Sweet Energy (Charlotte, online)
Charlotte couple Audrey and Tim Ziter are lovely people, but take a road trip together or invite them over, and all of a sudden you’re cursing their names and wishing you were somewhere, anywhere, else. Why? Because their business, Sweet Energy, now in its second generation of family ownership, makes the most addictive, delicious snack and nut mixes, dried fruits and sweet goodies that you’ll ever have. And if they show up holding a bag of their treats, you know you have an eating binge in your near future and there’s nothing you can do about it. One minute you’re just standing there having a nice conversation, and the next you’re lying on the couch in a coma because you inhaled two pounds of honey-roasted sesame sticks in five minutes.
Other favorites include a bag of crack, known to most people as Cajun Party Mix, and their Pure Energy snack mix, which is healthy and great for after-school snacks or your holiday table. They also sell many kinds of dried fruits, sweets like chocolates and cookies, and even reduced-sugar treats. They ship all over the country, and can make gift baskets that include an assortment of their goodies. Orders can be placed online at www.sweetenergy.com or (800) 979-3380.
Classic Mendy’s move: go in there to buy something for a friend, come out with a pile of stuff for yourself. The chic, classic-clothing purveyor in Shelburne Village is small but mighty—they stock all the good brands of jeans, like AG, Citizens for Humanity, and Hudson. They have a cute selection of flannel button-downs (the fashion kind, not the kind your grandpa would wear), White and Warren cashmere sweaters, and super-cute over-the-knee bright red cashmere blend boot socks.
If you’re against fur, please skip to the next few sentences: the best thing I saw, and that I want more than I want world peace, is a pair of rabbit-fur hand warmers. They’re gray and white and super soft and you can text your little fingers off while you wear them and stay warm as toast. I also love the big fuzzy fox-fur keychain that can add pizazz to your bag and ensure that you will never again lose your keys in the cavernous depths of your purse. The most popular gift item this year is the fur-pompom winter hat, which is cute for the teens as well as a middle-aged mom like me. And in case of doubt, they have gift certificates available, as well as a nice selection of jewelry. You can never go wrong with jewelry.
An added bonus of holiday shopping at Mendy’s is that you can get something cute and sparkly to wear to your parties this weekend, like a gold Hobo clutch wallet, a black sequined camisole, or some items from their full selection of Commando underthings and wardrobe helpers. Think tape, covers, smoothers and patches—you’ll be comfortable, and nothing will come out that shouldn’t be out in the first place.