if we didn’t include Taylor Swift. The pop-country star has delivered some of the hottest tunes ever — not to mention completely inspirational for us girls. We pick her hit single “Red,” which is all about losing in love without regrets — an attitude we should all take with us into the new year.

2

“What Makes You Beautiful”
One Direction

What Makes you Beautiful One Direction

We all like to feel beautiful ringing in the new year, and the British heartthrobs of One Direction give us a power tune to say goodbye to 2012 while nonchalantly celebrating our beauty.

3

“Scream and Shout”
Will.i.am and Britney Spears

Scream and Shout Will.i.am feat Britney Spears

We are in love with this new club anthem from Will.i.am and the pop queen herself, Britney Spears. We’re all going to want to scream and shout out our feelings from 2012 to the beat of this new hit.

4

“Gangnam Style”
Psy

Gangnam Style by Psy

Because it wouldn’t be a homage to 2012 without “Gangnam Style.” Our dance moves were revolutionized with this one, so let’s pay some respect as we say our goodbyes. Because after all, maybe we’ll never hear it again in 2013.

5

“Lights”
Ellie Goulding

Lights Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding’s hauntingly beautiful voice took over the radio waves this year, and we have a feeling we’ll be hearing more tracks from this fabulous Brit in 2013. One of our favorite songs from the songstress is “Lights” — to match the brilliant lights in Times Square.

6

“Diamonds”
Rihanna

Diamonds by Rihanna

Speaking of Times Square, that huge Swarovski-studded ball that drops is a little bit like a diamond in the sky. This powerful ballad from the equally powerful Rihanna is not only empowering, but will make a statement in the last moments of the year.

7

“We are Young”
Fun.

We are young by Fun

“We Are Young” and Fun. Nothing more need be said. You’ll never be younger than you are in this moment, so have some fun and ring in the year celebrating youth and the beautiful life ahead.

8

“Beauty and a Beat”

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