April 15, 2014
I’m not religious either, so you’re not alone. Turns out that many of the traditions Christians celebrate during the Easter season are actually much older than Christianity! Egg dying, bunny rabbits, pastel colors, and celebrating new life are for everyone in the world to enjoy, so don’t worry too much about offending someone else’s sensibilities; take the holiday and make it your own. I have five ideas that will put some spring into your step for Easter and the egg-sellent season. (Uuuuugh; okay, okay: I’m done with puns for the rest of this post, I promise!)
Everyone knows that you can dye eggs for Easter, but did you know about egg shaping? Instead of focusing on the eggshell, these Egg Shapers focus your attention on the hard boiled egg inside. (There’s also a heart-shaped Eggspress.)
Speaking of food, how about some homemade butter? I mean, on toast or something, of course, but homemade… by you. How can that not be a good thing? It’s not exactly new life, but learning to make your own butter is acquiring a new skill, and at the very least you’ll know what’s in your butter because you put it there. You can add honey, garlic, or anything else you can think of to make your butter fantastic, but it only has a one-cup capacity, so if your’e planning a party, you had better start making butter ahead of time.
Speaking of great herbs you can mix into butter, this is my favorite herb-growing idea I’ve seen in quite a while. Egglings are little plants—waiting inside an egg for you to help them grow! It fits in perfectly with the Easter theme, and if you’re giving this as a gift, you won’t have to worry about making sure your gift is religious (or secular) enough for the recipient. Comes with the seeds of either: basil, lavender, mint, petunia, prickly cactus, shasta daisy, spicy red pepper, or wild strawberry.
If eggs aren’t really your thing but you still want to grow some herbs with which to flavor your cooking, take a gander at the AquaFarm, a fish tank and mini herb garden in one. It includes everything you’ll need for a symbiotic relationship: a three-gallon tank, organic seeds, and even a fish coupon! It’s an eco-friendly idea: the fish poo fertilizes the plants, and the plants keep the fish bowl clean. Everyone’s happy. :)
Another way to celebrate the season is watch the life cycle for yourself. Using the Green Earth Insect Kit, you can hatch, grow, and release either butterflies or praying mantis (or your kids can). Each kit includes everything needed to support your insects except for the butterfly larvae or praying mantis eggs—but there are instructions on how to obtain “live materials” so don’t fret.
As I mentioned, many Easter traditions are older than the Easter we know today. Even if you aren’t a Christian, you can still honor the season and celebrate new life and growth. And don’t forget to dye some eggs for me!
Filed in Eco + Green, Holiday + Seasonal, Kids, Outdoor + Garden
Tags: basil, butter, butterfly, Christian, Christianity, daisy, dirt, DIY, do it yourself, Easter, egg shaping, eggs, Fish, fish tank, grow plants indoors, grow your own, growth, herbs, holiday traditions, homemade, insect, lavender, life cycle, mint, new life, petunia, praying mantis, prickly cactus, red pepper, strawberry, symbiosis, Water
April 13, 2014
Have you ever watched a cat chase a laser pointer and thought it was the funniest thing you’d ever seen? I have. A cat chasing a laser pointer is some good times for the cat and the person holding the pointer, trust me. This handy dandy Red Laser Pointer with 5 Patterns kicks it up a notch and lets the cat (or dog, or any other animal that will chase a laser) chase a line, dot, arrow, hand with pointer finger, or circle. (Or, if you’re like me, you can use it to annoy your annoying neighbors.)
April 14th is International Moment of Laughter Day, and who doesn’t like laughing? There are plenty of ways to celebrate, and I’m thinking more than just pranking a friend (or foe). After all, pranks are for April Fools Day. (Unless, I suppose, you’re pranking your cat into chasing a laser pointer or annoying your aforementioned annoying neighbors.) You want laughs all around without any hurt feelings? I’ve got you covered.
First off: Photo Booth. No, it’s not, like, an actual photo booth. It’s a set of party props for your guests to “disguise” themselves! A party will never being boring while everyone is in persona and speaking in British accents (however poor those accents may be). You try being serious while holding a fake mustache and Buddy Holly glasses up to your face and see how long you last before you’re laughing and everyone else is laughing with you.
Kids (and kids-at-heart) also love bubbles, and now you can have an iridescent atmosphere any time you please with a Bubble Machine, great for parties, weddings, or just a hot summer afternoon. The kind of laughter this machine helps produce comes from a simple place of joy.
Now, take a look at these Black Playing Cards. Can you imagine playing a decent game of Speed with these suckers? My mom collects playing card decks, and even she wouldn’t keep these around for very long! Playing Speed, you’ll either be on the floor laughing at the ridiculousness of the whole game (really? black on black playing cards? really?) within just a round or two, or you’ll be so frustrated that you’ll suddenly be playing 52 Pickup.
Okay; last, but not least: the Bin Bag of Fun. If your annoying neighbor doesn’t at least crack a smile when he walks by a goldfish trash can liner waiting for pick up on the side of the road, he just might be a lost cause. Each box comes with 12 bags, and each bag holds roughly 15 gallons of whatever you want (though I recommend against 100% liquid because that would just get unruly). Plus, the bags are biodegradable! What’s not to like?
Truly, laughter is good for more than just your mood: “It relieves stress, instills optimism, raises self-confidence, defuses resistance to change, and enhances all your relationships.” So think about laughing today, even if that means simply going to the nearby greeting card shop and reading the funny cards until you find one that makes you laugh out loud. :)
Filed in Kids, Outdoor + Garden, Party + Bar
Tags: 52 Pickup, April 14, bow ties, bubble machine, card games, frames, garbage, glasses, International Moment of Laughter Day, laser pointer, laughing, laughter, mustache, playing cards, ties, trash, trash bags, trash can, waste bin
April 11, 2014
National Library Week is smack dab in the middle of April this year, and whether you’re seriously studying for your courses ending in May or you just want to take some time for yourself in a quiet place with a good book, your nearest library is a great spot to hunker down for a while! Of course, you’re going to need to go in prepared, and I’m here to help you with that. First off, you need a set of great headphones for that personal soundtrack you bring along with you. If you’re the kind of person who always gets the cords tangled, then these Funkyfonic Retractable Earbuds are for you.
If you’d rather have a little bling to go with your favorite book, check out these stylish Gem Earbuds.
Or, if you’re into the surround-sound-no-expense-spared kind of luxury that comes with over-ear headphones (aren’t we all?), then these bad boy ZHP-1000 Headphones straight from Japan are perfect for the deep bass and comfortable listening that you crave.
Now that we’ve got your ears covered (no pun intended), let’s look at the mess of cords you’re sure to have if you bring along your laptop, your cell phone, and your mp3 player—and all their cording! Nobody likes sitting next to someone, in a library or anywhere else, who’s taking up two spaces with all their stuff. I’m just going to share with you my two favorite cord holders, but of course you can always have a look for yourself at all the great cord wranglers we carry!
There’s the always classic Bobino Medium (also comes in Large and Small, and all sizes come in black or white). I like Bobino because they are at the same time simply designed and versatile. Plus, they’re flat, so they don’t take up much space.
If you want something a little more permanent (but not irreversible!) in the way of getting your cords to keep to themselves, may I suggest Leafkeepers Cable Ties. You get twelve ties at once, so you know you’re getting money’s worth.
And finally! What’s a trip to the library without a bookmark or two to keep your place in your favorite book? I’m a big fan of classic, stylish bookmarks, and the Frank Llyod Wright line has me head over heels. Just look at these beauties! Perfect placeholders for even the most upper class book (and its owner). Choose from (left to right) Waterlillies, Lawrence, and Tree of Life.
I hope I’ve inspired you to visit your local library for National Library Week; my library is one of my favorite places, and, properly equipped, it can be a virtual path to whole new worlds. Now get reading!
Filed in Gadgets + Tech, Home + Office, Shopping
Tags: beauty, bookmark, books, classic, cord holder, earbuds, Frank Lloyd Wright, headphones, librarian, library, library gifts, library must haves, modern art, MoMa, Museum of Modern Art, national library week, reading, studying