I think I must be craving chocolate right now. These are the kinds of posts you’re going to get when I stop myself from buying ice cream at the grocery store. Sorry!
I’m sitting here visualizing a scoop of ice cream (ok, more than one scoop) covered in chocolate sauce and not just any chocolate sauce. Fudge is My Life chocolate sauce is decadent and a little chewy. I’ve tried the dark chocolate flavor and let me tell you, it is GOOD! I’m able to find it in Northern California Whole Foods stores. But for those of you who don’t live near a store that carries their products, don’t fear, the internet is here!
Sorry for adding to your calorie intake this holiday season…
I love looking at current and historical maps of a city I’ve lived in or a city I’ve visited. Maps trigger my memory just like a picture.
My husband also has a deep appreciation for maps and he is always searching for interesting things to hang on the wall of his office. When I came across the amazing work of Studio KMO, based in Charlotte, North Carolina I knew my husband would love this artist’s modern work!
I can only imagine the amount of time and detail that goes into producing these hand cut maps and maps drawn using small black ink lines. They are meticulously beautiful! Studio KMO offers maps of major cities in the United States and throughout the world. Her work is so cool that it has even been displayed in some really high profile places (think along the lines of major hotels and design shows and magazines). Check it out!
If you’re sick of the cheaply made party favors children expect to get at birthday parties these days (and end up in the trash the day after), then you need to pay attention right now! Northwest Toycrafters, in Spokane, WA, handcrafts wooden party favors, small toys and puzzles. All items are made out of pine and birch woods and contain non-toxic glue which means you won’t mind if they end up in the mouth of your little one (or pooch)! I recently threw a dinosaur themed birthday party and the wooden dinosaur party favors were a huge ROARING hit!
For some reason, my three year old son has an obsession with Nutcrackers. He is on the hunt for them this season. We’ve recently seen them in Target, Costco and Orchard Supply Hardware and they are cute but I’m just not excited about owning a cheaply made Nutcracker from overseas. I was determined to find a high quality, handcrafted little guy to proudly display in our home!
Nutcrackers USA, based in Richmond Virginia, handmakes beautiful Nutcrackers. Their Nutcrackers are simply stunning and they offer a handful of different designs each year. Based on information from their website, there are only a few companies in the United States that produce Nutcrackers because it’s incredibly challenging to do so and requires approximately 400 steps in the production process. Amazing!
You might remember the U.S. Postal Service Nutcracker stamp released in 2008 (when postage was much cheaper). Yep, that stamp featured photographs of four Nutcrackers designed by Nutcrackers USA. These four Nutcrackers are now featured in the Smithsonian! Wow!
If you know someone who likes to pretend, then let me introduce you to Superkid Capes! This company sells all that a boy, girl, man or woman needs to transform themselves into a super-duper super hero. I know this personally. This past Halloween our entire family was decked out in Superkids gear. We transformed ourselves into Wonder Woman, Superman, Captain America and Batman. It was so much fun, we got tons of compliments on our costumes and the boys are still wearing their outfits! Even though Halloween has passed, the capes and accessories (think Captain America shield, masks, Wonder Woman tiara) make great holiday gifts for those aspiring super heroes out there!
Now off to travel around the world in my invisible jet…
Visualize sunshine, an ocean breeze and inland citrus and avocado orchards. This is a perfect way to describe Ventura County in Southern California. Not only is the region beautiful, but there is a ton of citrus grown here. In fact, Santa Paula (one of the cities in this county) claims it’s the “citrus capital of the world”. Wow! Really?
It doesn’t surprise me there is a cool and unique product featuring citrus being produced in Ventura County. Ventura Limoncello makes delicious handcrafted artisanal liqueurs using an Italian family recipe and lemons sourced from this region. I was first introduced to limoncello while traveling in Italy and was excited to stumble upon this product a few years ago. It’s best served cold and is a fun and unique gift for someone special (and someone who is at least 21 years old)! Enjoy!
I have a huge appreciation for the work that goes into producing a cup of coffee. I know this because I’ve had the opportunity to spend time on two remote coffee farms in Guatemala. Harvesting the beautiful crimson coffee berries is hard work (I’ve done it!) and the rest of the steps in the process of simply getting green (unroasted) coffee beans to market are also time-consuming and labor intensive. However, the “art” of roasting and brewing coffee distinguishes the mediocre from the exceptional. Blue Bottle Coffee is a master of this art. The company strives to use organic, pesticide-free and shade grown beans which is fantastic for consumers and the growers and they make a SMOOOTH cup of joe!
For those of you who don’t live on the West or East coasts of the USA, you can visit the Blue Bottle Coffee website and purchase the beans online. For someone who appreciates a great cup of coffee, a pound of Blue Bottle Coffee makes a great gift! However, if you do have access to a Blue Bottle stand, my husband (Mr. “I drink four cups of coffee a day”) always looks forward to his afternoon Gibraltar!