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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gift Guide, Part II, page 1
2009-12-09

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Shirts so good

American Apparel is selling a variety of gay-themed T-shirts that will certainly attract attention wherever you go. Among the items that may earn you reactions are the Viva Gay Beach T-shirt as well as the "Legalize Gay: Repeal Prop 8 Now" top. Similarly, Human Rights Campaign is selling "Legalize Gay" T-shirts with their logos, alongside "Love Conquers Hate" tops and ones with the Barack Obama quote, "I Will End Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

$17-$28; store.americanapparel.net and shop.hrc.com

Get the picture?

Featuring a unique take on traditional games, the Melannco Photo Chess and Checker Set allows you to put up to 32 photos of family members and friends on a board. It provides a new twist on "king me."

$28.99; www.overstock.com

Gorilla my dreams

Gorillapod uses its 30 adjustable joints to grip to trees, fences or posts—anything it can wrap its legs around—to provide a steady and secure platform for your digicam! Now you don't have to hunt for flat surfaces—and you can provide a unique perspective for your next online-dating photo.

$32.93; www.cableorganizer.com

Give and bake

Who could possibly resist treats from Corner Bakery? Among the delicious items the chain offers are Bundt bites, mini-bars ( bite-sized fudge brownies, maple pecan bars and raspberry bars ) , mini-cookies and cinnamon creme cakes—and if you're not sure what someone would like, there are always gift cards.

various prices;

www.cornerbakerycafe.com and local sites

Liking it RUF

Tis the season to give and receive, and with the TAMBO terry cloth sport pant from RUFSKIN—you can give the gift of comfort combined with style to the one you love. But why does it gotta be all about them? You get the gift of seeing your friend or partner in a "tailored" lounge pant instead of his baggy sweatpants he's been wearing since college. The ample front pockets give enough room to carry everything he may need, and the detail across the back promise to enhance his best, um, assets.

$70.50; www.rufskin.com

Stashes to stashes

Your favorite Martha Stewart wannabe will not doubt appreciate Secret Stash Sea Salts—which provide different ways to wake up the flavors of various items. For example, the Pineapple Cumin Salt is excellent for pork, chicken and beef as well as barbeque dishes. This is one site that should not remain a secret.

various prices; www.secretsalts.com

Buff enough

Buff's new wool buff is made from 100-percent natural merino wool, which provides plenty of insulation. It is also water-repellent, odor-resistant, elastic and flameproof. ( Don't ask about how that last quality was tested. ) Also, the buff can be worn up to 12 different ways.

$27; www.buff.us

Making things count

Who knew that some fast-food hamburgers contain up to 1,500 calories and 90 grams of fat? OK—you probably knew, but The CalorieKing Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter lays everything out in excruciating detail. ( One of the biggest shockers for me was that some healthful-sounding wraps have up to 1,600 calories. ) In addition, this very informative book lists almost every grocery-store item you can imagine. You'll never look at breakfast bars the same way again.

$8.50; www.CalorieKing.com

In the swim

Just because Jon Gosselin is associated with Ed Hardy means you should shun the brand. Ed Hardy and True Religion swimwear looks great on just about anyone, thanks to the extended length and extra-large, tattoo-inspired graphics as well as bold prints.

$40-$80; www.nordstrom.com

Heaven's gate

You don't get much greener than Nature's Gate products—according to its Web site, Nature's Gate's ounders hand collected rainwater, blended it with natural herbs from their herb shop, and created the very first Rainwater Shampoo. Each gift, such as the Ginger Tea gift set, features scents from Ethiopia and India.

$9.99; www.natures-gate.com

Who's Johnnie?

Windy City Times is only including gifts that are $100, max, but Johnnie Walker has its own "100" item—a Black Label Centenary Edition scotch that marks a century of the brand. Encased in sleek black glass with the iconic label etched in gold, the Centenary Pack will make quite a statement for the Scotch enthusiast or collector on gift lists. Another intriguing selection is Crystal Head Vodka, created by actor Dan Aykroyd; the item contains no added glycerin, citrus oil or sugar

$50; www.johnniewalker.com and

www.crystalheadvodka.com

Season's readings

This year's gift guide includes two very different books. Crisis, edited by Mitchell Gold and with a foreword by Martina Navratilova, includes 40 stories from people such as Nate Berkus, Richard Chamberlain, Candace Gingrich, singer Ari Gold and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank about growing up gay in this country. Life in Color, by fashion experts ( and Oprah favorites ) Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo, reveal their secrets for finding personalized palettes for each individual woman's coloring.

$23.95-$24.95; www.amazon.com, www.crisisbook.org

Tie one on

Anything British seems so ... refined. English Laundry ties provides an understated, elegant take on the traditional tie—even if it doesn't feature a ( tiny ) skull and crossbones. The items—made entirely of silk—are based on selected English stripes, plaids and solid poplins from the 1960s and '70s, and are fine for the boardroom or club.

$59.99; www.GlobalRebels.com

Glue love

You may have seen commercials for Mighty Putty and Mighty Mendit—and, as someone who has tested Mendit, the manufacturer's word is as good as, er, its bond. Mighty Putty is a powerful bonding epoxy stick that repairs almost any surface, including glass, metal and even concrete. Mendit works on fibers, such as denim and carpet.

$19.99; www.mightyputty.com and

www.mightymendit.com


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