Holiday Gift Guide
Chocolate Lovers Unite
Ferrero Rocher: Known for its premium assortment of exceptionally crafted chocolates, Ferrero Rocher’s Golden Gallery Signature box is comprised of four varieties of chocolates with thirteen pieces in total or a larger box of five varieties and 22 pieces. Go to www.ferrerorocher.com and virtually discover each chocolate work of art. Prices run anywhere from $5.79 to $20. Also available in a dark chocolate version!
Vosges: Yes, chocolate is good for you. Need a break from watching the kids? If you are trying to pair truffles for red wine, try the 9 piece dark truffle collection of Vosges Chocolate. See www.vosgeschocolate.com/collections/dark-chocolate-truffles. Just so you know, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, is a female-owned and operated, leading luxury chocolate brand based in Chicago.
Vosges has debuted two new collections available just in time for the holiday season: The Healer Collection and Ritual Collection. The Healer Collection is a collection of seventeen chocolates at $80 per box. The healing ingredients Reishi Mushrooms, Blue Algae, and Guajillo Chile. The Ritual Collections are designed to give the gift of various intentions including Self-Love, Joy, Prosperity, Protection or New Beginnings. Each Ritual box contains an assortment of chocolates and range from $75 to $140 per collection.In addition to the two new collections this holiday season, Vosges has a wide range of products available for gift-giving including The Exotic Truffle Collection, Meditation collections, and A Chocolate Calendar of Advent. Vosges virtual chocolate experience and pairing classes are also great interactive gifts for family, friends.. For more information visit www.vosgeschocolate.com.
Pastene: Now we are all staying at home, Pastene is making it easier than ever to help make meals not only easy to gift, but easy to create! For the pasta lover, Pastene features an array of epicurean specialty boxes to enhance anyone’s skills in the kitchen. Look for gift boxes under $25 and $50 that can be purchased at www.pastene.com.
Pastene Specialty Box- $39.99 features gnocchi, spaghetti, sauce, marinated artichokes, and more. The Pastene Gluten-Free Pasta Lovers Box- $24.99 features grated Parmesan cheese, GF penne rigate, Abrorio rice, basil pesto, and more.
Tea for You & Me
Tea Runners: They look just too gorgeous to be real, but they are. Founders of Tea Runners.com, Charlie Ritchie and Jewel Staite look like they just floated off the set of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but they are serious entrepreneurs with a serious business model – tea subscription. Yes, a very niche calling, but there millions of tea drinkers out there, and many are willing to pay at least $25 a month to get a chance to try rare batch teas from around the world.
With names such as carrot cake rooibos and apple cinnamon French toast, the teas are shipped to your doorstep and customized to your whimsy. The elegant packets in gold foil feature tasting notes and instructions on how long to steep and what temperature works best.
The variety can be mind boggling, and there are more than 300 different titles in the inventory including pure and flavored teas. Many teas are championship winners and many are organic.
Since the company started in 2016, reviews from clients are nothing less than ecstatic. A quick scan at the reviews include terms such as: “excellent customer service,” “delicious, fresh and fragrant,” “Yummyist tea ever,” and “addictive.” See www.tearunners.com for details.
Bel Lavoro: I’ve never tried olive leaf teas before, have you? This Santa Barbara-based olive orchard company is home to Steep Echo Tea. It has announced it’s first-ever “Home for the Holidays” tea collection and recipe gift box. This limited-edition holiday gift has been curated by Bel Lavoro owner, Kimberly Branum, and features three of Steep Echo Tea's olive leaf tea blends, including: Ascent (perfect for the daily drinker), Hush (delicious digestive aid) and Repose (which promotes rest and relaxation).
Known as immune boosting, the natural and antioxidant olive leaf tea box contains 12 individual, biodegradable tea bags. The holiday-inspired recipes found in the gift box were created either utilizing ingredients found in the tea (Hush) or that pair exquisitely with a perfect holiday dessert (Ascent/Repose).
At $45 with free shipping, the Steep Echo Tea “Home for the Holidays” gift box is the ideal holiday present that will not only calm the senses, but also help to feed the soul. The gift set can be purchased here: www.steepecho.com/products/holiday-box. In addition to the “Home for the Holidays” gift boxes, individual boxes of Steep Echo Tea can be purchased for $15 each. See www.steepecho.com.
JAF Teas: Create a soothing and healthy routine with these gourmet teabags. JAF Tea Ceylon teas gain distinct flavor from the land, and the hand-plucked tea process promises to ensure preservation of freshness and flavor of each bud’s essential oils. The JAF Tea line includes classic black teas like the strong English Breakfast; fruit and spice-infused flavored black teas; and refreshing classic green teas, both pure and flavored. Again, we see unusual flavors such as green tea with soursop and banana, and green tea highlighted by peach and apricot. They can dance into your home in a classy gift set or boxes for casual use.
And, if you pay attention to details, the teabag jackets are little works of art in themselves. The eco-friendly company, founded in 1944, is based in Sri Lanka and features the Ethical Tea/Packed at Origin Label. The tea contains non-GMO ingredients and even the packaging is printed on 100 percent recycled paper. See www.amazon.com to purchase.
Holistic Roasters: Your morning cup of joe just got better tasting and cleaner.Biodynamic Coffee by Holistic Roasters is making a difference, and coffee lovers reap the benefits. These beans are grown using biodynamic farming practices that enhance the natural fertility of the soil and prohibits the use of chemical fertilizers. It’s healthier for farmers who grow the beans, the environment, and consumers alike. Existing customers claim that each cup has a clean, fresh taste due to its organic nature. It is perhaps a perfect gift for the coffee lover and environmentalist on your Christmas gift list! You get 12 ounces for $19.95, and you can choose from three flavors: French roast which is a dark roast; Rubicon light roast, and Rise and Shine medium roast. The box and bag are 100 percent compostable. See www.biodynamic.coffee.
Circular & Co. Travel Coffee/Water Mugs: A mug is a mug is a mug, right? Oh no, Little One. We are introducing the Circular & Co. series of portable travel mugs made completely from single use paper cups. See www.circularandco.com to see its mission statement and challenge to all of us to recycle, reuse, and buy less. The cups come in 16-ounce and 12-unce sizes and keep beverages warm for up to 90 minutes for the large, and 30 miniutes for the small version. They are all BPA and melamine-ree, and you can also place these in the dishwasher. The larger version comes with a twist top lid that also has a press down mechanism so you can drink from all sides. They are designed to fit most car cup holders and are 100 percent leak proof. I love this feature in particular. Never fun to have coffee leaks in your cup holder! Prices: $10 for the 12 -ounce coffee cup; $18 for the 12-ounce mug; $20 for the 16-ounce version. You can purchase directly from the website or other online retailers such as www.Wayfair.com or www.Amazon.com.
Stuff for Kids and the Kid In All of Us
myFirst Headphones: Designed with parents in mind, myFirst headphones allows effective communication with children, while al
lowing a child to enjoy their own space in a safe environment. Unlike traditional headphones, myFirst headphones, at $79.90 on Amazon, uses bone conduction technology, that’s right/you heard it here, to transmit sounds via the cheekbones.
No, it doesn’t hurt. The technology leaves ears open to the surrounding sounds so parents can get their child’s attention. The wireless headphones can be connected via Bluetooth smartphones, tablets or even watches to play music or audio from nearly 50 feet away. The audio is set to an appropriate volume, ensuring safe levels of listening to the child, not harming their ears, whilst being loud enough for them to enjoy their sounds without being closed off from the outside world. Find out the skinny at www.myfirst.tech.
Brookstone Photoshare Frame: Digital frames come in all versions these days, and the newest one from Brookstone is ultra clever. In early versions of digital frames, you had to use a memory stick to import photos. This one is wi-fi enabled. You can transmit your photos from your computer or phone, and you also also send videos and music at the same time. Think of someone living alone who would love to see your photos as you are on vacation. Of course, you can send wedding pictures and other events almost in real time. The 10.1-inch touch screen display also carries more than 5,000 photos. Extend its memory life wiht a memory stick.
You can pre-load your photos for your family members. You and other family members can send images to Grandma or Grandpa. The frames are more attractive then ever before. This one comes in white matte, black matte, or frameless. It is free-standing and wall mountable. It is also able to feature the time and has an auto-dim feature. You can buy it from Brookstone stores or Bed Bath and Beyond and other retailers. Do save your receipt as customers have experienced both the good and bad in terms of ease of use and durability. I guess it all depends! Cost? About $100. See www.brookstone.com.
Victrola Suitcase Record Player: And…they’re back. Vinyl records and record players! Those bring back memories for us oldies, but for the young ones, this machine is the BOMB! Even vinyl albums are being printed for the most contemporary of K-Pop boy bands, and so you know this is a hot trend. And the good news is that the Victrola Bluetooth Suite case record Player is available at Target and Walmart for less than $50. It comes in fun teen colors such as light turquoise, and is considered a great beginners’ record player for the audiophile just starting out. A matching case with handle runs at $34.99. See www.victrola.com for more details.
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