Father’s Day Activity Ideas: How This Dad Likes to Celebrate

As a Dad, I’m a real fan of Father’s Day! While Father’s Day doesn’t get nearly the same amount of attention as Mother’s Day, as a parent, I feel just as important on my special day. And I know other Dads do too. There are so many ways to celebrate Father’s Day and lots of blogs give advice on Father’s Day gift ideas. Today, I thought I would make it personal by looking back over the last 26 years I’ve been a father and sharing with you some of my favorite ways to celebrate Father’s Day.

#1. Doing What I Want
Coffee & NewspaperFather’s Day is a holiday, and to me, that means no chores, no errands, no work, no alarm clocks, no time constraints, no rushing, and whenever possible, no subway! I like to sleep in, have a big breakfast and read the paper at my leisure. If the weather is at all decent, I’ll go for an epic bike ride and have a plan to stop off at my daughter’s apartment on the way home. She’ll take me out for a beer and chicharron (fried pork) at my favorite friendly hole-in-the-wall restaurant in her neighborhood. This will inevitably lead to an afternoon nap.

There’s nothing like becoming a parent to bring you closer to your own parents. When my father was alive, we would often arrange to spend the weekend with my parents, thereby making it a double father’s celebration day. This was always a special Father’s Day weekend as my daughter was able to celebrate with both her dad and grandpa. And my daughter could acknowledge her Grandpa too.

#3. Hanging Out with My Daughter
When my daughter was younger, nothing made me happier than spending time with her doing the things we liked to do together: namely to play some type of sport. We would grab a big sports bag and fill it with a basketball, lacrosse sticks, Frisbee, etc. and off we would go to the park. We would roam from basketball court to field and we’d come back home tired, sweaty and dirty. These days, we may meet in the park for a run. We still share a love of being physically active.

#4. Sharing Music
One of the simplest and longest lasting Father’s Day gifts is the gift of music, even if it’s just a playlist of current music that my daughter loves. I look to her to keep me up-to-date with new artists, or old artists that she’s discovered. Sharing music is very personal and brings us closer together. What you’re listening to can tell you a lot about a person. Once in awhile, I get to introduce her to someone she doesn’t know about!

#5. Receiving a Father’s Day Gift 

Custom Father's Day Gift

My daughter surprised me with this amazing custom bike jersey – one of my favorite Father’s Day gifts!

Gifts are always fun to get. I hardly ever buy anything for myself (I hate to shop) so I really appreciate it when someone else buys something for me! In the past, my wife has taken me jean shopping, and although I didn’t like the process, I was really happy to get some jeans that actually fit me well. My daughter has a real talent for researching and finding just the right Father’s Day gifts for me. One year she surprised me with a new bike jersey that she designed herself: it was customized around the theme of our French Bulldogs, Massimo and Lily. I cherish it.

This year, she gave me an early gift of a cordless electric drill! It replaces an ancient drill that required an extension cord and had a chuck key (really old school). My new one is lightweight and even has a light on it. She gave it to me early so that I could use it to help her put up her blinds, mount her TV, and hang shelves in her new apartment. Yeah, she’s smart.

Pistachio Gift Box

Who doesn’t love pistachios? (This dad is a big fan).

This year I would also especially love the Father’s Day gift from Manhattan Fruitier! I created it so, of course, I want it. I designed Pistachio Blitz because I’m such a pistachio lover. The gift features three flavors of pistachios in the shell, pistachio caramel corn and pistachio butter. I’m willing to share, but first someone (hint) needs to send it to me.



#6. Spending Time with My Family
No matter how I may spend Father’s Day, it almost always ends with my wife and daughter and I getting together to share wine and a meal. Speaking of wine, we recently discovered a medium-fruited and lively red wine, Langhe Nebbiolo, made from grapes from the same general area as Barolo and Barbaresco in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and in Lombardy. Delicious!

In my heart, Father’s Day is about more than gifts. It’s about opening myself up to receiving thanks for being a Dad and making memories with my family.

7 Delicious & Heart Healthy Food Gifts

We should all be concerned about the health of our hearts — and I guess I can say that both figuratively and literally! Both happiness and the state of our coronary arteries are crucial to a long and healthy life. Many of us, myself included, have heart disease that runs in our families. It’s impossible to escape the genetic-predisposition that makes us vulnerable to the build-up of plaque that clogs the arteries feeding our heart and leads to heart attack and stroke.

But there are many things we can do to mitigate our susceptibility. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is an important component to a heart healthy lifestyle and longevity. But exercise alone is not enough. We also need a diet rich in heart healthy foods.

Luckily, heart healthy foods can also be delicious! Look for foods that are low sodium, cholesterol free, and high in omega 3 fatty acids, flavonoids (antioxidants), potassium, fiber and protein. Here are seven delectable heart healthy gift ideas that will be sure to please.

Fresh and Dried Fruit

A gift basket of fresh and dried seasonal fruits is always a nutritious choice and a great heart healthy gift idea. The best fruits for heart health are the ones with high fiber content, Vitamins such as A, C and E, minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and flavonoids.

Some of the best choices are apples, apricots, berries, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi and peaches. Avocados are also especially heart healthy because of the fatty acids.

Nuts

I was so happy when I learned that nuts were one of the best heart healthy foods you can eat! I love nuts and eat a large handful every day either in my morning yogurt or oatmeal, or as a pre-dinner snack with a glass of red wine. Although caloric, nuts are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and protein.

Any nuts are fine, roasted or raw, except that they should not be salted, if you want to create a heart healthy food gift. I make my own nut mix and will often bring it to friends as a gift. I’ll put them in a glass jar and tie a ribbon around the neck. My favorite nuts are raw cashews, roasted almonds, pistachios, and walnuts and I like to include some raisins for the chewy consistency.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is heart healthy because it contains flavonoids, which can reduce arterial inflammation, as well as protein and fiber. Dark chocolate is also more nutritious than milk or white chocolate because it contains less sugar. Look for chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa and is low sodium or sodium-free. A selection of dark chocolate bars wrapped in tissue and placed into a gift bag makes a lovely heart healthy gift that anyone would be happy to receive.

Oatmeal

I know that oatmeal isn’t the first thing to come to mind when thinking of a gift, but oatmeal is simply one of the best concentrated sources of fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins and one of the most highly recommended foods for heart health. What if you could find a gift constructed around a unique artisanal oatmeal? We have just that!

Heart Healthy Gift BasketOur Heart Healthy Beat #2 gift, shown in the photo, contains fresh and dried fruits, nuts, dark chocolate and oatmeal. This oatmeal is made from organic non-GMO whole grains and oats milled in Chappaqua, NY by Farm to Table. A variety of grains bring a complexity of tastes and diversity of textures to intrigue the palate. This oatmeal is one of my favorite cold weather breakfasts and I also like to eat it as a power boosting snack before a bike ride… with a handful of nuts, of course!

Legumes

Legumes are a class of vegetables in which the dried fruit of the plant is contained within a shell or a pod. Legumes are heart healthy because they are a great source of non-animal protein, are packed with the minerals and vitamins important to heart health, and are high in fiber. But how do you make a heart healthy food gift out of legumes?

Heart Healthy Beat Gift 3Try our fabulous Falafel Chips by Flamous that we include in our largest Heart Healthy gift (Heart Healthy Beat #3, shown right). Made from black beans, chick peas, fava beans and pinto beans, these chips are just as addicting as tortilla or potato chips but without all the salt and fat. You won’t feel like you’re missing out with this healthy alternative. And they’re organic too!

Fish

Omega 3 fatty acids are thought to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease. These fats are called “essential fats” because our bodies can’t produce them from other sources so we need to ingest them from our foods. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. So we developed a heart healthy gift idea that is centered around tuna belly and trout. Now how can that be appealing?

Heart Healthy Panty - Mediterranean DietWell, we start with delicate and delicious, lightly salted canned trout and tuna from the Cole Company. The Cole Company is known to care about sustainable resources and catches the fish using fishing poles (how old fashioned!). These fish make a fantastic dinner in a salad or on a cracker. I always have some on hand in the kitchen cupboard.

The rest of the gift includes other items perfect for storage in the pantry and all part of a heart healthy Mediterranean diet, such as couscous, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, almonds, and dried apricots.

Red Wine

Probably the very best news is that red wine can be part of a heart healthy diet so it makes the perfect heart healthy gift idea! Consider adding red wine to a food gift such as those in our Heart Healthy Gift collection for the ultimate heart healthy gift.

Heart healthy living and heart healthy gifting doesn’t have to be hard!

10 Best Gifts for Yoga Lovers

When the next gift occasion arises, take advantage of yoga’s ever-increasing popularity for a fresh take on traditional gift giving. In addition to the millions of yoga devotees already practicing in the U.S., another eighty million people (34% of the population!)  will give yoga their first try this year. So, why not consider a yoga-themed gift?

Chances are high that one of your friends, family members, or co-workers are enjoying the benefits of the mat. Maybe you know someone with a committed daily practice, or have a friend that’s musing with an intention to start.

Of course, finding the perfect gift for yoga lovers can be challenging, but you already have a leg up – or a down-dog split – knowing their interest. So, you’re on the right track but still stumped on what you should get the yoga lover in your life?  You’ve got this. Take a deep, controlled breath and get inspired by our choices for the top ten best gifts for yoga lovers.

#1. Aromatherapy: Essential Oils and Room Diffusers
Essential oils are a simple, wonderful gift to enhance a yoga or meditation practice by helping yogis connect with an intention. Often essential oils can help capture the spirit of certain qualities. For instance, Lemon is associated with mental clarity and attention. Peppermint, a joyful exuberance and energy. Lavender, relaxation and peaceful communication. They can also make a room smell pretty!

Two or three different essential oils with an ultrasonic room diffuser are great gifts for yoga lovers. Just a few drops of an essential oil combined with water in it’s base can instantly create a soothing or stimulating atmosphere. Yogi’s choice.

I’m particularly fond of the exceptionally high-quality DoTerra brand of pure, cold-pressed essential oils, and for a tasteful, modern ultrasonic diffuser that would unobtrusively work with a decor, Muji’s is the best.

#2. Water Bottle
Gifting a water bottle for a yoga lover is a no-brainer, but it can be a struggle to find one that’s kind to the earth, has style for days, and is light enough for the gym bag. We picked this one for our line of yoga gifts because it satisfies all three of those requirements. Designed by LAB[O] in Montreal, CA, our water bottle is actually made of glass, but don’t worry, it’s protected by a zippered silicone sleeve. BPA and phthalates-free to boot. How refreshing!

Yoga Water Bottle

#3. Yoga Travel Mat
Gifting a yoga mat to a yoga lover can be tricky. With different types of mats suited for different yoga practices, where do you start?  A thicker mat is a great choice for a yogi who enjoys a more restorative practice. Look for a mat that will have a stickier grip for those who enjoy a higher energy vinyasa or bikram class to help them avoid slipping and sliding out of their poses.

So, you know they love yoga, but what if you aren’t sure which kind? Trust that most yogis already have a mat they like. What they probably don’t have and where you can help them the most is by giving them a Yoga Travel Mat.

Oftentimes, a vacation can wreak havoc with even the most dedicated yoga practitioner. Even standard-size mats can be awkward, heavy and prohibitive to carry. A travel mat can easily fold or roll into a carry-on bag or backpack to bring their practice with them wherever they go. My personal favorite is the Manduka eko superlite.

One of the most valuable lessons yoga students first learn is the importance of “just showing up”. It’s a lot easier when the mat can come with you!

#4. Headband
Stylish and sweaty doesn’t have to be an oxymoron if you work it right. A great, affordable gift for a yoga lover is a headband that can absorb the side effects of a vigorous yoga workout, while keeping their hair suitable for any before or after class errands. Ponytails and barrettes are great, but a headband can keep distractions like pesky flyaway hairs and perspiration out of their eyes so they can focus on the important stuff, like breath and alignment.

Choose a wide headband that can serve a dual purpose. A headband like this can be easily pulled down over the eyes for a blissed-out savasana.

#5. Organic Fruits and Snacks
The revered yoga master, B.K.S. Iyengar, who is credited with bringing the ancient practice of yoga to the West said “Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”

Making the right food choices plays an incredibly important role in any yoga student’s well-rounded practice. Nourishing the body with wholesome foods lays a foundation for nourishing the mind.

Organic Bounty

Help the yogi take their practice from the mat to the dining table with healthy snacks to nourish the body.

We believe one of the best gifts for yoga lovers is one that extends their practice from the mat to the dining table. Our Organic Bounty gift basket does just that. Filled with certified-organic fruits, both fresh and dried, and organic nuts, cheese, crackers and jam, it’s a universally appealing gift for yoga lovers of any age or gender, beginners or advanced.



 
#6. Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner Sprays
How lovely to craft a yoga gift yourself and have it be a gift they actually need! Every yoga lover can benefit from a yoga mat cleaner and making one is not as hard as you’d think! Here is a super-simple 3-ingredient recipe (distilled water, witch hazel, and essential oils) you can make in minutes that will keep yoga lover’s mats fresh and clean for many vinyasa classes to come. Rather than one big bottle, this recipe makes a trio of 2 oz. spray bottles, each with a different scent, for easy, everyday travels back and forth to yoga class.
Simple Steps and Ingredients for a Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner Spray:

– Fill each 2oz. spray bottle (found at any beauty supply store or Amazon) three-quarters of the way full with Distilled Water.

– Shake three drops of either tea tree, eucalyptus, or peppermint essential oil (all known for their antibacterial and antifungal properties) into each spray bottle.

– Fill the bottles the rest of the way up to the top with witch hazel, close tight and give them a gentle shake. Give them a quick spray. Do they have enough scent? Go ahead and add another drop until it’s to your liking.

– Last step, the fun part. Find some adhesive labels and get creative with a signature design and brand for each bottle.

#7. Yoga Bolster
Every yoga enthusiast has a mat at home for their practice, but most yogis only take advantage of a bolster when they are at a yoga studio. One of our top gifts for yoga lovers is a bolster for home use.  A bolster is an important tool or prop used in a wide range of restorative yoga poses that can have the added bonus of being used as a meditation cushion.

Meditation and yoga are so closely intertwined that people who practice one are really also practicing the other in one form or another. Both practices explore the mind/body connection and having the proper tools within reach makes achieving a daily dedication to one’s practice so much more attainable. When choosing the perfect bolster as a gift for yoga lovers, choose a rectangular bolster with exceptional firmness and support with an upholstery-grade fabric covering. This bolster is my favorite.

#8. Yoga Blocks
In addition to bolsters, another yoga prop most people only access at their local studio is yoga blocks. These are an integral part of any yoga practice, no matter what experience level. Lightweight cork or recycled-foam yoga blocks are a great gift for yoga lovers who appreciate the tools that get them closer to good alignment, balance and stretch!

Yogis and non-yogis alike would all benefit from a Supported Fish Pose for a few minutes a day. This pose, supported by yoga blocks, expands the chest and throat, which is a great counteraction to the inevitable afternoon slump.

#9. Yoga Gift Baskets
Our absolute favorite gift for yoga lovers has to be our collection of Yoga Baskets. A woven bamboo basket combines organic fresh apples, organic maple glazed mixed nuts, and organic banana and mango slices, and, of course, essential yoga accessories. In addition to a thick, cotton strap for reaching those deeper stretches, and a silky eye pillow for a restful savasana, we’ve added our unique and so very chic water bottle designed by LAB[O] in Montreal, CA to the healthy mix. So good!

Yoga Gift Basket

#10. Gift Certificate to their favorite Yoga Studio or Retreat
When you are thinking about a gift for a yoga lover, perhaps the most appreciated gift you can give them is a gift certificate to a local yoga studio of their choice.

While a lot of practicing yogis are already enrolled in a monthly membership to a yoga studio or gym that has yoga classes, most yoga studios have special workshops or events that are not included in a rolling membership and are outside of this monthly payment. That’s where a gift certificate can really come in handy.

I have a monthly membership to a yoga studio in Brooklyn that covers unlimited classes, but my mother just treated me to a gift certificate at the same studio which I used for a four-part tai chi workshop. Thanks Mom!

Whatever gifts you end up choosing for the yoga lover in your life, know that picking a gift that is closely connected to a practice that brings health and happiness to their life will make you feel great too!

5 Tips for Sending Business Gifts

A successful business gift both matches the occasion and the taste of your gift recipient.  Since gifts reflect your sentiment, it’s important to send a gift that will be appreciated.

Here are 5 tips for sending business gifts:

1. The more you know about the tastes of the person receiving the gift, the better gift choice you can make. Is the gift recipient a cheese lover, a chocolate lover, on a special diet, or into organic foods? If you can choose a gift that has particular appeal to your recipient, you will make the biggest impact.

2. Saying “thank you” will never go out of style. In the business context, saying thank you may be an end in itself as well as a benefit to you in the future. Gifts that expressly say thank you, like our line of Thank You gifts, will be understood and appreciated.

3. You want to make sure that the gift fits the sentiment. A small thank you can be a smaller gift with a message that says, “Just a small token of my appreciation.” A bigger thank you, as in “Thanks for being instrumental in closing the deal. It wouldn’t have happened without you!” is probably best communicated with a more substantial gift.

4. For a business gift to an office, you want choose a gift that’s the right size. You want everyone to enjoy the gift. A small office with a couple of people can enjoy a smaller gift. A larger office probably calls for a larger gift. Our line of Office Gifts features five levels of gifts so you can choose the right size and the right variety of ingredients.

5. The greeting card should clearly express your sentiment. Sometimes it might be easier to just say, “Thanks from Bill Johnson,” but it’s always better to be specific about the reason for the gift. Something like, “I really appreciate all your hard work in bringing the project to fruition” is going to make the gift even more meaningful.

8 Signs of a Good Day at Manhattan Fruitier

As part of our Maker of the Month profiles, where we interview Manhattan Fruitier food makers to learn more about what makes them tick, we always ask, “What’s a good day at your company?”

I thought I’d pose that question to myself:  What is a good day at Manhattan Fruitier?

A good day at Manhattan Fruitier includes these things, in no particular order:

ORDERS IN THE BOX

All gift orders start with a paper work order placed in a sorting box at the beginning of our assembly line. I like to see David, our Head of Customer Service, placing a large stack of orders in the box at the start of each day. More orders come in across the day, of course, but it feels good to start the day strong.

customer service orders

CUSTOMER LOVE

We keep careful track of customer feedback. A good day definitely includes hearing from a customer who takes the time to let us know that we have exceeded their expectations with our products and our service.

NEW PRODUCT IN THE PIPELINE

I love developing new gifts. A good day would include working with Drew, our Creative Director, and Sarah, our Head of Product Development, on a new gift. Spoiler alert: we’re putting the finishing touches on a gift of a traditional Jewish breakfast (smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese).

TASTING IS BELIEVING

Before we add a product to our gift line we taste it and many others in the category. It involves really thinking about what you like and why. We use a scale for taste, quality, uniqueness and appearance. I really enjoy this process. We’ve just finished tasting fruit jams from 12 different companies. Someone has to do the hard work!

jam tasting

DOING ANOTHER THING WELL

We describe our approach to marketing as doing 1,000 things well. Sara Nakash, our Head of Online Marketing, is always working on doing yet another thing well. On a good day I might see a mention of Manhattan Fruitier in a third party blog, a redesign of our order confirmation emails, or the implementation of a new ad campaign.

MOVING AHEAD WITH PARTNERSHIPS

Lauren, our Head of Keeping Us Going in the Right Direction, and I devote a lot of our time and energy to developing marketing and product partnerships. On a good day, I see positive results from this work, maybe in the form of a new partner or ongoing work with an existing partner.

CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT

Every member of our staff is charged with trying to improve our processes and materials in order to get the best gift delivered in the most efficient way possible. On a good day, I’ll hear that someone came up with a better way to do something – a refrigerator gets moved, a box size gets changed, paper shred for cushioning fruit gets filtered an extra time to eliminate dust, etc.

GAMES

We just set up a ping-pong table (admittedly we are late to the game). I get a lot of pleasure from seeing people here take a few minutes out of their day to have some fun. Currently, Charles, our Head of Expediting and Plant, is the one to beat!

pingpong

 

I’d say it’s a good day when five of these things happen. It’s a GREAT day when they all do.