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A Day at the Beach

June 25, 2013

Warm sun, waves crashing on the shore, that coconut-y smell of sunscreen. Is there anything better than a day at the beach? Nope. Nothing.

I can’t wait for a few relaxing beach days this summer. Here are a few things on my beach wish list this year…

01. Beach Ball Roundy Towel. Guys, this over-sized towel is made to carry! It has a sturdy strap that allows you to pick it up and swing it over your shoulder. Think of all the free space you’ll have in your tote bag now… and a lot less sand.

02. Upcycled Mail Sack iPad Case. Admit it. You totally bring your iPad to the beach. No? Just me? Well maybe you would if you had this awesome case, think about it.

03. Custom Map Tote Bag. Tote bags are a beach must-have. This one has a ton of pockets and space, plus I absolutely love the authentic nautical chart.

04. Custom Beach Stacking Rings. I always want to wear jewelry at the beach, but none of my day-to-day accessories quite fit. These rings are perfect. They feature granules gathered from over 1,000 shorelines around the world. Wow, love.

05. Beach Sounds Portable Speaker. A day at the beach just isn’t complete without the right soundtrack. Plug in your iPhone, strap it safely inside, and you’re ready for a beach dance party.

06. Bamboo Sunglasses. I’m all about the bamboo sunglasses this summer. They’re so lightweight and durable. Perfect for the beach.

07. Beach Chess and Checkers. Playing checkers on the beach sounds so relaxing after a long day of swimming, don’t you think?

08. Sprocket Rocket Camera. I take photos everywhere I go… with my iPhone. I’d love to take this camera to the beach to capture some photos the old fashioned way.

Are you planning on spending some time at the beach this summer? What’s on your beach wish list?

Gift Guides

Summer Must Haves

June 14, 2013

This time of year is all about relaxing, having fun, and enjoying the little things. Summer officially begins June 21st. Are you ready? My summer wish list is FULL of items to maximize my summer fun. I just can’t begin this delightful season without these (arguably) crucial items…

Here are my top 10 picks for summertime:

01. Bamboo Sunglasses. Eco-friendly, teal, and super cute? Sold.

02. Succulent Wall Planter Kit. Succulents are huge this summer. Create a display indoors or out with this planter kit. P.S. you can use it as a gorgeous centerpiece OR hang it on the wall. LOVE.

03. Mini Ice Cream Sandwich Press. Enough said, right? How cute are these mini ice cream sandwiches?!

04. Diana Camera. Create soft and dreamy photos of your summer adventures. My #1 summer pick for sure.

05. Perfect Pops. This book has 50 party-ready recipes, from banana malted milkshake to prosecco rose petal pops. I might need to make all of them…

06. The American Cocktail. This is the ultimate guide to American cocktails, featuring over 50 classic and contemporary drink recipes from across the U.S. Check out this free recipe for a southern cocktail that’s sure to please in the summertime!

07. Twiddle White Pitcher. You know, for all those cocktails… or lemonade. This pitcher would also make a gorgeous vase for your favorite long-stemmed flowers.

08. Bicycle Glasses. These little guys just say summer, don’t you think?

09. Love at First Swing Hammock. This hammock is hand-woven from 3.2 miles of soft, vibrant, and weather-resistant cord, which basically means it’s unbelievably comfortable. Let the summer relaxing begin!

10. Magpie Hopscotch. Hopscotch stones for your garden! Genius.

What are some of your must-haves this summer?

The Uncommon Life

Wedding Week 2013

May 20, 2013

You made last year’s Wedding Week so exciting and gosh darn fun we had to do it again! We asked our favorite wedding blog, The Knot, and new magazine Southern Weddings to put together collections of their favorite wedding gifts. We also pulled together some great wedding-themed blog posts to get you excited this wedding season.

Home Accessories buyer Katie gives some tips for creating your wedding registry. And she should know, she just got engaged!

Meet Tavia, one of our newest artists who takes a truly uncommon approach to a traditional wedding band.

You have all these great new place settings but what now? Take some tips from a Martha Stewart-wannabe on what to do and what not to do while setting your next dinner party.

UncommonGoods Tabletop Buyer and newlywed (and self-proclaimed kitchen rookie) Candace shares her top 10 favorite kitchen gadgets.

Still want more? Our copywriter Nathan demystifies wedding traditions in our Uncommon Knowledge series.

Gift Guides

How to Create Your Dream Wedding Registry

May 20, 2013

Not to sound overly girlie or cliché, but getting engaged was absolutely one of the happiest, most blissful moments (weekends) of my life. And sure, now five months later I am entirely wrapped up in comparing caterers and photographers and yes trying on many, many white dresses and making many, many decisions (who knew there were so many decisions to make?). It’s been a total blast. As it turns out, I love planning! Now, that’s not to say I haven’t had my moments – total emotional breakdowns/spazz moments … I am somewhat comforted to know that I have found this to be a shared experience among just about all my engaged/married friends. (This is a highly emotional time, people!) but I am getting better at thinking big picture and turning any moments of stress into excitement. I think by the time our wedding date rolls around, I’ll have this down to a science. Until then: lots of deep breaths, long runs and on certain nights: copious amounts of wine.

Katie’s Uncommon Registry board on Pinterest

As for some of those details – while we are taking some liberties with certain “traditions”, building a registry was one of the most fun projects I have worked on during this flurry of planning – and we approached this in a somewhat traditional sense – all while infusing our personalities into it from bottom to top. I have been to enough weddings in the past 2-3 years to see several approaches to registries, and being in the retail business and overall a product-passionate person, I am at somewhat of an advantage as to knowing what is in the competitive landscape for products. Here are some tips of the trade and from my experience that might be useful for anyone who is just getting started in this:

(1.) SET UP MORE THAN ONE REGISTRY:
We tried a few different approaches, and in the end, we chose to register with four different sites. We wanted to make sure we gathered the best products from the best sources to match our taste and needs, rather than trying to retro-fit into one or two retailers who might not have exactly what we wanted. Not to mention, a lot of traditional retailers don’t carry the really unique, wow items to add personality into your home. I also really love when my friends register at a few different places, so that I can mix and match gifts and price points to give them what feels like a cohesive package of goodies.

The first place we registered with was the service Knack. We used this to pull in items from sites that did not have their own registry or if there were not enough items on the site to rationalize an entire registry. I had used Knack for friends’ registries and found it exciting to see items aggregated from funky, smaller stores. I liked that it opened up the market for registering outside of traditional retailers, but the checkout process was somewhat laborious to use. (E.g.: to purchase an item, you click into the item page from the main registry page, select “Buy Now” – which then takes you to the separate retailer site to purchase. Once you purchase it through the other retailer (and have to enter in all address information, etc), then you have to click back to Knack to tell the service you purchased it. Not the easiest, I did not check out correctly the first time I used it and I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy person! After imagining some of the less tech-savvy folks in our life trying to use this service, I decided to break out what I could onto separate, more traditional registry sites.



Your wedding registry is an opportunity to show off your style and point to the “wow” items you’re dreaming of.

(2.) ASK FOR HELP!
After building out registries which solved for pots and pans, plates and cups, coffee makers and cookbooks, I thought I had thought of everything. Well, thankfully, I sent our registry links around to my mom, sister-in-law, and my fiancé’s mom. Definitely ask around, while there are tons of wedding planning books and websites, I found getting advice from the people who know us best to be the most helpful. They knew we didn’t need overly ornate plates or silver serving pieces, but they also jumped on the fact that I had missed sheets and towels and silverware.

(3.) MAKE SURE TO GET YOUR PARTNER’S SIGN OFF
Building the registry was something I decided to take on and consult with my partner after I was more or less finished. I built out the above described registries, added the links to our wedding website, and before I knew it our family and friends were jumping on items as engagement gifts. (What a lovely surprise!) Luckily, my fiancé and I definitely share a similar taste level and aesthetic so I was not too far off. However, once I saw people starting to buy items, I decided I ought to run the registries by my fiancé. The process of editing was funny, while I tried to pretty much stick to the essentials, I may have tried to slide in a few decorative accents that he quickly and swiftly gave the axe (a handmade bell, Katie, really??). So, make sure you are BOTH on the same page to avoid glares from your one and only after the wedding.

Overall, building a registry is a super fun project; I think this is because it allows you to start picturing what this next phase of our life might look like. Sure, we have lived together for going on 4 years now and have stocked cabinets, but our kitchen is largely a patchwork style collection of cast off odds and ends from our moms’ kitchens (happy to clean out their pantries), plates we picked up from the free shop at a oft-visited dump in New Hampshire, and–most notably–our collection of pots and pans from a particularly successful yard sale day. For two people who love to cook and entertain, curating a collection of items to use on a daily basis was an exciting foray into – dare I say – true adulthood. Because really, I think it’s when you own your first Cuisinart that you can call yourself an adult. But it was during the selection of goods that I realized we could hand pick the items that we would use not only to use to heat up soup on a typical Monday night of netflix-marathon watching, but to make our home with, to serve holiday dinners with our families, and in someway, to define who we are as a couple and how we want to make our home. That being said, I believe our kitchen, and our home will always be a patchwork of odds and ends, but at least now we might have matching tops to all our pots and a functioning coffee maker!

My biggest words of advice: Make it about who you are as a couple. If you never bake, don’t register for bake ware; if you aren’t the formal type, register for some high quality, but funkier versions of things – everyone needs plates to eat off of, you don’t need to go for the super expensive kind if they don’t suit your lifestyle. The rules have changed a lot, embrace the freedom to build your home together and have fun with it. When in doubt, consult your family and friends for help, they will love it!

Get your registry started at UncommonGoods!

Gift Guides

10 Gadgets That Every Kitchen Needs

May 20, 2013

I am a newlywed (1 month on the 27th) and when going to register I thought that I wouldn’t really need much. I mean I have lived in NYC for 13 years so I have acquired lots of stuff. I’m not much of a cook… I guess I was spoiled by my mother who had an amazing dinner almost every night for us, and a new hubby that seems to have more energy than me at the end of the day. I know, a little ironic since I’m the tabletop buyer. And I live in NYC which means space is limited.

But… THERE IS SO MUCH GREAT STUFF OUT THERE! Get rid of the clutter and ask for new kitchen tools that are well designed, efficient, not difficult to use and functional. Here are some items from the UncommonGoods that every kitchen needs and even make me want to help out more.

This apron is perfect for people like me that don’t cook enough to remember how long I should steam those carrots and too tired at the end of the day to remember how many pints are in a cup. Apron is much better to put your dirty hands on rather than an expensive smart phone!

Again, I live in NYC which equals NO SPACE. This is the perfect! It folds up neatly into your utensil drawer. I mean what kitchen doesn’t need scale… weighing food or other things like a toy fox terrier (mine is only 5 lbs).

I am so appreciative of my lovely new husband. He helps so much. That being said, it completely grosses me out to use the gross older counter sponge when washing the dishes. That is why we have two sponges… Spongester keeps things straight.

Modern and lovely! We have started composting since we have started juicing. So much great compost material! This is a sleek way for any home to compost, concealing unsightly mess and odors.

Flavors of America Salt Collection takes my taste buds around the US. It is attractive display and the test tubes are reusable. Sold!

Once again, NYC space constraints… 10 bar tools in one… ’nuff said. (I like my cocktails fancy so the channel/zester tool is my favorite.)

I adore the Horseshoe Heart Trivet. It brings me back to my Texas roots a little, and you never really realize how much you need a trivet until you don’t have one. This one is perfect. The design is cool and has well thought function, the craftsmanship is outstanding, it is handmade in the USA, and it is good luck (horseshoe) and reminds you of love (heart) and/or your childhood in ‘fill in the blank’. You can leave it out as a functional décor piece, or it can even moonlight as a spoon rest. So great!

I have a sweet tooth but I try to stay as healthy as possible. I use honey in my tea, on toast, on cereal, with brie… the list goes on. This is a really beautiful container to keep honey out and at arms’ reach at all times. It fits perfectly with our décor as well; modern minimalist meets artsy and slightly shabby chic.

First, polar bears are cute. Second, I just hate when my ice smells like everything else in the freezer, problem solved with the Polar Bear Ice Tray by Black & Blum. Third, it is inevitable that I will not be able to get all the ice out of the tray then I turn it upside down to shake out and it falls on the floor. Ice tray fail! BUT problem solved with the Polar Bear Ice Tray.

The Wine and Beverage Tote holds an ENTIRE BOTTLE of wine. In the summer I love to sit in the park, on the beach, camp, etc. and the Wine and Beverage Tote HOLDS AN ENTIRE BOTTLE OF WINE… ’nuff said.

Get your registry started at UncommonGoods!