DIDN'T GET YOUR ticket to be on Oprah Winfrey's final "My Favorite Things" show? Neither did I. And we can all stop waiting, because her final My Favorite Things program aired last week.
Not to worry. In the spirit of the holidays, I've decided to take up the tradition and share My Favorite Things. Unlike Oprah, though, I'm limited to the confines of these news pages. But other than that, Jen's Top 10 works the same. I'll tell you about the products that I really like and then give them away to randomly selected Daily News readers.
Yes, Christmas is coming early this year for lucky readers. For a chance to be one of the recipients, just e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and a daytime phone number. As Oprah would say, "One for you!" and "One for you!" and "One for you!" And for the record, I'm not Oprah, so we won't be giving away any cars, all-expense-paid vacations or flat-screen TVs. On the flip side, there's no need to jump and down on national TV and scream like a maniac when you win.
The names of prize winners will be published in the Daily News next week; requests for specific merchandise cannot be honored. (And note to my colleagues: If you work for the Daily News, the Inquirer or Philly.com you are not eligible.)
Here's what I really like:
Matthew Izzo candle, Matthew Izzo, 151 N. 3rd St.
A few years ago I bought one of these candles for a girlfriend and it filled her apartment with the smell of red currant. Created by Matthew Izzo, who happens to be one of the city's most stylish men, the soy-blend, handmade candles are manufactured in a local studio "with love." They come with their own box and bow, so no extra wrapping is needed. The top-selling candle is the Rittenhouse ($28), which is scented with lilac and jasmine. We're giving away five of them.
John & Kira's Chocolates, 800-747-4808, available at DiBruno Brothers at 1730 Chestnut St. and area farmer's markets.
The first time I tasted John & Kira's chocolate-covered mints, my knees buckled. OK, so that's a bit of an exaggeration but not much. And the more I learn about these locally-produced artisanal treats, the more I love them. The fresh mint they use comes from a student-run garden at Philadelphia's Drew Elementary School and another urban garden at a high school on the south side of Chicago. That wonderful honey in the lavender honey chocolate is thanks to Trickett Honey & Beekeeping in West Philadelphia or the family-run Draper Apiaries in rural Tioga County. We're giving away five boxes of the 15-piece Happiest of Holidays assortment ($30).
Heart of Philadelphia necklace by Lagos, 1735 Walnut St. or Lagos.com.
I've been lusting after this necklace ever since the Daily News presented them as gifts earlier this year to Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, the two reporters who snagged a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. What makes them unique is how the Heart of Philadelphia necklace ($150) showcases architectural elements from the City of Brotherly Love. I have one of these to give away.
Cashmere sweater by Charter Club, available at all Macy's stores, www.Macys.com.
Nothing says luxury the way cashmere does. Two years ago, my sister gave me, my mother and my female siblings each one of these cashmere sweaters ($39.99). Everyone looked good in it and loved not only the fit but the feel. What makes them even better is their price. These sweaters are great holiday gifts for your sister, mother, girlfriend or any other lucky soul. We have five medium-size sweaters to give away.
Meribel luggage tags, judiflowersfoot
wear.com, Beatrice Buttons, 4014 N. 12th St., and Shopgirl in Wayne.
These are Oprah's favorite luggage tags (under $10) and now they're my personal favorite, too. I love the unique designs, which helps make it easier to spot your bag at airport baggage claims. Made of recycled rubber, they make a stylish statement without screaming, "I'm expensive. Come steal me." We have 10 of these to give away.
Chaddsford Spiced Apple Wine, available at Pennsylvania state stores and chaddsford.com.
I drove out to the Chaddsford Winery with a couple of girlfriends one crisp fall afternoon and became enamored at first sip with this Spiced Apple Wine ($12.99). For a Christmas Eve party I added an orange studded with cloves and simmered the wine on a back burner. Not only did it taste delicious, but it made the house smell like apple pie. We'll be giving away five bottles.
Eagles hoodie by Mitchell & Ness, 1201 Chestnut St. and mitchellandness.com.
You can show hometown team pride with this new women's training camp hoodie ($100). The body of the jackets is fleece and the distressed finish gives it some edge. Another plus is the embroidered logos, and I'm a sucker for elbow patches. This jacket will be just the thing to wear to the Super Bowl. We're giving away five of them.
Ralph Lauren Throw, Bloomingdale's, www.bloomingdales.com.
This Ralph Lauren throw ($50) is a classic. The cable on it is so much like a giant, cozy sweater that you'll be tempted to wrap it around your shoulders and wear it. We're giving away five.
Family Photo Water Globe, Things Remembered, Thingsremembered.com.
I'm adore personalized gifts. This Family Photo Water Globe ($49.99) is mega-sized and has ample room for engraving a favorite saying or a message plus a spot for a picture you treasure. Turn the crank to hear the classic, "What a Wonderful World."
Yes, it's a wonderful world indeed, since we have five snow globes to give away.
Behind-the-scenes tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show.
It's one thing to see the Philadelphia Flower Show, opening March 6, 2011. But it's a whole other experience to have a personal, 90-minute tour ($210 for two tickets) through the acres of blooms before the event opens to the public. This year's show is all about Paris, the City of Lights, and the exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour will take guests through Parisian parks and past glorious topiary carousel creatures. You'll also receive an extra show ticket for use during regular show hours. We'll give this exper-ience to one lucky reader.