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WINDY CITY TIMES annual Holiday Gift Guide, Part Two
2019-12-11

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I'll drink to that

Inspired by TV host Giuliana Rancic, Giuliana Prosecco ( $14.99; TerlatoWines.com ) is smooth, with a fruity scent and deceptively complex taste. It may sound weird to say you settled down with Giuliana after a long day at work—but that's precisely what you and/or a friend may do.

Yule love this

Five-time Grammy winner Dionne Warwick ( "Walk on By," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" ) has released the CD Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas, featuring vocal support from Andra Day, Michael McDonald, Chloe x Halle and others. The album provides some cool takes on holiday classics like "Silent Night" and "Jingle Bell Rock."

An epic gift

Gay-owned, Indiana-based Epic Popcorn ( EpicPopcorn.com ) was one of the few tested items that earned universal raves this year. Try the Holiday Box trio ( $39.95 ), which features the Epic Holiday Mix ( a melange of white cheddar, and sweet and buttery caramel corn ), Reindeer Chow ( white chocolate corn and candy-coated chocolate, with pretzels ) and the Epic Holiday Trail Mix ( cheddar and caramel corn, with pretzels, crispy corn pillows, and candy-coated chocolate ).

For the cause

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research ( amfAR.org ) is offering several luxury options on its online store for just $40—including a Shantell Martin beach towel and a Jean Paul Gaultier tote bag. It's a stylish way to be charitable.

Bullie pulpit

Pit bull terriers are controversial—but out photographer Mike Ruiz aims to argue that the breed is misunderstood. The 2020 edition of Ruiz's Bullies & Biceps calendar ( $26.99; www.nybullycrew.org/product/bullies-biceps-2020-calendar/ ), which benefits New York Bully Crew Animal Rescue, pairs male fitness models with pit bulls—providing multiple reasons to look up dates ( or dream of one with a model ).

Making the case

Make a statement even when putting your shades away. The BLCO Travel Lente' Case ( $38; BuenoLeatherCo.com ) is a premium, hand-stitched unisex item that can be personalized. No one will be throwing shade at you when they see this.

A delicate matter

Manscaped ( various prices; Manscaped.com ) sells items to help individuals the land down under ( and I don't mean Australia ) manicured and fresh, with items ranging from Crop Mop to anti-chafing boxers. Also, in addition to the website-wide discount, Windy City Times readers can get more off by using the code "WINDYCITY2019."

Ray of light

Looking forward to warm( er ), sunny days, Coolibar ( various prices; coolibar.com ) has great-looking items for the entire family that specialize in sun protection. Coolibar makes clothes with UPF 50+ sun protection; a typical white T-shirt has a UPF rating of eight—just a point to ponder.

A delicate matter

Manscaped ( various prices; Manscaped.com ) sells items to help individuals the land down under ( and I don't mean Australia ) manicured and fresh, with items ranging from Crop Mop to anti-chafing boxers. Also, in addition to the website-wide discount, Windy City Times readers can get more off by using the code "WINDYCITY2019."

Swab evaluation

In this age of being environmentally friendly, it's not surprising that there are items such as reusable straws—and even swabs. I was initially skeptical about LastSwab ( $12; LastObject.com ), but it's a viable alternative—with one item providing up to 1,000 uses—and it comes in makeup and standard versions.

Pure pleasure

More people are purchasing air purifiers to help with allergies, etc. The Item Air Purifier ( iQair.com ) is one of the best and options include the 5 in 1 personal air purifier ( $399 ), which is perfect for bedside, a desk or a hotel room; and the AirVisual Pro ( $269 ), which gives air quality readings and also actionable information about how to improve the atmosphere around you.

Ray of light

Looking forward to warm( er ), sunny days, Coolibar ( various prices; coolibar.com ) has great-looking items for the entire family that specialize in sun protection. Coolibar makes clothes with UPF 50+ sun protection; a typical white T-shirt has a UPF rating of eight—just a point to ponder.

MOTO rooter

For those who like to keep their scalps clean, Headblade MOTO ( $12; headblade.com ) is perfect. The unique design allows the razor blade to pivot up and down ( following the contour of the scalp ) while the body can lean side to side. However, if you want something a step up, there's also a gold-plated version called the S4 MOTO Goldfinger ( $75 ).

Book it

There are at least two LGBTQ celebrity books that are worth checking out this season. Robyn Crawford's A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston ( $28 ) and Sir Elton John's Me ( $30 ) are chock full of revelations—and emotion.

Nice to meat you

Cooks may not know what they're missing with TBJ Gourmet Uncured Bacon Jam ( $9; tbjgourmet.com/products/classic-bacon-jam-9oz ). Featuring brown sugar, caramelized onions, apple cider vinegar, seasoning and, of course, bacon, this spread adds that extra oomph to a wide variety of dishes.

Action Jackson

Local retailer/space Jackson Junge Gallery ( 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave.; J2Gallery.com ) has some cool exhibitions on display—but there are some pretty amazing prints available for purchase. Pages of prints are on the website; your biggest problem may be deciding which one( s ) to buy.

It's a wrap

Be warm and look cool with a scarf from laetly ( $75-$85; laetly.com, and locally at retailer Komoda )—a line that has unisex items with bold colors and/or messages. So get Kraken ( a theme of one of the scarves ) and check out the items.

High frying

No doubt you've heard about the more healthful aspects of air frying. The Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven ( $119.99; www.walmart.com/ip/Instant-Vortex-Plus-7-in-1-Air-Fryer-Oven-10-Quart/461120825 ) will make you or your gift recipient the envy of everyone in the neighborhood, thanks to features such as seven built-in smart programs ( such as reheat, broil, dehydrate and, of course, air fry ). You'll get flavorful cooking that's better for you.

Gettin' the goods

For some, "Rosebud" may evoke Citizen Kane but, for others, the Rosebud CBD All the Goods Gift Set ( $124-$284; RosebudCBD.com ) may evoke a total sense of calm—or an awakening. The gift set includes a bath soak, salve and tincture, with items with ingredients such as Himalayan salts, essential oils and more.

So hot

Addicted's ( AddictedDallas.com ) collection is justifiably called "Flammable Ice," as it's hot enough to melt the snow. The line does more than just look good, though; not only is the clothing pretty comfortable, but it's even water-resistant.

All the world's a page

Phaidon Books ( Phaidon.com ) has some great coffee-table books catering to many interests. Great Woman Artists, Rihanna and Anatomy: Exploring the Human Body offer some stunning images that are sure to be thought-provoking.

Nom com

Noms Bake Shop ( various prices; GetNoms.com ) is made for the present and future. There are delicious, individually wrapped cookies ( in flavors such as Double Chocolate Chunk and Snickerdoodle ) in cool boxes, including customizable wooden crates, that can be used for storage—of additional cookies or something else.

The bling's the thing

Sometimes, you just need protection. For those who like glam and glitter, BlingSting ( BlingSting.com ) provides that—but the products ( some of which come in some eye-catching colors ) also harbor sound alarms, pepper spray and other measures meant to keep someone safe. Safety never looked so good.

Fresh chair

Offering a twist on the traditional seat, Rove Concepts (RoveConcepts.com) includes items such as the Womb chair and ottoman—created after Florence Knoll requested Eero Saarinen design a chair that was "like a basket full of pillows." And, yes, Rove specializes in "investment pieces"—but investments can definitely be worth it, in this case.

In fashion

Local retailer Syd Jerome ( 20 N. Clark St.; SydJerome.com ) has been keeping men looking stylish for decades. Owner Scott Shapiro aims to make sure that everything from $20 socks to a $20,000 vicuna coat looks great on you—although you couldn't even look in my direction if I wore a $20,000 item.

Sometimes you feel like a nut

For anyone who loves nuts or healthful snacking, Skinny Dipped Almonds ( various prices; SkinnyDipped.com ) would be welcome. And, thankfully, there are dark-chocolate varieties such as mint, raspberry and peanut butter.

On the money

Cut down on "bulging wallet syndrome" with the Dearborn Bifold Wallet ( $36; damenandhastings.com/products/dearborn-bifold-money-clip-wallet )—a slim item that organizes your essentials into two sections, and even includes a removable money clip.

See Part One at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/WINDY-CITY-TIMES-2019-Holiday-Gift-Guide-Part-One-of-Two/67534.html .


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