Shaun’s 2015 holiday gift guide!


There are still a few shopping days until Christmas. I wanted to share some of my favorite things with you. Many of these items can be purchased inexpensively at discount retailers. They are great gifts no matter if you’re naughty or nice!


how good is that


Immersion blender

I cannot live without an immersion blender in my kitchen. This handy little machine plugs in and does it all: buzz soups and sauces right in the pot and even chop small things. These make so many things a breeze. I bought mine at a discount retailer like Marshalls where you can find name brand options at great discounts. Mine is a Braun and is plastic, if I were to buy one now, I would make sure to get a stainless steel option.

immersion blender

Metal handle silicon spoons

These are my favorite utensils for cooking. The silicon is great because it doesn’t scratch my pots and pans and the metal handles are nice and sturdy. I love that they go through the dishwasher with ease unlike a classic wooden spoon. You can buy them on Amazon of course.


Ceramic muffin tins

A few years back, I bought white ceramic muffin pans, I bought them because they were white, and I collect any dish that is white. I used them and haven’t looked back. I bake all my cupcakes, muffins in these pans and nothing sticks — everything slides right out! Once again, I purchased these at a discount retailer but you can find them many places like Amazon.

ceramic muffin pan


Walnut bitters

I enjoyed a Walnut Manhattan at a restaurant in Ashland, Oregon during our recent WineCation. I was hooked the minute I took my first sip. I then searched out a bottle and found them at a great shop, Napa Distillery in the Oxbow Market in Napa.

Walnut Bitters

Best Corkscrew

Many people have problems opening wine bottles, and we have found the best corkscrew at one of our favorite wineries in Sonoma. Many wineries sell these with their own logos on them. You can buy one without going to Sonoma, but it’s much more fun to go to Sonoma! 

Best Corkscrew


For the great wine lover in us all! This is the greatest invention that will allow you to take tastes from bottles of wine without opening the bottle!



Hori Hori knife

If you have one and only one hand tool for the garden it should be a hori hori. They are great, they help you dig easily in the garden or pots on your patio. The serrated edge helps cut through roots and lots more.

hori hori

hori hori 2

Big red tomato cages

I know it’s not gardening season… yet, but I love these tomato cages. They are the best because they are not top heavy like the traditional tomato cage. Also they look great on the patio with Christmas lights for the holiday season!

tomato cage


Life Factory bottle

Working out is a big part of my life and drinking lots of water is a must. And, we have all realized over the past few years plastic water bottles are not good for us or the environment. I prefer to drink out of glass, and when I found the Life Factory brand of bottles it was perfect. They are glass but with a silicon sleeve to protect from breakage. Drinking from glass keeps the pure taste of the water. They have other products too including food storage, and wine glasses!


Asics shoes

If you are a runner and run on trails or any gravel surface you know the annoyance of having rocks get lodged in the tread. Well, I recently found these great running shoes that solve that problem. They have large open tread that prevent any rocks from getting lodged. I bought mine at the outlet mall and got them for a great discount but you can also buy them online.


Bose earbuds

I run 100 miles a month and I’m addicted to listening to podcasts. I need really good ear buds when running. I have invested in a lot of different brands, but they all fell out while running or would die. Then I found these in the ear Bose sport earbuds; they are the best. They stay in place for my entire run and the sound is as good as any Bose product should be.




I collect a lot of art and love black and white photography the most. A few years ago on a trip to Sonom,a we were introduced to Lisa Kristine who is a humanitarian photographer. The bold bright colors of her photos from around the world are amazing and moving. But once my eyes fell on the piece called Freedom, I was moved beyond belief and held in my memory. This Christmas as a gift to ourselves we finally purchased our own edition of Freedom and it now hangs above our fireplace. I believe every home should have beautiful art that tells a story and everyones choice of art tells a different story. There is also a beautifully illustrated companion book.


Lisa Kristine

Christmas mushroom ornaments

Over the past few years I have started collecting mushroom Christmas ornaments, I don’t know why or how it started, but I just love the shape and the whimsical look they give the Christmas tree. You can find mushroom ornaments in every price range at almost every store, IKEA to Macy’s. I like this Macy’s collection.

green mushroom


Battery op candles from Joann Fabrics

There is nothing that compares to the glow and flicker of a real candle. Lately, the popularity of the battery operated candle has skyrocketed. They still don’t compare to the real thing but they are great for situations when a real candle would be dangerous or inconvenient like any place where our big fluffy cat might interact. You can spend a wide range on these candles. I have found that the ones sold at Joann Fabric and Craft are the best. They are reasonably priced and they always have sales or coupons to get them even cheaper. They look really good, too.

flameless candle

how good is that




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