Archive for the ‘ Gifts ’ Category

Books I’m Gifting this Year

Amazing Adventures of a Nobody by Leon Logothetis. I had the pleasure of meeting Leon and taking a ride in his Kindness Cab this Fall and his book is going to my traveling sister-in-law and also my best friend who sees the good in everyone…and probably others as well – I heart this book.

White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby to my Chef step-brother or his lovely wife. “This richly layered novel is based on the life of legendary chef Auguste Escoffier, who popularized French cooking methods at his restaurants at The Savoy and The Ritz at the beginning of the 20th century. Escoffier’s love for two women: the beautiful, iconic actress Sarah Bernhardt and his lovely, poetess wife, Delphine Daffis, is at the heart of this complex tale. The characters are vivid and the food — oh, the food — is delicious!”

Wildwood by Colin Meloy to my hip sister (age 35) or niece (age 7) as this is a great book of wonder, danger, and magic as told by the lead singer of The Decemberists. A touching tale for anyone of any age.


Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard to my history loving husband. “A deranged man shot President James A. Garfield, but it was his doctors who killed him”. This true story of a Civil War hero, elected to Congress in 1862 who fought for black rights & liberty, who surprisingly won the presidency amongst the most corrupt of administrations who was treated by an egomaniac doctor named Dr. Doctor with Alexander Graham Bell on the sidelines…this book competes against the best fiction out there.

The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer to my 3 year old nephew. If you’re going to be stuck reading a book over & over then you might as well enjoy it. Ninja takes a quirky twist on The Boy Who Cried Wolf when a boy’s excuses turn out to have an unexpected element of truth. This book makes me smile every time I read it and the illustrations are great.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh to my Mom who loves a heavy hearted story but this one retains hope among a young girl’s struggle to find her place in the world after aging out of the foster care system. Her gift for flowers and her understanding of the ‘language of flowers’ (honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love…) helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

Good gracious, I could go on and on but I’ll wrap up with Divergent or Daughter of Smoke and Bone for my bestest who loved the Hunger Games, Leviathan for Cullen’s male teacher who taught Middle Grade World War I (and it’s knee deep in Steampunk) & Go The Fu*! to Sleep for Cindy Lou who will be a first time parent in the Spring. Merry Happy Reading!


Holiday Gift Ideas

As someone who revels in finding the right gift for the right person at every occasion, it’s really hard to come up with a condensed list at this time of year. So, for this post, I’m going to stick with a few favorite finds and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share books & ‘gifts that give back’ with you as well. Hopefully you’ll find something for everyone and if not, let me know! Also, take a quick look at my previous gift posts as some of my earlier favorites may be just the right one you’re looking for.
















10 Days till Father’s Day

I know it’s cliche to link all things ‘grilling’ to the men but I’m happy to take a back seat in summer & let my husband take charge of dinner. Here’s a few things for grills / open fires that can keep it interesting…and me out of the kitchen!

Stainless Steel Branch Skewers – Shish kabobs are branching out with nine individual prongs, perfect for veggies, meat or marshmallows.

Rome’s Square Pie Iron (sandwich maker) – Simply place two pieces of buttered bread in the clam shell style compartment and stuff with preserves, cheese & meat, pie filling or whatever you want. Close the lid and toast.

Long Handle Salt & Pepper ShakerPerfect for those hard to reach areas on the grill and a patented extra long finger grip handle keeps your hand away from the heat.

School Pride Mustard – This sweet and hot mustard can be used as a dip or on top of (almost) anything grilled & better yet, get your favorite NCAA team on the label.

Swashbuckling BBQ Sword –  Grab him a mask and visualize Johnny Depp Read the rest of this entry

8 Essential Summer Must-Haves

Technically, summer is a few weeks away but with longer nights and higher temps headed our way, I’m gearing up with these great finds below:

*Zoku Quick Pop Maker – Now you can create your own customized frozen pops, including cream-filled varieties, in as little as seven minutes.

*Chef’s Case – Five Sauces: Pomegranate Teriyaki, Lemon & Mint Chili, Garlic Chili, BBQ Figs and Red Wine Onion plus three professional spice blends that can be used in a myriad applications, from the exotic to the everyday.

*CPX 6 High Tech LED lantern –  Stays lit for 25 hours, comes with a 4D battery pack or you can purchase 6V rechargeable battery pack.

*Watermelon knife – Microserrated blade quickly cuts through tough rind and slices cleanly through the delicate, delicious flesh.

*Flower Ball Vase – A clever alternative to the quintessential vase which lets each beautiful cut flower (from your gorgeous garden) enjoy its space.

*Ready, Set… GLOW!Read the rest of this entry

Mad about Mom!

Below are some great finds that would make any Mother’s, Grandmother’s or Godmother’s Day more special – even mine. (Hint! Hint!)

Does your mom fancy flowers? Surprise her with a pastel tin bouquet that will last a lifetime from uncommongoods.

Does your mom fancy sweets? Dive into these hand-made delicious pie pops from Cakewalk Desserts.

Does your mom fancy health & wellness? Apply any of these therapeutic grade essential oils, exotic in origin, ancient in derivation, and proven in application from Unica Home.

Does your mom fancy her footwear? Slip into these original hand-painted clogs from The Swanx.

Does your mom fancy gardening? Gift her with this great collection of plantable cards that are printed in full color directly on seeded paper from Bloomin.

Finally, for the gift that keeps on giving, send her a gift certificate from Kiva that provides a loan that can change a life and empower someone across the world.

Mother’s love is peace.  It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved”.  ~Erich Fromm

Coffee or Tea, part deux

One of my first posts just over a year ago was called I’m Thirstea as I was slowly trying to make my way into the world of tea from my comforting coffee cosmos. While I still haven’t declared an overall winner, I do find that I’m easily swayed by the cool accessories & additions by both sides.

Blue Q Tea has won me over with their fun flavors such as ‘Be A Better Parent’ or ‘Erase Your Past’ tea in addition to their fantastic tea tumbler which lets you drink tea bagged or get it all loose. But as we head into summer, I have to make a fuss about Rooibee Red Tea! I was fortunate to be served this deelish tea by my sister, Ashley, when I was back home in Kentucky this past week. Currently available in 19 states, and hopefully they’ll keep growing as I had to load up on a case before I left. Flavors such as Watermelon Mint, Vanilla Chai and Honey Lemon combined with the fact that the tea is naturally caffeine-free, low cal, rich in antioxidants, full serving of Vitamin C, gluten free & organic makes it my new go-to drink.

Though some may claim that my blood type is espresso, I actually try to stick to 1-2 cups/day. I typically use a french press and pour it into my favorite  porcelain travel mug which fits in my cup holder, can be warmed up (as I sip on it for hours) and has a section where I can write myself erasable reminder notes. My other latest obsession is Inbru coffee flavoring. Pick up any delicious flavor such as Cinnamon Hazelnut, Pumpkin Pie or Peppermint and add a scoop to the ground coffee in your brew basket which adds fantastic flavor to a cup or a pot of delicious coffee at home or work. Addictive!

What a Waste!

Today is World Water Day which was created by the UN in 1993 to bring awareness to the global issue of water. The object of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems. It’s also a great opportunity to take a personal look at how we’re using our most precious natural resource.  Did you know the average American household uses 2,000 gallons of water a day? That’s TWICE the global average.

I had blogged last summer about our crazy dependence on bottled water – ‘There’s Something in the Water‘ which provides a great list of resources to help you kick the habit. My only addition to the article would be my own new personal favorite reusable bottle made by Contigo! This fabulous bottle is BPA free, can be used with one hand (nothing to flip, unscrew or turn), fits in cup holders, and has an autoseal lid, built in carabiner clip & wide mouth for ice cubes.

To further assist you to say, ” NO to wasting H2O”, greenfeet is offering 30% off select water conservation products on their site.  Also, spend a quick minute checking out any of these sites for easy, water (and money) saving tips for your home. What are you waiting for?

6 shopping sites NOT to miss

This past year I stumbled across the six following sites and ended up wasting, I mean conducting extensive research for hours. I know that in this economy that the last thing on my mind should be shopping & I don’t need a thing but I dare you not to fall in love with something on every site.

Umbra – “decorate the way you want”

black + blum – creates products for the home and office, combining ruthless practicality with a mischievous and intellectually-satisfying design aesthetic

AREAWARE – If appreciation for beauty is central to what it means to be alive, then we want to embody this principle in even the simplest of things.

French Bull – melamine but with a modern spin.

A+R Store – Global design. Edited.

The Conran Shop – “Well Considered” products

Happy Heart Day!

No matter to who or how you plan to say I Love You this Valentine’s, I’ve got some suggestions to hopefully make it your best yet.

For the tea/tea party lover, pick up a set of these beautiful ‘inside out heart’ cups from

For a dapper fella who’s always in a suit, gift these ‘suggestive’ collar stays which will keep him grinning throughout those long meetings.

For the book lover, a copy of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.

Locally, take your special someone on a Valentine’s Night Hike at Shaw Nature Reserve.

For the person who’s all business, this great Lifestyle File Tote is practical and with every purchase 25% will be donated to the American Heart Association.

Uncommongoods provides a fantastic Love Meter so that you are able to gauge your own “commitment level” and shop accordingly.

Last, but not least, consider the give of life and contact your local Red Cross to make a blood donation or head to and register to be an organ donor.

Got a gift card that you’ll never use?

Are you the recipient of a gift card for a store that  doesn’t interest you? Head on over to plastic jungle where you can sell, exchange or buy gift cards.

Plastic jungle offers up to 92% with the following payout choices:

  • Amazon gift card
  • Paypal
  • Cashiers Check
  • Donate to Charity

A much better solution than letting those cards gather dust or buying something you didn’t really want…or need.