So you’ve finally finished (or maybe just started) your holiday shopping and the big day is just around the corner. All that’s left is making sure that your gifts’ presentations are as wowing as the gifts themselves. Tired of seeing the same old wrapping papers under your tree? Whether you’ve got five extra minutes or days left, try a little twist this year with some of the following ideas:
There’s a new gazette in town: one that’s all about you or your event.
I think the founders of McPapers, Matt & Paige McPheely, may have answered a number of soon-to-be-bride’s wishes for an elegant compliment to their shabby chic dreams.
What better way to tell your family and friends about your latest news than via personalized newspaper?
We’re getting hitched! We’re pregnant! We’ve bought a house! We’re having a baby!
All of those are great reasons to give these personalized papes a whirl, but there are definitely a number of other events for which these would be appropriate and adorable as well.
Do you have a retro themed (or Mad Men themed) fundraiser coming up? Did you just graduate? Are you hosting a murder mystery party? Are you finally empty nesters, now that all five kids are out of the house? Are you planning to celebrate grandpa’s 90th birthday?
Any of these would be great reasons to let people know via the classic (and nearly extinct) newspaper. Not to mention that was the only way people knew what was going on in the world for quite a long time (aside from hearsay and later radio, of course). So there’s still something ultra-special about flipping the tangible pages. And it only takes a few short weeks, before your beloved family and friends / guests / dedicated donors could be awaiting a perfectly printed 4 to 16 page spread of deets about your special event.
And for those of you in NYC, there are even a couple of key stores I think would wildly benefit from sending their next corporate newsletter or exclusive deals for long-time customers via McPapers as well. Let me know if you agree or if you have local suggestions (for wherever you are):
Oversized, multi-tiered cakes > chocolate fountains > cupcake tiers > cake pops > and now mason jar desserts.
The dessert trends continue. Below is a collection of some of the cutest and latest jarred dessert options found on the ‘net. No promises on them being quick or easy to whip up, but each could truly enhance a variety of themed events. These little goodies can act as conversation starters or party favors as well as provide an easily hand-held option for any event where you’d hope your guests could still mix ‘n’ mingle while indulging on dessert.
Quick tips: Though desserts-in-a-jar might look prettier or have more evident layers in larger sized jars, I’d suggest sticking with an 8oz jar or smaller. Also, remember that spoons & ribbons come in many colors, so they provide another place to tie unappetizing colors (black, turquoise, metallics, etc) into your deliciously themed dessert.
No, no, not the movie (though I like that too). I’m talking about giving, people.
So often we go about our daily lives planning for our future relationship, job, house, family without lending a hand to those less fortunate. But part of the circle of life is giving. Giving love to those you care about, a shoulder to cry on for a friend going through a rough time, and advice to those about to embark on a journey you’ve completed or had experience with. Learning life’s lessons is only part of the responsibility. Another part is sharing them.
As someone who started off in a nonprofit for teens and has worked with teens or twenty-something’s in numerous capacities since, I understand and embrace the importance of mentors. I sure appreciate mine, and find it rewarding to watch the interests and dreams of others take shape. Watching their dreams realize is another high altogether.
And the best part is that you don’t have to be an award-winning specialist to help or mentor another person. It just takes heart, a willingness to commit to giving, and a willingness to share mistakes or lessons learned. And it can be way less expensive and much more rewarding than writing a check (though those help too).
You rock at web design? Great! You still love kickball? Awesome. Whatever your preference, whatever your gift, give it. And if you need thoughts on where to start, ask a friend, check out dosomething.org, or even consider the local chapter of a national organization, such as Minds Matter, Inc (one of my personal faves).
The needs are there. Are you willing to fill one?
Well, both. The craze is sweeping the nation just behind (1) Lin-sanity and (2) Whitney Houston’s demise. Yes, it’s exclusive and yes, it’s social, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve been asked a number of times now (mostly by men), “What is Pinterest”? In short, I’ve told them that it’s a place to house any and every dream board a girl (or boy) could imagine, but it’s time to elaborate.
Pinterest is an online platform that allows you to collect images you found and love and ‘pin’ them to digital ‘boards’. People are using it to keep track of images for planning their dream wedding, designing their dream house, tracking recipes, finding inspiration for working out/losing weight, and eyeing the latest fashion trends. You can even create multiple boards to keep your image categories organized or separate.
Pinterest can also be used socially to connect with others, compliment another’s images, or even just find likeness in interests. It can be thought of and used in much the same way as a blog (but of photos rather than words). Images can still be liked, commented on, or repinned (aka shared/retweeted). It can be linked to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, for added social depth, and can incorporate @mentions in much the same way as well.
With over 4 million users and already one of the top 10 most-visited social networks, it’s inevitable that the platform will eventually cave in to providing ads for corporate dollars. While it’s still ad-free, it’s definitely worth diving into to learn more about. That is, once your request for an invite has been granted (it is still invite-only after all).
With birthday celebrations and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I think it’s time to highlight one of my all time favorite gifts: the handwritten card. In my (nearing) old age (ha), I find this gift is second to none.
We’ve all heard that the most successful people are those that send thank you cards, and who doesn’t love receiving ‘em?? Especially when showered with them for birthdays, congrats, and condolences (as card etiquette includes thanking the recipient in nearly any handwritten message anyhow). Receiving a card that someone has taken time to personalize just for you takes on a very personal meaning.
I know, I know, I hear ya: “Great, but what if I hate grocery picks, have a twisted sense of humor and don’t want cards with bunnies, flowers, and happy faces all over them?”
Just wait ’til ya see what splendid+spark‘s got in store for you. This new, hot to trot, stationary+ store has designs of all kinds that are (as promised) “delightfully witty and unapologetically awesome”. How much more rad can that get? No more hours of browsing Etsy, standing in Hallmarks to find the third copy of the card your newlywed friends have already received. Now you have the opportunity to quickly find a card that fits your personality, includes the non-watered down message you really want to send, and won’t be one of the duplicate grocery store cards for your recipient.
Here are a few of the fun examples found on their site. Check ‘em out:
So what. I’m having a jewelry moment.
These designers have dreamed up and created masterpieces I’ve had no fewer than five compliments on each time I’ve worn ‘em. No joke. Their precious pieces have proven to be worth a pretty penny and many, if not all, of them would make fabulous gifts for Valentine’s Day, bridesmaids, push presents and the like. I’ll give ya a three-fer:
First up we have Phoenix Roze, a small but awesome storefront in the West Village with an outstanding array of delicate designs. Skip Tiffany’s, H.Stern, and the rest of fifth avenue and head down to Jane & 8th Ave instead. They’ve got everything from a single gemstone on a delicate chain to angel wings and decked out scull rings. There’s always something unique to admire in this amazing boutique.
Then we have Dorsena, full of gorgeous Argentinian spectaculars. Still new to the scene, these designs are already selling like serious hot cakes. They’re such durable handmade quality and are misleadingly light to wear. They’ve been great for mixing and matching with other jewelry staples, dressing them up and down to fit for a brunch on the weekend or with an LBD for a night at a charity ball. I’m telling you: a new New York staple.
And last but certainly not least, we’ve got Alanna Bess. Her pieces are luxe and she has a keen understanding of what women crave. Her designs are raw and sexy, having already been seen on celebrities like Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, and Twilight’s Ashley Greene. And if ya don’t see all you’re looking for on her site at any one time, keep an eye out for her goods on couture925, Haute Look and Gilt Groupe (next sale this Mon, Feb 6th, 2012- I’ll beat ya there!). She made custom pieces for my day of ‘I Do’ and still stands to be one of my all time faves.
Enjoy and shop your heart out!
Wouldn’t it be nice to have one place for your guests to see all the items you’ve registered for, while still giving them a variety of stores to purchase from? Adding items, editing, re-editing. Married gals out there, you know what I’m talking about. With GiftRegistry360.com and wishpot.com, that’s exactly what’s possible. The two sites offer very different approaches but still give the bride and groom the ability to mix and match the registry items exactly as they’d like.
Of course the masterminds of The Knot have had yet another genius moment, this time registry-inspired. They created the mother of all registry gatherers: GiftRegistry360.com. If you’ve already registered at the usual Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Williams & Sonoma all you need to do is hop onto GiftRegistry360.com and let them know where your registries are held. They’ll compile the info, the items, and make one cohesive list for you and your guests to peruse.
Wishpot.com, on the other hand, allows you to add items you want from anywhere on the web by compiling it into self-created wish list or registry. No need to create separate registries first at all. Their users have created birthday lists, honeymoon registries, shower registries, etc. They’ll even allow you to receive cash gifts through the service or send you messages when your registry or list items go on sale!