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Grand Gift Ideas for a Holiday Shopping Head Start

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming, many are already strategizing how to take advantage of the throngs of deals and steals to be had. And online shoppers are poised to make an indelible mark given their collective spending power—a retail category that’s demonstrated exponential growth year after year. According to Statista, around $72.3 billion was spent online in 2017 alone, a staunch increase from the $29 billion spent in 2009. But as online shopping burgeons, it also overwhelms amid a glut of consumer goods all vying for your eyeballs, hearts, minds and wallets. So, to help streamline your shopping and reduce your stress in kind, I’ve curated this range of holiday gift ideas across various product categories ensuring there’s something for everyone on your “nice” list.

*****GADGETRY*****

Viotek’s GN34C Ultrawide QHD Monitor (www.Viotek.com)

The Viotek GN34Cx is a multitasking workhorse display—an ultrawide 34-inch monitor combining top gaming specs with the reliability of a professional business monitor. View flicker-free video with superior color reproduction, finalize media-rich office projects, and dominate FPS/RTS games. With the GN34Cx, every detail comes to life in ultra-wide QHD (3440x1440p) clarity–two and a half times the resolution of other full HD monitors. The 100Hz monitor refresh rate offers critical precision and accuracy when it matters most–during graphically demanding applications and action-packed games. The GN34Cx’s natural 1800R curve matches the natural curve of the human eye and renders game environments more realistic. Through AMD FreeSync technology, each frame and every movement are clear and smooth, even during CPU-intense, action-packed games, which prevents ghosting or tearing. With amazing edge-to-edge ultrawide QHD clarity, the GN34Cx is a value-centric PC computer monitor.

Crazybaby Air Nano Wireless Earbuds (www.CrazyBaby.com – $20 off with promo code “CRAZY20OFF” through December 2018

The Air Nano Wireless Earbud by Crazybaby is great gifting option and a perfect stocking stuffer. The classic bullet design of these wire-free earbuds offers a snug fit for all types of ears, making them perfect for running, jogging and other rigorous activities. The soft material that makes up the wingtip is water-washable, anti-static and removable (different size options come bundled). It uses the industry’s leading 998 custom-made Carbon Nanotube Diaphragms, enabling crystal-clear acoustics that facilitate an immersive music listening experience. The boast eight to 12 hours of playback time for all day use. Super fuel technology allows a quick five minute charging window for a full 90 minutes of playback. Precision engineering has resulted in an ultra-compact charging case design that can fit in any of the smallest pockets without worry about cables tangling up. The Crazybaby air Nano Wireless Earbuds are available in 10 trendsetting and vibrant colors with plenty of choices to match your personal style.

Circle Home Screen Time Controller (www.MeetCircle.com)

Circle Home is a smart solution letting families of all sizes monitor and filter screen time across all devices, both inside and outside the home. It sets up seamlessly to your Wi-Fi network, and, through its intuitive app-based dashboard, parents can create unique profiles for each family member with specific parental control settings. These include Time Limits – allowing for complete control of screen time usage between a variety of apps, platforms and web-based programs (like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more); Bedtime – automatically disconnecting and reconnecting devices from Wi-Fi at scheduled times; Filter – setting individual age and interest filters for each family member; and Pause – having the ability to turn on and off network Wi-Fi at any time. Imagine a world with only 30 minutes of social media per day! Circle takes the fighting out of screen time and empowers parents to set and follow through on their expectations around the house. You can even opt for service off of your own Wi-Fi network as well, ensuring full control no matter where your child may be.

Playground Sessions Keyboard/Piano Lessons Bundle (www.PlaygroundSessions.com)

Give the gift of music and an enriched live by helping them learn how to play the piano at home. Playground Sessions, a company co-created by Quincy Jones, is passionate about using its innovative technology and musical expertise to help people improve themselves and enjoy life more. The bundle includes a Casio CTK-2090 keyboard, which is compact with 61 piano-style keys. It’s a great entry keyboard for the beginner player. In addition to the CTK-2090 keyboard, the Playground Sessions bundle includes a keyboard stand, Audio Technica ATHSJ11BK Portable Headphones (White), Hosa GPM103 3.5mm (F) To (M) Stereo Adapter, an On Stage KSP20 Universal Sustain Keyboard Pedal, a Power Supply and a USB cable to connect to Playground Sessions online instruction via your computer or iPad.

Sharkbanz Shark Attack Deterrent (Sharkbanz.com)

This next travel product is a real life saver, literally! It’s Sharkbanz, a convenient shark deterrent for the beachgoer, swimmer, and surfer. Created by surfers and divers and tested by marine biologists on predatory shark species, Sharkbanz use patented magnetic technology to interfere with sharks’ sensitive electroreceptors. Sharkbanz don’t harm sharks or other sea creatures, use no batteries, require no charging, and are designed to endure rigorous water sports. And, $1 of every Midnight-Bimini Sharkbanz design sold benefits the the warrior surf foundation—a surf therapy organization for veterans.

VocoPro Pop-Up Oke (www.VocoPro.com)

Here’s a great gadget gift for singers who would enjoy a fun, all-in-one wireless karaoke mic with a built-in mixer/speaker, complete with its own light show! From audio leader VocoPro, the Pop-up-Oke microphone can connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and use YouTube or any number of different karaoke apps to access and enjoy hours of entertainment. Singers can also use the onboard MP3 SD/TF player to perform with recorded MP3 tracks. The multi-color LED lights can be turned on or off and, when on, will automatically “dance” to the beat of the music to add a visual excitement to any karaoke session. The system features a new generation of wireless karaoke microphone technology, including an all-in-one portable design. It’s just perfect for small karaoke gatherings and road trips! it also features innovative music link technology that can pair two Pop-up Oke devices to perform duets, a shock mounted professional condenser microphone to reduce handling noise, and a user-replaceable lithium ion rechargeable battery (type 18650).

ChargeHub Powerstation 360 Surge Protector Power Strip (www.LimitlessInnovations.com)

Here’s a practical gift item that any device devotee with appreciate: the ChargeHub Powerstation 360, billed as the most efficient charging station on the market today. It features quick and convenient charging for up to 10 devices simultaneously, including four USB’s, six AC Outlets, and provides up to 4000 joules of surge protection with a lifetime connected equipment warranty. The ChargeHub 360 is designed with a safety power-surge to protect all gadgets and devices while providing optimal charge. It uses patented SmartSpeed Technology to provide an optimal charge for virtually any device, up to 2.4 Amps per port or five Amps overall. The six AC outlets (125V / 10A / 60Hz / 1250W) positioned in a circular pattern provides more space between each outlet to maximum functionality. The strip also includes: a 6-foot heavy-duty power cord with 90-degree plug and protected/grounded LED indicator lights. The textured finish is also scratch-resistant and it’s wall mountable so it is easy with the provided screws, hanging template, and instructions – a perfect fit for any home, office, dorm room, workshop, and more!

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*****ACCESSORIES*****

William Henry Luxury Jewelry & Accessories (www.WilliamHenry.com)

Those looking for a truly wow-worthy jewelry gift should look no further than William Henry, an American luxury brand for men and women that crafts unique artisan collections that include jewelry, writing instruments, money clips and award-winning pocketknives enjoyed by A-listers like Harrison Ford, Laurence Fishburne, Luke Bryan, and Cameron Diaz, among many others. William Henry is revered for its painstaking use of precious metals, minerals, and unusual organic materials, and they’re celebrated for their meticulous hand-finished craftsmanship and details. The company often unveils new designs, which most recently includes its bold and distinctive new “Embrace” collection for men and women boasting an array of extraordinary jewelry pieces with signature caged design aesthetics. This includes the Embrace Wisdom pendant featuring a beautiful natural South Sea pearl ensconced in 18 karat rose gold on a finely stitched leather cord, also with William Henry’s “arrow” toggle clasp in sterling silver. The tones play off each other, resulting in an alluring nuance and warmth. For guys, the “Ardent” design, William Henry’s only all-sterling necklace, takes their smallest classic link that’s configured as a chain. Simple but distinctive, lightweight but substantial, it makes a great personal statement. For men or women I also love the William Henry Bolt Maui Pen made from fabled curly Hawaiian Koa wood. It’s substantial, yet elegant enough to carry and use comfortably. Sleek and elegant, this pen boasts modern mechanics, clean lines and timeless craftsmanship designed to command any room and make a strong statement.

Offero Handbags (www.OfferoHandbags.com)

Sourced from the finest Italian leather, Offero Handbags are inspired by strong, confident and empowered women, designed to protect your belongings, while creating the life you want to lead. A woman-owned and managed company, Offero brings you American-made ultra-femininity with built in patent pending anti-theft features. This includes Twaron slash-proof fabric, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) shielding interior pockets to prevent identity theft, and combination lock technology. The Offero line boasts three different styles, each with two separate colorways: “The Miami” (metallic silver/navy and copper/ivory), “The Manhattan,” (black and caramel), and “The LA” (cobalt and blush), all featuring Offero’s brilliant signature emerald green interior. The “Miami” design uses special water-resistant Italian leather exterior and the nylon interior to help protect your precious belongings from the rain or a day at the beach because let’s face it sometimes life is unpredictable. The fabrics utilized in Offero products are reportedly five times stronger than steel—actually, the same material used in body armor. Not even an X-ACTO knife or box cutter will be able to get through to your valuable belongings. And they’re certainly secure as Offero uses a patent-pending combination lock technology on the shoulder strap of all of their products; so women can safely lock their bags in crowded areas. Detachable chain straps allow you to wrap the chain around a chair as you enjoy your meal at a crowded restaurant without having to worry that someone will slip your bag away from you. Also cause-minded, a portion of all proceeds going to disaster relief efforts.

SLATE COLLECTION Leather Goods (www.slatecollection.com)

SLATE COLLECTION is a new line of meticulously-crafted top-quality leather products that not only inspire, but also perform and endure. With great leather sourced from the American Midwest as the foundation, SLATE COLLECTION products feature thoughtfully-designed elements that make them practical, inspired and perfect for work, home and travel. The line includes a range of stylish products hand-crafted by artisans who use time-honored, exacting techniques, including totes, wristlets, journals, travel accessories and a tech collection—all in carefully chosen signature colors such as indigo, cognac and midnight.  You just can’t go wrong with classic gift items like their elegant Elliot Bay Folio made from full-grain, water-resistant leather with two sides for holding a legal pad and single sheets of paper with corner pockets. It’s great for staying organized in the office or on-the-go.  Personalization is even available on the paper. The Sand Point Passport Holder is another great gift option. Also made from full-gran, water-resistant leather, this sophisticated design with 4 pockets holds a passport and cards tightly and securely. It’s great for the non-stop jet setter.  Monogramming is available on this item and other select SLATE COLLECTION products.

VALIMOR Caliburnus Hand-Tooled Automatic Watch (www.Valimor.com)

Here’s a timepiece that combines the old and the new: the Valimor Caliburnus Hand-Tooled Automatic Watch. Inspired by the legendary Sword in the Stone, this unique timepiece features dragon scales on the solid bezel and swords for dials, making it reminiscent of ancient armor. Featuring jewel-grade natural stones, the patented design features a rich texture that’s one-of-a-kind in pattern, texture, color, and personality—no two timepieces are alike. Plus, it uses Swiss SuperLumiNova BGW9 pigments for the lume on the watch hands, ensuring full visibility in the dark. This distinctive watch, available in various colorways, is ideal for collectors, watch lovers, and fashion-minded men, alike.

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*****FASHION*****

Anemela Official Women’s Fashions (www.Anemela.com)

One of my favorite finds of the season is the renowned women’s fashion site, Anemela Official–a one-stop-shop for top brand clothing, swimwear, dresses and accessories. This online store offers tons of top-quality products for any occasion. Are you ready to go for coffee, drink, at the gym, for a walk, on a date, wedding or for clubbing? Do you have a business meeting or job interview to go to? Have you planned for a trip to the beach, mountains, or other vacation? Or do you want to cozy up at home? No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, Anemela.com will have you covered because they believe “every woman deserves to feel the fashion spirit at any moment.” There are over 20,000 women’s products that fit in any body shape and size, so Anemela.com is sure to have you covered in fabulous style. Plus there’s free shipping on all orders!

Sevenly Statement Apparel (www.Sevenly.org)

Sevenly is an online cause activation marketplace that offers fashionable clothes for the whole family that also make a statement. This is thanks not only to their eye-catching designs, but also because each item contributes to heroic non-profit organizations. For example, their Autism Community Collection features a wide array of bold graphic tees, jewelry and sweatshirts that help the Autism Society provide advocacy, education and support to families effected by Autism. The Autism Community “Dare to Be Different” t-shirt in particular, provides funding toward resources and support to families in the Autism Community. Whether increasing awareness for Breast Cancer and Parkinson’s Disease, or promoting women’s empowerment and anti-bullying, each cause-collection features a wide array of cause-conscious benefits.

TruCulture Clothing Co. Leather Apparel (www.TruCulture.com)

TruCulture Clothing Co. makes apparel for strong women with a passion for life—and those like me who love fine leather garments with a street glam edge. Their unique, premium-quality designs boast supple, hand finished leathers. One of my personal favorites is their Distressed Ruby Multi Buckle Leather Jacket that’s hand processed for a vintage look. It’s loaded with metal zippers, buckles and seaming for the perfect fit. Bright red in color, it’s a real attention getter so be prepared to turn heads. I also absolutely adore the cognac-colored Street Glam Corset Multi-Ties Leather Jacket, which has a distressed wash and finish with various ties, snaps and an elbow-length invisible sleeve zipper that also ensures a great fit. From jackets like these to tops, bottoms and jewels, TruCulture Clothing is bold, classy, glamorous, sexy and empowering. Plus, it’s versatile enough to be worn from the work day on into date night. TruCulture was born in January of 2012 by sisters Claudia and Tommasina Tiberio, both avid motorcycle riders who’ve designed a chic clothing brand that helps women exude confidence with every step.

Basic Outfitters Create-a-Drawer for Men (www.BasicOutfitters.com) – Free shipping with code ‘LuxeList’

The married entrepreneurs behind Basic Outfitters came up with their flagship Create-a-Drawer service to solve a problem that so many men face. Seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, the product is perfect for the guy who refuses to clean out his sock and underwear drawer. Basic Outfitters’ Create-a-Drawer gives the guy in your life a customizable collection of high quality and fashionable essentials for an unbeatable value. Available in small, medium and large drawer options, Create-a-Drawer helps guys replace their old, worn out attire with a whole new wardrobe of socks, underwear, tees, joggers, hoodies, shirts and more quickly, easily and for an affordable price. This gift will get your man more organized than ever.

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*****BEAUTY & SELF CARE*****

N:P Beautiful Flat Iron (www.NPBeautiful.com)

Created by celebrity hairstylist David Babaii (the main man behind Kate Hudson’s beachy waves), this sleek, modern iron can do far more than the norm. It has a curved to allow for endless styling options like waves, flips, curls and ringlets. Its innovative rose gold vibrating plates (which can be turned on or off) shuffle the hair back and forth to minimize tugging, slipping, or pulling. The iron has fast, even heating with instant recovery; a slim, ergonomic handle that closes firmly without strain; and provides  a cool touch, no-slip grip for even pressure ensuring there are no uneven hot spots on the hair. The device also heats up to 400 degrees to maximize its effectiveness. As a cause-conscious company, 10 percent of the net proceeds go to support Pediatric Cancer Research and Animal Welfare causes.

Kiss My Lash Triangulated Mirror & False Eyelashes by GoodJanes Beauty (www.GoodJanes.com)

Help those style-minded gals in your life take their look to the next level with GoodJanes Beauty’s natural, dramatic and glam styled lashes. With 18 varieties, each lash is handmade with cruelty-free, 100 percent mink fur collected from natural shedding. The lashes are stored in clear, protective trays and, with proper care, each lash can be reused up to 25 times. Another of the company’s products is Kiss My Lash, a novel triangulated mirror that lets you to see your upper lash line from above and below at the same time. The patented design provides the truest line of sight to get your falsies flush against the lash line on the first try! The mirror can be held in your hand, placed on a flat surface or attached to the magnetic, hands-free Kiss My Lash Stand.

Sonic Facial Deep Cleansing Brush (www.SuperDuperKiss.com)

The Sonic Facial Deep Cleansing Brush is a stylish combination of quality, performance, ergonomics and convenience all packed into one efficient design. This effective facial brush for all skin types offers a complete cleansing experience. It has an IPX 4 waterproof design and was created with Acoustic Vibration Technology, proven to improve skin care, and has two speed settings. This technology help increase light makeup removal and deep cleansing, and significantly improve skin care problems (like blemishes and clogged pores) also improving skin elasticity and collagen production. It comes as a 3-in-1 Kit that includes a massager and exfoliator that vibrates an average of 6,600 movements per minute, which helps increase blood flow while decreasing puffiness and improving circulation—all without rubbing or pulling of the skin. The device relaxes muscles and tones, and also detoxifies the skin through lymphatic drainage (fluid) and exfoliation that removes dead skin cells.

Helmm Decorative Refillable Deodorant (www.Helmm.com)

Helmm is a new antiperspirant and deodorant made with formulas that are paraben-free, phthalate-free and triclosan-free, which makes it good for your body. It’s also housed in a handsome high end-looking refillable container that’s not only good for the planet, but has a decorative look that makes it display-worthy. Helmm help upgrade your grooming game by offering a much-needed makeover on the old, plastic, single-use deodorant containers. With wonderful scents developed by a luxury French-perfumer, you won’t want to use your old stick ever again.

Wigs.com (www.Wigs.com)

Who doesn’t want to look fabulous and exude confidence, especially over the holiday? OK, I concede this might be a better “get”, but Wigs.com options are certainly giftable as well as they carry hundreds of wigs for women of all backgrounds—striving to make all ladies feel beautiful in this instantly wearable hair. Whether you’re looking for realistic human hair pieces, or pre-styled, ready-to-wear synthetic pieces, Wigs.com has comfortable options for every style and need. One option is the “Carrie” styke by Noriko—a  medium length style with balanced body. Evoking a romantic flair, Carrie is perfect for a chilly date night or even a cozy movie marathon. Be ready in an instant in this synthetic piece with its pre-styled waves that’s sure to turn heads. There’s also the “Reese” style that’s a perfectly polished bob with sassy layers throughout. Get that classic look you’re going for with flippy ends and a sleek side fringe. Breathable, lightweight, and comfortable, Reese is perfect for the woman on-the-go and can be worn straight out of the box.  Gorgeous in an instant!

*****WANDERERS*****

Little River Inn (www.LittleRiverInn.com)

For those who prefer experiential gifts or want to arrange a lovely holiday getaway, consider a stay to the Little River Inn—a family-owned and operated resort on the Mendocino coast of California. This picturesque property features a chef-driven restaurant and bar, a nine-hole Audubon-certified golf course, professional tennis courts and a day spa. Ideal not just for romantic getaways, it’s great for the entire family (and pet-friendly as well). The Inn has 66 guest rooms ranging from the economical to the more luxurious. Several private meeting and special event spaces with stunning ocean and garden views make the Little River Inn an excellent venue for small-to-medium-sized weddings and corporate retreats as well. The Little River Inn Restaurant, helmed by CIA-trained Executive Chef Marc Dym, offers hearty California coastal cuisine, and Ole’s Whale Watch Bar is a classic hangout for guests and locals alike.

Paskho Travel Apparel (www.Paskho.com)

Paskho clothing is a great new way to travel in comfort and style. The brand’s name comes from the ancient Greek word “passion,” and these sustainable pieces were created with that in mind. Paskho pieces for both men and women have impeccable details and luxury looking performance fabrics that are livable and pliable, but still fashionable. The garments are perfect for any excursion whether it’s to your local corner store, a slope or sand dune around the globe. Paskho is built to suit the freedom-seeker and the maverick nomadic and the fearless observer, all together.

The Airhook for Air Travelers (www.TheAirHook.com)

Give frequent air travelers a comfort upgrade with The Airhook. It’s a two-in-one solution for airplane travel comfort: a stable drink holder and a secure mount for an electronic device (cell phone or tablets 8.5 inches tall when horizontal). Designed to elevate the level of convenience by allowing for maximum legroom, The Airhook attaches to the tray table in its locked vertical position for use as an anchor, rather than needing to lay the tray horizontally across your lap as a platform. This way you can view your device and access your beverage unencumbered. Other features include: an adjustable angle accommodating for reclined seats and a better viewing posture, as well as a small hook for earbuds or to keep a light garment off the floor. It’s a great hands-free entertainment method for children. It’s also perfect for big and tall travelers and is collapsible for easy carry-on storage. It’s surely an easy way to make plane travel better, so you no longer need to sacrifice space with the folding down trays.

MyPhonePouch Cell Phone Carrier (wwwMyPhonePouch.com) – 15% off with code ‘ATLANTA’

Here’s a great way to help someone stop misplacing their phone and wasting valuable time looking for it! MyPhonePouch is a sleek, innovative solution allowing you to carry your cell phone securely and accessibly on your hip. This soft, stretchy pouch is worn tucked over any snug, sturdy waistband to instantly add pockets to an outfit. Designed by Allison Santini, it’s especially great for those women and girls who often lack pockets in their outfits. It’s great with leggings, yoga pants, sweats, shorts, skirts, slacks and other pocketless garments. Made of high-density performance fabric, MyPhonePouch is available in different colors and sizes to fit most phones.

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*****PARENTS & KIDS*****

Gerber Brand Essentials Clothing & Accessories Collection (www.Walmart.com)

A great idea for new moms and moms-to-be is the Gerber Brand Essentials Collection available at Walmart this holiday season with pricing that fits any budget. If you’re a new parent prepping to bring home your bundle of joy or looking for baby’s first holiday gift, this collection offers a wide assortment of baby clothing and accessories that are a cute as they are comfortable. This includes bodysuits and sleep n’ plays, to caps and socks in super adorable prints and patterns like pink bunnies, polka dots, outer space and safari.  All items in the Gerber Brand Essentials Collection are made with organically grown cotton that’s breathable and soft for baby’s delicate skin, and easily transitions from play time to bedtime.

Just Born Infant Keepsake and Sparkle Collections (www.BuyBuyBaby.com)

The Just Born Keepsake and Sparkle collection, available at buybuyBABY, offers beautifully packaged items perfectly giftable for any new mom or baby. Featuring nursery bedding, bath, accessories and décor, both the Just Born Keepsake and Sparkle Collections were recently refreshed with new colors and styles. This includes the on-trend Sparkle Collection rose gold 2-pack hooded towel and 4-pack washcloth sets, which add extra shimmer to baby’s beautiful moments. Designed with a European-vintage feel, the Keepsake Collection features pieces like this grey linen quilt, faux animal heads and plush bath items that are designed with delicate lace and embroidery details—a wonderful high-end (yet affordable) holiday gift.

Decorate an Ornament Kit & Paint by Number Barfing Beast Kit (www.KidMadeModern.com)

This fun Decorate an Ornament kit by Kid Made Modern are a great way to get your little ones into the gift-giving spirit. Each kit makes a one-of-a-kind keepsake that they can give to their grandparents, teachers, friends or the mailman. You can even collect all six to decorate your own tree. The Paint by Number Kit “Barfing Beast” is a modern approach to mid-century paint by number kits. Each one features vibrant colors and the playful illustrations made by Patrick Hruby and includes everything needed to complete the project.

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*****BOOKS*****


Sci-Fi & and Fantasy Books by Michael Drakich (www.MichaelDrakich.com)
Here’s a great gift idea today that doesn’t involve a screen or electricity to enjoy for a change! It’s fictional science fiction and fantasy books from author Michael Drakich. With titles like The Infinite Within, The Brotherhood of Piaxia, Grave Is the Day, Assassins of Riaz, I Am, Lest the Dew Rust Them, and Demon Stones, these thrillers offer hours of captivating adventure! As a highly rated author, top reviewers rave about the level of detail in Drakich’s storytelling, and imagination that seems to know no bounds. He’s lauded for taking readers straight into the minds of his characters, developing them into a riveting and extremely entertaining tales. You can check out Michael Drakich’s fictional science fiction and fantasy books for yourself at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, apple and more.

 “The Legacy Letters” Book by Carew Papritz (www.Amazon.com)

A winner of five national awards (including the Mother’s Choice Award), “The Legacy Letters” by Carew Papritz helps people reconnect with family and friends again. The story reveals to the readers the rediscovered private letters from a dying father to his children–and to his wife. His words of wisdom, interwoven between deeply personal stories and poignantly-told memories, ultimately become the practical, moral and spiritual guidebook for his children that he’d unfortunately never live to see; and for his wife, his redemptive act of love. It’s easy to get caught up in our fast-paced, technology-driven society. This back-to-the-basics novel reminds people how to slow life down again, to be in the moment and remember what’s really important. Combining the best elements of various inspirational best-sellers such as “Tuesdays with Morrie,” “The Last Lecture” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” “The Legacy Letters” reads like a true-to-life story and is filled with timeless wisdom for the modern age.

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*****STOCKING STUFFERS*****

Bag Branch Purse Organizer (www.BuyBagBranch.com)

The averages person wastes 2.5 days a year looking for stuff and I, for one, am guilty as charged. That’s a mini vacation! People waste precious time searching and digging in their bags, so Bag Branch is a giftable solution unlike any other. It’s an accessory that holds your daily essentials—the items you reach for many times a day—like glasses, phone, keys, cards, pens, gum, etc., keeping these daily essentials together and accessible at your fingertips. It ensures these items are easy to take out and put back where they belong. Plus, you can easily change bags in one easy move, also knowing that you won’t leave your most important things behind. It fits in almost all sizes and shaped bags, structured or not. This patent-pending design features wide and structured pockets that don’t collapse when empty.

Barley+ Bars (www.BarleyPlus.com)

Barley+ bars are a healthy stocking stuffer option versus all of that candy that normally bloats those holiday stocking—and the recipients that partake. These delicious and nutritious bars are made with a unique type of Barley called BARLEY MAX that has more soluble fiber, insoluble fiber and resistant starch than other grains. The results taste and feel amazing because Barley Plus contains Pre-biotic dietary fiber to help feed the intestinal flora, so it’s great for gut health.

~~~

As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.

Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided at no cost or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.

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Facts

Top 10 Features of Egyptian Museum

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the Egyptian Museum

All of ancient Egyptian history is here, from the earliest Paranoiac artifact ever discovered to treasures from the era of Cleopatra, the last in a dynastic sequence of divine kings and queens stretching over three millennia. It is said that the museum displays more than 120,000 items, with at least that many again stored away out of sight in the basement. The real crowd-pleasers are the treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb, but there are many hundreds of other precious antiquities here of at least equal significance and beauty.

1- The Museum Building

Egypt’s first national museum of antiquities opened in 1863. It was rehoused in the current pink, purpose-built premises in 1902, which were designed in Neo-Classical style by French architect Marcel Dourgnon.

2- Auguste Mariette

The Egyptologist Mariette, who discovered the Serapeum at Saqqara (see p40), was the founder of the first national museum of antiquities in Egypt. His sarcophagus rests in the garden in front of the Egyptian Museum.

3- Central Hall

The museum is on two floors. On the lower floor galleries are arranged in chronological order clockwise around a central hall dedicated to large statuary; this is also where you will find the Narmer Palette

4- Old Kingdom Galleries

Immediately to the left of the entrance hall, these galleries contain artefacts from the era of the Pyramid builders. Particularly beautiful are three slate triads each depicting Menkaure, builder of the smallest of the Giza pyramids, flanked by two goddesses

5- New Kingdom Galleries

This long gallery is devoted to the mightiest pharaohs, including Tuthmosis III, Amenhotep II and Ramses II, during whose rules Egypt expanded its borders south into what is now Sudan and north to the Euphrates

6- Amarna Room

Room 3 contains pieces from Amarna, the short-lived capital of the “heretic king” Akhenaten. His daughter, Princess Meritaten, is characterized by an elongated face and full lips.

7- Tutankhamun Galleries

Almost half of the upper floor is devoted to some of the vast numbers of items excavated from the tomb of Egypt’s famed boy-king (left), which range from everyday items such as gaming sets and footstools to the giant gilded shrines and sarcophagi that fit one inside the other like Russian dolls.

8- The Royal Mummies

The desiccated bodies of some of Egypt’s mightiest rulers are displayed in two rooms on the upper floor of the museum. Of the eleven royals present, the most famous are Seti I and his son Ramses II, whose colossi adorn a great many monuments in Upper Egypt.

9- Animal Mummies

The ancient Egyptians mummified animals as well as people. This room on the upper floor of the museum is full of animal mummies, from cats, mice, and fish to crocodiles, sacred to the god Sobek.

10- Ancient Egyptian Jewellery Rooms

These two rooms contain dazzling examples of royal jewelry from the New Kingdom period (left). Many of these items were discovered in 1939 at Tanis, an ancient site in the Delta region.

Don’t miss to check our: Luxury Egypt Tours

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Planning a Surprise Party Tips and Tricks

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drinks

Your best friend’s birthday is coming up, and you still haven’t thought of the perfect present. You know that she doesn’t need anything in particular. But you want to surpass last year’s birthday present, which is hard. Then it hits you. A surprise party is an amazing idea! Having everyone she loves to gather up in one place only for her is a great gift.

However, the tricky part is planning a surprise party. It takes skill, stealth, organisation, and, naturally, a lot of luck. But, seeing the look on your friend’s face is worth it all. Here’s a couple of tips and tricks that will help you plan the big day easily.

1. Picking a date 

Picking the right date is essential if you want to make your surprise party truly a surprise. As you’re trying to astonish her, organising a party on the exact day of her birthday may not be a good idea. She’ll expect a gift, and it probably wouldn’t be as surprising as you hoped. Plan a party before the actual birth date. That way you will surely surprise her and avoid the feeling of being forgotten. 

Once you’ve picked a date, think about the people closest to her. It doesn’t have to be a large party to be a good one. Make birthday invitations and send them out to her friends and family. Don’t forget to state that it is a surprise party so it’s top-secret.  

2. Pick a theme

You don’t have to be a kid to have a themed party. Even adults like to dress up or mask up and have fun. If your friend is into that, consider adding a theme to the party. A good theme can turn a boring, average party into a creative, jaw-dropping one.

Think about the party theme ideas your friend will love. It can be anything, from her favourite film, colour theme, or even a beach party, to Christmas themed ones. Guests can come dressed as her favourite film characters and you can show off your creativity by designing decorations and planning activities. If you opt for a themed party, make sure you have a costume or clothes prepared for your guest of honour. She will want to fit in as well.

 3. Pick a place

Keep in mind that the place of an event may be a key ingredient for a surprise party. Make sure that you pick a place your guest of honour frequently visits. For example, if you tell her you’re taking her to a fancy restaurant in the city centre, she may get suspicious. However, if you tell her you’re going to your place to watch a film, she probably wouldn’t expect there are hidden intentions.

Throwing a party at your place is much more convenient. You get to plan everything without interruptions. Even though white lies are almost necessary to organise a good surprise party, you can still fulfil your promise, and watch a film. Set up a home theatre room in your living room, and play her favourite film to watch with her favourite people.

4. Decorations and Set up 

Once the big part of the planning process is done, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and set up the party. Ask a couple of friends to help you make the decorations and decorate the room. Everything should be done before the guest of honour arrives. As you’ve decided that you’ll be watching a film, you need to transform one of your rooms into a home theatre.

Transforming a room in a home theatre is a simple job. The only thing you need is a television. Keep in mind that there will be more people, so you need to place your TV so everyone can see and hear. Consider buying one of the high-quality mobile TV stands. They can be motorised or non-motorised, and everyone in the room will be satisfied with the view. 

Don’t forget to get the good speakers as the bad sound spoils the mood and leaves everyone irritated. Place the speakers around the room, for example, on your shelves. You can even set them so dialogues, music, and sound effects are coming from the different sides of the room. 

5. Activities

Besides watching a film in your theatre room, you can play various games. For example, play an insert of a film on your TV and have guests guess what film it is. Divide them into two teams, and the winning team gets to choose the next film you’ll watch.  

In addition to that, you can play some music and encourage others to dance. Shake off that couch bottom and turn this into a real party. Darts and board games are always fun, so consider including them in the activity schedule. Don’t forget the cake and sing the birthday song at the top of your lungs.

Conclusion

As you can see, with a good plan, organising a surprise party isn’t that hard. Even though keeping your mouth shut and getting people to participate may be tricky, the expression on your friend’s face is worth the effort. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy it.

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In what part of Paris should you organize a pop up shop?

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Pop-up shops: where exactly in Paris should it be?

In one statement: there are no specific neighborhoods for pop up shops, the idea is rather that each district responds to a universe or a target, and will achieve different objectives. With these beautiful words and as connoisseurs of the City of Light, here is some information on certain Parisian districts:

The 3rd and 4th districts: Le Marais

It’s no secret that most brands are fighting tooth and nail to open their pop up shop in the Marais. Shopping life is indeed going well in the 3rd and 4th districts of Paris: between Parisians and tourists, the pop up shops in the Marais enjoy heavy traffic, both local and international. However, the downside (and yes, there is one) is that, first, places are very expensive in the Marais district, and second, it is more difficult to differentiate in an already populated by trendy pop-up shops and designer boutiques of all kinds. Don’t get me wrong, we love the Marais, but we are also big foodies from other places with great potential. And on the recommendations menu, we have:

The 11th districts: Rue de Charonne, rue de la Roquette

If you hear from a person that s/he has been loitering in shops sipping fresh organic juice and found this little necklace in a designer store, s/he probably went for a walk around the rue de Charonne. Creating a pop up shop in the 11th district is a very good bet (as always, depending on your goals, of course!), because there is a very (very) nice neighborhood life, which is ultimately quite similar to that of Marais, but with a less touristy population and therefore 100% Parisian.

The 2nd districts: Quartier des Halles, Etienne Marcel

This Parisian district has a very strong commercial potential. On the one hand (that of Les Halles) the targeting there being a mass market stretches, passing a few streets, towards the top of the range, traffic in this district is important from one point to another. The pop-up shops for rent in the Halles and Etienne Marcel districts enjoy a chic setting emanating from the big brands, while at the same time enjoying the rather relaxed atmosphere emanating from the Marais, (which is a walk around the block, very near and within everybody’s reach)

The 17th districts: The Batignolles

The 17th is a lot of young parents, less young parents, and young people who are not yet parents. What do they have in common? This little bohemian-bourgeois side. Stroll an hour in the neighborhood, you too will probably end up growing a mustache while drinking a small glass of red from permaculture by tightening your new bow tie ’found in a pop up shop around the corner. The 17th district, like the 11th district, also has a very active neighborhood life, pleasant to live in and where the locals favor neighborhood commerce. Opening a pop up shop in the 17th district can be a very strategic choice depending on your brand! Do not hesitate to take a tour of the village of Batignolles, these are the 4 aligned Nestore stores where brands and creators rub shoulders all year round.

The 7th districts: Saint Germain des Prés

Opening a pop up shop in the Saint Germain Des Prés district, at the crossroads of Avenue Montaigne and Avenue Georges V, is aimed at a luxury target, very touristy and good for many Asians. This choice can be very wise depending on your positioning and marketing strategy.

The 16th districts: a traditional district with strong purchasing power

To create a pop up shop on Rue de Passy is to address a traditional target with strong purchasing power. The commercial life is active there, where generally few new concepts appear, which can be an asset allowing to make the difference when opening your pop up shop in the 16th!

The 18th districts: Abbesses and Montmartre

The Abbesses district offers a lively neighborhood life, between tourists and locals with high purchasing power, opening a pop up shop on the rambling streets of Montmartre allows you to reach several targets in a universe that will make you want to sing great songs all day.

The list could be very long, if you want to find the ideal neighborhood to create your pop up shop, highly consider this list and keep it in mind.

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Are You Moving During Christmas? Make it Stress-Free

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BBC Cut Down Their Christmas Tree Because It Was A ‘Security Risk’

Home moving is a strenuous job at all times and if you are doing it this Christmas, brace up to endure a bit more. With the festive season lurking about in the corner, your thoughts are centered around ‘to enjoy or not to enjoy my Christmas’ right? You don’t know what to do, where to go, whether you should make merry with your friends and family or focus on your home move. If your final home moving day happens to fall on 25th December or a day before, don’t be disparaged. Home move during Christmas can also be fun and more importantly stress-free only if you have a proper plan from beforehand and not leave it for the last moment. 

So, do you want to relocate without upsetting your Christmas plans? Are you aiming for a quick and hassle-free move this Yuletide? This blog is just for you! I am going to provide you some amazing ideas to maximize convenience and minimize delays that will offer you a worry-free and comforting moving experience this Christmas. 

Interested? Perk up and here we go!

6 Ideas to Make Your Move during Christmas Stress-free

1- Declutter:

It is Christmas, the festival of goodness, positivity and hope and during such a time, keeping your home in a cluttered mess won’t look good at all. So dispose of the things that are unnecessary, broken and damaged. Starting from the old magazine, empty glass bottles, irreparable devices, old clothes and furniture, get rid of them and see how clean and clear your house looks! More importantly, decluttering will also give you more space to make the things that you’ll need and will allow the removalists to complete your move faster. 

2- Keep the timeline in mind & have a plan:

Fixing the final moving date is not something that will happen at the last moment out of the blue. You know from months before that your move is scheduled on Christmas and hence, you require a good strategy as per the timeline. So how do you go about it? Start with your packing – be careful not to do all the rooms at once but go one after the other. Prepare a list that has everything that you will be doing week wise. For instance: if there is a month left before your move, you can have something like this:       

  • Week 1

          Updating your change of address at the required places

  • Week 2

          Decluttering your home

  • Week 3

          Packing the essentials

  • Week 4

          Packing the other items and cleaning

3- Book a Toowoomba removalist:

Completing your moving without availing the service of a professional removalist company is unimaginable, let alone doing it in reality. It may take you several months in case you decide to move home all on your own. Since it is Christmas, chances are most of the Toowoomba removalists may be unavailable except for a few. So if you really don’t want to be disappointed and cannot afford to delay your move, book your removalists in advance. Find out the removalists who are available during Christmas and schedule your move with them, even if there are 2 months left for the final day. Remember the old proverb ‘A stitch in time saves nine’? Home moving is exactly what this is!

4- Star packing early:

Even if your home has the least stuff, it is never a good idea to procrastinate. Whether your home is big or small, in the end, you will have numerous things to pack that perhaps you forgot you possessed! From the new bath rugs to those lovely pair of shoes that you wore only once, packing means everything. So the sooner you start, the better will be the final result. Start packing your larger stuff that won’t be required immediately like clothes (except the ones that you’ll require immediately), utensils, books, etc. And don’t keep your Christmas decorations in an easily accessible place so that it is convenient to take them out and decorate your new home conveniently. 

5- Send your children to stay with friends and relatives:

More than the adults, Christmas is more exciting for children. There is a greater possibility of your children (if you have) getting disappointed because your home moving procedure has disturbed all their festive plans. So if you don’t want to cloud their happiness, how about sending them to stay for a few days at your relative’s or friend’s place? While they are having fun over there, you can concentrate on your move without being constantly worried about bothering them. 

6- Keep your pets safe:

Amidst the whirlwind that your move has brought to your family, your pet is going to be the most terrified one. Don’t forget to give your dog/cat some time and make them feel safe. It is very natural for them to be confused and frightened when all their free space is occupied with moving boxes and you are running up and down the house instead of petting them. Until you reach your new home, you can keep them in your relative’s or friend’s home where they can be less troubled. And if you have to keep your pet with you, make sure the doors are properly locked else they might run away. 

Conclusion:

Did anyone say moving home during Christmas is all work and no fun? By remembering these smart ideas, you too can ensure a trouble-free move without dampening your festive mood. And don’t forget to have a Toowoomba removalist as your moving partner; only then will you have a trouble-free experience while accomplishing your Christmas plans successfully. Merry Christmas!

Author Bio

Domenic Young is an experienced removalist himself and also the owner of the professional furniture removalist company in Toowoomba, Domain Removalists. He has conducted several furniture removals and provided his clients with a first-class moving experience. 

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Five Reasons Why You Must Regularly Clean Your Air Filters

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Air Filters

Dealing with machines is not as tough as it appears to be. It all starts with the provision of proper care and attention to these machines so that they keep functioning at their optimum. The best way to do that is to clean them regularly. It will keep your machines in the best working condition and you won’t have to spend on different troubleshooting and repair tasks.

The job of this piece is to convince you to put some effort into keeping your HVAC air filters clean. It is important to understand that the primary function of the air filters is to keep the outside environment as well as insides of the HVAC free from dust and dirt. This cleaning mechanism itself needs some maintenance to perform its function efficiently.

Let’s take a look at some of the exclusive tips to keep your top-quality air filters in the best shape so that you and your family keep enjoying the best air quality indoors.

  • Make it live longer

Who wants to save up for the dream vacation but every time some unexpected expense comes up? It is quite relatable as it happens all the time to most of us. The home appliances are tricky and you have to understand their needs so that they do not stop functioning before their actual life span. If air filters do not get the required amount of cleaning, the dust particles get trapped in internal components of the machine and cause unnecessary friction and blockage. It doesn’t only affect the output of the machine but its components also start to wear out a lot earlier than they are supposed to.

This repeated pattern eventually results in your HVAC losing the capability to function which can not be attained back through any repairs.

Take action before it is too late. Instead of buying the new one, keep your older HVAC healthy and save big to plan your dream vacation!

  • Reduce your financial burden

Financial management has become one of the toughest tasks in recent times. Almost every individual desires financial independence and the key to this rests with being vigilant, active and smart. To simplify things, the priority must be given to some precautionary measures. If you have the tendency of timely cleaning the air filters, it will help you in keeping your budget within the limits.

Let’s get some science involved. A simple air conditioner traps the outside air which goes through the coils inside it. The coils are there to trap the dust and dirt from the air and make it cool before sending it out. Here is a guide on how a basic air conditioner works.

If the mess from the coil is not cleared regularly, it builds up and the air cannot be purified and cooled down properly. The coil needs more energy against the trapped dirt to perform its function in an efficient way.

The results are obvious. More energy consumption and increased bills. Sounds scary, right? But there is more.

Clean and nice air filters are cost-effective in another way. They reduce the frequent repair costs which can be significantly heavy on pocket. Have a look at the US energy department’s stance on the need for a clean air filter to attain tremendous benefits.

  • Make your lungs happy

If we look at the bigger picture, increased environmental degradation and rising level of air pollution are becoming alarming for the health of every single person. This has made people incredibly concerned about keeping the atmosphere of homes clean and pure. Appliances like HVAC definitely play a crucial role in this. The air filters, as mentioned above, cleanse the air of the entire room. This can have a domino effect on the rest of the rooms and thus the entire home. Harvard health specifically suggests cleaning the air filters to get clean indoor air.

This is extremely important for households having kids and pets. Appliances with air filters are used in places like hospitals and schools on a regular basis. The air quality if not managed through air filters can trigger some of the diseases related to difficulty in breathing, allergies, and even serious infections. The little effort put in the cleaning of air filters can have a long-term impact on general wellbeing so it must be taken seriously.

  • Say hello to peace of mind

Life is fast-paced. It is important for mental as well as physical health that the stress is managed accordingly. One way to do this is to break down the big tasks when they are smaller in size. It becomes surprisingly convenient when you make a practical schedule for air filter cleaning so that you do not neglect it completely. Also, when the air quality of the house is improved overall, you will not even have to do the main cleaning frequently (including surface dusting, mopping, etc.).

Each time you clean the air filter, you will be able to get mental satisfaction in three ways:

  • Getting the chance of ticking one of the chores off from the to-do list
  • Knowing that you are providing clean and fresh air to your family members
  • Reducing the future burden which may come if you do not do the cleaning regularly or periodically

Isn’t it surprising how cleaning a normal air filter can give you a sense of achievement? You don’t even have to climb a mountain or win the marathon for that!

  • Easy way out

Monitoring and cleaning the air filters is undoubtedly an easy job. There are a lot of tips and tutorials available online, which can help you in keeping up the maintenance regime on your own. Just do some basic research and you are good to go.

It also means that there is no need for any professional help or external hiring. You can completely go DIY in maintaining your HVAC air filters.

If you have been ignoring cleaning your air filters for too long, you do not have to worry. You may hire the services of air filter cleaners or invest in a new HVAC air filter to make sure your family gets the best air quality to breathe in and out.

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