Blog Posts by Daily Grommet

  • The best portable speakers: Big sound, little package.


    Daily Grommet researched portable speaker systems and found they fell into one of two categories.

    • Category 1: Good sound in a not-very-portable package.
    • Category 2: Ultra-portable package with mediocre sound.

    Altec Lansing Orbit portable MP3 speakerAltec Lansing Orbit portable MP3 speakerOf course, we weren't satisfied with either category. We wanted - heck, we demanded - the best of both worlds.

    We've found the category-smashing solution in the Altec Lansing Orbit speakers. Yes, Virginia, you can have something small and portable (and-bonus!-not too pricey) that sounds great!

    First, the sound quality: These speakers sport a neodymium driver that provides sound in a distortion-free, 360-degree pattern. Was that Greek to you? Here's the translation: The Altec Lansing offers full-bodied, clear, crisp sound and packs a much larger punch than its 3.5" diameter might suggest.

    Second, the size issue: The Orbit speakers will fit tidily into your glove compartment, backpack or beach bag. Small enough to nestle in your palm, it comes with a

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  • Heat your home without blowing the budget


    In past years, ceramic heaters were all the rage. Those cold winter nights sometimes call for some extra warmth, but the heaters of old didn't give off much ambient warmth. After a few weeks you're left with no choice but to jack up the thermostat.

    DeLonghi's safe, portable space heaterDeLonghi's safe, portable space heaterThe DeLonghi flat panel radiator provides the perfect solution. Thin, sleek and portable (it can even be wall mounted), this is truly the little heater that could. The DeLonghi heater has its own thermostat that can be set for automatic adjustment, has an easy carry handle, and would be a welcome addition to any family room this winter, especially ones without fireplaces!

    Although not recommended for a bathroom, the DeLonghi flat panel radiator can take that too cool room and make it cozy, eliminating the need to twist the thermostat way up. One member of Team Grommet was thrilled she could now use her unheated but enclosed porch all the way into autumn with the addition of this quiet and unobtrusive heater.

    Can you think of a place in

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  • Feel the love - Give the best Valentine's Day gifts

    Want to keep the romance alive? Pick out something special for the one you love. The best Valentine's Day gifts aren't the most extravagant, they're the ones that are chosen with a little TLC. Here are Daily Grommet's favorite unique ideas to help put a smile on that special someone.

    Fat Toad Farm organic goat milk caramel sauce Fat Toad Farm organic goat milk caramel sauce Sweets for your sweet: Whether your lover prefers decadent chocolate or rich caramel, we've got sweet options. Caramel mavens might especially enjoy Fat Toad Farm goat milk caramel sauces (pictured) or fleur de sel caramels from Bell'occhio. Chocolate fanatics will go crazy for dessert toppers from Sassy Sauces, gourmet tasting squares from TCHO Chocolate, or a delicious "dipping adventure" from Hotel Chocolat.

    Cyberoptix unique ties and gift ideas for menCyberoptix unique ties and gift ideas for menThe ties that bond:
    You like it when he dresses up, he likes it when you recognize his unique flair. We've got two tie makers who just might match his style: Cyberoptix (for the hip) and Josh Bach (for the sporty classic).

    For your honey bunny: If your darling loves the sweetness of honey without

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  • Smart gadget review: Save your hands, scissors and sanity

    No one likes a gift you can't open. Yet those annoying plastic clam-shell packages make it nearly impossible sometimes. They're sealed tighter than a bank vault, the hard plastic can ruin scissors, and the sharp edges left behind are an accident waiting to happen.

    Zip-it clamshell and plastic package openerZip-it clamshell and plastic package openerNext time you're faced with one of those dreaded packages, save your hands, scissors and sanity with a Zip-It Opener. It's a battery-operated device that can cut through hard plastic packaging with no trouble at all. Just attach the Zip-It to your package, press the button and guide the rollers around like you would a can opener. Presto, your items (batteries, toys, tools, fluorescent light bulbs, whatever) are free from their plastic prison, and there are no sharp edges to worry about. Just don't try it on a can of tomatoes; the Zip-It is intended only for cutting plastic packaging and paper envelopes.

    Steve Fisher, ZipitSteve Fisher, Zipit The idea for the Zip-It came from Steve Fisher, a retired dentist who used to struggle to open plastic

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  • Skincare safety: What to pack when you're heading south.

    Making plans to head south this winter? You should know about Mission Skincare. Originally designed with pro athletes in mind, the everyday benefits of these products make them a favorite for the Daily Grommet team. Whether out for a jog or just chasing the kids around the pool, there's nothing worse than the sting of sunscreen running into your eyes.

    In fact, thaMission Skincare healthy skincare and sun protection for athletesMission Skincare healthy skincare and sun protection for athletest's one of the problems Josh Shaw set out to solve when he founded the Mission Skincare line. He teamed up with a roster of world-class athletes to engineer products that can keep up with the demands of pro athletes and anyone else looking for skincare that fits into an active lifestyle.

    Serena Williams, Steve Nash, and Mia Hamm are all part of the team aAmanda Beard and JoshAmanda Beard and Josht Mission Skincare (which donates 10% of profits to the athletes' charities). So is swimming legend Amanda Beard (that's her with Josh on the right), who told Daily Grommet she got involved because she wants to create products she believes in: "How often do you

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  • Green gift-wrapping made simple

    Picking out a special gift and adding a little pizazz with stylish wrapping can be fun and rewarding. But as we all do our part to make the world a little bit greener, wrapping paper and even paper gift bags don't sit right with our eco-consciousness. When we heard about the LivingEthos paperless gift wrap, we knew we'd found a genuine green alternative.

    Josie Gaillard, LivingEthosJosie Gaillard, LivingEthos LivingEthos was founded by California mom Josie Gaillard, an entrepreneur with a background in solar energy marketing. She came up with the idea for cloth gift bags one holiday season after her family decided to go green and not use any disposable wrapping paper. Traditional paper gift bags weren't her style, so Josie gathered up some fabric and started sewing. Her cloth bags were a hit with family and friends, and LivingEthos was born. The chic bags really show off Josie's keen eye for fabric, with sophisticated options like Regal Damask Blue and the modern Deco Maze, as well as kid-friendly patterns that are lively and

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  • Spare your back and shovel smarter!


    Starting in early December and lasting through March, much of the country is buried in snow, and while kids may be thrilled to wake up to a blanket of fresh snow, most of us adults dread another backbreaking morning of clearing snow off the driveway.

    Sno Wovel, the ergonomic wheeled folding snow shovelSno Wovel, the ergonomic wheeled folding snow shovelEnter the Sno Wovel Snow Shovel. Not only is it fun to say, this elegantly designed, wheeled snow shovel takes the struggle out of shoveling, and its wide blade and lever action makes quick work of the white stuff. Sure, your neighbor may brag about his (noisy) snow blower, but the environmentally-friendly Sno Wovel costs far less and won't fill the crisp winter air with clouds of exhaust fumes.

    The shovel is lightweight and easy to assemble and adjusts to fit your body size and strength, so even if you haven't made it to the gym all winter, you'll still be able to scoop up snow like a pro. Best of all the design reduces strain on your heart and back (according to experts at University of Massachusetts), so instead of nursing a

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  • Safety first - sunglasses your kids will actually wear


    We've had timeouts last longer in my house than a cheap pair of kids' sunglasses. One wrong move and someone snaps the frame or cracks a lens, then yet another pair of poorly made novelty shades winds up in the trash bin.

    But not anymore. We're hooked on these sunglasses made by the husband and wife team of David Scheinberg and Lisa Medora, who were sick of hunting for quality sunglasses for kids and not finding any. The Xtreme Sports sunglasses from MFSEyewear are real sunglasses, not novelty toys. The lenses are made of a shatterproof polycarbonate that provides 100% protection against UVB and UVA rays. Instead of a brittle plastic frame, they have an adjustable neoprene band that's flexible, comfortable and stays put, whether kids are cruising down the ski slopes, mountain biking or jumping in the waves. (They're also lead-free and contain no bisphenol-A or phthalates.)

    Daily Grommet reader David Flaschen raves about the quality of these sunglasses - and how his kids

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  • Expecting Guests? Time for a shine

    Cape Cod Polish's sterling silver polish clothCape Cod Polish's sterling silver polish clothYou want your home to sparkle and your tableware to shine. But, ugh, the silver, pewter and copper serving pieces are due for a polishing. Time to exert some elbow grease and inhale those noxious, metallic fumes, right? Nope, not anymore. We've found a way to spare you some trouble.

    Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths are the genius of William Block, who spent 25 years restoring antique metal and was less than thrilled with the polishes available to him. William invented his own formula and founded Cape Cod Polish Company, which his son Jared now runs. The cotton cloths are pre-moistened with just enough polish so you're not left with excess goop stuck in the nooks and crannies of your pieces. Just rub one of the polishing cloths gently over an object, then wipe dry with a buffing cloth or soft paper towel. Wash gently, and your treasured heirlooms will glow. The cloths can be reused and have a pleasant vanilla smell (no more noxious fumes). Plus, an anti-tarnish finish

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  • Naturally healing, globally helping


    There's nothing quite like the healing and restorative qualities of traditional shea butter. Known as African gold, shea butter is treasured both for its incredible moisturizing power and for the economic opportunity it brings to communities in Africa.Out of Africa unrefined African shea butterOut of Africa unrefined African shea butter

    Although all shea butter starts with nuts from the karite tree, not all shea butters are the same. Out of Africa makes its body washes, lotions and oils from unrefined shea butter. This means they maintain all of the best, natural antioxidant properties for which shea is renowned, and never contain the chemical additives you don't want or need. As a result, Out of Africa's skincare products are smooth, never greasy, and smell wonderful.

    Another quality that sets apart Out of Africa is its focus on helping local communities. Victor and Debra Lulla, who founded the company with African soap maker Gilles Adamon, are committed to improving the lives of the people of Benin, West Africa, where their shea butter is handmade. They

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