STUPIDLY SIMPLE GIFT GUIDE + GIVEAWAY

Stupidly Simple Gift Selection 2010

I BOUGHT JASON A CHRISTMAS SWEATER YESTERDAY. I didn’t set out to get one, but the opportunity to make him look ridiculous presented itself and I couldn’t resist.

In the spirit of last minute gift shopping, I present to you my Stupidly Simple Gift Guide. (See my Reading Wish List too.) Nearly everything here can be ordered online, so you needn’t leave your apartment for anything. Plus, I’m hosting a Real Simple magazine giveaway because you deserve gifts as well. See what you win and read the rules after the gift guide…

1. CHAMBRE DE SUCRE {fancy sugar}
I don’t add sugar to my tea or coffee, but your sugar addict of a friend might. These handmade sugars are beautifully packaged and imported from Japan. They’re the perfect complement to a gift of coffee beans or box of Kusmi Tea. FIND THEM online.

2. BREW-IN-MUG {no fuss mug + infuser}
I prefer tea brewed from loose leaves over teabags, but loose leaves are a hassle when you’re not brewing a whole pot. With this mug, you essentially brew a mini pot for one. It’s understated, easy to clean, and, truly, the vessel of choice for smart tea drinkers. It comes in many colors; mine is red. FIND IT at Sur La Table.

3. LIDDABIT SWEETS {chocolate + candy}
Liddabit‘s candy creations are masterminded by two culinary school friends who make their concoctions out of a Brooklyn kitchen with a small army of sweets makers. I just learned how to make caramel sauce this year (watch the video), but Liddabit lollipops, candy bars, brittle, and more are made with local and seasonal ingredients for a sweet snack that’s hard to recreate at home. FIND THEM online and in stores.

4. FOODZIE.COM TASTING BOX {surprise food package}
After seeing photos of these tasting boxes on Foodspotting, I wanted them for myself. Each box contains hand-selected food samples from Foodzie producers who are hand-picked themselves for producing superior products with care. If you love an item in the tasting box, you can visit Foodzie.com to order the full-size version at a discount. FIND IT online.

5. CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA BOOTCAMP {learn to cook in 5 days or less}
In the fall, I was invited to experience culinary boot camp for two days at the Culinary Institute of America. While it kicked me in the ass, I picked up some chopping skills and learned to make burrata! In addition to boasting graduates like Anthony Bourdain, the institute offers a wide range of courses for those who wish to expand their kitchen skills without committing to longterm training. Ranging from two to five days, boot camps ran the gamut from PastryMexican Cuisine to Flavors of Wine Country. Plus, there’s no denying that scenic Dutchess County, where CIA is located, is the prettiest setting for a food-centred weekend getaway. They also have locations in St. Helena, CA and San Antonio, TX. LEARN MORE on their website or call (800) 888 7850

6. TELL TALE SOCIETY {treats from a soon to open San Fran shop}
To prepare for their Spring 2011 store opening, Tell Tale Preserve Company is inviting food lovers to join Tell Tale Society to receive monthly deliveries filled with “seasonally influenced preserves, confections, cookies and cakes, both sweet and savory” to get a taste of what’s to come. Take a peek at the December bag. Given shipping costs, it’s pricey, but the presentation and artisanal goodies will win over anybody. FIND IT online.

7. GROVE BAMBOO {iPhone 4 case}
People gravitate toward Jason’s Grove Bamboo iPhone 4 case like moths to a flame, so I’d be remiss to not recommend it for the iPhone nut in your life. Jason becomes a pseudo celebrity when he takes his phone out at brunch (for Foodspotting purposes, obviously) and when he plays Angry Birds on the train. Everyone asks: Where’d you get that? The case is slim and lightweight, so it’s not clunky like most plastic cases can be. The best part? You can customize the etching to show off your own artwork or favorite quote. FIND IT online.

And now… for you! Enter my Real Simple gift bag giveaway and ten randomly chosen winners will receive:

Stationery from ABCD Design
Sugar gifts from Chambre De Sucre
Assorted caramels from Liddabit Sweets
Real Simple 869 New Uses For Old Things book
Real Simple Best Recipes: Easy, Delicious Meals book
Essie “Real Simple” nail polish
Pottery Barn frame and more…

The rules are simple: 1. Live in the States and 2. Tell me which Stupidly Simple Snacks is your favorite and what other snacks – or guests! – you’d like to see. Leave your comment in the comment box below. Ten winners will be chosen at random and announced on December 17. Good luck and happy holidays! amy • december 10, 2010

CLICK FOR MORE HOLIDAY CHEER…
Amy Blogs Christmas Reading Wish List
(video) Holiday Reverse S’mores & 2010 in Retrospect

Photos from, in order: Chambre De Sucre / Puritea Lounge / Liddabit Sweets / Valentina Vitols on Foodspotting.com / me / Tell Tale Preserve Company / Grove

December 10, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Holiday, specials for abc readers. 41 comments.

A REAL SIMPLE HOLIDAY & Me

Central Park in seasonReal Simple December 2010 coverStar light in NYCFestive standpipe photo for RSA few weeks ago, my friend Amy at Real Simple magazine asked if I’d be interested in guest blogging for them about the holidays. I still consider myself a blogging novice in many ways, so the invitation was especially flattering. I said yes, naturally.

Between Wednesday, December 1st and Monday, December 6th, Real Simple will be ringing in the holidays with their first-ever pop-up shop at Rockefeller Center. I’ll get to capture it all on camera and in my own words on their Simply Stated blog along with Jenna Park of Whimsy and Spice, Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo of ABCD Design, and Nichole Robertson of Little Brown Pen – all authors of gorgeous design and food-related websites.

On those days, I’ll also be hosting my very first holiday gift bag giveaway here on Amy Blogs Chow, which will include all things Real Simple like Essie nail polish, stationery from ABCD Designs, the prettiest sugars for your tea from Chambre De Sucre, and many more goodies compliments of the magazine. I will make up an easy contest to weed out the weak pick ten winners and will let you know what this easy contest is by Thursday when my participation in the Real Simple pop-up shop / guest blogging showdown officially begins.

To prepare you for all the awesome holiday-related musings I’ll be sharing, read my intro post about how my family used to celebrate Christmas when I was little:

“The idea of putting up a Christmas tree didn’t occur to my parents until my little sister demanded it some time in her teens. However, though we were pine needle-free for so many years, my mother got us all in the spirit by decking every surface with lights, garland, and wreaths. The windows were given special attention with multicolored blinking strands arranged in random squiggles and shapes, which, when one was inside, made telling night from day a guessing game. We were that house on the street.”

With that, my friends, I head to bed. Tomorrow, I will somehow write three blog posts and edit my next Stupidly Simple Snacks video with the wonderful Mari Tuttle of Mari’s New York. For Christmas, I think I’ll ask for an Amy Blogs Chow intern whom I can compensate with brownies. amy • november 28, 2010

For more info and to see a schedule of events, visit Real Simple Pop-Up Shop online.

(Photos by me : autumn leaves in Central Park / holiday light over Fifth Avenue / festive standpipe outside Bergdorf Goodman / Photo not by me : cover of December 2010 issue of Real Simple magazine)

November 28, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . event, Holiday, specials for abc readers. 3 comments.