Unique Gifts for Back to School

How packing for college has changed through the years!

Prior to the 1970s, a young person left for school with only the possessions that fit in a suitcase or two. But by the latter part of the 20th century, students were hauling a multitude of stereo components, huge speakers, TVs and big desktop computers back to their university.

With the rise of smartphones and the iPad, today’s students can fit all the technolo86444_1000x1000gy they need into a modest backpack. With that in mind, we have some suggestions for unique gifts for back-to-school that won’t take up precious suitcase space, but are sure to please any student.81186_1000x1000

Here’s the ideal unique gift for any student who carries an iPad…this case charges an iPad solely through the power of the sun. A thin-film solar panel embedded in the case’s cover converts sunlight into electricity that delivers an additional two hours of power to the tablet. A secondary USB port can charge a smartphone, too. This solar case is ideal for business travelers, hikers and vacationers, too.86073_1000x1000

One thing unchanged over the decades is that after late nights burning the midnight oil (studying, of course), a college student can be awfully hard to rouse from bed in the morning. The Thunderclap Alarm Clock wakes even the soundest sleepers with a 113-decibel ringer that’s as loud as thunder. We recommend advising any roommates prior to using this alarm.

Finally, here’s a desk lamp that was recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the best inventions of the year. It has a space-saving minimalist design and bright LED bulbs that will power study hours from freshman year through grad school. This ultra-flexible lamp offers an extended reach for precise task lighting and turns off or dims at the touch of a finger.

Summer, We’re Not Done with You Yet!

Did you feel that? There’s something in the breeze signaling a coming change in the weather. To some, this is the most pleasant time of the year. They appreciate nature’s unique gifts of warm days, cooler nights, and the weeks of mild weather yet to come. 81846_1000x1000

It’s time to think about how to get the most enjoyment from your outdoor space as we welcome fall. We have some ideas for transitioning your patio or deck to the new season, items you can use as a unique gift for yourself when you’re not quite ready to give up on summer. 78167_1000x1000

Yes, many of us love this time of the year, but so do mosquitoes. This natural mosquito trap attracts and kills mosquitoes in yards up to one acre, without using harmful chemicals. The trap mimics the natural conditions of human habitation by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas we expel during respiration) and light to lure pesky skeeters into the trap and away from you.84483_1000x1000

The sun is setting earlier and earlier every night. Shed some light on the subject when twilight falls with this cordless, weatherproof outdoor lamp that telescopes from 24″ to 60″. The battery-powered lamp’s LEDs cast a bright 25′ circle of light onto a patio or deck. It uses eight D batteries to provide up to 200 hours of light.79766_1000x1000

These rechargeable, wireless speakers do double duty. Outdoors, they pack enough audio muscle to fuel up your pool party or BBQ. When weather drives you indoors, their room-filling sound is crisp and clear without distortion, even at full volume. The transmitter plugs easily into any audio source from smartphones and tablets to stereos and TVs. The batteries fully recharge in just three hours.87312_1000x1000

Stowing patio furniture for the winter is a lot easier when you have our exclusive Gateleg Table and Stowable Chairs. The tabletop leaves fold down and the folding chairs stack neatly between the table legs, allowing the entire set to be stored in about 7 square feet of patio space. Made from beautiful Brazilian eucalyptus, the oval tabletop provides ample room for six adults and the chairs’ backrests and seats provide comfort and stability. We have a long-lasting cover for this set, too, should you choose to leave it outdoors year ‘round.

So, although Labor Day signals the official end of summer, there’s still plenty of time to get outside and enjoy the unique gifts of this beautiful season.

Visit the Spa without Leaving Home

It happens to us all: the stresses of everyday life eat away at your sense of well-being. Too much stress can leave you feeling exhausted and wear away your good health.

One path toward beating those stressors is the unique gift of a little self-pampering. Unfortunately, the very circumstances causing your stress may also prevent you from taking a day off to visit the spa to soak in a bubbling hot tub or enjoy a therapeutic massage. But every day can be a spa day when you set up your own in-home spa. It’s easier than you think!87675_300x300

Let’s start with a warm, relaxing soak. This device converts any bathtub into a soothing spa tub in seconds. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, the device simply attaches to the side of your tub using suction cups. The unit has two speeds and swiveling nozzles that let you direct streams of water to where you need them most. 86577_300x300

When you arise from the tub, don The Superior Softness Spa Wear. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, this apparel is exceptionally comfortable due to its softness, yet renowned for its durability. A micro-chenille fiber weave of rayon and nylon creates a touch that rivals cashmere, without the stiffness and wear of cotton or synthetics. These garments make perfect and unique gifts for anyone who needs a little extra comfort in their lives. 86728_300x300

Some days, all you need to de-stress is a foot massage. The Hydrotherapy Roller Masseuse pampers sore feet and calves with relaxing reflexology. Two powerful warm water jets soothe each foot. Four textured rollers beneath the water apply gentle pressure to the soles and heels softening skin, loosening tight muscles and melting away stress. Treatment for the heel and sole that will heal the soul! 12674_300x300

The ultimate Personal Day Spa experience is available with soothing heat, massage and aromatherapy that relaxes the mind and body. This spa produces dry sauna-like heat that penetrates deep into tissue. The bed is made from soft memory foam that contours to you and delivers a full-body vibration massage to relax tense or overworked muscles from your shoulders to your ankles.

Complete your in-home treatments with the unique gifts that come from laughter, nature’s best medicine. Curl up one of the top 100 funniest movies of all time, and end the day with a smile on your face and laughter in your heart.

Unique Gifts Pawsitively for Dog Lovers

These may be the dog days of summer, but man’s best friend gets a special day, too. Tomorrow is National Dog Day and it gives us paws to think about this great time to pamper a pup.81923A_300x300

Your four-legged friend may be used to ruffing it, but we have some unique gifts that are pawsibilities to please any pooch—or their two-legged owner—fur real. 79686_300x300

You could take Bella to a doggy spa for some pawfume and pawlish, but we think she’d enjoy a dip in The Canine Splash Pool more. Made from heavy-gauge PVC that can withstand a dog’s rough paws and sharp claws, this pool sets up anywhere and has reinforced side panels that keep water in the pool while the dog splashes around. 87767_300x300

For older or arthritic pets, or those who are just dog-tired at the end of the day, The Pet Ramp and Staircase is designed to help your furry friend reach the sofa or bed without exerting undue stress on joints and muscles. The two non-slip steps fold down to form a ramp that allows pets to ascend and descend safely.

And if you pamper your pet with easy access to the furniture, consider these non-slip protective covers for sofas and chairs. The washable covers protect furniture from pet hair and damage without the slippage common to lesser models. Made from plush, deep-pile velvet, they protect upholstery and leather against fur, scratches, moisture, and other pet messes, so you need not shoo your pooch to the floor or constantly follow behind with a vacuum or washcloth.

We don’t intend to share any dogma, but one of the very best ways to celebrate National Dog Day is by adopting a shelter animal. Life is too doggone short to live without the unique gift of the wag of a tail and a friendly canine in the house.

Unwind with the Wind

Enjoy the warm, relaxing breezes of late summer this Sunday when it’s National Ride the Wind Day.

The day commemorates the first sustained human-powered flight. On Aug. 23, 1977, the Gossamer Condor 2 won the first Kremer Prize, an award for people who pioneer flight powered by human muscle. Piloted by hang gliding enthusiast Bryan Allen, the Gossamer Condor 2 flew 2,172 meters at a blazing 11 MPH.

To celebrate the spirit of riding the wind and feeling the breeze in your hair, we’re sharing some products that give you the exhilaration of flying with the wind, even when you don’t actually leave the ground.12187_300x300

The bicycle is a long-respected means of human-powered transportation, and with help from a two-stroke gasoline engine and a para-wing, this trike becomes a flying ultralight aircraft. Designed to fly at low altitudes at speeds up to 25 MPH, the para-trike can take you up to 75 miles on a single tank of gas. On the ground, it operates like any conventional bicycle and fits in the trunk of your car.12657_300x300

Combining the principles of a skateboard and a Segway, The Electric Gyroboard Transporter is controlled entirely by subtle movements in a rider’s feet. Gyro sensors and accelerometers in both wheels detect pressure for acceleration and direction. It can travel up to four miles on a charge, at speeds up to 6 MPH.11803_300x300

You may dream of the unique gift of flight, and yet prefer to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. In that case, this Cockpit Flight Simulator features the same controls found in actual aircraft. The included computer and Lockheed Martin flight simulator software will have you piloting anything from a Mooney Acclaim to a Boeing 747. A built-in sound system surrounds you in realistic audio and the 32″ high-def, wide-screen monitor displays geographically and topographically correct graphics.

Cooler days are just around the corner, so no matter what type of transportation you choose, do something that will let you feel the wind in your hair and savor the unique gifts of this beautiful, but fading, time of year.

The Nose Knows: Allergy Season Is Here

The warm days and cooler nights of August can trigger many feelings: a wistfulness that summer is ending, eagerness over the impending start of the school year (sometimes parents more than students), and the runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezes that signal seasonal allergies.

Ragweed is the most frequent cause of late summer and fall rhinitis. According to WebMD, climate change has acted to extend the ragweed season an additional four weeks beyond long-term averages. Any allergy sufferer would welcome unique gifts to help them breathe easier during this time. 77024_300x300

The Sinus Relief System is a medication-free means of clearing nasal passages. The system uses the same principles as the traditional Indian neti pot. The device delivers a gentle, low-pressure stream of saline solution to irrigate sinuses, removing impurities and irritants in the process. 81655_300x300

Prevention is worth a pound of cure, and cleaner air means fewer allergy symptoms. The Mold and Germ Destroying Air Purifier eliminates up to 99% of airborne bacteria, mold, viruses, pet dander, dust mite allergens, and of course, pollen. The purifier uses natural convection to draw airborne impurities into its ceramic heating chamber, then releases cleansed air into the room. It will quietly and efficiently scrub the air in a room up to 650 sq. ft. in about four hours. You’ll enjoy the unique gifts of allergy relief and better sleep. 83895_300x300

For travelers, this pocket-sized purifier uses a technology similar to that used by NASA on the space shuttle. Ultraviolet light inside the device combines with a nickel catalyst to reduce airborne allergens, bacteria, mold, and odor-causing volatile organic compounds. It cleans up to 175 sq. ft., making it perfect for hotel rooms as well as automobiles. It makes a great unique gift for any sniffling road warrior.

So pack away the tissues and try these natural remedies for sweet sinus relief. The nose knows you need it.

Unique Gifts Help Ease a Golfer’s Rough Days

This weekend, the PGA Championship match will be held at Whistling Straits. This is a links-style 36-hole course in Kohler, WI.

Links-style courses typical present challenges to golfers in the form of uneven fairways, thick rough, and small, deep bunkers. Players with the unique gift of accurate shooting tend to do better on these courses than do long hitters.84014_300x300

For those of us without the unique gifts of professional-level golfers, we have a few items that can help improve your golfing experience on any style of course. 12245_300x300

A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, these glasses help golfers locate golf balls obscured by shadows and thick rough. The lenses have a blue pigment that filters light as it passes through, making white golf balls easier to locate against dark backgrounds. 84767_300x300

Everyone has a bad day on the course now and then, even the pros (hello, Tiger). Here’s something that will divert attention away from your game, while still making you the talk of the course. The Golf Cart Hovercraft lets you one-up the pros while assuring your popularity with your foursome. This cart glides over hazards on a cushion of air as easily as it does over fairways and the rough.

If all else fails, your foursome will forget how you played when they remember you for your skill on the grill. The Golfer’s Grill Clubs are grill utensils with authentic golf club grips that ensure a confident hold while flipping burgers or turning a steak. The tools store in a mini golf bag, allowing your caddy to carry your clubs with ease.

Any of these items would make great prizes for a corporate golf outing, or unique gifts for your favorite weekend duffer.

Vision Health – The Eyes Have It

August is National Eye Exam Month – a great time to celebrate vision health, one of the most unique gifts of physical well-being.

If you are between the ages of 40-65, your eyes should be checked at least every two years; annually if you’re over 65. At any age, eye strain can make you feel more tired, give you a headache or make your vision less sharp. We have some recommendations for reducing the everyday eye fatigue caused by close work, glare, or poor lighting. 78347_300x30083536_300x300

Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, these magnifying reading glasses are infused with melanin to prevent eyes from tiring as you read or view a computer monitor. By age 65, eyes lose about 50% of their reserves of melanin, the pigment that gives eyes their color, protects from UV damage, and reduces glare naturally. The synthesized melanin in the lenses compensates for aging eyes’ increased sensitivity to glare.

Operating under the same principle, these sunglasses help relieve eye fatigue by filtering out 100% of damaging UVA/UVB ultraviolet and 98% of high-energy visible light. Also a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive and a convenient alternative to clip-ons, the sunglasses slip comfortably over most prescription eyewear frames and look like regular sunglasses. 83226_300x300

Unlike incandescent bulbs that produce glaring, yellow light, this desk lamp’s fluorescent bulb generates clear light that reduces eyestrain and enables clearer vision. Simulating the color fidelity of natural sunlight, the bulb illuminates books, crafts, or computer screens with a distortion-free glow.

The gift of sight is one of the best unique gifts you’ll ever enjoy, so make your appointment to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist now, during National Eye Exam Month.

Are you ready for some football?

This Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings will face off in the Hall of Fame Game, a pre-season kick-off to the 2015 NFL schedule. The game is held in Canton, OH, as part of the Football Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities.83359_300x300

As we launch into a new season of Sunday afternoons spent enjoying great match-ups and long-standing rivalries on the gridiron, consider these unique gifts for any football-loving sports fan. 12565_300x300

Put your feet up and cheer on your team while wearing these NFL slippers. They proudly display an embroidered logo and the colors of your team. The easy-to-clean stain- and water-resistant treated polyester suede slippers have a breathable plush lining of fleece. 12602_300x300

The Official NFL Team Watch displays the logo of your team on its face. It’s the ideal unique gift for the football fanatic who pays homage to gridiron greats on Sundays or fans who insist on holding players accountable with honest armchair quarterbacking. A tachymeter inscribed on the bezel enables precise calculation of speed and distance during sprints to the refrigerator and back to the couch during commercial breaks.

Any NFL fanatic would love a personalized locker room print that shows his own stall, complete with a nameplate, jersey, and equipment bearing his name and favorite number. His jersey will hang forever next to the uniforms of two players from the current roster, providing visual evidence of his working relationship with Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees.

So get the snacks and beverages ready, pull up an easy chair, and draft your fantasy football roster. Kick-off time is almost here!

Spend a Night Out with Your Neighbors

In communities across the nation, tonight upwards of 37 million people will participate in National Night Out.

The event started over 30 years ago to encourage community building and strengthen the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement. The goal is to bring back the unique gifts that come from a true sense of community: the days when everyone looked out for one another, neighbors helped neighbors and it truly did take a village to raise a child.

In many towns, National Night Out is celebrated with festivals, block parties, or a big camp-out in a local park. For anyone camping out tonight, or any night, we have some suggestions to make the experience more comfortable. 83769_300x300

Perhaps the worst part of a camp-out is being eaten by mosquitos. Our exclusive wearable mosquito net shields the skin from mosquitoes without the use of harmful and malodorous chemicals. Worn over regular clothing, the long-sleeved pullover protects against insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, as well as the discomfort of itchy welts. 84826_300x300

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you should be without your fully charged smartphone. This rechargeable lantern also recharges a phone. The lantern’s two LEDs generate bright light for up to 48 hours. When the battery is full the unit can recharge a smartphone twice, an ebook once, and 40% of an iPad’s battery. We recommend this as a unique gift for anyone who likes to escape to the great outdoors. 86042_300x300

Make the most of the tie-in between National Night Out and local police departments with this powerful flashlight. It’s a style preferred by law enforcement personnel and search and rescue operators for its ability to cast a cone of light up to 2,240 feet.  Constructed from tough, lightweight aluminum, the flashlight’s rubberized o-ring seal provides reliable water resistance, too.

So tonight, celebrate the unique gifts your community gives you and take an evening walk or participate in a National Night Out event near you.