Sunday, March 28, 2010

Have you ever been stumped on what to buy for that person who has everything? I used to find myself dreading Christmases and birthdays simply because I did not know what to buy for that special person in my life. Not only did I want to purchase a great gift, I wanted it to be able to afford it. Sound familiar?

In this post, I want to share with you some of the gifts that have been important in my gift-giving life. They all have one thing in common. They're personal. Personalized, that is! Personalized gifts are wonderful because they show they gift receiver that you are thoughtful and creative. Plus, who doesn't love to see their name in print?

Last Christmas, the hubs and I gave our families personalized wall art from Alphabet Photography. We simply love the nature-inspired photos and thick frame. Alphabet Photography has over 500 pictures from which to choose, so there is a combination of letters out there to suit your personal style.

I am embarrassed to say this, but a couple of years ago for Valentine's Day, I gave the hubs this...
Yes, I went to, uploaded a picture of us, and made our photo into a puzzle. And if that isn't corny enough, our names are repeated in a scripty font in the red background. As cheesy as this gift may be, we had a blast drinking wine and putting it together.

Next up, the tried and true classic...personalized mugs! These are mugs I purchased from Twisted River Clayworks for the hubs and my sister last year for Christmas.

Unfortunately, the This Young Economist mug did not make the long trek from Montana to Chicago, and now looks like this:

Even though the This Young Economist mug is shattered, the actual This Young Economist is fully intact! Tony Cookson is This Young Economist, and you can check out his blog if you want to read economics articles, participate in economics polls, and learn economics through his YouTube videos. If not, you can stick around Just a Picture of Home!

The wall art, puzzle, and mugs are examples of personalized gifts I have given, but I have also been lucky to receive some personalized pressies. My parents bought my sister and I wire name pins and turtlenecks with our name on them when we were younger. The hubs has written me poems, and last year for my birthday, he wrote me a song and created a music video.

So there you have it; some ideas for personalized presents. What things do you have that are personalized, or what have you had your eye on? Towels, linens, M&M's? Let's get personal(ized).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We are adding a new element to Just a Picture of Home. And what might this be? Drum roll, please...We are adding PRODUCT REVIEWS, and I am so excited to share my first review with you.

As the hubs and I strolled down one of the main aisles at Target, we were distracted by a large sign and several tubes of toothpaste. We were like magnets attracted to metal, and this toothpaste was our steel. Introducing Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint...

We had seen the commercials advertisting this new toothpaste. It was supposed to keep your mouth feeling fresher for five times longer than your ordinary toothpaste. But, could Crest Scope Outlast actually live up to the hype?

Yes, yes, and YES! When I first tried Crest Scope Outlast, I was overwhelmed by its strong minty taste, but after a couple of brushings, we were both hooked. I can honestly say that I noticed that my mouth felt healthier. Most importantly, my breath tasted much fresher for a longer period of time than it had with any other toothpaste. In fact, if I could buy Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint by the truckload, I would do it in a heartbeat. It is that good.

So here's the lowdown on Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint.

What: Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast - Long Lasting Mint

Cost: $3.69 - $3.89 for a 7.6 oz tube

Where to Buy: Wal*Mart, Walgreens, CVS,


*Actually leaves your mouth feeling fresher and healthier for hours longer than your average toothpaste

*Tastes great!

*Combination of paste and gel


*Unable to buy it in bulk at Costco

So there's the nitty-gritty of our favorite toothpaste. If you suffer from some nasty halitosis, pick up a tube and give it a try. Your significant other, friends, and colleagues will thank you for it.

But before I sign off, I want to know about YOU. What toothpaste do you use? Are you a Crest kid, or is Colgate up your alley? Or maybe you prefer the old-fashioned baking soda and water combo. Do tell.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FoxTrot has always been my favorite comic strip, mainly because I could identify with none other than Paige Fox.

She always wore her hair in a ponytail. I wore my hair in a ponytail. She loved to shop. I loved to shop (and still do). Paige hated gym so much that she hair-sprayed her ponytail so that it stuck out horizontally, making it look like she was running really fast. When my high school gym teacher wanted us to run laps, I jogged around the track, and...I am really ashamed to say this...but I told my teacher I had asthma. That's bad, I know. I just really hated gym.

FoxTrot was published daily in The Montana Standard, but eventually it only appeared in Sunday's funnies. When I moved to Bozeman and subscribed to The Bozeman Chronicle, FoxTrot was nowhere to be found in the black and white pages. How was I to get my weekly dose of Fox family humor?

As luck would have it, much of Bill Amend's brilliant strip is available online. You can browse through classic strips, read about the primary characters, and learn about the creator of the Fox family. And if tweeting is your thing, you can follow Bill Amend on Twitter!

Without further ado, I leave you with Fox Trot that was published on November 29, 2009. Isn't Paige clever?

This is why Tony and I have four computers. Have a beautiful Saturday, everyone!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

As I was browsing this morning, I stopped clicking for a moment as something funky, hip, and downright cool caught my eye. Take a look at these:

At first glance, I thought they were just ice cube trays, but.......they're not! These are silicon bakeware and ice cube trays rolled into one! They are made by Sillycone, and they can be used in many creative ways.

Like this...

Or this...

Or this...

And if you thought Sillycone made only letters, you were mistaken (you probably weren't mistaken because you noticed the '10' on the birthday cake, unlike me). They also have trays with symbols, numbers, and even Greek letters. Don't these trays seem like a fun addition to your kitchen arsenal? And they are only $14.98 at for a set of letters.

Besides ice, jello, and butter, Sillycone claims that these trays can be be used to make chocolate, sidewalk chalk, crayons, rice krispy treats, and soap. I am not sure I would use them to make soap and then ice, but I could see sticking solely to food and ice. I can even see them looking fabulous while floating in a punch bowl.
So, what do you think? Have any of you tried these or seen someone use them? What was your take? I'd love to know!

All images used in this post were taken from