I’m taking today off to spend time with family and friends, but before checking out for the week, I’d like to offer up some thanks and pass along some holiday gift ideas, a wine recommendation, and a music recommendation.
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Three gift ideas for the holidays
With the holidays right around the corner here are my top three gift ideas for 2015.
Philips HF3510 Wake-Up Light (~ $122)
I was introduced to this alarm clock by someone at work and it’s awesome. By simulating a sunrise over a 30-minute period before your desired wake-up time, the alarm clock wakes you up gradually and provides for a pleasant start to the day. In case the light isn’t enough, a natural wake up sound can be made to ring at your desired wake-up time. Finally, a civilized way to wake up!
Hario Chacha Kyusu Maru Tea Pot (~ $20)
Once I’m up, it’s time for some Typhoo black tea and I use this pot to steep my tea before pouring it into my cup. It’s super easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and given the large removable infuser it works really well with loose leaf teas. By the way, Tucson has a fantastic source for Chinese teas so if you want some tea to go along with the teapot, give my friends at Seven Cups Fine Teas a try.
With a cup of tea in hand, I usually make pancakes for the family over the weekend and this spatula works great. In addition to not scratching nonstick surfaces, it’s easy to clean, is heat resistant up to 430 F, doesn’t yield when flipping pancakes, and serves as an excellent defensive weapon to my 6-year-old son’s surprise lightsaber attacks.
From her son Sheldon, I was sad to learn that the proprietor of Paloma Vineyard, Barbara Richards, is in poor health. When I met Barbara many years ago and heard her talking about how she and her husband started Paloma and tended after her grapes like they were an extension of her family, I felt a level of authenticity that is increasingly difficult to find in Napa. Paloma makes some of the best merlots I’ve ever had (you can usually find some here) and I’m looking forward to sharing a bottle with friends over Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon. In the meantime, a heartfelt thanks to Barbara and Sheldon.
Now, as for that music recommendation, being from New Jersey makes it almost obligatory for me to be a Bruce Springsteen fan. Which is why I was super excited to learn (HT to the incomparable Bob Boilen) that Springsteen’s 1980 Tempe, Arizona show is being released as part of a new box set called The Ties That Bind:The River Collection. The video I’m leaving you with is from the Tempe concert and has Springsteen singing his iconic song about the working class The River.
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