Monday, December 31, 2012

Celebrate the New Year with Crown Royal Maple Finished Whisky

Kickoff the new year with the newly launched Crown Royal Maple Finished Whisky! I'm not much of a whisky drinker but I knew I would love it since I'm a big maple flavor fan. I recently attended the launch of Crown Royal Maple Finished and got to try Maple on the Rocks, Maple Old Fashioned and my favorite, the Manitoba (Crown Royal Maple Whisky, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup and Ginger Beer). 

It is incredibly smooth, with the perfect blend of the signature caramel and vanilla nose of Crown Royal with aromas of light, fresh maple for a warm and woody touch. 

Crown Royal Maple Finished is available in 1.75 liter, 1 liter, 750mL and 50mL sizes nationwide. Learn more at

Here are some recipes to help you celebrate the new year!

- 1.5 Ounces of Crown Royal Maple Whisky
- 2 Ounces of Apple Cider
Dry shake all ingredients and pour into a coffee mug. Top with hot water. Garnish with a pat of butter and cinnamon stick 

- 3/4 oz. Bulleit Rye
- 1 Tsp Demerara Syrup
- 3/4 oz. Crown Royal Maple Whisky
- 2 Dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 Dash Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Stir & strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon & orange twist

Images courtesy of Crown Royal

- Kim Weling

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Columbia Sportswear Winter 2012

I am so not a fan of cold weather, but Columbia Sportswear has made my past two winters more bearable with my Snowfall Thermo boots. This winter season I'm excited about complimenting my footwear with the Powerfly Down Jacket ($220), Extreme Fleece Long Sleeve 1/2 Zip ($80) and Mountain Monster Gloves ($150), all made with Omni-Heat® Thermal Reflective technology.

The Omni-Heat® Thermal Reflective silver dot lining keeps you 20% warmer by reflecting back the heat your body generates, while regulating body temperature by allowing excess heat and moisture to escape. The Powerfly Down Jacket is keeps me super warm with the combination of Omni-Heat® Thermal Reflective lining and 800 fill power goose down insulation. The jacket is also made with Omni-Shield® advanced repellancy, designed to resist light rain and stains.

It's been tough finding a down jacket that fits me, but this one in XS fits just right, especially the sleeve length, additional fitted feature at the cuff and and inside adjustable drawcord at the hem for a better fit. The jacket is also lightweight and compresses into a packable pouch. It's great for travel or for running around the city.

The Extreme Fleece is also made with Omni-Wick® advanced evaporation, keeps you dry and comfortable by dispersing sweat away from the body for quick evaporation. It is perfect to wear for jogging in cold weather, keeping you warm and dry at the same time. It can also be worn as a layering piece, underneath the Powerfly 
 Down Jacket for extra warmth.

The Mountain Monster Gloves will come in handy when a snowstorm comes along. I'll definitely be wearing them the next time I have to shovel my car out. They are ultra-breathable and durable, made with OutDry® waterproof technology. These are the ultimate snow gloves featuring knuckle expansion pleats, soft leather palm and a precision fit.

You can check these items out at

Columbia Sportswear Powerfly Jacket in Light Grape and Extreme Fleece Long Sleeve 1/2 Zip in Blue Vapor

 - Kim Weling

Friday, December 28, 2012

Acer Iconia B1 $99 Tablet Launching in 2013

Acer, the Taiwanese PC giant, is ready to set the gadget world on its ears with a new $99 tablet set to compete in the emerging low cost market against, Amazon, Google, and Barnes & Noble. This is big news as Acer is already the manufacturer behind Google's Nexus 7 devices which have been a huge success for the company at the $199 price point.

Acer is planning to launch the Iconia B1, a $99 tablet that runs the Google Android operating system, early in the first quarter of 2013, a source close to the project has disclosed to the Wall Street Journal. The $99 tablet is set to feature a 7 inch display much like the Nexus 7, with a pixel resolution of 1024 x 600, and a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor.

Acer's plan for the $99 tablet would beat its competitors in the low cost tablet market, many of whom rushed to bring their tablets to consumers this past year, with aggressively priced options in the $150-200 range. Amazon offers a 7-inch Kindle Fire which is priced at $159 for an 8GB model and also boasts a Kindle Fire HD in their lineup which starts at $199. Barnes & Noble on the other hand offers the Nook Color HD, also 7 inches, at $199 for a 8GB Model. The iPad Mini, which measures 7.9 inches starts at $329 for the 16GB Model.

For those looking for a cheap starter tablet the Acer is a great option, but there is one hiccup that could present itself. The $99 Acer tablet is aimed at emerging markets and although the device has been submitted to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for clearance, there is no confirmation on whether it will be sold in the United States at this time.

Acer also could open the door for competition at this $99 price point. Google is ready to go even lower on their margins than the $199 Nexus 7 and could be pushing a tablet as low as $99 in the very near future. However, this tablet might not be $99 from launch, as it has been rumored to start in the $129 or $149 range and work its way down.

Either way you draw it up, Acer is going to be great for the consumer as it will undoubtedly bring competition into the tablet market, and force other manufacturers to bring low-cost tablets and gadgets into the marketplace for consumers.

- Sam Victor

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cat Footwear Winter 2012

I've had my eye on Cat Footwear for quite some time now, and was thrilled to finally try out a pair! Cat Footwear sells a wide range of footwear, from boots to casual styles, and is a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. and the global footwear licensee of Caterpillar® Inc.
My favorite from Cat Footwear Winter 2012 is the Corrine Boot ($230), part of the Legendary Raw Collection and a modern take on the classic riding boot. Like many of Cat Footwear styles, this boot is rugged yet feminine and will look more and more appealing with each wear. I chose the Corrine in black, which has more of an inky appearance, perfect to wear with a dark pair of jeggings. The Corrine in black comes in full grain leather while the sienna and brown colors come in leather with a canvas upper. This boot is comfortable for trekking around all day in the city, and the size 5 fit perfectly. I am really impressed with the craftmanship and quality and expect these boots to be a favorite of mine for a long time. 
Here's a look at some of the other styles in the winter collection, available at
Left/Center: Hepburn Boot, $210
Right: Rosie Boot, $210
Rita Boot, $170
Boots from the Cat Footwear x Shontelle Collection
Shontelle Bridgetown Boot, $190

Shontelle Bajan Boot, $200
Here's a sneak peek at the Spring 2013 styles!
Marilyn, $100

Criss Cross, $100
- Kim Weling

Monday, December 24, 2012

Last-Minute Holiday Gifting with Sabon

So there's only one more shopping day left this holiday season, but let's not forget those post-holiday gifts to get for friends and loved ones you may not see until after the holidays, and of course well-deserved gifts for yourself. For my last gifting recommendation before the holidays, I'd have to go with Sabon and their amazing bath and body products including lotions, shower gels, body scrubs, soaps and oils. I also love their packaging - just take a look at some of the images I took at the boutique. 

I must admit, I haven't been in a Sabon boutique in quite awhile since I've been pretty stocked up on products for myself, and was amazed at how much Sabon has added to their product line. With a visit to the Soho boutique for a private tour and press preview earlier this month, I was introduced to men's, mother and baby, face and hair care lines, candles and diffusers for the home as well as travel-sized products. 

The best way to choose your favorite Sabon scent is to visit a store and experience a hand treatment, by trying out one of the scrubs, followed by the creamy scrub and oil, resulting in super-soft skin. My favorite scent/product is actually the newest addition to the Sabon collection - the men's Gentleman Body Scrub, $30, which has a Patchouli Citrus scent. I found out from the boutique associates that a lot of women actually love to this scent and body scrub, which makes a great unisex gift. 

You can learn more about Sabon at and find boutique locations here.



- Kim Weling

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last-Minute Holiday Tech Accessories & Gifts

Here are some of my favorite tech accessories and stocking stuffers:

1. Apple iPad mini, from $329 - 7.9" display and easily fits into your bag to tote around every day.  
2. Matrix nrg 3.5mm Portable Bass Speaker, $29.99 - this portable bass speaker is great for travel, the office or the beach. Plugs into your iPad or iPhone or other portable media player/cell phone. Available in a variety of colors from red to blue (do these portable speakers remind anyone else of those UV light pods in Blade II?)
3. Sol Republic Customized Headphones, from $119.97 - choose a FlexTech Sound Track interchangeable headband, V8 sounds engine speakers and Cleartalk cables 
4. Monster Power Outlets To Go 300 for Laptops, $24.95 - includes 3 outlets and 2 USB ports
5. GoSwype Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, $1.99 - removes dirt, oil, grime, fingerprints and up to 98% of germs and bacteria
6. Monster iClean, $14.95 -  iPhone and iPod screen cleaner comes with 1 travel bottle and 2 antimicrobial cloths

- Kim Weling

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lavanila Laboratories Holiday Stocking Stuffers and Gift Sets

Just two more shopping days left!If you happen to find yourself looking for last-minute gifts at Sephora, check out Lavanila Laboratories healthy fragrances. Lavanila fragrances ($58) are all based around a vanilla scent. The collection includes Pure Vanilla, Vanilla Passion Fruit, Vanilla Lavender, Vanilla Coconut, my favorite Vanilla Grapefruit, and the newly launched holiday fragrance - Blackberry Vanilla. Lavanila's scents contain natural ingredients like essential oils, 100% natural botanical extracts, spring water and organic cane alcohol, and are free of drying alcohol, petrochemicals and phthalates. The scents are healthy and sweet-smelling, yet not overpowering. Some of the natural ingredients include Goji Berries, Kakadu Plum, Olive Leaf Extract and Canadian Willowherb. 

Lavanila's rollerball ($19) and mini deodorant ($10) make great stocking stuffers. I love to keep both the rollerball and mini deodorant at the office, but they are are also great for travel or to throw in your gym bag or purse. My skin is sensitive to deodorants, and I'm glad I finally found one I like that has odor protection and doesn't irritate my skin, or have harsh chemicals. The Healthy Deodorant is free of Aluminum, Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Talc, Phthalates and Triclosan. It is formulated with health-promoting beta-glucan technology packed with anti-oxidants, active botanicals and essential oils. 

If you are thinking of gifting several of Lavila products, check out the gift sets. Lavanila Laboratories is available at Sephora, and

- Kim Weling

Yankee Candle and Bridgewater Candle Company Holiday Fragrances

 Time to pick up those last-minute gifts! I lost track of how many candles I own but it's still a gift I love getting and giving, especially when you come across an amazing fragrance. My favorite this season is Yankee Candle Red Velvet. Red velvet happens to be my favorite dessert flavor and this smells like the real thing - a delicious, sweet mix of brown sugar, red velvet cake and creamy frosting. Red Velvet comes in different candle sizes from the large jar ($27.99) to the tumbler ($15.99) and small ($10.99).

Bridgewater Candle Company holiday scents include Mistletoe Wishes, Snow Day and my favorite of the three - Dear Santa, which smells like freshly baked gingerbread cookies. These festive scents make a great gift as a large candle ($20), petite reed diffuser ($18) or candle tin as a stocking stuffer ($10). Purchasing a Bridgewater Jar Candle also helps a great cause, as Bridgewater Candle Company will make a donation to Rice Bowls to feed one orphaned child for a day. 

- Kim Weling

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts at HSN

 Rarities: Carol Brodie

Who isn't done with their holiday shopping yet? I'm not! If you love to shop online and want to avoid the crowds of shoppers, HSN has everything you need to get all your last-minute gifts, from jewelry and handbags to cosmetics, skin care and fragrances as well home decor and accessories. Take a look at some of my favorite gifts you'll find at HSN also offers Super Express Delivery to ensure your items arrive before December 25th. 

Joan Boyce

 Vince Camuto clutches

Sharif Convertible Cross Body Bag


CLEAN fragrances

Billionaire Boyfriend by Kate Walsh


MoMA Design Store earbuds and cord wrappers

Highgate Manor faux fur throws

Colin Cowie 2 Tier Slate Cake Plate

Emeril 4-piece knife set with 5-piece cutting board

Scentaments diffusers

Carleton Varney diffuser sets

- Kim Weling