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a few of my favorite things!


After back to back press trips, one of the things I both look forward to and dread about coming home is the amount of mail waiting for me.

I get lots of stuff from companies that want me to review their products. Unless they’re paying me (which, sadly, none of the ones I’m mentioning here are), I’ll either 1) test it and stick it in a closet until I have a story in which I can use it 2) test it and donate it to a charity 3) love it and want to share it with you immediately.

All of these fit in category 3:

Tastebuds Popcorn

Tastebuds Popcorn

You know I’m a sucker for popcorn. I’ve been reviewing movies for more than a quarter of a century and I’m still not sick of it.

So when I received a box of samples from Tastebuds, a small, family business based in North Carolina, I started immediately opening bags. (They also make Slawsa, but I’m not a salsa or cole slaw kind of girl so I’m really not the right person to review it. I am, however, definitely the right person to review the popcorn.) Don’t you get happy just looking at all these colors and flavors?!

Tastebuds offers more than 200 — yes, 200! — flavors. Although I’m a purist and was partial to Salty Dog, I have to admit I loved the Pina Colada and Snickerdoodles. Everything tasted surprisingly true to their names.

These would make great party favors or a much-welcome care package for a college student. You could fill Christmas stockings with them or give a different flavor for each night of Chanukah. The options are endless!

Just check out their website and start choosing the flavors you want. I’m thinking Almond Joyful, Bleu Cheese, Chocolate Coconut, Nacho Cheese, Decadent Dog …

Claus Porto

Claus Porto

Okay, I confess that I was a little disappointed when I realized these were soaps and not chocolates. But then I got a whiff and pretty much swooned.

They smell as good as they look. And, seriously, how beautiful are they?

Claus Porto has been handcrafting soap since 1887 in Porto, Portugal, a city which my daughter and I visited last year and fell in love with. Their only two stores are in Porto and Lisbon, and if I had known about them then, we would have made sure to stop by and stock up.

Luckily, you don’t have to travel to Portugal to buy these (although you should make a trip there at some point). You can order bars and gift boxes online, and you can even customize a box with your favorite soaps. They’re perfect for teacher gifts, housewarming gifts (check out the box of guest soaps) and would add a lovely touch to your own bathroom.

Hallmark Tropical Lei Collection


Have you ever seen a cuter collection of Hallmark goodies than this?! I’m a big Hallmark fan with closets full of wrapping paper, ribbon and cards, but I am absolutely making room for all of it!

If you love Hawaii and the beach, like I do, this may be your favorite Hallmark collection ever. The colors are so pretty and tropical, and those lei-covered gift bags are the best!

There are flowers, pineapples and lots of flamingos and palm trees.

I will be wrapping everything in this collection in celebration of an endless summer. I bet my gift recipients will be like little kids, more excited about the packaging than what’s actually inside.


  1. Robyn L Talbott says:

    You need some help. Call me! 🙂

  2. Those popcorn flavors…! <3

  3. Ummm, you had me sold at snickerdoodle popcorn! Yum! And those colors remind me of the different colored popcorn I had when I was a kid. How fun! I will definitely be looking for the holidays!

  4. I too will like to receive products to endorse. However these products must not be random but products I have an affinity for. It is good that you like the popcorn and the colored wrapping paper. I wish all the promoters would pay you and pay you handsomely too.

  5. I am a sucker for good quality soaps… In fact, I need to stay away from places like Lush and bath and body shops. I do like the coloured popcorn as well – certainly some interesting products to review. Thanks for sharing.

  6. You know I am also a popcorn lover and I am totally up for Tastebuds ones. 200 different flavours, god that’s a lot . Its a shame they’re not available in India. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. I am a big time popcorn lover, too! I don’t think it’s even possible for me to pass a vendor selling fresh kettle corn with out stopping to by a (large) bag! 😉

  8. You had me at popcorn but Hallmark has some awesome stuff too. Love that you shared just a few of your favorite things with us, that reminds me I must visit a Hallmark store soon!

  9. I love love love popcorn as well. I could eat it all day, for every meal. These options look amazing!

  10. Those soaps are amazing. The best mix of vintage and lux. And they’re also affordable (I have checked the website from your link). Love them!

  11. The popcorn is awesome! We love having popcorn around because we enjoy movie night so much as a family. It’s definitely one of the snacks that we always have! I would love to try those yummy flavors!

  12. These are cool. Colored popcorn, oh my! I love snickerdoodle!

  13. Those things all do look pretty cool. I am always for unique and beautiful smelling soaps. And I definitely will make a trip to Portugal when I get the chance.

  14. Awww those products look cute! The popcorn seems yummy since I’m a fan of it. Love this post!

  15. I’m from Asia and let me tell you how boring and not-at-all-popular popcorn is here. But I love popcorn!!! Looking at the colors and the flavor names makes me so hungry. And also, why do soaps have to look so pretty, like always?!

  16. The soap packaging looks so pretty! I would love to have each one of them. I love soaps and remind me of my grandmother who used Jasmine soaps from Asia. Also, the popcorn looks super yummy!

  17. Popcorns! Popcorns! One of our favorite snacks especially when watching movie. Love it so much.

  18. What a great round up of goodies! Popcorn is one my families favorite snacks for five night!

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