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Give a gift. Stay present.

#WhatImGiving.....To The Foodie

#WhatImGiving.....To The Foodie

A few years ago I stumbled across a Nutella popup offering to customize labels, and of course I couldn't resist. To this day these remain the only chocolate treats left unopened in the house! Of course I picked up some gift labels at the same time, because who can resist personalized food?

Which got me thinking recently when preparing a gift for a friend's 40th. Although food is consumable - here today, gone tomorrow - it's a fun and easy way to personalize a gift and pair it with something that will last, making the whole gift sentiment stay present for longer.

So for the foodie in your life, why don't you...

...pair a beautiful handmade dish (food safe!) with a chocolate cookbook; include a personalized chocolate bar to welcome them to the "dark side" of a milestone birthday.



...add a custom label to a honey bear to let them know how sweet they make your life, packaging it with a bee-themed tea towel or honey pot.


...match a fiery cookbook with a jar of salsa that thanks them for being a spicy host.  



What's your favorite way to personalize gifts, food or otherwise - how do you create a gift that stays present?


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#WhatImGiving.....Semi-Handmade for Mother's Day

For Mother's Day, as with any gift, I love to give things I know Mom (or in this case - Grandma) will love - but I hate giving "off-the-rack". So as opposed to Prêt-á-Porter, if you will, I am happy to unveil the first in a series of blog posts I call "Prêt-á-Personnaliser" or "ready to personalize" gifts - the perfect combination of a gift you know the recipient will love but with a dash of personalization so they know it was given specifically with them in mind.

Take a look below to see how my daughter and I personalized some our favorite presents for Grandma with the quintessential Mother's Day gift - flowers.

Mother's Day Gift DIY

1. The Gifted Rose

Grandma loves her lemonade - so this carafe was an easy choice for a Mother's Day gift. But how to make it special? We went classic and filled it with spray roses via a tutorial we found on Apartment Therapy. When the roses are taken out it's perfect for pouring Grandma's lemonade all summer long!

2. The Gifted Waterlily

Grandma loves a centerpiece on her table - and the color blue - so our next gift was obviously this handmade serving tray. For the floral element we went for Grandma's favorite - these tissue waterlilies from a tutorial on Ash & Crafts. The perfectly-imperfect flowers go beautifully with the handmade pottery, and together they make a perfect centerpiece until it's used for dinnertime serving.

3. The Gifted Hyacinth

Finally, Grandma is always cooking and can never have enough tea towels - so our blue lemon towel is perfect. we chose to match these surreal lemons with full-on floral color with these hyacinths, courtesy of One Little Project. The kids chose the colors of flowers, and we wrapped them up in the towel the same way she wrapped flowers for me when I was little.

We'll report back as to how Grandma liked everything - though we're sure these goodies will keep her kitchen blooming through Spring. Let us know what you think - we'd love to hear how you personalize YOUR Mother's Day gifts (or what great gifts you received).


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#WhatI'mGiving.........To Set in Stone

#WhatI'mGiving.........To Set in Stone

One recurring theme you'll see in my gifting advice is how to turn "common" objects into a special memento to make the perfect gift (see here and here), and what you see above is another example. 

When we got married, my husband and I agonized over the design of the invitation colors and style - eventually taking inspiration from the swirls on my beloved "squirrel bag." So when all was said and done, the last thing we wanted to do was put the leftover invites in the back of the closet never to be seen again.

Framing didn't seem special enough to keep the invite front-and-center - we wanted a memory on another level. Luckily I had read about Kaas Glassworks, where we were able to have the invitation decoupaged into a dish. It now lives on the wall of our bedroom as a constant reminder of our wedding day.

Not exactly "set in stone" like the title of this article, but you get the idea -  what I'm giving is a simple piece of paper made into a more permanent memory. Although only about 15% of weddings take place in November & December, these months account for 150% of annual gift-giving (yes, I made that number up). Which means there is ample opportunity to use decoupage to create a meaningful gift for someone this holiday season:

  • Using their baby or moving announcement - celebrate milestones that have occurred over the past year
  • A family's holiday card - either current or vintage (I would do one of my family's from the 80's for my parents)
  • A child's drawing - perfect for the grandparents

Tell us below - what would you decoupage as a "just right" gift? Have you ever given a decoupage gift, and if so what was the occasion?

And when you are looking for objects to use, keep in touch with Gifted & PresentWhether you need help sourcing those mementos or just need some inspiration, we are here to help!


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#WhatI'mGiving.........To The Girls

#WhatI'mGiving.........To The Girls

It will be a quick one today as I am off to Miami for a girls' weekend. It's been in the works for what feels like forever, but we are finally here!

What I'm giving this week are welcome gifts. When traveling with friends, particularly when we are all coming from different places, I like to greet everyone with a token to celebrate what we'll be doing. In this case - trashy beach-reading magazines, self tanner, facial masks and lip gloss for everyone (in a Gifted & Present bag, of course!)

Welcome gifts don't have to be expensive - and there really isn't an occasion that doesn't lend itself to a little "hello" grab bag:

  • Wellness weekend: Mineral water, travel-sized essential oils and a book of inspirational quotes.
  • Summer camping: A bottle of locally-brewed beer, artisanal bug spray and a s'more-flavored cake pop
  • Girl's weekend: Mini bottles of champagne with fun straws, bling-y costume jewelry and some flashy sunglasses

Have a specific event but stumped as to what to include? Keep in touch with Gifted & Present - whether you need help sourcing goodies or just need some inspiration, we are here to help!

See you all next week - we are off to the beach!


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#WhatI'mGiving.........To My Best Friend

#WhatI'mGiving.........To My Best Friend

As relationships grow and - let's face it - we all get older, buying a just-right gift sometimes becomes harder vs. easier. Case-in-point some of my favorite excuses:

  • "They have everything!"
  • "I've used up all of my ideas over the last 15 years!"
  • "We know each other so well, there's nothing I can surprise her with!"

All of the above are valid - but what about something you can't buy? Let me tell you a story........

I made the move to NYC way back when you could still smoke in eating & drinking establishments (shocking!) Thinking I would only be here a short time, I had the habit of collecting something everywhere I went as a memory; in the case of bars & restaurants, these memories usually manifested as matchbooks.

Flash forward 15 years later and I have bags of matchbooks that I don't have a need for, and yet can't part with. What to do? As you may have guessed, I've taken these snippets of memories and displayed them in a glass cloche, allowing me to remember all of the places I visited in my first year as a New Yorker. I even rotate the view from time to time to conjure new memories.

Back to the birthday present conundrum - you say you know a friend too well to surprise them? What about tapping into those relationship memories and funneling them into something physical? Some of my favorite interpretations of the matchbook-in-cloche idea are:

  • Go to school together? Matchbooks from your favorite haunts in college.
  • Memorializing a big trip? Save the corks from opened wine bottles, or something natural that represents where you were (for example, shells or pinecones)
  • Are they a voracious reader? Position a favorite book inside a cloche, opened to a key passage
  • Childhood friend? Take the pieces from that board game you played every day and stack them up

Whatever you include will definitely NOT be something they already have, and will certainly reflect the fact that you know each other so well. Because the better you know someone, the more personal a gift should be. 

And when you are looking for objects to use, keep in touch with Gifted & PresentWhether you need help sourcing those mementos or just need some inspiration, we are here to help!


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How to Give a Gift

Giving a meaningful gift is not always easy; even more difficult is coming up with an idea at the last minute (which, lets face it, happens more than we would like). I used to find the process frustrating instead enjoyable, as it should be - until I adopted a simple gifting mantra to make my life easier.

Be Prepared. Be Personal. Be Prompt.

Be Prepared.

I'm not the type of person that can think of an idea at the snap of my fingers, which is why I am constantly listening for clues. Everyone mentions - consciously or not - what they are interested in. A new shop they discovered. A new food or restaurant they tried. A place they want to visit.

When a friend casually picked up a book on our last shopping trip, mentioning how nostalgic she was for her vacation to the Amalfi Coast, I knew her next gift would be something to do with that tidbit. And I made a note of it to reference when the time came.

Be Personal.

If you prepare by listening, you are bound to come up with a personalized gift idea. But then think - how can you put a unique spin on it, take something ready-made and make it into even more special?

My husband and I had our first date at Public, a Manhattan restaurant that has a memorable design aesthetic they use in everything from their menus to the small bars of soap in the restroom. The soap became a running joke between us, and to this day we go back every year on our anniversary.

Based on this, what you see in the photo above is #WhatIAmGiving for our anniversary - a memory box of all of the pieces of Public that we have collected over the years. Not only does it make something special out of ubiquitous keepsakes, looking at it will always remind us of that first date.

Be Prompt.

What's worst than having to send a belated card and gift? The guilt! If you prepare to come up with something personal, you can't help but be prompt - well done, you!

Keep your calendar marked with important gift-giving dates for the year, keep your ears open for ideas and if all else fails - keep in touch with Gifted & Present. Whether you need to send one of our curated gifts or want help sourcing a personal gift of your very own, we are here to help!


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"Because from near or far, the right gift keeps on giving long after it's opened."

I love giving thoughtful gifts to friends & family, but giving to those who live far away was a challenge. There was never the time to curate a meaningful gift, wrap it and ship it - I knew there had to be a better way! The final straw was when I sent a gift so late the recipient had grown out of it - and from that experience Gifted & Present was born!

But the impetus behind G&P is twofold; not only does it allow me to share my ideas about thoughtful gift-giving, but launching it has also given me the flexibility to give my children the best gift of all - my involvement in their lives. I've become a mompreneur, if you will: part-entrepreneur/part-mom and fully engaged in both.

Through this blog I will share my ideas regarding both aspects of the site:

  • Thoughtful ways you can stay present in your loved ones' lives through gifts, whether you buy them from G&P or craft them yourself
  • The challenges of mompreneurship, as well as profiles of others like me who are making it work

It needs to be said that I have not started this journey alone - I have to give credit to the team who have helped me put this site together:

Please check back often to see what we have in store for you!


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