Dec
 
15

Your Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by: Cathy Eng in Tips
 

At this point in the holiday season, most of us have scoured the outlets and trekked through the Jacksonville malls in search of great holiday gifts. We’ve also passed the internet shopping window in which we are guaranteed to receive our orders by Christmas.

So what are we to do for those last few people on our list that are just too difficult to shop for? No need for resorting to the gift card rack at Walgreens for your last-minute gifts. Here are some ideas for people with all types of interests!

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Winston Churchill once said, “Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” The art of Thanksgiving cooking is certainly no exception.

Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (often tin can shaped) and roasted turkey will make their way to most of our tables this Thanksgiving, but there are other equally delicious ways to innovate traditional dishes. Here are some ideas to shake up turkey day for your family!

1. The turkey – reinvented. There are several methods other than roasting to cook a delicious, full flavored turkey. More and more people are freeing up oven space and opting to cook their birds outside through a variety of methods. Here are a few.

Grilled Turkey: For a more casual meal, you can grill your turkey in parts on your outdoor grill. Your bird must be separated into breast halves, leg quarters and wings since they all cook for varying durations, but that saves carving time later.

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Halloween is one of the year’s most fun-filled, candy-coated holidays. It’s always exciting for kids to sift through their bounty after trick-or-treating… and for parents to swipe their favorite fun size candy bars for themselves!

While these treats are positively delicious, I’ve been looking for easy and healthful treat options to keep around that balance the good with the bad. Looking at online resources like Pinterest.com, it’s not hard to find creative and delicious recipes that everyone will love. Here are just a few super easy and healthy options disguised as devilish treats!

Apple Monster Mouths
2 large red or green apples
2 cups peanut butter
1 bag mini marshmallows

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For most of us, investing in our future is a lot like maintaining a healthy diet: we know we should do it and it certainly benefits us long-term, however most of us have room for improvement! Well, much like a personal nutritionist, Charles Schwab‘s investment professionals provide the personalized help to you need to make smart and healthy decisions with your money.

We recently sat down with Jim Gallagher, Manager of the Jacksonville Branch of Charles Schwab, to learn more about the company and how they can help you.

I see you’re located in the St. Johns Town Center. How long has your branch been open? We’ve been in the Town Center for almost three years – the branch opened in December 2011. Through my conversations with clients, I’ve seen first-hand how important it is for people to have local access to actionable investing help and guidance that makes sense for their specific financial goals. Schwab has been an advocate for the individual investor since its founding, and our branch is proud to play that role in Jacksonville.

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If you would like the benefits of a vacation without all the stress and costly travel, you may want to opt for a “staycation”! Popularity of the staycation – a leisurely vacation spent close to or at home – has increased since the economic recession and folks are now realizing they can have just as much fun and relax more than they tend to do on an expensive, long distance jaunt.

Luckily, we live in a city that is a popular destination for tourists and offers an abundant array of options for vacationers. No matter your vacationing style – rugged and outdoorsy all way to tranquil and relaxing – planning a staycation in St. Augustine is incredibly easy! Here are some staycation ideas for all.

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Jun
 
10
 

Most of us have found ourselves wandering around endless stores asking ourselves, “What in the world should I get him for Father’s Day?” Well, break out of Brookstone. Lose Lowe’s. And say “good bye” to Best Buy. Brick and mortar is old news; the internet is best place to find the ideal Father’s Day gift. But shopping for gifts online doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful! Here are some stress-free online gift ideas that will fit any budget.

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For many of us, Mother’s Day is all about greeting cards, bouquets of carnations, and breakfast in bed. While these gestures are all appreciated, why not surprise Mom this year with an unexpected present that matches her personality to a tee? We’ve compiled some ideas for gifts that will suit almost any type of Mom. Let’s start by considering what she likes. My Mom likes to …

… get outside and break a sweat!

Help your health-minded Mom keep track of her daily activity with a no pressure gadget that is simple to use: an activity tracker! There are many on the market, but the most affordable and highest rated trackers are the Fitbit and SYNC Fit brands. These tiny devices count steps, distance, and calories burned. They also sync wirelessly to Mom’s laptop so she can use online tools to set goals and track progress. No need to worry though; even the lowest tech Mom can use the simple, one-button device! They sell online for less than $100.

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So many of us consider our dogs to be part of the family. In fact, almost 40% of U.S. households own at least one dog (American Veterinary Medical Association, 2012) and we are more and more likely to include our pooch in family vacations, events, and even our weddings. So, it is only fitting that our community has created ways to include our furry friends in everyday activities.

Thanks to sites like BringFido.com, an online dog travel directory, it is easier than ever to find hotels, restaurants, and attractions that are pet friendly. Thanks to St. Augustine’s fantastic weather and reputation as a tourist destination, businesses have opened their doors to the millions of Americans who travel with their dogs. Here are just some of those local businesses.

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Ready to begin your next house hunting adventure? Great! Before you hit the pavement, Troy Silhan of Bank of England has some sage advice: Be certain you understand your pre-approval!  It is vital that home buyers recognize what a pre-approval is – and isn’t – as well as the differences between the various pre-approval processes and documents.

We recently caught up with Troy to discuss pre-approvals and clear up some lingering misconceptions about this important step in the purchasing process.

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Jul
 
16
 

As many of my fishing buddies and World Golf Village neighbors know, our area offers a wide variety of ramps to get your boat in the water. I have a 22-foot Nautic Star Bay Boat with a Yamaha 150-4 stroke outboard that enables me to fish a variety of locations within the Intracoastal and bottom fish in the ocean. I love spending the day on the water with some friends and grabbing lunch or dinner at some of the best eateries in town.

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