Getting Married? Create Your Dream Wedding Registry Using NewlyWish

My Friend Amanda Allen, NewlyWish Founder and CEO, and I at #Engage14

My Friend Amanda Allen, NewlyWish Founder and CEO, and I at #Engage14

Hey Y’all,

Since I’m always making such great friends at the Engage! events, I thought I’d start featuring some of them here to shine a light on their amazing companies and talents. To kick things off, I’d like to introduce y’all to my friend Amanda Allen (pictured with me above at Engage! 14), Founder and CEO of NewlyWish, a New York City-based online wedding registry service designed to help couples create gift registries that truly reflect their life and personal style.

Amanda_HeadshotNewlyWish sets itself apart from traditional registry providers through a curated collection of gifts from over 50 boutiques, brands and artisans, providing everything from chic home goods to eco-friendly products, and unique experiences, all wrapped up in their state-of-the-art registry technology.

NewlyWish Landing PageBeyond their over 12,000+ products, the NewlyWish site features:

One-click registering – Couples can register for the basics with one click using Kitchen, Bed, and Bath Starter Collections.

Group gifting options – Allows guests to contribute toward big-ticket items like commissioned art, furniture, and luxury linens.

Personalized registry homepage – Couples can customize their registry homepages with photos, messages to guests, and a unique registry URL.

Registry Gift Tracker – Keeps track of all items purchased, what’s been shipped, what’s in process and who to send ‘thank you’ notes.

Gift holding options – Moving? Spring cleaning? NewlyWish will hold all goodies until a specific date.

Cash & Honeymoon Funds – Gives guests the opportunity to contribute cash to the couple’s new life.

Exclusive Mix and Match Tabletop Collections – NewlyWish has taken the guess-work out of figuring out which dinnerware, glassware, and flatware patterns look perfect together, with exclusive collections put together by some of the wedding industry’s biggest names.

If you’re engaged (or looking for a fantastic gift for anyone!), you need to check out NewlyWish for all of your wedding registry needs! You won’t regret it. Happy shopping/gifting!
-Brian

5 Lovely Gift Ideas For Him and Her This Valentine’s Day

Hey Y’all,

This weekend marks the beginning of February, which means, it’s almost time for Valentine’s Day! Don’t wait until the last minute to get your sweetheart a gift, get inspired by the cute ideas below and then get to work putting your gift together.

1. Air Plant Terrarium
Watch your love grow with this cute glass heart terrarium! You can purchase this one for $40 HERE or I found another one for $50 HERE. You could also just get your own terrarium at your local flower shop where you can pick out your own assortment of plants as well. Tip: Incorporate some candy inside or a note, whatever your Valentine will appreciate most!

2. Go Bananas! This is a great gift for a Valentine with an excellent sense of humor (or someone who has a habit of eating a banana every morning!). This is also a perfect idea for kids on Valentine’s Day if you’re a mom or dad that packs your kids lunch. Psst! I found this idea on GloryBoonBlog, which is penned by a fellow WordPress blogger by the name of Alexandra. If you’re looking for DIY fashion and beauty tips, check her blog out.

3. Simple n’ Sweet
These cookies are SO simple to make, anyone can do it! Head to FamilyFreshMeals.com for the yummy pictorial and recipe. Be sure to either box them up for your Valentine in a cute pink or red or gold box with some tissue paper inside and a ribbon! Also, if you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your kids on Valentine’s Day, this is it!

4. Put Your Love On Display
This is the most expensive idea I came across that I felt was worth the money. These customized bracelets can be ordered from an Etsy shop by the name of Capucinne for about $136 USD. This is perfect for long-distance couples that may write love letters to each other or just old-school romantics! You’ll need to email the shop owner a good quality photo or scan of your signature or hand writing, and the message can say whatever you’d like. Very thoughtful!

5. Language of Love
If you’re not a gift person or you and your Valentine have agreed not to spend money on each other this year, you should send a love note at the very least! This e-card was designed by Jonathan Adler and can be personalized with a message and sent via PaperlessPost.com.

As you can see, doing something special for your Valentine doesn’t need to cost much–you just need to get a little creative! All of these ideas are easy to execute and you can have fun making them your own. Here’s to spreading the LOVE this Valentine’s Day!
-Brian

Operation Shower: Go, Baby Go!

photo[4]Hey Ya’ll,

So far, 2013 has been busy, busy, busy! And today is no exception! I’m currently in San Diego for another fantastic Operation Shower event benefiting military moms.

photo[5]
My business partner Jaime and I designed a special table for the event along with 11 other designers. Our table featured bright red cars, navy blue airplanes, and vibrant pops of yellow from the confetti we stuffed inside each baby bottle. We had lots of fun coming up with creative ways to use gifts and party favors for the moms as decor for the table.

photoDon’t you just love all of the fun airplanes, cars, bikes, clouds, and colors?

photo[1]Once it was all set up, the space really reflected the joy and happiness of the deserving moms in attendance.

photo[2]The event’s sponsors include: Birdies for the Brave, Ashford University, Petunia Pickle Bottom, Pottery Barn Kids, Carl’s Jr., Holly and David Bruce, and of course, the creative graphic designs of the ever so talented Hostess with the Mostess!

photo[6]

Diapers for everyone!

photo[7]

Some of the sweet mommy swag!

Operation Shower is famous for these amazing packages they put together called, “Shower in a Box!”

photo[8]Every mom in attendance gets one, and they’re filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies!

photo[3]This year, I had the honor of announcing and handing out all of the raffle prizes to the lucky winners. Here I am, doing my thing on the mic with Amy Mickelson:

photo[9]All of the moms posed for a group photo at the end of the event. It’s hard not to smile just looking at all of their happy and glowing faces!

photo[10]

I’m always so honored to be a part of these events. Military families are so deserving of our appreciation for the sacrifices they make on behalf of this country and its people. It makes me happy to know that these moms have a community to support them as they prepare to welcome a new member to their families—especially since many of their partners are not able to be with them during this special time in their lives.

Are there any charities or causes that you love being a part of or helping out from time to time? I’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.
-Brian

Related Posts:

Operation Shower
How to Host a Fun and Chic Summer Baby Shower!

Top 10 Ways to Give During the Holidays

25 Songs to Make Your Holiday Bright!

SONY DSCHey Ya’ll,

Do you have an all-time favorite song that you love to listen to this time of year? Here are 25 songs that get me in the holiday spirit even if I still have lots of Christmas shopping left to do and we’re only one week away from Christmas!

Help me build my holiday playlist by leaving any song titles I may have overlooked in the comment section below. Thanks and happy holidays!

Top 7 Traditions to Make the Holidays Special

Do you leave cookies out for Santa (and carrots for Rudolph!) at your house? Image via http://wallpaperswide.com

Do you leave cookies out for Santa (and carrots for Rudolph!) at your house?
Image via http://wallpaperswide.com

Hey Ya’ll,

Everyone has their own unique set of traditions that help make the holidays special. So, today I’m sharing seven of my favorite family traditions with all of you!

1) White Elephant Gift Exchange

Don’t know the rules? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Click HERE, to read my Freshly Pressed post all about this fun, holiday tradition!

adopt_a_family_holiday_giving_program_seeks_donors

2) Adopt-a-Family

This is a great tradition to take up for yourself or as a family or even company-wide! Basically, you sign-up with the Salvation Army, and you’re matched with an impoverished family to provide for their tangible needs at Christmas. The gift guide you receive may include toys, clothing, household items and even utilities (i.e. heating sources). The Salvation Army ensures that the family receives the gifts and food during the week before Christmas.

gift-wrapping

3) Gift Wrapping Party

This is a fun way to spend time with your friends before heading out of town for the holidays and get one more thing crossed off your checklist at the same time! Simply gather up all of your un-wrapped gifts, wrapping paper, bows, gift tags, boxes, ribbon, tape, and tell your friends to do the same. Then, clear the dining table or spread everything out on the living room floor, pop a few bottles of wine and provide a few light snacks for your guests, and you’re ready to wrap! Have everyone share wrapping supplies so that ya’ll get a good mix of colors and patterns.
christmas-baking1

4) Dessert Baking Party

This is a great way to spend time with friends or your kids at the holidays. Besides baking supplies, I recommend heading to a local discount store ahead of time to get a bunch of packaging options for people to take home a selection of the treats you’ve created together. Folks can then give the baked goods as gifts or use them to supplement their own holiday spread.

VictorianCarolers

5) Caroling/Light Tour of the Neighborhood

Warning: This tradition is not for the meek! It takes some guts to walk door-to-door, belting out your favorite holiday songs. If you’re shy, just get all of your friends and family involved so that you can find a cozy spot in the back row where you can hum along. While you’re out, take time to look around and admire the holiday lights in your neighborhood.

Ugly_Christmas_sweaters_05-300x276

6) Ugly Holiday Sweater Party

Quite possibly the most FUN tradition of them all, this quirky party involves seriously questionable fashion choices! Tell your friends to look online, in local thrift stores and in their parents’ and grandparents’ closets for the ugliest sweater they can get their hands on. At your party, provide all of the guests with a ballot card to write down the name of the guest wearing the ugliest sweater. Make a silly trophy ahead of time to give to the winner or a bottle of wine should do it! Bonus points for anyone who rocks a dickey!

7) Posada Party

This is a very special tradition in my family and it dates back as far as I can remember. If you’re not familiar with a Posada Party, it’s basically a re-enactment of the night baby Jesus was born. My family is HUGE, so we have all of the children dress up as Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, the angels, nativity animals, and of course, the shining star of the production, baby Jesus! I’ve also been known to dress like Santa Claus for the grand finale (see photo above!).

What are your holiday traditions? Let me know in the comment section.

Only 11 (shopping) days until Christmas!!! Happy Holidays, everyone.
-Brian

My Top 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

Hey Ya’ll,

Besides Santa Claus, there’s only one other thing that most red-blooded, American children anticipate the arrival of this time of year, and that’s the Great Big Toys ‘R’ Us Book!

So, on behalf of all the kids that spend hours carefully circling the toys that they want, only to receive clothes, socks and underwear on Christmas Day, I put together a parents’ shopping guide with this year’s hottest toys for kids from a handful of different stores.

In no particular order, here are the toys that made my Christmas 2012 must-give-gift-list:

1) The Furby

Toys “R” Us

2) One Direction Collectors Dolls

Target3) Fisher-Price Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Walmart

4) Disney’s Doc McStuffin’s Dolls

KMart

5) Nintendo Wii U

Walmart

6) Imaginext Eagle Talon Castle

Target

7) Uglybuddies

UglyDolls.com

8) Crayola Digital Light Designer

Walmart

9) Barbie Fashion Doll

Target

10) Master Moves Mickey

Toys “R” Us

Friday Favorites: The Target and Neiman Marcus Collection

Hey Ya’ll,

This Saturday, December 1, 2012, Target and Neiman Marcus are launching a collection of more than 50 beautiful gifts from over 30 amazing designers! Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on this collaborative line of holiday merchandise.
According to Target’s website, “This legendary partnership coincides with another monumental moment in design—the 50th anniversary of the CFDA, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the art and recognition of U.S. fashion design. The CFDA’s impact not only spans decades, but the work of some of today’s top designers, including those contributing to this collaboration.”

The designers that contributed to the collection include big names like Jason Wu, Tracy Reese, Tory Burch and many more!

There are a few stipulations you may want to prepare for, including a return policy that states any item purchased from the collection must be returned to Target by Jan. 5th, 2013. Also, shoppers are limited to purchasing five of the same item.

Some of my favorite gifts in the collection include,

Jason Wu Ornaments
Tracy Reese Dessert Plates

Alice & Olivia Luggage

Altuzarra Double Old Fashioned Glasses, Shaker and Tray

If these gifts look good for holiday giving to you, be sure to head to your nearest Target store tomorrow, Saturday, Dec.1, 2012 for the launch of this legendary collection! You may even want to pick up a few holiday gifts for yourself.  ; ) Happy shopping!
-Brian