Saturday, November 30, 2013


Avid biker who lives in the city on your list? I had several pals who went everywhere in Manhattan (in ALL weather, I bow to them) on two wheels, and lived to tell... and repair. This would be a welcome gift: The Urban Biking Handbook- The DIY Guide to Building, Rebuilding, Tinkering with, and Repairing Your Bicycle for City Living by Charles Haine - ON AMAZON for $17 paperback, $11.99 Kindle. 
Know a Music Lover? A Songwriter? David Byrne has gotten rave reviews. "A remarkable and buoyant celebration of a subject he's spent a lifetime thinking about. He explains how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and how the advent of recording technology forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music. Acting as historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, he searches for patterns—and tells us how they have affected his own work with Talking Heads and many collaborators over the years." Best price at BARNES & NOBLE - $15.99

Mom's One Line a Day is just what it says... for busy moms who mourn how time flies so fast when you're raising kids. SO many things to remember but no time to write it down? Just do a line or two a day in this one volume which has room enough for 5 years of every day memories. Even if you skip here and there, imagine the treasure trove this will be to you, and your kids, and their spouses and kids someday, for the effort. ON AMAZON for just $15.26.

If Kennedy Lived by Jeff Greenfield Visit your local bookstore to find this but it's available ON AMAZON for $18.96 hardcover or $10.95 for Kindle. What would happen to his life, his presidency, his country, his world if JFK didn't die?  Jeff Greenfield created an “utterly compelling” (Joe Klein), “riveting” (The New York Times), “eye-opening” (Peggy Noonan), “captivating” (Doris Kearns Goodwin) exploration of three modern alternate histories, “with the kind of political insight and imagination only he possesses” (David Gregory). Based on memoirs, histories, oral histories, fresh reporting, and his own knowledge of the players, the book looked at the tiny hinges of history—and the extraordinary changes that would have resulted if they had gone another way.

Let's Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition: A Collection of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful Words, Phrases, Praises, Insults, Idioms, and Literary Flourishes from Eras Past. History is positively brimming with rich words deserving of rejuvenation. Lesley M. M. Blume gathers forgotten words, phrases, names, insults, and idioms, plus fascinating and funny anecdotes, etymologies, and occasions for use. At B&N for $15.66.

How about giving hours of potential fun?  The Ultimate Book of Card Games - the consumate guide to over 350 games. Perfect for the player of bridge, solitaire, etc.  Works for all ages, especially great for hard to buy for college students and grandpa... Add a double pack of cards with a great design on the back and it makes an even better gift! $9.99 on GOOGLE PLAY.

Great for those into interior design, women's history, biography. Sister, as she was always called by family and friend, was born Dorothy May Kinnicutt into a patrician New York family in 1910 and spent her privileged early life at the right schools, yacht clubs, and coming-out parties. Compelled to work during the lean years of the Depression, Sister combined her innate design ability with her upper-echelon social connections to create an extraordinarily successful interior decorating business. On GOOGLE PLAY for $9.99.
The Gospel According to Chanel. Karen Karbo has written a new kind of book, exploring Chanel’s philosophy on a range of universal themes—from style to passion, from money and success to femininity and living life on your own terms. At B & N for $15.08.

If the 60 Years of  Mad Magazine book was not right for nostalgia, how about this book: Bazooka Joe and his Gang. Who among us did not open those little red white and blue square wax wrappers and read the comics while chomping that hard nut into bubble gum (since it was introduced in 1953)? This book has over 100 reproductions of those comics and much more, like essays on Wesley Morris, the original illustrator. Take them back to a sweeter time and let them share it with the kids or grandkids too. Order HERE from Walmart for $12.62.

Bartlett's Words To Live By, forward by Kurt Vonnegut. A wonderful tome offering an almost inexhaustible listing of inspiring words of advice from the worlds wisest men and women. A great gift for any age and interest.  The previous Bartlett's Familiar Quotations was long considered a staple for advice. This is their newest offering. ON AMAZON at $14.96

TIP: Want more book ideas?  CLICK HERE for more books recommended by me.

Great Gift for Toddlers and Kids

If you want to steer them away from ONLY technology, and keep your kids developing on every level, or if you are interested in green toys or ones that raise awareness while it stirs the imagination and develops skills, this might be the post for you.

PRESS HERE: This is such a cool little book - who knew you could INTERACT so much with something that's this low tech... and isn't that the best part about it??? See what I mean in the video:

 Get it on Amazon for only $8.99.

GREEN TOYS is a company that makes things out of 100% recycled materials, made in America, and they are very affordable. They offer ALL kinds of PBA-free things for kids - and baby too - from building blocks, to tug boats, to teethers in pretty pastel colors. The hottest thing in their line this year is this tractor for only $19.99. Rust proof, with tires that go anywhere and detachable back bin. CLICK HERE to buy.

Though I think their Fire truck rocks (BUY HERE for $27.99).
They have chef sets and dining table set ups for your little one's tea party, play gardening tools and even tool boxes - blue for boys and pink for girls.  The below sells HERE for $27.99. is well worth clicking around to find all kinds of education-by-fun games and crafts for kids, I like their Spanish Flash Cards or Spanish Bingo or find those in French.  How about Flash Cards that make it fun for the kids on your list to learn responsibility? CLICK HERE to get the box for Good Citizenship, Good Manners, or Respecting the Earth, and click the pie in the corner to buy. For age 5+ at $11.95  Here are their Respect the Earth flash cards.

Friendly animals show simple ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in the 48 cards that demonstrate answers to questions about relationship to the larger world that children can relate to. For example: *Before you recycle containers… Rinse your recyclables! *If you have a computer… Ask your parents to set the computer to “power-saver” mode.

Another company that you should click around on yourself is BEGIN AGAIN. There are just TOO many things to choose from on this site. They offer toys under a special "A WISH" Collection - based on the idea that a child plays based on 5 distinct styles - for the artist, writer, inventor, sportster, hero. They also have toys for the Beginner. Well worth a gander.  

Here are buddy blocks: "A great first block set that grows with your child! Each 4-piece block forms 6 diff erent puzzles featuring colorful animals. Toddlers will enjoy stacking and puzzle plays as they develop. Buddy Blocks are the per-fect introduct on to puzzles. Sized for lit le hands, the 1 1/4" blocks are earth friendly and a delight to hold. Comes with storage tray for easy clean up. Mult -Stage toy: Grows with your child's needs."  At $13.00 you can't beat it! CLICK HERE to see/buy.

For baby at bath time, how about these adorable rubber toys - order one or several at $4 each? CLICK HERE

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Utterly Charming Wireless Disney Orchestra - for Kids or the Kid in You

There's one word for this little invention, put out by Hallmark: Delightful.

Two years ago it was the 4-piece Peanuts band, which I bought for myself and anyone I could think of on my list, more grown ups than kids!

This year, it's Disney, with 5 pieces in all. With all you Disney fans out there -- not just the little ones but I know an AWFUL lot of people in their 20's and 30's who go there to get married, and go back every year on vacation - this will bring in just the right old fashioned whimsey in the spirit of Christmas while keeping up with the times.

You start with any one of the figurines (made of colorful and durable plastic). Just a touch to Minnie, say, and she starts playing a Boogie-Woogie style carol, and like magic all the other characters join in with their instruments. Instant smiles. And I promise - YOU will be the first to want them to play the next song. They come with a repertoire of several tunes.

CLICK HERE to see the video and hear the boogie-woogie style of the carols they play. On Sale for $15.95 (normally $29.95 each), they are being offered one character at at time, starting with Minnie. That started in October though, so 4 are available at this writing, with the last, Mickey on shelves on 11/29.  I imagine you can buy just one or three and still have it work, but all 5 instruments playing together makes a really special sound.

TIP: I was in the store last night looking at them... you can always call before you go and see if they have them all. If so, see if they will hold a set for you to drive in, because they go that fast! The link I gave also has a list of stores near you.

Also, when our folks or grandparents or that special older person in your life reaches a certain age, there is little to buy them. If they are not distressed by louder music with this kind of beat, like some may be, they may just light up and find daily entertainment from this little ensemble. After all, one of the beautiful things about much older age, is that life becomes simpler and we can see things with the eyes of a child once again. 

Monday, November 25, 2013


Yes there is Amazon, but click around, take advantage of your Barnes and Noble card (or sign up for one online) and take that extra 10% off. The books are so cheap these days it's crazy.  Even better, support your local brick and moarter stores and watch for their holiday discounts.

There are many gently used online sites for books like, or stores like Half-Priced Books or Books a Million across the country. And you can always try the Strand in New York, which gets all the reviewers books and sells those barely cracked or brand new tomes for a fraction of the cost.

And for those wanting to buy these for someone's Kindle or Nook, you can purchase e-gift cards from Barnes and Noble, who is offering right now a free $10 gift card when you buy $75 worth, and Amazon of course offers them for Kindle.

TIP: The modern world of E-readers makes it hard to give a book BUT you can always print the picture and description of the book and give it wrapped with an E-book gift card.

Click on anything in bold to hyper link to one source of purchase.

Sycamore Row, John Grisham's latest. Any fan will want this reliable author's latest. TIP: Books a Million is having a one day sale today, November 16. Extra 10% off and if you become a member, which you can do online, you will already get 10% off, making this book $15.63 instead of the list price of $28.95.

The Most of Nora Ephron - Smart, funny, witty. Easy but meaningful essys and musings plus one screenplay. TIP: A particularly touching page entitled What I Will Miss.  On sale at $22.99 at AMAZON,

Pioneer Woman Cooks: She's a blogger/author who made herself famous and is followed by millions. It covers 12 Holidays through the year, including game-day parties. 140 recipes. BUY on AMAZON for $13.99, or check out her other recipe book, Food From My Frontier on Amazon for $11.99 if you don't want the holiday theme.

I Am Malala... The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban. This is the highly anticipated memoir of the schoolgirl from Pakistan  who stood up to the Taliban, and was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2013. Hardcover on sale at B&N for $15.99
 This story looks engaging - a woman stumbles upon a letter her husband wrote for her to read after he died, but he's not dead, and what she discovers of his secret changes her life forever. Got great reviews, has humor and depth, think this is a good bet for somoen on your list. BUY HERE at B&N for $1457T, half off the hardcover price.

 TOTALLY MAD: 60 Years of Mad Magazine's humor. This magazine was the bomb in the 50's 60's and 70's and this hardcover edition contains all or almost all of the mags from 6 decades. It will be a hit with most guys over 40. On sale for less than half off the hardcover price at $16.77 on Amazon.

I never forgot reading the Secret History by Donna Tartt, and here is her latest: The Goldfinch. In his NY Times Book Review, Stephen King said:
"The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind....Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction."  
BUY FOR $16.66 @B&N.

Author of the wildly popular The Da Vinci Code, Brown writes of Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno. Set, of course, in Italy. BUY NOW for $17.38

Set in Quebec, this is the ingenious and sinister newest from the bestselling Inspector Gamache series. Highly rated everywhere I looked. CLICK HERE to read the story description and order for $15.41

Blogger is giving me formatting problems so I will start a new post. Stay tuned for more BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS in future posts.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Great Gift for Those with a Home Office, Photograhers, Gamers, Musicians, etc...

Have someone glued to their technology who's hard to buy for? Not sure what to all pitch in and get for the boss? Does someone important on your list run a home business? Live where there are frequent power outages or brown outs?

Power surge protectors can only do so much.  Back Up batteries will save damage to your electronics and keep things running long enough for you to save and turn things off safely.

Here are four of the best computer back up batteries on the market. Click on each link to see all the specs - it's going to mean something to the person who understands it. If you don't, but want to get this as a gift, if it doesn't need to be a surprise, maybe you can look these over together. If it DOES need to be a surprise (and surprise presents are nice), but don't know what to choose, maybe you can run this list by someone who knows a little about computers/offices/tech who you can send this link to for help picking.

The Cyber Power 1350 for $189.95. CLICK HERE

APC Smart-UPS 1500, $449 on AMAZON.

APC Back-UPS 650 for $75.23 on AMAZON

APC Back-UPS Pro 1000 for $122 at AMAZON

These suggestions are based on probably the best source - they were nominated by users on a LifeHacker poll. Read the whole article HERE. It's really helpful. This would really make a great gift for the right person.

For Mr. & Mr., Mrs. & Mrs.. and Mr. & Mrs.

Know some newly weds? Or a couple planning to be? How about someone celebrating their anniversary? Or perhaps you're looking for something simple and meaningful for your own spouse this holiday.

This pure white porcelain wedding ring dish from Crate and Barrel is sweet as it is useful. Only $12.95. And if they never take their rings off at night or to clean or do projects, it's just a very nice thing to receive, and display on a bureau, an end table, to remind them that you care.

Find Him and Him HERE
Her and Her HERE
Mr. & Mrs. HERE

So Your Golfer Has Everything? Betcha Not This GPS Golf Watch

I put things on for all budgets and tastes here so this might be just right for your Golfer. If you have one on your list, and soooo many do, chances are they have everything they need - but for this:
Going to give you the description right from Red Envelope:

This golf watch with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver giving precise yardage to the front, back and middle of greens. The S2 has the ability to measure shot distances and a course odometer. It's similar to the popular Approach S1 model, but the S2 takes it up a notch with layup and dogleg distances and a digital scorecard.
  • waterproof
  • GPS enabled
  • monochrome LCD display
  • digital scorecard
  • more than 30,000 preloaded worldwide courses
  • no additional fee to update courses
It's $249. I think someone will be mighty happy... CLICK HERE to buy. 

Great Little Wine Chiller

Introducing the Corkcicle.  A GREAT little gift that will be used again and again and again by your wine loving friends. Works for bringing iced tea or lemonade, etc... on picnics in decorative neck-bottles as well.

Forego the need for an ice bucket - and all that melting too soon and  dripping water off the bottle. Or diluting your wine with ice - eek! like wearing white after Labor Day (though I did it all the time... until I got this). Made of BPA-free plastic, is filled with a food grade, reusable freeze gel. Chill in freezer for w hours, pour your first glass of chilled white and insert into the wine bottle, using the top as a plug and you're all set. For red, if you like to have it slightly cooled, just pour a taste in your glass to make room for it in the bottle. Hand wash only.

The cheapest I found it so far is $22 HERE at Kitchen and Company. They can be bought in neon colors as well HERE at Bed Bath and Beyond. TIP: Enter code FS49 for free shipping at BB&B any day on orders over $49.

Solar Phone Charger

I haven't tried this but thought I'd pass it along since it would be a nice, sleek looking gift for under $50. Harness the power of the sun to charge your mobile devices. On sale HERE for $49 down from $65. Sale ends tonight at midnight, so click that link if you're thinking about it.

Give Her Slippers... But Not Just Any Slippers

I was never a slipper person. Thought it went with a house coat and rollers. But I run cold and my toes and fingers get icy. Not sexy. So I wore socks - or more accurately I wore them out. I finally broke down and looked for slippers... and after these, I'm a convert. These are a small selection of what's out there, in the interest of time. If I find more I will add to this post. But these do not say FRUMP. More like HEAVEN... Read on.

Nothing is warmer, and there is no itch from wool, no stray fibers everywhere like Angora. And let's face it, it's a classy thing to give.

Ballet flats from Red Envelope, a company known for their quality. I hear they run small- someone in the reviews said they were an 8-8.5 and the large just fit. They will stretch a little but if you have a size 9 or above, this may not be for you. They are cozy, soft and will keep those toes which tend to get chilly warm as toast. In beautiful colors. Find HERE for $89.00. TIP: As of this writing, enter the code SHIPFREE on any order over $75 and you save. 

And right now at Old Navy, you can buy these sherpa- lined moccasins that have rubber bottoms so she can run to the store in them too. Like taking your bed quilt out in that cold with you. In every color imaginable in the store - including a matte, very palatable (not garish) gold and silver. HERE is the link to less colors on line, but still many of the classics ( ruby red, tan, gray, black) and some of the brights, like this happy blue. $22  TIP: select colors are on sale now for $18, and use code EARLY GIFT through 11/16 to get up to 30% off.

Sierra Trading posts offers these Acorn Vega boiled wool slippers in festive red or sage green or go-with-everything Winter White with a unique and pretty pattern. Cushioned faux fur insole (read the description of their warm and toasty construction on the link). On sale now HERE for $34.95. TIP:  For purchases over $75 enter the code SITEWAY113 through 11:59 on November 24 and get an extra 30% off plus free shipping. 
Support a smaller artist by buying these felted wool slippers by Onstail on So unique and beautiful and long lasting.. CLICK HERE for all the styles and colors. Ships from London. $74- $86.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wearable Animal Magnetism: Spirit Hoods

YES you want these... they are the coolest! Though actually, they're warm...

For Men, Women and Kids (and Babies). Prices as low as $49 and they do have a Sale tab to click on too.

There are so many to choose from but my personal fave is this fabulous Limited Edition Red Panda is not for you, there are many other animals to choose from. $109


Like the Snowy Owl for $109

Or the Sparkle Wolf, only $99.

The Baby Husky for $69

New from BOSE: The Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

For the Gadget Guy or Music Lover.  For the Teen and College student. For the new apartment owner.  For a wedding gift.

One thing is for sure, you will RULE if you give this.

I don't know who the masterminds are at Bose, but when they first came out with their small radios that had mind blowing power and sound quality? The world was changed.  It didn't seem to make the same impact across the board as the iPhone or iPad but it did in my world.

The newest gadget is an on-the-go, compact version of the same great sound and power that works on  Bluetooth.  It connects wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth device, so you can listen to your music, videos or games anytime you want, anywhere you want. 

The Soundlink Mini can be bought HERE for $199. and it's HOT. You get free ground shipping as of this writing. You can Google to see if there are Bose stores in your area too.

Betsey Johnson's Onesies for Baby

How cool are these? Unique and just may delight the new parent on your list. All for $29. CLICK HERE to order.

A Taste of Days Gone By: Tree Swings and DIY Journals

Let me introduce you to a great little site, that offers things of quality reminiscent of times gone by. Peg and Awl....

A Swing for One: Though there is a baby on this picture, you can swing on it too. Great for tweens and teens too.

Made of reclaimed old growth pine that was once a floor joist for a 19th century house. The seat is finished with natural tung oil and measures 10.5 x 10.5 x 2.5" / 26.67 x 26.67 x 6.35cm. Includes 20 feet of 3/4" rope with 695 pound tension limit. $100.00 CLICK HERE.

They have a bigger swing for two, but a little pricey @$200. Still, if it's just what you've been looking for, I'm here to give you THE LINK.

In the age of laptops and Kindles, if someone on your list still loves the feel of a book in their hand or writing in a journal, this journal kit may be this Anselm Bookbinding Kit for $28which both teaches the art of hand bound bookbinding and gives the recipient the satisfaction of using the book themselves after - or giving it to someone special. Click that link to see a video on how-to. TIP: This could be a really great gift for a Tween, to get them back to basics before it's too late!!

There's a small selection of jewelry, and things for the garden, kitchen, photography. Though it's not cheap, there are some reasonably priced things. What's worth a click-around is the uniqueness of what they offer.

And don't forget to bookmark their One of a Kind page and revisit often. A rotating list of treasures pop up here - and you may just find that rare thing that's perfect for your one hard to buy for person.