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Favorite Drink, Favorite Candidate?

A recent Opinion Research Poll of 950 registered voters suggests that a voter’s drinking preference may reveal their political persuasion and candidate preference. According to the results, beer drinkers are more likely to vote for Sen. John McCain, while those who enjoy wine say that they are more likely to vote Democratic. Among beer drinkers, McCain has about a 50% edge over Clinton, though he is in a virtual tie with Obama. On the other side of the coin, wine drinkers prefer Clinton and/or Obama over McCain in almost every instance. The apparent political differences are believed to boil down to matters of gender and class – men are notoriously big beer drinkers while women prefer wine over beer, as do higher-income Americans and college graduates. Overall, 28% of Americans say they prefer beer to wine and 31% say they enjoy a glass of wine over a bottle of brew. The rest claim that they do not consume alcohol in any form. Deductively, that’s 41% of the population, so you can draw your own conclusions about the veracity of these types of polls. Still food for thought,...

Bridging the Generation Gap

Recently I went to a friend’s house for dinner and while I was there we played the most brilliant game. It is called Rock Band and it is available on the XBOX gaming system. Now I am not a huge electronic game player, my knowledge pretty much ends with Donkey Kong but this game was awesome! It allows for up to four players: a bass, guitar, drum, and vocals. Essentially you play with a control, which actually looks like the instrument. Similar to the game Tetris, the bars or “chords” go across the screen and as they reach a line you press corresponding color-coded buttons, which plays the music. Same thing with the vocals, if you are singing the song into the microphone too low or too high an arrow will indicate either to sing higher or lower. For those of you who can’t carry a tune in a bucket don’t worry they have an easy setting! I must say though, the greatest thing about the game is the music! There is every kind of rock you can imagine from the 60’s to today. Children can bond with their parents or grandparents over classic rock. What a great way to bridge the generational gap! Teenagers everywhere will be ending phone calls with, “Nah, dude I don’t want to hang out I’m gonna play Rock Band with my Dad...

Dragonflies for Mom

My favorite new product is the Chicken Soup for a Mother’s Soul Gourmet Gift Basket. It seems perfect for my mother as she is really in to dragonflies and the cup is so gorgeously decorated with dragonflies. She loves getting GiftTree gifts because she can always reuse the fabulous containers that the gifts come in. My father told me that he never gets to keep any containers that his gifts come in unless he hides them in his pick-up before Mom gets home from work. It’s like the gifts that just keep giving! My mother called me months after the candy was all gone from her Chocolate Decadence gift to say that she really loved the suitcase style basket and was using it as a sewing basket. As a person who loves to send gifts to my family, I am so pleased with how often there are new gifts on the GiftTree website. It seems like every time I visit the site, there is something new, wonderful and just the perfect...

Save the Earth – One Fax At a Time

I have a printer and a fax machine in my office. The fax machine recently ran amok. It was a simple fix, just a quick cartridge change and a cleaning, but the machine was down for about a week. After I fixed the problem, the fax queue began to unload. Sheet after sheet spewed forth from the machine. All totaled, 21 sheets of paper were expended. Unfortunately not a single sheet was requested information or even desired information. Everything from vacation deals to mortgage payment plans to beachwear offers had infiltrated the fax machine, wasted paper and ink. When the fax machine has not had a period of interrupted service, these unwanted fax don’t seem to make much of an impact. Coming in all at once makes one realize how much paper and resources are truly wasted. If 21 sheets are wasted in one week, 1092 are wasted in one year. That’s over 2 reams of paper from my office alone. I used to simply recycle the paper. Today I took the time to call the number on the bottom of each fax so I would no longer receive unwanted messages. It didn’t take long. Imagine how many resources we could save if we all took a moment of our time to stop the waste. I’m curious if there is a global registry to contact to be removed from all unsolicited fax applications. –Sort of like the National Do Not Call Registry. Anybody know of something like...

Be the First to Congratulate

Want to be the first person to tell your best friend or sister congratulations on her new arrival? We can do that! If you need a delivery today we offer a large selection of flowers, fruit baskets and balloon bouquets specifically designed for that special day. Our most popular baby arrangement is the Baby’s First Wagon. At a reasonable price of 49.95 for flowers and a cute little keepsake this arrangement can be delivered same day. As long as you call us before 2 we can also deliver our Welcome to the World arrangement. More same day selections include New Baby Balloons and a Bear with It’s a Boy or Girl on them and the New Arrival Fruit & Gourmet Basket with fresh fruit and an assortment of cheeses, crackers and other items the new parents can snack on. Forget that nasty hospital...

Paper or Plastic?

Hopefully your answer will be “Neither, I brought my own.” In an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, most stores and markets nowadays offer reusable shopping bags at a very affordable price. The idea is to eliminate the use and disposal of plastic bags that fill our landfills. A lot of times the reusable shopping bags are very stylish and almost make it impossible for you NOT to buy them. So not only are you helping the environment, but you will look good doing it! Here are some facts about plastic bags I found about plastic bags… Assuming people will use a reusable grocery bag twice a week for 2 years, here’s what you will eliminate: 140 – city dollars spent on disposal 11 – pounds of garbage 832 – plastic bags 60 – enough petroleum to drive a car 60 miles More facts: 14 plastic bags contain enough petroleum to drive your car a mile 17 cents per bag is the price many cities pay in disposal costs 14 billion plastic bags are thrown away in America each year 0 paper bags biodegrade in landfills 70 percent more global warming gasses are released making a paper bag than a plastic bag Don’t be caught transferring your plastic bagged groceries into your trunk. We each can make a difference, and so...

What’s in a Game?

One of my friends has an old game called Batten Down the Hatches, that she said her grandfather played when he was in the Navy. There was something familiar about the game to me, but I couldn’t place it right away. She told me it was also called Canoga and Shut the Box. Ah… that’s where I knew it from! We carry an Antique Replica Pub Game on our site that features the Shut-the-Box game with a bottle of Merlot. You can even have the box engraved for a more personal touch if you’d like.  Maybe something  like Ahoy Matey , Arrrrrr or Shiver me Timbers? The game of Shut the Box was also the basis for a 1974-76 TV quiz show called High Rollers that was hosted by Alex Trebek, (is there any show that guy hasn’t been on?) and I’m told that the game is easy to learn and fun to play. Looks like I’ll be learning how to play a new game...

Elegant Wedding Favors

We’ve all been to weddings where there is a pile of birdseed and a votive candle wrapped in cellophane waiting for us as a favor. It is really no way to thank a guest for the $250.00 mixer they just bought! So what would be an appropriate gift? There are many options but the main objective should be something they can and would want to keep for years to come. If you are having an intimate wedding and would like to treat your guests, consider the Engraved Take-Out Box with Fortune Cookie. You can personalize it with the recipients name or if you want to save some money you can put your names and wedding date on it and give out one per family. It even comes gift wrapped so it is ready when you receive it. If you have a little extra time and money to spend you can find an online fortune cookie company and ask them to create a customized fortune cookie with your message inside. An example would be, “Thank you for joining us in celebration!” This can then be placed inside the box as a wonderful surprise. Your guests will surely be...

Pet Gifts for the Soul

I just love the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.  They’re a nice, light read with uplifting stories that I like to read before bed. They’re mostly short stories that are guaranteed to make you smile. I tend to get teary eyed when reading them, though. They have them for just about every occasion that you can imagine. From teens and vets to love stories and nurses. A couple of new gifts that we have are the Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul Gift Basket and the Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul Gift Basket. Both of the gifts come with one of the Chicken Soup books, along with some treats for you and for your pet. They come in a really nice leather tote that you can use for storing odds and ends, once you’re done with all the fun stuff inside. I really can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than curled up on the couch with my dogs, a Chicken Soup book, and some goodies to snack on. I’m sure my dogs would appreciate some goodies,...

Win a Gift for Mom From GiftTree.com

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I’ve been looking at what GiftTree has available to help me tell my mom how much she means to me. We have several gifts that she would absolutely love – The Chicken Soup for a Mother’s Soul Gourmet Gift Basket would be a huge hit, but the Mother’s Day Wildflower Garden is adorable and has a sentimental message painted on the flower pot…What’s a girl to do…How about take advantage of my employer’s public blog to give my mom a Mother’s Day shout out for the world to see! Mom, Thank you for being you and thank you for teaching me by example how to be a better mom. I love you! Jen Now it’s your turn. Post a comment below with a special message to your mom and you’ll be entered in our Mother’s Day drawing. The Gift Exchange contributors will choose our favorite message. The winner will receive The Chicken Soup for a Mother’s Soul Gourmet Basket, keep it for yourself or better yet, we can send it directly to your mom for you. Deadline to Enter: Midnight (PST) Wednesday, April...

The Perfect Bow

The final touch, the crowning glory, the perfect accessory to every gift is the bow. You can use the most exquisite wrapping paper, but if you don’t know how to tie a bow the gift won’t pass muster. I am frequently asked how to tie a bow. If you are a novice, I recommend wired ribbon. Wired ribbon has a thin strip of wire woven into each edge of the ribbon. It is infinitely easier to work with than unwired ribbon. Step 1: Loop the ribbon 12 to 15 times around the palm of your hand (include your thumb). Step 2: Slip the ribbon off your hand making sure to keep the ribbon together. Step 3: Fold the looped ribbon in half so the loop tips all meet. Step 4: Cut a notch or “V” on each side of the ribbon at the fold.  Making sure the two notches do not connect. Step 5: Tightly tie a piece of floral wire, strong thread or narrow ribbon across the notches. Step 6: Separate the loops one by one, twisting each loop as you pull it from the center. Step 7: Fluff There you have it. A perfect pom pom bow every...

Wine Making in All 50 States

That’s right, it is possible to grow grapes outside of California! Even though the lion’s share of wine in the U.S. comes from the Golden State (a whopping 90%), entrepreneurs from all 50 states are experimenting with different species in different climates. Resourceful winemakers in grape-challenged environments are importing grapes or turning to local fruit, making blueberry wine in Maine, salmonberry wine in Alaska, and pineapple wine in Hawaii. This is exciting news in the wine world, both for the industry and the...

Some Expensive Libations!

Did you know…… $7,686 was paid at auction for the first bottle of Tutankhamun Ale? It was developed by Cambridge University scientists who gleaned the recipe from hieroglyphics and brewing dregs from the catacombs of one of Tut’s in-laws. Remy Martin’s venerable Louis XIII’s upscale “Black Pearl,” sells for over $10,000 a bottle? Unlike the regular Louis XIII bottling (about $1500), Black Pearl is blended from 1200 different eau-de-vie, raging in age from 40 to 100 years. It’s so exclusive that it’s sold by invitation only. The average joe can’t even look at the product at their website without a password. (Oo la la!) In 2005, a Methuselah of 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal, fetched $14,730 at auction? A Methuselah (explanation) is a giant bottle of Champagne equal to eight regular sized (750ml) bottles. So, really it was only like $1,841.25 a bottle. What a deal! At a 1985 Sotheby’s auction, a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite was purchased for $160,000? Even without adjusting for inflation, this still stands as the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold (or bought even). Why so much for an undrinkable bottle of rotted vinegar? This relic was in the proud possession of Thomas Jefferson, whose initials are etched into the bottle. In 1989, another of Thomas Jefferson’s Bordeaux’s (this time a 1787 Chateau Margaux) was taken to the Four Seasons restaurant in New York to show it off. Near the end of the evening, a waiter bumped the dinner table and upended the wine, resulting in a total loss. A total insured loss of $225,000....

Engraved Wine Bottle = Easy Birthday Present

Our in-house engraver frequently needs to test specific products to ensure that engraving is possible, and we GiftTree employees occasionally get to take said products home with us. It’s true, we are quite lucky. Today I was hemming and hawing about a birthday party I have to attend this evening for a fringe friend, and my boss was kind enough to hand me a sample bottle of Chardonnay that had “Happy Birthday” engraved on it. Okay, maybe she just wanted me to stop complaining. Either way, I now have a lovely wine gift that looks fabulous and will be well-received. One less thing to worry about (unless of course that fringe friend is reading this blog right now). That got me to thinking that maybe I should have an entire fleet of wine bottles engraved with “Happy Birthday.” It might make for an odd looking personal cellar, but it would also mean that I would hypothetically never have to shop for a birthday present again! Obviously after years of receiving engraved wine bottles, my friends and family might begin to question my motives, but at least they would still be getting a nice bottle of wine, right? I promise I will calm down about this idea by my blog next week, but in the meantime you may want to consider checking out some of our engraving options on my personal favorite, our Engraved Birthday Bottle of Snoqualmie...

Ecological Footprint

Earth Day is on April 22nd, but the entire month of April is full of earth inspired events and a general focus on getting “greener.” I decided to take the ecological footprint quiz by the Earth Day Network. If you haven’t taken this quiz before, I would encourage you to give it a try. It’s actually very interesting. Apparently the average ecological footprint in the US is 24 acres per person. When I saw that my ecological footprint is a mere 13, I was about about to toot my own horn. But then I kept reading…With an ecological footprint of 13, there would still need to be 2.9 planets to keep me in the lifestyle in which I’ve become accustomed. Not so good. So, I’ve decided to look for ways that I can do better. I already recycle paper, glass, and aluminum cans; I bring reusable bags to the grocery store; I am replacing my old school light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs as the old ones die out; and I am in the process of planting a garden. I know there must be a ton of basic steps that I can take to be more environmentally friendly. I’d love to hear your...

Fun-N-Games

I have a friend that I love dearly who is a little on the eclectic side. She is a most worthy Scrabble opponent, (one of our best games was over six hundred) and knows weird trivia like what was Mr. Belvedere’s first name or who won on episode 22 of Name That Tune in 1984. She loves games that I’ve never even heard of let alone played like Put & Take or Miss Abigail’s Time Warp, and we frequently get together for a game of cut throat, down & dirty, winner take all chess, cards or whatever game strikes our fancy that day. So, what am I getting my fun loving friend for her upcoming birthday in July? Why, the Baja Pink Leather Backgammon Set of course! Have you seen this thing? It’s a hot pink and cool tangerine all in one game set that even has little pink dice! I’ll have the top of the leather case embossed with the words Game Master and I’m quite sure she will flip out when she sees this one of a kind gift. After she graciously thanks me and raves over the uniqueness of this gift, (and my great taste of course!) we’ll promptly sit down, roll up our sleeves, stare each other in the eye and declare GAME...

Composting Made Easy

There are many benefits to having your own composter, for one I’ve heard that you can reduce your household waste by up to 30 percent. This is good for the environment and your wallet! Plus if you like gardening you have ready-made fertilizer for practically free. If you don’t already have a composter they are readily available at your local home improvement or gardening center for less than $100.00. You can also find many websites online that will teach you how to build your own. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started: What to Compost- Leaves Small amounts of grass clippings Weeds (no seeds please) Straw Wood shavings Garden plants Vegetables and Fruits Tea bags Coffee grounds and filters Bread Pasta and rice (no sauce) What not to Compost- Meat of any kind Dairy products Pet waste How to Compost- Cut up items into smaller pieces Keep the material slightly damp Churn the compost about every three weeks during the summer Layer the outdoor waste and kitchen waste in 4-6 inch increments Don’t churn the compost in the winter If you have a composter or have any advice we would love to hear from...

Personalized Corporate Gifts

Giving a gift to a client, employee, or organization is just part of being in business. And yet amidst the throng of pens, mugs, flowers, and yes, even gift baskets, sometimes corporate gifts can seem monotonous and unremarkable. That is where GiftTree steps in. We offer personalized ribbons on more than 20 gifts and products, which means that you can send your employee a congratulatory gift basket and it will arrive beautifully tied with a ribbon that says “Carla: Employee of the Month” or “Cleanest Desk Ever Award.” Sending a corporate gift to a law firm with five partners? Don’t worry, we have you covered. We offer up to 45 characters per ribbon and repeat your message throughout, which means that “Alderman, Jones, Williams, Stark, & Wyatt, LLC” will fit amply within our guidelines, and we can repeat it many times over. We hope that you will find our personalization services useful, like many of our corporate clients already do. If you need any inspiration, just respond to this blog or contact one of our customer service reps – I am sure they could also tell you some pretty funny...
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