A fancy car, or a huge diamond pendant, can make your day brighter, but often it’s just something little that can make daily life easier, more successful and more fun (and that’s the Advice Sisters mantra). Here are some items I discovered at recent Holiday Gift shows, that you can enjoy right now (or stock up for holiday gifts). Let me know what you think of these!
Recently, at a holiday gift expo, I was introduced to Re-Pac Bags These soft, decorative, zippered, nylon bags that comes in a variety of sizes are something simple and economical, and even “green” because they are re-useable. The larger ones can be used for storage, or as lunch bags, for fishing or other sports and hobbies. The smallest bag makes a perfect pencil case or makeup pouch. They’re mold, mildew, water, stain & leak resistant with a lifetime guarantee. You can even put them in the dishwasher or washing machine. You might not think that a zippered, fabric pouch could be leak-resistant, but these do the job quite well, even if you’re putting food (e.g. fruit) in them. These clever little bags pack absolutely flat for travel, but when you get to your destination you can use them for everything from a wet swimsuit, to carrying a sandwich or snacks, or just to store toiletries and everyday items. Wash them out (they will dry quickly), then pack them back into your suitcase, totally flat. For those who really care (and a lot of you do care), the bags are made in the USA 100% plastic free, with a 100% nylon liner, and 1000% polyester outside and they’re BPA, Phthalate and lead-free (just in case your little one likes to chew on pretty things). Check out the assortment of colors and designs on the RE-Pac Web Site.
If you are like many people, a “coffee break” or a steaming cup of morning coffee, is more than just a ritual, it’s a treat. Melitta has been offering discerning coffee drinkers European-style coffee for many, many years. Recently, at the same Holiday Gift Show where I spied Re-Pack bags, above, I also got a chance to check out Melitta’s Cafe Collection, a premium line of coffee that launched in Philadelphia and is now in New York as well (although the roasting facility is in Cherry Hill, New Jersey). The collection includes whole bean and extra-fine (for espresso) and includes Vienna Roast (dark, with deep, intense flavor); Blanc et Noir (a blend of dark and light roasts); Classique Supreme (smooth, medium roast); Parisian Vanilla; Hazelnut Creme Brulee and Riviera Sunset (a decaf using the Swiss Water process for a full bodied, rich and smooth taste). If you’re going to go “European Style” with your coffee treat, you can do so with a gourmet espresso maker (Melitta has one for $149.99+) or do it the more classic, non-electric way and enjoy the ritual of pouring hot water over your coffee and watching it drip through a paper filter cone into a cup or carafe, with a Melitta Pour-Over Coffee set. These come in a variety of different colors and sizes. But for a single cup of pure pleasure, try the single-serve ceramic mug set Ready Set Joe (under $10.00) that looks truly luxe in fire-engine red. The 12 oz. mug has an easy to grip handle, and it’s dishwasher and microwave safe. The plastic filter cone (also dishwasher safe is from FDA-Approved, hard plastic). It fits #2 filters. All you need to do is open a bag of Melitta coffee (ground, of course) and scoop in one or two scoops depending upon how rich you like your coffee, then pour hot water through the cone (there’s a window in the cone so you can see how much coffee you are brewing). and fill the mug close to the top (leave some room for sugar and/or milk if you need it). It’s super easy, and a “little thing” you can do to treat yourself, every day. Since this model doesn’t require electricity, you can take it when you travel, too. Visit the Melitta Web Site to learn more about all the things Melitta has to offer coffee lovers, everywhere.
It is amazingly easy to make someone’s day. A kind word, a smile, a compliment — all of these can do so much to make someone feel special and appreciated — and they don’t cost a thing. But another way to make someone’s day more special is to give them something — perhaps a little gift, “just because.” One that is bound to impress and delight, without costing you a fortune, is the “Just Because” set by Philosophy. The set has a duo of beauty booty. My favorite is the convincingly spicy,’cinnamon buns’ shampoo/shower gel/bubble bath (8 oz.) in a clear flip-top bottle featuring a real recipe for edible cinnamon buns. Your body and hair will drive men, wild! There’s also a glorious, squeeze tube (with slanted tip) of super-shiny, clear, shimmery, lip shine (0.5 oz.) that is nearly as tasty as a real cinnamon bun. The moisturizing formulas leave skin super soft and lips happy. These two tasty treats are nestled into the cutest, re-useable, hard-sided presentation box featuring an adorable, chubby little girl in a vintage-style photo glitzed up with holographic glitter. She’s got a smile a mile wide, and so will you (or your lucky recipient) when you present this teriffic treasure “just because.” Friend down in the dumps? As Philosophy puts it: “The Greatest Gift, is You.” The Just Because Set is just $18.00 and available at department stores, online and at the Philosophy Web Site
In December, 2010, I reviewed a remarkable little perfume atomizer called Sen7. The atomizer is stunning, bullet shaped flacon that comes in a variety of bright colors, and metallics. To the uninitiated, it might look like an alien talisman, but it is a perfume atomizer that holdsabout 5.8 ml (up to 70 spritzes) of your favorite fragrance. The original was eye catching and easy to fill, but my objection was that while the product looked high tech, you still had to fill it (with the included funnel) in an old-fasihoned way, by inserting the funnel into the hole in the bottom of the atomizer. This method works, but quite often there is “spillage.” The new version of the Sen7, however, is much improved, The design now allows you to fill the flacon directly from the spray nozzle of any perfume, transferring the fragrance directly to the Sen7 by inserting the bottom of the clear reservoir in the Sen7 directly into the pin of your perfume’s spray diffuser top. Pump up and down until the reservoir is filled, and voila! The Sen7 has an all-in-one spray top (so you don’t have to fumble to remove a cap to access the fragrance) and it delivers a light but powerful puff of fragrance. You can get them in so many colors, you can literally have a color-coded collection for each of your favorite scents. They’re so discreet and yet, so novel and attractive, they’ll even appeal to men who can slip one into a pocket to discreetly “refresh” his cologne whenever he feels the need. Most of the Sen7 series are under $30.00. These make great gifts — stock up for the holidays (they’ll be here before you know it). You can get Sen& at various places, including some online sites. Visit the Sen7 Web Site to learn more and to order