First off however, we need to understand that not all gift baskets are created equal. Thoughtfulness is key in giving a gift basket to a friend, family member or client. What do I mean by this? Did you go into the nearest big box store for a pre-packaged generic gift basket or did you take the time to search the web for something more personalized?

I’d like to share a few brief personal experiences to illustrate what I mean. About a year after I started my gift basket business one of my then daughter-in-law’s sent me, yep you guessed it, a gift basket. Said gift basket actually had dust on its clear generic wrap and some items were out of code, which means it sat in a warehouse somewhere for who knows how long, yes, of course I felt insulted. A second brief story. A couple of years ago I sold my home, my realtor knew a great deal about me, my likes, dislikes, hobbies etc. Said realtor made a $6000.00 commission off the sale, it was even the second time I had used him. As a thank you gift he gave me two tickets to a local play which if I actually had desired to see it I could have acquired FOR FREE like thousands of others. What an insult! Needless to say, he’ll never get my business again.

None of us wants to believe that we think petty thoughts about such things, but hey, we’re human. I really never have cared for the age old saying, “It’s the thought that counts” when clearly there was NO thought to be had. So, following are a few suggestions.

Personalization, personalization, personalization! This is not only key in gift basket giving, this is true in ALL gift giving. If you want to make an impression with a client go big and go bold, show them you really appreciate their business. With regard to a client thank you for Christmastime we here at Angels Dream have often recommended waiting until the first or second week into the New Year in order to stand out from the bunch. This is also a great morale boost, as we all go through the post-holiday blues a bit. For friends or family members, think about their likes, dislikes and hobbies. Does the person enjoy having friends over for wine and munchies? Do they enjoy gardening, golf, fishing etc.? Is the person a dog or cat lover? So much fun can be had with utilizing a little imagination.

So in closing, why choose a gift basket for your gift giving needs? Lots of little gifts in one big gift. They are a perfect any occasion gift idea. When highly customized and personalized it shows a great deal of thought went into the gift. Gift baskets are also a great idea when you are truly stuck on what to do for someone. Whether designing one yourself or having a professional create a gift basket remember three key words which we live by here at Angels Dream Gift Baskets; Eclectic, original and thoughtful.

Happy Creating!









Good neighbor day, the dictionary definition of is a person who lives near another showing qualities befitting friendly but in our ever increasingly busy lives we seem to live more and more in a world where we really don't take time know our neighbors

I want to write about one of my neighbors who exemplifies the the definition of "neighborly." From the first day I moved in Ron and his wife Angie were warm and welcoming and made a point to invite me over for a cold beer at days end. I could hardly believe it, as the last area I resided in, it was a big deal just to get the occasional wave when putting out trash cans or checking mail. They spoke with me about the ins and outs of my new neighborhood, traffic shortcuts, where to shop, etc. Over the years we have become good friends.

Recently life has thrown more than a few curve balls at me and these two wonderful human neighbor angels have been my rocks. They come over and spend time with my dog when I'm at work, as well as, keeping an eye on my home. Their advice on certain issues has been invaluable, as has their genuine love and compassion. 

Being a good neighbor is reciprocal however and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing nice things for these great people like inviting them for dinner, (a home cooked one). Sometimes a gift card to our local grocery store. Often times I'll pick up a twelve pack of their favorite beer and leave at the front door. Most recently a chocolate basket for Angie, as she is a true chocoholic. 

 Good neighbors are special people and a gift from God. We often may be unaware of what someone right next door to us is going through, and just a simple kind gesture can make a world of difference. Maybe we should all take a little time out of our day once in a while to get to know our neighbors, after all they may just be someone you can relax with at the end of a long day with a beer and good conversation.

  • Jackie Miller



I am a HUGE dog lover! I thought I would honor this day by telling you about my incredible and loving journey with my sweet furry child Tewa. My journey with Tewa began in 2003, I was smitten and adored her from the second I held her in my arms. The breeder we got her from (well known and respected in the area) suggested the best way to potty train her was crating. Well, we were having no part of it thinking it would be cruel, so Tewa puppy had full run of the house. Yipes!

We also were free feeding her, again Yipes! When we took her to the vet for her check-up visit she was a furry little roly-poly and five pounds over weight. The vet asked us how we were feeding her, busted! The free feeding needed to stop. We let her know we were having no success potty training, she then said,"have you been crating her?" Busted again. We could only claim our ignorance as new furry child parents. We took her suggestions and as luck would have it everything was great. Tewa was a Sheltie and her natural instinct to herd came out with our three cats.

Here was this sweet adorable little puppy attempting to herd the cats which were all twice as big as she was. Absolutely hilarious! Tewa was simply a truly funny character. She was also extremely smart. Because she received a treat when she would potty outside, she came up with a fake potty squat, again hilarious. Tewa and I had many a wonderful road trip together, I would venture a guess that she has seen more of our beautiful country than most humans. She loved to travel. She would put on quite the show prancing down hotel lobbies to her adoring crowd. Tewa was a people dog, she loved humans and interaction with them and they loved her too.

Whenever entertaining at home, knowing how adorable she was, she really knew how to work the crowd with the hopes of acquiring a treat of course. I could share many, many more wonderful times and memories of our 13 1/2 years together. Tewa and I were simply put, inseparable. There is no other love greater than the unconditional love received from a furry child. My sweet girl went to Doggie Heaven last year and there is not one day that passes where I don't miss her terribly. I thank God everyday for her and that I have another furry baby in my life to to love. 


  • Jackie Miller

Pinot Noir Day

Each year on August 18 wine lovers around the country celebrate Pinot Noir Day. Of course for wine lovers of good Pinot Noir, any day drinking this wine is cause for celebration. I work part time in one of California's wine regions, and my experience has been that consumers have strong emotions about this varietal. People either absolutely love it or feel that there is NO Pinot they would ever enjoy in existence.

Debates abound between those who prefer a more earthy/old world style or a more fruit forward/new world style. Personally I enjoy a more fruit forward version. Pinot Noir is a temperamental, fickle and unpredictable grape, difficult to both cultivate and turn into wine.

I have often heard it referred to as the heart-breaker grape. Pinot Noir is a thin skinned black grape which grows in tight clusters which require careful management as to avoid rot, and prefers cooler climates. Burgundy, France is thought to be the ancestral home of Pinot Noir.

As best as I can tell California Pinot was planted some time in the 1800's, possibly however much earlier in the 1700's by missionaries. Pinot Noir is typically a rich and complex wine. Flavors of cranberry, red cherry, black cherry and sometimes slight hints of cocoa can be had, depending on how long Pinot is aged in French oak, wonderful hints of vanilla can come out in this wine as well. YUM! The Pinot Noir grape is also used in producing Champagne known as Blanc de Noir (white from black). Blanc de Noir's  typically are slightly darker with a bit more body and fruitiness than their Blanc de Blanc (white from white) Champagne counterpart. Try pairing light to medium bodied Pinot Noir's with grilled salmon, roasted chicken or duck.

As for cheese pairings, Gruyere and Brie are suggested, <p>I also personally enjoy Jarlsberg with Pinot. Some of the best Pinot Noir's here in the United States come from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and Sonoma County here in California. According to some of our customers, Santa Barbara County, CA also produces some wonderful Pinot as well. According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine most California or Oregon Pinot Noir should be drunk within four to five years of the vintage dates. So, CHEERS and enjoy your favorite bottle of Pinot Noir today.   #PinotNoir #SonomaCa #WillametteValleyOr  

  • Jackie Miller

Thank You To All of Our Nurses

I refer to nurses as "Human Angels." Today is International Nurses Day and each year is celebrated on May 12. In my sincerest opinion doctors seem to get all of the glory, while our nurses do all of the really hard work. I personally always make a point of thanking nurses whenever an opportunity arises and have a tremendous amount of respect for the profession. Nurses are some of the most caring and compassionate individuals you'll ever want to meet. Don't forget to thank them, and there are numerous and thoughtful ways to do so. Gift baskets of course :) a gift card to a nearby coffee shop, maybe a tray full of cookies or a healthy tray of fruit, order a pizza to share with other staff members. If your budget is tight a simple thank you card will be greatly appreciated. And remember these wonderful women and men are not only in our hospitals, but in the doctors offices we frequent all of the time.

Quick fact: The International Council of Nurses has celebrated on May 12 since 1965. May 12 is significant as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale who is widely considered the founder of modern day nursing.



  • Jackie Miller

A Brief History of Mother's Day

Every year my incredibly sweet and creative son finds ways to make my Mother's Day very special. His love and thoughtfulness are also a reminder to me of how truly blessed I am that God gave me this wonderful human being. Now, a brief history lesson.

The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her Mother at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the U.S. actually began in 1905, the year her mother Anne Reeves Jarvis died. Mother's Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1914, signed by then President Woodrow Wilson. Mother's Day typically falls on the second Sunday in May. ~ Source History

Quick fact; More phone calls are made on Mother's Day than any other day of the year.

For a much more in-depth look at the history of Mother's Day I suggest visiting History



  • Jackie Miller