2014 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

It’s no secret: Moms love a gift that has thought behind it.


With Mother’s Day around the corner, what better time to share our ideas for special gifts? Whether you’re shopping for the mom who’s sentimental, the mom who’s tech savvy, or the mom who craves a new experience, we’ve got you covered.

Whatever gift you choose, Mom will love it…because she loves YOU! Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Personalized Gifts

Nothing says Mother’s Day like a gift that comes from the heart. These personalized creations are sure to put a smile on her face.

Hallmark Recordable Storybooks: Northbrook mom Karen Firsel is a former Oprah Winfrey Show producer turned lifestyle expert/on-air personality. Firsel especially loves receiving homemade gifts because they show effort. One of her favorites is a Hallmark Recordable Storybook, which allows your child to read and record a book. “Your kids’ voices are forever imbedded in the books, which ultimately become keepsake items for years,” Firsel says.


Tee 2 You quilt: Deerfield mom Jen Gensler didn’t know what to do with her husband’s collection of well-worn college shirts and stretched-out concert tees. Since they still held sentimental value, Gensler began repurposing the old shirts into modern garments like neon hoodies, denim jackets and cozy blankets, and soon her business, Tee 2 You, was born. Gensler will work with you to create a one-of-kind gift for mom, and she can also incorporate favorite photographs.

Fōdeez frame: Chicago mom Valarie Moody created Fōdeez, a growing national retail business that was inspired by her three kids. Fōdeez are peel and stick reusable picture frames that work on all smooth surfaces. They are acid-free and leave no residue behind. Fōdeez can be used as a personalized laptop skin, refrigerator art, and more.


Framed quote about motherhood: Search online for a meaningful quote, print it out in a sleek font, and place it in a frame. This gift makes a beautiful addition to any desk or bedside table.

Customized photos: Pinhole Press and Shutterfly are awesome photo websites that couldn’t be easier to navigate. Personalized recipe cards, brag books, smartphone cases and cookbooks are just some of the special gifts you can create. Locally, HP Tops in Highland Park can turn any photograph or piece of art into a decal, which they will then turn into a mousepad, pillow, or T-shirt.

Handmade stationery: is easy to create, inexpensive, and a fun project to involve your kids. Purchase a few sheets of lovely paper from a paper store like Paper Source. Add a monogram using initial stamps you can find at any craft store.

Gadget Gifts

For the woman who likes to be on the cutting edge of what’s new, these gifts will satisfy her inner techie.

Juicepresso ($500): We all know that juicing is currently hotter than ever but the price of a single juice can make your latté seem cheap in comparison. Make your favorite drinks at home with the Juicepresso, a cold-press juicer that presses fruits and vegetables at a slower speed so more of the nutritional value is retained.


Kate Spade New York Bella Print iPad Folio Hard Case ($85): A whimsical iPad case like this one from Kate Spade New York makes toting your tablet a lot more fun.

iPhone 5 Photo Printer ($160): This efficient iPhone Photo Printer couldn’t be easier to use. Create photo-size prints straight from your iPhone in less than a minute.

Belkin Chef Stand and Stylus for Tablets ($27): This is perfect for the woman who loves to cook. It holds an iPad for easy viewing on a kitchen counter. The device is kitchen-safe, hand-washable, and has a non-slip rubber base.


Fitbit Flex ($100): Fitbit products have a variety of fitness trackers that record your calories burned, distance walked, and even your sleep quality. Sync your stats wirelessly to your phone or computer with the Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker.

Vivitar DVR 787 HD Waterproof Action Camera ($100): This video camera is reasonably priced, compact, and easy to use.
 It’s loaded with multiple features like a remote control, 2.4-inch touch screen, waterproof case, bike and helmet mount so you can document your adventures and snap fun, underwater photos while you’re on the move.


Experience Gifts

It can become difficult to think of an original gift year after year. These experiential presents are thoughtful treats that many women would love but might not purchase for themselves.

Cooking class: Whether your wife/mom/sister is an experienced chef or a total novice, a cooking class at Sur La TableDinner at Eight, or Corner Cooks is always a fun way to learn new techniques and recipes.

Trapeze class: For the woman who wants to step (or fly!) out of her comfort zone, purchase a class at The Aloft Loft in Chicago. Here, one can learn aerial and circus arts such as trapeze, aerial silks and rope, tight wire, and acrobatics. Soon she’ll be spinning around like Pink at a concert! You can also check out AIR Aerial Fitness or TSNY Chicago for other options.

Professional organizer: Give the gift of a true spring cleaning and closet overhaul with a professional organizer. Or make her feel like a celebrity and hire a personal shopper to spruce up her wardrobe for spring.

Photo courtesy of Corri McFadden

Session with a makeup artist: A makeup tutorial and application from a professional is a unique gift. Many makeup artists will make a house call and do your makeup for a special occasion. Or maybe you just want a one-on-one consultation to learn self-application tips or spring trends. Josie Volpentesta of Makeup by Josie and Regina Sneor of D’Works are two of the best in the business.

One week of Madison & Rayne meals: No grocery shopping this week! Order a week of gourmet in-home meals from Chicago based Madison & Rayne, a company that takes the prep work out of cooking dinner. After you customize your meals online, all of the ingredients and recipes are delivered to your door. Ingredients are sourced from local farms, with a focus on organic and sustainable products. Bonus: Make It Better readers can use the code BETTER for a $25 gift certificate!

Tea time: Take a cue from the Brits and take Mom out for high tea. Many of Chicago’s legendary hotels serve a beautiful afternoon tea on weekends—always a lovely way to relax.