Sunday, March 19, 2017

Give Environmental Gifts - Good for Any Occasion!

Giving to a cause makes for the very best gift - as it certainly captures the true spirit of the act itself, which is needed now more than ever.  This is part of a series I am doing this year, after we've all been through the wringer with political, community and world events this year. So many have been looking to DO something, and requests have poured in for suggestions of what to give or ways to give that will help the world. Please subscribe or bookmark to be able to see the whole series. And please share this link - even that is doing something very good for our world!  

And these make perfect last minute gifts - and can be added or gotten up till the day of giving! While a card or acknowledgement usually is sent via mail or email, you can print out photos and descriptions of the cause, write a personal note of why you chose it or why you think it's so meaning fun and wrap it in a box or like a scroll to have something to open if you prefer!

Why give a gift card when you can give something SO meaningful for whatever cause you or the person you are gifting finds important?

First up: Water. I personally think water is just about the most imperative cause out there.  "Give the gift of drinkable, swimmable, fishable water" - the phrase for WaterKeeper Alliance.

_________________________________________________________________________________
The Conservation Fund:  "At the Fund, we make conservation work for America.  By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity.  Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect 7.8 million acres of land since 1985."

TIP: From now until December 19th, your online donation to the Fund will be matched; up to $150,000. Make your gift go twice as far and donate today!
_________________________________________________________________________________

The National Resources Defense CouncilThe Kennedy's started this and is my sister's favorite:


CLICK HERE to donate to NRDC in honor of your special someone or CLICK HERE to give the gifts below! 
_________________________________________________________________________________

SIERRA CLUB: Achieving ambitious goals requires mobilizing unprecedented people power. The environmental movement of the future must be bigger and more diverse. It must better represent and amplify the voice of the American people. And we are in a great position to help build it.This is conservation today: habitat, water, air quality, ecosystems – viewed through the lens of climate solutions with an eye toward justice for all."

When you make a commemorative gift, please provide the name of the person(s) being honored, as well the address where we can notify them about your gift. The Sierra Club Foundation will send a letter notifying them that you have made a gift in their honor, with the gift amount being left out.  You'll get  a separate acknowledgement for tax purposes. Just call (415) 977-5653 or download this form.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Environmental Defense Fund: "We forge solutions that make people and nature prosper"  Links science, economics, and law to create innovative, equitable, and cost- effective solutions to the most urgent environmental problems. Clean air and water. Abundant fish and wildlife. A stable climate. Our work protects nature and helps people thrive. What sets us apart is how we make this happen: By creating solutions that also carry economic benefits.

CLICK HERE to donate to the Environmental Defense Fund in someone's name and have them send a note to that person via snail or email. TIP: Again, you can wrap the info before and let them still get this after! 

And here are some other highly rated charities that deal with the environment, nature, climate change, hyperlinked to the page where you can donate in someone's honor (and they mail a notice to that person).























Keep American Beautiful: "We inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment." Donate in someone's name by clicking the little box under the Donate Amount field that says: "dedicate my donation in honor of the memory of someone."  
_________________________________________________________________________________
Earth Justice: The premier nonprofit environmental law organization. “We fight for the right of all to a healthy environment. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to take on critical environmental issues and bring about positive change. We exist because the Earth needs a good lawyer!” The person you honor will get both a card and a years subscription to their quarterly magazine. 
_________________________________________________________________________________

Earth Works: Their mission: a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions. They stand for clean air, water and land, healthy communities, and corporate accountability, and work for solutions that protect both the Earth’s resources and our communities.


They fulfill that mission by working with communities and grassroots groups to reform government policies, improve corporate practices, influence investment decisions and encourage responsible materials sourcing and consumption. And they expose the health, environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of mining and energy extraction through work informed by sound science.


Check back for more blog posts in succession, each covering a different area of giving: Civil Rights, Animals, Education, Communit, Food and Health!!!


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Back Up Your Phone Photos in a Flash with Picture Keepers

Their slogan is "No Storage, No Data, No Wifi, No problem"

As someone who's broken a sweat more than once working with my tech guy trying to come up with a user friendly way to store my photo library, which, as an archivist, is almost as big as my music library, I present yet another option.

I'm hearing from several friends who've tried it that this is a good thing - whether or not you are backing up your photos somewhere with a sophisticated and often expensive external hard drive like a Lacie or Drobo. Key to it all?  They report it's incredibly easy to use.

Instead of having your pictures spread out between your phone, tablet or laptop... or losing them because you lost a phone or due to crashes... or if you are keeping a lot on your phone because it's so much easier than digging them out of those hard drives or finding them on a cloud service - check out the Picture Keeper. 



Be aware: There are a two kinds, with different storage capacities and features, and prices vary based on that. There are some outlets that offer them for discounts.

Picture Keeper Connect:  
"PK Connect actually connects to your cell phone and downloads directly from there. It's especially good if you're on vacation or someplace where you're taking a lot of pictures and aren't able to download them to your computer right away. If you have pictures on your computer that you want to download, you'll want the regular Picture Keeper.  They come in different sizes. Everywhere from 4G to 32G. I found a 16G online that was a much better deal than the 4G was with Groupon", says Elaine SCott-Mee who first introduced me to the Picture Keeper. 

Picture Keeper PRO
Backs up your photos, videos, music and documents. Store and protect your most important files one click. AND there is an option for turning your pix into custom prints and gifts that get delivered to you.

TIP: Currently on their website, you can get 15% off if you give them your email. I have seen it advertised for 40% off with the code PK40. Give it a try!


SaveSave

Friday, March 17, 2017

This Spring - Try Garden Genie Digging Gloves

While we're still getting a dusting of snow and temps are frigid hopes of Spring springs eternal - and gardening is on folks mind.  These look like something that could come in handy... nyuk yuk. But it's true! In fact,  I just ordered myself a pair.


DIG THIS: One hand (the right) has built in claws to make it easy to dig and not need tools to break up a root ball, spread mulch, create seed rows and the like.

Made of resin Garden Genie gloves claim to be puncture resistant and  waterproof, which many gardening gloves are not. They easily rinse clean while your hands stay clean and protected.

Here's the Garden Genie Website. Right now they have a two for deal for $10 though you pay for separate shipping on the second pair - which may not be much of a deal. At the time of this publication, none of their order now buttons worked, which ain't great for business... But you can at least see a video of them in action on that page and order them elsewhere if needed.


GOOGLE for the best price - because prices on this item vary widely. You don't normally see that, which makes me scratch my head. Either someone robbed a truck, or someone is making these up to almost double -or there are imitators out there. I've seen them for everything from $3.95-14.00 for a solo pair. They are easily found on Amazon, Walmart and Ebay to name a few. If you don't want to gamble, you should be safe ordering ones that in the As Seen on TV packaging to be sure it's the genuine article... Hopefully the website will repair their links and you can buy directly from them.

TIP: If its online at a chain store like Walmart, don't assume it is also in the brick and mortar store.  Best to call first to see if your local store actually stocks a speciality item like this - and better yet, ask them to hold your pair, if you are driving there to get them - even if you need to give them a credit card for it. You don't want to make a trip only to find they have no idea where that one pair in stock went, or find it sold. 
SaveSaveSaveSave

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wake Up to This Gift Idea: The Reggie Alarm

There are many people who have a hard time waking up - and you know who you are. You set one alarm next to the bed, then one across the room in your college days to get you up... and it often failed. Or do you set your phone for two different times, and press the snooze countless times on both?

This innovation should do the trick - An alarm is set into a small soft rug that you place right where your feet would land when getting out of bed... And when it goes off in the morning, it won't shut down until your feet have been standing on the mat for 30 seconds.

And bonus: you can program it to say something positive or an affirmation to boot. Not a bad thing!


It is apparently very effective, and you can even upload your favorite music to greet  your day.

You can find this at Reggie's website, as well as Amazon and other outlets.  And it costs: $99.00



I know, it's double what you hoped, but for those who really need it, it's a bargain!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Give the Gift of Books, Part 3!

A last few suggestions for books - though I could suggest endlessly. Go run to your local mom and pop to give them the business they need - or,  Barnes and Noble has 25% off coupons going now for buying this in store- or get it on Amazon and sent to you over night! Whatever works, there is still time!


Very much answering the new call to downsize, or quit life as we know it and follow your bliss, Home Sweet Anywhere   Reunited after 35 years, this couple sold everything and " with just two suitcases, two computers, and each other, the Martins embark on a global adventure, taking readers..." with them. Who would not be intrigued or inspired for the New Year by this one!




Seven Letters From Paris is a wonderful romp for the romantics on your list. With Paris as a favorite place to read about, this memoir covers a woman at age 40 who loses her job, is in debt and feeling stuck - until she discovers seven letters sent by an old French lover - and decided to fly off to Paris to reconnect with him.




Oprah Magazine said of The Light Between Oceans:  “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page.” We see lighthouses that are isolated and wonder as to the lives of the people who live to care for them. Here is a book that was on the bestseller list for a very long time, soon to be made into a motion pic - about a light house keeper in Australia, and the young wife he brings out, who, unable to successfully bear children, finds an infant a boat that is washed ashore.




A truly unique gift for your traveler, whether literally or from an armchair - or one who is dreaming of it. For your artist or journal, or one who loves reading letters and journal entires. This is a great inspiration. Many of us would love to travel and sketch and note our impressions - this is an inspiration for doing that, or just enjoying what others have done.  FIND IT HERE.



Great for Mom or Grandma:
This is one of a great "cozy Mystery" series by Edith Maxwell. So unique in that the main character is a Quaker midwife, who lives in upstate MA, during the late 1800's. There are several in the series, and they are good, solid, wonderful reads. Find on AMAZON here:

                                                               

Or try her other mystery series starting with Farmed and Dangerous, set on a small contemporary farm, which besides having an engaging plot, has some organic farming tips and recipes scattered throughout! Wonderful fireside reading.



Great for Dad or Grandpa: Never Go Back is the most recent of the thriller series that had been made into movie after movie starring Tom Cruise. Newsweek said: “A novel of action-charged suspense starring one of the best thriller characters at work today.” You know it's going to be good.


The Troubles is the second in what is planned to be a trilogy from Connie Hambley.  I suggest the second because it's a great read for your horse lover, or those interested in the bridge between and Irish heritage and Massachusetts.



The first, called The Charity, is the story of a young woman's journey into the heart of the IRA. Amazon describes it as: The history and the people of the Irish Republican Army and the strong Irish roots of Boston are used to weave a story that is as compelling as it is timely. The Charity is a crisply crafted thriller.



Beach Plum Island by From Holly Robinson is so intriguing! Here is how B&N describes it: 

“Your brother should know the truth.”
These are the last cryptic words that Ava Barrett’s father says before he dies. But Ava doesn’t have a brother, as far as she knows, so how can she tell him the truth? She dismisses the conversation and dedicates herself to bringing her family together for her father’s funeral. This is no easy task, since her sister, Elaine, has been estranged from the family and still harbors resentment against their stepmother and half-sister, Gigi. Ava, on the other hand, is a single mother who sees Gigi as a troubled teen in need of love and connection. Ava, too, could use more love in her life and finds it where she least expects it. But the biggest surprise of all is that Gigi holds the key to the mystery surrounding her father’s dying words, and joins Ava in uncovering a secret that rapidly unravels the very fabric of their entire family…




See ALL my recommendations for books by clicking HERE! 


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More Books! Give More Books!

A perfect gift that you can get fast and locally, or overnighted by Amazon (if not Barnes and Noble, who will give free expedited shipping on orders of over $75 till midnight on 12/22). Please shop your local Mom and Pop bookstore if you can.  

I'm taking short cuts from my normal way of doing posts just because it's getting so late into December. Click on the Bolded Amazon or Barnes and Noble for each book to go to the page to check for pricing or read more reviews.



Hillbilly Elegy is very timely after our recent election, and has gotten incredible reviews:
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Amazon description: From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

__________________________________________________________________
A popular story that was heavily in the news but should also be read, that tells of the heroism of Sully Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed a jet with a damaged engine (due to striking a flock of Canada geese) in the Hudson River on the west side of New York City.

Barnes and Noble says:  Sully's story is one of dedication, hope, and preparedness, revealing the important lessons he learned through his life, in his military service, and in his work as an airline pilot. It reminds us all that, even in these days of conflict, tragedy and uncertainty, there are values still worth fighting for—that life's challenges can be met if we're ready for them.

 
__________________________________________________________________

Barnes and Noble description: The extraordinary New York Times bestselling account of James Garfield's rise from poverty to the American presidency, and the dramatic history of his assassination and legacy, from bestselling author of The River of Doubt, Candice Millard. (Author's note: ALSO A GREAT READ ABOUT TEDDY ROOSEVELT)

James Abram Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation's corrupt political establishment. But four months after Garfield's inauguration in 1881, he was shot in the back by a deranged office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield survived the attack, but become the object of bitter, behind-the-scenes struggles for power—over his administration, over the nation's future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic brings alive a forgotten chapter of U.S. history.



__________________________________________________________________
I found this in a local store known for their supreme taste in gifts - and it's amazing I left without it for myself! A really wonderful book - sure to be a HIT!

Amazon says: This collection of over 100 mouthwatering recipes inspired by the traditions of the farmhouse kitchen—with a modern twist—captures the true taste of today's country cooking and brings the fresh ingredients and seasonal flavors of a farmhouse kitchen into your own home. Stuffed full of details on selecting the best ingredients, eating seasonally, and foraging, this book is an invaluable source of information as well as a celebration of modern country living and how to get involved with the land and the food you eat.


__________________________________________________________________
Here's a fun read for the right person on your list. Between You and Me is for the lover of the language, the writer, the reader, or that person in your life who is always pointing out your text or FB typos...

Amazon Description: Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker's copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.


__________________________________________________________________



Amazon Description: THE KINGDOM OF SPEECH is a captivating, paradigm-shifting argument that speech--not evolution--is responsible for humanity's complex societies and achievements.

From Alfred Russel Wallace, the Englishman who beat Darwin to the theory of natural selection but later renounced it, and through the controversial work of modern-day anthropologist Daniel Everett, who defies the current wisdom that language is hard-wired in humans, Wolfe examines the solemn, long-faced, laugh-out-loud zig-zags of Darwinism, old and Neo, and finds it irrelevant here in the Kingdom of Speech.
__________________________________________________________________

This for a the person on your list who likes international intrigue with a bit of depth.  The newest from David Baldacci, who has published 30 novels (Best know for Absolute Power), all international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. An engrossing story about a lethal assassin struggling internally.

Amazon Description: Will Robie is the government's most professional, disciplined, and lethal assassin. He infiltrates the most hostile countries in the world, defeats our enemies' advanced security measures, and eliminates threats before they ever reach our shores.
But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.
To recover what he has lost, Robie must confront what he has tried to forget for over twenty years: his own past.



_________________________________________________________________
I've seen Joel Osteen many times live and on TV and he's just got that something about him that reached out and touches people. This is his latest, and not a bad thing to give as we start a new year. (Sorry about the obstructive discount sticker!)

Barnes and Noble's description: Your mind has incredible power over your success or failure. THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER offers a simple yet life-changing strategy for erasing the thoughts that keep you down and reprogramming your mind with positive!



More to come tomorrow... See ALL my recommendations for books by clicking HERE! 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Give the Gift of a Book.

Time is growing short. I took a week to go help a family member while in the hospital and was not able to write up my usual several posts a day. If I try to research each of these for a hyperlink, price and description, it will be January.  SO, I am going to try something new. I took pictures of several books to recommend, and I may just take a stab at posting them here for you to look up yourself. A kind of visual window browse - it's so easy to google them for yourself and get them nearly overnight through Amazon or Barnes and Noble - if you don't find them at your local mom and pop stores, which I highly recommend supporting!

Here we go! One of a few to come in rapid succession.

Bought this in London, now it's suddenly a movie. Intriguing and good!



Ordered this for myself, just began to dig into it. For all who love Paris or dream of running away to there. A kind of Eat, Pray Love, French style.



For an easy yet smart read, or for the die-hard Sue Grafton fan , the latest in the famous Alphabet Series:



In keeping with popular reads, here's the latest from Dan Brown, who wrote the famous Da Vinci Code, also made into a movie, then made into a series of books (and movies) - which is why Tom
Hanks is on the cover, in case you have been asleep for the last decade or so, ha.


And for a similar kind of reader, another all round people pleaser by former lawyer John Grisham- easy to read, proven.



Since politics dominated 2016, maybe a new Kennedy Bio? This for one we don't hear about often, Kick Kennedy, described as the favorite Kennedy daughter.



A must have for any Bruce lover, but certainly a welcome gift for purists and music lovers in general.



Any fan of the PBS costume drama that took American by storm would delight to receive this. Pull up the fainting couch and unwrap!



A fun and light frolic as the title describes, good for someone age 1 to 100.



This is a great book - helps anyone on the verge of change think out the next 5 years. Whether someone is retiring, going off to school, moving, divorcing, changing their career, staring down middle age, or is at any cross road like that in life would really benefit. Simple, easy, but effective. Go for it!



A very cool book for your artist, illustrations, doodler or appreciator of the topic.



More suggestions to come! Subscribe or bookmark and check back tomorrow!
See ALL my recommendations for books by clicking HERE! 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Gift of Books: City of Dreams

With the topic of immigration and the value of those who have come to America from all over the world (actually, it's how all of us got here within a generation or three, if not directly), City of Dreams is a good book to give. 

With more than three million foreign-born residents today, New York has been America’s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries, a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. These migrants have brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city, and from there to the entire country. More immigrants have come to New York than all other entry points combined. It covers unknown and well known people (i.e.; Charles Atlas and Oscar De La Renta)

s

Friday, December 2, 2016

Give Clos du Manoir Oval Porcelain for Soup, Coffee or Tea Cup


It's all about the oval shape. Very distinctive. These Clos du Manoir dishes are special - classy and chic, simple, minimalist, modeled after a 19th century Belgian dish line. I saw these a few years ago in a fancy home goods store and have given this as a gift... And now I am hunting them down to order for myself.

The quality is high, and they shape unique that it makes a stunning gift all on it's own - looks far more expensive than it is. You can give a dessert plate as well so someone can have coffee with toast or croissants or tea with cookies or biscotti, or they can use the saucer for that. Throw in a decorative cloth napkin and you have a really gorgeous budget- conscious gift!

High quality porcelain - in white or gray, microwave and dishwasher safe!

Photo from Shoptiques.com



The 13 oz come  for $16.50 each and the most popular 8 oz are $14.50 (priced to order as sets of six on this site - again, look for others to see what you can find). TIP: Must but from this site in sets of six, but google around to find solo cups and saucers if you like. Or get all six and give them in pairs or keep a few and give out solo with tea or coffee and all the trimmings.  


You can buy single settings go both white and gray on SHOPTIQUES.COM, but the prices are higher for it - just like everywhere, buying in bulk is cheaper. Google to find what you want but for $25 for just the gray cup and oval saucer below. Still WELL worth it!  And someone can certainly use the saucer for their snack along with the beverage, so it's not really necessary to buy a dessert plate as well.

Back to the site where you order 6 at a time do have mugs without the saucers for an even more affordable $9.30.
VISIT Maison de Kristine.com to see all the offerings on this one site alone (Google for others). There is a teapot, with sugar bowl and cream pitcher, or you can give a set of double handled oval soup bowls (another MARVELOUS gift idea), or buy as whole place settings.

Another idea - the double handled oval soup bowl: Great given as is, or with a dessert plate for bread. You can add in your own home made packages of soup fixings... or include in a gift basket. The possibilities are limited to your imagination!


I just painted my kitchen light gray so may just order a few gray mugs and dessert plates for me! 

Photo from Shoptiques.com