Holiday Gift Guide: For the Health Enthusiast

Nowadays it seems like there are so many different fitness plans, diets, and easy ways to get fresh, beautiful ingredients to help fuel our bodies.  Chances are, there’s a health enthusiast on your list this season (or maybe it’s you!), and we’ve got some gift ideas to help keep them fit through the holidays.


First, our all-time, favorite, go-to cookbooks.  These recipes are made for athletes, with wholesome, nutritious ingredients to fuel your lifestyle.  Plus, we’ll take ALL the health tips we can get from Olympic athlete, Shalane Flanagan!

“Run Fast Eat Slow”,  Available at Amazon

“Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow”,  Available at Amazon















With all that new recipe inspiration, they’ll need lots of storage to make meals throughout the week.  Might as well make it pretty!




This past year, our family has become so in love with drying fresh fruits and vegetables.  It’s a great way to make your produce last  so much longer, and is perfect for healthy snacking on-the-go!

Available at Kohl’s



I have yet to meet a health enthusiast who doesn’t want to put avocado on just about everything.  They’re creamy, nutritious, delicious, and apparently make for an adorable throw pillow.

Urban Outfitters



A necessary part of any healthy routine is taking the time to relax and recover.  A stylish floor pillow is the perfect place to meditate, stretch, and recuperate.

World Market



Having a vegetable garden is wonderful if you have the space.  Realistically, many of us living in the city don’t.  I love that this heirloom seed kit is such an easy, compact way to be able to grow your own ingredients- vegetable garden, or not!

Williams Sonoma



I really believe that plants are some of the best ways to decorate a home.  This book can help show you which ones you’ll want for your own healthy home!

Available at Amazon



Every week, our local farmer’s market is always the best place to go to find fresh, seasonal items.  This bag from The Little Market will help them bring some those healthy ingredients in style, and give back to the artisans in Bangladesh who created it.

The Little Market



Of course they’ll need somewhere to put all those fresh fruits and veggies when they get home.  A two-tiered bowl for their table will hold it all!

Lulu and Georgia



What other health-inspired gifts will be you gifting this year?  We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!  Happy holidays!


Holiday Gift Guide: For the Couple

In our family, we love to give gifts that can be shared with one another.  Plus, it’s more fun for them, too!  Whether you’re gifting to your parents, newlyweds, or your favorite friends to double-date with, we’ve got you covered.  

I love this metal wall art (perfect for those newlyweds on your list!) because it’s simple, romantic, and elegant.

Pottery Barn


Every couple needs a cozy blanket to snuggle up to during movie nights!  For an extra thoughtful touch, have it personalized just for them.

Pottery Barn


Lots of couples save corks from bottles of wine that they’ve enjoyed during special occasions (or even just from their favorite wines).  This tray would be a beautiful way for them to showcase those wonderful memories!

Wine Enthusiast, Available at Bloomingdales


Nobody likes to drink alone, and this “yours, mine, and ours” set from Kate Spade is such an adorable way to share a drink together!

Kate Spade



Kate Spade


If your couple loves to craft a fancy cocktail, this smoking box is sure to be a smash hit.  Forget adding liquid smoke, and give them the real deal!

Williams Sonoma


Marble cheese boards are everywhere these days, but these ones from Anthropologie are my favorite!  Unique colors and personalization makes this a fun and thoughtful gift to add to your list.



I’ve never met a couple who couldn’t use more Le Creuset stoneware in their home.  Whether they’ve been together for decades, or just starting out, Le Creuset products always seem to be the most used in the kitchen.  There are so many different types and colors that any home could always use more!

Le Creuset



What’s your favorite thing to gift to a couple?  Have you and yours ever been given something that you really loved?  We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!


P.S. Make sure to subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook to be the first to know about the rest of our Holiday Gift Guides this season!  

Holiday Gift Guide: Party Host

The start of November marks the beginning of this wonderful holiday season for all hosts, hostesses, and party-goers!  Soon, we’ll be celebrating the holidays with family, friends, and (surely), lots of good food and drink.  

Dinner parties, happy hours, and holiday gatherings are right around the corner.  We want to make sure that as those invites start rolling in, you don’t have to worry about showing up empty-handed.  

A nice bottle of wine or a beautiful flower arrangement will always be a beautiful way to thank your host for their hospitality.  But, sometimes you may want to switch it up and bring something a bit more unique.  

Tip: Stock up on a few different host gifts to stash in your closet for any last-minute events that pop up, and save yourself the sweat!


I love this personalized recipe board as a thoughtful gift for a special friend or family member.  Maybe they have a favorite recipe that you could share, or perhaps you could have one made from an old family recipe passed down through the generations.  Just send the image of the recipe over to be personalized directly onto the board for that extra-special, handwritten touch!



For a more simple, modern take on this idea, mixed material cheese boards are a great option.  Marble, slate, wood- you name it, and it’s out there!

West Elm



Williams Sonoma


Obviously, we LOVE everything Kate Spade.  And, we love their products even more to give as gifts because of how cute and clever everything always is.  This apron would make a fun, playful gift for your host.  Plus, the inside flap has all your measurement equivalents written down as a bonus little cheat-sheet!  

Kate Spade


Does your host have a favorite cocktail or drink that they’re always ordering at happy hour?  This cocktail shaker is perfect for foolproof recipes without having to look them up each time!

Sur La Table


A decanter for their finer liquors is always a nice gift, and this one is both festive and practical with numbered glasses for your guests to tell theirs apart.

Pottery Barn


Maybe your host prefers a nice bottle of wine?  This Clef du Vin helps to “age” your bottle of wine by one year for each second that it is submerged in a glass.  Plus, it even comes with a travel size version!



I love a nice warm cup of tea after dinner, and I bet your host would love this single-serve teapot and mug that they can use to treat themselves to nice cup in style.



Sometimes I feel like there can never be enough coasters floating around at parties.  Any host would love to add a few more around their home as the drinks start being poured!  I love the simplicity of marble, but a beautiful gold leaf adds a unique twist here.

Crate & Barrel


Candle holders and napkin rings are a tried and true staple of host gifts, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring!  A funky, modern pair of candle holders are perfect for the contemporary host, while napkin ring cuffs adorned with a sweet saying may be best for the more traditional one.  

Urban Outfitters



The Bella Cottage


What are some of your favorite host or hostess gifts to give?  Have you ever received one that really stood out?  Let us know your favorite ideas in the comments!  

Happy Holidays, everyone!  Make sure to subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook to be the first to know about the rest of our Holiday Gift Guides this season!  

Christmas Eve in My Italian Home!

Christmas Eve, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, the Vigil – it’s known by many names, but in any real Italian household it’s mostly known as the biggest family celebration of the year! My house is no exception.  I have hosted Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.  As our families grow, so does the guest list!  Our night usually begins with Christmas Eve mass followed by the big celebration.

This year we will be celebrating with about 25 “immediate” family members.  It is a particularly special year because both my son, Justin, and my daughter, Jillian, will be there with their future spouses!  I LOVE CHRISTMAS EVE!!  I love the food, I love the drinks, but most importantly, I love the opportunity to have my entire family together to celebrate.  We’ve changed a few things over the years but some things have remained the same.  We try to find a way to incorporate 7 fishes into the menu, always culminating with stuffed calamari over linguine (made by my soon-to-be 85 year old mom!)  Jillian makes her smoked salmon “fish” en croute, and is the bartender for our “candy cane cocktail” (recipe at the bottom of the blog!).


Justin and Lydia, Jillian and Christian relaxing in the afternoon before the craziness begins!!



My house does not look like a magazine spread on Christmas Eve.  Our tree is decorated with ornaments made by our children and of treasures we have collected from trips over the years.  Some are old and tired but we still put them on the tree – it’s the memories that go with them that are important.  I try to use dishes and platters that were my grandmother’s and my husband’s mom’s.  I make the same cookies every year – just more of them because there seem to be more tins distributed with each passing year.  The night is, well, Italian – loud, jovial, and a sometimes a little crazy.  We try to have a visit from Santa (gets challenging as the little ones get older!) and by the end of the night, my house looks, well, like a happy mess!  Here are some things that remind me of my Christmas Eve and maybe one of them may fit into yours!


Our candy cane cocktail would be right at home in this generous size glass and, of course, there has to be a glass for the red wine!  No Italian celebration is complete without a little vino!

Luigi Bormioli Martini Glasses (Set of 4), Nordstrom

Luigi Bormioli
Martini Glasses (Set of 4), Nordstrom


Vetro Gold Wine Glass, Bliss Home & Design

Vetro Gold Wine Glass, Bliss Home & Design


It’s always a good idea to have lots of coasters around for your guests to set their drinks down safely! (Inevitably 1 will get toppled over, so just be prepared!)

Silver Street Coasters Set of Four, Kate Spade

Silver Street Coasters Set of Four, Kate Spade


We usually “cheat” and add tuna and anchovies to our antipasto!  That’s 2 fishes!

Villeroy & Boch Artesano Acacia Wood Antipasti Plate, Williams Sonoma

Villeroy & Boch Artesano Acacia Wood Antipasti Plate, Williams Sonoma


And the bread basket has to be big.  Good wine and good bread are imperative!

Vintage Italian wicker basket, Etsy

Vintage Italian wicker basket, Etsy


What’s an Italian feast without some pasta?  We alternate between raviolis and lasagne.  This would be a beautiful lasagne dish.

Spode Blue Italian Handled Serving Tray, Wayfair

Spode Blue Italian Handled Serving Tray, Wayfair


And a fish for the “fish”!

Vintage Ceramic Fish Platter Made In Italy Extraordinary Serving Piece, Etsy

Vintage Ceramic Fish Platter Made In Italy Extraordinary Serving Piece, Etsy


1950s Italian Handblown Art Glass Fish Dish/ Bowl by J. I. CO, 1stdibs

1950s Italian Handblown Art Glass Fish Dish/ Bowl by J. I. CO, 1stdibs


A pasta bowl for the stuffed calamari!  I have my grandmother’s that we have used for as long I can remember.  Here’s mine, but the Vietri Pesce Large Serving Bowl is a nice substitute!


 Vietri Pesce Large Serving Bowl, The Bowl Company

Vietri Pesce Large Serving Bowl, The Bowl Company


Add some beautiful charger plates for dessert, and you’re ready to go.  Mangia!!  And Bon Natale!  Merry Christmas!  Look below for Jill’s famous candy cane cocktail recipe!

Arte Italica Merletto 12.25" Charger Plate, Wayfair

Arte Italica Merletto 12.25″ Charger Plate, Wayfair



Jill’s Candy Cane Cocktail:

Rim glasses with crushed peppermint

1 part vanilla rum

1 part white chocolate liqueur

1 part peppermint Schnapp’s

Swirl in 1 tsp chocolate syrup with a mini candy cane if desired (For the real chocolate lovers!)


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