Sweet Endings Desserts' Sunshine Cake I first met Judy backstage at QVC last summer while working and after oogling her cakes, she kindly offered me a piece. What happened in my mouth, I’ve been wanting to recreate ever since: pure.heaven. All of the cakes are baked from scratch—no preservatives--and are huge: enough to feed the whole family and then some (the slices are generous). Her sunshine cake is pure orange goodness, made from 100% real Florida orange juice and her coconut cream bombe is the only white Christmas you need.
photo credit: Williams-Sonoma
Le Creuset Heritage Collection Cast Iron Fry Pan Le Creusets’s old pots and pans get new life with their new heritage line, recreated from their first collections almost 100 years ago. Exclusively sold at Williams Sonoma, all the pieces are beautiful, but their enameled cast-iron fry pan is the gift for food and design lovers in your life. Made with their a wooden handle engraved with the Le Creuset name, it’s a pan that’s fun, classic and also adds a bit of design to your kitchen, which is nice, especially if some of your pans permanently live on your stovetop (like ours).
photo credit: United By Blue
United by Blue Lakeland Laptop Bag Clean, classic, available in 4 colors and made from 100% canvas, this bag is good all around. While it may say it’s for your laptop, it’s just as versatile as your all-purpose travel carry-on, daily-tote-around and office bag. Plus, for every UBB product you buy, they remove 1 pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups, so you can look and feel good with your purchase.
De La Paz Coffee If Coffee is like ice cream, (many different flavors available and everyone has a favorite) then San Francisco's De La Paz Roaster’s is really like ice cream—their coffee blends taste of strawberry jam and honey, cherry-caramel, nectarine and even the milk at the end of fruity pebbles. This is bound to be a new reason to wake up happy in the morning.
photo credit: Hammerpress
Hammerpress Thank You Notes I’m a sucker for getting and sending things in the mail, so I try to keep a stack of blank and thank you notes on hand at all times. Made in their Kansas City print shop, Hammerpress’ printed and letterpressed designs are filled with color and whimsy that’s bound to get you excited about some gold ole' fashioned snail mail.
Charlito’s Cocina Sausages and Salamis If you have never had this sausage: you need to eat this sausage. If you have had this sausage: you need to eat this sausage. Charlito’s is a Queens, NY-based charcuterie that makes some of the best handcrafted small-batch sausages around. Charles' (who's nickname is Charlito) black truffle sausage is out of this world and I am high on the list of people that are (way) over the truffle craze. Beyond that, everything he makes is just as delicious. Try his newly-released dry-cured beer sausage or if you’ve got a veggie to buy for, he makes a banging all-fig salami, no meat allowed.
Subscription to Garden & Gun Magazine To the uninitiated, the title of this magazine may throw you off a bit. Is it for militant farmers? Happily not. This Southern lifestyle magazine covers food, music, hunting and fishing, arts, and architecture, among other things. It's a great read for inspiration and relaxation, and has me checking the mailbox impatiently for my bi-monthly copy. How else am I going to find out how to perfect my fried chicken recipe, or where Georgia's best B&B is this year?
Bacon Kit I'm not even sure why I have to explain this one, but here goes. It's a kit that helps you make your own bacon. I repeat, you can make meat candy in the comfort of your own home, giving you both nature's greatest food and the satisfaction that only comes from doing it yourself. Step away from the supermarket stuff and get cracking on your bespoke bacon.
Leatherworks Minnesota Slingshot Whether you're sitting in a corner office or on the corner of your back porch a slingshot is one of those things that you never knew you needed until you have it. Red and I are big fans of Leatherworks' products; we've got their toothpick holder and money clip wallet, and this squirrel slayer is next on my list. Handcrafted by those who know best, it's a great bit of analog nostalgia in a digital world.photo credit: The Tie Bar
The Tie Bar It's hard to pick just one item from this low-price accessories store, but I'm partial to the simple cotton pocket squares and plaid bow ties. At just $8 and $15 each, there's no reason not to pick up one for every day of the week, or just to have a few in your desk when a surprise business meeting or cocktail hour arises.
Whistle Pig 10yr Rye Whiskey Fact: I love brown liquor. Other fact: Whistle Pig rye is the best damn rye I've ever tasted (or at least remember tasting). It's costlier than other ryes, but you're not going to be mixing anything with this one. It's a deliciously spicy, yet smooth sipper that gets pulled out for toasting special occasions, or when you just feel like treating yourself. Distilled on a farm in Vermont where they raise grain, and yes, Mangalista pigs, you can pick up a bottle at most premium liquor stores.
Victorinox Tinker Swiss Army Knives I love well-made knives and droll with anticipation every time I get an email from Best Made Co. announcing a new release, but the classics are classics for a reason. I got my first Swiss Army knife from my dad when I was 8 and I still carry one with me most of the time (except at airports and sporting events; learned that lesson the hard way). Need to cut something? You've got two blades. Loose screw? Use your phillips head or flat head screw driver. Impromptu office party that requires a bottle opener? Hell, you can do that and open the can of chiles for queso. While you're at it, get that thing out of your teeth with the built in toothpick. I'm not arguing that you need to abandon your $200 Japanese hand-forged knife, but for everyday use, you can't beat this $30 multi-tasker.