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Here are a few of my favorite things

Greetings:

Oh my, Christmas is just a week away. I am happy to report that my shopping is complete, whew, that is a relief. However, if you haven’t started or still have a few people on your list I have a few suggestions that might assist you.
One of the things I like to do is give my favorite (fav) things as gifts. I know that might sound strange, but often I have a hard time figuring out what my have everything friends would need or want. So instead of driving myself crazy, I give my fav things. This way they get to sample what I like, try something new and enjoy a special treat that is truly a surprise.

One of my most fav things to give is a Starbucks Coffee card. I LOVE Starbucks and I love to give the cards as gifts because even if your friend doesn’t like coffee, they can enjoy a tea or a sweet. I also like Starbucks gift cards because for just five bucks your friend can actually get something. These make great little thank you gifts and little extras. I gave my cleaning ladies Starbucks cards along with a couple of my fav things (Soap and Sugar Scrub) and they were thrilled. For a store near you or to order cards on-line go to https://www.starbucks.com/card/default.asp?cookie%5Ftest=1 (Just a note, if you want more than fifteen cards at one time, I have been known to buy 50 at a time, you will need to order them on-line. Some type of strange Starbucks law).

Another one of my fav things is anything Bert’s Bees. Love it. My fav is the Cuticle Cream. The stuff is great, your friends will love you for it. I also like to buy what I call the Bert’s Bees Starter Kit, they call it The Head To Toe Starter Kit, which has a little bit of everything. If you have never tried Bert’s Bees do yourself a favor and get yourself a Starter Kit for Christmas. Hey you deserve a treat too. For information about Bert’s Bees go to https://www.burtsbees.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/AboutOurProductsView?langId=-1&storeId;=10101&catalogId;=10751
Since I am totally into pampering I love self-care gifts. A gift certificate for a massage, pedicure or manicure (or all three) is a great gift. I also love giving self-care gifts and anything from Bath and Body Works is great. My two favs is the Aromatherapy Sugar Scrub (Lavender Vanilla is my fav flavor) and CO Bigelow Ultra Mentha Lip Shine. It comes in tints as well as the clear which is my preference. This store is just filled to the brim with wonderful lotions and potions for women and men (men not as much but there is some things). For a store near you go to http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/home/index.jsp
Another one of my fav gifts is food. Not just any food, gourmet yummy delicious food. For starters Godiva Chocolate always makes a great gift. You can give a box of Godiva, a Chocolate Santa or even Hot Chocolate Mix or Chocolate flavored coffee. There is sure to be something for everyone on your list. During the Holidays Godiva has a special, if you spend over $60 you get a small box of chocolates free, spend over $150 you get another larger box for free. The more you buy the more free chocolate you get. I got two free boxes! If you are like me you will give what you bought to your friends and save the bonus chocolates for yourself. After all you deserve a treat for going out to the store and buying it. For a store near you go to http://www.godiva.com/

For yummy gourmet food Trader Joe’s http://www.traderjoes.com/ or Whole Foods http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/ is the place to go. I don’t have a Trader Joe’s in my area which makes me sad, but I did get an opportunity to visit one when I was in New Mexico. The place is amazing and has so many wonderful things in it you will be sure to find something for the people on your list (You can also shop on-line). When I was there I bought sugar scrub and my all time favorite gift, soap. I know, it is an obsession. I love artisan and unusual soaps. I can’t resist buying them and therefore everyone I know gets at least one bar of soap as a gift. I figure it is the perfect addiction, it is practical and indulgent at the same time. Oh and Trader Joe’s has great food items as well. Whole Foods (my friend Eileen calls Whole Foods Whole Paycheck – meaning plan to spend some money but it is worth it) has an array of unusual and yummy foods. I recently have been introduced to Marcona Almonds, they are to die for. When I went to Whole Foods to buy them I couldn’t remember what they were called so I just asked for the strange white almonds and the Whole Foods person knew exactly what I was talking about. These things would make a great gift along with some of the fabulous hand dipped Chocolate Strawberries or yummy Coconut Macaroons. A gift certificate to either of these stores or another fav store is always a welcomed gift. (The only thing about gift certificates is I end up spending more money than what the gift certificate is for, so they are not my fav gifts to give or receive unless of course they are Starbucks!)

Hey I diverge for just a second but I have to share a fav recipe with you. I got it from the same place I found out about the almonds, watching Rachael Ray on FoodTV. Rachael did a great show over Thanksgiving, 60 Minute Thanksgiving Dinner, II. She did a very different type of app array, she calls them Nibbles, which included baked Olives. I made these for our Thanksgiving dinner and everyone was amazed at how good they were. Here is the recipe:

4 cups mixed good quality olives

3 to 4 strips orange peel

3 to 4 strips lemon peel

1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Make a double layer pouch of foil for the olives. Add citrus peel, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds to olives then top with olive oil. Seal the pouch and shake it to distribute the spices and oil. Place in hot oven at any temperature (I baked them at 350 degrees) or on outdoor grill to heat them through. (I baked for 15 minutes) http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_34927,00.html?rsrc=search

These were so good. You might want to try them with your holiday meal or just an anytime treat. They were great.

Any of Rachael Ray’s cookbooks make great gifts. Her new book, 2, 4, 6, 8 is fab. The recipes are designed to feed 2 to 8 people, so you can fix a meal for you and someone special or eight of your closest friends. I have given this book to several of my friends. They are going to love it!

If I really love something I will buy everyone on my list the same gift. If the items are small, like a bar of soap, candles, food goodies and the likes, I will put several of them together in a cute bag. I always wrap each gift as it is more fun to open them when they are wrapped. If you feel like it homemade gifts are always nice, but this year it just didn’t happen for me.
Well I hope this helps. The holidays can be fun and fabulous if you simply make them easy by buying your fav things for gifts and sharing what you love with others. Hey, Oprah does it, where in the world do you think I got the idea. I figure I didn’t have to wait to be a billionaire to share what I loved with my friends.
Make it a great day,
Rachelle
Rachelleisms –
Fav – Favorite
App = Appetizers

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