Trust me when I tell you that I love getting presents just as much as the next girl. Seriously. I get all giddy when someone gives me a gift and since it just so happens that my birthday is coming up next week, I am hoping to get a little giddy (wink, wink). Especially since it’s not just any birthday – it’s one of those milestone birthdays. That’s right, I will be 29. Again.
Sometimes, though, you really just want to give someone a gift that will blow them away. You know, give them something that is truly memorable and that they will talk about for years to come!
Cue Cloud 9 Living.
Have you heard of them? If not, here’s the skinny. Cloud 9 Living is the US leader in experience gifts, offering over 1,900 unique experiential gifts for men, women & couples in 51 regions. They have partnered with over 600 “Best in Class” experience providers who take pride in ensuring that every gift recipient enjoys a memorable experience. I love the idea of gifting someone with an experience, don’t you?
With experiences ranging from thrilling and adventurous to relaxing and cultural, they really do have something for every taste and every budget. You can choose from things like hot air balloon rides, racecar driving, helicopter tours, spa packages, food tours, golfing with a pro, dinner cruises and so much more.
I had the chance to choose an experience from Cloud 9 Living recently and I am excited to tell you about it.
On their website you can narrow your search down by gifts for her, gifts for him, the experience type or the most popular. Since I really had no idea where to start or what I was looking for, I just did a search for all experiences in my area (Boston) and the site pulled up everything that was available to me.
There were so many cool things (I mean seriously cool) offered locally to me. A few things caught my eye right away, and I was able to narrow it down pretty quickly to 3 or 4 things that I really wanted to do. It was between a couples massage (for me and Chris of course), a flying lesson (something I have always wanted to do), a helicopter tour of Boston and a romantic dinner for two in which a seasoned chef comes into your home for a night and cooks dinner for you in the comfort of your own home.
Can you guess which one I chose? Stay tuned……
Before I tell you about what I chose and my actual experience, I wanted to quickly mention how easy it is to order your experience. You can call them, which is what I did, or place your order on the Cloud 9 website. Once you have selected your experience, you just add it to your cart and then check out the usual way you would when you make any other online purchase. You can create an account or check out as a guest. Once your purchase is complete, you will receive an email confirmation from Cloud 9 and then from there, you will schedule your experience directly with the provider.
So, did you guess which experience I chose yet? Well, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. I chose the Romantic Dinner for Two.
Whenever the topic of winning the lottery comes up, I always say that that the 2nd thing I would do with the money is hire a personal chef (the first is a month long trip to Disney World). So, when I saw that I could have an Executive Chef, with 23 years of experience, come into my house and prepare a 4 course meal for myself and Chris, I was sold.
The Executive Chef that came to our house was Chef Joe Maglio from It’s About Thyme. Prior to our dinner, he called me to discuss menu options and to see if we had any dietary concerns or restrictions.
Joe is the former Executive Chef for Andres, the most awarded and honored restaurant in Las Vegas, so I was a little leery about telling him how picky Chris and I are, but Joe was so cool about it. He just kept telling me that it was my night and he was ok with whatever we wanted. We came up with a general plan and I was excited to see what he chose for the final menu.
I love that he showed up fully prepared. Of course he used our oven, stove top, plates, bowls and silverware, but he brought his own pots, pans, cooking utensils and all of the food with him.
We started off the evening with two phenomenal appetizers. The first was Thai Chicken served with a peanut sauce.
As you can see, both Chris and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man were happy when Joe served our first appetizer.
Next up were some homemade potato skins. NOM.
After our appetizers, Joe made us a salad to eat while he cooked our main course – ribeye steaks. Because both Chris & I like our beef well done (NO pink), he made sure it was cooked the way we liked it before he served it.
The ribeyes were served with mashed potatoes and green beans. It was a feast fit for a king & queen.
I am pretty sure I have never been so full in my entire life. Chris and I were in food comas for a good 12 hours after Joe left.
But that’s not it.
For dessert, Joe brought some tasty treats from Konditor Meister, which coincidentally happens to be my favorite bakery (located in Braintree, MA). We barely had room for them, but Chris & I dug deep and managed to scoff everything down. Everything.
In all, the experience took somewhere between 2-3 hours and beverages were not included in the price. I bought a bottle of wine before Joe arrived, so Chris & I hung out and drank our wine while Joe cooked an amazing meal for us.
The meal that he made for Chris & myself actually came in way under budget, so he made some garlic bread, chicken cacciatore and a homemade margarita pizza for the kids to have the following day. It was so thoughtful and much appreciated.
He even did all the dishes for us. So not only did we not have to cook for a night, we didn’t have to clean up, either. Score.
I know that I grossly overuse the word awesome, but there just isn’t any other way to describe this experience. This experience was awesome. Just plain awesome. It was seriously like a dream come true for me and I hope to get the chance to do something like this again someday.
And like I said, my birthday is next week and I still want to learn to fly, so maybe someone will get me an experience instead of a physical gift this year? A girl can dream, right?
Cloud 9 Living does extensive research to ensure that they are working with extremely high quality and experienced service providers. They go above and beyond to help you plan something extraordinary that you or your gift recipient will honestly NEVER forget!
So tell me, what experience would you choose?