March 17, 2017

Easy Irish Beer Cheese Soup- tutorial included!

beer cheese soup

This is not only one of the easiest meals to make for St. Patrick’s Day, it is also one of the most delicious! While corn beef and cabbage is a meal reserved for only St. Patrick’s Day in most American households, beer cheese soup is a quick and easy meal for any day of the week, any time of the year. This easy beer cheese soup recipe is made even easier with the tutorial video below from Man Cave Munchies.

Easy Beer Cheese Soup Recipe

I chose this video over several others because Mr.  Man Cave gives the ingredient measurements in addition to easy-to-follow instructions (some videos actually skipped the measurements!). Also, some cooking tutorials out there have really detailed instructions but they are waaay to long. This video shows every step of the soup-making process and still keeps the video length to under four minutes!

Beer Cheese Soup Bread Bowl

Bread bowls are great for rich, creamy soups like clam chowder, lobster bisque, and broccoli cheddar. This video tutorial from PopSugar shows how to quickly and easily make bread bowls for soups or dips!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!







March 11, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day ideas for food, fun, decor and more!

St. Patrick’s Day used to be one of those holidays I did not pay much attention to. I mean, I dressed in some green to avoid getting goosed at school by a perverted boy, and then later in life by a perverted co-worker, but I wasn’t much for decorating or seeking out green-colored food or decor. Then I married a man who is part Irish, and my whole paradigm on St. Patrick’s Day changed. Now I need to represent yo! But you know me, my darling Faking Fancy readers, I don’t just throw out some green M&M’s and call it a day. Nooo sir. I have to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a fancy way! But I needed  St. Patrick’s Day ideas for clothing, food, drinks and decor that was cheap and easy, like my cousin Cheryl…(Just kidding, she’s married now. And what happens in Lake Havasu…)

Cute, affordable St. Patrick’s Day outfits

First things first I’m a realist..(my blog’s fight song!) and I know that NO ONE looks good in head-to-toe green. I’m also not big on buying holiday-themed” clothing you can only wear one day of the year. Using the pieces below for inspiration, you can get all gussied up for St. Patty’s in style, without purchasing specific St. Patrick’s themed wear.

We all know the St. Patrick’s Day clothing rule, as long as you are wearing something green you are good. I love this outfit inspo collage above from Shoes & Tricks on Tumbler. Her site asked me for a password so I couldn’t get to the sources for each piece. But I found this super cute long sleeve blouse and this flirty cap sleeve blouse, both green and both only $11! If you aren’t going to wear it often try your local Goodwill or consignment store for green clothing that is even more affordable.

st patrick's day

This outfit from Polyvore is St. Patty’s Day perfection to me, minus the Tom’s. I hate those shoes. I’ve got some gray slip-on Vans I’d pair with it instead. Brown riding boots or white espadrilles would look super cute too, depending on your local weather.

Easy St. Patrick’s Day Beauty

Last year I took some green-colored hair powder my stepdaughter had and threw a streak in my under layers. It looked cool, yet totally mom-appropriate. (You can see it in my profile pic on Facebook this month!) If you don’t have green eyeshadow or nail polish on hand don’t sweat, cheap versions of each are found at the Dollar Store or even at Walgreens. If you are doing a green eye keep the rest of your face neutral, no matter how many people tell you a red lip is totally Irish. Unless you are twenty-three and dancing at the Irish festival, it’s just tooo much.

st patrick's day

How great is this Irish flag eye look? If you have hooded eyes like me the look is even more subtle and only shows when you blink or look down. The link went to t-shirt shop, but the look doesn’t really require a tutorial.

st patrick's day

I also loved this subtle St. Patrick’s eye from iheartmakeupart at  This look is pretty and versatile enough to wear out on a non-holiday as well!

st. patrick's day

With the nail art pens they have on the market now it’s possible to create all kinds of cool and creative nail looks, but I usually don’t have the time for anything too intricate. The fun and sparkly green & gold mani above is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day and doesn’t get any easier!

Quick and Delicious St. Patrick’s Day Food

I’ve never been a fan of the cabbage and corned beef dinner that is the normal dinner fare for most St. Patrick’s celebrations. But I found a few ideas and recipes for meals and snacks that are delicious AND use the same elements found in more traditional St. Patrick’s Day meals.

st patrick's day

Who doesn’t love sliders? These genius little sandwiches from look totally amazing, and, if you use potato rolls as the buns, they could not be more Irish!

This recipe for corned beef Reubens caught my eye for two reasons. One, I love Reuben sandwiches! And two, these are made in a crock-pot so you don’t have to slave over a hot stove all day.  An added bonus is the house will smell sooo good all day long!

st patrick's day

Dessert doesn’t get any easier than this scrumptious puppy chow! Just set some plastic cups and a scoop next a big bowl of it and let people scoop their own chow. Less mess and only one bowl to wash!

st patrick's day

Unless you want to hike it on down to McDonald’s sometime after dinner, making your own shamrock shakes is a MUST for St. Patrick’s Day dessert! Add some Irish cream to a separate pitcher for the grown-ups!

Fun and easy St. Patrick’s Day decor

I’m still not big on decorating for a holiday that is celebrated for only one day (versus Christmas, Halloween, and Easter). But I’ll frame some cute free printables like these ones and throw out some easy DIY decor with items. Most of the decor below can be made last minute and with items you probably already have around the house!

st patrick's day

Irish decor doesn’t get any cuter than these beer mug centerpieces filled with gold water gems and mint carnations! Carnations are super cheap and you probably already have the mugs, so the only investment is the water gems which can be found at any at amazon, any craft store and even Walmart.

st. patrick's day

The beauty of pillar vases and candles is you can use a huge variety of cheap items to fit the St. Patrick’s Day theme. The vase filler above is just dried peas, but you could also use green candy or beads. I once filled a couple of vases with coins from our vacation jar and added green candles. You could also grab a bunch of small pebbles from your neighbor’s xeriscaped lawn (shhh) and spray paint them gold. Add some green Dollar Store candles, et voila!!

St. Patrick’s Family Activities

st patrick's day

The Leprechaun toilet visit above is totally happening at my house! My kids are all teenagers but they will still find it hilarious. Check out for 22 other fun and easy ideas for kid-friendly activities.

st patrick's day

Yep. Again this leprechaun beard game is definitely happening at our house. I don’t care HOW messy it gets. And knowing my stepsons, whip cream is guaranteed to get everywhere. But laughing until my stomach hurts and the resulting photo opportunities will make it well worth the mess!

I hope these fun, easy and affordable ideas help to make your St. Patrick’s Day the best ever!



February 14, 2017

Pretty Valentine’s DIY Decor for pennies!

I went to unpack my Valentine’s Day decor and realized that, because it is the traditional red and pink, it didn’t quite match the color scheme of our kitchen and dining room. (Insert gasp and look of horror here!) I knew I needed to come up with a clever DIY decor solution for two reasons. One- finding Valentine’s Day decor in an aqua/blue color scheme was going to be impossible. And two- I didn’t want to spend the money on more Valentine’s Day decor, especially since I only have it up for a few days anyway.

So I hiked on down to my craft area and found some (as sheer coincidence) pale aqua, lime green and light blue scrapbooking paper I had leftover from a wedding I staged last year. I also grabbed some glue and my scallop-edged scissors. Not finding any string or twine in the craft room, I headed to the laundry room and took some white thread out of my sewing kit. My final stop was my dining room table where I eyed my supplies and started brainstorming Valentine’s DIY decor ideas.

DIY Decor for pennies

diy decor

I looked up from my dining table and it hit me! Nothing is prettier or has more impact than hanging chandelier decor. For Xmas, I hung leftover metallic ornaments from my dining room chandelier and they had such a lovely and dramatic effect! My supplies not so neatly in place, I began cutting hearts out of the scrapbooking paper with the scalloped scissors. I have zig-zag-edged scissors also, both of my special-edged scissors work really well to create a more finished look when cutting out paper crafts. Once I had about 30 hearts (and a cramped hand) I got down to business in making the heart garland. I set a heart on a 12 to 15 inch piece of string and glued another heart on top. I repeated this process down each piece of string and then tied the hanging garlands to the chandelier. The whole process took me less than an hour and the result is so pretty!

diy decor

The cost of this craft was free because I already had all of the supplies on hand, but even if you don’t have the right color scrapbooking paper you can still get 4 sheets (the amount I used) for about $.25- .50 each. You also don’t have to use scalloped scissors for this. Most people have scissors, thread, and glue at home already, which is what makes this craft extremely cheap and perfect for a last minute decor craft!

Is your house lacking pretty Valentines’s Day decor? Try this simple and fun DIY decor project above!





January 15, 2017

Easy and delicious Valentine’s dessert idea!

Okay ladies, I am about to rock your world with the easiest, creamiest, chocolatiest dessert ever. And then to top it off I am going to tell you how you can make this dessert in an almost infinite variety of flavors! This easy and delicious Valentine’s dessert idea came to me a few years ago after making chocolate covered strawberries for my husband as a romantic Valentine’s gesture. I didn’t think they would be that complicated to make, and in a way they really aren’t. But it was insanely messy. I got chocolate everywhere. I needed something quick and simple. (Read: I don’t want to be cleaning the kitchen for an hour afterward..)

delicious valentine's dessert

My solution? A dessert that tasted like chocolate covered strawberries, but much, much easier to make. When I started noodling on this idea, I knew right away I wanted to make a no-bake cream pie. Pies are some of the easiest desserts to make, especially no-bake pies. Below is the recipe for my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cream Pie. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband and I did!

Other easy and delicious dessert ideas

Looking for an easy pie recipe that isn’t chocolate or strawberry? Try mixing lemon curd and Cool Whip and pouring it in a premade graham cracker crust..boom, Lemon Chiffon Pie! Or mix banana pudding and Cool Whip and pour it into a graham cracker pie crust, then top with Nilla Wafers for an easy Banana Cream Pie. The possibilities for a quick and easy pie using Cool Whip and a premade graham cracker crust are almost as limitless as your imagination! Well, maybe not that limitless. Don’t go mixing cut grass and Cool Whip for a Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Pie or anything. But you get what I mean…

See below for the recipe (and printable recipe card) for this delicious pie!

delicious valentine's dessert
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cream Pie
Print Recipe
A quick and easy cream pie that tastes just like chocolate covered strawberries.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Slices 25 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Slices 25 Minutes
delicious valentine's dessert
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cream Pie
Print Recipe
A quick and easy cream pie that tastes just like chocolate covered strawberries.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Slices 25 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 Slices 25 Minutes
Servings: Slices
  1. Slice the strawberries and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, make the chocolate pudding according to package directions. Spread the strawberry jam on the bottom of the chocolate pie crust. Top with the chocolate pudding. Top the pudding with the sliced strawberries and drizzle with the chocolate sauce. You can enjoy it right then or chill it in the fridge until it is ready to eat!
    delicious valentine's dessert
Recipe Notes

Notes: You can even buy premade pudding cups and skip all that whisking! Also, I have 3TB of chocolate sauce listed, but I never measure it, I just drizzle it over the strawberries until a lovely swirl pattern partially covers them. To make this pie more "romantic" arrange the sliced strawberries in a heart shape on top of the pie!


Share this Recipe
January 14, 2017

The easiest Valentine’s date night dinner ever!

easiest valentine'sRecently, I was looking up recipes for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner with my hubby. Now, I love to cook and bake, but even I panicked at the time and effort involved in some of the recipes I found. Valentine’s Day is on a weeknight this year, which means that even if I am willing to get complicated, I’m not going to have time for some fancy schmancy recipe like Beef Wellington or Steak Au Pouive.  What I need, and what I suppose most women need, are recipes for the easiest Valentine’s date night dinner ever! The recipes need to include few ingredients, be simple to make, and come together quickly. And let’s not forget that even if you are married, avoiding garlic and onions is a good idea! After browsing through hundreds of recipes, I had an epiphany…

Easiest Valentine’s Day dinner idea

My epiphany? Men like meat. (Okay, so it’s more of a realization of the obvious, but whatever, I heard angels singing and I was only one glass of wine in….) Now I ask you my Faking Fancy readers, what’s meatier than a thick, juicy burger? Hamburger also has the added bonus of being one of the most affordable meats available as well. What’s so romantic about a hamburger you ask? Well, if you shape the burger into a heart, draw a ketchup heart on top, and set it on a heart-shaped bun, it’s super romantic! Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the out the heart buns. You can also cut the cheese (yeah, I see what I did there) slices and tomato slices into hearts with the cookie cutter as well. If you have a few extra minutes, grab a paring knife to carve the pickles slices into little hearts as well. Aww….

easiest Valentine's

Hamburgers are one of the easiest meals to make, even easier if your “recipe” is to add a handful of breadcrumbs, seasoning, and an egg to some hamburger (nothing wrong with that!). But if you don’t have a “go-to” recipe, or you want to try something new for this special dinner, look through the mouth-watering hamburger recipes below. I can’t really pick a favorite- they are ALL delicious.  Tasty note: If I cook hamburgers on a skillet instead of a grill, I like to brush one side with liquid smoke when cooking to give them a rich and smoky flavor.

4 Easy & Delicious Hamburger Recipes

Don’t bother with making homemade french fries. Ore Ida makes thin cut fries called, “Fast Fries” that, as the name implies, taste almost like they came out of the fryer at McDonald’s. They will seriously change your life if you’ve never had them. Change. Your. Life.

You see? A lovely date night dinner really doesn’t get any easier than this! And trust me when I say that unless he’s a vegan your man will LOVE this meal! (And if he is vegan by chance, try this black bean walnut burger recipe, it’s actually really good.)

Looking for a crazy easy dessert recipe for Valentine’s Day? That’s tomorrow’s post…stay tuned!




December 19, 2016

Beautiful and affordable gift wrap options


gift wrap

Gift wrap seems to be one product (among many) that is increasing in price and decreasing in quality. A $2 roll of gift wrap doesn’t seem that costly, until it splits and tears as you are wrapping the gift, making you need to roll out twice as much as you need. Below are some beautiful and affordable alternatives to traditional gift wrap. Instead of my normal M.O. of featuring items that are under $50 ( which is kind of silly for gift wrap unless you are using chinchilla fur),  I looked for options that would be less expensive per gift than the average $4 roll of wrapping paper (which wraps about 6 gifts on average).

Kraft Paper Gift Wrap Ideas

Kraft paper comes in much larger rolls than most gift wrap, and it is normally made of much stronger paper as well. Its plain brown appearance can be quite deceiving. You can dress it up in as many ways as your imagination (or someone else’s imagination via Pinterest) will allow!

gift wrap

How adorable is this gift wrap idea from The Shady Acre! The only supplies you’ll need are a hot glue gun and a couple skeins of yarn. As you can see from the simple designs displayed, you don’t need an art degree to successfully pull this project off. I think some of the easiest options, like the initials and yarn tree, are the prettiest!

gift wrap

I love the chic simplicity of this polka dot wrap idea from Stylecaster! My one caveat to this craft is the size of the dots.  If I used something as small as a pencil, I’d run out of patience about halfway through the third first package, so maybe grab a larger circular foam stamper or use something around the house with a larger lid/top to do the stamping.

gift wrap

This idea from On Sutton Place is of my favorites! Just take some red and white twine and/or ribbon, along with some greenery and small holiday themed accessories from the dollar store…et voila- the most charmingly festive wrapping paper ever!

Other gift wrap ideas

gift wrap

I’ve heard of people using old newspaper for gift wrap before, but I never saw the appeal until I came across these sweet examples from Indulgy. It shows how simple, pretty accessories in a specific color scheme can turn non-holiday gift wrap into a gorgeously themed gift assortment.

Even More Ideas!

Other ideas include old roadmaps, paper lunch bags, and mason jars, but only if you already have them lying around. None of these items, with paper bags being the exception, are cheaper than wrapping paper- and you are limited to wrapping small gifts in the latter two.

If you have a creative, non-traditional way of wrapping gifts that is cheaper than traditional store-bought gift wrap please share it in the comments below – I would love to hear about it!



December 15, 2016

Gift guide for those “hard to buy for” people in your life!

I consider myself an excellent “present giver”.  I try to make sure that every gift guide I create contains unique, useful and fun items for a wide variety of recipients. But sometimes figuring out the perfect gift, or ANY gift, is made almost impossible by the following two types of people:

  1. People that seem to have no hobbies or interests. They aren’t a foodie, a sports fan, a gardener, a crafter, an avid reader, a Comi-Con enthusiast, etc…
  2. The people who make more money than God. What the heck do you get these people that they cannot get themselves?

I’ve run into these issues enough times to develop a tried-and-true gift guide that includes items that almost anyone (except dead people, duh)  can appreciate.  Are all these items in this list under $50 like my other gift guides for ladies, guys, and teens? Heck ya they are! Creative, unique gifts for under fiddy bucks? You can thank me by signing up for my Faking Fancy newsletter. Your checkbook will thank you after signing up, so you’ll just be paying it forward…

Gift ideas for “hard to buy for” recipients


Personalized popcorn bowl, $27. EVERYONE likes popcorn, and this personalized bowl makes eating it even more special! The only exception to this rule would be your low-carbing buddies. That’s okay because ALL of the other gift ideas have zero carbs! To “jazz up” this gift I would add some popped corn as filler and nestle a few flavored popcorn salts in the bowl before tying in up in a clear cellophane bag.

Nordstrom Rack Plush Throw $25. You can never have too many super soft, luxurious throws lying around your house. Especially since the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting this winter to be the coldest in a decade. Add a lovely tin of hot cocoa to boost the “cuddle factor” of this already cozy gift.

F in Exams book $10. This hilarious book is filled with actual answers from students who’s incorrect answers on tests were so hilarious it almost made up for the fact that they were wrong. Don’t worry if your picky recipient does not have a sense of humor or eat carbs – you still have many more options to choose from in this list!

Amore Beaute Customized Pillow Case $39.50. This is advertised as a great gift for newlyweds, but you can use other important dates, like a graduation date, prison release date (I’m sure ex-cons like pillows, don’t judge) or even birth dates to make it a great gift for anyone.

Hot Cocoa & Cream Candle $11. I know candles can be a tricky gift because what smells “good” to some people can smell like a dead hamster to others. But, if you know someone who does not like the delicious and homey smell of hot cocoa you should be worried…because that is not normal. Those people don’t really deserve a gift because they also probably don’t like kittens, macaroni & cheese, or chocolate cake. Weirdos.

Other gift ideas for “hard to buy for” recipients

Other great gifts for the person who has everything- name a star after them, or adopt a unique animal like a manatee in their name! The star thing is kind of a scam as about 10,000 other people also have that same star, but I still think they are kind of cool. The recipient gets a print-out of where their star’s constellation is with the star highlighted, so they can look into the night sky and see your gift on any clear sky night -forever!

I hope the ideas in this gift guide help you in your search for the perfect present for everyone on your list this holiday season!




December 7, 2016

Affordable holiday decor- decorate your entire home for around $25!

affordable holiday decorI am going to start this post on affordable holiday decor by saying that it DOES NOT include the Christmas tree, stockings or gifts. When I say you can decorate your entire home for around $25, I mean it is possible to decorate your walls, tables, windows, light fixtures, counter tops, and pretty much every area of your home aside from the tree…all for around $25, which in my frugal living book is still amazing!

To help out on the tree & stocking front I’ve included links to some very lovely and affordable trees (artificial) and stockings.  If you are looking for cool & budget-friendly gift ideas check out my holiday gift guides for men, women, and tweens/teens.

So how it is possible to decorate almost every area of your home with festive Christmas splendor for around $25? My first stop is always the dollar store! My local dollar store is called The Dollar Tree, but there are several dollar stores nationwide including the Dollar General, Family Dollar, and the 99 cents only stores.

Top Dollar Store Holiday Items

The following items offer the most bang for your buck (literally).

  1. Pine tree garland: Nothing says Holiday like pine tree garland! My Dollar Store had 15ft of pine garland for $1. The cheapest I have seen garland anywhere else was $3 for 9ft at Michaels. I bought eight pieces  and wrapped it around my front door frame, balcony, fireplace mantel, living room mirror and window, and stair railing. Cost: $8 (Note: I could not find this product online, but it is located in the Holiday section of the store.)
  2. Holiday ribbon: By “holiday” I mean anything in the colors that match your particular holiday decor color scheme. Gold and silver, red and green, blue and silver… It doesn’t have to be labeled “Holiday” to be festive! I wrapped the 2 yards of ribbon I bought through the garland on my fireplace mantel and balcony to brighten it up. Cost: $2
  3. Holiday bows and assorted decorI picked up some metallic leaf and berry picks during my latest Dollar Store visit and stuck them in the garland on my staircase railing. It really glams up my staircase, which isn’t easy to do as it is covered in a hideous, short gray, speckled berber carpet. Cost: $5affordable holiday decor
  4. Signs and banners: I bought this “Merry Christmas” paper banner below a couple of years ago at a dollar store. I wasn’t sure if it would look cheap (it was $1!) once it was hung up, but it looks so pretty with the garland! Cost: $1affordable holiday decor
  5. Candy canes: While you can often find boxes of candy canes for around a dollar, I figure I’d pick some up while I was there. I tied them to the garland framing my living room window. I’ve also seen people hang them around window frames, like Christina at The Frugal Homemaker did. So pretty! Cost: $1

Paint it baby!

I am constantly amazed at the sort of crappy interesting items people spray paint into something Fancy! From plastic, dollar store storage buckets to tacky, thrift shop porcelain figurines. Check out these incredible decor transformations using cheap trinkets and spray paint!

affordable holiday decor

These beauties from are just normal, everyday pine cones covered in Krylon Glass Paint!


affordable holiday decor

Katie at Bower Power Blog took some Dollar Store nutcrackers and completely transformed them with some cheap acrylic paint. The pastel versions look so expensive!


Re-purpose with pride

affordable holiday decor

I found some pretty gold place mats at Goodwill the other day, but I wanted decor I could keep out all season long (and not just one meal where they would be stained by teens with sloppy table habits).  The solution? I draped the place mats over my dining table chairs and tied some metallic gold tulle around them… et voila, glitzy chair covers! Cost $4

Because of the fantastic after-Christmas sales every year, I always end up with WAY more ornaments than I can possibly fit on our one tree. Instead of stuffing them back into the storage box to languish for another year, I thought why not use them for decorating things other than the tree?

affordable holiday wreath

Last year I made an Easter wreath with pastel-colored peeps. While it was adorable last Spring, the peeps are now chipped and faded, so I pulled those little chickies right out of their toothpick perches in the foam wreath and, along with some of the gold and silver leftover ornaments, created the beautiful door wreath above. I had to buy some more glue sticks for this project which made the total cost of the wreath $2.00, but I have seen similar wreaths like this one and this one for waaaay more (sometimes $100 more) than what I spent. Cost: $2

Hang Em High

affordable holiday decor

I took the rest of the ornaments, some leftover metallic ribbon and a couple of strands of tinsel garland to create this gorgeous and festive lighting display on my dining room chandelier. Cost: free.

Being Felt Up

affordable holiday decor

I created this vintage-looking Christmas tree art from a picture frame I wasn’t using and some leftover felt from a puppet craft we did earlier this year. I put the frame glass behind the felt to keep the vintage feel and let the texture of the felt come through. Cost: free.

Mad for Plaid

affordable holiday decor

I also had some plaid Christmas wrapping paper and art canvas leftover from crafts last year, along with some black construction paper. I had seen some cute plaid wall art on Etsy and tried my best to recreate it using the canvas and wrapping paper (and lots of tape). They turned out extremely homemade looking up close, but my husband says that only adds to their charm. Cost: free.

Speaking of wrapping paper- I have seen other people wrap their current wall art and hanging photos with Christmas wrapping paper and it seemed like a super easy way to update my wall decor for the holidays, so I tried it. It IS pretty much the easiest and (if you have extra holiday gift wrap) the cheapest way to create holiday-themed wall decor. Just wrap it in the front of the frame and slap a bow on. Cost: free.

affordable holiday decor

I’m thinking of purchasing cheap wrapping paper with other holiday themes (like Valentines and Easter) so I can transform my wall art into easy holiday decor year-round!

My grand total was about $25, but even if you don’t have any leftover felt, unused picture frames or spare wrapping paper like I did, you can purchase those items for about $5, which means you can still decorate your entire home for less than what most people spend on one holiday wreath!

Want more detailed “how to’s” on any of these affordable holiday decor projects? I would love to share the exact steps for each project and answer any other questions related to this post! Simply comment below and I will respond within 48 hours.



Side note: This post will be featured in the Reviews, Chews and How-tos blog on December 17. If you are interested in more tips and resources for living a great life on a budget- check out this fantastic site!

December 5, 2016

Holiday gift guides for teens and tweens

While it is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year, holiday shopping can be super stressful. Trying not to go postal in the crowded stores, trying to find the perfect gifts, trying to afford it all….it can be enough to make some people drink a quart of spiked eggnog (minus the eggnog). When your family includes one or more tweens or teens that stress can be multiplied by a thousand. Per kid. That’s why I created these holiday gift guides for teens and tweens. Using these guides will reduce your stress levels AND keep more money in your bank account. But feel free to hit the spiked eggnog anyway…

Jam-packed with fun, useful and most importantly, affordable ideas, these holiday gift guides (for guys and girls) are perfect if you have a kid between the ages of 11-19 to shop for. These days (God I sound old when I say that) teens are notorious for wanting things that are name brand, expensive, or both. Never fear my fellow Faking Fancy mamas! The items listed in these holiday gift guides are not only are they trendy and fun, they are ALL under $50.

gift guide

Clockwise from top right: Novelty Dream Pillowcase Set $20,  Playa Comforter Set $35, Guess Pom Keychain $11, Chanel No. 5 Print $6, Kate Spade Eat Cake Mug $20, Pajama Drama Romper $14, Sephora Glitter Bold Clutch $26, Coffee Professional Brush Set $39,  Stila Nude Liquid Lip Set $20, Philosophy Christmas Cookie 3 in 1 Gel $18, Juicy Couture Triple Threat Gift Set $25.

gift guide

Clockwise top right: Hollister So Cal Cologne $50, Vans Drop V Snapback Hat $26, Breda Men’s Steve Watch $29, Double Pockets Denim Dress Shirt $34, London Fog Chukka Street Boot $45, Jaywalker Men’s Plaid Shirt $36, Paul Frank Legacy Shirt $10, Burberry London Cologne $29, Vans Medero Black Sneakers $29, Hot Topic T-Rex Multiplayer Same Screen T-shirt $13, BKE Pennison Park Coat $34, Hugo Boss Baldessarini Del Mar Cologne $49, New Era 9fifty Flawless Yankees Cap $31, Large Retro Matte Black Sunglasses $14, Chilling Black Rx Glasses $15.

Is your teen or tween into technology? These virtual reality goggles or flying drone with camera should make them smile come Christmas morning. And I would be absolutely remiss if I did not list at least two board games. Some of our best memories as a family involve board games. (We still laugh over what 11 year-old Avery drew as her image for the clue of “Peeping Tom” during Pictionary four years ago. Good times.)

Boards that fight Boredom!

gift guide

A board game where teens are not only allowed to use their phones but use it to win the game? This is going to be a HUGE hit at my house fo sho.

gift guide

My kids love verbally playing “Would you rather” all the time. This version of the game is specifically geared towards ages 13+, making it a great choice for teens.



November 28, 2016

Holiday gift lists for the men in your life

Men are notoriously hard to shop for, especially the men whose only hobbies include watching TV and…well that’s about it. Never fear ladies! I have compiled a fantastic set of holiday gift lists for men with themes that center on a variety of interests and hobbies (or lack of).

What these lists do NOT include is the sadly traditional goofy tie, goofy coffee mug or anything imprinted with “World’s Best Dad”.  I don’t care if he is the most amazing dad to you or your kids, “world’s best” is kind of overstating it given you only know about twenty other dads in the world, give or take. And like the goofy tie and mug, they are ugly tacky not the stylish gift any great dad truly deserves.

And as always, all of the gift ideas listed below are under $50.

For Dads: Nordstrom Plaid Pajamas $45, Monogrammed Coffee Travel Mug $25, Gold Arrow Tie Bar $14, Light-up Spinning Rack $30, Panasonic key detector $30. Sports Fan: New Era Knit cap $14, NFL Fleece Sweatpants $30, NFL Fan Mats $38, For Bare Feet Sports Socks $11. Metro Man: Timberland Men’s Aviators $20, Partiss Men’s Hooded Parka $40, Michael Kors Speckled Henley $31, Alpine Foot Pumice Travel $16, Irish Lambswool Scarf $40.

gift list

For the Foodie: Personalized Popcorn Bowl $27, Six Pack Cooler Tote $28, Grilled Cheese Cookbook $10, Remote Wireless Meat Thermometer $30, Cast Iron Oyster Grill Pan $30, Smart Plant Bacon Master $30, King of the Grill Apron $27. Booze Connosior: Liquor Bottle Puzzle Game $20, Personalized Liquor Decanter $39, Mini Whiskey Barrel Decanter $15, Food and Beer Cookbook $32, Soft Pretzel & Beer Cheese Kit $30, Engraved Beer Pint Glasses $30, Stainless Steel Ice Cubes $25.

Other cool gift ideas

We have a popcorn store in our local area that sells bags of flavored popcorn in a variety of sizes. The jumbo bag with about 50 cups would be an amazing gift for any couch potato, especially in a manly flavor like Loaded Baked Potato, Bacon Cheddar, and Spicy Buffalo. If you don’t have a popcorn store in your area you can order it online- just be sure to order by December 17 to avoid the holiday postal delays.

My hubby is a huge hockey fan so when I saw this grill tool set made out of recycled hockey sticks I had to get it. You can’t pick a particular team, the sticks in each set are from different teams’, picked randomly by the maker’s current selection. Right now at Requip’d you can get a three-piece set for $44.99. They also have some great holiday specials going on as well!

For even more ideas, click here for an “Under $25 gift list for men” that I compiled last Christmas.

I hope these holiday gift lists help you when shopping for the man or men in your life this Christmas. Need ideas for your mom, sister or female bestie? Check out my gift guide or women here, and be sure to look for my gift guide for teens and tweens on Wednesday!





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