The Gift Guru

Welcome to the Gift Guru! I want to be your first stop for all your gifting needs!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Have you opened the Red Envelope?

I'm a big fan of the online sites that offer it all.  Apparel to food, to sports equipment to monogram pillows...Red Envelope has it all!  They have great indexes too, that help you narrow down your search easily!

One of the things that I like most about Red Envelope is that you can stay i the $30-$60 range and find something that will appeal to your hard to buy for in laws, outlaws or miscellaneous friends and relations.

Here is just a little sample. Trust when I tell you that if you can think it, Red Envelope will probably have it!

clockwise from top left:

12 Handmade Swizzled Cake Pops - If you don't like cake, then as far as I'm concerned you are too darned picky for me to buy a gift for anyways!

Wine Aerator - While most of my friends would be happy with a nice box of wine (ha!  just kidding), the
few wine connoisseur wanna-be's would surely love an aerator.  After all what is plain old wine when you can have bubbles right?

Monogrammed Pillow - Monogrammed anything is hot, hot, hot right now and who doesn't like seeing their own very important name on something soft and cushy?

Punched Letter Votives - Candles are a gifting favorite so why not add a little message by way of punched letters spelling out something close to your heart.

Family Conversation Tabletopics Cards - Kind of like trivial pursuit without the pressure of the quest fo a pie piece!  It can be tough forging ahead with conversation with people you see once a year.  These cards are great icebreakers, setting the topic for you.

Sesame Street Market Bags - While I love my reusable market bags because they are sturdier and hold
 more than the annoying white plastic bags most stores offer, they are not usually very attractive.  For moms, kids and kids at heart, these Sesame Street Market bags offer a fun alternative.  Why be dull?

If all else fails, give a Red Envelope gift card.  There's little doubt that your lucky giftee will find something he or she like!

Give a gift, be a gift, it feels good!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Teacher Shoesday

Gift cards are very popular gifts for teachers.  They are great.  They allow the teacher to get herself something that she wants or needs whenever she wants to.  The only problem with the standard gift cards is that gift cards from local retailers often turns into "quick cash" in a pinch.  Too often, these cards are used for necessities instead of a personal splurge.  Don't you want your teacher to splurge on something for herself? I do.

Since most teachers, especially those teaching Kindergarten through 5th and 6th grade are primarily women.  What do almost all women absolutely love?  Let me give you a hint...

Now before you ask me if I've lost my mind... I'm not suggesting that most teachers want crazy sexy, rhinestone encrusted, sky high, feather platform pumps.  Far from it.  I was just trying to make the answer to my question super obvious.  There are countless options out there for her to choose from.

My point is that no matter what age, physical stature, or level of athleticism your child's teacher is, there is a shoe for her!  I can't think of anything else more personal than a gift that will go on her foot!  

Another great thing about getting the teacher in your life a gift card for shoes, is that online shoe stores carry the best variety of inventory.  Competition for every consumer dollar has also kept shipping and handling charges low.  I've personally bought shoes from DSWEndless, and Piperlime and can attest that their shipping is quick and returns or exchanges are very easy.  (I've got feet that are smack dab between a 7 1/2 and an 8 so I often have to exchange)  What's better than knowing that you'll find a pair of shoes that you will love, have a gift card to pay for them and that they'll be to you in 3-5 days without even having to get out of your sweats or jammies!

Gift cards are easy to order and are usually in your hands within a couple of days!  Time to think outside the box....the shoe box that is!

Give a gift, be a gift, it feels good!

Friday, November 11, 2011


How do you even begin to thank the men and women who have defended this great country?  I don't really have the answer but I do know that it's not by "occupying" anywhere or anything, using the Pentagon's budget as a bargaining chip or closing down military bases that provided an all inclusive home base for military families throughout our country's history.

Last night when I was at our local mall, a mob of young (tweenagers) girls were taking part in some sort of scavenger hunt.  They were having a blast, giggling as they trucked it around the mall in little gangs of tiara and boa wearing little ladies.  A twenty something soldier, in field fatigues was walking ahead of me when one of these scavengering groups approached us.  Without a thought, each of the five young girls stopped and thanked the soldier for his service when they met up with him.  THAT IS HOW WE THANK A SOLDIER!  I can't tell you how happy I was that they did this.  I teach my boys to do the same thing when they see a soldier.  As a parent I can tell you I was proud for those young ladies' moms and dads.  Good job parents!

As individuals, there isn't a lot we can do about the Occupy people, our Congress or our anti-military, non-leader of a President.  What we can do is be truly thankful that we are protected daily by brave men and women who put themselves at risk on foreign soil and at home (Fort Hood ring a bell?  Who knew that going to a doctors office on a military base could put you in the line of fire!).  What you do with that thankful heart is up to you.  There are some small things you can do that can make an impact...
  • Ask a waiter or waitress to give you the check of military personnel enjoying a meal together (if you can afford) it.  I bet those soldiers will really feel appreciated when they find out someone did that.
  • Pay for the haircut of the soldier being groomed as you are paying for yours on your way out.
  • Around Veterans Day, but a couple of "Thank You" cards in your purse or car.  Have your entire family sign them and write messages of appreciation and wishes for safety.  Hand them out to a man or woman in uniform when you see them.
  • Send an anonymous care package to an active duty soldier.  You don't have to spend a ton to make a service person isolated in a foreign country feel a little homegrown hospitality.  Check out for more information on the guideline, restrictions and mailing info.
From the bottom of my heart I want to tell ALL of the men and women, past and present, that I appreciate you!  No matter what the rest of the world thinks, our great country was born of the most noble cause, FREEDOM.  We will always be mocked, criticized and targeted by those who only wish to control and oppress.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Busy Thursday

I hope you are having a great day!  Me?  I've had a day already and it isn't even 2pm.

Have you ever brought a 10 yr old and a 12 yr old to work with you for 1 hour?  Yeah, that's of the longest hours of my life!  We invest a lot of money in these hand held games, gadgets and gizmos to keep them occupied before heading to the pediatrician (who by the way, only has mid-morning appointments available...EVER!) and what do they do?  Well fight of course but that's, they want to draw, on sticky notes, while laying on the floor of my small office that everyone in the office has to walk by as they come in to work.  So random.  This lovely hour was followed by a wild car ride to the doctors office during which both of my daredevil son's absolutely LOST IT over the chance that they would need a flu shot?  Are you kidding me?  These are the same two boys that have shot each other with every weapon available to them; NERF, airsoft, paintball, BB, rubber band or whatever else they can find.  They are afraid of a shot???  Give me a break.  But the best of all was the smacking, kicking and name calling involved when trying to decide who had to receive the flu mist first.  Sooooo embarassing!  I would have thought they would have been so relieved to not have to get the shot, that they would have gladly stepped forward to sniff their mist.  I will never figure boys out, big or little!  Children are gifts from God, Children are gifts from God....I need to be reminded of this right now! 

I'll have a charming, beautiful, "aha" moment inducing post tomorrow, but for today I'll leave you with a quote.

Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can. ~ John Wesley

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Kings Lane

Good Morning!  Well, you made it to mid-week!  The time change has really got me all out of whack this week.  While it was nice to get that extra hour before getting up for church on Sunday, it sure has messed with my head and internal clock.

Today I'd like to tell you about one of my favorite resources for stylish home accessories and gifts at GREAT prices!  This is the type of site that you have to "join", but rest assured, the only emails you'll get are from One Kings Lane (OKL)

Nathan Turner and Kathryn Ireland from Million Dollar Decorators on Bravo have been featured on OKL with their items from their own design collection or with a tastefully curated collection for you to shop from (or dream about...someday!)

For me personally, OKL is my go to resource for luxury items I can't afford at retail.  I stockpile Archipelago candles for me and to give as gifts.  While still not cheap, these candles are a great value.  They burn for hours, evenly and the containers are always classic and elegant, sure to go with any decor.

I've also got quite a collection of foutas (amazingly soft woven cotton towels) from Scents and Feel.  These make great throws, sarongs and are amazingly soft and absorbent when used as a towel.

My hands down favorite thing I've bought at OKL is my ceramic, polka dot, silicone topped travel coffee mug (see picture below) from Classic Coffee and Tea.  I bought one for my mother in law, which she promptly broke, and has been hinting about wanting another.  I just haven't seen them on sale again.  I guess I'd better pay more attention to my OKL emails!  Classic Coffee and Tea does have some items for sale right now on OKL....What are you waiting for?  Get shopping!

Like many curated sites, the quantities are limited and it's first come, first served.  So sign up now and make sure you take a look when that email pops up, because that "must have" item might end up being someones "just got"!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Sweet Tooth Teacher Tuesday

Ok, this weeks Teacher Tuesday isn't for every teacher out there.  But even if you're not a huge sugar addict, receiving an out of the ordinary candy gift would have to still put a smile on your face right?  I think so and I'm not a huge candy eater.

When I think about one stop shopping when it comes to candy, I can only think of Dylans Candy Bar !  This place is an absolute Willy Wonka type of candy warehouse!  From old school nostalgic treats like Razzles  to todays favorites, if you remember or crave it and they've got it!

The design of the stores is the intersection of fantasy and great style.  What else would you expect when the owner and creator of the franchise is Dylan Lauren daughter of fashion icon Ralph Lauren.  Wildly beautiful and blessed with whimsical creativity and business acumen...Wow she's amazing!

Take a walk through the candy decades and remember some of the treats you enjoyed when you were growing up.  At $35, you get a bunch of candy and a trip back in time...

Here's what included in each decade's candy capsule!
20s Capsule Includes Baby Ruth, Chuckles, Heath Bar, Milky Way, Mounds, Mr Goodbar, O'Henry, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Tootsie Rolls, Hershey Bar with Almonds, Hershey Bar and Idaho Spud.
50s Capsule Includes Bit'O'Honey, Candy Buttons, Caramel Cream Trays, Charms Square, Doscher Chewy Taffy (Chocolate), Juju Fruits, Nik L Nip, Tea Berry Gum, Wax Lips, Atomic Fireballs, Hot Tamales and Lifesavers.
60s Capsule Includes Big Hunk, Fruit Stripe Gum, Look Bar, Slo Poke Jr Pops, Razzles, Fun Dip, Sweet Tarts, Chewy Sweet Tarts, Charleston Chew (Vanilla), Chunky, Mallow Cup and Lemonheads.
70s Capsule Includes Gobstopper, Pop Rocks, Reeses Pieces, Twix, U-NO Bar, Zots, Wonka Bar, Spree Rolls, Necco Wafer, Candy Necklace, Sixlets, Chick O Stick, Sugar Daddy and B-Bats.
80s Capsule Includes Airheads (Watermelon, Cherry and Green Apple), Big League Chew, Jumbo Push Pop, Nerds, Runts, Bubble Tape, Bubble Gum Cigarettes, Blow Pops and BottleCaps.

If you want to stick closer to 2011 there are some other great treats ready for your order.  You can get a pre-packed bucket or capsule, or you can custom order your own mix!  Each bucket, just $15

Time to think out of the box, just like the teachers are trying to get our kids to.  Surprise your kid's teacher, scout leader, student pastor or coach with a fun sweet treat from Dylan's!

Give a gift, Be a gift, it feels good!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Monogram Monday

Monograms have always been popular but todays monograms come in many different styles, fonts and materials.  Gone are the days when monograms were banished to sweaters and stationery.  Today monograms are seen on EVERYTHING, from phone covers and tumblers to iPad covers, serving plates, jewelry, tote bags, robes and towels.

Of all the monogram items out there, one of the most personal is monogram jewelry.  The great thing about this gift is that you do not have to spend and arm and a leg on them or order weeks in advance.  The abundance of monogramable items and tons of competition, vendors are happy to have the business and turn it around quickly.

Here are a few really cute pieces I found on Etsy.

Have a great Monday!