Need a White Elephant Gift? Here Are 5 Affordable Options

Does anyone else feel like Christmas just comes sooner and sooner every year? The past two years, my friend group has participated in a white elephant gift exchange and it can be quite challenging to find a gift that everyone will be happy with under a $25 budget constraint. However, after some research I found some pretty good options for white elephant gifts that I wanted to share.

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So if you are in need of a white elephant gift, I got you covered. Here are five white elephant gifts under $25:

1. Tortilla Throw Blanket ($24.29)

I understand this looks a little weird; however, I bought one of these for a white elephant at work and it was the first item to go. With this tortilla blanket you can get cozy and look like a burrito at the same time. All white elephant parties are different, but if you know that your friends and family appreciate a good gag gift, the tortilla blanket is a solid choice.

2. Trunk of Drunk – 8 Greatest Drinking Games ($19.99)

Trunk of Drunk combines eight popular drinking games in one box including: King’s Cup, Never Have I Ever, Ring of Fire, and more. The box contains all the supplies you need, minus the booze, to have a fun night with your best friends. The board game enthusiasts in your group will definitely enjoy this gift.

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3. Essential Oil Diffuser ($16.99)

Not all white elephant gifts are created equal and sometimes I would rather buy a gift my friends will actually use rather than buying a gag gift to get a quick laugh. I actually have a diffuser and love it because you can customize the essential oils and use it for some mood lighting. Find some essential oils to pair with this diffuser and call it a day.

4. Cinema Light Box with Letters ($24.99)

Every basic girl may have one of these already, but if not a light box could be a good option for white elephant. I like this one in particular because it includes letters, symbols, and even emojis to make fun messages. A light box is extremely customizable and anyone can use it. You can even leave a fun message for your friend who ends up with the gift.

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5. Tasty Ultimate Cookbook ($16.23)

I may be the only one that loves a good cookbook, but Tasty has some really awesome recipes. My friend group gets together once a week if we have the time which means we are always cooking food for a crowd. Whether you are cooking for yourself or a crowd, a cookbook provides a lot of opportunities to try new dishes. The Tasty Ultimate cookbook along with some utensils will be the perfect gift for the cook in your group.

Do you have any other ideas for white elephant gifts that turned out to be real crowd pleasers? Share your gift ideas in the comments section!

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Pepsi + Coffee? My Initial Thoughts on Pepsi Cafe

Pepsi recently announced that they will be releasing Pepsi Cafe in April 2020 for a limited time. This product combines two things that I feel were meant to stay separate: coffee and cola. It appears that the drink will come in two varieties: original and vanilla. CNBC reports, “The coffee-infused cola beverage has nearly twice as much caffeine as regular Pepsi.”

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Now, cola and coffee is not a new concept. Back in 2006, Coca-Cola released it’s own version of a coffee-cola hybrid called Coca-Cola Black. Needless to say, the product was a total flop. Consumers did not like the taste and simply did not see Coca-Cola as a ready-to-drink coffee brand. Coca-Cola Blak was removed from shelves in 2008.

In the years since the Coca-Cola Blak flop, consumers have changed their perception on coffee products. In May, Coca Cola announced it would be bringing back the coffee cola drink. Danielle Wiener-Bronner of CNN Business writes, “Ready-to-drink iced coffees also are growing. And people are embracing mixed beverage categories.” She lists White Claw as a successful example of a product in a “mixed beverage category.”

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To be completely honest, I simply cannot get on board with a coffee-cola hybrid. Coca-Cola Blak sounded disgusting to me when I first heard about it and Pepsi Cafe sounds equally as gross. Sure, it’s not entirely fair to judge the product before it even comes out, but I am willing to try the drink once it hits shelves in April. I do not think the world needs a mix of coffee and cola. Who even thought of carbonated coffee in the first place?

Yes, ready-to-drink coffee products have grown significantly over the last few years. Fortune Business Insights estimates that the market with grow to over $36 billion by the end of 2025 in comparison to $19 billion in 2017. This category is dominated by companies like Starbucks and Nestle and I’ve seen an abundance of private label coffees in grocery and convenience stores trying to capture some of the market share. Now, it appears Coca-Cola and Pepsi want to jump on the bandwagon too.

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In my opinion, I just do not think cola and coffee belong together. I enjoy coffee for the taste and the caffeine boost. Taste aside, coffee and cola is just confusing. Is it a soda or an energy drink? If Pepsi Cafe contains twice the caffeine as a regular Pepsi, that’s about 75 milligrams of caffeine per can, which is comparable to a tall Caffe Latte at Starbucks. However, I cannot see myself drinking a soda/coffee combo to get my day started. I guess we will have to wait and see how this whole debacle pans out.

What do you think about Pepsi Cafe? Leave a comment below!

5 Gifts Under $20 for the Beauty Buff in Your Life

Christmas is officially two weeks away and it’s time to start finalizing the gifts for all the loved ones in your life. I spend plenty of time each year preparing a list of potential gifts for my friends and family. Recently, I was searching for a beauty set that I could give as a gift and found a ton of options. Check out these five gifts under $20 perfect for any beauty buff in your life.

1. Freeman Peace, Love, Glow 10 Piece Kit ($13.99)

This set includes three of the best selling masks Freeman has to offer: Clearing Sweet Tea + Lemon Peel-Off Clay Mask, Hydrating Glacier Water + Pink Peony Gel Cream Mask, and the Detoxifying Charcoal + Black Sugar Mud Mask. In addition, you will receive six other single use masks ranging from the Anti-Stress Dead Sea Mineral Clay Mask to the Soothing Watermelon + Aloe Cooling Gel Mask. Give your loved ones a spa day in a box with this amazing Freeman 10 piece set.

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2. The Body Shop Vanilla Marshmallow Delights Gift Set ($17.63)

Body Shop has a ton of festive gift sets to choose from. The Vanilla Marshmallow Delights Gift Set consists of four sweet surprises: Shower gel, body scrub, body butter, and hand cream. Each item features a mix of vanilla from Madagascar and toasted marshmallows perfect for the holiday season. To top it all off, these products come in a cute, reusable sack that will fit right under the tree!

3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Winter Gift Set ($19.99)

Harsh winters can lead to dry skin. Give the gift of hydration this winter with the help of Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Winter Gift Set. Featuring the Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer, Hydrogel Face Mask, Overnight Gel Mask, and Lip Treatment; this set will leave skin looking smooth and moist.

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4. NIVEA Pamper Time Gift Set ($12.50)

Nivea has put together the ideal set for any woman in your life. Don’t worry, there’s a kit for men too! The Nivea Pamper Time Gift Set includes five luxury products: The original NIVEA Creme, body lotion, Foaming Silk Mousse Creme Moisture Body Wash, In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion, and lip balm. All these products are packed in a beautiful travel bag perfect for a romantic getaway.

5. Body & Earth Rose Spa Gift Set ($15.99)

Body & Earth has prepared a beautiful spa gift set with all the products necessary for a luxurious bath experience. This set includes soap, body butter, body lotion, hand lotion, and shower gel infused with the scent of rose. The rose soap petals are my favorite part of this box. This set will leave your loved one feeling relaxed and pampered.

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My First Thoughts on Starbucks’ Irish Cream Cold Brew

After the wild success of the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Starbucks has added the Irish Cream Cold Brew to the lineup of holiday beverages. Now, I loved the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew because it was such a great alternative to the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte. Most of the holiday drinks at Starbucks will cost you over 400 calories for a grande so I definitely appreciate that Starbucks offers other lower calorie options that I can choose instead.

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According to Starbucks, this drink features, “Irish cream syrup, topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and a strike of cocoa powder.” A grande Irish Cream Cold Brew will cost you 200 calories, which amounts to about half the calories of any other holiday drink on the menu. If you need a jolt of caffeine, one grande Irish Cream Cold Brew will provide more bang for your buck. Compared to a grande Caffe Latte which contains 150 milligrams of caffeine, the Irish Cream Cold Brew contains 185 milligrams.

I never tried the original Cloud Foam Cold Brew when it debuted because I thought that the cold foam took up significant real estate in the cup, meaning you received less coffee at the end of the day. Boy, was I wrong. Since there is more caffeine in the cold brew than a regular latte, this drink makes me extra jittery. The Irish cream syrup adds rich, almost chocolaty notes of flavor to the cold brew and the vanilla cream cold foam tops it all off.

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Honestly, I could sit and eat a cup of the cream itself. The vanilla sweet cream cold foam is light, fluffy, and delicious. It compares to fresh whipped cream in my opinion, adding and extra bit of sweetness to the beverage. The sprinkle of cocoa powder on top adds a nice touch to the overall beverage and compliments the rich taste of the Irish cream syrup. Not to mention, the cream mixing with the cold brew is very aesthetically pleasing.

This marks yet another win for Starbucks in my book. The collection of cold foam cold brews are my favorite new menu items by far. I am curious to see how Starbucks will continue to innovate with this concept of cold foam. Possibly a Gingerbread Cream Cold Brew in the future? I don’t know maybe I am just missing the gingerbread latte, but I do see so many opportunities for this amazing drink. Head to your local Starbucks to try the Irish Cream Cold Brew for yourself!

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My Experience with the iPhone 11 Pro

In the last two years I graduated from college, launched my career, and began a new life completely on my own. I think any budding adult can relate to the fact that moving out and severing ties with your parents bills can be a huge feat. Last weekend, I finally made the switch to my own phone plan, which means I am now totally self-sufficient.

Months after its release, I finally upgraded to the iPhone 11 Pro. I am generally not one to freak out over the new iPhone or wait hours in line for a product that I can get a few weeks after release. The same applies to the iPhone 11 Pro. Previously, I had an iPhone X which I upgraded to in early 2018. My phone still worked properly and I did not have any other issues; however, the new phone plan meant a new phone.

I made the switch from Galaxy to iPhone over 6 years ago now simply because it was more universal and my family used a lot of Apple products at the time. My first introduction to iPhone was with the iPhone 6 and I have stuck with iPhone ever since. From the iPhone 6 I transitioned to the iPhone X which was a HUGE difference; most notable difference being the lack of a home button. Nevertheless, I had to make many adjustments when I switched from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone X.

Changing from the iPhone X to the iPhone 11 Pro provided a much different experience. Gone are the days where your service provider would hook up your old and new phones to a machine and transfer all your data. With Apple’s iCloud, all of your contacts, settings, and apps are backed up meaning you simply have to log in to the new device and transfer data through the cloud. In my previous experiences with new iPhones, I always had to re-download apps and sign back in to everything, but this time my user interface looked exactly the same as my iPhone X.

The biggest difference between the iPhone X and the iPhone 11 Pro is the camera. Apple focused heavily on the enhanced camera features in all of the advertisements. The iPhone 11 Pro features a triple-lens camera setup which offers a better zoom, ultra-wide angles, and increased quality. I have taken a few pictures so far with the new camera and I am excited to try out all of the new features.

Aside from the enhanced camera features, I do not notice many differences from the iPhone X. It appears that innovation between the iPhone models has begun to slow. I think Apple made the huge adjustments in previous models and now we will start to see incremental changes between each iteration rather than rapid change. The iPhone 11 Pro definitely does not disappoint, but do not expect any major differences from the iPhone X when you go to upgrade.