Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nantucket: Overland Equipment's Perfect Carry-on Personal Item

If you don't check bags when traveling, you know that you get one carry on and one "personal item."  Over the years I've used all sorts of bags for my personal item, from regular purses to small backpacks in a Goldilocks quest for just the right size.  If you're looking for a great carry-on personal item, you have to see the Nantucket Bag from Overland Equipment.  This has to be one of the best--if not the best--personal item bag I've ever seen.

Right off the bat, this bag has a pass-through sleeve that slips over your carry on suitcase---not super common and extremely handy.   You don't even see it when just carrying the bag, it's totally concealed and just looks like a regular tote. This makes the perfect match for your carry on, just slip it on and off as needed, no fumbling around at the airport.  It stays secure on your wheelie and your hands and arms are free and comfortable.  When you're on the plane, you'll have everything you need.

Inside the bag is the perfect amount of organization with pockets for sunglasses and electronics, and some padding for your laptop and/or tablet.  It has a zipper closure, so it keeps all your stuff secure--I'm surprised how many totes like this do not have a zipper feature and it's important.  There's a slip pocket on the front perfect for your cell phone so there's no fumbling around when you hear it ring. 

You can fit a ton of stuff in this bag--a laptop, tablet, small blanket, food, and more, I can't imagine needing anything bigger for your personal item.  Finally, the black is sleek and low profile, something I love in travel gear, though it does come in other colors.  You could also use the Nantucket as a tote for school, work, or the beach, it's a very versatile bag.  Find it HERE.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Are Dolphins People?

A group of scientists are working on a "Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans," claiming that dolphins and whales have sufficient self awareness and intelligence to be given basic human rights.  No more whaling or keeping cetaceans in captivity for entertainment purposes.  Decades of research have led experts to conclude that cetaceans, though not human, have a level self awareness equal to that of humans (I would argue more in some cases).

"Dolphins are non-human persons," says professor Tom White who has authored a book on the subject, "a person needs to be an individual. If individuals count, then the deliberate killing of individuals of this sort is ethically the equivalent of deliberately killing a human being.  The captivity of beings of this sort, particularly in conditions that would not allow for a decent life, is ethically unacceptable; commercial whaling is ethically unacceptable.  We're saying the science has shown that individuality, consciousness, self awareness, is no longer a unique human property."  Works for me. Read more here

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

National Parks: A Kid's Guide

My favorite thing about the US is our National Parks.  We are so lucky to have them and wouldn't it be fun to go on a road trip for the summer, taking the kids to see the marvels of mother nature?  Camping at each place along the way and discovering the diverse terrain and animal life?  I've done some long road trips, and visited many of our parks, but not to the extent I feel the need to.  Our national parks are pilgrimage-worthy, I think. 

NATIONAL PARKS: A Kid's Guide to America's Parks, Monuments, and Landmarks is a great companion for such a trip or trip planning.  It also serves as an inspiration, a wish list of fabulous destinations, and it's chock full of fun facts and trivia.  Cool retro graphics make it a feast for the eyes and kids won't even notice they are learning.  Every page has Ranger and Birdwatch Facts for each place--what kid doesn't love rangers? There is a quarter collector in the back with slots for quarters from each state--that could be a fun tradition for domestic travels.  My son was all over this book and it is written with kids in mind--but I love it for adults too.  Find it HERE

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

prAna Spring is Here!

A friend asked me the other day if I'd seen any signs of Spring yet.  Robins?  Buds?  A little, but it's still a bit early. Happily, there is one fabulous sign of Spring I can point to--prAna's new Spring line.  I love prAna, it's one of my favorite clothing companies.  They are ethical, socially responsible, use eco friendly materials, and I trust them.  Not to mention, the clothes are gorgeous and functional.

Check out this new Berry Scallop fabric in the Quinn Dress.  I think it should be called Flaming Lotus.  It's an energizing sumptuous beautiful print that flatters.  The Quinn dress is one of prAna's best pieces in my opinion, it's butter soft and crazy comfortable, doesn't wrinkle and is light weight making it perfect for travel.  It's the kind of garment you can wash in a hotel sink and it will dry very quickly, hold its shape, and look fabulous throughout your trip.

It dresses up or down and flatters the figure, and there's a built in shelf bra for support.  This dress is made of 45% recycled content so it's eco friendly to boot.  It's a wardrobe must have, find it HERE. And by the way, if you need something stunning for Valentine's Day, it's available at stores like REI--go treat yourself!

Monday, February 11, 2013

JUSTIN'S NUT BUTTER: Chocolate Hazelnut

Every year around Valentine's Day, I talk about chocolate.  And it's often heart shaped or something that comes in pink or red packaging.  This year, it's not.  It's chocolate, and it's wonderful, but it's not in a colorful wrapper.  It's Justin's Nut Butter, in Hazelnut (which is a little bit heart shaped now that I think of it) and it's so good that's what I'm recommending this year for a Valentine's Day treat.

It comes in a jar, like other nut butters, but what I really love is that it also comes in packets.  And these packets help you to not knock off a half a jar in one sitting, and they go everywhere with you.  In the gym bag, in your backpack, in your suitcase, and even on the plane (they're under 3.4 oz and you have to count them as part of your liquid allotment, but it works great for in-flight snacking). 

It's a little bit too delicious, be warned.  That's why the packets are such a great idea, you can keep better track of how much you eat, and they are just the right amount to calm a hungry stomach, or stabilize blood sugar when you lose track of time and you need a pick me up away from your healthy kitchen.

The Hazelnut Butter is wonderful, and I thought that one would be my favorite, but I think the Almond Butter is just as good.  They both have a grainy salty sweet thing going on that is irresistible and crazy good.  The only thing that would make this better is a full on organic certification (though they do use some organic ingredients).  

This year for Valentine's Day, here's something different to try, either for gifts (would be perfect to slip inside a Valentine) or treat yourself.  If you want to dress up the label, take a red sharpie and draw a heart around the hazelnut, why not?  Find it on HERE  on Amazon, or in your local stores like REI and your co-op. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Breo iSee360 Eye Massager

As someone who suffers from migraines, I'm always looking for drug free ways to find relief.  The Breo iSee360, while not designed for headaches per se, helps mitigate some of the pain associated with this.  Migraines and headaches frequently radiate pain from behind the eyes and eyebrow area.  This massager has a pressure system that squeezes this area and creates relief.  Even if you don't have a headache, it's a nice massage for tired eyes that have been looking at a computer screen, studying, or driving all day for instance.

Various options on the remote allow you to control the sensation.  It vibrates in different patterns as an option, but personally I like the pressure more.   Compression air bags that fill up and apply pressure to your forehead, temples and eyes and that is very soothing when you have a headache, sinus cold, or just plain tired eyes.  You can add heat, but I found it didn't get hot enough on my unit to really matter to me--I'm used to those ceramic heating pads that get very very hot, so maybe that's why.  Also, it would be nice if the padding that goes on your eyes had some sort of soft fabric.  It's not, which is actually nice for cleaning, but I like softness there, so I just wear my silk eye mask with it and that works great.

There is a built in sound system so that you can listen to soothing sounds like the ocean, rainfall, birds, etc.  I'm a fan of white noise, and just the sound of the machine is fine with me, drowning out peripheral noise.   If you don't care for that, the optional soundscapes will mask it and it comes with earphones.  The remote controls the sound, temperature, vibration modes, pressure, and length of time per session.  You can go five, ten or fifteen minutes at a time.  

The Breo iSee360 is very straightforward and easy to use.  You can either use batteries or plug it into the wall and both batteries and the ac adapter plug are included in the box.  I think this would make a thoughtful gift (Valentine's Day is coming up) or a comforting addition to your home.  It's cheaper than one trip to the massage therapist and available to you 24/7.  Find it HERE and on sites like

Friday, February 1, 2013

Prop 37 Backlash

As shocked and upset as I was to see the prop 37 fail, I do find it heartening that it exposed the dirty dealings of certain food companies to deceive their customers.  All those millions spent to pull the  wool over consumers' eyes has only added fuel to the fire and hopefully will serve to speed the process of gmo labeling. 

For the last ten years these underhanded companies have been getting away with murder--quite literally in my opinion--by selling food products containing gmos.  Companies I once trusted, like KNUDSEN, KASHI, HORIZON ORGANIC, SILK, ODWALLA, ALEXIA, CASCADIAN FARMS, LARABAR--how could they object to labeling??  Because they are owned by food giants who would then have to label their toxic food.  If you need a refresher on why gmos are tremendously dangerous, take a look at THIS.