Tag Archives: gift

His & Hers Gift Guide – What They’ll Actually Use


This time of year, I’ve been getting a lot of searches that link to this post from last year: Top 5 Gifts for the Hard to Buy For Person Who Has Everything. I want to offer up some more gift ideas this year. But I don’t want to give away my surprises of what I’ll be gifting.

Instead, I thought I’d create a different kind of list.

Part One – His

If you read last year’s post, you’ll know that my shopping for my husband is very difficult. He usually just buys what he wants when he wants it. And no matter how much thought I put into them, the gifts I get him end up in a drawer or on the shelf in the closet. So, instead, the HIS GIFT LIST will include items that Rob has either bought himself or has been given, but that he uses all the time.

Part Two – Hers

Here you will get a my Christmas Wish List. No, this is not a post to get what I want for Christmas. Besides, probably only one person I’m exchanging with actually reads this blog. And I’m pretty certain my mom is done with her Christmas shopping already. 😉 Instead, it’s just a list of things, that if offered to me this holiday season {or any old time}, that I would not turn down! It’s meant to give you ideas for women you may know like me.

Let’s start with the guys, since they seem to be the hardest to shop for, right? For additional ideas, please read Running with Racheal’s post from last year.

Great Gifts for Guys

{aka items Rob uses ALL THE TIME}

  • Smartphone – His iPhone is the one gift that Rob thanks me for throughout the year. He doesn’t know now, how in the world he ever lived without it. The thing is, it was a surprise a couple of years ago. He didn’t even know he’d want one. Because of the never-ending thank yous, it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
  • iPhone Wallet – Rob bought this for himself within the last year and it’s made his life so much simpler. When getting ready for work in the morning, he no longer has to go in search of his wallet and his phone. It’s all together now. He found his on eBay and there are several styles. His is pictured below. He gets compliments all of the time. They are cheap, too!
  • Extra iPhone Chargers – Rob found these cheap online, too. I never strayed away from my one charger that came with my iPhone. But once we got extra, it made life so much easier! I can’t tell you how nice it is to have one in my car, one to keep in my suitcase or carry-on, purse, one for the office and the living room. Rob keeps one at work, too. It was handy when we left one behind on vacation to have extras on hand. Only downfall: When we finally upgrade to iPhone 5 or later, we’ll have to buy all new ones. But no matter, these were seriously cheap.
  • Flashlight(s) – Laugh all you want, but whenever we need a flashlight we can’t find one. This year, a friend of ours put flashlights in our golf tournament goodie bags. Of course, they were meant to keep in our golf bags to look for lost balls. But since we are too lazy to look for them are such good golfers, we use them around the house. Now, if we had about 5 more of those…
  • Lounge Pants – I don’t know about you, but we live in comfy pants over the weekend. That is, until we leave the house, of course. We’ve received lounge/sleepwear pants for Christmas a couple of times and now I don’t know what we’d do without them. They come in many styles. Rob’s collection includes Guinness and ESPN lounge pants, among others.
  • Packer/Wolverine Gear – You can never have enough gear to cheer on your team. Just make sure it is the size, style and fit that your recipient likes. I’m just sayin’, when I get him this kind of stuff, it always gets used!
  • Hammock – Once upon a time, Rob bought a hammock from Hammocks.com. And on any beautiful day in the spring, summer and fall, I come home to him reading, relaxing or napping in that thing. The dogs join sometimes, too! We bought our friends, who invite us up to their cabin every year, one as a thank you gift. It’s a priceless gift, really. It may be hard to think about when it’s so cold, but that’s why they are on sale today! We recommend the Quilted Island Bay with metal stand. Rob’s tip: Get coupons and promo codes when shopping online by typing in “Hammocks.com Coupon” instead of just “Hammocks.com” to save extra dough!
  • Dinner out – Rob nearly always takes me out to dinner, so it’s a special treat when I buy. Sometimes, I’ll make my own little certificate stating such {as I explained in this post} or what restaurant I’m planning on taking him, like I did for his birthday one year.


Great Gifts for Gals

{aka gifts I would Graciously and Gratefully accept}

  • Socks – Not kidding here. As it grew colder this fall and I had to put the sandals away, I found that many of my socks were either missing a sibling or developed a hole. I’ve thrown away quite a few. I like fun, funky socks, but they can be hard to rotate within the wardrobe and Rob isn’t a fan. So even just comfortable black socks will do!
  • Turtleneck Sweaters – Are these out of style? I’m having such a hard time finding nice ones! I’m a freeze baby. So in the winter, I like warm sweaters. When I’m trying to overcome Pirate Eyes in the early, black a.m. of winter, I don’t want to have to think about my outfit before work. I want to put on a warm turtleneck sweater and dress it up with a scarf. DONE. Solid colors are best… and timeless.
  • Alligator Clips – This is the name Rob gave to a hair clip I used to rely on all of the time. I’ve lost it since our trip to California this fall and just feel LOST. I am all about low maintenance when it comes to my hair and rarely use a hair dryer. I used to twist it and put it up with my alligator clip when wet. Later in the evening or the next morning, I can wear it down without having to do very much with it! We’ve search stores everywhere for more, but just found them online under other names – beak clip, Japanese clip, concorde clip. There are lots of colors and styles to choose from!

Beak Clip

  • Opolo Mountain Zinfandel – This is one of our favorite wines, but it’s not really priced for everyday. So it’s a treat when we get it!
  • Davis Family Vineyards Pinot NoirGuy Davis knows his Pinot. I never actually liked Pinot Noir until I tasted his at his tasting room on a trip to the Russian River Valley. You can’t find it in stores, so you’ll have to order some. Might as well get a case while you’re add it. Your life will be transformed.
  • Davis Family Vineyards Wine Club Membership – Hell, why not just join the club? I did join the Davis Family Vineyards Friends and Family Club after that trip, but canceled when we needed to buckle down to buy our house. I should just get back in this club and swear never to buy a cheap bottle again and savor every drop of this wine. Quality over quantity, right?
  • Other Wine Goodies – I love this post by grapefriend, with some unique wine-related finds. In particular, I’m intrigued by the wine2go flask and the rewined carmenere candle.
  • Champagne – I love me some bubbly. But it’s extra special to receive a bottle of real champagne!
  • St. Germain – This elderflower liqueur is one of my all-time favorites. I haven’t met a cocktail I didn’t like when it’s made with it.
  • High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – At one point, we bought a Groupon to join an olive oil club. Each month for three months, we got high quality, expeller pressed Italian olive oils! We didn’t continue because it took us all year to use them. The third bottle is almost empty, so we’re in the market for more. I also love this idea of adopting an olive tree and receiving the olive oil produced from it.
  • Cheese of the Month Club – Um. I’m from Wisconsin. I’m a Francophile. No brainer.
  • Fruit of the Month Club – I’ve always wanted this! Fresh fruit delivered to my door every month, yes please! I’ve been eyeing the Arizona Orange Company for two years now…
  • CSA Share – I absolutely adored my CSA box in the summer! But it just proved to be too much food, even split with a friend. They had solo shares this year, but were more basic and sold out right away. If you want to give someone a CSA share, make sure the pick-up location and window is doable for them.
  • Donation to a Cause I Support/Admire – Like a Pet Rescue or Shelter, such as Homeward Bound, where I found Sophie almost 9 years ago and the Carver-Scott County Humane Society, where we found Shamrock this year. When friends of ours refused to let us pitch in for the timeshare and rental car when they invited us to join them in Hawaii, we donated to the Marine Mammal Center in support of the endangered Monk Seals on the island of Kaua’i. We were lucky enough to see them there.
  • Packer Gear – Can never have enough!
  • Packer Tickets – Hey, I am getting higher up on the waiting list; but if anyone can spare a pair, we’ll take ’em! {We support our team during winning AND losing seasons!}
  • Gourmet Coffee – I’m always willing to try a new brew.
  • Tickets to Evita – I love musicals and Evita will be in Minneapolis this year. I loved the music in the movie and have never seen it performed live.
  • Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake – Laugh if you must. I had a roommate with whom we bought these for each other’s birthdays! The Bonus is that the two of us shared it, so we both got to pick away at it All. Week. Long. It’s been years since I’ve had one, though, so maybe my tastes have changed. Wouldn’t hurt to find out!
  • Gift Certificates – I know some people think that these are impersonal, but I love them. They say to me, “I know you like to shop here, so pick out what you want!” or “We really loved this place and thought you might like it, too.” I also like to save them to use as fitness or weight loss rewards. Here are some great places for which to receive gift cards:
    • Sul Lago – Our favorite restaurant “South of the River.” The very first time we visited, we saw about a dozen or so people come in to order gift certificates at the bar!
    • Restaurants – We like to dine out, so any place we haven’t tried, under our Restaurant Impressions Wishlist will do. Otherwise, we always like to try other people’s favorites, so recommendations are welcome.
    • Kohl’s – I don’t buy clothes very often, but when I do it’s because I need something. Kohl’s is close and familiar. I like to save gift cards here as rewards to myself. I’ve found a lot of good deals on workout gear here, too!
    • Barnes & Noble – I don’t have a Kindle or Nook. I still read real books. But I really think B&N gift certificates are good for travel guidebooks. We love to travel. If you know someone is traveling somewhere, buy them the most current guidebook. Or, they can walk right into a store and flip through guidebooks to see which ones suit them best.
    • Spa – I don’t know any girl who wouldn’t appreciate a spa day or to choose their own spa treatment. Just a pedicure can do wonders.
    • Movies – We don’t go to the movies often, but when we do, we ask ourselves why we don’t do it more!
    • Car Washes & Oil Changes – Okay, this one sounds really impersonal. But truthfully, I hate spending money on this kind of stuff myself. So having a card to just use whenever it is needed would be so wonderful.
    • Amazon Gift Card – Well, because you can use it for ANYTHING!

All I truly need for Christmas is health, love, spending time with family and reconnecting with old friends.

However, sometimes we just fret over that perfect gift for a loved one. So I hope these his and hers lists inspire you with ideas for the rest of your shopping this year. Or sit down and make out your own list. You might just come up with something for someone else!

What is a gift you wouldn’t turn down?

Did this post give you any ideas for someone else?


Wine Wednesday – Share the Love!


Just announced yesterday {I didn’t get the news until last night}, The Traveling Vineyard is having a sale! The sale includes three different three-bottle sets. So share the love with your Valentine or treat yourself to something special. Let me know if you have any questions about the wines in each set. To find out what sets are available, click here.

Valentine Sale

If you are looking for something special for your sweetie or want to treat you and some friends to some wine with corresponding education, consider the Traveling Vineyard Wine Club. It makes a great date night or get together every month. {Perfect to get through this winter, too.} And it’s like your ticket around the world of wine! Find more details here.

The Valentine Sale above, though, ends today. So it’s your last chance to try out a set of three wines (or more, if you wish). Just let me know if you have any questions on the wine or anything else!


*The Traveling Vineyard can currently (at the time of this post) ship to the all States within the U.S. except: AL, AR, CO, DE, IN, KS, KY, LA, MS, MT, TN, OK, PA, RI, SD, UT, and VT.

Mulled Wine & More Winter Warmers


I’ve been making mulled wine for years now. Especially on days when we are snowed in.

In France, they call it vin chaud. {Literally, hot wine.We had a two-day {by design!} layover in Paris on our way home from Italy on our Honeymoon right around Halloween in 2010. We saw vin chaud advertised outside of cafés everywhere. It was the perfect comfort after walking the city in the chilly weather.

Vin Chaud & Espresso

Vin Chaud & Espresso at a cafe in Paris

This time of year, it’s especially festive, too.

There is really no way to go wrong making a mulled wine. There are hundreds of recipes. If you skim through a dozen, you come to realize that the basic ingredients are the same or similar and you can just tweak them to your liking.

Over the years, I’ve collected a few recipes for mulled wine and other winter warmers. For that reason, I can’t tell you where I got them and I apologize that I can’t give credit where it’s due. In any case, here are a few favorites:

Clarence’s Mulled Wine

2 bottles red wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
4 sticks cinnamon
5 whole cloves
1 orange
1 lemon

Zest the fruit, avoiding the white pith. Put this, the sugar, cinnamon and cloves into the water. Bring this to a slow boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Now add the wine. Add in the actual orange and lemon fruit part, sliced up. Warm this on low heat for 40 minutes (do NOT boil). Strain out the wine and serve!


Vin Brûlé

“This winter-evening cheer offers a bonus before & after drinking.  When touched with a match, it bursts briefly into a tall blue flame – worth extinguishing the lights for.  And the French say this grateful potion is better than aspirin to ward off the grip of cold as well as the night chill. Serves 4.”

Place the following a in a saucepan, covered over high heat:

  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • Peel of one orange
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of sugar

When the mixture comes to a boil, uncover and ignite.  When the flame has died down, remove mixture from heat and ladle at once into mugs.


Hot Pineapple Wine Punch

1 (46 oz) can unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 1/4 c. dry white wine
Cinnamon sticks (optional)

Combine pineapple juice, sugar, lime juice and nutmeg in large pot, mixing well. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and stir in wine. Simmer until thoroughly heated. At this point, you can move to a crock pot to stay warm. Serve with cinnamon sticks, if desired.


Okay, so this last one isn’t a wine warmer, but it is one I’ve been meaning to make for years. It sounds love since I just adore raspberries. It was stuck together with my list of winter wine warmers, so I just had to include it. Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

Raspberry Liqueur

  • 3 bags frozen strawberries
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brandy

Take frozen raspberries, unsweetened, and place them in a bowl with one bottle of dry red wine. Let sit for a day or two. Strain the wine into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Let simmer twenty minutes or so, until it thickens. Let cool. Add brandy. Bottle or serve. Lasts one year refrigerated. 

Makes a great gift!

What is your favorite winter warmer or holiday beverage and why?

Is there a tradition behind it?

Happy Holidays~


My Birchbox Contents – December 2012


I’ve been trying to save my subscription box posts for Saturdays. I rarely post on the weekends, but I have so many other things I want to talk about! However, I could hardly contain myself when I received this month’s Birchbox yesterday. I I just had to post about it now! My husband threatened to open it for me while I was cleaning the kitchen. I thought to myself, “Yeah, if he wants to put some lip gloss on… go right ahead!”

But there is now a Birchbox MAN. So if you have a guy in your life who could use a sample or two of some great grooming and lifestyle products, get him signed up. Birchbox likes to call it “a touch of Clooney” {I love that!} because “few men are born with impeccable style and effortless polish.” Tee hee.

But here is what my box looked like this month:


December Birchbox Contents

This month’s swag:

  • Thymes Body Lotion
    • A sample bottle of the Naia aroma as well as a bonus single-use sample of the Lotus Santal scent.
    • I used the Santal on my dry elbows immediately, knowing that the Vitamin E and shea butter in this lotion would soothe them from the effects of this dry weather we’ve been having.
    • However, I should have opened the Naia first. It smelled so much better! I’m not much of a fan of that sandalwood kind of scent and that was what the Santal gave off. The Naia, however, smells fresh and vibrant! I popped it in my purse immediately!
  • ModelCo SHINE Ultra Lip Gloss
    • My card indicates that this lip glass is $16 for a full-sized product. But I think we got a full-sized one in the box!
    • What I adore about this stuff most? Look closely at the photo above. There is a built in mirror on the side of the gloss! GENIUS! The website states this, but doesn’t show it in the photo. It’s probably just hard to photograph for a stock pic.
    • With all of this lip gloss I’ve been getting, I think I need to resolve to wear it everyday. In fact, it will be a good thing to apply after a meal to keep me from eating more or snacking too much. Hmm…
  • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream
    • Last month I commented that I keep receiving anti-aging products.
    • Then I realized that this was due to the profile page I completed. After the question Which of these skin concerns apply to you?” I checked the box “aging” {But I also checked “acne” and haven’t received any samples regarding that.} I unchecked that “aging” box this month, just to see what else I might get.
    • Well, I must not have unchecked that in time, because this item is described as such: “This 12-in-1 wonder from Juice Beauty offers more targeted anti-aging benefits than its BB counterparts, all while delivering a buildable layer of coverage.”
    • Either that or it’s the fact that it’s the top item they are promoting right now on their home page.
    • Or it may even be the fact that I also checked “sun-protection” in the concern category because of this description: “Free of harsh toxins, this eco-conscious CC cream uses natural and organic ingredients to protect and treat skin. It’s part tinted mineral sunscreen—the SPF 30 formula contains 20 percent zinc oxide—and part antioxidant serum, thanks to infusions of grape-derived resveratrol, vitamin C, and fruit stem cells. The actives work together to reverse cellular DNA damage (translation: less noticeable lines and wrinkles), and the formula is designed with all skin types in mind.”
  • Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique – Protect
    • This is a hair product to to be applied to towel-dried hair to help protect it from all the heat and chemicals we women use.
    • It claims to “revitalize even the most parched strands and frayed split ends,” too.
    • Can’t wait to give it a try!

Here are some perks for Birchbox Members this month!

  • Free shipping on all products from December’s sampled brands.
  • Free shipping on all orders over $25 until 12/31.
  • Free returns within 90 days of purchase.

If you aren’t a Birchbox Subscription member, you can still order from the site for the holidays:

“Order full-size products by 12 p.m., Dec 19 for delivery by Dec 24 on most products. Receive free standard shipping on orders $25+ until Dec 31.”

Giving the gift of Birchbox is one great way to buy for that hard-to-buy-for-person who has everything. They’ll receive  deluxe samples from the best brands for $10/month {$20/month for Birchbox Man}.

Ladies, how often to do reapply lip gloss?

Men, do you prefer lipstick or gloss on ladies?

Or can you even tell the difference?!


Top 5 Gifts for that Hard to Buy for Person Who Has Everything


Yes, we all have at least one of them on our gift lists. That person that you rack your brains over every year to find them a gift that they’ll actually like and use. If you’re lucky, you might find one that they’ll adore.

Gifts for that Hard to Buy for Person Who Has Everything

Believe it or not, my husband is hard to shop for when it comes to gifts. He thanks me politely and then the gift ends up on the shelf in a closet or in a drawer for an indeterminate amount of time before it disappears. That is so frustrating! The problem is that {as Racheal mentioned here}, when men want something, they tend to just buy it for themselves. It turns out, my attempt to be creative usually backfires on me.

A couple of years ago, I finally found the perfect gift – one that he loves and that keeps on giving:

an iPhone

It worked out perfectly because I am the one that handles our cell phone account. Plus, it was something he never knew he wanted. To this day, he still thanks me for this gift.

However, unless you are buying for your spouse or adult child, you probably aren’t going to buy anyone else an iPhone.

Instead, I’m thinking of those people that you may not know as well or those people who seem to have everything, or people like grandparents who are older and don’t want/need more stuff. With this list, I sincerely hope you find that aha! gift for that seemingly impossible person to buy for on your holiday list. If nothing else, maybe this list will spark an idea for something perfect!

Here are some items I’ve come up with over the years and are in no particular order:

1) Gift Card

  • I know some people who hate giving these. They feel that they are impersonal.
  • However, I love receiving them! I often wait to use them as weight loss or NSV rewards!
  • They are perfect for teenagers!
  • Think iTunes, sporting good stores for athletes, craft stores for the crafty, a unique store online that you found, an electronics store for the techie. Or just think about where your gift recipient often goes.
  • I know teachers who say they love getting $5 Caribou Coffee and Target gift cards that they can actually use.
  • And you’d know I’d accept a gift certificate to any restaurant just to try it out. {The first time we went to Sul Lago, there had to be over a dozen people who came in to get gift certificates. And this was before Thanksgiving!}
  • Not sure which gift card to get?
    • Many grocery and other stores have stands with all different types of gift cards in many denominations. Check out the stand to be inspired with ideas.
    • Do a search on line. Just Google: X {Gift Recipient hobby} + gift card.
  • This is what makes the gift certificates personal:
    • “I know you love to do this/these types of things! So pick out something you really want!” or
    • “I know you love this place and will use this!” or
    • “I thought of you because I love this place and thought you’d like to try it out.”

2) A Photo Canvas {or other photo gift}

  • My friend Stacy swears by the photo canvas deals on Groupon and other daily deal sites. You send in or upload a photo and they convert your photo to canvas. Your favorite photograph becomes a work of art you can hang on the wall. With all the traveling I love to do, I plan to pick out favorite from a trip to canvas-ize.
  • Grandparents love photo memories. A photo book or calendar you either create yourself or online will do the trick. {Note: I am NOT a scrapbooker, so I love using websites like Snapfish.}
  • If you are in to giving ornaments, consider a photo ornament.  I know people who give their children an ornament each year with the year printed on it so that by the time they leave home, they’ve got not only their own collection of ornaments, but also memories. A photo that depicts that year for someone or a memory of the two of you is a great idea.

3) Subscription boxes

  • I know, I’m addicted to these right now. But, really, but who wouldn’t want one?
  • If you love or want to learn more about wine, would you turn down a Wine Club gift subscription? I didn’t think so.
  • Two of my current favorite subscription boxes are:
    • Birchbox – Beauty, grooming and lifestyle products for women and men! Check out my latest box and review here.
    • Love with Food – Gourmet Food Samples. Each month your box ships, a meal is donated to a hungry child. Check out my latest box and review here.
  • Need a gift for a pet or pet parent? Check out BarkBox – my pooches LOVE IT! Latest box and review here.
  • Or how about a magazine subscription? There are so many unique ones out there now. Do a search online. Just Google: X {Gift Recipient hobby} + magazine.
  • There are also gift subscriptions for olive oil. We’ve done this before and have found exceptional quality!
  • And this Wisconsin girl would never turn down the gift of a Cheese of the Month Club!

4) Experiences

  • This is my favorite category! I’m talking things like:
    • Plays or concert tickets.
    • Cooking Classes – Twin Cities peeps: I’d recommend Saga Hill, Kitchen Window and Local D’Lish.
    • Spa Day – I don’t think I know of one woman who wouldn’t want this.
    • Or any experience that makes you think of your recipient! Like the Beer Trolley Tour I’m taking my husband on this weekend as part of his birthday box!

5) Your Time

  • This is one of the best and most cherished gifts you can give.
  • People who love you, but don’t really don’t need more stuff would love to spend more time with you!
  • Get tickets to a play or concert that you both love.
  • Take them to a movie, a trip to their favorite restaurant or do something together that you know they love to do, but don’t get to do that often.
  • Buy tickets for the event, or just create your own coupon that states something like: “Coupon good for: A Trip to Izzy’s Ice Cream”. I suggest putting an expiration date on it so that they will redeem it ASAP. (Although you don’t have to adhere to that expiration, of course.)

What’s the most unique gift you’ve given?

What ways have you given experiences or times to loved ones?

Happy Holidays~

Give a Ticket Around the World of Wine…


I had planned to write a post on the Top 5 Gifts for that Hard-to-Buy-for-Person-Who-Has-Everything. We all know at least one of those and struggle with them on our holiday list every year!

But then I realized I had too much to say about each of these items.

Since it is Wine Wednesday, I’ve decided to talk about just one of those gifts. It’s one of my favorite things to give both those who love wine or who are new to wine – The Traveling Vineyard Wine Club®

It’s the perfect gift for that Hard-to-Buy-for-Person-Who-Has-Everything (or even for yourself).

I’ve looked around and this Wine Club is the least expensive I’ve found out there. It’s only $29.95 per month, plus shipping. Each month the recipient receives two fantastic bottles of wine from different regions around the world {not just domestic wines from one winery}. You get to choose the program that suits your wine lover best:

  • 2 reds OR
  • 1 white & 1 red

Most people have never tasted Traveling Vineyard® Wines. Even if they have been to one of our Wine Tastings before, the wine inventory changes all the time! They are from boutique vineyards around the world and cannot be found in stores. Once they are gone, they are gone. New arrivals come in each month.

What’s more is that because The Traveling Vineyard Wine Club® includes wines from around the world from many different wineries, it’s like your ticket around the world through wine!

 Each month, members receive:

  • Two fantastic wines from regions around the world
  • An email with printable full-page descriptions of each wine’s characteristics, the region it comes from and the best food pairings
  • Recipes that pair with the wines in the shipment
  • Additional wine education that will feed your interest in wine

Subscription Options:

  • Continuous shipment: $29.95 + shipping/month (no contract – cancel at any time) – Most people who join the club for themselves like the option to pay month to month.

If you are giving a gift, you can pay for a subscription up front (shipping included):

  • 3-month prepaid: $116.70
  • 6-month prepaid: 233.40
  • 12-month prepaid: $466.80

Why the Wine Club is such a popular gift this time of year at my Wine Tastings:

  • It’s easy. You don’t have to leave your home to pick it up, nor wrap it.
  • It’s a gift you can give across the miles.
  • When your wine lover thanks you each month when their shipment arrives, you’ll already have an easy gift picked out for the next holiday season.

Who joins the Wine Club?

  • Friends or Neighbors – You know how you always say to each other, “We should get together sometime!” but never do? Those who join the Wine Club together know that the wine is coming. It’s paid for; so they put a date on the calendar and they do get together.
  • Couples – It’s an excellent excuse to have a romantic date night each night. Nothing sparks passion like a great meal and a little wine. 😉
  • Wine Club Groups – If you don’t belong to one, start one! Invite your friends. You can learn together with the included education. Remember the Importance of Company?
  • Book Clubs – I heard a chef on a Food Network show joke that Book Clubs are “really” about the wine. It wouldn’t hurt to make it a theme one month. It just might catch on!

But maybe you don’t want to share!

You might just want to learn more about different wines, get out of the rut of buying the same wine over and over, and try something new.

A single gal joined just to stock up her wine rack without having to do any research on the wines. It can be intimidating picking something out in the store. With so many options, which do you choose? This Wine Club member would store her Wine Club wines in her wine rack. When she decided to open a bottle or give it as a gift, she could thumb through her tasting lessons to learn about it or stick the notes in a gift bag with the wine.

The Traveling Vineyard Wine Club® is the Perfect Gift for:

  • The Holidays
  • Hospitality – Is someone letting you stay with them this holiday season?
  • Birthdays
  • Weddings {especially today when most couples don’t need another toaster}
  • The Hard-to-Buy-for-Adult-Who-Has-Everything

When you order a Wine Club as a gift, be sure to contact me at UncommonWine (at) Yahoo (dot) com immediately and let me know so that I can put it on hold so that it won’t spoil any surprises. Also, do NOT enter the email address of your gift recipient or they will get a confirmation. We can change that later. 😉

With The Traveling Vineyard Wine Club® , you can travel around the world of wine from the comfort of your home.

What is your favorite gift for that



*The Traveling Vineyard can currently (at the time of this post) ship to the all States within the U.S. except: AL, AR, CO, DE, IN, KS, KY, LA, MS, MT, TN, OK, PA, RI, SD, UT, and VT.

BarkBox – November 2012


This month’s BarkBox arrived the day before Thanksgiving, but we didn’t get a chance to sit down and open it until the following day. This means that Benny and Sophie didn’t miss out while Daddy got to open birthday presents all day long!

As usual, Benny was anxious and curious:

And I think it was the best box the pooches have received so far!

November BarkBox Contents

The contents of each BarkBox so far have always included treats, a toy and something for dental hygiene. So let’s review some of this month’s items:

Barkworthies 6″ Dog Chew

This chew claims to be “100% natural”, high in protein, low in fat and to keep teeth and gums healthy. It is made of 100% beef pizzle {whatever that is}. Sophie tried to rip it out of my hand the moment I took it out of the box. I didn’t want to give it to her, however, due to recently having two teeth extracted and her follow-up appointment being the next day. So it remains to be chewed. Still, this chew must have been a last minute addition to the box, as it was not listed on the BarkBox insert anywhere!

Bionic Bone

This plastic bone, made of food grade materials, claims to be virtually indestructible. The design is meant to fit your pooch’s mouth and its ridges are supposed to provide a “chewy” feeling. It is recommended to stuff it with treats and freeze it overnight for “hours of fun”. Ours is currently filled with peanut butter and has been stuffed in the freezer. We’ll try to test it out on both Benny and Sophie. If they both like it, we’ll have to buy another. Both dogs currently have KONGs, but I am not sure if those are freezable.

Fruitables Healthy Dog Treats – Pumpkin & Blueberry Flavor

The pumpkin craze that has swept the blogosphere this time of year did not pass up the doggie world! I opened the bag and these actually smelled really good – lots of blueberry aromas, none of those dog biscuit smells. The dogs loved them. At only 9 calories per crunchy treat, they’d be perfect for training.

Acadia Antlers Moose Rac Chew Toy  Rope Antler Chew – Made from Naturally Shed Maine Moose Antlers and 100% Cotton Rope

Okay, our dogs really aren’t into rope toys; so I had fully intended to give this one away. However, I let Sophie sniff it and she went CRAZY. She tugged, chewed, scratched at and rolled on this thing for at least an hour straight.

Sophie went ballistic over this. I guess we won’t be giving it away!

On the tag:

“Our MOOSE RAC* (rope antler chew) is made from Maine Moose Antler and 100% cotton rope with no fillers or synthetics. Soft roping acts as a floss for teeth, great for chewing, tugging and throwing. Chewing is great jaw exercise, and our Moose Antler will hep scrape tartar off your dogs teeth!!”

Mr. Barksmith’s Smoothies for Dogs – Pumpkin Patch Flavor

What a “cool” concept! I thought this might feel really good on Sophie’s teeth. I popped it in the freezer so that it would be ready by feeding time. The recommendation was to “pop the cool treat into your dog’s favorite bowl.” At dinnertime, I took the Smoothie out of the freezer, filled Benny and Sophie’s food bowls, divided the cup in half and popped it on top of their regular food.

At first, I think Sophie wasn’t sure what to think. She licked the cool treat on top of her food and then looked at me. Meanwhile, Benny took his portion out of the bowl and put it on the floor and licked it up. By the time they were finished, I checked both bowls: They both were completely empty.

Ingredients: Pumpkin Puree, Banana Puree, Apple Puree, Water, Omega 3 Chia

Also in the BarkBox were coupons/vouchers for:

  • Rover.com – $10 off dog-sitting from local insured dog-sitters
  • Chewy.com – $10 online gift card for pet food and treats
  • DogTV – $10 gift card – uh what?

I had never heard of DogTV before, but here is what the card insert read:

I wonder if we’ll receive December’s shipment in time to wrap it up for Christmas. No matter what, we’re definitely finding products we would have never encountered nor tried on our dogs before if it weren’t for BarkBox!

This would make the perfect gift for any dog or petparent in your life. To join, you just choose your dog size, the plan (month-to-month, three months or six months) and enter your billing and shipping information. It’s that simple.

Click here to get $5 off your subscription to give it a try.

Have you ever heard of DogTV?

What do you think of something like this?