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Holiday Gift Guide 2018
This year we have a mixed bag of gift items for travel, food, wine and the always-welcomed anti-aging potions for that special person in your life.
On my recent trip to Morocco I learned about their natural wellness treatments from elements gifted by the earth that Moroccan beauties have been using for eons. Zakia’s Morocco has made these products available to the world and has released a “Spa in a Bag” containing full-sized samples along with a description of how they are to be used. This item is perfect as a stocking stuffer, containing Moroccan “Beldi” Black Soap made from black olives for moisturizing and nourishing the skin along with an Exfoliating Glove to help remove dead skin cells. Moroccan Kessa, to remove bacteria and toxins and stimulate lymph and circulatory systems. Ghassoul Clay extracted from the Atlas Mountains to extract impurities and a bottle of 100% pure Organic Argan Oil, all contained in an easy to carry and re-usable bag. Visit https://zakiasmorocco.com/ for a list of stores that carry Zakia’s products or to order on-line.
Next on my list is a new product released by one of my all-time favorite skincare companies Sanitas. Their product line is scientifically developed and formulated in Boulder, Colorado from the highest quality ingredients. Their line is extensive, including everything you need for a total beauty regiment, plus they have just come out with something every women, regardless of her age, yearns for, products specifically formulated for the lips to keep them plump and line-free. The Conditioning Lip Polish & Redensifying Lip Complex is packaged in a perfect sized stocking stuffer gift box. For a list of all their products and how to order, visit http://www.sanitas-skincare.com/
Another new offering comes to us from the UK’s Laboratories No7. Since 1935 this company has been making beauty products that as soon as introduced, fly off the shelves in the UK. The company initially offered only cosmetics in a vast variety of shades. But once their reputation for high quality products was established, they have over the years evolved into a company offering natural solutions to the changing needs of their customers; developing products that not only beautify from the outside but work deep in the dermis. They have their sights set on the latest trends of the rapidly developing beauty market and now offer match-made makeup to complement each person’s individual complexion as well as ground-breaking products for aging skin. Their newest is Line Correcting Booster Serum clinically proven to visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 5 years. For more information and to order visit: https://www.no7beauty.com/
And if those are not enough, here comes Bratoxinsta ®Wrinkle Serum. Developed from key ingredients found in the Amazon rainforest, this product delivers dermatologist-approved topical age reversal with effects similar to Botulinum Toxin injections without the use of needles. State-of-the-art minerals and antioxidants plump up and tighten skin, leaving skin smoother and wrinkle free. Ingredients include purified and refined clay, Peptides, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Perilla Frutescens (Chinese Extract), Acai Palm Tree Extract, Chinese Basil Plant’s Rosmarinic Acid. This is a powerful ‘Botox in a Bottle’ product where a little goes a long way. Apply only one or two drops on fingertips and watch it working as you gently feather it over your face where needed. For detailed information on the active ingredients and where to purchase products, visit www.brazilianskin.com/collections/all-product/products/bratoxinsta
Moving on to two products that can reduce the discomforts of flying, first up is Eustachi . Eustachi is a small drug free hand-held device that helps unclog your ears naturally. It’s perfect for those annoying take-offs and landings that add pressure and often pain to travelers. It’s a simple product, that easily packs in your carry-on. Before takeoff - or when swimming, diving, or during allergy season, etc. - you simply hold the device to one nostril and breath-in while holding the other closed and vice versa. Battery is not included. For a more detailed description and how to purchase, visit www.eustachiunclogsears.com
We all know that traveling puts additional stress on the body’s immune system with all the unfamiliar particles in the air that one encounters from flying to traveling in unfamiliar environments. Airplanes are notorious for circulating contaminated air and virus-sized particles are always a threat with the crowds one encounters while touring. NasalGuard is a small tube that packs a big punch. It is a drug-free nasal gel that uses electrostatic technology to reduce the inhalation of harmful airborne contaminants. Dab a tiny bit on and around your nostrils to filter out and prevent inhaling pollutants. For information and where to purchase, visit https://nasalguard.com/
If you love great food and you like to prepare it yourself nothing can help you better in the kitchen than a Cuisinart Food Processor with Dicing Kit. The Elemental TM 13-cup unit comes with a large work bowl, a smaller work bowl, bowl pushers, chopping, slicing, shredding and dicing blades and a storage box to keep everything in one place. Even a bilingual (English/Spanish) recipe book comes with it. We tried a couple recipes and the Ratatouille, Latkes, Apple Tart and Rustic Potato and Fennel Tart were exceptional. We even made Guacamole and Hummus effortlessly. A full line of Cuisinart products as well as other kitchenware is available at Sur La Table stores https//www.surlatable.com/
And for the kitchen: a Christmas duo from award-winning Nudo Olive Oil, fresh from Bestagno, Liguria. Nudo’s olives are harvested from their own grove of Taggiasca olives, with the resulting product unfiltered, cloudy, bright green oil, with a rustic peppery taste. Their Christmas Holiday gift package contains a can of olive oil along with a limited edition, handmade oil cruet crafted by Yorkshire artist Michelle Fremantle. The ceramic bottle reflects the yellow sunshine, green countryside and blue sea of Italy.
Additionally Nudo, along with other small scale olive producers in the area, renowned for using low impact traditional farming methods offers a tree adoption program. Not only can you select the grove where your tree is located and receive olive oil directly from there, you can also visit your tree and learn all about the age-old husbandry of the land practiced by these producers. This gift package contains 3 cans of olive oil along with the cruet and a gift card. For details visit https://www.nudoadopt.com
And now for an inexpensive, unglamorous, strictly practical kitchen product that I am in love with and have found to deliver on all its promises. Its DiamoTech fry pan that has an advanced ceramic coating that is PFOA and PTFE free. Its non-stick, designed to cook without oil or butter, light weight and dishwasher and oven safe. I have tried every high-tech, expensive and trendy fry pan and this is the only one that I have found to turn out thick cut, coated cutlets and chops perfectly cooked without burning the coating or having it stick to the pan. If you or your loved one has similar frustrating experiences, for a small investment you can solve those annoying stick to the pan problems. Visit www.diamotechpan.com/
For the wine-lover in your life, we have three special wine recommendations: one from Italy, one from Argentina and one from France.
Malbec is Argentina’s most important grape and thrives in Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo, in vineyards planted more than 100 years ago. Earlier in the year I had a tasting lunch with German Di Cesare, Trivento’s winemaker, and I really enjoyed my Trivento 2014 Eolo with a charcoal-grilled triple lamb chop. It is a lively red wine, full bodied, with fruity flavors and sweet round tannins. Blackberry, coffee and peppercorn aromas emerge as the wine opens up then develop to a chocolaty spicy oak on top of blackberry and cassis for a long, smooth and lingering finish. I rate it at 94/100 points. At $79 per bottle MSRP, it is a bit pricey but I consider it worth every penny. Especially when paired with juicy charcoal grilled prime steaks.
Michel Chapoutier’s Domaine de Bila-Haut 2016 Occultum Lapidem is an exceptional mahogany-tinged blend (Syrah, Grenache and Carignan) from les Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France. Initially the nose is quite closed with black currants and dark plums, graphite, leather and intense aromas of black pepper dominating. As the wine opens up the black currants and dark plums intensify mixed with violets, menthol, anise, some leather and pepper. It is another red wine that works very well with charcoal grilled beef but would also enhance a breast of duck dish or a roasted lamb shoulder. I would rate it at 93/100 points. It is considerably less expensive than the Malbec but would give almost as much pleasure.
Finally from Italy and, specifically, from the Veneto, Famiglia Pasqua’s 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella. It is an aromatic earthy wine with wild berries, black currants, cedar, chocolate and spice on the nose. When first opened there are lot of tannins but give it some time (or use a wine aerator) and the tannins mellow and sweeten. Really good with hard cheeses, such as Gruyere, Kefalograviera or Manchego. The retail price is between the Eolo and the Occultum Lapidem and again worth a wine lover’s attention for the quality represented. The wine had cellar time to mellow, so I rate it at 90/100 points.
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