EVM’s Favorite Things: A Local Gift Guide for Teachers, Gal Pals and Neighbors


Graphic with the text "2021 EVM Favorite Things: A guide to our favorite girls from local businesses we love."

Have you ever been to a Favorite Things party?

It’s become an annual tradition at East Valley Moms to host our contributors for a Favorite Things party to highlight local, mom-owned businesses ideal for affordable gifts for teachers, neighbors, nannies and whomever else you want to make sure you give a little something extra to during the holidays.

By supporting local this holiday season (and year round), we are celebrating what makes the East Valley and our state unique, while helping local families pursue their dreams through their businesses. We invite you to do the same!



What we want to be gifted

Childcare passes at Modern Allo

We really just want a few minutes of self care to unwind and relax, can I get an amen? Chandler’s Modern Allo provides every mom’s haven: on-site childcare, a coffee bar and a safer-beauty nail bar (and more!). Can we just get a standing appointment for all of 2022?

Hoop earrings

We recently stumbed upon AU-Rate an online jewelry company that believes in offering high quality, sustainable jewelry made with ethical gold and diamonds, with a focus on classic, clean design. We’re eyeing classic, timeliness gold hoop earrings

A light for congenital heart defects

Koko's Candles candle on side to display bottom of candle in "Arizona Pine" scent, next to a pine cone and pine needles.Scottsdale-based mom, Janeen Kokodynski, started her candle company to honor her angel baby, Matthew, who she lost to a congenital heart defect in 2005.

At Matthew’s funeral, hammered pewter hearts were passed out.

These hearts were slightly misshapen and imperfect – just like Matthew’s.  When Janeen launched her company, Koko’s Candles, she knew she wanted to incorporate these hearts into her candle line. 

Before each candle is poured, a small heart is placed at the bottom. After the candle has burned, you may remove the heart and place it in your change purse or pocket to serve as a reminder that you are loved. A portion of the profits from each candle is donated to the Children’s Heart Foundation.

What we’re gifting our kiddos

Smart socks

What, you say? These patented tot socks are smartly designed by a local mom of two to stop her kids from slipping around the house in normal socks.

A woman putting Smart Socks on a toddlerThis sensory-friendly sock design is pediatrician-approved specially designed for babies and toddlers learning to walk as well as big kids. Hand-finished to perfection, Sockabu socks are made with a Supreme cotton blend for the ultimate quality and comfort. For more information, visit www.sockabu.com/.

Locally written children’s book

Kaylene, the mouse loves cheese so much that that she builds her own spaceship and travels out of this world to see if there’s more cheese to discover elsewhere. Written in rhyming format, the silly story is fun for parents to read aloud, and an easy read for early learners (ages 1-8). The colorful illustrations with clever details will have readers re-reading and delaying the turn of their favorite pages.

Moon Cheese is the Best is written by Alyssa Andrews (who lives in Mesa and is a Westwood HS alum) and is $12 and is available on Amazon.

What we’re gifting our kids’ teachers


Our contributors who are teachers all agree, teachers thrive on sweets! Locally-owned Fairytale Brownies, is a classic gift that we keep coming back to year-after-year because they’re individually packaged, ideal for a teachers lounge, and they’re always a crowd-pleaser. They always have free shipping, which is much appreciated!

A candle that gives back

This Gilbert-based candle shop is made from 100% American-grown, non-toxic, eco-friendly soy.

two Mali+Casey lit white jar candles with greenery in the backgroundMC Candle Company candles are wicked with 100% cotton (lead and zinc free) and their fragrances are phthalate free, making them the cleanest candles you can burn!

The best part? They donate a portion of every sale to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Born from the tragedy of 9/11, the Foundation carries out its mission to “do good” by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children and by building custom-designed smart homes for catastrophically injured vets and first responders.

Through their work since their launch in April 2020, M.C. Candle Co. has raised nearly $13,000 for Tunnel to Towers.

What we’re gifting our neighbors and playdate mamas


Woman's ear showcasing a dangly earring with a small black circle on top of a leopard print half circle on top of a glittery gold circle.I’ve found I play it safe when I buy accessories for myself, and most of my favorite ones have been gifts. Bonnie Wiscome, a Mesa homeschooling mom of 10, has an online clothing shop, Novalie, that exists solely for the purpose to help moms get excited to get dressed again.

Novalie’s accessories are bold, statement pieces that are also lightweight and easy to wear and her bracelets and earrings are handcrafted by a US-based, woman-owned supplier.

Clean-crafted wine

We’ve had a few happy hours, including September’s Moms Night Out that featured clean-crafted wine, and we’re obsessed.

Sout & Cellar’s holiday gift sets feature award-winning wines made without the use of added sugar, toxic pesticides, synthetic processing aides, and are low in sulfites, and the packaging is beautiful (and the shipping is free).

3 images showcasing Scout+Cellar wines at a Christmas Party. Cases with 4 bottles of various wines and people looking at said wine with red wine glasses full of wine.


What we’re giving the men in our lives

The manliest soap 

Duke Cannon mens grooming gift set with popular items from the mens lineWe just made your stocking stuffer decisions a little easier this year with one of our favorite men’s line – Duke Cannon. Each men’s product that The Cottage Flowers & Gifts (in Queen Creek and Chandler) carries is handpicked by the owners husband, giving it the male stamp of approval already!

These soaps promise to meet the high standards of hardworking men and are proud to say that their products are tested by soldiers, not boy bands, and are made in the USA. 

But seriously, The Cottage Flowers and Gifts is one of our favorite gift shops in the East Valley and is owned by a busy mom of five.

This post is a sponsored post written by East Valley Moms on behalf of some of the brands featured in the post, but all opinions are 100% ours. Thank you for allowing us to partner with brands we believe in to continue to bring you free content!


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