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group gift idea

An Awesome Way To Say “Thanks Mom”

by Inlu Blog Patrol on July 7, 2012


My mom in her twenties, on the brink of starting her career.



In two weeks, my mom will be traversing the Swiss Alps by foot thanks to her friends, family, and On May 4th, 2012, she celebrated her 60th birthday. Really, she spent the last year preparing for what she wanted age 60 to feel like.

She set a goal to get in shape, and when she was invited to backpack in the Swiss Alps with her college friends this summer, she found all the more inspiration to achieve this goal. “I’m not getting any younger,” she reminded us.  So, in preparation for her 60th birthday, my mom canceled her cable subscription and got a membership at the local YMCA.

It felt like every time I called my mom last year I could hear the elliptical swishing rapidly in the background. She would answer, “Kate, I’m on the elliptical. (swish-swish) I’ll call you right back! (swish-swish)” and click. When January rolled around, she was getting slim, trim, and strong! Part of being a young adult is coming to the realization that life can be really hard sometimes. Setting goals and accomplishing them can be even harder.  My brother and I were so proud of our mother as we watched her dedication.

Here we are at the top of the highest mountain in Maine: Mount Katahdin circa 1998.

As a child, I had no concept of how strong of a person my mother is. As an evolutionary biologist, she was one of few women to navigate a predominately male field. In fact, she was pregnant with me when she interviewed for a teaching position with the University of Michigan, and feared they wouldn’t hire her if they knew. Fast-forward twenty-four years, and she is a well-respected and tenured professor there.  Even more spectacular than her contributions to science, my mom maintained her career while caring for her two children as a single mother

I traveled with my mom to Paris last summer (an early graduation present for me) while she attended a conference where biologists from across the globe gathered to share their latest work and discoveries. My mom was asked to talk at the conference, and when it was her turn to present her work the room went from nearly empty to completely full of scientists. They had all gathered to hear her speak.

It’s astonishing to me to think that my mother accomplished so much in her career, yet she was always present in our lives. She was at home making us chocolate milkshakes when we were sick, attended every soccer game and dance recital, and was the kind of loving and accepting mother that every kid deserves.

My brother and I had to find a way to say thank you.

We’re both young adults with thin wallets, but we had a vision: A surprise party. Unfortunately, a stifling realization quickly kicked in. Our mom’s friends and family are spread out across the country. It would be nearly impossible to surprise her with all of the people dearest to her. Yet we wanted our mom to experience a moment of utter shock and joy; she has given us so many wonderful memories and we wanted to do the same for her.


My mom happily reading her Inlu with messages from friends and family across the country.

I had known about Inlu for a couple years, but I never really understood how Inlu could apply to me. While the idea seemed great, I had never thought of an occasion to pool money for a group gift, or to give as a group to charity.

It hit us that the best way to include all of my mom’s friends and family would be to involve them in a group gift. She had spent the year exercising vigorously for her hiking trip, so we thought, hey, what if all of her friends and family contributed toward her trip? If they couldn’t celebrate in person, they surely would want to send her into her sixties with a big backpacking bang!

And so, Inlu was the answer.  Inlu is an easy online collection tool. We were able to organize the surprise party, track RSVPs, and collect contributions toward her gift. The friends and family that couldn’t attend the party were able to leave a message for her that we printed and gave to her as a card.  We even sent out updated messages letting our guests know how the surprise was going to work, where to meet, and reminders to get there before my mom arrived!  It made the overwhelming task of planning a party much less daunting. In fact, it was easy.

I’ve used Inlu several times since May. I planned another surprise birthday party for my boyfriend’s 30thbirthday at the end of June (he was totally surprised too), and I was Inlu-ed a new computer from friends and family in celebration of my graduation from college.

The three of us celebrating my graduation from college in May.

Inlu was the perfect tool to organize a group gift for my mom’s surprise 60th birthday party. When the big day finally rolled around, we gave her a check for over $1,200 to put toward her trip and an event where she couldn’t stop smiling.

Even better, she was totally surprised.


Kate Tucker Fahlsing is a Social Media Specialist at

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Red Hot Group Gift Alert! Amazon Kindle Fire

by inlu blog patrol on September 29, 2011

We’ve been hearing all kinds of jazzy stuff about the new Amazon Kindle Fire. It’s got a browser. It can open flash. And it’s connected to, meaning there’ll be tons of goodies to download, upload or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

That’s why we’re doing a shout out: PERFECT GROUP GIFT ALERT! It’s $199, which means a group of friends and family members can make this one happen for one lucky duck.

View THIS sample. Fire up the Group Gifting braincells.


Etsy Artwork = Perfect Group Gift

by inlu blog patrol on September 17, 2011

Have you ever stopped in your tracks to gaze at a piece of art, thinking THAT would be a perfect piece in my house! Do you know an artsy couple about to get hitched? Do you happen to know a local artist you’d love to add to your collection? Could your inlaws use some artistic inspiration in their house? Well, Inlu makes it super easy to round up funds for artwork! And what better site to explore than Etsy? Here are some Etsy art shops that offer cool, unique pieces that would make the recipient smile! (Here’s a sample featuring artwork as the INLU GROUP GIFT),


Etsy Artwork by NewModernArt $245.00

Ben Will Studio

$150.00 USD © 2011 BenWill Studio.

New Wave Art Gallery

Original Painting Fine Art Modern Abstract by Henry Parsinia $450.00


LARGE Cherry Blossom Painting Gold Red Black Abstract Modern $285.00 USD

ChristineKrainock Contemporary Art

Modern, Abstract, Metallic Oil, Silver, Textured, Knife Painting $190.00 USD


Art Original Acrylic Painting of Ballerina at Rest in Old Studio Room In Repose $175.00 USD


Autumn Splendor -Original Acrylic Textured Painting $225.00 USD


JMJARTSTUDIO Original 3 Piece Painting 24 X 54 Inches $259.00 USD


AmyGiacomelli -- $275.00 USD


Sunshine Burst of Joy $315.00 USD

Collecting from a group to buy a piece of art is a cinch. Simply create an Inlu, explain WHY the artwork is special and invite people to pitch in!


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!



Inlu: The Easy Family Gift and Wishlist Solution!

by inlu blog patrol on November 30, 2010

Ok, so your family is, like, in 5 states, and you know it’s gonna be a lot of work for everyone to shop, ship and figure out what to get your adorable little munchkins.

Well, we’ve got a simple solution.







If you’d like you can check out our blog entry from last year: Chill Out with Inlu Holiday Wishlists!


Kids gifts are gettin’ pricey! IDEA: Pitch in for it.

by inlu blog patrol on September 20, 2010

You know it. You’ve seen it coming. That first toy with batteries that turned into an iPod, has now turned into a laptop with apps and downloads, membership fees and more. WOW. Where did the day of pet rocks and stick forts go? ;)

Well, if you’re wondering the same thing, you’re not alone. Parents everywhere are like, dang, how we gonna swing great gift$ like that?

One word: INLU.

GO for it. It’s reasonable to ask for fewer gifts and let everyone pitch in for something wicked extra spectacular. Seriously, TRY IT!

Then, you can spend all the time NOT running around shopping & shipping creating cool little pet rocks…great idea for a PARTY FAVOR!

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