Top Tips for Giving Awesome Gifts (… with Giftry!)

Five Tips for Giving Awesome Gifts
I love giving gifts. I will be honest that I’m not always the most timely of gift givers, but picking out the perfect gift is one of my favorite things to do. For me, gifting is all about the thought you put into it, not about the actual gift itself. In fact, I’d rather not get a gift from someone or for someone than get or give one that has little to no thought behind it. How about you? I’m really excited to be partnering up with Giftry, a brand new site that helps you curate gift ideas for family, friends, fun and yourself! Basically, they’re taking the guesswork out of gift giving. They asked me, along with a group of other awesome bloggers and tastemakers to be a part of their influencer program, where we’re helping to create gift guides for people with all sorts of hobbies and passions. I’m repping the crafters you need to shop for! You can sign up and start making your own gift lists right here. And today, I wanted to share a bit more about some of the gift guides I’ve created along with some of my top tips for mastering the art of gift giving.



Tip #1: “You have to listen to hear.”

I come from a household where you can’t mention anything you want or need without someone taking note and getting it for you for your birthday or Christmas. So if the person your shopping for is someone you’re around often, listen up! Everyone accidentaly on purpose drops hints every once in a while about what they want, and it’s your job to take note! For those of you shopping for people who you don’t get to see or chat with often, a great feature on Giftry is being able to sync gift lists. You can send an anonymous request to view sync someone’s “Gift Ideas for Me” list with your own giftry list you created for them, so they can show you from afar what they have their eye on!


Tip #2: Research and repeat.

So you take note of the hint dropped about a new bag someone wants. Now it’s time to do some research. Take into consideration the person’s style, favorite colors, the time of year perhaps and what they’ll be using it for. You can check out some of the influencers lists to see if they have any items that fit the bill, and then you can add those items to your giftry so you know where they are when it’s time to buy! I always like to give myself a LOT of options and then narrow down as I go.


Tip #3: Treat yo’self.

(Well really, treat them. But that doesn’t sound as awesome.) This doesn’t translate to “Buy the most expensive thing you can find.” Sometimes practical gifts are called for, like for bridal or baby showers, but sometimes it’s really fun to give a gift that the person wouldn’t typically spend money on themselves. It could be an experience (like a cooking class!) or a novelty item (like a donut pool float). It can be really fun to get something you know you’d never buy with your own cash, but absolutely love. My “Snack Foodie” list is pretty great for that.


Tip #4 Garbage bags are not gift wrap.

I very much believe that the outside of the package matters as much as the inside (we’re talking strictly about gifts here, people!). Jeff does not. He once gave me a pillow wrapped in a trash bag, but, we’re working on it. If you believe it’s “the thought that counts” then take it all the way to the gift wrap. Keep a few rolls of patterned (think polka dots or stripes) or solid color paper on hand that you can mix and match with velvet ribbon, yarn or contrasting paper for paper bows. Even the simplest thing shows a lot more than the shipping box it came in with a card taped to it!

Tip #5 Theme and scheme.

Ok this is really a bonus tip, for those of you that are crazy people like I am. But I love to get creative with gifts! I’ve mentioned before that I love a good themed gift or a good tagline, where I pair something the person wants with something they’d never think of! Like the “Year of Cupcakes” gift (cupcake tins + wraps + toppers for all the holidays) I made for my cousin or the “Congrats on Your New Alarm Clock” breakfast-theme gift I gave Chelsea. Check out some of the theme-y boards from the influencers for inspiration on a fun idea.

Do you have any more gifting tips? You can head right over here to sign up for Giftry. The holidays are going to be here before you know it! Eeep! That’s a scary sentence to write. Happy Shopping!

p.s. You can find the wrapping paper in the first photo here. Free printable! SCORE!


This post was created in partnership with Giftry, All content and opinions are that of my own! Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep the Studio DIY party going! Read more about my editorial policies here.

#MeetTheMindells: Two Months Out!

Two months. As in eight weeks. I kind of want to puke thinking about that! But hey, we’re plugging along getting things done. Here’s the update!

DIY Lemon Drop Favors
The favors from my bridal shower! Photo by You Look Lovely Photography

What We’ve Done

Invitations. Signed, sealed… soon to be delivered! It feels SO GOOD to have the invitations designed and at the printer!! I’m sharing the TINIEST sneak peek, as I want to keep some things a surprise for our guests! But, we went with an all-calligraphy invitation mixed with some fun print backings and liners. Lauren finished up the envelope calligraphy and they’ll be put together and sent out in the next week or two. HOORAY!

Invitation Sneak Peek

We booked transportation for our guests! We rented a 48-person shuttle that will be doing a few trips from the hotels to the venue. This was our most economical option and we were ok with having to do a few trips because the hotels are really close to the venue.

We partnered up with Wayfair and will be creating the charger/favor/place card combo of my DREAMS! This is another project I don’t want to share too soon. But guys. It’s amazing. AMAZING! I’ll be sharing all about it after the big day!

We secured a pretty awesome escort card display, that is very Studio DIY and totally hilarious. Eeep! Secrets! There’s a tiny hint hidden in the photo below as to what it is.

Studio DIY Donut Stools
Photo by Jeff Mindell from the studio tour!

We finalized our linens (well, as much as they can be finalized this far out). We’re using a gorgeous neutral linen from La Tavola that will be romantic and drape-y on our two super long dining tables. We decided to do some custom napkins, so we ordered plain white ones and Bash will be dyeing them to match our color palette… pink pink pink!

I had a few long chats with Holly about some more floral details. We talked about how many bouquets and bouts were needed, and what the centerpieces would look like. Because we are having a family style dinner, we unfortunately are limited on how many flowers we can put on the table. However, Holly has a few great ideas for incorporating florals right into the platters and food display pieces and it’s going to be gorgeous!

Music! Our bridal party will be walking down the aisle to Married Life from UP and I’ll be walking down the aisle to Carl Goes Up also from UP (0:53 would be the part, if you’re curious!). I’m really happy about this and we always knew (well, since the movie) that this would be what we’d walk down to. I tear up when I hear the songs now! Our exit music is a secret! SHAZAM! For the reception, Jeff and his mom have a song, my dad and I have some great options (Thanks, Dad!) and Jeff and I are about THIS close to finalizing our song. I am most excited about dancing at the wedding. By far.

CAKE!!! We placed an order for our cakes! We’re having seven 9″ round cakes (they are four layers each though! WOAH!) and, sorry guests, but I gotta share some of the flavors here. Chocolate Peanut Butter with Salty Caramel (DIE!), Carrot Cake (Our personal fave!) and Meyer Lemon with Pomegranate are just a few of them. I am just DYING. We’re also beyond excited to be working with Minted & Vintage to outfit our cakes with some schnazy cake stands!

Everyone is clothed! OH HEY! Our bridal party isn’t going to be naked anymore! We win. Since the last update, I finally finalized what the girls are wearing, aside from one shirt for my niece.. but I’m working on that! Below is what we went with. The darkest skirt is way more maroon-y raspberry in person and not so red, by the way! They ‘maids will all be wearing this shirt. Jewelry is still TBD! We just ordered this tie for all the guys (fingers crossed we like it!) and the little dudes will be wearing black pants, white shirts and suspenders to keep things easy.

Bridesmaid Attire

Pink Skirt, Coral Skirt, Peach Skirt, Oxblood Skirt / Metallic Spot Shift, Gold Dress, Gold Skirt

I had my second dress fitting. Things are coming along! I’m now on the hunt for one final vintage piece to pair with it. I can’t say more because Jeff will yell at me. But if you could all read my mind and help me out, that’d be great. I recently got really badly sunburned on my back and have a really attractive racerback tan line to show for it. If any of you know how to get rid of this without self tanner, please let me know. Not gonna look so hot with my dress!

We got our rings in hand! Jeff’s needed to be resized and now I’m thinking I might have it engraved with a really funny Friends reference that I say to Jeff basically every day. Though I’m kind of mortified to tell the jeweler what it is! Ha! Mine fit perfectly and is a done deal.

We’re partnering up with Zazzle to create some AWE-SOME bags for our welcome bags with Lauren’s calligraphy. Eeep!

Studio DIY Welcome Bags

We booked our mini moon! After looking at all of the awesome suggestions you guys left on this post, we actually ended up deciding to stay put in Palm Springs at the Korakia. Because it really is the most gorgeous place ever and I couldn’t think of a better place to relax for a few days post-insanity!

We had our tasting for the welcome reception at The Saguaro and finalized our menu. We’ll be doing passed appetizers, charcuterie and a risotto station. We didn’t want this to be a formal sit down dinner so we kept it all very portable so it creates a more casual vibe!

 What We Need To Do

We need to finalize lighting and any small decor we’re bringing in to The Saguaro for the welcome reception.

We still haven’t finalized our day after brunch, though we now know for sure that we are just doing a light continental style brunch. We just need to make it happen!

Doughnut Plant
Photo by You Look Lovely Photography

Once some of those tasks are done, we need to put together a schedule of events for our wedding website.

We need to send out our invitations! Eeeep! Exciting! I really have no idea how many people will come (since everyone would/will be traveling) so we’re kind of at a loss for finalizing numbers until we start to hear back!

Jeff needs shoes. Bridesmaids need jewelry. I need *unnamed vintage item.* But hey, we’ve finally almost moved attire off the “Need to Do” list. SCORE!

We need to figure out the rest of our day-of paper goods, namely escort cards, menus, signage and ceremony programs. Ah paper! I love you, but you stress me OUT!

We need to finalize serving pieces with our caterer and Bash so Holly can begin designing floral pieces around them. We also need to conceptualize ceremony decor and whether or not we are bringing in some shade for us and the guests.

We still need to pin down a reading for Jaclyn to read at the ceremony. We clearly suck at finding something for this. We want it to be fun and funny and not at all wedding-y and traditional.

We need to fill our welcome bags! (And we’re asking your advice below!)

How We’re Feeling

We are just ready to be MARRIED already! We’re ready for November to be here. I think if we could do this all over again, we’d have a shorter engagement so decisions were made faster and the engagement period wasn’t so long. (Well, actually we’d probably elope but shhhh! I didn’t say that!) We’re really excited to get this show on the road! A lot of people have told me not to rush it getting here because it goes by so fast, but we are just anxious to get a move on!

Photo by You Look Lovely Photography

Oooh! We’ll also be sharing our engagement photos soon! Hooray!!!! Stay tuned.

Help! (Or, Questions for You Hitched Folks!)

Welcome bags! Welcome bags are actually one of my favorite things about weddings. I think they are so fun and easy to personalize, for both the couple and the location, and it’s a great extra touch to say thanks to your guests who have traveled so far! So, I’m curious… what’s your favorite item you’ve received in a wedding welcome bag? Or, what’s an item you put in your welcome bags that everyone went crazy for!? Was it homemade or something you can only get in your hometown? Something that meant something to the two of you? Tell us, tell us! At Jeff’s cousin’s wedding they put homemade choreg (a sweet Armenian bread) in each of them and it was THE BEST. Can’t wait to hear your guys’ thoughts!

And with that, we’re off for what is sure to be two really hard and intense months, that I hope are well worth it in the end!

For more on all our wedding prep + experiences, click here!