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What I’m Grateful For Gift Guide

What I’m Grateful For Gift Guide
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BY SUSAN HORNIK

While this has been a very challenging  year for many, we must still find things to be grateful for. Fiftyisthenewfifty.com’s Susan Hornik put together her annual end of year, “What I’m Grateful For” Gift Guide.  We’d love to you to check out some of these unique gift suggestions at any point in the next year and let us know what you think.

Pets  

Animal Planet makes a collection of  great soft plush beds for your furry friends. Featuring bright  pops of color and high-quality fabrics, this dog bed line includes everything your pup needs to feel his/her finest.

Noah’s Bark is a new line of all natural dog biscuits that are made from healthy lean proteins such as chicken, beef, and peanut protein blends and are most notably different for the ingredients you won’t find in the products: potentially harmful fillers like wheat, corn, soy, added sugars, and animal by-products. Another major differentiator of Noah’s Bark dog biscuits is that the products focus on freshness, using liquid by-products of the ingredients used, instead of water during the production process. This allows the product to retain more nutrients from its ingredients.  Noah’s Bark Founder and CEO Michelle Volk told us, “If it isn’t good enough for me, it isn’t good enough for my dog or yours. Eat healthy. Treat healthy. The healthier the food, the healthier and happier the dog. Ingredients do make a difference!”

My dogs love their new doggy bed from LazyBonezz. And when they are not sleeping, they are playing with their toys which is why their  Large Pet Toy Box comes in handy! Featuring clear pockets for easy labeling, and lids that keep everything safe and hidden, this set of 4 two-tone design fabric toy boxes adds a sleek and stylish note to any room in the house. Boxes fold flat when not in use, and work great at home or on the go.

Exclusive-Beverly Hills, CA - 03/22/2011 - Carmen Electra, at home, enjoying her new LazyBonezz pet bed with her dogs Roxy and Daisy and cat Nana. -PICTURED: Carmen Electra with dog Roxy (white), Daisy (Brown and Black) -PHOTO by: Albert Michael/startraksphoto.com -CS57265 Startraks Photo New York, NY For licensing please call 212-414-9464 or email sales@startraksphoto.com

Carmen Electra, at home, enjoying her new LazyBonezz pet bed with her dogs Roxy and Daisy and cat Nana

Caru’s natural treats are made with real meat or poultry as the first ingredient (no ingredients from China) and don’t contain any wheat, gluten, corn, soy, or animal by-products. Alligator, Rabbit and Wild Boar are the newest flavors to join the line. Their Natural Stews for Dogs are the only ready-to-eat dog food that is made with 100% human grade ingredients and prepared in a human grade facility. They come in Tetra Pak cartons instead of conventional cans, which helps protect freshness and taste without preservatives, and is BPA-free. They are easy to open, serve, close, travel with and store.

The Barkworthies pumpkin cannabidiol CBD treats  are all-natural and offer a spectrum of comforts that can be enjoyed by dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. By utilizing ingredients like organic coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and delicious pumpkin, these treats combine the curative effect of CBD and hemp seeds with healthful, tasty flavors your dog will love. These treats are non-toxic and 100% legal. Their Salmon Skin Roll-Ups are high in protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to help canines maintain supple skin and a glossy coat. As with all Barkworthies products, they are 100% digestible and contain no additives, chemicals or preservatives of any kind.

Gold Paw Series’ sun shield tee is a lightweight garment for dogs that blocks 98% of the sun’s UV rays, plus they help prevent doggy odor thanks to its antimicrobial treated fabric. Whether worn indoors or out, it’s great for allergies, wound care and topical medication coverage.

Gold Paw Series’ Portland Pullover  features a BionicECO Softshell back, which is waterproof and dirt repellent, and a stretchy Cirrus fleece belly and neck for easy fitting. The long shawl collar allows for superior coverage, even up over the ears. It’s made in the USA of recycled materials.

Bravo’s Canine Cafe’s grain and gluten free dinners are made with delicious cuts of real meat or poultry as the #1 ingredient, the grain and gluten free dinners are fortified with cranberries, garden greens, salmon oil, green-lipped mussels, and turmeric. Each Cafe recipe is 100 percent nutritionally complete and balanced to nourish dogs of all life stages – from puppies to seniors.

My dogs loved Meatloaf’s Kitchen dog treats, homemade items made by Chef Melanie Strackos. Boy did they want more :)

Beauty 

I was impressed with seventy-three year old Dr. Annette Tobia, a molecular biologist and aging expert, created the Meg 21 anti aging skincare line while performing research on skin-aging enzymes. Toxic sugars in the skin are a leading cause of inflammation, skin aging and wrinkling. She stumbled upon a compound that intervenes in this process: “I took the compound home and started to play with it in my bathroom…concocting cream after cream until I felt it was just right and making a difference on my own sixty-three year old skin. I raised enough money to launch a brand, and MEG 21 with Supplamine was born,” she says.

Meg 21 addresses the most common signs of aging: crepiness, dryness, and loss of elasticity. The active compound, Supplamine, fights inflammation, glycation and oxidative-stress – three key factors in accelerated aging. The products are carried in physician offices and medical spas, and are routinely incorporated into treatments. Their calming properties make them ideal for more aggressive treatments such as laser or microdermabrasion, and they contain no harsh exfoliating ingredients or irritants.

I loved the candle from Elderflower Farmacy,  a newly launched startup specializing in ethically made  candles, lotions, and beauty potions. The company is inspired by co-founder Unique Michael’s   upbringing around poverty stricken areas of Mumbai, India and his desire to turn his knowledge of plants and their medicinal roots  into something tangible.

Marie D. Argan makes a beautiful, organic luxury skin care line, which is perfect for all kinds of skin.  I was particularly impressed with  the gentle anti-aging exfoliating scrub that helps remove dead skin cells. Formulated with cranberries, sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, and sea salt and enriched with fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6). This facial cleanser gently exfoliates while moisturizing the face, leaving the skin soft, smooth, bright and radiant.

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LINGER Lasting Fragrance Primer is a  one-of-a-kind fragrance primer that interestingly enough, helps your favorite fragrance to last longer. Last month, they launched exclusively on HSN.

For the Gals: Skin Authority’s new Beauty Infusion Collection. This gift set includes all four Beauty Infusion™ products, plus the Instant Perfection Peel Pads in a special-edition, botanically themed presentation box. All of the products are travel-sized. Special price – $196

Tata Harper makes a beautiful Clarifying Moisturizer ($105 at TataHarperSkincare.com), a specially-formulated lightweight moisturizer for blemish-prone and oily skin types.

Food/alcohol  

This year, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte has released a limited edition sleeve for its Brut Reserve (SRP: $36) and matching holiday tin to commemorate the company’s 40th anniversary. The compasses featured on the festive gold packaging symbolize the exciting new direction the company is heading in as it strives to produce a Champagne that embodies the beauty of the here and now, and as Feuillatte gears up to complete exciting renovations on its winery in the heart of Champagne in late 2016.

New Jersey’s Kathy Favro makes authentic Italian-style biscotti and artisan cookies with her company, Fine Ingredients. Her unique products are made with delicious ingredients and the tin it arrives in is absolutely  lovely. Be aware, you won’t be able to just eat one.

If you are a fan of The Food Network’s Cake Boss, you will love their twelve-piece porcelain dessert set. The plates are the perfect functional gift for the mom who always seems to be throwing dinner parties, and is always running around looking for plates .

I met Luxury Farms, a retailer and coffee concept market specializing in hi end foodie gifts at FoodieCon. There is a wide selection to buy in person or at  their online stores. The owners hand roast their coffee, and manufacture an exclusive gourmet product line. Their latest delicious items are Bella Cucina, a range of savory sauces and aromatic salts. In addition, they make their own olive oils —plus, their fantastic lemon artichoke pesto is amongst Oprah’s “Favorite Things.”

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Houston’s distinctive luxury chocolatier, Cacao and Cardamom founder, Annie Rupani has become the authority for innovation in chocolate and is raising the bar for distinctive chocolate creations. Fusing tastes from her Pakistani provenance with French techniques, these award winning chocolates offer the finest texture, presentation, and flavor that your friends will ever encounter. With exotic flavors such as Guava Tamarind, Mango Caramel, Black Sesame Ginger, and Garam Masala Pistachio, this luxury chocloatier has learned the art of infusing culture and rich spices into the art of chocolate making.

Am eager for you to try Casa De Sante’s gluten free products, these items are good for anyone who may have digestive sensitivity. Their LemonAID helps with bloating and aside reflux and you know that can come in handy.

Some of the best gifts are those that are home-made. Baking home-made gifts can be a fun activity for the whole family.This is why  I love Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas and Flavors, they have a wonderful pure chocolate extract that goes perfectly in a variety of recipes including cookies and fudge.

G.H. Mumm is one of the top champagnes worldwide, and its festive green and red bottle is perfect for any gift, whether it be for a host/hostess or a birthday celebration. Available for purchase online via ReserveBar,  G.H. Mumm is offering a special gift pack which includes two flutes with a bottle for $52.

The Daily Harvest has great smoothies and soups that can be delivered direct to you. With lots of carrots that are rich in beta carotene you’ll be nourishing your skin with boosts of vitamins that will help prevent aging and boost your vision. The soup is also loaded to the brim with vitamin A, which assists the body in internal cleaning and promotes gorgeous, glowing skin. Tomatoes are also a showstopper in the soup adding even more vitamin C, which is an immune-boosting antioxidant that also helps with skin health. In addition,  bring serious levels of vitamins C (up to three times as much as an equal-sized orange!), and E, for an optimum immune system and radiant-looking skin.

susan-daily-harvest-acaicherry susan-daily-harvest-carrot-coconut-final

Nothing goes better with your night than enjoying a good bottle of wine with family and friends.  This year, Francis Ford Coppola Winery is offering one-of-a-kind gift sets sure to please the wine lover in your life.  From décor, food and fashion to magic and film, Coppola Winery’s gifts have something for everyone and for every budget. I tried the Claret, a  Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc blend, and it was lovely.

Tetley recently introduced “Metabolism” Super Teas: delicious teas infused with Vitamin B6 to help support your metabolism. Crafted by Tetley’s Master Blenders for taste and aroma, the teas are available in two delicious varieties, each infused with 20% RDA of Vitamin B6, to help support normal energy yielding metabolism.

Books 

Ever wonder what it takes to be a home bartender and throw your own cocktail party? Look no further than Sasha Petraske’s Regarding Cocktails, a brilliant  book put together by Sasha, a famous New York City bartender and his wife, Georgette Moger Petraske. With an impressive eighty five cocktail recipes, in no time you will be able to deftly prepare your drinks and impress your alcohol  enthusiasts.

Eating healthy seems impossible when you’re always on the go! That’s why Liana Werner-Gray,  best-selling author of The Earth Diet, came up with 10 Minute Recipes1 (Hay House) with clean, natural foods and nutrient-rich recipes that can be made in 10 minutes or less – even desserts!

Spice Health Heroes may be of particular interest to readers wanting to prepare healthy foods and drinks that can help to boost immunity, aid digestion, calm, restore and so on using the most common spices in our kitchen cupboards. It’s also stunningly beautiful which is why it  would make the perfect gift!

Irene Weinberg’s beautiful, “They Serve Bagels in Heaven,” is a  spiritual love story which  ventures into soulmates, past lives and what happens after we pass on.   

There is a new 2016 re-issue of “How To Talk Dirty and Influence People,”  by comedian Lenny Bruce. The sale of each book helps his daughter, Kitty Bruce and her foundation generate scholarships for those in need of recovery/addiction treatment but cannot otherwise afford. The New, 2016 edition has a preface by comedian Lewis Black and foreword by jazz music critic, Howard Reich.

In March of 1964, director Richard Lester began shooting A Hard Day’s Night, a black-and-white feature film starring the Beatles. With slapstick humor and a fantastic soundtrack, the movie imagines the excitement and chaos of thirty-six hours in the life of the Fab Four, and stars John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, with Wilfrid Brambell portraying McCartney’s grandfather. Now a book, the  collection of photographs and rare ephemera documents the band on set and behind the scenes. This private archive captures the infectious energy and anarchic spirit of this groundbreaking film.

Fashion/Jewelry

Be Brilliant Bags are the chic accessory every woman loves . They like to say their bags are a party on the outside and all business on the inside, keeping you looking your best, confident and ready to tackle your day — wherever it might take you – the office, city commute or a weekend away at the beach. Their handbag line, which includes an iPad clutch and a smartphone wallet — in blue, bronze, black and pewter — is made of vegan leather and lined with moisture-wicking neoprene. The bags keep your gear, including laptops and smartphones, easily accessible and organized.

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If you are looking for a truly unique watch, check out Jord’s hand crafted natural wood watches which are made from a variety of woods, like bamboo, maple and ebony. You can engrave the watch too. Fashion stylist Ali Levine loves the watches and uses them to style a myriad of celebs. Levine herself has a new line of lovely jewelry from Sterling Forever.  I loved the fuchsia and pearl double sided studs and three piece, stacked ring set.

Even if you are not a celebrity walking the red carpet, you will feel like one, once you put on a dress by celebrity fashion designer, Dalia MacPhee. Her stunning faux fur coat is fully lined and can be hand washed.  She has many beautiful dresses on her website, and for any Fiftyisthenewfifty lreader who would like to make a purchase, you can take fifty per cent off by entering code take 50.

Dalia fur

Dalia fur

Chloe Di Leo makes affordable, fine quality jewelry. Her latest “stackable” line of bracelets are 14kt gold plated and are available in white gold, black gold, rose gold or yellow gold. The stones are white sapphires and retails for: $250-500.00. Just beautiful items.

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Tess Handbags makes really pretty handbags and accessories. I received the “Adele,” and was so pleased with how cute the bag is—each are very stylish  and have unique shapes and colors. Perfect  for a night on the town but great for daytime use as well.

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I love Cork handbags—they are made from natural, organic, sustainable cork material that is soft to the touch and is compared to the texture of nubuck suede. Feather light, cork handbags are actually perfect for neck and back issues. Cork products are durable, easy to clean, water and fire resistant. The material is a renewable resource and non-animal product and are hand made in Portugal.

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Even Santa can’t resist Tipsy Elves, who make naughty Christmas sweaters that are adorable to wear at any Ugly Sweater party all year round.

The Hawkers One X collection are quality frames that look great on you,  delivering brilliant colors and patterns and extra durability. All their sunglasses provide superior glare reduction and 100% UV protection by using the best Polarized lenses, with no extra cost, produced for Hawkers by  lens manufacturers.

Always when I pack I take too much stuff. Which is why I love the Packable Wrap Dress (PWD) from H&K The Poppet Company. The first dress in the line, the PWD comes wrapped in its own attached protective pouch that holds the dress in wrinkle and stain free waiting until needed. Next I plan to get one of their wrap cardigans.

There’s a lot of grit to the “Ness” boot by Cat Footwear. This tall drink of water features feminine back lacing and nail head toe embellishments for a lived-in look in leather and suede. Soft linings and comfort features round out the package.You can own this classic look with tights and dresses or bare legged with killer boot cuffs.

Surprise your lady with amazing pieces from Define Your Inspiration, a fabulous fitness apparel company  that wants to help women feel and look their best while doing what’s best for you!

Giving Back 

New England chocolate maker Harbor Sweets  makes delicious items under $35 for horse-lovers, coastal enthusiasts and sailors. For foodies, Gather Chocolate  is mission-inspired and gives 2.5% back to the Pollinator Partnership to support the bees. One of their highlights is Sweet Sloops, the chocolatier’s signature sweet, delicious almond butter crunch-shaped sailboats of white chocolate  floating in dark chocolate with a pecan spindrift. 24 Sweet Sloops for $29.95

There are beautiful handcrafted bracelets made in Indonesia by a group of artisans and you can receive one after you make a donation through the World Vision Gift Catalogue. Their donations address specific, urgent needs that might otherwise go unmet for a child, family or community through World Vision programs around the world.

If you are looking for a gift that has a nonprofit element, check out Stella & Dot’s enlighten bracelet ($39) in which any sales are donated to their Foundation partner,  Every Mother Counts and the programs they support, which link women to critical maternity care around the world. Since partnering their donations have helped to provide transportation to over 10k Ugandan women to receive pre/post-natal care as opposed to walking an average of 5 km to the nearest clinic.

For the woman that’s constantly on the go, give her a shoe that will feel comfortable like Bzees. I have their water resistant hiker boot which is cushioned with a cone gel insert in the heel and has great arch support. And it’s machine washable. With its Chief Canine Officer, Oliver, leading the way, the sporty women’s footwear brand,  launching its new  campaign, Fetching Hope,  to aid animals in need.  For each item purchased from their website using the code “PETS,” Bzees will done $5 to Pet Shelters Across America to provide daily care, refuge and hope to abandoned and surrendered animals.

Home/Kitchen 

In the gifts that give back category, as a memento of a gift given through the World Vision Gift Catalog, you can choose a votive holder handmade from cast-off metals.  The artisans in India who produce this 6” tall candle holder work hard to raise themselves out of poverty and help light the way for their children’s education.   

Gotham Steel is the revolutionary non-stick cookware made with ceramic and titanium. With Gotham Steel, you could make anything from eggs, to your favorite chicken recipes, and even s’mores! No matter what you choose to cook up in your Gotham Steel, the clean up is a breeze! The non-stick coating allows the pan to be clean with just one swipe of a paper towel! Bon Appétit!

If you want a really great cup of coffee, then check out Nespresso’s VertuoLine,  now available in Matte Black and Evoluo in Graphite Metal. The coffee machines brew both large cup and authentic expresso. Also, the company updated  their milk brother, now called Aeroccino4. All of this ensures you get  barista-worthy coffee and milk recipes with the touch of a button – and four types of frothed milk! Nespresso makes a variety of coffee glasses and flavored coffees, including their holiday variation Linzer Torte and Banana Bread.  nespresso.com

NutriBullet is the world’s first nutrient extractor; taking whole fruits and vegetables and transforming them into superfoods through cyclonic action with our specialized blades and powerful motor. The NutriBullet is an ideal tool for health-conscious individuals looking to fuel their busy lives while simultaneously taking charge of their health.

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Within their product line, they have multiple extractors – the 600 unit (the original and useful for those taking their first steps toward healthy eating),  PRO series (meant for those with an active lifestyle) and  their most powerful unit – the Rx.

Boca Terry makes beautiful luxury robes, towels and blankets, that are incredibly comfortable. Their robes are in the closets of many upscale hotel rooms. It’s no wonder I don’t like to get dressed in the morning, that robe leaves me with the feeling of total serenity. 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.

Tervis makes great American-made drink ware products with a lifetime guarantee. Tumblers, water bottles, mugs, sippy cups and wine glasses.Thousands of designs from every major brand (NFL, Disney, Marvel, Hello Kitty, just to name a few!). You can personalize and design your own. Unbreakable – Dishwasher safe – Reduces Condensation – Hot & Cold drinks.

Reliable’s UberLight 3000TL Task Light is a great way to make sure you have enough light on as you work. As a writer, light is very important to me and I am excited to try this bright light.

I love FHE’s Storage Ottoman, it’s stylish and I can stick in my clutter so my house doesn’t get too disorganized. Available in black, gray, white, red, taupe and brown, and you don’t need any tools to assemble it    

ETC. 

Unique and meaningful, Syd The Suburban Monk, is the embodiment of joy and mindfulness. Syd is a Buddha-like statuette who reminds us to live, laugh and not take life too seriously. Available in 14 different colors, each comes with a color card that explains the significance of the color, including the corresponding Chakra where appropriate.

Open Sweat is a mobile app that allows you to find open classes in your area and book at a huge discount. Their  unique platform constantly monitors availability at participating studios to find open spots and great deals. I can’t wait to try one in the next month. You can download the Open Sweat app and use the promo code “OPENSWEAT” for your first class, which is free!

If you want to do something at home, the grandkids will love,check out the  very cool karaoke rock on roller DVD system from VocoPro. You can watch each other sing and enjoy the light show speaker.

The Lucky Iron Fish is a carefully formulated and tested iron ingot, cast in the shape of a fish that is seen as a symbol for luck in Cambodian culture where it was first introduced.  The company was launched in 2012 by 29-year-old Gavin Armstrong, with the goal to eradicate iron deficiency, which affects 3.5 billion people in the developed and developing world and can result in anemia, weakness, impaired cognition, and increased risk of illness, particularly in women and children

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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