How to Throw the Best Office Baby Shower

How to Throw the Best Office Baby Shower

It starts with a co-worker letting you know that she’s expecting, or a colleague telling the team about his wife’s pregnancy. What should we do? The word starts to get around about throwing an office baby shower, but how exactly is that done? Here is a step-by-step guide to throwing an office baby shower that will be remembered and enjoyed by everyone. Your Guide to Office Baby Showers: Q & A   Is it ok to throw a shower at all? First thing’s first – before jumping in, make sure that you’ve cleared it with both the expecting person and your HR department. If the expecting mom or dad would feel uncomfortable with a shower being thrown for them, respect their wishes. And at some companies, HR may way to take the lead on all celebrations, so make sure you’re good there, too. And even though surprises are fun, it’s probably wisest not to risk it unless you’re absolutely sure they would love it.   Who should be in charge, and who should be enlisted to help? If you’re their closest work-friend, manager or direct report, congratulations – you’re the one who should be in charge. If you need assistance in putting the shower together, ask their department co-workers or those you know are friendly with the expectant person to help. Most importantly, it is best to keep the guest of honor involved in the whole process, so that they feel good about all of it.   When should an office baby shower take place? Most people would prefer for an office party to be short and sweet, not taking...
Pack the Perfect Picnic Basket

Pack the Perfect Picnic Basket

It’s SUMMER! The sun is out, the breeze is perfect and since we’re not in the dog days of summer quite yet, it’s not too hot or buggy yet. Therefore: it is picnic season! Picnics are so awesome – what a great way to relax and enjoy nature! But a fun picnic can go south quickly, when it’s discovered that some key equipment or ingredients were missed. To help avoid that, we’ve come up with the Picnic Basket Checklist! It’s a great way to learn how to pack the perfect picnic basket. The Ultimate Picnic Basket Checklist ⬜ Lightweight Basket, Tote, or Cooler Make sure it is easy to carry, waterproof and durable. ⬜ Blanket to Spread Out You’ll need it if there are no picnic tables at your destination. A table cloth will work, too! ⬜ Low-Seated Beach Chairs Not needed – only if you prefer, but we love having a backrest! ⬜ A Trash Bag or Two Makes cleanup SO much easier! ⬜ Paper Towels Double duty – cleaning up and mealtime napkin use. ⬜ Moist Towellettes / Baby Wipes If there are kids, sauces or both in the picture, you’ll need these. ⬜ Plates Lightweight and eco-friendly are the way to go! If you must get disposable, try compostable bamboo! ⬜ Utensils Depending on what you’re having, you may need serving ware, too. The link above might be perfect! ⬜ Cutting Knife, Small Cutting Board You can pre-chop everything if you’d like, but you may want it for cheese and salami. ⬜ Corkscrew or Bottle Opener If your picnic destination allows alcohol, these are essential! ⬜ Shatterproof Glasses...
Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

Last year we posted a blog called Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus and the response was so overwhelming and fun, we thought we have to do a Volume TWO! It can be great getting dressed up, making reservations at a fancy restaurant and spending Valentine’s Day on the town. But these days, many couples opt to spend the holiday at home, especially when there are kids in the picture. When work has been crazy, the sitter is busy, the traffic is nuts and the restaurants are all booked, the idea of staying home, pouring a glass of wine, putting on some relaxing music and eating a delicious meal together sounds more and more appealing. We’ve put together a few menu plans (along with their matching wines and some fun music recommendations) to make your Valentine’s Day at home romantic, memorable and meaningful. After all, it’s not about going out – it’s about celebrating love!   Menu Plan #1 – For the Seafood & Champagne Lovers Pour: Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne. A luxurious, world-famous Champagne that boasts soft white-fruit aromas of peaches and pears and a finish of fresh walnut. The smooth, juicy mid-palate segues to a clean, crisp finish ideal for sipping Play: The Party, Andy Schauf. Bubbly songs full of fun combine with a nice dose of moody to create a playlist that is perfect for a party of two, cooking dinner, sipping Champagne and just being together. Appetizer: French Butter Lettuce Salad, courtesy of Fine Cooking. The lightness of this simple salad makes the perfect starter for the creamy goodness to come. Main Dish: Two recipes from Café Delights,...
Perfect Gift Ideas for the Holiday Party Host

Perfect Gift Ideas for the Holiday Party Host

Have you ever thrown a Christmas party, a New Year’s Eve soiree or any kind of holiday get-together? If so, you probably know how much work it requires just to have a little fun. It’s certainly not as simple as putting out some cheese and crackers. Days (and sometimes months!) in advance, party planners decide on the invite list, the menu, the drinks, the decorations, the activities and so much more. We have more than a few helpful blog posts about entertaining, of course, but what about being one of the guests? It’s important to let the host know how much you appreciate all the thought and planning that went into this great gathering. That’s why you’re probably familiar with the old adage, “don’t show up to a party empty-handed!“. Show your gratitude by bringing something special! Here are a few perfect gift ideas for the holiday party host. Memorable Wine Gifts Classically timeless and rarely regarded as a misstep, bottles of wine are a standard gift to present to the host. GiftTree’s selection of wine gifts is chock full of great bottles of wine – some can even be engraved with your very own personal gift message!   Festive Bouquets to Deck the Halls Bringing a floral arrangement is a wonderful idea for the party host. They can place it wherever they like (don’t pick the place for them) and be reminded of your nice gesture all evening long.   Generous Offerings for the Home Bringing something for the hosts’ home is a wonderful gesture. GiftTree’s personalized gifts make no exception! They’re always great conversation starters, and serve...
Your Labor Day Weekend Party Menu Is Here

Your Labor Day Weekend Party Menu Is Here

Ah, Labor Day weekend. The last hurrah before the school year really gets into full swing and everyone is back to work until the holidays. We’re milking these very last days of summer for all they’re worth with one more backyard barbecue! It’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of all the delicious in-season produce like tomatoes, peaches, pineapple and watermelon in every dish. Here is your Labor Day weekend party menu. Onward!   Menu Item #1: A Hearty (But Healthy) Salad What ever will we do with ALL those bazillions of late-summer tomatoes from the garden? Panzanella, of course! The crispy hearty bread pairs perfectly with juicy tomatoes and the zing of bright basil. You could literally use any tomato you can get your hands on, from Roma to Heirloom to Grape or Cherry – even those big ol’ Beefsteaks will do. There are many variations on Panzanella, but we got this particular recipe from Delish (added a few green chilies) and it’s absolutely wonderful.   Menu Item #2: Bring on the Grilled Meats! We’ve probably filled our bread quota with the baguettes in the Panzanella, so let’s skip it and instead of burgers or BLTs, let’s make these Hawaiian grilled pork kebabs! They’re easy to make and fun to eat – who doesn’t enjoy food on a stick? Our favorite recipe comes from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen – we went a little easier on the BBQ sauce though. The result? Sticky, sweet, garlicky, salty and just perfect for a late-summer backyard party. The guests will be licking their fingers and going for seconds.   Menu Item #3:...
Why We Gift Wednesday (Patio Edition)

Why We Gift Wednesday (Patio Edition)

Welcome to Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving. Whether it’s honoring the relationships that we have, feeling grateful for an occasion or a special time of year, or relishing life’s simple joys, Why We Gift Wednesday is all about giving and generosity – the expression of appreciation for life’s many happy moments. Hasn’t this summer been absolutely gorgeous? Here in the Pacific Northwest we really lucked out with not-too-hot temperatures, not too many bugs and enough rain to keep everything nice and green. It’s the perfect time of year to spend most of our time outdoors. As you drive through the streets of Portland and Seattle in the evenings, don’t be surprised if you see lots and lots of people hanging out on their front lawns and porches, and even more so on their back patios and in backyards. Grilling season is here and the deck furniture is primed for seating. It’s time to invite your friends and family to come over for dinner on the back patio! We think one of the most important things to remember when entertaining is to keep it simple. Preventing everything  (the menu, the decor, the guest list, etc) from getting too over-complicated is what’s going to make for a really successful patio dinner party! Check out our blog about party hosting and this one about summer entertaining – both of the blogs are chock full of great tips to make your dinner parties easy and breezy. Looking for the perfect gift to bring to a dinner party host? Find wine crates, flowers,...