Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread: Gift Suggestions

Earlier this week, I received the following email from a reader:

Two of my aunts will be throwing me a baby shower in a couple weeks. It’s going to be a fairly big shower (50+ people), and I know they’re investing a lot of time and money into it. I’d like to get them each a gift to say thank you. Do you have any ideas for gifts I could get them? I’m sure there are other readers with general gift giving questions…maybe it could be a topic for an open thread?

 

I gave her my own reply privately (I had three small showers โ€” well, two small ones and one medium-sized one โ€” for which I gifted the hostesses things like cute hand towels, beautiful-smelling candles, and gourmet chocolates), and now I’m opening the floor to you, readers. Any suggestions for baby shower hostess gifts? And while we’re on the topic, what about bridal shower hostess gifts, or bridesmaids gifts, or other special events where you want to honor the people honoring you. What gifts have you given in the past and what have you received that you especially liked?

And, of course, as always, feel free to dish about your weekend or whatever relationship issue is currently on your mind

197 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Anna October 7, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I don’t know if it’s just me but I love gift cards! If there’s a particular restaurant or store that you know the person loves, you can get them a gift card and put it in a pretty Thank You card with a heartfelt message handwritten inside. If you can relate it to a memory you’ve had with that person, bonus points. Example, this past Christmas I sent my sister a Carabbas gift card because when my boyfriend and I went to Florida to visit her that is where we all ate a nice dinner together.

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    • avatar

      bethany October 7, 2011, 3:26 pm

      I also like getting gift certificates for my parents, because since they’re doing pretty well financially, if there’s something they want, chances are they’ve already gone out and bought it. If I get them a gift certificate to a nice restaurant or something, it gives them a good excuse to have a date and spend quality time with eachother!

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com October 7, 2011, 3:28 pm

      Gift cards are sadly under-utilized in my world. People always say its impersonal. NO! I love, love, gift cards. It’s the gift of SHOPPING! What is better than that?!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 3:30 pm

        Not to be one of those THIS people everyone seems to complain about…but THISSSS. The gift of shopping is the ultimate gift if you ask me!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray October 7, 2011, 4:43 pm

        hey, scroll down and answer my question about wedding gift, pwease. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:45 pm

        Ha! I already did. Not well though.

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      • avatar

        Morgan October 9, 2011, 1:50 pm

        My mom gets a gift card for Christmas from my dad every year (as well as a few smaller presents) because its not just a gift of the money, its also the gift of a stress free, relaxing day shopping.

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    • avatar

      amber October 7, 2011, 3:36 pm

      i’m another fan of gift cards. i love getting them, i always think what’s better than having money to go shopping with. and i love your idea of adding in to notes about good memories surrounding the place the gift card is from!

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    • avatar

      Ktfran October 7, 2011, 3:49 pm

      Ooh, my niece is 6 and has everything she could possibly want. So for presents I now get her movie gift cards and tokens to the local arcade. Both activities she loves doing and helps her parents financially at the same time.

      Although this Christmas she’s getting an easy bake oven. How fun is that?

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      • avatar

        NOLAGirl October 7, 2011, 4:10 pm

        I had an easybake oven. I looove those things. I wish baking were still so easy ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl October 7, 2011, 3:52 pm

      I love gift cards too, but my family is against them ๐Ÿ™

      When ever I give gift cards, I like to include a small gift (and a gift receipt) to make it a little more personalized. I do think there are a few occations when a gift card would not be appropriet- a hostess gift for one.

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    • avatar

      Michele October 7, 2011, 6:11 pm

      One year for Christmas a friend of mine gave me 3 gift cards with instructions written on nice paper and attached to the cards: (1) Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee in the morning; (2) Gap to buy something for myself and (3) a restaurant for lunch/dinner. It was a whole day in an envelope! They weren’t huge $ amounts and the idea was really cute.

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  • avatar

    Sue October 7, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Baby showers are so tacky. The whole point of them is to ask people to buy you presents. And 3 of them??

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy October 7, 2011, 3:30 pm

      Aw, what a curmudgeon! Yeah, three. One that my friends in Chicago hosted. One that my family in st. louis hosted. And one that my friends in new york hosted. It’s good to be loved and have people who want to celebrate the special events in your life. I’m sorry if you don’t have that, Sue, though I can’t imagine why that might be.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:34 pm

        Did you have a utensil wishing well? I want to get married right now, to no one, simply because I want a utensil wishing well THAT much.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 3:36 pm

        Haha. I actually made a wishing well for the last shower I threw for one of my close girlfriends (made as in constructed the actual well). Maybe someone will get you a gift card to bed, bath and you can go crazy in the utensil aisle ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:36 pm

        Oh crap, that made no sense. Baby shower. I didn’t pick up on that. And that’d be a whole lot of baby spoons. Let me make it clear that I don’t want to have a baby right now, with no one, simply to have a baby utensil wishing well.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 7, 2011, 4:44 pm

        I want to get married just so I can create a gift registry. Or ANYthing, really, that involves a gift registry. Is that “tacky” of me? Probably, but I DON’T CARE. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny October 7, 2011, 3:41 pm

        I did not know you were from St. Louis. What does it say about me that I want to ask what high school you went to?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

        You wouldn’t be from St. Louis if you didn’t ask! But, actually, I’m not from StL, exactly. It’s where my mother grew up and where most of my extended family lives and where I spent summers growing up. Family’s from North County โ€” Florissant, to be exact โ€” though everyone now lives in St. Charles.

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      • avatar

        SpyGlassez October 7, 2011, 8:07 pm

        I grew up in Florissant – right by 370. What parish were you in?

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 7, 2011, 4:44 pm

        You’re from St. Louis too? I just moved here about a year ago.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny October 12, 2011, 12:20 pm

        This is way late, but if you read this, how do you like it? I was an early transplant from New Jersey (still in grade school when we moved here) so I see it as my hometown. I still remember thinking it was weird how much people made eye contact with strangers!

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      • avatar

        Zyggurat October 7, 2011, 3:48 pm

        Wow, that was catty Wendy. I realize this is your website, but… wow. So she doesn’t like gifts, therefore she’s unlovable and must not have friends?

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      • avatar

        camille905 October 7, 2011, 3:52 pm

        Actually it wasn’t catty- it was a slightly snarky reply to a very b*tchy comment. And yes, it is is her website so she can say whatever she wants.

        And really, baby showers are tacky? Just like bridal showers, it’s an opportunity for people who love you to show their support with items that you may need as you start out on a new part of your life. And Wendy didn’t plan three showers for herself, three other people planned showers for Wendy. And I’m sure there would have been some hurt feelings if she said no.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 7, 2011, 3:55 pm

        I’m the catty one in this scenario? Um, OK.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

        How does one italicize?

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 4:07 pm

        I’ve been meaning to mention (If you feel comfortable after researching it and deciding for yourself if its appropriate and I do not mean to offend you by suggesting it if it is not something that you would consider) Tie a red ribbon on the baby’s crib. It will score major points with Drew’s older relatives, plus warding off (potential) bad luck is never a bad thing.

        I hope Drew has an easy fast and a happy new year to you both!

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      • avatar

        WatersEdge October 9, 2011, 10:24 pm

        I’d love to see you take the bait a little less often, Wendy. “I know this is your website, but…” people seek your advice for your emotional maturity. She made a general statement about not liking the idea of baby showers (granted, she implied greediness on your part) but then you basically called her unlovable. Definitely a below-the-belt response.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 3:31 pm

      How is it “you” asking for gifts if someone else is throwing you a party, which is usually a surprise? You know whats tacky, what you just did.

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    • avatar

      amber October 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

      they’re hosted by family and friends, you’re not throwing yourself a party to get gifts. and when you have said family and friends in more than one place it makes it hard to have just one. the point of baby showers is not only to buy presents, it’s to celebrate that fact that you’re having a baby. which some people get excited about for some reason.

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    • avatar

      silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 3:39 pm

      No, what’s tacky is throwing a baby shower and putting up fliers about it around your dorm and college campus, and putting the same fliers in the faculty/staff mailboxes. Fliers that say “the mother-to-be is registered at: _______,” inviting complete strangers to buy you gifts? Yeah, THAT’S tacky. Someone did that last year here.

      Regular baby showers aren’t tacky, in fact, they’re QUITE the social norm.

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    • avatar

      artsygirl October 7, 2011, 3:53 pm

      The whole point of showers was started by the Dutch centuries ago. The idea was to help out a young couple who maybe do not have the support (financial) of the bride’s father and therefore no dowry to start up their life. A new report has shown that new parents spend over $4,000 on their first child so having friends and family add support through gifts is wonderful. No one HAS to go to attend the shower or even purchase gifts for the mom to be. Now if someone was having a shower for their 4th child I would question the taste of the move – but completely socially acceptable behavior otherwise.

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      • avatar

        SpyGlassez October 7, 2011, 8:08 pm

        I try to give diapers at baby showers. I never know what the hell to give, but if I know the parents aren’t going to be cloth-diapering, that’s generally a utilitarian way to go.

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      • avatar

        Lydia October 8, 2011, 5:38 am

        That’s funny, I’m Dutch and baby showers seem like a very American concept to me; no one here has them, afaik, and if they do, they are probably inspired by American movies. Interesting how times change.

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      • avatar

        Emsz October 8, 2011, 8:42 am

        I read the wikipedia page, and bridal showers may have started this way, but then it was gifts given by the friends of the bride as a substitute for her dowry. I think that would make them gifts for the groom’s family.
        Baby showers are completely North American in their concept.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl October 7, 2011, 3:56 pm

      The point of a baby shower is to celebrate the new baby! It is very common for gifts to be given, but it’s not the point! Do you also think having a birthday party for yourself or a wedding reception is tacky? Because gifts are commonly given at those events too.

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    • avatar

      HBomb October 7, 2011, 4:12 pm

      Wasn’t really the point of the open thread, Sue. But thanks for your irrelevant comment.

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    • avatar

      Rachelgrace53 October 9, 2011, 2:27 pm

      THIS is why I miss the thumbs down button. Really? You’re going to be mean to Wendy??

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  • avatar

    6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:31 pm

    I bought a mattress last night AND negotiated it down to 25% of its “full price.” I felt awesome and all independent woman-y. And then today, my friends stink (they do in general, i need new friends) and I have no one to go to an important meal with, which you usually spend with loved ones. So I feel all lonely, sad and pathetic and all I want to do is call my ex (of two years, of two weeks, in the order that makes me not crazy). How is it that moods can vary so vastly and so quickly?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

      1. What’s the important meal for? Just curious.
      2. You go girl (in my fiercest Spice Girl voice) about the mattress!
      3. Ah moodiness. Wish I had an answer. But just as quickly as it goes bad, it can go good again. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:37 pm

        The meal is for the Jewish holidays. Its the last meal before you fast for 24 hours.

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      • avatar

        lk October 7, 2011, 3:42 pm

        YOM KIPPUR. I love holidays? I am with you in spirit, lady. Have a good one, & may your fast be easy : )

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:53 pm

        You too. Shana tova.

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      • avatar

        lk October 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

        & don’t call him; exes are bummers. Maybe plan it *especially* alone & focus on you during the holiday & your personal & spiritual goals.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

        Oh, forgot it was Yom Kippur. Hope your weekend turns around. If you don’t find anyone to eat with, maybe you could help out at a Jewish shelter or nursing home. It’d give you company and a nice feeling of helping.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:53 pm

        Thank you.

        (Those are great ideas for other holidays, but Yom Kippur isn’t really like a “help out at a shelter” kind of deal. Its more like a “be hungry and beg forgiveness for everything you’ve done wrong this year” kind of thing. But I’ll definitely think about doing something like that for other ones when I feel sad.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:06 pm

        I obviously am not well-versed in Jewish religion. But how’s this-la shana tova!

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    • avatar

      Eagle Eye October 7, 2011, 3:36 pm

      Are you Jewish? My boyfriend isn’t so while he totally supports me, he’s not really into the whole organized religion thing. Plus, I never really managed to make any Jewish friends (or at least the ones I have all live on the other side of the country).

      So, I too will probably be eating my pre-fast dinner alone (the bf is probably working late tonight) and going alone to Shul. Sometimes it makes me a little sad to know that all of my family lives so far and that through the choices I’ve made, the Jewish holidays, especially the High Holidays have become rather solitary endeavors for me.

      In either case, if you’re eating your pre-fast dinner alone, know that you aren’t the only one!

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:40 pm

        That actually made me feel better. Not that you are alone too, but that its not a sign of being pathetic and unloved (because clearly you aren’t) – Its just circumstance.

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      • avatar

        Eagle Eye October 7, 2011, 3:53 pm

        Haha, yeah, I used to get down about it in college, but then I realized once I returned to my apartment where I lived with my two awesome and definitely not Jewish roommates that it was just circumstances and (mostly) good choices that had some unintended consequences…

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:54 pm

        Shana tova and have an easy fast.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 7, 2011, 4:08 pm

        If it makes you feel better, I will be eating alone while Drew eats a pre-fast dinner with his brother and father. They’re all the way on the upper west side, and it was just too far for me to travel from brooklyn during rush hour at nine months pregnant. On the plus side, he’s skipping temple tonight so he can be home with me in case I go into labor. It makes a good excuse, see…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:12 pm

        You guys must be SO excited knowing you are ready to go any minute! Maybe Monday’s first post will be a photo of Jasper! Eeek, now I’m even all excited.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 7, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Very excited! Although what could be any minute could also be three weeks away still, so the waiting game is a little nerve-wracking.

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      • avatar

        SGMcG October 7, 2011, 4:51 pm

        I’d love to see pics of the nursery, if you’re willing to share.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 7, 2011, 4:52 pm

        It’s not quite done yet, but when it is, I’ll definitely post some pictures.

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      • JK

        JK October 7, 2011, 5:48 pm

        Iยดm not sure how it works in the US, my midwife was awesome, after week 34 I had to start weekly checkups (baby monitor and from 36 on measuring the cervix), with my 1st she said on a monday that she would be born on thursday, and it was spot on, with my second she said also on the monday before Easter weekend that she would be born around Easter, she was born the following tuesday. My OB never wanted to hazard a guess but it was nice having a general idea!!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 7, 2011, 6:10 pm

        Wow, your midwife sounds psychic!

        I’m doing weekly appointments now with fetal and contraction monitoring as well as cervical exams. As of Monday, I’m 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I’ve been having contractions, too. But my doctor said none of that means anything and the baby could even be late. So… the waiting game continues.

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      • JK

        JK October 7, 2011, 6:17 pm

        Yes, every birth is so different! I didnยดt have contractions with either girl until labour started (and I got to like 3cm dilation without contractions), so yes, itยดs just a matter of patience (and keep your bags handy, just in case!)
        And if you get too antsy, try the home remedies to bring on labour “they” say they work ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 9, 2011, 3:47 pm

        Did I call it or what! Absolute best wishes to you an Drew on little Jackson. Hope you are feelin well on this very hot October day!

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 4:17 pm

        Thanks!!

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph October 8, 2011, 5:52 pm

        Aw I know how you both feel. Last year I had my last pre-fast meal alone… and it was Chilis takeout.
        Here’s my advice for next year because its what I did this year: invite friends and go all out cooking. I cooked two weekends in a row and pulled it all put of the freezer yesterday morning. And though I was the only Jew at my pre fast dinner, I still had some great company. My friends never turn me down when I invite them over for Grandma Sheila’s brisket!

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    • avatar

      amber October 7, 2011, 3:38 pm

      i love getting things on sale. makes me very happy! resist the urge to call him! call anyyyyone else. i have a friend that used to be my accountability partner-ish. when we broke up with someone and had the urge to call him we would call each other instead. it really helped. that person can be anyone though, just talking to anyone will help take your mind off of him.

      hope your weekend gets better!

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:51 pm

        Thanks!

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    • avatar

      Painted_lady October 7, 2011, 9:26 pm

      Congrats on the new mattress 6! And of course, your next goal is to find someone to help you break it in. Kidding…sort of.,.

      I discovered an amazing trick a couple of years ago when my last relationship ended to help with the times you’re tempted to call the ex. Write down every single thing you can think of that pissed you of about him. General, specific, whatever. Obviously you gotta be angry to do this, so maybe wait till another anger wave hits. Then make a bunch of copies and put them in places you see a lot: the car visor, the inside of your desk drawer at work, the bathroom mirror, make a tiny copy and put it in your wallet. Wherever. Then when you’re tempted to go running back, you have a reminder of why it’s a terrible idea.

      You’ll only need it for like a month, but dear god it helped me. When I got lonely and started missing going for coffee in the mornings or saw a movie we’d seen together or whatever little things trigger it in the beginning, I’d go to one of those copies and remember “Same three restaurants, none of which I liked” or “Pit stained t-shirts on date nights” or “Didn’t let me know he knew about a job I was qualified for was open.” All of a sudden I didn’t miss him anymore. Sounds crazy, but right now angry is better than sad, and while “over it and happy” is of course the goal, angry is an easier goal to reach at the moment. Once the sad part is more or less gone, though, pull down the lists. You don’t want to become bitter.

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      • freckles

        cdubs October 9, 2011, 6:33 pm

        I like it!

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I have a question. The guy I’m dating’s birthday is in a week, but we’ve only been seeing each other for about a month. I feel like I should get him something, but I have no idea what’s appropriate at this point, or if anything is. He also lives far away, so I can’t just pop over and cook him dinner or something like that (which is what I would do otherwise). Thoughts? Suggestions? I’m terrible at picking out gifts for men in the best of situations, and this one is just very awkward to me…

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    • avatar

      6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:44 pm

      I say get him a DVD you know he likes and doesn’t have. DVD’s don’t scream “I’m a super clingy gf who doesn’t understand appropriate time-frames and boundaries.” They’re often 20 bucks or under and personal enough that it isn’t socks, but not overly personal. You can also easily have it shipped to him via amazon, which also can read as “not too clingy.”

      That, or make him banana bread.

      (Did anyone else love Love Bites and were sad it went away?)

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      • avatar

        Ktfran October 7, 2011, 3:50 pm

        Great idea. Or a book?

        Both are inexpensive, but nice gestures.

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        Emsz October 7, 2011, 4:11 pm

        Love bites has gone? ๐Ÿ™

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        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 4:31 pm

        I think so. :-(. I think they left it with wiggle room to be picked up again in the future, but all the actors signed onto other shows.

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    • Lianne

      Lianne October 7, 2011, 3:46 pm

      This happened to me before – does he like to drink? If so, a great gift idea are the makings for a chocolate cake shot – Frangelico, vodka, lemons, and sugar. You can call it a “birthday cake”. My guy (who is now looooong gone) loved it – and it didn’t feel like too much for so soon in the relationship!

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        Ktfran October 7, 2011, 3:51 pm

        I like this idea too. Or a six pack of some specialty or craft beer.

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        silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 3:52 pm

        I like this too! Although the odds of me resisting the temptation to drink all the ingredients myself are pretty slim…;)

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        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:57 pm

        I don’t get how this one works, literally. I think it sound super cute if you lived in the same place. How do you send him a shot? Do you send him all those bottles? Also cute if so, but this one left me a little confused on the (literal) delivery.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne October 7, 2011, 4:01 pm

        duh – totally missed the part of him not living near-by. Sorry!

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        silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 4:03 pm

        It’s ok. That’s one I could do the next time I see him. Like a, “I’m bringing your belated party with me” kind of thing, or whatever. It sounded less weird and creepy in my head before I typed it out…

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      • freckles

        cdubs October 9, 2011, 6:34 pm

        http://www.liquorama.com

        Then just send him the bottles and some instructions in a card or something?

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      • avatar

        amber October 7, 2011, 4:50 pm

        i like that idea, i know we have a local wine shop where you a friend has called in an order for me to pick up as a gift before. that way no shipping! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      lk October 7, 2011, 3:46 pm

      amazon.com him a book with a nice note? maybe one of your favorite books? or a cd that was your favorite album during a special time in your life?

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny October 7, 2011, 3:48 pm

      I am a big fan of care packages for stuff like this. A month is maybe not long enough to go crazy with expensive gifts, but stick some snickerdoodles or whatever in a cute box with a card and a cd (mix or otherwise) and it’s like, “I’m thinking of you, but I’m not scaring you off.” Also it says happy birthday.

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        silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 3:52 pm

        Ooh, I like this. He has a massive sweet tooth, so something home baked would be good, I think. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:59 pm

        Seriously though, watch out for the banana bread effect.

        (I think On Demand might still have episodes of Love Bites. A girl makes banana bread for the guy she’s very recently dating so she doesn’t sabotage her relationship like she always does and bail too quickly, and he thinks it means she’s too serious, and (actual) realistic hilarity ensues. I really liked this show, though i may have been the only one.)

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        silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

        I’ve never heard of it…but it sounds good! I may have to look it up and see if I can get it through Netflix/Qwikster/WTF-ever they’re calling themselves this week.

        He already knows I love to bake, so I think this would go over well. My only problem will be finding something that mails well, otherwise he’ll be getting it significantly before or after his actual birthday.

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      • avatar

        SGMcG October 7, 2011, 4:37 pm

        If you like to bake, consider making him a cake in a mug. Just get all the dry ingredients together for making the cake, include instructions on what to add and how to cook, package it all up in a nice bag, then put it in a sturdy box to ship in. Then, when he gets the package, write in the card to send you pictures of his baking masterpiece.

        Instructables has a great recipe for a 5-minute chocolate cake. It’s my standard go-to for “I need cake NOW” days.

        http://www.instructables.com/id/5-minute-Chocolate-Cake/

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      • theattack

        theattack October 8, 2011, 5:49 pm

        When my long distance boyfriend was taking the bar exam last summer, I mailed him a homemade loaf of bread, and he seemed to think it kept well. I wrapped it up in aluminum foil while it was still a little warm, then wrapped it in aluminum foil again, then double bagged it in ziplocs, then put it in a very secure tupperware container the size of a casserole dish, then surrounded it by cookies and sealed the container. You could always tape the container shut too. Do overnight shipping so it will be as fresh as possible. It will definitely keep through the mail! I’ve been mailing him all kinds of baked goods throughout our relationship, and I’ve mailed stuff to my grandpa too. Fudge also keeps well through the mail.

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        silver_dragon_girl October 10, 2011, 10:42 am

        Ooh, fudge. Nice! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Shell

        Shell October 7, 2011, 4:03 pm

        I think a cake or cupcakes along with a nice card are perfect for a guy early into a relationship. You could cook a meal for him also.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow October 7, 2011, 4:21 pm

      I’m typically a bad gift-giver also.

      Have you thought of maybe tickets to a concert or an event that you could both go to together? That’s one of my go-to’s. Just don’t make it for something that’s too far out in the future.

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        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 4:30 pm

        I worry about that in a one-month relationship. Yes, one shouldn’t be too scared of “scaring” someone off, but there’s also no real reason to introduce potential issues if you don’t have to. Tickets seem an unnessecary pointing out of the uncertainty of the future.

        Unless you’ve known him forever, I wouldn’t do tickets — not that it will scare him or that its weird, but that it could be and why risk it if the tickets don’t have any real importance to you.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 7, 2011, 4:47 pm

        Yeah, you’re probably right. Baked goods is a way better idea!

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    • FireStar

      FireStar October 7, 2011, 4:35 pm

      Bake some cookies and wrap them up for him – it’s a sweet gesture (literally) but not pricey so no pressure.

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    • sobriquet

      sobriquet October 7, 2011, 7:45 pm

      Do you have any inside jokes with him yet? My ex and I had only been dating for a couple months whenever Christmas rolled around. We watched “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” together every week and joked about a shirt one of the characters wore that read “What Are You Looking at Dicknose?” (a reference from Teen Wolf). Well, I spent 15 bucks and bought him that shirt for Christmas. Cute and inexpensive, plus a funny joke that we shared. I recommend going this route if possible!

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        silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 7:53 pm

        Ooh, good idea! We don’t have many big ones, but I might be able to think something up. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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      JennyTalia October 8, 2011, 8:51 am

      My boyfriend and I were in the same position (it was my birthday about a month after our first date). He got me a hibiscus pot (he remembered me saying they are my favorite), and it was perfect. Non-committal, standard flowers, but enough to show me he listens and cares.

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    Valerie October 7, 2011, 3:41 pm

    You know what I like to give as gifts? Items that are special to the place where I’m living at the moment. I had 2 bridal showers over the summer. One was in my hometown in the suburbs of Chicago, and one was in my fiance’s hometown outside of Milwaukee. I’m currently living in Indy, so I brought things special to Indy. In my case, I brought bottles of wine from a local winery that are made with a grape that is special to Indiana. Even if you live in the same town as where the shower is going to be, maybe bring something from your favorite local store or local artist. Things that are special to you that you can share with others is always a great place to start!

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      artsygirl October 7, 2011, 4:00 pm

      I am a Hoosier myself and now trying to figure out which winery you went to – I am figuring it was Easley or Chateau Thomas. I love the idea of getting local gifts. My husband went to France for a business meeting and he took popcorn from Just Popped In and some apple butter to represent home.

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        Valerie October 7, 2011, 5:03 pm

        It was Easley! I got everyone a bottle of Traminette.

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      GatorGirl October 7, 2011, 4:05 pm

      I love local gifts! My hometown considers themselves the “Mushroom Capital of the US” so when I lived there I gave out a lot of mushroom gifts (gross). Now I live in FL…so I guess it’s oranges for all!

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    Ktfran October 7, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I love gift giving!

    A few ideas for hostess gifts . . .
    – A tea cup and saucer. Anthropologie or an antique store would be a great place to look. Also some tea to go along with it.
    – A big, fun costume ring. A lot of boutique jewelry stores have them for under $25 and it’s something people don’t usually buy on their own.
    – Books are always great, thoughtful gifts as long as it’s a subject matter you know the recipient will like.
    – Apron, there’s a lot of cute ones out there right now.
    – If they’re into entertaining, cheese knives and a wood cutting board
    – Scarves. A couple mother days ago I went out to brunch with my Aunt, cousin and my aunt’s close friend and all their families. Since the friend’s husband bought brunch I bought all the mom’s (three of them) scarves and they absolutely loved them. I took care to pick ones that matched personality and coloring too.

    I could go on and on. I just really like finding the perfect gift for someone. It makes me extremely happy.

    For my sister’s bridal shower, I bought her a straw tote from JCrew and filled it with things she would need on her beach honeymoon such as a swimsuit cover up, suntan lotion, flipflops, beach towel and I don’t remember what else. My other sister helped with that one.

    Another go to gift is craft beer and beer steins. Or popcorn bowls and popcorn and movie candy. Ice cream bowls, ice cream scoop and gift card to a local ice cream shop.

    My close friend has a holiday brunch every year. This year I’m bringing her the movie Clueless because we always talk about how much we loved that movie. As if.

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      6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:46 pm

      Of course you love giving presents; you’re good at it!! I stink at it, so its always stressful for me.

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        Ktfran October 7, 2011, 3:53 pm

        If you ever need help, contact me. Seriously. I wish I had an endless supply of money so I could do stuff like this all the time.

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      GatorGirl October 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

      I like giving wine and a fancy wine stopper as a hostess gift, so long as you know alcohol is ok in their household. Fancy candies or chocolates are also usually appreciated.

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    • MaterialsGirl

      Elizabeth October 7, 2011, 4:18 pm

      i love teacups! hooray! my mother has been sending me teacups and saucers shes finds at garage sales (all english bone china with the gold rim) and now i have enough that when i host my friend’s babyshower next spring.. it’ll be an afternoon tea theme!

      Oh.. and fun chocolate. Like Vosges.. mmmm… bacon chocolate

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        amber October 7, 2011, 4:52 pm

        i love bacon chocolate! everyone always makes fun of me. i made it and gave it away as a christmas gift (part of it) one year and everybody was like, what, what is this? and i tried to tell them it was the best thing ever!

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        Painted_lady October 7, 2011, 7:47 pm

        It is! It is! A good friend’s boyfriend makes it on the regular, and I loved it so much that if he knows we’re hanging out he sends some with her.

        The first time he made it, she told him he was doomed because now she was going to need some once a month.

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  • Lianne

    Lianne October 7, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Actually, since we’re on the topic – any good gift ideas for Dads? It’s my dad’s birthday and I feel like I ALWAYS get him something sports related. He is plays pool regularly, golfs, loves seafood…would love some cool suggestions!

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      6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 3:50 pm

      Does he grill a lot? You can get him a nice set of grilling utensils or a high quality meat thermometer. They make a big difference.

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        bethany October 7, 2011, 4:17 pm

        Along the same lines- a good grill cover. My dad loves his! (got a Weber one on Amazon)

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      silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 3:54 pm

      OMG my dad is the WORST to shop for. He has like no hobbies, except reading, and he always just gets random books at the library for himself. I have run out of crossword puzzle books to get him. I usually resort to gift cards and then feel uncreative…

      Edit: If you look around at little boutiques and whatnot, a lot of them sell spice blends. I bet you could find a couple designed for seafood, he might like that if he likes cooking it himself. Or maybe a seafood/grilling cookbook? Or a fish-shaped coffee mug or something?

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        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

        A high-quality shredder. It will make him scratch his head and look at you funny when you give it, but in a year, if he’s even kind of organized and in charge of going through the mail, he’ll wonder how he lived without it and he’ll love it!

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        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:15 pm

        Shredder=homemade confetti!

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        silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Good idea! I think he has one, but it’s gathering dust somewhere…I think it broke. I’ll ask my mom to find out before Christmas ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • Lianne

        Lianne October 7, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Great idea, but if you knew my stepmom – she is uber-organized. It makes everyone in the family look bad ๐Ÿ™‚

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        Emsz October 7, 2011, 4:20 pm

        You can give him any kind of book that you think he might like then! My dad loves to read as well, and he’s also into history. I usually get him historic books ๐Ÿ™‚

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      artsygirl October 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

      I have been dealing with this myself. My dad is SO hard to purchase for (I think men in general are) so I have gotten him into antique coin collecting. He is a huge history buff and so I have been purchasing ancient Greek, Roman, and early American coins for him and some books on coin collecting. Hopefully this will hold me for a few years.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne October 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

        Love both the grilling set and spice blends ideas โ€“ heโ€™s s big into cooking! I did get him a Legal Seafoods cookbook for Christmas last year โ€“ he loved it. So another great suggestion ๐Ÿ™‚

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        6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 4:13 pm

        You chose those over the shredder? how odd!

        Also good is the “American Test Kitchen” 10 year anniversary cookbook. They try a lot of different methods of cooking using lots of different brands, and they figure out the best. Its on PBS and they fully disclose their sponsors, so its about as unbiased as it comes. The cookbook is filled with their results. It sells at costco for around $20-30, i think.

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        Ktfran October 7, 2011, 4:31 pm

        I love America’s Text Kitchen.

        My favorite recipe – Chicken, Broccoli and Asiago Cheese mixed with penne pasta. It’s a crowd pleaser.

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        amber October 7, 2011, 4:54 pm

        glad to see fellow american test kitchen lovers! i put that book on my wish list ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • EscapeHatches

        EscapeHatches October 10, 2011, 1:39 pm

        They definitely have my go-to cookbook.

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    Taylor October 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Hi All!
    I would love to hear ideas for bridesmaids gifts – particularly from bridesmaids! What has a bride done for you to make you feel appreciated for participating in all the stuff that comes along with a wedding?

    TGIF =)

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      artsygirl October 7, 2011, 4:05 pm

      Taylor – sorry I meant to reply but actually added a new thread so see below

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      silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 4:10 pm

      When I was a bridesmaid the bride got us all silver compact mirrors with our names engraved on them. It was really nice and simple. Her parents also bought all of our dresses for us, so the gift was appropriately simple and inexpensive. I carried mine for years until the clasp broke ๐Ÿ™

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      NOLAGirl October 7, 2011, 4:18 pm

      I got my bridesmaids pretty pearl bracelets. They were two strand with a silver antique clasp. Really pretty. I assume they still wear them, they seemed to love them. It was really hard for me to figure out what to get. My bridesmaids were SO different, but also so similar in some ways. Stylistically they were miles apart. So it was a little challenging, but I got something classic and it really worked.

      When I was a BM usually I got jewelry, hence why I gave jewelry. I kind of wanted to give them Dr. Bob paintings to remind them of the wedding, but they were a lot pricier than jewelry.

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    • Lianne

      Lianne October 7, 2011, 4:19 pm

      my best friend gave us all gifts purchased on etsy – little clutches, which she worked with the designer on and chose each fabric for each of us herself – best gift ever and so personal.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow October 7, 2011, 4:29 pm

      I’ve been a bridesmaid twice (actually MOH), and both times got jewelry – specifically, jewelry for us to wear for the wedding.

      I think if I was a bridesmaid again (and hopefully I won’t be! All my girl friends are married now), I’d expect a necklace or something to go with the bridesmaid dress. It seems common enough that I didn’t even attempt to find jewelry for the day – it was just a “given” that the bride would give it to me.

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      savannah October 7, 2011, 5:07 pm

      The bride of the wedding I was just in contacted the etsy artist who made her engagement and wedding rings and had earrings that looked like her engagement ring made for all of her bridesmaids. It was awesome and nice since the earrings really remind us of the bride.

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      bethany October 7, 2011, 5:09 pm

      I just got married and gave my girls their jewlery (I had it custom made on etsy), and I also got them the shoes that they wore for the wedding- they were just gold Reef flip flops, but I wanted them to match, so I felt like I should buy them.

      I also plan on framing a picture from the wedding of my MOH and her BF for her, since she said they don’t really have many pictures of them together.

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      • mandalee

        mandalee October 8, 2011, 1:00 pm

        I’ve been a bridesmaid (or junior bridesmaids) 6 times already and have enough bridesmaid jewelry, monogrammed totes, and robes then I could ever need.

        So, when I had my wedding this year, I ended up buying each bridesmaid (I had 5) two gifts, each of them unique to them. I think if you’re younger and one of the first in your circle to get married, then anything goes. Once you’re slightly older and your bridesmaids already have so many “bridesmaidsy” type gifts, you have to get a little creative.

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      Taylor October 8, 2011, 8:20 pm

      Thanks for all the terrific ideas ladies!!

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  • Lianne

    Lianne October 7, 2011, 4:03 pm

    Love both the grilling set and spice blends ideas – he’s s big into cooking! I did get him a Legal Seafoods cookbook for Christmas last year – he loved it. So another great suggestion ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Lianne

      Lianne October 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

      Oops – this is in the wrong spot!

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    artsygirl October 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I got all my bridesmaids really nice bathrobes and had their names embroidered on them. I chose the color of their bridesmaid dresses (brown) with cream colored embroidery. My husband liked it so much that he ended up getting them for his groomsmen too.

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      Ktfran October 7, 2011, 4:06 pm

      Awesome gift. That’s a great idea. I want to keep that in my backet pocket for future use.

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    artsygirl October 7, 2011, 4:09 pm

    My mother hosted my bridal shower because my sister was was my matron of honor and she was VERY pregnant at the time of the shower (in fact we had a baby shower for my sister in the morning and my shower in the afternoon to accommodate our out of town family). Since my mom pulled off two amazing parties in the same day with different decorations and menus I got her a big gift certificate to her favorite spa. That way she could schedule a nice relaxing massage, manicure, etc before my wedding and the arrival of my niece. She loved it since it was something that she would not normally get for herself.

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    SGMcG October 7, 2011, 4:16 pm

    For those celebrating Yom Kippur – I hope you have an easy fast.

    If the host/hostess hasn’t asked people to contribute to the event with their own dish, I generally like to give my hostesses to the parties I attend either a bottle of wine or sparkling cider/juice (especially if it’s a baby shower). Wine always goes over well, but the sparkling non-alcoholic stuff gets rave reviews. In the past, I used to give the host/hostess a CD of music in their favorite genre or artist, but the days of picking up a CD of standard compliation of music is not as big as it once was.

    For those being showered upon, I like to craft cake gifts for them. Specifically, I make diaper cakes for the future moms and towel cakes (using the towels off a bride’s registry) for the future bride. I like picking out decor for the cake relevant to the future baby nursery theme and/or the bride’s interests as well as getting ribbon to decorate the whole thing. I recently attended a surprise bridal shower and the future bride loved the towel cake I made for her, complete with bride and groom rubber duckies to decorate.

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      SGMcG October 7, 2011, 4:26 pm

      When I got married, I managed to get *extremely* reasonably priced pearl stretch bracelets for the female members of my bridal party, which worked out since it involved one of my birthstones. My husband got flasks engraved with Godzilla for the male attendants. Continuing our wedding theme (Hello Kitty Angel loves Godzilla), our flower girl and ringbearer got stuffed chibi Godzilla toys as thank you gifts. Since the minister who married us was a family friend, we got her a nice wooden jewelry box with a celtic cross on it, reflecting my husband’s Irish heritage.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar October 7, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I like the gifts that give joy twice – I’ve bought my mom literacy training for two women in her name; my best friend got mango trees planted outside schools in Africa; her husband got a farming kit for a family so that they could feed their village for a year in his honour. You can buy chickens and goats and cows (oh my).

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    Addie Pray October 7, 2011, 4:38 pm

    Perfect timing, though my question is about wedding gifts. I’m ’bout to catch a flight to St. Louis for an old law school friend’s wedding…. I was emailing with friends about this earlier today: what is the norm for wedding gifts these days? Assuming you’re not a student or unemployed or otherwise in a situation where you may be strapped for cash, in which case no one is hopefully expecting you to take out a loan to give an expensive gift, but also assuming you’re not a millionaire and/or super close to the bride or groom, in which case you may be inclined to give a really valuable gift, either monetarily valuable or of great personal sentiment: what’s the norm, people? I tend to just cut a check for $100. Mainly because $50 seems to small and writing a number above 50 but below 100 seems tacky. One friend thought that $100 was low, the other thought it was high. Is there a rule you go by? Like, a “you should give a gift that at least covers the cost of your plate” rule? And if you bring a “plus one,” should your gift be, um, bigger than if you came solo? Helllpppp. I’m interested to know your deep thoughts on this topic.

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      lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:42 pm

      Up until a few weeks ago, I would’ve said $100 for a person who isn’t a very close friend/family member. I was told thats now considered low though. The plate rule is hard-would you give only $50 if it were at an inexpensive hall? No. Are you required to give $500 if it were at Trump Plaza? Don’t think so. I do think if you bring a plus one you have to pay for them though, meaning double your gift at least (appx $200?). Sorry I’m not much help.

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        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:48 pm

        Amending my answer. Considering economic times, etc. I think $100 is appropriate for 1 person. If you’re well off and really want to, then hey, give more. Most are not though and I think the B&G would understand that and be appreciative of anything. So final answer is $100 per guest.

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        Addie Pray October 7, 2011, 4:48 pm

        No that was helpful, thanks. I’m sticking to $100 then. I have no plus one. But my friend who thought $100 was high is bringing a plus one and was going to buy a gift off the registry that cost about $60.

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        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:56 pm

        I would say that her’s in not the norm, especially given she is bringing another guest. Seriously though, I’ve never heard of anyone saying ‘hey, you didn’t spend enough on me!’

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        Addie Pray October 7, 2011, 5:12 pm

        Right, right, agreed. That goes without saying. And this couple would be so happy to know that I got a plane ticket to join them on their special day, etc. … I’m sure I could forget to send a present and they’d never say a word and still thank me for coming. … I’m happy to stick to the $100. Thanks for your input!!

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    • FireStar

      FireStar October 7, 2011, 4:51 pm

      I’d say $100-$150 per person depending on venue. I was married in a elegant Victorian mansion – that had been converted into a restaurant – that we reserved for our exclusive use for our wedding and that was about the average gift.

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      silver_dragon_girl October 7, 2011, 4:54 pm

      $100 seems way high to me, unless the bride or groom is a close friend or relative. If one of my BFF’s or my sister got married I’d go all-out, but for an old college friend? I’d get them about $50-$60 worth of stuff on their registry and a nice card. Especially if I had to travel to attend their wedding- sorry, but plane tickets or gas, motel rooms, and meals all add up. I’d love to be able to spend more, but I can’t.

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        lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 4:59 pm

        It all does add up which is why I think people are of course understanding of smaller gifts nowadays. A good “trick” if you can’t spend much is getting one of the 20% off coupons from Bed, Bath (or wherever) and getting a gift that they know costs $100 for only $80. Also, I know I personally would always welcome handmade gifts or a really special card/photo collage.

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        Addie Pray October 7, 2011, 5:13 pm

        It certainly does add up. My plane ticked was $200 – not too bad, but it’s a short flight.

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      bethany October 7, 2011, 5:12 pm

      I think the “norm” depends on where you live and where you are in life (age/career wise). I just got married and most of our friends gave around $100/couple. Family members and some of my parent’s friends gave more.
      I would have been happy with just card though, sicne we had a destination wedding and people spent a lot of money just to be there!

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    • Chaotonic

      Chaotonic October 7, 2011, 8:02 pm

      Honestly you’re forking a lot of money to travel to the wedding as it is, so I think $50.00 is a great add on to your gift of being present at the wedding. When my husband and I went through our wedding cards we had anywhere from $10 to well over 100 dollars per card and I could’ve cared less what someone gave, my old high school friends drove down from KY to TN to come to the wedding and just gave me a card and I knew them being there was enough of a gift, they didn’t need to bring anything. That’s just my personal opinion though.

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      callmehobo October 7, 2011, 10:41 pm

      I would say $50 dollars and maybe a nice crafty gift.

      I’m artsy-fartsy, so I usually do a caricature of the couple and frame it nicely (If you get to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby when they are having a sale you can usually do something like that for around $6), but another sweet idea is to do a really nice calligraphy/fancy writing style of the new couple’s last name. It’s inexpensive, but personal and cute.

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      GatorGirl October 9, 2011, 10:43 am

      I’ve always been taught you give a gift that seems equal to the cost of the bride and groom to host you at their wedding. So if it’s a $50 per plate meal, you should give a gift worth $50 per guest.

      If the couple registers some where that does discounts I always try to utilize that. Macy’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond are great places to double up on coupons/discounts/promotions. That way you can technically spend less but still give a gift of compersble value.

      I do not think your travel should be “counted” as part of your gift. These expenses need to be factored into your decision to RSVP yes.

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    6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 4:45 pm

    I find my answer to a lot of these start with “get them a really good quality ____”

    Most people don’t get themselves very good quality things; they get affordable, good enough to get the job done things. So getting them a top-of-the-line thing of something they would use frequently is often a wonderful present (if you can afford it). Especially on things where the quality and price really do match up. (see list below).

    If you can’t, sometimes the thing isn’t so expensive, its just relatively expensive, so you are really allowing them to have really nice things for not that much money.

    Ex. If your friend/dad/person cooks/bakes a lot, she probably has a run of the mill grater (= cheap, multiuseful.) But if you get her a Microplane grater (average price $20), she’ll love it, but it was too expensive to justify spending THAT on THAT. You did it for her!
    Also:
    – meat thermometers (middle)
    – drills (middle to expensive)
    – laser-levels (all ranges)
    – grills (very expensive)
    – hair straighteners (very expensive)
    – Kitchen sheers (all ranges)
    – la cruset dutch ovens
    – shredders
    – automatic staplers (I’ve always wanted one of these)

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      Emsz October 8, 2011, 8:53 am

      I love Le Creuset pans. My parents have had theirs for ages and ages, and we use it a lot to make all kinds of delicious things.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow October 7, 2011, 4:55 pm

    Does anyone have any good Halloween ideas?

    I’m thinking Regan from The Exorcist, but I’m not totally sold on it yet (I can’t do anything halfway, which means that I would have to get freaky colored contacts – and I’m blind as a freaking bat, so they would have to be prescription, which is probably too pricey. ALSO, I would have a nasty mouth and teeth as part of the costume, so it would be hard to kiss my boo! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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      Marie October 7, 2011, 5:46 pm

      I saw this whole article about an “Amanda Knox Halloween costume — too soon?” Just don’t be amanda knox!

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      ArtsyGirly October 7, 2011, 6:04 pm

      I am going as Bill Belichick, coach of the Pats, because I am a Colts fan. I am getting a large gray sweater and will cut the sleeves off. I also am going to wear crocs, a headset, and hold a clip board. For a second costume I am going as Red Box. I have a red sweater which I am gluing a bunch of printed movie covers to.

      Last year I went as Flo from the insurance commercial and that was really well received.

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    • Chaotonic

      Chaotonic October 7, 2011, 7:57 pm

      I’m going as a zombie attending a masquerade ball. It’s going to be a pain to paint most of my body that grayish zombie color and figure out how to do the rope burns around the neck from how I “died.” But all in all I think its a neat idea!

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

        Ooh, I like that!

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        Painted_lady October 7, 2011, 8:41 pm

        Get some liquid latex and some stage blood from a professional costume shop – if there’s not one in town you can order from bennye.com. Pour the latex onto your fingers and let it get just the tiniest bit tacky, then pat it where you want the rope burns to be. It gets all gummy and texture-y as it dries if it’s being worked, so you end up with this surface that’s similar to an abrasion. Once it’s dried, layer your gray make-up over the top, then pat on the stage blood – it’s sticky and it stains like crazy, so it’ll cling to the latex – plus it’s shiny and will look gooey. If it looks flat, stipple on some black cream make-up.

        I do theatre and do some make-up design occasionally, but I know the latex trick from college stage make-up. We had an assignment where everyone had to give themselves a disease, and I found this really gross picture of a leprosy patient. I was trying to make individual sores with liquid latex, but it wasn’t drying and I had it all over my hands. At some point, I touched my face and part of the latex on my fingers stuck there, but just enough that some was hanging off. The proverbial lightbulb came on, so I just ended up doing it to my whole face, and all my skin looked like it was falling off my face. Gross, but it was a proud moment.

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      • Chaotonic

        Chaotonic October 8, 2011, 4:20 pm

        Wow! Thanks, I’ll def. try that out!

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    savannah October 7, 2011, 4:59 pm

    OK, I’m having a bit of a gift/relationship issue so this thread is perfect. My boyfriend (of 2 years) and my birthdays are a week apart in late September. We’re in a LDR about an hourโ€™s flight from each other. Last year I was on the other side of the world for the month of September, he sent me flowers and l sent him a long hand written letter. I felt really good about that gift exchange, esp. since we had only been dating for about 10 months.

    Fast forward to my birthday this year and we both had separate weddings to attend on that day. (I was the maid of honor, he was at his cousins) Having no precedent from the past I was going to take his lead on giving something more substantial this year (My birthday comes first) He sent flowers to my hotel room that day, which were really beautiful and helped me feel his presence even though we were hundreds of miles apart. For his birthday the week after I went to visit him, which wasn’t the original plan and I paid for it, which also is not usual. Though I had something in mind for a tangible gift, I followed his lead and let my visit be the gift. We had a great weekend and he told me it was really special that I came down for his birthday. This was all fine until we went out to dinner with his family on Monday night. After unwrapping presents from his dad and sisters, his older sister asked me what I got him. I told her โ€˜ me for the weekendโ€™. She looked at me like I was crazy and after dinner I asked my boyfriend about it. Apparently they had conversation weeks before in which she told him that he should absolutely get me a โ€˜real giftโ€™ because I was definitely 100% going to get him one.

    After sitting on all of this for a week Iโ€™m still thinking about it. Iโ€™ve just got this unsure feeling about the whole situation, which isnโ€™t really my nature, usually I trust my gut all the way but I keep thinking if I did the right thing and more perturbed by his older sister because my family is so not the โ€˜real giftโ€™ giving type but Iโ€™m totally willing to go there, If it is someone else who I care about’s thing. Anyway, should I have expected something more on my birthday from a 2 year old relationship? Clearly he decided that even though I might get him something substantial he wasn’t going to do the same. And was I stupid to not just get him the gift I had in mind? Iโ€™ve been thinking more about gifts this week than ever before, we donโ€™t even celebrate xmas.

    Long rant apologies.

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      6napkinburger October 7, 2011, 5:44 pm

      It sounds like you guys were on the exact same page. Don’t feel bad about that! And nice flowers can be $100 or more. Maybe have a conversation about present before the winter holidays to figure out what you guys are doing/ what his family always did.

      Also maybe your present is just coming late ?

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    • Chaotonic

      Chaotonic October 7, 2011, 7:55 pm

      I think you did just fine, it sounds like his sister might be a more materialistic type of person than either you or him. Honestly I would rather have my significant other than a gift that I might not have needed. Unless its a trillion dollars, do you know how many kitties I could have with a trillion dollars, and I might even have room for a squirrel or two. But I digress, you’re gifts were right on spot.

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      Painted_lady October 7, 2011, 8:08 pm

      I learned the hard way – trust your initial reaction on stuff like this. If it’s something major, like how he treats you in the day-to-day, then a little outside perspective is helpful. But for the stuff that’s more personal and small-scale, don’t let other people that aren’t your boyfriend rattle you. I may have misunderstood, but I can’t really tell if you’re more bothered that maybe you should have expected more for your birthday or that his family may not think so highly of your gift-giving abilities. Either way, though, if you were initially happy with him, don’t let his sister make you think you should have expected more. If you’re worried that you should have done more, unless you think your boyfriend was bothered, quit worrying because it’s none of her business. If you’re unsure, ask him. If he was disappointed, then next time he goes gift shopping, go with him if you’re there, or find out what he buys other people because that’ll clue you into the gifts he wants to receive. If he wasn’t disappointed, maybe explain what his sister’s comment left you feeling, and maybe in future he can be a little more frank with her about how you like to gift each other.

      And next time she asks what you got him, tell her you got him the pop-up Kama Sutra, or handcuffs, or something else really dirty. I bet she won’t ask again.

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      • katie

        katie October 7, 2011, 9:01 pm

        exactly!

        dont let anyone ruin your guys birthday fun! if you are happy, and he is happy, then thats all that matters.

        ……pop-up karma sutra…..hehe……

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    • theattack

      theattack October 8, 2011, 6:39 pm

      Certainly define what is appropriate for gift-giving in your own relationship. Don’t worry about what other people think is appropriate. My bf and I give each other “real gifts” but they’re always modest in size and expense. Other people think it’s inappropriate that we give each other things like compasses and books instead of concert tickets and jewelry. But it truly is the thought that counts, and we put a lot of thought into the small things we get each other. If either of us changed it up to expensive things, it would feel off, like something was wrong in our relationship. Likewise, if your boyfriend’s sister received a small gift from her SO, that might feel wrong to her.

      Maybe just bring it up to him as a joke to see how he responds.

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      Morgan October 9, 2011, 3:26 pm

      My gift for my birthday this year was getting to see my boyfriend. The plane tickets were actually from my parents for my birthday because they also had flier miles to redeem, but his gift to me was being wined and dined and entertained in his city for a weekend. After not seeing him for so long, that weekend was all I wanted.

      Usually we do more tangible things (he got me a hair straightener for our anniversary, for example. Not “romantic”, but what I wanted). But when you’re in a LDR, sometimes a visit is the perfect gift.

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  • Chaotonic

    Chaotonic October 7, 2011, 7:50 pm

    Oooooooh! I am so excited, I am attending my first baby shower ever and my friend L’s first baby…baby shower! I’ve spent like the past 3 months coming up with perfect his and her gifts! She’s really artsy while her husband and I work in the same cryptology field so he’s uber geeky! I’ve spent like a ba-jillion dollars finding the cutest nerd-tastic items for Little P from the thinkgeek website, his gifts came in yesterday and they’re so adorable! If my husband and I were planning on having children I would totally steal these items! LOL thats horrible, I know. I’m just having a hard time picking out L’s gifts because she doesn’t have a registry and I really don’t know what she needs or doesn’t need, her family is throwing her a gift certificate baby shower up in NY and the one here in VA is just for friends and is an actual gift / certificate shower. I know she wants to use the gift certificates to try and knock down the costs on the bigger baby items such as the crib, the jogger, and the car seat so I guess I’m okay getting some smaller items like a couple of bottles and onesies and whatnot. I dunno there is just so many cute, adorable baby items! I don’t know where to begin!

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    • Chaotonic

      Chaotonic October 7, 2011, 7:53 pm

      Damn that’s a lot of exclamation points.

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    • katie

      katie October 7, 2011, 9:03 pm

      haha… one of my best friends is having a baby, which will be my first “aunt” experience, and I totally feel like you to!! all giddy. haha. love it

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      lets_be_honest October 7, 2011, 9:07 pm

      So cute. For my best friend’s baby shower, since I know her parents and his are well off and knew they basically bought everything they needed for the baby, I made my gift all about her-breast feeding tops, bathrobe, spa appointment, etc. She was so happy. They are jewish and unbeknownst to me can’t take baby items home til the baby comes, so she was especially happy to have something she could take home that day. I also did a cute less expensive gift of “Mommy’s Hospital Emergency Bag” filled with little things like lotions and Advil.

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    Painted_lady October 7, 2011, 8:24 pm

    Gift ideas – if you’re really crafty, printing personalized stationery for people isn’t hard, and it’s pretty inexpensive. All you need are some blank cards, a few stamps from the craft store (or even better, cut your own), different colored ink, and perhaps a calligraphy pen. Stamp out a dozen of the same picture in an ink color that person might like, maybe write out “A note from _______” in a cool font, and bingo, instant personalized gift.

    Also, see if you have a local flower farm near you. I’m in Houston, and Brenham is a little over an hour away (also home of Blue Bell – yum!), and at least once a year I hit up the lavender farm out there. For super cheap, you can cut your own lavender, and I’ve given it as gifts so many times along with a small cloth bag for a sachet and either some loose black tea or coffee or some fragrance-free lotion. After the lavender dries – and by the time it makes its way into gifts it almost always is – the recipient can mix it into the tea or the lotion. It was my mom’s favorite Mother’s Day present ever (I felt a little guilty beforehand because it was so cheap but I was sooooo broke), and after she made her sachet and mixed it in her coffee, she still had enough lavender to put in the guest room on a little tray. That was two years ago, and the whole room still smells amazing.

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    • avatar

      callmehobo October 7, 2011, 11:03 pm

      Oh I LOOVE doing crafty gifts! I feel like people enjoy them more because they know that you spent some time making something for them.

      My boyfriend keeps bees, so when we need to give a gift we usually include a pint of locally harvested honey. Everybody loves honey and it doesn’t expire! Local honey is a great gift.

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    Painted_lady October 7, 2011, 11:31 pm

    Oh I’m so jealous you’re dating a beekeeper! My grandfather kept bees when I was little, and we ALWAYS had fresh honey, which I eat and cook with all the time now. The bees died (after they took over the playhouse in my grandparents’ backyard), and I always sort of resent having to buy honey now, heh. Honey’s a great gift, especially since people know it’s something you’ve produced. It’s similar to the handmade gifts.

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    • avatar

      Painted_lady October 7, 2011, 11:32 pm

      Crap! Meant to be a reply to callmehobo!

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      callmehobo October 8, 2011, 12:06 am

      It’s funny, I never really ate honey until I started dating my boyfriend. He keeps his hive at his grandfather’s farm (his grandfather has 12) and it is AMAZING- his last crop took first place in the county fair!

      And a few months ago his grandfather took a wild hive out of a house and we got some of that honey, and it was THE BEST THING. It was like nothing I’ve ever tasted; no wonder bears risk getting stung hundreds of times for that stuff.

      I wish we had a way to private message on here, because I would definitely send you some local Tennessee honey so you wouldn’t have to buy any for a while, lol!

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      • theattack

        theattack October 8, 2011, 6:45 pm

        You’re in TN too??

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        callmehobo October 8, 2011, 7:08 pm

        Tennesseans FTW! I’m around-a-bouts Nashville.

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      • theattack

        theattack October 8, 2011, 11:32 pm

        I always see a lot more Nashvillains online than anywhere else in TN. Wonder why that is. I’m living in Knoxville, originally from South Central TN.

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        callmehobo October 9, 2011, 10:48 am

        Probably because there are a lot of colleges/young people in the Nashville area. Lots of young people= lots of internet users. You’ve got Belmont, MTSU, Vanderbilt, Lipscomb, and TSU all within 30 mile radius of one another, not including all the community colleges.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie October 7, 2011, 11:23 pm

    Wearing my Practical Pete poncho, a prepaid house cleaning or laundry service would be useful and appreciated I betcha.

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  • avatar

    Turtledove October 8, 2011, 2:12 am

    I like to do small things for people that are either local interest or crafty.

    Right now, I have a good male friend who needs a valet box for things like watches and such. He’s not found anything he likes at a price that works so I’m going this weekend to peruse used book and thrift shops for a hard bound book that’s the perfect size to hollow out and make into a box for him. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a used coffee table book that has an interesting cover and it’s easy to do.

    I’ve also gotten the nozzles/wicks etc to make fragrance lamps along with lamp oil for not much money, which can be used to turn flea market or handmade glass or ceramic bottles into a fragrance lamp for people who like to scent their house (you can also make reed diffusers that same way) It’s a little more unique than buying a pre-packaged set and you can really match their taste with both scent and bottle style.

    I’ve also given fancy tea-towel or kitchen towel sets for hostess gifts. And packaged them up with local foods of interest. Depends on where you are, but when I lived in Louisiana, I’d send local honey or one of the huge varieties of spiced pickles. Here in New England, I’ll put together a basket with pancake mix and maple syrup wrapped up in a fancy towel set or in with a nice spatula and griddle pan (if I know my giftee doesn’t have one) Or candies from a fudge shop can make a good gift basket.

    There are lots of inexpensive things you can do that people wouldn’t do for themselves. It sounds silly, but I keep a list of things throughout the year of things that people keep mentioning they’re meaning to do (like replace lampshades or throw pillows or whatnot) That gives me a good starting point to figuring out what to get for gifts.

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  • avatar

    katiebird October 9, 2011, 2:02 pm

    just saw on wendy’s twitter that she had her baby!!!! he is a beautiful little boy named jackson!!!

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    • seven7three

      seven7three October 9, 2011, 9:13 pm

      Awwww! He’s lovely! Congrats to the new parents!

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      SGMcG October 9, 2011, 9:51 pm

      Mazel tov to Wendy and Drew on their son Jackson!

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    Rachelgrace53 October 9, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Here is a picture of Wendy and baby Jackson! http://twitpic.com/6xris7

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      lets_be_honest October 9, 2011, 3:44 pm

      Oh my god how awesome. He’s beautiful Wendy. Congratulations!!!

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    • MELH

      MELH October 9, 2011, 5:25 pm

      Congrats Wendy! He is so cute!

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      Addie Pray October 9, 2011, 5:37 pm

      He’s adorable! October 9, Jackson…. Just what I guessed! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      callmehobo October 9, 2011, 8:07 pm

      Congratulations!!!!

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      Britannia October 10, 2011, 1:07 am

      I have overdosed on Squee, looking at that picture! Congratulations, Wendy! He’s absolutely perfect!

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    Morgan October 9, 2011, 11:22 pm

    Congrats Wendy!!

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    Wendy's Dad October 10, 2011, 3:02 am

    Wendy’s mom and I are very excited about our very first grandchild! Now if you will indulge a proud grandfather, let me tell you about Jackson. He’s very smart, but that’s to be expected. Good genes, you know. He has already aced his SATs and has received a full scholarship to Harvard and is a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship. He takes his driver’s test next week. He was born a little on the underweight side, but he knows what to do about it. Right after he was born, weighing 5 pounds, he turned to Wendy and said, “What’s for breakfast?”. See, the kid has good instincts. I’ll leave it to Wendy to tell his full name, which apparently honors both of Wendy’s grandfathers, but maybe that’s just a coincidence. But I am wondering about my Jewish son-in-law who names his kid with the initials “JC”. Anyway, I’m sure that Wendy will tell you all about the little guy and how he came rather quickly into this world. Meanwhile, we’re having a great time telling everyone about our amazing grandson.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy October 10, 2011, 6:08 am

      His first and last initials may be JC, but all three initials are JCC. Think about it.

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