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Gift Guide

15 Books For Young Future Writers {Gift Guide}

The holiday gift giving season is upon us and alas, many parents, Godparents, aunts, uncles and friends maybe searching for non-toy gifts to give to children that have educational value. Never fear, for this year’s Bellyitch gift guide,  I am including some sources and ideas for plenty non-toy gifts for kids starting with this list of curated books for children who have expressed an interest in writing. I must admit, I am partial because my daughter loves to write and I am inspired by the late great Stan Lee who passed away this week to get her reading more.

In this list, your reader will be able to study the writing style of authors and from reading them, come to understand how each writer holds the reader’s attention. It should help a budding young writer in your life hone his or her own skills.

If you like this list, put together by Epic!, you can get a book subscription for $7.99 per month from epic! and get access to 1,000s of books each month to read and return at your reader’s leisure. It’s a cost saving alternative to buying all of these books outright.

But if you would like to build a dictionary, you can click below to purchase them as a gift or check out at your local library for FREE!

1. The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York Jonathan York leads a boring life. But when fate leaves him stranded in a sinister land, he finds himself seeking an adventure of his own. ($9.29)

2. Casebusters: The House Has Eyes The new kid in school has a poltergeist problem, and only the Casebusters can help. ($3.75 Kindle)

3. Otto Carrotto Everyone is crazy about something. For Otto, it’s carrots. He can’t get enough. Raw carrots, cooked carrots, carrot soup and carrot pizza. ($6.00)

4. Creepy But Cool: Bats Kids love Bats! Bats have always been mysterious and they have always scared people.

5.  No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons) Learn all about fire safety with the help of a girl and her dragon friend. ($7.95)

6. The Book of Dragons 20 delightful tales from Germany, China, France, Wales, England, Japan, and other lands tell of dragons fierce, friendly, and loving. ($4.75)

7. Explore And Draw: Wizards, Witches, & Dragons Learn basic art techniques and interesting facts while drawing wizards, witches, and dragons. ($5.75)

8. I Love You Just Enough While pulling weeds and planting seeds with her dad on Hazel Ridge Farm’s prairie, Heather discovers a wood duckling alone in the grass. ($12.75)

9.  A Horse to Love Erin is thrilled when her parents agree to buy her a horse–but owning a horse is nothing like she imagined… ($11.26 Kindle)

10.  Dear Dad, Love Laurie After her parents’ divorce, Laurie’s mom forces her to write to her father. With every one, Laurie finds herself growing up a little bit more. ($7.39 Kindle)

11.  Jasper John Dooley Not in Love Isabel loves Jasper, and it’s making life complicated. ($7.95)

12. We Love Horses Horses have been adored for centuries, and this volume of poetry brings the graceful steed to the page. ($7.18)

13. Can I Bring My Pterodactyl to School, Ms. Johnson? A boy asks his teacher if he can bring his pterodactyl to school, imagining all the ways it could help him and his class. ($7.95)

14.  First Day Jitters Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. ($4.99)

15.  The Big Test As her students grow increasingly anxious about the Big Test, Mrs. Hartwell must teach the most valuable test-taking skill of all. ($6.95)

Coming Soon: Bellyitch 2018 Holiday Gift Guides

Hey guys! The holiday season is fast approaching and Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are also right around the corner. To help my readers navigate the noise and overwhelm, I’m releasing a series of Gift Guides with unique and distinctive items you can get any type of person on your list.

They will launch on Monday so stay tuned! If you are a brand and would like to be on my sponsored Gift Guide that will be released AFTER Thanksgiving, give me a holler at jj(at)bellyitchblog.com with the SUBJECT “HOLIDAY SPONSORED GIFTGUIDE” Thanks!

Here are the gift guides coming:

  1. Non Toys
  2. Foodies
  3. Outdoorsy Type
  4. Homebody
  5. Traveler
  6. Trendsetter
  7. Lover of Color Black
  8. Coffee Lover
  9. Wine Lover
  10. Animal/Pet
  11. New Mom
  12. Blogger/Boss Babe
  13. Design Enthusiast
  14. Vintage Toys
  15. Hostess Succulent
  16. Tech
  17. Under $30
  18. Home
  19. Book lover
  20. Girly Girl
  21. Workout Buddy
  22. Unplugged Activities
  23. Wine Lover
  24. Stocking Stuffers
  25. Personalized

7 Unique Father’s Day Gifts Under $20

7 Unique Father's Day Gifts Under $20

Father’s Day is next month and now is as good as time as any to start thinking of what to get dad for his special day. I think the usual tie, socks, coffee mug and golf balls are played out and it’s time to start thinking outside of the box. Unique and personalized gifts stand out, like a personalized photo collage, a subscription box to Dollar Shave Club or something like that.

A custom shirt is memorable.

We curated a list of fun novelty gifts that dad may enjoy. Check them out.

1.For dad who is a dog lover, we really like these Fred Winer Dogs Dachshund Dog Drink Markers. They are great for breaking out when entertaining. To ease confusion over whose class is whose, these puppies (pun intended) hug each guests glass stem. They sell for only $16 for a set of 6.

2.For the dad who is more into moonshine or tequila shots, there’s these super cute mini shot glasses that resemble small mason jars! Hayley Cherie makes the glasses which come with their own tiny little lids and are great for crafts or party favors even. They are $11.99 for a set of 6 as well!

3. If you insist on going the stereotypical route with the mug and golf clubs, why not combine them and get a mug that comes with its own tiny club and golf club.  Brink’s ceramic mug comes with its own stir stick to mix your coffee with, and it comes in the perfect shape to shoot a tiny hole in one. The set is $19.99

4. Desktop Cornhold Bean Bag Game looks like a fun distraction from the daily grind at work. Any dad would enjoy getting this as a gift and being able to pause during the day to toss the bean bag. The game is also under $20 at $13.98.

5. Got an artsy dad who loves to doodle or has some artistic skills? If he also has a smartphone and wouldn’t mind showing off his talents, you can can get dad a phone case he paints. Kikkerland sells a silicon case for iPhones that comes with non-toxic colors and a paint brush. It sells for a mere $10.00 It also makes a version for Samsung Galaxy 6 owners.

6. Like everyone, dad has a story in him too. If he is a writer or fancies himself a budding author, consider gifting dad this awesome book “642 Things to Write About“. The journal-like soft-cover book by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto includes several prompts. The purpose is to get one comfortable with daily writing and to practice expressing oneself in prose. We love this $11.92 book that is also under $20!

7. If dad is the type of dad who gets motivated by inspirational words, another book to consider is “Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.” The book features quotes from the minds of the likes of  Lewis Carroll, Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Austen to Beatrix Potter and great creative thinkers from every walk of life offering words of wisdom, heartfelt compassion and stirring calls to action. You can get a hardcover for just $8.99

Happy Shopping!

Father’s Day: What To Get That Man Who Has Everything

This Father’s Day show dad how much he is loved and appreciated even he has everything under the sun plus some!

Sweet Tooth

Treat dad to his favorite dessert or a jar full of his favorite candy.  You can even make a personalized candy jar to put the candy in.

Avid Reader

Give dad the gift of a great book!  If you are not sure, give the  next best thing, a gift card to his favorite bookstore.

Fisherman

A new fishing rod and reel or tackle box with new bait inside might be just the gift for this dad.

Cook

If dad likes to grill out, give dad a new set of grilling tools and apron.  Add some meat rubs to this gift.

Outdoorsman

Whether it’s camping, hunting, boating or any other outdoor activity your bound to find a gift that dad will love.

Sports Fanatic

Dad can never have enough hats or t-shirts to support his favorite team.  Give him car floor mats with his teams logo on them.  A wallet, key chain or key lanyard with the team logo on it would make a great gift as well.

Movie Lover

Give dad a cd of his favorite band or type of music.  If the band has a greatest hits collection that would be a wonderful gift for dad!  If dad plays an instrument such as a guitar give him a gift for it. (guitar strap, gig bag etc). Alternatively, you can buy him a new instrument. There are a lot of affordable models out there. A great example would be the Washburn WD100DL acoustic guitar.

Music Lover

Give dad a cd of his favorite band or type of music.  If the band has a greatest hits collection that would be a wonderful gift for dad!  If dad plays an instrument give him a gift for it. (guitar strap, drum sticks, etc).

Athlete

New running shoes or workout clothes make a great gift for a dad who likes to stay in shape and has an active lifestyle.

No matter what type of interests your dad has, there is something for everyone!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Shop Our Partners

Looking for a perfect gift for mom?  Check out some of the awesome products and services that some of my  affiliate partners  are offering. By patronizing them you help me deliver quality content, news and information every day.

Your patronage of these brands will support a small business which just doesn’t include mom and pop brick and mortar stores but the thousands of people who have products, services and platforms, like this one, online.

Check them out and if you’re in the need of any product, your purchase today will keep this blog running. I thank you in advance!

Isabella Oliver

Isabella Oliver is a celebrity fave maternity designer. When I was expecting, I wore some of these designs and found the signature ruching on the size forgiving and breathable. The aesthetic is simple and they stick to clean lines. I love this brand because you can wear the pieces under a denim or casual jacket or pair them with pearls and heels and the clothes work either way. IO also sells shoes, belts and other accessories.

Isabella Oliver

Gymboree

I know from first hand experience that the quality of the clothing is superior. They last in the wash and the colors do not fade. The brand is known for selling very well coordinated pieces with whimsical characters or in solids, neutrals and other long-lasting hues. The clothing is made of natural materials mostly, and they look really cute. I’ve blogged about this brand often before because I am a believer in it. It’s the brand all the affluent suburban moms outfit their kids in so you know it’s top stuff. (smile).  Gymboree sells from baby to tween.

Shop Global.Gymboree.com

Umi Shoes

Umi makes shoes with technology and comfort in mind.  Each shoe is lightweight and ergonomically fit for your child’s growing feet. They come in packaging made of 100% recycleable materials. The price point is reasonable and these shoes are durable and can stand the test of playground time and rough and tumble.

UMI Children's Shoes

Naturpedic

Since your baby will be spending most of her time (up to 18 hours a day) in her crib, it is important to get the right mattress and not go cheap. Get the best you can.  An eco-friendly foam and innerspring mattresses like the ones sold by Naturpedic tend to be made with fewer chemicals, plastics, and PVC (vinyl), and a greater percentage of renewable and sustainable materials, such as cotton, fast-growing bamboo, coir, plant-based foam, and natural latex (rubber from tree sap that’s been injected with air). Also, the manufacturing process for some eco-friendly crib mattresses tends to produce fewer carbon emissions. The Naturepedic No-Compromise Organic Cotton Classic 150 crib mattress shown here has a “U.S.-grown organic cotton filling” and a polyethylene plastic waterproof surface that, the manufacturer says, is free of vinyl/ PVC, phthalates, lead, or antimicrobial biocides. It sells for $260. The outer cover of this mattress might limit the exposure to toxins.

Naturepedic Organic Baby Mattresses

ABC Mouse

I’ve boasted plenty about this online learning platform for kids. I purchased a subscription for my daughter when she was 4 and she followed the curriculum through the end. Today, she is a top reader, tests in the 99% for reading and gets all As in school. I credit her early start from this program which is having a sale through Cyber Monday of 63% off its annual fee. This is perfect equalizer for those who cannot afford to pay a tutor for their child like some of the most affluent amnong us. ABC Mouse is used in schools and many early learning centers around the nation and globe!

Pittman and Davis

This Holiday season, consider giving a gift of food! Fruit baskets, cakes, candy and other assorted food items are great for giving employees, teachers, vendors, a boss, colleagues, clients and the like. Also, order a few small gift baskets to give as host gifts when you go over people’s homes for parties, gatherings, dinners and other social gatherings this holiday season. Pittman and Davis have been shipping orchard  orchard fresh fruit, smoked meats, cheeses, pastries, candies and other scrumptious gift food items for over 80 yeas. The family owned company is based in Texas. All items are shipped and delivered fresh with a money-back guarantee for deliveries that do not meet up to company standards. Shipping food items can be a very quick and relatively inexpensive way to knock out your holiday gifting for distant and extended family and business relationships in one fell swoop.

Fresh Ruby Red Grapefruit, Orange, Pear and Apple Gifts

Bajuken

Baukjen is the sister brand to Isabella Oliver. Because it is by the same designer, you can expect to find similar clean simple styling and lines. Quality constructed soft, stretchable and breathable all natural materials.

Baukjen

B2C Jewels

In the market for an anniversary or renewal band? Want to get a pair of diamond studs to add to your classic collection of jewelry. You can get top quality jewelry and diamonds at a reasonable price compared to going to a jewelry store by shopping B2C Jewels.

B2C Jewels

ExploreTrip.com

If you love to travel or can afford to take a family trip during the winter, you can save a ton on your flight through ExploreTrip.com. In fact, this winter, you can save up to 80% on Worldwide flights  and Get up to $15 OFF with promo code WINTER.  And ExploreTrip is also having a Cyber Monday Sale! Get an EXTRA $15 Off on your booking + Save up to 60% Off on all Flights. Promo Code: CMONDAY. Book Now!

Cyber Monday Sale! Get an EXTRA $15 Off on your booking + Save up to 60% Off on all Flights. Promo Code: CMONDAY. Book Now!

Janie and Jack

This is the slightly more upscale sister brand to Gymboree. The clothing looks for posh to me. The price point is higher.

Crazy 8

And Crazy 8 is the less upscale sister brand to Gymboree. Clothing is still top quality but you can get insane deals starting at $4 for tops. They have a large variety of options and are great for stacking on on play clothes.



Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

Le Tote

Le Tote is the best subscription box for preginistas who are new moms-to-be and don’t have time any longer to figure out their clothes. Members get sjo[[ed unlimited number of apparel and accessories each month. It just recently entered the maternity wear business and it just recently started offering maternity wear. We love it so much, we’ve partnered with Le Tote as affiliates. It is having a Cyber Week Sale! Take 85% off First Month of Le Tote Rental! Ends 12/1

Wild Dill

I love Wild Dill because it combines commerce with conscious shopping. They source their goods direct from the creators in Africa, South America, Israel and all over the world and sell them online for a fair share of the profit which is different from what a lot of companies do: they steal the concept, create duplicates in China made of sub par material and market them as authentic.

Nested Bean

The latest on our radar is a swaddle blanket that takes the guess work out of swaddling a new born and adds technology of “touch” so baby can feel even more secure when sleep. It’s called The Zen Swaddle and it was created by a desperate mom who came up with an ingenious solution for some long sleepless nights.

Urth Box

Urthbox specializes in sending healthy, delicious and tasty new snacks from local stores and vendors.  Delivered each month, the curated collection is designed to serve as an alternative to unhealthy snacking in the face of stress, busy schedules, and other life struggles and to complement a healthy, fit lifestyle.

Creation Crate

STEM (Science, Techonology, Engineering and Math) is a big deal these days and getting kids interested in this discipline of topics can be tough. With a subscription box from Creation Crate, your kid gets a project to make each time. It’s more than software though, the projects include a building component to it.

Creation Crate

3 Tips for Making Memorable Baby Shower Gifting A Breeze

Once you hit that certain age, it seems like every one of your friends is having a baby. Every other weekend you have a baby shower and the birth announcements are inundating your mail. Buying baby shower and newborn gifts can be stressful.

Things Remembered, Pottery Barn, BabyBox.com, Stork Baby and a few other companies offer personalized gift boxes to help make the process seamless, but Rock a Box Babyclaims to be the first customizable baby gift box company.

Kylie Kaufman, its founder,  offers on how to get through all your baby shower and newborn shopping:

Keep it simple: You more than likely have numerous baby gifts to buy, so don’t spend too much time stressing about what to buy. “Our boxes are so simple and easy, they take less than a few minutes to make, yet look super sophisticated. People will think you spent a ton of time, but in reality, you didn’t,” Kaufman explained. Moral of story, find one gift that you can give to everyone, yet looks custom.

Give something that will last forever: Babies grow so quickly, so why spend hundreds of dollars on stuff that they will use for weeks or months. “Our boxes are meant to last forever. They’re lacquer keepsake boxes with names and monograms that look adorable in nurseries as well as nightstands in master bedrooms. They grow with the baby.”

Don’t break the bank: Baby shower and newborn gifts don’t come cheap when you have one every other weekend. Before you know it, half of your paycheck is going to baby showers. “Our boxes start at $25 and can go north of $250. Because they’re completely custom, you can pick exactly how much you spend.”

Good luck shopping!

The 9 Hottest Toys Kids Want to Unwrap This Christmas

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There are only three shopping days until Christmas. By now, if you haven’t picked up one of this season’s hottest, most sought-after toys, then, it might be too late. These toys are hard to obtain and are out-of-stock lots of places. In contrast to larger toys like kids ride on cars, these toys are perfect for playing inside.

We looked and found a few still available online for order but not all would arrive in time for Christmas. If you don’t have a kid who is keen on getting a rain check in their gift box, you might want to go to plan B.

Well, anyway, if you are curious to know, here is the list of the hottest toys this season including these cool gift suggestions for 10 year old girls and according to all the little kids we interviewed and some insider research we conducted with retailers and online communities where rugrats (ours) frequent!

1. Zoomer Fashion Pony  

2. LEGO Ninjago Movie Destiny’s Bounty 70618 (2295 Piece)

3. Nintendo Switch Gaming Console  

4. Nerf N-Strike Elite Rhino-Fire Blaster

5. Air Hogs – X-Stream Video Drone

6. Aquabeads Beginners Studio

7. Cozmo

8. GBD Kids Game Smart Watches 

9. 12 Inch Kids LCD Writing Tablet eWriter Draw Board with Stylus 

Again: Our Teacher’s Gift Guide for You Last Minute Shoppers

Bellyitch Rewind

Tomorrow is the First Day of Winter is coming and we are heavy into the Holiday Gifting season. If you missed our Teacher Gift Guide shared last month, we are reposting it again in case you need inspiration:

Parents often want to give their child’s teacher a nice gift as a thank you for the school year. In a lot of school systems, it may be not permissible to spend too much money on a gift so I curated a guide of 9 unique and thoughtful novelty gifts, all under $20, that would put a smile on the face of your child’s fave teacher and may be used in the classroom for years to come, even…

  1. Tears of My Students Gift Mug – $13.49

This funny mug by Tekoware is microwave and dishwasher safe and is a clever take off of the “tears” drinking-memes in the Internet e.g. drinking the tears of someone who is whining or complaining. Typically, it is short for “save it! I’m not falling for it.” A teacher with a good sense of humor would appreciate this mug.

2. Math Wall Clock – $15.95

This unique clock signals the time with a simple math equation that equals the number that would ordinarily be on an average clock. This novel gift would warm your kid’s math teacher’s face and make a fun classroom ornament.

 

3. Handmade leather Journal –  $16.99

Any teacher would appreciate this eco-friendly handmade leather cover journal by The Great Indian Bazaar. It is not lined so it can be used to jot down notes, doodle, sketch, as a recipe book, organizer or travel journal. It is unisex and can be given to a male or female teacher. It has an old world charm to it.

 

4. Camera print Pillow – $9

The art or photography class teacher will just love this linen cotton covered pillow featuring an old time camera on it. The 100%  natural blend pillow by Monkeysell is 18×18 shaped and is a delightful and attractive home decor item that can also be used to support teacher’s back during a long or late afternoon class.

5. Field Notes -$12.95

Whether it’s a teacher retreat or planning day or a continuing education lecture, every teacher needs to organize and chronicle her mental notes into some nice space. This 3-pack of field notes journals is perfect and functional. Show your fave teacher that you got her back!

6. Aloe Vera Eye Mask – $15.99

Though every teacher considers his/her students to be perfect angels, there is no doubt that s/he need some pampering and self-care time to decompress after challenging lesson or after grading 30 papers on the Gettysburg address. Phew!! Give her some eye relief with these aloe-vera eye gels that can be cool or hot.

7. Composition Notebook Tote – $18.00

The one thing that is on every school supply list every year is a composition book. And wouldn’t it be cute to gift your teacher this 100% cotton tote made of a print like that same book? The company “Out of Print” makes this bag and gives to charity one bag for each bag purchased. Your gift to teacher would also give back! How perfect! With this gift, your teacher will be the talk of the next teacher convention or retreat!

8. Funny Socks 5-pack –  $19.99

These fun socks by Socks n Socks come with science, nature studies and other school subject themes printed on them. They are a zany but fun gift for any teacher. They have spandex in them and can fit anyone wearing men shoe size 7 -12.

9. Peace and Tranquility Candle – $13.00

During the busy school  year,  your teacher may not realize sitting in a room while a scented aromatherapy candle burns may be just the therapy s/he needs after a rough semester. You can come to your fave teacher’s rescue by gifting her/him Chesapeake Bay candle company’s Peace and Tranquilty candle from its Mind and Body collection. If permissible, teach can burn this candle after recess to get rid of that gym class funk! ha!

A Gift Guide for That Guy Who Has Everything

After sharing 8 gift ideas for that posh rich girl who has everything, we knew we had to do the same for that guy or dad in your life who has it all. For these fellas who can purchase anything they want, it’s a great idea to go with something that is super unique and out-of-this-world amazing!

Here are our 8 picks:

 

 

Give this guy a one-of-a-kind memorable experience.

Check out If Only which offers some super amazing gifts like a Balloon expedition over Mount Everest, Overnight Alaskan Dogsled Expedition with an Iditarod Legend, Cigar Rolling in Nicaragua Quarterback Camp with former 49er  and Superbowl Champ; Grand Prix Weekend in the owner’s suite: ride in an Indy Car, meet drivers; Helicopter flight lessons over New York, Custom-built drone and two-hour pilot lesson and more exotic adventures that the average person would never get an opportunity to do.

A vintage Rolex Watch– Make sure you purchase one from a certified retailer or re seller. Amazon has one available for about $3,000.

Gift him the stars, well really his name in the sky by registering a star in his name. Go to the Star Registry which is the industry standard. It’s great because if  you order right now,  Star-Name-Registry can get your order to you in just a few hours!

Make a living donation to a new building, structure or space that is to be built which engraves the name of the donor in stone. It’s a great way to do good in his name and he will be excited to see that his moniker would live in infamy!

A subscription gift box for wine, razors, health, snacks or some other box. It’s that gift that keeps on giving! I love Urthbox healthy snack box!

Anything engraved. Money clips, a robe or towels, whatever. Most people, including wealthy guys, don’t usually get personalized items for themselves. It is not too late if you can get to a local mall. There are kiosks and shops that engrave while you shop!

A Tech gift or gadget. We are a firm believer that guys will never say no to yet another tech gadget so if you get the guy who has everything a new phone case, like or a camera or the like, you are in good.  A fave is this iPhone 8 Plus/7Plus/ or 6Plus leather case that has a spine of a historic book by 12 South. You can get it from Macfixit Australia for just $59.99

Something vintage. Anything that is from yesteryear. What is old is new again and much sought after. A vintage jukebox player, pool stick or phonograph player like CDW’s Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record Player would put a smile on that face!

 

Happy Shopping!

The 10 Hostess Gifts Commonly Given During the Holidays

The holiday season calls for entertaining and being entertained, in other people’s homes at cocktail parties, open houses, family and friends’ gatherings.

It is common etiquette to take the host a hostess gift, a small token of gratitude for opening their home and planning a gathering.

Here are the top 10 common things people bring to hosts:

1. A bottle of wine. This can be any variety and presented in a festive gift bag.

2. A box of chocolates. Everyone loves chocolates and the season is about decadent excessive eating after all. Godiva is a fave, as is Ghirardelli or anything Swiss.

3. Note cards. Nice notecards are the type of things people don’t buy for themselves ordinarily so that’s a great gift.

4. A nice plotted plant or flowers. These can last he season of taken care of well. Great gift. A succulent plant is great because they can thrive in any weather or environment practically!

5. Scented candles. Fragrances to mask the smell of cooking and make the home aromatic are wonderful.

6. Gift sets. Whether it’s candy, scented soaps or lotions, anything tied in a nice bow would work. Even cookies!

7. Olive Oil. Many kitchen stores and gourmet gifts stores sell olive oil in nice decorative decanters.

8. Tree Ornaments. Why not give the host a new ornament to decorate the tree with this year or next?

9. Wine Tags. Stores sell these tags that guests use to identify their glass of wine or decorate a wine bottle. They’re inexpensive but classy

10. Picture Frame. Buy a frame with a nice saying or that is a conversation piece on its own.

Good luck shopping and don’t forget to pick up your hostess gifts while you’re out.