Sunday, December 13, 2015

Shot of Brandi Gift Guide: Illinois, Indiana & Iowa




  • Living in Chicago one of my favorite things to do on Saturday was to visit the farmers market on my street. In honor of this, I love this Land of Nod Fresh Picked Plush Produce. Bonus points - Land of Nod is based in a Chicago suburb!
  • Goose Island is a Chicago brewery that makes the 312 beer (popular Chicago area code). Like most beer companies, Goose Island makes a Christmas ale and they have good distribution so you should be able to find the beers near you!
  • So a few months ago I saw the company “Be There in Five” on Instagram and bookmarked it for holiday gifts. Then BAM the other day sometimes/former reader Sacks ‘grammed a photo of one of the company’s doormats. Turns out Mr. Sacks knows the chick behind the brand! Long story not short, I love the sassy quotes on these doormats!
  • I would always avoid Garrett’s Popcorn when I was in Chicago because of the MASSIVE lines at each location. Then vendors started sending some to me at work and within seconds I realized the appeal. This stuff is GOOD. Another great gift idea for those “little people” on your list (doormen, bus drivers, etc).
  • When friends would come to visit us in Chicago, they always wanted to visit “that mirror thing.” It’s also known as The Bean or it’s proper name - the Cloud Gate. For bean lovers, TIffany & Company has a bean line. The two aren’t affiliated, but who would be mad about a little blue box?



  • Indiana is home to one of the biggest sporting events of the year - the Indy 500. I feel like seeing this race live would be an interest of a sports fan, so what about tickets to the race!?
  • Abe Lincoln lived in Indiana for most of his childhood. At first I was going to recommend one of many books of movies about Lincoln, but then I stumbled upon the Abe gift shop through his library. There is some pretty rad stuff here like an Abe hat, Mary Todd Lincoln Doll or Abe doll. Etsy also had some awesome Lincoln stuff like this hipster Abe shirt.  
  • The legendary actor James Dean was born in Indiana. Part of Dean’s iconic look was a leather jacket - which makes a nice gift. I’m digging this coat from Topshop (although I clearly get it looks a little Danny Zuko.
  • So there is a town in Indiana called “Santa Claus.” Apparently the town gets more than a half million letters each year at this time. While you may not buy this as a gift, one thing that it’s always good to have or know someone that has is a Santa Claus suit.
  • The Finish Line was created by two friends in Indiana. Sporting apparel is always a good gift for those people that are thinking ahead of New Year’s resolutions. Since the movie Hoosiers is based on an Indiana team, I’m going to go with this throwback shirt.




Oh boy. I’m sorry Iowaians (is that a word?!), this is going to be another rough one.

  • So the dude that painted American Gothic (you know, the farmer and his wife holding tools) is from Iowa and a lot of his work is in Cedar Rapids. For a funny gift you can get someone else’s faces put into an American Gothic-style pic.
  • Quaker Oats is the largest cereal maker in the world and the company is based in Cedar Rapids. These aren’t totally cereal bowls, but I love all of the West Elm small bowls. If you are staying overnight at a friends, a cute hostess gift could be 4 of these bowls and a box of cereal.  
  • The National Balloon Museum is located in Indianola. Yes. This is a thing. I kinda love balloons. Studio Pep has become one of my favorite places to bookmark balloons for future occasions. How cute are these car and candy cane balloons!?

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