1. Stand Up To Cancer – Felt Star Ornaments
Gifts that give back seem to be the way to go this season, after all, in these economic times who has the extra dough to also donate to charities, so why not kill two birds with one stone? The following Stand Up To Cancer ornaments, are pretty to decorate your home with and to give to a friend or colleague, but better yet, they also give back to the charity itself, which aims to attack cancer once and for all by pushing promising scientific breakthroughs to the finish. Also, Graf & Lantz design studio is based in Los Angeles and are handmade here in USA. So, be a star and give a star this holiday season! Box of three felt stars (three different designs) - $28 per box.
Doesn't it just look festive? I love the tarte brand and the limited edition holiday clutch has purple lining and could be a gift on it's own, the nine lipglosses infused with tarte's t5 super fruit complexes are just bonus. The tarte t5 super fruit complex is a blend of the five most active superfruits: goji, acai, maracuja, acerola and pomegranate, thus they smell great and are loaded with naturally occurring, antioxidant rich nutrients and vitamins that have been known to deliver refining, anti-aging and skin-restorative benefits. I actually gave myself this gift already (my bad) and have the different glosses stashed in my coat pockets and in my many purses (too many). Oh, and their site mentions the clutch could also be used as an eye/ sunglasses case and their packaging is "green." $39.00 for the entire set.
I haven't been a gamer since the days of old school Nintendo, but I've since gotten the Wii for as a wedding present and Raphael and I enjoy the interactive, full body games. My favorite obsession is We Cheer from Namco Bandai, which allows you to "bring it on" through a cheer leading routine to a famous pop or jock jams song. It took me awhile and many curses at the screen until I completed my first "championship" and unlocked a new outfit, but it was worth it. I've also had several guests who were visiting, male and female, play this game with me and they all love it. It's so much fun, I promise. $39.99.
4. The MICHELIN Guide
For the passionate traveler or local foodie, this guide, which originated in Europe is known as the international culinary bible, offering the best recommendations for dining at all price points and hotels in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Unlike Zagat the Michelin Guide does not include every restaurant in an area – just to be included is considered an honor because it’s been selected on the basis of quality, where as the Zagat’s guide is just a list of area restaurants with reviews, so you can use CitySearch for that. This little book also has color photos and the selected restaurants are tested by inspectors over several visits and do so according to worldwide standards that are 108 years old! Recently, I ate at two of the 16 Los Angeles-area restaurants to earn the prestigious one-star rating, Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills and The Dining Room in Pasadena, so just 14 more to go! Only $10.17 at Amazon for the LA edition.
5. Chalmers Ganache Trio
It's fine chocolate, do I really need to say more? This swanky gift, The Taste Trio, includes three 8.25 oz. jars of Chalmers Ganache – one of each flavor: original Luxe Dark, Ultra Mint, and Mucho Mayan Spice, all made with the finest European cocoas and natural ingredients and presented in a lush brown suede gift box tied with Chalmers blue grosgrain ribbon. What can the ganache be used for? Basically you can spoon it, melt it, spread it on toast or use it as a dip. They also have a recipes page online that gives receipes on how to drizzle it on waffles, use as an icing, make a chocolate martini or even a chocolate mask for your face! Thus, chocolate heaven for $29.99.
6. The Little Black Apron
The Little Black Apron: A Single Girl's Guide to Cooking with Style & Grace is the kitchen staple for women who want quick and healthy recipes-for-one. For the the domestic goddess in all of us, this cookbook addresses many nutritional issues like cholesterol, fat, proteins, folate, etc., When the book was first released it actually sold out on Amazon.com within the first two days. This one also sells for only $10.17 new from Amazon.
7. Wall art stickr frames
Perfect for the dorm room, apartment-dwelling crowd, these peel and stick picture frames let you decorate without hooks or hammers required. I especially like that these stickers are urban-chic and make for affordable art without ruining your walls, it's something different and heck, even earthquake proof (I am out in LA after all, no big frames above our bed) and babyproof. Plus, the sticky frames are reusable over and over. The set of 8 frames retails for just $19.95; the wall art designs go for $35 to $38, available at www.butchandharold.com
My hands are generally cold, but then again so is my office, so I'm loving Warm Mouse. It's a basic computer mouse that plugs into your USB like usual but also heats your hand. There is an on and off switch so it doesn't have to be a constant heat either. It is also delievers therapeutic heat to relax tight hand and wrist muscles, improving circulation and helping overworked joints as well as with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The holiday special price is $29.95 and you can pay with Paypal if you wanted.
9. SHINE Vanilla & Peppermint Soy Candle
Soy candles are so hot right now, yes, both literally and figuratively. This particular one though provides a relaxing blend that combines the sweetness of vanilla (my fav) with the crisp tones of holiday peppermint. Made from 100% eco-friendly soy wax and infused with essential oils HollyBeth’s SHINE Vanilla & Peppermint Candle contains no petroleum products, synthetic fragrances, boosters or colorants. It also has a cotton wick so it burns very cleanly, otherwise I hate when dark soot appears and stains the cieling or nearby wall, which happened when I lit a candle recently in my bathroom. Anyway, this is a limited edition scent available for the holidays at $17, their other candle fragrances like lavendar retail for $20 though. Estimated burn time is approx 20 hours.