Dressing for Success in Jammuary

Mens Flannel PajamasThis time of year, many find themselves fighting a bit of post-holiday letdown. And while the winter solstice has passed, sunrise is still much too late to inspire ambitions of a productive day. Trading your flannel pajamas for street clothes can be a chore in itself.

To that end, we declare this month Jammuary. Through 1/31, we all have guiltless freedom to stay in our jammies all day long. In true Hugh Hefner style, Jammuary is best celebrated in the luxurious warmth of wear such as these wonderful men’s flannel pajamas. These pajamas are made in County Donegal, Ireland, from the softest flannel available in the world. For unsurpassed comfort, complement your PJs with a flannel robe and sheepskin slippers.

There’s just something satisfying, indulgent and even restorative about a lazy day of peaceful relaxation in your most comfortable items of clothing.

Nothing’s better than watching the NFL championship round in flannel pajamas or a flannel robe. You may even want to consider throwing a jammie party or family sleepover, complete with cozy man-cave sports entertainment, games for the kids, fine wine or cocktails for the adults, with other snacks and a chocolate fondue for dessert. Start the next morning with skiing or skating and laugh in the face of the polar vortex!

Newest Technology Debuts at 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

Las Vegas hosted last week the annual Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest trade shows in the world. CES is a huge technology show that allows industry giants to show off their latest and greatest, alongside small start-ups trying to make a name for themselves with gadget prototypes that may or may not ever get produced.CES-2014

This year’s show focused heavily on smart appliances, designed to connect your home in its own electronic ecosystem. Controlling home devices such as security systems, thermostats, appliances and lighting through a smartphone has already become a reality, but it remains to be seen how willing consumers are to wire up their homes to be able to control their stoves and crock pots with their iPhones. The most promising applications so far are those that will save energy and lead toward greener homes.

Nevertheless, the possibilities are dizzying. Imagine a refrigerator that could text you when the milk is about to go bad, so you can grab a fresh gallon on the way home, or have the message sent directly to a grocery delivery service. Your mattress could monitor your sleep and automatically lower the thermostat when you kick off the covers.

As in recent years past, televisions dominated floor space at CES, with bigger and higher-resolution screens being announced. Sharp debuted the Aquos Quattron Plus line, featuring 10 million more sub-pixels than current full HD. Samsung showed off a bendable TV, although practical applications for the technology remain to be seen. And the Roku TV, to be released this fall, comes with Roku’s superior full streaming software built right in, no additional box required.

Wearable devices – namely watches – made a splash, proving Dick Tracy was truly a visionary! And “health tech” promises to be big this year, with fitness devices such as FitBit and Nike’s FuelBand leading the way in tracking a wealth of data about your activity levels.

But perhaps no other device transforms an ordinary, everyday task like the smart toothbrush from French company Kolibree. Their Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush pairs with a smartphone app to track how well you’re cleaning your teeth, including time spent brushing and number of strokes. You can share results with your dentist, so you won’t have to be looking down in the mouth when you show up for your next appointment.

Add Warmth to Your Home During Winter’s Bitter Bite

Heated Mattress PadDangerously cold wind chills…whiteout conditions…canceled flights…sky-high heating bills. For much of the nation, 2014 has opened with wintry weather like we haven’t seen in decades.

In our last article, we told you about some products to keep yourself warm. Now we’d like to tell you about some of the best items that make the surroundings of your home warmer, while allowing you to dial down the thermostat.

This heated mattress pad earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it generated the most consistent warmth and was the most comfortable. Panelists who slept on this mattress pad lauded its soft cushioning and virtually undetectable heating elements. Perhaps our favorite feature, the king and queen sizes allow two sleepers to set their own temperature preferences.

Sooner or later, however, you’ll have to leave that warm bed to get in the shower. Imagine stepping out of your shower to a fluffy, warm towel or toasty heated robe. The Best Heated Towel Warmer earned its rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it left towels the warmest and produced the most consistent heat from the outer to the inner edges of two rolled towels, effectively heating the entire towel surface. The Heated Cotton Robe has rechargeable heating elements strategically placed in the front and back to deliver full-body warmth.

One of the best ways to get warm is to cozy up on the couch with someone special. And your couch becomes extra-cozy with The Heated Furniture Cover. Made from soft microsuede, this quilted cover drapes over the back, seat and arms of furniture and has a textured backing to secure it in place. It adjusts to four temperature settings and is available sized for chairs, love seats and sofas.

And don’t forget to throw another log on the fire. The Foldaway Firewood Rack holds up to a quarter cord of wood in season and folds to merely 6-1/2″ wide for convenient storage in warmer months. A waterproof 600-denier reinforced nylon cover protects the wood from rain and snow.

Finally, how about a reclining chair that will warm you, massage you, and rejuvenate you, even on the most brutally cold days? The Heated Full Body Massage Chair combines the invigorating touch of a massage therapist’s hands with the restorative sensation of hot stone therapy. When not in use as a massager, this chair converts easily into an elegant recliner with leather-like upholstery that conceals its massage functions.

No Matter How You Define It, Winter is Time to Seek Warmth

Heated JacketWhether you define winter weather from an astronomical point of view, which says it began December 21, or from its meteorological designation—starting December 1—bottom line: winter’s here and we must keep warm! At Hammacher Schlemmer, we help provide solutions that let you cozy up, hibernate, or get out and about in warmth and style.

Imagine jumping out of bed in the morning to The Heated Cotton Robe. This is the cotton bathrobe with heating elements strategically placed in the front and back to deliver full-body warmth. And for your feet, we suggest The Genuine Australian Sheepskin Scuffs, derived from the fleece of Merino sheep and renowned for providing toasty warmth and unrivaled comfort.

When it’s time to leave the house, you’ll never suffer the cold with The Three Zone Heated Jacket. Heating elements are strategically placed in the chest and back to protect against the worst winter chills without the bulk of a heavy coat.

On the road or close to home, ladies will appreciate The Traveler’s Hands Free Wrap. This is the cozy wrap that has concealed pockets for hands-free and secure storage of valuables while traveling. The versatile wrap can be draped over the shoulders or torso or looped around the neck like a scarf, with a drawstring to provide a snug fit and seal out drafts on chilly flights or boat rides.

We have some unique items to guard against a frosty day as well. The Bearded Beanie is a knit cap with a foldaway detachable beard that evokes the hirsute virility of mountain men while engaging in winter tasks. Ideal for chopping wood, building a cabin, or shoveling snow, it is made from soft 100% acrylic yarn.

The Wireless Headphone Ear Warmers contain integrated speakers that connect via Bluetooth to any iPhone, Android or Windows smartphone, allowing you to listen to music or answer calls without exposing ears to the cold. The ear warmers have a thermal fleece shell, soft polyester lining and insulation to shield against cold winds.

Finally, don’t forget about man’s best friend. The Heated Dog Sofa allows pets to rest in warm, luxurious comfort. It provides radiant warmth to help pets relax and can help soothe sore joints in older, arthritic canines.

In a future article, we’ll tell you about some interesting products that help bring warmth to you home.

Snow Time Like the Present to Get Ready for Winter

Low Profile Door MatToday is the first official day of winter…and already the National Weather Service reports that more than 50% of the U.S. is covered by snow, with an average depth of 3.7″. What’s more, much of the country has been registering below-average temperatures for weeks. If that’s what autumn was like, we shudder – and shiver – to think about winter!

When it comes to winter, there are two kinds of people: those who curse the snow and those who revel in it. Fortunately, we have products to make both types happy!

It’s our experience that people who dislike snow are more likely to have injured themselves with a bad fall on the ice. Prevent such slips with The Any Shoe Ice Grips. These are the adjustable ice cleats that fit over any type of shoe, including dress shoes, to provide traction and sure footing when standing, walking, or running on snow and ice. These lightweight grips compress to store in a carrying case that can be stowed in a car or office desk in case of inclement weather.

To those who claim to prefer snow over a hot July day, we remind you that no one ever tracked sunshine into the house on their shoes. Dirty, slushy snow, on the other hand, seems to find its way from the bottom of boots right to the freshly washed foyer floor. That’s why we came up with The 12 Pint Absorbing Low Profile Door Mat. This doormat holds 12 pints of water per square yard, keeping entryways free of rain, slush and melting snow in foulest winter.

Yes, we’ll concede it’s possible to have fun, and lots of it, in the snow with the proper accessories. There’s The 50 Foot Snowball Launcher that makes and launches softball-sized snowballs up to 50′, allowing rapid, long-range assaults during neighborhood snowball confrontations. Simply place snow in the forming chamber and close the lid; it packs three perfectly spherical snowballs.

For the ultimate fun in the snow, may we suggest these three items that practically guarantee an exhilarating ride. The Street and Snow Scooter converts from a wheeled street model to one with skis, ready for the snow. The Snow Carver rides like a chopper down snowy slopes and allows an awesome “feel” for the terrain. And The Bavarian Zipfel Bobsled was inspired by the true zipfel bob, widely in use in the Alps. Can’t think of a better way to make good use of a snow day!

Robots Compete to Help Save Lives—and Win a $2 Million Prize

Androids – not phones, but robots – will convene near Miami on December 20 when 17 teams from around the world face off for a chance at a $2 million prize in a competition sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) was created in response to the nuclear meltdown caused by a Tsunami in March, 2011 at Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, when being able to turn a valve in the reactor buildings might have prevented further catastrophe. The trials this month will provide a baseline on the current state of robotics and determine which teams continue to the DRC Finals to be held in December 2014, with funding from DARPA.

Each robot will be required to demonstrate the ability to move from a sanctuary area to a danger zone and then work effectively on eight tasks designed to test mobility, manipulation, dexterity, perception, and control…tasks deemed necessary in a natural or man-made disaster. The participating teams represent some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, the Johnson Space Center, MIT, Drexel, Virginia Tech, and Carnegie Mellon.

According to DARPA, the technologies resulting from the DRC will transform the field of robotics and advance the development of robots that can operate in the hazardous conditions common in disaster zones.

Even today, robots available to all of us can do amazing things. While our robotically enhanced products may not save lives, they might help keep your home from looking like a disaster area. At Hammacher Schlemmer, we have robots that will clean your floors and wash your windows. Recent advances allow some of our exclusive models to use sensors that detect dirt and determine the optimal cleaning path.

Of course, some robots are just for fun. These robotic toys are more than mere toys…they provide kids of all ages amusement and amazement with their movements and responses to your commands. We even have a robot that integrates your iPhone, creating an avatar that reflects your facial features and personality traits.

And if it’s companionship you seek, The Emotive Robotic Avatar can convey nuanced emotions, which you control, of course, using the included tablet PC from up to 30′ away.

Exercise Teambuilding on a Bicycle Built for Seven

Much has been researched and written about the benefits of team building exercises to improve collaboration in corporate, academic, and even non-profit organizational settings. When peers practice working well together, the result is more productivity, sharper focus, and deeper employee satisfaction.7 Person Bicycle

For the most successful teams, dynamics require that everyone contribute to the effort. The Seven Person Tricycle accommodates seven adults and facilitates close-knit conferencing during joyrides. The seven seats each have a set of pedals that riders can operate simultaneously to propel the tricycle up to 10 mph, encouraging social interaction and team building while pedaling.

Of course, guiding leadership is also a key ingredient for a successful team. The Seven Person Tricycle puts one person at the controls to steer and operate the hydraulic brake system.

The camaraderie fostered by our group tricycle has already been proven out by some well-known organizations. Like most tech companies, Google encourages bike commuting. But, they go one step further and use this style of trike to tool teams around the corporate campus while sharing ideas. The Lighthouse for the Blind used one on a summer retreat to give sightless folks a chance to enjoy a unique bike ride. Former President Jimmy Carter happened upon the tricycle while it was on a demonstration tour in Georgia and declared it “the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Lest one view the seven-person cycle as just another corporate program-of-the-month rolled out by the HR department at HQ, let us emphasize this is really a party on wheels. It’s a unique mode of transportation that combines the endorphins of exercise, the satisfaction of socialization, and the wow factor of an eye-catching, outside-the-box design.

Rising Above The Gridlock, It’s The Helicycle

In man’s quest to drive to point B from point A ever more quickly, he has encountered natural obstacles like wide bodies of water and large tracts of unpaved land. These were overcome by engineering feats such as suspension bridges and interstate highways. Unfortunately, these successes created an entirely new and universally reviled impediment to rapid road travel: traffic congestion.

The two dimensional solution is to wait impatiently in gridlock, gnashing one’s teeth.  But now there is a way for the road-weary to take to the air, flying over the traffic. The two-seat Helicycle is a personal motorcycle that with a few minutes’ effort converts to a flying rotor craft.

When Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva invented the freewheeling auto gyro in 1923, Helicyclesafe, slow-speed flight became possible. But now, combining a motorcycle with an auto gyro puts this vehicle in the league of rocket jet packs and antigravity shoes.

A 230-hp, four-cylinder engine powers the craft to a maximum 112 mph in the air or on the road. When driven as a street-legal vehicle, the Helicycle accelerates from 0-60 mph in under eight seconds, with a proprietary tilting system that provides the agility of a motorcycle. When travel by air is desired, the craft’s propeller, rotor, and dual rudders deploy in 10 minutes. Though it resembles a helicopter, the gyrocopter flies like an ultra-light plane, its overhead rotors spinning to provide lift as a result of the forward motion of the vehicle.

Think of the possibilities…you’re on St. Barth’s in your tropical villa, near the island’s world-famous short runway  and decide to fly to St. Martin for a day of shopping and dining. It’s 34 miles round trip, a two hour ride by ferry. The answer is simple: the Helicycle. Zoom to the Gustavia airport like a motorcycle and take off into the sky like a helicopter, to fly to St. Martin in 30 minutes or less. You’ll be back on St. Barth’s in time to tell tales in tails over cocktails.

The Helicycle provides airborne mobility to fly from remote air strips, to island hop, to slowly cruise over vast reserves, ranches, and estates. Its sturdy Dutch construction and uncomplicated design requires no more than 40 hour of training to earn flight certification.

iPhone Dock Has Manifold Admirers

An untold number of iPod/iPhone docks are on the market, but none speaks to the audiophile who is also a petrolhead like The Formula One Speaker Dock. Enzo Ferrari once said the sound of an engine should be listened to like a symphony. Little did he know the manifolds of his cars could someday play Mozart’s finest.The Formula One Speaker Dock

This dock is constructed from the left or right exhaust manifold of a retired eight-cylinder F1 engine of your choosing, including a 1978 Cosworth DFV, 2006 Renault RS26, 2007 Ferrari 056 and others. Crafted in Modena, Italy, the cradle of Italian racecar innovation, the manifold’s four headpipes house two silk-dome, 70-watt tweeters and two PPM-cone, 70-watt mid-range speakers that provide clear highs and mids. The end of the manifold’s collector tube houses a doped-paper cone 140-watt active subwoofer driven by a high-density flux ferrite that provides booming bass.

It’s a beautiful repurposing that marries fine mechanical workmanship with the high-tuned nerves of a Formula One tailpipe. And it isn’t the first time we’ve repurposed the spirit of a classic automobile into a new object. The 1959 Corvette Billiards Table meticulously reproduces the classic convertible from real chrome bumper to real chrome bumper, complete with gleaming grille, curves, and working versions of the trademark four headlights.

Inventors and tinkerers alike have long repurposed auto parts into objects either fun or functional. Artist John Kearney is known for his whimsical animal sculptures crafted from car bumpers. Many cars have been given second lives as furniture in dining rooms, bedrooms, living rooms and offices. And at least one old car has been turned into a chicken coop!

But why stop with auto parts? The DIY community and social networks like Pinterest are rich with ideas for transforming ordinary objects into eye-catching furniture, guaranteed to be one of a kind.

Cordless Christmas Decorations Let Christmas Glow All Around Your Home

Have you ever wanted to decorate your front door with a lighted Christmas wreath, but had no practical place to plug it in? Or imagined the centerpiece on your table casting a warm glow, but without the flames and waxy mess of candles?

Our cordless Christmas decorationsCordless Christmas Decorations require no electric outlet, allowing you to place them anywhere indoors or out. This prelit trim is available in a variety of styles from wreaths and sconces to swags, garlands and hanging baskets. Each cordless decoration is festooned with energy-efficient, white LED lights that have a life of up to 20,000 hours (that’s more than 20 holiday seasons). Many of the pieces have a timer that can be set to stay on for six hours and automatically turn off for 18 hours. Batteries will power the lights for an entire holiday season.

Choose trim with lifelike Noble fir and pine boughs, poinsettias, holly berries, ornament balls and even petunias or geraniums. Boughs and blooms are made from weather-proof materials to provide festive color for years to come.