Oprah has finally released her list of “favorite things” for 2015.
For those who are unfamiliar with the phenomena, the guru and former talk show host picks out her “favorite things” every year and her fans go out and buy them for the gift-giving season or, as I am inclined to do, for myself.
There is no disputing that Oprah is a taste maker and this year you can go on Amazon and purchase the items. No need to leave the house or surf to multiple websites.
But what of those who aren’t in the 1% and don’t spend thousands of dollars on gifts for themselves or for their friends and families? I’ve got you covered.
This year’s list has 87 items on it and I’ve done PJ Media readers the service of editing Oprah’s list and providing better, cheaper alternatives for ten of Oprah’s favorite things.
Here is what you really need to know:
1. The Ultimate Lacquer Wardrobe: An Oprah Exclusive — This is a collection of nail polishes from Butter of London. Butter makes great nail polishes; I have several colors but I prefer Zoya nail polishes. They are free from the usual poisons found in most polishes and the range of colors is fantastic. Zoya polishes are around $9 each, while Butter will run you about $15. Oprah’s set is going to set you back $150 and you aren’t going to use all these polishes before they go bad — you know this deep down. Unless you are giving this as a gift to a nail-salon owner, go with the Zoya.
2. Skandia Talvi Knife Block Set — I cook a fair amount and I use only one knife 80% of the time and it’s the Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife. It’s $32.49 at Amazon and it really is a fantastic knife. The Skandia set sells for $150. I’m not a fan of knife sets — I only use one or two knives from the set. A good chef’s knife can do anything. Go with the Victorinox.
3. Hakuho-do + Sephora Pro Kan Kabe Perfection Brush Set — I’m going to break character here to say that Hakuho-do makes some great make-up brushes so this set is worth purchasing — if you actually use all six of the brushes regularly. Can you tell I don’t like buying sets of things? I would also recommend you take a look at Wayne Goss’s makeup brushes (and watch his YouTube videos) and pick out the brushes that you use regularly and buy those, although Wayne has some nice sets too. They aren’t cheap, but it is cheaper to buy individual brushes that you actually use. And Wayne is adorable.
4. Hartmann Rolling Suitcase — This is some expensive luggage and your luggage is going to get beat up if you check it in, especially if you travel regularly. I’m a frequent traveler and I love my SwissGear Zurich Pilot Case Spinner. It will cost you about $120 on Amazon, and the Hartmann suitcases start at a ridiculous $650. The SwissGear also has a nice laptop sleeve so you can access your laptop without opening up the whole suitcase. My suitcase has held up very well over the years and along tens of thousands of miles. My cats also like sleeping on it for some reason.
5. Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless Headphones — I hate to dis Dre, but paying $200 for headphones is serious business. I have Bose wired headphones so I’m not entirely opposed to paying some coin for a good product. However, I also have a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones and they cost me about $20. SoundPEATS Bluetooth Lightweight Wireless Stereo Sports Headphones come in several colors and the sound is really good. The sound becomes even better when you realize your headphones cost only 10% of the Dr. Dre Beats.
6. Peace Love Oprah Fleece Zip Hoodies — Don’t wear this $60 sweatshirt. Just don’t. A better alternative is the lovely Browning Embroidered Hoodie for $39.99 or this nice Don’t Tread on Me sweatshirt (it’s on sale for $36.50). You get my drift.
7. Foot Treatment Gift Set from the Footnanny — This foot treatment is going to set you back $102. For 102 bucks, I want someone to rub my feet too. Now I’ve never used this so I can’t say if it is any good, but if your feet really need some help, nothing is better than Tony Moly Super Peeling Shining Foot Treatment. The Tony Moly costs $7.95. This foot treatment is going to cause your dry and calloused skin to peel off your feet like a snake molting. It’s not for the faint of heart, but moisturized feet is a serious matter. Eternal vigilance and all that.
8. Special Edition Clarisonic Face Brush — This special edition Clarisonic runs $149. I ditched my Clarisonic Mia 2 about a year ago and now use a konjac sponge. My skin is much happier and just as smooth and clean. A konjac sponge will cost you $12 for two. They last about 2 or 3 months and then you can toss them in the trash. Sephora also sells konjac sponges, but the price is much better at Amazon. Consider picking up some Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil if you are looking to put a nice little set together for someone. I use so much of this oil that I buy it from South Korea in bulk. It smells fantastic and really cleans your skin.
9. Pappas Seafood Co. Signature Crab Cakes — The best crab cakes in Maryland are at G & M. There isn’t a huge price difference between Oprah’s choice ($135 for 8) and my choice ($128 for 8), but my choice is a great crab cake guaranteed. I pop into the restaurant and when I leave, I’m pretty good on the crab-cake front for at least a month. G & M is for people who take their crab cakes seriously. Now I want one.
10. Best Wishes Banquet from Omaha Steaks — Omaha Steaks is a standard Christmas gift, but you don’t want to be standard. March on over to your local small farm and buy some delicious grass-fed beef or buy a gift certificate to spread the holiday tidings and cheer to those close to you. If you don’t have a small local farm that sells grass-fed beef, surf on over to US Wellness Meats and order some magnificent grass-fed steaks. Nothing says “I value our friendship” like this beautiful grass-fed large french ribeye. The Omaha steak set is going to run you $80, but you can buy four of these ribeyes for virtually the same amount and ditch the carby crap that comes with the Omaha package.
This is my public service to the PJ community. I have no affilation with any of these companies, I’m just a satisfied consumer. If any of these companies would like to send me free products, I’m cool with that.