Keep Mosquitos from Taking a Bite Out of Backyard Festivities

Recently, we told you about some unique gifts for dad that will help him get the patio or deck ready for summer fun.

 Before that first cookout, however, he might want to consider ways to protect partiers from mosquitoes. We feature several devices that will help keep guests happy when there are no pesky flying insects to detract from the good times. Best of all, you won’t need to spray your yard or your friends with chemical bug repellants.Mosquito Trap

The one-acre natural-attractant trap lures and kills mosquitoes in yards up to one acre without harmful chemicals. The trap mimics the natural conditions of human habitation by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light to lure mosquitoes. When mosquitoes are drawn inside, they die of dehydration.

Acting on similar principles, The Dusk Activated Half Acre Mosquito Trap automatically activates at the time when the pests are most prevalent and turns off at dawn. As mosquitoes gravitate to the unit, a fan pulls them into a collection bag where they are trapped and die.

If dad would like to create a haven from all flying insects day or night, a unique gift for Father’s Day might be our Patio Table Mosquito Canopy. This enclosure fits over a patio table’s umbrella to provide a protective canopy that keeps out biting insects. It’s made from sturdy 68-denier polyester netting too small for insect pests to penetrate. A zippered flap provides easy entry and exit for humans.

Perhaps the dad in your life is one who prefers to walk in the great outdoors. In coming days, we’ll tell you about some wearable items that keep mosquitoes from biting and make hiking, gardening or backpacking more pleasant, while making for great Father’s Day gifts, too.

100 Years of Mother’s Day

Hammacher Schlemmer wishes all the moms out there a happy Mother’s Day.

(We also give their procrastinating kids a gentle nudge to order a gift already if you haven’t yet. Treat Mom to an indulgence like The Heated Full Body Massage Chair and she’ll forgive your lateness.)Anna-Jarvis

This year marks 100 years since Mother’s Day has been a recognized holiday in the U.S. Its 1914 founding is usually attributed to Anna Jarvis, who launched the event to mark her late mother’s passing on the second Sunday in May, 1905.

Jarvis envisioned the celebration as intimate and heartfelt, a time to share a handwritten note or a white carnation, her mother’s favorite flower. After appealing to state and national leaders for the official recognition — legend has it she had to buy the house next door just to store all her correspondence on the subject — President Wilson finally granted her wish.

Then Jarvis watched in horror as her “baby” grew and got away from her.

She hated the mass-produced greeting cards, and the frivolous and unique gifts, and what she felt was the commercialization of a sacred day. To make her disgust known, Jarvis once disrupted a convention of candymakers, and she tried to ban Mother’s Day festivities that hadn’t received her blessing. In 1943 she even launched a petition to rescind the holiday.

This time her efforts failed.

Jarvis died in 1948, reclusive and bankrupt. She never had children of her own.

Unique Gifts Help Dad Clean Up for Summer

When Dad surveys the aftermath of this year’s other-worldly winter, he’ll find there’s work to be done on the back deck and yard. We have a great selection of unique gifts for Dad to help him to clean up for spring and the coming 93 days of summer fun and frolic.Expanding Garden Hose

Patio chairs need a deep cleaning and the barbeque tools left outdoors after a late-fall cookout might be found in strange places, like under the dog house or in the trunk of the old elm. The grill cover may need to be replaced entirely, and our Better Grill Cover will never crack, peel, or deteriorate over time.

Dad can blast that deck debris with The Best Electric Power Washer. This is the electric power washer that cleaned more effectively than other models and was easiest to use in side-by-side evaluations conducted by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute.

Make Dad’s cleanup and watering tasks easier with The Auto Expanding/Contracting Hose. This is the hose that uses only water pressure to automatically expand for use and contract to 65% the size of a typical hose for convenient storage. Its construction includes a durable, multi-layered 3/4″ tubular latex inner-diameter hose that generates robust water flow and its patented design ensures against twists, tangles, or kinks, providing easy maneuverability.

The stage set, The Superior Potted Plant Hand Truck, helps Dad easily transport those heavy planters back where they can be planted with flowers and bright spring greenery.

The patio cleaned, spiffed and potted, space is ready for Dad’s unique gift surprise that will delight the entire family: The Rapid Heating Wood Burning Pizza Oven. Handcrafted in Marche, Italy, this is the outdoor wood-burning oven that’s ready to cook in 15 minutes. The oven heats up to 800° F and the domed cooking chamber creates natural convection that circulates heat evenly, allowing you to cook Neapolitan-style pizza in three minutes. Now Dad can make the finest wood-fired pizza, focaccia, amazing breads, prime rib roasts…al forno anything.

To paraphrase Ferris Buehler: Summer moves pretty fast, if you don’t prepare for it, you could miss it!

Leading the Way for Women

Elsie cutting cakeAt Hammacher Schlemmer, we take particular joy in celebrating Mother’s Day and recommending gifts for her. But we have a proud tradition of honoring women throughout the year and across the decades.

In 1934, we hired Miss Palmer as our first female salesperson — a rare employment choice at the time. Miss Palmer quickly quieted her critics when she waited on Lord Rothschild, who stopped in for a $1 thermometer but left with more than $500 in merchandise.

Our progressive attitude continued in 1945, when Else Schlemmer succeeded her late husband, William F. Schlemmer, as company president. When Else passed away 10 years later, she bequeathed $473,000 to her “children” — Hammacher Schlemmer’s cherished employees.

For more on our trailblazing history, check out our interactive timeline. And remember — Mother’s Day is only a week away, on May 11. Order your gifts for her today!

Unique Gifts for Pet Moms

If her babies have four paws and fur, we have the Mother’s Day gifts for her. Our pet products and accessories honor the special place she has in her heart for animals.

11600_1000x1000For pampering her pooch, may we suggest The Canine Shower Stall or The Canine Tug Preventing Harness? They’ll set Fido’s tail wagging while simplifying the jobs of bathing and walking.

For the feline inclined, The Warming Cat Bed comforts older animals, while The Laser Chase Toy keeps kittens fit and frisky. We also have unique gifts for fans of the feathered and finned, from The Tabletop Saltwater Aquarium to The Handcarved Coffea Tree Bird Perch.

View our full selection of pet items and other suggestions for gifts for her. Don’t forget — Mother’s Day is around the corner on May 11!

Comfortable Shoes with Style Make Great Gifts for Her

Many folks who are past middle age, who stand for extended periods or who are overweight suffer the agony of the feet. The source of this discomfort often is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament that connects the heel and toes.

The condition is just as likely to affect women as men. Fortunately, shoes designed to help combat the effects of plantar fasciitis can provide easy relief. Dash any thoughts of traditional orthopedic shoes…our lady’s styles are fashionable enough to make a unique gift for Mother’s Day or any occasion.

These fun and flirty flip flops realign the feet to a neutral position. Recipient of the prestigious American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance, the sandals are built with a podiatrist-designed, shock-absorbing EVA midsole that provides arch support while aligning the feet naturally. The orthotic footbeds provide optimal comfort and support when the sandals are worn for at least a few hours per day over the course of two weeks. Available in raspberry or black.

For a dressier look, these lightweight faux jeweled sandals offer the same podiatrist-designed features and sport a flexible, man-made upper decorated with an array of differently sized faux gems. Choose bronze or black.

The Lady’s Plantar Fasciitis Wedge features a modern 2”-high wedge heel. Covered in soft microfiber, the footbed’s deep heel cups help align the feet properly. With each step, the built-in metatarsal raise provides arch support for more even weight distribution and eases pressure on the ball of the foot with a contoured forefoot. The durable, flexible soft synthetic uppers secure the foot to ensure comfort while the durable rubber outsoles’ non-slip pattern ensures reliable footing. In tan or black.

Looking for a unique gift for her that will combine the easy comfort of a pair of slippers with relief from the pain of plantar fasciitis? The lady’s closed-back, indoor/outdoor slippers feature cotton corduroy uppers trimmed and lined with soft polyester terry. Flexible, lightweight rubber outsoles are molded with a slip-resistant pattern and provide enough protection and support that she can even wear these slippers out for a trip to the store. Available in camel or black.

What Mom Really Wants

She probably smiled when you gave her that bracelet made from macaroni and yarn, but Mom likely had something else in mind for Mother’s Day. The most wished-for gift of busy mothers? Some rest.

This year, Hammacher Schlemmer makes it easy to give her what she really wants with one of our sleep-inducing, relaxing gifts for her. We have everything from the luxurious 1,500 Thread Count Sheet Set to The Neck Pain Relieving Pillow to The Pajamas Warming Pouch. We also offer a wide range of mattress toppers and temperature-regulating linens to keep her comfortable all night long.

Power Nap Head PillowTo help her tune out the noise of the day, consider  The Customizable Sounds Sleep Generator or The Sleep Assisting Music Headband.

And for the ultimate snooze, may we recommend a couple of our most unique gifts? The NASA-inspired Power Nap Capsule is designed to boost concentration by 34% — something Mom will appreciate when she resumes her hectic schedule — while The Power Nap Head Pillow helps her squeeze in some shut-eye on the go.

Shop for more unique gifts for her here, and order now to ensure delivery by May

Feel the Thrill of Victory When You Find Unique Gifts for Dad

On this day in 1961, ABC’s Wide World of Sports premiered its debut broadcast. Through its 45-year run, many a Saturday afternoon was whiled away with Dad savoring the thrill of victory and grimacing over the agony of defeat.

The show’s first broadcast featured two track and field events, the Penn Relay in Philadelphia, PA, and the Drake Relay from Des Moines, IA. These events helped define the format of the program, which was to showcase sports that usually did not get television coverage in the pre-ESPN days, with a diverse list of events including surfing, curling, badminton and even cliff diving.

Initially intended to be a summer fill-in program until the fall football season began, Wide World of Sports became unexpectedly popular. The show was the first to televise events that are widely watched today, such as the Indianapolis 500 and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.Instant Badminton Court

Today, Dads are just as likely to participate in many of the Wide World-worthy sports as they are to be the armchair athlete. So, as Father’s Day approaches and you ponder unique gift ideas for dad, know that Hammacher.com is spanning the globe to find unique gifts for him.

For the marathon man, The Runner’s Speaker Vest features built-in speakers that allow runners and walkers alike to listen to music while staying aware of their surroundings. A front pocket accommodates a smartphone or music player. The nylon mesh vest includes reflective fluorescent strips on the front and back to alert drivers to your presence making this a safety minded unique gift for dad.

Badminton is a sport that can be fiercely competitive or slow-paced and gentle enough to be enjoyed by almost all ages. The Instant Badminton Court lets a spontaneous game break out on a whim. The easy-to-set-up, freestanding net creates an instant court on a lawn, driveway, beach or any flat surface. This unique gift for dad includes four rackets and two shuttlecocks.

And for the road warrior who won’t let a busy travel schedule get in the way of getting in shape, The Briefcase Fitness Center is the portable gym that provides a rigorous, full-body workout yet folds to the size of a briefcase. A Hammacher exclusive, the compact gym makes a great unique gift for dad. It’s small enough to fit in an airplane’s overhead bin or store under a bed but contains everything needed for intense aerobic, strength, and circuit training. The all-in-one gym includes access to an online fitness community for sharing tips, participating in live sessions with personal trainers, and tracking goals and progress.

Gifts for Her That Conquer Clutter

Organized Traveler’s Rolling Carry OnYou might call her a neat freak. She prefers to think of herself as the Mistress of Mess. Regardless of the label (and she loves labels), Hammacher Schlemmer has an array of gifts for her that will conquer the clutter and help Mom stay organized.

Could she use some storage solutions? We’ve got The Closet Organizing 20 Trouser Rack, The Space Saving 36 Pair Shoe Rack and even The Back Of The Door Cabinet. These tidying tricks all make great gifts for her. And Mom will be following a proud tradition, as none other than First Lady Claudia “Ladybird” Johnson hired Hammacher Schlemmer to design the White House closets in 1964.

For other unique gifts for an orderly home, consider The Gift Wrapping Caddy or The Organized Reader’s Bookstand. And on the go, The Organized Traveler’s Rolling Carry On and the multi-pocketed Lady’s Italian Leather Accordion Wallet ensure Mom stays both trendy and tidy.

Find more unique gifts here, and order today to ensure delivery by Mother’s Day on May 11.

Simple Exercises Help Reduce Discomfort of Plantar Fasciitis

Recently, we told you about our selection of stylish footwear that can help alleviate the pain of plantar fasciitis.

To maximPlantar Fasciitis Sneakersize the benefit, your switch to these podiatrist-designed shoes is best accompanied by exercises that stretch the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting the heel and toes. When this ligament becomes strained and inflamed, foot pain results. This discomfort can be especially acute first thing in the morning or after sitting for extended periods.

A few simple exercises can help reduce the pain of plantar fasciitis or prevent it from occurring in the first place:

  • Calf stretches in bed – Before rising from bed, use a towel or belt looped around the ball of your foot with the ends held in each hand. Keeping your leg straight, flex the foot and hold for 30 seconds. Make sure you feel a gentle stretch in your lower leg. Repeat five times on each leg.
  • Foot stretches – To stretch the plantar fascia itself, use your hand to pull your toes up until you feel the stretch between the ball of your foot and your heel. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.
  • Standing calf stretches – Place your hands against a wall or table, standing 2-3 feet away, with feet slightly apart. Slide one leg back and press your heel to the floor. Hold for about 30 seconds, then bend your knees slightly for a deeper stretch and hold again. Repeat 3 times on each leg.
  • Massage – Put a tennis ball on the floor and roll your foot over it, pressing down firmly but gently. Doing this for a few minutes at a time a few times a day will help loosen the ligament.
  • Cold massage – To reduce inflammation of the plantar fascia, freeze a full water bottle. Roll your foot over the frozen bottle for 10 minutes, combining a good massage with the inflammation-reducing power of ice.

Once you’ve maintained this routine for several days, you may be ready for The Plantar Fasciitis Relief Rocker. Used by professional athletes, this is the stretching device that relieves the pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis and helps prevent it from reoccurring. Simply standing on the unit with one foot and rocking backward gently stretches the plantar fascia. This device can also be used to stretch Achilles tendons, ankles, calves, and hamstrings and would make a unique gift for anyone who spends a lot of time of their feet.