December 2, 2013

Gift Guide: My Favorite Things!!!

GIFT GUIDE: My Favorite Things

So, I guess it’s Cyber Monday, huh?? Are you doing your all shopping online like I am? Awesome!  We don’t have to deal with lines! Today I’m playing Oprah and sharing my favorite things. My hope is to give you good ideas for gift giving/wish list making. All of these items are things I love. I own them ALL and consider them GAME CHANGERS. So…


{totally Oprah voiced that}

1. Rancilio Rocky Doserless Coffee Grinder

Everyone always asks us about our coffee machine and I want to tell you that a good coffee grinder is almost more important than a coffee machine. Casey was never a fan of coffee until we went to Italy and binged on cappuccinos every morning.  After we got back from our trip, he spent months researching the best coffee grinder & espresso machine combination (that we could realistically afford) and this is what we got. We saved up and haven’t looked back!

2. Silvia Version 3 Espresso Machine

When we bought this espresso machine (before Cooper was born!!) I had a little shopper’s remorse because I couldn’t believe that we would use it enough to make it worth the cost. BOY WAS I WRONG. We’ve used this machine at least 3 times a day for the past 6 years and it’s still going strong. I have my morning Americano with it and Casey always goes the cappuccino route. Whenever we go away on a trip, we always miss our espresso machine first and our own bed second. It took us a little while to perfect, but with the combo of Intellegentsia’s Black Cat Espresso  and perfectly steamed whole milk we can make latte art!

3. Vitamix 1723 Professional Series 200

My mother-in-law gifted me a Vitamix for my birthday a few years ago. I really wanted one but wasn’t sure if it was worth the price tag. If I had to do it all over again, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Two words: NUT BUTTER. Wait let me add more words:  soup, smoothies, pesto, ice cream! My old blender hated when I put anything frozen in it. This one is like BRING IT ON, TRACY.  I’m super impressed with this machine and it’s really stepped up my kitchen game.  I like that there’s a wand-stick thing (totally official wording there)  that you can use while the blender is running to push down any food that doesn’t immediately get blended. You will be shocked at how much power it has. Blending takes no time at all.

4. Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer 

I spent a great deal of time researching this juicer. I used to have a centrifugal juicer (you may remember) and learned that the excess froth I was getting in my juice was actually burned off nutrients. I also really love green juice and my old one wasn’t the best at getting the best out of the fruits/vegetables I put in it. This one is AMAZING. I marvel at how much juice is extracted from the greens now. Game changer! Slow mastication/cold press is where it’s at. This machine is super quiet, pretty easy to use and it feels so much safer than my last machine. Cooper loves using it and now I can easily get him to try green juice cuz he’s involved in the process.

5. Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

My impulse buy turned into a year long obsession. Besides our coffee machine setup, this griddler/panini machine is the second most used appliance in our kitchen. My brother always tells me I make the best toast (THANKS TO THIS MACHINE!) and I don’t think he’s wrong. My toaster feels SO NEGLECTED now because it only gets used to heat up frozen waffles. Still not tempted? Check out the paninis you can make: Turkey Broccoli Cheddar PaniniTurkey + Pepper PaniniBroccolini Panini Prosciutto & Fig Panini .  I can’t wait to dream up more combinations for you.

6. Kindle Paperwhite

I used to be that person who carried too many books in my car and purse. Ugh..my aching back!!   I would lug them around and feel really guilty/annoyed when I didn’t read them! Now I have my kindle tucked into a pocket of my bag and I take it on the go. It’s light weight and stores SOOOO many books so I can read what I’m in the mood to read. I love the fact that you can change the fonts (weirdo alert!) on the books you’re reading to suit your visual preference. It’s obviously hooked up to your Amazon account so downloading is a breeze if you’re connected to wi-fi!

7. Orla Kiely iPhone 5 Case

I’ve had three cases since I got my iPhone last year and this one is by far my favorite. I have a constant case of the drops and the rubber/plastic on this case provides a really good grip. I love the orange band around the case because it’s easy for me to spot from far away. Plus…HELLO is that design made for me or what?! Orla or bust!

8. Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper

I think you may already know how obsessed I am with this popcorn maker (ahem Toasted Coconut Popcorn Hot Cocoa Popcorn & Truffled Popcorn). I wanted to get an air-popper and after hours of researching, Casey found out that this popper was hands-down the best popcorn popper!  He’s not wrong. It’s super easy to use, reasonably priced and the KEY TO THE BEST POPCORN EVER.

9. Clarisonic Mia 2

I really love my Clarisonic!! It makes my skin so clean & soft. I only wish I was more motivated to use it everyday (ahem, I AM REALLY LAZY and can barely add flossing to my nighttime routine). But when I do, my skin thanks me. It’s especially important this time of year to slough away dead skin. This will help!

10. Banana Republic Amalfi Nylon Tote

I’ve had this bag for a couple of months and LOOOOOOOVE it. It has so many well designed pockets. I like that it’s kinda fancy and kinda casual at the same time. It’s so good that I haven’t had the urge to go out and find it’s replacement. GOOD SIGN.  The best part is that the lining is in a cool leopard fabric. I’m a sucker for a bag with good lining.

11. Votivo Aromatic Candle Red Currant

My favorite candle/scent of all time. Sometimes I walk past this candle in my bedroom and stop to huff it. I want everything to smell like that in my house. The best part is that when you burn it, it ACTUALLY smells like the scent. I really hate when you buy a scented candle and the perfume wears off after the first burn. It makes a great host/hostess gift! AHEM.

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Wow this is an awesome list. Thank you for sharing what you use, what you love, and not things you ‘wish for’ but things you can vouch for. That is so appreciated!

  • jamie @ arugulaholic

    Nice list…I agree with Averie above.

  • Jane M

    I’m just busting to see your holiday decor – your mantel and your trees and all the glitter! WOOT WOOT! I do love your gift list too … but I’m MOSTLY about the GLITTER!

  • Libby

    Such a smart idea to post all of these things! I totally trust your judgement, too.
    That tote is 40% off right now, too! Tell me, my maj is pregnant with her first and is so worried about not having classy looking baby swag. That bag looks like it would make an awesome baby-bag for me to gift to her. What do you think?

    • Tracy

      I think it would be an excellent baby bag. So many pockets!!! And I like that it’s a crossover/hand bag.

  • Ammy Belle

    I was so totally the girl with the pile of books in her bag too! I have a kobo – but same results! I was thinking of getting a Kindle just because the new one (paperwhite?) lights up, which could be handy!

    Also – thanks for doing all the research for the popcorn maker for me! Seriously – am so treating myself to that one! 🙂

  • Shawna Greenway

    I have 3 1/2 of these things! The 1/2 would be a Blendtc instead of the Vitamix – Team Blendtec all the way! And you turned me on to the Omega juicer which I used for the last half of my 60 day juice fast – so much better then the Breville I had. My 6 year old loves green juices but he doesn’t have the patience for the Omega so I’m buying another juicer just for the kids. Even a centrifugal one is better than a juice box.

    You always recommend the best stuff, Tracy!

  • SandraM

    Great list. I love seeing what other people love and actually use. I so want a new blender…still on the fence about a vitamix or a blendtec. Both sound amazing.
    Thanks so much for sharing. Would it be wrong to just print out this list and tell my hubbie it is my Christmas list??!! 🙂

  • Kelly

    I love this list too. Do you have measurements for the Americano? It’s my favorite drink but I don’t know how to make a good one at home. I like strongish coffee.

  • Amanda T.

    I love the Votivo candles, especially when they burn down they look so pretty!

  • Kristen

    Oh I want an espresso maker but have been so overwhelmed by all the different brands and reviews, etc. Thanks for sharing this one and for how long you’ve had it. Sounds like a winner.
    And I love my Paperwhite! More than almost anything 😉

  • Lia : Dizzy Loves Icy

    They don’t make that phone case in the UK (that i’ve found anyway) and I’m gutted 🙁 I LOVE ORLA!
    Also, great tip on the juicer foam. I did not know that and am currently in the market for a juicer – will take note!

    Great List!

  • Ronni

    I love this list because it’s your favorites and you know your stuff! I’m a fellow obsessive researcher (I’m currently researching a smoker for my husband for Christmas) so I appreciate someone else who does a lot of research. I REALLY want that bag and the popcorn maker. I’ve started buying hulless seeds and that has changed the game.

  • Jordan Lynn: Life Between Lattes

    I am lusting after that coffee grinder and espresso machine. It is a little out of my price range for the time being, but one day it will be mine!

  • gwen

    I love this list! I too have a Cuisinart griddler and was delighted to discover that you can also buy waffle plates made for this griddler! I know my partner will be so happy to find them under the tree this year-we use our griddler all the time.


  • Jamie

    Oh, the red currant candle. I worked at a little gift shop for a few years and that was 1) our favorite scent to burn and 2) the most popular candle we sold. If you like red currant, check out Mistral’s Grapefruit Red Currant soap – divine. (psst – I’ve seen it at Anthro)

  • fusilliamy

    TRAAAACCCCYYYY SHUUUUUTTERRRRRBEEEEEEANNNNNN!!! I had to let that out. I cheered and clapped and fist pumped as I read this list as any self respecting Oprah audience would do. That bag is going straight to the top of my wish list.

    I’ve been saving my pennies for a VITAAAAMIIIIIIIX. I just want to watch everything blend at high speeds!

    Also, I know that my parents are getting me slash HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED the Cuisinart Griddler but my mom insists on wrapping it so “that I have something to open” (PS Mom, I’m not 7). The agony!

  • meg

    Great list! I am in the market for a new candle…buying this one right now 🙂

  • annie hill

    great list..! funny thing ( at least to me…) was, i am looking for a food processor.. and i said to myself, “self, what would tracy use?” …. and low and behold, you have a list of your fav’s….i have a vitamix and it’s over 10 years old… i love that sucker, but i will admit i don’t use it to it’s full potential…that being said, i really want a food processor to replace the one i have that is completely dysfunctional… any recommendations… i’ve read some reviews of a couple, and now my mind is befuddled…(that’s not hard to achieve).. any hoo, any help at all would greatly help my mr. finish or start his shopping…
    happy, happy!!!

  • jackie @ marin mama cooks

    Ok, you’re too cute girl! I just did a post last Friday on my favorite things and called myself Oprah as well. Don’t you wish you could be like Oprah and give all of your favorite things away to your followers? I do!
    I’m looking to get juicer for Christmas, as I’m tired of making it in my vitamix and then having to strain it by hand all of the time. It espically gets messy when I’m making a beet juice 😉
    The Whirly pop was on my list as well. I’ve had mine for 5 years and it gets used everyday because my kids are obsessed with popcorn! Hope to see you out and about Marin girl! xoxo, Jackie

    • Tracy

      I really wish I could! That would be awesome. Hope to see you out & about too!! xoxoxo

  • Sheena Starky

    Great list! I’m in the market for an e-reader, so I always love to see which ones people are loving. I can vouch for that grinder and espresso machine too—we’ve had the same ones for six years. : )

  • Paula

    So, my fiance and I were working on our wedding registry the other day and wanted to add an espresso maker but felt silly registering for something so expensive and frivolous. Then my future mother-in-law emails to tell us that some of his family has lots of money that they’re dying to spend on us, and would we please bulk up our registry? (Best MIL ever?) I may just take some of your favorite things for ideas!

  • Chelsea


    Never knew about E-Bates so thanks for that! I clicked your link to sign up so hopefully you get something from that! Not sure if I signed up in 15 seconds though :/

  • Kate Ramos

    Great list! I’m always antsy about buying new appliances (will they work, are they worth the price, etc). Its great to have a trusted recommendation. Thanks!

  • aida mollenkamp

    Great list! I love my Clairsonic though it recently went on the fritz. I woke up out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night to hear an incessant buzzing and realized (after hunting bleary-eyed) that it was my Clairsonic vibrating out of control! Hopefully, I can get it fixed!

  • A Gift Guide of Gift Guides | hipstercooker

    […] 1. iPhone Case Gift Guide. 2. Him&Her for under $20 Gift Guide. 3. Cookbook Gift Guide. 4. For the Foodie in your life Gift Guide. 5. 33 DIY Projects Gift Guide. 6. A Practical Gift Guide. 7. Foodie Freak and Kitchen Lover Gift Guide. 8. A Gift Guide by Shutterbean. […]

  • mamasass

    WE have that juicer and love it! My boys love helping me juice.

  • Leigh

    Do you really think the vitamix is worth the money?

    • Tracy

      I do! I bought one at Costco long before I started working with Vitamix and it was such a good investment. The power alone is worth it.

Leave a Comment