Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin & Wyoming

Thursday, December 24, 2015

OH MY GOSHHHHHHH GUYS I MADE IT! Gifts inspired by all 50 states! Thank you for sticking with me through this process (if you did). I hope that I helped you with an idea or two - if not for Christmas, but for someone in this next year! Merry Christmas!

  1. Virginia is the home to Washington, D.C. and when I think of our nation's capitol, I think of presidents. Not necessarily Pez Presidents but they are pretty fun.
  2. As a loyal Today Show watcher, I saw them mention this cake in a segment and thought - it’s from Virginia! It will be perfect for my blog post! Here’s a Bourbon Cake from Red Truck Bakery. Check out the Guinness Cake too!
  3. Peanuts were first grown in the U.S. in Virginia. There is a whole site dedicated to VA peanuts. You can also pair those with some delicious VA wine!

  1. One thing that I love about Seattle is Pikes Place Market. The flying fish, beautiful flowers and first Starbucks all make thee market a top tourist destination. For those of you that love to frequent the market, here’s an adorable shopping list.
  2. I can’t think of Seattle now without thinking of Grey’s Anatomy’s Seattle Grace Hospital. Can you believe that show is still on? Rather than buy a baby a onesie that says “pretty” or “handsome,” get them one that says “one day you will be a doctor.” Inspired by the show, here’s a doctor onesie.
  3. Washington has a pretty cool wine country. I’ve never been there, but I’ve drank some cool wines from Washington. One is from my brothers from another mother - the Smith Family. Wine always makes a good gift. Go with this Cab!  
  4. Nordstrom is based in Seattle and I’ve gotta tell you - it’s become my favorite department store. You can still buy Nordstrom gift cards online for a last minute gift.

Take me home to the end of this blog post...WEST VIRGINIA!

  1. West Virginia is a HUGE producer of coal. You don’t want coal in your stocking, but you may want some Coal Gum
  2. You guys. How cool is this wallet? The money clip on the front is also a beer opener! Of course my Mountaineers are always on the party school list!
  3. As the famous lyrics go, “Take me the place...I belong…” Here’s a cute Take Me Home T

  1. The typewriter was invented in Milwaukee. Record players are making a huge comeback. I wonder if typewriters are next!? Etsy has a good selection of vintage machines.
  2. A company that makes a HUGE HUGE HUGE Christmas gift is based in Wisconsin...American Girl! While I never had an American Girl doll (and I don’t let my parents forget that!), I know Lennon will be spoiled with one in the future. This is the new Grace doll in her “sightseeing outfit.”
  3. When I think of Wisconsin, I think of one thing. No, not the Packers. I think of CHEESE. I’ve has glorious curds of cheese from a road vendor - there is nothing like it. You know it’s a special piece of you get a little squeak!  Here’s a Wisconsin Cheese of the Month Club.

Yelp! Here you are Wyoming! The last state! Go easy on me.

  1. The majority of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming. It’s kinda one of those U.S. places that would be great to see - on the same list as the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park.
  2. J.C. Penny’s opened its first store in Wyoming. If you are reading this today (Christmas Eve), I’ve gotta got with recommending a gift card. Any gift card that is! Most you can now print online too!
  3. Scott Avett of the band the Avett Brothers was born in Wyoming. It still isn’t too late to buy someone an iTunes gift card or concert tickets!

ANnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddd! That’s a wrap! MIC DROP.
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Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: Texas, Utah & Vermont

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

  1. Texas is the state with the most farmland, so this barn from Land of Nod is a perfect suggestion for a tot on your list!
  2. Cowboy boots and Texas go hand in hand. How awesome is this beer boot?
  3. Beyonce was born in Houston and I bet it’s likely that there is SOMEONE that you know on your list OBSESSED with Queen B. You can find her song lyrics on a lot of items like this mug from Urban Outfitters.

  1. The state symbol of Utah is the beehive because it stands for thrift and industry. Store cookies for your honey in this beehive cookie jar!
  2. Utah gets a lot of snow. Because of this, Salt Lake City has hosted the Winter Olympics.  I really don’t know a lot about gifts for skiers, but I know a lot of people put a GoPro on their helmet. So here’s a GoPro and a helmet cam mount!
  3. Beaver, Utah is the home to the creator of the television. Trends are showing a decline in television watching and a rise of people watching videos or Netflix on their computers, tablets or phones. To watch Netflix on your TV, I recommend Apple TV. It was a lifesaver during the 90 degree temps during my maternity leave!

  • Vermont is the number one producer of maple syrup in the United States. After a trip to Canada in 2011 I discovered that I LOVE maple syrup. There were a lot of online options for Vermont Maple Syrup, but I liked this little cabin tin!
  • One of the most famous companies based in Vermont is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Honestly, if you bought someone on your list a cooler filled with Ben & Jerry’s, it would probably be one of the coolest gifts ever! (pun intended). This flavor here was inspired by a Saturday Night Live sketch.
  • Sometimes reader husband Brady’s favorite band is Phish. The guitarist of Phish, Trey Anastasio is from Vermont. Phish has a pretty crazy gift shop with rad things like this t!

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Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: South Carolina, South Dakota & Tennessee

  • My cousin Courtney is a Clemson grad and of course Brady and I take every opportunity we can to remind her about that time when WVU scored 70 points on Clemson during the Orange Bowl. Courtney can use these glasses to celebrate when Clemson may be in the National Championship game this year!
  • From Charleston, South Carolina, I’m a big fan of giving these Rewined candles as gifts. The scents are inspired by wine and the glass around the candle is a recycled wine bottle!
  • The first tea farm in the United States was created in South Carolina.
  • Charleston is totally on our bucket list of travel places in the U.S. From the food options to the beauty of the town, I hope we can make it there some day! Plan a trip here.

Oh boy. Another Dakota. Let’s get this!

  1. I forget this a lot, but Mt. Rushmore is in South Dakota. Do you know that it took 14 years and $1M to build? That price tag seems a little low to me. For $39.99 you can have your own replicia from the Mt. Rushmore gift shop. There is also Mt. Rushmore lip balm, koozies and mango salsa...because...well because why not?  
  2. Tom Brokaw is from South Dakota. And Tom released a new book this year.
  3. If one mountain carving wasn’t enough, the construction of Crazy Horse is underway.  If this is completed, it will be the largest sculpture in the world. If you want to see this crazy thing be built, you can donate!

  1. Elf on the Shelf was actually created by a Tennessee resident. I used to be all about the Elf, but this year I’m a bit over it but this card made me LOL.
  2. I love Reese Witherspoon. I love all of her movies, her book suggestions on Instagram and I love her new Draper James line. Based in Tennessee, Draper James has chic clothes and adorable accessories like this embellished scarf. I hope shoes are coming soon!
  3. Nashville has become a popular drinking destination of many of my friends and is the capital of country music. You can plan a trip yourself OR look into visiting the second most popular house in America - Graceland - the former home of Elvis Presley.

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Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: Oregon, Pennsylvania & Rhode Island

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

  • I could probably dedicate all of my gift suggestions for Oregon on Nike, which is headquartered here. But seriously, can we talk about these toddler shoes?
  • While it’s global headquarters are in Germany, Adidas’ has corporate office in Portland. Keep your friends close and enemies closer, right? Stella McCartney has a line for Adidas with some fashion-forward casual apparel like these printed tights.
  • For my fall work beer exchange I purchased a Rogue beer. Based in Portland these beers are popular among my co-workers. I gotta go with the beer that I purchased - the Dead Guy Ale.

Of course PA was going to be easy for me since I’m from here, BUT I would like to add that the amazing amount of companies that are based in the Keystone State also totally inspired me. Pittsburgh alone is home to American Eagle, Dick’s Sporting Goods, ModCloth and Rue21. Outside of Pittsburgh there is Hershey’s Chocolates, David’s Bridal, Bon-Ton, QVC, Urban Outfitters and of course my ULTIMATE FAV, Anthropologie!
  1. For my first suggestion, I’m going to start with a small business - Wigle Whiskey. I’ve spoke of my love of Wigle before and this Wigle Whiskey Aging Kit makes a pretty rad gift.
  2. I love a good game of Bingo, so when I went on to do some research on the game I was shocked to find out that it was invented in Europe by standardized in Pittsburgh! This Crate & Barrel version is a great stocking stuffer priced under $10.
  3. When brainstorming ideas from each state, it occurred to me that not many designers were born in the US. One lady that was born in the state of PA is Tory Burch. She grew up near Philly (Valley Forge) and attended Penn. Here’s a little bit of luxury from Tory in the form of a makeup bag or phone case.
  4. Oh my god you guys. The Huffington Post named the Burnt Almond Torte from Prantals Bakery it’s BEST CAKE IN AMERICA. Um...Prantals is less than .5 mile away from my house! Let me tell you. I wasn’t an almond on cake fan until this cake changed my life. Good news for all of you readers not near a Prantals - they ship!
  5. So an interesting fact about Pittsburgh - the first game of professional football was played here. Read all about it on the NFL Hall of Fame’s website. But if you want a fun gift for any football fan, go for this electric football game!

  1. Polo was played in the U.S. for the first time in Rhode Island. A classic polo t is a great gift. You could go with a Ralph Lauren Polo, but I’m also a fan of Lacoste (currently on sale at Nordstrom!)
  2. The Playskool brand is based in Rhode Island. There are SO MANY iconic toys that are in the Playskool family - Mr. Potato Head, Gloworm and Tonka!

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Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: North Dakota, Ohio & Oklahoma

Oh North Dakota. We meet. I’ve been worried about states like North Dakota and feeling a fear of being uninspired, but let’s see what happens.

  1. Milk is the official beverage of North Dakota. Things must get wild at state parties! Pottery Barn Kids has this adorable wooden milk and eggs set. This is a great add for a kid that may receive a new kitchen set from Santa.
  2. So the Dakota Dinosaur Museum was located in Dickinson, but closed this year. Based on my research this place looked pretty cool, so I bet some people were sad to see it go. I mean there were complete real Triceratops and Edmontosaurus! For the dino lover you know, here’s an inflatable T-rex!
  3. North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any state. If you can’t make it home for the holidays, flowers are great to send your loved ones. While I don’t think sunflowers are the best to send for the holidays, they sure would brighten up someone’s house!

Well that wasn’t so bad!  

  1. A little Christmas tradition that the hubs and I have is spending a day shopping in Cleveland. It’s not a major shopping destination, but a nice change of scenery from our usual stomping grounds. One must stop location on our visit is Great Lakes Brewing for some Christmas Ale. It’s a seasonal MUST and I’m happy to be back on the wagon to sip this year’s blend!
  2. I must say that I’ve never tried this next item, but it’s certainly on my list - Jeni’s Ice Cream. The brand is based in Ohio and offers some awesome flavors. They also have a pint club that ships you three ice creams four times a year for $144. Great gift for someone that is preggo!
  3. A Christmas Story the movie was filmed in Ohio and you can totally tour the house, with leg lamp in the window, today. You know that at some point on Christmas you will end up watching the movie, so why not play this game.

  1. The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma. One of the most popular cowboys of our generation is...WOODY! From Toy Story! These Woody pjs are just way too adorable!
  2. An Oklahoman created the first shopping cart! I mean what would we have done without this invention? This kids’ shopping cart from Target is pretty close to the real thing!
  3. Garth Brooks was born in Oklahoma and his concert was one of the hottest tickets of 2015. Garth has some 2016 tickets on sale. Check out dates on his website.
Fact Source & Garth Image Source
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Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: New Mexico, New York & North Carolina

Monday, December 21, 2015

  1. I’m making a generalization here, but given it’s proximity to Mexico, I’d imagine that New Mexico has some great taco joints. I really wanted an excuse to feature this Taco Time Notebook.
  2. This cactus is a rather quirky gift, but I spotted this via Refinery29 and thought - this is SO New Mexico. Not only is this a cactus, but it’s a nifty coaster holder!
  3. Quirky espadrilles are all the rage right now and I’m assuming this Santa Fe pair from Tory Burch was inspired by the New Mexico City that bears the same name!

  1. I won’t talk about the time TSA confiscated my Saks Snow Globe, but I will still stand by the idea that this makes a good gift! NYC Skyline Snow Globe.
  2. Frequent Shot of Brandi* readers know that I love me some Dylan’s Candy Bar. Dylan Lauren, Ralph’s daughter, was born in New York and owns this candy store that now has locations across the U.S. This cute candy box is perfect for those random people on your list that you need to buy for!
  3. Two of the best rappers ever were born in New York - Tupac and the Notorious BIG. If you are a fan of both, then maybe you need these cookie stamps! Lol.

  1. I’ve been a fan of Furbish Studio for a number of years now. Furbish has a storefront in Raleigh, NC, but fortunate for the rest of us you can shop online for amazing goodies like this pillow.
  2. Krispy Kreme doughnuts was founded in Winston-Salem. ‘Tis the season to eat foods that are not great for you and doughnuts are one of those foods! This is the time to bring a dozen to Christmas brunch!  FYI - Pepsi was also invented and first served in New Bern!
  3. One of our favorite places to vacation is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A family vacation makes a fantastic Christmas gift and gives you something to look forward to during the year ahead! They key to visiting the OBX is to rent a house on the beach and go during the off season (before Memorial Day or after Labor Day). You can also visit the spot where the Wright Brothers took their famous flight!

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Shot of Brandi Gift Guide Nevada, New Hampshire & New Jersey

Sunday, December 20, 2015

For my annual gift guide I'm posting ideas inspired by each state!

  1. The slot machine was of course invented in Nevada - the state that is home to Las Vegas. Can’t make a trip to the sin city soon? How about a home slot machine?
  2. A trip to Vegas is a great gift. You could make that trip even sweeter with tickets to see Britney Spears!
  3. Area 51 is in Nevada and known for being an alien research center. The truth is that it is a military base, but what is done there is unknown - hence the rumors about aliens. I didn’t want to recommend some weird alien shit, so here is a perfume called Alien!

  1. The first alarm clock was invented in New Hampshire. Since Star Wars is so incredibly hot and all over the place right now, here’s a Millennium Falcon alarm clock!
  2. Adam Sandler is from the state. And Adam Sandler is always wearing t-shirts. Happy Gilmore is a great Sandler movie, so here is a t-shirt inspired by the film.
  3. The store Brookstone is based in NH and it’s a great place for gifts. One of the most popular gifts this year, the hoverboard, is sold at Brookstone (but I’ve seen cheaper versions - probably the ones that catch on fire - in other places).

  1. The streets used in the game Monolopy are based on roads in Atlantic City. This classic board game is a must have in any household, however finishing a game is another story!  
  2. One of the hottest concert tickets of 2016 is New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen. Ironically the Boss launching his tour here in Pittsburgh, but tickets sold out FAST. Concert tickets make a good gift and you can buy them last minute online and print!
  3. The first baseball game was played in Hoboken. Here’s a fun little Baseball Game!

Fact Source, Bruce Image Source
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