Monday, December 10, 2007

A few of my favorite things...

So in the spirit of the holidays, I decided this entry should be about a few of my favorite products. I know it's not a critical assessment of a particular brand/ad campaign/product like most of my entries. But this should give you an idea of products I purchase/use on a regular basis and some tidbits about me as a consumer. Many of these would make great Christmas gifts for your friends/family/significant other BTW...

Wrapping Paper - Old Navy. Who knew, right? For any of you crafty types out there, not only does Old Navy have cool/trendy/contemporary/modern prints, but their paper is nice and thick, making for a perfect wrapping job every time. They don't have any traditional looks (i.e. metallic, shiny, Christmas paper) if you want an elegant, frilly gift you'll have to go somewhere else. But I have to say they make the coolest packages for birthdays and other celebrations. All they need now is some slick ribbon and they'd be my one destination for gift wrap supplies. And if they only sold their paper, boxes, etc. online...well then I'd probably have a problem :)

Candles - Method's Peppermint Vanilla - You may know my affection for Method from one of my earlier blog entries. This is yet another reason why I am loyal to the brand...Peppermint Vanilla. Only found during the holiday season, this candle is clean burning and makes my house smell clean and fresh. I burn candles quite often - they're especially warm and comforting in the evenings after a long day at work. And this is my regular stand-by. If only it were a year round product offering...And Method I'd also love it if those peppermint vanilla aroma beads were sold in their own containers all year round.
Hot Chocolate - Vosges Haut Chocolat's Aztec Elixir- I'm not really a sweets person, but this is one of my winter addictions. A wonderful blend of thick, rich chocolate, warmth and spice, you won't mind paying ~$1/oz for this hot chocolate to satisfy your cravings. This hot chocolate is a blend of ancho & chipotle chillies (a little heat down your throat), ceylon cinnamon, madagascar vanilla bean, cornmeal (great texture), and dark chocolate. And all you need is a little bit. Kiss those watery powders you thought were hot chocolate good bye!

Flavoring - Napa Valley Harvest White Truffle Oil - If you're looking for a special touch to add to a holiday dish, this truffle oil is fantastic. My favorite way to have this is with oven roasted potatoes and a touch of fresh parmesan. To make oven roasted potatoes, slice potatoes into thin rounds. Then toss with 2 TB olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, and salt. Spread the potatoes out to be ~1 layer thick on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for ~40-45 minutes, turning once. The last 10 minutes drizzle the potatoes with truffle oil and sprinkle on some fresh parmesan (use a veggie peeler to get nice chunks). This oil is also particularly good in soups and fresh steamed veggies like asparagus. (Can you tell I love cooking?)

Lotion - Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Body Cream - I normally don't purchase many scented lotions since I think they interfere with my perfume -and- many of them don't really make my skin feel moisturized. However, when the winter scents start showing up at Bath & Body Works, I stock up on my favorite body cream - Vanilla Bean Noel. What I like about this scent is it's light, not overpowering, and reminds me of fresh sugar cookies. And it makes my skin feel soft and rejuvinated. It's obviously popular with others as well...after the holidays are over you can often find this on eBay selling at premium prices.

Jeans - Joe's Jeans - Being 5'5", I tend to have issues with a lot of jeans brands since I can't find something that fits me in all the right places. If it fits my small waist, the rear end is too tight. Or if it's a good fit up top, the pants are entirely too long. When I found my first pair of Joe's Provocateur fit jeans, I was in love. It was a perfect fit all around...soft, comfortable, flattering, ideal length. At most stores I can look for regular, long, short, or petite lengths. But half the time a petite is too short if I wear a low heel (or they don't fit me as well as a regular), and the short length is sometimes too long. When you constantly have to pay for hemming it gets really annoying. Why is it men can order jeans in lengths and women can't?

Women's Shoes - Charles David - My closet is well-stocked with a variety of Charles David's traditional leather stilettos (seen below). This shoe is so versatile. It can be worn to work with a pair of slacks or a skirt and then put back on with a pair of jeans to go out in the evening. Not only is the styling classic and flattering, but the shoes are impeccably made. The soft, durable leather holds up to everyday wear -and- helps make the shoes pretty darn comfortable for heels. They're well worth their $150-on-up price tag.

Stereo Accessory - Apple Airport Basestation- I have a particular affection for useful/cool gadgets and the Apple Airport Basestation tops my list. If you have your entire music collection on your PC, you would probably prefer to play your music over your stereo speakers...after all computer speakers leave much to be desired. This little gadget by Apple is the ideal solution. It's perfect for parties, as you can wirelessly stream a special play list to your stereo via iTunes. And I love to use it while working around the house - I can hear my music all over. The only thing I wish is I could also get it to play internet radio stations (like Pandora). Maybe in an upgraded model...

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