holiday gift guide

It’s that time of year!  You know how I feel about giving gifts.  Whereas I know most people to whom I give gifts basically have everything they need, it is still wonderful to pick out something special and make someone feel loved and appreciated.  The past few years I have also gifted myself something after Thanksgiving and before I start buying for everyone else.  Maybe you noticed my post on Instagram Wednesday.  It’s nice to appreciate yourself, too!

My gift guide is based on chatter I hear in my classes (e.g. “I would love this or that,”) products I love, gifts I am giving or have given, and items that I think would be useful in some of the homes in which I teach.  Don’t read into this if I teach in your kitchen!  These gifts are very food/cooking/home/female-oriented.



cuyana cropped trenchcuyana travel pouchescuyana saddle bag

Cuyana has made my list again this year because everything they make is so darn perfect and timeless.  I gifted myself the cropped trench which is super cute and comfortable, but I am in love with their scarves, wraps, zippered leather pouches and the mini crossbody saddle bags. You can’t go wrong.

Fisher’s Finery Long-Sleeved Pajama Set

fisher's finery pajamas

Ok, these don’t look super stylish or chic, but they are the pajamas I pull out most often, and I have quite a few pajamas.  They are so, so soft and comfortable and they are very good quality.  The fabric is very eco-friendly and doesn’t make you overheated when you sleep.  I have washed them at least 50 or 60 times and they still look perfect with no signs of pilling or wear.  They do run a little big FYI.  I bought a pair for my older daughter and she agrees they are so comfy.  They also come in a surprisingly nice box which is great for gifting.  You can find Fisher’s Finery on amazon with prime shipping, but if you can’t find the color or size you want, you can go to the manufacturer’s website here.

Beyond Yoga Featherweight For It Pullover

Beyond Yoga pullover

I workout regularly and now that the weather is cooler, I always wear a jacket or pullover before I head out the door.  I love all Beyond Yoga’s apparel.  Their fabrics are comfortable and stretchy.  This pullover is great because of the pockets in the front which can hold my keys and some $ if I go out for a walk or my hands if the temperature gets chilly (in LA, that would mean below 60 degrees.)

Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s Autobiography

born to run

Everyone I know who has read this has said it’s great.  They are all Springsteen fans, naturally.  I have bought this for a few people that I know love Bruce and I know they will love it. Available on amazon, but if you have a local bookstore in your neighborhood, please consider supporting them!  In Manhattan Beach where I live, Pages Bookstore is amazing and they are currently carrying all of the titles (plus more!) I have on my wishlist this year.


new cookbooksnew cookbooksfavorite cookbooksgwyneth's book is one of my faves

I know I don’t promote sugar and white flour, but when a real-deal dessert is in order, no one does it better than my friend Candace who started Sprinkles Cupcakes.  I have her new cookbook, The Sprinkles Baking Book, and it is to die for.  I have made the chocolate chip cookies and the milk chocolate cupcakes and both did not disappoint.  I will be attempting the Buche de Noel and the Stacked German Chocolate Cake for Christmas and I might adapt the recipes, and I might not. and Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach.

My friend Lisa has a great blog called 100 Days of Real Food, so she is obviously a woman after my own heart.  If you are new to eating and cooking with unprocessed foods, her blog and cookbooks are a great place to start. Her new book is titled 100 Days of Real Food:  Fast and Fabulous. and Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach.

Yom Ottolenghi has a string of great cookbooks, but Plenty More is my fave.  For your friend who is a vegetarian or just loves plant foods, this book has fantastic recipes. and Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach.

Whatever you want to say about Gwyneth Paltrow, keep it to yourself because I am a fan and I think her latest book, It’s All Easy, is terrific.  I’ve tried several recipes and I enjoyed them all.  The book has a relatively healthy bent to it and is pretty family-friendly. and Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach.

Great Knives

Holiday Gift Guide 2016 | Pamela SalzmanHoliday Gift Guide 2016 | Pamela Salzman

Every cook needs a few good knives and not everyone has one.  I have taught in the most beautiful kitchens which were equipped with the dullest knives and all I’m going to say is that I did not have so much fun cooking with them.  If you have decent knives, go them sharpened.  Even the best knives need to be professionally sharpened once in a while.

Michael Bras — I used these at someone’s house and they were amazing and if a knife could look sexy, these do.  The blade has a matte finish and looks almost black.  Plus it’s razor sharp.  The grip was perfect for me.  They are expensive, but I would love one anyway. 😉  Be careful of knife sets which often have pieces that you don’t need.  If you are going to pick one out for someone, a santoku knife is a great basic.

Masamoto — Another very solid, well made knife that I have used. and other cutlery websites.

A Good Board for Cheese and Crackers

Vermont Farm Tablehudson grace cheeseboardgreat board

Cheeseboards are very in, not that they were ever out.  And a good board is essential to a beautiful display.  You can use a cutting board or a piece of slate or something specifically designed for cheese.  Here are some lovely options:

Vermont Farm Table

Hudson Grace



White Log Match Striker + My Favorite Candle

farmhouse potterymy favorite candle

After my friend gave me a Vermont Maple Syrup and Silo Pitcher Set from Farmhouse Pottery,  I have been obsessed with this company since then.  They have the most beautiful collection of pottery, wood items, kitchen linens and more.  I am thinking if you pair this chic match striker with a great candle, you’ve got yourself a fabulous gift for some lucky person.    My favorite candle is still Santal 26 by Le Labo.  You can even personalize the label! or at select Barneys New York stores.


Beauty Counter Lipgloss

beauty counter lip glossesbeauty counter gift set

I am very conscientious of what I put on my skin and the fact that so many cosmetics have awful toxins.  I used to frequent the Environmental Working Group’s blog Skin Deep to research which products were the least toxic until Beautycounter came around.  All Beautycounter products are formulated to be absolutely clean and chemical-free.  I use many of their products from shampoo and conditioner to sunscreen to cosmetics.  I am especially smitten with their lip gloss of which I have several, my favorite being the Fig color.


The PancakeBot


If you want a gift for the person/family who has everything, here you go. I saw this PancakeBot on my cousin’s instagram feed creating a 3-D dinosaur pancake and I could not get over it.  Create pancakes in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, an astronaut, a flower, basically anything you can draw or choose from the accompanying software.  I don’t love the fact that the griddle is non-stick, but I have to say I think the machine is crazy fun.  Read the reviews on amazon and make your own decision.  It’s definitely not for busy weekday mornings! with prime shipping.


Subscription to Daily Harvest

daily harvestdaily harvest

I just tried Daily Harvest smoothies for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised and impressed.  All whole foods and no additives, frozen and packaged in a cup.  You just add the liquid of choice, toss it all in a blender and blend.  You can add whatever you want to the blender if you’re trying to amp up your protein or include supplements in your smoothie.  But I think this is a great option for those who just can’t find the time to stock their fridge and freezer with nutritious fruits and veggies.  I think the smoothies are pricey, but no more so than if you ordered one at your local smoothie shop.  They also have soups! I think a subscription of 6 or 12 smoothie/soup cups a week or 24 in a month would be a great gift for college student or someone who just can’t figure out how to jump start a healthy routine.  There’s a code THREEFREE to get three free smoothies with your order.



If your significant other or your child living on his or her own doesn’t have a Vitamix, he or she wants one.  Everyone wants one.   People that don’t even know they want one, want one.  Because a Vitamix is awesome and can blitz the smithereens out of anything and turn it into creamy perfection.  That’s all. or williams-sonoma or bed bath and beyond.

Tre Olive:  Adopt a Olive Tree Italy and Receive Olive Oil from the Tree

adopt an olive tree

I love this idea!  Through Tre Olive, you adopt an olive tree in Italy and you are sent liters of freshly pressed olive oil from the tree.  There are different package options from 3 liters of oil for $80 to 9 liters for $200, which include some flavored oils.  I know someone who received this as a gift and she said the oil was amazing.  The packaging is great, too.

Loeffler Randall Greer Bootie

loeffler randall booties

Um, in case my husband is reading this post.  Size 8, black. Thanks! Love you!!

Kendall Conrad Leather Cuffs

Kendall Conrad leather cuffskendall conrad cuffkendall conrad cuff

Kendall Conrad is an LA-based luxury accessories brand.  I love all their accessories — sandals, bags, jewelry, but I especially love their leather cuffs.  They’re so easy to wear everyday and they look great layered with gold bracelets.  So many to choose from, but I would take any one of them!  Kendall Conrad website found here.



Here’s a link to last year’s gift guide, which I think is still relevant and has some great ideas like platters, throws, cookware and more.  Don’t underestimate gift certificates for pampering like manicures/pedicures, massages, and restaurants. There are also lovely homemade gifts that anyone would be happy to receive.  Happy gifting!


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  1. Hi Pamela.. I really want a Vitamix but haven’t purchased one due to the container not being glass or stainless. Nervous about leaching chemicals. Any thoughts on this??

    • I know, it’s the one downside. I use it all the time and try not to use it for anything hot. Nothing you can do. My food processor is a plastic bowl, too. 🙁

      • I think I would use the Vitamix a LOT which is why I keep waiting for a glass container! Oh well. Thanks for the feedback and all the inspiration you provide on your website.

        • I get it.

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