Tag Archives: Big Lots

Christmas Gifts They’ll Actually Use

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigLotsHoliday  #CollectiveBias



If you recently attended your friend or family member’s wedding, it will likely be their first holiday season as newlyweds. Instead of  traditional Christmas gifts, why not get them something they’ll actually use? I did that for my daughter and son-in-law. The couple recently got married, and this year will be their first Christmas as a married couple.

Big Lots has a number of gifts available for the home that can compliment what they already have. In fact,  Big Lots has everything you need to prepare for the holiday gifting season. You can even click on my first image and shop a few items right there!

For my daughter and son-in-law, I picked out items I knew they would want and need. Since the newlyweds are on a budget, they hardly ever eat out and cook most of their meals together. I figured a crock pot would come in handy, especially during my daughter’s law school finals when she spends hours in the library.

My kids and I love shopping at Big Lots. My younger daughter recently stocked up on all her college apartment essentials at Big Lots. You can read about here. I can honestly say I’m in there every week. It’s just a short drive from my home. The store is always well-stocked, organized, and their employees are super friendly. And, as a Big Lots Buzz Club Rewards Member, I get occasional coupons and discounts.


A crock-pot may not be a glamorous Christmas gift, but it sure is practical, and I know the couple will have great use for it for many years to come.
Holiday shopping

Big Lots has a great selection on small kitchen appliances. Back in July, my younger daughter, Christy,  bought several small kitchen appliances for her college apartment. She found everything she needed at Big Lots.


holiday gifts for newly weds


I also found some smaller basic kitchen items which I placed in a cute basket. You can never have too many frying pans, right? And what young couple doesn’t need a collapsible colander set? Perfect for a small kitchen.

holiday gifts for newly weds


I added a few ornaments to the basket for a more festive look.  How cute are these snowmen?

holiday shopping

christmas shopping

What I love about Big Lots is that I can check more off of my list and get great quality, name brands at a great value. I’ve shopped for Christmas gifts at Big Lots for as long as I can remember. Big Lots has something for everyone on your list.

holiday gifts for newly weds

Including your furry friends. I wasn’t really looking for pet gifts, but when I came across these cute pet toys I knew our rascals, Teddy and Billy, would go nuts over the pet stocking.


holiday gifts for newly weds

holiday shopping

I almost got these mugs, but then remembered that my son-in-law doesn’t drink coffee.


holiday gifts for newlyweds

Instead, I chose the rolling-pin and cookie cutters. They both love sweets.

holiday shopping

Big Lots never disappoints. I know my “young people” will be thrilled to get all this for Christmas. This shopping trip was a success…. except, I’ll have to go back for the pet stockings and dog toys. Too cute to pass up!

newlyweds holiday gifts

How is your holiday shopping coming along? Do you buy practical, fun gifts or both?


Our Guest Room Is Ready

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigLotsHome  #CollectiveBias


Small Guest room storage

Our sad, small extra room finally got some attention and I’m excited to share the reveal with you today.small guest room storage

When we first moved into our home, this very small room (10 x 10) was my son’s bedroom. When his older sister started college, my son took over her larger room and this room became our storage/guest room.

small guest room

The room was full of stuff and wasn’t very welcoming. It also lacked storage  and I wanted to change that.

With the holidays upon us, I wanted to create an inviting and functional retreat for our future guests. guest-room-storage-collage

I started by visiting my local Big Lots store. It’s less than 10 minutes from my house and they always carry a wonderful assortment of high quality home decor and organization items that are fashionable, stylish, and also value-priced. Seriously, Big Lots  has baskets, bins, carts & drawers, plastic containers, cube storage, wall hooks, and so much more. I love shopping at Big Lots and I’m in there almost every week. I love how well-stocked and organized Big Lots is and their employees are always helpful and friendly.

small guest room

In the furniture section I found this white 3-shelf with cube piece, which I placed next to the bed, so it doubles as a bed site table. A friendly Big Lots employee helped me carry the heavy shelf box to the car and I only spent 30 minutes assembling it. When it comes to a small room, space is at a premium. One of the best ways to maximize the space is to get dual-purpose furniture.

small guest room storage

The cubes provide additional storage. Big Lots carries them in a variety of fun colors.

small guest room

I purchased a new lamp. The simple and sleek design was just what I wanted for this gender neutral room.

dsc_0019I added a few fun items such as this wire basket – which I filled with snacks – and this lovely smelling candle. I love the snack aisle at Big Lots where I found a nice variety of organic snacks and cereals.

Small guest room

guest room

I also spotted this cute mirror at Big Lots.


The “day bed” is really my son’s old twin-sized bed. Since I had an extra twin mattress, I placed it behind the bed and covered it with a grey bed sheet. If more than one guest visit, we can quickly  pull out the extra mattress and no one has to sleep on the couch. Now the bed functions as a couch during the day, perfect for guests to relax on.

small guest room

To address the lack of artwork in this room, I completed a very easy DIY decor project. I built this simple art ledge using just three boards. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.


I also bought this storage bin for storing extra blankets and sheets under the bed. Sometimes my guests arrive super late and it’s no fun digging through the linen closet in the middle of the night.
small guest room storage

On this side of the room, I placed a white cabinet which I found at a thrift store. I already had the mirror and small shelf. A simple plant completes this area.

small guest room

The room needed hooks for jackets and robes. These multi-color metal hooks add a decorative touch and function. Big Lots has many different types of wall hooks to choose from. They are all so cute!
small guest room

Since this room doesn’t have a dresser (yet), I bought this shelf organizer and hung it in the closet. This cubed unit is perfect for sweaters, shoes, accessories, etc. I also picked up a few extra hangers.

small guest room

New sheets and a firm luxury bed pillow will help our guests unwind.

small guest room

Our small guest room is ready and I think (hope) our guests will love it.

Are you getting ready for guests? If so, be sure to check out  Big Lots for all your organizational needs. They have so much to choose from. Big Lots has everything that you need to prepare for family and other visitors in the coming months.

I’d love to know what you think about this room? Would you like it if you were my guest?

College Cooking Skills & Tools

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigLotsReady  #CollectiveBias

collegeMy daughter, Christy, an incoming college junior, has got it all – a lovely room, stove, fridge, counters, cabinets. Now we’re talking!collegeLet me tell you, this girl loves her full size bed and takes full advantage of her kitchen. She cooks every day. Although it’s more work for her to cook her own meals, I know she eats a lot better for at least half the cost of the meal plan at school.

Last year was her first year in a college apartment. When she moved in, her roommates had already lived there for a year, so the kitchen was full of essential equipment. This year, two of the roommates moved out taking some of the kitchen stuff with them.

Before the school year ended, Christy made a list of the things she’ll need for back- to- college in August. The list included a toaster, coffee maker, some bowls, as well as smaller things such as pens, paper, toiletries, laundry detergent, etc.

Last week, we went to Big Lots and found everything  she needed. We also found items she didn’t need but were too hard to pass up. Like this super soft chevron blanket. Let me show you some of the things we bought.

back to collegeBefore we even made it to the kitchen essentials aisle, Christy spotted all this softness. The girl cannot walk past cozy blankets. I can’t really blame her. How cute and modern is this chevron pattern? Big Lots offers such a wide selection of fashionable products.  It’s hard to only pick one.Back to college

college EssentialsNot only is this blanket soft, it will also add a fabulous touch to her room.

back to collegeBig Lots carries lots of comfy blankets, comforters, sheets, throws;  all value- priced to outfit a dorm room or college apartment. Keep in mind, styles and assortment vary by store.  back to collegeIn the electronics aisle, Christy found these cute purple wireless mini speakers. The speakers are portable and rechargeable… perfect for college kids.

college EssentialsAlthough speakers weren’t on Christy’s list, she loves to listen to music while she cooks. She has already tried the speakers at home while preparing her favorite dish: veggie stir-fry with basmati rice. back to collegeNext, Christy chose this Sunbeam toaster for her morning toast, which goes perfectly with the much needed Mr. Coffee. college EssentialsShe starts each morning with a run,  a cup of coffee, cottage cheese or yogurt  with fruit and toast. A coffee maker is essential during finals when she spends up to 12 hours in the library.college EssentialsThe size of this coffee maker is perfect for her small kitchen.


back to collegeHere, she grabbed a few school supplies for her upcoming junior year. During the school year, getting to a store isn’t easy for her since she doesn’t have a car.  Summer is a good time for her to stock up on things she’ll need and I feel better knowing that she has everything she needs for the school year ahead.

college Essentials These bowls will be perfect for her stir-fries, soups,  cottage cheese, and cereal.

college Essentials

We love shopping at Big Lots. They carry a wonderful assortment of high quality back-to-college items.  Really, Big Lots has all the essentials whether it’s for a dorm room, living space, or kitchen area. In addition to smaller college essentials, Big Lots carries mattresses and ready to assemble furniture including desks, chairs and bookshelves. I got so excited when they opened a Big Lots store in our neighborhood. Their cashiers are always friendly and helpful. Did you know you can also shop Big Lots (biglots.com) online?



As a junior, this will be my second year living in an apartment, and I can assure you that cooking’s not as daunting as it may initially seem. Stocking the right foods in your kitchen is going to take you a long way toward a good start.

I think healthy eating is an amazing stress relief tool that a lot of college students don’t use. Ever since I’ve made it a point to eat healthy balanced meals and drink more water my stress levels are way down. The act of cooking can be relaxing too, knowing that you are nourishing your body and treating it with kindness. Whenever I come back from a busy day of classes, it’s always wonderful to put on a pot of something or other and start heating, mixing, and then experimenting with tastes. It’s a wonderful way to blow off steam. Lots of college students think eating healthy is such a hassle but it’s FUN!


Your first trip to the grocery store should include some products that will get you through an entire semester of eating, in addition to those that you’ll replenish regularly.  Buy staples like olive oil and salt. On move-in day, my mom and I hit the grocery store and stock up on rice, dried beans, lentils, nuts,  sweet potatoes, dried spices, peanut butter, almond milk, frozen chicken, lots of fruits and veggies, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and butter. I don’t buy any junk food. If I have it in my kitchen I will eat it.


You’ll need at least one pan (a 10-inch skillet, nonstick) and one pot (large enough to cook pasta and rice), plates, small bowls, as well as a can opener, a paring knife, a chef’s knife, a large bowl (for mixing), a plastic cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, a couple of wooden spoons, a spatula, a baking pan, a cheese grater, and colander.  Plus a few dish towels and tupper wear. You can also add a blender, toaster, and  coffee maker.


My advice, cook simply and often. Lean on lunch and dinner formats like pasta; meat, fish, or vegetables; salads; rice bowls and stir-fry. For breakfast, stick with standards like eggs and toast, yogurt, fruit and oatmeal. Rice bowls are my favorite. They are easy and quick to make and can be changed up with herbs, vegetables, and protein. Something I usually do is chop and cook a bunch of assorted fresh veggies at the beginning of the week and use them all week-long in wraps, tossed into pasta or mixed into brown rice.

Decide if you’re the type who can eat the same meal repeatedly. If so, you’ll save energy by cooking a big batch of chili or lentil soup to fill bowls for days. This type of cooking is perfect during finals.


The more you cook, the more of a mess you make. Make it a habit to wash dishes as soon as possible after eating, especially if you are sharing the kitchen.

Cooking in college is a wonderful thing. I feel so blessed having a full kitchen where I can prepare delicious meals. For me, cooking takes less time than walking to the nearest campus cafeteria.  With the right tools, cooking on your own can be done quickly, cheaply and, most importantly, in a healthy way.