This summer in New England has been absolutely beautiful. We've had endless weeks of warmth and sun, ideal for pool days, boat rides, beach weekends, hiking, biking and more.
If you're like me, you've been able to enjoy many of summer's best activities thanks to the generosity of family and friends. We all have that friend who happens to live in a condo complex with a pool, or a friend who welcomes us to their family's beach house, or an uncle who invites us out on his boat for the day - you know the people I'm talking about. With Labor Day weekend kicking off today, we're marking the unofficial end to summer (wah!), making this the perfect time to thank all those people who graciously hosted you this summer.
Personally, I've been thinking about this a lot. What is the right way to thank someone for inviting you to their summer getaway? Flowers, wine, candy or a gift card just doesn't feel nice enough. Whenever I am having gift block (like writer's block, but for presents) I always turn to UncommonGoods. You've seen me showcase their products here countless times in my birthday and holiday gift guides. I'm just obsessed with their unique gifts and the artisans who make them. UncommonGoods has made it their mission to support and provide a platform for artists and designers, in fact, half of what is sold on the website is made by hand.
The first people I want to thank are our family friends who allow us to rent their house in Cape Cod every summer. I've already exhausted the ocean theme, giving them countless blue and fish-shaped items for their kitchen. I went to the gifts for women section and started poking around. In that collection I discovered a wine tasting flight, which is perfect because their house is a quick five minute ride from Truro Vineyards.
This wine flight is made by an artist named Bob Yates, based in Williamsburg, Virginia. The wooden base is crafted from the stave of a retired French oak Bordeaux wine barrel. How cool is that?
The set comes with four wine mini carafes, exactly the right shape and size for hosting a tasting with friends.
To accompany the wine flight, I will add two bottles of Truro Vineyard wine.
I selected my two favorites, the rosé and the sauvignon blanc.
I love this gift idea because it's very specific to their house and it's location, it celebrates a local business (the vineyard) and it's something they can use over and over again.
Next up, I wanted to find something to surprise my friends who warmly welcome me to their lake house in Maine every August. My friend's brother is really into beer (he even brews his own) so they always have an impressively stocked fridge. In fact, they have a second refrigerator in the basement just for beer.
I was looking through the gifts for men section when I stumbled upon this wooden beer caddy. If you're ever struggling for a great gift for your dad, brother, boyfriend or husband, I really can't say enough about all the awesome options in the UncommonGoods men's collection. You can explore that here.
The beer caddy is made by Wood Thumb, a business run by brothers David and Christopher Steinrueck. It's made from redwood beams reclaimed from salvage yards in San Francisco.
Because it is made from recycled redwood, no caddy is exactly alike. It's kind of amazing to know that your caddy is the only one made from that exact tree wood.
On one side, the caddy boasts a built-in bottle opener, offering maximum convenience (a.k.a. zero barrier to beer enjoyment).
We gave the caddy a little test run two weeks ago and it was fun for everyone to load it up with the specific beer they wanted to crack open that afternoon.
I'm not a big beer drinker, so I popped in a Twisted Tea for me.
The caddy is incredibly light weight, making it simple to tote with you, whatever you're doing. It's actually the perfect size and weight to sit between two people in a canoe.
Once you've boated to your lunch or dinner spot, you can just bring the caddy with you to your picnic table or blanket.
We also loved bringing it down to the dock so we could sip while we talked, read and sun bathed.
We even brought it onto the boat!
Having all the beers contained in the caddy kept them from clinking around as we cruised across the lake.
Having the bottle opener on the side meant we didn't have to remember to bring one. We could also toss bottle caps right into the caddy, ensuring we didn't leave any behind to litter the boat.
I couldn't wait to open my tea!
If one of your summer hosts is a beer aficionado, this caddy is a must.
Do you have a friend who always hosts the summer BBQs? Grilling, fire pit, lawn games? I have found two dream gifts for those hosts and hostesses. In my group of friends, I am usually that person, so I am using my backyard to demonstrate these awesome finds.
In the gifts for men section (shop that here) I found two items that will surely wow your host or hostess. You can gift them individually, but if you gift them together, you'll be helping to create a killer backyard movie night! I'm talking about the smartphone projector 2.0 and the outdoor popcorn popper.
Last summer during my Labor Day BBQ one of my friends commented how the white wall of my neighbor's garage would make a great canvas for an outdoor movie. I was a bit embarrassed I had never thought of that myself!
I set up a row of chairs and my favorite blanket (from Target, see a similar one here), all facing the garage.
Once the seating was all set, it was time to unpack the projector. All the pieces come in a very compact box, making it easy to bring this gift (or ship it) to your host.
For the technologically challenged (like me) there are easy to follow instructions right on the inside of the box.
It already comes with all the inputs needed to project photos or a movie, all from your phone! The projector magnifies the content on your phone's screen up to eight times it's original size. The cardboard casing also has two slots for speakers or a phone charger, so you won't run out of juice mid-movie. Brilliant.
It wasn't quite dark enough when I took these photos to project, but you can use your imagination.
And what is movie night without popcorn? Though most people use their fire pits for s'mores, you can also use that open flame to make popcorn! I totally geeked out when I found this.
The Shake & Pop is so easy to use. You just attach the handle, fill it with kernels and put that puppy right over the open flame.
A few minutes later - voila! Popcorn.
The Shake & Pop is super light weight (like the beer caddy) so you could easily pack this for camping trips too.
With a few popcorn containers and candy buckets I set up a small concession stand. You've got to have snacks. Duh.
With the projector set up and the popcorn popped, you are ready to go.
Grab a seat, it's show time!
Judging by my own excitement to have discovered these two items, I know your friends and family will freak out with happiness when they open either of these gifts.
As we head into Labor Day weekend, peruse UncommonGoods to find memorable gifts for your summer hosts. I was able to find items that are so personal to the people who welcome me into their homes. These are gifts I know they will treasure and use over and over again (hopefully while I'm over).
*This post is sponsored by UncommonGoods, a company I love and adore and have shopped with for years. As always, all opinions are 100 percent my own.