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A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!


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The holidays are just around the corner. So I put together a list of all the family favorites. From my inexpensive kitchen essentials, to the more pricey kitchen appliances. My favorite personal items as well as ones I know will score me huge brownie points with Saul and Jade.

So here goes… And when in doubt an Amazon gift card is always a great choice. People can choose from books to copy paper. So it’s a win-win for everyone.


  1. Olivewood Salt and Pepper Pots – I cannot cook without my handy magnetic salt and pepper pots. They make seasoning so easy and they look fabulous on my kitchen counter
  2. Victorinox Chef’s Knife – having one good knife in your kitchen will totally change your cooking. This brand makes Swiss Army knives and they a great quality for a great price
  3. Microplane Zester – perfect for grating citrus, garlic, spices, and ginger
  4. Carrol Boyes Low Bowl  –   pretty and functional it makes any salad look like a masterpiece
  5. Carrol Boyes Salad Servers Face-Off  – whimsical and fun. I use these gorgeous salad servers every night and they are dishwasher safe


  1. Breville Pizzaiola – It is not cheap but it creates a pizza better than any wood-burning oven in 90 seconds. And you all know how I love pizza.
  2. Nespresso Vertuoline  – I am a caffeine queen and I could not live without my espressos. I think if I had to take only one thing to a desert island this would be in
  3. Cuisinart 14 Cup Food Processor – whether I am chopping veggies for soups or sauces, slicing, dicing, or grinding this makes easy work of everything. It a huge time saver.
  4. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer – even though I am not a huge baker this stand mixer makes amazing desserts, doughs, bread, and cookies. No wonder they are leaders in the industry. Anyone with a kitchen should have one.
  5. Vitamix Blender – I love my blender for making smoothies, ice cream, soups and nut butters. It’s pricy but I can across this entry-level one for a great price.


  1. Prive Revaux Sunglasses – I discovered this amazing line of polarized sunglasses at a great price. So for around $30, I can change up my look and still protect my eyes
  2. AS 98 Boots – I collect boots and I’m obsessed with the detail and stitching on these beauties made by an Italian company.
  3. All Saints Biker Jacket – my uniform is jeans and a black leather jacket and this is my favorite one. Funky and cool.
  4. Mapatcha Mexico Hats – I spend a lot of time outdoors, so it is important to protect my face and look stylish. I love these so much.
  5. Tizo Zinc Mineral Sunscreen – This is the first chemical-free sunscreen I have found that is waterproof and can hold up to 2 hours in the ocean. I never leave home without it. It protects my skin from melasma as well as concealing it.


  1. Barmah Leather hat  – Saul love this hat that can withstand water and fold up for traveling
  2. Maui Jim rimless sunglasses – these are the only glasses Saul will wear. He swears by the polarized lenses and they will fix them if they break.
  3. RVCA Board Shorts – this is a California brand and Saul loves their shorts and T-shirts
  4. Merrel Hiking Boots – always the outdoor extreme sports guy, Saul loves these waterproof hiking boots with incredible tread.
  5. Deejo Pocket Knife – Saul works in IT so he is always opening boxes. So I got him this awesome customizable knife from Deejo. You can choose the print on the blade and customize the handle and inscription and it is great for cutting biltong


  1. Bed Bath & Body Works –  Jade is obsessed with all the lotions and shower gels. So in a pinch, I always know how to make her happy and they have a great 2 for 1 special or even a gift card works.
  2. Sephora Gift Card – what teenager doesn’t like buying beauty products. A gift card is a great way to ensure she gets the right colors and products that work for her and the staff are so helpful.
  3. Alo Yoga Leggings – Jade loves to run, take yoga, and dance. These are her favorite workout pants and she usually ends up wearing them to school too. The quality and fit are great. I am also a fan.
  4. Nike Sneakers – definitely great quality shoes for an active lifestyle. They last forever and are so well made.
  5. Amazon Kindle – Jade loves to read. At one point we were buying 20 books a month, so the kindle is the best gift we have given her.  And she takes it everywhere. Wherever the kindle is, Jade is close by.

Hope you enjoyed my round up.

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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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