We’re Going to the Dogs…and Loving It!

Dogs can be loyal friends, protectors, helpers, and providers of unconditional comfort. It’s no wonder they are called man’s best friend!

It makes good sense to do all we can to keep our faithful furry friends safe and happy, especially during April, Canine Fitness Month. Here are some unique gifts dedicated to helping you give your dog a healthy and happy life.

This backseat safety deck creates a comfortable platform for dogs riding in your car. The uneven surfaces, shallow depths, and slopes of back seats cause dogs to pace and claw to avoid sliding and falling into the back seat foot wells. This shelf’s stable, level surface eliminates these behaviors, protecting upholstery and preventing potential injuries.

Keep ants and other crawling, disease-carrying insects out of your dog’s food bowl. This moated porcelain pet bowl set protects dog food from kibble-craving ants. A nephroid-shaped bowl for water creates a moat around the food bowl. The bowls rest on a sturdy bamboo stand to keep them raised, another health benefit for your dog by reducing excess neck strain while eating.

As your dog ages, arthritis and sore joints and muscles can make it difficult for him to reach a soft bed or sofa. This pet staircase converts into a ramp in seconds, providing a safe means for the dog (or cat) to ascend and descend without exerting undue stress on joints and muscles. It makes an ideal and unique gift for anyone with a much-loved older pet.

Canine Fitness Month encourages a healthier lifestyle for dogs and humans alike. Get outside with your dog: play, take a long walk, and celebrate the unique gifts of a less sedentary lifestyle. You’ll both be better off for it!

Ready for an Exciting Season, Right Off the Bat

Hey batter, batter: Sunday, the 2017 Major League Baseball season begins. This time last year, we postulated the Chicago Cubs would go all the way. Can they do it again? Or will it be the Cleveland Indians, the Cubs’ World Series rivals and current holder of baseball’s longest drought? Or perhaps in Boston, where Chris Sale changed the color of his Sox from White to Red, the team’s strength on the mound provides their chance at a championship.

No matter which team you root for, it’s an exciting time of year for sports fans. Celebrate hope for the new season with these unique gifts, perfect for any baseball fanatic.

Personalize your media room or “man cave” with this truly one-of-a-kind framed poster that displays your name on a jersey in your favorite team’s locker room, hung next to current players’ uniforms. In the locker room scene, you get your own stall, complete with a personalized name plate, equipment, and jersey bearing your name and favorite number. This priceless memento is encased in a stainless-steel frame with crystal-clear glass.

Nearly every family has one: the baseball trivia expert who can recite decades-old stats and recall famous plays from memory. A fitting and unique gift for such a fan is this personalized archive from The New York Times. The book brings together articles chronicling a fan’s favorite MLB team, including articles spanning from the team’s formative years to today. The bound book even displays the recipient’s name stamped in gold on the cover.

On off days, get your time on the field with this classic wooden pinball baseball game. A spring-loaded plunger “pitches” the ball – a stainless steel marble—onto the field of play. Players swing the wooden bat with a quick flip of a batting lever. The right touch launches the ball into one of the spaces designating a single, double, triple, or home run…all while avoiding one of “out” spaces that deposit the ball in a tray for another at-bat. Working LED stadium lights illuminate the playing field for night games.

Whether your favorite team is attempting to repeat history or finds itself in a rebuilding year, we wish you a winning season with hopes of the unique gift of a World Series Championship. Play ball!

Go Take a Hike!

This is a great time of year to begin a walking program, whether in the woods, your own neighborhood, or an urban landscape. The weather is ideal…it’s neither too hot nor too cold. Mosquitos are not yet making pests of themselves. And every day, you can observe changes in flora and fauna as nature brings forth the unique gifts of spring.

The health benefits of walking are numerous, but like any exercise, if you haven’t done it in a while you may want to start out slowly, building up to more time and distance over a few weeks. We have some unique gifts to help you put your best foot forward, so to speak, as you begin a new walking regimen or reinforce a current habit.

This genuine Irish shillelagh is handmade in the emerald isle – and no two sticks are identical. Blackthorn wood gives the walking stick its superior weight-to-hardness ratio, unlike inauthentic versions that fuse a blackthorn handle to a hazel shaft. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, each shillelagh features a knobbed handle sanded smooth and a shaft painted in a black enamel and lacquered with a high-gloss finish. A durable copper tip protects the end.

Cushion your step in these comfortable men’s walking shoes, made with patented shock absorbing technology that actually stores and returns energy with every step. The culmination of years of research by a team of mechanical engineers, podiatrists, and industrial designers, the sole of each shoe houses a unique biomechanical system that absorbs the shock of each heel strike and converts the force into positive energy propelling you forward. These extra-comfy shoes are available for ladies as well.

Track your progress with this matchbook-thin pedometer. Less than 0.2″ thick, the pedometer stores comfortably in any shirt or pants pocket and counts your steps without impeding daily activities. The device tracks steps taken, distance, calories burned, and time spent moving. It stores up to one million steps with its seven-day memory, and has an integrated clock and timer.

A daily walk is very beneficial to your health. It can trim your waistline, help manage conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your overall mood. Start reaping these unique gifts today—go take a hike!

Nature Abhors a Vacuum, But Not a Good Spring Cleaning

Recently, we suggested several unique gifts to help simplify your indoor spring cleaning. Today, we have a number of unique gift ideas to make outdoor clean-up less of a chore, too.

After the late-winter snows that blanketed much of the nation, your garden, patio, lawn and other exterior areas are more than ready for a spring clean-up. Don’t dread the task: think of it as a way to get longed-for time outdoors. Here, we’ll help make it easier:

Let’s start with this electric power washer – it cleaned more effectively and was the easiest to use in side-by-side tests conducted by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute. In comparison tests, The Best model removed the most paint from a cement brick, scoured mud from a car rim in only 22 seconds, and cleaned dirt and mold from aluminum siding faster than all other units. Analysts also deemed this power washer the simplest model to use among all tested. 

Imagine how quickly you could clean winter’s grime from your driveway, pool deck, tennis court or garage floor with this extra wide water broom. Seven threaded brass nozzles maintain strong, uniform spray at a constant height for even water distribution. It washes away dirt across a 3′ wide swath, while using only 1/10th the water of a standard garden hose. The swivel rubber casters make it easy to maneuver. 

Out in the yard, bushes and hedgerows are primed for a pruning. This cordless hedge trimmer lets you shape hedges up to 10′ tall while you stand safely on the ground. The shaft adjusts telescopically and locks in place at any length up to 10′ long and the head tilts 135° for easy trimming of hedges of nearly any shape or size. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery eliminates the hassle of running extension cords.

If you still need incentive to get your home’s exterior spiffed up for the season, just remember it’s the first impression visitors get. So it behooves you to clean the cobwebs, wash the windows, touch up the trim, and prune the plants. Then you’ll be ready to enjoy nature’s unique gifts of spring.

Spring Cleaning Needn’t Be a Chore

At long last, today we mark the first full day of spring! We are prone to favor the unique gifts of this season and have been counting down the days for several weeks now.

As much as spring is welcomed, it brings on two less-welcomed inevitabilities: taxes and the need for a good spring cleaning, both indoors and out. We can’t assist you on the tax front, but we do have several unique gifts designed to help simplify a deep spring cleaning.

This lightweight backpack vacuum, a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, turns a physically demanding chore into an activity as effortless as walking. Unlike heavy and awkward traditional vacuums, the backpack vacuum’s compact 10-lb. canister stays flush against the user’s body and its hose can be switched for left- or right-hand use. A four-stage HEPA filter removes springtime allergens, too.

This steam mop sanitizes floors yet leaves them dry and ready to walk on seconds after cleaning. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the mop has a powerful 1,200-watt pressurized boiler that emits a dry steam to kill germs and bacteria, and remove dirt…and it evaporates in seconds. An included attachment cleans and deodorizes carpets, too.

As the weather changes, creepy-crawlies might find their way into your home. Here’s the perfect unique gift for arachnophobes: The Best Bug Vacuum. This handheld cordless 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 powerful motor generates nearly five times more airflow than lesser vacuums to draw in flies, bees, spiders, and other insects while keeping them at arm’s length and killing them instantly.

Once you’ve finished cleaning the inside of your home, don’t neglect the yard, decks, and patios outside. Next time, we’ll tell you about some unique gifts to will help you get your outdoor areas ready for the warm days ahead.

No Joke: Laugh Your Way to Better Health

This Sunday is National Let’s Laugh Day, a celebration of the unique gifts and healing powers of laughter.

Truly, laughter is the best medicine, one with no negative side effects—although it is contagious. Studies have shown laughter relieves tension, aids relaxation, and boosts the immune system. It can lower blood pressure and even work your abs!

We all could stand to laugh more…so with whimsy in mind, we have some unique gift ideas designed to elicit laughter from anyone who sees or uses them.

These unusual wine glasses sport bent stems to set a relaxed, lighthearted mood at the beginning of a gathering or as a surreptitious stemware switch after guests are about to start on their second Syrah. Each glass sits atop a wide, sturdy base that holds wine securely, despite an impaired appearance. The glasses are hand-blown into vessels with some stems that bend a bit more than others or bowls that tilt at a different angle, supporting the adage that wine affects everyone—and every glass—differently.

This Whac-A-Mole game can be personalized to replace the standard mole heads with molded caricatures using pictures of members of your family, past managers, boyfriends/girlfriends, or any desired combination of personalities. The game operates exactly like those found in amusement parks and carnivals—five mole heads pop up randomly while you attempt to bash each with a mallet for points. The game sits within a walnut veneer cabinet that assumes the form of a bookshelf. 

Here’s another arcade game-inspired source of mirth. This remote-controlled vehicle brings to life the Mario Kart game by racing Donkey Kong against his nemesis Mario. Reenacting their competitions in the Mushroom Kingdom, this beloved monster can reach speeds of more than 13 mph in his detailed cart that you control with a joystick. This armored turtle leans into turns to conserve speed while real pneumatic tires and front and rear suspension ensure precise handling. Fun and laughs for all!

Laughter increases your general sense of well-being. Research has found people with a positive outlook fight diseases better and experience less chronic pain. So, on National Let’s Laugh Day—and every day—strive to smile, laugh and live a better life. We can’t think of a better unique gift than that.

Who Will Be Cinderella at the Dance?

It’s mid-March…and time for the biggest hoop dreams of the year: the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship Tournament. The first games begin today in Dayton, OH. This morning, every bracket is perfect and every team, like Cinderella, has hopes and dreams of dancing till the end.

How will you cope with the madness till the final game on April 3? We suggest you indulge your basketball jones with a few unique gifts.

Keep beverages for watching the game close to your favorite chair while supporting your favorite team. This portable and foldable cooler is emblazoned with the NCAA team logo of your choice. The sturdy hexagonally shaped cooler holds one and a half dozen 12 oz. cans, while a waterproof liner secures melting ice. A padded lid fits over the top to serve as a comfortable seat or a place to rest your feet.

Work off tension between halves with this indoor basketball net that returns made baskets to the shooter during a timed, rapid-fire shoot-out. A motorized chute under the netting automatically passes made baskets back to the shooter who can reload and take another shot. The chute swivels 180°, so you can set the direction of the ball return to a sweet spot or to an area of the room you need to work on.

When you’re ready to get outdoors and jam the ball, here’s a hoop that withstands 1,000 pounds of force. Unlike other adjustable basketball hoops that put excessive force on the backboard, this superior model has a steel beam that absorbs the force from tomahawk dunks and two-handed alley-oops. The regulation-sized backboard is made from thick tempered glass for true bank shots and rebounds, while torsion bars on the bottom of the backboard prevent sway. If there are young athletes in your house who fancy themselves to be the next Michael Jordan or LeBron James, this is a great unique gift for them.

But if all these unique gifts for basketball are not your thing, hang in there…baseball season is right around the corner.

Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?

You might hear that phrase uttered this weekend as most of the U.S. turns our clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time. While some folks may lament the loss of an hour of sleep, we welcome the unique gifts that come from an extra hour of evening light.

Admittedly, there will be several minutes spent adjusting the time on the microwave, the automatic coffee maker, and other household clocks that don’t adjust on their own. This oversized wall clock maintains its own unerring accuracy from the radio atomic clock transmitter in Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s even weather-resistant for use outdoors and lighted to help its visibility in low-light conditions.

As we age, it can become more difficult to see the time on a watch in any lighting. This talking analog watch ranked highest in evaluations by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute. Unlike lesser models that were inaudible or malfunctioned, this model announces the time distinctly in a clear male voice, ideal for those who find it difficult or inconvenient (such as when driving) to look at a watch. To ensure accuracy, the watch automatically synchronizes nightly with the atomic clock in Ft. Collins. It makes a great unique gift for anyone with decreased vision from macular degeneration or other eye problems.

For a timepiece that is also a conversation piece, this perpetual motion clock is expertly crafted with 16 hours of painstaking detail from rhodium- and 14k gold-plated brass, stainless steel, and anodized aluminum components. It replaces a clock’s hands with 27 balls that mark the hour, every 10th minute, and each minute. A complex network of gears are set into seeming perpetual motion by a brass drive wheel that appears to rotate in defiance of the laws of physics. It’s a beautiful unique gift worthy of the centerpiece position on a mantle or side table.

Although Daylight Saving Time was first conceived by Ben Franklin in 1784, the practice had some stops and starts until 1966 when the Uniform Time Act established a consistent system. As the days grow long and bright this spring, make the most of this unique gift and enjoy your lighter evenings.

Caffeine Aside, Coffee Has Many Perks

March is National Caffeine Awareness Month. For certain, if we don’t get our daily dose of caffeine, we’re VERY aware of that.

The month was created by a non-profit organization to generate interest in caffeine-free alternatives to get the blood moving, such as exercise, fruit smoothies, and herbal tea, but to us it seems appropriate to embrace the unique gifts of caffeine and celebrate the beneficial effects some research has found. Coffee is loaded with anti-oxidants and studies have shown moderate coffee consumption can help lower the risk of Type II Diabetes, certain types of cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. It may even speed up metabolism enough to help burn fat.

And caffeine can certainly help elevate one’s mood, particularly when you make it with a machine as beautiful as this commercial-grade dual espresso maker from Italy. The internal brewing mechanism has an advanced microprocessor, while a built-in water softener ensures the best cup of espresso possible. Touchpad controls allow four different coffee dosage selections for different brew strengths, giving you complete control over the level of your caffeine intake.

Another great unique gift for coffee drinkers is this coffee brewer which can be entirely controlled via a smartphone. Coffee connoisseurs can make java remotely from Java (or anywhere else in the world) using WiFi and a free app to program its start time and create custom profiles for brews with consistent richness, temperature, and volume. Its pulse-brewing system releases water in intermittent waves to thoroughly extract flavor from the grounds and produce a robust coffee without unpleasant bitterness.

Finally, you’ll need a superior way to take that superior cup of joe along with you. After comparison tests by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, this commuter cup proved to be The Best for the fifth consecutive year because it is easy to drink from and does not leak, even when inverted. The spill-proof lid springs open with the touch of a button and a safety lock prevents spills when the cup is carried in a briefcase or purse.

Weather the Wetter Weather Better

This past Wednesday, meteorological Spring began, although the official first day of the season is not until March 20. We’re happy to start enjoying now all the unique gifts of the season: increasing warmth, longer days, budding flowers…and frequent showers.

Plan ahead and you’ll find rain is no problem—we have some great suggestions to help you maintain dryness in wetter weather.

Compact enough to carry in a purse or pocket, this is the smallest umbrella available that opens with the push of a button. Available exclusively from Hammacher Schlemmer, the umbrella is only 8″ long when closed and instantly deploys its generous 40″ diameter canopy at the press of a button on its handle. A second press of the button collapses the canopy, so you can then manually retract the shaft.

For wind-resistant protection in a storm, this packable auto-open umbrella defies gusts up to 35 mph. A patented overlapping vent system disperses wind through reinforced slits in the nylon canopy to eliminate inversion while shielding you from the driving rain. With pinchless runners, corrosion-resistant fiberglass ribs and spreaders, and a nylon storage sleeve, this is an umbrella that will last for years.

Save your good floors from wetness tracked in from the garage. This absorbent garage mat features a patented two-layer design that soaks up water, snow, and mud. Its permeable surface sponges up outdoor muck from car tires and shoes, preventing water and dirt from being brought indoors from your garage floor. You’ll save your carpeting from stains and yourself from unnecessary cleaning.

With record rainfalls on the west coast and March and April the wettest months for the east coast, Mother Nature seems intent on showing us her mettle this year. Don’t let her ruin your day: prepare yourself now and later you’ll be singin’ in the rain.