Monthly Archives: November 2021

New Year’s Resolution: Be More Intentional About Gift-Giving

Well, Thanksgiving is a wrap, and Chanukah is in full swing. Before we know it, “‘Tis the holiday season” will soon be “‘twas” at the rate things are moving. New Year’s is right around the corner and a time for contemplation, celebration…and consternation over resolutions that you may or may not fulfill.  

As we enter 2022 (2022! Remember when such a year felt so far away?), it’s nice to consider what we could do differently to be better versions of ourselves. You’re likely in the midst of your holiday shopping, so how about making a commitment to become an improved gift-giver? 

We’ve previously written about the psychology of gift-giving and how to budget and schedule your gifting. In that vein and as the new year inches closer, consider making a resolution to be more intentional about the gifts you give.

Know Your Audience 

The occasion–birthday, holiday, life event, etc.–is the easy part, but being intentional about gift-giving involves understanding the recipient and knowing what makes them tick.


For example, you may know someone who absolutely loves sweet and savory treats, specifically Old Dominion peanut brittle, chocolate cherries, and sausage, which just happens to be some of the delicious items in our Season’s Greetings Holiday Gift Basket. The point is when you know what someone likes, it makes your job easier and their appreciation stronger. 

Focus on the Little Things

The presentation of a gift is often just as important as what is inside. That initial feeling of joy, seeing a beautifully wrapped box, or a meticulously arranged gift basket, shows your family, friends, or clients that you’ve gone the extra mile to make their gift special. 

Did you know that we can customize your gift with imprinted ribbon or even include items with your corporate logo and colors? Look at that, someone just accidentally sat on the 🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨 again.

Give an Experience 

A beautiful dress can get ruined by a dry cleaner. 

You know what’s taint-proof? An incredible experience. Too often, gifts add clutter over substance. Rather than focusing on “things”, think about the experience your gift offers. Painting lessons, concert tickets, and a gift basket of pasta ingredients (note the subtle link versus the in-your-face shameless plug alert) are gifts that inspire fun, togetherness, and the making of memories.

Be a Detective 

Finding the perfect gift sometimes takes a bit of investigation and forthrightness. Ask what the person wants or likes. What are their favorite foods, colors, and styles of clothing? By taking an interest, you’re guaranteed the next gift you buy will be something the lucky recipient enjoys.

The best part about this New Year’s resolution is that it is very very attainable. All it requires is a little planning, and who says you can’t start your resolution a month early? 

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11 Things I’m Thankful For

Let me start by saying that this isn’t an obligatory Thanksgiving blog post. Speed and chaos reign supreme more than ever, and to quote the great Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Pausing and soaking up gratitude keeps me going. 

Let’s kick off the holiday season with 11 things I’m thankful for.

1. Sandi and the Boys

You know how award winners sometimes forget to thank their spouses and kids (Hillary Swank, for one)? Yeah, I won’t make that mistake. 

Let me start with Sandi, my husband, who is warm, loving, and takes care of me in every way possible. It also helps that he’s a terrific father, talented chef, and a brilliant tech guy. 

Relax boys; you’re next. My sons, Joel and Alex, keep me on my toes and make me proud every day.

2. Local Family 

I’m fortunate to have family members who live nearby, including my mom, my sister and her family, Sandi’s sister and her family, and my adult nieces and their families, and my cousins. 

They certainly help keep me grounded.

3. Far-Flung Family

No offense to the folks above, but absence/distance makes the heart grow fonder. We have family spread out across the country and even the world. We stay in touch, and there’s nothing like visiting them on their turf or reuniting here. 

4. The Best Staff in the World

It takes a village, and if not for my heroic team–Betsy, Chris, Donna, Liz, and Wendy–we couldn’t create the best gift baskets in the business.

5. Friends 

I have close friends who I met when I was 4-years-old, and no, I’m not going to reveal how many years of friendship that is. The point is that it’s quite a beautiful thing to keep these bonds for so long. 

We’ve got our synagogue friends, many of whom are like family, our Lake Forest forever friends, and our love Piranhas, who don’t devour a hippopotamus whole within minutes, but rather, are the ones who helped us keep it together while Joel was ill. Though, I’m sure they’d eat a hippo for lunch if I asked. 

6. Books  

I am a book-binger. A friend of mine recently boasted that he just finished his 15th book, and I tried my best not to diminish his achievement, but I couldn’t help myself. 

“Uh, I’ve read more than 70 books this year,” I said, but I did congratulate him. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy guilty-pleasure TV, but there’s nothing like immersing myself in my books. 

7. Coffee, Bourbon, Chocolate and Pasta

These speak for themselves and work in any order. 

8. Doctors, Nurses, and Researchers 

I’m very transparent about my health conditions, including Depression and Crohn’s Disease. My appreciation for the health care professionals who’ve helped me and saved Joel’s life defies description. 

9. My Client Fan Club 

We’d also not be in business if not for our customers. Special shoutout to those raving fans who’ve been with us for 15-plus years and continue to promote and recommend BasketWorks. 

10. My Basket Babes

Once upon a time, this was a collective of six women in the same industry across the country, communicating via email chain. It was  a support system where we leaned on each other to persevere through issues and hardships, ranging from kid and work stuff to national events (there were 100 emails between us on 9/11). Now it includes folks in an assortment of amazingly supportive basket professionals in several Facebook groups. 

11. My Network 

Networking is good for business, as well as friendships. Some of networking’s greatest outcomes are meeting new people, sharing stories, figuring out ways to help each other, and before you know it, you’ve got a friend. 

To my circle of local professionals who I am honored to call friends: you support me in more ways than you can possibly imagine. 

It feels good to share this. How about that? Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

As far as I’m concerned, it’s always sweet potato season, but here we are in the first week of November, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to get our sweet potato on. 

Mash them, bake them, roast them, or take a bite into a raw one just like an apple–which we highly do not recommend but still have to mention as an option–sweet potatoes are a versatile root vegetable for any snack or meal. Yes, they can be incorporated into desserts, but going there would defeat the purpose of a “Health Benefits Of” blog post. 

Alrighty then; let’s dive into the health benefits of this delicious dicot. 

Perk Up Your Peepers

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog, it shouldn’t take you longer than a nanosecond to identify what kind of compound beta-carotene is. You are correct! It’s an antioxidant! Beta-carotene happens to convert into vitamin A and promotes eye health. 

While eating sweet potatoes won’t cure existing vision problems, it will help protect your eyes from further unnecessary deterioration. If you’re hoping to increase your vitamin A intake, consider bulking up on sweet potato, which has 200 grams of beta-carotene per cup.

Improve Your Immune System

Improving vitamin A absorption does more for your body than keeping your vision sharp–vitamin A is also linked to a healthy immune system. As the seasons change, and crisp fall air turns to a winter chill, avoid the seasonal illnesses circulating by ensuring your body gets enough vitamin A.

Add Fiber to Your Diet

 Your digestive and heart health both depend on fiber-rich diets, but it’s not always easy to find healthy fiber which is also tasty and versatile. 

Bored with oatmeal breakfasts and smoothies for your main source of fiber this fall? Sweet potatoes are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber and can be eaten in fun ways, like sweet potato pie (with no added sugar) and sweet potato fries (that are baked, not fried, but calling them sweet potato bakes sounds half-baked). 

High in Antioxidants

We can’t help ourselves. Antioxidants will always have a dedicated paragraph in these blog posts. 

It’s not just your eyes that benefit from the antioxidants in sweet potatoes. Antioxidants help reduce free radicals in your cells, decreasing risks of cancer and aiding in macular degeneration.

While you can’t stop aging, antioxidants have shown promise in reducing signs of early aging. They combat inflammation and encourage better circulation.

Natural Energy Booster

Not all carbs are bad. Sweet potatoes are a source of complex carbohydrates, which the body breaks down and uses as energy. Sweet potatoes also help keep you from feeling sleepy or dizzy due to healthy levels of iron.

Low iron leads to a variety of health problems and causes fatigue. Sweet potatoes increase iron absorption, ensuring your body gets the iron it needs to keep you alert and healthy.

Reduce Insulin Resistance

For sufferers of diabetes, monitoring blood sugar is an important part of planning a healthy diet. Planning meals can get frustrating when so many carbohydrates cause insulin spikes.

Being low on the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are a great ingredient for those with diabetes because they help maintain blood sugar while decreasing insulin resistance. 

Of course, like all good things, sweet potatoes should be eaten in moderation. Oh, you are allowed to indulge in sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving dinner, and you can make it a little guilt-free by scraping off the marshmallows. The next person in line will appreciate it. 

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