Photo: Joseph Zambrano

Show me someone who doesn't love a good patty melt, and I'll show you a person who's never chowed down at the lunch counter of Court Street Grocers Sandwich Shop in Manhattan. Manager Gerard Barwell puts pork, beef, corned beef, caramelized onions, Cheddar and comeback sauce between two slices of rye, then panini presses the whole thing until it's crispy, chewy, melty—everything you'd ever want in a sandwich.

Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir (and Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection), opens with an F-bomb dropped by Reese Witherspoon, who plays a woman grieving her mom's death by taking a 90-day hike. The flashbacks are plentiful, Reese's performance is Oscar-worthy, and the line that stayed with me is this: "I'm gonna walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was."

Beyond The Lights stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a tortured pop star and Nate Parker as the cop who saves her from a suicide attempt. I'm in it, too, playing the teeny, tiny role of Gayle King from CBS This Morning. The movie has its share of clichés, but it's sweet and romantic and won me over in the end.

Photos: Beyond the Lights: Suzanne Tenner/2013 Blackbird Productions LLC; Wild: Anne Marie Fox/Fox Searchlight Pictures

Photo: Courtesy of Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda

My friend Grace is a force of nature! After she attended a dinner where the president of Rwanda spoke of how his country wants "trade, not aid"—and then learned that one crop of coffee beans can sustain a Rwandan family of four for a year—a business was born. Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda supports the country's farmers, and the beans are, according to my coffee-drinking friends, delicious. Buy this gift set, and you're buying a better future for a whole lot of hardworking people.

Land of 1,000 Hills Holiday Set, $75;
Mary J. Blige

Photo: Courtesy of Capitol Music Group

If you've been through something there's a good chance Mary J. Blige has, too—the difference is, she sings about it. Her new album, The London Sessions, is fun, soulful, therapeutic, and just fine.
Gap Hat

Photo:Gregor Halenda

I know Gap intended this hat for kids, but after trying it on in our fashion closet, I want my own. Gap's ad campaign says "Dress Normal." It turns out my "normal" involves pom-poms!

Oprah Gift

Photo: Courtesy of @ColinHarrisonKreslin

Do you have any idea what it's like trying to come up with a Christmas present for Oprah? Well, I'm pretty sure she doesn't have anything like this. I met Colin Harrison-Kreslin when Oprah's The Life You Want tour rolled into Detroit, and what can I say? This guy knows how to make a fashion statement.