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Gift Analysis: The Urban Foodie

June 29, 2010

If you’re brainstorming a birthday gift for a foodie, I strongly recommend squashing the urge to take them out to dinner. But they live for foie gras! I hear you. If they’re anything like my brother–a seasoned eater who fist-bumps up-and-coming chefs on a weekly basis (I’m looking at you, Marc Forgione)–chances are they’ve been there, tasted that. They’re the original picky eaters. How many times have they shooed away an entree, waving it back to a restaurant’s kitchen as you nervously twitch towards the water boy? If you’re quietly counting, they pass the taste test.

A foodie, not unlike a bargain hunter, lives for the thrill of discovery. Hand them what they didn’t hunt on a silver platter, and half the flavor’s gone–figuratively speaking. Unless you’re treating them to a five course tasting menu, here’s an idea for an unexpected gift: the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit. Your wallet–and five-star friend–will thank you.

Mobile Foodie Kit

This little pack gets so many things right: It’s portable, chic and chock full of organic spices. A case of bland chicken? Shake a leg with garlic powder! Wimpy hot wings? Tabasco to the rescue! Sandwich falls flat? Salt, pepper and basil–stat! How do they love you? Let them count the herbs, spices and ways you’ll make their day.

I gifted this at a pub gathering two weeks ago. Sitting at a sticky table of friends glued to the screen of a World Cup game, pints and painted faces cresting with anticipation, I tapped Chris on the shoulder and handed over the tin. His eyes scanned: Mobile. Foodie. Survival. And before he read another line his fingers broke into the tin like a third grade birthday boy. “Powdered ginger! Wasabi! Onion powder, ooh.” The tinkering continued, and I left, satisfied that my gift was cool enough to tear him from a high-stakes soccer game. Mission accomplished.

Gift Guides

The Gnome-Be-Gone Family

June 21, 2010

Four years ago I was at my boyfriend Tyler’s graduation party and saw two freaky creatures peeking out from behind the pool and carrying away a gnome.  They were attention grabbers to say the least.

gnome

The clan continued to grow over the years (thanks to Tyler’s brother Josh who bought them every year for his mother). And in time I learned where those gnome-carriers came from, found them endearing and was dying to work for UncommonGoods.

While at UG, I got to know more about the Utah-based artist Fred Conlon and saw tons of his new and quirky products come to life.  Fred’s latest addtion, Mow-Bot, is now gracing the cover of the current catalog. While I love the cute  metal robot, my heart belongs to those initial little goblins that got so many people to become repeat customers and lifelong fans of the company that is anything but ordinary.

gnome3
gnome2
Gift Guides

Wedding Picks for Young Chicks

June 18, 2010

Three months ago, my college roomate called with the news that she was engaged. Tears! Two months ago, my little sister got engaged while visiting me in NYC. Heart attack!

While I’m thrilled for the both of them, all this matrimonial bliss made me realize the terrifying truth about myself — I’m grown up! Well, on paper at least. I don’t feel old enough to get married, let alone be a maid-of-honor or arrange a bridal shower. But I think that’s because of what I associate these events with — crystal and stemware and table settings, oh my! While my friends and family members may be settling down, traditional weddings and conventional wedding gifts are a thing of the past (unless we’re talking cash — cash is timeless).

Wedding these days are in warehouses and fields, not chapels and temples. My 22-year-old sister doesn’t want a butter dish. And my best friend certainly has no use for candle sticks. They want items to jazz up their apartments (yep — no picket fences for us twenty-something city dwellers) or just to make life easier. And let’s get real, I can’t afford crystal candle sticks anyway! Therefore, I present to you : Joanna’s wedding gift picks for young chicks:

For the organizer: dusty chalkboards

chalkboard

For the pizza partners: scizza scissors

scissors

For the multi-tasker: ooma bowls

bowl

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Gift Guides

Happy National Ice Tea Day!

June 10, 2010
Happy Hour Carafe

Apparently, June 10 is National Ice Tea Day! Fine by me, I luuuuuuuv me some ice tea.

My personal favorites are just plain ol’ sun tea (which is a 1,000 times better than any other kind of ice tea), sweet tea made with tons of sugar (as my Kentucky boyfriend tells me, you must,  absolutely must pour the sugar into the water while it is hot, don’t just dump it in at the end – it is not the same!). Iced peppermint tea is super refreshing and reminds me of being at a fancy  spa or salon. And I also love Arnold Palmers, which are half ice tea/half lemonade, and very, very tasty.

And let us not forget, presentation is everything!  For a simple and elegant (not to mention practical), go with the Happy Hour Carafe (pictured above). It’s double-walled insulation will keep tasty teas nice and cold – and you won’t get a sweaty bottle! The cap also doubles as a cup. I can imagine myself lounging poolside in Miami sipping iced tea out of my elegant carafe, being fanned by servants, ordering sorbet from my personal waiter…did I also mention I’m a millionaire in this fantasy?

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Gift Guides

Tour de Style

May 19, 2010

In honor of bike week, we rounded up some of our favorite gifts for cycling enthusiasts. Happy biking!

Bike Gifts

Starting at the top, from left to right: If Mode bike, $2200; recycled bike chain frame, $32; bear and cow seat covers, $20; map of the world water bottle, $18; recycled bike tube Night Out card case, $15; recycled bike chain bottle opener, $9 ; bicycle tie, $35 ; recycled bike gear clock, $76 ; recycled bike tire belt, $30 ; NYC skyline leg bands for biking, $22; walk and ride organic cotton babysuits, $25; recycled bike chain bowl, $63.50; recycled bike tube Queen Anne wallet, $58 ; Strida bike, $800; recycled bike chain lizard keyring, $18.

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