GiftYou: An Easy Way to Say “Here’s What You Can Get For Me”

giftYou is an easy new way to share wish lists and gift ideas – complete with sizes, color preferences, and more – with your friends and family.

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These socks are on my giftYou list

Now that we’re in holiday season, family and friends keep asking me for gift ideas for my kids. What sizes are they now, including shoes? What clothes do they especially need? I have the same questions about my sister’s kids and she is terrible at getting back to me. (I am also terrible at getting back to people, but it’s more fun to throw her under the bus.)

But what if there was a central place you could keep all this information? Not just for you and your own kids, but for all the people you love to shower with gifts throughout the year? This is one of those things I didn’t know I needed until it popped up in my life: giftYou!

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giftYou is an online tool that makes it easy to create and share gift wish lists with friends and family. Creator Richard Fields says he and his techie partners “wanted to make the gift giving process easier on ourselves (and in turn, easier for everyone else, too)!  Most of us love giving and receiving gifts… but, quite frankly, it can sometimes be a bit stressful.”

Wish Lists For Everyone!

giftYou goes beyond Amazon’s wish lists (although it uses Amazon links to populate your list easily) by allowing you to easily share wish lists among groups of family and friends. “At giftYou, you simply create a group, invite everyone you want to join, and that’s it,” says Fields.  “Everyone in the group will have their wish lists shared with each other automatically, instead of each person having to manually share each separate wish list with one another.”

giftyou wish list

Plus, giftYou can add links to any online retailer, AND indicate your general preferences and the kinds of things you like, so that people can choose their own gifts for you instead of picking something directly off your wish list. You can use it for this season’s gifting holidays and keep it around for birthdays and other occasions.

When you log in (for free!) and create you own account, you are prompted to start a wish list for yourself. You can also create a wish list and preferences for a dependent or someone else in your family. giftYou is easy to use on your mobile phone too – it’s optimized for that format so you don’t have to download a separate app to use it.

Other cool functions: when someone wants to buy something for you from the wish list, they can “claim” it, but you won’t see who it is! And, the site makes sure gifts aren’t claimed more than once. It’s kind of like an awesome group gift registry.

There’s Still Time

So if you’ve been meaning to gather some ideas for your family to send presents for the kids that you know they would love, instead of blindly ordering the latest hot toy from the internet, try out giftYou.com. And make a wish list for yourself while you’re at it!

I promise you this post is not just a giant hint for you to click through and send me presents. The wish list I posted above is just for an example. (I already asked Santa for these things, so since I’ve been a good girl this year, I think I’m all set.) What I really want is a shiny new car. I wonder if that can go on a wish list? Hmm…

Many thanks to giftYou.com for partnering with me on this post. Shout out to Fairy Season for the photo and the existence of the awesome socks. Happy holidays!

Santa HQ by HGTV Is Already Open at The Oaks

Santa HQ at The Oaks

Curious shoppers asked the staff why Santa HQ was being constructed by The Oaks Mall elves as early as the first weekend in November. It did seem a bit early to see Christmas decor and candy and gifts put out on the shelves of stores that soon. But in this case, while yes, The Oaks is getting into the spirit nice and early, they wanted to provide families a meeting place with Santa soon enough to get those priceless photo memories in the works for holiday cards and gifts.

Seems legit to me.

Santa HQ entrance

It’s no ordinary mall Santa setup, either. HGTV’s Santa HG installation, which appears at 15 locations around the country (so glad they came to Thousand Oaks!), features Santa’s actual workshop where visitors can see the blueprints for toys and an observatory where elves monitor the sleigh’s ride around the world.

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Santa HQ Naughty Nice meter

There’s a naughty/nice meter that kids can stand in to be scanned, and then immediately added to the appropriate list. Finally, Santa himself is happily sitting on his sleigh waiting to meet with children and have their photo taken together.

Santa HQ photo opportunity

But that’s not all! There’s an awesome interactive element to this whole situation: Elf-Ray Vision. It’s an augmented reality app that you download for free (luckily the wifi at the mall is strong enough). Then you point your smartphone camera at an “Elf Trigger” to activate hidden delights: elves making toys, the ceiling of the observatory transforming before your eyes, and more.

Santa HQ boy playing app

Santa HQ Elf-Ray Vision

Santa HQ opened last weekend in the JC Penney court (near the food court and kids’ play area) and it will be there until Christmas Eve at 6pm. You can bring your 4-legged pet, too, on Wednesdays through December 7 from 5-8pm. Visit ShopTheOaksMall.com for daily posted hours. Visits to the HQ are free, and photo packages for photos with Santa include 11 prints plus a digital download for a fee, plus you can order photo gifts online.

There will be a charity toy drive and special guests throughout the season, so check it out while you are at the mall getting holiday gifts and supplies, or go there just for Santa HQ alone. It’s a lot of fun, and got my big boys into the spirit of Christmas nice and early. I needed no help in that department!

Vintage Grocers Open in Westlake Promenade

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Last weekend the new Vintage Grocers market opened at Westlake Promenade where Bristol Farms used to be. The Grand Opening featured a live band, tastings, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and gift bags for the store’s first 500 shoppers.

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Owner Paige Laurie and market director Eric Fuchser cutting the ribbon at Vintage Grocers Westlake Village

(Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

This is the latest local new business I’ve gotten to check out and share with you. Market director Eric Fuchser led a group of local media around the store about an hour before it officially opened, and we could tell that there was buzz building because would-be shoppers were trying to enter early!

Vintage Grocers crowd

(Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

This is only the second location of Vintage Grocers, the first being at the old Trancas Market site in Malibu. It’s what I like to call “last chance groceries” before heading up to camping at Leo Carillo or Sycamore Canyon, or when we used to accompany my husband when he surfed at County Line. (It’s been a while!) Recently on the way to a camping trip I had to stop at the Malibu store to get peanut butter. And jelly. And bread! What is normally a frugal meal cost way more there, so I was curious to see what prices are like at this new store.

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At first I wasn’t even looking at prices, because the Westlake Vintage Grocers is impressive in its size, spanking brand new-ness, and pretty things to look at every way you turn. There are several fresh food counters including a juice bar, a sushi bar, a hot meal deli and burrito bar, a fresh poke bar, a butcher counter with an impressive spread, an olive bar, a private wine tasting room, and more!

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Private wine-tasting room, with giant TV for watching the game (not shown)

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The market is proud to source their produce, meat, and seafood as locally as possible. In fact, they source many other products from local makers as well, including Malibu honey, bloody mary mix, and even tequila, samples of which were in the most impressive media gift bag I’ve ever received.

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Unbagging this was fun!

But after the sparkles in my eyes wore off, I did peek at some prices to see how they would compare to my normal grocery store visits. A large tub of greek yogurt: $4.79 (at my usual store, $4.99). A 6-pack of Mike’s hard lemonade: $9.99 (at my usual store, same). There are plenty of things that are much more expensive, but I can survive on those two things, at least if I’m stopping in to get some items on my way out of the Promenade after a movie or a browsing session at the book store.

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The addition of Vintage Grocers to the Westlake Promenade seems like a good one for our community. Not only do they provide a great place to stop in and get anything under the sun, but they also employ about 85 people from the surrounding area. The store carries some unique items, and I look forward to going back for lunch or dinner to try their fresh foods.

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Vintage Grocers is celebrating its grand opening all week long with activities that are open to anyone each day:

Tuesday, October 4 – Mommy & Me (11am – 1pm)
Bring your kids for a complimentary Mommy & Me experience.

Wednesday, October 5 – Farmer’s Market (5pm – 7pm)
Meet our local artisans and enjoy demos and tastings around the store.

Thursday, October 6 – Sports Night (5pm – 7pm)
Enjoy craft beer tasting and our Build Your Own Burrito Bar before the big game. Show your team spirit for a discount.

Friday, October 7 – Date Night (5pm – 7pm)
Bring your significant other to the Wine Room to enjoy the oyster bar, desserts, etc.

Saturday, October 8 – Kids’ Carnival (1pm – 4pm)
Bring the little ones for an all-day event featuring face painting, music and prizes.

Vintage Grocers
7:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily
100 Promenade Way
Thousand Oaks CA 91362

Have you been into the new store? What do you think?