Published on December 31st, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz


Early 2020 Gift Guide: 10 Of My “Best Of 2019” Discoveries

While Hanukkah and the 12 Days of Christmas are just about behind us, there are plenty of gift-giving opportunities coming up in early 2020, and I’m not just talking about birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. In turn, it never hurts to have a few surprise gift ideas up your sleeves. With something in mind for readers of all backgrounds, below are 10 of my favorite discoveries from 2019.

Tavour Subscription

Washington State-based Tavour is a company that tries thousands of beers from small craft breweries, ultimately bringing you the gems you cannot get at your local store. In turn, Tavour works directly with hundreds of independent breweries to curate craft beer gift boxes with one-of-a-kind selections. With selections as diverse as the Vanilla Ice Cream Stout from Wild Leap Brew Co. in Georgia and the Juicy IPA from WeldWerks Brewing in Colorado, a Tavour purchase may be ideal for any sort of gift offering.

According to the direct words of Tavour’s Marketing Manager, when interviewed by The Hype Magazine earlier this year: “Tavour is an app to discover and enjoy craft beers from around the world. We connect consumers directly with passionate brewers who care about quality and reaching their fans. The geographical divide that prevents you from walking directly into any brewpub is obliterated and you are transported to the barstool from the comfort of your own home.”

The Ramones – It’s Alive: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Taking its name from a 1974 horror film, It’s Alive was the last album to feature all four original Ramones band members: Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone and Tommy Ramone. All four U.K. concerts included in this new Deluxe Edition capture the band in peak form as they storm through dozens of songs from the group’s early (and very influential) catalog.

Produced in a limited and numbered edition of 8,000 copies, the 4CD/2LP 180-gram vinyl set comes packaged in a 12 x 12 hardcover book. It is also accompanied by new liner notes written by legendary record producer and musician Steve Albini and Ed Stasium, who produced and engineered It’s Alive and remastered all of the music included in this collection beyond other Ramones classics.

Colorado’s Best Drinks Sparkling CBD

Colorado’s Best Drinks Sparkling CBD recently became the very first hemp product to be picked up by the Coors Distributing Company. Colorado’s Best Drinks (CBD) offers a full line of sparkling beverages infused with broad spectrum hemp extract. Each flavor – Black Cherry, Cola, Ginger Ale, Lemonade, and Root Beer – is crafted with just five ingredients: sparkling water, organic agave nectar, natural flavors, non-GMO citric acid, and broad spectrum hemp extract. Even better, each 12-ounce BPA-free can contains only 100 calories and all of the brand’s varieties are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of sodium and preservatives.


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We come bearing gifts 😉😋⁠⠀

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Happi Foodi Bowls

With Happi Foodi, it’s easy to enjoy delicious, innovative dishes right at home. The team works to nourish souls through easily accessible meals that list all ingredients on the package front, allowing people to quickly understand the quality ingredients used in each dish. At last year’s Summer Fancy Food Show, Happi Foodi unveiled a new frozen meal brand set. This year, the company launched Cauliflower Wings with Sriracha Hot Sauce, a Bacon Pear & Feta Flatbread, Cuban Egg Rolls, Buffalo Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls, Tequila Lime Chicken, Barbacoa Mac & Cheese, and range of Street Tacos (Brisket, Carnitas, Southwestern and Al Pastor Chicken).

More recently, Happi Foodi recently launched Keto Bowls, which are now available on the frozen food aisle of WalMart, Target and Publix. My favorite of the new bowls is the Cheddar Parm Keto Bowl, as made with Tender diced chicken, riced broccoli, cauliflower florets, green beans and red bell peppers in a black pepper and cheddar parmesan cheese sauce.

Uber Chill XL Personal Mini Fridge

This personal mini fridge combines style and function in one scaled-down appliance. Warm or cold, enjoy food and drinks either way with dual settings and storage for up to twelve cans. Its sleek, retro shape draws attention but takes up little space under a desk or on a countertop. You can switch between “hot” and “cold” with ease so long as you keep at least 12 inches on each side of the fridge for proper ventilation.

3-in-1 Fitness Balance Board by Revolution Balance Boards

This three-in-one fitness balance board set aims to help you shape up by keeping your body off balance. The padded balance board comes with three swappable bases. The rocker, side-to-side roller, and wobbly air cushion work to fire up and stabilize core muscles. It is U.S.-made, can be used without shoes, and supports up to 450 pounds.


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We’re gonna party like it’s 2009 🤘😎 #wickedmoments 📸 @opoline

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Wicked Audio

Recently the folks at Wicked Audio debuted several new (truly-wireless) designs to offer some unique and affordable options to the market for consumers. With the low price point, pocket-size, and different spin on true wireless audio design, these offerings are surely a solid staple gift idea for someone in our lives.

Cron is a feature-packed, premium true wireless earbud sports an extended battery life, allowing users to jam for up to 6 hours without a charge. Its compact companion Powerbank charging case allows users to charge their buds along with other devices, such as smartphones and cameras, making it the ultimate travel accessory. The Dunmore is perfect for all kinds of users, whether you’re going on a trip or running through the rain. The Syver braves the elements with an IP65 waterproof and dust resistance level. The Gnar is a budget-friendly true wireless earbud which features ambient noise protection and a mic with answer/hangup settings.

CasusGrill’s Instant Biodegradable Grill

As curated by the consistently-resourceful retailer known as The Grommet, CasusGrill’s Instant Biodegradable Grill is ideal for tail-gating or any sort of make-shift cooking. Its cardboard frame, bamboo grill grates, and lava stone lining quickly assemble and heat up in about five minutes, ultimately staying hot for around an hour. When you’re done cooking, you can toss the CasusGrill into a campfire or in a trash bin knowing it will naturally decompose. With its lightweight and user-friendly design, CasusGrill is sure to make your cookout a huge success.

Calphalon Precision Heat Espresso Machine With Grinder

The Calphalon Espresso Machine with Grinder uses precise grinding and even heating to create the perfect tasting espresso. Its integrated conical burr mill grinder features 30 adjustable grind settings for fresh espresso with every use. The brewing system features thermoblock heating technology and PID temperature control to evenly heat during espresso extraction, combined with gentle pre-infusion, which blooms the espresso grounds at the beginning of the extraction. Also available from Calphalon are the Calphalon ActiveSense Blender and the Calphalon IntelliCrisp 2-Slot Toaster. These and other great offerings are now available via Amazon.

The Night Sky

Thanks to The Night Sky, you can give a gift of the stars. The Night Sky makes an incredible memorable gift that will be treasured for years to come, as The Night Sky makes it easy to create an 18″ x 24” star map of any memorable occasion. The unique and personalized star map is printed on high-quality, Art Matte paper with over 190-gram weight. You can choose from 8 different styles at any place or time in the world to memorialize the night that your heart skipped a beat. I personally have a framed map made by The Night Sky on my dining room wall to commemorate my 2017 wedding.

James Brown On Vinyl

The Godfather Of Soul may have left us over a decade ago, but 2018 and 2019 has brought the release of both classic and previously-unreleased music from James Brown within the vinyl format. One of the latest JB-related LP releases is Motherlode, a two-record rarities collection which kicks off with a live recording of “There It Is.” The first three sides of this title were out-of-print on vinyl for decades, whereas side four’s tracks are appearing in record-format for the first time ever, thanks to the Universal Music Group’s catalog division. UMG has also had some exciting 2019 vinyl re-issues from Parliament, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Jackson 5.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly He has also co-authored two published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.

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