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May 2016 Great Gifts and Products for Spring

Gifts May 2016

Gold Canyon, The Body Shop, l'Occitane, April Cornel, Mason and Cash, Galway Crystal, Heritage Crystal, Kess Inhouse, Dualit Toasters, Marina de Bourbon and More - Fabulous Treats for May.
Spring is a great time for finding new products. I find May in particular is when I am interested in new perfumes, face and body care, i.e. essentially ‘pretty things’ that uplift the spirits. Here are some of my best recent finds I think you’ll enjoy.


April Cornell

To quote April Cornell, ‘to carry an April Cornell canvas tote around is to carry around a bouquet of flowers’. Nothing could be more true of their sturdy canvas bags with extra long canvas straps. The bags are roomy, well priced (a steal at $29) and last forever. I happen to be a collector and I take these bags to the market, library and café. They’re stylish, pretty and are work-horse carriers – for all their feminine appeal. From one of the nicest (great service, amazing legacy brand), choose from an assortment of their market bags which come in a sizes and patterns. Check out the April Cornell's other beautiful finds from clothes to housewares and more. April Cornell is a spot of sunshine, and an oasis of 'pretty' whenever you need it or when a treat (or great gift) is called for. (And don't forget to check out their amazing bib aprons and my favorite: their floral placemats)
Gold Canyon’s Homeology Natural Cleaning Line

This company is renowned for great scented candles and fragrance accoutrements but they are branching out into a line of pure, naturally scented cleaners called Homeology.  Billed as plant-based home cleaning products, Homeology offers a few different cleaners (glass spray, all-purpose cleaners and handy wipes) that range from Peppermint, Pomelo, Lavender, and Rosemary combinations. Anti-viral, anti-fungal, packed with essential oils, these natural cleaners are light and breezy smelling, non-toxic and do the cleaning job whether it is granite surface, glass, ceramic or any sort of appliance surface. I can’t recommend this product highly enough.

Gold Canyon’s Scentrics
I like plug-in scent thingies  - you know those scent-filled glass bulbs you can plug in and your room gets constant fragrance? Unfortunately, so many of those look and smell promising but the scent doesn’t last. Gold Canyon’s Scentrics are an exception to the rule. They last and last and you get a waft of gorgeous scent everytime you walk by one or linger in the room where you’ve placed the Scentric – not to mention the gorgeous choices in scents. I keep berry and vanilla sort of scents in the bedroom area and in the livingroom, fresh florals rule. A great gift too and they’re refillable.


Gold Canyon’s Auto Turn Off Candle Warmers

Gold Canyon’s spring candle collection includes Pink Punch, Tea Leaves and Watermelon that come in pretty jars of all sizes but their auto-turn off Candle Warmers with Scent Pods are, to me, iconic. Where else can you get a decorative candle warmer that offers 4,8 and 12 hour settings, that turns off so you are safe and sound (other auto turn off warmers go 8 hours and then finally turn off but at that point, the candle might be ‘done’ and already a hazard).


I am a sucker for a great toaster and a loyal Dualit fan. I’ve tried many other toasters and while most toast well enough, nothing is more iconic in performance and aesthetics than a beautiful Dualit. I recently invested in a white and chrome model and nothing has so updated my kitchen as this glorious toaster. Copper is also ‘in’ and Dualit has a chrome and copper job that is purely gorgeous. Celebrating their 72 anniversary, Dualit figures in every housewares and home décor photo op and a Nancy Meyer film. It just pronounces a sense of legacy, British endurance and class and guess what? It makes great toast. This is not housewares – this is: art, that plugs in. (And does bagels, baguettes and sourdough to a turn). Don't forget, they also make coffee grinders, kettles, espresso makers, toaster ovens, juice extractors and more - all equally gorgeous and well-designed as their toasters.

Two Crystal Companies from Ireland
(p.s. Waterford is NOT your only choice in fine, affordable crystal)

I've longed cherished crystal vases for flowers but mostly had glass vases - which are adequate but nothing gleams and glows like real crystal - preferably from Ireland. Trouble is, we all think Waterford is the last word and there are two extremely noble other options from the 'crystal' country of Ireland.


Inspired by century’s old tradition, aptly named Heritage Irish Crystal is mouth and handblown in the iconic city of ‘crystal’, Waterford, Ireland. Waterford Crystal might be the brand we all know on the this side of the pond, but for a huge range of accessible, glorious crystal designs, look to Heritage Crystal. Founded in 1900, family run, Heritage makes crystal in the craftsman-like ways of old. There are no end of choices in products that have a function (vases, jam jars, display bowls, chandeliers, wine glasses) as well as exceptional décor. Each piece is a statement. I have their famed Flared Scalloped Vase (2011-101S 11inch) that is perfect for mixed bouquets or long-stemmed tulips. Contact to see where their products are available here in Canada and the U.S.

Another Irish gem of crystal comes from Galway Crystal, in Galway, Ireland.

Known for inspired, traditional crystal, their vases are simply stunning. I have a famed Longford 10 inch vase which accommodates various floral arranges but is especially pretty for mums, roses, and mixed wild flowers. Their classic Symphony vases are the choice for clusters of roses. But the Galway range is so extensive and somehow has managed to straddle both classic and contemporary crystal designs in a fashion that makes it both then and now. If you didn’t think you liked crystal –think again: Galway has something for you. Simply statement crystal. Start collecting now!
Parchment Paper Half Sheet Size


Nothing beats something that fits the job and King Arthur’s quality weight, parchment paper sheets are just that. They are cut to fit half sheet pans which is what most conventional home ovens can accommodate.  Non-stick, precut, reusable parchment is your best baking assistant. Heavy duty, 50 sheet count, soy-free, vegetable based silicone coated, each sheet
measures 16 ½ by 12 ¼.

When it comes to legacy housewares, Mason and Cash goes way back, all the way back to England, circa 1800. In 1901, the first Mason and Cash mixing bowl was designed and from there, a great pottery house was born. Mason and Cash are the folks responsible for those iconic ochre mixing bowls, awesome mortar and pestles (forget about garlic crushers; you need a mortar and pestle), ovenware, beautiful heart and hearth bowls. Under the M&C brand, you’ll also find Typhoo and famed Price and Kensington teapots, dinnerware and bone China teacups. I’ve been collecting Mason and Cash for awhile now and my most recent prize addition is the oven-to-table baking dish. Visit their website and find out where their products are available in both the U.S. and Canada or online, world-wide.

Mason and Cash's oven-to-table bakeware comes in an assortment of sizes and shapes. Recipes cooked in them emerge rustic and nicely browned, present well (oven to table!) and clean up is a breeze. Unlike enamel on cast iron cookware, these are hefty enough but not break-your-arm heavy! Just gorgeous, collectible bake and cookware.

Nothing beats copper in the kitchen and it's trending now more than ever (copper toasters, copper mixers).
A copper designed 3-cup French Press from Barista and Co. is a statement piece. It makes great coffee (for one or you and a guest) and even empty -  is aesthetically a notch above this style of coffee maker.  Visit to see their other great coffee maker selections.

KESS InHouse is a uniquely innovative concept of modern home furnishings & decor! KESS transforms and encourages the home decor market to step outside of the average decorating boundaries and add art to the home! San Diego, Ca based, KESS InHouse offers a cutting edge array of product line involving throw pillows, duvet covers, tempered glass cutting boards, shower curtains, and just about any other home decor product you can think of! With every purchase made with KESS InHouse, the artists receives a percentage of the proceeds. KESS InHouse not only supports the art community but adds a level of sophistication, creativity and art to the home decor market!

Their products are always of the highest quality, ensured by the fact that each order is custom made The product line is printed with the best quality printing process out there. Essentially, this means their products will not fade and can last a lot longer than our competitor products out there! KESS InHouse is a small group of creatively inclined individuals proud to bring art into the home decor market! The staff and founders of KESS Inhouse truly believe in the concept behind promoting artists and adding a splash of artwork and creativity into the home!

At KESS InHouse, they see home décor in democratic terms, as well as aesthetic ones. It offers consumers a chance to add art to the home and to bring together a collaborative community of artists. Whether it’s on the couch, in the kitchen or hanging from a wall, we believe that art enriches our lives and we want to support the artists who make it possible. For this reason, a percentage of every KESS InHouse sale goes back to the artist who created the design. KESS InHouse curates every piece of artwork specifically keeping in mind the product line. We pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our company and home decor line. KESS InHouse believes artists should be rewarded for their creativity, imagination, and ability to transform a blank surface into something remarkable.

To see specific artists check out this portfolio page.

My favorites from KessinHouse are their yoga pants, yoga pants (want to stand out while doing downward dog?), gorgeous aprons, cutting boards and enhancing wall art.

Every design is available in almost every rendition of every product and while custom to order, service is prompt and sales (!!!) are many. A treasure of a company. The place for unique gits and accessible decor.
Microplane Spiral Cutter and Garlic Slicer

When you want a quick and easy spiral cutter, Microplane’s little spiraler with two size options (either end makes a different size spiralled cut) is just the thing. Also from Microplane is their newest, nifty gadget, the Garlic Slicer. Imagine adding slivers of garlic to your next Greek fish dish or roasted alongside a wine and herb chicken?
Starfrit Spiralizer

For bigger jobs, the Starfrit Spiralizer is making waves. It’s a restaurant sensation from New York to London and now you can have it in your own kitchen. Vegetables becomes gourmet fare when they get the spiralized treatment.

The Body Shop

Vitamin C Products
Hawaiian Kukui Cream
Black Musk Perfume

www.The Body continues to impress me with their innovative products, healthful concerns for both our bodies and faces and the planet and human condition. Their products are more innovative than ever and I’ve had the pleasure of testing of few new ones of late I think you’ll love.

Their Vitamin C line includes all sorts of skin boosting products, from serums to spray Vitamin C water-based refreshers. What I love best in the line (of what I’ve tried so far) is the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer. It smells like fresh-squeezed orange juice, and is a light whipped gel/cream combo that is slurped up. It leaves your face looking freshly-washed and moist but without any tightness - a great, light, under make-up moisturizer.

Black Musk Eau de Parfum
Black Musk features captivating, feminine notes of bambinella pear, intensified by pink pepper and bergamot. Embraced by heliotrope with an aphrodisiac lilt of luscious liquorice, this eau de parfum is further deepened by black vanilla and black musk accords. One of those rare perfumes that's good in any season any era woman.

Hawaiian women, exposed to the relentless sun for generations, have held the secret of kukui oil to nurture their skin. Bursting with luscious moisture, kukui oil helps restore skin’s natural suppleness, leaving it feeling nourished and soft. Use this skin cherishing cream as part of our blissful ritual when your body is in need of luxury.


When it comes to freshness, lightness of touch and an artful use of cosmetic, skincare research along with the goodness of essential oils, L’Occitane is unrivaled. I recently tested their Hydra Vital Cream as well as their iconic Immortal Precious Cream. Both are nourishing, extra-light textured and scented day moisturizers that leave your skin glowing and luminous. Their new body butters are also exceptional.

Marina de Bourbon

Years ago I bought a perfume the perfume shop keeper said would elicit a marriage proposal. I am still single but I am newly in love with the brand. I have the Marina Classique and also have branched out to try their gorgeous Marina Tendre Reverent.

French perfumes are notably sophisticated and complex, exemplifying impressive perfume history and tradition. On occasion, they are also sexy and sensual but none are all that, as well as innately romantic and feminine as the Marina de Bourbon Line.
Moreover, some perfumes, while we love them, don't age well. Something we loved in 1975 doesn't do it in 2016. Marina de Bourbon is a rare exception. It's totally captivating regardless of the year or styles of the day. It always works. It's one of those scents that makes people say: What ARE you wearing? You smell amazing!".

Here’s my two current favorites, Marina de Bourbon Classique and Marina de Bourbon Tendre Reverence. Also look for Royal Marina Turquoise and l'Or de Marina.

Marina Classic is the iconic flagship perfume and it’s kept current and utterly delightful. It is fruity and floral with a light touch and is almost effervescent with fragrant charm. It suits girls and women and that elusive feminine persona in-between.


Top Notes

Heart Notes
Passion Fruit
Ylang Ylang

Base Notes
Raspberry Vanilla
Exotic Fruits

Marina de Bourbon Tendre Reverence is a sensual stroll into juicy fruits, gorgeous classic florals and a rounding warm notes of musk, sandalwood and vanilla. This is less playful and innocently flirty; it is rather seductive and assured and a perfect late day and evening perfume.

Top Notes

Heart Notes
Pink Peony
Frosted Violet

Base Notes


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