2010 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE-Part One
November 1, 2010

I love looking for ideas for the holidays….and I start early. So when I find something I really like, the chances are you may like it to, so these are some of my faves so far….Enjoy the ideas, and feel free to pass along to your friends and family!

Perfectly personalized for your child's imagination....

And for the kid who has everything…they don’t have this…..Kidlandia custom maps…you can make up fantasy places and names from $29 to $69 dollars….I suspect it’s as much fun for parents to customize and order as it is for kids to receive(ok, maybe more).

A simple, beautiful solution to a real life problem....

For your gadget lover…they need a place to charge all those tech toys….The Sanctuary…. from Blue Lounge. $129….love it. I gave my daughter a smaller version of this last year…she adores it, and it comes with all the connectors you could ever want.

I loved the series....have it for my Poppa-in-law...

The Pacific DVD series….from HBO  …($42.99 on Amazon)for history buffs or just those who love good tv, but don’t have HBO(poor suckers)…. Band of Brothers producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg re-team to produce this epic 10-part miniseries. I know some of you thought BOB was better….that’s debatable…all I know is The Pacific is darn good  television. Thanks HBO.

Mooooooo!

Kidcraft-here’s a link makes all sorts of lovely , kinda retro things for kids….like toy kitchens, dollhouses, and this cow rocker…that you ride!  Come on, that is just one really cute rocker! I found it at Toys R Us-link here for $70…not cheap, but a keeper for years to come, and I’ve seen it on other websites for considerably more.

Shape-sorting(not shape-shifting) cube....

Here’s another fabulous maker of kid’s toys…a little retro, and great things to play with and educate your toddler…Melissa and Doug(click here) make great toys, at great prices. Remember the little wooden puzzles with pictures of farm animals? They have it…and free shipping for orders over $75…

Get down with your inner geek...

Stocking Stuffer alert!! Say goodbye to the clunky chunks of plastic and metal that blocked the driver’s side cup holder! This tiny usb power adapter for your car…means you don’t need a separate charger for your phone or ipod….just plug it in…It’s from Think Geek…stuff for smart masses. $7.99.

a caffeine boost for your electronics...

Or if you have more than one device(which means you are a super-geek) that needs charging while you’re on the go….a coffee cup power inverter….how cute is that?  Also from Think Geek….$29.99.

Men's faces need a little love, too...

For those mornings when waking up is toughNickel’s Morning After Rescue Gel..Natural wheat and soybean-based proteins, along with caffeine and  Hamamelidacea extracts, “ give your skin radiance and softness and have a stretching and firming effect on skin“(hey, that’s what it says…I’ve never heard of  Hamamelidacea extracts either). $32 at Amazon–it was sold out some places.

Papa at 54 on safari....photo credit: JFK Library

For history or sports buffs…especially hunters….how about a new book just out called Hemingway’s Guns…..looks like a fascinating read. New evidence shows that the gun pictured above is probably the one with which he committed suicide….not the one historians thought. Fascinating investigation that involved digging up the gun that had been melted and buried.

A must for Hemingway fans...

Papa H evidentally loved to teach other s to shoot and hunt….the book includes short excerpts from Hemingway’s works…and these stories of his guns and rifles tell us much about him as a lifelong, expert hunter and shooter, and as a man.You can get the book at Amazon-click here for around $25….

20 animal sculptures-no scissors or glue needed!

I love this. This one looks like fun for kids and their parents to work on…Magical Menagerie from style savvy West Elm(they also have some adult games like Foodie Fight-Iwant that one), is illustrated by Japanese artist Junzo Terada, simply pop out the colorful pieces and fit the matching slots together. Perfect for playing or displaying on your desk or in your child’s room. Oh, and free shipping ♥♥!

Stylish and functional....

And this looks so comfy for frequent travelers, whether by plane or megabus….never hurst to have a nice pillow and eye mask…especially from organic velvet, right? This set is $32 from Crunchy Granola Home-click here…they specialize in organic and earth friendly home products. Oh and they’re offering free shipping for all standard shipping November and December! You can definitely find some great gifts there.

I want the reindeer..no, the pig!

And last(for this list-I’m working on another one-feel free to send ideas that you’ve seen), another selection from West Elm-here… that has a whole bunch of cute things AND free shipping. These insulated animal mugs are made of procelain(no BPA) and a silicone grip to protect your plump little paws, and the lids can also act as a teabag holder…which I need for my afternoon green tea. $18….

Part two is in the works…hope to have it out in another week or so!

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It’s Friday people!! And I’m kicking caffeine…really.
August 28, 2009

  
Goodbye my love, my French Roast....thank goodness Zekes makes it in decaf...

Goodbye my love, my French Roast....thank goodness Zeke's makes it in decaf...

Yes, and this particular Friday is starting off with no coffee…, ummmm…let me restate that. No coffee that really means anything to me today, as in ….no caffeine. Did you hear me? I said NO CAFFEINE!!! That means by this afternoon, perhaps earlier, I will feel as though my forehead was in a vise, that keeps tightening, tightening….yeah. I’m really looking forward to that. And if this afternoon on 11 News at Five, I look like I’m thinking about a cup of coffee from Zeke’s in Baltimore, it’s because I am. Thank goodness they make a French Roast in decaf.

 

Why on earth have I decided to go cold turkey on caffeine? Because my doctor told me to. Simple as that. I was having some not happy feelings in my chest, like feeling my heart beat too fast, which if you’ve never experienced, is not a good feeling. More like a bad feeling.  So the verdict…no coffee, no tea, no alcohol…and the coup de grace…no chocolate.(sound of crickets)

Come on!! I stared at him in disbelief….many of  the little things that make life enjoyable? You just slice them out of my life? Why not just reach inside and… take another little piece of my heart, now baby…oh, sorry, that was Janis Joplin. Anyway, I offered weakly, “I have cut back on caffeine…this morning I only had a half a cup of coffee.…”. He stared at with a look that said , “oh, you little ignoramus, you just don’t get it, do you?” And then actually said, out loud, “I didn’t say cut back, I said NO caffeine.” I don”t smoke thank God, because I’m sure he would have snatched that too, if I did.

So, this morning, without any urgency at all because what difference does it make,  I brewed some decaffeinated coffee. That’s a sad thing. I’ll have some deffeinated tea mid-afternoon(but will be gobbling Tylenol for the headache no doubt). I won’t eat any chocolate, even though I make a mean dark chocolate sauce that is so fabulous over vanilla ice cream.  I won’t have any wine even though it is Friday night people!!! I have a big pitcher of decaffeinated iced tea in the frig instead. Yegads. There it is …my sad  little tale of woe. I know, count my blessings, you’ll get over the coffee thing, things could be much worse . All this I know, but I’m allowing myself one day of wallowing in self pity. OK, maybe half a day. And then I’ll move on to my caffeine free existence. Sigh. Have a good weekend, play nice, and come home safe.

What are you putting on YOUR skin?
August 15, 2008

Heres what Im using...

Here's what I'm using...

We had a story on 11 News at Five that honestly set me (an admitted lotion freak) back, and maybe it did you too. A new study from Rutgers University,  that said putting moisturizer on your skin may increase you risk for skin cancer. Whaaaaaat?? Now, keep in mind this study was done on mice, and for those of you who missed it, after exposing hairless mice to UV rays for 20 weeks, they then applied moisturizer to the mice once a day, 5 days a week, for 17 weeks. They found the mice who got the moisturizers had an average 70% increase in production of skin cancer tumors! I did a little more digging into that study and here’s what I found.

Scientists felt that maybe, mineral oil or sodium lauryl sulfate were the culprits…that they may both promote tumors. I took a look around my house to see what’s in lotions I use. Of the four bottles sitting around, two of them….Bliss Lemon Sage Body Butter and Williams-Sonoma lotion don’t contain mineral oil, the Olavie Chardonnay lotion doesn’t list any ingredients (?), and the French Gabriel Couzian body moisturizer lists mineral oil as their third ingredient!(This one I use everyday, and love it.)

So what does it mean? I’m not sure and neither are the scientists…here are the brands they tested….Dermabase, Dermavan, Eucerin Original Cream (its website say its the brand dermatologists trust), and Vanicream(the only I’ve ever heard of is Eucerin)…but here’s the kicker. One of the creams that seemed to cause tumor growth, Vanicream,  had neither ingredient, so they really don’t know what is causing it. Here’s the good news, the skin cancers involved were not melanoma… the most dangerous kind of skin cancer,  but basal cell and non-squamous cell carcinomas. Most people do not die from these and they can easily be treated with surgical removal. I’m not sure that will make any of us feel much better. Oh, and scientists weren’t really looking to find any of these results when they stumbled upon them…they were investigating if caffeine had any effect on skin cancer and were working on skin delivery systems for getting the caffeine to the skin. How about that? I’ll let you know more when I hear it….in the meantime, I’m sticking with my moisturizers….