Coffee Break – Gift of the Month Clubs

Along the lines of yesterday’s Dollar Shave Club recc, I thought for today’s Coffee Break I’d recommend a general “gift of the month” club idea.  This is something I’ve really gotten into over the past few years, particularly with parents and inlaws — they get something every month that you know they’ll use, and who doesn’t love little presents each month?  In the past I’ve done beer, salsa, and nuts of the month clubs… Craft Coffee (run by an old friend from my BigLaw days!) sends gourmet coffee each month; I also recently heard of Black Box Dessert Club, which sends decadent desserts each month.  There are even knitting kit of the month clubs and socks of the month clubs.  Readers, have you gotten an “of the month” gift for anyone — or been gifted one yourself?  What were your best experiences?

(L-0)

Comments

  1. Cap Hill Style just did a post about this this morning.

    • Edited to say: I didn’t mean this in a not nice way; her suggestions were completely different from Kat’s, and if readers want more ideas, they should check out CHS’ post!

  2. Yep! I’ve received a tea of the month club subscription and I’ve gifted a beer of the month subscription. I loved the tea of the month, and my husband liked the beer. I think it’s fun to stretch out a holiday/birthday this way.

  3. Has anyone tried a beer of the month club that they’d recommend? I’d be worried gifting one that turned out to be subpar.

  4. Julep (nail polish) is great because you can skip the month if you don’t like the colors/products.

    I just need someone to come up with and/or gift me with a Minion of the Month. I need more minions.

  5. When I was a JUNIOR in college, this guy, Henry, gave me a 1 year cheeze of the month gift b/c he learned from my room mate that I LOVED cheeze. Henry also had a crush on me all Seinior Year and he OFTEN hung outside my dorm door even after I got in at night. I do NOT know what he was doeing out there, and did NOT even want to know.

    Even after I gradueated and applied to law school, he was calleing me at home and askeing my dad whether I still liked cheeze. My dad wanted me to follow up with him year’s ago, but I said FOOEY, no thank’s! I wonder where that guy is now? Probabley working for a cheeze store, my Mom think’s! Yay for mom!

  6. Maddie Ross :

    Along these same lines, I had a Birchbox subscription, but cancelled it as the products were less and less appealing. I did love the monthly “present” though. Any chance it has gotten better lately? Or can anyone recommend another similar service or subscription?

    • TO Lawyer :

      I did the same thing with one of the Canadian versions… luxe box. I loved getting something in the mail every month but I didn’t end up using 95% of the samples.

    • Hmmmm . . . I’ve subscribed to BB for over a year now, and I find that I use and love about 75% of the stuff in my boxes.

      • Same.

        Their selections vary based on the profile you fill out. Perhaps contact them if yours aren’t to your liking? I always am happy with at least 1-2 things.

    • I love the concept of Birchbox but found the actual service to be extremely disappointing. The samples were ridiculously small and not at all suited to the profile that I created (e.g., I have fine, limp hair but instead of volumizing/thickening products, they sent me frizz-fighting oil).

      • Not to be all over here defending BB (no affiliation, honest!), but I usually get at least one full size sample. Last month, I think it was a mascara, which turned out pretty great actually. I also recently went on vacation with almost all BB samples – made packing & going through TSA a breeze.

        • Wow! In my 3 months, the majority of what I received was single use.

          The most generously sized items I got were nail polishes, but I have gel nails, so no use to me.

          • Maybe it’s worth calling and asking about it? Some full size items I recall from recent months: eye liners (though in fun colors like plum, not traditional black), mascara, lip stick (not lipstick), bronzer, hair gloss … Honestly, there’s usually something great in each box. I am always surprised at the negative feedback and it’s actually the one thing making me hesitate to give BB subscriptions as gifts since everyone’s experience seems to be so varied.

          • I had to change my profile a few times and then I received stuff I liked better. That helped a bit. But ultimately, I cancelled my subscription since I finally found skin stuff I liked best (ironically not through BB).

    • I’ve been subscribing to Birchbox for over a year now. Really enjoy the box every month. Sometimes the samples are more useful than others, but it is the best way I have found to try new products that I would never pick up for myself otherwise.

    • emcsquared :

      I felt that way, but then I realized that every box had at least 2-3 things I liked and used – given the prices of those full-size items, I realized that $10 a month was actually a decent price for 2-3 useful samples a month, even if I never used the other items.

      Having said that, I let my subscription lapse but I intend to re-up.

    • I really like Glossybox – it’s more expensive, $21 a month, but you get mini-sized things instead of samples. I feel that the value is pretty good – last month, they sent me that Oli Henriksen truth serum – which retails on Sephora at $48 bucks.

      I hear you with BB – I’m thrilled to get a treat in the mail, but don’t seem to get much use out of what i get. The exception being that special Vinchy eye cream thing they did – wish they’d do more special boxes like that!

      • Maddie Ross :

        Thanks for the suggestion. I am signing up for Glossybox to see if I like it any better. Definitely a fun treat! I’ll report back in the next few months.

    • Birchbox has become my least favorite of the monthly beauty boxes. My two faves are Ipsy and GlamBag. They don’t appear to send fragrances and the products are much more my style. And GlamBag let’s you pick from a group of products.

  7. Threadjack–I keep hearing that BB creams are the hot new thing. Has anyone used them? Are they better than the regular products? Right now I use a moisturizer, liquid foundation, concealer, and then a little powder foundation to set it.

    • I didn’t love the Garnier one but I have a La Roche Posay one that I like. If you have rosier skin, I also really like Clinique’s redness reducing foundation which seems to have a similar consistence.

      • Maddie Ross :

        The Garnier one is terrible, but as far as other drugstore brands, I am currently using the L’Oreal one and really like it. It’s replaced my foundation. I still use a bit of concealer on my “spots” after I apply it and then set with loose powder.

    • I use the SmashBox BB cream. I really like it, it’s somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and liquid foundation. I use a dusting of BareMinerals Mineral Veil to set it. Works pretty well for me.

      • SoCal Gator :

        I just switched from a mineral powder foundation to Smashbox’s BB cream, which I follow with a very light dusting of powder to set it. Love it! Very natural looking, misturizing for my skin and the powder does not settle into my fine lines.

    • locomotive :

      I tried a bbcream sampler kit from sephora and my favorite one is called ‘dr.jart’s bb cream’. it’s a korean brand that is weirdly full coverage yet light and my skin looks AWESOME when i wear it, but i just sort of rub it on like face lotion in the morning. i have the black bottle which is a huge size for $34 or so and my only complaint is that my pump sometimes doesnt squeeze out the full amount. love it and have replaced my foundation with it.

      • I use the Dr. Jart’s version that comes in a gold bottle and love it. I was skeptical that it would provide enough coverage (I have very rosy undertones), but I really like how well it blends. I set it with a bit of translucent powder.

      • AnotherLadyLawyer :

        I use the one that comes in the greenish tube and also love it! No idea what the differences are between black/gold/greenish. I also set with a bit of translucent powder and fix the ever-present black circles under my eyes with under eye concealer.

        • locomotive :

          when I was in Sephora they told me it was for different ages/skin types. I don’t remember the difference between the colors though. the sample I tried was actually the gold one, but in store the SA directed me to buy the black (also noting that there really isn’t much of a difference) so I did. I believe the prices are all the same anyway.

          When I’m lazy I don’t set it, but when I’m going to have a long day I usually set it with Laura Mercier powder and then some blush. I don’t feel like the coverage slides off my oily skin at all!

          • I went into Sephora to buy the greenish one actually, and they were out, so the SA said the gold type would work for my skin. Sephora has a very generous return policy, so I figured if I was unhappy I could always exchange for the greenish type. I’m curious about the difference now, will have to ask next time I’m in the store!

    • What is BB cream?

      • SoCal Gator :

        Beauty balm creams. They are like tinted moisturizers but creamier and full of stuff that is good for your skin. In addition to hydrating and evening out skin tones, BB creams also treat the skin with antioxidants or other anti-aging ingredients. They look natural like a tinted moisturizer but have more substance to them. It’s the hot new thing in foundations. I am using Smashbox BB and I like it a lot.

    • onehsancare :

      I bought the Clinique BB cream and look like a corpse in it. It is very thick and zinc-y.

  8. Sorry to jack this thread with something really awful, but I can get some positive thoughts/vibes/prayers from the hive? I just found out from a member of the staff that one of my colleagues may have gone missing. We all travel a frequently for our work and she was set to attend hearings this morning on the other side of our state. All we know is that she spoke to her assistant last night (either on the way to her hotel or already at her hotel, not sure) and she didn’t show up to Court this morning.
    I don’t know this particular associate well, but I feel awful for her (for whatever may have happened) and her family. I know the chances of something really bad happening are 1 in a million, but I can’t help feeling really unnerved. I frequently travel alone too and, while I typically feel pretty calm and confident traveling alone, this has got me a little freaked out about my next trip.

  9. Salsa of the month? Do you remember the name of the service? That’s something I’m interested in. I’d also be interested in gifting the coffee of the month one, but it’s pretty pricey unfortunately.

  10. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies,

    Sorry for the repost, but I was wondering about assistant holiday gifts. I am in a small firm and need to get my assistant a gift, just looking for a $$ figure. I am a senior associate, if that helps.

    Someone yesterday posted $50 for every year – and if I used that it would be $200, which just seems ridiculously high to me (I don’t spend that much on anyone, except maybe my spouse!).

    • I’d do $100 and make that your standing gift going forward.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Ask around too. My office does actual gifts only, not cash gifts. The firm does the bonus and some of the lawyers are stingy and they wanted to avoid the issue of one person getting a couple hundred and someone else getting nothing even they do equally great work. This is such a “know your firm” thing.

    • I’m in biglaw, and I’m planning on $100 (which, honestly, is more than I spend on everyone for the holidays, with the possible exception of DH. My mom and I have $30 gift limits this year). Since you’re in a small firm, I think you could probably spend less.

    • I’m in a medium size firm. The gifts to assistants by associates vary from about $50-$100. Last year I gave $100, a card, and a bottle of wine. My assistant was really awesome and went above and beyond in staying late for me, etc.

      I just got a new assistant two months ago. I’m going to give her $50 with a nice card.

    • Is she your dedicated assistant, or do you share her? I’d be much more generous if it is the former.

    • [insert clever name here] :

      I’m in medium law, mid-level associate.

      I give $100 plus a token gift to open (e.g. decorative bowl, fancy food etc). Except for the first year when I gave $50, this has been my gift every year.

  11. This is a shot in the dark, but does anyone know a good urologist in Dallas? My sister is having some pretty serious issues and needs a second opinion. Thanks!

  12. Blonde Lawyer :

    JessC – I am trying to reply to your post but my replies are not showing up. That is probably why you have no replies yet. Hang in there.

  13. style advice needed... :

    Bacon of the month.

  14. PharmaGirl :

    Any recommendations for a good wine of the month?

    • I recently got a selection of wine as a Groupon from wine insiders, they have a wine of the month, a few various levels. I’ve had two of the five bottles I ordered, and both were great!

      • I’m glad you got good wines. I used a Groupon for the same thing a year or so ago and everything I got was cr@p. I cooked a lot of coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon that winter.

    • Check local wine stores and see if they do a wine club. Ours would do a “no-obligation” club where you got monthly emails when the wine club was ready and you only had to pay if you picked it up. We tried a bunch of great wines this way and saved a bundle on shipping.

    • I like K&L Wines, which is based in CA. They are often cited as one of the best wine stores in the country (both online and physical–they now have three locations in CA–on the Peninsula, in SF and in North Hollywood). I especially like their clubs because they have cheaper and more expensive, new world, old world and they have a FANTASTIC newsletter–highlighting everything from craft beer to Austrian whites to Chilean reds. It’s very fun to read! Anyway, K&L, hands down–you can pick how much you want to spend and really tailor the experience to your budget and the recipient’s taste, whether they want all white, all red, all sparkling, all Italian, etc.

  15. Are you ever concerned that one of your coworkers might read this blog? I ask this to all of you who frequently vent about work under the same handle. Seems like risky business…

    • Bert Macklin, FBI :

      Have been wondering the same thing. Be careful, NOLA.

    • Yes at least one of my colleagues occasionally reads this blog. But I haven’t said anything about my fabulous colleagues. They aren’t the problem. People don’t know where I work or exactly what I do unless they’ve met me.

    • longtime reader :

      I’ve recognized at least two of my colleagues/friends by the comments they made – their situations were unique enough that I recognized them easily. I had my suspicions about another one woman, but that were unconfirmed.
      I only read this site occasionally, but I often wonder if people think using a name like “anon” shields them from recognition.

  16. I made partner! That is all.

  17. Can anyone who knows about coffee comment on the roasters used by Craft Coffee (available at http://www.craftcoffee.com/roasters)? This might be a good gift for my hard-to-buy-for husband, but he is a major coffee snob (he usually buys Intelligentsia beans) and I’m not sure if the roasters would meet his standards. (I don’t drink coffee, so I know nothing about these things.) Also, for those of you with high coffee standards, would you be concerned about freshness with mail order beans? Mr. O. usually buys a half pound twice a week because he claims that if he buys a pound once per week the beans degrade. And yes, I think this is ridiculous.

    • As a fellow coffee snob and Intelli drinker, I am not sure about this club. I haven’t heard of any of the roasters. Citizen Bean looks much more serious: http://www.citizenbean.com

      It looks like they select month by month, so no master list for you to check out, but their FB page calls out industry leaders like Stumptown, Blue Bottle, et al (https://www.facebook.com/CitizenBean). I’d call for more details, like a list of the past 12 months of coffee roasters, before shelling out for it, though.

      If you all are local to Chicago and he’s into other artisan foods, Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park has a great Craft Beer of the Month Club and a Cheese of the Month club.

    • Ack! I’m in moderation—but in short, I would advise against it. Google Citizen Bean–I haven’t used them but they might be a good alternative for your hubby.

      • Thanks for the suggestion!

        • Page zora…..her parents are coffee snobs and she gave me coffee 101 and coffee 201 tutorials.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Sweet Maria’s in Oakland, which I bet Zora loves. Roast your own coffee for the ultimate fresh roast or buy their carefully roasted varietals. Sweet Maria’s is not playing around.

          • My husband LOVES Sweet Maria’s – he roasts beans on our barbecue using a Whirly-Pop pan. And it’s good, and the unroasted beans keep for quite some time.

  18. Union Square? :

    Hi ladies! I’m going to have some free time this afternoon/evening in NYC. I’m planning to hit up the Union Square holiday market, and then a coworker and I have dinner plans at 8:30 in that neighborhood. Where would you savvy NYC ladies recommend we go to grab a drink around 7:30-8:00 in the Union Square area?

    Thanks!

  19. TO Lawyer :

    So I was just in a colleague’s office and noticed that my brand new Ann Taylor wool pencil skirt is totally creased in the front. Is there anything you can do to avoid this creasing? Gah it’s really annoying me. I’m considering returning the skirt because I feel like I look so sloppy.

    • Merabella :

      I think this comes down to the fabric content of the skirt – it might be a standing only skirt.

      • Double Boo :

        Usually fabric issue. I’m not always the best judge, but I’ll often crumple an arm or a pant leg or whatnot while I’m in the store to see how well it bounces back before I’ll purchase. You would be surprised how many things give way to a wrinkle. Too much cotton or something. And I seriously think linen is the devil’s fabric. I don’t know how so many other people carry it off so well. I must be too animated in my sitting/walking/reaching or something. I’ll create wrinkles in areas that just aren’t normal–middle of shoulder, back of jacket, etc. Have no idea what in the world I’m doing. You would think I was an action hero or something.

  20. Darwinette :

    I work with a young woman who graduated from college this May and started this job (her first) in August, and she seems to have no sense at all for noticing or fitting into the office culture.

    Nothing that she does is egregiously wrong–she’s not hurting anybody–but I know that the way she dresses/acts/sends typo-laden company-wide emails/etc. is being noticed negatively by senior people, who have concluded that she’s clueless.

    I think she’s a bright young woman, but I also think that she seems to have that kind of unquestioning self-confidence that can lead to a total lack of filter or inner reality check. Given that she clearly isn’t picking up on these unspoken cues on her own, is it worth trying to gently point out to her what other people might be noticing? Part of me feels like I’m a bad older colleague for not giving this girl a hand, and part of me feels like learning to be a grown-up is learning to have some savvy without being spoonfed.

    • I think it would be a kindness to take her to coffee and tell her you have observed some things that you’d like to give feedback on.

      Besides pointing out direct things in your office, you might point her to something like Ask A Manager as general work-life reference.

    • Do you have any supervisory responsbility for her? If you do, I think it’s reasonable for you to, for example, meet one-on-one with her before a meeting you’re both attending so you can go over the material (which could include saying things like “I’m sure you know this already, but since this is a meeting with [my boss who’s your boss’s boss] it’s probably best to dress up a bit. You know, like a jacket and maybe a longer skirt or pants.”). If your work is more parallel than supervisory, I think it’s harder but at least you can do things like say “did you ever get spell-check set up on your email account? It’s a life-saver for me! People around here are really put off by typos and it can be so hard to catch everything.” I guess this is a little passive-aggressive, but I think when I was that age, I might have been defensive if someone who wasn’t my supervisor took me aside and told me I was doing things wrong.

      • Darwinette :

        Nope, no supervisory responsibility at all. Her direct supervisor is the big boss (she’s his assistant) and he’s so shy and awkward that he would never utter a peep about someone’s behavior/clothing . . . even when she comes to work in skin-tight, low-front, low-back, lacy, ample-cleavage-baring cocktail dresses. (That was Thursday.)

    • I think many people can point to a time when either a supervisor/person of experience sat them down and told them they were doing something wrong or a time when they wish someone had. Most of us were a clueless kid at one point in our life. Sitting her down ONCE and giving her some honest, constructive criticism isn’t spoon-feeding her. I think a sign of adulthood is receiving criticism, accepting it gracefully, and then correcting. Talk to her and if she doesn’t try to fix anything afterwards, you’ve done your due diligence and she’s shown you a thing or two about her maturity level.

      • Agreed. Please clue her in. I lost my job (they called it a layoff, but still) at my second law firm because of this. It was a litigation position, mid sized firm, and I was the highest biller in the office – something like 2200 hours that year. I had won every. single. stinking. motion.

        I was let go because I was not a “good fit for the firm.” This was a cultural thing, because I was coming in early, like around 7am, so I could leave at about 5:30. The bulk of the other attorneys were rolling in at 8:30-9 and staying later, and the staff was there until 6, so it was essentially making people cranky that I was out of the office by then. They actually said “your work as an attorney is excellent, this is not about that.”

        A partner had said something to me, and I directly asked what time I should stay until, and he said 5:30 and I did that, but it was apparently too little too late. I wish someone would have said something to me a month in (even though coming in early to leave early was something I asked about in the interview and they said was fine…but whatever…different TJ) instead of just losing my job.

        • My problem was the opposite of yours. I’m a night-person, insomniac, and I usually actually fall into rem sleep at about 4 or 5 am. It was very, very hard to get up from that heavy and sweet sleep after just 3 or 4 hours.

          In short, I rolled in around 9 am and stayed until 7, which is a decent 10 hour day in a federal government litigation office.

          However, my whole office was chipper morning people, some — like my boss– would come to work at 6 am and leave at 3:30 pm. the rest came in 7 -8 am and left by 4:30. I got my best work done in those early evening hours.

          I came to find out that no one cared that I worked until 7 and some people didn’t believe it. the fact was, I was always the last person in, and that just irritated everyone. Just like you, I was extremely successful in all aspects of my litigation practice, but none of it mattered.

          I finally quit when my management started taking 30 minutes from my vacation pay every day I was “late.” (altho our federal office had written policies about every dang thing imaginable, and that we are required to review yearly, there is nothing about office hours or tardiness.) I saw an employment lawyer who told me the docking of my vacation pay — by the way, my management gave me no notice, not written, not verbal — was not legal.

          Anyway, although my job is litigation, I’m extremely non-confrontative in private. I know my insomnia is a lifetime deal, so, I just quit. Now I work, same field, for myself, with my own hours, etc.(because I was well known had no problem picking up a client base.)

          In short, there is an office environment, and no matter that you are working longer, or getting better results in court, no matter that the judges rave about you, you need to respect that environment and get with the program. Or go elsewhere, as I ultimately did.

          I think the young college graduate deserves the kindness of the OP, who should explain that her clothes aren’t work appropriate. In fact, OP should refer her to corporette or other style blogs.

    • Merabella :

      Are you in a position to be a mentor to her? This would be a great opportunity to help her out and teach her some important lessons about office culture. You don’t have to spoon feed her the information, but it is good to let her know that she is falling short, and other people are noticing it – then she can decide to take your advice or not.

      I know Belle from Capitol Hill Style did a post a while back about how to tell your intern that they aren’t cutting the mustard in the fashion department – which may also be a good jumping off point for how to deal with the entire conversation about other office culture issues.

      I think Kat did something like this too, but I can’t for the life of me remember when, or if I am just making that up.

    • If you’re not her boss, take her out for coffee and get to know her a little bit. She may be really nervous since it’s her first job and not have a clue. Or she could be a know it all and get totally defensive. If she’s the former, you might cushion your advice as tips on office culture. If she’s a know it all, she’s probably not going to listen to you, but at least you tried.

    • Manager by Day, Mom at Night :

      Unfortunately, yes – if her manager isn’t having this conversation with her, do her a favor and gently point it out. I have a dotted line indirect report who has the same issues and had to not-so-gently point it out that his sarcastic sense of humor was border line condescending and derisive, and his rolling of the eyes at internal processes made it seem as though he was too good for this job. His responsiveness and professional demeanor picked up quite a bit.

      I find self-awareness to be a learned trait, not an innate one, and even more seasoned professionals can sometimes benefit from a frank talk or two. Don’t feel bad about it – it’s all part of her coaching and development post-school.

      • Darwinette :

        You guys, emboldened by all of your immediate yes-you-have-to-say-something-she-will-be-better-off responses, I went to her desk and we had a nice little chat. She responded much better than I had expected, and she also told me that she’d gotten her boss to sit down with her last week for a four-month review–I was impressed not only by her gumption in insisting upon having a formal feedback meeting but also by her clear understanding of which issues she needed to work on. Hooray! She’s gonna make it after all.

        (She also very adorably told me that someone had recently told her that I was a good model of appropriate behavior/tone/decorum. I don’t know who said such a thing, but I’m glad I’m an identifiable good influence!)

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