If there is one thing that I use throughout the day (and night) it is my reading glasses. I have always had bad eyesight. I got my first pair of glasses in elementary school and when I finally got contacts I was delighted. Even then though I was told that reading glasses were a certainty in my future.
For me the need for reading glasses began appearing in Grad school I was just going too much reading not to need them. Since then i have gone through more pairs of reading glasses than I can count. i have had expensive ones and very inexpensive ones.
But never have I had reading glasses like these. ThinOptics is exactly what they say they are – Thin Optics. They are glasses that are made very very thin so that they can be slipped into a case that easily clips to the back of the phone. For me that means I always know where to find them and they are always with me,
Which is kind of a life saver in both restaurants and the grocery store.
The thin frames also mean that these glasses are lightweight enough that they don’t put the classic glasses nose dent in my makeup. They sight lightly on the nose without leaving an imprint. which means I can take them off and not worry about two dark smudges where my foundation wore away.
ThinOptics has the style I wear, which is the regular style glasses in tortoise shell, but they also have even smaller ones with out the ear pieces that just rest on your nose in the pierce nez style. If you ore someone you love uses reading glasses on the regular than this is one of those unexpected gifts that will rapidly become a favorite and will be used for a long time to come. They are thin, but very durable. The thinness gives them a great deal of flexibility.
And at the moment, they are on sale. Buy any two vision solutions and get 30% off. That’s right clear vision for you and your honeybun for 30% off. Or you could just get two for your self or two for your honey bun. That is your call. either way, they are well worth it.
Sometimes you buy a valentines gift for the love of your life. Sometimes you buy it for your bestie and sometimes it is a treat for yourself. This year i bought chocolates and beer making paraphernalia for my babydoll (Still not exactly sure what the beer things do, but he was thrilled when I gave them to him.) I was going to wait to give them to him but I hid the chocolates already and he saw the package come in from the brewer’s supply and his eyes lit up like Christmas. So I didn’t have the heart to tell him he had to wait. He’ll get the chocolates on the 14th though. (He is way more of a chocolate fiend than i will ever be.)
This year I also got my mother flowers.
And I have to say I am tempted to get the Glossy Box Valentines Day box for myself. It is a $35 box that is on sale now. If you don’t like spoilers and want to be surprised by this box, look away now.
I’ll count to ten.
Okay good, now for the rest of us…
The Valentines Day Edit Features…
Rodial Dragons Blood Eye Masks
Elemis Superfood Glow Priming Moisturizer
Aceology Rose Petal Mask
Bioderma Sensibio Foaming Gel
Christophe Robin Hydrating Melting Mask
Bellapierre Lip Creme – Hibiscus Shade
Eyeko Black Magic Mascara
Kitsch Metallic Hairties
I tried the Aceology Rose Petal mask (full review here if you are interested) and it left my skin feeling like a rose petal. It was a beautiful mask. The scent isn’t that rosy for those who hate rose. It is a liht scent that fades pretty fast. It is however a fantastic mask. And it is a wash off mask. Most of the other masks I’ve tried from Aceology have been peel off masks. This one isn’t and it is one that is on my to be purchased list.
I have also used the Bioderma foaming gel cleanser before and it was a really nice clean that didn’t feel like it stripped the skin. It was one of those cleanse where after you pat your skin dry you think ‘I think I am just going to wait a moment before I put anything else on because this just feels nice’ kind of cleans. Or at least I have that sort of moment where my skin feels so fresh i want to hold off adding anything and just enjoy the clean skin. Maybe it is just me.
I just finished using up the Christophe Robin Hydrating Melting mask (full review here) and I have the mask on my list to repurchase. It is one I will add to my collection once i have whittled down some more of the hair masks I have in the hair care drawer. (For a while it seemed like they were multiplying ever time I closed the drawer but i think I have a handle on them now).
And I will never turn down a Black Magic Mascara from Eyeko. I used to go to Eyeko solely for their eyeliner (which is fantastic, I just don’t wear a lot of eyeliner any more). but their mascaras are winning me over. I really like the formula of this one. It doesn’t flake and makes my lashes look thick and full.
I think I have a sample of the Elemis moisturizer but I don’t think I have tried it out yet. I have never really had a product from Elemis that I didn’t like so odds are I would love this one. And of course there are several items on this list that I know nothing about and since I love trying new products that makes this box appealing as well. If you are looking for just a little something fun and special, whether for a friend, a family member or yourself, these Glossy Box Valentine’s Edits make a great gift.
If you know of Barkev’s then chances are that you think of engagement rings. It is their specialty. They have engagement rings, wedding rings, sets, promise rings and even a design your own ring section on their website. You an build your own set, and even choose from regular diamonds or lab grown diamonds so that you can be certain that you not only get the diamond and the setting you want but that the diamonds you choose match you perfectly, and can concentrate on design rather than sourcing. You can also request a sample and try it on at home if you want to make sure the setting is perfectly suited.
I have rather short stubby fingers if I am honest and my mother has really long slender ones (I got my dad’s hands) and while it really only bothers me that my fingers are short when I am trying to play the piano and stretch farther than is comfortable, it does mean that the rings that look good on her don’t always look good on me, and via versa. Since a wedding set is something you are hopefully going to wear forever, it is nice to make sure it looks right before you commit. (The same also applies to spouses, but that is a whole different process).
And while their engagement rings are stunning, not everyone is looking to get engaged for Valentine’s day. Never fear because they have a stunning array of necklaces, bracelets and earrings to choose from as possible gifts for your sweetie.
I personally go for the rather straightforward items, like the necklace above or the always fabulous halo studs. I find them timeless and classic. they can be worn with anything and they never go out of style. I also like the minimalist approach so that the diamonds themselves can shine.
Barkev’s does feature many items that showcase their diamonds really well, some more minimalist than others. And yes I know the star pattern on the earrings featured to the left are not exactly minimalist but I think they are just stunning. There is something about that shape that I just find so appealing. I love plain studs, but with they have that star like shape to them it is almost like the blue fire of the diamonds is exploding outwards.
If diamonds are not your thing then they have other gemstones on offer. They even have simple platinum letter necklaces (with a singular letter for an initial). well I say platinum, but they do offer them in a variety of metals.
If you are looking for jewelry this year as a valentines present, or even to start a life long commitment, then the Barkev’s website is definitely one to check out. The stones, whether mined or lab grown are top notch, the settings are fantastic and can be ordered in the metal of your choose. You can choose a setting from their offerings or design one of your own. If this is where Valentine’s day takes you, Barkev’s is a good place to start.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and while giving flowers for Valentine’s day is something traditional I thought it a good gift idea to start with. This week i will be featuring a few gift ideas for anyone looking for just a little something special for the one or ones they love.
Flowers are a traditional gift at this time of year for a reason. Personally I adore cut flowers in the house. they bring a freshness and brightness that is actually much needed especially in February. I don’t know about you but as soon as the calendar page turns and I see February written at the top of the page, I start thinking spring.
However the weather rarely agrees with me as February is often one of the coldest months where I live. Often the early shoots from the spring bulks come up during a warm spell only to find themselves glazed with ice. And as excited by the thought of spring I am when I turn the page, by Mid-January I am beginning to feel as though Spring will never come.
So the valentines flowers provide a much needed boost.
While I will not say a bad word about roses and I adore having them in the house, I have an absolute weakness for tulips. And Bloomsy Box has a selection of them to choose from. Yes they do have Roses as well. They also have Irises, Lilies and a multitude of other arrangements.
But the ones I like the most are the tulips.
I know what you are thinking. Isn’t Bloomsy Box a monthly subscription? They are and they do have a very affordable subscription rate if you want to get an absolutely gorgeous bouquet sent to your or your loved one’s home on a monthly basis (who says you have to give flowers only once a year?)
However they also have single bouquets that you can order for a one time purchase. They come neatly packed in a box and I have ordered from them multiple times and never had a problem with any of the blooms that arrived. They always arrived looking fresh and ready to put into my favorite vase.
Flowers are a traditional valentines gift and whether you make a one time purchase or decide on a subscription, it makes a lovely gift. The photos in this post are of the Pink Peony Tulips. This particular bundle is my mother’s favorite and I sent them for her birthday and will be sending them again for Valentine’s day this year so she to can have something fresh and lovely to beat the chilly February blues.
This may seem like a bit of a strange gift suggestion idea but for my family it actually works really well. First off Righteous Felon Craft Jerky is really good quality Jerky. If you go to their about pages you can not only read about how they source clean ingredients with no added hormones. In addition you can also check out the 44 Roseda Farms where their beef is sourced. I am a big fan of knowing where things originate, especially with food.
In addition to being well sourced, it is absolutely delicious.
Beef Jerky has always been one of my favorite snack items. I know, it is kind of amusing since as a rule I don’t actually eat a lot of beef. I like it, but it is a once in a while treat not an everyday or even every week sort of meal for me. It never really has been.
But I love my beef jerky.
During the week I will have a bag and portion out a few pieces here and there as an afternoon snack. It has great protein and it really takes so little to make me feel like I had a really big snack.
At this time of year though, i stock up for road snacks. While the gas station stop is inevitable because no matter what people snacks I take with me, the car still needs to fuel up too. But having good snacks in the car means that i am not stocking up on some not so great for me snacks when we pause to feed the car.
And as my family is scattered, I am not the only one with a road trip both before and after a holiday. These make the perfect stocking stuffers as I can order a large pack and split it out depending on who likes what. There are flavors to suit pretty much every taste. I am partial to the Darth Garlic and the Habanero Escobar. My babydoll loves the Voodoo Chile (that one is slightly too spicy for me which means he gets the bag to himself which makes him happy).
If you are going on a road trip or have family that is traveling for the holidays this is a great addition to the holiday gift giving, or personal stash. It is also great for those who just enjoy good quality Beef Jerky. While the image here is from the large variety pack that lets you sample all of their varieties, they have many different packs this year, some single variety for those who know exactly what they like. And for those who don’t want the beef jerky party to end, they offer subscriptions as well. That’s right jerky that arrives like magic upon your doorstep for all of your snacking needs.
Well, maybe the subscription isn’t magic. but it kind of feels like it.
For me, it is a great high protein weekday snack and a fabulous road trip supply to stock up on. At this time of year, Righteous Felon also becomes an amazing stocking stuffer.
I have this tendency to remember Bold Loft only around Valentines day. Don’t get me wrong, they make fantastic Valentine’s day gifts. But they also make great gifts for those you love year round.
Their designs are clean looking and most of them are done in black and white with just a hint of red in the hearts. There are actually solid colors available this year. i saw some blue pillows that would actually suit my bedroom really well and might be in an upcoming purchase as we do a little New Year’s Bedroom Refresh.
Bold Loft has large body pillows like the one featured in this photo (left). The case is 54 x 20 inches (135 x 50 cm) and fits most standard sized body pillows. I think that new pillow cases are a fantastic way to just refresh the bedroom and make it look bright and new. (plus the case doesn’t take up a lot of space which nit a lot of décor items can claim. For me it is nice to have items like this that I can trade in and out. I also don’t have a lot of storage space, so something simple like a change of decorative pillow cases really works for me. Personally, I am partial to the I love you to the Stars and back line. There are however many different ones to choose from, all featuring the general theme of love.
If you are looking for regular sized pillow cases instead of body pillows, Bold Loft has you covered as well. They do have the classic white as well, but I thought I would put the solid colors up so you could see the difference in the designs.
My bedroom has three light blue walls and one dark blue feature wall. The headboard on our bed is a soft gray. I am still in negotiations with my babydoll on the duvet cover. We have very different tastes. So finding something we both like has been an interesting (and ongoing) challenge. We both have items that we each had in our own places before we moved in together so we trade them out periodically. For reference as to how on going this is, we combined households in 2010.
Admittedly we have moved about five times since then. Slowly the things we each had are starting to wear out and when they do we come together and buy something we both like. We actually find it easier to wait until things wear out and then begin the debate. With bedding we are actually reaching the breaking point as we have slowly been wearing things out. However with the bedding it is only the sheets and coverlet my babydoll cares about. He has no interest in pillows or pillow cases, which is why I tend to lean into these form Bold Loft.
Which is probably way more about the inner workings of my home then you probably wanted to know. But these pillow cases take up very little space in my linen closet. And they ae an easy decorative item that can be changed out when needed and are easy to just throw into the wash with the rest of the lanudry.
If however bedding isn’t on your todo list, I recommend the mug sets. While many of them are specific for couples and celebrate things like valentines day and weddings, many of them are just little reminders that someone is loved. As I have always lived at a far distance from large swaths of my family, I am partial to the themes of love over a distance, like the Love has no Distance on the right or the I love you to the moon and back featured on the left. These twelve ounce stoneware ceramic mugs are dishwasher and microwave safe.
Again I personally like all of the simple, clean line drawings that are used for illustrations. There are many other gifts and gift sets available on Bold Loft. From superhero themed t-shirts, glasses, and other sets. I find them fun and a nice celebration of love. While you can go onto the site and search by type of item, there is also a menu that lists the items by event: wedding, anniversary, valentines day and long distance gifts.
Honestly, I think they make great anytime gifts. After all why should telling someone you love be seasonal? While I tend to lean more towards Bold Loft for Valentines day, their sets make great Christmas gifts and lovely items to simply refresh your home for the new year. it is well worth taking a look.
This year Sol de Janeiro has several gift sets that I think are well worth looking into. I will admit i am partial yo the original Brazilian Bum Bum cream over the others. They all work well, it is just a scent thing. The original Bum bum cream smells a bit like buttered popcorn and I personally think it is just fantastic.
The scent does fade but it is prominent. I will say that while my babydoll likes the scent well enough, he is partial to the scent of Beija Flor scent when i use that one. He always tells me he likes my perfume when I have just finished applying the Beija Flor Body lotion. It is a delicate scent that is lovely, but fades pretty quickly when you are using the body lotion. I have not tried the body spray so I can’t speak to that, but if it smells like the cream, I wouldn’t mind having the scent around longer. I find both to be fabulous scents.
In this year’s gift sets, both of these scents feature prominently. The Bum Bum Beats Gift set (Pictured above) is , as the name suggests, focused on the Bum Bum Cream scented products. The Bum Bum Cream is a really good hydrating formula and I have to say even though it is meant to make sure your Bum looks smooth and tight, I have found it works really well to help do a little tightening of the skin on my belly. As I am starting to lose weight there are some stretchmarks. Those I will happily except as the weight goes down. However there is some loose skin that i really don’t care for. When I use this cream on a routine basis, that skin tightens up and there is less loose skin, which I really like. It isn’t magic of course, it is skin care and it does require routine applications (but it doesn’t require a lot so one large size of this cream lasts a really long time.
I know, it is designed for lovely ladies looking fab in bikinis. It also works well for middle aged ladies trying to whittle down their body mass. I know, it makes for a less exciting advertising campaign, but it is a fantastic cream. In addition to the Bum Bum Cream, this set also comes with the body scrub. I tried a small travel size of the body scrub and really enjoyed it. It was an excellent exfoliator and had the same buttered popcorn scent in the shower. The scent faded, but the smooth skin remained. I haven’t tried the other items in the set, but those two are very worth picking up.
If you don’t want the full set there is the Boldly Rio Duo Set to try. It has the super Fab Bum Bum cream and is paired with the perfume Sol Cheirosa ’62 from the brand. I am actually tempted by this set. I haven’t tried the scent but the description sounds like it is right up my alley…
Mouthwatering notes of salted caramel, vanilla bean, and rich almond make for an absolutely unforgettable first impression, while deeper golden sandalwood and pistachio notes round out and intensify the scent for a long-lasting fragrance experience.
Seriously, even if I don’t go for this set, I am pretty sure that scent is going to be in my test out list for the new year. Its the caramel and almond that gets me. And I will never say no to anything with pistachio.
But that is beside the point. The sets look nice.
If the Beija Flor is more in your scent zone, there is a Beija Flor Duo Set for that as well this year. It has the Elasti-cream which uses a vegan collagen and feels fantastic on the skin. It also comes with a matching body spray.
The final gift set Sol de Janeiro has featured this year is the Radiant Rhythm Gift Set. This set features the warm floral Cheirosa 40 fragrance in the products. I have not tried this scent yet. While a part of me wants to pick it us so that I could try it, I will probably gravitate back to the original Bum Bum cream and the Sol perfume to try this year. I just really like that scent and the feel(and use) of the original cream. I do like that the brand has branched out of the original scent though. It means there is more for everyone to try and as much as I do love the original, I will be looking to try out some of the scents i haven’t gotten to use in the upcoming year. It is just a good brand, with a great line of products. I just need to remind myself that they sell more than just the Bum Bum Cream.
I have tried a lot of Wander Beauty products and there are quite a few I really like. Pictured above are some of the favorites in my collection. The Staycation mask is really good for hydration (no surprise there) and is something I turn to routinely in the wintertime. If you are interested in a more fulsome review, it featured on a Face mask Friday post a while back and you can read about it here. The Do Not Disturb Overnight Repair Concentrate was a part of my Skincare routine from July 2nd – September 3rd, 2021And I liked it enough to pick up a second one. In fact I pulled it out of my skin care drawer because I need to rotate a night mask into my current routine and I will be adding this in. The baggage claim Eye masks are long term faves and this, my last set, will be slipped into my travel bag before i leave for Thanksgiving and reordered once I return.
Wander Beauty also offers a 24 piece variety pack ($75) this set includes not only the Limited Edition Festive Fuchsia Baggage Claim Masks but the original gold and the rose gold sets as well.
Whatever color you use they all are fabulous. they are light weight and stay in place well so if you want to put them on while getting things done around the house they are easy to wear and you don’t have to worry about them slipping. Last year my mother and each wore a set while wrapping Christmas gifts. And then after got dressed for the holiday gathering. (where we handed out the presents we just wrapped, timing slipped a little last year).
They are great for a pre makeup ritual and they really help to depuff the eyes which is why they are onw of the products I keep around for allergy season. Actually during allergy season i like to put them on and then while they sit I will lightly roll over them with a jade roller. It pushes more of the serum in and the coolness of the stone is also beneficial to allergic eyes. So for me the larger pack is always a good idea. I like the way they feel and I love that they don’t leave any sticky residue on the skin when you peel them off.
The eye masks also feature this year in the Wander X Tenoverten Mask and Mani Set ($46). With this set you get six of the original gold Baggage Claim under eye masks and three nail polishes from TenoverTen. The colors are R&R (Soft Pink), First Class (Metallic Gold) and Soirée (Berry). I have tried the Ten over Ten top coat called Outlast. It is designed to make the polish chip resistant and I found it to be a really good quality top coat. i have never actually tried any of their nail polishes before. If they work as good as the top coat then I would consider this a very good deal. Each of their nail polishes retails for $12 on their own and the masks are a $26 value so you you get over $60 worth of product for the price.
I think that is one of the things that I really like about Holiday Bundles in general. You can get long time favorite products, try new things and get a great deal into the bargain.
Of course not all of the Holiday Bundles from Wander Beauty are about the under eye masks. (I just go through so many of them that I gravitate there first). One of the sets that really interests me this year is the Skincare essentials set. it is a Duo of the Drift Away Cleanser and the Dive in Moisturizer. I have never tried either product actually. I know I love the Do Not Disturb Overnight treatment so I am pretty sure the Dive In moisturizer would work well for me too, but if I am honest I am most interested in trying out the Drift Away Cleanser. It is a gel to foam cleanser that is supposed to provide the effect of a double cleanse without stripping the skin.
You know I love a double cleanse. And the few cleansers I have tried that have been gel to foam or cream to foam have been transitions I really like because the initial form (gel or cream) really lets me see where i put the cleanser so i can make sure i have in fact covered my whole face and am washing everything. I know that sounds a little strange, but I am not at my best first thing in the morning and the visual cue is helpful. I’m better after coffee, but still I like the transformative cleansers. I’m actually using a cream to foam cleanser at the moment.
Which I suppose it just long way round to say that I like this bundle.
They also have non skin care bundles this holiday season. Two of them caught my eye. The first is the Double Date Mini Lip and Cheek Set ($25). There are six mini lip and cheek products which is all of their lip and cheek shades plus the new release Spring Fling. I love this set for several reasons. One I would get to try every shade Wander Beauty has of the Lip and Cheek Creams. That right there is a bonus. i mean how often do you get to try out an entire lines worth of shades in one set?
Also I have really been liking cream blushes lately. the ones I like give me a great deal of control with blending and pigmentation level. (Of course the ones i don’t like provide a degree of angst, but that is the way with every product). I have been eying the Wander Beauty Double Date Creams for a while trying to decide which color suits me. And the ones that don’t work as Blushes on me look like they would be fab as lip products. And I will never say no to lip products. there is also something aesthetically appealing about the clear plastic rounds. Youi can see the product at a glance so you can quickly pick the shade you want and honestly they just look attractive. Plus, you know I already wanted to try them. Sort of a no brainer that I’d like it.
Of course you can’t forget the mascara. I have to say I am amused by this next bundle. It is the Eye-tinerary mascara Duo ($35). I have tried both mascaras and liked them both. They are just both good products. Personally I like the Unlashed a little bit more. I like the curved wand and if I had to pick i will generally go for volume over lengthening in a mascara. If I can get both great, but if not I will lean towards volume. So of course I go for the Unlashed which is a volumizing mascara. My cousin on the other hand loves length and absolutely adores the Mile High Club Mascara. Unsurprisingly, it has great lengthening properties.
So we predictably disagree on which mascara is the best. I know as far as serious debates go it doesn’t hold a candle to anything but when others get into more heated arguments about far more important (and family damaging) disagreements the debate between length and volume has served to break up the tension.(And when it doesn’t works there always the Smurfs Vs. Snorks debate to fall back on for diffusing tempers, admittedly that debate might show my age a bit). Regardless, I find it amusing to see both mascaras in the same bundle. I also think it is a great deal as both are in fact really good mascaras.
If you just want to try the Wander Beauty Mascaras without committing to a full sized tube they also have a trio of mini mascaras ($35) It has both the Unlashed and the Mile High Club as well as the Upgraded Lashes thickening Mascara. I have not tried that one so I can’t speak to it, but the other two are fantastic.
There are other Holiday sets available this year from Wander Beauty and honesty they all look well worth the price. these are just the ones that caught my eye. If you are looking to try items from the brand, stock up on favorites or seek out gifts for the skin care or makeup loving family member, there are several items on the Wander Beauty Holiday Sets page well worth looking into.
Each year without fail I pick up some sort of Soap and Glory Bundle. What is kind of amusing is that each year my purchase is driven by one factor. I look at all of their packages and bundles and then I purchase whichever one has the full sized Heel Genius inside of it.
I know, not the best decision making process. However it is mine. This isn’t to say I don’t like the other products in the bundle. This $40 gift set for example comes with several products I like.
Pinkly the Best Includes:
Clean On Me Hydrating Body Wash 500ml
The Scrub Of Your Life Exfoliating Body Scrub 200ml
The Righteous Butter Body Butter 300ml
Hand Food Hydrating Hand Cream 125ml
Heel Genius Foot Cream 125 ml
Face Soap Clarity Face Wash
Reusable Soap & Glory white and pink tin
The Clean on me Hydrating Body Wash and Scrub of Your Life are two products I purchase for my shower every so often. I like the scent and the effectiveness. The scrub of your life is quite exfoliation-tastic, although not overly harsh on the skin. Because of the exfoliation I can’t use it daily, but for a couple of times a week it is fabulous.
My mother loves the Righteous Body Butter and Hand Cream so those two items will be passed on as stocking stuffers. I have never tried the clarity face wash from the brand so i am looking forward to giving that a go. and truthfully the Tin is going straight into my laundry room. I have a collection of dryer balls, which I absolutely love, but I need a container to corral them in and this will quite frankly work perfectly.
I am posting about this as part of the Holiday Gifts posts not only because this and many other Soap and Glory Products and Bundles make great gifts, but as a reminder that sometimes great products do not have to break the bank.
This Heel Genius Foot cream costs only about $7 and it is the best foot cream I have ever used. It is a drug store product although my local Walgreens tends to run out of this on a regular basis so picking it up is always hit or miss. Hence the reason I specifically make a point to pick it up at the holidays. I do a lot of walking and my feet really take a beating. I have tried a lot of pricier items but in the end, i always come back to this. I have forgotten about foot care for several months and then realized suddenly that i am going to be wearing open shoes where people will be assaulted with my heavily calloused feet and rolled in this Heel Genius for an emergency rescue.
An hour before bed, when I am settled and reading in bed before sleep, I will slather my feet with this cream and pull on a pair of socks. (I can’t sleep in socks for some reason so I take the hour before bed to do this and then peel the socks off just before sleep.) Three nights of this and my callouses are softened, A week and my feet are soft and hydrated. Every time.
Sometimes we get caught up in the new and expensive and we forget the old reliable, and inexpensive products. This is a reliably good product and it deserves to be remembered. And if you can get a squadron of other nice products at the same time, even better.
This year, for me, The Heel Genius was found in the Pinkly the Best Holiday set from Soap and Glory. (Surprisingly though on the official website it is not listed as included in the kit so that may just be a US version.) Each year this is a treat to myself and each year I really enjoy it. It is my self care moment before the craziness of the holidays arrives. Some of the products I will pass on to those I know will love them but most I will keep for myself. It is Happy Holiday to me and I am well pleased.
Tis the season of snacking. It is also the season of guests, both expected and unexpected. Most of my family is scattered around the world at this point. Travel is always interesting. Some sections of my family will skip a year of traveling, staying home and communicating through the electronic ether instead of in person and then plan a huge trip with multiple stops along the way to grandma’s house.
It means that starting, well, about now, we will get phone calls about people passing through our area. A lot of my family seems to book flights to major airports and then rent cars to just meander and catch whoever they can on the way. My house is located along the way to a lot of places it seems so we will have people staying a night in the guest room or just stopping by for an hour. Sometimes we get family dropping by for coffee and maybe a snack, other times lunch, dinner and those strange in between times that are neither.
Which means we always have snacks and the makings of a quick cheese board, veg plate and possible charcuterie on hand. With the veg plate I always have two dips on hand for those who don’t do meat or dairy – it is my excuse to make fresh hummus as much as possible. And if they give some advance notice, my favorite battered and fried mushrooms, but that is a different post.
One of my favorite places to stock up is igourmet. During much of the year i will order cheeses from them simply because I like cheese and they have a really good selection of things I can’t find near me (They have a truffle cheese that is fantastic. They sell out a lot, so I sort of stalk the website lying in wait). My babydoll loves their sausages so we often pick a few of those up as well. And while we shop one cheese or sausage at a time when it is just us, we also make lists of our favorites as well as lists of who might be stopping by (No surprise that my family leans heavily towards the cheese board while his leans more towards the sausage).
Sometimes we will order a long list, but often times it is actually easier to order a couple of their gift baskets. The one pictured at the top of the post is their International Snacking Extravaganza box in case you are wondering. Out of this box I have tried the Sweet Sangria olives and absolutely love them. They can really add a great dimension to a simple bowl of snacks. I adore olives, as do many of my relatives and there is usually a bowl of marinated ones out. I make one that has lemon and rosemary in it. These Sangria ones are just easier to buy. They have sweet slightly fruity notes that blend really well with the briny olive and always disappear fast. The brine is a fantastic twist on a dirty martini as well.
Also included in this box is Righteous Felon Jerky. While the Victorious B.I.G. is good, I have to confess my favorite is the Darth Garlic That one and Voodoo Chile are the two we order a lot. The Voodoo is a little too spicy for me but my babydoll loves it. And if we order both then we each get our own bag and i don’t have to share the Darth Garlic.
But beef jerky is another post.
Gift Boxes from iGourmet are a great way to stock up on a variety of items for incoming guests. They also make great gifts. They have boxes that focus on locales like France or Germany. They have cheese centric boxes, charcuterie centric boxes, even a box completely focused on nuts, appropriately named The Nut Case. There are bundles of olive oils or even Barbeque Sauces available. In essence you can find pretty much anything for the food, wine or beer lover on your list.
And to be honest something like the Ultimate Party Collection not only makes a great gift, but can really help you out when you know you have multiple people stopping by and don’t have a lot of time to source a lot of different things. At this time of year, it can be a life saver just to know you have something on hand for whoever ends up stopping by.
Wheter gifting or stocking up for company, iGourmet is well worth checking out this holiday season.