Frugal Gift Ideas for Important People

Hey, Don’t forget these people!

You know the ones that make your life easier… every day.  Don’t take them for granted!  These are the people:

Postal Worker:  They brave all conditions to bring you bills and junk.  But they also bring you good things too, and hey, don’t blame the messenger.  Postal workers must abide by certain laws in accepting gifts.  The full details are here.  Basically they cannot accept cash, or cash equivalent (that they can exchange for cash) over $20.  And the gift should fit in your mailbox.

Sanitation workers, trash collectors, recycle, etc:  Those garbage people take your heaps of smelly garbage, moldy forgotten science experiments from the back of the fridge, and other too gross to think about things.  If you can’t catch them, try to put the gift on top of the trash can clearly marked so that it is NOT trash.  Also try to do this as close to the time that they arrive so no one will steal it.  If someone does steal it… that karma is on them.

School Bus Drivers:  Every year my grandma sent me out of the house and onto my school bus with a token for the bus driver too.  Driving your kids around is an important job.

Teachers and coaches:  You might think about the school teacher, but, and I might be a little impartial to this, also think of all the other teachers in your child’s life.  The lessons that are taught in the classes your children attend, whether it is dance, karate, fencing, soccer, football, tennis, piano, music… whatever it is, are more than you can ever know right now.  I teach plies, and tendus, but I also teach young minds to critically think about problem solving, and build confidence, morals, and discipline in dance class.  We love your kids almost as much as you do.  Any small token is very much appreciated, even if it is a Christmas card with you and your child telling us thank you.

Landscaper:  I have a guy who comes every week in the summer and every other in the winter.  In Florida, with the bugs, and sun, and heat, and dog poo that I might not see to pick up in my yard… the man deserves a little recognition around the holidays!

First responders:  The police, fire, emts…. they are there when I need them, and that’s enough for me.

Current Military:  Try to find a reputable organization to donate to those that are deployed or overseas, or ask around for a local military family who might need some extra cheer.  It’s hard when your spouse isn’t with you during the holidays, because they are doing a service to benefit others.  Military children, and spouses can use a little magic too.

Veterans:  They did their duty, and they deserve some extra special attention.  Again, ask around.  There are so many veterans around us, we can’t even begin to realize.  A card, a handshake, or a thank you might be all they need.

Daycare, Elder Care, Pet Care:  Anyone that cares for something you consider priceless in your absence needs to be remembered!

Hairdresser, Barber, Manicurist, and anyone else that does a personal service for you.

Neighbors that you feel close to, or would like to build a relationship with.  It’s much better to feel like a community than a street of total strangers.

These are the ideas.  Any of these ideas below would make a great gift for any of the important people above.  Make it personal by including small items for a particular person, or career.

Gallon size ziploc bag stuffed with all kinds of snacks, and trinkets.  What shall you put in?  Think lunchbox style of granola bars, trail mix, small bags of coffee, hot cocoa packets, candy canes, gummies, etc.  Keep it fun, and include a lot of variety.  Other ideas are trial size items like hand lotions, lip balms, perfumes, and tissues.  Make it personal to the recipient.  Include a Christmas card with a handwritten thank you.

Lotto ticket.  Not only are you giving the gift of thoughtfulness, but the anticipation of winning!  The only rule is that you can’t be sour if they win. (Might be a little odd to get a total stranger a lotto ticket, but you do what feels right to you!)

Homemade baked goods, candy, or fudge.  Again, this day and age it may be strange to give a complete stranger something you made.  Make sure they know you a little, or you include your info.

Jar of old fashioned hard candy, jar of mixed nuts, holiday wrapped candy like kisses placed in a glass dish.  You can get pretty glass at Dollar Tree or Thrift stores.  Tie it with a ribbon, and include a gift tag.


e.l.f. Haul and Reviews: Metallics and Glitter Galore

I got myself some e.l.f.  That’s a hashtag waiting to happen right there….

I wait until I need my favorite brow pencil.  Bet you can’t tell from this photo which one that is….

And because e.l.f is a super awesome company, they usually have a free shipping sale happening and I don’t have to wait long to get extra savings.  I got free shipping AND half off this order.

Here we go…

I’ve been wanting to try some of the rose gold eyeshadow techniques that I have been seeing.  In order to do that I needed some metallics, and they are all the rage now.

Take for instance these makeup transformer gels.  They are supposed to give you a pop of glitter alone or you can layer it over a powder for extra pigment.  It promises glitter and that’s what’s in it!  When I opened the package, I thought the tube was a little thin.  But a little goes a long way here.  It removed easily and left no spot welded glitter behind.  Here I got rose gold, and golden glitz.


Next is the eye primer transformer, matte to metal.  You can take a matte shadow and transform it right on your eyes, and before your eyes, into a metallic look.  I bought Taupe, Silver, and Gold.  I tried it on my arm alone, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it is highly pigmented.  It has a handy doe foot applicator to get precise applications.  It’s fairly non smudging and to remove I had to give a few scrubs on my arm with a baby wipe.  There was NO shimmer left behind.  Impressive.


And these eyeshadows…long lasting in soiree, confetti, and toast.  They have a bit of an oily texture to them, but dry when applied.  The soiree was the most pigmented.  These are also smudge proof, were easily removed, and left no shimmer behind.


This last photo… is my non-ringing endorsement photo (save for the blush and bronzer which was a repurchase for me.)  There’s no swatch here of that, and I didn’t mention the navy liner, which IS swatched here.  It’s a good smooth, non tugging liner… nothing else to say.

The baked eyeshadow, in pixie, is hard to apply.  I have a baked shadow metallic palette from e.l.f which is essentially the same thing.  I find that the product is hard to pick up on my brush, and then there is a lot of fall out on the face, causing you to have highlight in areas you might not want to be highlighted… like right under your eyes.  You can see here it’s barely visible.  This might make a good highlighting bronzer too.


And this velvet matte lipstick called vampy violet is… well… vampy.  You can tell by this photo it looked black.

And you can tell by this photo, it looked nearly black.

It’s a Halloween lip color for me personally.  I’m too pale to pull it off all year.  The application was a bit streaky for me too, less smooth than my other colors in the same product.

Conclusion:  I LOVE my metallic and glitter products, which can actually be used all over the face as a highlighter or even a lip shimmer.  I don’t love the lip color, and I’m indifferent to the baked shadow.

Here’s a look I did with MOSTLY e.l.f products including the Taupe eye primer transformer, and the soiree eyeshadow.  The photo doesn’t do the metallic shadow justice.

Get yourself some e.l.f.!!!

Chai Latte Recipe

Anytime I’m at a coffee shop, I order a chai latte.

I am a minimalist when it comes to ordering at coffee shops.  I get nervous at Starbucks.  Don’t give me too many options or I’m going to freak out.

Whole milk or soy milk?  I can make that decision.  But adding in shots of flavor, calling it anything but small, medium, or large, or using fancy words are going to intimidate me.

I grew up in a household with instant coffee, and then later my dad got a coffee maker.  He drank it black.  Simple.

I once got nervous at McDonald’s when I ordered a hot latte.  She asked me what flavor.  I paused…. uh… vanilla?  I figured a plain latte was an option, but just to be safe I went with vanilla.  I clearly hadn’t looked at the menu.  I figured it was pretty straight forward…. guess it wasn’t.

Sooooo, when Chai Latte is an option, I go with that.

I remember I first had a chai latte a few years back when a woman was demo-ing the new Keurig in Bed Bath & Beyond, and I selected the chai latte K-cup on a whim.

It was so good it made me purchase a keurig (from craigslist of course) so that I could buy those K cups.  After that, I realized that chai wasn’t so exotic… I’m just sheltered.

I bought the Twinings chai tea, and then the ultra chai, and a chai tea latte mix from Aldi when I happened to see that there.  But none of those came close to an actual chai latte at a bonafide coffee shop.

So, I worked on creating a little zippier version of it at home, and I think I got pretty close to matching it, (at least to satisfy my craving for an overpriced chai latte.)

(I discovered that there are other brands of tea latte mix out there, and of course on amazon.  So if you didn’t happen to get yours at Aldi, you can still make a mean chai latte!)

This recipe, will be a part of the FREE Nicolyndime Printable Holiday Cookbook which I talked about in my previous post.  If you want to get that cookbook, sign up to get my emails!


Virtual Holiday Cookie Swap

I’m doing a holiday cookie swap.  A traditional one goes like this:

You make a zillion cookies, and then you take them to a place.  And then you also have to print or hand write a zillion recipes so you can swap all of that stuff with everyone else too.

That might be your thing, but it might not be your thing.  And around these parts I try very hard to give you EASY solutions for your life.  Plus we can’t do the traditional way…so I want to think outside of the box.

So I’m doing things a little different.  We are kicking off some fun holiday posting with….

Cue the tree lighting……

Nicolyndime First Annual Virtual Cookie Swap!

Here’s what you need to do to participate:

  1. Sign up here for the Nicolyndime Email Subscriber List.  If you’re already a member, no need to sign up again.  Deadline to join is Friday Dec 8th.

  2. Send me an email at and tell me the following:  Your cookie recipe title, the ingredients, the directions, your first name or initials and state where you live (only of you want this published) and a little story (if you have one) about your cookie recipe.  A photo of the finished product is helpful too, if you can manage it.  Deadline for submission is Friday November 24th.

  3. You can also send me tips, simple craft projects, traditions, and other ideas to supplement your holiday cheer.

  4. It doesn’t have to be a CHRISTMAS cookie recipe.  In fact, I’d love cookies from all faiths and walks of life!

  5. You automatically get a FREE pdf cookbook of all the recipes that were sent in.  Emailed on Saturday Dec. 9th.

So wait… what you’re telling me is I hand over one cookie recipe, and I get an entire free, easy printable, cookie recipe cookbook in return?

No fees?  No baking?  No hand cramping by writing out thousands of cookie recipes on a little index card?  (Well no, it’s 2017 and that’s what computers are for…)

Yes, I say… you get lots of cookie recipes in return for giving only one. (Or more if you feel like sharing.)

Is this awesome, or what?  Please don’t say “or what.”

There IS a catch:  You have to get these into me by Friday November 24th so that I can steadily, and without a fevered pace, put together a beautiful cookbook.

The recipe book will go out only once… like Santa.

Send me those recipes and ideas folks……



At the Parrot’s Cove Mall in Cocoa, FL

Arrrrggghhh.  One step closer to being a pirate!  I already hunt out treasures every chance I get, but now I’m hanging out with a parrot weekly.

At my new space at the Parrot’s Cove Mall in Cocoa, FL.

There were some growing tensions with the landlord and the Junkin Jypsy and so the Jypsy is movin on up to create a better environment for their vendors.  They will be located in the Parrot’s Cove Mall and then move to their own building located just adjacent to the Parrot’s Cove.

So really it’s forces combined in order to give customers the ultimate experience.

And that it is….

The space is like tumbling pleasantly and willingly into Wonderland, down the rabbit hole you go.

And in case you want to stop in and see it… all you have to do is

Follow the yellow brick road….

NO… But you CAN just follow these arrows on the floor and it will take you right to my space!

Please go with a lot of time to meander and browse.  There are so many talented vendors.

And leave time to say hi to Angel the talking Parrot

(Note:  For current inventory please visit the tab Nicolyndime at Parrot’s Cover Mall   Photos are updated weekly.)

A Short and Sweet, Trick Or Treat, Home Tour

If you have been a reader for a while, then you know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays for vintage and nostalgic decor.

I’ve collected a little more since last year’s tour.

So let’s take a look…

I got some $3 Aldi Pumpkins for the entrance.  I dug down into the bottom of the pile to get that BIG pumpkin.  I think they will stay here for Thanksgiving, then I’ll roast the seeds.

The space above the kitchen cabinets are a great place to infuse some festive cheer.

And my bread box, and counter tops match!

Of course my Dad’s oak ice box is a focal point.

And there’s my grandma’s pumpkin I talked about last year, in the same, safe, spot.

A mix of vintage blow molds and silhouettes in a vignette.

My last focal point area is this “desk” area in the kitchen.  It ended up being mostly jack o lanterns, along with my glitter houses, and other vintage goodness!

Short and Sweet, Trick or Treat!

Have fun on Halloween!!!!




Broadway Colors Lip Cream Review

I ran into Dollar General for some eyelashes.  I don’t normally wear them but I had a special occasion to go to, which I’ll explain a bit later.

Husband and I wanted to go to the next stop on our list of errands, but they hadn’t opened yet, and so by him telling me to “take my time” I ended up buying a few lipsticks.  I know, you can hardly believe it.

The brand is one I am not familiar with, but decided to give it a shot after I was so displeased with the Colour Pop lip creams I purchased a while back.

Today’s review is on the Broadway Colors buttery matte lip cream in the shade, Hello, Sunshine.

The product is very affordable, at only $3.  That’s half the cost of the Colour Pop matte lip creams.  I’ve had a hard time going back to lip creams since then.  Those lip products were very drying, and had a chalky, uneven look.

But… I was killing time and that led to lip color purchases.

First, the product states it has mango, shea and cocoa butter in the formula.  The scent is light mango and refreshing.

The wand has a precision tip, which is quite useful.  I was pleasantly surprised that the product was buildable, unlike others that just wipe off more when you try to fill in that pesky spot.  One coat was all I needed to get a nice pigmented color.

And once you have it wiped on your mouth… well it feels comfortable and easily wearable.  I even forgot I had lipstick on at one point.  A dangerous move, as you can easily end up with it wiped clean across your cheek without a helpful friend to point out your faux pas.

Here’s the product before

And here it is right after lunch, a while later

I liked that the product did not bleed, and would only need a slight touch up after eating.

This one is a winner for only $3 at your local Dollar General!

oh yeah, and what did I need the lashes for?  Well I performed at a wedding, alongside my aerial friends, in the lyra and poured champagne during cocktail hour.  Here’s my makeup look for that day:

3 Tips to Easy Winged Eyeliner

Winged Eyeliner….

It’s literally flying everywhere!

Everyone wants it but most panic.

Just do it…. Nike Swoosh… (Hey! come to think of it….Looks a lot like a winged eyeliner.)

Follow my 3 Tips to get you started on your easy winged eyeliner journey (click here or on the photo above to go right to the video) so you can rock that cat eye on the daily if that’s your thing!

I used a .99 Wet N Wild Black eyeliner pencil here.  Go pick one up today, and get your swoosh on!



October Thrift Group

This is Lydia Deetz

Now here’s my Deets: (The next thrifter’s group details that is…)

The Nicolyndime Thrifter’s Group October Meet Up is Saturday the 14th at 12:30pm at the Pawsitive H.O.P.E Thrift Store.

Lydia, can hardly believe the fun I have planned… I mean just look at her expression.

The first ten thrifters will receive a trick or treat bag, and then start looking around.  At 12:40pm you can report to the front of the store, where a checklist for an in store scavenger hunt will be handed out.  Participants must have a cell phone in order to take photos of their finds.  You know I love a good pun, or out of the box idea, so I will be awarding bonus points if you make me chuckle with your finds.

The winner will get this super cute gift bucket!

I mean come on, what more could you ask for?  Community, fun, Autumn themed, savings, treasures, support for a local animal charity.  I submit there is not a better time to be had!!!!

Come out and join us!  Plus get your membership so you can get one item of clothing at 50% off! (exclusions may apply)




Cheese Board under $25

Fall seems like a good time to talk about a cheese board, doesn’t it?  I’m not sure why, because cheese is great any time of year, but it seems like we want to get more earthy and aromatic when the air gets a little chilly.

I like entertaining, and I occasionally like to get a little fancy.  I got this cheese board for my wedding over 3 years ago, and I was way more excited than anyone should be to use this darn thing.  I’ve not had a cheese board worthy style party at my home yet… more like cookouts and really laid back shindigs.  So when one of the studios where I work was having a little graduation ceremony and we all were bringing some food to eat, I looked at that cheese board and said, “it is your time to shine!”

Of course I didn’t know what you actually put on a cheese board to make it all swanky like… except for cheese, and I didn’t know any cheese rules.  I don’t like stupid rules anyway.  Some are meant to be broken.

After researching all about cheese boards, I felt I knew enough to throw the rule book out and do my own thing.  Plus if Aldi didn’t have it, it wasn’t going on that board anyway!

Here’s how I did an Aldi cheese board for under $25.  $22.11 to be exact.

A cheese board should consist of at least a few things.  Cheese.  Cheese in a can is a no no.  Fruit.  Made with real fruit, doesn’t count.  And something else.  The something else can be salty, sweet, or savory.  I made sure I had a few different textures and layers of tastes for the palate.

Cheese board deconstruction is as follows:

You know my mentality… it doesn’t all have to be expensive.  Heck none of it has to be expensive, but you don’t want to look like you didn’t care enough to not just rush and throw some stuff together and pass it off as caring.  People can see right through it, and I take pride in my work.. be it a dance piece, or a simple cheese board.

Did you know Aldi has some fancy things in their store?  Yeah, if you take the time to look.  I selected this “high end” roasted garlic and tomato basil cheese, to pair with a regular swiss and cheddar block cheese.


The fruit… simple grapes, dried apricots, and a trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.

The something else….thinly sliced prosciutto, plus crackers (not pictured).

The presentation:  The tomato cheese was all pretty and marble-like.  It looked great on its own.  I cut the rectangle cheese block into some triangular wedges.  Leave the grapes as God created them, and slice the prosciutto in small strips and roll them up into bite size pieces.  A ramekin, or any other small dish can hold the dried apricot and trail mix so guests can add some sweetness to their taste buds.

Grand Totals:

Roasted garlic tomato basil cheese  $2.99

Cheddar Block  $1.79

Swiss Block  $1.79

Prosciutto  $2.49

Dried Apricots  $2.79

Trail Mix  $4.99

Red Grapes  $1.98

Six Cracker Assortment  $3.29

Drum roll please….$22.11

It’s also worth noting that all of the food is not pictured here, and I could have easily made two or three cheese boards with the above products.  That’s enough to replenish your board all the night through!

Don’t have a cheese board?  Use a cutting board!  No one will even know the difference, and remember… no rules.

You rebel you!