11.21.2014

Uncommon Goods Holiday Gift Guide // Personalized Gifts

I can't believe we are another week closer to the holidays!  Honestly I am counting down the days until I can see my family.  Unfortunately I won't be spending Christmas day with my family but I will be traveling down from Indiana to Virginia.  I've already booked my flight and I've already thought about packing!  Is that too soon?
I've been thinking a lot about gifts this year and how sometimes we just find something that is sort of meh to give to our loved ones.  Sometimes it's too stressful to find an meaningful gift that is so perfect for someone that we may just settle for mediocre.  That got me thinking about what kind of gifts I could give that would tell a story.  How can I share with my loved one that I care about them through story telling?  That is when the idea of personalized gifts hit me!  Today I want to introduce you to a site that has an amazing selection of items that are perfect for anyone in your life.  From this selection here of gifts for him, to something for her right here, you're bound to find the perfect something that just suits them so well.  What site am I talking about?  Uncommon Goods!

Uncommon Goods approached me to review a product just in time for the holidays.  While looking through their assortment of quirky and mostly handmade items I cam up on the perfect gift that would tell the story of us....and it's an amazing one.  I chose these State Love Glasses personalized with our initials, date we met, and the state Michigan (for Zach) & Virginia (for me).  When I saw these I knew they would be perfect to surprise Zach with.  It was such an ordeal and a big part of our young lives meeting and then moving 800 miles north to start a life together.  This personalize gift just spoke to me in a way nothing else had in a long, long while.
First off, let me introduce you to Uncommon Goods.  In case you haven't heard of the site Uncommon Goods - let me fill you in.  Uncommon Goods is a privately-owned retailer headquartered in Brooklyn, New York that features unique designs and hand crafted gifts.  They are a company that stands for designers by holding a high respect for the creative individual.  Uncommon Goods is a company that gives back to it's workers and contributes to the community.  I highly encourage you to check out this page of their website where it is outlined how the privately own company contributes to various charities such as RAINN, American Forests, and Women for Women International.
Now onto these State Love Glasses that are so impressive!
I chose these glasses not only because they could be personalized with something so close to us but also because I wanted to see the quality of the etching.  Sometimes, when you get an etched glass, the etching seems to sit on top of the glass and not look like the glass is, in fact, etched.  I wanted to talk about this first - over the packaging and anything else - because when I opened the box I uttered a wow.  The quality of these glasses would impress anyone who receives this gift.  The etching also stands up to hand washing.  The site recommends not to place this in the dishwasher and in order to make any etched glass wear last, you really should wash by hand.

Since many of the items sold on the Uncommon Goods site are handmade I feel a connection to the designer behind these.  On the listing page here I learned the history behind the designer who imagined this product and then in the actual packaging the story was printed again.  As a lover of stories and a person who is intrigued by how we are all connected, this feature touched a personal spot for me.  I love that I was able to bring a unique piece of practical art into my home.  The quality ensures they will stand the test of time and I can't wait to keep them on display for others to hear the artist story as we share our own.
These arrived in a box filled with peanuts, wrapped in bubble wrap, and securely wrapped in brown paper.  When I felt the weight of the box, I thought that it might not be packaged well because it was so light but I was totally wrong.  Whenever I am anticipating a personalized item like this I get a bit nervous that something will be damaged.  However the packaging and care that went into packing up this item really ensures that you will get your item in pristine condition.

A personalized gift is a great way to go to show someone you truly care.  There are a ton of unique an personalized gifts in the Uncommon Goods gift guides here that are sure to make the best impression with your loved ones this holiday season.

What kind of personalized gift speaks to you?  Have you considered how story telling could be incorporated in a gift for your loved ones?

xoxo, Moe

**This item was sent to me for review from Uncommon Goods.  The opinions expressed above are my own.  All information about the company Uncommon Goods can be found on their website here.

11.20.2014

Boost Your Blog // My Blogging Kit 2.0

About two-ish years ago I did a post on creating a blogging kit if you were moving, traveling, or just somewhere that you weren't used to.  I created this kit to keep me sane in my transition period from moving up to Michigan.  Which, let's talk about how young I was 2 years ago for a minute.  I stumbled up on some of the emails between Zach & I while we were apart (read about our long distance thing here).  Oh my gosh we were so, so, so young!  Some days, when I find things like that, I wonder why I felt so confident in my decision to move up here - I was so young what made me so positive this was going to work out?  Don't get me wrong, this has been the best thing but it could have gone so bad.  We've grown a lot together and it's so weird to look back on how young we were.  You sure don't know time has passed until you turn around and look at it.  Jeeze.  Anyway, that's not what this post is about.  This post is about my blogging kit 2.0.
Now, I don't travel with Zach at all any more (sad face!) and for the most part our travels involve going to different SCA events and during that time I'm not really connected to technology because we're usually camping.  But currently I'm in the state of a remodel and in order to gain control over my surroundings I thought I'd assemble my blogging kit just to give me some control.  I think I am more than slightly Type A when it comes to some things!  So here is the Blogging Kit 2.0 :

iPad & ClamCase
Something that has become super convenient for me is my ClamCase for my iPad.  It turns my iPad into a mini laptop which is perfect for on the go blogging!  This is great if we're making a little weekend stop to Zach's parents or a small weekend trip I can still get some work done.  It would be even more helpful if I had a 3G plan but wireless is just fine for most things.  (Read about blogging from an iPad here.)

Filofax Planner
This takes the places of my blog planner and blog idea notebook.  This planner is filled with everything from plans for my daily life, blog plans, contacts, to do lists, and other planning things.  I feel like this is the big girl version of the planner I used to have.  I've sort of updated how I plan for the blog but it still follows the same principle.  Also this planner holds my sticky notes and pens so I don't have to bring another case with me.  If you want to see an easy an affordable DIY binder planner check out this video on my YouTube channel.  I also posted a current planner tour here.

Camera/iPhone + Mophie Case
I hardly pull out my DSLR anymore.  I'm still fighting with it so I've just been using my phone.  I currently have the iPhone 5s, and upgrade from the iPhone 4 I had in the previous Blogging Kit post.  With the 5s comes a better camera so I can really have blog worthy photos.  I'm hardly ever worried about my phone dying because I have a Mophie case that has one full charge as a back up.  So I can take really great photos and not worry about lugging around a camera or a camera dying on me.

App Arsenal
I talked before about the ways you can blog from you iPad and there really are tons of apps out there to help you along (currently I'm liking using the actual Blogger app).  But the other thing I worry about is the fact that I have the lowest memory option for my iPhone so I need to back up my photos incase I need to delete.  My whole blogging app arsenal includes Blogger, Blogsy, Google Drive, Afterlight, Phonto, and PicFrame.  All of these give me everything I need (nearly) to compose a post.

Storage 
In the last blogging kit post I talked about storage for some bits and bobs you may collect from events, travels, etc.  Because my Filofax (the Saffiano in Rasperry) has quite a few pockets and inserts I can slip anything I need to keep in the various places in my planner.  There's really no need to have any extra baggage.  All my sticky note are on various flyleafs in my filofax, washi tape is around an old gift card and my pen is in the pen loop.  If I do need highlighters, I do have a separate pencil case in my purse.

So that is my big girl Blogging Kit 2.0!  I love that everything fits in a space no bigger than my iPad.  I guess the kit grew but I think it also got more efficient now that I have a whole app arsenal to create pretty sophisitcated blog posts on the go.

How do you blog on the go or when you're in a state of transition? Are you a control freak when it comes to spending time in unfamilliar territory?

xoxo, Moe

11.18.2014

Trend Tuesday // My Favorite Teas

I've been drinking tea a lot lately.  It's been a night time ritual for me to brew a cup through my Keurig and I've added tea storage to our little coffee nook!  I thought I would share some of my favorites today because I'm thinking of repurchasing some samples I've had and it seems Amazon has the best prices for everything.  Currently I'm loving Jasmine tea and find myself drinking two cups a night!  But here are the rest of my faves:

Yamamotoyama Jasmine Tea (cheap but it's the one I've been going to!) // Red Rose Lemon Chiffon Tea (if you love light, lemon flavors...this is so yummy!) // Tazo Well Being Rest tea //  Harney & Sons Caribe flavored green & black teas (I got a sample of this and fell in love!)

Do you have a fondness for tea?  What is your go to relaxation method?

xoxo, Moe