I am a maker. A maker is a person or thing that produces or creates something. Most of my friends are makers. We are musicians, visual artists, actors, directors, storytellers, cooks, writers… we are a lot of things. We design, develop and generate creative ideas. We build, concoct, invent, and compose. Last year I had such a great time curating All Good Gifts to help you with your holiday gift giving. This year I’m even more excited to feature some of my favorite makers. Their offerings are charming, useful, and hand made. In a world that is run by machines and computers, I think it is very important to have things in our lives that came from the human touch of another.
2. Gene Manuel is no stranger to the All Good Things blog. He has generously provided art for giveaways on the blog and provided me with years of inspiration from his off the charts creativity. My home has a great deal of Whirling Art in it and I am excited Gene has made the Whirling Art Calendars again. They are one of my favorite holiday gifts to give and I hope you find a perfect recipient on your list.
3. Totem Tamers: I walked into a voice-over recording one afternoon this year and I wasn’t in the greatest mood. I can’t even remember what my issue was, but I wasn’t in the right state to read copy and tell stories for a client, that’s for sure. My producer and dear friend, Jim, handed me a little bronze bear and said, “ Take a breath and let this guy calm you down.” Ahhhh. He explained that another voice-over talent made this little totem for her son to help him deal with his emotions and to have something to cling to in times of overwhelm. Jim gave me the woman’s website and I immediately went home and ordered 3 of them! I have gifted a 46 year old male with one, I just sent one off to an incredible 10 year old girl, and I’m saving my last one for my favorite soon to be 4 year old little boy. These are such special gifts for adults, teenagers, and young children. Buy one for yourself too, they promote calm. May we all ring in 2015 with calm.
4. Shrink Session: One of my favorite makers, Erin Stutland, has created a workout called Shrink Session. I used to be a bit of a gym rat. This year I have been nursing a few injuries and have spent a lot less time with my workout community. As someone who is normally a leader in fitness classes, it has been hard to stay away, but I know the importance of letting my body heal. Earlier this year, when Erin launched her free Say it Sweat it Get Challenge, I signed up. Commiting to a week and just 5 minutes a day of movement and motivation was exactly what I needed to get the ball rolling again. As soon as the challenge was over, I bought her whole Shrink Session program. I've done the workouts in my home nearly every day and am building strength and confidence to return to my gym community. Her free Winter edition of the Say it Sweat it Get it Challenge starts today! It's a perfect way to keep yourself moving despite the holiday craziness. You can gain access to her toning & uplifting workouts by signing up for the challenge right HERE. - I can’t wait to do it with you!
5. Kenza: I was in Morocco 7 years ago and I long to go back. My Moroccan friend Khadija has a product line that transports me back there. (I have never seen a woman with more beautiful skin or with healthier hair, than Khadija.) When I was in Marrakech, Argan Oil was something only to be found in their country. Now here in the states it seems to be advertised as an ingredient in everything. I don't know about other brands, but I know Kenza oils come straight from the source and are the real deal. Kenza supports social change for women in Morocco and in the United States. They donate and share 10% of their net profits with women foundations and a women cooperative. Thank you Khadija!
6. Driftless Magazine: One of the greatest gifts 2014 delivered to me is getting to be part of this publication! These girls are true makers. Leah Fithian and Shelly Westerhausen set out to make a printed magazine to be an object of value to be kept for a long time. 2 issues in and they’ve accomplished their goal. If you or someone you love has midwestern roots or you love to hold non-digital reading material in your hands, Driftless is a sweet little stocking stuffer. The creators are redefining the ‘flyover’ states by showcasing travel, design, produce, history, and recipes from this great region. I’m excited for their future and so happy they are representing my homestate of Missouri in these truly beautiful magazines.
And it wouldn’t be an All Good things post without a little recipe: This is what I’ll be drinking this holiday season. Cheers!
Red Hot Apple Cider
- 2 oz apple cider
- 2 oz cinnamon whiskey
- 2 oz seltzer water
- 1 thin slice of acidulated apple (lemon juice+water bath = acidulation and will keep the apples from turning brown) sprinkled with cinnamon
- 1 cinnamon stick
Fill a glass with ice, pour in the liquids, stir with the cinnamon stick, and float the apple slice.
This can be served hot or cold. If you want a warm beverage, omit the ice and heat the liquids in a small saucepan on the stove. If you come to a party at my house, you’re probably getting it over ice poured from a big ole mason jar.