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Gift Guides

Four Elements Mood Board: Air

April 15, 2014

Four Elements Mood Board: Air | UncommonGoods

Illusion Vase / Sterling Silver Dandelion Cuff / Glass Raindrop Mobile / Queen Anne Porcelain Dishware Collection / Spring Cloud by Betsy Walton / Floating Feathers Shower Curtain / Raw Gemstone Earrings

For this collection of items inspired by air, I wanted to find UncommonGoods designs that evoke the movement of wind and the tranquility of the sky. We aren’t always aware of the air around us but when we’re stroked by a gust of wind or blow on a ripe dandelion, we can see and feel the presence of this natural element.

These home and personal accessories are designs that remind me of our atmosphere and give us a bird’s-eye view of this beautiful element.

Check out another collection of jewelry and decor inspired by the Earth.

Maker Stories

The Art of Meditation: Jayne Riew’s Temporary Canvas

March 28, 2014

Jayne Riew Maker Story | UncommonGoodsWith a background in literature and painting, artist Jayne Riew was always inspired by the combination of words and images, along with the connection between art and psychology. “For me, art is most compelling when it offers greater self-awareness,” says Jayne, explaining her process of creating pieces that people can turn to when they need help. “Sometimes when we wrestle with unwanted thoughts or tough emotions, language fails us.”

The Meditation Box’s temporary canvas of shifting sand provides a private place to confront these feelings; “no one—including yourself—will ever see it again, so why not scrawl out a mantra, confess something to yourself, or even draw the face of someone you wish you could see?” Once you get all of that mental clutter out of your system, you can simply shake the box, close the lid, and walk away.

Jayne created the prototype of the Meditation Box for a friend who admitted that she found it difficult to unplug at night, losing hours of would-be sleep to her laptop. In response, Jayne created her first box as a way for her friend to lighten her mental load at the end of the day. The laptop size felt familiar, while the layer of sand within gave her a space to be alone with her thoughts.

Meditation Box | Jayne Riew Maker Story | UncommonGoodsRecognizing the design’s versatility, Jayne also gifted it to a friend who lost a spouse. He uses the space to write what he would say to her if she were there. When Jayne apologized for the limited space, he pointed out that all the really important things one human needs to communicate to another can be offered in five words or less.

Living with her family in New York City, Jayne uses her own design as a declarative space to help her sort through seemingly never ending busywork, making even a simple to-do list a motivational affirmation. “I’ve actually been able to combat procrastination just by avowing something to myself in writing at the beginning of each day. When you declare things in writing, you see them outside of your mind. Sure, I could write it down on a piece of paper, but the strangeness of the form and the opportunity for play makes me pay attention and remember.”

The Uncommon Life

6 Heatmaps: Beer Guzzlers, Baby Makers, Hipsters & More!

August 16, 2013

Bryan, our Business and Analytics Associate (aka the guy who’s computer screen always looks like The Matrix to most of us) recently stumbled upon a Gothamist article  regarding Yelp creating a hipster heat map. (Yes. You read that right. A map tracking hipsters. You probably haven’t heard of it.) It’s a map where a digital inkblot pops up and becomes deeper in color on a certain location where reviewers would mention the word “hipster.” Williamsburg was, of course, the deepest and biggest blob Yelp found. But to their surprise, there was a pretty hefty dot on 28th and Broadway, not the most hipster-esque place one would think of. To see if he’d run into any surprises himself,  Bryan decided to have a little fun and create his very own UncommonGoods heat maps using items purchases in select product categories. The topics he touched on were baby makers (baby), beer guzzlers (beer), lovely newlyweds (wedding gifts), and of course he wasn’t about to skip the holy hipsters (hipster).

BEER GUZZLERS: Beer products for our beer lovers.

It’s no surprise that Hoboken and Turtle Bay are full of dudes (and dudettes) who love to chug the brew. They’re prime places for up-and-comers in the business world to start their commute to the financial district. Who doesn’t need a cold one after a long day in finance?


Fargo-Moorhead is also home to a bunch of beer lovers. We figure the extreme temperatures in NoDak and MN are to blame. Hot in the summer? Cool off with a frosty mug of ice cold beer. Freezing in the winter? Enjoy the magical warming properties of alcohol.


LOVELY NEWLYWEDS: Wedding gifts for the lovebirds out there.

Philly sure knows how to put a ring on it. The city of Brotherly Love has couples falling in love left and right.


BABY MAKERS: Baby gifts for the lil’ ones.

San Francisco: the land of love, or just a whole lotta lovin’?

baby makin 3

For all its remoteness, there’s a lot of baby makin’ (or gift-buying) going on in North Pole, Alaska.


 HOLY HIPSTERS: Gifts bought under our “hipster gifts” category. 

Williamsburg loses the hipster crown and hands it over to the Fort Greene & Park Slope area. Want to tell them or shall we?




This post was, appropriately, written by Emily (an “I’m not a hipster” hipster), Bryan (a newlywed), and Cassie (a beer lover originally from Fargo-Moorhead.)

Gift Guides

Melissa’s Game Night: Rollick!

February 18, 2013

Welcome back! This edition of Game Night actually features a get-together I had a while back. (As you can see from the shorts. One plus, though, now I’m in the mood for some warmer weather!)

I was looking through old photos, and realized that I had a hilarious photo shoot of my friends and myself trying out the game Rollick! that we brought into the assortment this past summer.

This game is like a backwards version of charades – instead of one person acting out each clue, you divide up into teams and act out the clue as a group. Being the rebels we are, we didn’t actually follow the rules, and instead nominated 2 people per card to get up in front of the group and make fools of themselves (the boys were particularly good at this).

My sister and I had a particularly special moment where we tried (relatively unsuccessfully) to act out what a magic carpet ride would look like – we eventually got people to guess it when we cheated and hummed the song from Disney’s Aladdin, and then she jumped into my arms at the end.

The gameplay was definitely hilarious and highly interactive – we were giggling (ok, more like rolling with laughter on the ground) the entire time, and even though we didn’t play by the rules or even keep score, we still managed to get competitive over who was the best actor. Hint: it was not me.

I think this is a great game for a span of ages – it is something that the young and the old can get involved in together, and I can see this being great for a family game night.

I’ve had a few game nights since, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share this one with you, so stay tuned for those posts to come! I am always playing the games that I’m considering bringing into the assortment, as well as sometimes grabbing the ones we already have on site, so please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if there is any particular game you want to see played.

Till next time, kids!

Check out more of Melissa’s Game Nights to see her play Kwizniac and ZinZig!

The Uncommon Life

Ping Pong Pop Culture

December 14, 2012

Imagine England in the 1880s – unpaved streets, horse-drawn carriages and all. That, my friends, was the setting for the creation of the beloved and time-honored game (sport!) of Ping Pong. Since then, Ping Pong has traveled the globe, become an Olympic sport, and not surprisingly made a few cameos in popular culture. How many of these Ping Pong guest spots do you remember?


Pong, America’s #1 game of the 1970s, came complete with an advanced display of white lines for paddles and a blip for the ball. But don’t let that sophistication fool you. Pong is one tough video game to crack. Even pro tennis player, Andy Roddick, was given a run for this money against Pong.


Forrest Gump
While life may be like a box of chocolates, it’s with his Ping Pong serve that you never know what you’re going to get. Forrest Gump was a natural, “like a regular duck in water (whatever that means).”


NBA Draft
Americans have been testing their luck every weeknight one local lotteries pulled on numbers ping-pong balls. And since 1985, the NBA has used these tiny spheres of celluloid to determine the fate of team line-ups.


Balls of Fury
Instead of a cameo, the game got a starring role in Balls of Fury, a coming of age story about a boy, who seeks justice through overly dramatized Ping Pong matches. As Master Wong says, “Welcome to the underbelly of Ping Pong, where fortunes are won and lost. I’m exaggerating, of course, but you get my point.”


Pong (the other kind)
Another time honored tradition, perhaps the most minimalist and interesting adaptation to the game, involves nothing more than the Ping Pong ball (and some cups, of course). This variation tests true dexterity and hand-eye coordination. But for some reason in this game, the longer you play doesn’t necessarily mean an improvement in skill.


Celebrities have taken to the beloved game. (In fact, there is a website dedicated to this fact.) Even the Fab 4, tried their hand at Ping Pong. Yes, the facial expressions do make one’s returns more accurate.


Night Clubs
Yes, you read that right! Ping Pong social clubs are popping up in major cities across the country. You can reserve your own table and make new friends over a little friendly competition.

For those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to live near, such an establishment as avant-garde as the Ping Pong social club, don’t fret! You can create your own friendly competition in the comfort of your own home with a Portable Ping Pong Set.

May the serve be with you! Let the serves ever be in your favor! (That concludes my attempt at movie puns.)

Gift Guides

Wedding Decor Picks from Maggie of Rustic Wedding Chic

June 8, 2012

As the founder and editor of Rustic Wedding Chic I constantly hear from brides who are looking for fun, upbeat and unique items to add into their wedding decor. Trying to find the best wedding decor items is no easy task which is why I took the time to collect a few of my favorite uncommon wedding goods.

Squirelly Love
Perfect for a cake topper for a rustic wedding or I think this cute little item would look great on the head table or your sweetheart table right in front of you and your new spouse.

Ceramic Love Vase
A perfect vase to have on your special tables such as your cake table, guestbook table or line a few up along the place card display.

Bucket of Joy & Love
The name says it all. On your wedding day you should be filled with joy and love so why not showcase how you feel with these cute vases which would be really cute carried by your flower girls.

Family Tree Picture Frame
A wedding is all about merging two families together so why not showoff your new family tree. This would be really cute displayed for your guest to see as they eneter your wedding reception.

USA Scratch Map
How great would it be to have this fun map up next to your guestbook with a little sign that ask your guest to scratch off the state where they are from. This would be a fun way to see where all of your guest have travel from.

Another great looking wood sculpture that could easily be used as a cake topper or just fun to have around on your wedding tables. This item would be super cute located close to welcome signs.

Mango Wood Bowl with Bark
The wood bowl makes for the perfect place to display items at your wedding. I used a similar style bowl to hold personalized napkins at my wedding or this would be a great ring bearer bowl.

State Pillows
Showcase the state where you and your spouse come from by displaying these state pillows at your wedding. At my own wedding I had a CT pillow placed on my chair and a NH pillow placed on my husband chair at our wedding reception.

Sustainable Picnic Plates & Cups
Having an outdoor wedding or rehearsal dinner often means searching for cute paper dining products. These picnic plates are super cute and eco-friendly.

Calla Lilly Drinkware Set
Add some wildflowers to this pitcher and drinking glass set and you have an instant country chic wedding decor item.

Moss Terrarium Bottle
If you are searching for a unique centerpiece idea look no further then these moss terrariums. These bring not only a very tranquil feeling to your table but they bring an eco-friendly feel as well.

Place Card Stamp
Part DIY, part pre-made this place card stamp is the perfect project for a rustic bride. Pick out some great recycled paper or shipping tags and stamp away.

Gift Guides

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Guys

January 18, 2012

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and while chocolates and flowers are nice, we know that some fellas would probably prefer valentines that can’t be devoured and won’t wilt in a few days. These great gifts for guys are uncommon ways to show the special man in your life just how lovable he is.

Custom Map Cufflinks
If there’s a place close to his heart, you can help him wear it on his sleeve. Whether it’s the place you first met, a landmark where you shared a romantic moment, or another special location, these custom map cufflinks are an elegant gift with a personal touch.

Titanium Multi-tool Collar Stays
Perfect for the dashing gentleman, who isn’t afraid to use his hands, Titanium Multi-tool Collar Stays each feature a half-phillips screwdriver, a slotted screwdriver, a thread cutter, and a bottle opener. Thanks to these sleek little gadgets, your Mr. Fix-it doesn’t have to sacrifice style.

Ball Park Color Top Pens
Maybe you’ve had a great times at a ballgames together, or maybe he’s just a huge fan of a certain team. Either way, this gift is sure to be a home run. Made from the wood from salvaged stadium seats, these pens are officially licensed Major League Baseball collectibles. Each also includes a certificate of authenticity.

The Buck Stops Here Money Clip
Cash might not be a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, but a stylish way to stash that cash is definitely acceptable. Featuring a vintage 1984 twenty-cent commemorative stamp, this money clip tells him that your search for your one-and-only is over. The buck has stopped, and your relationship is right on the money.

Seven Deadly Sins Shot Glasses
Maybe he’s a bad boy, and you’re okay with that. Giving him this set of seven sinfully delightful shot glasses tells him that you like his wild side.

Cast Iron Tool Bottle Openers
Although they look and feel like the real deal, these cast iron tools are actually hand-forged bottle openers. If your guy is handy with a hammer, ready with a wrench, or prepared with pliers, let him know you appreciate his DIY home repairs and can-do attitude with a tool he can use as he kicks back and relaxes while enjoying a bottle of his favorite beverage.

Wood Tie
He has everything you look for in a partner. A sense of humor, great style, and he isn’t afraid to be a little different. Sure, silk ties are nice, but a wood tie is a way to show him that you really do like his uncommon look.

Fire Hose Wallet
Made from retired fire hoses, these sturdy wallets are a clever way to show your guy that he’s your hero.

Frog Prince Paperweight
You knew that one day your prince would come. Now that he has, you can thank him for giving you your very own storybook ending with this pewter paperweight. Of course, your Prince Charming wears many hats–so why shouldn’t he have fun changing the crown on his?

Pick Punch
You could give him a gift card…OR you could give him a device to help him actually use the leftover plastic when he’s spent the gift cards he got for Christmas. The Pick Punch® cuts functional guitar picks from credit cards, gift cards, and similar sheets of thin plastic, so it’s a great way to show your Valentine that he rocks.

Looking for more gift ideas for the ones you love? Check out our Top 10 Gifts for Husbands, Gifts for Boyfriends, Gifts for Wives, and Gifts for Girlfriends.

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