Caring gifts for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is an occasion to express our love for those who are special in our lives.  Show your sweetheart you care with these thoughtful Valentine’s gifts for her or him that are sure to warm your loved one’s heart.

I heart dogs

For those of us who love our pets, the way to our hearts is often through our furry friends. Hugger Memories has found a way to capture our sentiments for our pets and express them in a unique art pieces using inspired fabrics. Sarah Gibson Wiley, the artist behind these creations, uses photographs and stories to render Custom Pet Portraits in the form of monogrammed style pillows or fabric art suitable for framing. These home accents are sure to become a family heirloom and a gift that preserves special memories of a pet to cherish for years to come. $225 for a single pet.

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Jewelry from the sea of love

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to give a special piece of jewelry, like a design from artist Wendy Mignot. Each of her unique and elegant bohemian chic creations features pearls and natural and reclaimed items from the ocean and surrounding terrain. Her pieces combine Tahitian, South Sea, and freshwater cultured pearls along with sea glass, shells, stones and ancient and shipwrecked coins, strung on soft, hand rolled-leather and tied with precision to create a one-of-a-kind piece that can be worn to the beach or a ballroom.  Priced $75 to $1,250.

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The face of love

Pamper your sweetheart with Annemarie Borlind natural skin care products for that make the wearer feel beautiful inside and out. The anti-aging LL Regeneration collection with proprietary bioactive complex includes a Gentle Cleansing Milk ($43.99), a Revitalizing Blossom Dew Gel ($49.99), Revitalizing Day ($59.99) and Night Cream ($59.99), and Eye Wrinkle Cream (54.99). These cosmologist-created, vegan products, made in the Black Forest, are made from plants, deep spring water and all natural and pure ingredients like Shea butter. in laboratory tested formulations that make skin look and feel firmer and revitalized. To make you feel even better about the line, none of the products are tested on animals and all are made in an ecologically responsible manner with fair working conditions and no child labor.

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I’ve got your backpack

Your loved one works hard for the money, so make carting around work stuff easy. Solo backpacks look as stylish as they are functional, with rich textures and thoughtful details such as fully padded laptop compartments, key clips, internal iPad or tablet pockets, front pockets, cloth interiors, and lightweight but durable materials. Two polished and preppy styles for her or him are the Bridgehampton Ladies Backpack, $89.99; and the East Hampton Backpack, $119.

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Locks of love

Your Sweetie will have a good hair day and feel spoiled with luxurious hair care products from Obliphica Professional.  The heart of Obliphica’s rejuvenating formulas is the powerful and therapeutic Seaberry superfruit, a centuries-old secret to beauty, rich with bioactive compounds, that naturally nourishes, heals and protects the scalp and hair, and has been revered for its rejuvenating powers by ancient cultures since 5000 BC. The Seaberry Shampoo ($24, 300 mil. size) cleanses hair and scalp, removes impurities and softens the hair, controls static and protects hair with natural UV filters for longer-lasting color, hydration and shine. The Seaberry Mask ($38, 250 ml. size) intensely hydrates and repairs the hair, and nourishes and moisturizes the scalp. Seaberry Serum ($38, 65 ml. size) nourishes and repairs hair, while leaving a luminous, shiny and silky finish.

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Sizzling hot love

Give your honey a gift that he or she will use every day and think of you. IMUSA Induction Sauté Pans are go-to every day pans that are both durable and versatile. Great for sautéing foods, making pancakes and eggs or grilling sandwiches, these pans are quintessential pieces for any kitchen. The induction bottom is suitable for gas, electric, ceramic and induction stove tops. The hundred percent ceramic nonstick coating makes cleanup easy and allows you to use less oil. Available in assorted sizes of 8 inches, 10 inches or 12 inches for all size cooking jobs.  $54.99 for a three-piece set.

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Light up your love light

Set the mood for your Valentine’s Day celebration by lighting up fragrant Goat Milk Stuff candles. These soy candles last up to 50% longer than paraffin candles, and they burn slower, cooler and cleaner, and they hold their sent beautifully. They come in a variety of fragrances and colors, such as the soft pink Luv Spell scent, to suit any mood and taste. $6 each.

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10 tech toys and more for every kids on your holiday gift list

Kids of all ages get excited about the latest electronics, and tech-savvy parents know that sharing in their kid’s enthusiasm and wonder for technology is an excellent way to bond. When kids have reached their screen time limit, it’s time to get real with physical games and toys that engage them the old-fashioned way. For every child on your list, here are 10 great gifts that help kids grow in their understanding of technology, develop their creative skills and encourage connection with others.

Two hit wonder

For those of us of a certain age who remember the rock-em-sock-em toy robots, whose heads popped off with a firm jab to the jaw, there’s a new heavyweight in the ring. Big Robot Data Rate and Tenderizer Remote Control Fighting Robots are eight-inch fighting machines with Innovative Motion Control Technology so that each user can steer, maneuver and punch using a handheld nun-chuck controller. The trash talking robots also feature quote damage tracking LEDs and other effects to keep the match fun and exciting. Ages 4 and up.  $59.99 each or $99 for two-pack. Available at Toys R Us.

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The sky (and imagination) is the limit

Portal masters can take their creativity to the outer limits with Skylanders Imaginators, the latest iteration of the popular Skylanders video console game franchise with new capabilities that empower players to unleash their imaginations and bring their creations to life in an all-new adventure with puzzles, battles, a compelling storyline and new lineup of heroes and villains.  Take the fun to another dimension with the Skylanders free Creator mobile app which allows kids to design and print out their own unique playable 3D printed figure.  Ages 8 and up. Skylanders Imaginators Starter pack includes two Sensei characters, one Creation Crystal, Portal of Power and game disc available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 1, Xbox 360 and WiiU. The Starter Pack is available for $39.99 at Toys R US, Target, Wal-Mart and all major retailers. Custom 3D printed figure available for $49.99.

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Crack the code

Dick Tracy decoder rings of yesteryear were child’s play. Today’s coding toys teach real world computer coding skills, such as Monster, an intelligent iPad game by Osmo that helps budding  computer developers master AI technology and harness their creativity to animate physical drawings, with the help of Mo the Monster, who comes to life to interact with children’s drawings.  The Osmo Monster Starter Kit includes an iPad stand, iPad camera reflector, and two sets of game pieces with alphabet letter tile sets and wood tangram shapes.

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Once kids get the hang of coding, they can expand their talents with additional Osmo learning tools, like the Coding game that uses hands-on physical blocks to control Awbie, a playful character that kids use coding skills to direct on strawberry-munching adventure. Starter kit $74.99, Coding game $49. Ages 6 to 10. Available at www.playosmo.com.

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Little listeners

Sometimes kids don’t listen, and then sometimes they listen to much, by way of earphones with the volume turned up too loud, which can be especially harmful to hearing when using low-end earphones that come with electronic devices. Etymotic’s ETY•Kids Safe-Listening Earphones are engineered to protect young ears by sealing off ambient noise so kids are not tempted to crank up the volume to unsafe levels.  The earphones’ s high quality, clear playback is safe for listening for up to eight hours (or four hours at the highest volume levels), so parents can rest easy, and kids can experience their music, games and movies as they were meant to be heard. $39.99, etymotic.com. Ages 5 and up.

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Smart and cool phone

When it’s time for that first phone, kids want the coolest bone, but parents don’t want to outlay a chunk of cash for a device that might get lost or broken. VeryKool smart phones fill the bill for kids who want a feature-filled phone of their very own – with a front- and rear-facing camera and lots of multitasking abilities, and parents will love its affordable price. The VeryKool Fusion SL4500 and the Jet SL5009 are available for $109.00, and the line includes several models under $75.  No contracts are required, and the phones will work with every GSM carrier across the US including AT&T, T-Mobile, Tracfone, etc., (Note, VeryKool phones are not compatible CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint)  Ages 10 and up. Available on Amazon.

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Glow phone

Once kids have their very own phone, they want to protect and individualize it with a cool case. Ballistic Case Company has launched a line of protective, sleek cases in limited edition colors that protect phones from dust, bumps and dings and will help kids distinguish their phone from their friends’ phones. The lightweight and durable Jewel Series, Spark and Neon editions offer reinforced silicone corners and is engineered with six-sided drop protection technology. The Neon collection boasts bright hues that even glow in the dark, so they are easy to find in a backpack. Ages 10 and up. .$20 to $30, available at  www.goballisticcase.com.

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A ton of bricks

Kids love LEGOS, and now they can combine their favorite brick building activity with their affinity for video games with LEGO Dimensions. To begin the adventure, kids build the minifigure heroes and then assemble bricks into the LEGO Gateway, which they place onto the LEGO Toy Pad. The game expands as kids collect more mini figures, vehicles and gadgets and go to new levels with Expansion Packs, that call up the likes of Fantastic Beasts, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, making the game completely customizable and infinitely expandable. Ages 7-14. The Starter Pack is available for $79.99 at Target, Toys R Us, GameStop, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon. Additional expansion packs range from $11.99 – $49.99.

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Gem dandy

Light up the little ladies on your gift list with Gemmies the next evolution of 3D beading craft. With a click and connect process using elastic rings, kids can design crystal creations, from sparkling jewelry to flowers and tiny toy animals. The intuitive design templates use a repetitive pattern that lets kids develop their cognitive abilities and progress to designing their own creations. The kits come with a storage Design Studio with a light up pedestal to display creations. Ages 6 and up. $24.99.  Available at Target or www.makegemmies.com.

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Puzzle me this

For families on the road, take a break from mobile video games for some real, tactile interaction with a travel puzzle that engages kids in creative play while helping them to build an inner sense of the relationships between forms and colors. Bella Luna’s Magnetic Tiles Indian Squares puzzle comes packaged in a handy 8×8 metal storage box that doubles as a play surface with 36 magnetitic birch wood pieces enclosed.  All ages, from children to adults, will enjoy coming up with beautiful designs and geometric forms. $39.95, ages 3 and up. Available at www.Bellalunatoys.com.

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Give something personal for the holidays with caring gifts

Giving someone a personal care gift can be touchy. For instance, unless a woman has asked for a cellulite massager, she might take it the wrong way. Here are six non-offending personal gifts that loved ones are sure bring comfort and joy.

No Pain, their gain

The Oska Pulse device is the latest technology in pain relief. About the size of a large computer mouse, the device can be strapped to the body with the included sling or even placed under the user’s pillow. Employing pulsed electromagnetic field energy, the same technology used by NFL players and the military special forces to promote healing at the cellular level, the device glows and works its magic, painlessly, silently, and with no side effects. It also has a moneyback guarantee if you do not get relief. $400, www.Oskawellness.com

Smooth Shaving

You may not think a man’s bald head and a woman’s legs have much in common, but the makers of Skull Shaver electric razors get that the delicate knees, ankles and other contours of a woman’s body deserve the same gentle care as a man’s head when achieving a close, smooth shave. The mushroom-shaped cordless Butterfly Shaver has five flexible rotating heads plus a foil head attachment for bikini and under arms. Holiday sale price $54.99, www.skullshaver.com

Smile Pretty

With all the “to floss, or not to floss” debate, only one thing is for certain, debris between your teeth is unsightly and unhealthy. The Oral Irrigator, despite its aggressive name, gently removes particles from teeth and gums with a stream of pulsed water. Unlike bulkier dental devices with cords and separate tanks, this pulsing water device charges up and then can be picked up and used like an electric toothbrush. It has three settings and a two-minute auto shut off and is safe for braces implants and bridgework.  $49.95, www.toilettreeproducts.com

Sock it to me

Socks might seem to be a rather pedestrian gift, but not when those stockings are ready for the cat walk. Lily Trotters are fashionable high-performance women’s compression socks that look as good as they work.  Lily trotters are designed thin so they can pair easily with running shoes or boots, and despite their snug squeeze, they are easy to get on and off and can be worn comfortably for hours on end. They may be just what you need to slip into for recovery after exercise or during pregnancy or air travel when it’s most important to keep blood circulating in the lower legs for vein health and to keep legs feeling refreshed and energized. Available in dozens of sassy styles. $48, www.LilyTrotters.com

Pillow talk

A good night sleep can improve productivity, mood and general health, and it all starts when you lay down your head. The Sleep Innovations Versacurve memory foam pillow, engineered by a team of sleep experts who studied people while they slept, cradles your cappie with gentle therapeutic support and a curved design that accommodates those who change sleeping positions from side, back and stomach during the night, promoting a sounder sleep. $38.99, www.Amazon.com

 

Cool it

If someone you know has a hothead, or hot body for that matter, MISSION’s EnduraCool neck towels ($14.99-$29.99), will cool them off.  The MISSION line of athletic accessories are made with dry-to-cool wicking fabric technology embedded into wraps and other gear such as hoodies, hats, headbands and helmet liners use patented technology that can lower the fabric’s surface temperature by up to 30 degrees when activated with water, and the technology is embedded in the fabric so it can’t wash out. Available at www.mission.com

Making a Sweet Cup of Coffee for Valentine’s Day

ImageEven non-coffee drinkers — and yes, for those addicts who can’t imagine it, there are people who do not imbibe — need to know how to make coffee.  Coffee cannot be avoided.  It’s part of our vernacular, meaning, “Let’s talk,” or, “Let’s get to know each other,” when someone says, “Let’s get a cup of coffee.”  And even more crucial, it is a gesture of love to make coffee for your sweetheart, especially on Valentine’s Day. Whether you are half of an old married couple, or waking up next to a new best squeeze, making coffee for your Valentine is a sure way to show you care.  Here are a few ways to win your lover’s heart, when it comes to coffee.

  • Get a special coffee mug for Valentine’s Day so that every time your sweetheart drinks from that cup, thoughts of you are on his or her mind, and lips.
  • Keep your sweetheart’s favorite blend in the cabinet and never run out.  Any proper coffee addict knows, a good morning starts with a good cup of coffee, or it’s not going to be a good morning.
  • Even if you are not an early riser, prepare the pot to brew first thing in the morning, so it will be hot and waiting when your sweetheart awakes.  Better yet, set the timer so it will be ready a few minutes after the alarm goes off.
  • Take a little extra effort to make your sweetheart’s coffee just that much better.  Go rich and buy the premium beans — it’s worth it and shows you care enough to buy the best for him or her; grind the beans just before brewing for extra fresh flavor; use filtered water for purist of taste; and brew a new pot if it’s been sitting a while.
  • Give your sweetheart a coffee maker for Valentine’s Day. While there are many fancy and expensive brewing systems, you can get a great coffee maker for a reasonable price that can make an excellent pot of coffee, like KRUPS KM611850 12-Cup Coffee Machine.  It features an oversized shower head to evenly deliver hot water to ensure even flavor extraction, a flavor control aroma selection, a programmable clock to set the daily start time with auto-off and dual auto-on presents, and a Duo Filter water filtration system.  It also looks sharp in any kitchen with a black and stainless steel finish. $69.90, available at retail locations nationwide and krupsusa.com.

A Holiday Gift Guide for Merry Kids

Children’s Gift Ideas to Bring Out the Joy of the Season

The holiday season is full of merriment and memory making for children.  Here are some ideas for presents that the little ones on your gift list will enjoy and cherish for years.

Railing ‘Round the Christmas Tree

Bring back childhood memories and give the kids a new tradition of an electric toy train circling the Christmas tree with Power Trains.  The Log Loader Express set includes a remote control, a 2-speed motorized engine car with a working headlight, a working Log Loader, four highly detailed and authentic looking rail cars, forklift tractor and more than 15 feet of track to create an awesome train world. Ages 4 and up.  $49.99.  Available at retailers nationwide.

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Just Fort Fun

The kid on your list who loves to build forts will light up over Crazy Forts Fort Lights.  They attach with clips to shine a light inside a secret hideaway and stay cool to the touch and automatically turn off after 20 minutes.  $15.99, www.overstock.com

Mixin’ Xmas

Bring out kids musical mixin’ talent on the turntables with JAKKS Pacific’s EZ Pro DJ. Budding DJs can loop, mix, crossfade and scratch and sample songs to create unique mash-ups using the deck’s two virtual turntables and easy-to-use interface and audio connection for speakers and headphones. Download the FREE EZ PRO DJ app on any iOS device to access your own music collection and get mixing. Ages 8 and up.  Check out EZ Pro DJ demo on YouTube http://ezprodjmixer.com/videos/.  ($49.99), Kmart and retailers nationwide.

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Cuddle Bunny

Your little snuggle muffin will love cuddling up with Sofia’s best friend, the soft and cuddly Talking Clover loves to chat with his friends – simply press Clover’s tummy to hear him say over eight iconic phrases from the show. His hilarious sayings and super soft ears and body will instantly make him any girl’s best friend. The Talking Clover also comes with a free magical lesson card to use in the Talking Magical Amulet, sold separately. Batteries included. ($19.99), Ages 3 and up. ToysRUs and retailers nationwide.

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Splash Happy

The little mermaid on your Christmas list will sing a happy song for Tollytots Under the Sea Surprise Ariel.  When the Princess mermaid is placed in water, her fin lights in rainbow colors.  Ariel also sings and says favorite movie moments in both English and Spanish. $29.99, Ages 3 and up. Target and other national retailers.

Bug Out

Kids will love getting’ buggy with Bugs in the Kitchen, a 3D game where a battery-operated HEXBUG Nano crawls across the game board as players try to lead it into their traps. Players roll the die to see whether they can move a fork, knife, or spoon to make a path for the bug. Players earn tokens and win by capturing the bugs. Ages and up.  $24.99, Target.

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Nail It

Trend setting tweens and teens will wow their friends with Style Me Up! Perfect Nail Markers ($9.99).  The kit comes with 2-in-1 polish pens and brush applicator and five nail polish colors, color instructions and ideas guide. The Style Me Up! Perfect Nail Salon ($29.99) includes the a nail dryer, six bottles of nail polish, 30 nail stickers, three bags of sequins and one of nail glitter powder plus two nail files, a pair of toe separators, 32 nail polish remover pads, and other tools. Ages 8 and up, stylemeup.com.

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Baby You Can Draw My Car

Young car designers can “detail” their rides with the Design Masters sketchbook collection, featuring such classic’s as Lamborghini Gallardo, Aventador LP700-4 and Sesto Elemento. Artists can trace, color and detail vehicles precisely to specifications or creatively interpret their own concept car choosing wheels, spoilers, bumpers and other car parts to create awe-inspiring vehicle designs. Sketchbooks feature 30 pages of stencils, illustrated inspiration sheets and over 140 stickers.  Ages 7 and up. Small format $6.99, large $9.99.  Amazon and other national retailers.

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Tick Toc You Don’t Stop

Fan of the Tickety Toc show will love to play and learn with the Tickety Toc Matching Game where players match and make sets of pictures or their favorite Tickety Toc characters – Tommy, Tallulah, Pufferty and Hopparoo. While having fun with their fave characters, kids develop memory skills and learn to share and take turns as they try to collect the most matches! One to four players. Ages 3 and up.  $9.99.  Exclusively at ToysRUs.

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It’s Catching

Young anglers will love to cast out their lines with the Shakespeare Catch More Fish Series.  Choose from a variety of complete fishing packages that includes a two-piece rod, reel spooled with line and assorted tackle.  Each kit is customized for the type of fish and setting, whether its fresh or salt water, Fly, Crappie or just about every fish in the sea, or lake. $29.99-$49.99.   Bass Pro and other sporting goods stores.

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Home Goods for the Holidays Gift Guide for Happy Homebodies

Make the holidays homier for homebodies on your gift list with these gift ideas that make the home a great place to be.

 Baby its Warm Inside

Warm up a loved-one’s holidays with the Space Saving Heater from BrylaneHome.  This quick-to-heat compact heater will make any home warm and cozy while taking up minimum space. The energy-saving 1350-watt heater features high, medium and low settings and is crafted of steel and glass with natural looking logs and moving flames for a bit of ambience with your heat.  $99.99, www.brylanehome.com

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Booked Up

The bookworm on your list will love to shelve their favorite reading material between the quirky White Wooden @& Bookends (Set of 2). Finished in a classic white, these bookends feature an ampersand and at symbol typography. $51.29.  www.Overstock.com

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 Sitting Pretty

The home-office exec on your list will love driving a desk when they are in a seat like the super comfy Extra Wide Deluxe Padded Office Chair from BrylaneHome, an affordable executive office chair that looks great behind a desk and features a comfortable padded headrest and padded armrests, adjustable height and extra lumbar support.  Available in brown or black.  $199.99, www.brylanehome.com

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Cozy Up

Wrap up your best squeeze in luxury in the snuggly Soft Indulgence Blanket from BrylaneHome.  This luxuriously thick and silky blanket will keep her or him warm at night and look elegant on a bed with its shimmery two textures of rich plush easy-care polyester. Available in five colors.  $39.99-$59.99, or feel pamper loved ones with an oversized Soft Indulgence extra-large bath towel that will cover them from head to toe,  $14.99, www.brylanehome.com

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The Holiday Gift Guide for Women

Gift Ideas for the Women in Your Life

Fly Girl

For the outdoors woman, outfit her in Exofficio, the stylish active clothes brand designed for her lifestyle.  The frequent traveler woman on your list will love the durable and sharp-looking FlyQ Vest ($100), featuring an advanced Travel Pocket System to help her breeze through airport security, sans purse.  She can save room in her luggage with the versatile hip-length Go-To Hoody ($49.91), featuring wrinkle-free drirelease fabric, that she can wear with jeans or as an extra layer on cool nights, or it doubles as a cover-up.   She can get cozy in the lightweight chenille feather-fleece Irresistible Neska V-Neck Sweater ($54.91 – $65.00), which is so soft she won’t  know if you should wear it or pet it. If she packs just one pair of pants on a trip, make it the functional and fashionable lightweight nylon Nomad Roll-Up Pant ($70.00), which covert from pants to capris in a snap.  Available at REI or www.exofficio.com.

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No purse needed with the multi-pocked FlyQ Vest from Exofficio

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Exofficio’s perfect roll-up pants for just about any activity

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Exoffico stylin’ clothes for the active woman – the super soft v-neck sweater

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The versatile long shirt that can be worn as a cover up or over jeans

She will feel rich anytime she reaches for the fashionable bi-fold wallet from Anais Gvani.  Made of contrasting hues of kid-soft Italian leather and lined with silky fabric, this spacious yet compact wallet features compartments for credit cards, change, and bills. Available in black, brown, deep coffee, grey, purple, red.  $52.19 and up, www.overstock.com

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Two-tone bi-fold wallet from Anais Gvani

Blend-Her

She’s been begging for one of those hi tech blenders, but you didn’t think you had the budget to get her one.  The Oster Versa Performance Blender is the answer. This super powerful blender is all that, and more.  The 1,400-watt motor spins its stainless steel blades at 28,000 RPM to blend smoothies, protein drinks, soups, dips, dressings, salsas and many other delicious treats in seconds.  The large 8-cup BPA-free Tritan plastic jar dwarfs the competition, and the affordable price makes it an even better value.  $249.00, Bed Bath & Beyond.

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The 1,400-watt Oster Versa Performance Blender

Shoe In

She loves sensible shoes, but most orthopedic shoes are dog ugly.  Not the stylin’ and comfy Vionic Orthaheel collection of good-for-your-health shoes designed by a podiatrist and recommended by the APMA.  For work, there’s the Olivia Ballet Flat ($89.95) that looks great with a pants suit or a tailored pair of jeans and treats your feet to proper arch support, heel cushion and orthotic technology that reduces over-pronation and associated aches and pains.  For weekends, there’s the playful Tahoe Casual Lace-Up ($99.95) that sports not just hipster style but a removable biomechanical orthotic footbed for all-day comfort.  At night, kick off your shoes and slip into the soft corduroy Geneva Slipper ($69.95) that feels plush on your feet either hanging out at home or out running errands.  Available at www.orthaheelusa.com

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The stylish Vionic Orthaheel collection’s Olivia Ballet Flat

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The dreamy house slipper by Vionic Orthaheel

Fish Her a Merry Christmas

The lady angler on your list will love to cast with Ladyfish combo rod and reel from Shakespeare’s Catch More Fish Series. The shiny pink two-piece tubular glass rod has a comfortable, ergonomic grip designed specifically for women, and is ready to go with a Synergy 10 spincasting reel with line and a utility box with and assortment of 102 tackles.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Shakespeare Ladyfish® products goes to help support the ABCF (American Breast Cancer Foundation). $24.99 – $34.99, www.shakespeare-fishing.com

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