Category Archives: Home Living

Extend Summer with Warmth of Hospitality

So soon, summer comes to its unofficial close on Labor Day. Already, we see the marked difference in darker, cooler mornings and noticeably earlier sunsets.12298_1000x1000

But for many folks, the best weather of the year is yet to come, and even when earlier darkness brings a chill in the air, many weeks still lie ahead to entertain outdoors.

Help your guests enjoy the unique gifts of a crisp fall evening with accessories that will add light and warmth to your yard or patio. This hearth table, for instance, features a granite top cut from the mountains in China’s Shanxi province, so each handcrafted table is one-of-a-kind. A cutout section in the center contains a stainless steel fire pit, powered by a propane tank or a connection to a natural gas line86860_1000x1000.

In smaller spaces, this tabletop fireplace88478_1000x1000 provides the color, charm, and comfort of a wood-burning fire without the smoke, smells, or sparks. It’s fueled by recycled liquid ethanol, so the 7″-high flame gives off only carbon dioxide and water vapor, making it suitable for use indoors or out. Consider this mini fireplace as an appropriate and unique gift for a housewarming, too—pun intended.

Provide illumination along with an architectural element with these all-weather obelisk torches. The elegant torches continue a long sculptural tradition begun in ancient Egypt, where similar obelisks were first fashioned to flank temple entrances. They have extra-long cotton wicks to fill the evening with soft, romantic light.

Pair these unique gift ideas for warmth and light with rustic fall decorations and hearty, seasonal dishes such as chili or pumpkin soup. Your outdoor parties will be a success even through the end of October and will keep guests feeling cozy, comfortable, and relaxed.

Feeling Secure at Home: Priceless

An FBI study conducted in 2013 reported that 5,400 burglaries occur in the U.S. every day. Home security devices can give you a sense of peace more valuable than any of your possessions for the unique gifts of feeling more at ease, focused, and relaxed in your home.79806_1000x1000

We have several options to help you set up a security system outside your residence to monitor who comes onto your property.

As a car or a pedestrian enters your driveway, this alarm system alerts you from as far away as a half mile. A remote motion sensor attaches to a mailbox post or address sign at the end of your drive and detects movement, sending a wireless signal back to the monitor in your home. The monitor generates a tone to alert you that someone is coming.86190_1000x1000

This easy-to-install entryway security camera retrofits a motion-sensing WiFi camera to an outdoor porch or garage light. Requiring no wiring, an included smart light bulb adapter simply screws into an existing light socket to provide power to the wall-mounted wireless HD video camera via a short cord. The camera’s infrared sensor detects when someone approaches and automatically sends a notification to your paired WiFi device via a free app.87324_1000x1000

This video doorbell earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because of its easy installation and superior video quality. Unlike other models that must be hardwired into an existing doorbell system, The Best model attaches to your door and connects to your home’s wireless network. When the doorbell is pressed, a motion-sensing camera captures video and sends an alert to a smartphone app that displays a live video feed with the option for voice chat.

The possessions inside your home have a certain financial or sentimental value. But you can’t put a value on the priceless feeling of peace of mind. Protect your home and family with any or all of these devices and gain the intangible unique gifts that come with simply feeling more secure.

An Organized Life is a Simpler Life

The first week of this month is National Simplify Your Life Week. And a better-organized home is a quick means to the unique gifts of a simpler, saner life.

Improve organization around your home and you’ll use your time more efficiently and gain more time to enjoy with your friends and family. To that end, today we’re featuring three simple ideas to help you begin to organize and simplify.83407_1000x1000

Start by banishing that pile of books, magazines and newspapers from the top of the coffee table. The Organized Reader’s End Table features four open shelves that keep reading materials organized and easily accessible. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the bookstand helps reduce clutter and holds enough printed matter to sate even the most voracious reader, in only 1.5 sq. ft. of floor space.88290_1000x1000

It’s easy enough to clean the bathroom, but do you clear away its clutter, too? With a narrow footprint and large capacity, this Tight Space Bathroom Organizer adds storage your smallest room. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, this organizer is ideal for snug powder rooms or cabinet-starved washrooms with pedestal sinks. The 9″-wide organizer slips beside a toilet or tub to unobtrusively hold personal items and cleaning products in five separate compartments. 88084_1000x1000

Keep yourself organized on the road, too. The Organized Traveler’s Carry On holds all your travel essentials but is not cumbersome. Another Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, the supple leather bag features accessible pockets and tiered sleeves that keep tickets and credit cards at the ready, with a large inner compartment lined with nylon. Padding protects phones, cameras and other small electronics.

That old adage about “a place for everything, and everything in its place” is true. Once you conquer the clutter throughout your home, commit some time each evening to make sure everything gets put away. It’s a habit that needs to be cultivated, but once you do so, you will be rewarded with a home that provides the unique gift of a simpler life…and a less stressful environment.

Dreaming of a Good Night’s Sleep

They say the best things in life are free. But some of those things can be difficult to achieve…like a good night’s sleep.

Especially as we age, quality sleep becomes elusive. Aches and pains may interfere with rest and many folks middle-aged and beyond awaken in the wee hours with night sweats. We have some ideas that can help bring you the unique gifts of better rest.88412_1000x1000

These Sleep Enhancing Sheets are made from a patented fabric clinically proven to promote better sleep. The sheets’ silky fibers are interwoven with strands of Celliant, yarn enhanced with titanium dioxide, a mineral that absorbs body heat and then converts it into infrared light that is reabsorbed back into the skin. This safe, invisible energy reduces pain, boosts blood oxygen levels, and helps to counteract aches, inflammation, and night sweats.78165_1000x1000

NASA has developed another fabric originally designed to keep astronauts comfortable in space. It’s used in this unique pillow, available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, to provide a comfortably cool sleeping surface. Inside the pillow, millions of invisible microcapsules absorb excess heat and move the warmth away from your head and neck until the pillow reaches the ambient temperature. As you shift positions during sleep, the vacated area of the pillow recovers its cooling properties.84920_1000x1000

Another unique gift for better sleep is this Instant Cooling Bed Pad. It uses a special gel that absorbs body heat. During eight hours of testing in an independent lab, this pad’s surface temperature rose only 1 degree. Requiring no refrigeration or electricity, the pad’s thin-yet-firm gel provides a comfortable sleeping surface, and unlike lesser pads, won’t emit sleep-disrupting popping noises when you roll over.

Multiple studies have shown that inadequate sleep may lead to chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, short-term memory loss, and weight gain. Vow to get better sleep starting tonight and give yourself the unique gifts of better health.

Unique Gifts Bring the Farm to Your Table

You wandered the farmers’ market to find the freshest, tastiest heirloom tomatoes. You battled to grab the last bunches of brilliant green broccoli rabe. You waited in long lines at the heritage beef butcher’s kiosk to get the finest grass-fed, free-range beef brisket—the one your friend told you was “to die for” after five hours of smoking and slow roasting.

Except now it’s noon and your guests are coming at 3:00.84974_1000x1000

Solve this culinary conundrum with the One Hour Indoor Pressure Smoker. It will cook that brisket in only one hour—five times faster than traditional methods. Combining a pressure cooker and smoker in one appliance, this 6½-quart device increases internal pressure by 15 psi, cooking food faster while still allowing wood chips to release their unique gift of fragrant, flavor-enhancing smoke. The cooker can also be employed as a cold smoker, steamer, or even just a traditional low- or-high-pressure cooker.84871_1000x1000

As for those heirloom tomatoes, a salubriously delicious sauce can be made with the Genuine Italian Tomato Press. Imported from Italy, it peels, seeds, and strains fresh tomatoes to create a smooth puree. Capturing the flavor of seasonal produce without the laborious process of manually blanching, skinning, and coring the fruit, this efficient Old World tool processes up to three quarts of raw tomatoes at a time by simply turning a crank.88905_1000x1000

The fresh broccoli rabe can be cooked without butter or oil—reducing calories and fat—in a nonstick pan. This set of Scratchproof Nonstick Pans feature a ceramic-titanium coating that makes for easy cooking and cleanup. In tests by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, fried eggs slid off the ungreased pan as if cooked on air, and the impervious non-stick surface suffered no damage when scrubbed with an abrasive pad and scratched with a metal fork. By the way, this pan set also make an ideal unique gift for a new graduate heading off to their first apartment.

The season for farmers’ markets is in full swing…make eating locally and eating well a fresh summer afternoon delight!

Some Like It Hot, Some ‘re Better Cool

Just past 6:30 last evening, the sun reached its northernmost point of the year, making today the first full day of summer.

While warm weather has been with us for weeks now, the hottest is yet to come. Statistically, the third week of July presents the warmest temperatures of the season. Some folks love hot weather, but others try their best to stay cool. If you’re in the latter group, these unique gifts will help you chill out, even when it’s blazing hot.82495_1000x1000

This low-profile window fan earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it produced the highest air velocity and pushed the most air volume. Plus, with only 57.1 decibels of noise, this is one of the quietest fans around. The Best model’s dual fans are reversible and operate independently, allowing one fan to draw cool air in while the other pushes warm air out for optimal circulation. It has a remote control, too, so you don’t even have to break a sweat to turn it on.78165_1000x1000

Using patented fabric developed for NASA to help keep astronauts comfortable in space, this unique pillow provides a comfortably cool sleeping surface. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, inside this pillow millions of invisible microcapsules absorb excess heat and move the warmth away from your head and neck until the pillow reaches the ambient temperature. As you shift positions during sleep, the vacated area of the pillow recovers its cooling properties.87339_1000x1000

Little else provides the unique gift of feeling cool than floating gently in a pool. This floating hammock supports your head and feet while your core remains partially submerged in water. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, this float’s unique design offers a blend of support and buoyancy that gives you the sensation of swinging in a favorite hammock. It requires no inflation, just get in the water and while away the afternoon.

For most people, little else beats the feeling of summer and memories of long, carefree days. Take time to enjoy the unique gifts this season brings…but if you can’t take the heat, we are here to help you keep your cool.

Gentlemen, Start Your Burners!

It’s time to fire up the grill! Properly done, grilling is a healthy way of cooking. Fats drip off meat, plus the high heat of this method helps grilled meats and veggies alike retain more vitamins. That’s a unique gift we’ll accept any time!

No wonder 80 percent of American homes own a grill or smoker. And while summer is the most popular time for a barbeque, about 60 percent of backyard chefs report using their grills year ‘round. So if you’re looking for unique gifts for a homeowner, a grill accessory is practically a sure bet.83709_1000x1000

To maintain grilling as a healthy method of cooking, the grates should be kept clean of carbon deposits. This grill-cleaning robot automatically cleans your grates, removing burned-on bits of food and grease in just a few passes. The device can be set to operate for 10, 20 or 30 minutes, so you can get an extra-deep cleaning for the first barbeque of the season, or following a steak-heavy Father’s Day meat fest.88516_1000x1000

Freeing the grillmaster to relax or fraternize, this innovative thermometer wirelessly sends alerts to a smartphone or a tablet. Unlike typical thermometers that require personal inspection, this model’s wireless transmitter sends real-time data to an iPhone/iPad or Android app from 160′ away, alerting you when a pre-selected temperature is reached. Its water-resistant transmitter receives data from the probes and transmits directly to the smart device. It works brilliantly in an indoor oven, too.87471_1000x1000

Those who grill all year long likely do their share of cooking after sunset…and here’s the ideal unique gift for those folks. This cordless grill light earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it generated the brightest, most expansive light and was the only model with a timer. The Best model has 18 LEDs that produce crisp light six times brighter than lesser models. Its beam illuminates the cooking surface and a grill’s side table simultaneously. This light can be mounted to any vertical, horizontal or angled surface.

Memorial Day—one of the most popular days for grilling—will be here in less than three weeks. If you’ve not yet dusted off your favorite kettle cooker, flat top grill or smoker, now’s the time. Fill the propane tank or stock up on charcoal and get ready for the wonderful aromas and delicious flavors of outdoor cooking.

Ready Your Home for Spring

When sun streams through your windows at angles it hasn’t since last summer, you’re likely to spot dust and grime you didn’t see during the dreary days of winter. That can only mean it’s time for a good spring cleaning.

Getting a checklist together is half the battle of getting motivated. Here are a few tips to help jump-start the project and you’ll soon be enjoying the unique gifts of a sparkling-clean home.

Clean out the fridge. Toss anything expired, as well as sauces and dressing you’ll never use again. Wash each shelf with a mixture of two tablespoons baking soda to one quart of warm water. Don’t forget to clean out the vegetable crisper…you don’t want it to become a vegetable rotter! Vacuum dust off the coil behind the fridge to keep it operating efficiently.84816_1000x1000

Rent a steam cleaner (or hire a service) to deep-clean your carpeting. Then, throughout the year, plan frequent vacuumings to minimize the amount of accumulating dirt and dust. Hate to vacuum? We recommend this Superior Suction Roomba 880 to let it do the work for you. It forgoes typical brushes and instead uses two rubber rollers rotating in opposite directions to pick up more debris while it moves methodically from room to room. It can even be programmed to automatically clean seven days a week.84538_1000x1000

Tackle “hidden” dust. Don’t forget corners, dusty baseboards and those bits of cereal that find their way under kitchen cabinets. The Best Cordless Hand Vac was rated the most effective by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because of its cleaning power, convenient features and ergonomic design. Its hygienic one-button system empties waste directly into the garbage.87109_1000x1000

Get windows sparkling clean to maximize the unique gift of nature’s light. This Vacuuming Squeegee efficiently cleans windows and flat surfaces without drips. The included spray bottle accepts your preferred cleaning solution for wetting the glass. A press of a button starts its powerful motor to vacuum the dirty solution into the reservoir at a quiet operating volume.

Finally, have you changed your furnace filter recently? The filter should be replaced at least every 90 days, and it’s important to maintain a clean filter if you have central air conditioning. This helps your AC cool more efficiently and will cut down on dust in your home, too.

Squeezing Every Inch of Storage from a Tiny Home

Small-space living is more than a trend perpetuated by home-and-garden TV shows. For many residents of New York City, San Francisco, and other expensive urban areas, it’s a necessary way of life.

But, there’s a fine line between cozy and crazy. Fortunately, we have a few ideas to help you enjoy the unique gifts of downtown living, gain storage space, and still indulge in some of life’s little luxuries.86398_1000x1000

This slim-profile side table boasts hidden storage that keeps clutter at bay, while keeping indispensable items close at hand. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, the table has a hinged lift-up compartment at one end and a sliding lid on the other end to conveniently provide space to hide remote controls, eyeglasses, pens, coasters, and other small items. Below, a shelf holds books, magazines, or knick-knacks. The table’s slim design easily nestles between two chairs or in a tight entryway.88290_1000x1000

In a space-challenged bathroom, this cabinet’s narrow footprint and large capacity adds welcome organization and storage. Another Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, it’s only 9” wide, so it can slide beside a toilet or tub or next to a pedestal sink. Five separate compartments hold everything from a plunger to bath tissue, medications, cosmetics, 86670_1000x1000 and toiletries.

Living space in the city is expensive, but so are coffee-shop lattes and cappuccinos. Break up with your barista with this Italian espresso machine that takes up only 6″ of precious kitchen counter space. This slim machine sheds the bulk of similar models, yet brews professional-quality drinks using a 15-bar manual pump system to extract maximum flavor from the beans. It dispenses a single or double shot in only 40 seconds, while the built-in steam wand froths milk to a rich, creamy consistency. Not only a space-saver, this machine is the ideal unique gift for a coffee lover.

Small-space living helps one live contently with fewer possessions. You won’t waste time playing custodian to your stuff and you’ll appreciate experiences over things. Just stay organized and you won’t be made claustrophobic by clutter.

Gardening Improves Mind, Body, and Soul

Gardening is good for you, physically and mentally. It gives you the unique gifts of burning calories along with the therapeutic benefit that comes from raising your own flowers and vegetables. Tomorrow marks National Gardening Exercise Day, so it’s a great time to indulge in this popular pastime.

Whether you’re a long-time avid gardener or a novice hoping to develop a green thumb, we have some ideas that will enhance a day with your plants. These items make ideal unique gifts for your favorite gardener, too.

12583_300x300Worn by French winemakers and gardeners for hundreds of years, these handmade, natural rubber boots are supple yet sturdy, waterproof, and comfortable when worn whether harvesting from a backyard garden or tending to the vineyards in Bordeaux. The boots have deep rubber treads, a foam-lined insole, and an adjustable buckle at the ankle, ensuring ideal traction and comfort.

87330_300x300Aiming for exercise does not preclude the gardener from sitting while he or she works. This wheeled utility cart features a cushioned swiveling seat that provides 360° of movement. A feature exclusive to Hammacher Schlemmer, the seat is padded with 1/2″ of foam that conforms to its tractor-style shape. A basket in the rear and a tray underneath provide easy access to tools, gloves, and planting supplies.

87084_300x300If you lack space for a garden or have difficulty bending down to ground level, this vertical garden displays five planters that will let you enjoy gardening. The pots detach for easy planting and hook into place at staggered heights to maximize sun exposure. The garden can easily be rolled to chase the sun over the course of the day or moved indoors during cooler months for year-round enjoyment.

Even just walking around a garden can help you exercise and it will give you a feeling of well-being, too. So get outdoors, feel the breeze, hear the birds, and let gardening bring you the unique gifts of better health and peace of mind.