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2018 gift guide: Chicago lover

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2018 gift guide chicago gift ideas

It’s that time of year again! Holidays always seem to be the time of year where we feel totally stumped by the people we want to gift. Either they have everything, or they don’t “need” anything. Sometimes it’s a really nice gesture to take a deep look at the recipient’s personality and connect that to any gifts you want to give them. It’s a good tip to keep in mind year-round!

For travel lovers, it might be nice to help them pay homage to their favorite place. Since I love Chicago, that’s the theme of today, but many of these gifts are available for other cities and states as well. Let’s take a look!

Chicago Bears travel scarf: I have one of these Waypoint Goods travel scarves and I absolutely love it. I hear the Bears aren’t really something to be proud of, but there are plenty of other colors to choose from too! This cozy infinity scarf features a pocket big enough for your phone, cash, and earbuds. Carrying a purse has become such a burden, so I’ve pared down my everyday carry items to fit in this pocket, and I love it.

Chicago Skyline print: Local printers and artists at Foursided have my heart. This skyline print is my favorite, but there are tons of other options if you prefer a map motif, something more mid-century inspired, or want to pay tribute to the long-suffering Cubs.

CTA Stop Magnets: If you’re like me and live in everyday thankfulness for the vast CTA system, Transit Tees has the gifts for you! Tell your friends what line or stop is your favorite – Transit Tees makes magnets and pins for almost all of them. I got the boyfriend a Yellow line magnet as a housewarming present for the new house, so this is a great shop to keep in mind year-round!

Chicago Homesick Candle: Homesick Candles have been around for awhile, but I still totally love them. The Chicago scent hearkens Fannie May chocolates and the breezes from Lake Michigan. The Illinois version of the candle carries more floral scents.

Chicago Flashback: This book from the Tribune staff would be a great gift for a history buff. It not only showcases photos of our beautiful architecture, but also tells the stories of the builders and other notable Chicago residents.

Chicago Skyline Lego Set: Somehow, the older I get, the more I regress into enjoying Legos. I’ve always been freeform and abstract with mine, but this Chicago skyline set is really cool. My grandpa worked on the Sears Tower when it was being built, so it would be a fun homage to that. (And no, I will never call it the Willis Tower.)

Chicago-opoly: This fun Chicago-themed Monopoly-style board game would be a hit for me. I love attending and hosting game nights, and Monopoly is best suited for a long weekend because as everyone knows, it’s a marathon game! This is a great gift idea for someone you don’t know well, because the odds of them not liking fun is… well, pretty low.

Chicago-etched Whiskey Glass: I love these types of whiskey glasses. They’re well-made and the etched Chicago map makes it feel a little fancy.

How is holiday shopping for you? Do you find it difficult, or are you like me, finishing before Thanksgiving even hits?

November 19, 2018
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19 (more) creative father’s day gift ideas

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Father’s day is coming, and I love to give really unique and creative gifts. Dating a dad has given me real insight I’d never had before – the stereotypes are true, people. (If anyone would like to disagree, I have the photos of him grilling in khaki shorts and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt. I might have made him buy that Hawaiian shirt, but that’s neither here nor there.) Being with him has also broadened my horizons on what kind of gifts guys might like – so if you’re stuck with a dad, brother, partner, or someone else who is just hard to buy for, try some of these gift ideas for guys!

Slice off the Ol’ Pie Shirts: This is what I got for my man and his kiddo. (I couldn’t hold out until father’s day, though – they’re adorable in their matching shirts.) They’re super cute, and the seller offers additional kids shirts if there are jealous siblings to consider!

Bullet journal: There have been plenty of studies done that say writing down appointments and tasks helps you remember them better than filing them in a digital app or calendar, so set up a bullet journal (or find a ready-made planner) that can help him keep his head on straight. I still love the Passion Planner, but I’ve been using a bullet journal classic Leuchtturm1917 notebook lately.

Book: Books are really great gift options for anyone, basically anytime. If the dad in your life likes to read, here are a few options: Lost In Space studies pop culture and fatherhood, Don’t Make Me Stop This Car is a humor book by Al Roker (who I picture as an Ultimate Dad,) or Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, a more heartfelt book by Michael Chabon, there’s a

Set of Nice Socks: Nice Laundry and Land’s End are just a few places you can order customized monogrammed socks, so there’s never a question of sock ownership, and replenishing holy or worn out socks is probably not something he’d ever really consider, even though it probably needs to be done.

father's day gift ideas

Grill Dad Set: One of the things my boyfriend finds lacking at my apartment is grill utensils. This set includes everything needed for a really great cookout, and identifies the owner so no one else tries to snag the tool set.

Wallet: I’ve been using card holder-style wallets for a few years, and I love how minimalist it forces me to be in the cards I carry around with me. This would be a great (and useful) gift for any minimalist man in your life – or maybe just the one who’s been sitting on a six-inch-thick wallet for a few too many years.

Custom Guitar Picks: If your guy is musical, custom picks would be a cool gift. Etsy has a host of different options, from photo picks, branded, or even heavier, engraved metal picks.

Insulated Growler: If your dad, husband, or other male figure loves beer (and honestly, who doesn’t,) this insulated, reusable growler is a great gift idea. Stop by a brewery to get it filled up and take it along on a picnic to enjoy some fresh, cool craft beer on the go! (Also useful for the aggressive coffee drinker. Not that I know any, or anything…)

Bose Build Speaker Cube: This could be a fun hands-on gift for a dad and his kid (or grab an adult version for a really cool DIY project for a guy who loves tech). It will walk them through the steps to create their own working bluetooth speaker to pair with an Apple device!

Still need even more ideas? Check out these past gift guides for guys:

Letters to Dad: If it’s hard to talk about feelings in your family (I was raised in a stereotypical midwestern home – no one ever has feelings ever) this “Letters to” series is a great prompt to start opening the lines of communication, reminisce on memories, or tell your dad or father figure things you’ve always wanted to share.

Dad Joke Glass: The best part of dating a dad is unlimited dad jokes – no matter how crummy they are (sorry honey,) they make me laugh every time. This glass will let everyone around him know that the joke factory is open. (Grab a book to go along with it so he’s never floundering for a joke to tell.)

Enamel Pins: These are a super fun way to customize commuter bags or hats, and there are plenty geared toward dads. Get a set of classic dad shoes, go a little more formal with a declaration of Good Dad-dom, or lean into the humor and Simpsons fandom.

Scotch-Infused Toothpicks: My grandpa has had a toothpick in his mouth as long as I can remember (not the same one, I imagine.) These scotch-infused toothpicks from Uncommon Goods are a unique gift for any whisky lover or chronic toothpick user!

Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Body Scrub: Especially in the summer, skin can get really rough. #TreatHisSkin with this gentle exfoliating scrub (I promise this isn’t sponsored, that was just where my brain took #TreatYoSelf in this case!) It helps wash away some of the dead, rough skin, and the charcoal infusion helps users get really clean.

Card Games: Playing analog games is still just as fun, and it’s more collaborative. Spend “real life” time together with card games like Exploding Kittens or the Oregon Trail card game (which I can confirm is super fun!!)

gift ideas for men

Quip toothbrushes: Bring tech into the bathroom with an electric toothbrush from Quip. Their metal brush handles are super heavy duty, and they’ll send brush head and toothpaste refills on time every three months. We’ve used these for awhile now and I really like it a lot – plus the toothpaste tastes really great.

Mugs: A classic gift, but there are some hilarious options. Baby Daddy, Best Dad Ever, Emergency Dad Jokes – they’re all super hilarious and great options for anyone.

Smart Lawn Sprinkler System: All smart home everything. This would be a super fun gift for anyone who likes technology and working in the lawn.

Sugru Mouldable Glue: Most of the guys I know are always tinkering and fixing things – this moldable glue looks really cool, and really useful for fixing pretty much anything. This would be a cool gift to keep in the toolbox, in the garage, in the car, at work – basically anywhere so he can fix it on the fly.

Do you have any go-to gift ideas for men?

June 4, 2018
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19 unique Mother’s Day gift ideas

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mother's day gift

Mother’s Day is coming soon! Though she deserves it (and I wish I could give it to her,) I’m not in a place yet that I can send her off to an all-inclusive spa resort somewhere warm. There are still plenty of ways to spoil your mom and make her feel like you splurged on her for a day.

When a lot of people think “mother’s day,” they think of the typical flowers and massage gift card, but there are tons of unique ideas the ladies in your life will find more useful. (But honestly, as long as you steer clear of something like a new vacuum, you’ll be in the clear.)

Letters to My Mom: This is a super creative, interactive gift that keeps giving. The book is made up of envelopes with prompts, as well as times for your mom to open each of the letters. I’ve been sitting on one of these for a few years and every time I sit down to write a letter, I get very emotional. You could even DIY this – gather up some envelopes and write specific dates on the front with times you want your mom to open that letter.

Tickets for an Event: Taking her out on a date is a great way to spend time with her and show her you pay attention to her interests. With the resurgence of a lot of “legacy” performers going out on tour, maybe her favorite is coming around – or pick a musical or play that’s more her speed. If she’s into sports, see if there’s a game near you. Minor league games are even really fun, and often have fun promotions. My family and I love going to dollar hot dog nights!

Greetabl: Dani sent me a Greetabl last year when I was going through a tough time, and not only was it so cute, the tea they packed was super good. They have a bunch of cute things to pick from, so there’s sure to be something there for all the ladies in your life.

Candles: My mama llama loves candles, but she doesn’t buy them too much anymore. Target has a really great selection, and TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are also typically pretty safe bets – or hit up Etsy to find something more specialized for her tastes!

Nisolo: When I think about fine leather goods, luxe leatherwear is near the top of the list. Nisolo is focusing on making fashion more sustainable, and their bags and shoes are super high quality (I could never pass their stand in the Green Hills Mall without taking a moment to feel the smooth leather.

Air Plants: These might be the only plants that I’ll be able to keep alive, but they’re also really cute and add some color to places you might not normally be able to stick a plant. I love these ones with the diamond and gold detailing, or opt for a terrarium instead.

Squarehue: My mom loves painting her nails and I would estimate that the amount of nail polish she has could line the walls of each room in her house. That makes it a super safe bet, though – Squarehue delivers two or three unique shades every month.

Aromatherapy Scarf: NP loves scarves, and her kids always steal them. This actually works out well for me, because I always know what to get her! I love that this one comes with aromatherapy for a little extra relaxation built in.

Maid for A Day: If there’s anything the women of this world need, it’s a day off. (Emotional labor is tiring, am I right?) Local websites like Thumbtack and Nextdoor make it easy to find and hire for all kinds of services, including maid and cleaning services. If she already keeps a spotless ship, think about getting her a private chef or butler.

Charging Purse: There’s nothing worse than being out and about and having your phone die. Sometimes outlets aren’t super available, so even carrying around a spare charger doesn’t help. This bag is cute and light but has enough room to pack the essentials, and it has a built-in charger for epic length shopping trips (the ladies in my family are notorious for these!)

Artwork: Etsy has all kinds of cute artwork you can personalize, from family trees to maps. You could also make it super custom and design something in Canva or Photoshop to print!

Corksicle Wine Chiller: Late spring is the perfect time for a chilled glass of wine on the patio, and there’s nothing worse than waiting for the wine to cool (or is that just me?) Pick up a Corksicle so she can plunge it into any wine – for extra points, pick up a bottle of her favorite for a perfect gift anytime.

Coffee Subscription: If the ladies in your life love coffee (and really, who doesn’t) a coffee subscription is a great way to help them try new blends and take something off their grocery list. Subscriptions from services like Rhetoric Coffee can be customized to the frequency and amount you want (plus it’s super good – check out our Rhetoric review here!)

Herb Garden: Fresh herbs can add a lot to a meal or ice water, and they’re relatively easy to care for. This cute little windowsill herb planter is even cute, and the clean lines would match any decor!

Pajamas: There’s something about a pair of matching pajamas that make me feel really fancy – maybe it’s because I typically throw on sweatpants and an old band shirt and call it a day. My mom loves pajamas too, so a pair of cozy pajamas are an easy and inexpensive gift.

Sleep: Your mom is not getting enough sleep. Trust me. I don’t care how old you are, she never caught up on sleep after you were born. Help her get back to sleep with a premium membership to Rain Rain, an app with tons of rain and white noise sounds. This Moon Beam device also helps relax and fall into a good sleep.

Robe: The best part of any hotel getaway is curling up in those super plush robes. If I can’t bring my mom to the robe, I can bring the robe to her! LL Bean has really luxe robes, and Amazon has a wide selection as well.

Fish Bowl: Gifts don’t always have to be functional – they can be fun as well. This little fishbowl is super cute and would be a great addition to a mantle or desk!

Books: In my family, everyone is a reader – my grandma was an elementary school librarian, and even now she continues to read voraciously. Subscription boxes like the Literary Box from Quarterly are fun for readers – it will introduce them to new authors, and even provide fun insight into the novels and other bookish gifts inside.

April 26, 2017
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gift guide: 2016 last minute

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Last week I shared a week of posts with great gift ideas, but there are always those procrastinators – no time to go shopping, can’t find Tickle Me Elmo (if you’re in the market, there’s one in the basement at my parents house), or whatever. Shipping deadline to arrive by December 24 for a lot of websites is TODAY (sure, there’s a lot of great stuff on Amazon Prime yet, but small shops are so much more unique.) Here are some last minute ideas if you still have some outstanding shopping to do!

This Is Fine Dog: 2016 is (mercifully) coming to a rapid end, but I still find myself in frequent need that everything is fine. The dog from the Gunshow comic is being made into a plush animal, and he’s on preorder. It will look like you planned ahead, and they even have a card you can print out for your giftee to open in the meantime. Read more…

December 15, 2016
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gift guide 2016: let’s order a pizza!

Posted in Food, Living by

We’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, and in the crunch for wrapping up the holiday shopping lists! If you’re feeling stuck on gift ideas, I’ve put together a week of ideas to help you get inspired. It’s no secret that I love pizza – especially if you follow me on Instagram, where I recently started a hashtag to document all the slices I’ve been taking in. Chances are about 100% that you also have a pizza lover in your life, so here are some gift ideas for the aficionado in you love!

ban.do After This We’re Getting Pizza yoga mat: I’ve been super obsessed with this line since I first saw it at Paper Source last winter. I have the water bottle, and in the new year I’m getting back to my gym rat ways – what better inspiration than the thought of pizza staring me in the face as I struggle through a yoga class?

Pizza Blanket: I’m in love with this, and need it desperately. This giant pizza shaped blanket (with heart-shaped pepperonis!!!) is even on mega-sale, all the way down to $25. The perfect size to cuddle up with on the couch, a pizza box, and a good TV binge. Read more…

December 9, 2016
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