The holidays are here again, and everyone is crazy busy. My shopping is done for the year — as usual I finished early — but if you’re still looking for that perfect gift, let me offer a few suggestions, à la Oprah. Dear readers, these are a few of my favorite things:
FOR THE TEA DRINKER: Melitta 40994 1.7-Liter Kettle
Our last electric tea kettle, a perfectly serviceable Proctor Silex started to die in January. M picked up this new kettle after reading some excellent reviews and I certainly put it through the paces. Unlike our last kettle, the Melitta can fill two large mugs of tea and still have hot water to spare.
FOR THE PERSON WHO LOVES AFFORDABLE, YET BEAUTIFUL JEWELRY: The Rose and Petal 925 Sterling Silver Ring
I decided to upgrade my look this year, and since we were saving for a house, I focused on accessories. This ring was my favorite item.
FOR THE GADGET GURU: Zak Designs E-Z-Rol Garlic Peeler
This gadget is so easy to use! Just pop in a garlic clove, roll and voila! All of the sticky paper is removed. For just $5, you’ll never have to deal with the odor of garlic on your hands again. Best of all, it’s dishwasher-safe. Also comes in festive red and green.
FOR THE COOK: Paprika Recipe Manager
For years I have searched for ways to collect all of my online recipes in one place. After trying archived emails, PDFs and numerous apps, I finally discovered Paprika. With this app, you can “organize your recipes, make meal plans and create grocery lists.” It’s a very handy tool and one that you can use on a Mac or PC, iPhone or Android, iPad, Kindle Fire or Nook.
FOR THE PET LOVER: K&H Thermo-Pet Mat
I bought two of these mats last spring for my eldest cats because their old bones just couldn’t take the cold anymore. The mats were so popular that I decided to pick up two more in the fall. I’m now the most popular kitty mom around. One small note: If you do end up buying one, cover the mat with an old pillowcase. This will make cleanup super easy.
FOR THE FASHIONISTA: Signare Tapestry Handbag
Big enough to carry everything you need, compact enough to not look like you’re Mary Poppins. More importantly, this purse is sturdy, which as most women can attest, is not always the case with bags in this price range.
FOR THE LONGTIME FAN OF “THE PRINCESS BRIDE”: “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride” by Cary Elwes
Elwes, who played Westley in the film, has penned a wonderful behind-the-scenes book about this cult classic. While I have no doubt the print/ebook versions are great, I highly recommend the audiobook to hear Elwes, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Mandy Patinkin, William Goldman, Norman Lear, Carol Kane, Andy Scheinman and Rob Reiner share their favorite stories about the making of the movie. M and I listened to “As You Wish” in the car over several weeks and had a blast.
FOR THE ADVENTUROUS, OR AIM-TO-BE-MORE ADVENTUROUS: “I Dare Me: How I Rebooted And Recharged My Life By Doing Something New Every Day” by Lu Ann Cahn
This is a compilation of Cahn’s many fun and daring “firsts” — activities she’d never tried or hadn’t tried in about a decade. I decided to give it a whirl and this year I enjoyed quite a few interesting experiences. I avoided saying anything negative for a whole day, bought a rubber stamp that symbolizes me, figured out a way to eat, and like, brussels sprouts, got chased by zombies, had a letter-boxing adventure, became a vegetarian for a day, studied French, took piano lessons, took sign language lessons, shared a migraine photo, revealed my Oscar predictions, sounded a barbaric yawp in public, spent a whole day without looking in a mirror, stood up for a cause I believed in, took classes in astrobiology, the nature of terrorism, social media and archaeology, took care of someone after surgery, tried a fondue dinner and used a Youtube video to learn a new skill.
FOR THE PERSON RESOLVING TO BE HEALTHIER IN 2015: FitDesk v. 2.0
I picked up a FitDesk as a Valentine’s Day gift for my husband and ended up using it more than he did. Not only is the bike easy to ride, the desk part allows me to work while I do it (or more to the point distracts me while I do it).
FOR THE PERSON WHO WANTS TO STAY HEALTHY BUT HATES TO WORK OUT: Zombies, Run!
As mentioned in a previous blog post, I love this app. The game’s tagline says it all: Get fit. Escape zombies. Become a hero. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot. It’s great fun.