I made a special trip to Pure Beauty in the Castro to purchase its last inventory of the Smoothies hair claws that I like so much. (The Rake, Chunky Square and Skate claws are my favorites for quick, no-fuss updos. And check out the Trap Claw, which features a patented hidden spring that makes your French and faux-French twists look more elegant.) While I was there, the employees were busy clearing out the old "beauty supply" items and replacing them with chichi "beauty boutique" stuff. I decided to scope out the higher-end merchandise.
I found the most miraculous thing: a bottle — with an unostentatious label — of Fresh Pink Jasmine Eau de Parfum, the scent of which was splendiferous, even transcendent. (The product description lists its scent notes — a top of red orange, freesia, spring lilac; a heart of magnolia, peony, fresh jasmine, tiare flower; and a base of precious woods, velvety peach skin, marsh mallow — which I can’t make heads or tails out of, but hey, it sounds fabulous.)
OK, I decided, I’ll bite. So how much?
Seventy-five dollars. Oh. Definitely beyond my "impulse purchase" budget. OK, so how much for the Pink Jasmine Body Cream? Another $75? Well, then how about the Pink Jasmine Soap Set? Twenty-five dollars? Twenty-five dollars for soap? Man, that’d better be some fresh soap.
Luckily, I found the Fresh Pink Jasmine Gift Set — which includes the perfume, body cream and soap — for $95, instead of $175 for the three separate products. Now that I can live with — especially since the distinct scent from the tester bottle lasted on my cotton jacket for two days afterward.
Other notable products include LaLicious Gardenia Body Butter, Bumble and Bumble hair care products and Calypso fragrances.
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Posted February 3, 2006 by Mariva in bath & spa, beauty, gifts
I can’t imagine a sweeter Valentine’s Day gift than a personalized teddy bear — especially one from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company (sister company to the PajamaGram Company), which makes high-quality, hand-crafted, fully jointed huggable friends that are guaranteed to last a lifetime.* As the company name indicates, each teddy bear is made in America, specifically in the Green Mountain State of Vermont.
To make your gift even more special — now that the original "-gram" communications service has ended — consider sending a Bear-Gram, which includes a bear of your choice, delicious gourmet chocolate and a personal message printed on a colorful gift card — all encased in a fun gift box, complete with an "air hole" so that your bear can get fresh air on his or her journey. You can choose from over one hundred Valentine’s Day Bears, including the "Heart Throb" bear pictured here.
*How does the lifetime guarantee work? Simple: if your bear is ever "injured," you can admit him or her to the Bear Hospital, no proof of bear health insurance required! (A full-coverage, lifetime health plan is included with each purchase of a Vermont Teddy Bear.) And how might a bear get injured? See for yourself with the “When Bad Things Happen to Good Bears” video footage of bear bloopers.
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Posted February 1, 2006 by Mariva in decor, edibles, fun, gifts, holidays, home
When you’re away from home — whether spending a lot of time at the office or going on a picnic or a trip — you’ll appreciate Minimus. Here you can stock up on a plethora of individual- and travel-size products, including food and beverages, laundry supplies, personal care and over-the-counter medicines. You can also purchase preassembled kits and care packages of snacks, mini-meals, personal supplies and medical kits — some specifically for men, women, college students, air travelers, campers and even cold and flu sufferers. Many kits make ideal care packages for military personnel. And speaking of the military, the preassembled package called the "military field kit" — comprising an emergency blanket, a small flashlight and a rain poncho — is something you may want to keep in your car or home storage area.
Posted January 24, 2006 by Mariva in edibles, gifts, health, home, resources, travel
Knowing that I have an addictive personality — at least with regard to the "soft addictions" — I do my best to stay away from treacherous time traps like Freecell Solitaire. And if I owned a game console that could play Super Mario, I’d probably never see the light of day.
This morning, however, Fresh Air had an interesting story about a new video game that got my attention. The game is supposed to be both highly addictive and very popular — and not just among teenage boys, but among girls and grown women as well. Most intriguing of all, it’s not violent — at least in a kick-and-punch and shoot-’em-up kind of way. Produced by Namco Games, Katamari Damacy ("Roll It Up" in English) and the more recent We Love Katamari, begin with your avatar pulling a tiny ball that rolls around picking up random objects, like candy and game tiles. As you successfully pick up more and more objects, your ball grows larger and larger — first picking up animals and automobiles and then eventually skyscrapers and airplanes — until you’re devastating the landscape with your colorful mass of sticky stuff. The concept seems like an amalgam of the 1950s sci-fi flick The Blob and a black hole, with a little 3D PacMan thrown in.
I dare not start rolling around in such an appealing virtual world because of my aforementioned addictive nature, but if you’d like to give it a go, Katamari is available for Sony PlayStation 2 and other video game consoles.
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Posted January 18, 2006 by Mariva in entertaining, entertainment, fun, gadgets, games, gifts, home, innovations, news
Even if you don’t believe that the average person is chronically dehydrated, it’s generally a good idea to drink fresh, clean water as often as you’d like. I seem to be thirsty all the time, so I never go anywhere without a water bottle. Because of its durable and unbreakable nature, my container of choice is the Nalgene bottle, which never compromises the taste of water. It’s the perfect companion to the Thermos food jar.
There’s no question that Nalgene makes bottles extremely well. The company’s founder was an innovative chemist who developed unbreakable laboratory instruments and containers. Today, Nalgene is known in the scientific world for its wide assortment of Nalgene Labware, in addition to its consumer products for outdoors enthusiasts and travelers.
I have a variety of narrow-mouth bottles; my current favorite is the "Pretty Pink" 32-ounce bottle, although I like the "Sage Green," "Sapphire Blue" and "Vibrant Violet" translucent shades as well. A MiniGrip bottle fitted with an Easy Sipper (with a flexible straw threaded through the drinking hole) is perfect for staying hydrated during a long road trip.
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Posted January 17, 2006 by Mariva in health, innovations, kitchen, resources, travel
Archie Bunker once mused, “You got your Thermos here, see? You can put coffee in it and it stays hot, or you can put beer in it and it stays cold, right? So my question is, how does it know?" Clearly, Archie never grasped the concept of insulation; nonetheless, Thermos products — three decades ago — worked so well that they seemed like magic.
Thermos has been updating its line of products, including its signature beverage bottles. The container featured here ain’t your parents’ Thermos. This lightweight, double-wall vacuum-insulated Food Jar with Folding Spoon comes with a stainless steel folding spoon that fits neatly into a storage compartment, which, by the way, has enough room to hold condiments and other small items. The Food Jar keeps your meal hot or cold, just the way you (and Archie) like it — and it looks cool to boot.
Posted January 13, 2006 by Mariva in gadgets, gifts, health, home, innovations, kitchen, travel
This patchwork wooden frame looks like the hand-built exterior of a tropical beach cabin. This might be because, according to the product description, the frame is handmade in Thailand, using recycled wood from old boats, houses, schools and buildings.
In the print catalog, the colors look even richer. That’s an actual turquoise you’re looking at. Keep in mind, though, that because each frame is one of a kind, designs and colors vary slightly from frame to frame. Fits 4" x 6" photos.
Posted January 12, 2006 by Mariva in arts, decor, gifts, home
What to wear to a New Year’s Eve party:
Posted December 30, 2005 by Mariva in entertaining, fashion, holidays, home, social
||When I was conducting research for my post on scented paper, I came across some interesting smell-related sites:
- Better Living with Essential Oils: information about and uses for essential oils for body and home care. #24 is instructions on infusing scents into paper, although I would suggest adding the drops of essential oils to a cotton pad rather than directly onto the paper.
Posted December 29, 2005 by Mariva in bath & spa, beauty, education, health, home, resources
Does scented paper exist? I’ve been intrigued by the concept since seeing Legally Blonde, in which Reese Witherspoon’s character Elle Woods submitted her resume on paper that was not only pink, but scented as well, to give it that "extra something." After conducting my own exhaustive research, however, I found out that you can’t just purchase a ream of scented paper at, say, Office Depot.
The only products I found that were even close to this mythical scented paper included:
I also found a couple of resources for do-it-yourselfers, so that you can either infuse a scent into existing paper or make your own scented herb paper from scratch.
I hope someone eventually makes inexpensive scented paper that’s suitable for printing. A savvy entrepreneur could fill some niche markets in the wedding, home crafting, scrapbooking, stationery, dining napkin or specialty paper industries. Maybe Martha or Kate — or, more practically, Wausau Paper or Gartner Studios — should look into it.
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Posted December 28, 2005 by Mariva in bath & spa, business, decor, entertaining, gifts, home, innovations