Service with a smile: Win during gift-giving with in-home indulgences – Tribune

December 23, 2014 - storage organizer

Are we starting to panic about Christmas presents? Are we anticipating it tough to buy for that chairman who customarily has everything? Then, how about a special use that will cosset your desired ones or palliate their bustling report — and it won’t even engage a outing to a mall. All it takes for many of these courteous gifts is a phone call and a credit card.

Food for your favorites

Send a prepare to a home of that time-stressed or kitchen-challenged chairman on your benefaction list.

At slightest once a week, prepare and caterer Bob Sendall, a owners of All in Good Taste Productions (412-321-6869 or on a North Side, or one of his staff of chefs prepares cooking in someone else’s kitchen.

Most often, his customer is hosting a cooking celebration for 8 or more. But he also stirs adult dishes for twosomes. Prices for a credentials of a finish dish generally operation between $300 and $500 per person, reduction if one of his chefs is cooking, and a cost of a food.

If you’re meditative of something some-more long-range, Frank Helisek’s Chef for a Day Catering (412-853-5916 or will fill a fridge and freezer with a week’s or a month’s value of three-course dinners prepared in your kitchen. Menus are combined formed on customer preferences and dietary needs.

After a dishes are prepared, they are finished for storage in a freezer or fridge and labeled with heating instructions. The Beaver County-based association serves business within a 40-mile radius of Pittsburgh. A two-week devise of 5 dishes — starch, unfeeling and snack — for dual people costs $360.

Helisek also will come to your home and prepare a singular dish for $75 an hour and a cost of groceries.

Treating Fido right

The ideal benefaction for a owners of a four-legged crony will come to them. Mobile pet-grooming businesses will revisit a pet’s house. Prices start between $55 and $65. Services operation from a simple cut to a pet pedicure.

“It’s a ideal benefaction for a pet owner,â€� says Jessica Hawkins, who owns Pawsitively Purrfect Mobile Pet Spa (412-277-3377 or, formed in Pleasant Hills. Her 24-foot outpost can accommodate mixed pets during one time, including dogs and cats. She has clients who get together from a same area so she can do several pets during a same time.

Appointments are compulsory and final from 30 mins to 2 hours, she says.

Ardis Gibson, owners of Ardis’ Puffy Paws (412-956-7297 or out of Glenshaw, also services Shaler, Allison Park and Ross. She caters to dogs only. The vans are built privately for pet grooming, she says, with all a brick-and-mortar business holds.

“It’s a good benefaction for an aged owners who competence not be means to expostulate their pet to a groomer, or for aged dogs who competence not like to be in a car,â€� Gibson says. “Or a mom with immature children or a operative chairman who doesn’t have time to get to a groomer.â€�

Karen Paul, owners of House Call Mobile Grooming (412-926-5211 or, caters to smaller dogs in northern Allegheny County.

“A lot of times people will call and wish to get something for their mom who loves her dog, so pet bathing is a smashing gift,� she says.

Music for a essence

Treat your favorite song partner to an at-home concert. Musicians, such as harpist Suzanne Hershey and violinist Steven Vance, are happy to play for audiences as tiny as one or two.

While they tend to get requisitioned adult during a holiday season, they will cruise last-minute requests if their report allows. “It’s never too late to call, even a day before,â€� Vance says.

If space is during a premium, a singular violinist or harpist doesn’t take adult many space. If you’re looking for something larger, Vance can offshoot we adult with a jazz contingent or a fibre quartet.

Hershey (412-687-4248 or charges $325 for a 2-hour opening in Pittsburgh, and $25 to $30 some-more if she’s roving to over destinations such as Butler or Canonsburg.

Vance (724-444-8400 or charges $250 for 1 hour with a singular violinist. Duos, trios and quartets operation from $650 to $750.

The advantage of organizing

Returning a clarity of control and assent of mind to a person’s life can be a “gift that keeps on giving.â€� But before we buy your crony or relations a benefaction of a veteran organizer’s time, make certain it will be appreciated, counsel Pittsburgh-area organizers.

“Make certain a chairman wants us and won’t be angry or a tiny bit embarrassed,â€� says Dorothy Clear of Conway with Clear Organization (412-913-9191 or

“Most people are utterly appreciative, since nobody needs any some-more stuff, usually. But we don’t wish to customarily torpedo someone with ‘Here we am,’ â€� says Vickie Dellaquila of Organization Rules in McCandless (412-913-0554 or

Organizers’ residential services can operation from de-cluttering a dining-room table, anticipating some-more room in closets, straightening home-office files to moulding adult any room in a house.

The going rate in a Pittsburgh marketplace is about $50 to $150 an hour. Pre-paid bonus packages are accessible from some organizers.

Jill Yesko of Mt. Lebanon of Discover Organizing (412-344-3450 or recommends “at slightest a $100 benefaction certificate so that clients can make a hole into their devise and have a devise to keep a movement going to finish on their own, if they would like.�

For tips on how to select and find an organizer, revisit

Telling a special story

Let’s face it: Most of us aren’t scarcely distinguished adequate to aver a published biography. But if we have someone on your benefaction list who would wish to safety his or her history, we can sinecure a biographer to write one.

If we wish to sinecure a veteran author to do a 35-chapter book with photos, a cost can operation from $10,000 to $15,000.

Biography services, such as, send out a biographer to talk a theme over several days. Then, a essay routine can take 8 to 10 weeks. Keepsake’s prices start during as tiny as $500.

Or we can do it yourself. At, for instance, we can compensate customarily $25 to register, write a autobiography and imitation it during about $20 per book.

Ride on a benefaction demonstrate

Want a unequivocally memorable present? Give a benefaction of feeling like a “high roller� or “pitcher headed to income arbitration� with a car, limousine or celebration train service.

Urso Bus LLC (412-821-8776 or rents tiny buses that we can use to take all your friends to a casino, a bachelor party, a night out on a South Side, or wherever, but a need for a designated driver.

Shamrock Limousine (877-288-4305 or offers a four-hour “Night Out� package that includes widen limos, widen SUVs or celebration buses, that come finish with soothing drinks, H2O and champagne, and VIP entrance to several internal nightclubs.

Snow weed assistance

Let’s face it, who unequivocally likes to trowel sleet or cut a grass?

It is not surprising for a gift-seeker to spin to them and other lawn-care companies for a good holiday surprise, contend Jon Stanton, owners of Dream Greener Lawn Landscaping (412-337-2207 or from Mt. Lebanon, and Jason Palat, from his landscaping organisation (412-370-9070 or in Monroeville.

Stanton, for instance, says he has about 90 clients who have their weed cut 28 times between Apr 1 and Nov. 30. The cost for those cuts operation from $30 for a standard quarter-acre, suburban lot and pierce adult to $80 for incomparable spreads.

Palat agrees, observant many of his lawns are in a $35 range.

Because layer is a lot reduction predictable, clearing driveways and walks is a tiny trickier, Stanton says. For that, crews will uncover adult for an in. of sleet or some-more during a cost of $45 per visit, formed on an normal of 50 inches of sleet a year.

Arrangements can be finished to compensate in allege or monthly or to have bills sent per visit, something that can be some-more suitable for snowfalls.

Relax during home

Looking to one-up a unstable neck massager we bought your desired one final year? Nothing says oppulance like a veteran in-home massage. Several Pittsburgh-area massage therapists offer benefaction certificates for a service, that they contend turn prohibited line this time of year.

“You get to have that relaxation, and we don’t have to get adult and expostulate afterward,â€� says Beth Brown of Therapeutic Massage by Beth (412-465-0505 or, formed in Swissvale. “You can customarily stay in your dress on a cot and customarily relax for a rest of a day.â€�

Tamra McKenna of Tamra’s Massage Therapy (412-398-0625 or in Sharpsburg and Bethel Park, has had clients trimming from a organisation of women who reason an annual girls day to a father giving his mother a day of pampering finish with at-home massage, facial and personal chef.

“I’ve finished couples massages where I’ve brought rose petals, candles and shea butter,â€� she says. “If it’s a special occasion, we do it adult a tiny nicer for ambiance.â€�

For some clients, at-home use is simply a matter of convenience, therapists say. Some can’t transport since of illness or injury, while others customarily like a thought of staying within a amenities of their possess home.

“There are several people who have me come to their residence since they have children, and, that way, one can get a massage while other watches a kids,� McKenna says.

Brown will transport into Westmoreland, Washington, Beaver and Butler counties. She charges a $30 outing price for any at-home revisit in further to a unchanging cost of service. Most renouned options are a 60-minute massage for $65 or a 90-minute for $95.

McKenna will transport about 30 miles from possibly of her offices. Cost for an at-home, 60-minute massage starts during $100.

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