Products For Your Home You Will Love

With winter on the way, and fall finally here (thank goodness for the end of that scorching summer heat!), we are going to be spending more time indoors. Keeping that in mind, here are some interesting and useful new items that you can use year round.

Calamityware serving-ware brings whimsy and art to the dinner table. These fantastical porcelain-plates will also serve as conversation starters, with hidden pictures created by Calamityware and artist Don Moyer. These clever takes on flatware are both pretty and unique, while using a traditional blue and white color scheme. Unexpectedly decorated plates, mugs, and more are covered with depictions of sea monster creatures, giant robots, frogs, and more creatures from sci-fi.  Dishwasher and microwave safe, they are as functional as they are interesting. While they aren’t cheap- $42 for each plate, for example, they make your table a more fun place to dine. Check out all the options at

dinner plates

Save money and single-use-plastic waste by filling and refilling water glasses and  bottles at home. Safe Home Drinking Water Test Kits help provide peace of mind, letting you know what’s in your water. Learn about your tap water with these helpful and easy to use home test kits. Test your water, and make sure that your family’s health is protected.  There is a lot of nonsense in most town’s water nowadays, find out if there is trouble with yours. 80% of the body is water, and you use it for everything- cooking, bathing, drinking, washing, and more. It’s vital to have safe water.  According to the brand, “Safe Home® and Safe Home® Pro EnviroTestKits from Environmental Laboratories, Inc. (ELI), one of North America’s largest EPA Certified Laboratories for testing drinking water, provides several testing options in three easy steps.  Upon receiving the results, you’re empowered to make appropriate decisions – for instance, installing a water treatment or filtration system or disinfecting your well system, among other solutions.”  They are easy to use, the directions take only about a minute to complete and are all but foolproof. There are options for test at home as well as sending a sample out for more detailed information. For more information, visit

at home testing kits

For your pets, check out HandsOn Gloves (in several colors and sizes, including for children). Get rid of all the excess hair and shedding, which will help your home as well as your allergies. Some dogs (and many cats) hate being brushed, but with the use of these gloves, it just feels like some petting and attention. You can use them in the water at bathtime, or dry. Get your kids to help out, and take care of the pets like they promised to- it’s not work and it’s very easy. It’s also effective, which many products can’t claim honestly.  They take off huge amounts of unwanted and excess fur with no pain or struggling- we were amazed by the huge clumps of fur made by our youngest dog, especially. Good for all hair types, although with very long haired pets you might want to supervise the kiddos so they don’t create knots (as with any brushing). Made with hypo-allergenic, bio-friendly components that are proven to be safe for use with humans and animals, it does it’s job by keeping everyone healthy. For more information, prices, and to choose yours, please visit

easy to use pet brush

Tech To Bring Music to Your Ears and Light Up Your Life

As we spend more time outdoors, we look for ways to bring some creature comforts with us.  Check out some of the gear that makes outside a little more modern.

Do you love a good run? Maybe hike, kayak, or even just some time in the gym. Finding good earphones that can deal with sweat is not always the easiest task, but most of us like to bring music (or some form of audio) with us for our workouts. The new PaMu TWS wireless earphones are easy to wear, truly have no wires (really, Pinocchio) until you have to charge them, of course, and are sweat-proof and water resistant. They have some must have features, including Hi-Fi Sound, Auto-connects,Touch Control, Auto Pairing that lets you make calls and listen to music while your phone is in your pocket (or beyond), an In-Ear Mic, they come with a portable Charging Pod that neatly fits your buds and doubles as a travel case, and more. They are reasonably comfortable for ear buds. To me, while wearing them, they reminded me of a Dr. Who episode of Cybermen- that’s how it all started. Giant ear buds, then you become a Robot working for your new alien overlords. Ah, maybe not- but it makes me laugh. You can grab yours before they even hit shelves on indiegogo.

Always on the go?  AdventureJumpStart is a great option for those of us who are constantly on the move- it can not only recharge your tablets and smartphones, but it also has the ability to jump start most cars, trucks, boats and ATVS. Really. And? It’s small. Best. Gift. Ever.

It comes with everything you need- the charger, recharge cable, Detachable Jumper Cables, and Quick Start Guide. It has the smallest and lightest powerbank with the highest lever of safety, as well as keeping it’s battery life from one charge up to one full year if not used. It also charges incredibly quickly, which we all know is a huge plus. That’s pretty amazing stuff right there- great for people to have on hand for a roadside emergency.  This is one you will want to have for innumerable reasons. Pick yours up for $100 at

If you need a smaller charger, one for your pocket, there is always the Flip 30 RechargerThis mini charger is about the size of a pack of gum, but can charge your phone up to three times per full charge of it’s own (or a tablet once) making it an easy way to keep your electronics ready to go while you are on the go.  It fits easily in most purses or pockets. Several color options are available, this rechargers costs $49.95 at .

Like to camp? Or maybe you just hate being caught in the dark. The Lighthouse Micro Flash is perfect to keep in the car, a drawer, or in your purse for emergencies. No need for batteries, it is rechargable by USB and has a dimmable lantern as well as a built-in 120-lumen flashlight. If on it’s lowest setting, it can run for up to 170 hours. It is tiny, about the size of a finger, and weighs just over 2 ounces but is not light on power. Get yours for $24.99 at .

In a New York State of Mind

Looking to spend some time in The Big Apple with the family? Here are some great places to visit while you are there.

LEGO’s are fun for kids of all ages, and the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in NY is a great place to spend the day for LEGO lovers of all ages.  The adventure begins by learning how Lego bricks are made and a kiddie-version of the history of  little plastic bricks. After this interesting introduction, its time to ride some rides and visit some attractions. The first ride (one that brings you into the main area) is a sit down guided laser shooting tour, where you save the castle by defeating tons of baddies. After your victory, you head into a mini-brick version of New York City and the LEGOLAND area. Push buttons for lights and sounds, and well as mini-animations. The details are pretty amazing, and the spoofs will keep everyone giggling. Fans will find quite a few “Easter Eggs” as they walk around the town.

There are also a bunch of other attractions to check out, like the racing course where you build your own racecar to pit against everyone else- there are several tracks to choose from. There is also a magic couch ride where you jaunt around on a flying couch. Really.  You move it up and down by pedaling, and it goes around in a circle. Make sure you check out the 4D movie, a must for all LEGO Movie fans. Of course, there are tons of LEGO to build, Masterclasses to take (and you can take your creations with you for a fee), and obstacle courses to try out. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is located at 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710

No visit to NYC would be complete without visiting the Statue of Liberty. Statue Cruises, the National Park Service providing ferry and related services to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. You can get there both from Battery Park in lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. This is the best ways to see the statue in my opinion. Cruises begin at 8:30 am (instead of 9:30 am), with the last boat departing Battery Park and Liberty State Park at 3:30 pm daily- last leaving the statue and Ellis Island at 4:30. Tickets to the crown and pedestal can be booked at the same time, or just the grounds of the statue.  It is both an incredibly moving and educational experience, to see the statue and Ellis Island- for Americans and tourists alike. I’d recommend this experience for absolutely everyone- and leave the entire day for it, this is not one you should rush through.

Tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be purchased online, by visiting the Statue Cruises ticket office inside Castle Clinton at Battery Park, or by calling (877) LADY-TIX.

For more information on Statue Cruises, including schedules or reservations to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, please visit or follow Statue Cruises on Twitter –, Facebook – or Instagram –

And of course, there is Madison Square Garden. A New York City institution, you can see all sorts of shows and sporting events here. No matter the ages or preferences of your family, there is a show (or shows) that you are sure to enjoy.  We recently saw WWE’s Road to Wrestlemania while in NYC, and the kids and my partner had a great time- the crowd was a lot of fun, and the show was fast paced and exciting. There are a wide variety of shows to choose from- rock shows like Pink or Billy Joel, comedy acts like Kevin Hart, favorites come to the stage such as Sesame Street Live or Peppa Pig Live for the little kids, and tons of sporting events like the New York Knicks, WWE, UFC, and Monster Jam. MSG has a ton to choose from, head to to see the full lineup.

Candy Free Easter Baskets

It’s that time of year again, when Peter Cottontail and all his bunny helpers hop into homes with baskets filled with treats and toys for good little boys and girls. Here are some of our favorite non-food items to fill your kiddo’s baskets with.

PLAYMOBIL has created even more figures to inspire imaginative play- Figure Series 13: Blind bags will continue to be a hit with the kids.  The latest series features 24 different figures that can be collected, assembled and are interchangable.  Each figure comes unassembled which adds to the fun- your kids can put them together or mix and match the interchangeable parts with other figures to create an entirely new and original character. $2.99 each

It’s Spring- ready for bubbles? These are cute, and can be less messy then a bubble wand. Glove-A-Bubbles Bunny (or 7 other animal options) puts the bubbles onto a little glove and lets them wave their hands around, creating waves of bubbles with each swipe. These ‘gloves’ come with two packs of bubble solution in each package. A parent can pour it into the pouch, dip the glove into the bubbles, and send the kids out to run wild. While there are 8 animals total, Bunny is egg-stra cute for Easter, we think.  $2.99 each.

We LOVE Smooshy Mushy, I’ve got to say. If your kids have not begged for a squish toy yet, we don’t know how you have escaped this craze. It’s not one I personally mind terribly- they are inexpensive, smell nice, and are adorable, so not a craze that this mom minds.  As we had mentioned in out Toy Fair columns, The Squish trend is continuing, for sure. These scented, “slow-rise,” squishable animal toys come in a variety fun food and pet themes, each packaged with an itty-bitty collectible squishy best friend, adding levels of surprise. The packaging itself is super cute, often an ice cream cone, soda bottle, milk carton, or the like. Very sweet. $9.99

Stikbot Easter Eggs will be such a treat for any fan of the series- my son lost his sanity when he saw these eggs, so excited.  Zing has rolled out a new line of Easter-themed Stikbot Pets just in time for Easter.  Perfect for filling baskets (and you don’t need to crack your nails opening those dreadful plastic eggs to fill them over and over, LOL), adorable Stikbot Bunnies and Chicks are packed inside colorful eggs. Stickbot has nearly 200 million views on YouTube, and many kids make their own YouTube channels dedicated to their own “spinoff” or inspired themes. Kids love the open ended, imaginative play that these toys bring with them.  Stickbot also teaches kids a skill- how to do stop-motion animation movies, not to mention some patience. I love the combination of tech and no tech in this- they need to really use their minds, create- THEN use tech to record. It’s one of my favorite toys my son has- and the price is great at $4.99 each.


Care Bears Care-Moji Figures continue the “blind bag” trend- and these are adorable “bags”. The mini collectible Care-Moji friends have a mini Care Bears character stylized figures inside. Each 2” figure comes inside of an adorable bear-shaped capsule (I love all these fun “blind bags”, the creativity is so much fun). There are 12 different figures to collect, play with, or display. Each capsule sold separately. $3.99 each.

Bunny Surprise and Lamb Surprise are the latest (and most “Spring” appropriate) of the Puppy and Kitty Surprise family of toys-  These soft, huggable mommy Bunny or Lamb Surprise plush (with a plastic face) comes with a “surprise” number of babies in her litter – either three, four, or five per doll.Kids will have fun seeing how many babies she has, and then cuddling, grooming, and taking care of all the precious little bunnies and lambs (as well as mom).  I had one of these “Surprise” toys as a child, and it’s fun to see my child play with one, as well. Mommy Bunny Patches and Mommy Lamb Bliss are sold separately. $24.99

Do your kids have an allergy to eggs? Are you vegan? Still want to participate in the whole egg-dying tradition? Check out Eggnots, the ceramic egg kit. There is no longer a reason why kids have to be separated during these activities during class or scouting (etc), or have to bypass the activity for Easter should you not want to. These ceramic eggs are an alternative so that everyone can still participate. Prices start at $9.99 at

Holiday Gift Guide- For the Home

Getting ready for the family and/or friends to head over for some holiday celebrations? If you are like us, you are. Here are some items we are loving right about now as we deck the halls and cook too much.

The Ninja® Intelli-Sense™ System with Auto-Spiralizer is perfect for meal prep, and has a “smart” base with a touchscreen that lets you choose between four high-performance appliances. Intelli-Sense Technology lets you use a Smart Menu of choices for each appliance on it’s base, and it’s both easy to clean and durable enough for regular use and wear as well, so you don’t need to worry that because it’s high tech, it’s super delicate- it’s not.  It also comes with a recipe book with creations by chefs you can make at home using your new machine(s). Choose from items like home made pastas, margaritas, pizza dough, fresh salsa, and much more. You can pick yours up at retailers nationwide for about $269.99.

The Ninja® Cooking System with Auto-iQ™  is another fantastic four appliances built into one machine- you get the ever-useful slow cooker, a stove top, a steamer, and an oven you can use for baking. One of the cooler aspects of the Auto-iQ is that it lets you choose from more than 80 pre-programmed recipes (as well as whatever other recipe you choose). All you have to do is add the ingredients, select a recipe from the included cookbook, and the Auto-iQ will cook it.  Really. If making meals in one pot weren’t easy enough, doing it at the push of a single button makes it almost too easy- almost. Pick yours up wherever kitchen gear is sold for about $149.

Gatherings mean extra cleanup- and you will love The Shark® IONFlex™ 2X DuoClean™ Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum. Yes, the name is a mouthful, but it also describes what it does. It’s  cord-free vacuum with DuoClean™ technology, that comes with two rechargeable ION batteries so that you can be charging one while using the other- never any downtime. It also has MultiFLEX Technology which gives it a flexible reach for under furniture but also easy for storage. The DuoClean Technology means that it has a bristle brush for a deeper clean in carpets as well as a soft brushroll to pull in bigger floor gunk- it covers all it’s bases. It also has a handheld vacuum so you can clean hard to reach spots, the couch, ceiling, take it out to the car, or wherever it’s needed.   It also comes with lots of extras, like an Anti-allergen dust brush, MultiFLEX under app wand, cradle, and more.

UPDATE- after about 2 months of use, this vacuum was totally useless. It stops working constantly, overheating, clogging, dirt etc won’t go to the correct space to empty, shuts itself off,  etc. I have sent it back for replacement, which was incredibly difficult and time consuming. Customer service ran me in circles. After I got the replacement, guess what started happening? If you guessed the exact same problems, you’d be right. Don’t waste your time and money on this one.

laser tag

You will want to keep the kids busy while you are getting the house ready- and you can even get them outside if the weather is cooperating at all- with the new Laser X laser tag game. The new Laser X has an updated, technologically-advanced laser blaster system that features sophisticated electronics and optics which gives players up to 200 feet accuracy. The game only needs two players, but can have many more then that. The system knows when the players are being hit, shooting, hiding, running, or more- though from what we can tell, if you “hide” too long, it tells you to “run!” and gives your spot away- not a good hide and seek buddy, haha.  It is available in sets that equip two players for $49.99 or that equip one player for $24.99.  The Long Range Blaster ($39.99) and Gaming Tower ($39.99) are also available.  Gets yours at

laser tag toys

Great Holiday Toys For Kids (And Kids at Heart)

Getting ready for the holidays can involve a fair amount of shopping for the kiddos. Here are a few items we know are sure to be on a lot of lists this year.


If your children love cars, or shows like Pokemon or Battlebots, they will enjoy the Power Rippers™ 2-IN-1 Competition Set. This set is very complete, and makes a great gift that comes with everything you’d want or need. It includes a Track Set and Battle Arena, dual loops that you can reconfigure for side-by-side racingas one long track, a crash zone and “epic jump” when your toys reach the end of their track. They can use the Battle Arena to- you guessed it, battle each other (or mom and dad).   The set comes in its own case, which makes for easy storage, clean up, and take along as well. Grab yours anywhere that sells toys for about $29.99.

Justice League BIG-FIGS™ take action figures and super size them for giant fun and BIG play. These are great for both the kids and collectors in your life- ok, and the “big kids”, too. ( I can think of more then one adult who would love them.)  Choose from Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and my son’s favorite, Cyborg.  They are detailed, though not fully articulated, and include items like soft capes and removable accessories.  These BIG-FIGS™ are priced right at $19.99, so they are a “big” value as well, considering the regular sized figures usually start at about $11.99.

Have a Nintendo fan? Have they played Splatoon? (If not, you guys are missing out, as we have mentioned previously, it is a lot of fun!) This toy is based on the hit videogame by Nintendo, the Splatoon™ Splattershot Blaster brings into real life all the fun, mess (not really!), and strategy the game is all about.  You and your kids can play all day with these blasters that fire water-based compound up to 30 feet.  Each Splattershot Blaster comes with a pair of Inkling Goggles and two compound canisters that are good for up to 50 shots each.  You can get yours on stores like Amazon for about $29.99. I’d pick up at least 2, so you can play together.

Based on the hit Disney movie, the Glow ‘N Style Rapunzel doll showcases her blonde hair- on this doll, down to her toes. Your child will spend hours of styling and playing with it.  When they push a button, Rapunzel’s signature magical hair will glow as she sings the award-winning song from the show, “I See the Light.”  She wears her well known dress and coordinating shoes, and comes with six hair clips that your child can also wear. One is even in the shape of her chameleon pet, Pascal, which is adorable.   The suggested price of this doll is $34.99, but I’m seeing it for prices all over the chart, so shop wisely.

Smooshy Mushy are an adorable and new collectible craze that your kids as well as any adults who like to fidget will love- honestly, these serve a dual purpose.  Fun and useful! Inside each Smooshy Mushy package you will find one of eight random Pets. Unwrap it’s container to find out which scented Smooshy Mushy you will find- even the packaging is cute, really- milkshake or ice creams, for example.

Every pet comes with a “Bestie” they like to tag along with, so make sure you keep them together.  Each of the currently available 24 food themed sets also comes with a “what’s your smooshy name?” game, a nametag, mini container, stickers  a poster.  There are also rare and ultra-rare Pets. $9.99

You can collect more Besties by picking up a  Smooshy Mushy Snack Pax.  These are 39 random blind bags which include a Bestie, a poster, and a game. $2.99

Have you started your Advent Calenders yet? It’s not too late if you haven’t- and PLAYMOBIL has a fun variety to choose from. You can choose from sets like Santa’s Workshop or an NHL Hockey theme, or even a more non traditional set like the “Jewel Thief Police Operation” which is fun and silly -every day, your child opens another door and finds a new surprise waiting behind it. There is also a cardboard backdrop to place figures and toys/props on, to help create the intended theme should you so desire.  Don’t forget the non-holiday sets as well- PLAYMOBIL recently released super fun playsets from Ghostbusters (with highly accurate details, lights and sounds, great accessories, and more) and How to Train Your Dragon. Prices vary, but we love PLAYMOBIL for their long term play use, creativity, bonding time, as well as how well made and sturdy they are. These are definitely on our holiday lists this year.


Dressing For Fall Travel

No matter where your travels take you this season, we have some great options to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.

Now that it’s Autumn (and it’s finally cooled off), you want to make sure you have some layers available. One of my current go-to’s has been Dare 2b‘s Women’s Loveline II Core Stretch, a pull over the head, half zip sweatshirt. It’s not your mom’s sweatshirt, however- soft, warm, lined inside with a quick drying/water repelling outside, it’s pretty tough as well as functional. It comes in several color options, and is easy to care for as well. The price is right at $22, and it’s easy to pair with your running gear or toss on with jeans etc. The more options, the better, and it’s just the right weight for the fall season or to layer under your clothing as it gets colder.

Craghoppers has comfortable clothing for the entire family that protects against UV rays, insect bites, and even digital theft. No matter if you are out in the woods, in a national park, or on the city streets, these clothes are easy to wear, match, and keep you protected on all sorts of levels.  The Nosilife Pro Trousers for women havd a slim fit, but not too slim, with several pockets that zip closed to keep your valuables safe. The fabric is soft and quick drying, so quick showers or muddy patches won’t be an issue. They are also generously cut around the ankle for boots should you want to wear them.  The long sleeve NosliLife Erin Long Sleeve Shirt is breathable and quick drying as well, and the entire NosiLife collection is also insect bite repellent. Who needs all the bites that so often accompany time in the great outdoors? Not you, that’s for sure. Prices vary, visit

Another option to layer while keeping warm and cuddly would be the Hazelton Half Zip. So soft, and available in three very pretty colors, it’s both lightweight and durable, so it’s great by itself or as a top or middle layer. It’s a great jogger, but I can see using it underneath a ski parka when it’s time to hit the slopes- I’m really loving the feel of this one. It’s easy to wash and wear, though I personally prefer to hang it to dry so it stays extra fluffy as long as possible.  Pick yours up at

As for fall footwear, I’m loving the Icebug Metro BUGrip for hiking. They are very comfortable, and fantastic for all kinds of weather. They have amazing soles- they grip is fantastic, and will help keep you on whatever trail you find yourself on. The Icebugs are great for keeping your feet warm and dry as well- which is always a good thing, but especially now with the weather cooling down. Nothing like cold, wet feet to ruin a hike.  Easy pull on and off, comfortable and tough with studded running shoe soles, these boots have it all. I really enjoy them, and think you will as well. $189 and worth every cent.


Valley of the Dolls

From the soft and cuddly, to things a little more exotic, there are dolls for everyone to love this summer. Check out what’s new and exciting in all things doll related.

bath toys

For a doll that does double duty (you can snuggle it as well as take it into the bathtub or pool) you can check out Mon Premier Bébé Bath(or Bath Baby) from Corolle.  These dolls are specially designed for playing in the tub, and are so light they float. They are filled with polystyrene beads that dry quickly, just hang to air dry or lay on a towel. These soft, posable 12 inch baby dolls have adorable faces, vanilla scented skin (Corolle’s signature), and eyes that open and close. Every doll comes with an outfit and bath toy of it’s own.  Both boy and girl dolls available, as well as several skin tone options, for about $28 each. Get yours at

barbie RC car

Maybe your dolls love it when you’re cruisin’ together. If you do as well, the Barbie Crusin Convertible Corvette Radio Control is right up your alley.Long name, fun toy. This is a fully functioning radio control car- and it’s aimed at the girls for once. Not that you shouldn’t give your brother a turn, hey now, but it’s nice to see the ladies get a radio control vehicle now and then. Huzzah. This Barbie Hot Pink car holds any Barbie doll- or any doll around the same size. The car requires quite a few batteries- two AAA for the remote and five AA for the car itself, so make sure you have some on hand. Prices vary, but most seem to be listing for about $50.  Check around before you buy.

egypt toys

Looking for something a little different? Maybe you are dreaming of a vacation far, far away? Playmobile has these cool History themed sets, such as 5386. No real name, but it’s basically Pharaoh’s Pyramid. Apologies, it’s not a great system, but at least it’s easy to look up. Don’t let that dissuade you from picking it up- this is one of the cooler toys I’ve seen this year. Way back in February at New York Toy Fair, I was digging on this one, and looking forward to it’s coming out. This pyramid has five chambers that hide jewels and treasures, as well as (0f course) a mummy in it’s tomb. It’s well guarded, and protected by all sorts of traps that let you get your inner archeologist on. You can remove the several of the pyramid’s walls to get even more entombed, I mean, entwined in your playing. This set has it all– revolving doors, skeletons, spiders, three figures, tomb, mummy, treasures, fire pots, hieroglyphics, and many other ancient Egyptian themed accessories.  $70 at

stikbot pets

Do your kids like to make their own home movies? If they have already played with Stikbots and loved them (as my son has), they will love Stickbot pets. If they haven’t, maybe now is the time to try it out. These toys are so inexpensive, hard to break, and give hours and hours of creative and imaginative play- they really are some of our favorite toys of all time. Easily a top 10 in my household. Stickbot is a YouTube sensation- there are roughly 200 million views and more coming every day. These toys let kids become stop-motion-animators themselves, and now Stikbots have pets to join in the fun! These easy to pose, stick in any position toys come with a free app (iOS and andriod) and an easy to follow along with hashtag #Stickbot that keeps fans connected to each other’s movies. Joining the Stikbot family is a bulldog, dog, cat, cow, horse, gorilla, panda, monkey, and bear. Each is available in several colors, for $5 each.