Two new gourmet products are gracing the shelves of M.R. Designs & Gifts, unique gifts and gift baskets in Phoenix, Arizona. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract and High Desert Natural Pure Honey with Cinnamon join the ever expanding selection of local Arizona-made gourmet items already included in many of the gift basket designs.

The Wild Bean Vanilla Company is a family run business located in Mesa, Arizona, specializing in vanilla extracts, beans, and related goods including ground vanilla and other flavored extracts. They work with the world’s top vanilla bean farmers and suppliers and make most of their extracts in-house using these top quality beans. The Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is gourmet quality, single fold pure extract with no sugar added.

CC Pollen Co, High Desert Beehive Products, really know their bees! Their website is full of fascinating information about bees, hives, honey, and other bee “superfoods”. Kids, and adults, may enjoy taking the CC Pollen Co. Beehive Tour to learn more about them. The High Desert Natural Pure Honey with Natural Cinnamon Flavor makes an excellent alternative to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. The honey can be as a natural and tasty way to flavor coffee, yogurt, baked goods, tea, ice cream, and more! -Currently, the cinnamon honey and vanilla extract products are available in custom arrangements, or by special request. M.R. Designs & Gifts is in the process of designing new gourmet gift basket arrangements that would incorporate the products, including a The Arizona Gourmand Gift Basket, and Arizona Farmer’s Market Gift Basket. Stay tuned!!

Arizona’s Best Custom Gift Baskets

The “WOW Factor” Delivered ~ since 2001

Phoenix, AZ 85016

TODAY’S OBSCURE HOLIDAY is… “National Chip and Dip Day”. Although there doesn’t appear to be any congressional records or presidential proclamations indicating that this is truly a “National” holiday, most food holidays are referred to as National. -Potato chips are off my diet, but I’m bound to enjoy a tortilla chip or two along with my favorite dip…fresh-made salsa and guacamole! I guess that’s actually two dips. ;-)

Here’s a simple recipe for homemade Baked Tortilla Chips: -This is a Roasted Salsa recipe I made over the weekend…so delicious! I cut way back on the seranos and used roasted jalapenos, anaheims and pablanos instead (only about 6-8 peppers total).

It turned out wonderfully! -What is your favorite Chips and Dip Combo?

TODAY’S OBSCURE HOLIDAY is “National Goof-off Day”.ooo

Now, regardless of what your kids, employees, students, etc., try to tell you, National Goof-off Day is not considered a federal, state or religious holiday. But hey, what’s a little mid-day karaoke party or video game-fest gonna hurt anyone? Our recommendation…unless you’re in charge, get permission first. ;-)

The ultimate Goof-off Day? Has to be Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Here’s a gift basket we once made as a Corporate Goof Off (mess around, blow off some steam and energy, think-tank break) Playtime Gift Basket. It was a big hit with silly string, Nerf balls, glow sticks, fun straws, paddle balls, flying disks, water guns, karoke microphones and etc.,

What is your favorite way to goof off?

Please help M.R. Designs & Gifts welcome their newest assistant…Betty Ann Mazur!

Betty has been a long-time client and supporter of M.R. Designs & Gifts, but was recently hired to assist with everything from basket assembly to delivery, order taking to marketing, data entry to errands. Betty was in the legal field for over 40 years, from which she semi-retired in April 2011. She comes with a wide range of talents, so the majority of Betty’s training now revolves around the M.R. Designs & Gifts’ distinctives, as well as the “creative” aspects of design and the industry.

Betty has an eleven-year history with M.R. Designs & Gifts; in fact, she was their first client! Betty has also known our owner, Jenifer Anseth, all of her life. Yes, you guessed it…Betty is Jenifer’s mom!

Ironically, during Jenifer’s teen years, she worked for Betty at various law offices doing filing, answering phones and helping wherever needed. Now that the roles are reversed, Betty says that the best tip for managing the relationship is “Do what the boss says!”

So far, Betty has made a wonderful addition to the team, including offering suggestions for increased productivity. Betty says, “When I make suggestions I try to do it in such a way that she [Jenifer] doesn’t feel pressured to accept the idea simply because ‘I’m the mom’.”

Betty says that one of the biggest challenges she’s faced working in her daughter’s business is to keep from bragging about her. “Because it’s exciting to me, I have to remember that there are ‘trade secrets’ and confidential information that should be protected, like celebrity clients or unique techniques that she uses.”

We are so happy to have Betty working with us to help deliver the “WOW Factor” for you!!

We now carry Maddy Rose Artist note cards! As seen on TV 10, TV 12, in North Central News, and In The Zona magazine.

Maddy Rose is a child artist interested in bringing together her love of art and her desire to help others. That’s why 20% of the money from the sale of her artwork goes to the 100 Club of Arizona. “The 100 Club of Arizona is there to ease the pain of the family of those in fire, public safety or law enforcement who are injured or killed in the line-of-duty.”

Maddy Rose has taken some of her most popular art pieces and turned them into note cards for all to enjoy. “Love Song” is featured here. M.R. Designs & Gifts plans to add more of Maddy Rose’s note card designs to our offerings in the near future, including “Sunflower“, “Meadow Koi” and “Frozen River“.

The 5″ x 7″ note cards come packaged in a boxed set of 5, with matching envelopes. Or, you can upgrade your gift basket purchase by adding one of Maddy Rose’s premium note cards. We will hand write your provided sentiment on this premium note card instead of the standard complimentary gift card.

For more information on Maddy Rose, visit her Facebook Page.