Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's the thought that counts??

My husband brought home "little" gifts for me and the kids the other day. I got a bag of all natural red licorice from a company that we haven't tried before. When we were dating, we used to always buy Bearitos licorice twists. They came in all kinds of flavors and were all natural. There was watermelon, cherry, orange.....I digress. Anyway, we haven't been able to find them in a long time so we are always on the look out for a replacement. He knows red licorice is my pea soup. He brought home a chocolate doughnut for Lily and Drew got a container of all natural jelly beans that he loves. Each gift was in a little take away container and he wrote Love, Daddy on each one. Well, he didn't write Daddy on mine, but you get it. He left them for me to take to the kids after school since he was off to work. When they got in the car and had a little surprise from Dad, they were thrilled. No matter what kind of day they had at school, it was all gone. Lily says, "Daddy's a dream come true! I'm so proud of him. He knows us so well." (That needs to go in Time in a Bottle) I agree Lil.....he does.

It's the thought that counts. Remember that funny Hallmark commercial? It is set in a kitchen with a husband and wife.

Wife: "Did you buy me that diamond necklace for Valentine's?"
Husband: "Uh, no"
Wife: "But you did get me a dozen red roses"
Husband: "Actually, no"
Wife: "a card?"
Husband: (after pausing) "No, but I thought about it. I really did give it some thought."
Wife: "Awwwwwwwwwwww...that's so sweet" She showers him with hugs and kisses.
Voice Over: "Of course, it's not the thought that counts. Send Hallmark when you care enough to send the very best."

It's not the thought that counts....it's putting the thought into action.

P.S. If anyone has seen Bearitos licorice twists or knows what happened to them, please let me know.

chocolate doughnut image found here

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gift of Gab

I had never seen today's quote before. It came home on my daughter's school newsletter. When I read it, I went right thought it without a problem.....just like it says. I immediately thought it would be a really fun thing to write on a gift card and give with a pocket bilingual dictionary. Just add the words, "to help make things even easier to decipher." Perfect little gift for the couple about to honeymoon in another country or someone headed off on the vacation of their lives.
pocket dictionaries available here

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thinking outside the basket

I've talked about the gift basket doldrums before...here. It's not that gift baskets are all wrong in theory, it's that they rarely have the finesse or thought involved that is essential for a memorable gift. Why does it have to be a basket that looks like you went out in the garage and grabbed an old one left over from Easter? Get creative with your container. Then make what you put in the container relevant.

Why not a casserole dish filled with seasonal root vegetables fresh from the farmer's market?

Thinking along those same lines...why not a big wooden salad bowl filled with fresh baby greens also from the farmer's market?No matter what lines you think along....just think a little outside of the basket.

Le Creuset Casserole available here, root vegetable photo from here,

wooden salad bowl available here, mixed baby greens photo from here

P.S. I'm guessing that since I've mentioned the words "gift basket", my google ads will be just the type of thing I'm referring to......irony.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lolliop Guild

I love the potential and versatility of these lollipops. The Big Race reminded me of that. So much so, that I changed our cover shot. They clearly are just the right extra touch and they obviously have enormous staying power. Forgive me for including the last photo again....I have had it in my inspiration folder for years and I just love it.

images: top and center by seaandjae, bottom by rebecca thuss

I would love to know if you have seen these lollipops used in other memorable ways.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Big Race

This is going to be a long one....sorry...grab your coffee.....it's all in the details.

A week ago my 7 year old daughter, Lily, tells me she and a friend are planning The Big Race. I say...that's nice, honey. The next day, she says The Big Race is Saturday. I say...okay, honey. The week goes on much the same with her saying each day that The Big Race is coming. Each day, she is also going outside to ride her bike around our block because she is....her words.....training. Each day, I think that's cute with no idea what she is talking about. On Thursday, I think I should probably call the other mom to see how serious this is since she certainly seems focused and is continually "training". Saturday morning 10am is all set up now for The Big Race. When we are at Whole Foods on Friday, Lily runs off and brings back several apples, crackers, and peanut butter because she tells me she needs to have snacks for everyone when The Big Race is over. "Do we have enough water", she asks. Friday night after she "trains" again, she tells me she needs prizes and says she wants to use the lollipops.

So far, I have done absolutely nothing to help Lily plan The Big Race. In all honesty, I didn't even take her seriously until the end of the week. We sit down together to figure out what she needs me to do. Tie a note on each lollipop she says. We decide to put "you licked the competition" on the winning lollipop and "thanks for coming to The Big Race" on the other lollipops. In the meantime, she is bringing downstairs a little table she has in her room for the pit stop area to hold water, a chair, poster paper for signs, and markers. Oh, and don't forget all the while she is still training. Friday night, Lily is off to bed before I can even tell her. "I have to be rested for tomorrow," she says. Saturday morning arrives and she wants a lettuce and tomato sandwich on whole wheat bread for breakfast so that she has eaten something healthy. Her friends arrive and they start right in making signs to post along the route they have determined to be the track. Her fellow planning friend walked in carrying three boxes. One for first place that had a handmade trophy inside (adorable!), swedish fish, and pieces of fabric torn up to use as "sweat rags". One for second, that had swedish fish and the "sweat rags" and one for third that had starburst and the "sweat rags". The lollipops are added to the boxes. They make a checkered flag and tie it to a stick for Drew, her big brother, to use to start the race. They ask me to quickly make each of them a sign for their backs to identify the racers. The pit stop area is set up. A line is drawn on the street for the starting line. Wow....I think we are finally ready for The Big Race. Afterwards, there is snack as planned and even an awards ceremony.

Lily is beaming all day. She has planned and executed her first event. It occurs to me that she has already been in training. Training for making the details count. Training for thinking a step ahead. Training for making sure everyone leaves with a "prize". I can't wait to see what the second annual "The Big Race" brings.

P.S. The all natural lollipops have so much potential. I love that she recognizes that. Lollipops available here.

{photo on left via rebecca thus, photo on right via amy atlas}

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Time in a bottle

I don't usually post about a gift idea that I've seen in a few other places in the blog world, however, this idea deserves another mention. It has all the makings of a great gift. It is a simple idea with meaning and thought written all over it.
Keep a jar in a handy place and every time your kids say something funny or clever, write it down and throw it in the jar. Children say very funny things, but remembering those things is never as easy as you think it will be. This could be gathered secretly and given to Dad on his birthday or gift yourself by reading one on a day you could use a smile. Don't have kids, you could do this with any little funny moments you want to remember. You could even wrap up one of these with a stack of nice paper and give it to a new parent.

container available here

{image from inchmark via thoughtfulday}

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gift of Gab

Monday morning means it is time for a quote that inspires just the right gift. Cookbooks are gifts that can be given for a number of occasions.....wedding gifts, housewarming, birthdays. Just always be sure to select one that fits the recipient's personality and style. Obviously, if they are a vegetarian, don't select one that has a bunch of meat recipes. If they love to entertain, select a cocktails and appetizers cookbook. If they are new to cooking, an introductory cookbook would be appropriate. If they love desserts.....okay, you get it. The only thing I think every cookbook has to have is beautiful photography. I just don't understand cookbooks that don't have pictures.

recipe and cookbook available here

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You're the Bee's Knees

The bee's knees is a phrase meaning the "height of excellence". The objective in making these bars, was to create a product from natural resources that would heal, protect, and soothe the hands, feet, and body. A product that would surpass others. A product that would be the bee's knees. Made from shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba, beeswax, lanolin, sweet almond oil, vitamin E, and vanilla/fruit fragrance, it provides pleasure to the senses and long lasting relief. Instantly smoothes and softens skin without a greasy residue. Doesn't wear off due to weather or washings. Packaged in a protective tin. The large bar is 2 ounces and the small is perfect to carry in your pocket or purse. It truly is an indispensable gift for yourself or someone else who is "the bee's knees".
These bee bars are a staple for us. Once someone tries them, they are hooked. We have done these as party favors with the clearly obvious tag that says, "thanks for bee-ing here". Since the holidays are coming (I know.....it's true.......sorry for the dose of reality there), they are the perfect little gift for teachers, service professionals, or a little something for friends. Just put the simple phrase on the tag...."you're the bee's knees". Trust me. They will be a hit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


There is so much talk these days about how living with less is in and greed is out. That just makes every gift you give even more important. I heard about a group of thank you gifts yesterday that was absolutely horrible. (I'll keep it to myself in order to protect the innocent. Trust me. they. were. bad.) I can only imagine what people on the receiving end must have thought. If people are paring back and making sure that everything they have is the infamous, "beautiful, functional, or meaningful", every gift we give has to fall into that mantra. I've said it before and I'm sure you will hear me say it again, make it relevant. Follow the golden rule of giving. If you wouldn't want it yourself, don't give it to someone else! Okay, I'll get off my soapbox...sorry. Speaking of, here's a soapbox I really do appreciate.

via haus maus............handmade by simplemente blanco

P.S. Dare I ask.....What was the worst gift you ever received?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are you on the cutting edge?

Tie a gift certificate from your favorite pizzeria to the knife to use as a housewarming gift. Better yet, show up with the pizza and the knife tied to the top. Give it to a friend or client who is starting something new and innovative in their lives. Tell them they're so busy being on the cutting edge they shouldn't have to take time to cook.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gift of Gab

We all have things we say we would like to try. It might be painting, cooking, race car diving, or even sailing. Put today's gift of gab quote on the tag and include lessons to that elusive experience. There are several companies that offer memorable experiences. If you don't have something in mind, check out cloud 9 living, xperience days, or excitations. Be sure to bring a camera so the experience can be captured into a lasting memory.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Letter to the Gulf Coast

Dear Gulf Coast,

Come on up....we'll scoot over!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's your pea soup?

I believe that everybody has something they are crazy for. It could be chocolate, red licorice, or maybe it's a certain kind of drink. We have a good friend who is crazy for a particular restaurant's pea soup. Okay, she would admit that crazy for isn't strong enough....infatuated with is better. Remember the movie Phenomenon? John Travolta bought Kyra Sedgwick's chairs in the movie because he wanted to support her passion. Find out what someone's "pea soup" is and the next time they aren't feeling well or you just want to mark a special day with a little something, send them the thing they are crazy for or even infatuated with. This is a such a simple concept, but often overlooked. Just be sure you don't forget the all important presentation, presentation, presentation.

photo credit

What's your pea soup?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ring your bell

I haven't really posted about giving clothing or accessories before. I do think if you make it relevant and match the style to the recipient, it can be a great gift. Take for instance some of the rings we are seeing so much of these days. We all know they are a great single item that can dress up jeans and a tshirt. J Crew and Banana Republic are both a great place to start your search with a good price point. Find one that matches a friend's style. Write on the gift tag, "Happy Birthday....thought we should ring your own bell."

The top photo is Banana Republic and the bottom photo is J Crew.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Need to bounce back?

For quite awhile now, I've been obsessed with these.
Don't you remember having races with these in PE as a kid? The ones we used were just plain red and so far I haven't been able to find fun ones like the space hoppers above in the United States, but when I do....let's just say, I think it would be the perfect take 5 break during a stressful day. Talk about bouncing back! Think of the parties you could have with these.....for kids.....okay......you know I meant us big kids, too! These are a nostalgic fun gift for any kid at heart. I'm holding out for one of the ones pictured above, but there are all kinds of them on the web. Google kangaroo ball, hop, or hoppity hop.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gift of Gab

It's Monday and that means it's time for the gift of gab. This is where a quote is featured that inspires a gift.
What I like about this, is that you can do this at any price point. Pick high end games like the ones pictured here for a good friend or go to your local toy store and pick out several classic board games. Tie them all together and it would make a fun housewarming gift for a family. Don't forget to write the quote on the gift tag. However you choose to to it, I'm betting this quote is pretty intuitive. Hmmmm....kind of makes you wonder that if people want to play games on a first date, the only games they should be playing are board games.

available here

available here

Friday, September 5, 2008

Special Delivery

Since summer is drawing to a close, I think it's appropriate to post about a gift that is the essence of summer. Have fresh lobster delivered right to someone's door. There are a lot of great companies to choose from....many of them green and carbon neutral. You can even become a partner and have your own trap that catches lobster all year just for you through catch a piece of Maine. Now you know that I'm all about leaving a lasting impression. Therefore, send along some lobster bibs, or napkins, or the tablecloth so that when the lobsters are gone, the memory isn't. If you are still lucky enough to be a house guest before summer ends, show up with lobster and you'll have a standing invitation.
If you want be a little shellfish, send it to your own door. (Alright, I know.....eyes are rolling everywhere, but I couldn't resist)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

you've got a little something on the side of your mouth

Today's inspiration comes from tine k home. Who wouldn't love to have a collection of paper napkins like these on hand?

Find some that coordinate well together and you have a little gift. Sometimes you want to mark the day, but the gift doesn't call for a big budget. I would take them out of their plastic and tie a ribbon around each kind and then stack them all into a gift box. Don't forget presentation...presentation...presentation. Everyone likes to have some napkins on hand for when friends come over and with this they'll be reminded of you every time. Hmm....maybe they'll even invite you.

Think birthdays, think housewarmings....paper is also the traditional gift for a 1st anniversary. Making it paper napkins gives a traditional gift a modern edge.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gifting with flying colors

As you know, I often find gift inspiration from photos of interiors. In the photos from Shelton, Mindel & Associates....if you haven't seen their amazing work,look here, it's all about the groups of colors. Just like in events, a gift can be centered around a theme. Why not theme your gift around color? Put together several vases and containers in a friend's favorite color. Just putting a group together makes a strong impact and in using their favorite color, you've given the gift meaning.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Make a wish

I have posted about these wishbones before.....here. However, I wanted to show you a simple idea that turns into a thoughtful favor. Recently a regular client of mine contacted me to help her come up with something little she could give to family at her baby daughter's baptism lunch. She just wanted to mark the day and really thank her family for coming.....they came from out of the country. I put together a wishbone in a simple beautiful package and then tied this note on top...."Our wish for (insert name) is that she grows up knowing how fortunate she is to have you in her loving family. Thanks for sharing this special day with us."

I've said it before....here....the wishbones can be applied to all kinds of occasions when you want to express a simple sentiment.