Aside

I just came across this post from Bridal Musings that I am sure that all brides-to-be will find useful.

Just remember us here at Occasionally Gifted when it comes time to choose your florist for your Wedding Day.

To assist you in making your Wedding a memorable one, Occasionally Gifted is pleased to provide you with a free Floral Design Consultation. To also assist you in your wedding planning we can offer a large selection of wedding bouquets to choose from. We proudly offer designs by Vera Wang to our all inclusive Wedding Packages for the budget conscious.

Anne

Top Tips On Wedding Timings By A Wedding Planner

<!– Elizabeth | | 4 Comments–> wedding day timings

Time for some more wedding planning tips from top London wedding planner Andri of Always Andri Wedding Design. It’s her penultimate post here on Bridal Musings – she’s taken us all the way from those few first steps as a newly engaged couple to finding the perfect venue and sourcing awesome vendors. She’s even shared […]

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Father’s Day is Less Than 2 Weeks Away!


With Father’s Day fast approaching we are all in a rush to find Dad the perfect gift. Dad is one of those tricky people that end up being find the perfect gift for the person who already has everything!

At OccasionallyGifted.ca our gift basket designers source out the latest and greatest gifts to match Dad’s favourite activity. Whether Dad’s into fishing, football, baseball, barbequing or anything else we have the themed gift that will make his day!

Here are some of our Father’s Day gift baskets (there are even more online!):

ImageImageImage

If none of these gift baskets are suitable, check out our full category of Father’s Day Gift Baskets. Remember, many of our Father’s Day designs are gourmet-themed and can be sent for many other reason!

If committees told the truth………..



Hi, we’re here to take your project to places you didn’t imagine. With us on board, your project will now take three times as long. It will cost five times as much. And we will compromise the art and the vision out of it, we will make it reasonable and safe and boring.

Great work is never reasonable, safe or boring. Thanks anyway.

Seth Godin

We’ve all been there? We have been frustrated when working in this type of environment. The question is why do we turn to “committees” when the solutions we are looking for should come from the “leadership” within organizations?

Occasionally Gifted

10 Great Management Books for Small Business Owners


Running a small business is a lot tougher than you think. Personally, I am a big fan of looking at what others are talking about on the subject of leadership and management. Essential ingredients to becoming a successful small business owner.

While I agree  that it requires a combination of both leadership and management skills, just what the correct dose is I am still trying to figure out. While leadership and management come easily for some, many find that reading management books helps keeps them informed and current with today’s best management practices or just what may be vogue for the next ten minutes or ten years.  You can see some of what we have learned by visiting us at:

Occasionally Gifted

Those of you who know me know that I am voracious reader on this subject and I was impressed with this list from Small Business trends that I would like to share.

With thousands of books to choose from, it can be frustrating and overwhelming deciding on what to read.  That’s why Small Business Trends has put together this list of top 10 best management books every small business owner should read. (Listed in no particular order.)



1.  “Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization”by Daniel Patrick Forrester.

In today’s on-demand, always-on world, it seems counter-intuitive to take a moment and consider your next decision. Daniel Patrick Forrester interviews leaders in high-stakes and high-risk circumstances who have mastered the art of taking time out to think and process their options before rushing into a decision.

Small business owners will appreciate the many examples and techniques used by great leaders and managers of critical projects to calm themselves down, collect the information that they need and then communicate their decisions and actions clearly.



2. “No Jerks on the Job: Who They Are, The Harm They Do and Ridding Them from Your Workplace”by Ron Newton

No Jerks on the Job

There isn’t a workplace around that doesn’t claim its share of jerks. In fact, working with difficult people is one of the most popular management books topics around, In the book No Jerks on the Job, Ron Newton explains where jerks come from and he gives solutions for dealing with jerks; create a transparent environment, embody your values and huddle up to solve problems.

The biggest benefit that any businessperson can get from this book is being able to identify jerky behavior and not feed into it or make it worse.



3. “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

In Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh, the visionary CEO of Zappos explains how an emphasis on corporate culture can lead to unprecedented success.

The lessons in this management book come from Tony Hseih’s own experiences.  They include the lessons he learned from poker that he applies to business:  Make sure your bankroll is large enough for the game you’re playing and the risks you’re taking, figure out the game when the stakes aren’t high, differentiate yourself and do the opposite of what the rest of the table is doing.



4.  “StrengthsFinder 2.0”by Tom Rath

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is an updated strengths assessment published by the Gallup organization. This book includes a password that allows you to take the StrengthsFinder assessment online. After completing the StrengthsFinder assessment, the results will uncover your top strengths. Readers will also get a personalized strengths planning guide as well as 50 ideas that they can put into action in their business and personal life.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a great management book for small business owners who are looking for smart ways to balance out the strengths inside their management teams.



5. “Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement With the Principles of RESPECT” by Paul Marciano

Carrots and Sticks

If you’re looking for a management book that will help you motivate your employees without spending yourself silly with financial incentives, look no further than Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work.

Paul Marciano reviews all the motivational theories we’ve used and abused over the last hundred or so years. He then gives you practical advice on how to upgrade your conversations in a way that will benefit your employees and your business.  You don’t need to spend your company into bankruptcy trying to please employees – the answer is much simpler.



6. “Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality”by Scott Belsky.

Making Ideas Happen

There is a method and a skill to making ideas happen and in this management book, Scott Belsky shows you how to run your brain spark of an idea through a process that converts the idea from a thought to something real and tangible.

Making Ideas Happen takes you through project management, how to maintain your focus, harnessing the power of your community and developing the chemistry of your creative team. It’s a real world management book that you can use daily by yourself or with your team.



7. “Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork. Start the Work That Matters”by Michael Bungay Stanier.

Do More Great Work

If you find yourself feeling unproductive, Do More Great Work is one of the management books for you. Inside this small and well-designed books are 15 maps and exercises that will help you identify the elements of great work and triggers for less-than-great work.

For example, where to find clues to your great work, how to find the sweet spot between what you want to do and what your organization wants you to do tactics to manage the overwhelm and more.



8.  “Awesomely Simple Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action”by John Spence.

Awsomely Simple

Awesomely Simple is a management book that gives the small business owner and department managers a clear and easy roadmap to follow in building the business and then planning for growth.

John Spence delivers an MBA in a management book that is easy to read and follow.  Ultimately it’s a guide you can turn into management practices in your business.



9.  “Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others” by Justin Menkes

Better Under Pressure

What is it about some managers and leaders that has them perform at their best under pressure and then the others who simply fold? In Better Under Pressure, Menkes reveals the common traits that make these leaders successful.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with sixty CEOs from an array of industries and performance data from two hundred other leaders, Menkes shows that great executives strive relentlessly to maximize their own potential — as well as stoke their people’s innate thirst for their own triumphs.



10.  “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?”by Seth Godin.

In Linchpin Art + Profession = Rewards For All

Seth Godin takes his unique way of looking at things and brings it to the world of management.  Linchpin is one of those management books about what it takes to become indispensible at a workplace.

Godin warns that it’s no longer good enough to treat people like factory workers, nor is it enough for workers to simply just do what they are told.

Today’s world of work asks more of both employer and employee.



With this guide to the best in management books, you will get concrete advice on how to manage your company and your team in a smart way.  Go ahead — set a goal to read all 10 books.  Then integrate the ideas from these management books into your daily work and create a world-class business. Let’s know what happens, especially what works!

“Tales2Go”………….. A great Gift at a Great Price


I came across this post on CNet and I am sure that it will appeal to everyone who likes a good read. The price is absolutely right and fits with our Holiday theme of  “creative gifting”. If you are looking for a special gift for a friend colleague or family member why not look at how “creative we can be. Visit us at Occasionally Gifted  or you can try our new OG Flower Market

I’m a longtime fan of Tales2Go, the  iOS app that provides unlimited children’s audiobooks for a flat monthly  rate.

Tales2Go  – Happy Holidays bundles 20 seasonal audiobooks into one app, with no  subscription required. Instead, you pay just 99 cents. That’s a great deal any  way you slice it, and an outright steal for parents and schoolteachers  alike.

The collection includes short stories, full-length books, and even a familiar  poem or two. Here’s a sampling:

  • Two versions of “A Christmas Carol”
  • “Clifford’s Christmas”
  • “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”
  • “The Gift of the Magi”
  • “The Night Before Christmas”
  • “The Story of Hanukkah”

All told, the app delivers more than 30 hours’ worth of audiobook goodness.  And because there’s no subscription requirement, you get lifetime access to  these stories.

Like the original Tales2Go app, Happy Holidays relies on streaming–something  to consider if you’re on a limited data plan. That said, if you start listening  to a story via a Wi-Fi connection, the app will quickly download the entire  thing to youriPhone,iPod,  oriPad, and  keep it cached there until you’re done listening.

That means you can get into a car or on an airplane without having to worry  about an available Internet connection. Alas, the app can cache only one  audiobook at a time. In an ideal world, it would store all of them on your  device.

Tales2Go is coming soon for Android and desktops, and there are plans for  additional “themed” bundles down the road. In the meantime, this is perhaps the  best 99 cents you can spend on your kids this holiday season.

Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success

With the passing of Steve Jobs there has been a lot written about the man and the impact he and his company had on many of us. I never had the pleasure of meeting him but I did have the opportunity to hear him speak on a couple of occasions.

One of my deepest regrets in life is that while I felt pretty sure that I understood the impact that business could have I consistently underestimated the magnitude that impact  would have . The result was that I could never make that share purchase and invest in his company.

What follows is copy of an article from Entrepreneur Magazine titled Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success. This just might become a classic.

Steve Jobs’ impact on your life cannot be overestimated. His innovations have likely touched nearly every aspect — computers, movies, music and mobile. As a communications coach, I learned from Jobs that a presentation can, indeed, inspire. For entrepreneurs, Jobs’ greatest legacy is the set of principles that drove his success.

Over the years, I’ve become a student of sorts of Jobs’ career and life. Here’s my take on the rules and values underpinning his success. Any of us can adopt them to unleash our “inner Steve Jobs.”

1. Do what you love. Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, “I’d get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about.” That’s how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.

2. Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” Don’t lose sight of the big vision.

Related: Steve Jobs’ Surprising First Business Venture

3. Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn’t have any practical use in his life — until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don’t live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.

4. Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the “A-Team” on each product. What are you saying “no” to?   

5. Create insanely different experiences. Jobs also sought innovation in the customer-service experience. When he first came up with the concept for the Apple Stores, he said they would be different because instead of just moving boxes, the stores would enrich lives. Everything about the experience you have when you walk into an Apple store is intended to enrich your life and to create an emotional connection between you and the Apple brand. What are you doing to enrich the lives of your customers?

Related: 10 Things to Thank Steve Jobs For

6. Master the message. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t communicate your ideas, it doesn’t matter. Jobs was the world’s greatest corporate storyteller. Instead of simply delivering a presentation like most people do, he informed, he educated, he inspired and he entertained, all in one presentation.

7. Sell dreams, not products. Jobs captured our imagination because he really understood his customer. He knew that tablets would not capture our imaginations if they were too complicated. The result? One button on the front of an iPad. It’s so simple, a 2-year-old can use it. Your customers don’t care about your product. They care about themselves, their hopes, their ambitions. Jobs taught us that if you help your customers reach their dreams, you’ll win them over.

There’s one story that I think sums up Jobs’ career at Apple. An executive who had the job of reinventing the Disney Store once called up Jobs and asked for advice. His counsel? Dream bigger. I think that’s the best advice he could leave us with. See genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend those ideas.

Related: Remembering Apple’s Steve Jobs

Did you find this story helpful? YesNo

The Holidays


The Holiday Season is fast approaching. It is a time for fun. A time for giving. A time for gathering. Complete your holiday this year with a selection of gourmet treats from Occasionally Gifted. Chocolates, cookies and many other select gourmet foods from across Canada and around the world.  Our beautiful gift baskets are wrapped and decorated with coordinating bows to make these the perfect gift for family and friends alike.

Many of our gift baskets have a vintage flair to bring back memories of holidays past. Can you think of a more delicious way to spend the Holidays?

The Spiritual Power of Flowers


October 20, 2011

I found this article on Keen.com and thought many of you might find it interesting. If that is indeed the case Occasionally Gifted can help with a great selection of floral bouquets or potted plants for you or someone special. To see our collection of the best in fresh and potted plants just click:

Occasionally Gifted-Fresh Flowers

The practice of sending flowers is as old as civilization itself. Flowers, with all their infinite variety and beauty, carry meanings outside of the rational and material experience. Because they are alive, they are like us, temporary passengers on an exhilarating ride. But they are also connected to parts of nature that we never experience.

They arise from the soil and enjoy being out in the rain and the sun. They use animals to pollinate and keep the planet alive in the process. The connection between flora and the spiritual realm is a potent one. Keeping the right flowers close to you can hasten divine connectedness. Explore each flower’s unique power and meaning to see if they can enhance your spiritual practice.

Bird of Paradise

This is a protector flower. If you are meditating or worshipping inside of a building on a regular basis, planting Bird of Paradise outside protects your spiritual practice from outside distractions.

Cactus

In Feng Shui practices, Cacti are only good for warding off intruders, but a blooming cactus is a reminder to reach toward the heavens. If you find yourself drawn to trancelike meditation, consciousness-expanding moments await you in the moonlit blooms of various cactus flowers.

Carnation

Wearing carnations in a corsage or headdress connects one to the wider universe. Pink carnations invite you into a maternal relationship with the world around you. Red carnations help you arrive at absolute decisions in regard to your spiritual pursuits. White carnations not only symbolize purity, they de-intensify the need to seek earthly pleasures. Specific colors carry significance, but all carnations are a potent spiritual medium.

Chrysanthemum

Placing these flowers in your area of worship signals well-practiced devotion and discipline. Perhaps you have been on your path for several decades. Maybe you are an old soul. When you fast or make other ritual sacrifices, chrysanthemums help to strengthen your resolve and commitment.

Daisy

A harmonious and happy bloom, daisies pull like-minded people together to soothe dissent and restore a sense of joyful peace. This is an important flower to have on a shared altar.

Hyacinth

Much spiritual practice is about finding direction, but the Hyacinth works in opposition to the clarity of knowing. It delivers an energy that elevates ambiguity. At times, you might not be ready for an answer. To hurry your journey would be to spoil the process of slowly unfolding discovery. A hyacinth plant delays absolutes from arriving before their time. If you have mastered impatience, you have inhaled the aroma of this fantastic flower.

Lily

When you take an oath or a vow, the presence of lilies in the room strengthen the commitment. This flower is a must at a wedding. If the floral arrangements at the marriage ceremony of a friend don’t include lilies, wear a corsage made with these flowers to ensure marital success. The closer you are to a lily as you say, “I do,” the more likely the marriage will last forever. One word of warning: Do not cast your cat in the role of flower girl. Lilies are poisonous to kitties!

Lotus

This is the flower of consistent meditation. Day in and day out, the presence of the lotus, in any state of openness, reflects and honors your connection to this world, to the present moment and to all the worlds beyond this mortal coil.

Orchid

When you have a spiritual breakthrough, purchase an orchid or accept one as a gift and put it in the sunlit place where you spend the most time. Orchids mark events and track a span of time. If your orchid wilts away, it only shows how far you are moving beyond certain accomplishments. If it thrives, you maintain the plateau you have achieved. Either state of being is fine; think of the orchid as a clock where midnight and noon are marked in the same location.

Rose

The popularity of roses has led to many different varietals, hybrids and colors. Symbolism abounds, but it is not always spiritual in nature. A universal symbol of love, the rose is a sacramental bloom. Its presence can add majesty to any ritual. This is one serious flower.

Tulip

This flower assists you in finding the divine beyond words. Often we become hung up on the small stuff; little trifling details that merely take us away from our larger goal: spiritual peace and connection. Tulips pulsate to higher planes with the big picture of salvation and transcendence. Wherever you see a tulip, there is a portal to joy.

In the 17th century, when religious disagreements were tearing Holland apart, Dutch painters substituted flowers for depictions of saints and deities as their illustration of the divine. The role of earth’s blooming buds in finding our own path beyond this earth is a powerful gift from the universe to all of humanity.

Christmas Budget


Christmas and the Holiday Season is important to the success of our business. While we would sure like to maximize the number of sales that can be generated by our site. We hope that you will take the time to view our 2011 Holiday Collection. In response to the current economic challeges that are face by many,  we offer a wide range of pricing options.  But we know that with the condition of the economy there are increasing numbers of people that will struggle this holiday season.

When we came across Mandi’s blog in “How to stretch Christmas” we could not resist the opportunity to add value even if a site visitor did not necessarily purchase anything.

I hope you find this article useful.

Plan Now to Stretch Your Christmas Budget
by MANDI on SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

source: OiMax
I know, I know — it’s not even October, and we’ve suddenly gone all Christmas-y on you here at Life…Your Way. But bear with me. You see, I think the thing that makes Christmas so stressful for so many people is the lack of planning. We try to stuff too much into four very stressful weeks, and suddenly there’s no time to embrace the wonder and joy of the season.

By taking small steps now to get ready, you’re in a much better place to enjoy it all. Not just to work hard so your kids enjoy it or to knuckle your way through it, but to actually, truly enjoy it.

Going into debt for Christmas gifts can make this stress last even longer as you, literally, pay for it for months to come, and while I’m not philosophically opposed to all debt, I’m not a fan of Christmas debt at all.

Rather than counting on your credit cards to carry you through, here are some ways you can start stretching your Christmas budget now:

Buy less.

This should maybe go without saying, but since it’s one of our hallmarks here at Life…Your Way, I’ll go ahead and say it anyway:

Christmas has become a big to-do, and while I love giving — and receiving — gifts, it’s okay to scale back. Look for small, meaningful gifts rather than big, expensive ones. Give less and let each one be more meaningful because of it rather than having so many gifts that they just get tossed aside in anticipation of the next.

When my husband and I first got married, that first Christmas was a bit of a wakeup call. I had always been, well, spoiled, and that year the number of gifts I received dropped significantly. I got over it, of course, and to be honest, I don’t even have anything on my wishlist this Christmas, but the point is that our job as parents is to raise adults, and by lavishing them with gifts, we may actually be setting them up with unrealistic expectations that may lead to disappointment later on.

Give handmade & baked gifts.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to be Scrooge-like and stop giving gifts altogether, and another way to stretch your budget is through handmade gifts and baked goods.

The beauty of the internet is that DIY tutorials abound, and if it’s inspiration you’re after, sites like Pinterest and our 101 Days of Christmas series are full of ideas as well. Yes, it takes more time and effort and forethought to make rather than purchase gifts, but handmade gifts become the most treasured, and baked goods are always a hit!

Create a sinking fund.

Even if you don’t have much money set aside for Christmas gifts and you’re not sure where it’s going to come from, set up a sinking fund and begin squirreling away whatever money you can.

Substitute a frugal meal like beans and rice in place of a meat and potatoes meal each week and bank the savings. Give up your weekly latte, pack PB&J rather than running through the drive-through, etc. By saving dollars and cents here and there — and then transferring those savings to your sinking fund — you may be able to come up with more money over the next two-and-a-half months than you think!

Sell what you can.

Do you have clothes you could take to consignment, old electronics you could sell on eBay or books you could list on Amazon? Look around your house and begin decluttering — selling what is worth selling and donating the rest. Not only will you end up with some extra cash for your Christmas budget, but your house will be less cluttered as well!

Always search for discounts and coupon codes.

I’ve said it before, and I can’t emphasize it enough: when shopping online, always search for coupon codes before checking out, and look for store sales and discounts before heading to the store as well. Sites like Trimback.com (a Life…Your Way sponsor) list coupon codes for hundred of retailers, and you can easily search for the latest to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

At Jungle Deals & Steals, my mom and I have already begun the search for great deals from Amazon.com for Christmas, as has Shannon at For the Mommas.

On other deal sites, like Deal Seeking Mom, you’ll find deals and specials, not just for grocery stores, but also for department stores and other retailers. Timing is everything, and if you watch for sales and special promotions, you can save significantly!

Sign up for Swagbucks.

If you’re not yet signed up with Swag Bucks, it’s not too late to get started. When you use the Swag Bucks search engine, you’ll earn bucks that can be redeemed for a variety of prizes…including Amazon.com gift cards. They also offer a variety of games, videos and special promotions to help you earn additional Swag Bucks and, yes, you’ll earn if people register under your account as well. Right now, you can get 100 Swag Bucks when you register with code BIGTIMEBUCKS.

Christimas shopping can be overwhelming if you’re not sure how you’re going to pay for it, but it’s not too late to take small steps toward a less stressful Christmas!

How do you stretch your Christmas budget?

Mandi Ehman is the founder and publisher behind Life…Your Way as well as a wife and homeschooling mom to four beautiful girls. She lives with her family on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia and loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.

Hi and Welcome


We are Occasionally Gifted and this is our first attempt at writing a blog. We are an Internet based gift, gift basket and flower business. When we discussed the idea of creating this blog one of our objectives was to make sure that we did not turn this into one long commercial for our business but what could we possibly have to say that would be of interest to anyone?

In trying to answer that question I came across this twitter bio from M A Caruso, “I’ve learned I don’t know anything. Have also learned that people will pay for what I know.  Life is good.”

Well that just works for me. Since we are not looking to make money at this we are hopeing that our observations, anecdotes and reflections on the wins and learning we have experienced while building our business will provide an opportunity to dialogue with our clients, to share experiences with other small business entrepreneurs and to indulge some personal fantasies on writing. What a payback this could be!!

Join us anytime. Make suggestions. Share your observations, likes and dislikes. The act of sharing will provide the value.

Bill