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Caffeination is an art that many people take quite seriously, and treating a couple to a new coffee-making device is sure to make you an all-star friend. Take it to the next level by combining the [coffee maker / French press / coffee bean grinder] with some world class coffee beans.

Here are a few of my favorite choices for coffee beans:

Cafe Grumpy, one of my first coffee loves in New York, now available to be shipped nationwide. Buy by the bag or a 12-month subscription. (They also have one of the most amazing logos, so feel free to throw in a logo mug for good measure.)

Citizen Bean offers  3-, 6- or 12-month subscriptions. They emphasize sustainable roasts from small-batch roasters across the country, and they donate a portion of each month’s sales to a charity designated to each roaster.

Intelligentsia Press has a wide variety of single origin and blend coffee options. Staff from this company actually work directly with growers from around the world to establish better protocols on their farms.

 

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Two sets of bridesmaids (featured here and here). All bedecked in fabulous dressing robes from Plum Pretty Sugar.

 

(The Frenchie wanted a robe, too.)

If Plum Pretty Sugar is outside your price range, but you like the idea of gifting this luxury to your maids, here are a few other, more budget-friendly, options.

DKNY “Floral Appeal” Robe at Nordstrom ($78.00); Lauren Intimates Hooded Robe at Nordstrom ($44.90); Calvin Klein Short Robe at Bloomingdale’s ($75.00); Softest Short Robe at the Gap ($34.95)

As previously mentioned, I’m having a love affair with polka dots at the moment. Here are a few cute ways to incorporate them into wedding gifts.

 

Large serving platter, Crate & Barrel ($12.95)

Colossal Dots Curtain, Anthropologie ($138 – $198)

Espresso Cup and Saucer for four, Target ($39.99)

Kanae Large Clock, Y Living ($220)

Make sure the couple gets use of that cheese board and set of cheese knives they registered for by pairing it with a membership to a cheese club. (Yes, such things exist.)

 

olive wood cheese knives and board ($100) + 3-month membership at cowgirl creamery ($199)

I have a special place in my heart for Cowgirl Creamery, but you can’t go wrong with Murray’s either.

I can feel my arteries planning a preventative attack. Nothing a small sliver of Cowgirl’s MT TAM can’t handle.

A good friend recently asked me about bridesmaids gifts (i.e. the ‘thank you’ a bride gives a maid). As a soon-to-be-married gal, she wanted input on what maids like (or don’t like).

It is probably worth mentioning at the outset that I have never been disappointed in any gift I received as a bridesmaid. It really is an honor to be asked, no matter how trite that sounds, so a gift is just the sprinkles on top of an already frosted chocolate cupcake.

For five of my six stints as a bridesmaid, I received jewelry, three of which were given with the specific intent that it would be worn for the wedding and was the same for all the maids (this, this, both with matching earrings, and this). For another, we all received gold lockets with a charm of our first initial along with a pair of earrings that differed for each. Perhaps my favorite was from my sister: she bought each of us a vintage broach, each different than the next, and a vintage-style handkerchief. (For the sixth, non-jewelry wedding, the bride bought personalized gifts for each of us, and I requested a gift card here.)

If possible, I think personalized gifts mean the most, although it is more time-consuming to pull that together (along with the 100s of other details a bride attends to in advance of her wedding). Here are a few other ideas that seem charming to me.

Morse coded necklace by COATT ($56), which you can customize for each maid with her name

Coin purse – B by Alphabet Bags ($20, approx.), which you can buy with the initial of the maid’s first name (although I went with ‘B’ for ‘bridesmaid’)

Custom leather luggage tag by Of The Fountain ($12.95), which is especially cute if it’s a destination wedding

Pewter Metallic Woven Women’s Vegan Classics by TOMS Shoes ($54), along with a note encouraging the maid to kick off her heels at the reception and let her feet rejoice in the comfort of TOMS

What do you think of these options? What’s the best bridesmaid gift you’ve ever received?

This idea may require a little more pre-planning, but it can add a special element to an otherwise boring item. Most linens—bath towels, sheets, dishtowels, etc.—can be monogrammed, either by the company that sells them or by a local embroidery shop. Purchase linens from the registry, and personalize it by adding a monogram. You can integrate the names of the couples in a multitude of unique ways—focusing on a newly common last name, including both last names if each half chooses to keep their own, or even requesting to have a motif the couple chose for the wedding integrated.

 

700 Thread Count Sheets ($229) + Monogramming ($7)

From Pottery Barn: “A tradition dating back six centuries, monogrammed linens remain widely popular today and they pay tribute to the original purpose of personalization. Monograms served the simple purpose of identifying laundry, and linens were marked with indelible ink at the corners, using a seal or stamp. Only the wealthiest families enjoyed embroidered monograms, usually in the form of a coat of arms, crowns or other heraldic symbols. It wasn’t until the 1800s that the middle classes adopted the custom of embroidering linens with family initials, a custom that paid homage to the nobility and made a statement of individual pride.”

Know a couple in which one half is perpetually late and the other is punctual to a fault? Appease them both by gifting a fabulous clock.

 

Uncomplicated ($84); 24 Sentence Maker ($155)

Ghost ($160); LED ($100)

  Watch Me ($50); lilak “embossed” ($25)

My sister is a fantastic cook. Now. This was not always the case. For awhile, I thought this would be a better use of her kitchen:

Back then, I distinctly remember a time when she asked for, and received, a creme brulee torch for her birthday. I’m fairly certain it never came out of the box.

I’m not judging (I wouldn’t have the first clue what to do with a creme brulee torch), but I’m often amazed by the gadgetry that people register for. If you decide to gift such a curious device, a cheeky twist is to include a restaurant gift card, for the nights they don’t feel like whipping out the [insert fancy appliance here].

  Persephone

(Hand-Hammered Copper Couscoussier from Williams-Sonoma + gift card from Persephone)

(Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker from Amazon + gift card to Jeni’s)

 

(Nordic Ware Egg Waffle Pan from Williams-Sonoma + gift card for breakfast at the Ritz)

Would you be offended if someone paired a restaurant gift card with a kitchen appliance? Or would you appreciate the opportunity to treat yourself?

Along the same boozy line as the wine club, this gift is a little bulkier but makes up for it in the romance department.

   

champagne flutes ($39.95) from the registry + champagne ($52.99)

Champagne is something often reserved for special events, but I like to encourage my newly married friends to celebrate their union regularly. When I have gifted this in the past, I write something in the card to encourage them to use the flutes and drink the champagne on a night when it’s just the two of them.

** If a top-notch bottle of Champagne is out of your price range, you could consider a bottle of Prosecco instead.

Some things aren’t for sale. These things include a turquoise hippopotamus carved from faience (ca. 1981–1885 BCE),

a photograph of New York by American Alfred Stieglitz (1910),

and van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses (1889).

(As well as love and happiness, of course.)

What you CAN buy for the happy couple, however, is a membership to the Met (if they live in or around New York City; if not, replace [the Met] with any other local museum), where they can see these, along with many other, amazing works of art. Great for art enthusiasts and art newbies alike, a year’s membership provides a perfect “date night” outing during their first 12 months of wedded bliss.

What do you think about experiential gifts? Is this something you would like to give or receive?

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