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Be Original

I recently purchased a baby gift for a friend that had already had 2 baby showers. I wanted to get her a gift instead of a gift certificate but wanted to make sure I didn’t duplicate anything she had already gotten. GiftTree is always getting great new products by following gift shows every year and staying on top of the gifting industry. I decided to go with the Twilight Turtle- The Constellation Nightlight. She was thrilled! It went perfectly with her not so girly little girl’s room. She said she hadn’t gotten anything even close to similar to this. If you want something a little more girly, try the Twilight Ladybug. For less than $40 you can impress any new mom to...

Jennifer – My Favorite Gift

Jennifer Crego, Director of Business Development My favorite gift is always changing. Working at GiftTree, I have the advantage of seeing the gifts in person, touching, smelling, and yes, taste testing the samples. Right now, my favorite gift is the Edible Chocolate Box. From the details on the individual chocolate pieces to the dainty flowers on the lid, this gift is absolutely adorable. Much better than a box of chocolates, this edible gift really goes above and beyond. For some reason it reminds me of a little jewelry box, and what can be just as precious as jewels?...

Portland Campfire

John Oshin – Portland Camp Fire Camp Fire USA Portland Metro Council is very, very grateful to GiftTree.com for their generous donation of packaging expertise and materials for our August auction. The auctioned items will definitely look far more attractive than had we tried to tackle this task ourselves. And yes, with eye-catching offerings comes higher bids. But it’s not just the higher revenue! With GiftTree’s talented team taking care of the packaging, now our staff and volunteers can divert their time and energy to other tasks to make the event more successful and lucrative. It’s a double benefit for us! If anyone wants to see first-hand GiftTree’s handiwork, you should come to the fundraiser on Saturday, August 2, 2008! Blue Jeans and BBQ, Camp Fire USA Portland Metro Council’s summer event, offers adults a day of kid’s camp experiences. Guests can test their marksmanship skills in archery and their agility on the climbing wall, paddle on the duck pond, walk the nature trail, toss horseshoes and enjoy arts and crafts – among many other camp activities. Everyone will enjoy a sumptuous BBQ dinner, the opportunity to bid on adventure auction packages, and the chance to explore the rich natural beauty of Camp Namanu (just outside Sandy, Oregon.) Please join us! Contact me at 503-224-7800 ext. 142 or joshin@portlandcampfire.org for ticket information. Camp Fire USA is a co-educational non-profit organization that builds caring, confident youth and future leaders. Since 1911, the Portland Metro Council has been an innovative leader in youth-led community service and proactive youth development. In 2007, Camp Fire youth volunteered more than 32,000 hours of service...

“Wine Personality” Quiz

Have fun taking the Mirassou® Winery unscientific “wine personality” quiz. Answer these questions to determine what your “wine personality” is, so you can choose the perfect wine for you and your guests! Are you a real sweetheart? Do you prefer sweet tastes over salty ones? Do you run circles around your friends because you’re so energetic? Are you constantly “on the go”? Do you spend most of your free time on the golf course? Do you tend to participate in sports rather than watching as a by-stander? Is your disposition a happy one? Do you “go with the flow”? Have you been described by some as being flexible or “mellow”? Are you a perfectionist, never letting go of a project until it’s completely perfect? Are you a “Type A” with extremely high standards for yourself and others? Are you a nature buff, one who’d rather be out hiking or fishing or out enjoying the natural world? Are you concerned for the environment? Are you a powerhouse in the workplace who is ready to meet any challenge and sometimes referred to as “adventurous”? Do you like to take risks, preferring to try things outside your comfort zone? If you answered yes to questions 1 or 2, you are a Riesling. If you answered yes to questions 3 or 4, you are a Sauvignon Blanc. If you answered yes to questions 5 or 6, you are a Pinot Grigio. If you answered yes to questions 7 or 8, you are a Chardonnay. If you answered yes to questions 9 or 10, you are a Pinot Noir. If you answered yes to...

Eco-Labels: Making Sense of It All

If you wish to leave a smaller eco-footprint by purchasing earth friendly products, the labeling used can put a quick stop to your journey if you are not careful. Here are a few tips/explanations I have found helpful in my quest to go green. Be wary of claims of “all natural”. While you may think you are purchasing a product that is organic, the word “Natural” on products is unregulated and often meaningless. The same goes for cruelty-free. There is no official definition and no organization to verify claims. Labels to look for: Processed food products can have different percentages of organic ingredients. If the label claims “100% Organic”, the product has 100% organic ingredients, the ultimate goal. If it is labeled “Organic”, the product is at least 95% organic. If it states “Made With Organic Ingredients”, at least 70% is made with organics. (The product will not carry the USDA organic seal.) A food alliance seal certifies farms for sustainable practices and fair working conditions. No genetically engineered crops are used. Salmon Safe. Businesses protect watersheds through natural pest control and management of run-off. Look for the logo on wines. Corporate and university campuses can also achieve certification. Fair Trade Certified. Democratically organized farmer organizations receive a guaranteed minimum floor price, do not use harmful agrochemicals, and have safe labor conditions. This is the symbol I look for most often to reduce my footprint on the earth. Look for the Green Seal on cleaners, skin care, paper products, paints and more to support companies with high environmental standards and reduced...

Queen’s Day in the Netherlands: One Crazy Birthday Party

Every April 30th in the Netherlands, the Antilles, and Aruba celebrate Koninginnedgag, or Queen’s Day. Originally a celebration of the Queen Juliana’s birthday, it is now mainly known for a raucous party and an open market where, for that one day in the year, anyone is allowed to sell literally anything they want in the streets. Mainly celebrated in Amsterdam, this unusual birthday party is a sight to behold. To add to the celebration, everyone is decked out in outlandish orange attire. The color orange refers to the name of the royal Dutch family, the House of Orange. There are orange colored foods and refreshments, orange decorations, and extreme amounts of orange clothing and creative accessories worn as well. Often the water in the fountains is dyed orange, and it is not an uncommon sight to see people impersonating the queen, usually not in a very flattering fashion. If you are of Dutch descent or just looking for a good reason to throw a party, we suggest celebrating Koninginnedag by having an orange décor and food theme. Start with the Days of Sunshine bouquet as an elegant and festive centerpiece. For food, the easiest route is our popular Spring Fling Tower. Tied up with an orange ribbon, the four towers hold an array of treats perfect for a party, including bright orange citrus jellies. Have...

10 Fun Facts About Man’s Best Friend

1. Dogs have been domesticated for about 12,000 years. 2. A dog’s sense of smell is about 1000 times better than a human’s. 3. Great Dane’s can eat up to 8 ½ pounds a day. 4. American spends more money on dog food than on baby food each year! 5. A dog’s mouth exerts 150-200 pounds of pressure per square inch, however, some dogs can exert up to 450 pounds per square inch. 6. An estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the U.S. have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owners will. 7. The Beatles song, “Martha My Dear”, was written by Paul McCartney about his sheepdog Martha. 8. The oldest age recorded for a dog is 29 years and 5 months. 9. The Bloodhound is the only animal whose evidence is admissible in an American court. 10. Between 35% and 45% of dog owners talk to their dogs on the phone or through the answering machine. (I have no problem in admitting that I have done this. More than...

Gourmet Quotes

This week I thought you might enjoy this collection of “gourmet” quotes. Some are pretty darn funny… “A gourmet meal without a glass of wine just seems tragic to me somehow.” Kathy Mattea “To be a gourmet you must start early, as you must begin riding early to be a good horseman. You must live in France; your father must have been a gourmet. Nothing in life must interest your but your stomach. With hands trembling, you must approach the meal about which you have worried all day and risk dying of a stroke if it isn’t perfect.” Ludwig Bemelmans, ‘La Bonne Table’ (1964) “Whenever I get married, I start buying Gourmet magazine.” Nora Ephron “A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.” James Beard “People predestined to gourmandism are in general of medium height; they have round or square faces, bright eyes, small foreheads, short noses, full lips and rounded chins…..People to whom Nature has denied the capacity for such enjoyment, on the other hand, have long faces, noses, and eyes; no matter what their height, they seem to have a general air of elongation about them. They have flat dark hair, and above all lack healthy weight; it is undoubtedly they who invented trousers, to hide their thin shanks.” Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) The Physiology of Taste. “For an artist to marry his model is as fatal as for a gourmet to marry his cook: the one gets no sittings, and the other gets no dinners.” Oscar...

Portland: City of Restaurants

When was the last time some cried to you, “I don’t know why, but I have a raving desire for award-winning Thai street food followed by a fresh Boccone Dolce. Do you want to go down the street for some grub?” In Portland, OR, land of the foodies, this is a reality. We live in a town practically busting at the seams with long-lived hotspots and enthusiastic newbie restaurateurs. I swear, one could go broke and gain fifty pounds within the course of a year just trying to keep up with it all. Weekly papers and magazines can hardly feature enough restaurants; I imagine their journalists typing furiously into the wee hours of the night just trying to keep a finger on the pulse. And in a pace that can only be described as a frenzy, restaurants consistently rise to the surface of the hype and linger for a year or more before making way for a new sensation. Take for instance, Sel Gris. I was fortunate enough to get an impromptu seat at the bar of this amazing urban restaurant in Ladd’s Addition. I was so impressed with the food that night that I bought gift certificates for all of my friends. This was in December and not one person has gone yet because they can’t get in! This place is so hot that a minimum of one week is required for reservations. But is well worth the wait. Some other fine dining favorites include Higgins, Beast, Andina, Toro Bravo, Paley’s Place, and Le Pigeon. But let us not forget about the amazing casual food Portland also offers....

Impress Your Date (or at least the waiter) When Tasting Wine

So you order wine at dinner, the waiter opens the bottle at the table and pours a bit into your glass. Now what. You need to at least look like you know what you are doing. When faking your way through something, it is best to keep it simple. Don’t over do it. Step #1: Smell. When a waiter presents you with your wine selection, you may be presented with the cork. You may smell the cork. Stay alert for wet cardboard or old beach towel smells. If present, don’t even bother with the next steps. Ask for a new bottle. Step #2: Observe. Pick up the glass by the stem–not the bowl. Holding the glass by the bowl hides the wine from view, fingerprints blur the color and the heat of your hand alters the wine’s temperature. Now tilt the glass and look through the rim. Observe the variation from the deepest part to its edges. Step #3: Swirl. You’ll want to swirl the wine in the glass. It is easiest if you rest the glass on the table and while holding the stem of the glass with the thumb and forefinger rotate at the wrist. Don’t get too carried away, you aren’t trying to create a mini tornado. Let it settle before moving on to the next step. Step #4: Sniff. There are a variety of techniques. The goal is to draw the aromas deep into the nose. I prefer one deep inhalation. I’ve seen some tasters close one nostril, sniff, then close the other and sniff again. That’s a bit overdoing it for me. It is...

April Celebrity Birthdays

As I was compiling information about this week’s blog, I stumbled across a “Celebrity Birthdays in April” website. While star gazing is not my favorite pastime, I couldn’t help but notice that the list of celebrities a) have big personalities b) are incredibly funny and c) many have checkered pasts. To name a few, I am talking about Jack Nicholson, Eddie Murphy, Robert Downy, Jr., Alec Baldwin, and Hugh Hefner. I am sure that those five men could have quite the party together… Don’t forget other April notables like David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and Jerry Seinfeld. Does this mean that you have to be born in April to be a comedian? It certainly indicates that you must be born in April to have your own late night talk show. Are your April-born friends dangerously funny? Adventurous? Impulsive? Be sure to let them know that they were born among legends and give them something fun and unusual like The Junk Food Basket or our Antique Replica Pub Game with...

I Am 278,050 Hours Old

I know what you are thinking: wow, that must mean that she is 1,000,983,461 seconds old as well. Simple math, right? No, it’s the handy work of a birthday calculator. With the simple input of your birthday, you will learn the famous people with whom you share your birthday (I share it with two Rockefellers and have new hope in discovering that I am also from old money). You can also learn more about your approximate date of conception, your lucky numbers, ruling planets, and how much water the candles on your next birthday cake can boil (scary!). Check it...

When in Paradise, a Trip to the Spa is a MUST!

Guest Blogger: Doug I recently returned from a long vacation in Hawaii. While there, the weather was, how shall we say…marginal at best. While looking around for something to do, I noticed that my hotel had recently added a spa. Curious, I ventured forth and made an appointment for a massage. It was the best money I spent during my entire trip! The masseuse was really very nice, and wasn’t too talkative or chatty. I never have found that relaxing (and I assume others don’t as well). I think the key to having a massage in a tropical climate is the native botanicals that are available in places like Hawaii. First, she sprayed me with a moisturizing spray that contained aloe and kukui nut extract. Not only did it smell good, but it immediately relaxed my skin and made the process fun. Then came the actual massage. The oil that she used had a light, but not invasive, floral tropical smell. Between each step, she covered my hands/feet etc. with a warm, moist towel to encourage my pores to open up and absorb the essential oils. I really think the hand massage was the best part. Working with a computer and a mouse all day long, this was sheer heaven. At each step, she briefly explained what product was being applied, and what it was made of. In addition, she told me what exactly it was for. For relaxing my muscles, removing toxins, or just because it plain old smells good. Next time you’re on vacation someplace tropical (or anywhere for that matter), check to see if your hotel...

Frog-Gone Bathtub Fun

When I found out my new grandson was getting a Kermit the frog themed bedroom, it didn’t take me long to figure out what to get him! The Little Froggy Bath Tote is cuter than a frog on a lily pad, and has all of the bath stuff he needs (including the cutest little froggy slippers). Add his name to the satin ribbon and ribbit-ribbit, we have an adorable gift for the baby...

Joy – My Favorite Gift

Joy Dingman, Customer Service Representative My current favorite Gift Tree gift is the Home Chic Home Tool Set for Her. This gift is Rock‘in! It comes in a really cute bag and has tools to MATCH. It comes with a 6 foot tape measure, retractable utility knife, adjustable pliers, scissors, double tipped screw driver, and a hammer. These are all things that I usually need when I don’t have a male around to help me, or they are lost in a MALE tool box. With these tools being in a fun cute bag & marked with cute patterns I will be able to find my tools and carry them with me where ever I go. This fun, useful gift is something I would purchase for any woman & for myself. I absolutely love...

Strange Pets

When people think of pets, they usually think of dogs and cats.  Maybe the occasional fish or bird.  I, however, have a family friend who owns a Hedgehog. Her name is Ruby and she is the cutest little thing. She has so much personality, loves to play and is even litter box trained. They’re not allowed to be kept as pets in some areas, so our friend had to do a little research before adopting her. I had another friend growing up who had Guinea Pigs. Now, those are some loud pets! I got to thinking about what other kinds of animals people keep as pets. I read that  having reptiles as pets has increased 22% since a 2006 survey, and today, 13.5 million Americas say that they have at least one reptile. That’s way too many for my comfort! So what about you? Do you own rats, mice, lizards or how about (my least favorite!) a tarantula? I’ve always been more of a traditionalist who prefers cats and dogs, but who knows, maybe this weekend I’ll go to the pet store and get a couple of Hermit...

Origin of Administrative Professionals’ Day

I’m a trivia freak and have always had a fascination with the origins of things. When I began looking for gifts to recommend for the upcoming Administrative Professionals’ Week during the week of April 21st, it got me thinking. Who came up with this holiday in the first place? Surely it must have been the brainchild of some unappreciated secretary from days of yore. Well, according to an article I found on Wikipedia, “National Secretaries Week was created in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young & Rubicam. His goal was to encourage more people to consider careers in the secretarial/administrative support field. Using his skill and experience in public relations, he promoted the values and importance of the job of administrative assistants. In doing so, he also created the holiday in recognition of the importance of administrative assistants. The name was changed to Professional Secretaries Week in 1981, and became Administrative Professionals Week in 2000 to encompass the expanding responsibilities and wide-ranging job titles of administrative support staff.” The article goes on to say that it is celebrated in the United States by “giving one’s assistant flowers, candy, small gifts, lunch at a restaurant, and time off.” Wow. An unofficial holiday created by a gentleman who recognized all of the work that the “secretary” did. Any day that is devoted to passing out candy, flowers and free lunch or time off is fine by...

What’s in a Name?

I know naming your baby is a huge deal, but can you believe there are consultants to help choose a name for your newborn? Yes it’s true. I’ve been reading some articles and people have spent anywhere from $50 to $500; Wow! There’s also quite a bit of software you can purchase. I found blogs, polls, phonetic searches, you name it, I found it. I remember my parents put a fish bowl down at the local hang out where they knew most everyone. People would write the name they liked and toss it in the fish bowl. When my Mom gave birth to one of my siblings they took out all of the names and whichever name was in the bowl the most was chosen. I guess that’s the old fashioned way. Congratulations Travis! 🙂 Most people are veering away from traditional family and biblical names. As a whole, the American population sways between trendy and spiritual names. Having and naming babies has become a very fashionable thing to do. Take Nevaeh for instance, this name is in the top 50 baby names. Guess what it means… It’s heaven spelled backwards. A lot of people will find a unique spelling when they decide on a traditional name. Like Ashlee or Karmen. Good thing we decided to offer engraved gifts! It’s got to be hard to personalize things these days with so many new names and variations of the old favorites. We have a ton of baby gifts that are just waiting to be personalized. So when your best friend is about to give birth and you don’t know what...
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