The Zeitgeist Blog

Modern DIYs and Ideas for Valentine’s Day

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Conversation hearts, chocolate covered strawberries, love-themed candies, pink and red bouquets, and heart decorations galore…does this sound familiar? Valentine’s Day certainly has a way of creeping up after the holidays. If classic Valentine’s Day traditions have you rolling your eyes far before the 14th, our list of modern DIYs and buys might be just what you need to start painting the town red (or pink!) with Valentine’s Day spirit.

Start Decorating

Give your home a February 14th face-lift with modern DIYs adding just a hint of romance to your decor - no Valentine’s Day party required.

Mat Mason Jar Vases

What You Need:

  • 1 or more mason jars
  • acrylic paint in warmer hues (pink, red, burgundy, wine, dark orange)
  • a paint brush
  • scissors
  • fake or real flowers.
  • butchers twine (optional)
  • super glue (optional)
  • washi tape (optional)

Clean out your mason jars with soap and water and let them dry completely. Take the acrylic paint and squeeze onto a clean surface. Paint a thick layer onto the jar (you can leave out the bottom) or a thinner layer for a more distressed look. Let dry, and add another later. Use the washi tape and carefully wrap around the top of the jar as an accent. Alternatively, take the butchers twine and super glue and evenly wrap it around the top of the mason jar, securing with the glue. Tie into a neat bow and add a drop of glue to the knot. Before adding flowers, ensure that the jar’s components are completely dry. Arrange your flowers (real or fake!) and enjoy those warm hues and refreshing flowers.

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Running short on time but still looking to add a Valentine’s Day accent to your home? Our giant Party Balloon with metallic confetti can be hung outside your house for a pop of glamour, or blown up inside placed next to a bouquet of roses for a centerpiece, and used for your family’s personal Valentine’s Day party.

Heart Shaped Eats & Treats

There are a lot of sweets circulating around Valentine’s Day, but don’t think that heart-shaped foods are only reserved for sugary cravings. Use your heart cookie cutters to create all kinds of love-inspired foods!

Take your heart cookie cutter and cut out the center of a piece of bread. Coat both sides with butter and lay flat in a frying pan on low heat. Crack an egg into a bowl, and slowly add the egg into the center of the toast (hint! try not to get all the egg white in the center as it might overflow over the bread). Once the egg white cooks, carefully flip the bread over and cook until golden brown. Cutting down on carbs? Forgo the bread and use the cookie cutter to turn a regular fried egg into an adorable breakfast. Plus, you can use the heart-shaped cookie cutter for a Valentine’s Day meal the whole family will love! Create heart-shaped quesadillas, sandwiches, mini pizzas, pancakes, and so much more! Whoever said not to play with your food?

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Need a quick gift for the big night? Come prepared for your dinner date, or your heart-shaped meal with the family, by bringing a Love Candle to Go in a tin from Donkey Products. Keep this little tin with you at all times, and get ready to say “I love you!” Or if you have a more few Valentine’s to hand out, these Fun Paper Gift Cards provide you with 80 options for surprising someone with a sweet Valentine’s Day gift, birthday, or just because.

Gifts for Her

If DIYs aren’t your style, Zeitgeist Gifts has got you covered with thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list.

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  1. Brighten up her day by saying “Hi :)” this Valentine’s Day with our adorable lunch bag from Fluf. Made from 100% organic cotton and free of BPA, lead, and phthalates, there are plenty of reasons to smile! :)

  2. A flower pot fit for one classy lady. Surprise all the plant-moms out there with our unique Elegant Audrey Flower Pot. (Hint! Bring it to your local greenhouse and have them pot a plant in it for you to gift!)

  3. Help to squeeze in that last workout of the day for that fit female in your life. The Magnetic Wearable Light from Palomar is an easy and secure way to remain visible while running, biking, or walking around at night.

Gifts for Him

  1. Friends and family all over the country? This is a great way to keep track of the different time zones across the U.S. Stylish, modern, wooden clocks, and practical - what’s not to love?

  2. Give the perfect shave and a laugh with Duke Cannon’s Tactical Grooming Supply Gift Set. Your man will conquer even the toughest grooming gripes with “Smells Like Productivity” shaving cream and “Smells Like Victory” “For the hard-working, well-groomed man.”

  3. Classic red and black ping-pong paddles are a thing of the past. Stand out with a unique table tennis paddle from Donkey Products. His table tennis skills may be in question, but his style clearly won’t be.

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Gifts for Kids

  1. Bring playtime to the next level with My First Autobahn adhesive game tape from Donkey Products. Your child’s imagination can take the wheel with the easy to peel and remove tape.

    Not into cars? Create an in-house horse show with My First Horse Show adhesive game tape. Design a race track around the kitchen table, or even have the horses do tricks and flips by extending the track up the wall!

  2. Say goodbye to bath time tears! Your kids will be excited to hop in the tub with these novelty bath sponges from Donkey Products. Rule the seas, kingdom, or court with pirate and princess themed sponges!

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Say it With a Smile

There are many ways to create a warm, inviting, and loving environment for yourself and the people around you. Get the kids involved and have the family create cards listing the things you love most about each other, or simply snuggle up on the couch for a family movie night. Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be a chore, and the best gifts always come straight from the heart.

Business Reflections & Happy New Year from Zeitgeist Gifts!

Julia Drechsler, Zeitgeist Gifts, www.zeitgeist-gifts.com, entrepreneur, mompreneur, first year business

Wow, I cannot believe that another year is over already. As an entrepreneur, time flies – especially when you are a mom. Managing your kids and family while starting a business is no snooze-fest. I encountered this new word of supposedly being a “mompreneur” and I love the concept. There is always something to do (or fifty things to do). I often have to remind myself to be more patient, to take a conscious break to reflect, and review everything I have done and accomplished. In the spirit of the new year, I thought why not start by doing that: looking back when I launched Zeitgeist Gifts! 

Experiences, Emotions, and Hard-Learned Lessons

I had to face some hard truths with starting this business. I have been in situations where I hear myself telling my husband that I will quit the foolish venture and just return to a normal life. A life without constantly thinking about what needs to be done: purchase orders to process, inventory to be checked, finding new products, Marketing and all of the day-to-day tasks small business owners face. But of course, I also remember moments of unlimited joy, gratitude, and pride. Even small victories, ones that might seem meaningless to others, could instantly renew my faith in this business.

Julia Drechsler, Zeitgeist Gifts, www.zeitgeist-gifts.com, entrepreneur, mompreneur, first year business

I remember my first sale to somebody I didn’t personally know: someone out there in the big world of the Internet. It’s amazing that they found me in this new digital Galaxy. The thrill of this very first order reminded me that you can surprise yourself with what you can do. And indeed: it's one of the mottos that I have always believed in and what my parents have told me. "If there is a will, there is a way." I always had resilience. I thought, “I don't give up.” Missions have to be completed, after all. I guess that may also have something to do with my German background. Doing things properly and being held accountable for what you do and what you say matters very much to me.

Past and Present

So here I am now: 5 years living in the U.S. in an environment that has surely changed and shaped me in all sorts of new ways. I particularly love the positivity of the U.S. and its people. Their drive and approach is admirable – if you want to do something, simply do it! I think it’s true when people call this the land of the free where possibilities are endless. So many people have been so encouraging and supportive along the way. They have all inspired me and I am truly grateful for these experiences and shared moments. I believe our world is coming closer together although we are becoming more international. Some mottos I have learned to follow: always be open, broaden your horizon, and recognize how other cultures live. Keep all the good things you have and add new things that are better from other places.

Julia Drechsler, Zeitgeist Gifts, www.zeitgeist-gifts.com, entrepreneur, mompreneur, first year business

The Realities of Running a Small Business

So yes, when I began this small business journey - roughly a full year ago – I was very enthusiastic and I was so sure that this venture would bring instant success in a short time. As always, reality caught up with me one day. I encountered more expenses than I originally anticipated despite doing my “homework” with a proper business and financial plan. We had less growth than hoped and experienced issues I hadn't expected.

It's easy enough to build a website nowadays – even an ecommerce one – but what I had really underestimated was the difficulty of driving traffic to that site. It's like opening your new store in a cute neighborhood, but nobody has discovered it yet (and it's really outside the high traffic areas). You can imagine my frustration! I quickly learned that I had to study more and focus on smart marketing strategies to improve my business visibility and achieve my goals. This epiphany was huge, but I was also spread so thin while taking care of everything from website updates to reorganizing the warehouse and even sending out orders (and, of course, my family).

Developing a Lean Business Model

Opening more sales channels on other marketplaces was one of my primary goals and it has proven to be a brilliant move. Amazon, in particular, has fascinated me since the beginning. I do believe that there is a huge potential if you understand the mechanics and manage your business well. An important move was recruiting professionals for specific tasks, but maintaining cost-efficient practices at this early stage of my business. I found many freelancers that did great work, but encountered several setbacks with this approach. People who work multiple jobs are often not as easy to manage or communicate with effectively. However, mostly it worked out when you are grateful and treat each other with respect.

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That brings me to one of the biggest modern headaches for most business owners: Marketing. Let me tell you: I worked in Marketing in Europe for almost 14 years. I would call it “Old School Marketing” because of how much social media has completely changed the rules of the game. In this respect, the U.S. has been an absolute eye opener. Affiliate marketers, influencers, live marketing – just to name a few of today's digital wonders. I am still learning how to market my business in this digital age. I am, most importantly, leveraging all of the tools at my disposal to address my largest challenge: navigating my way through the new digital space to increase my audience and store visibility.  

Moving Forward into 2017

I also wanted to express immense gratitude toward our partners and product vendors. It has been truly fulfilling to offer merchandise from people I personally know. My vision for 2017 is to discover even more amazing products and to be able to cater to all gifting occasions here in the U.S. From small home accessories and quirky gifts to unique kids' toys; for people, young and old, who want a lifestyle of the modern time – our Zeitgeist. Not only do we focus on the uncommon and the contemporary, we (most importantly) focus on things that make you smile. Because these things are what really matters: happiness, appreciation, and the little things in life. 

Finally…..(I promise, I’m almost done)…..I am SO grateful – and also a little proud – that my business has allowed me to become more flexible and still spend time with my kids and husband. In almost 14 years of corporate jobs, I have never learned as much in such a short period of time that I learned last year. Overall, Zeitgeist Gifts has been such an enriching experience that, despite struggles, frustration, and exhaustion, I am confident that I will drive the business forward. I am excited to acquire new partners, develop synergies, and grow the business with the newly joined forces. Lastly, thanks to YOU for all your support. It means so much to us! You have helped us pursue and live what we love everyday. I wish everybody a happy, healthy, and wonderful 2017!

Last Minute DIY Holiday Decorating Tips

DIY Holiday Decor, Holiday Home Cheer, Zeitgeist Gifts

We're getting down to the wire. Christmas is coming quickly! The advent calendar doors are mostly opened and the gifts are almost all wrapped, but suddenly you decide you need more decorations. Maybe you've slacked a little this year because you haven't had the time to decorate and now, looking around, you feel your drab apartment could use a little holiday pick-me-up. Or maybe the host of your holiday party came down with the flu and you (being a Saint) offered up your services. In either case, it's not too late! There are lots of easy, inexpensive, DIY decorating tips for getting your living space into the holiday spirit that won’t break the bank and will still fit in line with your modern and functional Zeitgeist Lifestyle.

Rustic Tree Chair Decorations

Take a couple branches from a tree, add a cute name-tag or ribbon, and you have great seat decorations for your Christmas dinner party. The pine scent will surround your dining room and these paired with a nice centerpiece and candles could be all you need to capture the Christmas spirit.

Hanging Window Ornaments

Instead of wreaths or outdoor lights, a great way to increase your house’s holiday curb-appeal is with this hanging ornament trick from howtodecorate.com.  Choose any ornaments you like, some festive ribbon, and fill your windows with holiday cheer with ease and minimal cost.

The Beloved Book Tree

In lieu of a tree, a book tree makes a great last-minute tree option and a great conversation starter! Your guests will love perusing the tree for books they’ve read or want to read. As long as you have enough books, it’s easier than chopping down a tree. Plus, it’ll free up shelf space for other fun decorations!

Holiday Card Cupboard Display

For a super-easy and cute holiday decoration, use all the Christmas cards you received this year and hang them for a clever display. Works great along a doorway or across your kitchen cupboards, just hang some ribbon down the middle and attach the cards to the ribbon. You’ll get the colors and images of the season in a cute, easy-to-manage display.

Enjoy the Holidays!

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