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Val and Ryan's Hot Picks
WCL Contributor Hot Picks

December 25, 2012 Episode: WCL 2012 Holiday Picks

If you missed all the fun and excitement, catch it again. It's the Holiday Hot Picks show!!! Gift ideas galore for the holidays and more!

Val, Ryan and the entire WCL Family share their hot holiday picks with the audience. Plus, five lucky viewers at home win everything featured!


David's Tea "Mug and Tea for the Tree", $24
Val starts out each morning on Windy City LIVE with a cup of tea and David's tea is her favorite! With more than 150 types of tea, she's always trying new flavors! This year, everyone in our audience received a Perfect Tea Mug along with "Tea for the Tree" tea ornaments. A perfect gift for the tea lovers in your life! David's tea just opened 3 locations in Chicago. Make sure to check out their website for more information.

Scrabble Electronic Catchphrase Game, $19.99
With two kids at home, Val is always on the lookout for games that both her and her kids will enjoy! This one keeps them entertained for hours. "Scrabble Catchphrase" is a refreshed version of the classic Catch Phrase game. With 1,500 new words and phrases, it's sure to keep you on your feet.

"Cheers It's Christmas" by Blake Shelton, $14
It's no secret that Ryan's into music! Blake Shelton is one of the biggest performers of the year, and he just released his first Christmas album.

Holidays Rule CD, $9.99
Want a little diversity in your holiday music? This one is perfect for you! It features songs from 17 different artists including Paul McCartney, Andrew Bird (who has performed on WCL!) and The Shins. It's fun, fresh and makes for a perfect gift!

SE-CL331 Sport Water Resistant Earbud Headphones from Pioneer Electronics, $59.99
With all the music Ryan listens to, he needs a good pair of headphones! These ones are water-resistant (they even can be rinsed off after heavy use!). They've got a noise-isolating design so all you hear are the details of your favorite music and come in 4 different fun products.

Kumfy Tailz, $79.99
Val couldn't forget about her dog Kobe! This coat is genius! It's the first ever thermal apparel line for dogs using gel pack technology to keep dogs warm during the cold Chicago winters and cool in the heat.

Diptyque, $60
When Ryan needs to unwined, he puts on some tunes, lights a good candle and kicks back. Diptyque candles come in Holiday Scents and are his favorite! Make sure to check out the new Diptyque boutique in Bucktown (1645 N. Damen Ave).

Massage Envy "1-Hour Massage", $78
Who doesn't love a good massage? Whether you need to relieve stress, manage pain or just encourage relaxation, Massage Envy is the place to go. They've got 800 locations nationwide, with 29 locations right here in the Chicagoland area.

Tiny Prints Personalized Stationery, $75
Whether Val is dropping a line to an old friend, or writing a thank you card, she always makes it a priority to send handwritten notes. Tiny Prints is her favorite because it comes in so many different styles and designs to satisfy the personalities of anyone on your gift list. The best part about the stationery is that you can personalize them! Personalized stationery makes a great gift for anyone on your list.
*Place your order by the 20th to receive cards by the 24th with Super Rush delivery service!

Crocs Rainfloe Boots, $59.99
Chicago weather isn't always the greatest, which is why Val gets good use out of her Crocs Rainfloe Boots! They're super cute and extremely lightweight. Crocs now has more than 3000 different styles for men, women and children ranging from the iconic clogs to sneakers, sandals and heels and Val's favorite boots. With so many new styles, you can find the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list!

LeSportsac Travel Tote, $90
Val always gets teased in the WCL office for being a bag lady! She's always seen coming in and out of the office carrying tons of bags. This year, she's doing it in style with the LeSportsac Travel Tote. The tote is one of LeSportsac's longest running styles and is durable and lightweight. Plus, it comes with a matching zipped pouch. Cute and practical!

Carhartt QuickDuck Traditional Jacket, $130
With the shall we say, unpredictable Chicago weather, Ryan likes to have a jacket that's going to last and keep him warm! The new Carhartt QuickDuck Traditional Jacket is ounce for ounce the toughest jacket Carhartt has ever made in its 123-year history. The strong water-repellent finish and mid-weight polyester insulation lining keeps the wearer worm and dry, perfect for any winter adventure, obstacle, or element.

Bobbi Brown's Limited Edition Shimmer Brick Compact, $40
She's a hometown gal that's made it big! Val has always been a big time fan of Bobbi Brown's line. Five bars of gorgeous shimmer can highlight the skin for a natural looking glow. Not only that, but you can use each color as different eye-shadows!

Children's Books by Joe Brown, Various Prices
We're keeping it in the family! Bobbi's dad Joe Brown is a retired attorney turned children's book author. Val brought his books home for Zoe and Max and they both loved them. The books are based on the bedtime stories that he used to tell Bobbi growing up!

Sequin Enamel Bangles, $56 for 2
Love these! Val is all about layering her bracelets, and these are the perfect ones to do that with. The holiday bangles come in tons of different colors (the gold ones are Val's favorite!). It's a great product at a great price, which makes for a great gift for all the special ladies in your life!

Timex "Dress Expansion" Watch, $60
Val loves this gold watch because it's on-trend, a statement maker and affordable! At just $60, it makes a perfect gift for a sister, mom or best friend. Timex knows finding the right gift during the holidays can be a challenge, so they created something called the "Timex Gift Finder" which helps shoppers chose a watch for friends based on a fun personality test! Try it out for yourself at the below website.

Missoni Scarf from Gilt Groupe, $245
Ryan stays on trend (and warm!) all winter with his Missoni scarf. No matter what he's wearing, he throws it on to amp up any look. The best part about this? YOU can get one for 67% off the original price (that's just $99) through Gilt Groupe. This deal is EXCLUSIVE for Windy City LIVE viewers, so take advantage! features top designer brands for women, men children and home for up to 60% off.

Echo Cashmere Pop Finger Gloves, $88
These are the perfect gloves for Val! They're cashmere, so they're soft and keep her warm in the Chicago winters, but they also have a "pop" off material on the index finger so she can TEXT and stay warm at the same time! The gloves come in a variety of colors and are on-size fits all making them perfect for gifting. At just $88, they deliver the luxury of cashmere at a very reasonable price point.

Beluga Vodka, $199
Need a gift for the guy in your life that has everything? This vodka is a display of complete craftsmanship from the ingredients inside the bottle to the contents of its luxurious packaging. Each special edition bottle is assigned an individual number, and is encased in luxe leather packaging with a special cork sealed with hot wax that preserves the vodka's authenticity. It also comes with a special hammer brush to assist with the opening of the bottle. You can find Beluga Vodka at any Binny's store.

Six Flags Great America Season Pass, $74.99
No better place for the kids than Six Flags! Val's kids always have a blast at the park. The season pass includes unlimited visits to the theme park, Hurricane Harbor waterpark and Fright Fest! On top of that, you get over $300 in park savings, exclusive events and more.

Cantina Laredo, $75
If Val's craving something, it's usually Mexican food! Cantina Laredo is right down the street from our studio and is DELISH! Val's favorites from the restaurant include the "Top Shelf Guacamole", "Enchilada de Mole" and of course the margaritas!

Fogo De Chao, $100
If Ryan is craving a hearty meal, a good steak is his go-to! Fogo De Chao boasts 15 different cuts of meat and continuous table side service. On top of that, they have a killer salad bar so you can load up on all your veggies, artisan cheese and artisan bread.

ESPN's "30 for 30"
We all know Ryan is a big sports guy, so it comes as no surprise that "30 for 30" is one of his favorites. The DVDs feature some of the most extraordinary sports stories of the last 30 years, including Michael Jordan's career in the minor leagues, Wayne Gretzky's trade to LA and Boston Red Sox unbelievable victory over the NY Yankees in four straight days. It comes with over 5 hours of bonus features and an exclusive ESPN baseball hat! an exclusive

Chicago Bulls Tickets, $88
Tickets for every Chicago Bulls home game can be purchased through,,1-800-4NBA-TIX, the United Center and Ticketmaster.

Tacori Jewelry from James & Sons, $250
Everyone needs a little extra sparkle around the holidays! We featured Tacori from James & Sons in our WCL Dream Wedding earlier this year, and there's a reason we brought them back for our holiday show. Tacori is on-trend and reasonably priced quality jewelry. James & Sons is Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana's premiere independent jeweler. Family owned since 1964, they carry the best brands like Tacori and Rolex. See the stunning Tacori bridal and fashion lines at the #1 Tacori dealer in the state. James & Sons has three locations in Lincoln Park, Orland Park and Schererville, Indiana.

The Peninsula Hotel, $468
Looking for the ultimate gift of luxury and relaxation? Ryan and Val know this is it! Whether you're escaping the cold Chicago weather for a winter retreat, need a girlfriend's getaway or a couple's escape, you know you'll be in the best hands when you stay at the Peninsula. Guests can take advantage of the Shanghai Terrace, The Peninsula Spa, fitness classes and personal training and the 25-metre indoor heated pool!


Marconi Foods Product Sampler, $21
Matt is obsessed with the Marconi brand. He has been seen around the office eating their Giardiniera out of the jar as a meal. The Sport Peppers and Peperoncini are a must have for any kitchen especially if you like to kick up the heat in the Winter months.


LAFCO Soaps, $17
It was one of "Oprah's Favorite Things" and Nicole Kidman raves over this company! LAFCO (Luxury Articles and Fragrance Company) is a purveyor of the most historic and distinguished body care and fragrance lines in the world. LAFCO New York started in 1993 featuring "Haute" fragrance and luxury body care products expertly crafted in the European tradition. Our audience took home the "Marine" scented LAFCO House & Home Bath Soap, but all of them smell fabulously wonderful!!!

Tickets to The Comedy Bar to see Jim Belushi, $30
If you need a good laugh (as Hank always loves!), this is your go-to place. Chicago native Jim Belushi brings his star power to the River North comedy club.


The Body Shop Gift Bag, $93
The Body Shop is the ultimate gift destination this Holiday season! From their limited-edition Holiday bath and body sets, to skincare, to fragrance, you can purchase an already made gift set, OR, create a customized gift. What Ji loves is that when you use one of their products, you're supporting indigenous farmers and local communities through their pioneering Community Fair Trade program - when you make a purchase from them, you're using great ingredients, but also giving back by making a conscience purchase that affects others around the world. Products in the bag include: Vanilla Bliss Festive Hand Care Duo (full size hand wash and hand lotion in reusable caddy) - $25, Cocoa Butter Body Butter- $19, Elderflower Cooling Eye Gel - $10, Peppermint Cooling Pumice Foot Scrub - $14.

Demeter Sugar Plum Fragrance, $20
The Demeter Fragrance Library consists of more than 250 different fragrances inspired by everyday objects and experiences and nothing can transport you back to your Holiday memories faster than the scents created by Demeter Fragrance Library. From Christmas Tree to Egg Nog to Sugar Cookie- there is something for everyone on your list! Ji's favorite scent, Sugar Plum is the newest fragrance for the holidays. It's a great combination of plum, honey, powdered sugar and a combination of spices
Demeter Fragrances are available at: The LOOK Boutique at Walgreens (151 North State Street)

Hash House A Go Go, $50
Hash House A Go Go is one of Ji's favorite restaurants in town. The "twisted farm food" eatery opened this past summer and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, so you can really go anytime for a tasty meal! Her favorite time to go is breakfast. Hash House has a HUGE breakfast menu with a variety of flavorful eggs Benedicts, massive flapjacks, and of course, their infamous Chicken & Waffles.


David is always on top of the latest blu-rays and DVD's on the market and the hottest on-demand flicks. Following are his top picks for the holiday season. Guaranteed the kids will love them!

  • "Brave 3D"
  • "The Odd Life of Timothy Green"
  • "Cinderella"
  • "Finding Nemo"
  • "Santa Paws 2"
  • "The Amazing Spiderman"

Weather Tech car Floorliners, $170
Weather Tech laser cut DigitalFit Floorliners are American made right here in Bolingbrook, Illinois! They are cut for your specific make and model of vehicle. See the Weather Tech difference at their website:


"Once Upon A Time- Season One" - Blu-ray $79.99
Available in stores now. This Blu-ray set includes all 22 adventure-filled episodes of the first season and also includes deleted scenes, audio commentaries, an exploration of the genesis of this innovative and inspiring series and "The Fairest Bloopers of Them All."

"Game of Thrones - Season One" - Blu-ray $79.99
This Blu-ray set includes all of season one plus special bonus features, character profiles and audio commentaries. Know a die-hard fan? They also have a special "Collector's Edition" available.

JARED (App Man) HOFFA'S Hot Picks -- Creative Community & Marketplace, $40 gift card
If you're looking for unique and impossibly brilliant t-shirts, heart-stopping wall art, attention grabbing iPhone cases or any other beautifully designed products, look no further than This online marketplace showcases the creative works of artists and designers from all over the globe. So pick your design, pick your product and show off your unique sense of style.

Dok CR30 : 4 Port Charger with Alarm, Clock, FM Radio, $89
Too many devices and nowhere to charge them? Not anymore! The Dok CR30 not only provides 4 ports to charge up your smart phones, tablets, and MP3 player simultaneously, it doubles as a digital alarm clock & FM radio. Jared uses his every day, keeping all of his devices charged up and within reach on his night stand. If you go to in the next two days and enter the code "WINDY", you will get 30% off a BlueAnt Ribbon!

BlueAnt Ribbon Stereo Bluetooth Streamer, $69
Jared is a big fan of this stereo Bluetooth streamer designed to be worn on clothing, allowing users to stream audio directly from their phone to their headphones. It has APT-X audio streaming technology which gives it near CD quality sound. It creates ultra-portable sound you can wear!


    You can hear him on WLS Radio's "Roe and Roeper", you can read him in the Sun-Times and you can see him on "Windy City LIVE!". He's our own movie critic, and thinks these are the things to get for friends and family this holiday season:
  • 2 Tickets to iPic Theater at Arboretum Mall, $30
  • "Dark Knight", $30
  • "Pitch Perfect", $25


She plays some of the hottest hits on the radio and she's here to share her absolute favorite CDs with you. These are great stocking stuffers for the music lover in your life. You can buy these CDs at Best Buy, Target, and many other stores nationwide.

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