Real Life

Best Gifting Practices – Uncommonly Good

For a long time now we have had a present cabinet. Yes, as in gifts. And, no, I am not super organized. It’s for when I need an emergency gift, you know, when you’ve forgotten an event is coming up – What, you don’t do that? Well, I do and sometimes the cabinet is stocked and I breathe a sigh of relief, and sometimes I am down to some hair ties and a pen.

So I clearly can’t leave special events like birthdays, graduations, weddings or anniversaries to chance, those need more planning, and, well, I have that covered, too. Actually, UncommonGoods does. When they contacted me to share my gift giving practices, I was thrilled – I love their site because they have cool, creative gifts in a wide range of prices, and make shopping by occasion super easy. Located in Brooklyn, NY, they select works from talented artists and artisans, and, as an added bonus, they’re a B Corporation. What is that? It means they do work on social and environmental problems, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community. That’s to the good of everyone.

But you need gifts.

Our family just wrapped up one graduation season, and while the next is a ways off, the holidays are around the corner and I’m betting on UncommonGoods to help with my list. Love this dreamy retro camera that takes romantic, light soaked photos and will charm any photographer, artist or film student. The Diana Camera is super cool, dare I say hipster? – and uses 120 film.

The Diana Camera at Uncommongoods.com from Capabilitymom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Math mug Uncommongoods from capabilitymom

Less art and more math? There’s fun with numbers in this math-y mug or great geeking out clock (equations included).

geek equation clock uncommongoods from capabilitymom

Looking for something a bit more personal? You’re covered there, too, with gifts that can be made to honor a special someone. And I love that the Uncommongoods site lets you search by occasion, interest, price, and category. No small feat, that.

And having just reached a milestone wedding anniversary, I also know a bit about great gifts for anniversaries (or weddings). Keeping it personal is key, and so easy to do here. My favorites for couples include these gorgeous faux bois personalized mugs, just pair with your favorite fair trade coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new go-to gift: Put together a mixed six pack of local craft beer, the beer labels are cool and the names are usually funny, and if you put that together with these wordy glasses, you have a really thoughtful gift. And you might even pick up a vocab word or two.uncommon goods wordy beer glasses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling the sentiment? Me, too. Love this company,

 

 

Check out their blog  which features their artists, design inspiration, and even more gift guides.

 

Disclaimer: While I did receive payment for sharing this post, all opinions are always my own.

The Fun, and Itchy, Days of Summer

After Bite® "The Itch Eraser" is America's #1 selling insect bite treatment. Its pen-like vial that is easy and convenient to carry and use. The ammonia based product relieves the itch from insect bites. Efficacy studies and 32 years of happy customers prove that it provides IMMEDIATE RELIEF FOR INSECT BITES. After Bite® Kids is specially formulated to provide fast relief for children. We removed the ammonia in order to make this formula non-stinging on sensitive skin. With Eucalyptus Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Baking Soda, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, this unique cream formula provides relief from insect bites. capabilitymom.com

capability mom The Itch Eraser

Summer means more time outdoors, dinners on the patio, hikes, the beach, lake, or body of water of your choosing, outdoor movies, and, for us, anyway, it also means more bug bites and itchy skin. We are a family who, as a whole, tends to get bites, rashes and dry itchy skin. Really. One year, our daughter returned from camp and looked like she could be on a poster for common skin problems of summer with arrows pointing to different part of her body where she had poison oak, sunburn, bug bites, and a rash from the boat she was in for two days. This same daughter also once (also at camp) had an allergic reaction to an antihistamine cream. Yes, thank you, I know that is not that common. My husband is known to get rashes upon rashes. And once my scalped itched for almost two years (no, thank you, it was not head lice). Yes, we are that family who sends photos to our dermatologist. What is this? Chiggers? Check. Poison Ivy? Check. Contact dermatitis? Check. You would think we would learn to stay indoors, my rash acquiring family and I, but no, we head out time and time again, and we gather all the bug bites, too.

Luckily, there is a local New Hampshire company that makes great products that lets us continue to leave the house and they sent me products to review. How did they know?

Here’s what I know – this company has been making After Bite® “The Itch Eraser” for 32 years and it is top selling insect bite treatment in the U.S. And my particular and itch prone family has all tried and loved it – there is even a a sensitive cream version that I used on the supremely sensitive child, of course. And I like the lock feature on the spray with a clearly notched button so you know which side you’re supposed to hold.

There is also an After Bite® Kids – specially formulated to provide fast relief for children with the ammonia removed so it doesn’t sting sensitive skin. Eucalyptus Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Baking Soda, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E all help to make this cream provide relief from insect bites. I think I’ll bring this to the next family outing with the nieces and nephews. I do love to be prepared so I’ll put some in my Mary Poppins Bag.

capabilitymom.com seabags

From the website:

After Bite + After Bite Kids:  Available at Walmart, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger, and at afterbite.com. Right now on their site, After Bite is offering a free super cute Professor Bugsbee (their mascot) key chain with the purchase of any two products.

The Itch Eraser is an all-in-one solution that stops the itch and heals skin affected by allergic itches and hives, poison ivy, oak and sumac, sunburns, rashes, redness and insect bites. It’s dermatologist-recommended and easy to apply, and available in a Max Strength Gel, Max Strength Spray and Sensitive Cream for every type of skin itch. Sold at Rite Aid, HEB Groceries, Kinney Drugs, Wegmans, Harmon, Hannaford, Bass Pro, Shopko Grocery, and at theitcheraser.com.

 

Disclosure: I received samples of products to facilitate this review but as always, all opinions are my own.

 

April Break in NYC

Sometimes a few days out of your routine is all you need. We love to zip to NYC – so close, so much to do! Whether you’re into Broadway shows (check out A View from the Mezzanine for great tips), are taking college tours, (NYU, Barnard, Fordhan, Pace, Cooper-Union, FIT, Columbia or any listed here), or if museums are your reason to travel to the city, then you are in luck. Aside from our favorites, the MOMA, the Met, the Guggenheim, and the Cooper Hewitt, if you’re traveling with little ones then check out the Math Museum, Lego Exhibit, and another family fave, The Central Park Zoo. We all love walking the High Line, exploring neighborhoods, finding great food, and exploring the many parks.

We have driven to the City, taken the bus, the train and plane. What is our top choice? Well, LimoLiner has a new sweet deal called Spring in the City. And there’s a buy one get one deal for less deal which helps make the decision even easier, and some sweet amenities. Like what?

So, for families traveling Mon. – Thurs, April 10 – 20, 2017 

 

Family-friendly amenities  including free Wifi and  on-board movies to keep kids entertained. This is key – table seating with enough room to spread out those coloring books, toys and iPads.

Free meals, snacks & first-class service. Yes, it is possible. The on-board attendant serves a (pre-selected) meal option, complimentary drinks, snacks and glass of wine on trips after 6pm

Easy boarding – just arrive 10 minutes before departure; No baggage fees or security checkpoints

Central pick-up & drop-off locations – LimoLiner passengers board and arrive in the heart of their destination (no airport taxi or Uber needed) in Midtown Manhattan, Boston’s Back Bay and Framingham, MA

Passengers are able to select their seats (reclining, leather seats) in advance at no additional cost, allowing families to sit together, or not :-)

 

So check out Limoliner, relax and get to NYC without the hassle of driving in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post but have received a complimentary media ride. All opinions are, as always, my own.

 

All about the Pi(e)

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary:

The mathematical value of π, or pi, begins “3.14…” so March 14 (3/14) is considered to be International Pi Day.

Pi is the English spelling of the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. It means “the symbol π denoting the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter,” and also means “the ratio itself : a transcendental number having a value rounded to eight decimal places of 3.14159265.” This means that the outside measurement of a circle is a little more than three times its width. This ratio is one of the most important constants in mathematics.

Pi is probably used to stand for this number because it is the first letter of the Greek word that is the origin of periphery. And don’t miss the weird and wonderful things they’re doing over on Twitter. Funny, creative and inventive. You’re welcome.

This variant form of cauliflower is the ultimate fractal vegetable. Its pattern is a natural representation of the Fibonacci or golden spiral, a logarithmic spiral where every quarter turn is farther from the origin by a factor of phi, the golden ratio.

So, I really want to give a shout out to math on Pi Day.  We use math every day, even when we don’t realize it. Now head over to Live Science to see some really cool math. And really, much as I  respect math, I respect that wonderful, versatile food choice, pie.  Sweet or savory, I am all about the pie. So when my intrepid blogger friends invited me to a pie photo morning/tasting (because who would go to just the photo shoot anyway?) –  I ran right out and grabbed some pies. Because more is more.

We fanned out across the city and suburbs in search of our favorite types of pie. Undaunted by the amount of research this would take, we were committed to our quest, and you reap the results of our labors. Why, yes, I did try most, but not all, of these delicious pies. It was an early release day or I would have, though. Pacing. Here’s the rundown. Honestly, the things I do for this blog.

Hi-Rise Bakery – This is one of my favorite places for everything – sandwiches, baked goods, bread and jams, and I every so often make the Vanilla Bean Loaf – we call it Vanilla Bread.  We sampled the lemon meringue – next time it might not make it home.

Leah brought some of her favorite pies from Petsi Pies and they were all inhaled.  I had heard of Petsi Pies but this was my first time and the Bourbon Chocolate Pecan may have been one of my tops favorite pies ever.

More Cambridge? Pemberton Farms Marketplace is a sweet grocery/bakery/garden center that has everything you could need plus pies from The Pie Guy’s – the key lime pie is off the hook. So when I head back for that particular confection, I’ll be picking up a few hostess gifts, some wine and a plant or two next time I go.

Craving a savory pie with a flaky out of this world crust? Look no further than  KO Catering & Pies in South Boston.  Mostly meat pies here but some veggies find their way in, and  a lovely veggie pie or the Classic Beef Pie will warm you right up. We were hosted to try these yummy hand pies and sample we did. Then we ordered a bunch to go – great for the freezer for an easy dinner you almost made.

And from Shoofly Pie Baking Company, an unbelievably delicious and pretty – no one wanted me to cut it but I did anyway – cherry pie. She delivers – yes, delivers pie to Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and Hyde Park. with a trial run in Brookline going on now. Hopefully Newton is next! I’m not going to lie, when Kelli handed me still warm from the oven cherry pie, I doubted that it would make it to our pie morning. Yet it did, and it was whole. I  know. All the will power.

Freshly baked, incredibly delicious pies from the Ever So Humble Pie Company can be found at both Volante Farms and Brothers Marketplace.

 

So what do we do? Go Local Boston is our hashtag. We find things, we share our finds.

Follow these blogs for more fun finds – pie and otherwise.

A Little Bit about a lot of Things

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