The Loupe List: The Top Ten Best Graduation Gifts

We look forward to our weekly newsletter from The Loupe filled with all the latest products, services, apps, restaurants plus fun experiences and activities. Bryan V., the Loupe’s founder spends countless hours discovering interesting things; and we love this greatest hits graduation gift list. If you’re not already a subscriber join his newsletter immediately and download the app so you too can be in the loupe!

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Graduation is around the corner. For most, it simply means moving up to the next grade. For many, it means graduating high school, or college, and moving on to a new school or their first job, respectively. I can't believe that I (nearly) and my friends have college-age kids. I know everyone who experiences it feels the very same way ... where did the time go? As much as I would like to lock myself in a dark room and watch old movies and look at old pictures, we must face the facts. The only option we have is to celebrate their accomplishment and keep moving forward. In this week's Loupe, we explore some gifts to celebrate the process of moving on!



College is a time of new experiences. For many, it will be their first time that they are truly on their own, without much adult supervision. With this great responsibility comes the reality of losing the creature comforts of home! At most schools, Freshmen are forced into community living, aka dorms. I have visited many recently, and they are, let's face it, dingy and gross. They need both hot and cold air flow to supplement the inadequate dorm systems and disperse the college smells (do I need to elaborate here?). The Dyson system is not only attractive but also highly useful. Amazingly, there are no blades! It makes the perfect gift for anyone off to college!




An essential part of sleeping well is executing the wake-up. I used to have anxiety about waking up on time, especially when something requires me to wake up earlier than usual. The only way to resolve this anxiety is to have a reliable system for waking up. I have found that there is no one more reliable than Alexa (Amazon's assistant). I have a standing alarm at 6:00 am. But, I frequently need to wake up (the kids) before then. All I do is tell Alexa what time I want to wake up and she does the rest. You can use any song (or alarm sound) at any volume. My Amazon Show is an essential part of my sleep routine. I do have anxiety when I travel without her ...



Burrow is a new company that is trying to be the Casper (of Mattress fame) of Couches. They make luxury couches that are delivered in reasonably sized boxes directly to your home in 1 week. No furniture store ...  no wait time, hooray! The assembly is straightforward. You can choose the number of seats (1-4), arm style (high or low), and color. Since the system is modular, you can always add a seat at a later date if you have a larger space or acquire an additional friend. Keeping it up to date, the couches also come with a USB charger which is always handy. And the fabric is stain resistant and chemical free. It is a cozy couch, and if you are skeptical of ordering a sofa online (like me), then you can test drive one in one of their showrooms (customer locations) scattered throughout the country. Now you will have enough room on your couch for a friend or two to binge watch Netflix!



The introduction of a computer (Commodore) into my home in the 80's was nice, but home video games was a real game changer. Watching my kid's binge watch Netflix reminds me how I probably used to binge play video games. For me, it all started with the NES. Super Maria Brothers and then all the classic arcade games were brought right into my living room. They began to interfere with my homework, my sports, my family time, and my life. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Were we so different than our children are now? These entertainment systems ushered in the modern era of addiction! Well, Nintendo has now reintroduced the NEC Classic Edition, and they are sold out everywhere! It comes preloaded with 20 games, including Mario Brothers, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Street Fighter. There is no need to retrofit an old console purchased on eBay, but instead, this new version looks like the old one but has HDMI! I am curious if there is time for Mario Brothers in between Candy Crush and How I Met Your Mother.



One need look no further than the Spotify IPO to realize that people love their music and are (finally) willing to pay for it! That goes for video and all forms of personal entertainment. These are the perfect way to escape your collegiate academic and social obligations and retreat into your own world.  Every rising Freshman should have killer headphones that are stylish, or maybe even a fashion piece. I have become particularly fond of M & D's collaboration with Leica, which produced stylish and precise headphones!



I have a confession … sometimes I just want to be alone. This is ironic given the fact that I have a gaggle of children and live in one of the densest cities in the world. However, the genius of a large city is you can escape without ever leaving. Here is my secret to, in the midst of it all, being alone! 

These well designed, inexpensive ($19.99), and nearly invisible ear plugs block out noise pollution allowing you to focus internally on what you are doing (being alone!). Recently I was sitting in the back of the plane where there seems to be a higher concentration of screaming babies. This is a very strange phenomenon, particularly given the fact that people can choose their own seats, but accept it as fact. To be clear, I love babies and it comes with the territory on commercial flights; however, what if I told you there was a device that blocked out the range of noises that babies made and the sounds of the jet engines? Well, there is and they are called Vibes! Additionally, they are perfect for a concert or an event (where the music is too loud and potentially damaging to your ears. Rather than shoving foam in your ears, you can wear this nearly invisible device which lowers the entire range of decibels from treble to bass, so you hear the music as it was intended. These will help you to be alone while in the presence of others!



Rarely are presents wrapped at home and delivered by hand. That is what makes them so thoughtful in this world of Amazon, online shopping, and drop delivery. All one typically needs to do is include the add gift wrapping option and a gift note (receipt). However, if you want to go the extra mile to acknowledge all the hard work of a graduate who slogged through 12 long years of school, go visit Wrap My Face. They have created the ability to customize wrapping paper with your (or someone/something else's face) on a variety of different designs. Imagine the possibilities! You can even forgo the card if done properly!



Every college kid needs wall art to project who they are (or want to be perceived/associated with) to anyone that walks into their room:

Black Lives Matter protest poster = activist

Miles Davis trumpeting =  musician

Groundhog Day movie = movie buff

Lamborghini = Jersey Shore!

Framebridge has taken the annoying out of the process by creating a simple to use interface. You can frame anything. Start by uploading an image, and its dimensions, then choose the framing option (color, material, and matting) and it will show you the way it's going to look. They even provide you a shipping label to send in your item. Thank you very much. They even frame photos from your phone (that perfect Instagram shot) -- so why not add that extra touch to the dorm room?



The Founders of Ministry of Supply are MIT engineers who took their education and applied it to something essential ... dress wear! They have solved the sweat and wrinkle issue by developing a fiber that breathes 19x better than most traditional woven cotton. They initially applied this engineered fabric to men's dress shirts and then expanded to other apparel items including women's wear. I bought my first shirt from Trunk Club over three years ago, and to this day it is comfortable, wrinkle-free, and one of my favorite shirts. These shirts are perfect for the college bound kid who has never used, possibly never seen, an iron!



The first thing to do when you get to school is to make some lifelong friends, so you better choose wisely! This means take out your earbuds, get out there, and meet people. Sure you can head to the dining room, local watering hole, or other social activity. How about you break out the cards and break the ice! This game cuts through everything and allows you to simultaneously offend and defend your new found friends. The more, the merrier in this hilarious game that asks which of the participating gamers is most likely to do something outrageous (ummmm, me). 


Good riddance and bon voyage kids, you're headed out of the nest in style! Make these next 4 (or so) years epic, as you'll be telling college stories for the rest of your adult lives.