Uncommon Excellence

‘Tis the season of giving, although in this modern age it may be more accurate to say that it’s the season of shopping. Judging by the influx of gift guides already lining the pages of blogs both big and small, I’d have to assume that everyone already has more ideas for their holiday handouts than they know what to do with. If you’re anything like me though, these lists serve not to inspire better offerings to share with loved ones, but to capture my own desires. No matter if I’m looking at suggestions geared towards photographers or lumberjacks, I promise you I’ll find at least one purchase to add to my personal wish list, coming up empty handed yet again for my family and friends. Am I just easy to please, or has it become more difficult to shop for others, with all of their particular preferences? Nothing ever seems like just the right kind of gift, balancing gracefully between the grey areas of useless junk and utilitarian items for work. How can I inject a bit of whimsy into the everyday, and where on earth can I find such a rarity?

The internet holds the key to solving this conundrum, of course. Online shopping has become an increasingly popular pursuit, if not a genuine sport at this point. Questions of quality still remain, and sketchy merchants can ruin the most thoughtfully planned out gifting procedure, so the real question isn’t “what should I buy” for the holidays, but “where should I buy from?” Well, allow me to introduce one of the most fun stores on the web: Uncommon Goods. Perhaps you’ve heard of it before, and rightly so. They’ve been in the biz for over 15 years and feature some of the most unique, charming offerings I’ve seen all in one place. They truly live up to their title, working with small artists to furnish their catalog with handmade, one-of-a-kind items along with fun gadgets and toys that you may not have seen before. They too have many gift suggestions built in for the well-meaning but clueless shopper, although of course I was immediately drawn to the dishware section instead.

Given a generous stipend to test out their services and report back on the results, I certainly did take away an incredible haul. Shipping out with speeds that rival the gold standard set by Amazon, I’d wager to say that their packing is even more secure. Despite the weight and fragility of my items, not a single piece was dinged, scratched, or anything less than ideal. So, what presents did I give myself for the holidays this year? Primarily, lots of rocks.

Stone slabs in the form of cheeseboards, to be more precise. The granite cheese board with spreader was my real trophy gift, a luxurious hunk of glossy granite complete with a charming wooden knife. The dark coloring was in sharp contrast to the photo featured online, but that variability only added to the appeal. Even if you’re ordering for yourself, you may be in for a happy surprise!

Another excellent pick for the host or hostess with everything would be the slate cheese board with soapstone chalk (chalk not pictured.) That rich burgundy stone is absolutely stunning, and such an unusual shade to find in the typically drab category of grey slate serving pieces. This is one versatile plate that will no doubt make many more appearances in my photos for years to come. Best of all, it provides a spacious 10×16-inches for all of your appetizer needs, making it a genuinely excellent value, especially compared to what you might find in comparable houseware boutiques.

Moving deeper into the pages of dishes and utensils, the udon noodle bowls captivated me at first sight. Beautifully crafted and a true pleasure to use, this is one of the rare pieces that enjoys a place both in my prop closet and on the dinner table. It’s a perfect example of form and function working together, creating a vessel that holds an ideal amount of noodle-y goodness with an ergonomic handle and built-in chopstick rest. My only regret is not purchasing one in every color.

Finally, as a fun little toy to play around with in the kitchen, my final choice is one that my loved ones will actually benefit from as well. Churning out dozens of holiday cookies for annual swaps and parties alike, mine are guaranteed to stand out from the pack this year thanks to my brand new customizable cookie stamp. Infinitely adaptable to all holidays an occasions, the edible messages that it creates are sure to impress- Yes, pun intended. My fool-proof gingerbread cut-out cookies have never looked better, and there’s certainly no mistaking who made these sweets, even amongst a mountain of homemade holiday desserts.

Rather than give you more lists to look up or my own favorite holiday selections, I just want to give you this entire website for inspiration. Better yet, I want to give you a bit of holiday cheer in the form of a $50 gift certificate to spend however you please in this wonderland of shopping. To enter, hop on over to Uncommon Goods and browse about. Tell me what you would order, and who you’re ordering for (I’ll admit, I’m just nosy and want to know!) Make sure you include your name and email in the appropriate boxes and log your response before midnight EST on December 15th. Sorry to my international friends, but you must be a resident of the US to enter.

Treat yourself, spoil your friends, indulge however you want just as long as you enjoy!

UPDATE: The entry period has ended and the good old random number generator has smiled upon one lucky reader. That person happens to be the owner of comment #24…

Panya! You’ve won the giveaway and will be hearing from the folks at Uncommon Goods shortly. For everyone else, don’t despair; the next opportunity to take home a fun or tasty prize package is never too far away, so stay tuned.

This post and giveaway was made possible by the kind folks at Uncommon Goods. All opinions, photos, and recipes are completely my own.

37 thoughts on “Uncommon Excellence

  1. I would order the Birth Month Flower necklace for my Mom (she’s a Virgo, born in August). That would make a wonderful gift and a beautiful piece of jewelry!

  2. I love Uncommon Goods!

    the cookie cutter, I would get that for myself (but as you said, everyone benefits!). I would also buy the tea to go for my mom – she volunteers at the hospital and is always COLD at her desk… this would help :)

    everything looks fabulous, and as always, your photos are stunning!

    thanks for this opportunity, Hannah, happy holidays!

  3. I would buy Pop Top six pack glasses by Barry Rosenthal. These would be for my family since we are currently using mason jars as glasses.

  4. I immediately went to the “Gifts for Geeks” section and found way too much cool stuff! One of my favorites is the literary scarves. Thanks for sharing such a unique online shopping site.

    (Please don’t enter me in the giveaway. I would feel guilty if I won anything else from you right now!)

  5. I would get 2 gifts! The “feathers” doormat for my SIL, and the “bike” doormat for my MIL! Christmas shopping done! :D

  6. That cookie stamp must be mine! So lovely! =) “Treat yourself, spoil your friends, indulge however you want just as long as you enjoy!”…couldn’t agree more with you!!!


  7. Uncommon goods is a wonderful way to shop. I bought my daughter in law’s Christmas gift there last year. I love the cookie stamp idea.

  8. That cookie stamp is awesome and would definitely be placed in the cart. I also love the udon noodle bowls and the soup and sandwich tray duo. I’d get them for myself…so that I could make things for others. :)

  9. Not counting the things I’ve gotten from Uncommon Goods in the past [the soup and sandwich ceramic tray duo is *awesome* and I’d gladly buy another], I think I’d probably get the color wheel stick umbrella for myself to use as a parasol [since the strap on my parasol broke this past summer].

  10. It’s a toss up between the cheese board, one of the soup bowls, or one of the fabulous pizza cutters for my parents! Thanks so much.

  11. I was just reading some comments on my post (Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness) and I saw your comment there. I was thinking, wow, I have not visited her blog in SO long. I am back! I love that customized stamp- so cute.

  12. I am already a huge fan of Uncommon Goods but oh how did I miss that cookie stamp! So wonderful! I am like you, where gift guides inevitably leave me with tons of ideas for myself and little for others. This cookie stamp seems like a great compromise :)

    Happy holidays lady!!

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