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‘Tis The Season – Icon Vs. Icon’s Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts For Everyone!

The is nothing more appreciated than a helping hand during the holiday season. Let the staff of Icon Vs. Icon help you plan your shopping list with our annual gift guide. We’ve chosen some iconic brands, some up and coming brands, and a few items that will allow you to think outside the box to create or choose your own special gift.  Items range from a few dollars to several thousand, but most are geared towards people like us: regular working stiffs who just want to give a great present that won’t break the bank!  Start making that list, we’ve got the best roundup of gifts that everyone will enjoy! The second part of our series is “For Her!” — Get a look at some unique items for the holiday season for all the special people in your life! Whether it is for him, her, the kids, the coworker or the neighbor, this list has something for everyone.

Chuao Chocolatier
I try to eat pretty healthy and exercise regularly. You know, watch my calorie and fat intake, workout at least three times a week, drink lots of water. However, I allow myself a treat from time to time! Everything in moderation!

Everyone loves chocolate!

Now, if I’m going to cheat, it better be worth it! The worst is being disappointed! Can’t take back those calories girlfriend!

Luckily, I found my ultimate treat source — Chuao (pronounced chew-WOW) Chocolatier — The first Venezulan chocolatier based in the United States, Chuao is the pioneer of fusion chocolates to offer unusual, unexpected and delicious flavors. They have everything for everyone on your list — bonbons, chocolate bars, hot chocolate, artisan treats and non-dairy items. They also have treats to pair with wine or scotch, and mixes to bake at home.

Everything is delicious and fresh!

Picture treating yourself to a piece of coquito: white chocolate, cranberry and toasted coconut infused with cinnamon, clove and black pepper for a crisp, fresh and flavorful sweet delight. Then you taste a granada: pomegranate caramel and a caramelized walnut in crunchy, sweet dark chocolate. Next up is spiked eggnog: creamy eggnog ganache spiked with dark rum in a white chocolate shell! On to the peppermint crunch: milk chocolate, peppermint caramel with a crunchy old fashioned mint candy center. Absolutely divine.
Your mouth watering yet? - You source for good schtick!
Movies are universal. We remember quotes, scenes and characters. We cry, we laugh and we scream. We tell our friends they’ve gotta watch and, when the time is right, we watch the movie together with our kids. We come back to watch these films again and again, quoting some lines verbatim.

Maybe you’re a fan of “Die Hard” — Yippie Ki Ya! Or maybe you’re more of a “Road House” kinda guy and the Double Deuce. Or you could possibly have watched “Sixteen Candles” at least 150 times like myself and pictured Jake Ryan waiting for you in his Porsche 944 with his smirk and fitted jeans, his flannel shirt and boots, his hair slightly disheveled. Sigh.

Anyway, whatever the movie, has you covered this holiday season for everyone on your list because they have everything in the realm of graphic tees: movies, TV shows, cartoons, video games, music and superheros! Although they definitely have the ‘80s covered, hence the name, they also have non-’80s items! Check them out while I sit back and relax in my pink “I love Jake Ryan” T-shirt!

Light their fire this holiday season!

The Duraflame Electric Stove with Heater
I just had new windows installed in my house, but you know what? There is still a draft. Even with new insulation and having the contractor come back to check things out, there is still a cold that seeps in to give me the chills. What’s the gift I want to receive this year? The Duraflame Electric Stove.

This electric stove can heat a room up to 400 square feet, that’s roughly the size of my first two apartments! It will provide stylish supplemental heat to a den, office or bedroom, and of course would also be great in a drafty hallway, vestibule or entry-way. This stove features a picture window with arched frame detailing on the operable glass door, and an old fashioned brushed nickel coil handle. In other words perfect for whatever style you or your gift recipient home is decorated in, part of the charm for me is that it really looks like a small fireplace. There are two operable doors, glowing logs, an ember bed, and a thermostatic dial. The flame effect can be operated with or without the heat feature so if it’s already warmed up in your room but you want the ambiance of a fire you can have it. A huge bonus in my opinion is that it comes with a remote control. So imagine laying in bed and realizing you are toasty enough, there is no need to get out of bed to unplug the stove, you just get your handy remote, turn it off and go back to dreamtown. It ships fully assembled, ready for immediate enjoyment, and can be easily moved to meet any zone-heat requirements. This Duraflame electric stove comes with a black finish on metal.

So to review:
* Black finish
* Operable door
* No hookups required, vent-free
* Operates with and without heat
* 1350 Watts/4600 BTU’s per hour
* Supplemental heat for up to 400 sq. ft.
* 4 switches and thermostatic dial
* Realistic and dimmable flame effect
* Glowing logs and ember bed
* Slim-line remote control
* The best gift your friend of loved one will receive this holiday season!

Check out Duraflame’s site. There is a button off to the side featuring all of the stores you can purchase this item from, I’ve seen them on QVC and in Rural King as well as Wal-Mart.


Can you name someone on your gift list that doesn’t drink soda, tea, or water? Answer- no! So why not give them a fun gift that puts a bit of fun into things? Instead of popping the tab off of a can or unscrewing the top of a bottle, they can decide what type of beverage they want and what flavor and whip it up in less than 2 minutes. If you haven’t heard of this machine yet then let me explain, it’s pretty simple: The SodaSteam turns plain old water into a carbonated beverage with a few short pushes of a button. Ok, so you have to fill up the 1 liter bottle it comes with first, but then all you do is screw that into the machine, push the button up to 3-6 times (depending on how much carbonation you want), then add your choice of dozens of flavorings. It’s really that simple!

The choices of flavorings is insane, of course if all you want is cola or diet cola then you can have that. But if you look at the range of soda mixes at the company’s official website, you will find you can make energy drinks, sparkling teas, sparkling waters, and their sparkling naturals which are made from all-natural ingredients. The new SodaStream Sparkling Naturals make great-tasting “better for you” sodas. Sparkling Naturals contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors and no artificial sweeteners, and do not contain any preservatives, making them a perfect, sparkling, natural soda alternative for the entire family.

The convenience alone is worth having this machine, but if you do the math on the savings incurred when most of the mixes make 33 cans of final product and I’ve seen them for less than 5 bucks per mix then you’re obviously getting more with the SodaSteam. Environmentally, the SodaSteam is an “Active Green” product, meaning that consumers are actively reducing their CO2 footprint every time they make soda or sparkling water at home instead of buying it from the store. The more the system is used on a daily basis, the more CO2 footprint the user actively saves. (This differs from “Passive Green” products, which use green-friendly production processes, but their products are not inherently helping the consumers save on their daily footprint.)

Because SodaStream uses water straight from the tap, the system makes traditional store-bought beverage bottles obsolete. That means less plastic manufactured, less plastic waste is created, and fewer bottled beverages must be transported from manufacturers to distributors to stores to homes. Globally, 206 billion liters of bottled water were consumed in 2008, and the energy required to make water bottles in the US only, is equivalent to 17 million barrels of oil. According to the US Recycling Institute, more than 80% of bottles in the US do not get recycled and end up in landfills. Also, an estimated 4.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions were produced in the process of replacing the 134 billion bottles and cans not recycled in 2005.

Using your own home carbonation system means:
• Less packaging waste from cans and bottles.
• Less pollution caused by transport of bottled beverages.

One SodaStream carbonator makes 60 or 110 liters, equivalent to 170 or 310 aluminum cans! When empty, the carbonator is refilled and reused, ready to make more fizzy and tasty soda whenever you want it.

The machine is slimline and takes up very little space, I put mine under my kitchen sink with some of my favorite mixes (currently Cranberry Raspberry and the Pomegranate Peach tea) where it’s simple for me to grab when I want to mix up a new bottle. But when I get my grandmother’s old side table out of storage, I’m going to set this baby up on it right beside my Hollywood Popcorn Machine and have the rockinest munchie bar set up in the neighborhood!

iTunes Gift Cards
In years past, I always steered away from giving gift cards as gifts. They seemed to have an impersonal touch when it came to gift giving. Boy how times have changed! Actually, I would be hard pressed to think of a more personal gift — as the recipient can get the music and movies they love or discover something totally new! Apple continues to change the way people compute and get their entertainment fix with the phenomenon that is iTunes. For the few who might be unfamiliar with iTunes, it is a free application for your Mac or PC. It organizes and plays your digital music and video on your computer. It keeps all your content in sync. And it’s a store on your computer, iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV that has everything you need to be entertained. Anywhere. Anytime. iTunes boasts the world’s largest online music store that features 13 million high-quality, DRM-free songs priced at just 69¢, 99¢, or $1.29 each. From finding their favorite songs, renting or buying the newest digital video releases or discovering new music by going social with  iTunes Ping, iTunes puts the power of entertainment into the users hands. Apple iTunes gift cards are available practically everywhere and make for a truly unique entertainment experience.

The Gift of Netflix
Netflix has become one of the most recognizable names in home entertainment over the past few years. The company cut its teeth by mailing out the latest DVD releases as well as the classics in little red envelopes to homes across the nation. It was a sensation that quickly swept the nation (much to the chagrin of chain videos stores that ruled the land since the late ‘80s). I received a Netflix subscription as a gift in years past and found it to be a gift that keeps on giving! With thousands of titles to choose from, the subscription satisfied new entertainment jones’ all year long.Things got even cooler over the past year with the inclusion of a streaming feature of many of their titles. For $7.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed over the Internet to PCs, Macs and TVs. Among the large and expanding  base of devices streaming from Netflix are Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3 consoles; an array of Blu-ray disc players, Internet-connected TVs, home theater systems, digital video recorders and Internet video players; Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Apple TV and Google TV. In all, more than 200 devices that stream from Netflix are available in the U.S. and a growing number are available in Canada. Gift subscriptions are available at

DeBrand Fine Chocolates
It’s a shame DeBrand stores aren’t worldwide, luckily you can order online or call an order in (1-800-482-4373) and have a comparable experience at home. The stores are exquisitely decorated, giving you a warm and inviting feeling the moment you walk through the door, if you are in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area I highly recommend stopping by one of the four shops to encounter the best chocolate in the world! I’ll just say it – you can’t go wrong with anything. People will love you for finding a gift that is so “them”, because gifting DeBrand is fail proof. At the top of their website,, you will find a tab to “Enter Chocolate Shop.” I suggest you take a look at the “Holiday Baskets/Gifts” and my personal pick would be item number one, The Holiday Gift Tote. Contained within a reusable sleek, brown tote you will find a half pound of the Classic Collection, 9 pc. Connoisseur Collection, 6 pc. Truffle Collection, 2 chocolate tasting bars, 1 box of Pecan Brittle, 1 box of Holiday Medley, 1 box of dark cherry cordials, and your choice of a Happy Holidays bar, a Merry Christmas bar, or a Happy Hanukkah bar.You can go to each collection on the site and “take a bite” by scrolling over each chocolate to find out what’s inside. Each piece is individually molded and there is an artisan aspect to everything DeBrand makes. The Connoisseur Collection is very interesting as well as delicious, DeBrand uses spices and ingredients found from all over the world, bringing a diverse array of flavors to this particular collection. Each piece seems to balance so nicely, my favorite is the Aztec which is a crushed pecan brittle with pecan gianduja dipped in milk chocolate and garnished with finely ground chili peppers. So luxurious with complex flavors that are very complimentary. If you are looking for stocking stuffers, DeBrand is my number one recommendation, their Holiday Medley ($17.50) contains Italian pistachios, tart raspberries, buttery caramel, salty pretzels, and crisp rice encased in creamy white chocolate – YUM! This is all put into a golden box with a bow and tag.

For little ones there is a special Santa Coin ($4.25) which has delectable milk chocolate inside of a large GoldPak coin with Santa embossed on top. The Holiday Place Setting ($7.75) has a milk chocolate Happy Holidays bar, 2 pieces from the Classic Collection (the rose carmella and dark raspberries and cream) and a milk chocolate almond bar, they are stacked like a mini tower and a gold bow ties them all together. You can also purchase small box sets of 5 piece chocolates ($9.25) from the Classic Collection: Chocolate Silk, The Nutcracker, Rose Carmella, and Raspberries and Cream are the choices. DeBrand was on my list long before Oprah chose them as one of her “Favorite Things” selections, I swear! But she is so right, DeBrand will quickly become a favorite of your recipient!