Monthly Archives: March 2015

Bring It On…Time for Spring Cleaning

It must be something in the air. As the days grow longer and temperatures gradually warm, we experience the urge to get our house in order…quite literally.

Spring cleaning is a time to organize, to wash, to clear out the clutter. Time to get rid of clothes that no longer fit and appliances that don’t work right. And it’s even time to make room for those new and unique gifts you might receive for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

We have some suggestions to make your spring cleaning rituals easier and to help you organize your home.

84353_300x300On mild days, you may want to focus your clean-up efforts on the outside of your home and on your patio or deck. The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute found this electric power washer cleaned more effectively and was easier to use than other models. With its powerful 1800-watt motor, The Best Power Washer removed built-up grime from home siding and the majority of paint from a cement block, and it cleaned a tire rim in 38% less time than other models in the side-by-side evaluation.

86575_300x300As the weather changes, creepy crawlers may find their way into your home. Arachnophobes, never fear: this handheld cordless bug vacuum earned The Best rating from The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it captured the most bugs in the shortest time and was easiest to handle. Its 15-watt motor and superior airflow draw flies, bees, spiders, and other insects into a telescoping tinted nozzle that captures bugs at arm’s length. An electric grid in the unit’s handle kills insects on contact.

83403_300x300Book lovers are legendary for leaving stacks of their latest favorite reading material piled around the house. Help your favorite bibliophile organize with a unique gift: this bookstand’s six open shelves help reduce clutter and hold enough newspapers, magazines, and books to sate even the most voracious reader, in only 11/2 sq. ft. of floor space. The shelves are open on two sides, allowing the reader to easily stack or remove reading material.

See all of our spring cleaning solutions and get started transforming your house into an inviting and sparkling clean home today.

Comforting Steps for Plantar Fasciitis Relief

Among the most common causes of aches and pains of the feet is plantar fasciitis. This condition results from inflammation of the plantar fascia – the ligament that connects the heel and toes. Plantar fasciitis is common in people past middle age, in anyone who is on their feet for long periods of time, in those who are overweight or those who wear ill-fitting or worn-out shoes.

There are a variety of ways to treat the condition, including surgery, steroid injections and orthopedic boots. Many plantar fasciitis sufferers, however, can get the unique gift of sweet relief simply by switching to shoes designed to help alleviate the symptoms.
We feature a large selection of podiatrist-designed footwear for both men and women to combat the effects of plantar fasciitis. Along with these shoes in styles that complement your day wear, we also recommend slippers that provide the support and comfort you need even while relaxing at home.

84848_300x300These gentleman’s moccasins will help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis. The podiatrist-designed orthotic footbeds have deep heel cups to stabilize and realign feet to a neutral position for those who over-pronate, a common cause of plantar fasciitis. The outsoles are made from durable, molded rubber so these slippers can be worn outdoors, too, helping to reduce wear and tear on your daytime shoes.

81616_300x300Exclusive to Hammacher Schlemmer, these lady’s open-back slippers provide the same stabilizing support and also can be worn outdoors. The uppers are made from Italian boiled wool stitched with a Nordic pattern, making them attractive enough to be a unique gift for Mother’s Day.

Wearing slippers with the proper orthotic support can be extremely beneficial. Not only will they provide immediate relief, they will help you treat your plantar fasciitis condition, resulting in better foot health, and ultimately the unique gift of better health overall.

Spring for Spring Break without Going Broke

Spring break…it’s not just for college students. Co-eds may have put the party into spring travel, but the start of milder weather, combined with falling travel costs, makes now an ideal time to give yourself and your family the unique gift of a few days R & R.

Popular winter vacation areas in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Florida often lower their rates in April when winter-weary northerners head back home. And your kids or grandkids may have a weeklong break from work or school to tag along for a fun-filled family vacation. A myriad of travel websites can help you find affordable flights and discounted rates at resorts and hotels.

Once you have the airfare and resort booked, we have a few additional suggestions to make packing and traveling easier.

86969_300x300Most airlines levy fees for checked luggage these days, and some even have the nerve to charge for carry-ons. That won’t bother you with this extraordinary jacket, sporting enough pockets to hold two dozen different items, including your smartphone, iPad, and other gadgets. Made for travel, this jacket ‘s 24 pockets are designed to also hold a wallet, keys, passport, digital camera, pens, notepad, tablet PC, USB drive, glasses and even a water bottle. This three-season jacket has removable sleeves to convert to a vest, should you return home to find Mother Nature has finally given us the unique gift of mild, seasonable temperatures.

84042_300x300This gentlemen’s toiletry bag was rated “Best Overall” by The Wall Street Journal. Durable yet compact, it has an internal shelf large enough to accommodate full-size shampoo bottles and cans so you don’t need to buy overpriced travel-sized equivalents. The bag conveniently hangs unfolded over a door or towel rack to provide you extra space in hotel bathrooms, with easy access to grooming essentials. A lady’s version is also available.

86738_300x300Cold and flu season lasts through May and nothing can spoil a vacation faster than catching a virus on the flight down. This rechargeable, wearable air purifier eliminates airborne germs from one’s personal space. The palm-sized device hangs comfortably around the neck, purifying the air within a 3′ sphere around your head. It also combats tobacco smoke, pollen and dust particles.

The earlier you can book, the better for the best airfares and hotel rates. So call your family today and share your plans for a unique gift of travel that will create memories for years to come.

Is This the Year You’ll Win it All?

There are two ways to enjoy the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which begins today.

The first is to simply appreciate the young players’ unique gifts of athleticism, the coaches’ leadership and the pure excitement of viewing one game after another over the next three weeks. But our favorite way is to craft a bracket and be captivated by the suspense of how far you’ll go in the office pool and by the dream that this could be the year you win it all.

Here are some bracketology tips to help you build your bracket with winning picks:

  • Don’t pick a team seeded lower than four to win – sure, a school with a low seed could always be a Cinderella spoiler, but this comes down to simple odds. In the tournament’s history, there have only been three years in which a number 1 seed didn’t advance to the Final Four.
  • Look for experienced teams and coaches – statistically, nearly all winning teams played in the previous year’s tournament and nearly all of the winning coaches have been to the Big Dance at least five times.
  • Power conferences do better – generally, the winner comes from the ACC, the Big Ten, the Big East, the Big 12, the Pac-12 or the SEC.
  • High-scoring teams – winning teams have typically scored an average of 77 points or better in games and won their games by at least 10 points.
  • Momentum matters – Look at how a team has done late in season rather than their overall record. And put more weight on teams’ away games records. After all, the Big Dance is actually a series of away games.

If you’re not the gambling type, we have some other unique gift ideas to help you and your friends enjoy basketball at this time of the year when talk of the game is everywhere.

Become a better player yourself with this shot-improving basketball 86797_300x300 featuring built-in motion sensors that provide instant, accurate feedback about one’s shooting and ball-handling skills. This basketball immediately sends data for every shot and dribble to an app running on a smartphone. The app then offers more than 50 goal-based drills for individual practice and competitions for up to five players.

83898_300x300For play that’s more about pleasant diversion, this indoor basketball net automatically passes made baskets back to the shooter who can reload and take another shot. The chute swivels 180°, allowing players to set the direction of the ball return. The unit hangs over a door and includes a foam basketball.

87227_300x300Finally, for the obsessed basketball fan, this is a unique gift they’ll surely love. This fanciful hoopster’s mug has an integrated miniature basketball hoop that lets kids of all ages play with their food. Players can face off in games of hot chocolate H.O.R.S.E. using marshmallows, slam dunk cereal into milk, or launch three pointers of oyster crackers into soup.

Here’s a Day That’s Completely Charming

This Friday the 13th is a lucky day for those who love to sport their bling…today is National Jewelry Day.

Celebrating personal adornment with rings, necklaces, earrings, charms, bracelets and brooches, today is a great day to give or receive a gift of jewelry. Gems always make for the perfect unique gift because they can be chosen to suit the personality of the recipient and they are nearly always the right size.

National Jewelry Day is also a good time to consider some of the accessories that go along with the bling. We have a few suggestions for those looking for unique gifts as companions to beautiful jewelry.

84376_300x300To keep your baubles shiny, this ultrasonic jewelry cleaner was deemed The Best by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it cleaned necklaces, earrings, and rings more thoroughly than any other model. During testing, The Best cleaner removed 98% of a hardened mixture of lotion, hairspray, grease, and oil, while lesser models left as much as 40% of the residue behind. Its advanced oscillation circuitry is quieter, generates less heat, and works more efficiently than other units.

77833_300x300Store your beautiful jewelry in this wall-mounted, illuminated cabinet. It keeps up to 160 pieces of jewelry organized and easily accessible and is a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive. Six LEDs cast bright light inside the cabinet to help you quickly locate just the right pieces. And, the exterior of the door has a mirror for checking your look before heading out for a special evening.

12639E_300x300This top-grain leather case stores, protects, and transports a treasured jewelry collection. The case is crafted from richly textured Nappa leather and is lined with luxuriously soft suede. The case can be carried in hand like the purse it stylishly resembles, or it slips comfortably into a larger handbag.

So get louped in and don’t broach the subject – your loved ones will remember that you remembered National Jewelry Day.

A Historic Date that Rings a Bell

“Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Those were the words spoken in the first telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell on this date in 1876.

The call did not travel far – Mr. Watson was only in the next room. It was several months before Bell and his assistant were able to converse at a distance of 10 miles and more than three decades before the unique gift of instant transcontinental communication would become common.

But how very far we’ve come since. Although Bell was an innovative and prolific inventor, he likely did not envision the day we would carry smartphones in our pockets.

81174_300x300And Bell certainly did not have to worry about running out of juice on his phone. That’s a modern problem that we’ve solved with the One Year Smartphone Backup Battery. Unlike most rechargeable backups that lose their charge after a few months of inactivity, this smartphone battery holds its charge for a full year. It can completely charge an iPhone, Android or iPad Mini in under three hours.

82661_300x300Aside from making calls, one of the most popular uses for a smartphone is as a camera, and instant prints capturing the moment make great unique gifts for folks you meet in your travels. This palm-sized printer prints pictures directly from your iPhone or Android. The printer stores unobtrusively in a pocket and connects wirelessly to a smartphone to print 2″ x 3″ color photos in about a minute.

86371A_300x300Do you ever find yourself frustrated by your smartphone’s tiny onscreen keyboard? Here’s a Bluetooth device that instantly projects a laser-generated virtual keyboard onto any flat, opaque surface. The laser device recognizes keystrokes in three dimensions by an optical sensor that detects finger placement and can distinguish between a finger hovering and actual contact with the “keys”.

While Bell’s invention was amazing for its day, the smartphone has shaken up our social lives, our shopping habits, how we conduct business and how we communicate with friends and family. Only the future will show what unique gifts of connectivity these technological Swiss army knives will give us in the years to come.

Irish I Had These Unique Gifts

The luck o’ the Irish falls upon us all this month when we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. It’s a day of commemorations, festivals and parades in many countries around the world, with celebrations in such diverse locales as Malaysia, Switzerland, the Caribbean island of Montserrat and even on the International Space Station.

In Ireland, March 17 primarily remained a religious holiday until the mid-1990s when the Irish government began a campaign to use the day to highlight the unique gifts of the Irish culture. No, not green beer; rather elements of Celtic life such as the beautiful Gaelic language, Irish stepdance and the influence of today’s Ireland, a creative, sophisticated and innovative country with international appeal.

At Hammacher Schlemmer, we’re celebrating the traditions of the Emerald Isle with these genuine Irish goods, ideal unique gifts for anyone with an appreciation for the Old Sod.78855_300x300

This genuine walking stick is handmade in Ireland and bears the same name as the town traditionally known as the source of its origin centuries ago—Shillelagh. Made from blackthorn, the wood species used exclusively to make each shillelagh, this wood is selected for its superior weight-to-hardness ratio. Sold only through Hammacher Schlemmer, no two sticks are identical, so each one made is unique.

84392_300x300Perfect for staying warm while curled up with a good book, this lady’s reading shawl is made in County Kildare, Ireland. The shawl features traditional wide patch pockets useful for tucking away a paperback or e-reader, as well as a pair of glasses. Its enveloping design covers the full back, chest and upper arms while leaving the hands free to turn pages.

79264_300x300This genuine Irish tweed patchwork quilt is handcrafted in County Donegal, Ireland by an 88-year-old bespoke tailoring firm. Tweed patchwork’s appeal lies in its superior heat retention, durability, and charm. Each tweed square is woven from the fine coat of purebred Suffolk and Texel sheep, breeds renowned for yielding a dense, warm fleece. Each quilt is truly the only one of its kind, and a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive.

So don your shamrocks, tuck into a plate of corned beef and cabbage, and raise a toast of Irish whiskey or good stout beer to the Emerald Isle!

Celebrating a Century of Flying High

Exactly 100 years ago today, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was established as a federal agency. An important predecessor to NASA, the purpose of NACA was to undertake, promote and institutionalize aeronautical research. The agency began just over a decade after the Wright brothers gave the world the unique gift of controlled human flight.

The agency was first created during World War I to coordinate war-related projects. The UK, France, Germany and Russia already had aeronautic committees and it was these agencies that served as models for the American agency. Through its years of research, NACA pioneered aeronautic innovations such as a series of airfoils that are still in use today.

NACA was dissolved on October 1, 1958, when NASA was launched to accelerate the U.S.’s progress in the space race with the Soviet Union.12629_300x300

Delve into all the historic moments of the U.S space program with this personalized book of New York Time articles. Procured from the archives of The Times, the book presents momentous highlights that span the beginnings of the “Space Race” from the first satellite to the potential of commercial space travel. The bound book is personalized with the recipient’s name, making it an ideal unique gift for any aficionado of space flight and exploration.

86424_300x300You can share your love of space with the kids or grandkids with this Pop-up Space Station. This pop-up tent serves as the interplanetary command post for young space explorers. The tent’s four tunnels evoke the sprawling modules of a space station and “dock” with openings in the tent’s walls.

86802_300x300And your small astronauts will marvel at this little remote-controlled astronaut, seemingly out for a spacewalk around the International Space Station. Twin rotors propel him for safe indoor flight. A pair of diode lights in the rocket backpack give the illusion this spaceman is controlling his weightless wandering himself, ideal for a moment of astral wanderlust.

Today, space exploration has moved beyond the efforts of government entities to the private sector. Only time will tell what successes will be met by SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and other aeronautic entrepreneurs.