Yearly Archives: 2015

10 Practical Tips for Holiday Shopping

Shopping during the holidays is never easy. In fact, it’s usually frantic non-stop get this get that until the last minute. But what if you could do just a couple things different that may save you both time and money? Life’s all about efficiencies and conveniences, so let’s get to it!

1. Shop early, and stick to your budget

Shop Early and Stick to Your Budget

Let’s say you budget $50 a person. You find the perfect $40 gift a few months ahead of schedule, which leaves you with $10 to find something else. Be careful, because it’s easier to spend more than $10 later down the road since the mentality becomes, “oh, it’s only $15 or $20, that doesn’t seem too bad!” Before you know it, you’ll go over your budget in no time with that thinking! Sticking to a budget is essential, but as good as buying in advance is, it can make you spend more down the road, so watch out for speed bumps!

2. Sign up for department store credit cards

Department Store Credit Cards

You know those department stores that offer discounts for signing up for a credit card? Most people advise to stay away from signing up, but we say go full steam ahead! You’d have to be crazy not to get that extra 15% or even 20%! If you’re going to choose this route this holiday, then make sure you pay your balance off in full so your savings don’t go to waste. One helpful tip we recommend is to keep a list of any cards you signed up for, and make sure that you pay those credit cards off first.

3. Window Shop on the Web

Window Shop on the Web

Shopping at the mall during the holidays is always a magical time, but you should be careful about falling into the purchase trap. Sure, you may be able to get everything in one fell swoop, but at what cost, literally? Say you see something amazing in store, or you have a good idea of what someone wants. If money means something to you, you’ll want to see what sort of deals you can find online before you purchase anything in store, or at the mall.

 

4. Black Friday or Cyber Monday? How about both

Black Friday Cyber Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a battle of the deals! Do you shop on Friday, or on Monday? We suggest looking for the best deals on both days, as it seems that certain gifts are less expensive on one day as opposed to the other. We’re not sure about you, but we prefer to spend all of Thanksgiving with family and friends, not Friday and Monday are free game. If you haven’t heard of Cyber Monday by now, you absolutely need to take a look this year.

 

 

5. Go for Credit Card Bonus Points

Web

You know those credit cards that award you with an insane amount of bonus points if you spend a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time? Well, we encourage you to look into that deal further. Some rewards travel cards will allow you to earn 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in a 3-month billing period. All you have to do is spend the money in the allotted time, and you’ll receive the points. The best part? You can take those bonus points, and use them to redeem gift cards. Generally speaking, 25,000 points equals out to $250 in gift cards.

 

6. Shop for value

Z-Grip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most expensive item isn’t always the best. Sometimes, you can save a ton of money by buying items that don’t cost as much, but still have a great value. Take Z-Grip Ballpoint Pens for example, a practical gift that will last a long time, and you won’t break the bank.

7. Get on those mailing lists

Email List

No one loves receiving too many emails, but when the time is right, the time is right! Some companies will even offer you a nice perk, like a 10% discount on a purchase, just for signing up! Then you’ll receive emails from time to time that have the best deals offered.

8. Don’t forget to enjoy the other joys of Christmas

Enjoy the Other Joys of Christmas

Curl up by the fireplace for a movie night, or prepare for a fun game night. Of course, you could always settle for the traditional movies, like Miracle on 34th street, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and then there’s the Hallmark movies or others like them.

9. Give to the less fortunate

Give to the Less Fortunate

Christmas shouldn’t only be able giving to those closest to you. Humans feel a deep sense of purpose when they give to others. Consider giving a small, or large, gift to a charitable organization that you believe in, or even get your neighbor a nice gift for their family to enjoy. It isn’t too much to ask for, now is it?

10. Buy Christmas Décor AFTER Christmas

Buy Chritmas Decor After Christmas

One of our most favorite tips is to purchase all holiday décor after it goes on sale, which is always after the holidays! Sure, it may take a year or two to get ahead of the game, but you’ll be able to buy stuff at a highly discounted rate, which won’t put as severe as a dent in your overall spending budget. Practically everything goes on sale in an effort to remove all holiday items from the store. But you have to do it soon after the holiday! Even a couple days makes a huge difference in availability of items.

 

 

Find Hope in Enlightened Writing

When things seem hopeless, what do you do? Chances are, the answer isn’t “give up and do nothing.” For most people, there is something that brings some solace and happiness on those bad days. It is a daily activity or simply a dream of the future that can add some hope to the hopeless.

There are few things in life that are as self-defeating as homelessness. However, there is always hope. Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho from São Paolo, Brazil was a homeless man who lived on a road median that he called “the island.” Despite his situation, Raimundo believed in himself, and deep down, knew that life meant more than what others thought of him. He believed in his ability to become an aspiring poet, and dedicated his life to publishing a book with his poems. Raimundo wrote every single day and never lost hope. His passion, perseverance  and hope finally paid off when a woman in his community realized his potential. She started a Facebook page and posted his poems, which eventually brought him the recognition and funding he needed to get his collection of poems published. Writing every day gave Raimundo a new life.

Raimundo’s story is inspiring, but you don’t have to be an aspiring poet to find comfort in writing every day.  Writing, no matter the form, can provide hope and joy on days when darkness abounds, or on days that are particularly enjoyable. Here’s a couple examples on how writing can affect your life:

1. Writing happens during joyful events, like signing a birth or marriage certificate or a birthday card.

Marriage License

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Writing can also remind us of happy memories. A quick glance through an old diary is a great way to remember a forgotten good day.

3. Writing can also supply a positive outlook on negative experiences. Writing about an event forces you to communicate it fully, rather than focusing on the negative emotions or just the bad parts. Fully recounting and reflecting on an experience can help you remember good elements that you might have forgotten and help you see a bad day in a better light.

4. Turning writing in to a daily habit can also provide stability in a hectic life. On those days when everything is out of control and you’re losing hope because things aren’t going as you planned, you can always remind yourself “at least I wrote today. I accomplished that goal.”

Enlightened Writing

Life is hectic, unpredictable, and can sometimes cause you to lose hope. The next time you feel helpless or hopeless, grab your favorite writing instrument and try expressing yourself in written words. With pen (or pencil or marker) in hand, you’ll be embarking on the path to enlightened writing and a more enlightened life.

4 Ways You Can Add Color to Your Holiday Cards

Colorful ArtWhether the change of weather brings you great joy, or great sadness, it does signify one thing that makes most people happy – the holidays! But with those warm thoughts of holiday traditions, come the task of writing to our loved ones, which can be a burden for anyone with more than close family to write to.

Fortunately, if you get ahead of them now, you’ll be far better off down the road!

Before you get too busy, consider doing something a little extra in your holiday cards this year. Most people write a quick note, but think of the joy you can bring to someone’s life with a little bit of fun and color.

Here’s four easy ways to spruce – or pine – up your holiday cards with some color:

  1. Woman Holding CardDraw something that brings back fond memories of time spent together. You don’t have to be Picasso to make someone feel something. Take any boring white space on the inside of your cards, and use them to brighten up your loved one’s day.

 

  1. If, like a lot of us, you can’t draw for the life of you, then you can always take a little bit of time to embellish your card with a few extra lines of color, maybe some reds and some greens around the corners, and also to highlight meaningful words used in the card. It doesn’t get easier than that!

 

  1. Still, if any act of creativity or drawing scares you more than the thought of running out of eggnog, then you could always write a personal note in the receiver’s favorite color. It will show that you were thinking of them!

Sarasa 14 Pack

  1. If you have any little ones running around, you could always get a little bit of help from them, too! As a word of caution, parent supervision is strongly suggested. Try to limit their participation to 10 cards or less, as they tend to get a little antsy.

 

If you’re into the tradition of sending a family newsletter, then we have the perfect solution:

Instead of typing something up on the computer, have everyone pick their favorite Sarasa color, and write/draw something that they were thankful for this year. Then scan the custom-made letter into the computer and use that for the basis of your newsletter! It will certainly change things up a bit.

Children’s Activities for the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for teaching students to be thankful for everything that they have, and to have a kind and loving heart for others. With two seasonal holidays almost back to back, we thought it would be great to share some easy and fun lessons for kids of all ages.

Thanksgiving Activities:

Thankful Giving:

Thankful GivingThis activity will help students have a sharing heart during a time of thanksgiving. Hand out one Cadoozles mechanical pencil to each student, and allow them to offer their pencil to any student in the classroom. If done correctly, each student should be able to both give and receive a gift, and each student should feel a sense of purpose when giving another student a gift, while at the same time, feeling a sense of joy when receiving a pencil from another student. Who knows, they may want to start a collection!

What would you erase last:

What Would You Erase LastHave students pick 5 things in their life that they love. It can be people, places or things. Ask them to write their 5 things with Cadoozles mechanical pencils on a sheet of paper (spread it out so they can write a few sentences underneath each thing). Once the students have their 5 picks, ask them to erase the least important thing, and write a few sentences of what life would be like without that thing. Continue the sequence until they are left with one thing. Ask them to try to do something nice for that person, or to visit that place during Thanksgiving break.

Draw, erase, draw, dash:

Draw Erase Draw DashEach student has a piece of paper, and one Cadoozles mechanical pencil. Students put their desks together in a circle, gather around in a circle and draw something that makes them smile. A timer is set for 30-seconds. Once the timer starts, the students draw something that makes them smile. Once the timer goes off, the students have to get up, move counterclockwise to the desk next to them. The timer is set again for 30-seconds. Once the timer goes off, the student will erase part of the drawing, and add something encouraging to it. Continue the rotation until every student has the opportunity to draw something. The end result will be a fun drawing that each student contributed to. Each student now has a class collaboration that they can bring home and put on the fridge for all to see!

Christmas Activities:

Oh, Christmas Cadoozles Tree

Oh Christmas Cadoozles TreeIf you’re really feeling festive, and you’re able to have a Christmas tree in your classroom, then this activity’s sure to please! Individually wrap a Cadoozles mechanical pencil, and add a nametag label for each student in your class. Add a string so each pencil can be hung from the tree, and spend some time during class letting each student come up one-by-one to redeem their reward! If you want to sprinkle in a little learning for the reward, ask each student a question that they can answer. Once the question is answered, the student can search for their Cadoozles.

Shapes of a Gift:

Shapes Of A Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have your students team up in groups of 3 to 5. Give each group of students a set of 10-20 Cadoozles mechanical pencils, and give each group 5 minutes to create the outline of a gift that they would like to receive or give to someone. Have them do this 3 times, once for a gift they would all like to receive, once for a gift that they would all like to give, and once for a gift that isn’t tangible.

A Friend in Need:

A Friend In Need

Have students draw up an imaginative friend. Ask students to imagine this friend is struggling with an unfortunate situation. It could be a sickness, or just someone who is feeling sad or angry. Ask them to write a letter to this friend, and have them think of the things they would say to that person to encourage them and help them feel better.

Leader of the Pack:

Cadoozles Critter Pack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students will answer a series of 10 fast-paced questions about Christmas history, or another subject of your choosing. A question is asked aloud, and the first student who raises his or her hand has the opportunity to answer the question. If a student answers correctly, that student will receive a point. The student with the most points wins a pack of Cadoozles mechanical pencils!

10 Holiday Steel Gifts under $10

Holiday shopping is a wonderful thing, but let’s be realistic for just a minute…sometimes the budget just isn’t available to go all out, and that’s okay. And just because you don’t have the money to splurge, doesn’t mean you can’t get great quality gifts that will make an impact on the receiver!

So here’s our top 10 list of the best of the best stainless steel products, all under $10:

1. Credit Card Bottle Opener for Your Wallet $1.89

Credit Card Bottle Opener

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let your gift receiver be the hero at any gathering with this nifty and helpful tool. Need a bottle opener, but don’t want to carry a clunky one around on your keychain all the time? This is the perfect solution! Just slip it into your wallet, and voila, instant success! Plus, as a side bonus, it will keep your credit cards from bending.

2. F-301 2Pk $5.54

F-301

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for strong and sleek, the F-301 Ballpoint Pen is your ideal pick. At an affordable price point for a good-looking stainless steel pen, you won’t break the bank if you misplace one or two. An excellent value that is available in a 2 pack.

3. Kingzer Top Inception Totem Accurate Cobb Stainless Steel Spinning Top Silver $6.62

Spinner Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those die-hard Inception fans. Take a spin with this spinning top, inspired by the popular movie, Inception.

4. Stainless Steel Coffee Mug $6.89

Stainless Steel Mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most people sip their coffee in comfort, but if you know someone who prefers their coffee in hazardous conditions, this is the mug for them! The mug even has a dash of creativity with the featured carabineer handle, so you can clip it to a backpack if your ready for an outdoor adventure!

5. 6pc Flask Set $7.27

Flask Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drink responsibly, and in style with this sturdy 6-piece flask set.

6. F-701 1pk $7.99

F701

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you want a pen that’s extremely durable, and can withstand much of the physical pressures of work and play, then look no further than the F-701. The F-701 features a stainless steel barrel, tip, clip, and knurled grip that not only looks cool, but it meets the needs of any demanding lifestyle.

7. Wallet Ninja 8.49

Wallet Ninja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ever know the feeling of needing a tool, but not being able to find one, then you know full well the feeling the moment you realize this portable tool chest can come with you anywhere you go.

8. F-402 2Pk $9.46

F402

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The F-402 offers a more weighted writing experience for enhanced comfort. The added luxury of a non-slip rubberized grip makes this ballpoint pen ideal for any heavy writer. A designer metal clip provides an elegant, yet confident, clasp for any shirt pocket.

9. Stainless Steel Straws $9.79

Stainless Steel Straw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing like trying to sip something out of a straw, only to find that the cracked straw hinders your ability to enjoy that sweet drink you’ve been craving. With stainless steel straws, there’s no concern over bending, breaking or flinging drops of your drink everywhere if bent the wrong way.

10. Freeloader Spork $9.99

Freeloader Spork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re looking for a little something that gives you a little more reach, then reach for the Freeloader Spork. It’s the perfect gift for that someone who likes to take a little bit off of everyone’s plate. With an easy extending arm, this gift is perfect for anyone who wants to play a little with their food.

Zen says gifts that last make a stocking worth stuffing

Pens and Pencils Make Great Stocking Stuffers

We’ve got the perfect stocking stuffer for everyone on your list.

For dudes, dads…

Steel Pens Make Great Stocking Stuffers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and anyone with an appreciation for sleek design and strength: Steel pens like the F-701 and the F-301. Both feature a stylish stainless steel case, and they’re built to last.

 

For teachers, students…

Cadoozles Make Great Stocking Stuffers

…and the young at heart: Cadoozles mechanical pencils. They may be mechanical pencils, but they look anything but mechanical. They come in tons of playful patterns that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face, and they’re fun to collect!

 

For color lovers, creatives…

Sarasa Gel Pens Make Great Stocking Stuffers…organizers/planners and left-handers: Sarasa gel pens. They come in 14 vibrant colors, which may literally be a stretch to pack in a stocking, but there’s always the 10-pack, or the 4-pack for a snug fit. Sarasa pens feature rapid dry ink, which is perfect for left handers and creative doodlers alike. In fact, they dry in less than a second on most surfaces.

 

For practical people…

Z-Grip Plus Pens Make Great Stocking Stuffers…who like to keep things simple: Z-Grip Plus. If you want a truly special writing treat, these pens are the perfect solution. They’re the smoothest pens on the market, thanks to our low viscosity ink. You won’t believe how smooth they are until you try ‘em.

Whether you fill your stockings throughout the season, or, like 99% of the population, you wait until the last minute for a stuffing spree, get out there, and have some fun!

Coupons

How to Save Money and Make Smarter Purchasing Decisions

When it comes to saving money, we all want to spend less without sacrificing the quality of what we buy. Sounds impossible, right? Turns out, there are many easy habits you can adopt in order to save more and buy smarter.

Sign up for customer rewards programs
Loyalty Program

Most shopping stores offer some sort of free rewards programs. These programs give you access to exclusive rewards, discounts, and sometimes even free gifts. Adjust your shopping to match the coupons offered, and you’ll be saving more money in no time!

Write a list, and stick to it

Make a List

Have you ever gone grocery shopping while you’re hungry? Terrible idea, right? Your hunger drives you to buy things you don’t need. But the “don’t shop when you’re hungry” warning applies to all types of shopping. Make a list of everything you need, and stick to it, otherwise you’ll end up spending more money on things you don’t need.

Coupons are your friends

Coupons

What better way is there to save money than with a piece of paper that literally takes money off of your purchase? While some people have turned the act of clipping coupons in to an extreme sport, you don’t need to be an athlete to save some money. Coupons can be found in stores, newspapers, receipts, email and mail. But, don’t also forget about online coupon resources. Sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot are valuable resources for finding coupons for your purchases.

 Buy low price, good quality items

Z-Grip Pen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This might seems like an obvious solution, but you would be surprised by how many people think that just because an item is good quality, it has to be expensive. While it’s true in some situations, the “you get what you pay for” trap isn’t always the case. For example, Z-Grips are low priced, but with a rubber grip, metal clip, and ink that doesn’t skip, they’re good quality writing instruments.

Handmade gifts

Hand-made Gifts

It seems like every holiday is celebrated by exchanging gifts. And the more people you celebrate with, the more gifts you have to buy, and the more money you have to spend. Instead of buying a gift for everyone on your list, try making one. It will be more personal, and it will save you money.

Money may make the world go ‘round, but it doesn’t need to stress you out. Try some of these thrifty habits, and you’ll save enough to keep your world in rotation.

White Walls

Personal, Yet Professional: How to Express Your Style in the Office

 

You sit at your desk every day, staring at the empty walls, and you know every one who enters your office stares at them too. But how can you show off your style while still maintaining your professional image?

Decorations
Decorations

 

The best way to immediately add color and personality is to hang art on the walls. Select a painted canvas, a poster or even a comic clipped from the newspaper to give your walls the touch of style it needs.

Hanging and displaying family photos is another great way to show off your personal life while remaining work-appropriate. But, make sure you don’t overdo it. You might want to have a picture of your entire extended family, but make sure you have enough room for your actual work.

Adding colorful desk accessories also provides an opportunity for self-expression. Purchasing a pencil cup, stapler, or scissors in your favorite color or pattern is a great way to show off your style without adding extra clutter to your desk.

Pick a color scheme

Pick a Color Scheme

Having decorations with wild colors might show your personality, but they can be jarring and display a level of disorganization. Try to pick a single color scheme so you appear both creative and organized. Accompany the color scheme with neutral or metallic accessories. For example, a sleek stainless Steel pen or pencil matches any color scheme.

Keep your bookshelf full

Keep Your Bookshelf Full

Having books in your office will make you appear intelligent and prepared. Most of the books should be relevant to your industry and job responsibilities, but having some fun books in the shelf shows your other interests and serves as a topic of conversation for visitors.

Plants

Plants

For the most part, there is no such thing as an unprofessional plant. As long as you can keep it alive, a plant is a great way to add a homey touch and a pop of color to your office.

Dress to impress

Dress to Impress

Since your sit at your desk every day, sometimes your most personal decoration is you. Gone are the days where business wear means you can only wear dark suits and muted colors. Use colors or patterns in your professional wear to show off your style and liven up your office (at least, when you’re in it).

Your office can feel like a home away from home. With some quick decoration tips, your office can look like a home away from home too.

Messy Desk

Does Your Desk Make You Look Creative, Lazy, Organized or Boring?

We’ll admit it, despite what our mother told us, we’re guilty of occasionally judging a book by its cover. We assume a person will act a certain way based on what they’re wearing, what kind of coffee they order, or where we see them. Believe it or not, people also make snap judgments based on someone’s workplace. A desk, office, or cubicle could be saying things about a person when they aren’t even there. So the question is: What does yours say about you?

Productive, but lacking in character

Too Organized

If your desk is neatly organized, people might assume that you’re a freak of organizing nature. Many studies have shown that people with clean and organized work places tend to be more organized and efficient. So not only does a desk make you appear more prepared, but it might also make you more so.

However, a clean desk can also make you look boring or passionless. Without the personal touches of a more cluttered desk, people might assume that you have no interests. They may also assume that since you haven’t taken the time to personalize your space, you don’t want to be there and don’t enjoy what you’re doing.

Paper piles in the creative pigsty
Messy Desk

If your desk is a mess, people might assume that you’re messy, lazy or disorganized. They may even go as far as assuming that you are unable to handle big tasks and won’t be able to meet deadlines.

What those people don’t realize is that many studies show how messy spaces can inspire creativity. People who have more clutter and things on their desk often come up with more innovative and creative solutions. Your messy desk might show how creative you really are, not to mention the fact that you’re too busy doing your job to keep your desk spotless.

What’s the best solution for you?
Organized but Creative

 

So, how clean should you keep your desk? The answer is up to you. Find a level of mess that works best for you, but don’t go overboard. If your desk is too clean, bring in some colorful artwork and some conversation starter pieces. If you’re a little too overboard on the pigsty method, you should grab yourself a 14-pack of vibrant Sarasa pens, and get organized! Start by color-coding your manila folders using different colors to designate priority, and use different colors on sticky notes for helpful reminders.

Cadoozles Classroom Pack

Take Back the Classroom, Make Learning Fun Again

In books, movies, and real life, kids drag their feet as their parents walk them to the school bus or drop them off, but why does school get such a bad rap? Standardized lesson plans turn school into a boring place where students pray for the final bell and a long nap. We think it’s time for teachers across the globe to add some fun to the lesson of the day.

Here are some fun ways to make learning fun again:

Hands-on learning

Cadoozles Classroom Pack

Nothing says it better than this old Chinese proverb: “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand. Step back and I will act.” There’s no better way to learn something than by getting involved, yet most teachers are forced into a “show and tell” mentality rather than getting students involved. So instead of telling students about the basics of subjects, try personally involving them. For example, don’t just talk about static electricity; let kids create it by rubbing a balloon on a piece of wool.

Play learning games

Play Learning Games

Nothing says fun like a game. A lesson can become immediately engaging if turned in to a game. If your students are engaged, they are more likely to participate and remember the material. A game of jeopardy can turn a normal, boring rev-eww session into an awesome rev-wooh! session.

Teamwork is dreamwork

Teamwork is Dreamwork

When students only listen and communicate with you, they don’t get the chance to talk with their peers. Making friends can be a lot of fun, and is essential to developing interpersonal communication skills. Give your students a chance to socialize and learn at the same time by coming up with team projects and activities that reinforce your lessons.

Don’t always rely on the textbook

Don't Always Rely on the Textbook

If you’ve ever read a dry book, you know it isn’t fun to keep plowing through the material. The same goes for your students. Reading straight from the text can be boring, so try to find some other sources to spice up the lesson. Movies, songs, or even other books and articles can add some much needed variety.

Provide some extra incentive

Cadoozles Classroom Pack

Everyone loves free stuff, right? Sometimes all children need to participate and enjoy school is a freebie every once in a while. Reward good grades, good behavior, and participation with cool prizes. Keep students focused on learning by giving things like notebooks, pens and pencils, and make sure you offer a wide variety of patterns and styles so that students can pick something that they actually like. For example, Cadoozles Mechanical Pencils come in a variety of patterns that will make it hard for students to pick just one.

 

By adding fun into lesson plans, teachers can make school more engaging. Students in classrooms everywhere will rejoice when they begin to enjoy learning!