**This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been announced.**
It’s the middle of August, which means wild chanterelles are growing in the back forest, the hot air balloons go up twice a day at the nearby balloon festival, and it’s my birthday again.
Now that I’ve gotten over the shock of turning thirty (it took me a few years; you’ll understand if you too have recently left the twenties behind), birthdays are no big deal. Tomorrow I’m turning 33 and can’t wait to celebrate with a group of dear friends.
I also wanted to celebrate here, with you. One evening back in June, I scratched out a list of things I was currently obsessed with and thought ‘Wouldn’t that be a fun idea for a post?’. It didn’t occur to me that a giveaway of my favorite things would be even better, but eventually I put two and two together, contacted some of my favorite companies, and here we are!
This giveaway is epic. But first, do scroll through my list of current favorites things – everything from beauty products to iPhone apps, kitchen knives and shoes. Plus the all-important ingredient of a girl’s thirties – chocolate.
Le Creuset French Ovens
I grew up stirring together risottos and polenta in my mother’s orange oval Le Creuset. When I married, I was given a cherry red French Oven that has served me tirelessly for the past 9+ years. Pasta sauces, curries, rice pudding – you name it, this pot is seldom empty in my kitchen.
It’s no secret I adore Le Creuset. I use their ramekins and roasters, recently acquired the lovely oval French Oven above, and have my eye on a cheery Demi Teakettle for my next purchase!
If you left my kitchen and headed for the bathroom, you’d find a lovely line-up of wholesome skin care products from Graham Gardens. This darling company has helped solve my skin issues as well as simplify my skin care process. Thanks to their soft, unscented Avocado & Oatmeal soap, I’ve left behind a slew of expensive Clinique products that I was never happy with (and never did my skin any good).
I’m also crazy about their healthy skin salve and use it daily on the kids and I for everything from bug bites to scraped knees. And I can’t wait to get the entire BabyBird collection for the wee little one I’ve got on the way!
Have you heard of One for One? It’s this cool little program that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need every time you buy a pair. As a bonus, Toms are about the most comfortable shoe around, and if you go for the Glitters, as I do, they’re styling and snazzy to boot!
There’s no way I could have survived all the airport travel of this year (Nashville, Atlanta, New York, and soon, Vancouver) without my Canvas Classic Toms. Yep, it’s official – I have a favorite shoe!
New West Knives Fusionwood Line
The pride and joy of my knife rack are my three stylish Fusionwood knives from New West Knifeworks. I have, and use daily, the handy Paring Knife, the magnificent Santoku Chef Knife, and the too-cool-for-school Mini Chopper. USA-made Fusionwood knives are as practical as they are beautiful and make a perfect gift for the creative culinary or budding chef in your circle of friends.
Ahh, the wonderful app for the iPhone for snapping photos, adding a cool filter and sharing them among friends. It was the first app I downloaded on my iPhone 4 and one that I use daily. In fact, all the photos on this post are snapped with my iPhone and processed through Instagram.
I love being able to share snapshots of my daily life with friends – as well as Twitter followers and Facebook friends. So, grab the app and follow me under the name ‘Aimee Wimbush-Bourque’. I’ll be posting birthday photos all day tomorrow!
Épices de Cru
I’m proud to call Montréal spice experts and world travelers, Philippe and Ethne de Vienne friends, although I’d be singing the praises of their exceptional products even if I didn’t know the couple. Spices from Épices de Cru are known for being ‘location specific’ which means they’ve been grown under specific conditions resulting in exceptional flavors and fragrances.
Most days I end with Pinterest. It easy to zone out, let the zillion and one thoughts of the day rest for the night, while I discover a world of beautiful things on the online push pin board known as Pinterest.
Wait, before you dismiss this as another time kill, let me explain that Pinterest is a valuable visual bookmarking tool. Instead of endless bookmarks, buried in my computer, I can scan my ‘boards‘ to locate a category such as ‘Preserves‘ or ‘Picnics‘, locate a memorable ‘pin’, which brings me to the recipe or link that previously caught my eye.
Of course, there is the social aspect, too, which I also love. You can follow friends, check out what they are pinning, comment, and even ‘repin’ their finds. Yep, I’m addicted!
Scharffen Berger Baking Chunks
My preoccupation with America’s finest dark chocolate began at Blogher Food ’11 where I used every excuse in the book to hang around their tantalizing booth. Of the many products that made it home in my suitcase, my favorite was their Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet chocolate baking chunks.
I love using them in scones, muffins, ice cream, and my Too.Die.For. Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Eating SB baking chunks straight from the bag is also a perfectly acceptable option. I recommend you stock up. Christmas is coming, after all.
Claudine’s Limited on Etsy
My earring situation needed a remedy this summer and I knew I would find the perfect earring tree on Etsy. Thanks to ClaudinesLimited, I did, and now, instead of a tangled mess in the bottom of a basket, my earring collection now elegantly hangs on a Wire Jewelry Tree Stand. Thanks, ClaudinesLimited!
Now, if only Claudine had an organizing solution for my closet. Sheesh.
Cookbook: Vegetables from an Italian Garden
I adore cookbooks with a good weight to them and the hardcover edition of Vegetables from an Italian Garden from Phaidon does not disappoint. Featuring over 400 recipes organized beautifully season by season, there is enough inspiration in this cookbook for every day of the year – and then some.
As one would expect from a vegetable-centric cookbook, over two-thirds of the recipes are vegetarian and expertly showcase how to use each vegetable in season. And perhaps my favorite feature of all? Next to each vegetable showcased is a handy feature ‘In the Garden’, which offers information on how to plan and harvest the vegetable in your home garden. Love.
Founded in 2008 right here in Montréal, David’s Tea has rapidly made a name for itself and it’s no surprise why! Their premium selection of loose leaf teas are renowned for tasting as good as they smell, and are rapidly winning fans to the wonderful world of tea. I’m currently sampling (and traveling) my way through the David’s Tea Around the World tea kit. It’s quite the trip.
I adore their Perfect Tea Mug because of its beautiful prints, practicality, and its lid! Finally, my tea stays warm for at least three chapters of my book.
My Favorite Things Giveaway Extravaganza!
**This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been announced.**
And now, here is the achingly beautiful list of items in this sweet birthday giveaway basket. A huge thank you to all the companies that participated!
Le Creuset. Le Cruset is offering one Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 6-3/4-Quart Oval French Oven in Fennel for this giveaway!
One winner will take home the entire giveaway basket: approximate value $550!
To enter this giveaway leave a comment on this post and answer this question:
“What is your current ‘favorite thing’? Is there something you love like crazy, can’t put down, and obsess over?” Tell us!
- Extra Entry #1: Follow @simplebites on Twitter and tweet the following: “I want to win the “My Favorite Things” #giveaway from @simplebites! http://bit.ly/qQz6GX “
- Extra Entry #2: Subscribe to Simple Bites’ RSS feed.
- Extra entry #3: Like Simple Bites on Facebook.
For each extra entry, return to this post and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted, subscribed or became a Facebook fan.
Giveaway will end Monday, August 22 at 11:59PM. One lucky winner will be announced on Tuesday morning. Good luck to all!