Tastemaker Samantha Binkley Crop

They say variety is the spice of life, and Samantha Binkley lives by that idea.

“Five years ago, I found myself an empty nester when my daughter went off to college. Food and healthy cooking have always been large components of my life, so I became a certified health coach and began hosting cooking classes out of my kitchen.”

The focal point of those classes were the spices she’d make from scratch, and she launched her own line of blends not long after. To date, the product she’s most proud of is No Woman, No Spice. “It touches my roots in every way. I am Jamaican-born and this is a Jamaican jerk spice. It’s a little sweet, very flavorful, and balanced with spicy undertones.”

It’s a prime example of her varied and fun personal style—and so are the eight items at the top of her list of favorite things.

Tastemaker necklace

Set & Stones Frankie necklace

“The gal behind Set & Stones makes these beautiful necklaces locally. I met her at a show we did together in Rancho Santa Fe. The Frankie necklace is a fun layering piece. It always has a place in my rotation.” $115, setandstones.com

Tastemaker evo

Evo Oil Sprayer

“I’ve been using this olive oil trigger sprayer for years now, and it doesn’t get old. I can control the amount of oil I use when roasting. And if you use an air fryer, it’s a must—ask anyone who has taken one of my classes.” Price varies, evooilsprayers.com

Tastemaker moisturizer

Good Beauté Vita C Face Moisturizer

“My skin needs extra care during dry months. This moisturizer does the trick. It really brightens my skin tone. Plus, the SPF 50 goes a long way without the graying film left by most sunscreens on darker skin.” $65, goodbeaute.com

Tastemaker caste book

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

“I’m an avid reader of history—so we don’t repeat it. This has been a lifelong passion, and this book is what’s on my nightstand. My local bookstore, Diesel, even carries it.” $32, dieselbookstore.com

Tastemaker spices

Turn Up the Spice collection

“My love of music inspired the Edible Playlists, my trios of spices sold online. The blends are named after popular songs, with a punny twist.” $45, healthyonyou.com

Tastemaker podcast

Small Biz Gone Viral podcast

“Local San Diegan Grant LeBeau kills it with this podcast. It’s a must for entrepreneurs; his insightful conversations with small-business owners cover weathering the pandemic and working to grow and thrive in a crazy environment.” Free, smallbizgoneviral.com

Tastemaker grill

Philips Smoke-Less Infrared Grill

“I first discovered this grill when I did in-person spice tastings at Williams Sonoma UTC. When grilling outside before dark is not possible, this grill is everything. I just set it on my kitchen island and grill away.” $300, williams-sonoma.com

Tastemaker cider

Serpentine Ciders

“This local company not only has great ciders, but they support social justice causes, with the release of their Blackberry Black Tea cider under the Black Is Beautiful project. My other favorite flavor is the Pineapple Grapefruit. It’s super fresh and light.” $15 per 32-ounce crowler, serpentinecider.com

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