The Uncommon Life

Say What?

September 20, 2011

Friend coming up on a big birthday? Are you? Copywriter Nina Mozes offers tips for how to congratulate that special someone who’s entering the fourth decade of life.

Everyone thinks that 30th birthdays are touchy. But I did my research, and it turns out it’s bogus. In fact, turning 30 is kind of awesome (it’s 40, 50 and 60 that can be the real bummers).

I’m 25, and, as far as my older friends are concerned, still in diapers. But at 24, I plummeted into quarter-life crisis mode: “I’m 24, which means I’m almost 25, which means I’m almost 30, which means my window to be young and successful is rapidly closing.”

Roll your eyes at me, go ahead – but when US Open Tennis Champions, Lady GaGa and Mark Zuckerberg are your age, it’s easy to feel like an underachieving 20-something. (On the flip side, Lindsay Lohan and I share a birthday, which kind of puts it all in perspective.)

So while I still secretly hope to make millions and/or achieve unprecedented success in the next five years, I admit that strangely, I’m looking forward to turning 30.

Sure, turning 30 means that weddings are on the rise (and divorces), and baby showers are popping up – and I think we all agree that watching your selfish friends put someone else’s needs before theirs is a bizarre experience.

But here are the facts: maybe you have better hair and muscles in your 20s, but your self esteem is much lower, as is the preoccupation with figuring out your identity. So when you present your friend with a fun gift and card, don’t give them a “but look on the bright side” note, tell them straight up what they have to look forward to. Pull from the following examples:

1. You figured out what you wanted to do in life and can now spend time actually living your life.
2. You have more money now than you did in your twenties.
3a. For a guy: You now make enough money to successfully date women in their 20s.
3b. For a woman: Your sex drive is way better in this decade.
4. This is the decade where having it all together and having freedom will intersect the most. Before this, you were clueless. After this, you’ll have kids or aging parents.

And if you just can’t help yourself:

1. You can use the word “early” in front of “30s” when describing your age.
2. When people ID you, it will begin to feel like a compliment.
3. You can get away with more stuff, because people think you are now too old to be irresponsible.
4. You can start to say “When I was your age” and not sound like a total jerk.
5. You can justify technological purchases like the new iPad as necessities to pave the way for professional ladder climbing and keeping up with social media trends.
6. If you gain weight, you can blame it on a changing metabolism.
7. At least you’re not turning 40.

Game-changing gifts for a game-changing birthday:

Can’t bring yourself to the party? Bring the party to you.
Beer Making Kits

Accessorize to emphasize your youth.
Crocheted Bow Headphones

If your life is all business, try some stow-away desktop fun.
Desktop Bowling

The Uncommon Life

Say What?

September 14, 2011

We all screw up. But men do it more. Well, at least they’re the ones saying “sorry” all the time. Copywriter Nina Mozes offers tips for guys to give that apology a ring of sincerity.

So guys, here are a few tricks to imbue your present apology with staying power for as long as it takes you to mess it up again.

This phrase is universally recognizable:
“I don’t want you to do the dishes, I want you to want to do the dishes,” she said.

And then the guy says, “Who wants to do the dishes?!”
And then the girl says, “That’s not the point! Tonight you’re sleeping on the couch!”
And then the guy says, “Baby I’m sorry. Do I still have to sleep on the couch?”

OK, maybe that’s just rough dialogue from the movie The Breakup, but don’t tell me you don’t recognize it from real life.

Now here’s where Vince Vaughn went wrong: he tried to apologize without having any idea what he might or should be sorry for.

That’s step 1:
If you don’t know why you’re sorry, either:
a. Pretend you do, or

Pick a line to write in the card:
a. I see how my actions hurt you, and I’m very sorry.
b. You’re so totally crazy, but I’ve come around to your irrationality and apologize for triggering it.

Vince should have taken responsibility for his carelessness and pledged to do better in the future.

In one of these ways, Step 2:
a. I could have handled the situation better, and from here on out I plan to be thoughtful of your needs and to think about the ramifications of my decisions.
b. It’s totally your fault, but now I know what pisses you off and there is no way I’m going to let you unleash that wrath again.

And of course, no apology is successful without an attempt to buy someone’s love.

Like buying lingerie, here’s a gift for her that’s really for you:
My Phone is Off for You Handkerchief

Nothing says “I’m cool with you moving in now” like a place to put her toothbrush:
Black Nickel Bathroom Holders

A stamp that literally says “I apologize” doesn’t replace the card, but it sure helps says “I’m thinking ahead to my future mistakes and saying sorry for my past ones.”
I Sincerely Apologize Message Stamp

Next time just don’t screw up in the first place.

The Uncommon Life

Say What?

September 8, 2011

Know a new or returning student? Copywriter Nina Mozes offers tips for how to congratulate that special someone who’s entering that bright world of homework, tests and gym class.

Having an end-of-summer bummer?

Chin up, the kids are going back to school! Time to CELEBRATE. And just pretend like you’re excited for their new milestone in education.

So. How do you say: I know you’re dreading going back to school, but I’ve been looking forward to this for months?

Here are a few ideas:

I know you needed school supplies, so surprise! Christmas is in September this year.

I signed you up for after-school activities. That way you never have to come home! It’s going to be a great year.

If you get suspended, mommy’s gonna have to quit her day drinking and that will make her very upset.

You’re gonna do great! Just don’t screw it up.

It’s a great year to make friends. And if you don’t – no worries, kids your age suck anyways.

Drive the point home with the wisdom of intellectuals:

Mark Twain: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Sure, but considering that Twain couldn’t hold onto his finances, I’m sure he regrets not taking an accounting class.

Oscar Wilde: “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”
That is so true – what’s that? You don’t know who Oscar Wilde is? Get on that bus.

And for the serious students:

Ronald Reagan: “But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret.”
You work hard enough, you do enough things right, you’ll get to pretend like your mistakes never happened. Shoot for the stars, kid.

Send them off ready to carpe diem. …That means seize the day. Jeez, doesn’t anyone take Latin anymore?

Want to send them off with more than just kind words? Check out these great gifts for students.

The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers

4 Function Ruler Pen

Revolver Journals

The Uncommon Life

Dancing Lion, Hidden Intrigue

August 29, 2011

Not sure how our new dancing lion speakers ($70) might fit into your life? If you’re a Chicago lawyer caught in a web of political intrigue, these speakers might just be for you!

(We also think they’re fun for kids rooms, dens, and to get things started at dance parties! The speakers… not the lawyers.)

The Uncommon Life

Say What?

August 29, 2011

Know a happy new employee? Copywriter Nina Mozes offers tips for how to congratulate that special someone entering the workforce.

In THIS economy? Celebrating a job?! That’s a big deal.
(In this economy, saving money by writing your own card? A big deal, too.)

Your objective:
To encourage aspirations and deliver the cold hard facts. No skills required! Par exemple:

The tiresome job search is over, hooray! Now you can relax and get to work.

You worked so hard in college! Now work harder. It doesn’t pay off until it’s literally paid off.

Or add your wisdom to the profound stuff:

Asha Tyson: “You never stop earning when you do what you love.”
But don’t quit your day job just yet.

From parent to child:
Robert Brault: “Treat a difficult child the way you would your boss at work. Praise his achievements, ignore his tantrums and resist the urge to sit him down and explain to him how his brain is not yet fully developed.”
Think about how I raised you and you’ll do great!

And of course, for those who are lazy but require poignancy:
Dana Stewart Scott: “Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later.”

I think I just got a little misty-eyed.

Here are a few congratulatory gifts to pair with your eloquent card.

For the desk:
What Would You Attempt Paperweight

For the suit:
Math Symbol Cufflinks

For the technology:
Patterned Macbook and iPad Cases

For the money:
Yiddish Proverb Money Clip

The Uncommon Life

Say What? Wedding Bells

August 23, 2011

Copywriter Nina Mozes offers sage advice on the most important of topics: what to write in that greeting card?

Chances are you’ve yet again spent too much money on an item that the happy couple pre-selected for themselves on their registry (unless of course you got something super duper cool and different from us!).

Why not save up a couple bucks and add your own personal touch with a card written just by you?

Here’s what you need to keep in mind for a wedding card:

1. Use words of encouragement.
2. No matter how much you’re dreading this wedding, the bride and groom are dreading it more.

So tell them something nice they can believe. Here are a few ideas:

Congratulations! You guys are so cute, you’ll have adorable kids. Just wait a few years to be sure it sticks, k?

You two are so cool. Relax, we all have in-laws from hell.
Wishing you good health and happiness, or at least good health.

And there are always famous words:

Gandhi: “I first learned the concepts of non-violence in my marriage.”

John Lennon: “All you need is love.”
(And money and sex and – yep, that’s about it.)

Albert Einstein: “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
(It is however responsible for people falling over dead. So don’t kill each other.)

Personally, I like to quote the wise words of comedian Myq Kaplan:
“Fifty percent of marriages in this country end in divorce. That’s one out of every two people. So, it’s either going to be you or your wife.”

Attach your snappy words to a classy gift:

Customizable Wedding Announcement Art Personalized Heart Anniversary Plate Card & gift in one:
Custom Message Grid Art

Comments of the Week

August 22, 2011

Each week we see more and more feedback on the newest goods in our voting app. Here are our favorite comments from last week:

Ciara knows what she likes, and she’s a strong supporter of the Zip Tie Ring, a handmade sterling silver ring modeled after a classic zip tie.

But Elena’s not so sure she approves of our morals, especially after we asked your opinion of the Compass Rose Flask Set.

And Amanda has some great tips for using the Bread Warmer to keep your brown sugar soft. (Leaving me with the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar stuck in my head all day.)

Want to see what everyone else is saying? Check out what’s new, including the stone drink dispenser, heart ornament, and railroad spike letter opener.

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Lojo Ball Chair

August 19, 2011

1) Product Name: LOJO BALL CHAIR

2) Background Research:

Currently my daughter’s room is set up with her bed and a child size table with two chairs. The chairs are not very comfortable, as they are hard plastic. I wanted to buy her an inexpensive chair that was comfortable as well as fun.

3) Hypothesis:

To successfully set up the Lojo Ball Chair in Shyanne’s room, so she can have a comfortable place to sit while she reads or plays her video games.

4) The Experiment:

The Lojo Chair comes in its very own carry bag along with instructions and a hand pump. It’s also very light, so you do not have to worry about lugging a heavy item around with you if you choose to travel with it. It took about 1-2 minutes to fill each side up with air. The chair can be used in both the open and closed position.

Shyanne loves to use it in the closed position because she likes to roll it around and play on it.

The seat portion is very comfortable (it has a removable bean pillow btw) and the ball actually supports your back, which I was skeptical about.

5) Results:

I would definitely recommend the Lojo Ball Chair to anyone who has kids. It’s a great fun alternative to a boring regular chair. It’s also great for adults, I tried it out myself and it’s actually very supportive.

6) Conclusion:
I’m soooooo going to get one for myself!

The Lojo Ball Chair is available for $45 and available in orange or blue.

Pin It on Pinterest