If reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” is a holiday tradition with your family, we have another suggestion that you can enjoy reading and re-reading all holiday season long.

“The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker” from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (https://www.quartoknows.com/Lincoln-Childrens-Books) is one in a series of very unique and creative books that combine the printed word on the page with a special musical note “button” that the reader can press to activate high quality musical accompaniment.  This volume tells the tale of Christmas Eve at Clara’s house, beautifully illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle. There are ten different orchestrations that accompany the story-telling in this volume, one that delights and amazes children of all ages. The final page of the book offers the opportunity to push each of the ten musical notes again to re-hear the music that accompanied each step along the way in this magical story.  This musical book makes a welcome holiday stocking stuffer. Also available in this series is “The Story Orchestra: Four Seasons in One Day” featuring Vivaldi’s Music, and “The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty”, featuring  assorted Tchaikovsky musical clips. 

“The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker”/Frances Lincoln Children’s Books – Gotta Love It!



If you find it challenging to find just the right holiday gift for seniors on your gift list, Salonpas (www.salonpas.us) comes to the rescue with its new FDA-approved Double Size Pain Relief Patch.

Sore muscles, aches and bruises may be hard to avoid the older we get, but these easy to apply pain relief patches deliver up to 12 hours of non-prescription pain medication for backache, sore muscles, sprains and bruises. Each patch delivers a healing dose of menthol and methyl salicylate with a light minty scent and are very thin and flexible, comfortable enough for all-day or all-night wear. They make great stocking stuffers for the weekend athletes on your gift list. We found them very effective on a mild shoulder ache as well as a hip bruise.

Salonpas Pain Relief Patch in the new Double Size — Gotta Love It!


If you’ve been looking for a unique sugarplum offering to add to your holiday dessert table, or need a knock-their-socks-off hostess gift for parties, search no further than Kentucky Woods Bourbon Barrel Cake (www.kentuckywoods.com).

This moist, tender and flavorful cake has no alcohol, but all the delicious flavor that accompanies an expertly made bourbon cocktail! This special creation is made by an independently owned bakery in Louisville, KY. Buy an extra or two because it freezes beautifully and works equally as well as a dessert offering or a morning coffeecake!

Kentucky Woods Bourbon Barrel Cake – Gotta Love It!


If you really want to get the party started this holiday season, check out the recently released “Fondue Bible” Second Edition by Ilana Simon (www.robertrose.ca).

A form of tableside cooking that was popular in the 1970s is regaining in popularity and Simon offers 200 recipes in this revised guidebook, including a new party section with suggestions for creating theme parties that focus on a variety of fondue pots, including cheese, beef & chicken and dessert.  The recipe suggestions here are creative and diverse and go way beyond the traditional cheese and beer fondue that many people recall during the fondue heyday. If you have been looking for a cozy and delicious way to dine or entertain, “The Fondue Bible” offers plenty of inspiration.

The Fondue Bible Second Edition by Ilana Simon – Gotta Love It!


One of the best gifts you can give a loved one is the belief in themselves that they can obtain what they want and need in their lives as 2019 and another New Year approaches. “Create Your Dream Life Now” by Darrn Marc with Illustrations by Joan Coleman, published by Health Communications, Inc. (www.hcibooks.com) is a wonderful guidebook/workbook to put them on the right path.

This user-friendly guide challenges the reader to boil down into the simplest terms what they really desire to have happen to enjoy a fulfilled life. It presents numerous techniques, exercises and mental calesthentics to get out of the rut, off the rat race track, and really start seeing results of a new life and way of living that YOU want, rather than what others want for you.  And what’s great about this guidebook for holiday gift giving is that it won’t break, will never go out of style, and can be sent anywhere in the world!

“Create Your Dream Life Now” by Darren Marc, illustrations by Joan Coleman – Gotta love It!


If you want some soul-inspiring music this Christmas season to accompany your package wrapping, your trim trimming or simply enjoying  a cozy night by the fire, we highly recommend Paul Cardall Christmas CD (www.paulcardall.com) released just earlier this month by Stone Angel Music.

This American pianist and composer has put together an album featuring 13 selections that nicely balance such traditional Christmas hymns as Silent Night, Joy to the World and O Holy Night, with original hymns by Cardall himself.  The music on Paul Cardall Christmas is as bright and clear as the sky on a cold winter’s night, but has an amazing ability to warm your heart and make you feel hopeful.

Paul Cardall Christmas CD by Stone Angel Music – Gotta Love It!

watershed gin

Watershed Distillery of Columbus, Ohio (www.watersheddistillery.com)  has partnered with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants to produce the new Guild Series Gin,  already garnering recognition as the “Best Flavored Gin” at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The distillers use a base of corn and apple, combined with delicate chamomile, nutmeg and rose petal flavors to create a very unique taste that is perfect for holiday entertaining.  We love the slightly sweet aroma, nicely balanced with a kick of citrus and other all natural flavors.  You can create an easy  House Gin Cocktail by combining freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup with a jigger of Guild Series Gin,  stirring in muddled rosemary with yellow raisins before serving in a highball glass with crushed ice and a garnish of fresh lemon peel and rosemary. Watershed also offer additional craft liquors, including vodka, bourbon and brandy, all affordably priced for holiday gift giving.

Guild Series Gin from Watershed Distillery – Gotta Love It!



If there is someone on your Christmas gift list who loves to laugh, we recommend the new “Robin Williams: Comic Genius” Collection from Time-Life (https://timelife.com/products/robinwilliams) as the perfect holiday stocking stuffer!

This twelve DVD set including 24-page commemorative booklet offers you viewing enjoyment from more than 60 performances featuring the quick wit and amazing timing and energy of the original “Mork from Ork”, Robin Williams. Included are 5 HBO stand-up specials, Robin’s late night and TV talk show appearances, interviews with family and friends, and previously unreleased footage from Williams’ USO tours, along with six episodes of the series that brought him international fame, including the Mork pilot.   Time-Life also offers a deluxe DVD collection featuring over 50 hours of this comedic genius’ talents, which spanned almost 40 years and unfortunately ended much too soon!

The Robin Williams: Comic Genius Collection from Time-Life – Gotta Love It!


Charles E. Hires and the Drink that Wowed a Nation (www.temple.edu/tempress) is the fascinating story of Philadelphia entrepreneur Charles E. Hires and his 1876 launch of the first major soft drink industry brand in America, Hires Root Beer.

More than a century before marketing experts, social media, or internet blogs, and a full decade before the introduction of Coca-Cola, Charles Hires managed to put a bottle of his soft drink invention in the hands of as many people as possible, using such innovative advertising techniques for the times as colorful advertising trade cards. Hires’ story of entrepreneurial gumption makes for interesting reading.

“Charles E. Hires and the Drink that Wowed a Nation” — Gotta Love It!

If there is one spice blend you’ll want to make room for in your spice cabinet this fall, it has to be the aromatic and exotic “Zahtar” from Pereg Natural Foods (www.pereg-gourmet.com).


 Pereg calls this combination of hyssop, salt, marjoram, oregano and sesame seeds a magic dust that has a wide variety of applications in the kitchen. Use it to add an earthy and aromatic flavor to French fries, steamed vegetables and rice, use it to season lamb, steak, chicken or pork, or add it to soup and stew creations. Zahtar has been a favorite in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries! Check out the entire collection of spices and spice blends offered by Pereg to make your holiday entrees, dishes, appetizers, and cocktails even more enticing!


Zahtar Mixed Spice Blend from Pereg — Gotta Love It!