Monday, December 19, 2011

December Tip Off: Stuff Leslie Loves That You Absolutely Need to Know About

A Marketer’s Dream! Photographed by Ann Gordon
I am a product junkie. I would be in eternal bliss if the consumption gods opened up the heavens and rained down on me with jeans, sweaters, dresses, handbags, shoes, athletic wear, jewelry, candles, specialty teas, cookware, facial products, body lotions and makeup every single day. My husband, Ed, calls me a marketer’s dream. This is probably true. I love things that look good, smell good or taste good and if I run into all three at the same time, I’m in heaven.
I’m not talking about expensive, haute couture clothing, shoes and other products, although I guess I would be if my bank account could support such frivolity on a regular basis (and if I wasn’t paying college tuition for my oldest child). No, I simply like to stroll the aisles of outdoor markets and cute little boutiques in trendy neighborhoods off the beaten path. I always find unique things that bring me joy and I seek out great finds no matter where I travel. I don’t always buy, but it’s nice to know what’s out there.
The things that really get my attention are usually packaged in smart, sexy, creative ways or they are just HOT TO DEATH and therefore irresistible. Things usually catch my eye when the packaging and presentation are simple, classy and elegant or fun and colorful. I love unique typefaces. I love the creative use of ribbon and tulle. I even appreciate custom labels and tags. What’s on the outside is sometimes just as important as what’s on the inside because it speaks to the company’s attention to detail and the overall quality. I never tire of learning about new products and I plan to share my finds with my readers from time to time. And PLEASE share the things you love with me by posting comments or sending an email through my contact me page. I am always down for supporting new businesses and sharing information on the next big thing. I am also very much into charitable giving and exceptional philanthropic campaigns, but I’ll save that for another time.

Ed and I went to a family wedding in Napa Valley, California. Between wedding activities, we went out to explore the area and stumbled upon an outdoor fair in downtown Napa. We checked out products from several local shops and businesses but one company that I loved was the Whitehall Candle Co. The unique scents of the candles grabbed my attention right away. I could tell immediately that the candles were made with great care and attention to detail. I am in love with several scents and have been ordering candles from Whitehall since I found them in Napa on that beautiful fall day. And the fact that Shawn M. Cox, chandler (candle maker) extraordinaire, has amazing customer service and is just an all-around nice guy, makes me want to continue to support his business. He really does wonderful work. My favorite candles are Harvest Crush, Augusta Magnifica (Gardenia) and Stargazer. I am dying to try Pomegranate Nectar and Plumeria. Yes, Shawn will be getting a call from me soon!

Always a favorite of mine and a constant in my life are delicious treats from New York-based, Evelyn’s Kitchen (EK). EK is owned by smart, savvy businesswoman, Ayala Donchin, who gets many of her clients through word-of-mouth. And her Twitter following is almost cult-like. Ayala and her EK crew make some of the most amazing desserts and dishes I have ever tasted. And everyone says the same thing once they’ve experienced Evelyn’s Kitchen: “This %&# is ridiculous!” EK blondes literally melt in your mouth and seriously folks, until you have tried her Glazed Asian Salmon or Marinated Skirt Steak, you have not lived. I’m not suggesting that you go kill yourself, but I am suggesting you give EK a call and make your way to Manhattan to experience this love on a plate.

Note to my closest friends: I covet one of these adorable, fun necklaces by jewelry designer, Zahava. I am a firm believer that fun, fashionable jewelry appeals to women young and old, and I’ve been eyeing her fly jewelry for a minute now.
Growing up in New York City, Zahava began designing jewelry at a young age, launching her first collection when she was 18 years old. Since then she has worked for two of the largest diamond companies in the world, honing her skills and familiarizing herself with diamonds, precious stones and metals. With the birth of her daughter Sarah Chloe, Zahava was inspired to create a collection of charms and accessories that celebrate the love she feels for her daughter. Sweet.
So, for those of you who know me well or want to be my friend (Hint: I take bribes), the correct spelling of my name is L-E-S-L-I-E. And while it’s probably too late for Santa to put one of these adorable, personalized necklaces under my Christmas tree next week, I do so love surprises that will help me happily usher in the new year. *Wink, Wink*

TIG:MIR Greek Fashion
Finally, for the Deltas, AKAs, Kappas and Ques out there, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Entrepreneur, Cassandra Johnson has arrived on the scene with true fashion sense.
Cassandra, owner of TIG:MIR, which stands for To Whom Much is Given; Much is Required, designs luxurious, well-crafted Greek apparel. TIG:MIR is setting out to single-handedly elevate the beauty and essence of historically black Greek letter organizations, one sorority and fraternity at a time. Fashion-forward by nature, Cassandra began creating designs to appeal to the style-conscious Greek and add grace and glamour to the Black Greek fashion landscape. THANK GOD! I recently supported Cassandra’s business and while I don’t know her personally, I like her style. Her products are unique and sold in limited quantities. TIG:MIR values and respects all Divine Nine Organizations and is a licensed and certified vendor of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.