11 Thoughtful Off-Registry Wedding Gifts

iStock
iStock

Generally speaking, if the bride and groom took the time to make a gift registry, you should give the couple what they ask for. But what if the only items left are dish towels and mixing spoons? If you truly feel like household items don’t fully express your love for the newlyweds, it might be appropriate to think outside the registry. Opt for one of the more creative options below, and you’re sure to make the happy couple smile.

1. GIFTLY GIFT CARD; YOUR CHOICE

After spending a ton of time and money preparing for the big day, the newlyweds will undoubtedly need a little “me” time—and perhaps a cash infusion. Instead of handing the couple an envelope of cash or a check, purchase a gift card from Giftly. You can customize the gift card (with a photo of the couple, their pet, or something else they love) as well as make recommendations for how they can spend it—a spa day or restaurant are smart picks.

Find it: Giftly

2. HERSCHEL ROSWELL NOVEL DUFFLE; $89.99

This roomy weekender from Herschel Supply Co. (which is best known for its trendy backpacks) will take the couple from the wedding night through to the honeymoon. Have it delivered before the big day, and they can pack it full of essentials they’ll need at the venue (a change of clothes, make-up for touch-ups) and then use it to tote their gifts home. Our favorite parts? The Limited Lifetime Warranty and separate shoe compartment.

Find it: Herschel Supply

3. LOCAL GIFT BASKET; YOUR CHOICE

Know the couple has a favorite local bakery, coffee house, or cheese shop? Check to see if they have gift baskets available for purchase. Fill it with the couple’s favorite goodies so they can indulge as they celebrate the end of their wedding diets.

Inspiration: Bklyn Larder; Murray’s Cheese

4. IRVING FARM COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION; $72

If the newlyweds love their morning coffee almost as much as they love each other, a monthly coffee subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. The New York City-based Irving Farm Coffee Roasters work directly with farmers around the globe to source beans that are sustainable as they are delicious. Three shipments of coffee will run you $72, and you can choose whether to have them delivered weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the couple’s java addiction.

Find it: Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

5. MOUTH SNACK SUBSCRIPTION; $60 PER MONTH FOR 3 MONTHS

Does the couple prefer noshing to sipping? Have a sack of tasty snacks delivered each month that are sure to satisfy both salty and sweet cravings. The offerings change each month, but a recent delivery included white corn tortilla chips with smoky Peruvian pepper salsa, caraway and garlic dill pickles, black truffle popcorn, Korean BBQ beef jerky, and a peanut butter nougat chocolate bar. Know your friends’ tastes? You can also hone in on a single snack, choosing a popcorn, jerky, pickles, or cookies subscription, to name a few (price varies by subscription).

Find it: Mouth

6. CHATBOOKS CUSTOM PHOTO BOOK; STARTS AT $8 FOR A 30-PAGE PAPERBACK

Gift the couple a beautiful book of photos from their love story. Before the wedding, gather photos of happy moments from throughout their relationship and upload them to the Chatbooks app. Chatbooks automatically arranges photos in chronological order and allows you to edit captions, move photos, and pick the book’s cover. You could also offer to turn the couple’s professional wedding photos into a custom book, or upload photos you took at the wedding to share a few moments they might have missed during their own big day.

Find it: Chatbooks

7. GUESTERLY LOOKBOOK; $99 FOR AN E-GUESTERLY

With a little foresight and planning, you can add a personal touch to the wedding itself. Also created by Chatbooks, a guesterly® is part directory, part scrapbook, part program. Include a welcome letter from the couple, bios about the wedding guests and key players (family members, wedding party), answers to a personalized questionnaire sent to guests, or a schedule of the weekend’s events—it’s up to you (and the lovebirds). Print them out as palm-sized guides wedding guests can carry with them (pricing varies by number of pages) or send as a digital file.

Find it: Guesterly

8. MAPIFUL CUSTOM MAP; STARTS AT $60

Choose a place that’s meaningful to the couple—be it where they live, where they fell in love, or where they’re from—and turn it into a piece of art. Mapiful let’s you customize the location (zoom in or out as much as you like), text, and layout of your sleek black and white map. Plus, it ships for free.

Find it: Mapiful

9. ANNIVERSARY JOURNAL; $85

Help the couple celebrate their marriage, not just the wedding, with a gift that lets them record their memories for years to come. This classic, hard-bound keepsake includes space for the couple to record reflections and aspirations as well as add photos and mementos on their first through 60th anniversaries.

Find it: UncommonGoods

10. MY FAMILY COOKBOOK; $35

The couple that eats together, stays together (someone wise must have said that once, right?). Get them started by gathering recipes from their friends and family members—Mom’s dumplings, Grandpa’s borscht, or maybe the lasagna they shared on their first date—then leave the rest of the pages blank for the couple to fill in together.

Find it: UncommonGoods

11. CUSTOM IDEAL BOOKSHELF PRINT; STARTS AT $110

Is the couple on a first-name basis with Harry (Potter), Anna (Karenina), and Jane (Austen or Eyre, take your pick)? Then there’s a good chance they’ll swoon over an illustrated bookshelf print from the artist Jane Mount. Pick up to 15 of the newlyweds’ favorite books from a list of over 1500 titles that range from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to The Sound and the Fury.

Find it: Ideal Bookshelf

6 Facts About International Women's Day

iStock.com/robeo
iStock.com/robeo

For more than 100 years, March 8th has marked what has come to be known as International Women's Day in countries around the world. While its purpose differs from place to place—in some countries it’s a day of protest, in others it’s a way to celebrate the accomplishments of women and promote gender equality—the holiday is more than just a simple hashtag. Ahead of this year’s celebration, let’s take a moment to explore the day’s origins and traditions.

1. International Women's Day originated more than 100 years ago.

On February 28, 1909, the now-dissolved Socialist Party of America organized the first National Woman’s Day, which took place on the last Sunday in February. In 1910, Clara Zetkin—the leader of Germany’s 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party—proposed the idea of a global International Women’s Day, so that people around the world could celebrate at the same time. On March 19, 1911, the first International Women’s Day was held; more than 1 million people in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark took part.

2. The celebration got women the vote in Russia.

In 1917, women in Russia honored the day by beginning a strike for “bread and peace” as a way to protest World War I and advocate for gender parity. Czar Nicholas II, the country’s leader at the time, was not impressed and instructed General Khabalov of the Petrograd Military District to put an end to the protests—and to shoot any woman who refused to stand down. But the women wouldn't be intimidated and continued their protests, which led the Czar to abdicate just days later. The provisional government then granted women in Russia the right to vote.

3. The United Nations officially adopted International Women's Day in 1975.

In 1975, the United Nations—which had dubbed the year International Women’s Year—celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th for the first time. Since then, the UN has become the primary sponsor of the annual event and has encouraged even more countries around the world to embrace the holiday and its goal of celebrating “acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

4. International Women's Day is an official holiday in dozens of countries.

International Women’s Day is a day of celebration around the world, and an official holiday in dozens of countries. Afghanistan, Cuba, Vietnam, Uganda, Mongolia, Georgia, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Belarus, Montenegro, Russia, and Ukraine are just some of the places where March 8th is recognized as an official holiday.

5. It’s a combined celebration with Mother’s Day in several places.

In the same way that Mother’s Day doubles as a sort of women’s appreciation day, the two holidays are combined in some countries, including Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan. On this day, children present their mothers and grandmothers with small gifts and tokens of love and appreciation.

6. Each year's festivities have an official theme.

In 1996, the UN created a theme for that year’s International Women’s Day: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future. In 1997, it was “Women at the Peace Table,” then “Women and Human Rights” in 1998. They’ve continued this themed tradition in the years since; for 2019, it's “Better the balance, better the world” or #BalanceforBetter.

8 Enlightening Facts About Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Hulu
Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Hulu

For decades, sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer has used television, radio, the written word, and the internet to speak frankly on topics relating to human sexuality, turning what were once controversial topics into healthy, everyday conversations.

At age 90, Westheimer shows no signs of slowing down. As a new documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, gears up for release on Hulu this spring, we thought we’d take a look at Westheimer’s colorful history as an advisor, author, and resistance sniper.

1. The Nazis devastated her childhood.

Dr. Ruth was born Karola Ruth Siegel on June 4, 1928 in Wiesenfeld, Germany, the only child of Julius and Irma Siegel. When Ruth was just five years old, the advancing Nazi party terrorized her neighborhood and seized her father in 1938, presumably to shuttle him to a concentration camp. One year later, Karola—who eventually began using her middle name and took on the last name Westheimer with her second marriage in 1961—was sent to a school in Switzerland for her own protection. She later learned that her parents had both been killed during the Holocaust, possibly at Auschwitz.

2. She shocked classmates with her knowledge of taboo topics.

Westheimer has never been bashful about the workings of human sexuality. While working as a maid at an all-girls school in Switzerland, she made classmates and teachers gasp with her frank talk about menstruation and other topics that were rarely spoken of in casual terms.

3. She trained as a sniper for Jewish resistance fighters in Palestine.

Following the end of World War II, Westheimer left Switzerland for Israel, and later Palestine. She became a Zionist and joined the Haganah, an underground network of Jewish resistance fighters. Westheimer carried a weapon and trained as both a scout and sniper, learning how to throw hand grenades and shoot firearms. Though she never saw direct action, the tension and skirmishes could lapse into violence, and in 1948, Westheimer suffered a serious injury to her foot owing to a bomb blast. The injury convinced her to move into the comparatively less dangerous field of academia.

4. A lecture ignited her career.

 Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11, 2015 in New York City.
Robin Marchant, Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

In 1950, Westheimer married an Israeli soldier and the two relocated to Paris, where she studied psychology at the Sorbonne. Though the couple divorced in 1955, Westheimer's education continued into 1959, when she graduated with a master’s degree in sociology from the New School in New York City. (She received a doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1970.) After meeting and marrying Manfred Westheimer, a Jewish refugee, in 1961, Westheimer became an American citizen.

By the late 1960s, she was working at Planned Parenthood, where she excelled at having honest conversations about uncomfortable topics. Eventually, Westheimer found herself giving a lecture to New York-area broadcasters about airing programming with information about safe sex. Radio station WYNY offered her a show, Sexually Speaking, that soon blossomed into a hit, going from 15 minutes to two hours weekly. By 1983, 250,000 people were listening to Westheimer talk about contraception and intimacy.

5. People told her to lose her accent.

Westheimer’s distinctive accent has led some to declare her “Grandma Freud.” But early on, she was given advice to take speech lessons and make an effort to lose her accent. Westheimer declined, and considers herself fortunate to have done so. “It helped me greatly, because when people turned on the radio, they knew it was me,” she told the Harvard Business Review in 2016.

6. She’s not concerned about her height, either.

In addition to her voice, Westheimer became easily recognizable due to her diminutive stature. (She’s four feet, seven inches tall.) When she was younger, Westheimer worried her height might not be appealing. Later, she realized it was an asset. “On the contrary, I was lucky to be so small, because when I was studying at the Sorbonne, there was very little space in the auditoriums and I could always find a good-looking guy to put me up on a windowsill,” she told the HBR.

7. She advises people not to take huge penises seriously.

Westheimer doesn’t frown upon pornography; in 2018, she told the Times of Israel that viewers can “learn something from it.” But she does note the importance of separating fantasy from reality. “People have to use their own judgment in knowing that in any of the sexually explicit movies, the genitalia that is shown—how should I say this? No regular person is endowed like that.”

8. She lectures on cruise ships.

Westheimer uses every available medium—radio, television, the internet, and even graphic novels—to share her thoughts and advice about human sexuality. Sometimes, that means going out to sea. The therapist books cruise ship appearances where she offers presentations to guests on how best to manage their sex lives. Westheimer often insists the crew participate and will regularly request that the captain read some of the questions.

“The last time, the captain was British, very tall, and had to say ‘orgasm’ and ‘erection,’” she told The New York Times in 2018. “Never did they think they would hear the captain talk about the things we were talking about.” Of course, that’s long been Westheimer’s objective—to make the taboo seem tame.

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