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No, this post is not about a super fab 80’s rock song by Toto. (Even though I  kind of wish it was.)

It’s about china! And tabletop decor! And tumblers!

Hooray!

But really cool china, and tabletop decor, and tumblers.

Generally, I’m a stick to the registry kind of gal. I mean, they go shoot at the shelves fora  reason ladies, it’s usually best to order up what they ask for. HOWEVER, sometimes I do like to stray, but only if the person I’m buying for is someone I love and know inside and out. My mother always says don’t buy art for people you don’t know. I think the same is true of china. I mean, odds are your best friend from high school that oyu haven’t talked to in ten years will probably be able to find a place for a bright yellow bowl, but don’t bet on it.

So if you DO happen to know the bride your buying for better than the average girl on the street and she likes things like Alice and Wonderland and bright colored, whimsical tabletop decor. Shop on… with Rosanna, featured on One Kings Lane today!

These are a few of my favorite things…

Let's Play House Gift Box $49

A child-like tea set perfect for grown-ups.

Artist Loft Two-Tiered Tray $19

Mmmm… cake.

Set of 4 "La Mer" Tumblers $49

Seaside tumbling…

Red Dot Tea Pot $19

Mad Hatteresque and happy about it…

Set of 4 Italiana Pasta bowls $22

That’s amore…

Personalized Cookbooks from TasteBook

Personalized Cookbooks from TasteBook

So everyone has probably been invited to at least one kitchen shower in their lifetime right? Bring a gift and also fill out this retro recipe card and bring a kitchen doo hicky (mine= corkscrew, spatula, wooden spoon) that you can’t live without to throw in the doo hicky basket when you get there. Right?

Let me just preface this by saying I have nothing against the kitchen shower. In fact I rather like the kitchen shower. HOWEVER, the recipe cards could use a kick in the pants. I mean. I’ve tried the recipe card thing and they always end up falling between my stove and the counter. By the way they’re not very helpful down there and I’m currently waiting for “Braised Brussel Sprouts” to catch on fire down there…

Ok. So, my cousin got an invite to participate in a modern day kitchen shower where instead of bring recipe cards, everyone collaborates prior to the shower to create a personalized recipe book for the bride-to-be from all of her favorite ladies in waiting on one site.

Personalized Cookbooks from Tastebook

Personalized Cookbooks from Tastebook

TasteBook, has turned the recipe card concept on its head and given it a modern day spin.  It’s a site that offers personalized, hard back, cook books with personalized recipes.  There are over 100,000 recipes from top sites, cookbooks and magazines to choose from OR you can input your own to make this a very special collaborative shower gift.

There are instructional videos on the site to help you figure out how to get started, but here’s a quick breakdown on starting your group gift for the bridal shower. First, choose a point person. You are in charge.

1. Go to the site and click Join (It’s FREE)

2. Click “Create a TasteBook” on the left hand side

3. Choose your cover- These are some pretty awesome photos, and you could do a few if you wanted to (Cupcake themes, Cookie Themes, Locally Grown, Vegetarian etc.)

4. Name your TasteBook  (Sara’s Cookbook: Recipes for a Lifetime, Erin’s Seasonal Cookbook, Meghan’ and Jon’s Newly-Wed Cookbook)

5. Now, you can either drag and drop recipes from existing TasteBooks, or import your own

I suggest importing your own, you can type it in right there and add your own personal photo. OR. You can choose from hundreds of recipes that are already available from Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Food & Wine, Epicurious and more!

Or you can import your own. (can you tell which I prefer?)

So once you have imported your recipe. Share it with the other people who will be attending the shower.

Send an email to the friends you want to help you collaborate, with your sign-in and password information. Everyone can then sign in and add a recipe to the TasteBook and personalize it by clicking on the “Create” “Recipe Page” Tab.

Once everyone has input their favorite recipes with photos, you (the responsible one) will go back in and order the TasteBook, adding a dedication page and forking over your credit card number.

The books start at $19.95 (those include 25 recipes) and range to $29.95 (50 recipes) and $39.95 (100 recipes). Someone pay for it or split it. Trust me this is pocket change in the grand scheme of your bridesmaid bank account withdrawals.

Once you have created and ordered your book, you can share it with all of the attendees via email, so everyone then can keep a copy of said TasteBook on file in their account on the site.  Here’s how you SHARE.

6. Click on the “Share” tab on the top

7. Select the TasteBook you want to share with friends and then import your address book from your e-mail account.

8. Click “Share TasteBook” and an email will be sent out to all of your friends!

Now, if you’re short on time and you waited until the last minute to do something cool for your bride-to-be you can always purchase a TasteBook that has already been created. Click “Shop TasteBooks” and you’ll see a whole bunch of organized books with titles like “Mostly Mediterranean, Classic Cocktails, and Stealthy healthy.

OR

You can search by the recipient, buying items…for the Organic and Healthy…for the Perfect Hostess or … for the Dessert Maven.

Also, you can keep  Grandma’s old shortbread recipe with the new digital version, by ordering recipe sleeves (Pack of 10- 7 x 10 for $4.95) to keep everything together.

Then….click the gift box box and get FREE GIFT WRAPPING with a personalized sticker. SO great!

So I have this theory about showers….They would be WAY better without the opening of gifts. Some showers I’ve attended have been better than others. The good ones have a great signature drink (like the sherbet/champagne cocktails I “tested” at the last one I was at), pretty centerpieces that often double as favors and a bride that makes haste through the gift pile.

I never liked opening gifts in front of people, even when I was little. Wayyyy to much pressure. So, I have proposed if and when I get married to all potential bridesmaids who know, that if they throw me a stuffy shower there’s a good chance I won’t show, that my guests bring unwrapped gifts.

I know it sounds a little unconventinal and the traditionalists out there are stifling “eews” back into their mouths, but it just makes more sense. Think about it.

Bring an unwrapped gift, slap a card to it and ENJOY YOURSELF. The bride can thank people as they come in and place each unwrapped gift in a pile with the cards attached so guests can see what the bride received. This way, the hours of opening gifts can be spent actually talking to the people at the shower. You invited them for a reason right?

It’s a little hard to digest at first, but I think i’s a great alternative for brides who are willing to stray from convention.

*NOTE* Bridesmaids- ASK your bride if she wants to do this first before you actually tell guests not to wrap their gifts… it could become very awkward very fast if you don’t.

This also works really well for showers with a big guest list. I know a bridesmaid who planned a shower for 200 people and politely slipped a note inside the invitation asking guests to refrain from gift wrap for the sake of everyone’s sanity. Ok, those weren’t her exact words but you get the idea. And it worked!

It would work great for a spring shower to that might take place outside in a tent, backyard, garden etc.  Set up a Bellini Bar for guests to make their own bellini’s.  Have tables set up where guests can fill out questionnaires about the bride & groom and win a prize.

Food is also very important if you do the shower this way because it takes the focal point away from the gifts. Do a Mediteranean Buffet, a Dessert Bar, a Cupcake Table, Candy bar, Brunch Buffet, Barbecue, or anything else you want! Just remember to make it personal.

Obviously some brides will still want to revel in the all about me time while they open gifts, but some brides really don’t like it.  So this is an alternative to the traditional shower and really gret for brides who are willing to stray from convention.

More time for chatting up the bride, commending the mother-in-law and playing all those ridiculously cheesy shower games. Oh you know you love them…

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