From the monthly archives:

January 2011

Football Party? Give Back, Everyone Wins!

by inlu blog patrol on January 31, 2011

Are you ready for some football? Heck yeah? Make it a super duper Super Bowl party by giving back to a cause!

Why not use those hours in front of the tube, eating chips and having fun for the greater good? Not that having fun isn’t a goal in itself (or should I say field goal…buddum-ching) but by giving back, everyone wins, no matter the final score. Send out an Inlu invitation and all your guests donations will be pooled together and sent in one sum. Score! You don’t have to collect checks and your guests can pitch in online. Done.

Wondering what to collect for? You could ask friends to pitch in and bring a can for the local food shelf. You could give as a group to a local community center where kids come together to play and be safe.

You can even give back to a football camp or nonprofit, like the ones below. If you’re a football enthusiast, this is a waaay cool way to party on with a cause in mind. Check out these charities or search for one in your area–> Kids and Pros or the Bayless Foundation

Other kickin’ ideas:

Group gift for the host & hostess: Fleming Jenkins 2007 Madden Ranch Syrah – with grapes from John Madden’s vineyards!

Treats for the Munchkins: Betty Crocker Brownies – Yummy.

For the ladies in the room, check out these (over age 21) temptations.


Classic Snack Attack: Chex Party Mix!

For a fabulous list of healthy but delicious options, visit Easting Well’s 25 Super Bowl recipes to make your game-day party delicious and healthier

Think it’s a cool idea?


Winter Dreaming: 11 Idyllic Inlu Group Gifts

by inlu blog patrol on January 25, 2011

Well, it’s a tad cold up in the Northeast. And I’m kind of over the frozen fingers and ice blocked toes. I’m inside, wearing a beanie, a scarf and a sweater. It’s not my favorite time of year. It’s not really anyone’s idea of a good time to watch the temps drop to well below zero. And so, I thought, dang, what’s a better “group gift” than the gift of getting out of here?

Maybe it’s not gonna happen for me, but perhaps this will inspire a lucky wedding couple, long-time-love-birds or a family member who could use a break from this crazy, cold winter. Just think, if everyone pitched in, skipped the individual gifts, gift wrap and cards and all that jazz, you or someone you know could be on your way to a sunnier, “happy place” on planet earth.

Get ready to daydream.

1.Hotelito Desconocido. In Mexico. Near sand and water. Eco friendly. Windmill water power. No phones. Perfect.

2. Machu Picchu Sanctuary- “The only hotel near the famed Inca ruins, Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge matches luxurious comfort with ancient splendor.” – Kiwi Collection Yes please.

3. For the ladies: Pura Vida Adventure in Costa Rica. (Co-ed available too.) Looks good to me!

“Our surf and yoga retreats truly embrace the “pura vida” way: meeting new friends, sharing the sport of surfing, practicing the art of yoga, relaxation, laughter and fun.”

4.  For the entire family…Papillote Wilderness Retreat on Dominica, “the Nature Island of the Caribbean.” This eco-resort is smack dab in the middle of a rainforest. Sounds perfect! You wander. Eat mangoes. Love life. The website says it features “Comfortable, charming rooms overlooking gardens, mountains, waterfalls and pristine rainforest wilderness.” Ok. I’m sold.

5. I’ve been dreaming about this one for a long time: Atlantis. Dolphins and waterslides await. AND there’s plenty of quiet beach around.

6. Hawaii anyone? Kona Village Resort. It’s a pristine slice of rustic, tiki-hut-heaven on earth. The beaches, the pools, the hammocks by the sea. Aaaahhhhh….I can already feel the sunshine on my face.

7. Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica. El Sapo Dorado is “The jewel of the tropical rainforest.”- Why not? Nearby boasts monkeys, ziplines, canopy tours and fresh food. Certainly beats today’s activity of bundling up for 30 minutes to head to the grocery store.

8. A little closer to reality: Canyon Ranch Spa Miami Beach. Ok, well, it’s still a fantasy but I’m gonna keep dreaming about this perfect getaway gift.

“Housed in the historic, superbly restored Carillon Hotel, Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach will enchant you with its exquisite design and matchless ocean views. In a serene atmosphere of casual elegance, you will relax in a lavish suite, float in one of our four sparkling pools, savor award-winning cuisine and discover unsurpassed Canyon Ranch spa, fitness and wellness services.”

9. Head south. Check out some Mayan wonders. Recharge on life! This escape is filled with mystical wonder. HACIENDA CHICHEN RESORT & YAXKIN SPA -”Mexico’s Best Green Jungle Resort and  Eco-Spa Wellness Destination within the majestic Mayan site of Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.” … ” Hacienda Chichen has recently been named one of the Top 50 Wellness Destinations in North America by National Geographic and its Yaxkin Spa has been selected in the Ten Best Eco-Spas of the World.” No twisting my arm. I’ll go!

10. A tad alternative to pure relaxation: pure adrenaline with Wide Open Baja Off Roading Tours. Sounds like a rally of time. I know a few people who would welcome this adventurous excursion right about now. This girl included. It would certainly shake me out of hibernation mode!

“You’ll explore the vast expanse of  Baja’s wide open spaces. Pristine beaches, beautiful desert vistas, steep inland canyons, quaint villages, historic stops and of course exhilarating off-road driving is waiting for you.”

11. Big Sur Getaway at Ventana Inn & Spa. This resort on over 200 acres of wooded, oceanside property, is serenity at its finest. Plus, they take all kinds of earth-friendly initiatives to keep the land as it should be. Check this place out and tell me it’s an AWESOME group gift idea!

And so, now that you are all daydreaming about that escape from the mid-winter freeze, I’ll leave you to go back to my icy and imaginary-filled existence…for now. Cheers and Happy Inlu-ing!



Big Lessons from a Little Gift Receipt

by inlu blog patrol on January 20, 2011

Ok, so I’m cleaning out my wallet and find a receipt from a birthday party my 5 year old daughter attended.  We had no idea what to give the birthday girl, but knew she loved princesses.  So, we do the mad dash to Kmart to pick up a grab-and-go gift… my daughter insists on getting a princess Barbie.  (She LOVES princess Barbies and so do her friends.)   Oh, and a gift bag… and a bow, because as usual, I’m running late and have to go from store to party.  Sound familiar?

So, lets have some fun with the math shall we? (This is one wild word problem. Stick with it! You’ll appreciate it, seriously.)
Above is the actual gift receipft from that party.

Check it out:

Gift = $10.99
Gift Bag = $1.89
Bow = $1.99

Total = $14.87

(26% of the expense was for the gift wrap)

Now, that was just our ONE single gift.  But at the party, there were 10 kids there who probably spent about the same.

Gift =  $109.90                        Wrap = $38.80

And that was just one party.  Surely there were at least 10 birthday parties across Vermont that day?

Gift = $1,099.00                        Wrap = $388.00

And surely if there were that many in Vermont, then there would have been that many in all the other 49 states, right?

Gift = $54,950.00                          Wrap = $19,400.00

Oh, and that’s just in one weekend.  Surely there must be just as many birthday parties in the other 51 weekends in the year, right?

Gift = $2,857,400.00                        Wrap =  $1,008,800.00

Oh, and that princess Barbie we bought?  Yeah… she already had that one.

So, we have as many as 260,000 princess Barbies… that yeah… they may already have.

Now picture this.

What if these party hosts use Inlu to let everyone know what’s really wanted? Imagine if everyone pitches in their contribution to a snazzy $100 gift (like maybe the princess Barbie castle to go with? ) in lieu of ten, $10 gifts (that yeah… she probably already has). It would reduce the sheer number of “things” without touching the feel good effects of giving and receiving something awesome.

And gee, in lieu of $1,008,800.00 spent on wrapping paper and bows, maybe they ask guests to pitch in for charities too.   Pretty cool to pitch in for wanted (and not currently owned) gifts, and over one million dollars go to benefit charities across the country, right?

Finally, lets expand this a bit, shall we?  This is not just about kids birthday gifts.  Every week across the US there are adults having celebrations for their special birthdays, baby showers for moms having number 2,3, even 4, and there are wedding showers for folks who don’t need more flatware.  There are all kinds of events happening every week where the old school grab-a-gift occurs.

So for the sake of argument, lets say that for every kid’s birthday party, there are two other gift generating parties every weekend, right?

Gift =  $8,572,200.00                                    Wrap =  $3,026,400.00

Wouldn’t if feel awesome if we (you, your friends and family, and us) all worked together to send over $3million in what would have gone to wrapping so many small gifts, instead to charitable organizations that really need the support? And to know that the gift recipients all got what they really wanted?  Awesome.

Having slight math geek tendencies, we ponder these calculations everyday.  It’s what keeps us going and determined to provide people with a smarter way to be the perfect party host…So that maybe, in lieu of a quarter of a million receipts looking like this… (for gifts they already have…) maybe people will give Inlu a try.

Be a host/hostess hero – make gifting easy for everyone, save the world, and make that special someone very very happy.

Post byMonica, aka Shoulderpads


6 Ways Inlu is Here for YOU in 2011

by inlu blog patrol on January 7, 2011

It’s one week into 2011, and long after the fizzy drinks have gone flat, our Inlu goals for 2011 beam down from neon notes on the wall. This year, we are committed to a continuing dream that we can help our users:

1. To simplify. In lieu of running around, writing checks and all that jazz, we want to continue hearing, “wow, that was so easy!”when people contribute to a gift or charity collection.

2. To send money where it matters. Imagine, “in lieu of” wrapping paper, a bow and a card, that money (about $5-10), was sent over to a cause? We’re here to help move that mission along.

3. To trim the excess “stuff.” If you’re hosting a birthday party, but your kid only wants a skateboard, by gollie, why not let friends pitch in for it, skip the other 19 gifts and give the extra funds to a cause?

4. To support local business. If your family is divorced or scattered sideways all over the country, why not collect a little from each in a streamlined effort and take those funds, spend them locally? It could be for anything! Yoga, haircolor, massage, dance lessons- whatever!

5. To find great group gifts. This year, we’re gonna find great group gift ideas and share them with our users. Group Gifting = Less mess. More love. Got a cool group gift idea? Contact us.

6. To continue sharing stories of giving and gifting “in lieu of” excess, hassle and waste. Want to tell us about your “in lieu of” experience with Inlu, please, share it on Facebook or email us with some info!

For 2011, the Inlu crew is readier than ever to grow and give more Inlu Luv to its users, friends, fans and allies. Tip o’ the hat to you all!

Please, swing by and see HOW IT WORKS or feel free to set up a few Inlus for later. Once you have an account, you simply login and they’ll be waiting in yer dashboard. GO FOR IT.

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