Creative Ideas for Engagement Gifts

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Photo Credit: Misa Me Photography

Since becoming a mom, I sometimes feel that I have neglected to be a very good friend.  I have always been the person who remembered every single birthday of friends and family members.  I remembered to call.  I remembered to go out of my way to do something nice on an important day for them.  Nowadays, I am lucky if I even know what day it is, let alone that there is something special going on that day.  I love my friends and want them to know that I still love them.  I know being a mommy is not an excuse to forget about my friends, and I hope they know that I do still think about them often, even if I don’t always remember to call.

One particular instance of me being a bad friend…my bestie from high school called me up one night when I was particularly exhausted from lack of sleep.  I felt bad for not answering, but I just didn’t have the energy to have the catch up session that we needed.  The next day, she called again when I was in the middle of watching both my son and another child at the same time for the first day.  I figured since she called again, that it was important, but again it was just a bad time.  I answered, but immediately said, “Hey, can I call you back.  I’m watching two babies and it’s a little insane.”  She said “ok” but sounded like she really wanted to talk, so I said, “What’s up?” and she follows with “I’M ENGAGED!!!”

Oh. Em. Gee!!!  No wonder she was calling so much!  And here I am blowing her off, because I’m too crazy and tired on one of the most important days of her life!  What a jerk!  I said, “Congratulations, and I will definitely call you back later to hear the story.”  To which I did follow through.  Upon calling her back, she says, “Did you remember today is also my birthday?” F@#$!!!!!!  Ok, I am officially the worst. friend. EVER.  I knew her birthday was coming up, but when the actual day arrived, I didn’t even know the date.  I felt AWFUL.

Luckily, she is an amazing person and has forgiven me.  And I know gift giving totally doesn’t erase the fact that I am a nincompoop.  HOWEVER!  It’s cannot hurt, and I totally owe her one.  So I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with some creative engagement gifts to send her way, and here are some of the ideas that have crossed my mind:

Wedding Planning Basket:  As a new bride-to-be, it can be really exciting to think about planning your wedding, but it can also be a bit overwhelming.  A wedding planning basket will give them a little boost to get started and fill them with ideas and organization tips.  Include bridal magazines, a planner, pen, thank you card, ideas for local vendors, to-do list with typical budgets, wedding-themed movies to put them in the wedding planning mood, and more.

Personalized Champagne Glasses:  Nothing says celebrate like champagne!  I love the idea of personalized champagne glasses with the names of the couple and the date of their wedding.  They can use them for the big toast on their wedding day, and toast again with them year after year on their anniversary.  Include a nice bottle of champagne for the win.

Take Them Out/Send them Out:  Take them out for a night on the town, a nice dinner, or a fun activity you know they will enjoy to celebrate the new journey they will take together.  You could also get them a gift certificate to send them on their own adventure together.  A couples massage to relax before their big day would be one of my favorites to suggest!

Create a Slide Show:  Gather photos from friends and family members to compile an adorable slide show for the future bride and groom.  The thought and effort put into the project will mean the world to the engaged couple.  You can include photos from their childhood  with family and friend or include photos of solely the couple themselves on their many adventures together.  The slide show can be used at an engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.

Photography Session:  Speaking of photos, a professional engagement photography session could be an amazing gift for a couple.  With all the insane amount of expenses that come along with planning a wedding, a couple might not have it in their budget to include an engagement session as well.  The photos could be used for their future “save the dates,” thank you cards, at the wedding, or framed and hung in their home.

Personalized Art Work:  My husband and I received a piece of art work for our wedding, and we still have it hanging in our home.  Something sweet to hang as a reminder of their special day will always be appreciated.  I really enjoy this simple Happily Ever After piece from Etsy.  Artwork is also not limited to the wall!  A personalized platter, ring holder, pillow, or anything else for the home could be a great gift and beautiful  reminder of their special day.

Wine Box:  If the engaged couple is into wine, a wine box could be a really fun idea.  Choose about 6 bottles of wine or so and label them with tags for different milestones that they will reach in their lives (First Anniversary, 10th Anniversary, First Home, First Christmas, etc.)  Make sure to ask someone at the wine store for advice as they may be able to suggest wines that age well.  You could also include a bottle of sparkling cider to toast their First Child.  If they have a different drink of choice, you could do a similar box filled with beer, mini liquor bottles, or something else that would interest them.

Personalized Greeting Card:  Sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most.  A personalized greeting card is an inexpensive, yet thoughtful way to let someone know you are happy for them.  I absolutely love the greeting card options available at Treat.  They have lovely designs, deliver right to the recipient’s door, and they can also include photos or a gift card inside if you wish.

I cannot divulge what option I ultimately decided on because said friend might be reading this post, and I haven’t presented her with my gift yet.  😉  Hopefully one of these ideas will speak to you.  I know I will definitely be returning to this list for future friend’s engagements.

Hope you all had a great weekend.  I have a short week here in New York, before I head off to my longtime friend and pen-pal’s wedding in Arizona!  I haven’t seen her since our Tucson reunion last year, so I am very much excited to see her and her awesome fiancé tie the knot!

XO,

Gina

DIY: Decorate Wooden Letters for Nursery

I got this idea from a friend who recently had a baby, and I just loved her nursery letters!  I really appreciated her filling me in on how to make these yourself rather than spending tons of money to have them made, so I figured I would pass this idea along to all of you!  It’s simple, quick (it helps when you only have four letters to work with), and easily custom made for any name, color, or theme. Take a look and get crafty!

The Before:

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Materials:

Wooden letters

Scrapbooking Paper

Scissors

Paper Glue

Scrapbook Stickers

Pencil

All of my materials were purchased at Michaels

How to DIY:

1.  Choose a scrapbooking paper print that you like and flip it over so you are looking at the back of the paper.  You can choose all the same or a variety of patterns in the similar color palette depending on your preference.

2.  Flip over your wooden letter and place that on top of the paper.  It’s very important that these are both flipped over for tracing purposes!

3.  Trace your wooden letter, and then use the scissors to cut out the letter shape from the scrapbooking paper.

4.  Flip over both the scrapbooking paper and the wooden letter so they are now face up.

5.  Use the paper glue adhesive to glue the scrapbooking paper to the top of the wooden letter.  Press firmly and set aside to let it dry while continuing with your other letters and scrapbook paper patterns.

6.  Once they are all dry, jazz up your letters with some fancy stickers or other types of adornments.

All finished and super easy!

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Nico’s Nursery

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I have been wanting to share these photos for awhile now, but had been holding off because I wanted Nico’s name to be a surprise until his arrival.  Zack and I worked tirelessly on this nursery for a few weekends in a row to get those wall decals perfect and to make sure everything came together with the finishing touches.  We purchased these dressers when we first moved to NYC, and we saved them and used them in the guest bedroom when we moved to Brooklyn.  Rather than buy new dressers for the nursery, we figured these were the perfect color for the panda and monkey themed nursery we were planning.  We have already spent many sleepless nights rocking Nico in the glider, and have spent many hours in this room for his diaper and wardrobe changes.  He is currently sleeping in the bassinet in our room, but when he is older, we will eventually move him to his crib.  We hope Nico will grow to love his nursery as much as we do!

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Dressers: Gothic Cabinet Craft / Little Castle Swivel Glider: Target / Little Castle Gliding Ottoman: Target / Window Panels: Sweet JoJo Designs / Book Shelf: Target – similar / Crib: Babyletto / Panda Bank: Urban Outfitters / Panda Wall Decals: Etsy – Decal Lab / Monkey Wall Decals: Etsy – Simple Shapes / Wooden Letters: DIY (post to come soon) materials from Michaels / Panda Rug: Uncommon Goods / Green Rug: Sweet JoJo Deisgns

Today is Zack’s first day back to work, and it’s my first day at home alone with my little man.  It’s definitely a lot of work to be on your own, and I applaud all single parents for being strong enough to do this!  I should probably be sleeping right now (sleep when the baby sleeps right?), but I wanted to take advantage of his little nap by getting out this blog post today.

We had a great weekend with my sister and her boyfriend in town as well as my in-laws.  My sister cooked us up a phenomenal meal, and we spent the two days hanging out, taking a little walk around the neighborhood, and snuggling our little monkey.  Nico is a lucky boy to have so much love and family around him, and I couldn’t ask for a better support system.

Hope you all have a great week!

XO,

Gina

Dinner Party

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There’s nothing like an impromptu Saturday night dinner party!  I broke out the fine china (for only the second time in two years…let’s just say was about time to put those amazing wedding gifts to good use), and whipped up a little Italiano meal for the hubs and my friends Brooke (a new Brooklynite) and Kendel (visiting from Baltimore).  Pasta with red sauce, breaded chicken, mixed green salad, and a bottle of red (or maybe two bottles of red).  Doesn’t get much better than that huh?  Except for maybe the little game of “Flip Coaster” we invented after dinner.  Don’t even get me started on how insanely good Brooke is at this game–she put us all to shame.  We had so much fun that we completely lost track of time, and the fact that we were supposed to be meeting friends out in Manhattan that night.  Zack ended up crashing, but the girls and I rallied for a fun little night at the Back Room on the Lower East Side.  The Back Room is a swank little speakeasy that serves cocktails in teacups and beer bottles in paper bags.  We had a great time, and I’m thinking we will need to have a repeat date sometime soon!

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Photos by: Zack Notes / Edited by: Myself

Dress: Free People (old) – view their current dress collection! / Leather Jacket: Vintage – love this asymmetrical alternative / Tights: Urban Outfitters / Boots: ALDO / Cardigan: Forever 21 (old) / Bag: Chinatown / Scarf: Gift / Necklace: Guilty Jean / Watch: Michael Kors / Bracelet: Baublebar / Lip: Lancome Luxe / China: Lenox Chirp

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine was quite relaxing, and I’m looking forward to chilling out this week as well.  I’m a bit excited about the extra daylight hour.  It reminds me that spring is right around the corner!

Happy Birthday to my twin cousins, Briana and Victoria, today!  Love you girls!

XO,

Gina

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