The Best Gift for New Parents

I realized this morning on my way to work that the one thing new parents need more than anything else is…coffee.  A lot of it. Instead of sending sweets or flowers after a sweet babe is born, be the hero (slash jerky know-it-all) that provides new parent friends with the gift of the gloriousness that is caffeine. This trio of Stumptown Coffee blends or this duo of coffee + chocolate (yum) are both packaged beautifully. For Orange County locals, a quick trip to Kéan Coffee is worth a visit to grab some for you and some for them.  If you’ve got the dough (or just empathy for lack of sleep), you can really take it up a notch by throwing together a nice little gift basket with a pair of travel mugs or go all out with a Keurig system to make life even easier for them.

I miss the process of brewing a pot of coffee in the morning, but my mom bought us a mini Keurig (retails for around $99 – be savvy and use those Bed, Bath & Beyond or Macy’s coupons!) for Christmas and it’s been so convenient and easy to just add a cup of water, pop in a k-cup and be on my way to work. By the way, wouldn’t it be such a thoughtful gift to send to a mama as she begins back at work?  I think so too.

stumptown coffee photo by james ransom


How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?


[image via James Ransom for Provisions by Food 52]


What were your favorite gifts?

I’m still obsessing over all the fantastic gifts I received for Christmas and so thankful for all the thoughtful, generous, wonderful people in my life. I’ll surely be thinking of them when I wear and use my gifts throughout the year.

What’s the best gift you received (or gave) this year and why do you love it so much?

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                     one of my favorite gifts this year:              Steve Madden Troopa Boots






Gift Idea: Stocking Stuffers

For those who like to try new beauty products:

left to right:
The Lip Slip by Sara Happ — I first found out about this little treasure pot via Daily Candy (I think. They’ve got great gift roundups and product highlights so check ’em out when you can) and ordered through Bath & Body Works, however they no longer carry it. Not to worry, though, because many more have caught onto its wonderfulness — you can order via Nordstrom or Beauty Sage and other online beauty shops too.  Plus, it comes in a super chic little box! Be sure to check out the convenient new tube which I’m dying to try! $18-24

Ambre Blends a little sampler pack of all four essences is only $9.  If you want something a bit more substantial, I love the Solace Essence as it has a vanilla note to it and Mumbles prefers the original Ambre (for himself). $44 for 10ml roll-on pure essence oil.

Makeup Remover Face Wipes — I came across these Preserve Skin Care Wipes and you can snag them online from Anthropologie ($38 for 45 pads), one of my favorite bloggers recommends these Say Yes to Cucumber Face Wipes ($5.99 for 30 wipes), and I recently picked these up from Whole Foods.  A simple, thoughtful gift for a beauty product/makeup lover.

For the iphone user:

left to right:
iTunes gift card — this is the perfect, thoughtful gift to swoop in with if you know someone else is hefting a larger bill to gift another someone you love an Apple product.  This way they can dive right into downloading music and apps on Christmas morning! Like when you were a kid and you got a new toy but no one thought to have batteries on hand?  Yeah, go for it. Save the day! It’s also great for music lovers, movie lovers, and the all-around Apple dependent.

Earbud Headphones — Mumbles is always misplacing his headphones so he uses mine and I fret that he’ll lose mine too so the gift that ultimately benefits me (the best kind!) for Mumbles is a masculine wood pair like these.  I picked some up whilst in the checkout line at Home Goods recently for like $12.

Tortoiseshell Case for iPhone — this one’s finally back in stock and had been on my wish list for months because it’s a pretty penny at $40 for a phone case.  But since I’ve been coveting it for so long, I used a Cyber Monday code and shipped it to my mom so she could gift it to me. She’s super thoughtful like that. Here are some other ideas for iphone cases.

For the foodie:

Crack Caramels — the packaging and cheeky descriptions alone make me want to bite into these delicious-looking small-batch caramels. Order by noon Wednesday for overnight shipping by Friday.  $12-55

Bacon Mayonnaise by Empire Mayonnaise is a great gift for a guy who likes to barbecue and anyone who likes Bacon. Which is a lot of people.  $9 for a 4oz jar.

Hazelnut Whisky Cookies — I saw these on the Creature Comforts Holiday Gift Guide: Tasty roundup and seeing as these are the Editor’s Pick, I’m sure they’re just as delicious as they sound. $9.50 for six.

A can of Sofia Sparkling Wine – so pretty it doesnt need wrapping and even comes with a straw so if you put it on top the recipient can sip and savor while opening each gift!

Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s might seem like a random (and heavy) gift…but it’s worth it.  While you’re at it, throw in a spoon so the lucky recipient can dig right in! (not pictured)

For anyone:

I always have a little journal in my purse in case an idea for a blog post or craft pops into my head.  This Lies I Told and Liked Journal by Archie Grand is the one I’d like next and I also wouldn’t mind one of the Spies I Met and Liked Journals to fulfil my dream of being a Bond girl. $11 each

K. Hall Designs Milk Hand & Body Cream — this soothing scent of vanilla, cream and coconut is soft and cozy. $20

Archipelago Fiji tin candle — smells like vacation! $7.50

SwissCard Pocket Knife — I have this handy, credit-card sized Swiss Army knife and it’s super convenient to keep in your wallet or purse so you always have little things you may need like scissors or a nail file without taking up lots of space or being so small you can never find it in your bag. (Just don’t forget these aren’t allowed as carry-ons on a plane…yeah…oops.) They come in red, pink, black or blue. $35

Do you have any great stocking stuffer gift ideas?

DIY Holiday Clay Gift Tags

DIY Holiday Clay Gift Tags.jpgI found this big tub of air-dry clay at Office Depot (you can also get it at Oriental Trading, in bulk from Walmart, at Kohl’s…just keep an eye out) a while back for about $10 (kind of random but I was really into using clay at the time…still am, actually…I tend to get obsessed with materials and never really quit them) so I thought I’d give this clay a try. Obviously meant for children but still fun for adult crafting, the clay is super easy to use but being an air-dry clay, you have to move quicker than you would with an oven bake clay. With the desire to get my hands into something, I started rolling out little balls like cookie dough and decided to make some stamped gift tags to stock up for the holidays just around the bend. Rubber stamps — another on a long list of items I’m slowly collecting — along with a toothpick and a straw were used to create these little guys.

These gift tags are a super simple little craft to make while you’re on the couch or in the kitchen. All you’ll need is some clay, a cookie cutter if you want perfect shapes, a straw, a hard surface and wax paper to work on.

Here are step-by-step photo instructions:

Step 1 DIY Holiday Clay Tags.jpg

step 1: roll out little balls of clay

Step 2 DIY Holiday Clay Tags.jpg

step 2: use a rolling pin (or your hands if you’re going for a more organic look) to flatten out your little ball into a circle or oval shape.

Step 3 DIY Holiday Clay Tags.jpg

step 3: insert a plastic straw into the clay and twist to create a small hole which will allow for ribbon or string later on.

DIY Clay Gift Tags.jpg

step 3.5: experiment with different hole placement for alternate ways to hang your tag — one hole at the top to hang, one in the center, one hold at each end, three holes in the center like a button…

DIY Clay Gift Tags.jpg

step 4: use rubber stamps to stamp your designs or phrases into the clay

Step 5 DIY Holiday Clay Tags.jpg

step 5: lay out your finished clay tags to dry (I let mine dry for 48 hours).

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Finished tags ready for presents!

Just as I was about to post this, I stumbled upon this post from one of my favorite blogs, Creature Comforts. How funny! These tags look more refined and if that’s the look you want, I’d definitely try the oven bake clay instead of air dry. Plus, there are a lot of color options!I’ll soon start gathering little pinecones and twigs from the neighborhood to keep in a little pile for pretty packages tied up with strings! I may hate Halloween but I’m excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Kraft Paper Christmas Packages.jpg

my christmas presents last year — can’t you just picture a little clay tag on there, too?