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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Wrinkle-Free Clothes to Go

August 10, 2016



Collar Perfect Compact Travel and Touch-up Iron


I tend to do a lot of long weekend getaways throughout the year. But firstly before I go any further let me just state that I HATE ironing and tend to mostly pack clothes that don’t require any ironing. However, since I have not yet mastered the art of packing by rolling my clothes up some things still end up getting wrinkled while en route to my destination.

Additionally – I am a bit of a germaphobe, so the idea of using random irons in hotels and/or rented homes/condos for the weekend does not appeal to me AT ALL! I’ve been the victim a number of times to burnt blouses and the ever-so-hated stained clothes as a result of the rusty water coming out of the provided irons.

After watching the video on our product page for this compact iron I was eager to try it out since it can be used for much more than just the collar. The bonus here for me was that it doesn’t require the use of water. It was also like nothing I’ve personally seen before, so I was even more excited to get my hands on it.


I predict that the Collar Perfect-Compact Travel and Touch-up Iron will be added to my list of traveling must-haves!

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The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: WANDERLUST

April 7, 2016

Instagram Challenge | Wanderlust | UncommonGoods

The next Instagram Challenge theme is Wanderlust. For some of us, Instagram might fuel our foodie fire, or it might challenge us to master an unshakable crow pose. But for those who have a chronic itch to experience the world, Instagram presents a whole new can of worms. While your go-to #TravelTuesday accounts might temporarily alleviate your wanderlust, we know that the only real solution is to get up and go. Now that the weather is heating up, it’s time to get moving!

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The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Kenneth Cooke

July 16, 2015

Kenneth Cooke, Drop Ship Lead

My hometown is…
Brooklyn, NY

I’m inspired by…

An uncommon fact about me…
I love cheese on my pancakes, waffles and French toast.

The word or phrase that best describes me…
Always on the go.

My guilty pleasure is…
Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

My favorite place to travel is…
Everywhere. I’ve been to 8 different countries and that number continues to grow each year.

Something that always calms me is…
A nice 3-5 mile run is always best.

When I’m not working…
I’m probably at home reading or out an about in NYC trying the endless supply of restaurants.

Favorite place to eat in NYC…
It’s safe to say that this Thai restaurant called National is where I frequent the most. I’m currently making my way through the whole menu. It’s located right across from the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

If I could try something once…
I would have to say swimming with sharks. I usually freak out when small fish swim by me, but I’m sure I could toughen up just one time.

Maker Stories

Around the World with Wendy Gold

July 15, 2015

Wendy Gold says that nothing made her happier as a child than a new box of crayons. While her preferred medium has changed, Wendy still feels her best when she’s working on something creative.

These days scissors, X-ACTO knives, foam brushes, glue, and finish have replaced crayons and she considers the world her canvas. Both literally and figuratively. Wendy creates beautiful maps and globes using repurposed vintage materials and water-based, environmentally-friendly finishes.

Wendy Gold | UncommonGoods

“Inspiration has come to me steadily throughout life, and I have been fortunate to be able to chase it,” Wendy says. She explains that as a teenager she “spent countless hours creating insanely intricate friendship bracelets, kaleidoscopes, and ceramic musical instruments,” and in college she made a headboard for her bed so big that she couldn’t get it out of her room when she moved out.

Though she says she’s chased inspiration, it seems that the inspiration for her decoupage maps found her, in a way, through a series of related events.

Bouquet by Wendy Gold | UncommonGoods

“In 2001, my husband went away on a fishing trip, and came back to find our dining room table covered with toilet seats,” Wendy recalls. “Yes, toilet seats. While he was gone, I had been making decoupage picture frames for holiday gifts, and when I took a bathroom break, inspiration struck. I went to the hardware store, bought some toilet seats and began decoupaging them immediately. My first business, Art de Toilette was born.”

Wendy's Tools

From there, Wendy went on to design a line of bathroom scale art, playing on the idea that people have a love/hate relationship when it comes to weighing in. But after a few years, she decided to take a break from decoupage.

“In 2007, when I got pregnant, I had to take a break from Art de Toilette because of the glues and finishes I had been using at the time,” she says. “After my daughter was born, I was looking for a canvas that would be more environmentally and physically friendly to work with. In 2010, I was at a local flea market and I saw the most beautiful vintage globe I had ever seen.”

That vintage globe was the start of Wendy’s work with miniature worlds. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes surreal, and always creative, each of Wendy’s pieces adds another level to the illustrated version of the Earth that we all became familiar with in grade school. Of course, since her materials are repurposed, many of these illustrations are out of date. By adding her artistic touch to these outdated depictions of our planet, she gives them a new life.

“I just love the aesthetic of things from eras past, and the idea of turning old, geographically inaccurate globes and maps into new, modern day worlds,” says Wendy, who frequents estate sales and flea markets for inspiration and materials.


Butterfly by Wendy Gold | UncommonGoods

Despite the inaccuracies hidden among the new worlds created in some of the maps, the pieces have no trouble drumming up a bit of wanderlust. Seasoned travelers looking to chart adventures don’t need to worry about about running across Czechoslovakia or the U.S.S.R., though, Wendy also makes the Personalized Wedding and Anniversary Pushpin Map with current information. So, whether you’re getting ready to pack your bags or you’re looking for an artful reminder that the world is full of beauty, Wendy’s maps are sure to send your imagination on a journey.

Pushpin Map | Wendy Gold

See Wendy Gold's Collection

Maker Stories

A Tale of Two Studios in London

May 12, 2014

A Tale of Two Studios: London | UncommonGoods_7115

If you knew me well, you would know that my absolutely favorite thing to do in life is to travel. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my beloved Brooklyn. But anytime vacation time rolls around, I’m the first one to hail a taxi straight to JFK –wide eyed, bushy tailed, and passport in hand. There’s nothing better than experiencing a new city,  a new language, new food, and a new culture.  My most recent destination of choice was London. (Okay, I wouldn’t exactly be experiencing a new language in London, but beautiful British accents have to count for something, right?) As I was planning out my itinerary — London Bridge. Get lost in the tube. Brick Lane thrift shopping. Enjoy a cuppa. Big Ben. Borough Market. Run into Kate and William. — I realized I still had a couple of free days to burn. I was traveling alone, so why not take advantage of the situation? I decided to do my second favorite thing ever: meet creative people.

A Tale of Two Studios in London

I sent out an email to our buying team asking if we worked with any interesting artists living in London in hopes of setting up a studio tour. When I received responses, I couldn’t ignore the fact that we worked with two different graphic designers who place their designs on tea towels and lived in London. The blog team brainstormed the idea that I should meet with both versus just meeting with one. One seven hour plane ride, two near-death experiences because I didn’t know which way to look while crossing the street, three “you’re on the wrong bus” moments, and one tightly squeezed tube ride later — I was finally sitting in a cafe with the two designers: Stuart Gardiner of Stuart Gardiner Design and Lahla Smart of The Food Guide.

This was the first time they met each other, and given the fact that they produce similar products, I do have to admit I was a bit nervous about how awkwardly this coffee rendezvous could have unfolded. Yet, with our lovely stroll near Walthamstow Central Station and chatting in-between our sips of coffee inside a quaint cafe, I would have to say it was such a success that I was this close in creating the hashtag #BritishTeaTowelDesignersUnite! A bit after our coffee and chat,  I visited Stuart’s studio first, and then ended my afternoon at Lahla’s. Lucky for me, their studios weren’t too far apart from each other — I promise I only had to ask for directions once.

Read what each artist believes sets their graphic designs apart from the next, their takes on switching roles from a graphic designer to a product developer, and their thoughts about living and running a business in London.  

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Give Us Direction

August 10, 2011

Crumpled City Map

Emmie said: “Great idea and reasonable price – most of my travel books/maps are damaged from the winds and rain and are useless after one vacation. GENIUS!”

Would a map of New York City make navigating the boroughs a breeze? Could you use a map of London on your next European adventure? Crumpled City Maps make bringing a map along easy. Since they’re made of a durable, waterproof, rip-resistant material, you can crumple them up and stick them in a pocket or pouch. If you agree with Emmie and think this idea is genius, find your way to our community voting app and share your feedback!

Gift Guides

Top 10 Gifts for the Adventurous Dad

June 16, 2011

The adventurous dad is always on the lookout for a new path to travel, a grand site to see or an innovative new idea to make a reality. No doubt, as the child of an adventurous dad, you’re always on the lookout for bold gifts he’ll love. Father’s Day is just a few days away, but order today with our flat rate Express Shipping and your gift will reach Dad by June 19.

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.
We’re glad to share a few of our favorite gifts for dads with audacity. UncommonGoods Founder, Dave, is an adventurous dad himself. Whether it’s camping or climbing, Dave loves making adventure a family affair.

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