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Best Office Armor
Silver Wolf Chainmail Ties
Has the tedium of typical business attire got you down? Do you long for something with more style and romance, something that says, “I take no prisoners”? Then set aside the silk and wrap some metal around your throat. Chainmail artist Steven May turns his plying of the ancient art into jewelry, keychains and decorative covers for wine bottles, all expertly crafted. But it’s particularly intriguing seeing him turn chainmail into a necktie, in plain silver or even a diamond-weave pattern. Opt for the matching chainmail vest, as well, and you’ll be ready to soldier on all day—and perhaps even work “knights.”
Best Steampunk Salon
Absinthe Hair & Grooming Parlour
In the 2011 film Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson travels to 1920s Paris, rubbing elbows with the likes of Hemingway and Picasso in glamorous settings. Absinthe Salon offers you an experience similar to Wilson’s, with much better hair. The inspired staff—trained in “bespoke” barbering and hairstyling—take into account your personal preferences, profession, social circle and wardrobe to give your mop of hair a complete “image design,” not just a haircut. As you soak in the decidedly un-salon, Old World atmosphere, complete with hints of Victorian Gothic flair, and receive the neck-and-shoulder massage that finishes the elegant experience, you’ll be tempted to stay in this era forever.
1549 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-883-9940, AbsintheHairParlour.com
Best Alpaca Yarn
The traditionalist among you may stick with good old-fashioned wool from sheep—but there are alternatives. Kamas’ Sunrise Ranch raises alpacas and llamas for yarn that’s locally spun and processed without any chemicals or artificial dyes—the white, black and brown yarn comes from animals of that color. The soft fleece can give a unique Utah twist to that sweater you have planned. You’ve probably never created clothing from an animal that could be identified by name.
150 N. Democrat Alley, Kamas, 435-783-6142, Sunrise-Ranch.net
Best Giftable Glassware
Second Hand Chic
If you ever find yourself drawing a blank on what to get for your friend or loved one, look no further than Second Hand Chic. This shop is a treasure trove of quirky, unique items you won’t find anywhere else. With its selection of colorful glassware, antique furniture, funky jewelry, vintage postcards and much more, you’re sure to find something for someone with even the most unconventional of tastes.
2006 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-433-0044, 2ndHandChic.com
Best Magic Beanstalks
Every goal or desire you have needs some metaphorical planting before it can come to fruition; now you can transfer that energy into literal planting, as well. Utah-based iBeanInspired etches more than 30 different intentions and desires directly onto sword beans—everything from “gratitude” and “faith” to “good grades” and “healthy baby”—that are planted in a biodegradable grow kit. The plant that emerges will be marked with that message, a way of seeing your greatest wish come to life.
Best Recycled Beer Tumblers
Glass Roots Trading
Glass recycling hasn’t always been easy, and what it can be used for is sometimes unclear. But the answer can be right in front of you: How about turning something that once held a beverage into something else that can hold a beverage? Glass Roots Trading takes recyclable glass drink bottles and turns them into glassware objects, from beer glasses retaining the distinctive markings of brands like Corona and Carlsberg to tumblers decorated with stylish environmental themes. You can even get Judaica-themed wine goblets.
Best Long-Lasting Flowers
The sentiment to send flowers is a lovely one; the only downside can be that they don’t last. Silk flowers provide one alternative, but there’s an even sturdier solution. Salt Lake City’s WoodYouLikeARose provides handcrafted wooden roses in colors from traditional red to peach, lime green and violet. Delivered two at a time, it’s a flower that’s also a work of art, something the recipient can keep for a lifetime.
Best Baby-Carrying In Style
Here’s a business that understands women don’t want to sacrifice a sense of individual style just because they’ve got an infant to tote around. Seven’s vibrantly patterned baby slings are individually sized for mom’s shape; buy a gift set, and you can get baby leg warmers in a pattern matching your sling. And, of course—crucially—every one is machine washable.
Best Soap For a Cause
Silver Firs Farm
Why support a company like Ogden-based Silver Firs Farm? Because it’s local; because the products are 100 percent natural and handmade; and because the soaps and soy candles are vegan-friendly. But proprietor Kirstin Brandt gives you yet another reason: All profit from selling the products is dedicated to fundraising for a trip to the Rock & Walk, an event in Tacoma, Wash., for the TEARS Foundation’s work supporting bereaved families who have lost infants and children. You’ll feel cleaner in so many ways.
Best Doggie Treadmills
Let’s face it, dog owners: Utah’s climate doesn’t always make you enthusiastic about taking your four-legged friend for a walk. One all-weather alternative is an indoor treadmill, and Ogden’s PetZen can hook you up. Side railings can keep your pooch focused forward, and a booklet of training guidelines is included to help establish the patterns that will help the treadmill become part of any dog’s exercise routine.
Best Gift-Card Upgrade
The gift card has become the 21st century’s answer to throwing a 10-spot in an envelope, but it can still seem impersonal. Sandy-based BÃ¤ks Company has put together something to help: decorative gift boxes designed specifically for a more special delivery of your gift card. Classy, stylish and ready-to-construct, they add some heft to that little slip of plastic. Find them at Dan’s, Harmons and Macey’s supermarkets.