tagged beach, comfort, Hammacher-Schlemmer, kid-friendly, nature, outdoor, party, summer and under-$100
There you are, on a gorgeous sunny day, just trying to relax and soak up some rays… when sand starts itching it’s way onto your towel. Kids and dogs running by, or just moving around to get comfortable seems to add more sand into the mix. I guess you just have to deal with it, right?
Nope! The military’s got you covered. Kind of.
This technological marvel called the Sandless Beach Mat was indeed developed by the military for landing a chopper and not blowing sand every which way. Now you can use this technology to spend an awesome day at the beach, connecting with nature, while staying comfy, too.
This sandless towel also eliminates dirt, dust, and water from its surface, so you have a perpetually clean outdoor space. Perfect for camping or watching outdoor concerts.
What, you need features? Well it’s also strong enough to resist abrasions from outdoor furniture or pets, the towel will remain flat, and it never absorbs moisture, so it can’t grow mold or mildew. Available in two sizes, and two color choices.
So get out there and enjoy the rest of the summer – and all your other outdoor activities – with a sand-free smile
tagged accessories, designer, DIY, Etsy, gift-idea, handmade, kid-friendly, under-$100, under-$50 and Unique
What can you wear that matches a rainstorm? One of the gorgeous handmade umbrellas at Umbrella Heaven, of course. They contain a unique “Double-Dome wind resilience technology” and are handmade in the UK. At just $25 and up, they’re not just lovely to behold, but kind to your wallet, too. According to their bevy of customer testimonials, you’ll be smiling each time the skies turn grey. How’s that for a silver lining?
$25 and up
tagged discount, gift-idea, kid-friendly, Star-Wars, toy, under-$100 and Unique
Say hello to the sneakiest and perhaps most useful “toy” a parent could want for her child:
What could it possibly do that’s so exciting to me? It teaches kids to use the Force! Well, kinda. What it actually does is shows kids how to access their alpha brainwave state. That’s what we experience when we get “in the zone” doing something interesting, or when we enter a very peaceful meditative state. We slow down from our usual (beta) brainwave speed and experience clarity and inner calm. The Force Trainer basically teaches kids to meditate! Studies abound on how meditation – or just slowing down and “being present” – can drastically improve our health, happiness, and lives. And calmer kids equal calmer parents
Star Wars certainly doesn’t explain the product this way, but look at the kid’s face in the commercial. That’s one chill padawan.
In case you’re wondering more about the technical details, here’s how it works:
“The wireless headset reads your brainwaves through dry sensor technology and can determine the differences between alpha, beta, gamma and delta waves. This allows a chip inside the Force Trainer to use an algorithm to interpret the data and translate it to physical action, which in this case moves the Training Sphere into different sections of the cylinder.”
$89 (was $119.99)
tagged animals, art, bedroom, free-shipping, gift-idea, mod, nature, over-$200, recycled, splurge, under-$100, under-$50, Unique and wall-art
It was many months ago that I randomly discovered ibride. They were featured on several design blogs and I instantly fell in love with their line of ornate wall art trays. Since they were seemingly everywhere at the time, I didn’t bookmark any online stores. Of course the name ibride quickly slipped from my memory and I have spent the last few months keeping en eye peeled for those gorgeous baroque flourishes and collages of anthropomorphic animals. Quite a hybrid of style, eh? In fact, the name ibride is actually a play on words that is meant to represent “hybrid”. The company consists of 4 French relatives, Rachel, Benoit, and Carine, who I wish I could find more info about online. Their official website is in French and is Flash based so it doesn’t lend well to translating. Anybody know more about them?
Their stunning art trays come in 3 different themes; vintage ladies, animals in nature, and hybrid human/animals attired in exquisite vintage clothing. The imagery is simply amazing, but it’s the colors that really grab me: brooding, muted shades with splashes of vivid color. Everything they make is truly a hybrid of modern and classic. Better still, the laminated trays are made from a recycled wood core!
And lest I forget to mention their newer offerings: furniture shaped like the lower half of an animal. The Basset Stool and Dog Stool (both shown above) are available in black or red. Joe the Polar Bear book shelf measures nearly 4′ tall and is super limited edition.
Available at Switch Modern.
tagged comfort, food, gift-idea, home-decor, kitchen, retro, safety and under-$100
The Swiss Hot Steam Humidifier: This pretty little humidifier boils water to eliminate waterborne bacteria and viruses before emiting hot steam that improves ambient air moisture in these dry winter months. Deliciously scientific isn’t it? Now go buy one.
The Best Electric Tea Kettle: This is the best electric tea kettle, simply because it outperformed all other models due to its awesome heat retention, quick boiling time (twice as fast), automatic shut-off, and safety features. The perfect gift for those tea lovers.
tagged accessories, auto, blog, electronics, Gadgets, gift-idea, Holiday, ipod, laptop, Nerd, Think-Geek, top-Christmas-gift, under-$100, under-$200 and under-$25
Gadgets are a part of daily life for pretty much everybody in 2007, so gadget gifts aren’t just for computer nerds anymore! We’ve rounded up some great tech gift ideas for everyone on your list. Whether you’re shopping for a business professional, social network butterfly, or any gadget-lover in-between, keep reading for some retail inspiration.
6 Device Electronics Charger: This little beauty is going to simplify a lot of lives. It’s six tentacles contain “six adapters that fit most portable devices, allowing an entire briefcase-full of electronic office tools to be fully powered in an average of two hours”. Comes with a regular and car charger so that you can also power up on the go.
Roomba 500 Series Robot Vacuum: It’s December 2007, and jet packs are still not available yet. The next best thing would definitely be the cleaning robots available from iRobot. Not only is the new 500 series vastly improved from earlier models, but there are also robots that mop your floors, vacuum up your shop, and clean your gutters. Also, with no AI chip* there’s no threat of your Roomba leading an electronic revolt. *(You’ll need iRobot Create developers kit for that)
Chaotic-Artistic Gadget Organizer: Shopping for an oxymoron? This beautiful tangle of wires is named Harry, and he is as unique and tech savvy as his future owner. Inside his guts you can have fun nestling not just gadgets, but keys, wallets, and whatever else you’re likely to throw on the table as soon as you get home.
DIY Laptop Sleeve/Bag: The laptop bags that we featured in our Indie Christmas part 1 post were amazing, but sometimes totally custom is the way to go. Let your laptop lover design every detail of their bag with the Skooba customizable sleeve that also cleverly transforms into a handled bag.
Bluetooth Rear View Mirror: Between cell phone laws and sloppy drivers, Bluetooth devices continue to prove themselves invaluable for traveling. The only question is, which will make you look crazier: talking to an earbud or talking to your rearview mirror?
USB Podcast Studio Kit: Blogging is so 2006. All the cool kids (and pretty much everyone else) know that podcasting is where its at. With this kit, give your nouveau podcaster “everything needed for crystal clear audio recording and editing”, packed up all cool into an aluminum briefcase.
Check back in a couple days for some last minute gift ideas in our Gadget Gift Roundup Part 2.
tagged art, Etsy, gift-idea, green-gift-idea, handmade, Holiday, Indie, laptop, mod, one-of-a-kind, toy, under-$100 and under-$50
We planned on doing another gift guide this year: something similar to last year’s Green gift Guide. However, the new site design just ended up taking forever to finish and now we don’t have the energy to start another big project. What we’re going to do instead is blog like crazy about our personal favorite gift ideas.
Have you pledged to Buy Handmade this year? Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving, it’s better for people, and better for the environment. (The BH crew elaborate on these points nicely.) As the purveyor of all things handmade, here come our top picks from a few choice Etsy categories.
Clockwise from top left: Custom Laptop Bag: any size, and print from BlueTwirls, Artist Tote from SuperbKitsch, Echino Wolf Full Size Messenger Bag
You have a LAPTOP; Yay! Now you need something to keep it safe, portable, and stylish. It’s hard to pick a favorite from this bunch, but I sure appreciate all the pockets inside the Artist Tote. And with a name like that, I’m already feeling tempted to carry around some colored pencils. Be sure to look at close-up product shots because these are all made with amazing attention to detail.
Clockwise from left: Four Eyes No. 1 from Lisa Brodar, Fergie plush toy, Chandrea Collection no.46 art doll by Chad Frick. Now these STUFFED CREATURES have some personality. I especially like the geeky cute glasses on plush Four Eyes.
Clockwise from top left: Vintage Shadowbox Art from theArtCreations, Cupcake System print by Kelly Newcomer, 3 painted robot floppy disks by gammaraybots
There is ART for everyone on Etsy. Like lots of other items, the shadowbox and disks are made from recycled materials, making them an even better choice.
tagged activity, babies, birthday, coupon, custom, discount, Fun, gift-idea, kid-friendly, toy, under-$100 and under-$200
A few months ago I wrote about the clever developmental toy gift packages at eBeanstalk, and have been watching for sales or coupons ever since. They’re one of those companies that just doesn’t do discounts very often, so when they e-mailed me about a 10% off coupon that’s good for just 1 week, I jumped to tell you guys about it! They just started advertising on TV so you may have heard about them that way, but eBeanstalk has been offering educational, age appropriate toys since 2005.
Amidst the recalled toy controversy, it’s nice to know that some stores will never carry items with questionable or uncertain contents. There is a new message on their homepage that says “At eBeanstalk we are dedicated to a child’s development and learning, and we never compromise a child’s safety. Rest assured that NONE of the recalled toys from Mattel or Fisher Price have ever been sold at eBeanstalk. NOT ONE.”
COUPON: Save 10% off anything on the site. Expires October 15, 2007.
tagged baking, eco-friendly, fair-trade, food, green-gift-idea, handmade, kitchen, under-$100, under-$50 and Viva-Terra
Are there any fellow foodies out there? As a lover of baking, I’ve done some experimenting with and researching of the available cookware materials: aluminum, glass, silicone, stone, steel, cast iron, and clay. Each has it’s own specialties and downsides, including possible health risks. Non-stick Teflon coatings, silicone, and lead containing glazes are a few of the materials that raise the biggest concerns about bakeware safety. So what options does that leave us with? So glad you asked!
I was recently introduced to La Chamba Ware, which seems to be ideal in just about every way. The pottery is handmade under Fair Trade standards in Columbia. Created from only mica clay, it is not glazed and contains no toxins. Instead, the clay is polished with river rocks; how cool is that? The pieces are then finished in wood kilns that turn them a lustrous and striking black. These stylish dishes are also very versatile and can be used on a gas stove (and electric stovetop using a heat diffuser) cleaned in the dishwasher, and even used in a microwave if that’s your thing. The only downside is that they don’t tolerate drastic changes in temperature, and thus need to pre-heat along with the oven. No biggie. Along with Viva Terra, you can often find discount La Chamba cookware on eBay. Happy (and safe) cooking!
tagged accessories, beach, eBay, fashion, summer, under-$100 and under-$50
Sean and I were talking about what style of sunglasses he would be sporting this summer, but the thought of retiring his good old aviators didn’t appeal to him much. However, we did end up talking about styles and brands of men’s sunglasses that are most popular in California. Many areas have their own “local heroes”, and San Diego is no exception. While Oakleys (based out of Orange County) are always a favorite, you can’t leave the house without seeing a score of men wearing Dragon sunglasses. Truck stickers with the Dragon logo are also really popular. As it turns out, Dragon is a San Diego County (Carlsbad) based company, which explains the hometown love that the brand enjoys here. Their styles are largely designed for the sports enthusiast, so you’ll find incredibly sturdy frames that block 100% of all harmful UV and Blue Light. Wrap-around sunglasses frames are also one of their hallmarks, as are the occasional fashion forward style. There is a new 2007 model called “GG”, which is straight up 1980′s nerd style: thick two-toned coffee and bronze frames, perfect for rocking the blazer, t-shirt, and Vans look. To cater to a wider audience, they also offer more subdued, metal frame sunglasses styles. (You can see GG shown at top left, in black.)
If you’re looking for a pair of men’s Dragon sunglasses, eBay has an awesome selection. Even better, I’ve been watching auctions and you can definitely get a new pair for well below retail. Oh, the magic of eBay.