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Patty Niemann
5 months Ago

Whether its cozying up to the fire or watching the leaves change, we have your Fall activities. From cooking classes to helicopter rides to puppy photoshoots, embrace the season any way you want. 



New York


Helictoper Tour over Hudson Valley

starting at $123

Marvel at the cascade of blazing reds, yellows, and oranges of Hudson Valley's fall foliage from your private helicopter. Helicopters lift off from Westchester Airportand fly over historic landmarks including Kykuit, Tappan Zee Bridge and Indian Point.

$138 a person
If there's any place in New York that has beautiful Fall scenery it's Brooklyn Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods. Tour the neighborhoods and try bites at the Italian, Middle Eastern and New American food shops.



Private Photography Lesson Walks

starting at $100

Take a walking tour to learn about photography in the natural world, and learn about your DSLR or camera of your choice — for beginners, or continuing lessons in composition, color theory, and camera control.
$150 a person
Pasta, the perfect comfort food for the approaching cold weather. Invite your friends and family to an interactive dinner party, where they will be taught to make pasta and sauce by a culinary maestro.



Chicago Gangsters and Ghost Tour

starting at $15

Be transported in time to experience Chicago as it was lived by locals during the bootlegging gangster reign of the late 1920s. Get access to the infamous congress hotel, rated America's most haunted hotel and the former residence of Al Capone.


Puppy Photoshoot

starting at $284

Get professional photos of your most beloved pet. Receive five of the best images from the shoot, one-on-one instruction tailored to your interest and skill level and a sit-down review at a local coffee shop.


San Francisco


Pie-Making Class

$113 a person

Tis the season for pies. Learn the art of pie-making with an acclaimed pastry chef. The experience will finish with a slice of pie and all guests will be sent home with their own home-made dessert!


Haunted After-Dark Walking Tour

$22 a person

A macabre and murderous tour through downtown and the Tenderloin. Get creeped out by after-dark tales of mysterious deaths, scandalous murders, ruthless cult leaders, the old red-light district, famed ghosts, assassins, and more. 


For more, check out all of our local experiences


Patty Niemann
6 months Ago

There's much more to Chicago than seeing "The Bean". We have mixology lessons, baking classes and even helicopter flights over the city. Use the code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase! Take a look at the Top 10 IfOnly Experiences in Chicago.


Private Tour of the Art Institute

starting at $59

Join expert guide Cynthia Noble for a private tour of the Art Institute of Chicago where she will tailor the tour to your interests. See everything from Peter Paul Rubens to Pablo Picasso and more.


Chef's Tasting Dinner at Wood

$63 a person

Sit down for a four-course, family style dinner prepared by Chef Ashlee Aubin. You will receive a seasonal customized menu in a relaxed hip atmosphere that is Wood Chicago. Think wagyu steak with wild mushrooms...


1983 World's Fair Walking Tour

$42 a person

Venture into beautiful architectural spaces from the era and see what Chicago was like in 1983. Explore the grand lobby of the Auditorium Building, visit a secret building hidden in an alley, and much more! 


Perfume Workshop

starting at $10

Create your own perfume or cologne with perfumers in the Lincoln Park Boutique. They will guide you through our "Scent Organ" of 80 carefully curated fragrance accords and help you create a personal blend.


High-Tech Furniture Design

starting at $82

Watch master craftsman Bill Schick demonstrate several modern woodworking techniques while building a coffee table from scratch. After, design and take home a set of DIY drink coasters.


Helicopter Ride & Dinner

$800 a person

Start with a helicopter ride over the beautiful Chicago Skyline, taking in the famous monuments and end the night at the Italian restaurant, Mama's Boy. The VIP Package is perfect for anyone celebrating a special occasion.


Pastry Class for Kids

$100 a person

During this two-hour baking class, your child will learn to bake Lemon Rosemary Scones, Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and cupcakes. Oui Chef's goal is not only for your kids to have fun but learn new ways to participate in the kitchen at home! 


Private Tour of Baderbrau Brewery

$125 a person

Join the beer specialist of Baderbrau Brewery for a tour of the 25,000 sq. ft brewery. Learn the history of Chicagoland's craft beers while you sip on lager, tour the gallery rooms and end the tour with a sampling of Chicago's Best Mac and Cheese Waffle and entree of choice.


Healthy Chocolate Indulgence

$175 a person

Did you know you can make healthy desserts? Learn to bake five different homemade chocolate desserts including, biscotti, dark chocolate bark, chocolate mousse and more at Happy Eats Healthy.


Craft Cocktail Workshop

starting at $88

Invite one of Chicago’s top mixologists from The Drifter to shake up custom drinks and entertain guests with an in-home cocktail lesson. The perfect excuse for a party! 


Are you excited yet? Don't forget to use the code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase! We want to see your experience- tag @IfOnly on Instagram and Twitter to show us how you explored Chicago! 


Patty Niemann
7 months Ago

Come for the Golden Gate Bridge, stay for the experiences. We put together Bay Area activities that IfOnly members love. Use code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase! Talk about a win-win.



A Meeting with a Red Panda

starting at $163

One of our top sellers! People LOVE meeting the rarely seen endangered species at the San Francisco Zoo. Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the red panda exhibit led by the zookeeper.


A Sail on the USA 76 Challenger Boat

$210 a person

Experience the thrill of high-speed yacht racing when you and your friends set sail aboard the world-famous USA 76. Sail around the bay through and reach speeds of up to 22 knots.


Dinner in the Chez Panisse Kitchen

$1,000 a person

Journey to the Berkeley restaurant where the farm-to-table and locally sourced ingredients movement was invented. Sit in the best seats in the house, that were once impossible to reserve.


Master the Art of Macarons

$135 a person

Join Chef Eloise Lim in the intimate kitchen of her charming North Beach cafe for a private macaron baking class. Leave with your own macaron creations and a feeling of accomplishment.


Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece 

$25 a person

Reserve a private docent-led tour of the Marin County Civic Center, designed by one of the 20th century’s preeminent architects. See the beauty of the building and get a view from the restricted roof.


Tandem Paragliding Flight over the Bay

$200 a person

Launch yourself into the sky with an expert paraglider in this unique experience. Get a birds-eye-view of the hills, cliffs and Pacific Ocean. 


Yoga in Grace Cathedral

$80 a person

A balance and serenity session for two: grab your favorite yoga partner and skip the line with two spots front and center at Darren Main’s popular weekly class.


Mission District Progressive Dining Experience

$95 a person

Experience a four-course progressive meal through the Mission District. You’ll learn about the neighborhood’s culinary history and speak to some of the best chefs in the neighborhood.


starting at $225 

Gather your favorite friends for a party in the sky as you soar over the rolling vineyards in Napa Valley in a hot air balloon. Take in views of wine country and end the ride with a brunch when you land.


Drone Lesson with Top Bay Area Expert

starting at $150

Get a private flying lesson from one of Game of Drones co-founders Eli D’Elia or lead engineer Reiner von Weber. Master the basic mechanics of lift, learn how to take off and land, and get a feel for the controls.

Excited yet? You should be. When checking out, remember to use the code 10OFFTOP10 for 10% off your purchase. Share your memories on social media with us and tag @IfOnly! 

Patty Niemann
8 months Ago

Do something different in New York this weekend. We put together the Top 10 IfOnly experiences in the city with something for everyone. Get 10% off your IfOnly experience when you use code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout!



Day in the Life of A Broadway Performer

starting at $63

Step into the world of a Broadway performer with longtime veteran, Arbender Robinson. See where these actors make their 'big break', explore the Drama book store and share a drink at the iconic Sardi's.


Truffle-Making with a Top NY Chocolatier

starting at $75

You're invited into Roni-Sue’s, the charming neighborhood candy shop of the Lower East Side. Start off the experience with a tasting of the artisanal confections and then learn to make your own truffles! 


Graffit Workshop in Brooklyn

$40 a person

Unleash your inner Banksy and get a hands-on graffiti lesson about this controversial art form. A professional artist will guide and teach you the basic tools and techniques of the trade.


Harry Potter-Themed Hunt at the Met

starting at $80

Bring the family to the Met for a magical museum hunt and private tour inspired by the characters, settings and objects from the Harry Potter stories. The tour is led by an art historian and fellow Harry Potter buff.


Backstage Tour of 'Avenue Q' with a Star

starting at $38

Join star Nick Kohn for a backstage tour of the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical Avenue Q. Pose for a picture with your favorite puppet, get your playbill signed by the cast, and hear some backstage gossip.


Helicopter Flight Lesson over New York

starting at $204

Ever dream of piloting your own helicopter? Take the controls for an hour lesson, learn what makes a helicopter fly, and see New York from a whole new perspective.

$350 a person
Design the perfect hat for you. Choose from a huge range of new and vintage materials and discover the perfect shade for your face and style. 
$50 a person
Join a local food enthusiast on a tour of Williamsburg's innovative food scene. Try some of the best pizza in the city, along with iconic stops including Momofuku Milk Bar, Oddfellows Ice Cream and more!
$115 a person
Join the experts of Malt and Mold to learn more about cheeses and the perfect beers to pair. A Cheesemonger will guide you through a private tasting with curated NYC-brewed beers.
$80 a person
Love whiskey? Visit Brooklyn’s top whiskey producer Kings County Distillery and go behind the scenes for a private tour. End the tour with a flight of five whiskeys. Cheers!
Explore the city with the most diverse neighborhoods through amazing experiences. Now's your time to get out and do something different than usual. To see all the New York experiences look here. Don't forget to use the code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase! 

Patty Niemann
9 months Ago

Enjoy the sun in Miami through our top ten IfOnly experiences in the city! Get 10% off your IfOnly experience when you use code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout. Take a look at all the experiences available in Miami.


Aerial Photography Helicopter Flight

$399 a person

Soar over Miami in a helicopter where you'll learn to photograph the city from above. Discuss the pictures you want to take and plan a flight path for your journey. Once your harness is secured, you're set to go.


Secret Agent Weekend: Aston Martin Show & James Bond Tour

$1,590 a person

IfOnly invites you on a two-night trip to Miami Beach to immerse yourself in the film franchise. Attend the Aston Martin show, tour film locations and party at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.


Private Tour of Wildlife Sanctuary

$400 a person

Step into Everglades Outpost to get a tour of the animal rescue center. Feed the tigers, bears, camels, wolves, lemurs, monkeys, donkeys, alligators, and more! 


Private Yoga Day with Master Teacher

$65 a person

Enjoy an authentic yoga experience with Rikki Kamensky at the beautiful Inhale Miami studio. Afterwards, sit down for a healthy lunch and discussion with the master yogi.


Craft Cocktail Class Paired with Bites

$250 a person

Learn the art of crafting cocktails with the award winning mixologists of Bar Alter. Each class is handcrafted for a unique cocktail experience, paired with Yakitori inspired dishes.


Biscayne Bay Boat Adventure

$161 per person

Explore historical, cultural and natural areas of Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Discover the heritage and history of Miami's colorful past, from its origins as a swampy outpost favored by famous mobsters, to its rise as an international mecca.


Lou La Vie Driving Experience

starting at $88

Get behind the wheel of some of the world's most exotic vehicles including Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bentley. Just choose the car you want and cruise through the major hot spots in Miami.


Hollywood Brewing Co. Tour

$150 a person

Get a craft brewery tour with unlimited samples! Get to know Hollywood craft brews like a true insider. Take home a growler, some pretzel bites, a branded pint glass, and more.


Cocktail Lesson and Multi-Course Dinner at Yuca

$155 a person

Start the evening with the Yuca’s master cocktail expert where you'll learn how to make mojitos and more exotic cocktails! After sit down to enjoy a family-style four-course meal.


Latin Dance Night Out

$200 a person

Get ready for a dance lesson, dinner reservations on South Beach, and dancing at the hottest nightclub in Little Havana. Experience one of the best nights out, Miami style!


Find your Miami experience on IfOnly. Don't forget to use 10OFFTOP10 for at checkout for 10% off. It's time to make your summer the best yet. 

Patty Niemann
11 months Ago

Two lucky fans got to meet star actor & philanthropist Chris Hemsworth at the 'Avengers: Infinity War' premiere. The winners, flown in from Australia, got to know the legendary actor and experience what life is like in the Hollywood spotlight. The sweepstakes benefited the Australian Childhood Foundation, a non-profit organization helping children recover from abuse, neglect, and family violence. Hear first-hand about their once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How did you hear about the sweepstakes?
Through Chris' instagram post. I have been following him for years and when I saw his post I couldn't resist the chance to win a trip of a lifetime. Even if i had lost- I was more than happy to donate money to the Australian Childhood Foundation.
What was your reaction when you learned you were the winner?
I listened to the voicemail that IfOnly had left me and my heart started beating about a thousand beats per minute. I was thinking that there had been some sort of mistake or that somebody was pranking me. I checked my emails and sure enough there was an email from IfOnly informing me that I won. I was in shock and just stood there stunned. I called the number back and spoke to an IfOnly representative in disbelief that this had actually just happened and that I would be flying to LA in a few days to meet Chris and attend the premiere.

"It was the craziest thing that has ever happened to me in my life."

I paid $10 which was the minimum entry requirement. That's why I was so sceptical I had won.
What was it like meeting with Chris Hemsworth?
I've been following Chris' career for years and to be able to meet him as a fellow Australian was honestly a dream come true. I ruptured my ACL last year which led to me requiring a knee reconstruction. The following weeks I was on crutches and could barely walk. There was only one thing on my mind, and that was to get back on my feet in time to attend the release of Thor Ragnarok. I ended up watching every single interview that Chris had done for Ragnarok leading up to its release. Which I did manage to attend on my crutches, on day one.

"To be given the opportunity to tell Chris that he helped me get through that difficult time of my life was amazing."


He mentioned you on his Instagram, looks like your feed blew up!

It was crazy to be featured on his instagram story. He asked me what my username was and he started following me! He doesn't follow many people on instagram and to be someone he follows still blows my mind.

"I very much do feel like a VIP. How many people can say that Chris Hemsworth follows them on instagram!"

What was your favorite part of the whole experience?
It's tough to call between the meet and greet with Chris or the actual premiere where we got to walk the red (well, purple) carpet. I think being able to tell people that I saw Avengers: Infinity War at the world premiere with the entire cast takes the cake. 

"I will remember this for the rest of my life."


Now that you and Chris are friends now, will you be joining the Avengers in the next film?

If Chris asks me to join the Avengers I will immediately start freaking out. I'll try and play it cool and say something like "Yes Chris. Of course. I would love to join the Avengers" then start hitting the gym 24/7. You also gotta look the part to be an Avenger.
Any message for others out there who are thinking about benefiting a foundation and entering into a future IfOnly sweepstakes?
JUST DO IT! When I entered the competition never in a million years did I think I was actually going to win. For only $10, you would be crazy not to. And if you lose, its not like you've thrown that money away, it goes towards supporting a foundation that is trying to do some good in the world.
Thank you to everyone who entered the Chris Hemsworth Avengers Sweepstakes! To support the Australian Childhood Foundation, you can make a donation here.



Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

Explore the side of Boston you don't see on historical tours. Get 10% off your IfOnly experience when you use code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout. Take a look at our Boston experiences along with our Top 10 activities in the city.


Row the Boston Harbor

$90 a person


Bring your team of up to 30 to row together on the harbor for a unique group experience in boats for four to six people. Located on Fort Point Channel in the heart of Boston's Innovation District, row past the Boston skyline and make a pitstop for lunch! 


Make Sushi with a Renowned Chef

$157 a person


Plan a unique party that celebrates the art of sushi making. Arriving at your door, Chef Stephen Coe will bring all of the equipment and ingredients to lead a workshop and to prepare a sushi meal for you and your guests. 


Look The Part with a Private Fitting

$125 a person


Achieve an impeccable fit in this made-to-measure experience that includes a private one-hour consultation and a custom dress shirt. Be introduced to the best of made-to-measure menswear, thanks to the custom menswear experts at Blank Label.

starting at $25
Do you like chocolate? Do you like cocktails? Enjoy a 2-hour in-home chocolate making session where you'll make two different types of "tipsy truffles". Professional Chocolatier & owner of Tipsy Chocolates, Anne Wright, is excited to lead you through the chocolate truffle making.

Attend a Classy Cocktail Tour

$50 a person


Savor masterfully crafted drinks on a cocktail tour led by one of Boston’s most trusted nightlife experts, the person behind the handle of @OnlyInBOS.


Practice Yoga with Boston's Best

starting at $50


Private yoga lessons can help you to reduce stress, improve fitness and much more. Ali will direct you through a posture sequence, customized to fit your goals, and provide alignment tips and hands-on adjustments throughout.


Milk and Cookie Party

$9 a person


Who doesn’t love a fresh from the oven, melt in your mouth cookie? With a Milk and Cookie Afternoon from Kitchen Millie, you can bring that fresh, never processed taste to your home, office, or private event. We'll provide a variety of our two-bite cookies and milk paired in heavenly bliss.


Breakfast by World Bacon Champion

$150 a person


The only thing more indulgent than breakfast in bed is having it prepared by an award-winning chef. Chef Stephen Coe, a culinary maestro who has helmed kitchens at some of New England’s finest restaurants, will prepare a decadent morning meal served in your home.


Record Music in a Historic Studio

starting at $1,250


Producer Brendan Burns will coach you and prepare your song for a day-long session with professional musicians. It's your turn to take the mic in the historic Dimension Sound Studios.


Create Your Own Artisinal Shave Oil

starting at $77


Brothers Artisan Oil founder Owen Shea invites you to this workshop, where you will create a personalized oil suited to your nose and needs. Test and blend essential oil scents with our beloved skin oils and learn how to use them to your best benefit. 



And that's just the start... Find your experience on IfOnly. Don't forget to use 10OFFTOP10 for 10% off at checkout. It's time to make memories.

Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

Explore Vegas beyond the Blackjack tables. We have the top activities in the city with local experts that we know you will love. Get 10% off your IfOnly experience when you use code 10OFFTOP10 at checkout. It's time to explore Las Vegas.



Sail the Desert

$259 per person


Pilot a high performance land yacht across the biggest open spaces on the planet. Easy to master, land sailing is one of the most thrilling experiences you will ever have.



Dive Deep in the Dive Bars

starting at $250


Join Vegas veteran Branden Powers for an evening out. Visit bars like Huntridge Tavern, one of Anthony Bourdain's favorite local spots. Sing karaoke in the classic dive-lounge Champagne’s, around since 1966, and hear about Branden’s experiences in the old mob-run Vegas.



starting at $150
That's right. Meet the talented giraffe who goes by Ozzie. Come visit Lion Habitat Ranch for a private encounter with Ozzie. Each member of the private group will be provided with a canvas for Ozzie to work his magic on.
$125 per person
The Whisky Attic World of Whisky Experience will have you go through an education on the world of whiskey covering the major countries, styles, and terminology as well as answering any questions you may have about the expansive catalog of whiskey.
starting at $90
Head just an hour from the Las Vegas Strip to one of the most stunning parks in Nevada. Enjoy a private limousine coach tour of the world famous Valley of Fire State Park and enjoy professional photos to last a lifetime. 
$340 per person
If your seeking thrill this is perfect for you. Sit alongside a Sky Combat Ace fighter pilot while the pilot maneuvers barrel rolls, hammerheads, and more! 
starting at $65
Step inside the training facility of MMA icons in the MMA capital of the world, Las Vegas. Let Gustavo Lopez show you some inside tips and tactics of a professional fighter. Great for any level boxer.
starting at $31
Baby goats. Need we say more? Goat Yoga is a perfect way to combine the health and mental benefits of yoga with the comforting feeling of baby animals, and the wonderful feeling of Mother Nature. Experience it first-hand with friends.
$299 per person
No speed limit, just you, a supercar, and the track. Choose a Ferrari or a Lamborghini then learn the maneuvers and proper instruction from a racing instructor. Step into the car, and the racetrack is yours.
starting at $167
Join Chef Melissa Coppel at her Las Vegas Atelier for a special opportunity to "get hands on" with chocolate. Learn how to temper and create your own variety of chocolate bars guided by the master.
Feeling more confident with your Vegas experience? Good. For more experiences, explore the Las Vegas collection and don't forget to use 10OFFTOP10 at checkout for 10% off!  

Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

When it comes to Valentine's Day, flowers and a box of chocolates are an easy go-to but IfOnly has exciting and romantic adventures for you and a loved one. We picked out our favorite experiences that are far-from-average. In fact, they are pretty amazing (if we say so ourselves).



VIP Access to Napa Valley Wine Train


Get a private kitchen tour and chef-hosted lunch aboard the restored vintage rail car. This special epicurean experience pulls all the stops: a sparkling reception, tour and cooking demonstration, and the warm company of Executive Chef Donald Young. For more, see wine and dine experiences.



Sunset Ride on Fighter Jets


Did we mention these aren't boring? Romantically board a pair of fighter jets with your partner as you fly off into the sunset. Cruise at mach speeds and share this rare magical evening. If you are more of a helicopter person, take a look at the helicopter flights we have available. 



Our $100,000 Chocolate Box


What makes this box of chocolates so special? Take a look inside: Includes a private jet, reservations at the top restaurants in New York City and San Francisco and luxury hotel accomodations. See the original chocolate box that inspired the traveling chocolate box.



Leave the Cooking to a Professional


Part folklore, part science, the use of aphrodisiac ingredients in cooking is as old as food history. Allow Chef Andrea Lawson Gray to incorporate these mood-setting elements into an unforgettable 8-course Chef's Tasting Menu. For more, check out the private chef collection.



Private Couples Tango Lesson


Step up your dance game with a partner. Learn the romantic dance from one of NYC's most sought after tango instructors. Strawberries, chocolate and beverages will be waiting for you but BYOB is encouraged... Don't forget about the other dance classes available.

 Make sure to check out the rest of IfOnly's Valentine's Day Collection! We have hundreds of experiences to make your holiday special.



Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

It's 2018 and we have the push you need to pursue your New Year's Resolution. Take a look at the list of resolutions and luminaries in each category that can make it happen! Best part of each experience- it gives back to a charity of the luminary's choice.


1. Get back in shape. 


Fitness Consultation and Customized Work Out with a Top Trainer, from $50


Choose from a top trainer where you will begin with a pre-workout consultation. Your trainer will guide you through sets, demonstrate correct alignment, and give you the coaching to reach and surpass your goals.



Healthy Kitchen Makeover, from $150


Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Chef Brooke Wilson will come to your home to review, rework, and restock your kitchen from the inside out.



For more health & wellness experiences, look here



2. Cook more.


Dim Sum Dumpling Making Class in Chinatown, $75


Learn the art of making dim sum dumplings during an intimate, chef-led class at China Live, with dinner and a champagne toast included.



Afternoon Apprenticeship at Barbuto, $3,000


Work side by side with Chef Jonathan Waxman's team in the famous Barbuto kitchen. Learn to craft the rustic Italian food that Chef Waxman is known for and enjoy a private dinner in celebration.



For more culinary experiences, look here



3. Learn a new skill.


 Turn a Store-Bought Bouquet into a Work of Art, from $115

 In this 101 class guests will deconstruct store-bought mixed bouquets and learn the basics of composition to completely transform them.



Learn the Art of Raku, from $167


Learn the amazing firing process known as raku with a San Francisco clay expert.

For more hobbies, look here. For art-related classes, you can see them here.



4. Check more off your bucket list!


Helicopter Flight Lesson over New York, from $204


You will then be able to join one of Wings Air's professional flight instructors for an exciting flight. Once airborne, you will take control of one of their state-of-the-art helicopters while taking in stunning views.



Dine at the James Beard House, from $299


Gather at the birthplace of American cuisine for a private, multi-course dinner and wine pairing from a James Beard visiting chef.



Explore the Upper Amazon Aboard the Delfin II, from $7,120


Journey to the heart of the Amazon jungle for a riverboat cruise like nowhere else on Earth with  Lindblad-National Geographic.



For more adventure and thrill seeking, look here.



Need more inspiration? Head to IfOnly to explore different collections from wine tasting to film and TV set visits to photography lessons.

Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

Ditch the gift cards: IfOnly survey highlights that experiences dominate holiday “must have” list


SAN FRANCISCO - December 18, 2017 - Today, IfOnly, the marketplace for unique experiences, released survey results showing that 95 million Americans would prefer to receive an experience from a loved one over nearly all forms of holiday presents, including gift certificates.


The survey* was conducted between November 16, 2017 and November 20, 2017 with 1,030 representative Americans.


The research demonstrates that not only do Americans consider experiences to be highly desirable gifts that are worth pursuing at great length, but receiving memorable experiences over material things is met with deeper gratitude from the recipient.  Highlights from the survey include:


- 67 percent of respondents preferred an experience over a traditional gift certificate this holiday.

- 81 percent of respondents believed experiences would be more memorable than any other kind of gift.

- Two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) admitted they would feel more thankful for receiving an experience than a physical present.

- Nearly half of Americans in relationships (47 percent) would be more likely to have sex with a significant other if they received an experience instead of a material gift.

- Almost half (46 percent) of Americans would give up an hour of sleep each night for the entire holiday season to receive an amazing experience instead of a gift certificate; one third (37 percent ) would give up sex for a week; and 29 percent would give up their cell phones for a week.

- 75 percent of Millennials would do anything in exchange for an incredible experience.

- A third of Americans (36 percent) would rather spend time with a wild animal than with their in-laws this holiday season. When asked to choose from one of the following experiences in the New Year, 21 percent chose to feed giraffes or penguins with a private zookeeper tour, and 15 percent chose to pet a panda at the zoo. Only 9 percent would want to spend an entire week with their in-laws!

- Some of the top experiences that Americans dream of receiving include:

     - Go on a helicopter tour (39 percent)

     - Go on a private tour of a museum (32 percent)

     - Pet a panda at the zoo (27 percent)


Over the last few years, we have seen a stronger interest in offering experiences as gifts and this research confirms the trend. Our experiences are not only highly popular among Millennials but anyone seeking unforgettable moments to cherish for the rest of their lives. To make holiday gift giving easier and more memorable, we recently added a variety of new exciting experiences to its offering.  It’s not too late to gift a once-in-a-lifetime experience to a loved one, no shipping necessary.


*Survey sample size: 1,030 nationally representative Americans Ages 18+, conducted by Kelton Global, on behalf of IfOnly.


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Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

We went through and hand-selected some of the coolest IfOnly experiences in your city. Take a look at the unique experiences your city has to offer.




Black Truffle Preparation with Chef of a Three-Michelin Star Restaurant

Within the comfort of your own home share in the ultimate truffle experience with Chef Justin Mauz of Coi. Learn, touch, and taste as Chef Mauz guides you through the “how to’s” of truffles. The class is immediately followed by a four-course meal, with truffle incorporation, that is inspired by the chef.


Great White Shark Watching with Diver Jeremiah Sullivan 

Scratch one off the bucket list as you join shark expert Jeremiah Sullivan for an unforgettable dive with great whites off the coast of San Francisco. The Farallon Islands, teeming with sea lions and elephant seals, serve as the hunting grounds for sharks and an ideal vantage point to observe them. 


Voice Lessons with Music Director of 'Pitch Perfect'

Currently filming “Pitch Perfect 3" in Atlanta, Deke Sharon will be heading back to San Francisco shortly and offering lessons to you and your group. Learn the harmonizing and rhythmic style of a cappella and get a fun-filled master class in vocal instrumentation from the father of contemporary a cappella.




Helicopter Tour of Hudson Valley Fall Foliage

The private helicopter will lift off from Westchester Airport in White Plains, New York and fly over historic landmarks such as Kykuit, Tappan Zee Bridge, Indian Point, Bear Mountain, and West Point dressed in stunning colors.


Tour of Prohibition-Era NYC led by staff of Brooklyn's Oldest Distillery

Visit the haunts of Manhattan’s former bootleggers and end at Kings County Distillery for a five-flight whiskey tasting. Participants will also take home a distillery logbook.
On this fun and informative tour of the Metropolitan Museum, you will meet the women who shattered the glass ceilings of their day, from the most powerful female Pharaoh of Egypt to the official mistresses of French kings and more historic women in art. 
Join CEO and Co-Founder Anya Fernald for a delicious and educational charcuterie and champagne pairing experience. The tasting will feature products from Belcampo’s organic salumi line, including yet-to-be-released whole muscle cuts, paired with sparkling wines.
Learn to play traditional Japanese taiko drums with the help of Isaku Kageyama. Isaku's resume includes performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. In this workshop, Isaku will teach you how to play taiko drums beginning with the proper grip, stance, and striking motion.
Austin Muhs will do a tarot and astrology reading for you and host an elegant lunch or dinner. Austin will help you reorient your life in ways that are personally and spiritually meaningful while addressing the year ahead.
Start with a Private Helicopter Ride over the beautiful skyline. You’ll enjoy a personal guided tour, taking in the bird's eye view of Chicago's soaring skyscrapers, architecture, and landmarks. Your evening celebration continues you at Mama’s Boy with an exquisite 5-course meal prepared by Chef Massimo Gaffo.
Have you been dying to try sword fighting? You will learn different elegant fencing techniques, strategy, and overall have a fun time sword fighting with your friends. All fencing gear is provided.
This class teaches you about the art of making fermented tea as you prepare your first batch. The class includes a kombucha-making kit to keep, exquisite green tea that's perfect for kombucha brewing and samples of 1800 Kombucha flavors.
Witness an Ivy League tradition, a crossdressing, pun-tossing, and taboo-busting spectacle that includes rare behind-the-scenes access and a meeting with rising comedic voices. This one-of-a-kind experience includes an in-person greeting from the Pudding cast.
Adam Shutes will teach you about the transformation of milk into cheese. You will learn about the milks of different animals, the crucial components of milk, how they impact cheese, and what happens when milk transforms into cheese. You will be making a ricotta and a queso fresco. 
Take your band to the next level with an end-to-end production of a live EP to sell at your next gig. Your final EP will include a full-color designed disc, album cover with design for a four-page insert, one-page band bio sell sheet, and a set of photos for use on social media, and press packages.
Want to see more experiences in your city? Check out all local experiences here

Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

Curious about what goes into your bowl of ramen? Chef Mari Takashi offers a ramen workshop to IfOnly members where you learn how to make the Japanese delicacy from scratch. 



Mari Takahashi hasn't always worked in the restaurant industry but grew up in Yokohama, Japan where she was educated in the art of cooking homeade Japanese food. Once she moved to the US, Chef Takahashi brought her knowledge and skills to the food world. 


The class is completely hands-on from start to finish. First, you knead the dough to roll out and cut the noodles for the soup. 


"From start to finish, Mari's class was fantastic and unforgettable! Along with kneading the dough, cutting the noodles, and preparing our own broth combinations, Mari also walked us through the history of ramen while we sampled different types of broth (be warned, during this experience you will eat a LOT of food!)" -Sam  


Chef Takahashi teaches how to make pork and chicken stock, along with the chasu (marinated, braised pork belly). Yum! Something that makes this class unique is the history you learn throughout the workshop about the Japanese cuisine.


"Mari was one of the best cooking instructors I've ever had. She was so informative about the history and variety of ramen, but nothing seemed rehearsed or canned. It was like cooking with a friend." -Nick


But don't forget about one of the best parts of the workshop- the Iron Chef-style competition. 


"The Iron Chef-style ramen competition added a healthy dose of trash talk amongst friends that made for good laughs and spicy dishes. Mari and her assistant judged our work and named a winner at the end of the evening with expert yet hilarious critiques." -Nick


Love sushi as well? Take a look at the rest of the experiences Chef Takahashi offers exclusively on IfOnly! 



Patty Niemann
A Year Ago

Spend the summer with friends and family with the "Buy with Friends" feature. We believe sharing experiences makes for the best memories. Choose from over 200 experiences in the Bay Area. Simply head to IfOnly.com/buywithfriends, select an experience & share with friends! 


Take a look at our top choices in San Francisco for Summer 2017.



Monterey Bay Sunset Cruise


Take a 2-hour sail around the Bay with a private captain. Relax and keep a look-out on the the world's second largest marine sanctuary for sea otters, dolphins, sea lions and even humpback whales! On cruises, all sailors are offered a chance to take the helm and discover the grace and beauty of a boat under sail. Friends and families encouraged!


Spanish Tapas Cooking Class


Learn how to make Spanish tapas with Chef Camila who will teach you her wealth of knowledge of the Spanish culture and its cuisines from living in Barcelona for 15 years. Make up to six different traditional recipes from paella to croquetas. At the end, you and your friends will get the sit down to enjoy the lovely meal.


Yoga by the Ocean


Take in the summer breeze through a Yoga and Mindful experience by the water. Explore a deeper sense of connection with yourself and the magnificent life-giving earth through the mindful movement of Yoga, Meditation, and Qigong. The experience will also include meditation, a joyous jog, and short eye-opening hike to get the heart rate up.


San Francisco Aerial Scenic Flight


Start your departure from Oakland International Airport and take in the most beautiful and breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the historic momuments you will fly over include the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, and Alcatraz Island. These airplanes are high-wing aircrafts that allow for a panoramic view for up to six passengers. Don't forget your camera!


"This really solidified how much more I value experiences over things. To celebrate those special moments, big and small..." -BirdieShoots.com


Joseph Jewell Vineyard Tour & Tasting


Step outside the city and head north for wine country! Take a private tour of the esteemed Joseph Jewell Winery and experience a tasting along with a meal on the beautiful vineyard. One of the local winemakers will lead you throughout the day where you'll meet the owners of Joseph Jewell and see how everything runs at the winery. Sit down and enjoy the bottle of 2012 Floodgate Pinot Noir with your picnic. 


"What’s so special about this experience is we got to sip on wine made from vines growing just 10 feet away from us while the winemaker himself talked about his craft and the blend we were drinking." - WhimsySoul


We want to see your IfOnly experiences. Share your special memories with us on Instagram or Twitter and tag @IfOnly! 

Photo by WhimsySoul.com

Monterey Bay Sunset Cruise

Tapas Workshop

Yoga and Mindfulness Class

Photo by Birdieshoots.com

Joseph Jewell Tour, photo by WhimsySoul.com

IfOnly Team
2 years Ago

The Experiences Auction is our first collaboration with renowned auction house Sotheby's that explores how experiences might inspire, enrich, and bring you happiness. Among our offerings is a meeting with Forest Whitaker, which puts you at the center of this holiday season’s anticipated film, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”


Below is an excerpt from Alexandra Owen’s interview with the actor and activist, in which he talks about entering the “Star Wars” universe as rebel leader Saw Gerrera and his work at The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), for which this auction will benefit. 


To read the entirety of Alexandra’s post "5 Questions with Forest Whitaker," go here. And to join Forest at the “Rogue One” exclusive screening in London and attend the after-party, place a bid online by December 9 here. If you're like us, and can't get enough of "Star Wars," you'll also want to check out the Los Angeles premiere and our treasure trove of autographed merchandise, which includes a suitcase filled with "Rogue One" toys and action figures


Sotheby’s: How did you prepare to play Saw Gerrera in "Rogue One?"


Forest Whitaker: There’s a rich history of who Saw Gerrera is and where he originated, since the character existed in Star Wars lore before Rogue One was filmed. I started to prepare by looking at his journey throughout the Clone Wars series, and worked to understand Saw's sense of leadership on Onderon, his home planet. Then I explored how he began to fight back in the militia, and tracked the ways in which his training evolved: becoming a rebel as the war continued and ultimately even becoming too extreme for the rebels. Alongside a movement coach, I worked to figure out the significance of Saw's staff, which was imbued with great significance and the memories of his past.


Saw was trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker themselves, so the staff was much more than a walking tool; it was a way for Saw to incorporate his Jedi training and that philosophy into his existence. The staff also served as a reminder of the battles, which caused Saw to lose his leg, and helped me to build the character's emotions on my own. I saw how the loss of his friends and family pushed him to understand that the universe was being destroyed, and resulted in him becoming a freedom fighter in order to stop the destruction of the universe.


S: You’ve taken on a diverse range of roles. When you sign onto a movie, are you drawn to particular types of characters, scripts or themes?


FW: As an artist, I'm always attempting to continue to grow and find new ways to challenge myself. I seek to understand the connections between each character I've played throughout my career, as well as how they each relate to humanity. So, I look to choose characters, scripts and themes that help me to continue to explore that humanity, and which centre around our relationships within the world and the ways we can improve the quality of our lives.


S: Could you talk a bit about the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative and what inspired you to start that organization?


FW: WPDI is an organization that I created in 2012 to mobilize young women and men from places that have been impacted by conflict or violence. In 2006, I was working on "The Last King of Scotland" in Uganda when I met Sam Okello. He was enrolled as a child soldier in the civil war that tore the north of the country for years. He told me of the campus he had created, Hope North, to rehabilitate former child soldiers. Too often, these children have lost everything. These youths needed more than assistance. I gave a lot of thinking to this and eventually came up with the main idea behind WPDI – to gather young women and men who come from traumatized communities and give them a unique set of skills as mediators, communicators, and entrepreneurs. My view is that we can help peace if we help communities transform from the inside, on their own terms. This is where the young people I train and support through WPDI are so important. They can bring about positive change that is based on global awareness, but that remains in tune with local realities.

IfOnly Team
2 years Ago

Every holiday sparks a flurry of activity and while we understand the lure of checking off your list as quickly as possible, it would be a mistake to skip over IfOnly’s one-of-a-kind gifts only available by auction. We believe these extraordinary experiences are worth the extra effort to surprise and delight.


IfOnly’s live auctions are thrilling and fast-paced. Fortunately, here’s a handy cheat sheet, which provides an overview of the process.


Step 1: Log in or sign up at IfOnly.

Our auctions are open to registered members only. Credit card information is necessary to place and confirm bids. You’ll only be charged if you win the auction.


Step 2: Place your bid.

Once you place a bid, you’ll be taken to an order page. By clicking the green “PLACE BID” button you’re consenting to pay for the auction item if you win. As a rule, you cannot cancel or retract a bid. How much should you bid? Starting and incremental bids are determined by our luminaries and will be stated on the page.


Step 3:  Track your auction.

We make it easy to monitor auction items with email notifications and a prominently placed countdown display on each page. You can also find a one-click tool to export auction end dates into your calendar, so you'll always be in the know.


Step 4: Watch the final moments.

Part of the fun of an auction comes down to the final minutes. The auction clock is designed to give you a chance to respond to higher bids, so that you’ll never be outbid if you’re serious about one of our offerings. In the last two minutes, each new bid will extend the auction time by two minutes.


If you’ve won, what happens next?

You’ll receive an email confirmation and your credit card will be charged with the final bid amount. Besides tax on certain items, IfOnly does not charge additional premiums. Soon after, you’ll receive a call from our concierge to congratulate you and begin the process of redeeming your purchase.


We think IfOnly’s auctions are the jewels of our extraordinary collection of experiences. They are once-in-a-lifetime adventures that make for memorable gifts. And as the best gifts are, the thought is everything Your recipient will appreciate the extra time it took to acquire their gift and the story that comes with winning a fiercely contested auction. 


We couldn't have done this without the help of our developers, members, and partners, whose feedback has made our auctions a success for the important charities that we support. To peruse IfOnly's entire catalog of celebrity-driven auctions, go here










Invitations to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Meeting with Melissa McCarthy on the set of her new film

Signed limited-edition artist's proof by Shepard Fairey

Visit the set of Amazon's original series "Transparent"

Patty Niemann
2 years Ago

Instagram has become the social media of choice for photographers to show off their finest work. What you may not realize is the time and effort that goes into it. Boston-based lifestyle and food photographer, Brian Samuels(@myfoodthoughts), gives us insight into this world, his inspiration, past work, and much more. 
IfOnly: How did you first get involved in food photography?
Brian Samuels: I've always had a passion for cooking and eight years ago I decided to start a blog called A Thought For Food. The site focuses on original recipes, but I was also interested in featuring some of my favorite restaurants. I started posting pictures from places I had dined at. Now, this was before Instagram, so it hadn't become totally normal to see people taking pictures of their food. Owners began to approach me and a few hired me to take pictures for their websites. I've been doing this full time now for about 5 years. 
IO: What ultimately inspires your love for photography?
BS: It's my memories of cooking with my mom as a small boy that stay with me everyday. I spent many hours with her, watching the way she'd chop and sauté or roast. I became her assistant and taste tester.  Those were the moments when I fell in love with cooking and I'm always striving to convey that passion through my photography.
IO: Which foods are hardest to style?  
BS: Stews and soups often need a little help. A bright garnish, fresh herbs for example, can do wonders. Casseroles, which I don't photograph that often, can also be difficult because you really need to dig into them to see what the ingredients are. 
IO: Which foods do you enjoy shooting the most?
BS: Despite being a pescatarian, I love photographing burgers. I think they're so much fun to play around with and there are often fun, colorful toppings and sides to give them some life. Oysters never bore me. Nor do cocktails.
IO: Any tips for the beginner?
BS: The biggest tip I can suggest to someone is think about all the ways one would approach the dish. Food is more than just a pretty plate. There's a story to tell. How was it made? How does one eat it? Who is eating it? Usually if you include one of those things in that shot (and it doesn't have to be elaborate), then you will make a compelling image.
IO: As an iPhone user, which apps do you use to edit your photos?
BS: I exclusively use VSCO for editing on my phone. I use their professional software to edit photos on my computer as well. I love the way their filters replicate old film stock. It gives every image a documentary and somewhat vintage feel. And that's what I connect with.
IO: Which angle do you like most to shoot food?
BS: This really depends on the dish. I really enjoy working top down, meaning overhead, because it's easer to create a scene without worrying about unnecessary items that may be in the background. You can use the surface you're on as a canvas and move items to create the scene you want.
IO: What's been your favorite place you've gone to for an assignment?
BS: I had the pleasure of going to Cordova, Alaska a few years ago to photograph salmon fishermen and that was a wonderful experience. It was the first time I got to capture where an ingredient came from and explore how that ingredient is engrained into the community and the way they live.

To see more of Brian's work, view his portfolio here and follow his delicious Instagram @myfoodthoughts. Interested in meeting the man behind the lens? Take an iPhone photography and food styling class with him, exclusively available through IfOnly. 
"Style and snap meals with real finesse." - Zagat
"Give your "grams" an upgrade." - BostonChefs.com
"It's food-porn esque." - Boston.com

IfOnly Team
2 years Ago

Berkeley, California is just 14 miles east of San Francisco, and yet it feels like its own quirky universe. The town is a haven for artists and eccentric thinkers and a base for grassroots activists. And thanks to a history of bucking status quo and embracing alternative forms of expression, Berkeley also happens to enjoy a flourishing health and wellness scene.


One of its native daughters is Lila Volkas, a certified life coach, holistic nutritionist in training, yoga instructor, illustrator, and kombucha brewing instructor, who shares her enlightened lifestyle as a local luminary on IfOnly.


Should you find yourself in Berkeley, here are a few of her recommended spots, selected for their good eats and good vibes.  


Berkeley Acupuncture Project


In a cozy cave-like setting right in the hustle and bustle of downtown, Berkeley Acupuncture Project makes Chinese medicine accessible by providing a sliding scale cost per treatment. It's my favorite place to destress. 1834 University Avenue




I feel my whole body smile after eating a colorful plant-based meal from Potala. The vegan Tibetan restaurant keeps things simple with a daily menu made from seasonal and organic ingredients. Don't be fazed by the simplicity of their dishes, because it will be the most delicious plate you've ever had. My favorite is their complimentary kukicha tea that feels deeply grounding.Their agave-sweetened desserts are the perfect end to a nourishing meal. I love going here on lunch dates with friends because the atmosphere is homey and quiet and perfect for deep conversation. 1045 San Pablo Avenue


Monterey Market 


This grocery store brings to mind the Garden of Eden. Mounds of seasonal fruits and vegetables line the shop and enchant the senses. The abundance of in-season produce makes me feel so grateful to live in California. I am a big mushroom lover, and they have a whole aisle dedicated to fungi. 1550 Hopkins Street 


Lhasa Karnak Herb Company


You can feel the magic as you enter.  You'll marvel at their walls stacked with glass jars filled with various herbs for medicinal teas and tinctures. 2482 Telegraph Avenue 


Twisted Thistle


My other favorite herb store is Twisted Thistle Apothecary. Walking in there feels like you've walked into a giant altar with bowls of crystals, incense, and smudges filling the shelves. They also have some fun festive herbs for a night out. 2508 Channing Way


Mission Heirloom


This eatery serves gluten-free and paleo dishes in their beautifully designed restaurant and market. It's a dream meal come true as they sustainably source organic ingredients for their dishes. I love their probiotic coconut yogurt, which is a total cloud in your mouth and their unique camel milk that is a true taste from the desert. I sometimes bring a book and snack on some of their signature yucca chips and a kombucha while enjoying their sunny outdoor seating. 2085 Vine Street


Juice Bar Collective


Worker owned and operated since 1976, this postage stamp-sized juice shop also serves organic comfort dishes, salads, and desserts. I like the rice bowl with kale salad and their homemade ginger soda. 2114 Vine Street


To explore Berkeley with Lila as your guide, reserve a spot by July 30 on her Wellness Walking Tour, offered on August 6. Enjoy Paleo-approved yucca chips, herbal teas, ane more while meeting wellness experts and learning to approach everyday food as medicine.

IfOnly Team
2 years Ago

Andy Spade’s contributions to the modern gentleman’s wardrobe are numerous — from tortoise shell glasses and desert chukka boots to utilitarian man bags and tongue-in-cheek monograms. Lately, he’s turned his refined eye to elevating our pajamas. Citing the storied journalist George Plimpton known to roam the Paris Review office in boxers and Pablo Picasso, who churned out masterpieces in little more than shorts and a robe, Andy believes comfort inspires brilliance.


Just in time for Father's Day, he’s curated a selection of can't fail gifts for dad, including socks milled by the purveyor of socks to the British Royal Family and tailored pajama shirts that are versatile enough to be worn out. Much of his inspiration for creating traditional wares with a modern twist can be credited to his dad, a copywriter during the Mad Men era. To mark Andy's witty additions to our site, IfOnly asked him to share a few of his favorite Father’s Day memories.


IfOnly: How did your dad inspire you?


Andy Spade: He always has had a great sense of humor. He worked as a copywriter in advertising in the ’60s and ’70s, and I ended up as a copywriter in New York City in the ’80s and ’90s. He also has great style.


IO: Who else is an inspiring dad to you?


AS: My uncle, John Spade. He was the opposite of my father, a loyal family man who was always there for me growing up. IO: Any advice for dads aspiring to earn Best Dad Ever status? AS: Be present with your children. Truly listen to them and always be engaged. Give them a strong value system and make them laugh.


IO: What gift on IfOnly would you love to gift to the dads in your life?


AS: I would love to take my “dads” on a family weekend exploring old-world Venice!


IO: What is one of your most memorable experiences as a dad (or with your dad)?


AS: I think it’s the little things like walking to or home from school and talking to my daughter about her day. Also, I loved swimming with her in the pool when she was little and going to the park to play on swings and in the playground. Those are my fondest memories.


Peruse Andy Spade’s entire collection for creative dads, traditional dads, and all kinds of dads here.

Kate, Bea, and Andy in Mexico

Pajamas for the creative dad curated by Andy

Pajamas for the traditional dad curated by Andy

Patty Niemann
2 years Ago

Ever wondered what it's like to see San Francisco from new heights? Nicole, the author of Wildlandia, shows us her adventure from IfOnly's Midday Seaplane Adventure along with her dog, Jack. You may have even seen Jack before, the dog that can balance anything on his head. 


"We took off from Sausalito (just north of the Golden Gate Bridge), then flew over the city, circled around Alcatraz and the east bay, before heading north along the coastline up to Point Reyes. It was so cool to look down and see the giant redwood trees in Muir Woods, and take turns spotting gray whales off the coast."


"Jack was our co-pilot. Well, actually, we decided at the last minute that it would be too loud for him in the plane (preserving his hearing was more important) – so he stayed back on the dock with Ava, the woman who wrangles the plane in after it lands (thanks Ava!). Once we landed, Jack jumped inside the plane so he could see what we had been up to! It was so much fun. We were reminded just how beautiful this place we call home really is."


"I’d probably have to say my favorite parts were flying close to the Golden Gate Bridge and seeing the huge cliffs on the coastline. It was so cool to see another perspective of the San Francisco Bay. That, and seeing Jack on the dock doing his happy dance when we returned."


"As you know, we’re into living life to the fullest. Experiences rank higher than any material good could to us. For this experience, we used IfOnly, a company that specializes in “Experiences For Good”- extraordinary experiences that give back to charities. We loved it – and it’s great if you’re looking for something local to do while visiting a new city, or even doing something extravagant.."


"IfOnly is a great marketplace for incredible experiences. Not to mention an awesome way to give the gift of adventure to your friends and family."


Want to hear more from Nicole? Visit her amazing blog, Wildlandia.com! 


Jack ready for take-off.

Bay Area Beauties

SF Financial District

Co-Pilot Duty

Escape from the City

Jack and Nicole

IfOnly Team
3 years Ago

From hikes through rice paddy fields to spa treatments in the jungle, the mother-and-daughter adventurers didn’t have to do much to convince us that experiences, not things, are the best ways to celebrate their special bond.


World traveler and National Geographic photographer Laura Grier goes everywhere — and often in the company of her mother Isabel Blankmeyer. In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked both mom and daughter to share highlights and traveling tips from their three-week trip to Bali.


IfOnly: How does your mother inspire you?


Laura Grier: My mother taught me to respect who you are meant to be.


IO: How did your mom help you become the woman that you are today?


LG: When I was 13 years old, I was sent to the principal’s office for talking too much in science class. That day my mother gave me one of my first life lessons. She plainly asked me, "What are you good at?" And I said, I am adventurous, fearless, and creative. She then asked, “What are you not good at?” I said waking up early, being in the same place everyday, and studying. Based on my reply, she concluded she didn't see how I could be a scientist. At the time I thought she was shattering my dreams of being a zoologist. My mother then asked “What is it about zoology that you love?” I said that I wanted to travel the world, to experience new people and places, and to be around animals. Then my mother suggested that I be the photographer documenting the scientists. And it was like a light bulb went off. That conversation has shaped my entire career ever since!


IO: How are you celebrating Mother’s Day?


LG: I have decided that I am not buying objects as gifts anymore; instead, I am buying experiences and memories for both of my parents. They don't need any more stuff and spending quality time with them and having adventures is much more meaningful.


IO: What were some of the highlights from your Indonesia trip?  


Isabel Blankmeyer: The scuba diving adventure on our trip to Flores Island was one of those things in life that I always dreamt about doing, and Laura was the one who made it possible.  What I experienced underwater was more beautiful and surreal than I could have ever imagined. 


And having one-on-one time with Laura my youngest daughter, I got to know her better as an adult. We had spa treatments in the jungle, met new friends, and went on adventures and were almost stranded by an erupting volcano. I also really enjoyed watching Laura at work, photographing artisans around the world. It was really fun being her assistant.


IO: What kinds of experiences and moments do you most cherish with your daughter?


IB: Being able to talk and to do things together without any other distraction. It’s very rare for a mother of four to have one on one time with any of her children. To cherish time alone with Laura and to experience daily adventures like motorcycle rides or impromptu hikes through the rice paddy fields of Bali was very special.  


IO: What are some lessons that your daughter taught you? 


IB: Laura has resilience, an adventurous spirit, and and never gives up when something doesn’t go her way.  On our trip she was determined to get me to Flores island, despite the erupting volcano and airports closures. She always finds a way.  


IO: What is your favorite photograph that Laura has taken of you?


IB: We took photos of each other when we were sitting on the deck of the phinisi boat on a cot having my coffee with the clear blue water and boats in the background. I was so relaxed and felt on top of the world. I couldn’t believe it was really happening and that we were living on a boat and sailing around to Komodo Island and through the islands of Indonesia.    


IO: What are some tips for moms and daughters planning to travel together?


IB: Give each other a little bit more space. I was always wanting to talk to Laura, because we never get to see each other, but I didn't realize it was Laura's vacation as well.  Each day allow yourself to have your own time for an hour and just relax or reflect on the day. I would also say to enjoy and savor every moment you have with your daughter. It is a luxury to be able to spend time together — and takes tons of photos.  


To retrace Isabel and Laura’s adventures in Indonesia, peruse Laura’s photography workshop, now available to IfOnly members.

“This is my favorite photo with my daughter,” says Isabel, because “I see a lot of similarities between us in this photo.”We are at temple Pura Tanah Lot, and we’re in matching saris.

The trip was so epic and beautiful that Laura created a workshop around the exact places they visited.

IfOnly Team
3 years Ago

Over Big Game week, IfOnly’s corporate team delivered an extraordinary experience for a venture capital client. The tech industry's biggest players gathered at The Fillmore in San Francisco to see a private performance by John Mayer followed by an after-party at the legendary jazz club The Boom Boom Room. To recap the evening, we asked IfOnly’s VP of Sales Mimi Almeida to share her winning party formula.


IfOnly: What was the request from the client?


Mimi Almeida: They wanted a progressive one-night event including an exclusive dinner, an invitation-only private performance for 420, and an after-party for 200.


IO: What were some of the challenges your team faced?


MA: The challenge was to design an event right before the Big Game. Our invitation would have to stand out during a hectic week of corporate entertaining and have long-term recall for the audience.


IO: In the end, everyone had a wonderful time. The party lit up social media and was well received in the press. How did you turn it into the talk of the town?


MA: The recipe for success began with an amazing ingredient list including a visionary client, legendary and contemporary luminaries, and an eclectic audience. Folded into that was exceptional planning and execution. Then we added two iconic San Francisco venues: The Fillmore for dinner and the private concert and The Boom Boom Room for the after-party. The main draw was the talent: one renowned singer-songwriter John Mayer and one up-and-coming, Grammy-nominated artist Leon Bridges. In every recipe there is a secret ingredient and to surprise and delight, we had Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead join John Mayer on stage.


IO: Who was in the audience?


MA: A mix of well-known tech titans, corporate CEOs, up-and-coming tech whiz kids, and local and national celebrities.


IfOnly: Who designed the menu for your VIP guest list, many of whom are epicureans?


Mimi Almeida: Our Director of Culinary Michael Murphy assembled a trio of celebrated chef luminaries who defined California cuisine: Nancy Oakes of Boulevard, Traci Des Jardins of Jardiniere, and Emily Luchetti of Park Tavern and Marlowe. To fuel the after-party, we hired Del Popolo Pizza Truck. No one left hungry.


The IfOnly for Business team is standing by with unparalleled access to exclusive venues, notable luminaries, and extraordinary experiences that engage, retain, and reward your audience. Contact sales@ifonly.com to get started.

John Mayer at The Fillmore

Leon Bridges at the Boom Boom Room

Photo by Jared Byer

John with Anthony Cordova, IfOnly's GM of Music

IfOnly Team
3 years Ago

Since launching our close encounter experiences with the San Francisco Zoo, IfOnly has sent members to wander among lemurs, to pet a hedgehog, and to march with penguins. And the best part? In the very short time since starting our partnership in December of 2015, we have raised over $40,000 for wildlife conservation.


In collaborating with the zoo, we had the pleasure of getting to know their human friends, the zookeepers and vets, who care for the animals' wellness and know everything about their behaviors and rituals. IfOnly has worked closely with zookeepers to unlock behind-the-scenes access without altering day-to-day operations. From hand-feeding giraffes to meeting an endangered red panda, these experiences go beyond general ticket admission for an unforgettable day with your loved ones.


To peruse all of our close encounters and to book your own insider day, visit our San Francisco Zoo Shop.

IfOnly Team
3 years Ago

On this holiday of flying cherubs and frilly lace, more is more. Rather than think outside the box, IfOnly started with our bestselling chocolate box and layered on decadent extras: an itinerary of acclaimed restaurants, private jet transportation, meetings with chefs, 10 nights of luxurious accommodations — and the World's Most Extravagant Chocolate Box was born. 


The original Constellation Chocolate Collection is comprised of 21 pieces that take you on a journey through the minds of 21 notable chefs. For Valentine's Day, IfOnly's Culinary Director Michael Murphy added a sprinkle of stardust to create a chocolate box that goes beyond just experiencing top chefs. Our dream offering takes you on a moveable feast, unlocking in-person access to the culinary world's biggest players.


If you're wondering what makes a box of chocolate worth $100,000, it's a ten-night trip that takes you to six dinners at the country’s most renowned and hard-to-reserve restaurants. Travelers will also meet with trusted tastemakers on both coasts; embark on a champagne flight while mid-air on a private jet; deepen their appreciation of food with guided wine and chocolate tastings, dine at Chez Panisse, Le Bernardin, Quince, Barbuto, and the list goes on. Here, in Michael’s words, is how he masterminded this food lover’s dream trip.


IfOnly: What was the idea behind the original chocolate box?


Michael Murphy: Do you remember the little yellow Whitman sampler box? When I was a child, I was given one by my aunt every Valentine’s Day. As exciting as it is to get a box of chocolates, the map portion of it was even more exciting. I matched up which was a chocolate cherry, which was a coconut, which was hazelnut and as I discovered each chocolate one by one, I began to understand taste. And our Constellation Chocolate Collection elevates that. So, there’s such legendary chefs as Michael Tusk and Gary Danko who have their own personal favorites that define the restaurant.


IO: IfOnly's latest offering, the World's Most Extravagant Chocolate Box, is not just a box of chocolates, it’s a gastronomic tour. What considerations went into arranging it?


MM: I figured that in certain rarefied circles, people who know Barbuto would also know and appreciate Quince. There are certain landmarks in America’s culinary scene that I wanted to recognize and put on this road map of taste discovery.


IO: And how did you assemble the fascinating group of dining companions?


MM: Whoever indulges in this offering is already passionate about food and wants us to unlock access to the best of everything. And so, I sought out influential culinary tastemakers. One is Adam Sachs, a James Beard Award-winning journalist who now heads Saveur magazine as the editor-in-chief. Another is acclaimed author Alice Medrich known as “the queen of chocolate.” And there is Michael Bauer, the legendary food and wine editor and restaurant critic who has been at his post at the San Francisco Chronicle for 26 years. He knows the west coast food scene intimately as he dines out every night.


IO: How should one prepare for such a grand trip?


MM: Be prepared for the gluttony to overtake you. You’re putting yourself in their hands. That’s what I do whenever I visit a restaurant. Try to go with open eyes and an accepting demeanor. All a chef wants to do is make you happy and that goes from the executive chef down to the starting chefs. I would suggest that you do a bit of research. Read just the right amount, so that you’ve prepared yourself, but don't read so much that you can’t be surprised.


IO: And if you’re still saving up for the trip, what should you give to your date this Valentine's Day?


MM: Our latest chocolate offering would be the grandest of all romantic gestures, a bucket list for food lovers, a splurge, an epic trip of discovery, a lavish gift for someone you love, and also a very expensive one. For those whose budgets are a bit more modest, IfOnly’s original chocolate box will still take you to the best restaurants in the country. Our 21-piece Constellation Chocolate Collection is available to purchase for $75 and our 9-piece is $32. 

IfOnly Team
3 years Ago

When IfOnly’s Culinary Director Michael Murphy says he has the answer to stress-free holiday entertaining, you listen carefully and take notes.


As a giver of fabulous parties and of excellent restaurant recommendations, Michael is sharing 20 of his favorite SF spots for celebrating out; each adventure is unique, good for groups, and under $100 per person, promising a lot of jollies for the price. Currently not on IfOnly’s site, consider these experiences off-the-menu offerings and exclusively available through our concierge.


To book any of the revels below, kindly email concierge@ifonly.com or call 415-376-4640.


Idea No. 1 Go to the Swiss Alps without leaving town: Have a fondue party in the lodge-like setting of Pacific Heights restaurant Matterhorn.


Idea No. 2  Take high tea with bubbles and bites while perched on the fifth floor of Neiman Marcus’ restaurant Rotunda.


Idea No. 3  Learn to mix the boozy fruit punch known as the Pimm’s Cup while popping deviled quail eggs at The Cavalier.


Idea No. 4  Master the art of making fresh tortillas and salsa with a little patience, practice, and guidance from Chef Andrea Lawson Gray, the author of Celebraciones Mexicanas: History, Traditions and Recipes.


Idea No. 5   Wash down an assortment of pinxtos with artisan-crafted gin and tonics at Michael Chiarello’s tapas restaurant Coqueta.


Idea No. 6  Host the world's most gourmet pizza-making party at Michael Tusk’s authentic Italian eatery Cotogna.


Idea No. 7  Watch flour and water magically transformed in a two-part pasta lesson and lunch at Mission’s iconic California-Italian pioneer Delfina.


Idea No. 8  Sink into the most private booth of Tyler Florence's eatery Wayfare Tavern for fried chicken and other tasty morsels. 


Idea No. 9  Keep it classy at Original Joe’s with a cocktail demo led by a tuxedoed mixologist paired with savory fare inspired by the Mad Men era.


Idea No. 10  Keep it low-key with a weekend brunch at the Mission’s most charming alfresco spot, the patio at Foreign Cinema.


Idea No. 11  Throw a party at Park Tavern with bar bites and demos from the restaurant’s friendly mixologists.


Idea No. 12  Tipple Campari libations in the delightful company of San Francisco Chronicle’s restaurant critic Michael Bauer.


Idea No. 13  Pub and grub inside a national park at the craft-beer sanctuary Sessions in Presidio — and take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge over flights and bites.


Idea No. 14 Praise another kind of holy trinity: burgers, bourbon, and beer at the restaurant Dirty Habit hidden away on the fifth floor of Hotel Zeloes.


Idea No. 15  Skip Chinatown and head to South Beach's Yank Sing for a bespoke dim sum lunch.


Idea No. 16  Sit on the dock of the bay while treating your favorite vegetarians (and reluctant vegetarians) to a seasonal meal at the seminal meat-free restaurant Greens.


Idea No. 17  Visit a real-life chocolate factory in the heart of the Mission for a private tasting and tour of Dandelion Chocolate.


Idea No. 18  Embark on a cheese education with wine and beer pairings at Mission Cheese.


Idea No. 19  Tell tequila to move over and get to know mezcal, the small-batch spirit hailing from Oaxaca and other regions in Mexico, with Mezcalistas blogger Susan Coss.


Idea No. 20  Reserve a tapas and paella party atop Russian Hill at the cozy neighborhood Spanish spot Zarzuela.

Photo courtesy of Park Tavern

Photo courtesy of The Cavalier

Photo courtesy of Wayfare Tavern

Photo courtesy of The Cavalier

Cheryl Locke
3 years Ago

In November 2010, Christina Stembel took her entire savings, an amount of $50,000, and founded Farmgirl Flowers. It was her entry into a $3 billion industry dominated by four companies who delivered by her assessment “ugly,” "roundy-moundy," “half-dead” flowers. To challenge the establishment, she offered just one daily arrangement of locally grown flowers in a trademarked burlap wrap.


Telling a customer she couldn’t pick her favorite flowers but could expect a surprise of seasonal blooms was a gutsy first, and early on, her account dipped down to a nail-biting $411. Now delivering across the country from SF’s storied Flower Mart, Christina shares her success and lessons on the business she started around her kitchen table.


IfOnly: What was the inspiration for Farmgirl Flowers?


Christina Stembel: I worked at Stanford and at the time oversaw events for the school. I couldn’t understand why the flowers cost so much. I don’t think it’s a good value for the money. That was really what I set out to fix.  


IO: What are some ways your company is revolutionizing the cut-flower business?


CS: You know when you have 50 flower options half of them are going to be thrown out. The waste in the industry is huge: 40 to 60 percent of flowers that are bought are never sold. They end up in a compost bin. If you buy the tulips, they have to subsidize the lilies that are going to be thrown out. Everything we buy we use. That’s what allows us to offer a designer bouquet at a generic price. We haven’t hit over one percent of waste over a year and a half. We are at .27 percent right now in waste. We do farm visits with the team and once our team saw how hard everyone was working on the farm, our waste went down even further.


IO: You’re a champion of American-grown flowers. Can you tell us about the field-to-vase movement?


CS: I’m really passionate about supporting local farmers because they adhere to local standards. Everybody thinks because it’s flowers, it’s a green company but it’s the furthest from that. Twenty percent of the chemicals that [South American importers] ship the flowers in are carcinogens that we don’t allow in this country any other way other than flowers. In the U.S. farmers are paying living wages: an average of $104 a day versus $6 a day [in South America which is less than half of the region's minimum wage]. We need to support the farmers who pay their workers a living wage and that’s why I choose American grown. It’s not because it’s a marketing ploy. It’s just the right thing to do.


IO: How has domestic floraculture been affected by the global outsouricing of flowers? 


CS: From an environmental impact standpoint, shipping flowers from South America to Miami then to a flower mart in San Francisco or LA doesn’t make sense. These flowers are traveling thousands of miles in jets when there are growers just 20 miles from here growing the very same exact thing, or they were until they were put out of business. There used to be 150 commercial-sized growers in California 25 years ago, and now there are five.


IO: How has the modern sensibility for flower arrangements evolved?


CS: What was considered modern before was 12 roses lined up in a square vase. That’s not modern anymore. When I came up with our aesthetic, I was making what I wanted to receive. That was my mantra. Don’t ever send something out that you wouldn’t personally want to receive. When our team members order arrangements to send out, I don’t let them make special ones for their friends or their mom or anyone. If we’re making something special that means the one we are regularly making isn’t good enough.


IO: Do you offer one bouquet even for weddings?


CS: We don’t even let our brides pick their flowers. We have the same model, but we do give them two options: Do you want the prim and proper or the wild child? We all prefer the wild child.


IO: Was it difficult to educate your consumer to appreciate your one-a-day arrangement?


CS: It’s part of the process that makes us really unique. We’re going to surprise you. We’re going to exceed your expectations. We promise. We have a 100% guarantee. If you don’t like it, let us know and we’ll give you your money back. Not having to give money back has been really good.


IO: There are a lot of flower startups in the market. What’s different about Farmgirl Flowers?


CS: Farmgirl Flowers is the only female-founded flower startup. All of them are male founded and it shows because the thing that they don’t put the emphasis on is the product. They put the emphasis on the technology. We put the money on our product. We don’t hire fancy photographers. We have a lot of people who want to run our social media campaigns. I do it. I’m also really proud of the fact that everything is in house. All of our team members have medical insurance and workers’ comp. I believe that if I treat people really well that they will do a really great job. We have a lot of heart in our product more so than most people in the industry.


IO: What are the aesthetic considerations behind your arrangements?


CS: In the beginning, I really liked monochromatic arrangements because I was scared of looking like a grocery store arrangement. Then, I would put these pictures up [on social media]. Everyone would say they’re gorgeous, but where’s the color? So I created a recipe that uses one bold color, one muted color, and one neutral. Only one arrangement means we have to appeal to the people who like the bright colors and those that like the muted ones.


IO: What’s your design process like?


CS: [My lead designer Rhiannon Smith] sends me an inspiration board. It has color swatches and pictures. For instance, a house we saw in Pacific Heights where the colors really went together. I’ll send her notes. I’m very particular about color.


IO: Any favorite colors?


CS: I didn’t realize that I’m a peach junkie. I love peach. It’s the new neutral. You put it with purple, pinks, reds, oranges, and blues. It goes with everything.


IO: What are you looking forward to this fall?


CS: Leaves and foliage are a big thing. We love using persimmons, pomegranates, and edibles in the arrangements that inspire the mood. It’s our take on the pumpkin spice latte basically.


Can't get enough of Farmgirl Flowers? IfOnly has partnered with the it girls to host a workshop at their headquarters inside SF's Flower Mart. Learn more here

IfOnly Team
3 years Ago

In celebration of IfOnly's local launch, we're going California dreaming: we've handpicked the things that make San Francisco so charming and the equally charming local luminaries to show you around.


Visit: SF Flower Mart

The wholesale market, the second largest in the country, features hydrangeas in every hue, orchids of every variety, succulents of all shapes; it's everything a modern day flower girl would want.

IfOnly Guide: Rhiannon Smith, the city’s it-girl floral designer and owner of Farmgirl Flowers

Navigate the 60 vendors and learn her foolproof formulas for creating gorgeous bouquets.


Eat: Ferry Building Marketplace

The world’s most gourmet terminal: Since 1998, the 65,000 square-foot nave, once a working baggage area, is a showcase of the bay’s best food purveyors, launching household brands like Blue Bottle coffee and Scharffen Berger chocolate.

IfOnly Guide: Liam Mayclem, Emmy-winning host of local KCBS’ segment “Foodie Chap” Embark on a moveable feast of local delicacies led by a beloved food broadcaster who has personally interviewed many of the purveyors inside the Ferry Building.


Watch: a Game

The bay is home to world champion teams and storied franchises. On game days, the bars are crowded, the stadiums are packed, and everyone is in team colors.

IfOnly Guide: Smash Mouth’s Steve Harwell, rockstar and devoted sports fan

The “All-Star” rocker is game for anything: whether it’s AT&T Park to root for the Giants, Levi’s Stadium for the 49ers, The Coliseum for the Warriors, or the SAP Center for the Sharks on home ice.


Follow: the Sun

SF’s relationship with weather is famously complicated. On the days when it’s sunny, the entire city goes outside. 

IfOnly Guide: Alexandra Kenin, Founder of Urban Hiker

Avoid the crowds and head to the Presidio. Not many people, not even locals know that the former military base is now a national park with hiking trails, world-class art, and exhilarating views.


Pack: Your Nikes

With its panoramic bay views and mild climate, SF is a wonderland for joggers.

IfOnly Guide: Jen Revelli, Triathlon Coach

Join the Ironman competitor at the Golden Gate Bridge for 180 degree views and endurance-enhancing tips in this two-in-one cardio and sightseeing experience.


Drink: Happy Hour

It’s a daily ritual among the bon vivants of our city — unless it’s Tuesday (see below). 

IfOnly Guide: Debbie Zachareas, proprietor and wine expert at The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant will help you crack the oenophile code while enjoying a few choice sips.


Do: Yoga at Grace Cathedral

IfOnly Guide: Darren Main, Mystic and Yoga Guru

No ordinary yoga session, Darren takes his class of 600 on a powerful centering journey inside the Gothic landmark.


Make: Reservations 

IfOnly has a few ideas depending on your mood. While most spots will leave a few seats available for walk-ins, we suggest that visitors make reservations and not leave this part of their itinerary to chance.


Marlowe Burger: Head to Anna Weinberg and Jennifer Puccio’s casual annex for the town’s most famous burger.

A16: Just a stone’s throw from the Presidio, this neighborhood restaurant is famous for its authentic Neapolitan pizza.

State Bird Provisions: Secure a seat at this innovative tapas menu — or get a drink next door at sister restaurant Progress.

Mourad: Sample the flavorful tagines at this California-inflected Moroccan restaurant.

Coqueta: Nibble on tapas at Michael Chiarello’s hot spot set against the beautiful views of the Embarcadero.


See: The City Lights

As night falls, many residents will retire to the city’s bars or spend a night at the ballet or symphony. IfOnly does one better: Combining high-brow culture and booze in one.

IfOnly Guide: Dorka Keehn, SF Public Arts Commissioner and artist herself

Tour the city as she takes you to her favorite installations and discuss the art scene over a drink. You’ll see works by Jim Campbell, Ned Kahn, James Turrell, and Dorka herself.


To peruse more inspired experiences with local luminaries in San Francisco, visit our entire collection of delightful offerings here

Photo by Danielle Rueda for IfOnly

Photo via Farmgirl Flowers

Photo via San Francisco 49ers

Photo via Alexandra Kenin

Photo via A16

Photo via Marlowe Burger

Photo via Brian Goggin

Cheryl Locke
3 years Ago

A match with Andre Agassi decades in the making


Planning a 40th birthday is a whole different beast than one's 30th, and for that reason, IfOnly has a few ideas. You could set sail for the edge of the world while benefiting eco fund Lindblad-National Geographic.


Or, you could go on a very fast ride funding Haitian Relief.


Or, treat your loved ones to an exquisite feast for Tipping Point.


Or, as one of our clients did, challenge your childhood hero to a friendly game on his court.


Our client, a Londoner, enlisted IfOnly as his personal concierge to create an unforgettable trip halfway across the world. There, he met the town’s most prominent’s locals: tennis power couple Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf who donated a portion of the sales to Children for Tomorrow. Having never ventured to Las Vegas, which can be an overwhelming city to the uninitiated, everything was taken care of: dinners at critically acclaimed restaurants, a suite with the best view of the Strip, customized wine tastings, and backstage access to the most transportive of shows. And yet, all these experiences were only openers to the main event.


On the day of the match, it was sunny with a bit of breeze. Andre and Stefanie met our client and his wife on the court. There were pointers on how to swing, a friendly game of doubles, and one very special moment — one play that will be recounted with relish over countless drinks and dinners. It was a point scored over Andre. The champion took it in stride, and after the session, he worked with the pro shop on hand-selecting a racquet for our client's style of swing as a memento of their time together.


The lesson of 40th birthday planning: when in doubt, go big, of course, and more importantly, make it memorable. And should your experience involve a match of skill, make sure there's evidence, as in this highlight reel. IfOnly had arranged for Andre's personal videographer to be on site. Watch the resulting video here.


Plotting a big birthday that will top all others? Enlist IfOnly’s Concierge as your partner in crime. Call (415) 376-4640 or email concierge@ifonly.com. For a private clinic with Andre Agassi or Stefanie Graff, go here.

Photos by Larry Burton

IfOnly Team
3 years Ago

Allow us to present our gift guide of 40 exhilarating experiences we know moms everywhere will adore. What inspires such confidence you might wonder? Our list was inspired by her greatest lessons. For teaching us to never be afraid, to seek out adventure, and eight other life-changing lessons, we’ll be reciprocating in kind — with bliss-out weekends, master classes, once-in-a-lifetime journeys, and more.


Visit IfOnly to peruse our entire selection of experiences, many under $100. Highlighted below are some of the most talked about gifts in our edit that have somehow found their way onto our own wish list. Lesson number one just so happens to be “every so often, indulge yourself.” Whatever mother says, it’s never wrong.


Lesson No. 1

Every so often, indulge yourself...with one of Oprah's Favorite Things


Gardenia Vine and Bloom Box, $119


Tulips and roses are lovely — but imagine mom’s delight when she opens a box of fresh-cut gardenia vines. Beautifully scented and the flower of surprise and new possibilities, they will add beauty to her home. And did we mention they are one of Oprah’s favorite things? Float the blooms in a bowl for a different and unique arrangement.


Lesson No. 3

Own your style... with a personal session with Veronica Beard


Private Styling Session, $500


Every season, fashion-forward women await the beautifully designed collection from New York duo Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard prized for their chic and endlessly versatile pieces. Now it’s mom’s turn to be styled by this dynamic duo.


Lesson No. 5

Make time to cook... with a lesson from Alice Waters


Chez Panisse "Chef for a Day" Apprenticeship, $5,000


Invite your mom to meet Alice Waters, and together they’ll craft a lovely four-course, farm-to-table menu, fusing seasonal ingredients with classic culinary technique. Having the chef who sparked the good food revolution show you her favorite preparations is the ultimate for any epicurean. If you love your mom’s home-cooking, it’s the gift that will keep on giving.


Lesson No. 7

Set a lovely table...let a wine expert curate your sips


Mother's Day Trio of Delicate Floral Wines, $175


Show us a mom who doesn’t love wine. Make this guaranteed-to-please gift extra special with a trio selected for their pretty floral notes by wine expert Debbie Zachareas.


Lesson No. 9

Begin an adventure...tour Florence with an Italian jetsetter


Five Nights in Florence, $15,000


Wine and dine mom in Italy. Let her see the famous piazzas and Renaissance masterpieces at her own pace, squired by an Italian nobleman Count Vittorio Carioni.


To see all ten lessons and their accompanying gifts — including balloon rides, wellness camps, and other memorable experiences for mom — visit our Mother’s Day Gift Guide here.

Gardenia Vine and Bloom Box, $119

Private Styling Session with Veronica Beard, $500

Chez Panisse

Mother's Day Trio of Delicate Floral Wines, $175

Five Nights in Florence, $15,000

Team IfOnly
4 years Ago

For a walk-through of notable works in his private collection.


By day, Trevor Traina runs IfOnly. Off duty, he is one of San Francisco’s pre-eminent collectors of modern photography. His not-so-secret alter ego is revealed when you visit the office, which is a veritable gallery with wall-to-wall pieces of genre-defining works. There's Ann Collier in the lobby; Tina Barney in accounting, and Nan Goldin in Trevor's office.


A self-proclaimed “art omnivore,” the tech entrepreneur dallied in 19th century American art before becoming fascinated by modern photography. What pulls him in is the medium's storytelling; there's a beginning, middle, and sometimes shocking denouement, captured in one moment. Truly smitten, “If I couldn't afford the photographs, I'd buy the posters,” says Trevor, “and if I couldn't afford those, I'd have the postcards.”


Trevor has acquired over 300 photographs, and his collection is growing. In 2012, the deYoung organized “Real to Real,” an exhibit of 100 of his works, serving as a cross-section of modern photography. If you missed it, he is offering tours of his private collection on IfOnly. Here’s a glimpse of what you might see in situ at his home in Pacific Heights.



Diane Arbus’ Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967

 “The greatest photo of the 20th century,” in Trevor’s opinion. “Twins are copies of the same negative in a sense, and this photo is so great on so many levels.” While some might see a ghostly black-and-white portrait, he “finds them cheery, sweet little girls — charming and fun and witty."



Lee Friedlander’s New York City

Many photos from Trevor’s collection, like this one, highlight his interest in fashion as costume and the theatricality of the everyday while unexpectedly depicted in a gritty documentarian style.



Andreas Gursky’s Dortmund

Fascinated by the technical virtuosity of German photographer Andreas Gursky, who pioneered large scale digital printmaking, Trevor had to have this one. The scale of this image is conveyed in the thousands of individual faces of soccer fans.


William Eggleston’s The Red Ceiling

One of the cornerstones of his collection, this all-over monochromatic photo was displayed at MOMA in a breakthrough exhibit on color photography in 1976. “While there were other great photos in the show, color—the rich red—is essential to this one," explains Trevor, "and without it, the photo would lose all impact.” Rock fans might also recognize the photo as the album cover of ‘70s band Big Star.


Tina Barney’s The Landscape

This large-scale photograph by American photographer Tina Barney hangs in IfOnly’s office. It is a tableau of a seemingly ordinary family gathering until you see the watchful side glance of the central woman. What could she be up to? It makes an intriguing ice breaker, as we often ask our visitors to interpret her look.



Thomas Struth’s Yosemite

The majesty of wide open spaces and the freedom of the road trip are recurring themes of Trevor’s collection. “As a California native, I love to see Yosemite so represented.”

Interested in seeing more of Trevor's collection? Purchase the tour here with a portion of sales benefiting Tipping Point whose mission is to fight poverty and empower families in San Francisco. 

Photograph by Gabriela Hasbun.

Diane Arbus’ Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967

Lee Friedlander’s New York City

Andreas Gursky’s Dortmund

William Eggleston’s The Red Ceiling

Tina Barney’s The Landscape

Thomas Struth’s Yosemite

Team IfOnly
4 years Ago

On the eve of the James Beard Foundation Awards, celebrating its 25th year, we remember the father of American cuisine.


In 1946, a caterer and shopkeeper named James Beard went on TV to do the first-ever cooking show “I Love to Eat” on NBC. It would launch his career as an authority on food. Before James Beard, to be gourmet meant nibbling on frog legs and other specialtés de la maison. Bored with the French having all the fun, Beard instead championed local specialties, particularly dishes made at home like salmon, meatloaf, and the food his mom raised him on in Portland, Oregon. Believing that American food belonged in the same pantheon as French and Italian cuisines, he went onto write more than 20 books that established a culinary canon. Among the standards that have become our national identity thanks to Beard include: crab louis salad, bloody marys, and hamburgers.




Since his death in 1985, James Beard has become a legend. He earned the title “dean of American cuisine” a reference to the James Beard Cooking School he founded in 1955. He has been compared to a Walt Whitman for advocating America’s exceptionalism, “a giant panda, Santa Claus and the Jolly Green Giant rolled into one” by the NY Times food critic Craig Claiborne, and a father figure widely beloved by this generation of chefs, critics, and restaurateurs. Among them is IfOnly’s Culinary Director Michael Murphy, who once met the man and had a “Luke, I am your father moment” over Triscuits and Monterey jack cheese. Michael remembered Beard being a kind, gregarious, and lovely host.


The Award Show


Every first Monday of May, the culinary industry comes together for the James Beard Foundation Awards, what former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and just about everyone in the industry calls the “Oscars of the food world.” With Robert de Niro and Martha Stewart mingling with the country’s biggest chefs, it is the most glamorous event organized by the foundation, whose mission is to continue America's culinary heritage through scholarships and programs. In its 25th year, the gala will be held on May 4th, and for the first time it will move from New York’s Lincoln Center to Chicago's Lyric Opera.


For the second year in a row, join the celebration and attend the James Beard Awards with our exclusive tickets. Treat yourself to delicacies and experiences from semi-finalists and past winners. When attending the gala, do as Michael does: “have a proper lunch before you go” (the lines for food and drink are long), “no whistling or crazy whooping as your restaurant's name is announced by the presenter,” and don’t forget to “congratulate everyone.” As for the after party? Thomas Keller's for caviar and champagne.

James Beard in bowtie. Photograph by Dan Wynn.

April Bloomfield with Questlove at the awards in 2014. Photograph by Kent Miller.

Team IfOnly
4 years Ago

The artisanal preserve maker on why the old ways are the best ways and how jam goes with everything.

On the day of our visit, June Taylor had just come from hand-picking thirty-five pounds of Meyer lemons in her friend’s backyard. If she weren't showing us around her Berkeley kitchen, she might have also picked the wild fennel she spied along the marina. The London native and maker of highly inventive artisan jams is turning a dilemma in her head. “Do I want to do Meyer lemon with lavender, geranium, rosemary, myrtle, bay, sage…” She trails off.  “And that’s the headache.”


Considerations like this one have informed her 25-plus year career of making jams that strike just the right balance — savory rather than fruit-forward (read not too sweet) and sparkling with lucid flavors. In other words, her jams are like fine wines. Last fall, IfOnly Culinary Director Michael Murphy collaborated with June to create an exclusive Triptych of Small-Batch Artisanal Preserves comprised of clementine marmalades, candied citrus peel, and a fruit syrup. Curious what our favorite marmalade maker will be doing with those lemons? And how best to enjoy her small-batch creations? Hint: it’s not just on toast.


IfOnly: How would you describe your work?


June Taylor: We work by hand. We produce all of our preserves and confections in the Still Room. It’s old-fashioned, historic, and pre-dated.


IO: The Still Room is the name you’ve given to your storefront and headquarters. What’s the significance of it?


JT: A couple hundred years ago, it was a special room on the side of the kitchen and the woman of the house would have overseen it. She would have had an assistant or two and they would have distilled lotions and medicines from herbs and flowers and they would have preserved from the gardens and orchards. So our work is a nod and honor to that time and that spirit. It’s a method and a style.


IO: Why did you decide to open your own jam making company?


JT: It was a constellation of three things: [wanting to work for myself], having a baby and deciding that I would not feed him commercial food, and the belief that you couldn’t get a good marmalade anywhere anymore — here or in Britain. So, I was teaching myself marmalade making and with the encouragement of Steven from Redwood Hill Dairy, I started selling my marmalades in the market. That’s the history!


IO: Tell us about your fabulous collaborations.


JT: Recently I worked with Michael Recchiuti at The Lab to make a six-course meal. I also made a chocolate bar with the Mast Brothers using my citrus candy. And when I go to Japan, I like to work with chefs there. Yuri Nomura from Eatrip in Tokyo used multiple products to create some beautiful meals in her restaurant while I was there. I also collaborate with Michael Tilson Thomas to bring preserves to the San Francisco Orchestra as their holiday gifts each year. Collaboration is definitely the way I like to go.


IO: Do you have a personal favorite from your collection?


JT: I love marmalades. They offer deep, developed flavors that can be sweet, bitter, and sour. Their complexity intrigues me.


IO: And if you were stuck on a desert island?


JT: If I can take three preserves they would be Santa Rosa Plum Conserve, Red Cloud Apricot Conserve, and Three Fruit Marmalade.


IO: Did you go to culinary school?


JT: I was guided to go to a technical high school in the UK from the ages of 11 to 18, where I studied cookery for seven years. I was essentially trained as a cook with two years of classic French cuisine (made consommé once at the tender age of 16). It was the foundation for all of my subsequent food work: first as a baker, then preserve maker, and confectioner.


IO: How has your palate evolved over the years?


JT: I have become bolder in my use of as little sugar as we can get away with. I explore flavors from unusual sources such as pine and cypress trees and wild herbs. By pairing two fruits, two herbs, or three of each, you can learn about the interaction of different flavors. Which is dominant, which is in the background, how to create balance between them.


IO: You often use heirloom fruits. Where do you find inspiration for your unique and unusual ingredients?


JT: My dad was a very keen gardener. We grew most of our own vegetables. Not much was bought from stores. Since then my inspiration has come from reading British antiquarian preserving and confectionary books, and I have been fortunate to study books from the 1500’s onwards. I read and imagine. I discover fruits in books and then try to search them out here. For example, medlars, Reine Claude Doree plums, greengages, and damson plums.

IO: Do you have a favorite historical period that’s informed your jams?


JT: I am particularly fascinated with the Tudor era; a time when the cuisine of Britain was entering a Renaissance and sugar was beginning to make its appearance in foods.

IO: When you’re not buying from sustainable and organic farms, you often forage. Why gather ingredients this way?


JT: My model is about a time we inevitably, without thought, ate what was around us without calling it a choice. I want to embrace the fact that it’s important to eat urban food. It’s really about being observant in one’s environment, and that principle of gathering is the same perspective I take in the work.

IO: Do you have a favorite harvesting season?

JT: It has to be winter, because I love the graphic look of trees in winter and it feels closer to home in climate. Also, we make marmalades then, which are my personal favorite preserves.


IO: How do you like to enjoy your jam?


JT: I have long worked with fruit and savory herbs to encourage my customer to break out of the toast and jam mold. In Britain, we have a long tradition of putting fruit with meat, cheese, and fish, and I hope very much that I can inspire my customers to enjoy our preserves that way.

Have a gourmet tip? IfOnly’s Culinary Director Michael Murphy is always on the hunt for his next culinary luminary. Contact him at michael@ifonly.com

June creates small-batch preserves with different combinations of fruits and herbs according to the season. She labels her jars conserves rather than jams, as her recipes use a fraction of the sugar that jams usually contain.

Tucked away on the side of the kitchen is June's office, filled with art supplies, found objects from her foraging trips, and an assortment of scents and ingredient combinations she is experimenting with.

For over 20 years, June has tended her backyard garden, which provides herbs and flowers for infusing, as well as inspiration to experiment with savory and sweet pairings.

With a philosophy of wasting nothing, June began creating candied citrus peels with the leftover oranges and lemons used in her marmalades. Each step is done in her kitchen by hand, from removing the pith to cutting the peel to simmering and drying. It's a test of patience and labor of love.

Voilà, the final product to be savored with tea or a cheese plate.

Cheryl Locke
4 years Ago

We follow the money to Bangladesh for a status report.


Last spring, IfOnly donated a sizable sum to Charity Water  — and we have wonderful news to report. Our funds have been sent to Bangladesh. A country the size of Iowa with a population of over 150 million, Bangladesh is one of the most densely inhabited areas in the world. Because 16% of the population lacks access to water and 42% lacks access to sanitation, it has gotten the attention of Charity Water, whose mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.


When we checked in with Charity Water, we learned our donation will be used to provide clean water access to two schools for 500 children. We also received a video documenting their status, which we are happy to share with you. Building and partnering with the local community will take some time (approximately 18 months), so stay tuned for more updates coming soon.


John Twomey
4 years Ago

Today, the James Beard Foundation announced the nominees for the 2015 James Beard Awards.


At IfOnly, we're honored to work with so many talented epicurean minds. They push boundaries, delight diners, and create memorable experiences in new and profound ways. 


This year, 15 IfOnly luminaries and their establishments were recognized with James Beard Award nominations. We're delighted to share them with you:



Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles - Outstanding Chef


Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago - Outstanding Pastry Chef


The Spotted Pig, NYC - Outstanding Restaurant


Michael Mina, Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others) - Outstanding restaurateur


Quince, San Francisco - Outstanding Service


A16, San Francisco - Outstanding Wine Program


The Progress, San Francisco - Best New Restaurant


Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco - Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional


Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland - Best Chef: Great Lakes


Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto - Best Chef: NYC


Matthew Accarrino, SPQR, San Francisco - Best Chef: West


Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco - Best Chef: West


Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco - Best Chef: West


Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction - Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location


"A New Napa Cuisine" - Photography


Once again, congratulations to all the nominees! You can view the full list here.


For an experience with our roster of nominees and previous award-winners, please visit our James Beard Shop.


We'll be watching when the winners are announced on Monday, May 4th, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In the meantime, make sure you follow @IfOnly and @BeardFoundation for the latest on the 2015 Awards.

Michael Mina - Outstanding restaurateur

The Spotted Pig, NYC - Outstanding Restaurant

Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland - Best Chef: Great Lakes

Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco - Best Chef: West

John Twomey
4 years Ago

Every day, our goal is to delight our customers; to facilitate experiences they’ll remember forever. And every experience supports a great charitable cause chosen by our luminaries. Whether a beautifully signed cookbook or a once-in-a-lifetime ballooning experience, a portion of the proceeds of everything sold on IfOnly benefits charity. 


One of these amazing organizations is DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. With your help and the support of these famed authors, we funded "Microscopes for Curious Minds!", bringing 4 new and high tech microscopes to an AP Biology class.


We couldn't resist sharing the letters of thanks from students in the class that received funds. We hope these letters delight you as much they did us!


Dear IfOnly,

Thank you so much for your generous donation to our class for the new microscopes! The new light microscopes will allow us to study topics in Biology much more deeply. Our old microscopes only allowed us to magnify up to 400x, but the new oil immersion objective lens will allow us to magnify up to 1000x. This cutting edge technology will have a major impact on our education, so I would like to thank you again for your generosity. These microscopes will have a lasting impact on our school.

Sincerely, Niki


Dear IfOnly,

Thank you so much for your generous donation in order for us to receive these new compound light microscopes! We have been in need of new microscopes for a long time, and to finally have some new, unscratched, and clear instruments is very exciting! We are very happy and so are our teachers! We can’t wait to be able to look at cells more closely with a new additional lens. Again, thank you so much!

Sincerely, Sophia


Here's to extraordinary experiences and the wonderful causes like DonorsChoose.org you support!

The new microscopes!

The microscopes in action!

New microscopes = happy students!

John Twomey
4 years Ago

Resolve to make 2015 a year of profound experiences. Here are 10 New Year's Resolutions you’ll be excited to keep.


Channel your inner chef

Resolutions are about becoming the person you want to be. Start by becoming the chef you’ve always wanted to be. Immerse yourself in a lesson from a culinary master, Christopher Kostow, or find monthly inspiration with our Recipe of the Month Collection.


Commit to be fit

Fitness should be an inspiration, not an obligation. So instead of trudging away at a few miles on the less-than-pleasant treadmill at your local gym, dive into a private workout with Jerry Rice or get the Spartan treatment over a weekend with Joe De Sena, the creator of the Spartan Race.


Embark on an adventure

As a kid, every time you walked out of the front door you embarked on an adventure. In 2015, recapture that spirit. Recapture the thrill of the unknown and the excitement of pushing yourself. View the Grand Canyon like never before or heli-ski with an Olympian. Make 2015 your adventure.


Look your best

Nothing instills more confidence than knowing you look your best. In 2015, you can have this confidence every day with a personalized video styling session from the Rachel Zoe studio or a personal shopping experience from Lori Goldstein.


Improve your game

Whatever game you play, the best way to improve is by learning from a master. Their wealth of knowledge can transform your own understanding. A stroke analysis from Brad Gilbert or a lesson from chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley might be just what you need.


Entertain with style

The best experiences are shared with others. Commit to entertaining in style this year with our In-Home Chefs. They’ll make your next dinner party or get together, like the Japanese Omakase Style Dinner Party, something your guests won’t forget.


Broaden your horizons

Humans are explorers. We have an innate curiosity about the world—a hunger to unwrap its mysteries and discover its boundaries. Tap into your inner explorer with something you’ve only dreamed of, like a nomad trip to Haiti with photographer Russell James.


Refresh your interiors

Design your interior to reflect your aspirations. You’ll be brimming with inspiration as you walk past your hand-signed Atlantis Space Shuttle print and your limited edition print of a design sketch from Oscar de la Renta.


Indulge your palate

Explore world-renowned restaurants like never before. Get a new perspective on a culinary masterpiece with a private meal at your residence from Chez Panisse. Or bring one of San Francisco’s best restaurants to you, with the Moveable Feast from State Bird Provisions.


Sharpen your mind

Make 2015 a year for personal enlightenment. Enter the brilliant minds of astronauts, award-winning writers, and world-champion chess grandmasters.


Whatever you have in mind for 2015, make it a collection of meaningful experiences. To view more, click here.