When I’m invited to a party, anxiety emerges. I’m frantic for a week before it, and it’s not because I’m worried about what to wear — I never know what to bring for hostess gifts. For years, I’ve brought boring wines and bouquets of flowers.

Everyone drinks the wine and oohs and aahs over the flowers, but there are other bottles of wine and other vases of flowers other party-goers have brought. Very unoriginal.

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I decided to change my usual gifts and replace them with items thatare more exciting and interesting. What would I want people to give me if I ever hosted a party?

Mariebelle Aztec Hot Chocolate

Mariebelle Aztec Hot Chocolate
is sheer ecstasy. Made from pure cacao, this hot chocolate is rich with flavor and sure to impress any hot chocolate lover. $25 at Williams-Sonoma.

One of my favorite places to shop for all things kitchen is Sur La Table.

The Chocolate Fondue Crate Set

The Chocolate Fondue Crate Set
is ideal for any chocoholic. Made from pure cocoa butter, this imported fondue is perfect for any fruit, cookie or spoon. $19.99 at Sur La Table (on sale).

Gordon Ramsay’s

I’m drawn to Chef Gordon Ramsay’s abrasive yet honest personality. Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food cook book showcases his sophisticated cooking style. True to his cooking motto of rustic, simple food, Fast Food offers quick recipes that won’t cause you to pull your hair out and which you can serve to friends or family. $28.00 at Barnes & Noble.

Teavana tea  

If I could, I’d drink Teavana tea all day long. White, green, oolong, black, herbal and rooibos loose tea abound in their stores. You can also create your own blends.

My favorite mix is Snow Geisha and Cloud 9 Rooibos. A white tea, Snow Geisha is an exotic blend of cherries and cranberries. Cloud 9 possesses hints of citrus and marshmallows. Together they create a sweet and intoxicating flavor explosion that will satisfy a sweet tooth. Snow Geisha is $25 per 20 oz. and Cloud 9 is $6.80 at Teavana.


The cast of 30 Rock makes
me laugh so hard I’m afraid I may choke one day. This show is my guilty pleasure. Buy DVD’s of season 1 and/or 2 and share the craziness with your friends. Not to be viewed while drinking any beverage — it may come out your nose while you laugh. Season 1 is $28.49 at Amazon.


The Bath Bombs and Emotibombs from Lush
induce “I’m home sick today” calls to work
. Nothing is more relaxing.

Buy 6 or more and have it gift-wrapped with Lush’s wrapping style. The Harvey Bath Bomb lulls you into sensory titillation with jasmine and carrot seed oil. Up You Gets does just that when you’re sluggish in the morning. Up You Gets is $3.95 at Lush.

Archipelago Botanicals Soy Wax Candles 

Archipelago Botanicals Soy Wax Candles
are a dream come true for any home. Based on citrus, flower and spice scents, these candles have a long burn time and will delight your nose.

The Nambe Twist Shaker

The Nambe Twist Shaker will bring out the James Bond in anyone. A modern cocktail shaker designed by Fred Bould, this shaker will be the talk of the party.

I’m ready to host a party myself. Keep the gifts coming!

Pic of the Day: Funny Baby

Funny BabY