Unique, fun, AND sustainable? Sign me up!

I have recently fell in love with a really great website that I would like to share with the world! It’s called UncommonGoods, and they are totally committed to a lot of issues that are important to me (sustainability, corporate responsibility, and just being an ethical company, in general). That’s great and all but really keeps bringing me back is that they have really cool, unique products!

UncommonGoods prides itself on treating every living thing with which they have contact with dignity and respect—from providing a living wage to not offering products that contain leather, fur, or feathers. They’re also big on sustainability, offer a wide array of recycled and organic products, and source their catalog paper from only sustainable forests. I think that supporting companies with beliefs and ethics such as these is incredibly important—then, if these companies succeed, maybe the rest of the world will take notice and move towards a more sustainable, compassionate lifestyle.

Their curated collections are a great resource if you’re looking for specific types of gifts, but don’t know exactly what to get. For example, their picks for groomsmen gifts are incredibly well thought-out and diverse. Check out that collection here. There are some real gems in there, like this beard maintenance kit (gotta have those groomsmen looking spiffy on your big day!)

…and this necktie travel box (another way to ensure spiffiness)!

On the flip side, if you’re looking for a little something something for yourself and your significant other—or even for a couple you know—their Personalized Wedding collection has a ton of cute, unique ways to commemorate togetherness. You can explore those here. Some of my favorite pieces are this cute tree trunk vase…

 and this unique thumbprint guestbook!

I admittedly have spent a lot of time browsing this site—what can I say, I love fun, responsibly-sourced home goods and gift items! I hope you enjoy one of the newest websites in my “shopping” bookmark folder. 

Out of Town Gift Bags

As the wedding season approches, I wanted to re-post my OOT gift bag.  Here is a link to the wedding packet.  Here is a link to our gift bag.
OOT gift bags aka Out of Town Gift Bags are never mandatory.  They are a very nice courtesy to guests that are travelling in to attend your wedding.  There is nothing better than getting out of a car (or off a plane) and to arrive at the hotel with a bag full of treats.

Out of Town Gift Bags

If you are feeling crafty enough to make your own gift bags, here is some inspiration from Martha Stewart.  She shows a cute way to make bags full of treats.  It’s much more cost efficient to buy in bulk and then seperate the goodies into seperate bags.  While your at it, you can encorporate the look to compliment your wedding.
We opted to make our own bags.  Here is the post if you are in the DIY spirit. 

Want more inspiration?  Click on the label OOT gift bags.

Out of Town Gift Bags

I am a huge fan of out of town gift bags.  There is nothing like getting off a plane (or worse, a long car ride) and checking in to a hotel with some treats waiting you.  On more than one occasion, we have checked in on a Friday afternoon with just enough time to unpack and get ready for the rehearsal dinner.

Back to the OOT gift bags aka Out of Town Gift Bags.  Really, they are a godsend.  If you have the money but are lacking in the DIY spirit, contact Swell Sweets.  They will make your gift bags for you.
Another option would be Bagable Gift.  Based in Chicago, the company focuses on making gift bags for your wedding.  I really like that they use customized labels to seal up all of the items.

DIY: Out of Town Gift Bag Welcome Packet

It’s always exciting to get a reader request. Reader M asked that I show the information included on the Welcome Packet/Letter in our Out of Town Gift Bags. As I mentioned earlier, the packet was 8 pages. Since it was layered, we had four different size pages.

Below, I have labeled each page number and each group number. The group number represents the different size pages.

It took some time, especially the map, but the guests loved it. Denton used Google Maps to create a saved map. Then, he used this link to make the map printable. Finally, he had a lot of work to do to get the numbers out and arranged appropriately for our template.

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me!

Page 1, Group A
Page 2, Group A
Page 2, Group B

Page 4, Group B

Page 5, Group C

Page 6, Group C

Page 7, Group C

Page 8, Group D

Welcome to Chicago!

I love Welcome Bags! As a guest, there is nothing better in my mind than checking into a hotel and finding a package to welcome you. While not a must for all Brides, I feel that they are a Must If Affordable.

For my wedding, I was torn by having something visually stunning (but utterly worthless) or something practical (and a little boring). I think my Welcome Bags (aka OOT gift bags) are somewhere in the middle.

Although gable boxes are all the rage, I opted for something reusable. I ordered reusable scarlet totes from Cheap Totes. They were fairly inexpensive and are great for the environment. I thought about doing an iron-on for our wedding but I figured that most guests would be less inclined to re-use a bag branded with my wedding logo. Instead, I attached these cute vintage postcards to the bag with a piece of satin ribbon.

The Goods: I love swag but I also wanted to make the bag practical. In the bags, we gave guests items all made from the City of Chicago:

  • 2 bottles of water – a luxury in Chicago as we have a plastic bottle tax
  • Jay’s Potato Chips
  • Melissa & Denton Word Puzzle
  • Welcome Materials from the City of Chicago
  • Quaker Oats Snack
  • Tootsie Roll’s
  • Fischer Peanuts
  • Wrigley Gum
  • Jelly Belly’s
  • Our Awesome Welcome Letter

Since I wanted to add a cohesive look to the bag, the DIY Champion of our Household – my husband, Denton – made labels to package up the Jelly Belly’s and the Fischer Peanuts.

He also made the labels for the Water Bottles. Adding a label to a water bottle is the easiest DIY ever. Simply buy some bottles from CostCo, rip off the old labels, and then attach the new ones. Denton bought the labels from Labels by the Sheet.

The best part of the bag was our Welcome Letter. Much more than a letter, we had 8 pages that included information on our favorite sites, a timeline for the weekend, a map, and a short note from us.

My husband had this printed on a heavy resume paper and cut at Office Max. He whole punched the paper and assembled with braids from Paper Source. They are simply gorgeous. We received many compliments on our bags.

Simple Design, Big Impact

Heffernan Morgan is my favorite event design company in Chicago. There work is beautiful. Recently, I received a goodie bag from them. It is so simple yet so pretty that I had to share with you!

The bag is a plain white glossy bag. They folded a ribbon underneath a sticker with their logo. It just goes to show you– simple can be fabulous.
I may use this idea for my gift bag to the out of town guests!

Wordsearch Puzzle

Not sure what to put in your out of town gift bag stuffer? How about a wordseach puzzle! It’s a free and easy DIY project.

For our puzzle, we came up with a list of about 30 words that had to do with our wedding. Once you are done, the website generates the website as a PDF.

Since I love cool web tools, I used Snag-It to copy and “snag” the wordsearch into Microsoft Word. Then, I am going to make a header using my monogram. I haven’t picked out my monogram yet!

Out of Town Gift Bags

Gable boxes are a popular choice for out of town gift bags. While I find them stylish, I dislike their impracticality. When I am a wedding guest, I prefer to receive a gift bag that I can re-use. Knottie chitowndcbride – Tiffany- totally raised the bar by getting actual fabric tote bags for her wedding guests.

Tiffany purchased the tote bags and basic iron-ons. She filled the bags full of Chicago goodies as well as some personalized water bottles.

Water Bottle Label

I think these are some fantastic examples of adding a personalized touch to your wedding without breaking the bank!