Icecream Dishes

Cocktails should taste good. That’s first and foremost. But cocktails are supposed to really look good, too. And on that dimension, you can’t have a good looking cocktail in a bad looking glass.

So if you’ve a cocktail enthusiast in your life, get them some creative glassware. Here’s my trick: ice cream dishes.

Icecream dishes for cocktail

Small ice cream dishes can be great for a minimum volume boozy cocktail, particularly with a nice garnish in it. My wife brought home a few never-used-anymore glass ice cream dishes from her grandmother a few months ago, and I use them whenever I have company for cocktails.

If you’re getting together with family, try going out to your local junk store. You might be able to find some dishes with real character.

Watch out for capacities when shopping online, though. You wouldn’t want a dish that holds 13 ounces… That’d be a punch bowl.  As American’s waistlines have grown, so have their ice cream bowls… or vice versa!


Ok. Now we’re moving on the mother of all games. Well, that’s my opinion anyway. This one is a bit more of a challenge: it took me quite a while to parse all of the instructions so that I could play the solitaire game without dying. Oops.

The challenging game is Agricola, and it was published in 2007.

agricola : complex board game

In Agricola, you are a family of peasants. You and your spouse begin in a small wooden hut. The players take turns putting their family tokens out in community spaces to help improve your farmyard, e.g. a player may harvest wood to build fences or plow a field to plant grain. Every few turns, you harvest your fields, butcher some livestock, and feed your family. Sounds simple right?

In this game, the challenge is turn scarcity. Each placement needs to have a big impact for your family to survive and thrive, and you’ll often have to link several moves, over several turns, to achieve your goals. If this sounds like it might leave your head spinning, you’re right.

But the complexity is worth it. Agricola is currently the #2 board game on BoardGameGeek. And as addictive as it is challenging.

Interview Success Formula

And what can you get that 20-something child that spends a bit too much time at home playing HALO and not enough time pounding the pavement looking for work?

Hopefully, you’re not in that situation, but a lot of people are looking for work or looking to change jobs as the economy continues to recover. And there’s a great tool for that.

Interview Success Formula helps you land the job. It helps you close the deal.

interview success formula - interview preparation

You’ve been there. Palms sweating. Suit jacket feeling strangely tight as a dispassionate interviewer nonchalantly lobs grenades in the form of questions. You know your stuff. You can do the job. But it’s still tough to get everything across, especially the softer questions.

That’s the moment Interview Success Formula prepares you for. Here’s how it works:

  • you fill out an assessment (takes about 30 minutes)
  • the software compares that to thousands of successful professionals in a variety of fields
  • you get a report analyzing your assessment and giving you honest, good answers to tough questions like “What’s your biggest weakness?” (Hint: it’s not that you care too much.)

At $97, it’s not cheap. But the testimonials from customers are great.

There isn’t a specific gifting web page, but if you email, the company can arrange the transfer of your purchase on to a loved one.

Toys for Tots

Sometimes, a loved one really doesn’t need any more stuff. But there so many children out there that do, and their families are struggling to provide for them. Around Christmastime, you might consider helping someone for Christmas, on behalf of someone in your family.

This week, we’re going to focus on a big organization that you’ve probably heard of: Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots - toy donation charity

The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots mission is simple: “to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.”

Here’s how it works:

One individual, either a Marine, member of a Marine Corps League Detachment, or member of a local community organization, is designated the Toys for Tots Coordinator for that community.

Local toy collection campaigns begin in October and last until mid to late December.  Toy distribution also takes place mid to late December.  Members of the community drop new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes positioned in local businesses.  Coordinators pick up these toys and store them in central warehouses where the toys are sorted by age and gender.  At Christmas, Coordinators, with the assistance of local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies, distribute the toys to the less fortunate children of the community.

Toys for Tots works with the community and within the military structure to keep its programs lean and efficient.

And they make it easy to donate to the organization, and 97% of your online donation goes to the mission of Toys for Tots, i.e. getting those toys out to girls and boys. This is a nice way to participate in holiday shopping for toys but to also share with those who are less fortunate. It’s also a great gift to give in someone else’s honor.

Movie Gift Cards

CheckedTwice Official Father Mark (a.k.a. Dad, Grandpa) is now officially retired. While he fills much of his time with his favorite hobbies (woodworking, going to gym, and shuttling grandchildren around), it’s nice to escape the real world every now and again. And his favorite way of doing that? One word for you:


One of the great benefits of being retired (besides the AARP membership) is the incredibly flexible schedule. And movie theaters have most certainly learned this. They’ll offer discounted tickets for matinee shows, that are sometimes doubly discounted for seniors. That adds up to your dollar going a long way at the theaters.

And that’s why movie theater gift cards can make a great gift for Grandpa.

movie gift cards

Movie trips can be an indulgence, and it’s nice to receive them as a gift. And your gift might go twice as far when combined with those senior discounts and matinee prices. Plus, Grandpa can go see all of those more violent movies that Grandma doesn’t like.

And if dad hasn’t exactly been good this year? You can get him one of these:

movie gift cards
Feature image from Daniel Cortes.