Guy Gifts

January 26th, 2011

Don’t forget the best man.

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Groomsmen's gifts: Get personal. Shown: Engraved Pilsner glass.

With all the pre-wedding focus on the bride’s dress, the bride’s jewelry, and the bride’s hair appointment, it’s almost easy to forget the groom is in there somewhere.

So you know the groom’s Best Homies are running a far-off third when it comes to appreciation. Oops — fourth. (We almost forgot the Maid of Honor and bridesmaids!)

A quick tip for all grooms-to-be: Remember your groomsmen with a great gift.

Let them know you're still cool. Shown: Flasks in various colors.

Groomsmen’s gifts range from the downright silly to the elegant, with a sprinkling of functional. Our take? Be original, and go for personalized items.

Now mind you, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional gift. But anyone can pick up five of the same present at the same store. Personalizing takes forethought, and they will remember later whenever they take the gift out to use. Really.

Here are some of our favorite guy gifts for the groom’s best man and ushers.

A Flask. Flasks are great “We’re really all grown up now” gifts for those who seem, shall we say, stuck in the past (Hey…did somebody say “Pirates of the Burning Seas?”…not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Got game? Shown: Personalized golf towel. At the

Flasks also mean good times and camaraderie, making the a good gift to choose for the guys.

Anything Golf. Golf is the new “young man’s game”and is appropriate for any groomsman, or even your or your bride’s dad as a special “thank you for being there” gift.

Golf balls, a special club, a voucher for time on the green or golf-themed usable items are all great ideas.

Something fun and playful. Reminders of the fun the fun they’ve had, and that they will continue to have, will put a smile on the groomsmen’s faces on the big day. Try a more formal version of a childhood favorite, like a gorgeous checker or

You know your buds like to play. Shown: silver plated Yo-Yo.

We love this upscale yo-yo (see pic, left). Fun yet elegant, and yes, he’ll try it out when nobody’s looking.

Something he can really use. “Serviceable” gifts, particularly when they’re personalized or engraved, have always been a best bet, and the trend is still going strong. A grooming kit, desk set, or cuff links are keepsakes and will be used in the future, so go for it!

Whatever you choose, make sure it comes from the heart, and from the groom’s appreciation for all his guys have done for him. They’ll return the favor eventually when it’s their turn up the aisle.

Update: Baby Shower Trends 2011

January 21st, 2011

Make a note of it: Remember the shower favors for your guests.

It’s a brand-new year, and along with it are sure to come brand-new babies. Do you know someone who’s due – perhaps sooner than you’d realized? Don’t worry: it’s easy to pull together an up-to-the-minute baby shower in plenty of time for the big date. Here are our favorite baby shower trends for 2011.

Pamper the Parents Shower

“Pamper the Mom” showers have evolved into parties that Dad a break too. A Pamper the Parents shower works best for a couple that needs fewer items (for example, families that have another young child and still have all their former baby furniture, or whose parents are doing all the big-item buying).

Great gift ideas for parents-to-be (or parents-again!) include spa gift certificates; loofah/sponge/shower items; back massagers (try the type that sits in an easy chair); fun DVDs; or “coupons” for free babysitting, courtesy of you.

Scrap Booking Shower

If the mom-to-be is a scrap booking queen, have a scrap booking shower. Instruct guests to bring various scrapbook-related gifts (be sure to have a list on hand in case they’re not sure what to buy).

You can also create a scrapbook during the shower. Ask family members to bring childhood or other pictures of the mom- and dad-to-be. Bring along your own supplies. Then sit down with the other guests and create a keepsake scrapbook for Baby that’s all about Mom and Dad.

Theme Baby Shower

Grab a cute theme for the shower. Shown: Jungle Critters.

At a loss? Pick a theme!  Here are some ideas:

  • Baby’s nursery colors theme
  • Seasonal theme
  • Flowers theme/garden theme
  • Barn animals, circus animals or jungle animals theme
  • Food theme (cupcakes, sweets/treats/lollipops, chocolatefest, cookie grab-bag, childhood breakfast cereals, etc.)
  • Specific nursery animal theme (rocking horse; rubber ducky; busy bees; etc.)
  • Retro baby toys theme (pick a time period)
  • Moon and stars theme
  • Fun ‘n games theme (baby toys; child’s board games; playing cards)

Shower Extras

Baby shower “add-ons” for 2011 are just too cool. Take advantage of the latest trends with these ideas:

A chocolate fountain. Mmmm! You can buy a chocolate fountain, or call your local party store or party caterer to find out how you can rent one.

A diaper cake. These are so much fun to make and they double as a “sensible” gift (yay sensible gifts!). Here’s a tutorial.

Food baby shower theme: Delicious!

Handmade party decorations. Hang paper lanterns; place a battery-operated safety candle in each. Fill clear glass jars with sand and seashells, fanciful candies, or nature’s bounty depending upon the season.

Party favors. Party gifts aren’t just for children; treat your guests to fun party favors. Ideas include treat mixes or baked treats, chocolates, a mini cookie mix with a cookie cutter, or stationery.

Use your imagination and your creativity. More fun ideas pop up all the time (due in part to our readers — thank you!), so watch this space for fun, funky, wild or traditional-with-a-twist shower how-tos.

We Love You, Too

January 12th, 2011

You know, there really is a satisfaction in simply doing a job and doing it well.

But the occasional accolade or two doesn’t hurt. In fact…it feels, well, fab! (We’ll take it!)

That’s why we want to extend a big thank you to our site visitors who have so kindly posted reviews — and great pics — on favorsbyserendipity.com items.

Many thanks to our customers who continue to send in their pictures AND their thoughts. Oh, and p.s: we love you, too.

All right…on to the fun part! We are happy to present to you (drum roll, please) the following — click on the links provided for full product details and reviews.

An autumn fall table centerpiece by Gail. Favors shown: Pumpkin Patch Brownie Favor Pops.

Gail’s table decor, larger view. Gorgeous! Favors shown: Pumpkin Patch Brownie Favor Pops.

Louisa sent in this bridal shower cake with creativity galore. Favor shown: Dad, Walk Me Down The Aisle? Gourmet Chocolate Bride (as the cake topper).

Five Great Wedding Destinations

January 5th, 2011

Fifteen years ago, I was floored when a family member packed up her wedding dress, a Disney theme park ticket and a pair of sandals and flew 1800 miles with her paramour — and a few close friends and relatives — to get married.

Today, one of the first questions a bride and groom-to-be are asked is, “Where are you getting married?” And that’s not where as in your local town hall v. your favorite upscale restaurant; it’s where, as in: will you be staying within your own country?

Of course, a destination wedding is just that — any destination that’s somewhat afield from home. One doesn’t necessarily have to get a passport in order to arrange a destination wedding. And I’ll admit this right away: I love the destination wedding trend, particularly with great new “hot spots” opening up all the time for romantic getaway weddings — often at quite reasonable costs. Whether within our outside of the continental U.S., here are a few of the best places to tie the knot.

1. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Ah, Cabo! Weddings performed in Cabo San Lucas are legal in the U.S. (as long as they’re performed by a judge), making this getaway wedding locale super easy. Cabo is great for couples whose Spanish is a little rusty — you’ll find English spoken here. And most major locations accept U.S. dollars. There’s tons to do in Cabo, including jet skiing, hiking, surfing and watching hump-back whales off the coast of Playa Grande.

2. Disneyland, Anaheim, FL or Walt Disney World, Kissimmee, FL

Everyone loves Disneyland and Disney World. And both locales offer a whole slew of wedding and reception packages year-round. Be aware when you book your hotel reservations that Disney World is in Kissimmee, not Orlando, as is popularly believed (though Orlando is only about 20 minutes away). Going off-season could get you discounts; ask your travel agent or wedding planner.

3. Australia

Getting married in Australia is an experience to last a lifetime. Australia’s seasons can generally be divided between the “wet season,” about November to April, and the “dry season,” from April to November. Overall, however, this intriguing continent experiences warm weather. The land down under offers amazing variety, from the Outback to Sydney’s famous night life. Check marriage requirements ahead of time and be sure to obtain or renew your passport at least six weeks in advance of your travel date.

4. Tuscany, Italy

Rolling hills and lush vineyards make Tuscany one of the most romantic wedding locations one can pick. If you can afford to cross the pond, make this idyllic spot the place for your wedding and reception. Be sure to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime views and outstanding cuisine. Check marriage requirements and be sure your passport is up-to-date in plenty of time for your trip.

5. Barbados, West Indies

Warm and gorgeous, with white-sand beaches and a mild hurricane season as compared to many other Caribbean locales, Barbados is becoming “the” place couples fly to in order to tie the knot. Book a hotel or take a cruise. There’s a lot to do in Barbados — or just relax and drink in the beautiful scenery beachside with your new spouse. Barbados does not have a waiting period for obtaining a wedding license.