Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Favorite Things: 2011 Edition

Well, if Oprah can do it, so can I! Granted, there may not be an audience of screaming fans standing around, but I too provide folks My Favorite Things of 2011. I think it's safe now. Only my sister hasn't gotten her gift bag, and she doesn't read my blog.

I know…certainly not a glamour shot
Each Christmas, I put together an assortment of my favorite products and such from the previous year. These are what I give as presents. Some folks get the entire kit-and-caboodle…some, only a selection of the items. This year, in no particular order…

Mmmmm, liquor!
The Poisoned Apple Cocktail Mix.

I've created a lot of cocktails for parties, and heck, my own imbibement, but this one stuck out this year. It's rich spicy texture and "appley" flavor won out as far as cocktails go for 2011. Folks were provided with one bottle of The Poisoned Apple Cocktail Mix which yields approximately 8-10 servings of the cocktail. (Heck, Scott already finished his and needed a refill…LUSH!) You can make your own by heading over to my blog post on the subject.

Citrus-ish, The 2011 Spice Blend (salt-free)

Each year I head to a local Amish Market and buy spices in bulk. From that selection of spices I create that year's spice blend. Past blends have included…Savory, Sassy, and last year's India. This year I opted to go in a more citrusy direction. By combining Lemon Pepper, Orange and Lemon Peel, Sage, and Taragon, I came up with a blend that is as perfect on fish and seafood as I think it will be on pork and other meats. I can't wait to try some blended into my Chicken Salad! Sorry, there isn't a link for you to make this one on your own. You have to know me and I have to like you in order to get this Favorite Thing. But, I encourage you to always play around with spice. Just watch out for salt in your blends. If you salt your blend and then people add salt…well, things get SALTY!

Bath & Bodyworks "Cranberry Woods" Room Spray

I LOVE many of the room sprays that Bath & Bodyworks create. Very often, I do not like the same scent in a lotion or body wash, simply because I want my house to smell like them, not my body. Last year the scent was "Winter", a delightfully peppery spray that reminded me of walks I would take when things were cold outside. It reminded me of the wood stove smell I would find on those walks. This year's scent reminds me of what I would smell when walking into my Grandmother's house during the Holiday's. She would keep a small pan simmering on the stove which contained cinnamon, pine needles and cranberry. I miss you Grandma, but this spray helps me remember everything I enjoyed about the Holiday's at your house.

Ginger Chews

I rediscovered these little gems on my last trip to San Francisco. They are made by a company called The Ginger People and they have an entire line of products that, of course, contain Ginger. These bite size chews are great. I pop one in my mouth to wake me up in the afternoon at work. They have a wonderful gingery bite that some might find over powering, but I LOVE. They are also great if your tummy isn't feeling very good. I let one dissolve under my tongue and my sour stomach is gone within a half hour. Head over to The Ginger People website to see the great variety of products they offer and get yourself some Ginger Chews.

And a pan to the left reveals...

Crock Pot Candles

Everyone on my Favorite Things list receives one Handmade Crock Pot Candle (of varying size). I make these a few times a year because I am tired of paying the exorbitant price that manufacturers want for candles these days. You can head over to my blog post about these if you would also like to make your own. I enjoy the ease of making them and wonderful glow they provide in my home. In addition, everyone who receives a Crock Pot Candle is guaranteed a lifetime replacement as long as they return the original vessel to me so that I can make more.

This year there was a late addition to the 2011 Favorite Things category.

I mean, everyone has a toilet, right?
The HydroRight Dual-Flush Toilet Converter

I have 2 toilets in my home. Every time I would flush them I thought, "Why do they have to use so much water when I am just flushing down pee?". I ran across this beauty via one of my gadget blogs just a couple of week ago. It has the ability to use just a half flush when you are flushing liquids and then a full flush when things are a little bit more, um…solid (Poop! I've always wanted a reason to type that here in my blog). I also love that it's a button you press to choose which type of flush and not some sort of handle. I just feel like it makes the exterior of my toilet look more hip. I can't wait to see how using this affects my water bill. The website claims it will pay for itself in water savings over a certain amount of time. Most importantly, it's very easy to install. The website has a video of some well-spoken 9 year-old doing it! So, if you'd like to try out the HydroRight, you can find them at Home Depot, or order them online.

One thing I always used to include in the Favorite Things Bags was a calendar that I would produce from the photos that I had taken throughout the year. This year I decided not to mess with the calendar. First of all, it takes a lot of time and money to produce and secondly, I couldn't find that many photos from this year that were calendar worthy. This year most folks received a copy of the shot from Molly's Xmas Photo shoot. A few received some custom photos that were special to those individuals.

So that was 2011 as far as Favorite Things go. What were our favorite products, etc from 2011? Let me know in the comments…maybe they'll make it into the 2012 bag!

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