A Few of My Favorite Things

By staff December 14, 2007

An Oprah-esque Christmas list of some of the stuff that I like best.


By Hannah Wallace


In honor of Oprah’s annual gift-a-thon frenzy-fest, during which she shills…er, shares her favorite things by giving approximately $3.5 billion worth of merchandise to each audience member, I’ve listed here a few of my Sarasota-oriented favorite things. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to do a little last-minute gift shopping for that weird neighbor with all the garden gnomes or that third cousin who just got out of jail. Yep, just like Oprah, except this stuff is nowhere near as stylish and much, much cheaper…which is good, because I have no freebies to give away. Merry Christmas!


Bamboo 54 cork-heel sandals, available at Freaky Tiki on Main Street. For a flip-flop-wearing gal like me, these shoes can mean the difference between beach bum and beach business casual.


Green Door Organics. Pay $14 or $21 a week for large or larger bags of fresh, organic fruits and veggies. (My first $14 bag? Chard, two garlic bulbs, three russet potatoes, three ears of corn, green beans, three pears and two oranges.) Pick up your goodies every Friday from an unassuming Rosemary District yoga studio (with a green door, of course) and plan your meals around the produce, instead of vice versa. Green Door even e-mails you recipes based on each week’s selection. (Credit Copy Editor Megan for discovering this deal through This Week in Sarasota.)



Sunpass Especially if you’ve been conditioned to stop at the Skyway toll, zipping through the prepaid lane cuts palpable stress out of that drive.


The goat cheese bruschetta at Mattison’s City Grille. Seriously you guys, I don’t even like tomatoes, and I can’t get enough of this stuff.


The Ringling Museum’s Peter Paul Rubens lion’s head logo. A stroke of genius: Taking that lion’s sly grin from the corner of Rubens’ huge, cherub-filled Triumph of Divine Love and bringing it center stage. It’s a metaphor of sorts for the museum itself: wicked, captivating details in every little corner of an impressive, enormous whole. I don’t think the image is as prevalent in museum souvenirs as it was when I worked in the gift shop a few years ago (we were given lion-adorned paperweights for Christmas), but I still get a kick out of the lion’s devious smirk, especially considering it originated from a painting with so much angelic fanfare.



Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, one of my favorite plays,available for something like $4 at Main Bookshop. Since I’m constantly Stoppard-evangelizing (how many people have a Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon tattoo?), Main Bookshop’s overrun copies of this insanely clever (and surprisingly insightful) play make handy gifts for anyone prepared to hear the power of the Word.


Kim Ang purses by Baskets of Cambodia, available at Artisans on St. Armands. I was compelled to buy this purse a few years ago even though I had no idea how and when I would use it. It’s now my go-to accessory for formal events, breaking my fashion habit of “no patterns, all the time.” Artisans is one of my all-time favorite gift shops, and a great place to go when you don’t know what to buy for upcoming birthdays/weddings/holidays. Plus, Baskets of Cambodia is a self-professed eco- and labor-friendly company.



Boar’s Head Cajun turkey. Frank Brunckhorst, you refuse to disclose your Sarasota meat company’s revenues for my annual Biz941 Top Companies feature, but throw some of your seasoned turkey in a toasted pita with a little mayo, some lettuce, provolone and maybe a dab of hummus from Sahara (Tamiami Trail and Bahia Vista), and I’ll forgive you just about anything.


Sarasota: The air conditioned city” postcard t-shirt, from Jack Vinales Antiques in Burns Court. A fabulous fashion juxtaposition: equal parts hometown pride and self-deprecating ridiculousness.


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