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What I’m Grateful For Gift Guide – Part 2

What I’m Grateful For Gift Guide – Part 2
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BY SUSAN HORNIK

Fiftyisthenewfifty.com’s Susan Hornik has found so many items to be grateful for, she put together a sequel to her “What I’m Grateful For” gift giving guide, which  you can use all year long.

Food/Spirits 

While at Foodie Con, I met Cocktail & Sons, who have a craft cocktail syrup pack which has over fifty recipes. cocktailandsons.com. Looks like a great purchase for any spirits lover 🙂

Chivas Regal has done something wonderful; they  teamed up with LSTN Sound Co. to create a limited edition Troubadour headphones using reclaimed Chivas Regal Whisky barrel wood. The headphones come packaged in a custom wood gift box and feature two different cables. A portion of proceeds are donated to help someone hear for the first time through the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

What’s better than beer and pretzels? At Boardwalk Food Company, they think it’s beer IN the pretzels. Their craft beer pretzel mixes take 30 minutes to make using your favorite beer.

There is a lovely cheese company named Montchevre--all the cheese bundles come with a cutting lira and are packaged in a really nice box. The cheese is a perfect gift for a hostess/host or any food lover on your list, as well as a great fridge staple to have on hand for any upcoming party entertaining! Great for an upscale super bowl party too.

If you are ever in Los Angeles, check out veteran badass character actor Danny Trejo’s new restaurants. Besides creating delicious tacos, the “Machete” actor has a line of sweatshirts, hats and other souvenirs now —all especially great if you are a fan of his work.

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BFree Foods offers nutritious wraps, rolls, bread loaves, bagels, pitas breads and hot dog buns which maintain the texture of traditional bread products but are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, nuts and soy. This means that everyone at your feast can enjoy them, regardless of allergies or other dietary restrictions. All BFree products are allergen and vegan-friendly, low-fat and high-fiber. Plus, they won’t disintegrate, crack or crumble!

Give the gift of refined Southern taste with an assortment of delicious Community specialty coffees that are sure to please even the most discerning coffee drinkers. Community Coffee Company’s Private Reserve Special Blends Sampler contains one 12 oz. ground bag of each: Evangeline Blend™, Louisiana Blend®, Founder’s Blend and Espresso Blend.  They make great teas too and in their gift sets, you can get a great pumpkin bread mix.

After more than 30 years of winemaking experience in the Paso Robles region of California, the Riboli family is proud to debut its first super premium red Bordeaux blend, Stormwatch, under the San Simeon brand. The Riboli family’s estate vineyards in the renowned El Pomar District of Paso Robles showcase steep hillsides and rocky soils, which produce wines with intense aromas and flavors. The cooling afternoon breezes of the Templeton Gap make the El Pomar District ideal for premium grape growing. Stormwatch is a rich, complex wine that reveals ripe flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, and raspberry.

If you are looking for something healthy, check out Crunchies, freeze dried fruit snacks that are perfect for baking and snacking. Available in strawberries, mango, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, cinnamon apple, strawberry banana and mixed fruit, Crunchies can be incorporated into pancake, scone or cookie recipes without all the sogginess of fresh fruit. They’re also gluten-free and vegan and have zero added sugar, so they’re a favorite among parents and kids alike.

James Beard nominated Chef/Owner Bruce Kalman and owner Marie Petulla  have created Knead & Co. Pasta and Market, an amazing  gift for any foodie.  You can sign up for the Pasta of the Month Club, where you will receive delicious dried pasta which is housemade daily at Knead & Co.’s pasta lab. The Pasta of the Month Club includes a one pound bag of signature dried pastas (penne, fusilli, radiatore) and seasonal specialty pasta, along with a recipe card with suggested pairings for each pasta in their monthly shipment.

I wonder if there is anyone on this planet who doesn’t love ice cream. McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams has been in business since 1949,  handpicking their finest from-scratch ice cream pints and shipping them nationally straight to your door. The Pint of the Month club features  classic, seasonal and limited-edition flavors.

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For Valentine’s Day, check out chocolatier Valerie Gordon, who makes such incredible sweet things, it will be heaven upon the first bite. And if you are in Los Angeles, Valerie Confections Bakery and Cafe (http://www.valerieconfections.com/) is simply a lovely place to spend a few hours.

If you are a fan of Chung Jung One’s Gochujang Sauce, definitely check out  their latest product, Spicy Miso Sauce. Based on the traditional Korean ssamjang, this unique version of the Korean BBQ staple combines Chung Jung One’s hit Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce with fermented soybean paste for a rich and savory flavor with sweet-heat.

Jameson Caskmates is a one-of-a-kind whiskey created out of passion for craft, quality and neighborhood collaboration. Finished in stout seasoned barrels, The new Jameson whiskey combines the triple distilled smoothness of Jameson Original with the richness of stout beer, adding notes of coffee, cocoa and hops for a truly unique finish. If you are in Hollywood, keep an eye out for special Jameson events, DJ’d by the fantastic Johnny Hawkes.

If you like margaritas try Sauza Signature Blue Tequila – Silver & Reposado, which is crafted at their distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, using a process called Fresh Pressed Agave, resulting in the freshest, natural, crisp agave flavor.  For the perfect hostess gift, pair Sauza with a festive cocktail shaker, margarita glasses and rimming salt.

I also love Olmeca Altos agave tequila, – it’s the perfect tequila for a premium and refreshing margarita!

Not only is Dan Aykroyd funny, but he also knows how to make vodka in very cool bottles. The much loved Blues Brother has created a whole other successful life as a spirits entrepreneur, with Crystal Head. Somewhere up there, I bet John Belushi is very happy about this.

Bourbon is not just for guys. Four Roses created a perfectly balanced small batch Bourbon that offers a  mellow symphony of rich, spicy flavors along with sweet, fruity aromas and hints of  sweet oak and caramel. Its finish is soft, smooth and pleasantly long. Best enjoyed straight up, on the rocks, or with a splash.

Salt & Straw, the iconic family-run ice cream purveyor known for its artisanal, chef-driven approach to an American classic, is now scooping flavors from its intensely delicious variety of flavors. Churned locally in small batches and conceived of by Co-Founder/Head Ice Cream Maker Tyler Malek has created seriously delicious treats. Flavors are available by the scoop and pint.

Was so impressed with home delivery services Fitness Kitchen LA and The Ranch LA.  The food was delicious and delivered right to my door. In a world where eating out can be expensive, it’s nice to find home cooked meals that are healthy. I felt energized all day and I would love to get these fantastic meal delivery companies  on a regular basis. Sometimes I am just so busy, it’s really hard to get a great meal, and that’s why I love these two.

Pack your gingersnaps and sugar cookies with a nutritional punch with Carrington Farms Organic Chia Seeds. This “superfood” is loaded with beneficial properties that support a healthy lifestyle and contains the richest plant source of Omega 3’s. They’re high in fiber, potassium and iron, and have more calcium by weight than milk.

Viki’s Granola is a great tasting, gluten free granola made with 100% all natural ingredients. Available in five flavors at your local Hollywood retailer, three of the flavors come in snack-size packs too, perfect for bringing with you on the go! Available in Original, Blueberry Almond, Maple Cranberry, (NEW!) Banana Walnut and Apple Cinnamon. On-the-go Packs available in Original, Blueberry Almond & Maple Cranberry.

Have any techie friends?! They might appreciate the Medea Vodka LED bottle, which uses Apple’s iBeacon Bluetooth technology in an innovative way to allow a smart phone to wirelessly set and display scrolling messages. Available both on iPhone and Android and free to users, the App, developed in-house by the Medea technology team, will connect each consumer to their own bottle, giving them the option to invite others, join social media, and locate their bottle, with updates containing more features planned in the near future. From the distance of a basketball court, Medea drinkers can create and edit up to 10 different messages of their choice.

And looking forward to summer, when I can drink The California Fruit Wine’s pomegranate and cherry sangria. Simply delicious.

For Him/Her

BackJoy’s mission is to change the way the world sits, stands and sleeps. Leveraging what experts (and moms) across the globe have known for years—that better posture prevents back pain—the company creates and distributes innovative patented products that enhance posture to relieve back pain. Inspired by the movement in self-care—the most powerful form of healthcare—BackJoy’s easy-to-use products and personal wellness initiatives help users naturally sit, stand and sleep better to produce positive, life-changing results. Change your posture, change your life.

I love comfortable socks and as soon as it was cold, immediately wore my Goldtoe Premier Socks, they are soft and really great to wear under boots. Also, The Fresh Legs Compression Design Socks by Zensah blend together fun designs with innovative compression sock technology. The compression socks utilize graduated compression, which means the most compression is in the ankle area and the least in the calf, thus creating a pressure gradient to improve circulation. This leads to many benefits including relief from restless leg syndrome, decreased appearance of varicose veins, lessened leg fatigue. Your legs simply will feel fresher after wearing  either brand of socks 🙂

Duluth is going to make sure you are dressed to impress (and stay comfortable)!   Their shirts are notorious for their extra features, the bi-swing back and underarm gussets give you freedom of movement, and the fabric is wrinkle resistant so no need to turn on the iron. The ponté knit fabric of the dress and the pants is plush, substantial, and has great 4-way stretch, perfect for looking good for the family.

Criquet Shirts, a really cool Austin-based brand that’s been dubbed “the new old-school golf shirt” is great for gifting boyfriends, brothers or dads.  Their selling point: improving classic polo design through better fit (not too boxy, not too skinny), better fabric (super soft, 100% organic cotton) and better detailing (no more “bacon collar” with removable collar stays).

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There’s no one more loved than Snoopy —whether you wear the t-shirts for nostalgia or gift a stuffed animal Snoopy to your grandchildren, you are guaranteed to walk around with a smile on your face.

I love the new bluetooth speaker from Altec Lansing. The Mini Life Jacket 3  is easy to use and has great balanced sound. Great for seniors living the retirement adventure, this speaker is certified waterproof, shockproof, dirtproof, and floats, so you can take it boating or in the garden.

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Home/Kitchen

With so many different kinds of alcohol out there, it’s really helpful to find a book that can help you with what to buy, so you can make that perfect drink. Kara Newman’s third book, “Shake. Stir. Sip: More Than 50 Effortless Cocktails”  has simple, elegant drink recipes that take the guest work out of your next home entertaining event.

You can’t help but love Bambu, a line of kitchen and houseware products created with elegance, simplicity and purpose, using renewable materials such as bamboo, cork, cedar, coconut, hemp, organic cotton, and soy. Each collection is the result of the combined concepts of functionality and innovation, while employing the concept of “handmadeness.”  Taking a holistic approach in the creation of everyday housewares, the line is designed with the drive to create products that are useful, beautiful, durable and eco-friendly.

Available in a range of tonal metallic colors and sizes, the exclusive, reversible sequin “Sparklicious Pillow” collection from HGTV Design Star’s “Sparkle Josh” Johnson is available now on JoshJohnson.com. Along with a select line of signature decorative home accessories, Josh’s home products are perfect for ultra-luxe holiday gifting. Additionally, “Josh Johnson Home for Softline,” a collection of modern glam decorative drapery panels and coordinating accent pillows that are crafted in silky velvets and metallically embroidered styles, is being  distributed nationally online at Wayfair.com, BedBathandBeyond.com, and Gilt.com.

Slimware dinnerware has an interesting premise-if you eat less, you’ll weigh less, which is why their aesthetically pleasing plates are designed to remind you not to overeat. Available in three ceramic designs and are microwave safe.

Ryan Coyne is a self taught wood artist, inspired by the landscape surrounding him. His work is handcrafted with recycled materials, bringing to life his vision of creating eco-conscious and sustainable pieces. He can make you a bench or a table and all your guests will marvel at its beauty. His latest pieces are featured in Ianthe Mauro’s new store, Objects With Purpose. Ianthe makes beautiful candles that are also can be used as wearable perfume.

One of the best things about  “Cheers” glasses from Govino—they are  shatterproof, recyclable, and reusable glassware with a unique thumb notch. Truly perfect for a  toast at the nearby park.

The Adventure Project + APOTHEKE (Brooklyn-based soap company) have partnered to create a beautiful charcoal soap that with each purchase helps one woman in Kenya to a new fuel-efficient stove.

I love having a pen handy that can help with all my paperwork. Pilot Pens make so many great varieties, you literally can try a different one each month and never get tired. Their premium gel roller pens are available in a ten pack.  Their Metropolitan Pop fountain pen is one of my favorites too. At the Emmy’s GBK Lounge, Pilot did a lovely display for celebs as they were gifted my luxury pens.

Beauty

Sea Bottle is a luxury, eco friendly hand wash. I loved the gorgeous frosted glass bottle made from organic lavender, argan oil and aloe.

If you need some quiet time, treat yourself to Golden Door beauty products, and do a mini facial.  Their peel away masque and scrub is made from  luxurious and natural ingredients, giving you a beautiful complexion.

If you love putting a little extra care of your hair, I highly recommend using T3 products. This is a company who produces high quality items and will always make your hair exceptionally great. I use their dryer regularly and even have a shower head which filters out impurities.

Renowned as “the costliest perfume in the world,” the Joy line was created in 1930 by haute couture designer Jean Patou. One ounce of the lavish scent contains 10,600 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen May roses. The luxurious composition is coveted by women around the world.

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Bio Ionic GoldPro Dryer ($135; BioIonic.com) The GoldPro Dryer is part of the GoldPro Styling Collection. 24K Gold Ceramic Mineral Complex is infused into the Bio Ionic GoldPro Styling Collection. The 24K Gold insures constant, even heat distribution throughout each tool, while the Ceramic Mineral Complex infuses moisture deep into the hair giving it a healthy, superior shine.

Sweet Like Candy by Ariana Grande Gift Set 3.4 oz/100ml: A little sweet and super sexy; this holiday gift set features a 3.4oz Eau de Parfum Spray, a 3.4oz Body Soufflé, and .25oz Parfum in a deliciously sweet, candy wrapped gift set box.

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Body Boom – Start your day the Brazilian way with the nourishing, rich lather of the NEW Brazilian 4 Play Nourishing Shower Cream-Gel and the fast-absorbing, all-over body cream that tightens and smoothes like no other, Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. Both are infused with Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Beauty Blend of nourishing Cupuaçu Butter, antioxidant superpower Açaí and skin conditioning Coconut Oil, and with the addictive Pistachio Caramel fragrance.  You will look, feel and smell like a Brazilian Goddess with the new Brazilian Body Boom gift set from Sol de Janeiro.

For Her

Belldini, a leading manufacturer of women’s fashions for over 35 years, offers everything from cardigans and pullovers to twinsets and leggings.  Their extensive collection of high-quality apparel allows the active woman to seamlessly transition from day to evening.

Happiest Tee lets you celebrate your favorite destinations in style and comfort.  A Happiest Tee starts with a luxe American-made garment from State & Manor.  Whether a celebration of your hometown, a memento from a fabulous vacation or a gift for that friend with a passion for travel, a Happiest Tee is a nice gift to purchase for your friends.

Sita Couture has beautiful clothing that will make you feel sexy and comfortable. Made from eco fabrics, manufactured in Los Angeles, this lifestyle brand is so stylish, you can’t help but feel confident every where you go.   I love the hoodie on my new dress—perfect for when it’s getting cold.

She’s Her Own CEO is a fashion and  lifestyle brand for modern ladies who lead, provide, and create in their  worlds. Today’s  women definitely deserve a New Year/New You gift that  showcases their many talents and kicks their leadership into high gear. I love the  aprons they make, which come in fashionable bistro and traditional full-length, are embroidered and made in the U.S.

I love gifts that give back. Alex and Ani donate a portion of the proceeds from all Living Water Charm Bangle sales toward clean water projects led by Living Water International – a nonprofit organization devoted to demonstrating divine love by providing communities with desperately needed clean water. Handmade in Rhode Island with recycled materials, the bangle is covered in nickel-free Gold or Silver Rafaellan finish to provide an elegant touch.

I really liked The Fifth, makers of affordably luxurious unisex accessories and watches (nothing in the line tops $150).  It comes in a beautiful box and you can swap out the watch bands when you want a change.

I was so impressed with MiniLuxe polishes. They  are non-toxic and “Five-free” meaning they do not have five known carcinogens (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor).  At MiniLuxe, they offer hospital-grade hygiene with a dedicated “Clean Lab” where tools are sterilized using a two-step process of ultrasound cleansing followed by a spin through an autoclave machine. MiniLuxe pedicure basins are jet-free so that they can be fully and properly cleaned between services. There are 18 MiniLuxe locations throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Texas, California and will increase to  20 locations by the end of the year.

ETC.

Yasmin Boland’s horoscope for next year is available on her moonology website.  If you are wondering what will happen, Yasmin is an excellent, insightful astrologer, offering guidance about what’s happening in your chart and any challenging spots that may be arising. Check out her site at yasminboland.com and find out what exciting things are planned this year.

Bears for Humanity™ is a leading social commerce company committed to helping its community and the earth.  From farm to fulfillment, the complete line of stuffed animals including our Sherpa Bears and Animal Pals, are made using only certified organic materials and Fair Trade practices, while employing at-risk women from welfare-work programs right in the U.S.  The “BUY One, give ONE” program provides a bear/animal to a child in need for every bear purchased. With a variety of bears and animals to choose from, Bears for Humanity has something for everyone.

B and G Martin sent me a beautiful, soft bed for my three small pups. My dogs are pretty spoiled as it is, so to sleep in something really comfortable is exactly what they look for.  The beds are great for both indoor and outdoor use. Woof 🙂

For the grandkids Once Kids offers a beautiful line of craft kids and wooden building blocks, action figures, and vehicles which bring a mix of timeless beauty, innovation and art to the play experience.

RIP charging nightmares – FLI Charge is here to keep it 100%. Not just another “charge mat”, FLI Charge boasts over 40 watts of power, allowing for eight devices to charge at once. Simply place your devices atop the pad and enjoy a charging oasis, to share with friends, family or co-workers. “just put down to charge up!”

The FLI Charge Starter Kit ($150) features:

  • FLIway 40 charging pad
  • FLIcase for your Apple or Samsung smartphone
  • FLIcube for tablets and other higher power devices
  • FLIcoin for any Lightning or micro USB powered device
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Susan Hornik
Susan Hornik is a writer who is a contributor to Canada's Chatelaine, UK's Look, Health, Maxim, HGTV's FrontDoor.com, IndustryM, Hollywood Reporter, Dish, Discover Hollywood, J-14, Twist