The most popular gifts under $30 for women & men!

Does everyone still stuff their stockings??

My favorite gifts are the small stocking stuffers.  Ever since i was a little girl, my mom would put all my Hanukkah gifts in my Mickey stocking. (Mixed family traditions lol). I think i was more excited to open the little gifts in the stocking then the big ones.


As the holidays come around i know everyone is shopping and going crazy finding the perfect gift. I want to help!! Since i love shopping so much i have a lot of experience finding the perfect small gifts.

If you are looking for a gift for a secret Santa, or a small gift for a friend,  here are my favorite gifts under $30.




1) A popular gift this year is bath bombs!
They are so unique and perfect for a friend or secret santa. My favorite ones are the Pearl Ring Bombs. Just imagine your friend taking a bath with a bath bomb and a container with a ring falls out. This is such a unique gift!! If you don't want one with a ring, LUSH has some amazing scents! Men would love them as well.





2)Bath and Body have these amazing Aromatherapy lotions and body wash sets.  They are perfect for either women or men. My absolute favorite is the sleeping one. It is filled with lavender and cedarwood. They also have men scents which are good for a male in your life.






3) WHO IS A HARRY POTTER FAN?? I absolutely love Harry Potter!! Alex and Ani has created a new collection just for us Harry lovers lol. If you aren't a Harry Potter fan, Alex and Ani is the perfect gift for a secret Santa or friend. They look amazing alone or even better stacked up together! I personally have about 30 and i keep collecting lol. They have different sections for different personalities. A Fan, The Fashion Forward, The Humanitarian. There's one for everyone in your life.






4) Okay, so i wanted to keep this one a secret because it is so amazing, but i have to share lol. Walgreen's and other pharmacies have these Amazing Perfume Body Spray Collections that are only $7!!!! that's right only $7!!!! They are real! They last all day!! I am obsessed!! I want to collect them all!! You can get a variety of them!! They have all the popular ones too, The Rihanna Nude is my favorite but they have the Vince Camuto, Paris Hilton, Giorgio Red and many more.
For the men in your life they have Curve Men, Sean Jean, Kenneth Cole, and many more.






5) Confession time!! I am a PJ hoarder lol I collect pjs and i never throw them out. Idk why i just get attached to all my PJS! Every year for Christmas my mom and i get matching pjs. It has been a tradition for as long as i can remember, and guess what? I have kept all of them lol. Anyway... PJS Are one of my favorite gifts to get for people. Everyone wears pjs and socks!!! OLD NAVY has $5 PJS right now!!!!!! If you don't like any of those, KMART always has a good selection for buy one get one. Check it out!!




6) Okay so i heard through the grape vine that the Amazon Fire Stick can be hacked and you can watch anything with it!! I personally haven't tried it but i know so many people that have and it is amazing!! This is a great gift for anyone who likes TV and Movies. Even without it being hacked, it is a great way to watch things.




7) 2017 is almost over!! Its been one hell of a year!! A great way to say goodbye to it is with a 2018 Planner! My absolute favorite one is a Life Planner from Erin Condren It can be customized with your name, quotes, and comes with so many stickers and bookmarks. It is the perfect gift to get someone organized for the new year, and hey get one for yourself too!!!




8) At my age, almost everyone i know loves WINE! A bottle of wine can be a great gift for a friend or loved one but a personal bottle of wine is the best. At PERSONAL WINE, you can purchase a custom wine bottle or even just the label to put on their favorite wine! Check it out!!





9) Now this gift is over $30 but it is such a great gift. This generation takes so many pictures on their phones, and never get them printed. Getting them a Instant Polaroid camera can be a game changer!! It is the perfect gift for a selfie lover as well because it has a front camera. Men and women would both love it.



10) SHOTSS! Now I'm not a drinker but i know so many people our age are. LIQS is a portable cocktail shot already mixed. They have 5 flavors like Whiskey Firebomb and Vodka Lemon Drop. You can get two packs for $15. They are perfect to bring to a holiday party or a gift for a friend.



Everyone enjoy your shopping, be safe and remember that holidays aren't just about gifts. Spend time with your loved ones, and make memories that will last forever.


xoxo,
Loralyee








New York’s magical holidays

New York is the most festive place to be during the holidays. IT is so magical!! I fall in love with New York every holiday season. From the pop up markets, the shows, to the decorated restaurants with unique holiday drinks. The flashing lights everywhere light up the city more then ever before. There's no place i rather be! As a blogger, i am always thinking of fun places to go to take pictures. During the holidays in the city, it is always crowded, so its best to just be in the moment and make memories with my loved ones.  I will post some fun pictures and videos on my Instagram story (@Loralyee) and i will add some more to the list as time goes on but for now let me give you a teaser lol.

I have celebrated the holidays in New York every year, so i might be biased. Let me tell you all the fun things to do, and you can decide!!!



Here are my top 10 favorite holiday festivities and activities!!




#1 is my favorite of all!  SHOPPING!! The Union Square Holiday Market is one of my favorite places to go during the holidays. It is so fun to walk through and shop!!! All the vendors are small business owners, so it is the perfect time to support local businesses!! Since i have been going for so long, my first stop is always the candle makers, then i walk through, get a nice cup of Hot Cocoa and enjoy the rest of the stroll. Some other fun markets to walk through are Bryant Park Holiday Shops and Columbus Circle Holiday Market.



#2 SHOWS!!!!! This one is a old tradition but worth it!! If you lived in New York and you haven't seen The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular then you aren't a true New Yorker!  I have been going since i was a little girl. It is the perfect show for all ages!! Make sure you shop around for tickets, i heard Groupon has a sale!! If you have already seen The Rockettes too many times, i would recommend some other fun shows like; How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical  or my absolute favorite Elf The Musical . Both of these shows are perfect for the family or even just for a date!!


#3 HOT COCOA! This year i tasted one of the best hot cocoas ever!!!! You have to try BAITA at Eataly The Boozy Hot Cocoa is so yummy and the decor in this cozy rooftop restaurant is so cute!! I recommend making reservations if you want to eat. If you just want the Cocoa, just go and sit at the bar! Believe me you wont be disappointed!!


#4  LIGHTS!!! According to Time Out Magazine "Out of all the yuletide razzle-dazzle NYC has to offer, the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2017 display is by far the most spectacular." Go Check It Out!!! All of the people in these homes work so hard to decorate the neighborhood. You can even play a game and vote for the best house!!!


#5 DRINKING! Have you ever walked around NYC and saw a bunch of Santa's strolling around? I promise most of them are on the naughty list lol. ( Just kidding) It was probably Santa Con, one of the most fun days in New York. A bunch of New Yorkers dress up in holiday outfits and go bar hopping around the city. Check out the Santa Con website for the most popular bars. This year it is December 9th starting at 10:00am.


#6 ICE SKATING!!  Do you like to "LET IT GOOO" on the ice? I defiantly don't! lol i am the worst ice skater because i am so scared to fall in!! Buttt.. for those who love to ice skate here are two ice skating rings in the city. Bryant Park Ice skating is the most popular, be prepared for a long line.. but once you are inside the view is breathtaking!! You can see the tree and many more amazing decorations.  The second one is the newest but it is so cute for kids. The Rink At Brookfield Place They have little animals they can push to hold their balance on the ice! The view is the water and it is so beautiful. 


#7 TRAINS! I hate New York City Trains but I'll make a exception for The Holiday Train Show @ The Botanical Gardens It is so beautiful and Festive. It is also perfect for the family. I recommend checking the schedule online before going.


#8 POP UP BAR-- Miracle on 9th street is a Christmas Cocktail pop up bar. It is so delicious and a perfect place to hang out with the girls. I would recommend going early because it does get packed!!! Try the Bad Santa or the Jingle Ball Nog!!!



#9 Holiday Cruise-- Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise  is a must do! Its a warm and cozy cruise tailored for friends, family, and all your loved ones during the Holiday Season. Step inside this toasty solarium in full holiday decor for a 1.75 hour cruise to see the New York City lights. Delicious Hot Cocoa, Cookies, and live music. Its perfect for a tourist or even a New Yorker that wants to admire their city.

#10 Holiday Windows- Everyone knows that Macy's has a beautiful display every year for the holidays, But there are so many more amazing holidays window displays that are worth checking out. If you walk down 5th avenue from the 50s all the way down you will see some amazing displays. Some of my favorites are Barney's, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tiffany & Co. They are a perfect place to take pictures or just stand and appreciate the views.



I hope you all enjoyed this list!! Stay tuned for pictures and videos of myself exploring the city. I hope you are enjoying #loralyess25daysofchristmas  Stay tuned for my TOP 10 favorite festive restaurants and more holiday fun.


XoXo,
Loralyee

Pumpkins arent just for Lattes

Pumpkins aren't just for Lattes!! I personally love drinking and eating things with pumpkin in it!

Besides carving pumpkins during Halloween, and going to your favorite coffee shop for pumpkin lattes you can eat Pumpkins many other ways. 


Here are my top 5 Pumpkin Recipes:


Pumpkin Mac and Cheese--

Ingredients:


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes; drain.
  2. Stir pumpkin puree, butter, and cheese with the drained macaroni in a large bowl until the butter is melted and the noodles completely coated.
  3. Top with Breadcrumbs 
  4. Bake for 15-20 mins 



Pumpkin Soup

  1. Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
  2. Puree the soup in small batches (1 cup at a time) using a food processor or blender.
  3. Return to pan, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley

Pumpkin Brownies


Ingredients
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan. Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract; beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoon. Gradually add the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it's evenly moistened. Divide the batter in half in two separate bowls.
  3. Into one bowl of batter, blend the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter, stir in the pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  4. Spread 1/2 of the chocolate batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, and follow with 1/2 of the pumpkin batter. Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer, and drag a kitchen knife or small spatula gently through the layers in a swirling motion, to create a marbled appearance.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan, cut into squares, and serve.

Pumpkin Meatballs


Using a fork, mix together the turkey, pumpkin puree, sage, sugar, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, garlic powder and egg in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Form the turkey mixture into evenly sized (approximately 1.5-inch) meatballs. You should end up with about 22 in total. Note: If they're fussy, you can smooth them into a rounded shape once they're on the baking sheet.
Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes on one side. Carefully turn them over and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Add the meatballs to a pot of simmering Cinnamon-Sage Tomato Sauce. Cover and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the meatballs to soak up the yummy sauce flavor. Serve with the Spaghetti Squash "Pasta."


Pumpkin Eggnog

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups dark rum or brandy
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. 1.

    Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and, watching carefully, beat until they are about the consistency of shaving cream, about 90 seconds. Reduce speed to medium. With mixer running, add half of sugar and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Transfer whites to a large bowl. Do not wash bowl.

  2. 2.

    Add egg yolks and remaining sugar to now-empty stand mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow and ribbony, shutting off machine and scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary, about 2 minutes total. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and allspice and mix on medium-low speed until homogenous, about 15 seconds. Add milk, cream, and alcohol and mix on low speed to combine.

  3. 3.

    Using a rubber spatula or handheld whisk, fold the whipped whites into the egg yolk/milk mixture until completely incorporated. Serve by ladling into goblets and garnishing with whipped cream (if desired), grated nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick if desired.




Here are some other things you can make with pumpkins!!! 



Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Tea
Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Pasta
Pumpkin Ravolii
Pumpkin Ice Cream



I hope you enjoyed, stay tuned for some live cooking videos on my instagram story. 

Xoxo,
Loralyee