Author Archives: Lise

Want to Be the July 4th Host With The Most? Avoid These 5 Party Fails

Not to rush summer or anything before it officially starts, but July 4th is right around the corner. 

That means it’s time to fire up the grill, break out the sparklers (and illegal fireworks purchased across state lines), and enjoy some good old-fashioned American fun. If you are hosting an Independence Day party, remember the first rule that I just invented: Don’t screw it up. 

Today, we discuss five common July 4th party faux pas to avoid so that your celebration is as smooth as a perfectly cooked bratwurst.   

1. Neglecting the Grill

The grill is the beating heart of any good July 4th party. 

But nothing ruins a BBQ faster than a neglected grill. Make sure to clean it thoroughly before the big day. Scrape off any leftover residue, check the propane levels, or stock up on charcoal. And don’t forget to preheat it! Cooking on a cold grill can lead to uneven cooking and disappointed guests. 

Trust me, no one wants a burger that’s burnt on the outside and raw on the inside…unless you’re a caveman. 

2. Running Out of Essentials

Picture this: your guests are happily munching away when suddenly, you realize you’ve run out of napkins, or worse, beverages. 

Oh, the humanity! 

Avoid the mid-party scramble by stocking up on essentials beforehand. Make a checklist—plates, cups, napkins, utensils, condiments, ice, and plenty of drinks. It’s always better to have too much than to run out in the middle of the festivities. 

And don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray; your guests will thank you.

3. Forgetting Dietary Preferences

Dietary restrictions and preferences are more common than ever. 

Make sure to check with your guests ahead of time about any special dietary needs. Offering a variety of options—vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free—can make everyone feel included and you the hero of the day.

Have some veggie burgers, gluten-free buns, and a variety of sides that cater to different diets. You can never make everyone happy, but you’ll still earn an Independence Day E for effort. 

4. Skimping on Entertainment

Sure, food and fireworks are the main attractions, but don’t forget about the in-between moments. Hey, you offered to be the host. 

Keep your guests entertained with games, music, and activities. Cornhole, frisbee, or even a simple deck of cards can keep the flow going. Create a 4th of July playlist to set the mood, and maybe even set up a photo booth with patriotic props. 

5. Not Respecting Your Neighbors 

You might be killing it with your party, but if you’re killing it while not being considerate to your neighbors then that’s a party foul. 

Keep noise levels at a reasonable volume, especially as the night progresses. Ending the party at a decent hour shows consideration and maintains good relationships with those living around you. No one wants to deal with complaints or tired, grumpy neighbors the next day. 

You don’t want to be known as those party people. 

Happy 4th of July!

🍷 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🍷

If you’re going to a guest and not the host of a 4th of July party, we’ve got the perfect thank you gift: our Elegant Wine Gift Basket. True to its name, this gift is built in a hyacinth basket and includes: Cabernet Sauvignon; J&M Wine biscuits (will be replaced with cookies for white wines); Water crackers; Wine cheese; Ice wine chocolate (sausage for packages shipped in warm weather); Bamboo cutting board spreader; Charles Viancin silicone bottle stopper; and Cocktail napkins.

A memorable party deserves a memorable gift. 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

How Did Father’s Day Become a Holiday Anyway?

Father’s Day is June 16, y’all. 

I don’t know why I said y’all. I think I was trying to create a sense of urgency. I digress. 

Father’s Day is that special time of year when dads everywhere are celebrated with BBQs, neckties, and homemade cards. But have you ever wondered how this holiday actually came to be? 

Pull up a chair and let’s chat about the origins of Father’s Day and how it found its spot on our calendars.

We Have a Mom to Thank

I know we just celebrated Mother’s Day, but it’s worth noting that Father’s Day was started by a mom. 

Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran who single-handedly raised six children after his wife’s death. Sonora felt that fathers deserved a day of recognition just like mothers.

If you’re a dad, and you didn’t serve in the Civil War, don’t worry, you can still celebrate Father’s Day. 

The First Father’s Day

The lovely Sonora didn’t just declare, “It’s Father’s Day, and it will be forever enshrined!” 

No, she had to do quite a bit of legwork. In 1910, she approached the suits at the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested June 5th, her father’s birthday, as the day to celebrate fathers. 

No guff, no resistance. They said, “Cool,” and determined that June 19 would mark the first official Father’s Day. 

Gaining Traction

Despite this initial celebration, Father’s Day didn’t catch on as quickly as Mother’s Day. 

Many people saw it as a commercial gimmick pushed by retailers to sell more goods.Oh, if they only lived today when every day has become a Hallmark National Day of something or other. 

Anyway, the idea persisted thanks to the efforts of Ms. Dodd and the backing of trade groups and advertisers.

It wasn’t until 1924 that Father’s Day received a major boost when President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national holiday. He encouraged states to celebrate the day, although it still wasn’t an official federal holiday. Over the next few decades, various attempts were made to formalize Father’s Day, but it faced resistance from Congress (surprise, surprise), which feared the holiday would become too commercialized.

Again, I have to chuckle knowing there was a time in our nation’s history when Congress was wary about capitalism. 

Making It Official

Fast forward four decades to the 1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers in 1966, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. 

But…it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed it into law, officially establishing Father’s Day as a national holiday.

Hey, better late than never. 

Modern Celebrations

Father’s Day isn’t just an American thing. 

It’s celebrated around the world from Brasil, Germany, and Mexico to South Africa and Thailand. 

Whether it’s a heartfelt card, a new set of golf clubs (very American), or simply spending quality time together, the day is all about acknowledging the contributions and sacrifices of dads everywhere.

Now that you know the history of Father’s Day, it’s time to pick out the perfect gift, which means we need to cue the…

🚨 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🚨

Dad will love our Build a Bar Gift Package, built in a galvanized steel tray and serving up: Elijah Craig Bourbon 50ml; Grey Goose Vodka 50ml; Havana Club Rum 50ml; Martell Cognac 50ml;

Dorda Double chocolate liqueur 50ml; Bombay Sapphire gin 50ml; Patron XO Cafe coffee liqueur 50ml; Casamigos Tequila Blanco 50ml; two different Jim Beam whiskies 50ml; and much more. 

Happy Father’s Day!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

Grill Maintenance 101: Essential Tips for a Long-Lasting BBQ

Summer beckons. 

Pretty soon, we’ll be out of the woods of these pesky 50 degree days. Hey May, don’t let the door hit you on your way out. 

We’ve got a few weeks until the start of grilling season, and it’s time to dive into some essential tips to keep your BBQ grill in working shape so that you can be crowned the King or Queen of Burgers, Brats, Salmon, Eggplant, and whatever else you throw on there. 

1. Clean After Every Use

A cat cleans itself. Your grill is not a cat, so you’re on the hook for maintaining its hygiene. 

After you’ve finished cooking and your grill has cooled down a bit, grab a grill brush and give those grates a good scrub. This helps remove any leftover food particles and prevents rust. If you’ve got a gas grill, don’t forget to clean the burners, too. 

A clean grill not only lasts longer but also cooks better, and who doesn’t want that?

2. Check for Gas Leaks

You don’t want to mess with gas leaks. 

If you’re using a gas grill, you can check for leaks with the soapy water test. Mix a bit of dish soap with water and brush it on the connections. If you see bubbles forming, you’ve got a leak. Tighten the connections and test again. 

This little step can prevent big problems, like your grill exploding, which I hear is a major buzz-kill. 

3. Oil the Grates

We’re about to save you from committing one of grilling’s major faux pas.

Before you fire up the grill, oiling the grates can make a big difference. It helps prevent food from sticking and keeps the grates in good condition. Just dip a paper towel in some oil, use tongs to hold it, and wipe it over the grates. 

Your food will thank you for it, and your grill will, too.

4. Cover Your Grill

Oh how people forget this step.

It’s easy, because you can’t cover your grill right after you use it, unless you enjoy melting things that shouldn’t be melted. 

After your grill cools down, slap that cover on it. A good grill cover protects it from the elements, like rain, snow, dust, and critters. It’s a simple way to extend the life of your grill despite nature’s efforts to conspire against it. 

5. Deep Clean Annually

This is starting to feel pretty high-maintenance, isn’t it? Well, the life of your grill depends on these steps. 

Once a year, go beyond the usual post-cookout scrub and give your grill a deep clean. Disassemble it as much as possible and clean each part thoroughly. For gas grills, this means cleaning the burners, inspecting the gas tubes, and making sure there’s no buildup that could block the flow of gas. 

For charcoal grills, remove all the ash and scrub the interior. A deep clean keeps your grill in peak condition and can catch any potential issues before they become major problems.

6. Replace Worn-Out Parts

Even with the best care, some parts of your grill will wear out over time. 

Don’t take it personally; it just happens. 

Grates, burners, and igniters are some common culprits. Keep an eye on these parts and replace them when necessary. It’s a small investment that can keep your grill working like new-ish.

Taking care of your grill might seem like a hassle (okay, it definitely is), but a little maintenance goes a long way, and you don’t want to be dethroned from your status as grilling royalty. 

🍺 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🍺 

Do you know what goes great with grilling? Beer, of course! 

If your kid’s not around to fetch you a cold one while you’re in your cooking zone, what can you do? We’ve got the answer: our Beer to Go Gift Cooler. This gem has a waxed cotton canvas exterior, a removable padded divider and an adjustable shoulder strap. Not only that, we stock it with canned Chicago craft beer. 

Grilling just got a whole lot better. 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

5 Things Not to Ask of Mom on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a time to shower the moms in our lives with love, appreciation, and maybe a bouquet or two. 

You know what it’s not a time for? Asking her to do stuff. Perish the thought!

After all, Mother’s Day is about putting her needs first, right? So, here are five no-gos to keep in mind as you celebrate Mom this year.

1. “Can You Do the Laundry?”

It’s her day off, full stop. Actually, this deserves more attention. 

While it might be tempting to pass off a chore or two (especially if Mom has that magic touch with stubborn stains), resist the urge. Laundry, dishes, and any household chore should be off-limits. 

Have the kids do them instead. Yeah right. 

2. “What’s for Dinner?”

Don’t be a dingus. 

Repeat after me: I will not burden Mom with coming up with a dinner solution. In fact, you should have Mother’s Day dinner planned out already. Now, a fair and thoughtful question is asking if there’s somewhere special she wants to go, or if there’s a meal she’d like you to cook. 

But other than that, the onus is on you. 

3. “Can You Watch the Kids?”

This request is fine…as long as it’s on Father’s Day. 

But it’s Mother’s Day and kid duty is out of the question. 

Encourage your spouse or partner to take the day for some well-deserved “me time” or adult-only activities (get your mind out of the gutter!) Whether it’s reading a book uninterrupted, enjoying a spa day, or simply napping, make sure the usual responsibilities are covered.

4. “Did You Hear What (Fill-in-the-Blank) Politician Said?”

Mother’s Day is not the day to remind Mom about crazy current events in the news. Trust me, they’ll still be there on Monday.

Instead, let’s keep the news cycle about whether Mom would prefer pancakes or waffles for breakfast, or if she’d break her “no dessert before noon” rule for a slice of chocolate cake. And honestly, isn’t deciding whether to watch a rom-com or a drama more the speed we’re aiming for today?

Let’s save the world’s dramas for another day—today’s headlines should only read: “World’s Best Mom Takes a Well-Deserved Break, Damn It!”

5. “Can You Help Me with Something?”

Here’s how the grading scale works on this one.

  • A for the thought not entering your mind.
  • B if it enters your mind, but you keep your mouth closed.
  • C if you say, “Can you help me…oh, never mind.”
  • D if you say, “Can you help with something? Oh crap, strike that from the record.”
  • F if you say, “Can you help me with something? Well? Come on already.” 

Keep the focus on Mom on Mother’s Day, and while you’re at it you can also make her feel special several other days during the year. 

💐 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 💐

Did I mention that Mother’s Day is only two weeks from this Sunday? No need to rack your brain to find the perfect gift, because it’s right here. 

Behold our Luscious Lavender Pamper Spa Gift Basket, built in a beautiful slat basket and filled with body butter, soap, bath soak, body lotion, bath bomb, lavender candle, aloe-infused socks, and more!

Happy Mother’s Day!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

What Are The Best Ways To Age Wine?

The expression, “Aged like a fine wine,” needs to come with a caveat: not all wines are destined for the long slumber in the cellar. 

Some are more like “live fast, die young” kind of stars. However, for those precious bottles that are meant to age gracefully, knowing the best ways to help them reach their potential can be the difference between a good wine and a really good wine. 

Let’s dip into some of the best practices for aging wine, so that when you do decide to pop that cork, it was worth the wait. 

1. Understanding Wine Aging Potential

Not all wines are cut out for aging—no offense to those wines…if they’re listening.

Time for some sommelier-speak. Generally, wines with a higher acidity, tannin level (in red wines), and residual sugar are the ones that age well.

These components act as preservatives, allowing the wine to develop complexity over time. 

So, before you consider aging a wine, research its aging potential or ask for advice from a trusted wine expert.

2. Optimal Storage Conditions

Creating the perfect environment for your wine to age is non-negotiable. 

The ideal conditions include a stable temperature around 55°F, humidity levels between 60% and 70% (I know, this sounds like a weather report) to prevent corks from drying out, minimal light exposure, and a vibration-free space. 

These conditions help slow down the aging process, allowing the wine to develop its flavors and aroma gradually.

3. Horizontal is the Way to Go

When storing wine, position is key. 

Bottles should be stored horizontally to keep the liquid up against the cork, which helps prevent it from drying out. A dry cork can lead to the end of the world. Actually, it can cause oxidation, which is the arch-nemesis of wine aging, turning your precious bottle into vinegar.

4. Patience is a Virtue

Aging wine is not for the impatient. 

It requires time and, well, more time. The aging process allows the wine to go through chemical reactions that enhance its bouquet and flavors, making it smoother and more enjoyable to drink. 

This could take years, or even decades, so it’s all about the long game. 

5. Regular Check-ins

While it’s important to let your wine rest, occasional check-ins are essential. 

This doesn’t mean opening the bottle, but rather monitoring the storage conditions for the sake of consistency. 

A quick visual inspection to check for leaks or any signs of cork damage can save your wine from premature aging.

Remember, no drinking it yet! 

Aging wine is an art and a science, requiring knowledge, the right conditions, and a good deal of patience. Remember, you can still drink wine you’re not aging while you’re waiting. 

🍷 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT 🍷 

If you couldn’t tell, we love wine, and we’ll prove it with our Mi Amore Wine Gift Basket. This gem is great for many occasions and includes TiAmo Prosecco, Tasso fig preserve, water crackers, wine cheese spread, Grisbi Italian lemon cookies, and two wine glasses. 

Enjoy!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

Keep It Simple: How to Plan a Graduation Party Without Going Overboard

Not to speed up the clock or anything, but graduation season is right around the corner.

Yep, that sweet culmination of years of hard work, late-night cram sessions, and an ungodly amount of coffee. But enough about us parents.

Whether it’s high school, college, or a master’s program, crossing that finish line deserves a celebration. But let’s be real for a second: planning a graduation party doesn’t need to be the next Herculean task you undertake. The last thing you want is the added stress of party planning pandemonium. 

So, how do you keep it simple without skimping on the fun? Read on, party planners. 

Start with the Who, Not the How Many

First off, this isn’t a gala with a fish boil (has there ever been a gala with a fish boil?) 

A cozy gathering of close friends and family isn’t just easier on your wallet, but it’s also more meaningful. Imagine being able to actually chat with each guest rather than performing a frantic meet-and-greet. 

Plus, a smaller guest list means you don’t need shushers assigned to every room to quiet the crowd when it’s time for speeches or any other type of announcements. 

Location, Location, Location…or Just Your Backyard

While renting out the last castle on the left sounds epic, why not consider your backyard or living room? 

It’s personal, it’s free, and hey, the commute is unbeatable. A few strings of fairy lights, some comfy seating, and you’ve got yourself a venue with a vibe.

But…even in May and early June, we’re not out of the cold weather woods, so be prepared to bring things inside if the winds and freezing rain sweep in. 

Potluck it Up

Now, let’s talk food. Catering can quickly turn your budget from “yay” to “nay.” 

So, how about a potluck? It adds variety to your spread and lets everyone showcase their signature dish. Maybe that fish boil makes sense after all. 

DIY Décor and Digital Invites

Forget forking out a fortune for fancy decorations. 

Those Pinterest DIYs are not just for show. Balloons, photos from school, and hand-made banners add a personal touch that no store-bought décor can match. And while we’re keeping it digital, send out evites. They’re eco-friendly, easy, and instantly delivered. 

No carrier pigeons required.

Focus on the Fun

Lastly, remember this party is all about celebrating an incredible achievement. 

Whether it’s backyard games, a nostalgic slideshow, or an impromptu karaoke session, the goal is laughter, memories, and perhaps a happy tear or two.

And if this graduation signals your empty nester phase, try to contain your excitement. 

🎓 SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🎓 

Graduates are on the run, and we’ve got the perfect gift as they stay in stride: Our Fun on the Run Snack Pack! We start with an insulated six-can cooler that’s stocked with ready-to-eat finger foods, including Woeber’s honey dipping mustard, cheese, cashews or almonds, cookies, dipping pretzels, and assorted chips. 

Enjoy and congrats! 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

5 Ways Spring Cleaning Increases Productivity

Spring beckons. 

That time of year is approaching when we get to throw open the windows (at least part of the day before it plummets by 30 degrees), let in some fresh air, and get down to the nitty-gritty of decluttering our lives.

But did you know that this annual purge does more than just make your space look Instagram-worthy? Yep, it turns out, giving your home a good ol’ scrub can actually ramp up your productivity. 

Let’s dive into the five ways spring cleaning has us working smarter, not harder.

1. A Clear Space Means a Clear Mind

First thing’s first: clutter is the arch-nemesis of focus. Though there have been various attempts to broker peace between the two, the best they can do is agree to disagree. 

Ever tried to concentrate on a task with a pile of unsorted mail staring you down? It’s like each unopened envelope is whispering, “Hey, look at me instead! And keep me away from the paper shredder.” 

By clearing away the clutter, you’re not just tidying up your space; you’re giving your brain the go-ahead to concentrate on the tasks that matter. It’s pretty amazing how a clean desk can lead to a more focused mind and less self-shaming. 

2. Discovering Lost Treasures

You’re not going to happen upon the Lost City of El Dorado, but when you spring-clean, you can rediscover resources you forgot you had, like a pair of wireless headphones hibernating under a stack of papers in your desk drawer. 

That’s the universe giving you a productivity high-five. By organizing your stuff, everything you need is within easy reach, which means less time wasted searching for things and more time getting down to business.

3. Stress Less, Do More

Chaos amps up anxiety, which causes stress. 

A clean and organized space can feel like a sanctuary from the world’s chaos (maybe I should trademark that). 

This sense of calm can lower stress levels, making it easier to tackle your to-do list without feeling overwhelmed. Plus, when you’re less stressed, you’re more likely to approach tasks with a positive mindset, which is a productivity booster in itself.

4. Energize Your Space

Some days energy can be in short supply. 

Red Bull may give you wings, but you can get a lift without the weird chemicals by some basic cleaning. Cleaning can be a form of exercise which gets the blood pumping and increases your overall energy. Imagine how toned your fingers will become when you spray Windex and wipe down your windows.  

5. Routine as a Ramp-Up

Lastly, establishing a spring cleaning routine can spill over into other areas of your life. 

When you get into the habit of regularly decluttering and organizing, it’s easier to maintain a schedule and keep on top of tasks. Speaking of which, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be relegated to spring. It is not against the law of domesticity to apply the same commitment to the other seasons. 

And if it is, there’s no better way to become an outlaw.   

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Keeping it real with the spring theme, be sure to check out our sidewalk sale. From baby sock sets and onesies to coffee mugs and martini glasses, you’ll find a lot of great deals on our inventory. Enjoy! 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.

Recharging: Health Benefits You Can’t Ignore

They say if you want to learn how to get things done, ask a busy person. 

There’s truth to that and to this: if you want to learn how to become a ball of stress, ask a busy person. Being busy is often worn as a badge of honor. It’s great to be productive, but it is also vital to practice the art of unwinding and rejuvenating.  

Let’s dive into the transformative health benefits of giving ourselves permission to hit the pause button and recharge.

Mental Clarity and Creativity

First up, mental rejuvenation. 

Ever notice how your best ideas come to you not when you’re hunched over your laptop at midnight but perhaps during a quiet walk or a leisurely shower? 

That’s no coincidence. 

Taking time to relax and do things we enjoy like reading a book, meditating, or simply daydreaming, can significantly boost our mental clarity and creativity. Take it from me and the science people who conduct sciency studies like the ones mentioned here

Stress Reduction

The bad: chronic stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to problems like hypertension, heart disease, and a weakened immune system. 

The good: stepping back and engaging in non-stressful activities like yoga, painting, or baking, allows us to downshift from the high alert state and reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol. 

Speaking of baking, did you know that stressed spelled backward is desserts? 

And racecar spelled backward is racecar, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Improved Physical Health

Recharging has tangible physical health benefits, too.

Adequate rest and relaxation can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, and improve sleep quality. When we’re well-rested, our body’s systems are in better balance, from our heart to our digestive system, enhancing overall health and vitality. 

Also, when we’re well-rested, we’re the non-jerk versions of ourselves. 

Enhanced Emotional Well-being

If scheduling me-time sounds selfish, then cool. 

When we carve out moments just for us, it’s like giving our emotional health a big, strong shield, keeping those tough anxiety and depression gremlins at bay. Diving into activities that fill our batteries—be it painting, dancing in our living room, or sipping a cup of tea—can really crank up the happiness volume. 

It’s all about lighting up our mood and seeing life with those rose-tinted glasses firmly on.

Strengthened Relationships

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: when we feel better, it helps our relationships. 

Just blew your mind, didn’t I? 

When we’re all juiced up and feeling top-notch, the people around us get to enjoy the best version of us, too. Suddenly, we’re there in the moment, way more chill and ready to really listen. By giving ourselves this dose of TLC, we’ve got so much more love and patience to spread around. 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it—and you should—is to carve out time in your calendar to take it easy. 

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

With all this talk about chillaxing, we just have to tell you about our Inner Zen Relaxation Gift Basket. Built in a faux leather storage box, this gift oozes calm with a mini Buddha Board drawing easel, color in ceramic mug, black raspberry vanilla soap, black raspberry vanilla hand cream, and more. 

Enjoy the Zen.

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn

5 Valentine’s Day Traditions Around The World

Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love, affection, and 10pm dinner reservations due to last minute planning is observed not just in the US of A, but across the globe. 

Indeed, some countries stick to the traditional chocolates and flowers, but others have unique customs that make February 14th a day to remember. I invite you to surf Cupid’s arrow for a 

love-filled journey around the world to explore five distinct Valentine’s Day traditions.

1. Wales: Love Spoons

I know, I had to do a double take, too, but I’m not here to judge. 

Yes, Welsh tradition holds a unique craft at its romantic core: the carving of love spoons. These wooden spoons are intricately carved and presented as symbols of love and affection. 

With designs featuring hearts, keys, and locks, they are meant to showcase a suitor’s skills and commitment.

That’s a low bar. Doh, I’m being judgy again!

2. Japan: Chocolate with a Twist

Japan’s got the egalitarian spirit down pat. 

Over there, Valentine’s Day takes an interesting turn, with women presenting men with chocolates—but it doesn’t end there. The following month, on White Day, men return the favor, often with more elaborate gifts. 

This unique exchange highlights the reciprocal nature of love and relationships in Japanese culture…and demonstrates how they’re much better at Valentine’s Day than we are. 

3. South Korea: A Love Marathon

South Korea takes home the gold medal in terms of Valentine’s Day thoughtfulness. 

Those who find themselves without romantic gifts on February 14th can look forward to Black Day on April 14th, where singles gather to enjoy Jajangmyeon (black bean noodles) and celebrate or commiserate their single status.

4. Denmark: Snowdrops and Joke Letters

Those Danes are some funny rascals. 

Valentine’s Day in Denmark is characterized by the exchange of lover’s cards and humorous joke letters known as “gaekkebrev.” 

I don’t know about you, but saying “gaekkebrev” out loud is funny enough that I wouldn’t need to read the actual letter. Also, I don’t know Danish. 

This playful tradition adds a lighthearted touch to the Danish expression of love, while the gifting of snowdrops (delicate white flowers) adds a layer of sappiness…I mean,  traditional beauty.

5. Philippines: Mass Weddings

The Philippines celebrates Valentine’s Day with grandeur and a sense of community through mass wedding ceremonies. These events, often sponsored by the government, allow couples to tie the knot in a shared, festive atmosphere, making the day truly memorable.

That sounds wonderful! Except for the part where you just want to celebrate Valentine’s Day without committing yourself to marriage. 

The global celebration of Valentine’s Day reminds us that, while the language of love may vary, its message is universal and that saying “gaekkebrev” five times will cause you to belly laugh. 

💘SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT💘

Want to give a Valentine’s Day gift to remember? 

Duh, of course you do. Check out our heart-shaped Eat Your Drink! gift box, featuring—hold on to your hat—alcoholic gummies from Smith & Sinclair. You heard that correctly. They are blended with the craftsmanship of a classic cocktail, boasting an array of premium flavors, including Amaretto Sour, Bourbon Old Fashioned, Cinnamon Whisky, Elderflower Gin Spritz, Gin & Tonic, Mandarin Spritz, Mocha Espresso Martini, Moscow mule, Passion Fruit Martini, and more! 

Bottoms up, Bon Appétit, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

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Yum: 5 Attributes of Comfort Food

In the realm of culinary delights, there’s a special category that goes beyond mere sustenance: comfort food. 

It’s the kind of food that wraps its arms around you after a long day—a food hug, if you will. Hey, that’s got a nice ring to it. 

But what exactly makes a dish comfort food? Let’s dive taste buds first into the five quintessential attributes that give comfort food its soul-satisfying essence.

1. Rich and Fulfilling Flavors

First and foremost, comfort food is all about rich, fulfilling flavors. 

These are the dishes that are generously seasoned and full of heartwarming tastes. Nothing bland! Bland = blasphemy. 

Whether it’s the deep, savory flavors of a slow-cooked stew or the sweet, velvety taste of a chocolate pudding, hot cocoa or the satisfying crunch of your favorite cookie, comfort food tantalizes the taste buds and leaves you feeling content.

I don’t know about you, but I feel comforted just reading this. 

2. Simplicity and Accessibility

One of the hallmarks of comfort food is its simplicity. 

These are not dishes that require exotic ingredients or utilizing your oven, stovetop, microwave, air fryer, toaster, blender, immersion blender, and food processor all at the same time (though, we’re darn close to an all-in-one appliance). 

Comfort food is accessible; it’s made from common ingredients that many people have in their kitchens. Think of a classic grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of buttery mashed potatoes. 

These meals are straightforward to prepare, and they get the job done. 

3. Nostalgia and Sentimentality

Perhaps the most defining attribute of comfort food is its ability to evoke nostalgia. 

For many, comfort food is inextricably linked to childhood memories, family traditions, or specific moments in time. It could be your grandmother’s apple pie recipe, the tomato soup your mother made when you were sick, or that bowl of porridge from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

These foods transport you back to moments of happiness and security, providing an emotional connection that transcends the mere act of eating.

4. Serotonin Producers

The science people say that eating sweet, starchy foods coaxes serotonin, the chemical that the brain releases when it’s being nice that makes us feel calmer, and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. 

Studies from said science people show that folks feel less depressed, anxious and irritable after consuming carbohydrate-rich foods. 

But remember, everything in moderation. 

5. Indulgence and Treat

Lastly, comfort food often represents indulgence, or as the seven deadly sins go, gluttony. I, for one, think they need to add an eighth sin: judgment of indulgence and gluttony. 

Where was I? Oh yes, it’s the food you turn to for a treat, to pamper yourself after a stressful day, or to celebrate a special occasion. Kick your usual fare to the curb and replace it with decadent cheesecake, a plate of crispy fried chicken, or a serving of creamy pasta.

You deserve it. 

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Nothing says comfort food like our Cookies & Cocoa Gift Basket. Talk about warm and cozy. This winner features J&M Cookies, Cocoa Lover’s gift box, Dolcetto wafer cookie packs, 

Tate’s Tiny chocolate chip cookies, Magnolia Bakery banana pudding cookies, and more!

Time to get comfy. 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and LinkedIn.