Jennifer Nettles's Favorite Things: What's in her Was-New-Years-Now-Valentine's Basket

Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Each year, I put together a poor man's basket version of Oprah's "Favorite Things" show. In this basket I put some of my favorite things from throughout the year. Historically, this basket is mailed in early January as a New Year's treat. (I like to wait til after all the holiday hoopla. Makes it more of an unexpected surprise.) This year January came and went, and I had yet to mail my New Year's Favorite Things baskets. So, this year, they were Valentine's baskets. And, as so often happens when my "best laid plans of mice and men" hit a bit of a speed bump, I was inspired. I thought, "Would the fans like a peek into my basket?" (You can take that how you like, sweetheart. It is Valentine's Day after all...) 

But then I wondered, "Is this a lame blog idea? I mean, certainly they'd like another account of one of my ridiculous adventures." But then I thought, "Well, at the very least, this may be a lifesaver for some poor asshole who forgets to get his lady-love a V-day gift, and maybe he can use it as an inspirational theme if she happens to be a fan. As in, 'Hey honey, I got you Jennifer's Favorite Things basket for Valentine's Day.'" 

And so, in the spirit of diplomacy and clemency -- and quite possibly emergency if you actually don't have her a gift yet -- I give you My Favorite Things V-Day Basket. 

Now, before I jump in here, I just want to say a couple of things. First of all, some of these items you will be able to find online. Some, you can call and have them shipped. Some, you'll be shit out of luck, but you can ad lib. I am providing websites when I know them, but haven't provided those I don't know. It's called Google. Check it out yourself and you will be pointed in the right direction. And, if you aren't, well, don't blame me. I'm just providing the inspiration.

In fact, you should thank me regardless of how hard you might have to search, as I am keeping you from making one of those sweet but rarely used coupon books for things like: "Good For One Foot Massage" or "Good For One Bubble Bath." It's a very sweet idea and I think I actually made one of these in my twenties. They just rarely actually get cashed in and it unfortunately puts the responsibility of remembering to redeem the coupon/gift upon the person who receives it, which is really ironic considering that the reason you are making it anyway is because you forgot to actually buy a gift. (Don't get me wrong here. It is always the thought that counts. And this gift can be very thoughtful. However, trust me when I say you'd better drop the index card and blue pen and get out the construction paper and glue and markers and spend some time on that sucker. Otherwise, she's gonna know that you forgot and just threw a coupon book together at the last minute.)

Second of all, this isn't some lame celebrity scam where I act as if I really use a product that I've never really used but say that I use it in order to get paid. (Hello? How many times do I have to see a commercial where someone acts as if she has acne and that she uses a certain product and her problem magically disappears, all the while knowing that her ass goes to the best dermatologist on the planet? But I digress...) This is simply stuff I like, that mails easily, in a nice little basket.

Caffe Nonna's Spicy Marinara

I love this red sauce from Caffe Nonna's restaurant in Nashville, TN. It is delicious, and 15 percent of the proceeds go to children's health charities. The owner's daughter had brain cancer, so he was inspired to donate part of the profits from its sale. (

Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta

I love this pasta, as I have had to go gluten-free in my diet. It tastes just like pasta should taste, but without the wheat/gluten. I used their spaghetti because it fit better in my basket but any of their shapes are delicious. Put the Nonna's sauce on top of this. (See, it's a theme. You could maybe even cook it for your lady-love.) If you're near a Whole Foods you can go get this right now -- lthough any health food store or health section in your everyday grocery worth its salt will have a brown rice pasta option nowadays. (

My Aunt Kay's Pecans

People love these pecans, particularly my friends who live in the north. They get such a kick out of getting Georgia pecans from someone in Georgia who actually has pecan trees on their property. I think they like to imagine us out in the pecan orchard, all Scarlet O'Hara and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, wearing a hoop skirt made out of curtains with a do-rag on our head, picking up pecans and sighing how we'll "never starve again." This one, you're shit out of luck on getting the real thing. I mean, you can get Georgia pecans online, but my Aunt's -- well, that ain't gonna happen. Regardless, you might be well served to maybe get your lady a lovely bag of chocolate covered nuts at this point. Chocolate never hurts. Unless you live in the northeast, at which point, she too will probably think Georgia pecans are somehow romantic. (I don't quite get it, but, just go with it.) 

Red Flower Cleansing Body Wash in Spanish Gardenia

Ok, this stuff is heavenly. I'm not normally a "flowery" gal. (I prefer earthy, musky scents over flowery or powdery.) However, this scent reminds me of the home I grew up in, as we had a gardenia bush outside my mother's bedroom. In the summer, its thick, heavy perfume could fill the house. This body wash hits it dead on the mark. Maybe your lady-love might take a bath while you make her pasta dinner. Just a thought. (

See's Candies Lollypops

These little numbers are great for those of you like me, with a sweet tooth the size of Connecticut. At 80 calories a pop (pun intended), you can afford to enjoy one when you get a craving. Plus, they are creamy and tasty enough to satisfy. (

Dirty Nekkid Man Coffee

This is my favorite coffee! It's brewed right here in Atlanta by a company called JavaVino. Besides, if you're lucky, maybe the name itself will be inspiration and you might actually get to make her breakfast, if you know what I mean. (

And so, with that, I leave you to your own Valentine's Day planning. I hope you get the most perforated cards delivered to the decorated brown paper bag taped to the back of your desk. I hope you get the heart-shaped box of chocolates, made with only the flavors you like, and that no one leaves any half-eaten-because-I-don't-like-'ems. I hope you get the most thoughtful and perfect customized coupon book ever. Most of all, I hope you are filled with lots of "Love on the Inside." Mwah!

- Jennifer

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  1. littlemiss5 avatar

    On Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:19 AM, littlemiss5 said:

    Sugarland is an amazing duo!

  2. littlemiss5 avatar

    On Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:19 AM, littlemiss5 said:

    Sugarland is an amazing duo!

  3. littlemiss5 avatar

    On Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:18 AM, littlemiss5 said:

    Sugarland is an amazing duo!

  4. littlemiss5 avatar

    On Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:18 AM, littlemiss5 said:

    Sugarland is an amazing duo!

  5. littlemiss5 avatar

    On Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:18 AM, littlemiss5 said:

    Sugarland is an amazing duo!

  6. littlemiss5 avatar

    On Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:17 AM, littlemiss5 said:

    Sugarland is an amazing duo!

  7. littlemiss5 avatar

    On Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 11:10 AM, littlemiss5 said:

    Pecans are good to eat.. I enjoy eating them too.

  8. Coreym avatar

    On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM, Coreym said:

    I bought Tinkyada pasta today based on your suggestion, I'm not G free, but I thought I'd try it. I'll let you know my verdict. love your posts!

  9. larryhager1 avatar

    On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 10:04 PM, larryhager1 said:

    I thought you were coming to st paul, mn don't see any more

  10. the golux avatar

    On Sun, Jan 16, 2011 at 4:54 PM, the golux said:

    Dirty Nekkid Man. Why does that strike me as everything I really need to know about you? I'm being only a little facetious when I say that, because I think people surround themselves with the words that speak to them, whether they realize it or not. So I look at all the words I see on or around a person and get an instant impression of them. It's the novelist in me, to be sure. But I find it wildly amusing, and in a Shaman sort of way, insightful. If somebody had laid a list of coffees in front of me, for example, and said "which one of these do you think Jennifer Nettles drinks?" that's the one I would have picked. Just as we can be not at all surprised that Kristian chooses Dancing Goats. Or that I would be drawn to a flavor called Cumbre. So, when I hear you say Dirty Nekkid Man, am I picturing you as one, or with one, or encircled by them on, say, a pirate ship or dude ranch? Well...yes. I mean, I just don't know. Could go either way. But it's coffee. And,do you know, most cultures have familiar words in their dialects that somehow work the concept of spirit or divinity into their common word for coffee? So that this is your coffee...just sounds right. Maybe because it conjures up images of ceremonial rites for me, and that's how I was introduced to you in the first place. Now, THIS is a great story, that I might as well tell you,because it's true, and is finding a doorway here for a reason. Lemme Takes too long...Lemme sum up. When I was around 7 or 8, I can't be sure, I had my year of big visions. (I've had decent visions since, but not like that.) Obviously I was searching for something. Let's say Love, or my pathway to Love. Anyway there was a particular event, and I guess all the planets or stars or moons lined up, because I made a run for it and wound up at the feet of a medicine man. Long-story-short, I wasn't overjoyed with what he told me. So, the following night, I went out to the big boulder in the back yard and tried to call him back, to no avail. So I got to thinking. I had heard about this guy Jesus in Sunday school. I'd ask him about the old guy in the woods. (Maybe he knew 'im.) So I asked y'no, Jesus, might I have a word...and sure as shit he showed up. No word on the old guy, but we did have a pretty deep conversation, and I felt a little better. This kept me, as they say, for a little while; but I still had a burning desire to know, really know, what direction to take in my life. Then I felt a pull that struck me as real and true and about my I followed it. It led me across the road to a section of woods I would skirt with my pony, but never go in. Something magical lived there and I knew enough to show respect, and I always had. But that day they drummed an invitation, and I knew my time had come. I followed the invisible trail to a small sunlit clearing...and listened. Pan emerged with his flute and began to play a tune specific to me and I answered. The question posed was "What do you choose above all else?" And I answered "Love." Then I knew that it was expected that I show my dance to the beings of the woods and someone, someone I had come there to meet. I did my dance, and bowed, and thought-well, I've done it, and intended to go. But about that time Pan got a shit-eating grin on his face, and squaring his shoulders, turned like a sentinel to face the stone wall, which drew my attention. While I had been concentrating all of my intent on the sincerity of my dance, the beings of the forest had come in procession to line up on the wall behind the flute-player, and something was about to happen. I couldn't imagine what, because I didn't really expect any sort of immediate result from my action, I just knew that I must be real and present my true power. So, imagine my surprise, when out of the misty morning light emerged...You. In all your splendor. And you looked to me then exactly as you look to me now. You smiled to me, and bowed, and I knew that I had just seen the face of Love. The shape of it. The light and dark of it. And that I would always be able to find it again in my vision of you. And the rest of the story is my life, which did unfold about like one would think. But that's another story for another day, and this is just my little snippet about Pan's Wood, and meeting you.And the medicine man. And Jesus. My year of Big Visions. And for some reason, this always comes up for me around Valentine's day. Honestly, your blog could have said zippety-bipple-butt-de-butt-butt-do...and somehow I would have ended up exactly here. And, against my natural inclination, I was overcome by the compulsion to tell you this story. Not even well. I just sort of blurted it out. (It tells quite beautifully in context, but that necessarily includes things I intend to never tell you.) So, there it is. Baskets, pecans, pasta, coffee...this.

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