Unique Gifts For le Tour de Neighborhood

After 2,276 miles, four countries, and various crashes eliminating some of the race favorites, the 101st Tour de France comes to a conclusion today. A punishing 21-stage, 3-week race, the Tour traverses mountain peaks, fields of lavender, impossibly narrow European streets and French countryside with beauty that defies description.

Here in the U.S., many states and cities now feature professional cycling tours, and among recreational cyclists, the sport is more popular than ever. A bicycle is a great way to get around town. It burns calories and when a bike ride substitutes for a car trip, it saves money, reduces traffic congestion, and is environmentally green.

Perhaps you or someone you know regularly uses a bike to get to work or school. At dusk, dawn or at night, The Cyclist’s Virtual Safety Lane moThe Cyclist's Virutal Safety Laneunts to a bicycle’s seat post and projects two 5-milliwatt red lasers onto the ground, generating a virtual bicycle lane. Visible under headlights and streetlights from over a mile away, this is a thoughtful and unique gift for a bike commuter.

The Tour de France riders conquer impossibly steep mountain passes, but many of us need a little help just getting up the hill at the end of the street. The Electric Comfort Bicycle features a 500-watt electric motor that assists riders up hills or across broad flats for easy cruising. Speeds up to 20 mph are achieved with the motor only; pedaling will increase speed further. A full charge of its battery provides up to 30 miles of coasting.

The Virtual Mountain Bike Racing SimulatorPerhaps you’ve experienced the thrills of mountain biking, but can’t make it out to the terrain as much as you would like. The Virtual Mountain Bike Racing Simulator combines an exercise bike with a 17″ LCD video screen to simulate riding through outdoor courses. The bike’s electronically controlled pedaling resistance automatically increases or decreases to replicate the terrain gradients shown on the screen.

No doubt, the Tour de France riders will be relieved to pedal into Paris today for the end of this grueling race, but on a more modest level, a bike ride feels good and is good for you. So savor summer’s unique gifts with a refreshing bike ride today.

Wearable Protection Thwarts Mosquito Bites

With the joys of summer come the perils of mosquitoes. Annoying as they are, these pesky insects can also spread West Nile virus, encephalitis, dengue fever and the recently identified chikungunya virus. So protecting yourself when outdoors is essential.

Of course, wearing mosquito repellant is one technique to keep the blood-thirsty pests at bay. But many people are put off by the smell and greasy residue of these lotions and sprays, not to mention the chemicals that they contain.

A better alternative for these folks is mosquito protection that you put on rather than spray on. This special clothing creates an impenetrable barrier between you and bugs that allows you to enjoy the outdoors in peace. And unlike chemical repellents, the protection won’t wane over time.The Wearable Mosquito Net

Our exclusive Wearable Mosquito Net is a pullover and head covering that features fine 1.2-mm netting to shield the skin from mosquitoes without the use of harmful and malodorous chemicals. Pair the lightweight shirt with these Mosquito Net Pants for head-to-toe protection.

An ideal unique gift for your favorite horticulturist, The Gardener’The Gardener’s Bug Thwarting Hats Bug Thwarting Hat has a mosquito net stowed under the brim. When insects start to bite, the netting can be deployed, extending over the 2″-wide brim by 16″, providing ample coverage for the entire head and neck and closing snug to keep mosquitoes, gnats, and other troublesome garden insects out.

Sno Time Like the Present for a Cool Treat

Statistically speaking, the third week of July is the hottest time of the year. How appropriate, then, that today is National Ice Cream Day.

First designated in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan, the entire month of July, along with the third Sunday of the month, recognizes ice cream as a fun and nutritious food, one in which 90 percent of Americans indulge.The Genuine Good Humor Ice Cream Cart

This Ice Cream Day, you could be the most popular person in your neighborhood with The Genuine Good Humor Ice Cream Cart. This is the genuine cart that was first produced for the Good Humor Company over 75 years ago. Four brass bells hang from the handlebar, an iconic feature that attracted children by the dozens to street corners in America’s growing suburbs following World War II.

For those looking for a low-fat, healthy treat, The Frozen Fruit Soft Serve Processor instantly turns frozen fruit and other flavorings into a soft-serve confection. The unit combines frozen bananas and any additional fruit or chocolate and instantly churns the ingredients to produce a treat with the silky-smooth texture of frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream, but without the additional fat, sugar, or preservatives. It makes a great and unique gift for lactose-intolerant friends or family.

Because summer is a great time to celebrate frozen treats of all kinds, The Classic Snow Cone Cart will remind you of the type found at beaches, parks, and zoos. Three dispensers The Classic Snow Cone Makerlet guests apply the flavored syrup in grand Sno-Kone tradition. You may want to pair your Sno-Kone cart with The Best Portable Ice Maker. This portable appliance earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it was the most efficient at producing ice.

So, if you’re feeling warm on this summer day, cool off with a delicious serving of ice cream, sherbet, gelato, sorbet, water ice, soft serve, snow cone, or frozen yogurt. Whichever you choose, it’s sure to be refreshing!

Enjoy July Sun with Fun on a Bun

As July scorches, the nation marks National Hot Dog Month. From New York’s garlicky kosher dogs to Chicago-style red hots, it’s time to celebrate encased meat on a bun.

The more seriously you take your wurst selection, the more memorable your dining will be. Source your wieners from your local corner butcher shop where they take pride in making tubular charcouterie designed to impress your guests.

For the hot dog connoisseur who insists on keeping it real, The Authentic New York Hot Dog Vendor CartThe Authentic New York Hot Dog Cart is identical to those found on the streets and in the parks of New York City today. Three steamer trays each hold up to 20 hot dogs or sausages. Don’t use skinless dogs in a hot water cart as they will blow up like zeppelins and lose their flavor. Natural sheep casing dogs are the gourmet choice and hold up for hours in a cart.

Skinless dogs please kids and are best griddled or grilled. They also make a great choice for campfire cooking. The Campfire Roasting Rod enables campers to roast hot dogs and toast The Campfire Roasting Rodmarshmallows with a unique design that is held like a fishing pole. Gently jigging the pole upwards—just like setting the hook while fishing—flips the roasting spits over for even cooking.

Summer is fleeting, so this weekend leave the T-bones in the freezer in favor of something more tubular…get some New York garlic dogs, spicy Hungarian brats, Maxwell Street polish or foot-long wieners and have some good fun in a bun!

World Cup Having a Rio Good Time

During the past month, 32 teams from around the globe came together in Brazil to thrill sports fans worldwide in the 20th FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. And today, it comes down to the final match between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro. The two teams are no strangers to World Cup victories, with five wins between them.

Following the host country’s crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-final, one may find it hard to believe that Brazil, with five championships, has won more World Cup titles than any other nation since the tournament’s inception in 1930. Spain, the champions of the last Cup in 2010, didn’t fare well at all this go-round, failing to advance beyond the 32-team round-robin.

The World Cup is the most widely watch sporting event on Earth, exceeding the viewership of the Olympics, the World Series, and even the Super Bowl. Although Team U.S.A. advanced only as far as the round of 16, their performance has resulted in a surge of the sport’s popularity in our country. Viewing parties in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia drew crowds beyond organizers’ dreams. Major League Soccer games have seen a bump in attendance following enthusiasm over the Cup.

The game, of course, has been popular with the nation’s youth for decades. Training techniques have advanced, meaning the U.S. should be a contender in future World Cups to come. If your family includes young future soccer stars who show a unique gift for playing the game, The Ball Returning Soccer Trainer is a two-in-one net that lets a player spend more time perfecting his or her game and less time retrieving balls. When a ball is kicked into the center area, it follows an upward arc before it rebounds with spin and height, requiring the player to trap and control the ball before taking the next kick.

For backyard football fun, nothing beats The Giant 40″ Personalized Soccer Ball. At five times the size of a regulation soccer ball, this inflatable ball is suited for players of less gargantuan proportions. It can also be played with in the pool. Personalize it with a 25-character message printed on one of the panels.

Ultimately, in today’s final match the team that combines the unique gifts of scoring prowess and fancy footwork will prevail. And the whole world will be watching.

Turning Boredom into Action

Ennui. Lethargy. Tedium. However you label it, it’s all boredom.

Throughout July, the U.S. celebrates National Anti-boredom Month, and a chance to cure the call of “There’s nothing to do!” forever. We’re all for putting a bit of extra excitement into your life, and we can offer several ideas to banish boredom for people of all ages.The Backyard Zip Line Kit

The Seated Backyard Zipline Kit allows riders to swoop up to 90 feet through the air while remaining close to the ground. The system simply wraps around two trees at an incline and riders zip from one end to the other, similar to ziplines found at luxury ski resorts and adventure camps. It’s a unique gift for kids or grandkids, that helps make playing outdoors better than any video game.

You and a friend can tool around town on The Only Electric Bicycle Built for Electric Tandem BicycleTwo. The only one of its kind, this tandem electric bicycle assists riders up to 20 mph in relaxed comfort, up hills or across broad flats. Its step-through design provides easy mounting and dismounting for both riders.

For boredom that can only be cured with speed, The World’s Fastest Amphibious Car blasts over water at 44 mph and reaches 80 mph on the road. Powered by a 300-hp Honda engine, it operates like a regular vehicle on land with a four-speed manual transmission. Amphibious CarWhen it’s time to enter the water, the wheels rise above the bottom of the hull and the engine’s power is redirected to a Panther pump jet.

Time with friends is a sure cure for boredom, along with a bit of liquid social lubrication. The Aquatic Bar seats four around an integrated cooler, facilitating the unique gift of dazzling conversation. Four inflatable chairs let sitters’ legs dangle in the cooling water.

So turn the dog days of summer to the doing days of summer and your friends The Aquatic Barand family will jump up with joyful cries when they see these unique gifts perfect for Anti-boredom Month.

Gift Giving Gets Personal

Choosing a gift for someone special can be a daunting task. You want a gift that reflects their personality and lifestyle. You want it to touch on memories and personal relationships. And there’s no gift more personal than one that incorporates the recipient’s name, birthdate, or photos.

We can’t think of a more memorable way to mark a milestone birthNY Timesday than with a framed reproduction of The New York Times front page from the day the celebrant was born. These replicas are reproduced from originals in “the Old Gray Lady’s” official archives. The personalized name and year are printed on the matte, which also contains a circulated penny, nickel, dime and quarter from the birth year. Also available is a hard-bound reproduction of the full edition of The New York Times.

Turn a photograph of family, a beloved pet, or a beautiful scene from your travels into a Personalized Photo Puzzle. Just send a photograph or JPEG image with your order and a 408-piece jigsaw puzzle kit is shipped to you in a gift box, ready to present as a memorable keepsake and truly unique gift.

Even children are tickled by personalized gifts. The Personalized Book of Nursery Rhymes incorporates a child’s name throughout the pages. The book’s 26 traditional rhymes include all the old favorites, with a new twist…Humpty Dumpty, for example, features the child’s name on the iconic egg-man’s wall. It’s an ideal choice for a newborn child or grandchild, as a christening gift, or for a youngster’s birthday.

Shop all of our personalized gifts easily on our online Gift Finder and make finding just the right memorable, unique gift easy. You can be sure that every time the recipient sees it, he or she will think of you.

An Example to Fathers Everywhere

On Father’s Day, it’s fitting that we honor our founding father, William Schlemmer, Sr.

Born in 1841, an age when many people were no strangers to hard work, Mr. Schlemmer was described as “an indefatigable worker, and a man of the highest possible character, whose habits were exemplary in the extreme, and whose business principles were beyond reproach.”

Schlemmer came alone to the U.S. from Germany as a young boy. Although he was not yet a teenager, his uncle brought him to work at his hardware store in the Bowery. Even at the tender age of 11, he proved to be hard-working and thrifty, sending half of his $2-a-week salary home to relatives.

As the business continued to enjoy success in the 1850s, it was not unusual for young Schlemmer to arrive at work by 5 a.m. and not leave till midnight. In 1857, he convinced a wealthy acquaintance, Albert Hammacher, to invest $5,000 in the company, strengthening its opportunities for growth.

Eventually, Mr. Schlemmer came to control the company, first buying out his uncle’s shares and by the early 1890′s, most of Hammacher’s. Reflecting his humble roots, the highest position Schlemmer held at the company was treasurer.

Mr. Schlemmer remained at the helm until 1914 when, at the age of 73, he passed the torch to his son, William F. Schlemmer. It was under the younger Schlemmer’s guidance that the company moved toward selling more luxury goods and unique gifts, as well as The Best, The Only and The Unexpected.

This June 15, we honor our founding father, “The Old Gentleman,” for his lofty, uncompromising standards of service and quality. He was a great example for fathers, and for us all.

Indulge Dad with a Unique Father’s Day Splurge

Of course, you can never repay your father for the years of support, sacrifice, advice, and love. But if Dad knew you were going to splurge on something he might never buy for himself, what unique gifts for Father’s Day would he choose? We have several ideas for gifts for him that will reflect his irreplaceable spot in your heart, and will leave him talking about his unique Father’s Day gift for weeks to come.

Any dad who likes to entertain would Tiki Barlove to have The Genuine Bamboo Tiki Bar by his pool, on the patio, or even in the rec room for a year-round tropical atmosphere. Recalling the Polynesian beach bars renowned for serving fruity, rum-based cocktails, the bar is made from 100% Vietnamese bamboo, kiln-dried to a natural wood that’s impervious to rain, sun, and insects. Two matching stools are included.

Father’s Day coincides nicely with the heart of the baseball season. Fans of MLB and Little League alike will be delighted by this handsome and unusual gift. The Authentic Baseball Glove Leather Chair, made by Rawlings, is crafted in the form of a gargantuan baseball glove, upholstered entirely with the same exceptional leather as the mitts used by professional ballplayers. Each chair is built to order by master craftsmen in the company’s St. Louis facility, who assemble the all-wood frame by hand.

The man who is just a big kid at heart secretly wants to tool around the neighborhood on The Drifting Adult Trike. This low-riding, big-wheeled tricycle evokes childlike abandon from a grown-up rider and is truly a unique gift for him. The trike executes the same power slides and drifting maneuvers from youth that impressed one’s peers long ago. Detailed with handlebar tassels, a bell, and painted in a high-gloss metal flake, it is also generously padded with 4″ of foam—an amenity that proves wisdom is indeed a byproduct of age.

You can see all of our unique Father’s Day gift ideas in any price range you choose on our easy Father’s Day Gift Finder.

Gift Shopping Made Easy, and Easy on Your Budget

Smartphone Charging LanternFathers give us many unique gifts in life, not the least of which are the valuable lessons they teach us: work hard, but put family first; believe in yourself; stand up for yourself.

As much as you can never fully repay Dad for everything he did for you, he wouldn’t even want you to try. Because one of the best pieces of advice he may have given you is to be careful with your money and spend it wisely.

To that end, with Father’s Day swiftly approaching, we have several ideas for gifts for him that will set you back less than $100, but will leave a priceless impression in his heart and mind. These unique gifts will suit your budget as well as his personality.

For the father with a strong sense of personal style:  our exclusive Packable Panama Hat can be packed into suitcases or squeezed flat for between-seat storage, yet the fibers’ unique woven pattern allow the hat to unfold back to its original shape. Its brim provides 360º of sun protection; woven fibers allow air to circulate.

For the father who lives by the motto always be prepared: The Smartphone Charging Emergency Lantern features two 3-watt LEDs that generate up to 250 lumens of bright light for up to 48 hours on low or six hours on high. When the battery is full, the unit can recharge a smartphone twice, an e-book once, and 40% of an iPad’s battery via the lantern’s USB port. The lantern recharges via USB in seven hours or its integrated hand crank provides up to ten minutes of light after one minute of cranking.

For the father with an artistic streak: The iPad Paintbrush allows him to create works of art on a tablet computer or smartphone. The paintbrush uses synthetic hairs infused with conductive properties, designed with the same taper, flexibility, and strength as traditional bristles, resulting in the same feel and authentic strokes. The other end of the brush has a rubber stylus that enables sketching or handwriting. Compatible with all devices with capacitive touchscreens including iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nexus, Samsung Tablet and more.

And for the father who loves to be the life of the party, The Full Bottle Wine Glass. One of our most popular unique gifts, this seamless mouth-blown glass can hold an entire bottle of wine. Its classic Bordeaux shape fits an entire hand, enabling effortless quaffing without abandoning social mores. Although it holds up to 750ml, the glass allows users to assure that they, in all honesty, had only one glass of wine.

Try our easy-to-use Gift Finder to select the perfect gift for him in any price range, to fit his unique interests and style.