The 5th Annual Bake and Destroy Mother’s Day Gift Guide & Giveaway

Yes, Bake and Destroy has been around for 6 years and this is only the 5th annual Mother’s Day Gift Guide. Part of being a mother is accepting the fact that nobody is perfect, not even you. Once again I have assembled a motley crew of ladies – from an eclectic wrestling fan to a college professor – to spark your gift-giving imagination. Maybe you’ll see something you’d like for yourself, or maybe there’s something here that your own mom would love – the magic of this gift guide lives inside YOU.

Don’t forget to check out the end of this post to find out how you can win one of two ridiculously cool prize packages that are up for grabs!

For the Crafty Mom

I had to ask Jen Davis to write this one. Had to. See, not only does she operate a super crafty Etsy shop with her mom, Jan – but my mom and her mom happen to be besties. Jen and I grew up together, and even when she was cheerleading and I was fist-fighting boys we always stayed friends thanks to the strong model of female friendship our own moms gave us. So here are Jen’s picks for moms who make stuff!

So you are looking to buy a gift for the crafty mom in your life and you have no idea where to begin. Obviously, the easy choice is to buy a giftcard to Joann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby but if you are hoping to really knock her knitted socks off this Mother’s Day, here are a few gift ideas that any crafty mom is sure to love.

  1. cute camera bag

    ThePolkaDotPosie camera bag – $89

    Something “Hobby Specific.” If the crafty mom in your life is never without her DSLR camera, consider a cute camera strap or bag like these from ThePolkaDotPosie. (Save 10% when you enter BAKEANDDESTROY10) If she paints, peak around her studio and look for supplies that are running low and replenish them for her. If she does paper crafts, you could blow her mind with a new Cricut Machine or cartridges. And finally, if your mama loves to work the needles, consider getting her a new project kit from KnitPicks.

  2. Something to Inspire her. Thanks to websites like Etsy, crafty moms everywhere are turning their favorite hobbies into thriving online businesses. Inspire your crafty mama and pick her up a copy of “How To Sell Your Crafts Online,” by Derrick Sutton. This book helped my mom and I start our Etsy shop and we’ve been going strong for over a year now!
  3. Something to Keep her Organized. The only person that can trash a room faster than a toddler is a crafter. Help your mama stay organized this year with an awesome mobile craft cart like this 12-Drawer Chrome Organizer Cart by Honey-Can-Do.
  4. Something to Spark her Creativity. This gift is for the tech savvy Mom who loves digital scrapbooking and crafting or wants to learn how. My Memories Suite software will help her edit and archive pictures, make cards and calendars, create party favors, labels, cupcake toppers and more! )You can also save $10 on this software by entering code STMMMS75437 at checkout.)
  5. Something to Keep her Hydrated. Have you ever been to a weekend sewing retreat? Or an all night scrap crop? No? Well let me tell ya…crafters are HARDCORE. We put in long hours and burn some serious calories while we are cutting, sewing, gluing, beading, stitching, painting, and knitting. And when we are in the middle of a craft marathon, it’s important to stay hydrated and remember this very important rule, “No Coffee, No Workee.” Obviously, this is the perfect mug for that.

For the TV Casualty Mom

Agnes Barton-Sabo, better known as Betty Turbo, is my spirit animal. Like me, she is obsessed with cult television shows and pro-wrestling, and unlike me, she is a wildly talented illustrator, painter and plushie-maker. Have I mentioned that she illustrated my cookbook? Because that is also true. Check out her picks for the pop culture-obsessed mom & check out the end of this post to see how you can win the card of your choosing from Agnes’ shop!

I used to tell time on summer vacation by whether I could hear Matlock or Murder, She Wrote playing when I woke up.  My mom and I have always enjoyed watching mysteries and crime procedurals together, from Perry Mason to Veronica Mars.  Whether your mother is a foul-mouthed HBO junkie, or a carefully coiffed classic sitcom devotee, there are lots of fun options for TV-themed gift giving beyond plain old DVDs.

  1. Twin Peaks fabric Spoonflower

    Twin Peaks Fabric by Bridgeen Gillespie – from $17.50/yd

    Test Pattern Pillows by Barbara Perrino - A fun nod to the television itself, and also a really attractive, bright, modern addition to your sofa!  Or bed, or chair, or wherever you need that extra lumbar support to watch hours of tv at a time.

  2. Stoneware TV Dinner Trays by Uncommon Goods  - Skip the microwave meals and serve mom’s finest home cooking in these ceramic trays. Dine in front of the tv without worrying about making a mess or missing an episode!  Also helpful for siblings with OCD concerns about foods touching…
  3. Mad Men Game of Thrones Mashup art print by PJ McQuade - Cover two of Mom’s faves in one piece of art with this handsome tribute to Don Draper dressed for battle in the North!  Perhaps the Starks could have used the assistance of an ad man on their epic Winter is Coming campaign?  This scene probably already exists in Your Mom’s Sunday night dreams.
  4. Keychains by PeachyApricot  - These artists have culled many gems from epically quotable shows like Parks & Rec and Arrested Development to create laugh-worthy shrinky dink keychains!  If your mom doesn’t know what “#LiveTweeting This Bitch” means, do her a favor and give her the Mother’s Day gift of a lesson in using Twitter.  Start by following Retta herself, (@unfoRETTAble), the actress who plays Donna, who is, in fact, hilarious.
  5. Twin Peaks Fabric by Bridgeen Gillespie – This illustrator has created a whole line of Twin Peaks-inspired prints!  Order some fabric and make your mom a dress!  Or an apron!  Or a Double R Diner waitress uniform!  For the less sewing savvy, perhaps some tea towels, or a scarf?  Or if your mom is a super-seamstress, order fat quarters of each design and give them as quilting fodder!

 For Moms Who Drink and Swear

Crotchfruit. That’s what Nicole Knepper calls her children. But then, you probably already knew that because you’re probably already a fan of her hilarious blog, Moms Who Drink and Swear. Take a peek at her recent post, 5 Things I Do Not Want for Mother’s Day and you’ll know why moms everywhere have wine coming out of their noses as they laugh along with her brutally honest take on motherhood. Check out the end of this post to see how you can win one of two personalized copies of Nicole’s new book (three guesses what it’s called).

My father in law used to say, “That girl is so easy to please,” because when asked what I wanted for gifts, I’d always ask for special time with loved ones. Dinner together, going to movies or hanging out was all I wanted. Now that I have two kids, I just want some time to myself. And I want some other stuff too.

  1. Image via Icons Jewelry/Shutterstock

    Image via Icons Jewelry/Shutterstock

    Top Shelf Booze – Yeah, that’s right. I want a ginormous bottle of Grey Goose Vodka. I can justify buying a bottle cheap wine for myself every week, but spending SIXTY bucks for 1.75 liters of that smooth sauce would send me into a guilt and shame spiral so twisty and fast, I’d never be straight again. Oh but I adore it and I waaaaaant it. Gimmie Goose!

  2. A Date With My BFF: ME – I want a night out – alone. I want to stroll along in Lincoln Square, have wieners at The Chicago Brauhaus, and then tuck into a corner with a glass of wine and a good book at The Book Cellar. As Greta Garbo said so many years ago, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone,’ I said, ‘I want to be let alone.’” That’s what I want! Just to be let alone for a bit. With books.
  3. Sessions with a Professional Organizer – have a smattering of OCD and the attention span of a gnat. Not a good combination. I need someone to keep me focused and on task. I want Erin to hold my hand and help me tame the chaos.
  4. GF Cooking Lessons - A few years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease. This huge change in my life coupled with my lazy attitude toward all things food has wreaked havoc on my diet. I need and want to eat more delicious food that doesn’t cost six hundred dollars at Whole Foods. It would also be nice to stop cutting myself every goddamn time I try chop shit up. I hope knife welding is part of the lesson.
  5. Love Letters – I love it when my husband and kids take time to write me little notes. Sure the ones made at school are cute and I save them (along with the coupons for chores that they never intend to allow me to redeem without whining) but what I really love and crave are the words that come straight from the heart. I love the scribbles and funny notes they create spontaneously at home or inside a silly card they find at the store.

 For the Running Mom

Erin Shea Smith is something else, man. She is an accomplished writer, serious business lady, marathon runner, mama, activist and, most impressive in my book: she was never mean to me in high school. I asked her, as a non-judgy healthy eater and active person, to pick some gift ideas for the ladies in your life who have a need for speed.

Running magazines will tell you that running is a low-maintenance sport. The authors of those screeds have never met me. In addition to how incredible running makes me feel – mentally I have yet to find any exercise that leaves me as blissed out as running – it also sates my need to indulge in gadgetry. Most runners will tell you that watches, socks, hair bands and GPSs don’t matter, and sometimes they don’t, but a shiny new way to measure your awesomeness out on the trail is a wonderful impetus for getting your butt out of bed.

  1. Nike Element Shield Max Running Jacket

    Nike Element Shield Max Running Jacket – $150

    Road ID – I have always had vivid, dark fantasies about my mangled body splayed out on a street, the result of a semi barreling into me mid-run. In the past I tucked into my shorts’ pocket a Post-It note with my husband’s name and cell number on it, but invariably it became sweaty and rendered useless. I finally splurged on a Road-ID and I love it. It hasn’t curbed my morbid tendencies, but it does make me feel better that should I meet a gnarly fate, my husband can be called.

  2. Smartsoaks – Not too long ago I was at my local health food store when I came across The Duggan Sisters’ Smartsoaks products. One use I was hooked. Pure ingredients and effective as can be. Plus? The Duggan Sisters are local, hailing from the South Side of Chicago. Muscle aches and pains need water therapy, and after a long-run day, a soak in a tub filled with the grapefruit-scented variety is a spa-like experience.
  3. Honey Organic Stinger Waffles – Long-distance runners are crazy about their fueling methods. While I’ve always stuck with Gu, when I come across it and have a few extra bucks in my pocket, I pick up these treats. They’re a satisfying snack and tasty as all get out.
  4. Sweaty Bands – Ugly running doesn’t bother me. Uncomfortable running does. One of my biggest pet peeves is what to do with my hair when I’m running. I’ve tried a multitude of contraptions, but none seem to work as well – or are as cute – as Sweaty Bands. I have invested an obscene amount of money into these things and they’ve yet to deteriorate. Best on the market.
  5. Nike Element Shield Max – I finally invested in a real winter running jacket this year. And in full-disclosure, my girlfriend works at Nike and got me a sweet discount. And while I know the cold weather is abating, this is the most amazing jacket I have ever owned, I wore it in ZERO DEGREE temperatures AT THE LAKE this winter in the dark and was as comfortable as can be. And because it’s on sale right now, I have to include it.

 For the Vegan Mom

Before I knew Leigh Saluzzi as the co-owner of Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe, online shopping spot for all things vegan (now closed, R.I.P.) I knew her as a contributor to Send More Cops, a silly vegan blog I created and then instantly neglected. I couldn’t think of a cooler, more down to earth vegan mama to curate this list. Enjoy!

I may not know what every vegan mom could want for Mother’s Day, but I definitely know the kind of gift that I would want. Give me something fun for the kitchen I spend so much time in while making you delicious vegan meals, give me some adornments that make me feel pretty when I’ve been up half the night covered in toddler snot and haven’t had a decent haircut since the kid was born, and above all else, give me sweet treats all my own that I didn’t have to pick off the kid’s snack plate.

  1. Caramel-infused chocolate croissants

    Caramel-infused chocolate croissants – $15

    Nutritional Yeast Jar by Vessels and Wares – If she’s vegan and prepares homemade meals, then she probably has a bulk bag of nutritional yeast in the pantry. This pretty “nooch” jar is handmade by vegan potter Jeanette Zeis, and has a handy scoop that attaches to the side of the jar.  It’s pretty and functional!

  2. VGN Anchor Necklace by Mishakaudi Jewelry – This piece is cool and casual. I don’t need jewels to wear while changing diapers, I need a necklace that will make me feel like I put some effort into dressing in the morning and still look good with a t-shirt. I love the message, too: “Veganism is my anchor”.
  3. Wine Topstich Hobo Bag by Crystalyn Kae – So pretty and way better than leather, Crystalyn Kae glazes fabric to create a leather-like feel on her handmade bags. I’ll take this gorgeous wine hobo, please.
  4. Cinnamon Rolls by Cinnaholic – If you are lucky enough to have a vegan bakery in your town, then run there and get that mom some damn cinnamon rolls for breakfast! If not, then Cinnaholic’s got your back. You can order a half dozen or even a full dozen of the Berkeley-based bakery’s vegan rolls and have them ship straight to mom’s door. $1 frosting shots are also an option in amazing flavors like caramel, almond, butterscotch, Irish Cream, and Pumpkin Spice.
  5. Croissant-Infused Chocolate Caramels by Lagusta’s Luscious – Organic, fair-trade vegan chocolate is good all by itself. Hell, so are vegan croissants. Then Lagusta decided to go off the rails and take fresh baked croissants, blend them up with caramel, and stuff them into some organic croissant shaped chocolates. Lord have mercy.

 Giveaway Entry:

This giveaway is now closed – winners have been notified. Thanks to everyone who entered!

First of all, please be sure to check out all of these prize sponsor’s websites. Fan them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, etc. I couldn’t host amazing giveaways like this without them, so show them some love. You will receive one entry for doing each of the following – do as many or as few as you like:

  1. Comment on this post & tell me your favorite mom from TV, books or film.
  2. Use the Tweet button at the top of this post to share this giveaway.
  3. Use the Pin It button at the top of this post to pin a gift pick item or one of the prize pack images. (Please tag me @bakeanddestroy so I see it.)
  4. Grab an image from this post and share it on Tumblr with a link. (Please don’t use the Tumblr button above, it’s wonky.)
  5. Post this image to Instagram and tag me @bakeanddestroy.

I will randomly select two winners by the end of Monday, May 6th. (Contest open to those with a U.S. shipping address only, please.)

Atomic Prize Pack:

bake and destroy giveaway


Turbo Prize Pack:

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Posted in BLOG, Free Stuff, gift guides, Giveaways | 76 comments

The 6th Annual Bake and Destroy Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway

This December marks the sixth year I’ve been doing Bake and Destroy, and therefore, the sixth annual holiday gift guide and giveaway! I’ve added some new categories this time around, and just like last year, I’ve asked some of my friends to chime in with their top gift picks. For even more gift ideas, check out gift guides of years past -and pay attention throughout the picks to see the great stuff we’re giving away. Rules for entering the giveaway are at the end of the post!

For the Lady Bro

Turns out, I am awful at being a girl! I chew my nails, wear my hair in a clippy thing every day, and  my idea of dressing up is wearing the Cannibal Corpse shirt that has the fewest number of bleach stains on it. Luckily, my friend Jessica has this lady stuff down to a science, so here are her picks for gifts for a lady-like lady dude. Follow Jessica on Twitter at @drtyhousewife.

Puurfect Pineapples Jeffery CampbellBlack Milk Leggings – Leggings, hate ‘em or love ‘em you know someone who wears ‘em.  If you wanna wow a legging lover this holiday season there is no other option. They may seem pricey up front but you are getting a high quality/non-sheer/completely incredible image plastered across your bootie (can you put a price on that?)  Seriously, you wont get six feet without someone demanding to know where you got those pants!  Keep in mind, they are based out of Australia so plan ahead!

If Instagram has anything to say, nail art is the most important form of self expression in 2012.  There are countless websites devoted to all of the amazing shit that can be done with a few bottles of polish and a set of teeny tiny brushes.  My fave is Nail Nerd shes incredible!  If you know someone that is just dying to paint hamburgers on their nails than listen up! They will need…

  1. A brush set – I’m sure you can find them just about anywhere but my go-to is from M.A.S.H and its under $10.  It comes with a ton brushes (seriously I don’t even know what to do with half of them).
  2. A killer top coat – Seche Vite.  It smells like airplane fuel but it dries your nails in like, 30 seconds and leaves that shit shiny and un-chipped for a good week!  I bring this with me when I get my nails done because there is no other top coat, end of story. You can find this stuff at Sallys or Ulta.
  3. Nail polish – everyone has a fave but if you don’t know where to start and want to wow someone with your new found knowledge of nail lacquer here are my top two faves! (Both of these are 3-free (good for the environment), vegan and can be found at Ulta!)
  • Butter London – The colors are to die for and the nail polish removers smell incredible and leave your nails and cuticles silky smooth
  • Zoya – A million colors to chose from and amazing coverage.

Rad Nails HellRazorLingerie is ALWAYS fun to give (& get!)  Every lady (admit it or not) likes to feel sexy, regardless of how they define it.  If you are looking to give someone special something special than Purrfect Pineapples is your answer!  These handmade, all-vegan, frilly frocks are the bees knees.  Can your lady get any sexier? Probably not, but giving her a corset covered in donuts sure isn’t gonna hurt any!

I had perfect skin through high school which I thought made me the luckiest girl on earth.  What I didn’t realize was that it meant trading in perfect skin as an adult. Major buzzkill.  If you know someone who is always trying to keep their mugs in tip-top condition, the answer is face brushin’  You heard me, face brushin. I have a middle of the road face brush and I like it just fine but I did promise myself the upgrade once mine kicks it.  So this list includes a link to the big boy, The Clarsonic.

As an added face brushin’ stocking stuffer try any Argan Oil infused products.  Trust me your skin will thank you!

SHOOOOOOOOES – Who doesn’t love em? I’m an over the top shoe lover, myself. The crazier they look and the less I have to wear with them the more I lust for them.  If you know someone like that than Jeffery Campbell is your answer! You can’t buy them directly off of the JC website but you can find them at most high-end retail shops and online at Sole Struck. Bonus points for purchasing the Black Milk/JC collaboration shoes!  My favs are the Lita’s, aside from looking amazing they are comfy to boot! (See what I did there?)

WIN IT: Yo girl, your nails are looking delicious! Well, they will be anyway, when you win this set of Dollar Slice nail decals from Rad Nails! And how’d your hair get so sassy? Must be that Sugar Skill Hair Clip/Pin from HellRazor! Shoot, you can win that too – check out the end of the post for details!

SAVE IT & WIN IT: I may not be the fanciest of ladies, but even I can appreciate a kooky hat when I see one. That’s why I’m pleased to give away on of Chef Bizzaro‘s gorgeous Cupcake Hats and a set of adorable hair bows to one of my readers! Plus, you can save 15% on your order from now until 12/18 when you enter BAKEANDDESTROY at checkout!

For the Book Nerd

These choice gifts for the bibliophile in your life come from Judy McGuire. Judy isn’t just Seattle Weekly’s Dategirl, she’s also the author of The Official Book of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll Lists, so she knows a thing or two about cool cats who dig books. Check out Judy’s picks:

Being an avid, but extremely particular, reader, I tend to not give books for Christmas. (Unless it’s a copy of my latest book, The Official Book of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll Lists.) (Ahem.) Even if I know the recipient extremely well, literary tastes can be so capricious and so personal and I know I’d rather pick out my own reading material, so I assume others would as well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cater to the readers on your list in other ways. . . .

Wrap their Kindle with Care – Are there still bookish types resisting the e-reader? Perhaps, but anyone who reads a lot has probably invested in one by now. So a cover is the perfect gift, as long as you get a little creative. Sci-fi dork on your list? This Star Wars cover will thrill. Poe fan? This blue leather cover with an embossed raven is spookariffic. And if you want to make sure they never forget you, personalize a cover with your smiling mug.

Jane Austen bandages Star Wars Kindle caseNo more late fees! – There’s nothing more irritating than loaning out a beloved book only to have it disappear into the ether. The New York Public Library’s Your Home Library Kit will keep that from ever happening again. And if someone does defy your system and run off with your first edition of The Black Dahlia, a monogrammed library stamp will help remind them that they’re a thief every time they open the book. If the Kit is too much, this cute “Books to Check Out” notebook will help your reader keep track of who’s borrowed what, the lo-fi way.

Speaking of first editions. . . . The advent of the e-reader has made reading more convenient, but for book purists, a first edition of their favorite tome is always a welcome surprise. ABE has a huge collection of firsts, but be warned, they’re not for the faint of wallet.

Sex Drugs and Rock n' Roll Lists CakeSpy holiday cardsHeal their papercuts – With all that razor-sharp paper around, reading can be a dangerous activity. So give the gift of healing with these super-cute Jane Austen bandages.

Comfort station – While this may be one of the ten ugliest things on the planet, Brookstone’s Massaging Bed Rest pillow thingy allows its owner to read in bed comfortably, with a vibrating backrest, adjustable LED light, cup holder, pocket for all your reading material, and an AC adaptor! Perfect for the design-challenged reader on your list. In fact, I think my dad will be getting this bad boy.

WIN IT: You’ve read the list, now read the book. Win a copy of Judy’s book, The Official Book of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll Lists! Make that book a gift when you win a set of holiday cards from CakeSpy!

For the True Metal Warrior

This list comes to you from yours truly because some blogs play, Bake and Destroy kills.

Baphomet shorts – I almost died when I saw these short-shorts from JSSXIII, but I didn’t. Instead, I ordered them, waited a couple of days, and then when I got them in the mail, I put them on and posted a picture of my own ass on Instagram. What kind of person would deny a friend a similar experience this holiday?

Actual Pain everything – I’m generally anti-legging. I don’t like my crotch being just like, out there for the world to see. But all of that changes when I put on my Sixth Seal leggings. In my Satan pants I can do no wrong, and neither can my crotch.

Slayer dress – It does my heart so much good to know that there are other women on this planet who love Slayer and Peter Pan collars equally.

Black Metal cologne oil – I bought this for myself because of reasons, and it’s become my everyday scent. Previous to owning this spicy cologne my every day scent was failed deodorant, which was metal in its own way.

All the Toxic Vision things – Toxic Vision creations aren’t cheap, nor are they vegan-friendly but they are very, very metal. I became an instant fan when I spotted a studded leather Mayhem vest on the Interwebs, and I have stayed a fan because Toxic Vision creator/model Sharon Ehman’s ass is seriously unbelievable.

For the Cool Mom

Something amazing happened this year – one of my best friends became a mom! Lisa and I bonded over our love of weird and somewhat useless things, so I thought she’d be the perfect person to curate a gift guide for cool moms. Heeeeere’s Lisa!

Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, you are a busy mom and so you don’t always have the time for yourself. I love getting a Birchbox every month. Inside there are samples of skin care products, hair products, cosmetics, plus tips and tricks. If you’re allowed that five-minute “me time” a new shade of nail polish can make you feel great (and forget about the pureed carrots in your hair).  Along the same lines, Blumm sends out samples for the ‘lil monster (mostly newborn to one year). Maybe a rattle, baby lotion, food, or sometimes a treat or two for mom. These gifts are great because they keep on giving….until your subscription ends, that is.

Looking for a mama necklace that doesn’t scream, “MOM”? These necklaces from Blue Dove Studio are so sweet – with no lame pastel booties in sight. I have one with our three initials on it, just a little reminder of the love that made our little monster. Birds not your thing? Here is another great option for moms who keep it simple and sweet! (She does this in silver too! Just ask!)

gift for momChanging diapers is a crappy job, so why not make it somewhat pleasurable? This wipe holder from Sweet Monkey Tots is so darn cute! I chose fabric that matches my little guy’s bedding, and I love that his name is on it. With lots of fabrics, fonts and embellishments to choose from, you can really customize your holder! After the poopy part of motherhood is over, this box could become a great container for crayons or other treasures.

We no longer live in a time of The Waltons when families live together under one roof (or even in the same state). I live far from my family in New York, so I’ve given Goodnight Chicago to all the kids so they can remember their FAVORITE aunt at bedtime. When I, in return, received Goodnight New York I was thrilled! There’s a version for almost every city, and there’s even a Goodnight America. (Or if you want to be super festive…I just saw there was a Good Night Baby Jesus!)

cupcake provocateur apronAs I stated before, I love personalized things. My son has a unique name, so I’ll never find it on anything in stores, so I jump on anything I can stamp his name on. I get lots of personalized items for Mr. Smalls at Psychobaby, a fun store in Chicago. Check out Santa’s Little Helper and this Tattoo One-Piece.

SAVE IT: Cupcake Provocateur is the preferred apron brand of cool moms everywhere. Check out their new Harlow Aprons and save 10% on your purchase when you enter BAKECP10 at checkout!

For the Gamer

I asked my friend Matt to cultivate this brand-new gift category this year because, well… you’ll see. I think the last video game I took seriously was Kid Icarus so I certainly appreciate his help. I didn’t add links to buy these games because you can kind them all on Amazon. If you’re a fan of this list, you should stop by Matt’s shop KILLTAKER and buy yourself a little something.

If you’re like me, you enjoy the holiday season for the gut-busting dinners alongside the people that you love. Also, if you’re like me, you want to leave the exact second the food is gone because you’re reminded through the actions of the people that you love why you moved away in the first place. Following my yearly covert exodus from Grandma’s house, the place I run screaming from friends and family is into the warm, loving embrace of video games. Here are five that have me excited this holiday season:

WWE ’13 – Another year, another WWE game. This time around, the focus is on yesteryear, as the icons of the “Attitude Era” rear their ugly heads for a brief, but exciting run of nostalgia based role playing. Relive several moments that have resulted in real-life people being real life crippled! Also, some guy named CM Punk is on the cover.  If anyone has an idea who he is, please let me know.

Assassin’s Creed III – Who doesn’t want to travel back in time and become a Native American?! Probably anyone who is Native American, but, whatever. Fill your Colonial blood lust with equal and ample amounts of British and American piles of corpses who come with both authentic powdered wigs and accurately questionable hygiene! Help America achieve the freedom needed to do the wonderful things our country is founded upon like slavery and xenophobia! Hooray! Also, multiplayer mode is pretty fun.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II – The latest in this little-known niche series has you playing in both the 60′s and in 2025 against the same enemy – foreigners! The story campaign is typically short, but the real star here is multiplayer mode. Kill both dorks and incredibly handsome, yet humble gaming enthusiasts (such as myself) in a multitude of sprawling maps with more weapons than you can possibly count. (I’m going off the assumption you can’t count past thirty.) It also comes with a zombie mode, but what doesn’t these days?
Halo 4 – If you think I was waiting until #4 to post Halo 4 because it’s the fourth installment in the series, then you’re wrong, because it’s the sixth installment, you idiot! But I did buy this on day one, and I did go and shoot tons of aliens (aka foreigners, who, of course, are the enemy) with my laser guns. Pew! Pew! Pew! That’s how the laser guns sound in this game in case you’re one of the aliens, who don’t seem to have ears. Another fun multiplayer game and a somewhat slightly less fun campaign mode that left me confused and mildly aggravated at times. No worries, this is my natural state. If you’ve enjoyed past Halo installments, you’ll dig the new stuff on this one. Unless, you’re an alien. Then, this game is terribly racist and you’ll hate it.
Hitman: Absolution – If you’re a bald agent of chaos with a number for a name — and who isn’t? — then you *love* accepting murder contracts against people that deserve to die and Hitman: Absolution is the game for you. This is the first game of this series in several years and it looks like it was worth the wait. Lots of missions, and lots of options to build and replay missions under your own rules. What are you waiting for?! Go shoot somebody!
The Walking Dead – This game is on mobile phones and is also downloadable on consoles, and will be out on disc in early December for both PS3 and XBOX360. You’ll play as an escaped inmate who is navigating Georgia with a rag-tag group of survivors trying to escape the zombies that have recently plagued the area. You’ll run into characters from the comic book like Herschel Greene and his family while trying to blaze your own path away from the Walkers. Everything you do has a consequence and your lies can bury you. Unfortunately, so can just about anything else, as the zombie world is brutal and unforgiving. The special edition comes with a leather bound fancy-boy volume of the first 50 issues of the comic.

For the Vegan

Vegan Cuts Snack Box – Want to give your herbivore friend something that will make him or her think of you every month? For under $20/month, including shipping, the Vegan Cuts Snack Box will provide your pal with 5-8 vegan yummies and household products from really cool vegan brands.
Non-lame vegan t-shirts – As a rule, shirts about what you eat, whether it’s an “I <3 bacon” shirt or a “Meat’s no treat for those you eat” hoodie, are dorky. Herbivore Clothing has found a solution to this issue in their clever line of shirts, hoodies and other things featuring vegan-themed riffs on everything from the Motorhead logo to the Powell Ripper logo.

Gift Sets by Hip Apotheca – High-end beauty and grooming products that are 100% vegan-approved. Spend a little on a set of tinted lip balms, or spend a little more on a skin-brightening serum. Lovely!

In the six years I’ve been doing Bake and Destroy, the biggest struggle a lot of my readers have is finding vegan ingredients in stores near them. That’s why shops like Vegan Essentials are, well, essential. A gift certificate to Vegan Essentials will allow your veg-head loved ones to load up animal-free items that they may not be able to find in local stores.
lucky cupcake hair clipsBake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans – C’mon, you know I have to plug my book! OK, ok, it’s not printed yet, but you can pre-order it now and you know, cut out the photo and tape it into a card. From breakfast to dessert this book is full of recipes simple enough for anyone to make, calling for ingredients that you can find almost anywhere (I bought 95% of the groceries I used at the corner store by my house!)
SAVE IT & WIN IT: Check out the end of this post to find out how you can win a SkinnySkinny Organic Mini Organic Dry Shampoo in Black Pepper & Rose, Adara Coconut Oil in Heavenly Peach,  One Love Organics Brand New Day, discovery size; IFE Body Oil, travel size; Crazy Rumors lip balm in Gingerbread, and a John Masters Organics Amenity Travel Kit from Hip Apotheca! Plus, save 20% on your order from now until 12/20 when you enter DESTROY at check out!
SAVE IT & WIN IT: If someone on your list would like my book this holiday, then they’d love this Bake and Destroy prize pack from Lucky Cupcake Hairclips! The set includes a hair bow, earrings and necklace featuring my “recipes with mosh parts” logo and a convertible turban, which is my absolute favorite hair accessory! Check out the end of this post to see how you can win, and enter BAKEANDDESTROY to save 10% on your Lucky Cupcake order today!

For the Rasslin’ Fan

My friend Thaddeus is back for his second year making gift picks for wrestling fans. Why should you listen to Thadd’s opinions on pro-wrestling-themed gifts? Uh, because his name is Thaddeus Mountain, that’s why. Follow Thadd on Twitter at @RudoWakening.
CM Punk: Best in the World DVD – Chicago Made. Voice of the Voiceless. Best in the World. These are just a few of the apt descriptions of CM Punk, the current reigning and defending WWE champion. This documentary and match compilation gives insight into the life of one of professional wrestling’s most polarizing figures of the 21st century. Also, it features commentary from a certain site owner, gift guider and giver-awayer, and author. And if you’re curious about Punker’s pre-WWE output, check out ROH Wrestling or for your Indy fix. Still no balloons or ice cream bars, though.
macho man“Macho” Art Print – OOOOOOOHHHH YEEEEAAAAHHH!!! DIG IT!!! “Macho Man” Randy Savage was one of wrestling’ greatest talkers, wrestlers, and showmen. His huge personality is  captured in all of its garish glory on this piece that any fan of old-school wrestling should be proud to hang in their home. Or in their mom’s basement, if they’re the smarky type, still flooding message boards pining for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the “real” ECW to come back.
The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette 25th Anniversary Scrapbook – Jim Cornette is well-known as the manager of the Midnight Express (both the Eaton & Lane and Eaton & Condrey versions) and as one of the best promo men/fastest talkers in all of pro wrestling. Just ACES on the mic, I tells ya. They didn’t call him The Louisville Lip for nothin’. He has also been a booker, writer, announcer, promoter (Smoky Mountain represent!) for basically every major promotion in North America since the mid-1980s. Never one to pull punches on any subject, Cornette will no doubt regale the reader with his stories of life behind and in front of the curtain. And if you really want, you can get this bad boy autographed.
Sting CM Punk Macho ManMil Máscaras Cyclops Wrestling Monster Halloween Mask- EVERYONE needs at least one lucha mask. It’s in chapter 3 of “The Official Rules & Regulations of Being a Pro Wrestling Fan” (not an actual book… yet). Why not shoot for the stars and bedeck your gourd with this tribute to one of the multiverse’s greatest luchadors, Pro Wrestling and WWE hall-of-famer Mil Máscaras? He only helped to revolutionize wrestling by popularizing the Mexican lucha libre style in the US, as well as being the first masked wrestler to ever wrestle in Madison Square Garden. And how many wrestlers can say they have had postage stamps released in their honor? As if you needed any more proof to Mil’s greatness, he is the uncle of Alberto Del Rio.
WWE Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition – Think you or your loved one knows everything about WWE? Think again. This HUGE encyclopedia covers the WWE, its superstars, divas, managers, and pay-per-views from the split with the NWA to the present day and is packed with more information and history than even Howard Finkel can handle.
SAVE IT & WIN IT: Fantasy football is for weirdos. Everyone knows wrestling dream card matches are where it’s at – and what would make a better dream match than Punk vs. Savage? Check out the end of this post to see how you can win a Punk vs. Savage Dream Card poster from Two Reverends. Also up for grabs, a ridiculously awesome Sting necklace from Dotty the Demon and hey, make it giftable with two sets of handmade gift tags (Snowflakes-a-plenty & Glitter Snowflake SwivelTags)  from CandiPresents. Need more gift tags? Save 20% now through 3/31 when you enter BDGVWY at check out!

For the Comic Book Gal

Oh hay, this list was put together by Jill Thompson, probably the most well-known female comic book artist in the industry. Perhaps you have seen her work in Wonder Woman, Sandman and a little series called The Scary Godmother?

Being a comic book gal, people are always asking me, “Hey- I know a guy or a girl that’s interested in comics! You’re a comics gal! What can I give them at gift-giving time of the year?”

Well, I’m all for letting your interest in comics being proudly displayed. But, I’m also a firm believer in giving a homemade gift! But, if you can’t hand make something, there’s a good chance that some crafty person on Etsy can do it for you! I do lots of shopping there because I love unique things and I like to support other artistic people!

So, check out the big ol’ list that I’ve compiled of many wonderful objects that I personally love.  Some are costly, some are not. Some are “buy it nows” and some might inspire you to create something yourself!


Use old comic book tee shirts to make tote bags, a bedspread, or a sweet scarf! You can find all sorts of comic book t-shirts online, in comic book shops, and in the thrift stores! Use this helpful blog post as reference!

Like to read comics on their e-reader? Design your own ipad, nook, kindle, e-reader cover! Upload some of their favorite comic artwork, or comic cover to create this cool protector!

X Men X symbol belt buckle. Of course we all wanted to attend Xavier’s School for Gifted Children! I’d wear this belt buckle every day!

Tara McPherson pillows - Everyone loves the art of Tara McPherson! So your beds or couches need a pillow with one of her stylish images on them!


I love wearing a striking piece of cool clothing that your mundanes or muggles might not normally wear. One great comic book piece can be incorporated into even the most office cubical type environment!

Awesome custom comic, game and movie inspired skirts and aprons! So cool! I love the Robin, Harley Quinn, R2D2 aprons and the comic print full skirt!  The apron would be for home, naturally! These skirts would look great with tights and flats and a  fuzzy cardigan!

Betty TurboHow about Custom Comic book high heels or flats or Hell on Heels custom comic book high heel shoes? What about a Kryptonite crystal ring  or a sweet fitted batman hoodie WITH bat ears? Wear it with jeans and boots or a black pencil skirt and pointy toed flats! That’s how I’d do it!

Bag it up with this goes-with-everything Tokidoki Comic print tote or this recycled comic tote! Carry your comics home from the comic shop!

Finally, these cool Antler Barrettes by Miss Monster remind me of Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire! (That’s a comic- read it!)

WIN IT: Give the artsy gal in your life your choice of print from Betty Turbo (oh, and she also happens to be illustrating my cookbook, what do you know?) Wrap it up with a bow – a knitted hair bow on a headband from The Lulu Bean! See below for entry rules!

The Giveaway

To enter the Sixth Annual Bake and Destroy Holiday Giveaway, leave a comment on this post about your favorite holiday food. For two additional entries, share this post on Twitter and Tumblr – leave a separate comment with a link to each share. I will randomly select one winner each day starting on 11/25/12 – winners much have a US shipping address. Prizes are described above! 

Winners will be chosen as follows:

#1: 11/25 – Congrats Maggie S!

#2: 11/26 – Congrats Kate C! 

#3: 11/27 – Congrats Dina P!

#4: 11/28 – Congrats Brittney!

#5: 11/29 – Congrats Krissy G!

#6: 11/30 – Congrats Danny!

#7: 12/1 – Congrats Kevin L! 

The giveaway is now closed, thanks to my sponsors and everyone who entered! 

Posted in BLOG, Free Stuff, gift guides, Giveaways | 193 comments

The 5th Annual Bake and Destroy Gift Guide & Giveaway

Immortal black metal ChristmasGood Godzilla, it’s that time of the year again. You’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, throat-punched a bunch of old ladies at Best Buy to get the best deal on a hideously large plasma screen TV and now you’re settling down at your desktop trying to find the perfect gift for all the weirdos in your life. As always, I’m here to help. For five years now I’ve been bringing you the awesomest, stupidest, and most wonderful things the Internet has to offer. Just check out my gift guide legacy if you don’t believe me!

This year I wanted to give you something really different, so I’ve enlisted a bunch of my friends to come up with top 5 lists for their respective fields of expertise. And as always, I have some great stuff to give away – those are sprinkled throughout the guide and listed again at the bottom. Everything I’m giving away would make an amazing gift – or, of course you can keep it for yourself, you selfish bastard.

Let’s kick things off with my longtime friend Thaddeus Mountain. Not only does Thad have the coolest real name in the world, but he also sat behind me in almost every class in high school, which resulted in us getting sent out into the hallway quite a bit. We bonded in high school over our love of pro-wrestling, so I couldn’t think of anyone better to bring you the…

For the Rasslin’ Fan:

“Wrestling fans are a notoriously fickle lot, especially in the age of the Interwebz. These rad gifts will satisfy both the smarmiest of smart marks, and the rubiest rube that ever rubed, who wouldn’t know kayfabe if it locked them in a Figure-Four, knife-edge chopping them all the livelong day.” – Thad

  1. Bret Hart necklaceLuchador necklace by Finest Imaginary - Moustaches, necklaces, and Lucha Libre. The best triple team since the Fabulous Freebirds.
  2. The Many Faces of Muto DVD Set - A gift for the die-hard fan. You’ll be hitting your foes with green mist and power drive elbows in no time thanks to Muta.
  3. Luchador Stainless Steel Flask - El Santo says that you’re thirsty. Listen to him.
  4. CM Punk Lawn Gnome - This isn’t your ordinary gnome. This gnome is a multiple-time World Champion. He’s also straight edge, which means he’s BETTER THAN YOU.
  5. Andre the Giant Art Print - Perfect for any fan, this is probably the greatest piece of art you can hang in your house. (You could win this! See the end of this post for details.)
Natalie’s Two Cents: As a wrestling fan and a fashionable mother trucker, I have several pendants by Dotty the Demon on my wishlist this year. I’m already the proud owner of a Honkey Tonk Man necklace and hope to get the Roddy Piper or Bret Hart next! Like what you see? Well, Dotty the Demon is going to give one of you a Bret Hart necklace of your very own! Check out the end of this post to find out how to enter.

For the Chicagoan (or the Wanna-be Chicagoan):

I’m writing this list myself because I have an ear of corn tattooed on my knuckle and a Chicago hot dog tattooed on my back. I also coined the phrase “cornfed as fuck,” therefore, this top 5 is mine.

  1. Made in the USA Chicago EL water bottleGenuine Chicago Hot Dog Print by Betty Turbo – The first thing you need to know about real-deal Chicagoans is how we like our hot dogs. Mustard, relish, diced onions, celery salt, sport peppers, pickle spears and fresh tomato on a poppy seed bun. No ketchup or we will for real kill you. This print will help you remember, and possibly save your life. (Betty Turbo is giving a print away to one of my readers, so check out the end of this post for details!)
  2. Chicago Flag Ceramics by Circa Ceramics – Know something else we Chicagoans are mega proud of? Our flag. We fly it from our fire escapes, tattoo it all over ourselves and print it on everything we can get our hands on. I took it so far as to eat my dinner off Chicago flag plates from Circa Ceramics and so should you.
  3. Chicago-made Cosmetics by Ethically Engineered – A lot of people are shocked to find out that Chicago is one of the country’s greenest cities, but we have a  long, proud history of bike-friendliness and green engineering in this city. You can support Chicago’s ever-growing green movement by purchasing eco-friendly, vegan soaps, bottleless shampoos, lip blams and more from Ethically Engineered.
  4. Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Pizza – You’ve probably noticed that we of the Big Shoulders are fierce about our local foods. I’ve seen fist fights break out over New York style vs Chicago deep dish pizza. Say what you want about either one, but nothing says “home” to me so much as a slice of Lou Malnati’s famous, buttery-crust deep dish. Check out all their options online, from DIY kits to frozen pies.
  5. Chicago L Waterbottle – This is actually a teaser suggestions from a little side project I’m working on with my friend Katya. You can follow us on Twitter to find out when this awesome, 100% made in the USA water bottle will be available!
Natalie’s Two Cents: Yep, two more cents on my own list. Want to rep another Chicago original this holiday? Hi, I’m a Chicago original. Check out the Bake and Destroy Shop for aprons, coffee mugs, t-shirts and more! Plus, I’m going to send one of you  set of four stackable Bake and Destroy mugs. So check out the end of this post for details! (Free shipping on orders over $40* on 11/28. Coupon Code SHOPNOV28. Or, starting 11/29 15% off orders over $45. Coupon Code ADEC1145. Click here for details.)

For the Book Nerd

This list comes to you from my friend Ben, a real-life librarian! Can you believe a librarian would be friends with me? Me neither! Anyway, here are his top five picks for the literary-minded special someone on your list!
  1. Vonnegut t-shirtA subscription to the McSweeney’s Book Release Club - McSweeney’s books publishes everything from forgotten classics to new work by writers like Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers, and William T. Vollman. A gift subscription to the BRC gets the lucky recipient the next eight books McSweeney’s puts out, roughly one per month. And who doesn’t like getting presents in the mail?
  2. 100 classic Penguin book covers, in postcard form - For any literature buff, the iconic Penguin cover design is unmistakeable. This box collects 100 Penguin covers, mostly from the 30′s and 40′s when the distinctive single-color horizontal stripes stood for quality fiction at a reasonable price. When Alan Lane founded the company in 1935, he famously declared “I have never been able to understand why cheap books should not also be well-designed, for good design is no more expensive than bad.” Nearly eighty years later, this set proves the wisdom of his radical idea.
  3. Sports Jerseys for Book Nerds - If the book nerd in your life can’t tell a touchdown from a hole-in-one, it doesn’t mean they lack team spirit–their heroes might just come from a different field. These team jerseys from Novel-T feature writers and characters from both classic and modern literature, so everyone’s loyalties are covered. Plus, $1 from each purchase goes towards 826nyc or Doctors Without Borders, meaning your gift will be appreciated twice over.
  4. The Word Made Flesh, Literary Tattoos from Bookworms WorldwideGreat writing inspires a different kind of ink in this collection of literary tattoos. Full color photography, plus personal stories from the featured models, make this celebration of the written word both beautiful and inspirational. It’s a perfect coffee table book for a well-read household.
  5. Upcycled vintage book journalsMoleskine is so over, right? Get your nerd one of these journals upcycled from vintage book covers, and they’ll be sure to get attention while scribbling notes for their next story. There are a ton of styles and subjects available–everything from science textbooks to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys–but if none of them are quite right, the maker is happy to take custom orders.
Natalie’s Two Cents: I want on of those t-shirts. Poe. That is all.

For the Comic Book Gal

…and by “gal” we definitely mean ADULT gal. This list comes from one of my favorite wrestling-and-cake-obsessed artists, Agnes. You might know her as Betty Turbo (check out the end of this post to find out how you can win one of her prints!) Agnes admits that it was difficult not to make this list “a completely filthy list of smut,” and now you know why I love her.

  1. comic book headbandChester 5000 XYV by Jess Fink – For the dame who likes her saucy stories sepia toned and chock full of robot love machines.  You may already know creator Jess Fink from her Threadless t-shirt designs, now her erotic web comic is available in a handsome hardbound book from Top Shelf Productions.  Explicit and graphic but still playful, sweet, clever, and beautifully painted.
  2. Comic Sound FX headbands from Janine Basil – Great for accessorizing a comic con outfit, or just when you’re having a totally rad hair day and want your head to say KAPOW!  Brightly colored and attention getting to make you feel like a superhero!  Janine’s in the UK, so hurry up if you’re in the U.S. shopping for Christmas!
  3. This Journal Belongs To… by Ming Doyle – A GORGEOUS professionally printed art journal featuring the amazing work of illustrator and comic book artist Ming Doyle.  Peeking inside someone’s sketchbook has never been such a beautiful adventure.  Every other art book on your coffee table will be jealous.  Featuring tasty things book nerds love to adore, like a shiny pearlescent cover and a red ribbon bookmark.  Check out the cute promo video Ming made!
  4. Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto – How generous are you feeling?  The sixth printed volume of this looong running webcomic is now available for preorder, and it’s the first one in full color!  Order all six for that extra special lady on your list and she’ll have hours and hours to spend engrossed in relationship trials & tribulations, sarcasm, a few cute kitties, and a talking cactus!  This is a slice-of-life comic full of people you’d want to know… or at least talk shit about. Order the “artist editions” and get them personalized for you by Danielle herself.
  5. Reading Comics: 24 Postcards Depicting Americas 2nd Favorite Preoccupation by Denis Kitchen – What fan of printed matter doesn’t need a few more charming postcards to hoard, use as bookmarks, or send a handwritten note?  That comic-loving babe you know appreciates special messages written on REAL PAPER with actual pens or pencils.  Fun vintage photos featuring random folks and occasionally celebrities reading comics, with some smartass captions on the back.

Natalie’s Two Cents: Agnes and I may have bonded over our love of 80′s wrestling and Andrew W.K., but our love of wacky hair things has kept us together all these years. Some of my favorites come from Lucky Cupcake Hairclips – check out the comic book, wrestling and even Star Wars-inspired bows! You’ll find a coupon code for 10% off to our left over there, and head cupcake Joy has agreed to give away some limited-edition Bake and Destroy bows to one of you! Check out the end of this post for details. (And check out my post about why these bows are so awesome.)

For Mini Cool People

Kids are awesome. They have all the benefits of hanging out with your most mentally unstable, perpetually-drunken friends – with about 1/8th of the chance that they’ll end up getting you arrested. Embarrassingly honest, completely uninhibited and cute enough to get away with wearing some seriously questionable outfits, kids are some of my favorite people to shop for. Here are some ideas for the wee people in your life.

  1. Parry Gripp albums – This gift will be equally welcomed by kids and their parents. Cussing-free, mainly pop-punk songs about food, famous memes and other silly topics. Go listen to them free on Parry Gripp’s website and then download them on iTunes or Amazon.
  2. Threadless t-shirts for kids – While there are scads of adorable clothing options for little girls, I think most parents of boy-type children such as myself will tell you, there isn’t crap. Luckily, Threadless makes really cute shirts and onsies for kids with a sense of humor.
  3. Ants on a Log soap – For me, ants on a log solved a major issue I had as a parent: getting my kid to flipping eat something. The healthy combo of peanut butter, celery sticks and raisins works every time, though. This look-alike vegan soap solves another parental issue: getting your kids into the tub. For under $10 it’s a smart stocking stuffer for the dirty little kid in your family.
  4. Mad Monster Party DVD – Got a niece whose totally obsessed with Monster High? So do I! And while the monster lover in me thinks they’re way cooler than Barbie, the auntie in me is all, “why are they dressed so slutty?” Encourage your little lady’s creepy ways with something a little more innocent. Plus, Mad Monster Party features the vocal talents of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller so it has both horror and comedy street cred to spare.
  5. CakeSpy cookbook – A few weeks ago I posted a simple-but-fun recipe from CakeSpy’s new, kid-friendly cookbook. With lots of adorable illustrations and creative recipes like Candy Salad, this book would make a cute gift for any kid who loves to play in the kitchen. The cover is pink as all get-out, but my son will vouch for the recipes’ unisex appeal.
Natalie’s Two Cents: Some of Teno’s favorite toys were a totally cheap thrill – printable cut-and-make paper toys from Fantastic Toys. For just a few dollars each, you’ll receive PDF files allowing you to print and make an endless supply of doll houses, favor boxes and more. The favor boxes double as a sweet way to gift someone homemade cookies and candies. Check out the end of this post to find out how you can win three PDFs from Fantastic Toys!

For the Teacher 

This list comes from my mom, who has been teaching for 20+ years: “The subject of teacher gifts comes up in one forum or another every year, and I always hesitate to give my opinion because I really don’t want to sound ungrateful.  The thing parents need to remember is that we generally have between 22 and 30 students at one time. (Middle school teachers have more than elementary, but from what they tell me, they don’t get as many gifts at that level.)  So the ornament or coffee mug you’ve chosen is probably very cute and unique to you, but chances are good it is one of ten we receive that year. Multiply that by then number of years the teacher has been in the classroom and she could very likely open a Mugs R Us franchise or single-handedly decorate the tree in Daley Plaza.I requested the input of several teacher friends and almost every one mentioned that it would be easier to list things we do NOT want/need more of. That brings us back to the ungrateful comment above.”

  1. She already has one, thanks.

    The number one most popular request is gift certificates of all kinds: Starbucks, local restaurants, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, mani/pedi spa certificates as well as Target and department store cards are always the right size, color and flavor.  For those of us who love to shop, we not only get to shop, but we don’t have to worry about spending holiday shopping money on ourselves. Bonus!

  2. The half aprons from Foodphyte are quite popular with the K-2 teachers at my school.  You can catch several of us in the hall wearing our cute little teacher aprons with our pockets filled with those things we use all day long. (In my case, it’s stickers, pens, my glasses and lipgloss.)
  3. Chocolate was also mentioned as a popular and appreciated gift. A box of candy is nice to have on hand when holiday visitors drop in, and if dietary restrictions prohibit the teacher from enjoying it herself, chances are good her family will appreciate the treat  I cannot, of course, speak for all educators, but I know I’m not alone when I say I will not eat anything that someone baked at home unless I personally know the baker and have seen her kitchen. I can’t help it. I’ve always been squeamish that way. But I will always remember the day a parent showed up at my classroom door with a pie from Baker’s Square. My whole family reaped the benefits that evening!
  4. Most teachers are paper/office supply junkies. It seems to go with the territory. Cute note cards, notepads, cool pens (if you’ve ever seen me nerd out in Target over the Pilot V2 pens, you’d buy me a package). As many friends have mentioned, we do buy a great deal of our classroom supplies out of our own pockets, so cute/unique office supply items will probably be put to good use.
  5. I’ve been teaching for over twenty years and I still remember every sweet, heartfelt note I’ve received from a parent.  I don’t care if the Dunkin Donuts gift certificate in the card is for the minimum amount, if the parent took the time to acknowledge that I knock myself out day after day trying to do the best I can, applauds me for being caring and patient and tells me how much their child loves me and loves school because of me, well, that is one hell of a meaningful gift.
Natalie’s Two Cents:  My mom speaks the truth about eating baked goods made in a stranger’s kitchen. It can be scary! Still, what hard-working teacher wouldn’t appreciate something warm from the oven?  This year, try the next best thing to homemade – give your child’s teacher a couple of mixes from Dassant – scones, beer bread, truffle brownies and more. You’ll save $5 off your order of $20 or more when you enter the code DESTROY online. Plus, two of you will win four mixes of your choice delivered straight to your home! Check out the end of this post for details.

The Giveaway

I hope that covers the bases for at least most of the people on your list this year. If I missed someone (like your vegan friend, or your sister who rivals Martha Stewart’s craftiness check out some of my older gift guides!
And now I have some gifts for you guys! Starting on Tuesday, November 29th I will be choosing someone different every night to receive a prize as outlined below. To enter, leave me a comment about what you’re hoping for this holiday. The contest is only open to those with a US shipping address, and you may only enter once. I’ll be choosing the winning comments at random – so you can enter at any point during the seven days!
  1. Nov. 29th – Four Dassant baking mixes of your choice. Congrats, Jenny! 
  2. Nov. 30th – One Betty Turbo print of your choice. Congrats, Teri! 
  3. Dec. 1st – Bret Hart necklace by Dotty the Demon + an Andre the Giant print from Boxing Bear. Congrats Crystal! 
  4. Dec. 2nd – Three Gingerbread Village printable toy PDFs from Fantastic Toys. Congrats Mike!
  5. Dec. 3rd. - Four Dassant baking mixes of your choice. Congrats Sarah! 
  6. Dec. 4th – Bake and Destroy hairclips prize package from Lucky Cupcake Hairclips Congrats Susan!
  7. Dec. 5th – Bake and Destroy stackable mugs from me Congrats Ashley! 

Good luck, and crappy crolidays! 

Posted in BLOG, gift guides, Giveaways | 149 comments

Cuppy and Natalie’s Halloween Guide to Cuteness

I’ve been wanting to do a Halloween buying guide forever. Like, since I started my blog in 2006 forever. All I needed was 5 years and a swift kick in the butt from my good friend Cuppy from Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others. If you follow her blog, you already know that Cuppy wears the cutest outfits, has the craftiest friends and the coolest tattoos. So who better to help me put this guide together?

And since it’s just not Halloween without treats, I’ve decided to give a Bake and Destroy coffee mug (goat or classic logo, your choice!) to one of my readers. Just leave me a comment about your Halloween costume this year, your favorite Halloween candy or your favorite scary movie to enter! (Please note this contest is now closed!)

Without further ado, here is your official guide to Halloween cuteness from me and Cuppy!

Frankenstein's Monster Mary Janes Em & Sprout Etsy Halloween Shoes

Frankenstein's Monster Mary Janes

Want to get in the Halloween spirit without looking like a total dingus? Cuppy suggests a pair of adorbs Mary Janes from Em & Sprout. Vampires, monsters, ghosts, pumpkins and more – each one cuter than the last. Em & Sprout also makes handmade Halloween masks, tote bags, accessories and other things – in plus sizes, too! Order by October 9th for Halloween delivery!

Bela Lugosi halloween necklace etsy

Ciao bella!

Pay homage to the one and only Bela Lugosi on Halloween (and all year) with this amazing laser cut stainless steel pendant. Fable & Fury also features the gorgeous Vampira, the Bride of Frankenstein and lots of other spooky icons you’ll love! “Like” them on Facebook for special deals.

monster mash apron coupon cupcake provocateur halloween

It was a graveyard smash!

Halloween is simply not Halloween without the Monster Mash – and I prefer mine in apron-form. Pair this Cupcake Provocateur apron with heels and a Bride of Frankenstein wig and it’s a monster housewife costume (especially when paired with matching dish-washing gloves!) After Halloween, it’ll still be our favorite apron. Save 10% with the coupon code over there to your right!

Never seen Mad Monster Party? Ok. Well when you’re done reading this post and sharing it with everyone you know, go over to Amazon, order it, and then don’t do anything important until you’ve seen it. Two words: Phyllis Diller. Once you’ve seen the movie, you’ll probably want to hang this Mad Monster Party print from Hen n’ Chicks on your wall.

Harold and Maude two-headed bat plush doll Devout Dolls Halloween

Harold and Maude

Cuppy and I would like to remind you all that Halloween *is* a holiday, and therefore, can be considered a gift-giving occasion. Perhaps you’d like to gift one of us this two-headed bat from Devout Dolls? Aw, thank you! You are SO sweet.

Know what else every girl wants? Scary ass hair bows from Lucky Cupcake Hairclips! All your favorite slashers, crazies and spookies are featured on cute, handmade bows. Too much of a scardy cat to wear a Chucky bow? Joy’s got you covered with rassler bows, video game clips and all kinds of other cuteness. Check out the coupon to your right for 10% off!

bloody hand print coffee mug Circa Ceramics Halloween

Dexter's coffee mug?

Without my morning coffee I will for real kill someone – so I reach for this Circa Ceramics mug as my daily reminder to…you know, not murder. Blood and guts not your thing? Check out these cool zombie mugs featuring artwork by Matt Cipov!

Hello Kitty sunglasses Halloween

Instant cute!

Looking for an instant costume? Try these Hello Kitty-inspired sunglasses from Guilty Free Candy! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered getting my prescription put into these babies, but I already look like a big enough asshole.

Bonus instant costume idea: this nerd alert shirt from Sick for Cute. Pair it with hiked-up floods, taped-together glasses and a dopey look on your face. When people ask what you’re supposed to be you can say, “I’m a mirror.”

For spooky sweetness you can wear all year, check out Little Miss Delicious’ Halloween collection. Candy corn earrings, vampire cupcakes Frankenstein ice cream cones… squee!

eyeball lollipop candy handmade suckers Halloween

Eye love candy.

Let the little kids have their Now n’ Laters, because these gorgeous, hand-crafted candies and cookies from Sweetniks are just for you. With flavors like rose, salted margarita, cardamom and more these treats put the “ooh la la” in lollipops.

But what about FREE stuff?

So glad you asked! Why, right here on your friendly neighborhood Bake and Destroy you can download DIY cupcake toppers that are sure to radical up your Halloween party! Try some shark attack toppers on red velvet for a gory treat. Get fReAkY with these vintage circus cupcake toppers, or honor your inner slasher with these Friday the 13th toppers! Keep it evil with my black metal cupcake toppers, too! Hosting a Halloween party? Download my FREE zombie cookbook The Joy of Cooking Humans and print one out for each of your guests!

And of course, don’t forget to enter my giveaway! Leave your comments by October 13th – I’ll randomly select a winner then! Until next time, Hallowieners! (This contest is now closed, thanks!)

Update: Thanks to everyone who entered & congrats to Kelsey for winning! 



Posted in BLOG, Free Stuff, gift guides, Giveaways | 47 comments

The Annual Non-sucky Mother’s Day Gift Guide + Giveaway

me and mama

Me and my mama

OK no one panic… American Mother’s Day is May 8th so you still have time to not be a terrible child. I’m getting a little ahead of the game this year because my guide is almost 100% handmade and I wanted to give plenty of lead time for the featured sellers to make & send your items should you make the wise decision to shop from my guide. Not only am I offering up a sweet giveaway for you AND your mom this year, but I also secured exclusive discounts on lots of my picks so you have no excuse for buying the moms in your life Precious Moments figures this year. (No, not even if that’s what she wants. NO EXCUSE.)

If you want even more ideas check out my gift guides of yesteryear here.

First up, after all the baby showers I’ve been baking for lately I wanted to find some cute things for the mom-to-be. The Small Object not only offers items everyone can use – like mustaches on a stick – but they also have extremely cute (unofficial) birth certificates to hang in the nursery. Not a pastel monkey in sight. For mama herself check out Mutha Crafter’s “I’m so crafty I make people” shirts and accessories. While you’re there you can save 10% off your purchases when you enter BAKE10.

Next up, a little something for the DIY mama – a toaster pastry press (aka Pop Tart maker) from Williams-Sonoma. It’s under $10 so it’s perfect if you’re on a budget. For just a few bucks more you could include a jar or two of fancy fruit fillings. (I like Rare Bird Preserves, so if you’re in the Midwest, look for ‘em!)

If you think she’d like a Pop Tart maker then I can promise she’ll love handmade caramel, nougat and marshmallows from Have It Sweet Confections. My dad and I threw down on a bag of their spiced caramels – my mom didn’t even get any! Go check out their shop, you will seriously lick your screen. Don’t fill up on screen-licking, though, because Have It Sweet is going to send the winner of my giveaway a 1/2 lb of the caramel of his or her choosing. Here’s the deal – you have to at least share it with your mom and they’ll ship it at the end of this month because they’re crazy busy with Easter orders.

This is soap. For real.

Cool story alert: I went 30 years having never eaten a deviled egg. I find them physically repulsive and frankly, eggs weird me out. For the past 4 years I’ve baked cupcakes for my friend Hillary’s son Bishop’s birthday and my favorite part of the party every year is scoping out Hillary’s mom’s deviled egg carrying case. For years now I have been aware that hers are, apparently, the best deviled eggs in the world – mainly because I’ve seen Hillary’s husband Tim eat about 50 of them over the years. But last year I let it slip that not only had I not tried her deviled eggs, I had not tried any deviled egg ever. After a moment of disbelief, I was handed an egg and given the “try it, it won’t kill you” speech by Mrs. Hillary. Terrified, I shoved the entire thing in my mouth thinking I could just maybe swallow it without tasting it. As I am not a python, this wasn’t possible, but I was relieved to find that deviled eggs are not nearly as repulsive as I originally thought. They’re kind of like squishier potato salad. So, in honor of Hillary’s mom and my first-and-last-ever deviled egg, I bring you deviled egg soap by AJ Sweet Soap. Not only did I find soap that looks EXACTLY like a deviled egg, but I also sweet-talked a 10% discount on the whole shop for my readers when they enter FORMOM. Cool story!

OK, so maybe your mom doesn’t bake and she won’t wash her ass with a deviled egg. That’s OK, baby. I got you. Let’s assume she sews. In that case, you should probably get her this Cath Kidston house-shaped sewing basket because well, it’s kinda awesome. I got a sewing machine for my birthday in December. I haven’t used it yet, but I look at it pretty often, so I wouldn’t mind one of these myself.

Shoe clips = new shoes every day!

Fine, fine. Your mom doesn’t rub eggs on her naked body, won’t make you a Pop Tart and she doesn’t sew. Well does she wear shoes? Because if she wears shoes you should give her the gift of versatility with these handmade shoe clips from Cookoorikoo. You’ll also find lots of quirky jewelry any mom would like. I’m a mom and I wear my yo-yo necklace all the time. There you have it: proof. Enter BAKEANDDESTROY and you’ll get a whopping 20% off your order!

Your mom might tell you that you were the best Mother’s Day gift of all. She is sweet, but she’s also lying. Meet her halfway and give her a photo of you and your siblings in a hand-painted picture frame from Whirley Girl Designs. Enter my giveaway and you might win mom the frame of her (or your ) choice!

So what am I getting my mom this year? Well, like me, she’s a big fan of romantic drunkard Charles Bukowski, so for her birthday I bought her this Bluebird in My Heart necklace from Recycled Rings here in Chicago. It even came with a copy of the poem. So if your mom is the literate type, check out that shop an enter MOMSDAY for 15% off your purchase. My mom also happens to be a world champion scrapbooker. I don’t know if there’s an official belt,

Your mom wants to hug this guy!

but if there is she owns it. So I thought of her when I came upon these scarapbook kits from Lili Bee Studio. Perfect for the pro-scrapbooker mom and the newbie alike. You can take 15% off kits and project kits (classes not included) when you mention the code BAKEANDDESTROY15.

If there was one thing my dad always gave my mom crap for it was her love of putting pillows all over everything. There are approximately 37 pillows on every couch and chair and I don’t know how many on the bed. What? She likes to be comfortable. So I thought of her when I saw these pretty pillows from Anna Joyce Designs. I also think her couch would look cute buried under a Hug a Cloud plush pillow-type-guy from Goodbye Blue Monday. If you agree, only about your mom’s couch, you can enter BAKEANDDESTROY for 10% off your order.

I got three things from my mom: cheekbones, a wicked stink eye and a sick coffee addiction. My mom’s a badass, so she takes hers black, but she keeps cream and sugar around for her non-cowboy friends. I think she would like to keep said cream and sugar in these pretty handmade containers from Whitney Smith. Did you know Miss Whitney is also a blogger? Well, she is… and she’s also offering 15% off to my readers when they enter DESTROY.

My mom is hella organized. She has a label on her label maker if you know what I mean. So I can totally see her sticking this vinyl wall calendar up over her desk. Actually, I would not mind one of those myself. Hint, hint.

The mug of the beast! (For ultra cool moms only.)

Speaking of hints, there are a few things on my personal wish list this and every Mother’s Day. Gift certificates to Bake It Pretty are always welcome, as are wrestling-and-cake themed prints from Betty Turbo and cute hair thingies from Lucky Cupcake Hairclips. Lucky Cupcake has lots of bows that support great causes and a brand-new hemp tote for eco-concious moms. Enter BAKEANDDESTROY and take 10% off your Lucky Cupcake purchase!

The Giveaway

OK, so if you were paying attention you would know that there’s a 1/2 lb of delicious, chewy caramel from Have It Sweet Confections and a hand-painted picture frame from Whirley Girl Designs up for grabs – I’d say that’s a pretty nice Mother’s Day gift for you to give your mama. But what’s in it for you? How about a $25 gift certificate to Threadless and a super flippin’ cool Bake and Destroy coffee mug? Yep. One of you will get ALL that stuff because I am the best friend ever. All YOU have to do is leave a comment on this post thanking your mom (or mom-type person… I’m not trying to pour salt in anyone’s wounds!) for something. Did she teach you to bake? Show you how to throw a punch? Contribute some DNA to your awesome good looks? Thank her in the comments and I’ll pick a random winner at the end of this week – April 15th to win the whole shebang.

Good luck! (Love you, mom!)

P.S. Here is a picture of my mom and me at WWE Monday Night Raw. You’re welcome.

The contest is over – congrats to Audrey!

Posted in BLOG, gift guides, Giveaways | 104 comments

Baby Shower and Destroy Part Two + A Sublime Giveaway

Last year I came as close to planning a baby shower as I ever care to when I helped my mom put together my sister’s party. Now that I have a better understanding of the amount of work that goes into making all the little doodads that go on the tables and getting people to shut up and pay attention to the rules of the various baby shower games I consider myself a model baby shower attendee.

When my Aunt Pam asked me to bake for my cousin Ashley’s shower I was extremely flattered, and when they picked some of my favorites – lemon yogurt with ginger cream cheese, Elvis Comeback Specials and coconut with chocolate buttercream – I couldn’t wait to get started. Armed with boatloads of cute candies and papers from Bake It Pretty and custom-designed toppers from Paper and Pigtails I set out making three dozen awfully cute cupcakes if I do say so myself.

I’m by no means a cake decorator so I rely a lot on my large open star tip, offset spatula, royal icing roses and those custom toppers to make special event cakes like this unique. Some sprinkles, fancy baking papers and a cupcake tree later, everyone thinks I’m a genius. Meanwhile, my mom slaved over two flavors of whoopie pies all night and after today decided she’s sticking toppers in them from no one so people think she’s a genius too.

To celebrate another little person coming into my big, warm and welcoming family Sublime Stitching is offering up a prize for one of my readers: an Ultimate Embroidery Kit featuring a black-edged baby bib and I Luv Veggies pattern. It’s everything you need to embroider the cutest baby shower gift ever – and it makes a great gift for a mom-to-be!

There are lots of ways to enter, and you can enter lots of times. Leave a separate comment for each, because each comment counts as one entry:

  1. Like Sublime Stitching on Facebook
  2. Like Paper and Pigtails on Facebook
  3. Like Bake and Destroy on Facebook
  4. Follow Sublime Stitching on Twitter
  5. Follow Paper and Pigtails on Twitter
  6. Follow Bake and Destroy on Twitter
  7. Visit Sublime Stitching and comment about your favorite item
  8. Add Paper and Pigtails to your Etsy favorites
  9. Send out a tweet about this giveaway
  10. Give my cousin’s baby (we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl) a good piece of advice

I’ll choose a winner on April Fool’s Day!

Thanks a lot to Paper and Pigtails for whipping up those toppers to quickly and to Sublime Stitching for the ace giveaway!

This contest is now closed – congrats to Annalee!

Posted in BLOG, Cupcakes, gift guides | 133 comments