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Say Thank You: Holiday Guide to Tipping

Say Thank You: Holiday Guide to Tipping

The holidays are upon us and it’s the perfect time of year to thank the people who help make our lives easier throughout the year, but who do we tip and how much? Here’s a cheat sheet, but keep in mind that the very nature of tipping is that it’s not supposed to be expected. Give more if you want or less with a heartfelt note if your budget just won’t allow. Here’s how to say thank you to the following people:

Teachers: This is one instance where cash is especially unacceptable because it comes off as bribery. Opt for another type of generous gift, but skip anything with apples or “World’s Best Teacher” written on it! If a group of school employees (in addition to your child’s teacher) goes out of their way to give your kid the best, send them a shareable fruit, snack or gift basket. Tutors, coaches, bus drivers and others of particular importance in your child’s life can be given a gift valued at about $20.

Childcare Providers: Tip your babysitter or nanny about what you’d normally pay for one evening’s care, or one week’s pay.

Housekeeper: Give cash in the amount of a single standard cleaning. (Skip the gift cards.)

Manicurist and/or Hair Stylist: You have your choice with these service providers. You can either give a personal gift, a gift card, or cash. If you opt for cash, your tip should be equal to about the amount you spend during one visit.

Doorman: If there’s more than one, tip $15 or more each. If there’s only one, tip $50 or more.

Mail Carrier: The Post Office frowns on employees accepting cash or gifts over $25, so give them a tangible gift just under that amount.

Landscaper: If the same person tends to your yard each time, give him or her $20. If the same team takes care of your lawn, tip $10 to $20 per person.

Pet Groomer: Give this person the amount you spend in one typical visit.

Newspaper Delivery Person: If you are one of the rare few that still get the paper delivered, don’t skimp on your delivery person’s tip! He or she wakes up well before the sun and ventures out in all kinds of weather. Give him/her at least $30.

Massage Therapist: Tip this person the amount of one visit.

Personal Trainer: Give this person a cash gift in the amount of one week’s services.

Your Favorite Server: If you’re a regular at a particular coffee shop or restaurant and receive excellent service from a specific employee, thank that person with gift of about what you usually spend.

Anyone who delivers goods to you on a regular basis, like groceries or UPS packages, should get $20. The same goes for regular service persons, like anyone who provides pool service or pest control. If the same person collects your trash each time, they should also get $20. In any case, if a different person or crew provides you with a service every time, a tip is unnecessary.

If you’re unlucky enough to have to see your doctor or mechanic on a regular basis, send an edible gift to your doctor (They’re not allowed to receive cash.) and tip your mechanic $20.

Of course, this is a pretty long list of people and it really does add up. If funds are limited, tip the individuals you know need the extra money the most. Put your tip in a Christmas card and hand it directly to the recipient whenever possible. Write a sincere thank you note inside because this person’s service obviously makes your life easier all year round.

However, don’t wait until Christmas to give your gift; remember the earlier in the month is better and would be appreciated.

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Annmarie John
5 Reasons to Learn to Play the Guitar ~ #FenderPlay

5 Reasons to Learn to Play the Guitar ~ #FenderPlay

Here is something that you may not know about me and my family, we are a family of musicians. While I don't play any "fancy" instruments, I learned to play the recorder at a young age and can actually read notes. In Colorado, music is encouraged in schools, but even before we moved to Colorado, I also encouraged my children to learn how to play an instrument. My eldest daughter once belonged to an all girl rock band (The Awkward Turtles which later changed to Toy Sugar) and would play gigs in and around New York City. Her first guitar, the Fender Squire, worked out great while she learned to play, but then the bassist left the group and she wanted to become the next bassist. As the bassist in her group, I purchased her first bass guitar, a bright red Fender Jaguar Bass guitar, which she just loved and still cherishes to this day.

In Junior High School my eldest son Kyle enrolled in Band and learned to play the trombone, while the younger, Mikael, learned to play the keyboard. At the age of 5, I enrolled Madison in piano classes and purchased our very first piano. My son Kyle has now shown an interest in learning to play the guitar, and having had such a great relationship with Fender, due to my daughters' experience, we bought him the Fender Stratocaster as his very first guitar and enrolled him in Fender Play.

Here's something you may not know about Kyle. Kyle was diagnosed with ADHD when he was only 5 years old. While his concentration may be all over the place, when it comes to music, he stays focused and is so intent on learning that you wouldn't think he was the same child. Fender Play makes learning to play the guitar very easy with their "Hear It, Learn It, Play It" approach and breaks the guitar song lessons into easy-to-learn, bite-size nuggets that keeps him both inspired and motivated. Best of all it was easy to sign up and I can cancel at any time if he decides this is not what he wants to do, but so far he's loving it!

So what benefits are there for your child learning to play the guitar? Here are just 5!

1. Helps with concentration
When playing the guitar you have to pay close attention to the tempo, pitch and rhythm, etc., if you're not paying close attention then your music won't sound any better than a toddler beating on pots and pans. Practicing slows you down and forces you to concentrate on not just your hand-eye coordination skills, but also your listening skills.

2. Helps with memory. 
While learning to play the guitar can bring lots of enjoyment, did you know that the area of the brain responsible for memory is usually stimulated when playing the guitar? This only shows that playing the guitar will also help improve your child's memory.

3. Boosts their confidence
Have you ever seen a self conscious rock star? Mastering the skills of guitar playing takes time and practice, but once you've accomplished that skill it will leave your child feeling great. That sense of accomplishment will give them that boost of confidence knowing that they've achieved and mastered the art.

4. Teaches self discipline
Learning to play the guitar not only takes skill, but also takes lots of practice, time and effort. You must have self-discipline. The more you practice the more your guitar playing will improve, and with that realization usually comes insight into other aspects of their lives.

5. It lasts forever
Now you wouldn't know if you have the future Jimi Hendrix until they pick up that guitar and start playing, but just like riding a bike, they will never forget. They will be able to entertain family and friends for years to come, and may even teach their own children.

Now that I've shared my 5 reasons why you or your child should learn to play the guitar, head over to Fender Play to learn more and sign up. With Fender Play you can learn to play anywhere via computer or their app. As a matter of fact, Kyle prefers to sit outside when it's nice out and play, because it's a lot more relaxing outdoors. Fender Play lessons are only 10-12 minutes long and are perfect for keeping him focused and also motivated, and best of all it shows his progress by keeping track of his work.

Sign up for a free 30 day trial or give the gift of music with a Fender Play prepaid gift card for 6 or 12 months of free lessons. Remember,  you can cancel your subscription at any time, making this the perfect gift for the holidays.

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Annmarie John
Mango Peppermint Crush

Mango Peppermint Crush

At times, a taste of home can come in the most unexpected ways. This is one of those times and my Mango Peppermint Crush does bring the taste! Lately, it seems like I have caught the bug, the homesick bug. I've been dreaming of traveling back home, to beautiful St. Vincent and the Grenadines. There has been numerous posts here on the blog about my lovely island home, but the past couple of weeks there has been dreams of visiting, relaxing on the beach, climbing mango trees and enjoying a drink of coconut directly from the fruit, instead of from a carton. There has been glimpses of me talking to my parents (both now deceased) and it just seems as if something is calling me, pulling me back there, so a trip to my homeland might be in my immediate future.

With my dreams of the Caribbean becoming more vivid as the days go by, I wanted to bring a bit of island flavor to the blog, after all I am from the Caribbean and have noticed that my food has been more Americanized, and while I AM an American citizen, my roots are from the Caribbean. Here is a concoction sure to shatter any preconceptions of what goes with what. Let me introduce you to the Mango Peppermint Crush. Yes, the flavors are unexpected but they play very well together. The tropical sweetness of the mango is mixed with a splash of apple juice and poured over crushed candy cane and ice. This fun kid-friendly beverage has Caribbean Christmas written all over it. Cheers!

Mango Peppermint Crush


3 oz. mango nectar
2 oz. apple juice
1 candy cane
ice cubes


1. Pour mango nectar and apple juice into a measuring cup and chill in freezer until needed.

2. Using a food processor or blender pulse 4 - 6 ice cubes and a single candy cane together. Spoon candy cane and ice mixture into glass.

3. Remove mango nectar and apple juice mixture from freezer and pour into glass.

4. Garnish with a candy cane.

Serve and enjoy.
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Annmarie John
[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (

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