Archive for the ‘ Gifts ’ Category

New York State of Mind

If you have someone on your holiday list that LOVES their home-state, here are a few items that I’ve seen this year that I love. Personally, I’ve already gifted myself this state necklace where you can personalize and pinpoint your hometown with a star. For you Kentucky fans, notice that I wear it with the  appropriate shade of blue. Found at signals and currently on sale. For those of you that like a little more bling (and have a bigger budget) check out State of Mine.

What I’m hoping to see under my tree this year is this fun and functional state-shaped cutting board. Here’s my current state of Missouri and I love that you can choose from 3 sizes. Uncommongoods also has a great array of state and city gifts from plates to dish towels. No matter what your state of mind is this holiday season, there’s plenty of great goodies to be found.

Fun & Fancy foodie stuff

Whether you are hosting a holiday gathering in your own abode or wanting to bring something out of the ordinary to your next fete, these are a few of my favorites that are sure to delight.

No one will touch the chips & salsa once they see the delicious four cheese honey flight from terrain. Honey lovers will enjoy tasting this delicious honey variety consisting of blueberry, buckwheat, sourwood and sweet yellow clover all with suggested cheese pairings.

Phat Beets, Mean Beans, Smokra, The People’s Pickle, and new Hotties from Rick’s Picks are perfect when you want to make an impression with quick, healthy, and delicious hors d’oeuvres. Try pairing them with cheeses and cured meats,  eat them straight out of the jar & use the delicious brine in your cocktails!

For a light and playful addition, pick up these  gourmet spiced lollipops from this charming candy on etsy. The flavors of  Pistachio-Marshmallow, tongue-tingling Teaberry,  decadent Nutmeg-Crème and Hazelnut Coffee will have adults arguing over who gets which one.

No evening would be complete without something sweet so put out a batch of Vosges‘ Bacon Caramel Toffee and watch it disappear. Made with buttery bacon toffee with smoked salt, in deep 45% milk chocolate, absolute heaven.

Green Friday

I’m (un)officially going to declare today, “Green Friday”. As opposed to crazy long lines, insane hours and people physically harming one another to get great deals on Black Friday, I’m going to suggest shifting your focus to others on Green Friday. Mind you, it’s still about the shopping but how about looking at gifts that can give back? I’ve chosen green as it symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and has been known to have great healing power.

The most comprehensive site I’ve found is The same site where, in a click of a mouse, you can give free food also has hundreds of gifts to give, all of which give back in some way. From one site, I am managing to get all of my shopping done (see below) and today if you enter GOBBLE at checkout, you get $10 off $40 order, Also $4.95 US shipping every day.

(Every purchase funds at least 25 cups of food, many 50 cups!)

The hand is quicker than the eye!

I know that it’s not even Halloween yet but I actually saw Christmas decorations in a store today! This means that I will start to avoid malls at all costs and that (soon) a local radio station will be totally dedicated to holiday tunes. It also means lots of online shopping and I’ve found a way to save you money if you’re interested!

InvisibleHand is a web browser add-on which shows a  discreet notification, with a direct link, when the product you’re browsing can be bought for a lower price elsewhere. Recently when I was on amazon browsing for a kitchen gadget, InvisibleHand popped up with another site that had it for $7 less but I’ve seen larger items at more than a $30 savings. InvisibleHand  remains invisible until it finds a deal on a product you’re shopping for and unlike price comparison sites, InvisibleHand refreshes its prices every single time you use it.

InvisibleHand is 100% free, No Adware, No Spyware & No Malware. GIZMODO, cnet, and Mashable all highly recommend this great money saving tool. Check it out today and start saving from the moment you install it!

Think Pink!

It’s October and everywhere you turn is information and opportunities regarding Breast Cancer Awareness. There are a variety of companies and stores that are doing their part to donate proceeds to a plethora of organizations. These are a few of my favorites:

Women's Bean necklaceAt Women’s Bean Project, proceeds from the sale of their beautiful Metamorphosis  necklace will benefit Sense of Security, which provides a sense of security from financial hardship and enhance the quality of life for breast cancer patients in treatment. 10% of the proceeds from Vera Bradley’s “Twirly Birds Pink” pattern benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. More significantly is that they will donate 25% of net proceeds from purchases made in Vera Bradley stores and on October 9th.

Sip and support from this fabulous Pink Ribbon Martini Glass which donates a portion of the proceeds of each sale to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure. 10% of the sale from any of these pink items from Broadway Panhandlermixer(hand mixer, pie dish, Santoku knife, etc) goes to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. As seen in In Style, Vanity Fair, Lucky  & Vogue, proceeds from this beautiful Elisa Ilana bracelet support cancer research and awareness.

Finally, if you need to buy in bulk for an event this month, check out these great hats & apparel from Century Novelty where 5% of all breast cancer awareness sales are donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Do your part to help save the Ta Ta’s this month!

The Last Straw

diy_strawzI not sure why I have such a fascination with straws or when it began but in case any of you share in this odd obsession, here are some of my absolute favorites. Think Geek has a DIY straw where you can fasten and create your own straw contraption. No sense pretending you are going to share this one with the kids, it’s too much fun. Another great find at Think Geek is an ice straw – the mold is made of food-grade silicone rubber and will quickly make six 8-inch straws of whatever liquid you like.

Whether you’re on the go during a hectic day, dining with your family or strawsomerelaxing with a smoothie on the front porch, Strawesome (seriously the name) has a reusable drinking straw to fit your needs. They offer a wide variety of designs from plain to decorative and even a special style just for kids. Angie Papple at Helium gives a great testimony on why you should use glass drinking straws for your own health and the environment.

Not so comfortable carrying a glass straw around with you? Try reusable bamboo strawsbamboo straws from Global Exchange. A little trickier to keep clean but still keeps plastic straws out of the landfill and what a fun gift idea for a host or hostess. My advice … sip into something more comfortable and enjoy.


Who’s Grandma’s Favorite Now?

Grandparent’s Day is September 12 and while I’m sure your grandparent(s) love getting that flowery, mushy, “you’re the best” Hallmark card, you may want to shock them by stepping up your game.

In the technology category, I’ve got the following suggestions …  TV Ears – I’ve TV earsgifted these twice and I’ve been told that they can save a marriage. If one person has a hard time hearing, they can use the TV ears at a louder volume so that the rest of the room can listen at a normal, even muted range. If your grandparent has a computer, download skype for them and show them how easy it is to virtually visit. Even 5 minutes/week can mean so much! If they are wary of computers, check out Celery. Not a great name but a good computerless email system that anyone can use.

In more traditional gifts, pick up a set of these State Dish Towels (gotta pen-fishing-rod_mainrepresent), Pocket Fishing Rod, Locklite Mini Key Torch (less fumbling in the dark), or this faux Unzippered Glass Bag to hold their favorite sweet treats. Tell Me a Story is one of my favorite grandparent’s journals but there are many of these to choose from. However don’t just send the book to them, set aside an afternoon (or two) and find out the answers to such revealing questions like “Where I grew up,” “Favorite Family Traditions,” “What I did for fun,” “My least favorite job,” “My favorite ice cream flavor” and “A place I would like to visit”.

Whether you choose a card, fun gift or plan an “experience” together, the most important thing is letting them know how much they are loved!

I’m Buggin’ Out!

I don’t know what my facination with Christopher Marley is but I can’t get enough of him since I saw a story about him on CBS Sunday Morning. He’s Pheromonegot a great new book out called Pheromone that presents the compositions of his work: assemblages of real insect bodies that display brilliant color and otherworldly form. The colors are entirely natural, and to render the reproductions as accurate as possible some have been reproduced with fifth-color metallic inks and highlighted with spot varnish – absolutely beautiful.

I’m not a big bug person and, if anything, cause them great harm when I come in contact with him. But there is something beautiful that Marley pulls CM1from these creepy crawly creatures that is simply stunning. “I want to kind of juxtapose order and cleanliness and composition with the radical diversity of insects and their colors and their shapes and their patterns,” Marley says.

While some have been concerned about his method of collecting these insects, he responds, “The only way you can damage or really adversely affect an insect population is by destroying its habitat or destroying its host plant,” Marley said. “What we do is we go in and we cull a very few specimens. And that CM4gives an economic incentive Read the rest of this entry

Give Thanks

thank you noteI was brought up under the strict rule of thank-you note writing and it carries with me until this day. I believe in good, old fashioned notes that are hand written, require a stamp and are sent in a timely fashion. Saying this, I still haven’t written ones for my birthday (from May) or to the wonderful friends and family who hosted us while we were road tripping this summer. I used to be SO much better, actually a little obsessed my husband might say, as I made us do all our thank-you notes for our wedding gifts on the plane ride to our honeymoon destination?!

So it was with mixed emotion that I read about Thanks for Everything on the site DailyCandy Kids. In three easy steps, your thank you notes are done – by someone else!

  1. Answer a few simple questions about the occasion, then select your stationary.
  2. List the “gifts” you received and who to thank.
  3. Place your order.

Granted it seems to be mostly geared toward baby shower/birth gifts as well as wedding gifts but I could dream, for a moment, of a “personal assistant” handling one of my most procrastinated tasks.  They are not actually handwritten but use “sophisticated handwriting fonts that could fool all but the most suspicious forensic graphologist”. And I have to love a site that refuses to do notes for kid’s birthday or bar/bat mitzvah gifts stating that kids need to learn and master the rules of writing thank-you notes…before they can break them.


I wasn’t but I am now. MAGHOUND is a fabulous new online membership service that allows you to choose, change and manage all the magazines images 3delivered to your home. Select a tier package of 3, 5, or 7 magazines – with the option to add even more. So one month I could be perusing Better Homes & Gardens, Time and Consumer Reports for fantastic life simplified tips and a few months later switch it up to Food & Wine, Entertainment Weekly and Dwell.

You’ll find hundreds of other popular magazines to choose from. Search by category or look for magazine titles by name. Tier 1 (3 magazines) is $4.95 / month, Tier 2 (5 magazines) is $7.95 / month and Tier 3 (7 magazines) is $9.95 / month. There are no hidden commitments and no obligation to continue. If you are not satisfied with MAGHOUND for any reason, they will cancel your membership anytime, online, 24 hours a day, with no cancellation fees.

Looking for a gift?  Read the rest of this entry