But First, Coffee: How to Make Coffee a Legit Gift

Gifting Coffee :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #butfirstcoffee #GWB

A bag of coffee makes a decent gift in a pinch, but add a few more parts and you can give someone a full-on coffee experience. This is what you need:

1. Set of 2 Glass Double Wall Mugs $29.95 | Because you want to see this charming cup of coffee you’ve just crafted  (cheaper option). A set of two also makes your coffee gift set very couple-appropriate (think weddings!).

2. One-Cup Porcelain Pour Over Cone $8.99 | I like it because I don’t have a second cup, or if I do it’s at the office… so I only make a pot when we have company at the house. Plus I was never a barista and so this is how I get my kicks.

3. Sleek, Cordless Stainless Steel Electric Kettle $79.95 | You can totally wait for all eternity if you just can’t do without the shrill whistle of a stove top kettle, or you can press one button on this bad boy and have boiling water ready faster than you can switch your laundry… but still switch your laundry because coming home from work and realizing your clothes having been sitting in the washer all day will give you a serious sad face emoji (cheaper option).

4. 100 Ct. #2 Filters $6.92 | If you’re committed you can save and buy in bulk. But don’t forget to grab a pack of these because you cannot make the coffee without them. Don’t give new meaning to #nofilterfail

5. 12oz. Bag of Brazil Beans by Cafe Kubal $12 | A medium roast from the Mogiana region with peanut and milk chocolate notes = yes. And here’s a decaf option. Kubal is my favorite local coffee shop. If you’re in the greater Syracuse area, check it out. Otherwise, at least they sell online. Also, if you give whole beans, consider whether your giftee has a grinder at home. Often people buy ground coffee or use the grinder at the store, so it’s not a guaranteed appliance.

6. Madagascar Vanilla Powder Shaker $9.99 | You might remember seeing a reference to this several months ago. There is a reason I mentioned it yet again. It. Is. So. Good. (cinnamon option)

Now here are eleven more mug options to check out. Because the truth is that mugs really reflect upon a person and dare I say, tell a potentially revealing story about that person. So if a mug is given as a gift put a little thought into it:

  1. For the endless errand runner
  2. For the serial monogrammer
  3. GOLD ONLY (EVER)
  4. For your cheeky girlfriend
  5. For the so-right-now-ist
  6. For the classic neautralist
  7. For the urban minimalist
  8. For the mason jar-aholic gal (yes, that is a thing)
  9. For the mason jar-aholic guy (yes, also a thing)
  10. For the secret architect
  11. For the not so ordinary

Choose well, friends.

And if you haven’t entered the current GWB giveaway on Instagram, go check it out!

KO Sticks Foldable Star Sculptures

KO Sticks :: Collapsible Star Review :: $24-170 :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB #kosticks

Six-Axis Star c/o KO Sticks

This foldable star sculpture may just be the most giftable item I’ve ever featured on Gifts with Bows. Why? Well it works for just about anyone on almost any occasion:

It’s office appropriate, making it suitable for work anniversaries and first days on the job.

It’s chic in the living room (gorgeous for newlyweds ready for sophisticated decor and entertaining for families with kiddos), making it a lovely housewarming gift or wedding present.

And yes, even kids can make perfect recipients. Imagine hanging a few from the ceiling in their bedroom or playroom. Or keep them in reach… because these hand made works of art are intended to be explored by hand (see the evidence in the photo story below).

But it gets even better. Not only are KO Sticks Stars a widely practical gift, they come in several sizes and materials. That means you can buy one for $24-170 hitting whatever your appropriate price point happens to be.

Note: KO Sticks is comprised of two great artisans (and mathematicians), Jane and John Kostick. Married for just over 20 years, they met at a geometry lecture and now construct geometric objects side by side. Now isn’t that an equation you’d like to support? Give KO Sticks a follow on Facebook to give your newsfeed a welcomed pop of art.

The other day I took our stars off of the living room bookshelves where they are typically on display (see above). And brought them to the park so that our three year old, Zoe could show them to her friends. Ready to see a few thoughtful and curious faces? And park adventures, too of course!

KO Sticks :: Collapsible Star Review :: $24-170 :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB #kosticks

KO Sticks :: Collapsible Star Review :: $24-170 :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB #kosticks

KO Sticks :: Collapsible Star Review :: $24-170 :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB #kosticks

KO Sticks :: Collapsible Star Review :: $24-170 :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB #kosticks

July 2015- Ari at the Park

July 2015- Zoe at the Park

July 2015- Friends at the Park

Photos: The bookshelf and park photos are my own and the product photos are by Design Within Reach, a KO Sticks retailer. A special thanks to Zoe’s pals for making their darling debuts on GWB.

Artist Credits: Featured above with the KO Sticks star, the lantern is Lauren Ritchie and the vase is Jen Gandee.

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Celebrate Earth Day with an Eco-Friendly Gift

Happy Earth Day :: Solmate Socks :: ~$20/pair :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB

Your greenest girlfriend will adore these playful, recycled-cotton socks.

But truly, anyone who likes bright colors and cozy toes will love a pair!

(comes in colors and sizes for guys, littles, and babies, too)

Buy here for ~$20/pair

Note: Solmate Socks are made of pure whimsy and cheer! Marianne Wakerlin, aka the Socklady, has spent about a decade and a half imagining the most darling mismatched socks. She holds a serious commitment to protecting the environment, which is why GWB is so thrilled so show off her knitted goods in celebration of Earth Day. “Like” this small town Vermont company on Facebook to keep her company in mind when you’re buying gifts for your most mindful friends.

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A Clean Car for Spring featuring GreenGoose

Green Goose :: Car Trash Bag :: $30 :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB

For a friend or beau or with a new car and aspirations of retaining the glorious new car smell,

Or because you so generously share your car with your aloof teen, sticky-fingered toddler, and anyone else who needs a ride.

Buy here for $30

Note: Hang this handmade, 100% cotton twill (with optional oilcloth lining) on the gearshift and make your way into spring with a litter-free car following the longest, snowiest, saltiest winter yet! It comes in dozens of lovely patterns and colors, but I wanted to show the gray so that you can picture it in a guy’s car just as well as a lady’s. GreenGoose is comprised of a husband and wife team located in Columbia, Maryland. Stephanie and Kevin adore working together, and have proudly ensured quality and care to over 5,000 pieces sold.

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Vanilla by The Spice House

The Spice House :: Best Vanilla :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB

For the baker with a nose that knows: he or she will so appreciate the aromatic glory and deeply indulgent difference of Vanilla from The Spice House.

Also for your Starbucks or local grind junky who has an interminable weakness for Vanilla lattes.

16 oz. Madagascar “Bourban Islands” Pure Single-Strength Vanilla Extract $27.99

2.5oz Shaker of Madagascar Vanilla Powder $9.99

Note: I was introduced to the The Spice House by Chicago Food Planet Food Tours several years back, when I was living in the Windy City and my parents came to visit. The Vanilla they offer is miles away from what you can buy at a convenience grocery store. It is rich and layered and almost savory. Never in my life did I anticipate becoming a Vanilla snob, but I’ll freely and gladly take the title. When I found out The Spice House shipped its merchandise I immediately made a mental note to send a few jars to my Mom for Mother’s Day that year. It. Is. So. Good.

Either option works well for baking or coffee, but I’d recommend the liquid for the former and the powder for the latter.

If you’re ever in Chicago and you’re looking for something to do, treat yourself to a Food Tour by Chicago Food Planet. It’s brilliant fun, gets you walking, teaches you a great deal about a range of foods and restaurants, tells brick and mortar history, and comes with samples of the best tastes Chi-town has to offer. This company is so well loved that dozens upon dozens of food tour start-ups have mimicked them to find huge success in cities spanning the nation.

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Beer Jelly by Potlicker Kitchen

Potlicker :: Beer Jelly 3 Pack :: $21 :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB

Whether he brews at home, hangs at the corner pub, or simply enjoys a cold one after a long day– send him a pack of beer jelly to braise meats or top his toast. Perfect for groomsmen, birthday boys and Dads on Father’s Day.

Buy the Dark & Berry 3 Pack for $21

Note: Potlicker Kitchen is the delicious gem of the Northeast corner offering a full array of artisan jellies and jams one small batch at a time. Nancy and Walter Warner have mastered the art of culinary surprise featuring mash-ups such as strawberry chipotle jam, blackberry basil jelly and wild sumac jelly. They look to six nearby craft breweries to get the best local flavor canned for your enjoyment. “Like” them on Facebook to find out what’s next on the Potlicker oven rack!

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Happy St. Patricks Day: Gifts in Green

Gifts in Green :: St. Patricks Day :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB

For Her :: Monogram Earrings by Michellerie’s Boutique $8 :: Monogrammed Envelope Clutch by Embroidery by Melissa $22 ::

For the Kids :: Luck Tucker by Leslie McGuirk on Amazon (PRIME) $3.15 ::

For the Baby :: Croo-ak Clutching Toy by HABA on Amazon (PRIME) $16.14 ::

For Him :: Mens Skinny Tie by April Look $69 ::

Note: Michellerie’s Boutique is located in Miami, Florida and run by former-accountant turned stay at home mom of four. After several thousand sales through her Etsy shop, it’s clear that the change in her career path was meant to be.

St. Mary’s, GA is home to Embroidery by Melissa, an Etsy shop that specializes in personalized, monogrammed gifts. Melissa is a single mother of 3 boys who happily supports her family by sewing, a skill taught to her by her late mother who passed away from cancer but remains her major inspiration. Follow along with Melissa on Facebook.

Known for her quirky characters and style, Leslie McGuirk has sold over 2 million of her books across the globe. She has been recognized by both the Chicago Tribune and The New York Daily News for best children’s book of the year. Enter the comic world of McGuirk and enjoy a laugh while reading to the kids.

HABA is a fantastically thoughtful company that actively takes the worry out of toy selection for the children you love most. Valuing quality and safety above all, they explain, “when we want to bring colors into play we only use solvent-free, water-based stains. This means that toys are totally safe to pass from hand-to-mouth”. Babies, this is your cue to chew!

April Look was born in 2011 to Vaida and Agne of Lithuania. They say, “we feel that handmade has a lasting value that mass production can’t match. April Look believes in the beauty of simplicity.” Natural fibers are the base of each item– the tie featured above is made with linen and cotton.

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Warby Parker Home Try-On Review

Warby Parker :: Home Try-On Review :: as featured on Gifts with Bows #giftswithbows #GWB #WarbyHomeTryOn:: 1. Griffin in Blonde Tortoise $95 :: 2. Griffin in Jet Black Matte $95 :: 3. Aldous in English Oak $95 :: 4. Ormsby in English Oak $95 :: 5. Banks in Striped Sassafras $95 ::

Quite recently I learned about the eye-wear miracle that is the Warby Parker HOME TRY-ON program. Listen when I tell you that this is the gift of gifts for the following scenario: the giftee likes to pick his or her own gift, but the gifter also enjoys gift selection participation. You do not have to submit yourself to a boring check mark to his or her gift list! You have options! You have Warby Parker!

So how does it work? Tell your giftee to head over to warbyparker.com and order five pairs of sunglasses through the HOME TRY-ON program. There is no cost for shipping either way. He or she will receive them in the mail within five days. Once the package arrives, Warby Parker encourages the recipient to spend the next five days trying-on each pair, taking photos, showing them to friends and family and ultimately deciding which one(s) to keep. And actually, if your giftee bravely shares pictures with them, Warby Parker will help with spec choices. Once the decision and payment are made, the box goes back in the mail and the new shades will be sent on their way.

Now maybe you’re thinking “this is really neat and all, but why Warby Parker in particular, aside from this program?” This company has distributed over a million glasses to people in need. When you buy a pair, not only do they give a pair, they provide training to folks in developing countries to give basic eye exams. So Warby Parker doesn’t just make high-quality, great-looking glasses, they give and teach and the core of their model is rooted in goodness. Giving a gift feels good, but giving Warby Parker eye-wear feels even better.

So let’s be honest, you may very well want to try this out yourself (and I enthusiastically recommend that you do). It’s free. It’s fun. Why not? Give it a go. Let me know what you think.

Note: Warby Parker has fantastic options for prescription eye wear, also eligible for the HOME TRY-ON. Also, the zip-up I’m wearing in the photos is by Under the Canopy, UTC has a self proclaimed “commitment to environmental and social responsibility — combining style with substance”.

UPDATE– Feedback from Warby Parker on Twitter:

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