True Botanicals - Pure Radiance Oil




Dance Your Way To Your Lover's Heart With Dancing Deer Cakes & Cookies

If you're still confused about Valentine's gifts, take a gander at Dancing Deer's yummy selection of sweet goodies. Using only pure and fresh ingredients, this woman-owned enterprise churns out awesome, award-winning cookies, cakes and brownies. Your sweetheart will adore these freshly made products, and so will you.

Start with the Conversation Hearts Gift Set, which contains hand-dipped, hand-stenciled buttery vanilla cookies that read “Real Love”, “Sweet Talk”, “xOxOxO”, and a dark pink stenciled heart. The 12 cookies are lovingly packaged in a wooden gift box with a fuchsia ribbon ($19.95).


If that isn't enough to show your love, go the extra mile and get the Sweet Talk Cake & Cookie Tower, which includes two 5" heart-shaped chocolate ganache cakes and twelve of the same conversation heart cookies ($39.95). Serious chocolate lovers will be lusting after the Chocolate Lover's Medley, which includes the popular Chocolate Chunk Brownies, a heart-shaped Chocolate Ganache Cake, a Chocolate Espresso Cake, whimsical Chocolate Decorated Hearts, amazingly Chewy Chocolate Tangerine cookies, and the famed Chocolate Chip Cookies ($49.95).


Available at Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats and Williams-Sonoma.
Order online at, or call 1-888-699-DEER.

The Sweet Life

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Say 'I Love You' with Recchiuti Confections

The 'Picasso of Chocolatiers' has done it again with his seasonal picks for Valentine's Day. Recchiuti Confections has a très delicieuse collection of treasures to stimulate the senses. Choose from their standard collections, or try the following seasonal offerings:

Valentine's Box - Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than these bite-sized pieces of heaven. This special assortment includes the popular Fleur de Sel Caramel, Ginger Heart and Lavender Vanilla. Also featuring the following scrumptious flavors: Tarragon Grapefruit, Burnt Caramel, Lemon Verbena, Spring Jasmine Tea, Pearl Mint Tea, Star Anise & Pink Peppercorn, Sesame Nougat, Rose Caramel, Bergamot Tea and Piedmont Hazelnut.
Large: 32 pieces ($75); Medium: 16 pieces ($40)


The Champagne Truffles are a divine version of a classic favorite. Creamy dark chocolate is perfectly perfumed with Napa Valley’s 2001 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs. They are then kissed with confectioner's sugar. Don’t pass up on this seasonal treat. It’s guaranteed to make your valentine squeal with delight. (24 pieces; $18)


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Robert Lambert's Heavenly Condiments Literally To Die For

I've had the good fortune to discover the YUMMY chocolate sauces, syrups, marmalades and fruitcakes from Robert Lambert at a recent food show, and I've been raving them to everyone and their grandmother ever since. You can see the passion and refined artisan sensibilities behind each and every product, from the flavor concept to the actual ingredients used in each batch.

For example, the flavored syrup collection has just about any exotic flavor you can imagine, from Bergamot to Thai Ginger to Rangpur lime. Great for pancakes, iced teas, baking pound cakes, yogurts, salad dressings, cocktails, and marinades. You can even combine the different flavors to make your own special creation.


Bergamot Syrup

The stellar chocolate sauce collection is something every choco-lover should try. Robert only uses fine dark chocolate, instead of the typical cocoa powder and corn syrup combo. My favorites were the Raspberry Rose (infused with French framboise liquer), Mojito Mint, and the Malted Milk. The Mexican and Ginger Pear are also popular flavors. But who am I to tell you what you should try? Just get them all! Great for ice creams, toast, hot cocoa, fondue, or for dipping fruit.


Raspberry Rose Chocolate Sauce

For those who aren't big fans of fruit cake, Robert's fruit cake collection will totally change your mind. I like the Summer Fruit Cake, with its cherries, mango, pears, almonds, guava and peach juice, macadamia and pine nuts, candied Rangpur lime, etc. Lushies will be happy to note that this is soaked in apricot brandy. Decorated with a California bay leaf and geranium blossom, it's such a pretty snack to bring to a housewarming, afternoon tea or dinner.

Don't overlook the incredible marmalades. With flavors like Calamondin, Seville Orange and Grapefruit Trio, you will be instantly hooked.


Summer Fruit Cake

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Arouse Your Sweetheart's Ardour With The Plymouth Passion

There's no better way to say those three little words than presenting this aptly-named drink, The Plymouth Passion. Easy to make, the smooth taste of Plymouth Gin and the exotic combo of pomegranate and passion fruit will definitely stir up more than enough passion between you and your sweetheart.


1.5 oz. Plymouth Gin

1.5 oz. Pomegranate Juice

1.5 oz. Passion Fruit Juice

Squeeze of lime

Fill a tall glass with ice, add Plymouth Gin and top with equal parts pomegranate and passion fruit juices. Add squeeze of lime and then stir.


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Terra Nostra Organic Chocolate - Good for the Planet and Your Taste Buds

With Terra Nostra's new organic offering, you don't need any excuse to indulge in high quality chocolate. The super smooth Robust Dark & Roasted Almonds bar (60% cacao) contains about ten times the antioxidants of fresh blueberries, so it's almost like a daily fruit serving (at least that's what I keep telling myself)! There's no need to feel guilty over the calories, and you're also supporting a company that is socially responsible (founder Karlo Flores is an active member of international fair trade community).


For the vegan folks, the Ricemilk Choco Bar collection is something you should seriously try. Made with a high percentage of cacao, these 'milk chocolate' bars have a very smooth feel and an intense chocolate flavor (56-57% cacao content). Also great for those with dairy allergies. Can we say yum?


See you at the health food stores!

The Sweet Life

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Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie - Tantalizing New Episodes to Check out this Winter

For all you foodies salivating for more "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie," your wait is over. Brand-new episodes starting this month will cover tasty topics such as the controversial reemergence of mind-altering Absinthe in France, exploring the American micro-brewing movement, and the exciting world of molecular gastronomy (Liquid nitrogen as an palate cleanser? This I gotta check out!).


Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie visits Peru.
(Photo Credit: Rennik Soholt for WGBH)

These new episodes will air through the end of February (Check local TV listings for more info). For a sneak peek or recipes, check out

See you in the kitchen!

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Nourish Dry Winter Skin with Fresh Creme Ancienne

If you're blasting the heater at max capacity like I am, try soothing your leathery skin with Fresh's Creme Ancienne. Hand made in small batches at a European monastery, it's based on an ancient formula (inspired by the world's first skin cream, in the 2nd century A.D.) that includes meadowfoam, chamomile wax and osmanthus oil. Thick and rich, it's a great antidote to softening, firming and smoothing the skin surface.


See you at the skin care counters,

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Be Naughty with Eminence's Berry Beautiful & Chocolate Truffle collections

Skin care has never been so naughty. Just in time for holiday indulgence, Eminence has launched the new and oh-so-yummy Berry Beautiful & Chocolate Truffle collections. Perfect for all skin types, pamper your skin head to toe with the antioxidant superpowers of Chocolate, Cranberry and Pomegranate:

An antioxidant powerhouse, the Cranberry Pomegranate Masque is a force to be reckoned with. Loaded with whole fruit cranberry and pomegranate (along with seeds and juice), it has intense levels of vitamin C and polyphenols to revitalize skin tone and reverse the signs of aging. So good for your skin, it’s also packed with flax seeds, sunflower oil and gooseberry. Use this before you head out to your holiday parties, and people will be admiring your glowing complexion all night.


Indulge yourself without the guilt! Deeply hydrating, the calorie-free Chocolate Mousse Hydration Masque fights the signs of aging deliciously with macadamia, almond, and jojoba oils. Who knew cocoa could be such a highly nutritious source of antioxidants? I loved the feel of my skin afterwards - the masque didn’t leave any greasy residue, just a perfectly hydrated complexion (It was so fragrant I actually tasted it – it’s the real deal!). If you’re headed to the spas, check out the amazingly decadent Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap.

My favorite facial moisturizer is now transformed into my new favorite body lotion! The Naseberry Body Lotion is the perfect antidote to rough elbows and just about any other dry spots you might have. Concentrated fruit acids help exfoliate and tone the skin while Calendula oil is added for an extra oomph of velvety softness. Another winner in my book.

Great for daily use, the lovely Cranberry Naseberry Yogurt Body Wash gently exfoliates with naseberry while vitamin C-rich cranberry nourishes your skin. For cold winter nights, it makes for an ideal hydrating bath soak. For a more glam body treatment, try the decadent Cranberry Pomegranate Sugar Scrub. I felt like I was drenched with a giant fruit smoothie as I happily scrubbed my way to heavenly smoothness.

Check out for spa & retail locations.

See you at the spas!

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Give Thanks with Plymouth Gin's Pumpkin Martini

With a decadent Thanksgiving feast weighing down the dinner table, there is no better way to give thanks (at least for lushies like us, heh heh) than with a holiday cocktail. Plymouth Gin took the liberty to create the Pumpkin Martini just for this special occasion, and the smooth taste doesn't disappoint the discerning drinkers.


Pumpkin Martini
1 oz. Pumpkin Puree
1 oz. Plymouth Gin
1.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice
1.5 oz. Simple syrup

Shake all ingredients (except Champagne) with ice and strain into a flute – then top with chilled Champagne! Yum....should pair well with a slice of pumpkin pie...

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Colleen Quen Shows Her 'Compassion' in 2007 Collection

All you fashion divas need to check out Colleen Quen's 2007 'Compassion' collection. Premiered at San Francisco Fashion Week, Quen's latest creations feature a graceful marriage of modern pop art and traditional French couture.


"Garden of Peace" Hand-Painted Silk Gown

With iconic themes of flowers and hearts, each versatile piece successfully merges urban art with deliberate functionality. Two-piece evening suits, mini dresses and evening gowns are fashioned with contrasting neutral hues of linens and silks, along with vibrant accents of reds, fuchsias and oranges. Artisan couture methods such as quilting, patch work and embroidery are elevated to a modern level, resonating elements inherent in Quen’s design philosophy.


"Three Hundred Papillons" Origami Gown

One of my favorites is the "Three Hundred Papillons" (Three Hundred Butterflies), a magenta and red silk organza Origami gown. The intricate 'butterflies' are painstakingly hand-stitched around the entire gown, a true represention of Quen's artistry and vision.

Symbolizing the pure act of creating art, the handwork captures the conscious act of being in the present moment. It also reflects Quen’s wish to inspire compassion, love and peace for the global community.

See you on the catwalk,

The Sweet Life

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