Monday, September 29, 2014

Lands' End's House Slippers Are Just Right

With leather laces. Six colors - red, pink, navy blue, purple, tan and brown.

Finding the perfect house slippers on a budget can be challenging. Call me parsimonious, but I don't like to spent $50 plus on slippers. Everybody has certain preferences too. For a few years, I wore clog slippers, which truthfully, are not my favorite kind. The clog style is a loose fit, and I worry about tripping and falling down stairs. So recently, I decided to treat myself to a new pair.

Lands' End is a fabulous place to go for variety. It has over 30 styles for men, women and children; a pair to fit every need. My perferences: I like cozy house slippers that don't resemble bedroom slippers, so I can walk down to the lobby or laundry room of my apartment building without changing into regular shoes.

As it turns out I got what I want, a quality, durable pair at a fair price (and a 20% discount). The Women's Suede Moc Slippers have suede uppers and a plush polyester berber lining, which is treated with Agion -- an environmentally safe technology -- that protects against odors, plus wear and tear, allowing you to go sock-less.

Very warm and soft, my new house shoes have extra padding in the footbed. And, I love the rubber soles. I can step outside on the sidewalk for a moment in the winter, if necessary. Someone please tell me, why did I stick with my old, an-accident-waiting-to-happen slippers for so long?

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eyeshadow Candy For Women

Essence All About Nude Palette
Eyeshadow is a makeup item you can splurge, as well as, save on at various times. You might spend more when rich pigments matter. The shadow will stay on your lids all day. On the other hand, you can save when you want to add a few fun or trendy colors that you don't mind reapplying during the day.

Fortunately, there are many excellent eyeshadows under $10 at the corner drugstore that work almost as well as their upscale cousins. Here are two:

1) Essence has come out with a palette of six nude eye shadows, ranging from matte to shimmery textures. Costing a mere $7, you can mix, match and wear the nude colors in a multitude of ways. Nude eyes never really go out of style, and glittery textures add versatility and fun!

The Tattoo Leather Series - 5 shades available: black, beige, green, plum, chocolate
2) Eye Studio Tattoo Leather Series - Manufactured by Maybelline, this is a moist shadow which goes on as a cream, but dries with a matte finish. Stays put. It's vibrant  24-hour color. A smooth, classy look that performs as well as the high end shadows. $4-$6 each (depending on where you buy it).

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Monday, September 22, 2014

The Tranquility Pod

Photo: Hammacher Schlemmer; Bed created by Alberto Fraas.
If I had an extra $30,000 lying around, I'd spend it on one of these. (Although wide awake, I am dreaming.) The Tranquility Pod is designed to provide the perfect environment for a good night's rest. Luckily, I fall asleep within five minutes of my head hitting a pillow, and I stay asleep for eight hours. However, there are a few nocturnal New Yorkers who are not always respectful of the wee hours, nor of their slumbering neighbors.

This high tech water bed is built to nullify a big city's disturbances and, if necessary, lure you to sleep. The pod's hull is handcrafted from fiberglass into a sleek, gel-coat surface to block out 90% of outside noise, while its interior uses pleasant music, "gentle vibration and soothing light to relax the mind, body and spirit." It contains 80 watt, 4 audio speakers that you program with a smart phone.

The pod also has a biofeedback system. It uses a pulse sensor to synchronize your heart rate with 50 LED's (or light-emitting diodes, a type of solid state lighting) housed in the pod. In other words, ambient lighting created by reading your body rhythm lulls you to sleep.

A deluxe suede-topped memory foam cushion that is temperature controlled makes you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud.

The pod is a six foot wide octagon -- 80 inches in diameter -- which is big. But if you have the 30 grand, you either have the space, or you are desperate for some quality REM zzzz.

A heavenly rest can be had for a hefty price, no? Maybe if we all want one, the price will come down. Still dreaming, I suppose.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Healthy Chocolate Chip Clippers

Traditional chocolate chip cookies are usually loaded with unhealthy fat, sugar and white flour. Once in a while I eat a decadent, sugary, fat laden cookie, but I try to adhere to a healthy diet most of the time. The majority of the time I train my appetite to like better, or lighter ingredients. You will crave whatever you are in the habit of eating.

The following recipe is a less sinful, but an equally satisfying chocolate chip confection. It comes from the good folks at HealthyBarn USA. These clippers have a hardy, crunchy, yet moist texture. They are whole-grain, fiber rich with less fat and sweetness than classic chocolate chip cookies. My batch has lots of chocolate chips in every bite! I served them with a pot of Prince of Wales (a mild black) tea and milk for a delicious afternoon snack.

Chocolate Chip Clippers 

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup packed light brown sugar½ cup unsweetened applesauce¾ cup low salt canned chickpeas, mashed (or substitute peanut butter; or mashed beans)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts; or pecans
A sprinkle of cinnamin, nutmeg and black pepper, if you like.
2 tablespoons olive oil (for a traditional cookie texture, if you don't mind the calories. If you add the oil, reduce the applesauce by 2 tablespoons.)

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, one at a time.
2. Follow with the wet ingredients, one at a time.
3. Mix thoroughly. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, using a fork.
4. With a round tablespoon, drop buttons of cookie dough onto 2 greased baking sheets. (I brush the pans with a little olive oil or butter to prevent sticking.)
5. Pop into a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake about 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheets. The clippers are especially good while they are still warm fresh out of the oven.

Another healthy habit to develop is to eat any sweet you like, as long as you make it yourself. You consume less sugar because they are not within easy reach. This recipe only requires a few simple ingredients and steps!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fall Back With A Bodysuit

The 70s called. It wants its bodysuit back. Forget-about-it! Bodysuits are so easy and breezy, they aren't going anywhere in the near future. Available at American Apparel, ASOSForever 21 and Urbanoutfitters, to name a few retailers, they are the new fall staple.

The benefits of a big girl onesie are several. Bodysuits are cozy and warm in cold weather. They are sleek, polished and versatile. Worn with favorite old jeans, skirts, or under a blazer, they eliminate the need for bulky shirts and sweaters, plus they stay neatly tucked in all day. I can understand having a couple of all-in-ones in your wardrobe for times when you need a top to stay in place. No unpleasant surprises where you are the last to know!

Bodysuits also come in multiple styles and sleeve lengths, from all American girl, to sexy, sporty and playful. The fabric can be sheer or textured. Which look suits you?

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Life Is A Carnival

Do you know what is fun for kids? Pretending, of course, that they have joined a carnival. 

When I was a child, I had fun baking with my mother using my Easy Bake Oven. Mom, probably ... not so much, but she was a good sport, supervising me so there were no chances of burning the house down.

Kids love toys that let them make things, or enter a world of nostalgia. Plus, family fun nights are opportunities to bond.

If I had young kids at home, or grandchildren who came for visits, I would probably buy a few movie/carnival vintage appliances for family play dates. Reasonably priced, they would certainly create warm memories and put smiles on tender faces.

Here's what I'd be tempted to bring home to encourage our family fun times:

1) A vintage popcorn popper  (pictured above) - I like the affordable price of the model I feature here at the top of the post, the Nostalgia Electrics KPM508. It's under $60 and would do the job.

2) The Kickball Ice Cream Maker - Again, I like the price tag, under $35, as well as, the ease of making the ice cream. The ball has 2 compartments, the first for the ice cream ingredients, the second for rock salt and ice. You can then kick, shake or roll the ball to churn the ice cream. Sounds like the perfect job for a team of kids, who would then enjoy a sweet reward for all their hard work.

3. Turn regular sugar, confectionery sugar or hard candy into cotton candy. The Nostalgia Electrics Cotton Candy Maker sells for under $40. I would not go any cheaper because you don't want to wait longer than 5 minutes for the machine to heat up, nor do you want to have any trouble meeting the damand for cotton candy. Personally, I would also buy the flossing sugar and cone kit for the different colors and to keep the activity fun for everyone, including the adults, who are usually in charge of planning, as well as, cleaning up.
4) I like the Nostalgia Electrics RFF600RETRORED Chocolate Fountain. Under $25. Why buy a more expensive one? Keeping chocolate melted and flowing isn't complicated. All you need to add are fresh strawberries and marshmallows to coat in dark chocolate (dark to sneak in some healthy antioxidants).

Depending on the number of children (and adults!) in the party, you could select any two, or buy all four of the special treat makers. Just one would be the hit of a family gathering, plus make a fabulous hostess gift. Life can be a carnival for children of all ages!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Innovative Vector Cup Holder To The Rescue

John C. (a former co-worker) and I bought Apple laptops at about the same time. Years later I'm still using mine, but John's new computer died after he spilled a cup of coffee all over his keyboard. That was enough to spook me into sitting my beverage cups down on the living room floor, only to absentmindedly kick the liquid over (too many times to count), staining a wool rug. Sheesh, what is a person to do in our electronic age?!

Well, often necessity is the mother of invention. A new tool is on the market to prevent your drink from snuffing out your computer ... or living room rug, whatever the case may be.

Enter the Vector Cup Holder, a clever accessory that is designed to put a stop to these annoying accidents. Created out of high-grade anodized aluminum, it is sleek, lightweight and mobile. (In fact, the metal nicely matches that of a Mac Book Pro.) It easily attaches to the side of a table or desk. When in place, the Vector Cup Holder secures your beverage, whether you are drinking from a 16 ounce mug, a 30 ounce cup, or even a small airplane cup. The gadget also folds flat, so you can conveniently carry it with you to work on a plane or in a cafe.

Another bonus ... because your drink hangs off the side of a table, it frees up work space. A clamp that attaches to a flat surface is equipped with rubber strips to guard against scratches.

The product has a cute slogan, "Your computer's knight in shining aluminum." No more spills! It's simple, practical and costs a lot less than replacing a computer drenched in coffee or soda.

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