Gift ideas for teachers and other helpful people?

November 22, 2013

Gloves and USB Drives

GREAT GIFTS! And SUPER USEFUL!

I struggle with this every year, and in theory, I believe cash is usually the best gift there is for anyone, anytime, anywhere, but I feel really awkward when I give it to certain people.  So, that being said, here are some gifts I’ve bought for myself and given out to teachers and other really helpful special people that you really can’t spend a fortune on (not that they don’t deserve it)…

  • Aglove texting gloves – I use these ALL THE TIME!  Seriously. They keep your hands warm, they’re comfortable, they work on an iPhone or touch screen, and they’re thin enough for me to keep them on AND get a MetroCard out of my wallet.  If you know me, look at my hands in any kind of chilly weather.  You have seen me wear these gloves.  And, if you’re actually interested in the accuracy of using an iPhone in them, these are the best of the bunch.  The link I gave is for Small to Medium gloves (I have these, they are stretchy).  Here is a link to the Medium to Large ones.  In general, I would get the Small to Medium for women and the Medium to Large ones for men.  At under $10 a pair, they are a nice, useful, relatively inexpensive gift.
  • Toshiba 16 GB USB Drive – There are a bazillion USB drives out there, people.  This is the specific one I like best.  It’s around $16.  Here’s a link to an 8GB one for around half the price.  I like these for a bunch of different reasons.  One, I own two of the 16GB ones and they’ve never let me down.  I like the way they feel in my hand.  I like the little covers, but they’re not attached, so they are easy to lose, if you’re prone to such things.  Also, there is downloadable security software, if you choose to use it (but NO onboard software, which I HATE in a USB drive).  Tell me this, what teacher couldn’t use a USB drive, even if they already had a bunch?  In fact, what computer-using person couldn’t use one of these.  I am all about the useful.
  • Especially for teachers… Quantum Thera Zinc spray!  I mean, come on!  They are exposed to gross kid germs all day long, in closed rooms.  If they attack a cold or flu right at the outset with some zinc, there’s a chance they won’t get sick, or at least not AS sick.  That’s what I’ve heard on good authority, anyway.  Look, it’s under $10 a bottle, and here’s a link to a 3 pack, which brings down the price even more.  Get some for yourself.  I’ve blogged about this particular zinc spray before (follow the link for a picture), because it’s my favorite.  It’s strong!  It helps with sore throats, too.  It’s a gift that says “I acknowledge your selflessness in remaining in proximity to my little snot machine.  Thank you.”  This could be an awkward gift though, so if you do feel awkward about it, just think “well, it’s not as weirdly awkward as cash.”  Hope that helps.
  • If your teacher/helpful person likes tea, this Trendglas Tea for Two set is the best tea mug I’ve found (unfortunately, it’s currently out of stock, but it’s worth waiting for – here’s a similar one for just under $20).  Regarding the Trendglas mugs, I have bought three so far, and I truly love it and so does everyone else who ever comes to my house, plus, it can double as a gravy boat in an emergency!  WHAT?!If you’re going to go this route, make sure this person loves tea.  With a glass infuser, four things are important, IMHO —
    • 1. some of the tea will come through the infuser – not much, but some, but you’re avoiding toxic tea bags (just google that to become scared out of your mind).  You’re welcome!
    • 2. it’s important to have a flat top, not a decorative ball top or rounded top because the top is important as the thing you rest the wet infuser in when you’re actually drinking the tea.
    • 3. The infuser should reach to almost the bottom of the vessel it’s in, for a full brew.
    • 4. In sets like these, the infuser is the most likely thing to break, so make sure there are replacements available.  Here’s a good replacement for the Trendglas mug infuser, though it comes with the not-as-useful ball-top (see sub point 2, above).
  • Lastly, when I really don’t know what to buy and I need something *nice* (you know what I’m saying), I buy a box of  chocolates from Le Maison du Chocolate.  They are expensive, so I tend to keep the boxes small, but they’re really good, high quality, beautiful chocolates.  They have a little-known and little-advertised “frequent buyer” program, so if you tend to buy a lot of these types of gifts, you can get a tiny box of free chocolates for yourself after spending an ungodly amount on other people (story of my life).

If you decide to buy any of these, can you please buy them from the links in this post?  After four years of blogging, I’m finally starting to try affiliate links (though some of the links above are not affiliate links – like the Trendglas one).  I would be recommending these products nonetheless, since I own all of them, and LOVE them and honestly believe they’d be great gifts (even for yourself).

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How did you make that burger?

November 11, 2013

Frontier Organic Adobo Seasoning

Frontier Organic Adobo Seasoning

My friend R just asked me this question.  I buy 90% lean grass-fed ground beef, and mix in a few shakes of ground pepper, and 1/2 tsp per pound of meat of Frontier organic adobo seasoning (ingredients are sea salt, organic garlic, organic onion, organic black pepper, organic oregano, organic bay, organic turmeric – note the wonderful lack of preservatives and anti-caking agents!).  They sell this spice at Whole Foods, or you can order it from Amazon (link).  I also use this spice in my chocolate pork rub.

After I mix in in very well, I form the patties (a little thinner in the middle, so they’ll cook through better) and then place them on a rack on a cookie sheet in my refrigerator (uncovered) for a few hours (up to a day) until I’m ready to cook them.  Being in the refrigerator will “dry-age” them, reducing moisture and concentrating the flavor of the meat.  Plus, it saves you time when you’re actually cooking.


Best Ladder?

November 7, 2013

Me on my brand new ladder.

Me on my brand new ladder. Look at me, being so stable on uneven surfaces!  My life is pretty much sunshine and rainbows now!

People, I’ve found the greatest ladder on the planet.  It’s the Select Step 5-8 foot ladder by Little Giant.  (<–I’m trying out the Amazon affiliate program.  The cost is the same no matter how you buy this product, but buying it through my link will give me 4% (I think) – after 4 years of writing this blog, I’m finally wondering what it would like to make a few dollars.)

It’s a little heavy (32 lbs with the amazing “Air deck workstation” that I am not using in the picture, but comes with the ladder I linked to, and adds additional hand railing and a nicely designed work surface), but it’s super stable, each leg telescopes individually for different heights (for use on stairs, window sills, etc.), and it’s compact (61″ high, 28″ wide at base, 14.5″ wide at top, and around 9″ deep at it’s thickest — when it’s all folded).  Look at this demonstration video and be awed by this feat of household repair engineering:

 


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