Category Archives: BasketWorks

The Health Benefits Of Pasta

Hopefully the title of this blog post just blew your mind. 

Pasta? Healthy? For Real?!?!

Indeed. 

But put the breaks on your chicken Parmesan, bucatini carbonara, and gnocchi bolognese carryout order. Pasta can only be healthy if you, well, make it healthy. 

The good news is that there are plenty of options to satiate you without making you feel like a total pasta sellout. For example–Whoa! What’s That? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a 🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨–spinach fettuccine like the one featured in our Lotsa Pasta Gift Basket

It’s time to set the table, put on your bib, and read on. 

Pasta Can Help With Glycemic Index 

If you’re not familiar with the Glycemic Index (GI), then you’re like many of the rest of us. 

The GI is a measure of how quickly a food causes our blood sugar levels to rise. We quickly digest and absorb foods with high GI’s, which causes our blood sugar to spike, and that’s unhealthy. Pasta is considered a low GI food and can help your body metabolize it more slowly and lead to lower fluctuations in insulin levels, which is beneficial to your health and weight. 

It’s Part Of The Mediterranean Diet 

Apparently, the secret to life is the Mediterranean diet. 

We hear about it all the time, especially on those doctor’s shows, and for good reason: it’s known to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Consisting of fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive oil, the diet does not restrict foods like pasta, which means you can eat your pasta and have your Mediterranean diet, too. 

Protein And Fiber-Rich

Why is protein important? For one, you need it to be alive. 

Proteins are considered the “building blocks of life” that fuel our energy and carry oxygen throughout our body in our blood. Our bodies also like protein because they create antibodies to combat infections and illnesses and keep our cells healthy. 

And fiber? We need it to regulate how our bodies use sugar, which helps keep hunger and blood sugar at bay. 

What does this have to do with the price of pasta in your grocery store? There are kinds that are plant-based, gluten-free, and packed with protein and fiber, as you will read next. 

It Comes In Many Healthy Forms 

Lest you thought there was only one kind of pasta, you were mistaken. Culinary innovation has made it possible to fashion pasta out of very very healthy ingredients like these mentioned by EatingWell:

  • Whole-Wheat Pasta: 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving
     
  • Chickpea Pasta: Gluten-free with 8 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein per serving

  • Red Lentil Pasta: Plant-based, gluten-free, iron-rich with 6 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein per serving

We should note that white pasta, the classic kind, is actually healthier than many folks think. It’s made with semolina flour and enriched with iron, folate, and B vitamins. 

Finally, we regret to inform you that our beloved antioxidants are unable to attend this post. We will make every effort imaginable to reprise our faithful, free radical-eviscerating friends in future blogs. Thank you for understanding. 

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My Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

The phrase “broken promises” must have originated with New Year’s resolutions. 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever pledged to make a resolution and never followed through or didn’t attempt it in the first place. 

Wow, I was expecting a lot of hands but not that many!

Count me among the resolution-breakers. There’s no shame in not fulfilling them because life tends to take up a lot of physical and mental real estate for us humans. That said, resolutions that are practical and suited to you are more attainable because you’ll actually want to pursue them. 

With that in mind, I’m going to share some of mine that may even align with yours. 

Five Minutes of Daily Meditation

I see your eye-roll, now stop it! 

Meditation this, meditation that. Everyone talks about it and mindfulness, and it can be downright annoying. But the positive, healthy effects of meditation are not B.S. Take this article from Mayo Clinic called Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way To Reduce Stress. First of all, great headline, and second, the benefits are numerous and supported by medical science:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Increasing imagination and creativity
  • Increasing patience and tolerance

Similar to how lifting weights strengthens your biceps, meditation exercises the brain, possibly resulting in healthier neurological activity “from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the ‘me’ centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions,” per Forbes. 

Weekly Yoga

Yoga is meditation’s kissing cousin and comes with its own set of health benefits. 

According to hopkinsmedicine.com (as in Johns Hopkins, which knows a thing or two about health), “… if you’re going through an illness, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic condition, yoga can become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten healing.”

Specifically, yoga is shown to:

  • Improve strength, balance, and flexibility 
  • Help with back pain-relief 
  • Alleviate arthritis symptoms
  • Promote heart health 
  • Help you get better sleep
  • Increase energy
  • Manage stress

We could all use some of that. 

Read More Non-Fiction Books

I like to think that I’m a relatively humble person, but I do like to crow about the amount of reading I do. 

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that as of early November I’d read over 70 books. Now I’m up to 85. However, the majority have been fiction, which there’s nothing wrong with, but I want to sprinkle in more non-fiction. My list includes:

  • The Burning House
  • Race Matters
  • The Color of Law
  • Mindfulness
  • The 4% Fix
  • The Magic of Thinking Big
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”
  • The New One Minute Manager
  • Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life
  • Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team
  • The Princess Spy
  • No Ordinary Time
  • Lincoln’s Last Trial
  • Founding Mothers

If you have any recommendations, please put them in the comments section. 

Reduce Social Media Time 

Now raise your hand if you’ve gone down the social media rabbit hole more times than you’d like to admit. 

What has two thumbs, makes gift baskets, and is guilty of Facebook rants and doom-scrolling? Me! 

There are certainly benefits to social media–connection, creative ways to market your business, helpful information–but it also triggers negative emotions like anger, envy, frustration, etc. Citing various studies, Medical News Today reports that social media use is linked to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. 

I don’t need that, so in 2022, I am going to be more judicious with my social media time. 

You know, this is a pretty doable list, and damn it, I’m going to make it happen. With the few days left before 2022, I hope this inspires you to create one of your own. Happy New Year!

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4 Health Benefits of Tea

We’re big fans of tea. Otherwise we wouldn’t design baskets like our heralded Flower Garden Tea Time gift basket. 

Did someone sound the  🚨 SHAMELESS PLUG 🚨 alarm again? Come on! 

Tea is growing in popularity, so much so that Pinterest predicts in 2022, “Afternoon tea will become the new happy hour.” What perfect timing then for our next edition of “The Health Benefits Of” blog series. 

Whether you drink it in a mug, on the go, or with your pinky extended, here are four health benefits you need to know.

1. Tea Can Promote Heart-Health

Our tickers are important, and besides family history, what we eat and drink has implications on the health of our hearts.

Enter tea time. 

A 2016 meta-analysis (academic speak for a big study that combines data from other studies) reported a 20% reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35% reduced risk of stroke for people who consumed up to three cups of green tea per day. Those who drank four or more cups of green tea daily had a 32% reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad kind. 

Speaking of which…

2. It Can Help Lower Your Cholesterol 

Green tea’s active ingredient is called catechin–not to be confused with the Alaskan city, Ketchikan, though I’m sure there are tea drinkers there–which some researchers believe to be responsible for the prevention of cholesterol absorbing in the intestines as well as the increase of HDL cholesterol, the good kind. 

3. Tea May Boost Your Immune System

Immune cells protect us the most when they reach their targets faster. Tea has been known to shepherd this process and bolster the immune system following injury or illness due to its  antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory characteristics. 

4. Wait For It…

If you’re a loyal reader of our blog, you know what’s coming, and if you’re new, get ready for the big reveal. 

IT’S RAINING ANTIOXIDANTS, HALLELUJAH! IT’S RAINING ANTIOXIDANTS, AMEN! 

Visit anywhere on our blog page, and you’ll find no shortage of references to these wonderful, free radical-stomping compounds that protect our cells. 

Oh, and certain teas contain lots of them, particularly a potent flavonoid called ECGC, which can fight the free radicals that contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries. 

The Best Teas 

According to WebMD, the healthiest tea varietals are:

  • Green 
  • Black 
  • White 
  • Oolong
  • Pu-erh
  • Red 

Remember, to reap the health benefits of tea, you have to be careful what you add to your cup. Sugar, cream, syrups, and other indulgent ingredients will compromise everything we’ve discussed, so keep that in mind. 

Go on now and stock your pantry. 


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New Year’s Resolution: Be More Intentional About Gift-Giving

Well, Thanksgiving is a wrap, and Chanukah is in full swing. Before we know it, “‘Tis the holiday season” will soon be “‘twas” at the rate things are moving. New Year’s is right around the corner and a time for contemplation, celebration…and consternation over resolutions that you may or may not fulfill.  

As we enter 2022 (2022! Remember when such a year felt so far away?), it’s nice to consider what we could do differently to be better versions of ourselves. You’re likely in the midst of your holiday shopping, so how about making a commitment to become an improved gift-giver? 

We’ve previously written about the psychology of gift-giving and how to budget and schedule your gifting. In that vein and as the new year inches closer, consider making a resolution to be more intentional about the gifts you give.

Know Your Audience 

The occasion–birthday, holiday, life event, etc.–is the easy part, but being intentional about gift-giving involves understanding the recipient and knowing what makes them tick.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

For example, you may know someone who absolutely loves sweet and savory treats, specifically Old Dominion peanut brittle, chocolate cherries, and sausage, which just happens to be some of the delicious items in our Season’s Greetings Holiday Gift Basket. The point is when you know what someone likes, it makes your job easier and their appreciation stronger. 

Focus on the Little Things

The presentation of a gift is often just as important as what is inside. That initial feeling of joy, seeing a beautifully wrapped box, or a meticulously arranged gift basket, shows your family, friends, or clients that you’ve gone the extra mile to make their gift special. 

Did you know that we can customize your gift with imprinted ribbon or even include items with your corporate logo and colors? Look at that, someone just accidentally sat on the 🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨 again.

Give an Experience 

A beautiful dress can get ruined by a dry cleaner. 

You know what’s taint-proof? An incredible experience. Too often, gifts add clutter over substance. Rather than focusing on “things”, think about the experience your gift offers. Painting lessons, concert tickets, and a gift basket of pasta ingredients (note the subtle link versus the in-your-face shameless plug alert) are gifts that inspire fun, togetherness, and the making of memories.

Be a Detective 

Finding the perfect gift sometimes takes a bit of investigation and forthrightness. Ask what the person wants or likes. What are their favorite foods, colors, and styles of clothing? By taking an interest, you’re guaranteed the next gift you buy will be something the lucky recipient enjoys.

The best part about this New Year’s resolution is that it is very very attainable. All it requires is a little planning, and who says you can’t start your resolution a month early? 

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11 Things I’m Thankful For

Let me start by saying that this isn’t an obligatory Thanksgiving blog post. Speed and chaos reign supreme more than ever, and to quote the great Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Pausing and soaking up gratitude keeps me going. 

Let’s kick off the holiday season with 11 things I’m thankful for.

1. Sandi and the Boys

You know how award winners sometimes forget to thank their spouses and kids (Hillary Swank, for one)? Yeah, I won’t make that mistake. 

Let me start with Sandi, my husband, who is warm, loving, and takes care of me in every way possible. It also helps that he’s a terrific father, talented chef, and a brilliant tech guy. 

Relax boys; you’re next. My sons, Joel and Alex, keep me on my toes and make me proud every day.

2. Local Family 

I’m fortunate to have family members who live nearby, including my mom, my sister and her family, Sandi’s sister and her family, and my adult nieces and their families, and my cousins. 

They certainly help keep me grounded.

3. Far-Flung Family

No offense to the folks above, but absence/distance makes the heart grow fonder. We have family spread out across the country and even the world. We stay in touch, and there’s nothing like visiting them on their turf or reuniting here. 

4. The Best Staff in the World

It takes a village, and if not for my heroic team–Betsy, Chris, Donna, Liz, and Wendy–we couldn’t create the best gift baskets in the business.

5. Friends 

I have close friends who I met when I was 4-years-old, and no, I’m not going to reveal how many years of friendship that is. The point is that it’s quite a beautiful thing to keep these bonds for so long. 

We’ve got our synagogue friends, many of whom are like family, our Lake Forest forever friends, and our love Piranhas, who don’t devour a hippopotamus whole within minutes, but rather, are the ones who helped us keep it together while Joel was ill. Though, I’m sure they’d eat a hippo for lunch if I asked. 

6. Books  

I am a book-binger. A friend of mine recently boasted that he just finished his 15th book, and I tried my best not to diminish his achievement, but I couldn’t help myself. 

“Uh, I’ve read more than 70 books this year,” I said, but I did congratulate him. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy guilty-pleasure TV, but there’s nothing like immersing myself in my books. 

7. Coffee, Bourbon, Chocolate and Pasta

These speak for themselves and work in any order. 

8. Doctors, Nurses, and Researchers 

I’m very transparent about my health conditions, including Depression and Crohn’s Disease. My appreciation for the health care professionals who’ve helped me and saved Joel’s life defies description. 

9. My Client Fan Club 

We’d also not be in business if not for our customers. Special shoutout to those raving fans who’ve been with us for 15-plus years and continue to promote and recommend BasketWorks. 

10. My Basket Babes

Once upon a time, this was a collective of six women in the same industry across the country, communicating via email chain. It was  a support system where we leaned on each other to persevere through issues and hardships, ranging from kid and work stuff to national events (there were 100 emails between us on 9/11). Now it includes folks in an assortment of amazingly supportive basket professionals in several Facebook groups. 

11. My Network 

Networking is good for business, as well as friendships. Some of networking’s greatest outcomes are meeting new people, sharing stories, figuring out ways to help each other, and before you know it, you’ve got a friend. 

To my circle of local professionals who I am honored to call friends: you support me in more ways than you can possibly imagine. 

It feels good to share this. How about that? Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

As far as I’m concerned, it’s always sweet potato season, but here we are in the first week of November, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to get our sweet potato on. 

Mash them, bake them, roast them, or take a bite into a raw one just like an apple–which we highly do not recommend but still have to mention as an option–sweet potatoes are a versatile root vegetable for any snack or meal. Yes, they can be incorporated into desserts, but going there would defeat the purpose of a “Health Benefits Of” blog post. 

Alrighty then; let’s dive into the health benefits of this delicious dicot. 

Perk Up Your Peepers

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog, it shouldn’t take you longer than a nanosecond to identify what kind of compound beta-carotene is. You are correct! It’s an antioxidant! Beta-carotene happens to convert into vitamin A and promotes eye health. 

While eating sweet potatoes won’t cure existing vision problems, it will help protect your eyes from further unnecessary deterioration. If you’re hoping to increase your vitamin A intake, consider bulking up on sweet potato, which has 200 grams of beta-carotene per cup.

Improve Your Immune System

Improving vitamin A absorption does more for your body than keeping your vision sharp–vitamin A is also linked to a healthy immune system. As the seasons change, and crisp fall air turns to a winter chill, avoid the seasonal illnesses circulating by ensuring your body gets enough vitamin A.

Add Fiber to Your Diet

 Your digestive and heart health both depend on fiber-rich diets, but it’s not always easy to find healthy fiber which is also tasty and versatile. 

Bored with oatmeal breakfasts and smoothies for your main source of fiber this fall? Sweet potatoes are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber and can be eaten in fun ways, like sweet potato pie (with no added sugar) and sweet potato fries (that are baked, not fried, but calling them sweet potato bakes sounds half-baked). 

High in Antioxidants

We can’t help ourselves. Antioxidants will always have a dedicated paragraph in these blog posts. 

It’s not just your eyes that benefit from the antioxidants in sweet potatoes. Antioxidants help reduce free radicals in your cells, decreasing risks of cancer and aiding in macular degeneration.

While you can’t stop aging, antioxidants have shown promise in reducing signs of early aging. They combat inflammation and encourage better circulation.

Natural Energy Booster

Not all carbs are bad. Sweet potatoes are a source of complex carbohydrates, which the body breaks down and uses as energy. Sweet potatoes also help keep you from feeling sleepy or dizzy due to healthy levels of iron.

Low iron leads to a variety of health problems and causes fatigue. Sweet potatoes increase iron absorption, ensuring your body gets the iron it needs to keep you alert and healthy.

Reduce Insulin Resistance

For sufferers of diabetes, monitoring blood sugar is an important part of planning a healthy diet. Planning meals can get frustrating when so many carbohydrates cause insulin spikes.

Being low on the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are a great ingredient for those with diabetes because they help maintain blood sugar while decreasing insulin resistance. 

Of course, like all good things, sweet potatoes should be eaten in moderation. Oh, you are allowed to indulge in sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving dinner, and you can make it a little guilt-free by scraping off the marshmallows. The next person in line will appreciate it. 

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Explaining the Pumpkin Spice Latte Craze

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver runs a segment every fall called “IT’S PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE SEASON! YEAH!!!!!”, showing clips of news anchors ushering in the beverage interspersed with a voice on the show yelling things like, “Soon All of Existence Shall Be Cradled In The Fragrant Pumpkin Arms Of the Spice!”

It’s hysterical and not quite hyperbole. 

Right now, it’s pumpkin everything season from candles, gourds, cereal, pies, ice cream, pasta, salsa, and beer. 

But no pumpkin item or product can touch the popularity of pumpkin spice latte or PSL. What started not too long ago as a novelty now dominates the coffee culture, and the coveted beverage is trotted out earlier and earlier each year. 

Why the craze? We explain below. 

When did it Become so Popular?

Starbucks introduced the flavor in 2003, piloting it at 100 stores in the U.S. and Canada.  

“A number of us thought it was a beverage so dominated by a flavor other than coffee that it didn’t put Starbucks’ coffee in the best light,” said the late Tim Kern, a former Starbucks executive in a Yahoo! interview from 2013.

PSL instantly started breaking company records and was rolled out in all stores the following year. But it truly became a cultural sensation in the early to mid-‘10s. Naturally, other companies jumped on the bandwagon, including Dunkin, McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s, Peet’s, and so on. 

Focusing just on Starbucks, data from 2019 showed that PSL was available in 50 countries, and an estimated 424 million drinks had been sold, bringing in approximately $1.4 billion. The Twitter account of the brand had 100,000 followers, and 1.7 million posts on Instagram had tagged the drink.

This year, Starbucks released PSL on August 24, closer to the dog days of summer than the start of fall. 

Social Media

In between shouting matches over whatever, people love posting pictures of food and drink on social media. It’s fair to say that without the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, PSL wouldn’t be the juggernaut that it is today. 

The timing could not have been better because these social media channels began taking off as people were learning about PSL through word of mouth. Soon everyone began posting selfies with the drink, and according to Fast Company, Starbucks sold about 200 million PSLs, then doubled it over the next five years, while strategically expanding it around the globe.

Nostalgia 

Let’s turn to academia for this explanation. 

The same Fast Company article interviewed Kelly Haws, a Vanderbilt marketing professor who specializes in consumers’ food decision-making, who said, “The flavor brings back positive memories for people around family, the holidays, and the fall. It’s also typically coupled with something sweet and fattening, and we have an innate need and desire for sugar and fat, and many of these pumpkin spice products have a lot of both.” 

Pumpkin spice latte is here to stay, and if you haven’t yet, you better get used to it.  Speaking of pumpkin and fall treats (SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT), we’ve got quite a lineup, including our Hello Halloween and Jack of all Treats gift baskets.

 
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The Health Benefits of Apples

Back by popular demand is our next installment of “The Health Benefits of Fill-in-the-Blank” series.

This one may seem pretty easy because of course we know that apples are healthy. However, we never want to make any assumptions, and “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t necessarily true. There are exceptions. Within the same 24 hours of eating an apple, you could also sprain your ankle. Taking it a step further, you could sprain your ankle WHILE eating an apple. 

But I digress. 

Synonymous with fall (apple-picking anyone?),apples are really healthy, and below, we go bobbing for the reasons why. But we do not condone bobbing for apples because it was gross even before the pandemic. 

What a Variety!

Can we first talk about the cornucopia of apples that exists? 

  • Red Delicious
  • McIntosh
  • Crispin
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp

Seven different kinds! Except, there are many more, which is why we write such informative blog posts:

  • Pink Lady
  • Envy
  • Jazz
  • Braeburn
  • Golden Delicious
  • Opal
  • Lady Alice
  • Hidden Rose
  • Jonagold
  • Empire
  • Cosmic Crisp Apples

Yes, Cosmic Crisp is a thing, and you can try for yourself at Trader Joe’s. There are more we’re leaving out, but you get the idea. 

Now onto the benefits. 

Great Source of Fiber

Apples are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber. According to Healthline, apple pectin can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve gut health. To boot, soluble fiber makes you feel fuller. 

Packed with Nutrients

Nutrient is a great example of an onomatopoeia because it really does sound like its meaning, as in when you hear the word, you think nutritious, and foods that are nutritious are good for you. 

Apples are loaded with nutrients like fiber, potassium, manganese (not to be confused with magnesium), magnesium (not to be confused with manganese, though it’s usually the other way around), and vitamins, A, E, B1, B2, B6, C, and K. 

Heart-Healthy 

Going beyond the skin and deeper into the body of this fruit, apples don’t just contain fiber, but soluble fiber, which is known to lower blood cholesterol levels. They also have polyphenols, naturally occurring organic compounds that promote heart-health, which is very important, considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in America. 

Stronger Bones

Hey, it’s almost Halloween, so it’s apropos to discuss bones. We need to build healthy bones because unhealthy ones become brittle and literally make the body more fragile. 

Studies show that eating apples is linked to higher bone density, which certainly helps bone health. Healthline cites a study comparing a group of participants who ate apples to those who didn’t, and the former lost less calcium, meaning their bones were healthier. 

Antioxidants

Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “What about antioxidants? What happened to them?! Someone send a search party!!! 

We just wanted to keep you in suspense. 

It wouldn’t be a “The Health Benefits of Fill-in-the-Blank” blog post without a reference to our free radical-fighting, loyal friends that protect us against disease. You bet your red and delicious apple that they comprise antioxidants, which come from the fruit’s flavonoids. According to research, antioxidants in apples slow the spread of cancer cells and protect your pancreas, lowering your chances of type 2 diabetes. 

Remember, reaping the health benefits of apples means eating them as is and not dipped in caramel, enveloped in a crostata, or mixed into a pie. But all bets are off on Thanksgiving. 

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6 Things to Love About Fall

Even though it was a thousand degrees with two thousand percent humidity last weekend, fall is within reach. Sure, it’s still technically summer, but school is in full swing, stores are stocked with Halloween stuff, and the shelves at Trader Joe’s feature pumpkin everything. 

Full disclosure: fall is my favorite season, so I’m biased. But it’s also America’s favorite season, which makes it worthy of a blog post. Below, we present six things to love about fall. 

1. Fresh Air

On a crisp fall day, there’s nothing like breathing in that fresh fall air. To boot, there are many fun outdoor activities to take advantage of, like apple and pumpkin picking, farmers’ markets, and trail hiking. 

Speaking of farmers’ markets, we are surrounded by some great ones, including Northbrook, Deerfield, Buffalo Grove, and Ravinia

2. Football 

Okay, so the Bears got off to an inauspicious start. It’s just one game, and if history is any indication…hmmm, I’ll stop there. The point is that it’s football season! You can count on watching college and NFL games at least Thursday through Monday. The NFL even added an extra game this year, which gives you one more chance to dominate your fantasy football league.

3. A New Year

In Judaism, the High Holidays occur in fall, beginning with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. No matter how observant you are, it offers a time to reflect on the past year and to plan for the new one. 

Fall also brings the start of a new school year, which represents a coming-of-age and right of passage for students in all stages of their learning and development. 

4. Food

Hello. 

You had me at caramel apples, hot cider, pumpkin pie, sage butter ravioli, and candy corns. 

The culinary traditions of fall are second to none, according to me. In addition to the above treats, WebMD has a nice list of healthy counterparts, including apples not dipped in caramel, acorn squash (also not dipped in caramel), brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. 

Food is sort of our world over here at BasketWorks, and we’d be remiss to omit a mention (🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨) of our line of fall baskets.

5. Halloween 

According to The Top Tens, Halloween ranks as the second best holiday in the U.S. with Christmas in the one spot. The Harris Poll has it at number three behind Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s pretty good company. 

What’s there not to love about Halloween? You’ve got trick or treating, jack o’lanterns, horror films, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and pilfering from your kids’ candy bags while they’re sleeping. 

The best part of Halloween is that everyone can get in on the costume action. In fact, last year 25% of adults said they planned to dress up, though we don’t have data on how many kids were embarrassed by their parents’ costumes of choice. 

6. Thanksgiving

Perhaps the biggest reason to give thanks this year is having more freedom to gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving. The past 18 months have been challenging beyond belief, but we’ve persevered, and we can celebrate holidays with the peace-of-mind of having a little more safety. 

Oh, and we’ll have access to sweet potatoes and marshmallows. 

You can make the case for all seasons, but fall seems to possess that X factor of unique transitions, cuisines, sports, and holidays. Enjoy in good health!

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3 Reasons Why You Should Place Your Holiday Orders Early

We are inundated with alarmist messages from retailers all the time: Order now while supplies last! Final sale! Only two hours left to receive 50% off! 

As we know, there is always another sale or great offer. However, one of the many ways Covid is causing disruptions is by complicating the supply chain. Products in those larger than life containers you see on cargo ships and crawling by on freight trains (while you pull your hair out in your car waiting at the crossing) are backed up. They’re clogging up ports–which are typically located overseas–and shipping companies have to hustle to distribute them. 

What we have here is a supply and demand problem, which naturally becomes a problem for consumers, who have to pay more for shipping and the product itself. Oh, more good news: it’s only supposed to get worse, especially for the holiday season, according to this Debbie Downer from CNN Business

But…we’re not going to just be the bearer of bad news and leave you to your own devices. Below, we discuss why you should place your 2021 holiday orders early. 

1. Really, Supplies Won’t Last That Long

We joked earlier about this message, but it’s very true this time around. There is quite a shortage of consumer products right now and for the foreseeable future. For example, Hasbro, the toy company that makes, well, everything, warns that shoppers will encounter bare shelves come holiday time. 

Not to be outdone by the doom and gloom of the aforementioned article, another CNN Business story cautions, “Tacos, cars, jet fuel. computer chips, Nike shoes and school supplies: What do they all have in common? They’re all (nearly) impossible to find — or getting there.”

No tacos? Ouch.  

The point is to do your shopping early and often, and if your biggest worry is not having enough jet fuel for your private plane, then you’re doing alright. 

2. More Expensive Products

Not only will gift selections be smaller, they will also hit your wallet harder. Speaking of Hasbro, they announced price increases to offset freight and commodities costs. If that doesn’t concern you, maybe this will: coffee is getting more expensive. 

The reality is that most consumer goods are going up in price–prices for U.S. consumers jumped in June by the most since 2008–so make your holiday shopping lists now, and save time and money while you can. 

3. Less Shipping Sticker Shock

The cost of shipping is soaring. Shortages of goods = higher shipping prices. The U.S. imports a lot from China, whose ports are tangled up, causing shipping companies to scramble and use more resources. We know that you read up on Drewry Shipping’s World Container Index for fun, but in case you missed the latest report, here’s some juicy data: “The composite cost of shipping a 40-foot container on eight major East-West routes hit $9,613 in the week to August 19, up 360% from a year ago.” 

In other words, that increase impacts us, the consumers. To boot, you can expect longer delivery times. Shopping now or soon will mean paying less for shipping than waiting deep into the season and ensuring that your gifts arrive in time. 

What We’re Doing

Okay, we’ve scared you a bit, but we want you to know how we’re responding to pass savings on to you:

  • Procuring baskets and containers now so that they are on hand for the fourth quarter
  • Sourcing products from smaller and more local vendors to try to reduce shipping times
  • Taking orders and pre-orders now for the holidays
  • Creating designs that allow for easy substitution of products so that we can manage vendor shortages. 

You see, it shouldn’t only be up to shoppers to do all the planning. As consumers ourselves, we want you to enjoy the holidays without regret or buyer’s remorse.

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