Browsing Tag

valentine’s day gifts

The Uncommon Life

Fold, Fill, & Feast: How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies

January 29, 2016

Homemade Fortune Cookies | UncommonGoods

Since teaming up with our friends at Mental_Floss last year to produce printable, trivia-packed party kits, we have had lots of fun introducing download-it-yourself gift tags, cheese tags, and holiday cards, available to you for FREE! For Valentine’s Day, we took this DIY assortment to the next level with Printable Valentine’s Day Fortune Cookies.

The concept is sweet and simple: You print the cookie shapes and fortune strips, follow the included instructions for origami-style folding and filling, and add a dab of glue to finish. The download is complete with four pre-written fortunes that range from romantic to racy, and four blank strips for you to fill in a message for your Valentine.

Printable Valentine's Day Fortune Cookies | UncommonGoods

Given that I generally view the world through my stomach, it didn’t take long before I decided that homemade fortune cookies would be part of my immediate future.

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Gift Guides

Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Perfect Date Night

January 22, 2016

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air. Speaking of mushy cliches, your Valentine’s plans don’t have to be full of them. Show your special someone that you’re up for anything with these gift picks for the perfect uncommon date.

Creative Valentine's Day Gift Ideas | UncommonGoods

Perfect Picnic 

A romantic picnic in the park (or on the living room floor, if February doesn’t quite provide park weather in your neck of the woods) is a great way to avoid crowded restaurants and get in a little one-on-one time.

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The Uncommon Life

Love Songs We Love

February 14, 2012

I love a good love song. I’ll admit I always get a sappy grin on my face when I hear Etta James’ “At Last,” I spent way more time picking music for my wedding than picking out a dress (I ended up walking down the aisle to Tom Waits’ “You Can Never Hold Back Spring” and dancing with my Mr. to M. Ward’s version of “Let’s Dance”), and I have been the gifter of a ‘mixed tape’ more than once.

But I’m not the only one who loves a good romantic tune. With Valentine’s Day on the way, love is in the air around here, and my coworkers were more than happy to share their favorite love songs.

Karen, a purchasing associate, just got engaged a few months ago, and she was happy to share her go-to love song. She’s actually thinking of playing “8 Days a Week” by the Beatles at her wedding.

What is she getting her soon-to-be husband for Valentine’s Day? She’s looking past the chocolate assortment in the the heart-shaped box in favor of his favorite, Peanut M&Ms. She says she’d also like to get him a Growbottle as an inside joke. “I’ve killed his plants before,” says Karen. “He went away for a week once and all of his plants died.”

UncommonGoods buyer, Candace, also wants to get her fiance something with a special meaning. Since she met her fella in Brooklyn, they fell in love here, and they live near the Brooklyn Bridge, she’s thinking the Brooklyn Bridge Pillowcase Set would make the perfect gift.

While her favorite romantic song at the moment, “Bless the Telephone” by Labi Siffre, isn’t about Brooklyn, her dream Valentine’s date takes place here. She and her groom-to-be are planning a Feb. 14 visit to the bar where they met, then dinner at a romantic local restaurant.

And it isn’t just the ladies at UncommonGoods that get a little sentimental around Valentine’s Day. Customer service supervisor, Erik, shared his pick, “Cupid” by 112.

He says he likes love songs that show the how, “when you’re in a serious relationship with someone, it’s all about commitment.” He’s all about making his girlfriend feel special on Valentine’s Day. He says he likes to cook her dinner, because a home-cooked meal has more feeling to it. He also likes giving unique, handmade gifts, like the Glass Heart Vases.

Marketing assistant Rocky also thinks Valentine’s Day is best celebrated dining in and just spending some quality time together. He said he thinks the Bunny Couple Sculpture makes a great gift, because it symbolizes just hanging out with someone you love. And what song would he listen to while spending the night in? Stevie Wonder’s “As.”

Warehouse lead David’s perfect date is just the opposite. He says he likes to spend the day in the city with his wife. “[In New York] you can get off the train anywhere and find something great to do. You don’t have to plan anything.” Since he lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, he loves being able to head to Manhattan to walk in Central Park, check out the theatre, and visit museums.

He also has a sense of humor about romantic gifts, and gave his special lady Porn for Women. This laid-back take applies to his favorite love song too. David chose Frank Sinatra’s “Funny Valentine” because “Sinatra doesn’t talk about how beautiful of perfect she is, but how she has little quirks that he loves.”

Do you still need a last minute gift for your funny valentine? Here are our employee suggestions.

GrowBottle / Brooklyn Bridge Pillow Case Set / Heart Vases/

Bunny Couple on Couch Sculpture /Porn for Women

The Uncommon Life

Why Do We Send Valentines? 10 Uncommon Facts About Valentine’s Day

January 26, 2012

Valentine’s day is a pretty special day. Whether you’re lucky in love, celebrate with single friends, or share the day with family members, you likely have something planned for February 14.

But, why is the occasion so important? Here are a few fun facts about St. Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes, photo by Dyanna

Who is this St. Valentine guy, anyway?
Today, the Catholic church actually recognizes three saints by the name of Valentine or Valentinus. Each St. Valentine was martyred.

So, which one is the St. Valentine of St. Valentine’s Day?
Legend has it that the St. Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century. The emperor at the time, Claudius II, decided that single men made better soldiers, not having their hearts promised to special someones and all. So, ol’ Claud outlawed Marriage. Valentine didn’t agree with the emperor’s rule and went around marrying folks anyway. Eventually, Valentine got caught and Claudius sentenced him to death for his defiance.

What does that have to do with cards and flowers?
Some believe that the St. Valentine fell in love while he was imprisoned and sent letters to his lover before he was martyred. Others say that another Valentine is responsible for ‘Valentines.’ Either way, the legend says that a man named Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter while in prison. She secretly visited him in captivity, and before he died he wrote her a letter signed, “From your Valentine.”


Does that mean that Valentine’s Day is the biggest greeting card day of the year?
Not quite! Christmas is still the number one there. More greeting cards are sent on Christmas than any other day, but Valentine’s Day comes in second place.

Why is Valentine’s Day on February 14?
This is another question that’s answer has been argued over the years. Some folks say it’s because St. Valentine died in mid February. Other’s claim that it has to do with the ancient Roman Lupercalia festival, which took place on Feb. 15. The festival marked the start of spring and celebrated fertility.

Did the ancient Romans give each other Valentines?
Not exactly. The Lupercalia festival started with the sacrifice of a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. Boys would slice the goat’s hide into strips, dip them in sacrificial blood, and and run around slapping women with the goathide strips. The women actually welcomed the slapping, because it was believed being touched by the sacrificial strips made them more fertile.

How else did they celebrate?
After the slap-fest, women would enter their names in an urn. The men would then draw names from the urn to chose the women they would be paired with for the upcoming year. These pairings often resulted in marriage.

Interesting tradition! So, that ended with the Romans?
Yes and no. While the custom of using a “lottery” to pick marriage partners didn’t last, the tradition did, in a way, live on. In England in the middle ages young men and women drew names to choose their Valentines. Then, they would pin the name to their sleeve. It’s believed that the term “wear your heart on your sleeve” comes from this custom.

hearts, photo by Barbtrek

How did our modern traditions come about?
While the oldest known Valentine still in existence is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415, Valentine’s got a boost in popularity when Massachusetts native Esther Howland started selling the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in the 1840s.

And that brings us to today…
Now, the average American spends about $100 on Valentine’s Day gifts, meals, and entertainment each year. As for cards, about 85% of those are sent by women. That isn’t saying that men don’t appreciate their Valentines. 73% of Valentine’s Day flower purchases are made by men.

Of course, flowers and cards aren’t the only way to celebrate this day of love. We have all kinds of gifts to help you make Valentine’s day extra special for the love of your life!

Sources:, Kaboose, Women’s Day,

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