Ok, it’s true. I’m not Fraulein Maria from The Sound of Music, even though sometimes, I secretly wish I was.
And for the record (SPOILER ALERT!) I’m also not Oprah.
But I have favorite things toooooooo!
With the winter holidays quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to make a list of the things I love, because who knows! Maybe someone you love would love them too.
OMG. So much love. I love it.
Now, of course, the best things in life aren’t things at all. They’re people and experiences and all that stuff that you can’t put a price tag on. But that goes without saying, and this time of year we all feel the societal pressures to purchase material items for those special people in our lives. It’s cool – giving and getting things is fun. Just roll with it.
So without further adieu, here is a list of some of my favorite things. Some food related, and some not. But all guaranteed to put a smile on the face of someone you love under the shimmering lights of the tree, menorah or Festivus pole.
Coley’s Favorite Things!
*With the exception of the Stich Fix referral bonus, I am in no way affiliated with any of the products below or being compensated for this post. I just really, truly dig ’em. Click the product name in green to find out where to purchase.
Thermos French Press – Chaser and I (OK just me) have ruined our fair share of french presses. The glass ones always break. Always. And the plastic ones don’t hold up and begin cracking after a few months. We’ve become obsessed with this one, mainly because it keeps coffee hot for hours, and so far, has held up fine for well over a year.
Stitch Fix Wardrobe Styling Service – This service is so so so cool, and any woman in your life would be stoked to try it out. Fill out a style profile, pay $20, then they ship you 5 different clothing items totally tailored to your size, price point and style. Choose what you want and send back the rest (shipping is included). The $20 styling fee is deducted from your purchase and if you keep all 5 items you get 25% off! My wardrobe has been lookin’ ultra fly ever since I started using it, and I have had to put in VERY little effort. Stitch Fix rules.
Meat Thermometer Probe – Is your chicken always dry? Steaks either too rare or over done? Stop guessing and just get a thermometer already! It will make your life SO. MUCH. EASIER. This one has never steered me wrong. Insert the probe into the meat and it beeps when it’s done. No more ruined dinners. YAY!
Cuisinart Immersion blender – The immersion blender is my all time favorite kitchen tool (aside from the basics like knives tongs and spatulas). I love it because it’s easy to use, can be used for soo many different applications, it’s inexpensive, portable, and compact. But best of all IT’S EASY TO CLEAN. A no brainer. Use it to make this pumpkin soup, salsa verde or this watermelon gazpacho.
Jamberry Stick-On Nail Decals – These are my latest obsession. Once I started cooking professionally, I stopped painting my nails all together. For anyone who works with their hands, a manicure lasts less than a day. Not to mention, flaking, chipped nail polish is not something you want winding up in people’s food. A friend of mine recently introduced me to these and I’m already hooked. The stickers are made from non-toxic, chip-proof vinyl and use heat to adhere to your nail beds. Plus, they come in super fun designs and stay on really well. Fun, colorful nails give you MAD swagger.
Calphalon Katana Santuko Knife – More often than not, I come across people who love to cook and cook all the time, but have the dullest, worst knives ever. I’ll never understand it. Invest in one good chef’s knife and you can do just about anything with it. This is the first good knife I ever bought myself about 8 years ago, and to this day – even after buying much fancier and more expensive models – this one remains my favorite. It is of excellent quality, the grip is super comfortable, it keeps its blade for a really long time and I love the way it cuts. It’s an incredible value, and it looks cool too (which is probably why I bought it in the first place)! Not willing to put up the cash? Offer to send their dull knives away to be professionally sharpened. Bring them to Ernest & Son’s in Brigantine or send them away to Just Knives 101.
Mandoline Slicer with Julienne Tool – While a very dangerous tool, the mandoline is also an incredibly useful tool when used with care and caution. Make thin even slices and perfect julienned vegetables with ease. Plus, it’s pretty cheap, easy to clean and store. Use it to make this kale salad, this fennel green bean & beet salad, or this Thai green papaya salad. But OHMYGOD just be careful. No one wants to eat your fingertip.
Clairsonic Exfoliating Brush– I used to go for regular facials because my skin would look dull and flaky and not the way it did when I was 20. I recently discovered the Clairsonic and haven’t been back for one since. I feel like I’ve had microderm abrasion every time I use it. My skin looks better than it has in ages, and I owe it all to this little thing. Easily one of the best investments I’ve made in my lifetime. (But if you’re in the market for a facial, check out my girl Amy. Best in the game.)
Head Hammock – What started as a joke has become one of my favorite things EVER for traveling. After a horrible night’s sleep on a red eye to Puerto Rico, I was determined to invent a device that allowed easier rest on a plane. I used a scarf and a Go Pro suction cup to create a prototype for a contraption I called the “Head Hammock,” used to cradle your head from nodding off. To my disappointment, one Google search revealed that someone else thought up my idea before me and crushed my dreams of becoming rich from my ingenious invention. Last year, my brother-in-law bought me the real thing, which attaches to the back of your seat to keep your head strapped in (much safer than the suction cup). It’s freaking amazing! Best sleep I’ve had on a plane ever. But they’re doing a poor job of marketing this amazing product, IMHO. GET ON SHARK TANK, ALREADY!
Neti Pot – This might be an odd gift to give someone that you aren’t very close to. But it’s a dream for unclogging sinuses that have been plagued by a cold, flu, allergies, or – who knows – maybe even Ebola, SARS or Mad Cow Disease. I can’t vouch for those last 3, but a neti pot is great for detoxing the sinuses and preventing sickness. I’ll stop now. Moving on.
The Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club – I’ve been a member of the club for several years now ever since my friend DC introduced me to it, and I saw it hyped by one of my favorite old school Food Network Stars, David Rosengarten. The oils are pricey, but they are FIRE. They get shipped quarterly from a region of the world where the olives are being harvested. Australia in the fall, Italy/Greece in the winter, Spain/Portugal in the spring and Chile in the summer. Each box contains 3 bottles of fresh pressed olive oil – one mild, one medium and one strong. The flavors are unlike any other olive oils I’ve ever tried. The quality is outstanding, and totally worth the money if you’re into this sort of thing. The health benefits of fresh pressed oils are also monumentally greater than those that have been sitting on super market shelves for years (and most of them have).
Portable Travel Humidifier – Have I mentioned I’m not a fan of winter? As if the cold weather and short days aren’t bad enough, the dryness in the air is an absolute deal breaker. Without a humidifier constantly running at home, I’m positive that I would get an electric shock so powerful it would kill me. This humidifier is perfect for taking with you wherever you go because it’s so small and compact. It uses a plastic disposable water bottle as the water tank and is super quiet. It was a life saver when we were filming Food Network Star in Las Vegas aka the driest city on the planet.
Puppies – Are you kidding?! Who doesn’t love puppies?? ‘Nuff said.
If none of these float your boat (in which case, you’re buggin’) you can never go wrong giving someone experiences and opportunities to create memories together: Vacations, getaways, movie/concert/show tickets, restaurant reservations, yoga classes, spa treatments and the like are always well received.
Anything we can use to make the doldrums of winter a little easier on the soul is never a bad idea.
I still have plenty of people on my list to shop for, so leave me some of your favorite things in the comments!