Surprise!

Nothing in my lifetime has been more exciting, or terrifying, than making the decision to become a mommy. You always imagine how wonderful all of the planning and first appointments will go after you find out for the first time that you’re expecting a little one and now that ultrasounds can show the gender of your baby it’s much easier to plan ahead for the next 9 months. All of this was in our dream book, but this baby had different plans in mind. Cooperation is just not on this little one’s agenda. After struggling with this for a while, we both agreed that what is meant to be is meant to be and our baby is just going to have to be a surprise! No more trying to find out from here on out. I was snooping through GiftTree’s new baby gifts and I am SO grateful that I’m finding just as many unisex goodies as I am gender specific ones. As a nervous mom with pregnant cravings the Lil’ Lamb Baby Basket is at the very top of my treat list, and it’s perfect no matter what we’re blessed with in 4 months! The featured little lamb that comes in the basket is adorable, soft and wonderfully plush for baby to cuddle and nibble on (after all, we know everything is going straight in it’s mouth). Alongside is a matching rattle which will provide hours of entertainment and will give those gums something gentle and soothing to teeth on. Three keepsake boxes sweetly stack together to hold the most precious firsts; the first tooth, first curl and...

Spring 2010

In case you didn’t know, March 21 is considered by many to be the first day of spring. Some say it is really the middle of spring, because of the position of the sun, but I don’t think spring is quite here yet in the Pacific Northwest. I am very ready for winter to end. Winters in the Northwest are dreadful. Everyone stays indoors because it is so cold, grey and wet outside. The sun comes up late in the morning and it gets dark early. The spring and summer seasons here are, however, magical. The days never seem to end. Everyone is out walking, biking or playing. Neighbors stop to talk to you. Flowers are everywhere and everyone wants to talk about their garden. The next time the weather is nice and I have the chance, I plan to go to Sauvie Island and have a picnic. I have just the gift basket in mind to celebrate my first picnic of the year. I have been eyeing the Fruit & Gourmet Delight basket for some time. It has everything I like:  pears, apples, oranges, cookies, pistachios, jalapeno jack cheese, crackers and tea. It also comes with a cheese knife and in a travel trunk that will remind me of my first picnic of 2010 all year long. I might even get the travel trunk personalized to say “Spring 2010”. The reminder will be especially helpful next winter, but I’m not ready to even think about next winter...

Engraved Gifts Are an Excellent Choice

In my family, we have somehow become very competitive where our parents are concerned. We are always trying to out do each other, trying to come up with the most unique gift and we never let an opportunity pass to debate who is the Favorite Daughter! I don’t live near my family, so I am at a disadvantage. All my gifts are sent from GiftTree, just to level the playing field. Once I sent my parents a gift and signed the card: “All my love, your favorite daughter.” They called my sister to thank her…My sister in turn called me to remind me that she TOLD me she’s the favorite. So, for Mother’s Day, I got my mother the Engraved Mother’s Mirror.  I had it engraved with a special message. My mother opened it at her Mother’s Day dinner and read it aloud to the family: “Tell the other kids that I am your favorite!” I sent my sister a bottle of wine with the engraved hang tag that said: “My Mother’s Favorite Daughter.” I have great fun with engraved gifts from GiftTree. It is so much better than the standard engraving that just says Happy Birthday or Happy Mother’s Day. It’s a great way to make a lasting impression, have the last word or simply torment your...

Silken Luxury

After water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world. There’s just something about the soothing aromas and the way your favorite cup warms your hands when you need to lift your spirits on a rainy night. The list of health benefits from drinking tea is extensive, and all around the world people are finding new ways and reasons to enjoy the most natural refreshment on the planet. The next time you’re looking to melt your evenings away, curl up in your comfiest robe and fuzzy slippers and reach for the Wood Chest of Silken Tea Pyramids. Inside a gorgeous burlwood chest are 24 silken treasures to delight even the biggest of tea connoisseurs. Each silken infuser is made of fine fabric and is filled with the most exceptional grades of herbs that traditional store-bought tea bags can’t provide. Exotic blends come in flavors such as Peppermint Rose, Earl Grey, White Gold Tips, Tropical Dreams and Bombay Chai. Add the finishing touch to this beautiful keepsake with an engraved plaque or choose an elegant three character monogram. The only thing you’ll need next is a long bubble bath and a good book to complete your state of luxurious...

Beautiful Baubles

My granddaughter loves all things that sparkle, glitter, glow or shine, and if you ever met her you would say that her personality is quite similar to the things she’s attracted to. Well, her birthday is coming up in July, and tell me if the Engraved Diamond Keepsake isn’t totally what every glitter-queen should have! It’s the perfect accessory on so many levels, and who doesn’t love to get a gift that is just beautiful to look at no matter where it sits?  Here are some of the fabulous uses I’ve figured she can get from this beautiful bauble: 1. Use it for keeping her dramatic memos in their place. 2. Holding the pages of her diary open. 3. Place it in her windowsill for a sparkly rainbow effect all over the room. 4. Put it on her desktop next to her faux-leopard file caddy (tres chic!) 5. Use it to keep the door to the “salon” open. Whatever she chooses to use it for, she will love this jewel of a...

In Defense of Blended Wines

Many wine purists insist that single variety or varietal wines are preferable to blended wines, but limiting yourself to varietal wines for wine gifts and personal consumption often means you are missing out on some delicious and skillfully combined blends. Sure, it’s important to be familiar with varietal wines and to know, for instance, that you love a good Zinfandel, but some of the best wines on the market today are blended wines. Many wines with which you are already familiar with are actually blends. Chianti, Bordeaux, and Meritage are all blended wines. Many wines labeled as varietal wines may also contain other grapes, depending on the laws of the country of origin. For instance, American wines are only required to have 75% of a single grape variety to be considered a varietal wine, meaning that the Cabernet Sauvignon you are drinking most likely contains a dash of Cabernet Franc or Merlot. At their most basic, blended wines are simply wines made by professional vintners who blend different grapes varieties in order to create a wine with more complexity, texture, and flavor than a varietal wine. The final goal of blending wine is to balance out flavor characteristics of the different grapes. The process makes sense if you think about it:  if you have two, three, four, or more grape varieties to work with, then you can blend them in such a way that you enhance their appealing characteristics and cloak their less appealing characteristics. The ability to blend grape varieties can also come in especially handy during a poor growing season if a certain vineyard’s crop proves to...