Archive for November, 2008

A Great Video Game Gift

Dan: Many people believe that are video games are detrimental to kids because they display the wrong messages.  However, there has been a new wave of games that are more child and family friendly.  Some games such as Wii fit promote exercise while the Leapfrog games are all developed for educational purposes.

The most recent game that is of the best quality is Guitar Hero World Tour.  This music game is a great gift.  The game promotes hand-eye coordination and also is a great tool for timing training.  Training that is crucial for playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, sports, etc.  It is great to finally see a game that teaches something in a fun way.  Music training has also been accredited with other benefits such as better performance in school.

Grace: Another thing that’s great about the Guitar Hero games is that they can also be social games, which I really enjoy.  This way, you can enjoy the game yourself or with a bunch of people.  And I definitely agree with Dan’s comments about the game promoting hand-eye coordination and timing training.  I’ve always had a lot of trouble keeping time when I play music, and maybe I’m delusional, but I like to think that playing the game has helped me keep time a little better.

An Eco-friendly Necklace

Grace: Some of my friends are really into being eco-friendly, and although I applaud their efforts, shopping for them is so difficult.  Everything is either really expensive, or it’s just not their taste.  However, I found this great website that sells eco-friendly jewelry and it’s not only cute, but it’s also affordable.

All their jewelry is made from a minimum of 50% recycled/reclaimed gold and silver, and they also use bio-degradable products to make their jewelry.  Their jewelry is very unique and alludes to nature; I especially like their jewelry with the little birds on them.  The necklaces with the mother bird and baby bird(s) on them are great for mothers since you can include up to 4 baby birds.  If you’re looking for an eco-friendly gift, I would definitely recommend this site!

Dan: I think it is so great that society is becoming more eco-friendly now.  Everything from electronics, transportation, grocery shopping, and accessories are becoming green and eco-friendly.  I think that the necklace is not only eco-friendly but really beautiful as well.  It would make an excellent gift!

Are You Out of Ideas?

Dan: This season there are many new products coming out for purcahse but so many of them may be out of budget.  This gift idea may sound typical, but it is one that can be USED and truly appreciated.  Many gift certificates are frowned upon because of the store(s) that they can be spent at.  A McDonald’s gift certificate for $50 is amazing, but the health benefits are not.

An iTunes gift certificate, though, is great because the program has evolved into a store that carries more than just music.  You can find movies and even books on tape at the iTunes store now.  There are no applied time limits for the cards so that there is no rush to use them right away.  You can spend as little as $25 and go up to $2500 I beleive.  The card alleviates the stress of continual credit card charging (per song) and really makes music and other mediua purchases in the future more relaxed.  This is the ultimate gift card and a GREAT gift idea!

Grace: I LOVE getting iTunes gift cards as gifts!  I hate buying full CDs because I usually only like a couple of songs, so I find iTunes to be very convenient.  However, it may be convenient for me, but it makes it rather difficult for other people to buy me music as a gift.  That’s where the iTunes gift card comes in.  There’s no more of this guessing and gambling when buying music for someone; they can do it themself, but it still feels like a gift from the heart, which is what is important.

Earthtone Spondylus Shell Necklace

Grace: I’m not very adventurous when it comes to jewelry and I’ve always wished I were.  If you know someone who wants to try something a little more modern and quirky, this Earthtone Spondylus Shell Necklace is the perfect gift.  The design is very simple, yet the geometric shapes makes it modern and unique.  The clean silver and modern shapes contrasted with the organic spondylus shell make it a statement piece.  I also love the orange because it’s such an unusual color, especially in jewelry, and it gives the necklace a fun, youthful edge.

This artisan necklace is handcrafted in Peru, so you know you’re getting a unique and special gift.  It would be extremely difficult to find something this original and this well crafted in the United States.  I really love all the artisan jewelry from this site, and I think it’s a great place to look for distinctive jewelry.

Dan: This is not only flawless jewelry but a great piece of art.  Not all jewelry has to be shiny, gold, diamond, and silver to be beautiful.  Spondylus shell is a great organic material that is beautiful in so many ways.  This necklace looks like a great gift for my sister this coming holiday season!

The i… Gift

Dan: Now that the iPhone is becoming a mainstream product whose prices have come down considerably since its first introduction it may be a great gift idea.  Even though it still comes with a considerable price tag and an AT&T wireless services to finance, it is an amazing device.  I do not have one and will NOT be receiving one, but it is a great gift idea!

Not only does it have an MP3 player, camera, speakers, and internet capabilities, there are numerous helpful applications.  One recently released application lets you put the iPhone next to the radio, it listens to the song, and finds it on iTunes.  It is the master solution to the common dilemma, “What is this song!”  It is also a really helpful GPS tool for long trips.  The iPhone is also a gift that will not expire quickly, it is one that will be in use a lot and for a long time.  The money will not go to waste if that is the concern.

Grace: I also do not have an iPhone nor will I be getting one any time soon, but I do envy all my friends who have one.  There are lots of cool features crammed into this slim, lightweight phone.  The only bad part about the iPhone (besides its price tag) is all the glitches.  I haven’t heard of any disasterous ones like the battery exploding or the phone just not working at all, but my friends iPhone likes to automatically forward emails I sent her back to me, which is a little strange.  Her phone also has a bad habit of recalling the last person who called her.  Despite all this, the iPhone is a great gift idea as long as you don’t mind a few speed bumps.

Beautiful Swinging Sterling Silver Necklace

Dan: What is it that you are looking for this coming holiday season?  If you want beautiful handcrafted silver jewelry then you need to look in the right places.  Most silver jewelry is mass produced in factories at cost (cough Tiffany’s).  If you want something that will not be marked up 10 times and ruin your bank account, then you must go to the right place.  This website features all sorts of jewelry, especially Peruvian handcrafted silver necklaces.

One necklace in particular, called the swinging sodalite sterling silver necklace, features a hardened leather cord, sterling silver and deep blue semi-precious sodalite.  Mined in South America, sodalite is an impressivenative blue stone that is commonly used in jewelry.  The mix of the silver and blue sodalite is truly breathtaking!

Grace: If you’re looking for a gift that is truly unique, this is definitely the way to go; I’ve never seen a necklace like this at any department or fine jewelry store I’ve ever been to.  What I love about this necklace (and pretty much all the jewelry on this site) is that it can be worn for any occasion.  Obviously, it would look stunning paired with a simple black dress, but it can also been worn on a daily basis with just a simple shirt or sweater.  It’s unique yet wearable; what more could anyone want?

Cookbook Holder

Grace: The one annoying thing about cooking and baking that I don’t think I’ll ever understand or get used to, is there’s no where to put the cookbook!  Sounds silly, but when you’re constantly walking from the table to the countertop, it gets really annoying…fast. I can’t lay the book on the counter because it’ll get dirty and it’s taking up valuable space, but I can’t prepare food on the table because it’ll just be one gigantic mess I’ll have to clean later.

A great gift idea for an avid cooker or baker, is a cookbook holder.  It props the cookbook up so that you can read it while preparing food.  This is a great gift to give because it’s probably something that the recepient would never think to get on their own, but once they have it, they won’t be able to imagine what life was like without it.

Dan: Hey that is definitely not a silly gift idea!  My mom is an avid chef, and she has quite the collection of cook books (anywhere from Indian to baking).  She has them scattered around all throughout the use, the most important of which are sitting in the kitchen on the countertop.  A gift such as this would be great for my mom, everything would be right at her fingertips!  This is such a great idea for people who love cooking!

Stone and Shell Bracelet

Grace: I am the first to admit that I am totally overwhelmed by shopping, especially for the holidays.  I don’t want to give anyone something similar to what I gave them last year, but it’s so easy to pigeon-hole people and fall into a pattern!  Jewelry is always my go-to gift, but it’s so difficult to find a unique jewelry gift!  Not only do I feel like I give the same style of jewelry over and over, but I also always give people earrings and I become so flustered when they can’t wear earrings.

However, in order to break this earring addiction, I’ve recently discovered the joys of bracelets.  I always feel very elegant when wearing one (even though I’m actually not), but there’s not a lot of variety, I feel.  This website, though, sells handcrafted bracelets that are trendy but also unique.  One of my favorites on this site is the Stone and Shell Silver Bracelet.  It’s very simple, but the contrast of the bright blue Peruvian turquoise and the vibrant orange spondylus shell give it that unique twist.  Also, there are only 5 left, so you know that you’re giving a gift that no one else has.

Dan: I am not an expert, but to my eyes that is a very beautiful bracelet and it is no surprise to me that there are only 5 left.  It seems so elegant and would look really great on anyone who chooses to have it despite what they are wearing.  It also seems very flexible, it would more than acceptable to wear at a informal event or one where all eyes will be on you.

Trying to Save?

Dan: This holiday season is forecasted to set a record for the lowest amount of retail sales in U.S. history.  Even though, due to a global decrease of demand resulting in lower prices across a wide range of products, people will still be stringent this season.  Therefore, how are you going to balance your wallet and accomplish the same type of holiday season for your family and friends?

Try to seek out quality cost effective gifts.  Also, sometimes the best gifts don’t have to come with a high price tag.  If you know someone who is going to experience these types of anxieties in the coming months, give them a gift that will save them in the long run.  There are three main warehouse retailers whose annual memberships cost around $45 – $80.  Buy someone you know a membership, so that they can go out and take advantage of their two-step revene cost system.  Warehouse retailers obtain a majority of their profit from costless acceptance fees, and then sell their product slightly above marginal cost.  If you can get the membership for free, this is the best place to cost effectively shop for items when you need them.

Grace: A few years ago, my friend got her mom a membership to Costco as a Christmas gift, and her mother was absolutely thrilled.  It has really made shopping much easier for her mother, and she always wanted to become a member but never actually had the time to do it.  It’s always great to think of someone’s future well being when buying a gift, and the gift recepient is sure to feel the same.

Help Me Organize! Get Me A Charging Valet

Grace: The one thing I can’t stand about technology (besides all the troubleshooting) is all those wires laying around!  I always get my cellphone charger confused and tangled with my sister’s charger, which, in turn, is always caught on my iPod charger.  I love all my gadgets, but the mess they make is almost not worth it.  I actually dread when I have to charge something, opening that drawer full of wires and chargers and weeding through it.

However, I found this Charging Valet that would make for a great orginizational gift.  It has a power strip in the back that lets you keep all your chargers organized and ready for when you need them.  Everything has its own little space, which keeps your gadgets (and wires) from getting tangled.  I also love that with this Charging Valet, I won’t have to worry about where I put my charging cellphone.  Normally, I just plug it into any outlet, including one on the floor, and just leave it there until it’s done.  Unfortunately, I usually can’t remember where I put it!  This is a great gift for someone who is sick of tangled wires and just wants to get organized!

Dan: Before now I have never heard about a charging valet before.  You make a valid point and this organizational gift would be a great help!  When I was confronted with the same problem, I ended up using twisty-ties, absolutely not as effective as the valet would be.