Archive for August, 2008

iPod Accessory

Dan: Hey everyone I am back at school and loving it! I am back online tonight thanks to my mom rush delivering my power cord to my laptop down to school for me. School is for studying but it is also about having a good time too. A couple posts ago I recommended an Ipod for a gift idea. Now I will continue that gift idea by recommending an i-home. They are really handy for anything from relaxing to having a party or get together.

I personally do not have one but one of my roommates does and I am so jealous! An i-home would be a really excellent gift for anyone. They are hip and young and sleek and classy at the same time. They fit in any corner or can be displayed and flaunted in the middle of the room. Some i-homes even have built in alarm clocks!

Looking for Unique Gifts? Try Handcrafted Jewelry!

Grace: When buying jewelry as a gift, I’ve always found that it’s extremely difficult to find something that is beautiful yet unique.  For something that is truly stunning, I would recommend looking into handcrafted jewelry made with sterling silver.

As much as I love jewelry, I’ve never really stopped to think of how difficult it would be to make something like a handcrafted necklace; I can barely thread beads on a piece of string!  Since each piece is handmade, no two are the same, and there’s a very earthy, natural quality to this kind of jewelry that cannot be found in those made by machines.  For example, I gave my mom this beautiful silver and spondylus necklace, and she absolutely loves it because she’s never seen anything like it before.  Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also incredible to think that this necklace was made entirely by Peruvian artisans.

I, personally, would love to receive a gift that is rich in history but also applicable to today’s society.  Peru’s history is rich with artifacts made of silver and gold, so their handcrafted jewelry comes from thousands of years of tradition handed down from person to person.  While I was shopping for my mom, I saw something that I loved for myself and I’m planning to drop a few hints. It’s a silver bracelet with inlaid stones and shells, also handmade, and it is so colorful. Another perfect gift idea for someone who appreciates fine jewelry but also appreciates the time and technique that goes into making such a piece.

Why Not Try Video Games?

Grace: Growing up, I was never really allowed to watch television and video games were completely, 100% off limits.  When my dad finally bought “himself” (aka me and my sister) a gaming system for Christmas it was probably one of the most exciting moments of my life.  In the end I didn’t turn into the jello-brained video game fiend my mom expected every gaming child to turn into, so I think even now she would have to admit that it was a good gift.

If I were to receive a gaming console as a gift, I personally would want a PlayStation 3, or even a Wii, but in the end it really depends on the gift recepient’s taste in games.  I’m a sucker for graphics, so I really like the PS3, but I do have to admit that the Wii is a lot of fun, especially with friends.  I’ve never had much experience with an Xbox, but I do know a few people who can’t live without them.  In the end, I think it is important to think of how much you want to spend on a gaming console since they can range in price and what kind of games the recipient would enjoy playing.  Also, in the future you can buy video games as gifts, which is always easy in case you run out if ideas.

Dan: I have an Xbox and it is awesome.  Ever since I was younger I have had a gaming console all the way back to super Nintendo.  I cannot say that I ever turned into the child/young adult that was glued to the TV/computer screen because of playing too many games.  The gaming console that we had at the time was something that everyone could play and not just me.  We could play each other in multiplayer or just watch someone else race to the finish and set a record.  There is a danger of kids getting too attached to their gaming systems, but if done correctly this should not happen.  There is a fine line, if you do not have one as a child other kids can pick at you for not being with it, and if you do have one a child, you can become too attached.  A myth that bothers me about gaming consoles is that if you buy one for your child they will never be able to play sports, become violent, or start to do poorly at school.  Everything from playing sports to playing video games should be in moderation.  So go ahead and get that console or game for someone you appreciate as a really entertaining and great gift.

Quality PJs

Dan: On Thursday I am heading back down to Delaware for school.  I am so excited that I can barely sleep at night thinking about going back.  I began the long and daunting task of packing all of my stuff today and my mom surprised me with a nice gift!  She bought me a really nice set of pajamas from Brooks Brothers to take back to school.  They are really soft and I cannot wait to break them in at night.

When I hear Brooks Brothers all I think about are dress suits and really expensive ties, but they have other nice things like the pajamas.  Everything from sports shirts to suits Brooks Brothers has it and you know that anything you get from them is in highest style.  Besides my new sleepwear that my mom gave me (and needed…) I own a few polo shirts and a dress shirt from them and they have been great.  Not only is their stock highly regarded in the male fashion world, but it is also made really well and lasts a long time.  A lot of dress clothes that you can buy from other stores (department stores) do not last a long time and need to be replaced way before they should be.  So like my mom, if there is someone you know who is in need of some higher quality clothing and accessories, go to Brooks Brothers and you will not be let down.

Grace: I LOVE getting PJs and other loungy things as gifts!  My dad also loves Brooks Brothers and even though sometimes he complains about their prices, he has to admit that their clothes really do last a long time.  He still wears some of their shirts that he got when I was much younger, so inspite of their high prices, it is a worthy splurge.  I completely agree with Dan and would highly recommend stopping by Brooks Brothers if you’re looking for a quality gift for a man.

Breathe Easier- Give a Neti Pot

Grace: It is SO nice to be back at school! Although I love my family and all my friends back at home, one thing I was glad to get away from was all the construction going on at my house. My family is expanding the house and there is so much dust and dirt flying everywhere irritating my allergies.

If you know people like me who either have sinus problems or nasal allergies, I would highly recommend giving them a Neti pot. The Neti pot aids with nasal irrigation, which is an ancient technique used to flush out irritants and calm the user. I’ve tried all kinds of modern medicine, but nothing soothes my allergies like the Neti pot. It was difficult to use at first, but after getting the hang of it, I really don’t know how I’ve lived without one for so long.

I will admit, though, that it’s a bit of an awkward gift (I received one from my mom but had I received it from my friends I would be a little freaked out). However, if you feel that you are comfortable enough with the person, this really is a great gift that makes breathing so much easier. In addition to a Neti pot, I would also recommend buying a special Neti pot salt because the process won’t work as well without it.

Dan: I have never even heard of a neti pot before.  I did some research of my own and it seems like a really great soothing agent for allergies and other kinds of sinus problems.  I can understand how it could potentially be an awkward gift for a new friend, but for someone you are comfortable with would be fine.  If you know someone who has allergies or complains about sinus problems and can’t find the right pill to take, a neti pot would be a really thoughtful gift.  The next time I have sinus problems I might just go out and get one.

Bring the Beat

Dan: I have had an iPod nano for the last two years and unfortunately I have now lost it. I am the kind of person that lives and breathes music. I need it or else I can’t walk to class basically. My mom knows this about me and replaced it with an iPod shuffle. It was such a caring gift and I cannot get enough of it. It was only $50 and it puts my old nano to shame. It is tiny and has a clip so that you can attach it to your pants, which is really handy because a lot of work out clothes don’t have pockets. The basic one that I have has 1GB worth of space, which is approximately 240 songs. If you wanted more space you can spend $69 and have 2GB and approximately 500 songs.

I absolutely love my iPod shuffle and it goes everywhere with me so easily. The one and only downside to the shuffle is that it does not have a screen to display information about what you are listening to. It does not bother me at all but to some people it might. How you put music on it is through making play lists as if you were burning a CD for the car.

One thing that you must consider when getting an iPod shuffle or any Apple product is the battery life. Both Grace and I have had battery issues with our Apple laptops and the same can be true with any other Apple product. Make sure that for the first few uses (preferably all the time) you use it from full 100% charge down to 20% or below and then back to 100%. If you only use it a little bit and then recharge or have it recharging excessively once it is at 100% you are effectively draining the battery and killing its overall battery life. You want to make sure the iPod shuffle you give as a gift or get for yourself lasts as long as it can.

Grace: Dan, you beat me to this gift idea!  I currently own a video iPod and I love it so much!  However, it would be really nice to own an iPod shuffle because I only really listen to a few songs and it seems silly to bring my full sized iPod everywhere.  It’s not horribly expensive and is really useful!  Also, it’s a really great gift idea for an older adult who may have trouble using technology, like my grandmother.  She is not technologically savvy, but she has no trouble at all using her iPod shuffle.

Technological Convenience

Dan: When I am at home in Connecticut it is really easy for me to go online anywhere in the house because we have our own family wireless network. In contrast to wireless critics, the internet connection is not any slower than if you were wired through your ethernet connection. When I am at school I have to admit that the University wireless connection is not always the greatest, so I use the ethernet cord. However, a good quality wireless router should have you surfing the internet in no time.

A wireless router is a really great idea for someone who is still stretching out the ethernet cord every time they have to go on the internet. Having a wireless router also gets you away from the power adapter. Having the power adapter always plugged in is a really BAD idea, especially if you are on a laptop. Having the power adapter plugged in when the battery is at 100% charge drains the overall battery capacity. Before you know it your computer will only last 5-10 minutes on a full charge. Trust me, having the wireless router has saved my computer from my bad habit. There are lots of great companies that make wireless routers. Be careful where you purchase one though because prices vary a lot depending on supply.

Hey…What is the Time?

Dan: I have never had a watch in my entire life. It has never bothered me because I would just look at the wall clock in primary school and at my cell phone recently. However, at UD, professors make a really big deal about having your cell phone off. So I would just look at the wall clock…except for the time I was called out by a professor for being antsy and “bored” in their class. That was when I got a WATCH. My uncle gave it to me for my birthday and now I can know what time it is under the radar…

Having it around my wrist at all times seems alien to me but it really is classy and useful. Simply put, I just enjoy my watch so much. I have a Swiss watch with a brown leather band. It is really classic and does not have any fancy features such as an illuminating background or an alarm but it does enough for me. Personally I did not want to have a watch with all of those additions because who knows when it will go off somewhere like the library.

There is a vast array of different types of watches you can get from an equally large amount of differing companies. One popular brand of choice is Timex because of their newer feel. They have all of those handy features if you really need them such as an alarm clock. Timex sells watches that are heart rate monitors and pedometers as well. I have a heart rate monitor that I wear like a watch, but to have one all the time would be really handy when having a quick moment for a cardio workout. The possibilities are endless with watches and if you do not have one I highly recommend getting one for yourself of someone you know.

I’m Lost!

Dan: A couple of weeks ago I went to a concert at the XL Center, what used to be the Hartford Civic Center. I figured that it is such a big landmark that any online directions would be correct. So I went on Google maps, got the directions and low and behold I was in the middle of Hartford nowhere close to the XL Center. Thanks Google maps! This occurrence really enlightened me to the new GPS phenomena that is circulating. I never thought that I needed a GPS because I would always have a trusty map at my side. I was wrong and a handy GPS would have saved me a lot of frustration and anger that day.

With all of that being said, my next gift idea recommendation is a Garmin GPS product. From what I have read, Garmin is truly the most trusted and widely used brand of GPS aids. As for the specific model type it really does not matter. The differences include radio, size of the screen, etc they all have pre-loaded maps and spoken directions. The coolest thing about them is you can pre-load addresses so that if you are in the midst of driving and need help immediately you can go to the pre-loaded section without having to type in all of the information.

The greatest advantage to having one is that you can eliminate a lot of the anxiety that is associated with long trips. You don’t need to know where you are going because your handy Garmin is announcing all of the turns and merges you have to make. When you are coming close to an important turn it even zooms the map in and shows you car’s own location in relation to the turn. It is truly one of the greatest gifts and if you have the budget for one make sure you get one!

The Green Perspective

Dan: Grace just went on vacation for a few days and then she is off to Hamilton this weekend so we will all miss her :-( . A reader from Philadelphia wanted us to check out their own site! The site is called thegreenperspective and it features a bounty of really great environmentally safe and self sustaining products. My personal favorite gift package that the site has to offer would be the “green your kitchen” package. It features a really unique bowl, a book titled In Defense of Food, utensils and environmentally friendly cleaning products!

I recently watched a news segment roughly a month ago about how common household cleaners can be more harmful to your health than you may think. Among the top qualifiers are air fresheners, ammonia, bleach, carpet shampoos, dishwasher detergent, drain cleaner, furniture polish, mold and mildew cleaners, oven cleaners, antibacterial cleaners, laundry products, and toilet bowl cleaners…phew. This is part of the reason why I love this gift package so much. You can clean your kitchen in an environmentally friendly manner and protect yourself from harmful chemicals at the same time! In addition, you can protect yourself from harmful chemicals including pesticides and hormones when eating organic foods versus processed inorganic compounds.

I really like this site, and everything featured on is a good gift idea. The one I liked best is only one great option to living a greener life!