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For the Bathing Bride

On the morning of a bride’s wedding she wakes early with great anticipation much like a child on Christmas morning and begins going over her to do list. Typically by the day of the wedding: the venue has been decorated, the favors have been prepared, and the last boutonniere has been accounted for. With all the details taken care of she can start preparing for the day she’s always dreamed of. Why not treat her to the Luxury Bath Foam gift set? She can wash away her stress and warm up those cold feet while bathing in a rich blend of essential oils and...

Humane Society Walk Run for the Animals

Kimber Huntington Webb – Humane Society for Southwest Washington GiftTree and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington both recognize the value that companion animals play in our lives and work together to help ensure the thousands of homeless animals in our community receive the second chance they deserve. Join us for the 17th annual Walk Run for the Animals on Saturday, May 3rd at Esther Short Park. Registration and fun in the park begin at 7 a.m. Our 5K Fun Run starts at 8:45 a.m. and the Walk begins at 9 a.m. The Humane Society for Southwest Washington cares for more than 13,000 animals each year. It is not uncommon for us to receive 80 animals a day. Your support helps them receive the medical attention they need and a warm, safe place to stay while they await their forever homes. Tessa and Faye Emaciated, sick, and clearly over-bred, Tessa, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, arrived at our shelter late last fall. It was obvious she had suffered severe physical trauma and emotional stress. Tessa was missing chunks from her ears, a sign of being attacked by other dogs. She trembled in fear and was unwilling to rise from her bed. Her earlier trauma combined with the noise, stress and unfamiliarity of the shelter was taking its toll. After a complete physical exam by our clinical staff, they knew Tessa needed out of the shelter to fully recover. Adoption seemed unlikely in her current state. Tessa urgently needed some tender care, love and focused attention to help her gain trust and confidence. Fortunately our shelter had recently promoted Faye Smith...

Meet Maverick

He’s a rebel, an edgy kind of guy befitting his name. We rescued him 7 years ago from doggy jail. His rap sheet said he was arrested for chasing horses—a big no-no in these parts. We didn’t have high expectations for Maverick. The first weekend with us we took him to the beach and he promptly jumped off a 50 foot cliff in his enthusiasm. He must be a bit like the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer because he bounced—not a scratch on him (thank goodness). Despite his shady background and obvious lack of common sense, Maverick has become a model citizen and an important part of the family. He’s given up his wild days. He now spends most of his time sneaking onto the couch when he thinks we aren’t looking or visiting the neighbors to beg for a biscuit or two. To us he’ll always be a renegade, the leader of the pack, a true maverick who lives up to his name. What’s your dog’s name and what’s the story behind your pet?  I’d love to hear all about it. Ever wonder what the most popular names for puppies are? According USA Today and the Veterinary Pet Insurance database, the most popular names for a pooch are: Top male dog names 1. Max 2. Buddy 3. Rocky 4. Bailey 5. Jake 6. Charlie 7. Jack 8. Toby 9. Cody 10. Buster Top female dog names 1. Bella 2. Molly 3. Lucy 4. Maggie 5. Daisy 6. Sophie 7. Sadie 8. Chloe 9. Bailey 10....

Shawna – My Favorite Gift

Shawna Fuller, Director of Customer Service My favorite gift of all time has to be the Engraved Frame. This gift is perfect for any and every occasion. I have ordered this gift for weddings, anniversaries, graduations and new babies. I can’t get enough of this thing! It’s always a big hit and is never duplicated by anyone else at the event. What’s more special than a picture of your special day and a note on the frame to commemorate it? The frame is silver plated but seems exceptionally heavy. It displays beautifully and the lovely ladies of the warehouse always wrap this gift impeccably! I love it, love it, love...

My Airport is Better Than Your Airport

May I brag a little bit? My job permits me to travel to various places in the world. I’ve had the pleasure (and the dismay) of visiting numerous airports. Home base is Portland, OR. I must say that the Portland airport has got to be the nicest, most traveler friendly airport I have come across. Known as PDX, the facility has restaurants, fine art, children friendly areas, wide gateways, clean restrooms, easy access to mass transit, a top notch and pleasant security staff and plenty of coffee kiosks. What’s the best feature? Hands down it is the short term parking garage. I love this place! Every single parking spot has a sensor overhead that identifies if the spot is taken or open. If a car is in the spot, the light is red. If the spot is empty, the light is green. From the far far end of the row I can see if there is an open parking space. No more trolling the lanes to find a spot to park. I know, it sounds ridiculous to be so enamored with a parking structure, but it really is very cool. Haven’t you ever been late to pick somebody up at the airport and added even more to your tardiness because you have been searching for the best parking space? Have you ever spotted another group of people about to pile into their car to leave and then hover by them so you may claim their spot? Come on, you know you have. PDX has eliminated all that nonsense. Now if they would only install those little lights in the...

GiftTree Will Walk for the Animals

GiftTree employees not only love their community, but they love their dogs! We have 7-10 dogs in the office daily…what would a day here be like without Soda or Harper begging to go outside and fetch the tennis ball? So it is appropriate that we will participate in the 17th annual Walk/Run for the Animals happening on Saturday May 3rd at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver. This is a fundraising event for the Humane Society of SW Washington and all donations will help animals in the area. The donations will go towards vaccinations, spaying/neutering, food, and many other things to help. GiftTree employees can walk a route equaling anywhere from 1.5 to 3 miles or do a 5K run. And the cool part is you can bring your own dog for the walk/run! There will be all sorts of music and vendor booths at Esther Short Park (which is a very cool park by the way). So mark your calendars for May 3rd and come help support the cause. For more info, go to www.southwesthumane.org. Ruff...

Garden Fun

My 8 year old granddaughter and I share a love of gardening, so I’m always on the lookout for things that a child can plant without too much mess or supervision. Her favorite things are in pots, (as anyone who’s been to my house can attest to!) and there’s never been a shortage of things to put in them. I can’t count the times she’s poked a hole in the dirt, shoved in a seed and voila, a new and amazing genus of plant species is born! I try to keep her imagination alive by inventing stories about the inhabitants of each pot or container, or by taking her on walks to look for exotic seeds or flowers of the neighborhood. We have invented special names for our new and amazing plant species, (like the uwannalotofem, a special strawberry that once you taste it, you’ll want a lot of them, and so forth.) I told her once that there was no such thing as a weed, there were only misplaced plants, and she reminded me of this just recently as I was complaining (quite loudly) to her grandpa about all of the weeding I had to do. She put her little hand on her hip & said “Grandma! They aren’t weeds they’re displaced plants!” What could I say? With all of the pots and containers I already have strewn about the property, I just couldn’t resist the Heirloom Tomato Garden in a Pail. What’s one more pail for the cause of gardening? This adorable little gift has everything she’ll need to grow her own tomato garden except for the...

Gourmet Food Trends in 2008

What to watch for as the year unfolds: –Bold Flavors: As we age, our senses of smell and taste start to diminish. With the onset of the aging baby boomer group, consumers are demanding spicier, bolder flavors. Look for yogurt with chocolate and chili pepper, strong cheeses like Bleu and extra sharp Cheddar, and spice-laced beverages. –New Spices: Goodbye cumin, sage, marjoram, and coriander. Hello Balinese Long Pepper, Saigon Cinammon, Fennel Pollen, and French Basque Pepper! –Meat Cookbooks: Artisan meats are big this year and cookbooks like “Pork and Sons” are preaching the practice of using all parts of the animal, with “head to tail” becoming a popular catchphrase for the movement. –Local Wines: All 50 states now make their own variety of wine (Hawaii makes a pineapple wine and Alaska has a salmonberry version). More Americans already make a point to “buy locally” when purchasing food, and this emphasis is being extended to wines, as well. –Fair Trade: Already a big movement in Europe, Fair Trade will become as big of a buzzword as “organic.” The push will be in coffee, chocolate, foods, and textiles. –Bacon: Artisan, nitrate-free version are popping up on restaurant menus everywhere and also in unexpected products such as cookies, ice cream, boutique brittle, and chocolate bars. –More Chocolate: Premium chocolate sales are dominating the confections industry. Also related to the aging population, chocolate is growing in popularity because of the medical research that suggests it has the potential to reduce rates of stroke, heart failure, cancer, and diabetes. Expect more adult flavors such as chocolate with spices or mango, and high cacao...

First Impressions

There’s an old saying that goes: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is so true when sending out a gift to a new or perspective client! One of the gifts we offer our customers was created for the sole purpose of easing the pressure when it came to picking out that first gift. Aptly named the First Impressions Corporate Gift Basket, it’s a perfect gift for the nervous first timer. I like the way the basket covers all of the bases, because you never really know what to send the first time. There’s a red wine, a white wine and a basket full of goodies to take care of everyone’s individual tastes. It’s a perfect first...

Cravings?

Don’t wait for the baby to be born to start sending gifts! Any Mom to be will appreciate getting a box of Berry Babies. I think one of the best things about working at GiftTree is sampling. I have tried just about every single food product we offer. So since these are new we had to get some for the image. I had one and they are D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!! So don’t wait until she’s trying to loose that baby weight to send these to your pregnant friends, send them now! I guarantee they will be a big...

Wine Ratings Explained

Rated 91 points by Wine Spectator. Highly rated. Recently rated 89 points by Wine Advocate. You see these phrases all of the time, including on our website. But what exactly is a wine rating, you ask? Simply put, it’s a score from one of three major organizations. Knowing each ratings system will not only make you seem like a wine connoisseur, but will offer insight into the next bottle you purchase. –Wine Spectator: Each wine region is assigned to one editor, who has developed a proven expertise in that region’s offerings. During a tasting, other editors offer commentary, but the final word comes from the main editor. All tastings are blind. The tasters are told the wine’s region or varietal, but that’s it. Wines that rank very highly are tasted again and again to confirm the rating. Following is Wine Spectator’s official 100-point scale: 95-100 — Classic; a great wine 90-94 — Outstanding; superior character and style 80-89 — Good to very good; wine with special qualities 70-79 — Average; drinkable wine that may have minor flaws 60-69 — Below average; drinkable but not recommended 50-59 — Poor; undrinkable, not recommended –The Wine Advocate: This rating system is based entirely upon the opinion of renowned wine critic, Robert Parker. To generate ratings, Parker spends three months each year in vineyards; he devotes the other nine months to tasting and writing (I know, I know, how terrible that must be). Tastings are conducted in single-blind conditions, which means the same types of wines from different wineries are tasted against each other. Following is The Wine Advocate‘s 100-Point Scale and what...

How to Attract Hummingbirds

My daughter just returned from a school sponsored trip to Costa Rica. She had a fabulous time working with special needs children and absorbing the culture. Beautiful beaches, fabulous food, jungle hikes, huge bugs, an active volcano and zip lines through the jungle canopy were all experiences of a life time. Surprisingly, one of her most vivid memories were of the hummingbirds. Costa Rica is positively teeming with them. We have our fair share here in the NW, but to increase our chances of catching a glimpse of them we have strategically placed feeders throughout our yard. Hummingbirds follow a visual flight path looking for food. If you establish plants and flowers that are hummingbird favorites and then place a line of planters within sight of those plants, the hummingbirds will flit from plant to plant and feeder to feeder. The ultimate goal, of course, is to have at least one of your feeders at a location where you may comfortably observe them. Our garden is stocked with azalea, butterfly bushes, petunias, fuchsias and impatiens. We are taking it one step further this year and using GiftTree’s Mother’s Day Wildflower Garden to attract the birds. The pot is an eye catching orange and pink and arrives with a packet of Seedballz. The Seedballz are little balls of clay rolled with seeds. All I have to do is put the Seedballz on top of a bunch of dirt, water and viola (or should I say violets), the garden will sprout and flourish. The Seedballz contain a mix of wild flowers specifically blended with hummingbirds and butterflies in mind. If anyone...

Not All Yellows Are Created Equal

My husband and I bought a new house about six months ago and the owners before us apparently had no problems living with white walls. I myself love color and felt as if I was a resident of the county jail or at least a psychiatric ward. The thing is my husband and I couldn’t agree on anything except the fact that we needed to paint. After much debate we finally agreed the kitchen should be a yellow so we both went through some paint chips and selected a yellow we thought would be nice. The problem we ran into is that not all yellows are created equal. I chose a soft and buttery warm hue and he had color matched a rubber duck! I couldn’t stand the thought of having people over and having to hand them sunglasses as they entered our kitchen for a cup of coffee. So I did a little research and found something that could save marriages worldwide. It is called the “color visualizer” by Sherwin Williams. It allows you to select a room scene and paint it in any color they carry. I showed my husband a sample kitchen that had white cabinets like ours and then plugged in the color I had envisioned which is called Blonde. Once he saw this you know what he said, “Well, yeah that’s what I wanted all along.” Sheesh! The color visualizer tool can be found at: http://sherlink.sherwin.com/swapp/color_visualizer/ Do you have a color horror story, we’d love to hear from...

What’s In a Name?

My friend just got a new kitten! She adopted her from the animal shelter and she’s a tiny little gray striped kitten. She got all the supplies she needed for her new little baby but she’s not sure what to name her. I happened to be in the bookstore the other day and I came across a couple of books, tucked in the Pets section that were all about what to name your pet! I could not believe it! It was just like the baby name books. Popular names, what they mean, their origin, etc. The number one pet name in America is Max. Followed by names that are traditionally people’s names: Molly, Buddy and Maggie. And number 8 on the list happens to be my name, though I’m not sure how I feel about that. When I was growing up, my family and I weren’t always very creative in naming our pets. We had cats named “Big Kitty” and “Momma Kitty”. We also had a cat named “Booger” and a Miniature Daschund named “Bear”. We named one of our dogs, “Kibbles” after the brand of dog food. I ended up buying that book for my friend to give her some inspiration in naming her new kitty. But I wonder how everyone else in the world chooses their pet names. Is it like when people have a baby and they like to choose the name before they have them? Or do they wait to see what their personality is? I’m sure most people don’t buy books on pet names, so it would be interesting to find out how people...

A Gift for the Best, Best man!

If you want to truly thank your best man don’t give him a sachet of potpourri and an aromatherapy candle and expect a joyful response. Instead give him something he can use for years to come that is stylish and still “manly.” Some of these options could include a money clip, poker set, or a Leather Flask with Monogrammed Medallion. The Leather Flask can be monogrammed to make the gift even more special. What better way is there to say, “Thanks for being there for us on our special day” or just “Thanks for making it through the whole day in a penguin suit without scratching your rear...

When Only the Best Will Do

I often receive calls from corporate customers, looking for something really impressive to give to their most important clients. Although I think that all of our corporate gift baskets are impressive, there are a few that definitely belong in a league of their own. These are my favorites when shopping for the uber-client! The first is our Park Avenue. It’s one of those pull-out-all-of-the-stops baskets, with several private reserve wines, a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, and an endless array of gourmet goodies all displayed in tasteful, state of the art packaging. This gift is sure to leave them saying c’est magnifique Then there is the Opus One for the discriminating oenophile. Most of my customers get excited when I tell them there’s an Opus One in the house, and rightly so. This black leather basket includes a serious array of selected wines, caviar and fine gourmet foods of the highest quality. No mistaking what kind of impression this will leave! Last but certainly not least is the Dominus Showcase with a rating of 95 points in Wine Spectator magazine. Included are two additional bottles of fine wines, smoked salmon and fantastic gourmet foods. To top it off, this one includes the option of embossing your own personal message on the ribbon. Could it get much better than...

Tips for Giving Your Girlfriend or Wife a Birthday Present

Things You’ll Need: -Wife or Girlfriend -Money -Time -Memory -Small Amount of Creativity What Not to Do: -Forgot to sign the birthday card. -Do not give her something that you want (tool sets, car accessories, sports packages are all out unless that’s her bag). -Giving an unneeded appliance, like a vacuum cleaner or a blender, is a bad idea unless you want to be hit over the head with it. -Try to stay away from clothing unless she tells you what to buy. Clothing that it is too small infers that she needs to diet, as does clothing that is way too big (moo moo=bad). What to Do: -When in doubt or pressed for time, stick with the classics. Jewelry is always touching and we like just about any kind. -Take hints. Sometimes we will leave magazines out or browser windows open with items that we want (iPods, purses, etc.). Do you notice your wife or girlfriend talking about a subject a lot, such as hiking or horses? If so, buy her some riding lessons or get her a gift card to REI. -Purchase tickets to a show or event (theater, Broadway, or ballet, and yes, you do have to go with her). Even if the event is not on her birthday, it will be fun to look forward to and plan. Cirque du Soleil is making the rounds across the states…very romantic and fun. -Get her a pair (or two) of shoes. First, take a look at her closet. If all of the shoes are made by Dansko and size 38, it will be hard to go wrong...

Did Someone Say Gift Baskets?

Administrative Professionals Day is just around the corner. This year it falls on April 23rd, but it’s often celebrated the entire week. The most common ways of recognizing your Administrative Professional(s) today are: Flowers, cards (often with shopping gift certificates), take them to lunch, candies, and assorted gift baskets. Did someone say gift baskets?! We have all sorts of gift baskets that any administrative professional would love to have! I have an assistant here at GiftTree to help me with my HR role. Honestly, I could not do my job without her. Not only does she perform administrative tasks, but she is a huge support to me and to the entire company in so many ways. I know I can always depend on her. We are a team and I’m lucky to have...
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