6 great wedding gifts

While most brides would say they want cash or something off their registry, I know some people feel uncomfortable giving money or towels.  They want to give something more special and personal.  Here’s a list of gifts we received that were not on our registry and that I loved/appreciated.

Painting of the church we were married in

My aunt and uncle gave us this water color painting of the church we were married in.  In my thank you note, I wrote “we’ll hang it in our new apartment and be reminded of the joy of our day when we walk by it.”  And sure enough when Mike put it up, it made me smile with delight and joy and gratitude for my new husband.  In addition, it helped make our new apartment feel like home.

Wine rack and bottles of wine

We registered for wine glasses and my creative and thoughtful friends Leslie and Bridget gave the gift a personal touch.  With the wine glasses, they gave us a wine rack and two bottles of wine.  They selected bottles of wine that relate to newlywed issues: Clean Slate and Tempra Tantrum and attached notes to them explaining when to open them.

Love and wine grow better with time

Open your home to entertain and eat, 

catch up with old friends and new ones to meet.

When the night is over share this bottle of wine, 

but don’t sit down yet–it’s clean up time!


Love and wine grow better with time

When fights occur as they sometimes will

and tempers are steaming hot,

pour a glass, take a sip, and be thankful for what you’ve got.

For in a marriage if everyone agreed life would be a bore,

and by asking for Joanna’s hand, Mike is surely in for more!

We haven’t opened the bottles of wine yet, we haven’t had a massive fight (woohoo) or entertained much (goal for December?) but I’m looking forward to it. Edit: when I originally drafted this post we hadn’t opened either bottle.  After the bed bug incident we broke into one.


This sweet, colorful set of seeds and pots came from my best friend and bridesmaid Amanda via Red Envelope. I haven’t planted them but I’m looking forward to it. (Note: until midnight tonight get 10% off using the discount code KANE (courtesy of my favorite radio show)).

Mr. and Mrs. Aprons with Newlywed Cookbook

This set also came from Amanda via Red Envelope. This was the perfect gift for us.  We love to cook together, it’s one of the things that keeps us connected, and we always cook from a recipe.

Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook Set

Still love this gift from my friend Jordan.

Night at Bed and Breakfast

My girlfriends from college got us a night at a B&B in Virginia, about an hour from the city.  We spent the night at Stone Manor B&B in October and enjoyed relaxing together.  It was so nice to get a break and some quality time out in the country.

Thanks, everyone!

I’d love to know:

Did you get any gifts that weren’t on your registry? Were they good or bad?

What’s your favorite gift to give a newlywed couple?


Thoughts on Gifts: Jo’s Gift Guide

Earlier today I mentioned that I love giving gifts when I have a good idea.  Here’s a list of good ideas:




Note cards are a great gift that help the recipient give joy all year.

Notecards from Jess LC


I think magazines are the gift that keeps on giving. Who doesn’t love getting mail? You could find a magazine for anyone on your list.


Experiences are good gifts because they give the recipient something to look forward to and then they create memories. Some ideas:

  • Restaurant gift cards
  • Night at a bed and breakfast
  • Concert or theater tickets

So there you have it, some of my favorite gift ideas. You may also get some ideas from my list of best and worst gifts from our relationship.  If you’re still looking for ideas, I love this gift guide by LearnVest that applies the Love Languages to gift giving!

I’d love to know:

What are your favorite gifts to give?

Thoughts on Gifts: Best and Worst of Our Relationship

It’s Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.  So I’m writing about gifts today.  This morning I shared my thoughts on giving and receiving gifts. Later on I’ll share my suggestions for great gifts.  But first, a look back at some gifts Mike and I have exchanged over the years.

We’ve celebrated a lot of birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries together–well 8 of each so far–and exchanged gifts for most of these occasions.  Some presents have been great, some middle-of-the-road, and some not so great.  Here’s a list of the best and worst gifts we’ve given each other.

Best from Jo to Mike

  • poker table-top with Flyers tickets inside
  • tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld–This was for a birthday and I started giving Mike clues about a month before the show.  Creating the clues was really fun and stretched out the enjoyment of the gift.
  • a trip to Boston to see the Kennedy Library
  • hand-made fleece blanket
  • tickets to Nickelback in Hershey Park

Best from Mike to Jo


  • pink iPod mini–Mike got this for me for free freshman year of college by getting a certain number of people to click a link.  It was a ton of work.  I really really wanted an iPod that year.
  • tickets to see Mary Poppins on Broadway
  • pretty off-white down vest from Gap
  • a right-hand ring–Mike bought me this for Christmas one year.  I lost it at work.  The next year, he surprised me by getting me the exact same one to replace it.  I remember we went through the McDonald’s drive-thru and were sitting in the parking lot and he said, “Can you get me a napkin out of the glovebox?” I opened the glovebox and there was a ring box inside.  I opened it and was so surprised and excited.
Worst from Mike to Jo
  • 7th Heaven Season 1 on DVD–this was a good idea because 7th Heaven was one of my favorite shows at the time.  I just never watched it.  Think it’s still in my closet at my dad’s.
  • Build-a-Bear–It breaks my heart to list this because of the embarrassment Mike had to put himself through in the mall with his mom.  Putting the heart on his nose and spinning around and making wish and kissing it.  I mean that’s love.  But it just wasn’t that cute. And he said he tried to dress it like me, and it had a white t-shirt, khaki’s, and a black purse.  Ugh, is that what I dress like??
Worst from Jo to Mike
  • book about JFK Jr.
  • Flyers Jersey–like 7th Heaven on DVD, this was a good idea but Mike just never wore it. Also, makes the worst list because I accidentally ruined the surprise by sharing a conversation I was having with my sister’s boyfriend.  He was saying nice things about my sister and I wanted to show Mike, forgetting that during the conversation I had told the boyfriend was I was getting Mike for Christmas. I was so mad at myself.

I’d love to know:

What are some of the bests gifts you’ve ever received?  How about the worst?

Want to give great gifts this year?  Check back at 4pm for my gift guide!

Thoughts on gifts

It’s Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.  Since a lot of people will be buying gifts today, I thought I’d write about gifts today. First up, my thoughts on gifts.


I like getting gifts.  Who’s going to say they don’t like presents? I mean really. But, do I love getting gifts? Probably not.  This isn’t surprising given that receiving gifts was my lowest love language. Rarely do I remember Christmas or birthday gifts.  But I do remember feeling extremely guilty when I don’t like a gift.  Especially when the giver is so excited about it.

How do I feel about giving gifts? I absolutely love it–when I have a great idea. One that’s thoughtful and I know will make the recipient’s day.  Otherwise, forget it. I hate giving gifts for the sake of giving a gift.  Because you’re supposed to. I especially don’t like when gift giving is transactional.  You tell me what you want and I’ll buy it and I’ll tell you what I want and you buy it.  What’s the point? I don’t enjoy buying a gift for the sake of buying a gift. It actually stresses me out.

I’d love to know:

How do you feel about giving/receiving gifts?

Check back at 1pm for best and worst gifts of our relationship.

lovely wedding gift

we got the williams-sonoma bride & groom collection for our wedding. it was such a surprise since we hadn’t registered at williams-sonoma but it’s the perfect gift for us. i love the packaging, the classic box for the set, the clean lines, beautiful pictures and organized pages. 

we’ve made two recipes from it and they were both delicious.  i can’t wait to try more.  this weekend, perhaps?

what a lovely gift.  if you’re looking for a special wedding gift, i highly recommend this!

thank you, jordan!

golf shirt

before our rehearsal, my husband had planned to play golf with the groomsmen.  he mentioned that he wanted to get a new golf shirt to play in.  i was running a bunch of wedding errands the wednesday before and figured why not stop in sports authority to pick one up for him.  i chose a white shirt with gray stripes and was happy with my choice.  i laid it out on the bed for him so he’d see it shortly after getting home from work.  he walked in, saw it and said “you didn’t!” he. was. beaming, laughing, and saying thank you.  he was so happy and couldn’t stop smiling.  i will always remember the smile it brought to his face. i’m smiling just remembering this.

i think it’s the little things like that that make a marriage or a relationship.  while it seems like a small thing, getting him that shirt showed him that i was thinking of him, that i had listened to something he said in passing earlier in the week, and that i love him and wanted him to enjoy himself while golfing.  and i do.