Try “My Perfect Present” Free on iTunes & Google Play

Trying to find the perfect present for everyone on your Christmas list just got a lot easier with The Lakeside Collection’s “My Perfect Present” App. Available for a free download right now on iTunes and Google Play. We’ve also included an online version so you can try out “My Perfect Present” on Lakeside.com right now.

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How “My Perfect Present” Works

“My Perfect Present” helps you find the right gift for the family and friends in your life in just a few clicks. First it breaks down your Christmas shopping list into simple categories to narrow your search. That means you’ll be able to shop for everyone, whether it’s an Adult Man, a Young Adult Girl, a 6-to-8 year old Boy or the tiny Baby in your life. In a few clicks, the App uses the information you provide to create a series of questions that will narrow your search even more. Read on to learn how the App uses all these questions to form a profile.

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Let’s say you’re shopping for the Adult Man. Some of the questions that might pop up will be something like: “Which of these cars best describes him?” or “Where would he spend his dream vacation?” The clever App uses your answers to determine whether they’re an Outdoorsman, Sports Enthusiast and more! All that’s left to do is click on “Shop Gifts” to see the top products Lakeside recommends for the Adult Man you described. Then repeat the process for every single person on your shopping list. The best part about using the App is that you’ll be able to find gifts you probably haven’t seen before, expertly selected to fit your holiday needs.

Where to Download “My Perfect Present”

“My Perfect Present” can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, or just explored here on Lakeside.com.

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Valentine’s Day: Why We Give Sweets to Our Sweethearts

Valentine-CandyWe’re busy getting ready for Valentine’s Day! We’re swimming in red hearts, cupids and roses. There are only a few things we really associate with Valentine’s Day and at the top of the list is candy. Like Halloween, it’s almost impossible to make it through the holiday without eating a bonbon or two. But how did we start making that connection between candy and love? Here is a breakdown of why we give sweets to our sweethearts on Valentine’s Day.

Forbidden Fondness In the third century, St. Valentine was a Roman bishop who secretly granted marriages to soldiers and their sweethearts when it was banned. He was imprisoned for the crime and in his cell is where the Valentine as we know it was born. As the legend goes, St. Valentine sent a letter to the daughter of his jailer and signed it “Your Valentine.” There was no candy included, but this where the valentine tradition started.

Candy-Coated Love For hundreds of years St. Valentine’s tradition lived on, but it wasn’t until the 14th century that someone put pen to paper the custom of sending love letters called valentines. Geoffrey Chaucer, known for The Canterbury Tales, wrote a poem called “Parliament of Fowls” in which the first literary reference to Valentine’s Day was made:

Valentine-Candy“For this was on Saint Valentine’s day, // When every fowl comes there his mate to take, // Of every species that men know, I say, // And then so huge a crowd did they make, // That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake // Was so full, that there was scarcely space // For me to stand, so full was all the place.”

We waited another few hundred years for Shakespeare to make the candy connection in Hamlet with the words “sweets to the sweet” and we never looked back.

Delicious DevotionThe connection between chocolate and love can be boiled down to science. There’s a chemical released in our brains when we fall in love called phenylethylamine. Coincidentally, chocolate contains this chemical. The amount found in chocolate made today is too scant to be considered an aphrodisiac, but it was one of the early uses of the cocoa bean by the Aztecs. In addition to using chocolate as wedding gifts, Aztec leader Montezuma was known for consuming it before romantic engagements.

Cartons of Confections Chocolate was originally a drink. It wasn’t until the 1840s that candy makers turned it into solid morsels of food. One of the early chocolate producers — Richard Cadbury — is widely considered the person responsible for making these solid chocolates treats a Valentine’s Day tradition. He designed elaborately decorated boxes to package his candies, but the company that still carries his name does not claim he was behind those heart-shaped boxes we send our sweethearts today. That started, according to the New York Times, in the 1890s.

Valentine-CandyDelectable Dialogue New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) started experimenting with its signature Valentine’s Day candy around the same time Richard Cadbury was perfecting solid chocolate. NECCO started using the first candy machine in 1847 and about two decades later they came up with the iconic “Conversation Candies” which later became conversation hearts. Those conversation hearts have been in production since 1902 and the company continues the conversations with new words each year. 2016 words have not yet been announced, but last year’s phrases include “BFF” (Best Friends Forever), “TE AMO” (I love you in Spanish), “JE T’AIME” (I love you in French), and “Pugs and Kittens” (for animal lovers).

Let The Lakeside Collection help you make your sweetheart’s Valentine’s Day special. From gifts to sweets, we have hundreds items to show your loved one you care.

Holiday Shopping: Ideas for Personalized Gifts

bf-monogram-luggage-setHoliday shopping is tough for most of us, but it’s harder for some than others. If you consider yourself gift-giving-challenged, go easy on yourself by giving personalized gifts. We’ve selected some of our favorites to make your thoughtful gifts a little more special. Here are 5 ideas for personalized gifts.

For the Traveler This cool 3-Pc. Monogram Luggage Set has an initial embroidered in orange thread on the front of each piece. The eye-catching camo print makes this luggage stand out from the crowd. The extendable handle on the rolling suitcase locks into place for easy wheeling. It has a zippered pocket on the front, a zippered compartment and a double-zippered main compartment with a spacious interior. Attached to the suitcase is a compact, detachable clutch with a full zipper closure. The duffel bag has a front zippered pocket and a double-zippered main compartment. Includes a removable shoulder strap. Polyester. Imported.magazine-holder

For the Worker Bee Add a personal touch to your desktop with your own monogram. This book and magazine holder is in the shape of your monogram and made in a fashionable metal mesh. Approx. 9-3/4″ x 8-3/8″ x 3-1/8″.

insulated-monogram-tumblerFor the Thirsty Insulated Monogram Tumbler keeps your drink cool with some personal flair. A lively polka dot print is sandwiched between the double-walled insulation. It features a monogram in playful green embroidery. Includes twist-on lid and straw. 20 oz. Hand wash. Acrylic and cotton.

monogram-fleece-pillowsFor the Home Decorator Personalize your home decor with this 18″ Monogram Fleece Pillow. This extremely soft and comfortable taupe pillow features a bold, black embroidered monogram. Polyester with polyfill. Imported.

mongram-kindle-caseFor the Reader Monogram Case for Kindle or iPad lets you carry your favorite device with a bit of personal flair. The case has a fashionable and contemporary design and opens up to reveal a 30-sheet notepad inside. Add your monogram to the cover with one of the 26 letters included. A magnetic closure keeps your device secure. Inside, there is also a slot to hold a pen. The Kindle Case (7-1/2″ x 5-3/4″ x 1-1/8″) is sized for the best-selling Kindle e-reader model. The iPad Case (10-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ x 1-1/8″) fits all versions of the popular tablet computer.

gift-appLook to the The Lakeside Collection for all your personal gifts this holiday season! We have hundreds of items at discount prices for just about everyone on your holiday shopping list. And if you’re really stumped on what to get someone, check out our Perfect Present Gift App to steer you to the right present.

Santa’s Helpers: 9 Curious Facts About Reindeer

reindeerSanta and his eight tiny reindeer will soon be dancing and prancing on rooftops from the beaches of Hawaii all the way to the Maine shoreline. They’re responsible for getting presents to all the boys and girl around the country, but there’s so little we know about Santa’s hooved helpers. We did a little bit of research on our flying furry friends to share with you. Here are 9 curious facts about reindeer.

That Coffee You’re Drinking… Could be called “Reindeer Coffee.” Caribou and reindeer are the same thing.

Everyone Sounds Off Reindeer are the only species of deer in which both male and females have horns.

Light My Way Reindeer is the only mammal that can see ultraviolet light. The UV light helps them find food in the winter when there is little daylight. This is also why their eyes change color from golden brown in the summer to blue in the winter.

reindeerLadies Lead Male reindeer shed their antlers in early winter — before Christmas. Female reindeer keep their antlers until the snow starts to melt in the spring. That means those tiny reindeer who haul a sleigh full of presents is an all-girl posse.

Water Sports Reindeer are excellent swimmers which is due to their special hooves which are very different regular deer hooves. Reindeer hooves are big, cloven and spread out. When they swim, their hooves act like paddles to help them move. On land — specifically snow-covered land — because the hooves are wide, they act as snowshoes.

Winter Coats Reindeer found in North America spend most of their time in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies so they have specially designed coats to weather the cold of the deep north. They have two layers of fur to keep them warm. There is a soft under-fur and on top of that is the “guard hair.” The texture of the guard hair is rough and each strand is hollow. This helps trap their body heat as well as help reindeer float when they swim. But their coats don’t end on their bodies — they extend to cover their noses as well! This helps filter out the cold air when they breathe in and keeps their muzzles warm when they root for food in the snow.

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Scandinavian Roots The eight tiny reindeer that haul Santa’s sleigh are likely from Svalbard — a Norwegian archipelago. They’re about 70 lbs lighter than standard caribou and have shorter legs.

Santa’s Originals The eight tiny reindeer — Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen — were introduced to us in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”) but Rudolph didn’t get his big break to work with the big guy for another 100 years. The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was published in a booklet in 1939.

Santa Speed One of the reasons Santa probably chose reindeer to haul his sleigh to every house in one night is because they’re speedy! Reindeer are faster than wolves who are much smaller and have to carry less. They can run up to about 50 miles an hour! That’s fast delivery if you’re waiting on special gifts from our jolly friend from the North Pole!

gift-appLook to the The Lakeside Collection for all your special deliveries this holiday season! We may not have the charm of eight tiny reindeer to present your gifts, but we do have thousands of items at discount prices for just about everyone on your holiday shopping list. And if you’re stumped on what to get someone, check out our Perfect Present Gift App to steer you to the right present.

 

Holiday Hustle: Product Picks for Personalized Gifts

It’s time to get on that holiday shopping! With so many people on your list to shop for, we know how tough it is to come up with something thoughtful for everyone on your list. One short cut to coming up with a thoughtful gift is to personalize it. Lucky for you, we have plenty of items to personalize. To get you started, here’s this week’s Lakeside Selection: Product Picks for Personalized Gifts.lak-personalized-rag-doll

The Girl is Mine This holiday will be extra special when she receives a Personalized Holiday Rag Doll. She’ll love playing with this adorable rag doll, which can have any name up to 12 characters embroidered on its dress. Thread color and font as pictured. The soft doll has an embroidered face and comes dressed in holiday attire, including an attached dress and cape. Her yarn hair is tied back with a bow, and button details enhance her shoes. 16-1/2″ tall. Polyester. Imported. Web and phone agent orders only. Sorry, mail/fax and our automated phone orders not accepted.

lak-personalized-cheese-boardsCheese to Go with Mine Make this Personalized Wine Bottle-Shaped Cutting Board uniquely yours by adding your name or initials. The bottom of the board has feet so it won’t move around or scratch your table, and the top has a loop of suede for hanging. It provides a decorative touch hanging on the wall of your kitchen or home bar. Colors and fonts are as they appear for each design. For the Chalkboard choice, “The” and “Family” are a given–just add the name you want. 4-1/2″W x 12-5/8″L. Glass. Web and phone agent orders only. Sorry, mail/fax and our automated phone orders not accepted. This item cannot be shipped to P.O. boxes.

Personalized-pendantPersonal Devotion Celebrate any religious event or special occasion with a gift of this Personalized Cross Pendant. The pendant has a cutout cross and may be customized with a name of up to 9 characters. The personalization will be engraved into the center of the pendant. Includes an 18″ chain with a lobster claw clasp. Pendant, 1-1/8″ dia. Metal. Web and phone agent orders only. Sorry, mail/fax and our automated phone orders not accepted.

lak-personalized-car-organizerPersonal Space Keep items neat and orderly inside your car without taking up space using this Personalized Car Organizer. It’s specifically designed to be hung around a headrest or strapped around one of the car’s seats. Adjustable straps clip on and off for added versatility. It features 2 mesh pockets on the bottom, large and small pockets in the middle, and 3 small mesh pockets on top. Personalize with any name up to 15 characters. Name is embroidered on the large pocket in white thread. 17″W x 22-3/4″L. Polyester. Imported. Web and phone agent orders only. Sorry, mail/fax and our automated phone orders not accepted.

lak-personalized-bakingHomemade Excellence This Personalized Nordic Ware Baking Dish is a fun and convenient way to share your homemade treats. The 13″ x 9″ pan features a vibrant snap-close lid with a tab for easy removal. Personalize it with up to 9 characters for the name or 3 for the initials. “The” and “Family” are a given for the Chalkboard choice, and it also has a space for the year your family was established. 14-3/4″W x 9-5/8″D x 3″H, overall. Aluminum and acrylic. Pan, dishwasher and oven safe. Web and phone agent orders only. Sorry, mail/fax and our automated phone orders not accepted. This item cannot be shipped to P.O. boxes.

gift-appIf you have more people to buy for and you just don’t know where to start, check out our Perfect Present Gift App to help you select a great gift for anyone on your list!

Holiday Hustle: Tips for Finding the Perfect Gift for Anyone

nfl-pool-table-coversIf you haven’t started your holiday shopping, you’re not alone. Though most people love to shop, buying gifts for other people can be exhausting. It takes a lot of thought, and even when you put a lot of energy into an awesome present, it might not be right. Here are 4 tips for finding the perfect gift for anyone on your list.

Excesses Try working backwards. Think about things your loved one already has too much of. If she has a curio cabinet packed with knick knacks, another curio might get lost in the mix. If his man cave is already covered from floor-to-ceiling with team flags and posters, he may not need anymore NFL decor. These are things you should eliminate from your list and steer clear of when you start your shopping in earnest.

travel-collectionNeeds Think about life events that are coming up for your loved one: a European vacation, college graduation or moving to a new city. All of these events require items people don’t use every day. Vacations necessitate special luggage and clothing. Graduation means starting a new life from scratch. Moving to a new city means a new home with fresh decor. It’s easy to narrow down gift ideas based on what the recipient might need rather than what he or she might want.

Cyber Sleuthing Start looking at what your recipient posts on his or her social media accounts. If this person posts a lot of pictures of his cat, think about the different cat accessories you can give him. If she posts a lot of pictures of the treats she makes in the kitchen, maybe look into a fancy cookbook or kitchen gadgets she might find handy. If your loved one is a new mom and posts nothing but pictures of her little one, a scrapbook might be the perfect gift for her so she can document every event in her new baby’s life. These are all items your loved one probably wouldn’t think to tell you they want, and you don’t even have to ask.

personalized-matMake it Personal There are a couple of ways to make a gift very personal. Either you can craft something yourself — knit homemade mittens to brighten those dark days of winter, or stitch together felt covers for smartphones and tablets — or you can buy something to personalize with their names like wine totes, rubber stamps or jewelry. When you make something for someone or you turn an everyday item into something unique for your loved one, it shows that you’re a thoughtful, caring person.gift-app

 

Of course you don’t have to put that much thought into a gift for it to be a hit! Try our Perfect Present Gift App to help you find the right gift for everyone on your list. Just a few minutes, a couple of clicks and you have your holiday shopping done!

August Pinteresting Picks

bootie-cutiesWe’re starting to feel fall and so are our Pinterest followers. From what they’re pinning, it looks like they’re getting ready to get cozy and get organized! From kitchen gadgets to help streamline dinner time to cute winter accessories, they’re definitely excited about the season. Here are our August Pinteresting Picks.

Cozy & Cute This pair of bootie cuties gives your favorite boots a playful look with adorable animal cuffs. Featuring knit construction with embroidered details, these critters play peek-a-boo when you fold the cuff over the top of your boots.slim-can-storage

Slim Storage Get maximum kitchen storage in a minimum amount of space with the wooden Slim Can and Spice Rack. Nearly 3 feet tall, it’s just 3-1/2 inches wide, so it fits in between appliances, cabinets and other narrow spaces. It’s on wheels, so you can use the silver pull handle on the side to access it whenever you need it. Open shelves are made to securely hold soda cans, spice jars and other small items.shearling-infant-booties

 

Baby Booties Keep baby’s feet comfy and stylish with these Faux Shearling Infant Booties. The shearling-like trim at the top and bottom, coupled with the fancy stitching, make these booties absolutely adorable. A stretchy elastic band around the top of each bootie makes putting on and taking off a breeze. Nonslip grippers add traction on tile and hardwood floors. buffet-caddy

Dinner Designs Buffet Caddy frees up space on the serving table by keeping all of your dinnerware in one spot. The top section organizes your flatware in 4 round baskets, the center section holds napkins, and the bottom section keeps dinner plates easily accessible. Metal frame has a scrolled design and durable balled feet to keep the caddy in place on any surface. dr-who-throw

Time Travel Blanket Although they won’t transport you through time and space, the Doctor Who Throw and Pillow are perfect for cuddling up in front of the telly to watch your favorite show. The Plush Throw (50″ x 60″) features the Doctor’s Tardis, a police call box, on the front. Machine care. The 10″ x 20″ Pillow, shaped like the Tardis, is ultra soft and plump to lay on.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts

We’re getting ready for a fun-packed summer! Barbecues and pool parties are on the schedule — and so is Father’s Day. It’s just about a month away, so it’s time to start thinking about how to show Dad some appreciation. Here is this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Father’s Day Gifts.grill-cover

Grill Protection Shield your grill from the elements and keep it looking brand new with the Weatherproof Gas Grill Cover. Constructed of durable PVC, it will provide your grill with a protective barrier against rain, snow and damaging UV rays. Available in 2 sizes, there’s one to fit your grill, big or small. Use the attached tabs with fabric-magic closures to secure the cover tightly around your grill to keep it from blowing off in the wind.freezable-can-cooler

Fun & Functional Whether your team is playing like they’re on fire or on the bench, this NFL Freezable Can Cooler keeps your drink chilled throughout each quarter. Water is encased in the double-walled, single can cooler, emblazoned with the logo of your favorite team front and back. Put it in the freezer to chill it, then put your drink can into the cooler. Rubberized plastic around the bottom edge makes sure the cooler won’t slip or scratch your table.tripod

Guiding Light The Stanley Tripod Flashlight is perfect for emergencies, camping and DIY projects in hard-to-reach places. Use both your hands to repair a dripping pipe or start a campfire while the powerful LED lights up your work space. The flashlight’s articulated head directs the light right where you need it. Weather-resistant anodized aluminum case makes it ideal for roadside emergencies and trips. Retractable legs make it easy to take with you. Flashing low-power indicator means you’ll never be unexpectedly caught in the dark. Runs on 3 batteries with a battery life of 41 hours.fork-thermometer

Grill Gadget Great for barbecuing or broiling! The Fork Thermometer quickly and accurately reads the temperature of your food. Indicator lights let you know if the meat is rare, medium or well done. It takes the guesswork out of oven roasting a turkey or grilling steaks and burgers. Stainless steel tips provide accurate results.chainsaw

Camping Contraptions Portable Camping Chain Saw or Belt Pouch is a must-have for anyone who enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking and spending time outdoors. The 24″ Flexible Chain Saw is a revolutionary tool that cuts and clears in both directions for clean, efficient strokes on even the hardest wood. This easy-to-use saw gives you a flexible blade for cutting from a variety of angles. Made of heavy-duty coated steel, its cutting teeth are self-cleaning and require little maintenance. Nylon handle straps prevent the chain from twisting. To cut, simply wrap the blade around the object and pull. Store the saw in the Nylon Belt Pouch so you’ll have it when you need it. It features a fabric-magic closure and a belt loop attachment to hold the saw firmly in place around your waist. Versatile pouch can also be used to carry a pocket knife. Imported.

 

Nature’s Favorite Moms

This weekend we’re honoring our moms on Mother’s Day — they deserve it! They do so much for us from birth to adulthood, but the animal kingdom has some pretty amazing moms that deserve a little recognition this week, as well. Here are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing moms.

Elephants Elephant moms are pretty spectacular animals. First of all, the gestation period for elephants is 22 months. That’s a pregnancy that lasts just short of two years! There’s no wonder why females rule the herd. But just like human moms, elephant mothers can’t do it all on their own — their sisters and aunts help out with the rearing of a young calf.  

Orangutan Orangutan moms develop strong bonds with their offspring. Much like humans, they give birth to one baby at a time. The babies then stay with their mothers to learn the ins and outs of life in the forest for up to eight years. But just like humans, their children (the females, at least) go home every so often to visit.

Koalas Koala moms are dedicated creatures. They’re marsupials (like kangaroos), so after koalas give birth, their young live in a pouch in their torsos for about six months. When they’re too big for the pouch, mom puts them on her back and takes them anywhere and everywhere she goes for an entire year. It’s nature’s way of fostering a strong mother-child bond.

Polar Bears Polar bear moms are fierce, but it’s their nature. Basically, polar bear moms are left alone to dig a snow den to give birth and raise her twin cubs until it’s warm enough to leave. When the cubs leave, a whole new set of challenges arise — not only does this single mom have to protect them from the cold and teach them how to hunt, she sometimes has to fight other polar bears to keep her cubs safe.

Cheetah Cheetah moms are moms on the move. After giving birth, every step she takes is an effort to protect her young from predators — she makes a new home for her and her litter every few days so their scent is untraceable. When her cubs are big enough, she teaches them to hunt for themselves for up to two years. After that, they’re on their own, sometimes forming small groups with their siblings.

At The Lakeside Collection, we celebrate all mothers for everything they sacrifice for their children every day of the year. Whether you want to honor your mom with a unique Mother’s Day gift or you want to make her ordinary day extraordinary, we have ideas and products to make your mom feel special.  

 

April’s Pinteresting Picks

We made it to May! And we have so much to be excited about in the warm, spring ahead! Our Pinterest followers are excited to get outdoors, too. We can tell by what they’re pinning there are a few weddings and parties being planned. folding-deck-tables Here are April’s Pinteresting Picks.

Outdoor Entertaining Accessories Add extra space for everything from summertime snacks to evening cocktails with a Folding Deck Table. Metal clamps and brackets make it simple to secure the handsome wood table to a railing on your balcony, deck or porch. The folding table is also ideal for decks or balconies with limited space.

wedding-party-jar-mugsWedding Fun Honor everyone in your wedding party before, during and after the big day with the Wedding Party Jar Mug Set. Each 14 oz. traditional mason jar celebrates those who make the day extra special. A dress or tuxedo adorn each mug, which rests on an ornate pedestal. Use it as a centerpiece during the wedding, and a thoughtful way to say thank you after. It’s a charming memento to celebrate the beginning of a lifetime of happiness. Come in sets of 2 so you can buy multiples if needed.

felt-separatorsSpring Organization The Set of Felt Pan Separators protects your cookware and bowls from chips and scratches while you store them in a cabinet. The colorful separators come in 2 sizes. They provide a thin layer of gentle cushioning to diminish the chances of unwanted markings and cracks. They also keep items from locking together when stored for long periods. Either size separator can also be trimmed for a custom fit.

wedding-toteBig Day Frills Give the wedding party the gift of comfy, coordinating footwear to take from the bridal room to the reception hall with this tote and flip-flip set. The tote has ample room for hair styling tools, accessories and more. Includes a magnetic closure. Change into the coordinating pair of flip-flops after a night of dancing. EVA foam and PVC. Ribbons on totes are removable.

slim-storageSpace Savers Create discreet space for canned goods, books or toiletries with the wooden 65″ Slim Storage Cabinet. Its two cabinets with doors each open to reveal 2 shelves. Magnets securely hold the doors closed. In the center, 2 open shelves provide additional storage space. At the top, a shelf with a decorative rail gives you space for more essentials or a display of photos or collectibles. Round feet give the cabinet a finishing touch. This cabinet will fit in some of the tightest spaces in your home or apartment.