The Uncommon Life

Slainte! The Surprising Story of Irish Whiskey & St. Patrick’s Day

March 11, 2018

The Shamrock GlassCelebrating St. Patrick’s Day

You might not feel particularly lively the morning after a festive St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but that doesn’t stop many from partaking in the “water of life” in honor of Ireland. In other words, the rivers of Irish Whiskey will flow on March 17.

This golden-brown beverage has a rich history, so we thought we’d share a little more about Irish Whiskey.

Whiskey StonesWhiskey Stones & Rocks Glass Set – $58 Buy Now »


Uisce on the rocks, please.

Where did whiskey come from?

Actually, whiskey as we know it came to be in Ireland. In the 6th century monks used distilled grains as the base for medicines. They called it “Uisce Beatha,” in Goidelic, or “water of life,” thanks to its healing properties. (While some may argue that whiskey doesn’t have any healing properties, keep in mind that it is antiseptic and a pain killer.) Over time, the spirit became known as “whiskey,” a mispronunciation of “Uisce.”

Whiskey Tasting Glass
Whiskey Tasting Glass & Chilling Coaster – $40 Buy Now »


Irish Spirit

Whiskey love spread across Europe over time. For example, to Scotland, where it developed in to Scotch. It’s said that Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed imbibing in the distilled drink, and Peter the Great once proclaimed, “of all the wines, the Irish spirit is the best.”

Irish Whiskey Shamrock Glass
Sham-Rock Glass – $48- $50 Buy Now »


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Gift Guides

Editors’ Picks of the Week

March 7, 2018

Editors' Picks | UncommonGoods

With more than 4,000 uncommon goods to choose from, you might need some help finding your new favorite things. Each week, we’ll round up a mix of the brand new, the tried-and-true, and our personal picks – all just for you.

1. Doughnuts to feast your eyes on.

These sweet portraits by Meghan Cochran look good enough to eat.

Doughnut Art Portrait – $50 Buy Now »


2. Necklaces that put a sterling silver twist on the art of origami.

We’re just wild about this wearable animal origami.

Origami Menagerie Necklace – $72 Buy Now »


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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Brian Giniewski

March 6, 2018

Brian in his studio; photos by Royce Brown

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—home of the cheesesteak (and its vegan offshoots), the Liberty Bell, and fellow marketing team member Morgan. I’d only been once, in middle school, when all I cared about was seeing the house where “The Real World: Philadelphia” was filmed, before my trip down in December to tour the studio of ceramic artist Brian Giniewski. In a far-off corner of the city once known as a center for textile production, Brian makes delightfully drippy vessels perfect for housing fully-loaded scoops of ice cream, each glazed in tantalizing shades like “pop rox,” “creamsicle,” “saffron,” and “peach.” I know they’re made of clay, but I’ve gotta be honest: they made me hungry—and actually, they still do. But I digress.

Drippy Ice Cream Bowls | UncommonGoods

 Accompanied by my trusty companion, Royce, I followed Brian through the halls of Globe Dye Works, a yarn-dying factory-turned-artistic community that houses tenants like the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Rival Bros. Coffee (I had some, and it was quite good), and, of course, the artist himself. Remnants of the building’s industrial days lined the path to Brian’s workspace, where a seemingly endless supply of shiny, textured mugs, plates, and planters mingled with tools of the trade. After a tour of his sunny studio, Brian threw a quick piece for us—an act that may as well have been magic to me—and invited us both to indulge in “Cake Time,” a staff tradition that pretty much speaks for itself. One slice of chocolaty cheesecake and a good old-fashioned sit-down later, Royce and I took our leave, equipped with a handwritten list of must-try Philly lunch spots (tehina milkshake, anyone?) and a directive to stop by Field, a plant-centric pop-up in Philly’s hip Fishtown neighborhood, for First Friday.

Itching to know more about the guy behind our Drippy Ice Cream Bowls? Read on for our Q&A with Brian, plus a selection of photos from our visit to his space.

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Gift Guides

11 Products by (and for)
Amazing Women

March 5, 2018

Here at UncommonGoods, we’re always proud to salute our makers, whether that means celebrating artists new to our assortment or visiting the studios of longtime collaborators. This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, observed annually on March 8, we’re taking a moment to share words of wisdom and encouragement from the women behind some of our most empowering, meaningful goods. Read on for more from sharp women just like you (or your mother, or your sister, or your wife, or your very best friend) and help us toast what makes UncommonGoods such a special place: our makers—and the love they put into the stuff they create.

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Gift Guides

Our Favorite Gifts for March Birthdays

March 1, 2018

Got a good friend with a birthday in March? Look no further for this year’s gift: here, we’ve assembled 14 of our favorite gifts for all types, from plant lovers to whiskey drinkers. Intrigued? Go ahead… have a look.

1. DIY hot sauce for your favorite foodie.

Have you, too, run out of hot sauces to give your spiciest friend? Here’s a suggestion: Give them the tools to make their own.

Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit – $34.95 Buy Now »


2. Tacos for their toes (and feet, and ankles).

Everyone knows a taco lover, and these cozy socks are the ultimate tribute to their tasty Mexican indulgence of choice.

Men’s Taco Socks – $10 Buy Now »


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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Lori Sandoval

February 28, 2018

Does this face look familiar? It’s not just you. Loyal readers may recognize Lori Sandoval as one-third of the WomenMadeLA team we spotlighted back in December last year. For those who aren’t already in the know, Lori recently teamed up with fellow makers Sashee Chandran and Debbie Mullin, both of whom sell their wares here at UncommonGoods, to form a collective of lady entrepreneurs taking the City of Angels by storm. And now it’s her turn to take a dip in the limelight.

Mexican Cooking Sauces | UncommonGoods

Like Debbie and Sashee, Lori’s creations are edible—sauces inspired by the diverse culinary landscape of Mexico, her parents’ home country, and ever-so-aptly dubbed “Mexican Cooking Sauces.” We’ll let you in on a secret here… they’re amazing. Like, “Where have you been all my life?” grade amazing. So it’s only natural that we had to ask her about them, just like we asked Sashee all about Tea Drops and Debbie about her delectable pour overs.

Read on for a full account of our conversation with flavor guru Lori, including talk of art history, sauce-loving kids, and wise words from the mouth—er, pen?—of Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalist extraordinaire.

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Maker Stories

This Just In-Spiration: Meet Govy

February 20, 2018

To French artist Govy, planets are much more than big rocks throttling in circles throughout the sky—they’re measures of time, markers of our place in the universe, and fodder for some really cool creations. Creations like her Personalized Solar System Art Print, a joint venture with Martin Vézina that takes a date and time that’s important to you and turns it into a piece of sleek, custom-made artwork that highlights where, according to NASA, the planets and dwarf planets in our solar system were at that very moment. Pretty cosmic, huh?

We first caught a glimpse of Govy’s work here in our Brooklyn office, a world away from Japan, where she now lives with her beloved cat, Taiga. We love the inviting, but minimal look of her prints, with their personal flair and art-meets-STEM approach, and we knew we simply had to reach out and see if she’d tell us more about how she developed the idea. Read on for Govy’s answers to our burning questions (you know, burning like big balls of gas, billions of miles away), plus a couple of photos of Taiga herself.

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The Uncommon Life

Protecting the Rare Kirtland’s Warbler with American Forests

February 18, 2018

*Editor’s note: Spring is almost here, and we’re celebrating by sharing a story from our longest-standing nonprofit partner, American Forests. Thanks to our Better to Give program, we’ve donated over $400,000 to American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization, since 2010. Read on for a report on their efforts to conserve the habitat of the Kirtland’s warbler, courtesy of the organization’s Manager of Forest Conservation, Justin Hynicka.

A Kirtland’s warbler in Stubb’s Park, Centerville, Ohio; photo by Andrew Cannizzaro

A bright future for Kirtland’s warbler in the Northern Great Lakes

By Justin Hynicka, American Forests Manager of Forest Conservation

I have a love-hate relationship with red-eye flights. On one hand, they maximize daylight on day one to explore my destination, which I love. On the other hand, it usually takes a day or two to shake off the cobwebs from poor sleep, which I don’t love. As if one night isn’t hard enough, just imagine taking a red-eye flight for two weeks straight. Oh, and you are also the pilot.

This is the journey the Kirtland’s warbler (KW; Setophaga kirtlandii) makes twice a year, traveling 1,700 miles in 16 days from the Bahamas to Michigan in spring, and back again in fall. [1] Even though KWs pass though many eastern states, they are rarely seen outside of their wintering and breeding areas due to a low-but-rising population and because they migrate at night. After such a journey, it’s hard to blame them for being one of only a few warblers to nest on the ground.

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