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Elizabeth's Best of 2017

Many products, services and even people, such as authors, coaches and teams caught my eye in 2017! These are the overall winners of Elizabeth's Best Awards for Excellence in 2017. Thank you to everone who mailed in products or contacted me in social media. Happy New Year! Love, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

Best Pasta Sauce: Dell'Amore

My favorite is the Original. A perfect blend of vine ripened tomatoes, pure Italian olive oil, chopped garlic and spices. This is the recipe that their grandmother, Filomena, brought with her from Italy. It is a classic that enhances all variety of pasta. It's GMO and Gluten free and all natural. No sugar added.

Best for Food Allergies - Vermont Nut Free Chocolates

For those with or without food allergies, this is the best chocolate around! Founded in 1998 by the mother of a little boy with a potentially life-threatening peanut allergy. Gail and Mark Elvidge first learned of their son Tanner’s allergy when he suffered a reaction at 8 months old. They were shocked, concerned and frightened to see this reaction in their small child. Vermont Nut Free Chocolates is committed to providing quality chocolates and treats that are safe for those with tree nut and peanut allergies. We truly believe that those with and without nut allergies will find our gourmet chocolates to be among the finest they have ever tasted.

Best Book Fiction - Presidential Prey

Our 74 year-old dad, James F. Hamilton IV, who is also a stroke survivor of 13 years, wrote a 385 page fiction book. Presidential Prey is a great story and I couldn't put the book down. So proud of him!

About Presidential Prey: One fact emerged as indisputable: Security surrounding the President of the United States was inadequate. President James Atwater is one of the most popular presidents in American history. However, his recent military actions in the Middle East have created enemies. When President Atwater escapes the rigors of his D.C. life and returns to his rural Minnesota boyhood home for a little R&R, nobody anticipates what happens next. President Atwater is forced to fight for his life while protecting the woman he loves and the country he serves.

Best Book Children's - Macaroni and Cheese

This book is comfort food for kids! Stacie Isabella Turk has written a beautiful collection of stories that soothe the soul and remind us of what is really important. These are not only great lessons for kids, but I found myself loving the reminders and lessons! When you receive the book, you know you have a received a book where someone (Stacie) has poured her heart and soul into it. It's brilliantly written with beautiful illustrations.

Best Book Self-Help - 28 Days Lighter Diet

Ellen Barrett has written a masterful guide to help women of all ages be their best.

About: Most women who are dieting do not realize that PMS and weight gain are connected—and that to really lose weight, increase energy, and feel better they need to consider their monthly cycle. Now The 28 Days Lighter Diet teaches women how to embrace their monthly cycle and follow its guidance so that they know when to push themselves, when to treat themselves to some well-earned rest, and how to keep their hormones in balance. It explains what to do during every week of the month to shed excess weight, ease PMS, and do it by working with your body instead of beating it into submission. The female body changes from week to week, and traditional diet and workout programs never acknowledge this phenomenon. This easy-to-follow 28-day plan is an innovative combination of modern research and ancient traditions. It outlines a core program of dietary suggestions, fitness guidelines, specific exercises, and lifestyle recommendations for each of the phases of the menstrual cycle and how to take care of yourself throughout the month.

Best Baby Product - Diono Car Seat - Rainier

Diono Rainier is the ultimate in car seat safety. Extra deep side walls provide enhanced side impact protection, taking Diono car seats to a whole new level. It comfortably seats rear-facing children up to 50 lbs and forward-facing children up to 90 lbs in the 5-point harness. It converts to a booster for children up to 120 lbs. (; SRP: $379.99)

Best Couple - Nick and Cass Rickles (@Nrickles & @CassidyRickles)

I've intentionally placed this category between two of my favorite baby products, because Nick and Cass Rickles have baby Riley Jay Rickles on the way January 31, 2018!

You'll find these two beautiful souls on Instagram. I've been following them for quite some time. I don't usually put up a Best Couple category, but they are beautiful in every way so I asked them if they would allow the post and photo to be here and they graciously agreed. They added, " We put each other first, in every situation. Family is always first. We support each other’s dreams in our professional fields, mine baseball hers as a hair stylist, one of the best in Vegas in fact." (Don't you just love her hair!?!)

Nick plays for the Philadelphia Phillies Iron Pigs #15 He says, "I've been playing baseball my entire life." Nick was Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2011 (14th round) signed 2016 with the nations and traded to the Phillies 2017

He says, " We found each other by chance though Instagram, decided to take a chance on each other, I promised her she’d never have to look back once she took my hand and we’ve been moving forward since that day." I found you both on Instagram too and I share your love. You are great role models for everything Best.

Best Cleaning Product - Babyganics

The Babyganics products are absolutely phenomenal! We all wish they were around when our kids were smaller or we knew about them sooner. We have a very busy house with 4 sons, 1 huge Labradoodle and 3 cats. We often get overwhelmed by cleaning fumes from bleach and other cleaners and these products work even better without the smell. My sister, a new mom, was so happy to learn about these products. She's been using them also and loves the variety of products and lack of harsh chemicals and smell.

Babyganics cleaners are super effective with ingredients you can feel good about using around your home. They cut grease, grime, and dirt, everywhere in your home. From wipes to all-purpose cleaning sprays to floor cleaners and laundry products, Babyganics makes everything your family needs to keep your floors, counters and other surfaces super clean. Their formulas are made with plant-based ingredients (derived from plants like coconut, corn and soy) that work hard!

Best Wishmaker - Simonetta Lein

“The Celebrity Wishmaker, ” Huff Post Author, Influencer, Fashion Icon, and Millennial-Activist-Founder of #Ihelpwishescometrue, Ms. Simonetta Lein boasts an enormous list of accomplishments, such as best-selling author, television and radio personality, journalist, international fashion and lifestyle blogger and influencer, brand ambassador, entrepreneur and philanthropist to name a few.

But one of her most treasured accomplishments is the establishment of her charitable organization, The Wish Wall Foundation. The foundation is a space allowing people from across the world to post their deepest wish or desire on the website ’s “Wish Wall.”

Simonetta, “The Wishmaker, ” along with her global network, take those wishes and make incredible dreams come true. With a focus on educating and inspiring others and making wishes come true, Simonetta writes novels and articles, hosts events, and can be booked as a speaker as well.

Best Exercise DVD - Grace and Gusto

Grace and Gusto is brilliant. Ellen Barrett has an incredible way with fusing ballet, pilates, cardio, yoga and her take on all of it. This DVD has helped me heal an injury and helped me thrive. The second release in the ELLEN BARRETT LIVE series, Grace+Gusto is a real class, with real class regulars, filmed exclusively in Ellen's studio. Like the other DVDs, it's cardio, stretch and strength all rolled into one for total body conditioning and total person wellness. The 45 minute workout starts with easy dancer warm up that segues into 40 minutes of graceful cardio. The last 5 minutes of mat work flatten the belly and firm the upper arms.

You can listen to our interview on The Best Ever You Show here:

Best Song - Speak to a Girl

My husband said, "I heard this amazing song on the radio. I'm going to ask all four of the boys to each listen to it and take it to heart throughout their entire life."

I listened. I agree.

Thank you Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and all involved in producing Speak to a Girl.

Best in Sports - Thousand Helmets

I am very proud to issue our Elizabeth's Best Seal of Excellence to Thousand Helmets. Thousand Helmets sent Quaid The Nordic Wood from the Epoch Collection.

It's important to wear a helmet while biking, but most are ugly, awkward, and uncomfortable. As a result, helmets often get left at home instead of keeping you protected.

Thankfully, Thousand Helmets; creators of classically-designed and innovative bicycle helmets, celebrates the company’s second anniversary with the debut of their new Epoch helmet line.

Here is Quaid's review:

The helmet I received from Thousand was the Epoch in the nordic wood colorway. The helmet is very aesthetically pleasing and is the best looking helmet I’ve had the chance to wear. After 1 drop test, a fall, and 300 miles of riding with this helmet, there is no visible wear and it looks fresh out of the box.

The helmet has great ventilation and kept my head very cool while riding. The fit on the helmet is great with the removable foam pads to make the size smaller, or the leather chin strap, which performs fantastically and is another win for the helmets visual appeal.

Best in Yoga - Yoga Design Labs

I have been using my mat from Yoga Design Labs for all of 2017! Love it! The innovative yoga brand has been shaking up the industry with yoga mats described by Harper’s Bazaar, The Best Ever You Network and Refinery29 as 'stunning works of art’. With a growing US celebrity following, the company is excited about the response so far. Designed in Bali by Canadian surfer/yogi Chad Turner, who sold all his stuff and moved there to launch the idea in 2014. The young brand produces visually stunning, fashion-­forward and eco-­friendly yoga products designed to inspire. ‘The goal with the new collection was to create prints that were as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. Each print is systematically aligned to assist yoga practitioners to easily track their alignment and positioning during all poses.’ said Chad,­ YDL Founder.

Best in Beauty - Crepe Erase

I was whining one day to my friend Kim Parrish about getting older and feeling like my skin was changing. I had no clue in that moment that she was the new spokesperson for Crepe Erase. She said, "Im sending you something to try." I tried it and I've been testing this product for most of 2017 and absolutely LOVE it. It is my go-to beauty product and has changed my dry, red skin to a beautiful, healthy glow. I use the entire system. I especially love the Refining Facial scrub in combination with the restorative facial treatment. You can find all of the products listed here:

TruFirm™ is our exclusive technology that helps aging skin bounce back to a more youthful appearance. This powerful complex—a unique breakthrough in skin care science—helps support and reinforce your skin’s netting, which is responsible for keeping it visibly smooth and firm.

TruFirm™ is powered by a triple complex of skin-restoring plant extracts. This proprietary blend is designed to help visibly treat and improve the signs of aging skin while helping to promote healthy collagen and elastin.

Crepe Erase® is engineered to specifically target the problem of crepey skin. It’s what the beauty industry has spent years searching for… and now it can be yours!

After just 1 use

  • 94% of subjects reported that skin was instantly softer

  • 84% of users reported that skin hydration was instantly improved

  • 82% of users reported that skin was instantly smoother

Based on the results of a 50 person clinical user perception study

In 4 weeks

  • 98% of women experienced improvement in skin tone evenness on the décolleté

  • 90% users showed improvement in skin firmness on arms

  • 88% subjects experienced an improvement in skin roughness on legs and knees

  • In 8 weeks

  • 97% of subjects saw an improvement in the smoothness and softness of skin

  • 95% of users experienced a lifted appearance of skin

  • 91% of women showed improvement in the look of crepey skin

Best in Pets - Freshpet

My mom and dad's cat was very sick and not eating well until Freshpet arrived. We think it totally saved her life. Freshpet was so thoughtful to send two samples of Freshpet to us. I have a dog and 3 cats and my mom and dad have 2 cats. So 6 pets sampled Freshpet over the course of a week. It's a 24 paws up review! All animals loved. Both of our households are always cleaning up our diets, so now the pets are totally included!

Of the animals, my parents have a rescued cat that they adopted as a kitten. Kitsie never feels very well and is an extremely picky eater. Freshpet arrived and completely changed that! My mom gave her some and then put the rest in the outside garage refrigerator. The cat now sits on the counter by the garage door waiting to get her food.

Recently, my mom was out of Freshpet and used the store and product finder online to go buy more at the Cub Foods in Lakeville, MN. Kitsie, for the first time in her life isn't throwing up, is gaining some weight and is acting like she feels so much better. So....for all of you who love your pet or knows someone who does, you'll love Freshpet – the only fresh, refrigerated pet food on the market. Made with only real meat and poultry, with veggies and fruit – each recipe is slow cooked and the only preservative is your refrigerator. It’s a fact that if you feed you pet well it will be healthier inside and out, live longer and be more fit.

Our 16 year-old son suggested we get these so we had them for those just in case moments. They have proved very handy. They are very useful to our kids who play sports and have long bus rides.

Ultra compact, High-speed charging power bank

  • The Anker Advantage: Join the 10 million+ powered by our leading technology.

  • Remarkably Compact: One of the smallest and lightest 10000mAh portable charger. Provides almost three-and-a-half iPhone 6s charges or two-and-a-half Galaxy S6 charges.

  • High-speed-Charging Technology: Anker's exclusive PowerIQ and VoltageBoost combine to deliver the fastest possible charge for any device. Qualcomm Quick Charge not supported.

  • Certified Safe: Anker's MultiProtect safety system ensures complete protection for you and your devices.

  • What You Get: Anker PowerCore 10000 portable charger, Micro USB cable, travel pouch, welcome guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service. Lightning cable for iPhone / iPad sold separately

We purchased these for our college students and it was worth every dollar. It's everything it says it is and more.

  • AUTOMATIC, COMPACT, AND SUPER LIGHT - Auto open/close function allows for easy one-handed operation. Measures just 11½" long and weighs less than 1lb for easy storage in purses, briefcases, backpacks, luggage and more!

  • WIND-DEFYING 9-RIB CONSTRUCTION – Most umbrellas are made of 6 or 8 aluminum ribs but Repel is fortified with 9 resin-reinforced fiberglass ribs that flex slightly to withstand powerful gusts without turning inside out.

  • SUPERIOR WATER-REPELLENCY – Put the technology of Teflon to work for you! Waterproof and instantly dry, the Repel Travel Umbrella defends against the elements like nothing else.

  • QUALITY WORKMANSHIP - Designed with a three-fold chrome plated metal shaft, and strong metal frame to allow for greater stability in high winds. The ergonomic, slip-proof, and rubberized handle with wrist strap allow for easy carrying. A protective travel sleeve is included.

  • LIFETIME REPLACEMENT GUARANTEE – You are protected for life from the rain, sleet and snow, through our lifetime replacement guarantee program. If anything at all goes wrong with your umbrella, we will send you a replacement absolutely free, no return required!

I had such a blast interviewing Erika Leonard and Rachel Carlson from The University of Maine Softball Team on The Best Ever You Show! Apparently you all loved hearing them also as it was our top rated show for 2017 and trending on Blogtalkradio! Both were on the team that won the 2016 America East Championship! Erika Leonard and Rachel Carlson share what their lives are like being student-athletes with juggling academics, athletics, community service and more.

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