Whittle Your Middle

As the years go by, most of us are getting a little softer around the mid-section.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that over the decade that ended in 2012, the average American waistline increased by more than an inch. Unfortunately, fat around the abdomen is a greater danger to good health than fat in other areas, and it’s worth trying to lose.

Fact is, you can’t reduce your waistline without some targeted efforts. These unique gifts will work your core, helping your middle measurements while also strengthening your back, improving posture and balance, increasing your energy level, and enhancing your appearance.

This core-toning twister board provides a low-impact workout on any surface. Its unique design lets you stand on each end to tone abs, along with quads and calves, by simply twisting. Unlike monotonous balance boards or other stationary equipment, this unit encourages active, dance-like movement without putting strain on the knees.

Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, this compact trainer simulates cantering on a horse to strengthen and tone core muscles. Simply sit on the padded saddle, rest your feet on its rubberized bar, grasp the padded adjustable handlebar, and shift your weight backward to put the device’s drivewheel in motion. A 10-minute session can burn as many calories as 200 sit-ups or a one-hour walk.

As you whittle your middle, you’ll want to start sculpting your entire body to gain the unique gifts of being toned and fit overall. This foldable home resistance gym provides a 50-exercise workout, yet can be stored under a bed or in a closet. The gym uses six elastic cords that provide three levels of bi-directional resistance by simply adjusting integrated carabiner clips.

Once you’ve trimmed and strengthened your core, you will likely find everyday tasks—housecleaning, yard work, even just walking to and from a parking lot—become easier and more pleasurable. You may lose weight but what you’ll gain are the unique gifts that come from improving your health and feeling better overall.

What If Your Garden Could Tend Itself?

Among the best things about spring is planning and planting a beautiful, bountiful garden. Among the worst things about a garden is the burden of extra chores it adds to the day.

We say, why not let the gardening equipment do part of the work for you? Each of the unique gift ideas mentioned here handles some of the workload, giving you more time to relax and enjoy.

These self-watering stackable planters incorporate a concealed reservoir that conveys water to each bin like a Roman aqueduct. Simply click the modular planters into position, then pour water through one of the watering holes. The liquid flows to all five containers via a system of concealed pipes, ensuring flowers, vegetables, and herbs have access to water whenever needed, while sealing out debris and mosquitoes. Consider this set for a unique gift for Mother’s Day, too.

The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute tested leading sprinklers. This lawn and garden sprinkler earned The Best rating because it watered the largest area, which means less time for you spent moving it around. It’s the easiest to connect, thanks to a specially designed adapter that attaches to a hose and simply plugs into the sprinkler, eliminating tedious twisting. This sprinkler also features a mechanical timer that automatically turns it off after five minutes to two hours of watering.

This battery-powered wheelbarrow provides effortless transport of up to 220 lbs. of soil, mulch, or firewood. It uses a Lithium battery-powered motor operated by a convenient handlebar throttle, with controls to select a speed and choose a direction. A two-hour charge of its battery provides up to 45 minutes of hauling power.

Spending time among the sights, sounds, and scents of a garden can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Add these unique gifts to your tool shed and get the most out of your green oasis…and your summer.

Hot or Iced, Let’s Have Some Tea!

Tea first became popular as a beverage more than 1300 years ago during the Tang Dynasty in China. Today, it’s the most-consumed manufactured drink in the world: annual consumption amounts to more than coffee, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages combined!

Tea is popular for good reasons. It’s versatile and can be served hot or cold, sweetened or plain. A strong breakfast tea can pick you up, while a caffeine-free herbal tisane can relax you. Tea delivers unique gifts in the form of health-giving antioxidants and may help with weight loss, boost the immune system, and aid heart health.

For the best-tasting tea, water should be brought to 175-212 degrees, depending on the type of tea being used. For brewing tea, tests by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute rated this electric tea kettle best because of its precise temperature controls, rapid heating ability, and overall ease of use. It retains heat efficiently, leaving you time for a second cup.

If you’re from the South, you may prefer your tea sweet and iced. This iced tea brewing machine makes up to two quarts of authentic Southern sweet tea that’s ready to drink in 10 minutes. As simple to use as a coffee maker, this automatic brewer lets you adjust the strength of the brewed tea with the turn of a dial and accommodates any kind of loose or bagged tea.

Want to take your tea to go? After comparison tests by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, we proved this to be The Best Commuter Cup for the fifth consecutive year because it’s easy to drink from and doesn’t leak, even when inverted. In tests, it allowed hot water to decrease in temperature by only 18 degrees after two hours, unlike lesser models that lost up to 71 degrees. It’s an ideal unique gift for tea and coffee lovers alike.

No matter what the season, it’s a great time to enjoy the unique gifts of tea. From black tea to green tea, jasmine to hibiscus to chamomile, there’s a tasty tea type that will delight just about anyone.

Unique Gifts Reflect the Truths of Motherhood

You might think you know your mother well…after all, you’ve know her your entire life. But do you really know everything about her?

Here are some truths about being a mother that she may have never told you, along with some suggestions for unique gifts for Mother’s Day to help fulfill what any mother needs.

She feels only as good as her feet feel. These soothing Australian sheepskin slippers offer exceptional comfort and warmth. The natural fleece lining is left intact during tanning and sewing to provide unsurpassed comfort and strength. The midsole is made with high-density foam topped by memory foam and the supple suede uppers will expand with wear to conform to the unique shape of her foot for the ultimate fit. Any mother will look forward to slipping these on at the end of a long day.

She wants to look put together, even when lounging around. Luxuriously soft yet practical for everyday wear, this lady’s lounge top and relaxed-style lounge pants are made entirely from washable cashmere, available only from Hammacher Schlemmer. Hand-combed from the downy undercoat of Cashmere goats, the fibers used in these garments have been exposed to a proprietary, non-toxic treatment to withstand repeated washing without shrinking. Your mom will appreciate that these garments retain their great looks wash after wash after wash.

She needs time for relaxing all to herself. There’s no better spot for that than this motorized reclining lounge chair with built-in electronic features all powered by the sun. A control pad on the left armrest provides push-button operation of a quiet hydraulic lift that reclines or raises the back, while fingertip-adjustable nozzles atop each armrest emit a refreshing mist. A USB port charges a cell phone, while integrated Bose speakers sync wirelessly with any Bluetooth-enabled device to play music or audio books. Mom can close out the chaos around her to get the relaxation she craves.

Still not sure what unique gifts for Mother’s Day suit your mom’s secret wishes? Take a look at our easy-to-use online Gift Guides for hundreds of suggestions in all price ranges.

Unique Gifts Of The Grape For Mom

Mother’s Day will be here May 14. If Mom’s a wine lover, you’re in luck—we have several ideas for unique gifts for her. These suggestions are perfect for moms who like to entertain, as well as for the mother who is happy she can finally drink wine with her kids instead of because of them.

This award-winning wine chiller keeps a bottle cool for up to four hours without ice. Its Finnish creators received more than 20 international honors praising the use of natural cooling ceramics. Ideal for a picnic or a sunny poolside afternoon, it eliminates the hassles of running back to the fridge for a refill. The unique outer surface lets you use chalk to write a Mother’s Day message on the exterior.

Not all cork pullers are easy to use, but this electric wine opener earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because of its perfect worm insertion and rapid, effortless cork removal. A wine industry expert lauded The Best model for requiring “no effort at all,” making it perfect for a mom who really needs a glass fast at the end of a long day, or one who experiences the discomfort of arthritis in her hands.

This wine lovers’ lazy Susan is beautifully made with wood and a repurposed wine barrel ring. The tray rests flat on a table and smoothly spins 360 degrees on steel ball bearings, enabling guests to pass cheeses, grapes, or other wine-pairing hors d’oeuvres without reaching across one another. It can even be personalized to make it a truly unique gift for the very special woman in your life.

When it comes to choosing a gift for your mother keep in mind she’s wise and knows money can’t buy happiness. But money can buy wine and that’s sort of the same thing.

Small Steps Protect Earth’s Unique Gifts

Saving the Earth seems daunting, like a 1000-mile journey on foot. Our Earth’s climate and its resources need our conservative habits, in the traditional definition of the word. To conserve: to hold back, to keep in reserve, and to not waste the resources of future generations.

This Saturday is Earth Day, with focus on being conservative with our use of water and fuel, and not using harmful chemicals on our lawns and gardens. In the true spirt of Earth Day, we have unique gifts to provide ideas for small but impactful steps for your own home.

Conserve water—This 55-gallon year-round rain barrel provides a ready supply of water for flower beds and gardens, yet resembles an earthenware urn, allowing it to blend seamlessly with a home’s exterior. A rust-proof screen with a secondary safety grid prevents debris and curious animals from entering the barrel. A brass spigot makes it easy to fill a watering can or you can connect your garden hose to a built-in fitting.

Reduce use of fuel—This cordless electric lawn mower delivers cutting performance comparable to a gas mower without the accompanying noise, air-fouling emissions, and frequent refills of gasoline. The variable-speed mower features a push-button start that eliminates the hassle of pull cords. In tests by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, it ran for up to 100 minutes and fully recharged in about an hour.

Cut down on chemicals—This lawn and garden steamer helps control common weeds with ordinary tap water, rather than harmful chemicals or backbreaking labor. A squeeze of the steamer’s trigger unleashes a weed-wilting blast of steam, shriveling unwanted vegetation with just a 5-10 second treatment.

The Earth has given us many unique gifts of its own…the time to act is now and the choice is yours to make. To paraphrase a line from Jimmy Buffet, do we want to treat the Earth like a temple or like a tent?

Happy 176th, Mr. Schlemmer!

The dictionary defines stalwart as reliable, loyal and hardworking. Those words could describe William Schlemmer, born in Germany on April 20, 1841.

Mr. Schlemmer came to the U.S. at age 11 and went to work for his uncle, Charles Tollner. Tollner owned a successful hardware store in the lower Bowery, where the young lad hawked tools and hardware in front of the store.

As his career progressed, it was not uncommon for Mr. Schlemmer to arrive at work by 5 a.m., seldom leaving before midnight. In 1857, he convinced Albert Hammacher to invest in the enterprise. As the years went by, Mr. Schlemmer gradually gained ownership of the company, first buying out his uncle’s shares, then most of Mr. Hammacher’s.

Our success today owes much to Mr. Schlemmer’s ethics and values. Our selection of The Best unique gifts, fully vetted by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, pay homage to his insistence on uncompromising standards of quality.

For example, we believe he would be a fan of this quiet-running window fan. It earned The Best rating because it produced the highest air velocity and pushed the most air volume. The Best model’s dual fans are reversible and operate independently, allowing one fan to draw cool air inside while the other pushes warm air outside for optimal circulation.

As an 11-year-old employee, young William undoubtedly spent some time sweeping up with an old-fashioned broom. He would have been amazed by this cordless handheld vacuum. It earned The Best rating by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it cleaned most effectively, ran the longest, and had superior features. The Best Hand Vac proved to clean debris in far less time than lesser models.

A photo from around the turn of the century shows Mr. Schlemmer with a tidy mustache. Certainly, he would have appreciated this beard and mustache trimmer, rated The Best by panelists because it provided the “cleanest, most comfortable shave” with “zero pulling or nicking.” Father’s Day will be here before you know it; consider this as a unique gift for him.

We thank the “Old Gentleman,” as Mr. Schlemmer was called in his later years, for the business he grew. We promise to continue to guard his values for The Best unique gifts, reflected as always in our Unconditional and Unwavering Lifetime Guarantee.

Time for Post-Taxation Relaxation

Are your tax returns complete? If not, get to it—you only have till Tuesday.

If you filed weeks ago, perhaps you’re fretting you may not have gotten the biggest refund possible. If you’re waiting till this weekend because you “work best under pressure,” you’re likely feeling the pressure by now. Either way, odds are you find the whole process…taxing.

So for all of us who must do the inevitable, we are presenting some unique gifts for post-taxation relaxation. Loosen those tight shoulders, get circulation back in the gluteal area, and send your mind to a blissful state of zen.

This tension-relieving collar uses vibrating massage, electric stimulation, and heat therapy to melt stress away. Used by professional therapists, it is ideal for helping to relieve muscle pain and strain from hunching over 1040 forms or tax-prep software. You can select sessions in 5-minute increments up to 30 minutes.

Tight from too much sitting? Created only for Hammacher Schlemmer, this deep-tissue hip massager is a unique gift with a unique shape. Its powerful percussive nodes work deep into hip and lumbar tissue to loosen stiff muscles. Just rest in a chair against the enveloping U-shaped cushion, while massage heads on each side provide Swedish-style rhythmic tapotement that stimulates blood flow to revitalize tired and sore muscles in the lower back, hip, and sides—areas other massagers seldom go.

Once the body’s relaxed, it’s time to rest the brain. This eternally reusable canvas reinforces a perpetual zen-like mindset. Your water-based, slate-grey creations evaporate in minutes. Though letting go of one’s creation practices the Buddhist principle of impermanence, an unexpectedly vivid image may still be captured with a smartphone.

If you’re still feeling stressed over tax time, put the feeling to good use. Make a new tax year resolution to watch your finances more closely, stick to a budget and next year, and start your tax return by March 1. You’ll be less likely to miss potential deductions, finish your return earlier, and enjoy the unique gift of relaxation that much sooner.

Here’s the Buzz on the Birds and the Bees

You may have heard about the birds and the bees—and how populations of both are diminishing, alarmingly in the case of bees.

Both of these creatures are essential to the delicate balance of the ecosystem because of the unique gifts they give us. Birds spread seeds and provide insect control. Without bees, we would lose important fruit and vegetable crops such as broccoli, tomatoes, apples, cherries, and, of course, sweet and delicious honey.

Each of us can play a part in protecting birds and bees, and not take for granted their presence around us. Here are a few unique gifts to help you get started attracting and appreciating them both.

This low-maintenance bee house attracts solitary bees—non-stinging, non-swarming species that are essential for pollinating flowers and nurturing lush gardens. As recommended by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society, the wooden apiary is outfitted with two dozen slim tunnels, where gentle solitary species such as the mason bee and the leafcutter bee lay individual larvae, without the frenzy of communal hives.

Draw fine feathered friends to your yard with this bird-calling audio player that entices them to visit a feeder, perch, or birdhouse. Designed in consultation with ornithologists, the device attracts birds using calls recorded in the field, not digitally synthesized, for maximum realism. One setting plays the melodious songs of bluebirds, orioles, wrens, finches, and indigo buntings, while the other reproduces the song of beneficial mosquito-devouring purple martins.

Spot birds that arrive in your yard with these 144X magnification binoculars, available only from Hammacher Schlemmer. They adjust easily from 20X to their maximum 144X with a simple press of a lever, providing sharp, clear images. Expertly collimated to provide a single image, they use powerful, fully coated optics, allowing you to view your target from a distance, without disturbing the bird into flight. With spring finally here, these binoculars are an ideal unique gift for any nature lover.

Scientists have been studying ways to bolster populations of bees and birds alike. Possible solutions include reducing use of chemical pesticides, planting more native species of grasses and plants, and encouraging each of us to turn our backyard into an oasis for these vulnerable flying creatures. Let’s do that!

Distinctive Spirits Deserve Distinctive Barware

From 2003 to 2015, the number of craft spirits producers in the U.S. increased from about 60 to nearly 1,300. This booming business gives us more than just the unique gifts of the flavors in our glasses. The artisanal liquor industry creates jobs, puts tax dollars into the coffers, and breathes new life into communities where tasting rooms are located.

For the home bar, artisanal spirits provide the opportunity to create a distinctive experience for yourself and your guests. The products of craft distillers often express unique taste profiles, transforming a simple drink at the end of the day into an experience that is almost culinary in its nuances. You can further express the uniqueness of your home bar with barware personalized by your own monogram.

This personalized decanter with two matching tumblers is made by skilled Bavarian artisans with over 180 years of experience and tradition. The decanter and glasses are crafted using time-honored techniques at one of the world’s most advanced and environmentally responsible crystal manufacturing facilities. The tumblers’ size and heft are deserving of the finest craft spirits, made even more unique with your family initial engraved on each piece.

And that fine craft spirit should be served on the proper ice. This precision-made mold is the same kind used in premier restaurants and bars to yield a perfect 2.5″-diameter sphere of ice in one minute. With less surface area and a slower melting time than conventional cubes, the sphere chills the spirits faster while minimizing dilution. Add an optional personalized aluminum insert to brand your initial into each sphere.

The growth of craft distilling came about thanks to the success of the craft beer industry, which itself owes much of its growth to the “buy local” movement. There’s a hometown pride that comes from taking your own growler into the microbrewery down the street, coming away with 64 oz. of freshly made ale. Even better, this sleek, modern-age growler is crafted of stainless steel with a swing-top, tight-seal silicone stopper. Like the other unique gifts we’ve mentioned here, it can be monogrammed for yourself or your favorite “hop head”.

There are interesting distilleries and microbreweries in every state now. If you have not yet explored the elixirs from your area, grab your monogrammed growler, raise your personalized glass, and toast to these locally made unique gifts of libation.