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Smart Gifts for Grads

Submitted by on May 18, 2011 – 1:36 amNo Comment

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Graduation is a time to celebrate and congratulate a student’s hard work and scholarly accomplishments. Beyond the proverbial pat on the back, grads are due for gifts galore for a job well done. But, what items are sure to receive top marks? Consider this roundup of gift ideas for graduates of all ages:

Chelsea Taylor Crystallized Watch ( – $144

Watches are a timeless gift for graduates, and the ladies will love a Crystallized Swarovski Elements-adorned Chelsea Taylor watch that offers the perfect combination of sparkle and sophistication. Choose from 19 different crystal colors with coordinating leather band. Chelsea Taylor’s contemporary watches offer top-notch quality along with fashion-forward styling, making it a gift she’ll want to wear every day for years to come. The grad will be in good company as many chic celebrities, including Debra Messing, NY Housewife Jill Zarin, and Tinsley Mortimer, are Chelsea Taylor fans. I am too.

Cultured Pearl Jewelry from QVC ( – $52.50 – $75

QVC’s Affinity Diamond Grey Cultured Pearl Sterling Ring and the Honora Sterling Cultured Pearl 11.5mm Pendant with 17” Chain are both stunning gift ideas for the grad on this momentous occasion. This spectacular statement ring evokes Old Hollywood glamour, featuring a button-shaped gray cultured freshwater pearl adorned with bead-set, round diamonds with migraine borders that also accent the shank of the ring. Total diamond weight is approximately 1/10 carat and the cultured freshwater pearl measures approximately 9.5mm. The Honora sterling silver pendant, which coordinates with the ring nicely, features a single button-shaped cultured freshwater pearl that is framed by an openwork lotus design.  Offering elegant simplicity, it gracefully dangles from a hidden bail on a fine chain. These heirloom pieces will look gorgeous paired with her cap and gown ensemble.

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Personalized Necklaces ( – $85 – $195

What gal doesn’t love custom jewelry?  For graduates, Isabelle Grace offers a lovely range of personalized necklaces of various styles and price points. The Signature Initial Tag Necklace ($195) features a customized initial and a “2011” tag to commemorate the special year. The graduate’s full name, graduation date or even the name of the school may also be inscribed on the back. The piece is made of fine silver with 22kt gold lettering. Completing the chic look are semi-precious stones and a star charm. Another event-appropriate option, which also features fine metal and gemstone accents, is the Isabelle Grace Soar Tag Necklace ($85). The gold bird charm inscribed with the word “Soar” reminds the graduate that she can ascend and follow her dreams.

Jedidiah Mammoth Messenger Bag ( – $86

Grads can be prepared for their next adventure, whether personal or professional, with the Jedidiah Mammoth Messenger Bag. The 12” x 11” Mammoth Messenger Bag comes with a number of roomy compartments, including a zippered main compartment and a buttoned front accessories pocket.  It’s available in two styles:  faux leather with custom metal detail and two side cell phone pockets, or olive with a heavy duty military-inspired design. The Central Olive is larger at 14.5” x 14”, making it big enough to fit a 13” Macbook/Macbook Pro. The socially-conscious grad will be proud that you picked this company, as sales proceeds help fund a Cambodian trauma recovery center that houses and protects child sex trafficking victims.

Vizit Two-Way Communication Interactive Digital Photo Frame ( – $229

Taking the digital photo frame to the next level is Isabella Products’ Vizit – a two-way communication, fully interactive digital photo frame enabling users to send and receive digital photos in real-time over a mobile network. Grads can take a camera phone picture of their post-scholastic adventures, send it to the Vizit’s personalized phone number, and have the picture instantly appear on their new frame or even on that of a friend or their parents. With its sleek frame and stylish coloring, high school grads will love Vizit in the dorm room.  Photo sharing and showcasing made simple!

iA63 App-Enhanced Alarm Clock Speaker System ( – $99’s iA63 is a next generation app-enhanced alarm clock and FM radio for the iPhone and iPod touch. The system might have a small footprint, but it delivers a big audio and video experience.  It plays and charges a docked iPhone, iPod or FM radio while also providing alarm clock functionality. A motorized rotating dock provides a convenient stand for watching videos and enjoying picture slideshows in landscape mode. The system comes with a full feature remote control, and also works with iHome+Sleep and iHome+Radio apps.

Logitech C910 HD Pro Webcam ( – $99

Logitech’s HD Pro Webcam C910 is a perfect way for grads to stay in touch with parents and long-distance friends, record video resumes, or even conduct remote job interviews. This digital Webcam is a stellar plug-and-play device due to its thin profile, easy set-up and use, as well as its crystal clear video images and two-mic stereo audio output. It provides a way to record widescreen full HD 1080p videos or to make a video call in HD 720p on Logitech Vid HD or any service that supports HD video calling. Other features include software for capturing rich 10-megapixel pictures.

Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker ( – $249

Pixie, the latest innovation from Nespresso, is smart, fast and intuitive, and fits seamlessly into a graduate’s contemporary lifestyle. Breakthrough miniaturization technology innovations allow Pixie users to minimize time, space and energy consumption while still creating the perfect cup of coffee. This ultra-compact coffee solution combines full functionality, modern design and high quality output. Pixie is the smallest machine ever created by Nespresso. Its sleek design features side panels in anodized aluminum inspired by an industrial, minimalist aesthetic. Pixie is available in six bold and vibrant colors.

Signature Guest Book Platter ( – Starts at $80

One way to personalize a graduation gift and involve a group of well-wishers is with a TYB, Inc. hand-painted signature guest book platter. Friends and family can use the special marker (included) to sign and message a hand painted, ceramic platter that features an adorable cartoon graduate in cap and gown at its center.   Customization is available with a choice of gender, colors and text sizes. The finished piece can be proudly displayed as décor or even used as a serving platter.  With the meaningful and heartfelt inscriptions, this is a wonderful and unique keepsake the graduate is sure to cherish.

YourCover Personalized Magazine Cover ( – $13 – $30

Celebrate the graduate’s accomplishments by making them the star of their very own commemorative magazine cover personalized with their image and information. Simply log onto YourCover’s “cover generator” to upload a hi-res photo of the grad and also personalize the default headlines with the graduate’s accomplishments, future plans, and messages from family or friends.  The company has a number of graduation templates to choose from to best assure the colors and design matches the grad’s personal style.  Gift options include a photo file to download and print at home, or a top-quality framed print that can be shipped from YourCover.

FitKitDORM Complete Fitness Solution ( – $30

FitKitDORM was developed for college students as a complete a fitness solution, combining exercise tools like a jump rope, pedometer, resistance tube and band, and reflective arm band for safe nighttime exercise in a sleek, portable kit with an online personal training component. This exercise kit is so small it can be slipped into a backpack or bag and taken anywhere on campus.  It’s perfect for total body workouts in tight spaces like dorm rooms. FitKitDORM also provides access to an online exercise library that offers dorm room work-outs and college nutrition tips. This item is a great gift to help high school grads ward off the so-called “freshman 15” during their first year of college, and encourages regular exercise as a part of a healthy adult lifestyle.

Bonnie Marcus Stationery ( – $37.50

Bonnie Marcus has an extensive line of party invites, thank you cards and note pads for graduates celebrating the big day. The company’s precious “Graduate Collection” for both guys and gals offers a wide range of design options with panache.  All items in the Bonnie Marcus Collection are green.  The stationery is printed on recycled paper, containing 30% Post Consumer Waste Fiber. Only the cleanest, highest quality post consumer waste fibers are used.  Celebrities like Ellen Pompeo, Eva Longoria, and Cindy Crawford buy Bonnie Marcus, so the grad will be in great company with this style and stewardship-savvy stationery.

Class of 2011 Graduation Tapestry Throw Blanket ( – $15

Created especially for the class of 2011, this tapestry throw blanket will keep your graduate’s school spirit alive through the years.  The design features an academic motif of a graduation cap and books along with a fringed border. It works great as a decorative wall hanging, or can be used as a cozy sofa throw or bedspread given its large 50″W x 60″H measurement. It is made out of a blend of cotton and polyester, so it’s fully machine washable.

Musical Plush Graduation Owl ( – $15

Not every grad is leaving high school or completing college. Don’t forget about the littlest grads in the family who have completed kindergarten or elementary school. Young grads will love this moving and grooving wise owl that dances to the well-known party song, “Celebration.”  It is a plush toy made from polyester material, measures 11” in height, and has an on/off switch on the bottom. It does require 3 “AA” batteries, which are not included.

College Safety 101 Book ( – $17

This book by safety expert and speaker Kathleen Baty is a must-have grad gift for every young woman headed off to college. Rather than simply telling students what to do, this book offers a comprehensive and realistic guide to ensuring personal safety, including advice on how collegiates can protect themselves in the dorm, at parties, on Facebook, during spring break, and while studying abroad. Baty also offers other insightful advice by covering safety-related issues such as sexual harassment and domestic violence, and even dedicates a whole chapter to the art of self-defense. The book is full of helpful checklists, personal anecdotes from students, practical safety secrets, and useful resources for additional information.

The Accidental Adult Book ( – $13

The Accidental Adult: Essays and Advice for the Reluctantly Responsible and Marginally Mature offers a “sanity system” for surviving life among the grown-ups. This gift is a collection of essays that, in 12 hilarious chapters, provides advice to those grads who may be less than ready to trade the carefree days of college for the reality of mortgage payments and other adult responsibilities. Author Colin Sokolowski mixes how-to advice with how-not-to narrative, including tips on how to survive the office, how to navigate fancy dinner parties, and what to drive if they want to appear mature (pickup trucks need not apply).

First Real Kitchen Cookbook ( – $23

This book helps starving students eat better rather than subsist on what might be found in their dorm vending machines or local takeout joints. This is a cookbook written by fellow “twentysomethings” Megan Carle and Jill Carle who understand how to create easy, healthy, and cheap meals that can be prepared on a tiny four-burner stove with minimal equipment and utensils. Beyond just delicious recipes that number over 100, the book also provides practical advice on stocking a pantry on a limited budget, selecting meat and produce, and making terrific comfort foods like roast chicken. Every graduate will appreciate having this book to help them survive without mom’s cooking.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s)
detailed above were provided at no cost and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions
expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any
way as per the disclosure policy on our “Legal” page***


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