Archive for March, 2010

Gifts for Dads

As spring approaches, there’s an unmistakable mother’s day buzz in the air. Moms are undoubtedly deserving of their special day of appreciation, but for this blogger, it’s gift time for dads. My father’s birthday is next week, and a dear friend of the family just became a brand new dad. So what’s one gift that smacks of fatherhood? Cigars

One of my earliest memories is my dad sitting on the porch in the evening, reading a book and slowly savoring a cigar. If your dad or another special man in your life enjoys a rich and aromatic smoke from time to time, consider some convenient cigar accessories for a gift. Cigar cutters, lighters, humidors and ashtrays all make meaningful gifts that every cigar savvy dad will love.

With the right accessories, your dad can get more flavor and enjoyment out of every cigar. Whether he’s sitting back and relaxing on his birthday, or celebrating his new journey into fatherhood, cigars and cigar accessories make a thoughtful and sentimental gift.


Beautiful Birthstones

Birthstones make an ideal gift for birthdays, or any gift-giving occasion. These jaw dropping stones are inherently personal and carry a great deal of sentiment. The American National Association of Jewelers developed the official list of birthstones back in 1912.

There are several factors that determine the value of a birthstone. It’s helpful to know what to keep an eye out for before you begin shopping.

Weight, color, clarity and the quality of the cut all come into play when establishing gemstone value. The cut actually describes how the stone is faceted, rather than the stone’s shape. Gemstone weight is measured in carats. The greater the carats, the greater the value.

When jewelers describe a stone’s clarity, they’re referring to the absence of flaws, such as cracks, fissures, nicks and small pieces of other minerals that are incorporated in the stone.  Every natural gemstone has a flaw of some sort, but when they can’t be detected under ten times magnification, the stone receives a high clarity grading.

In general, the closer a stone is to a pure color, the higher its value. White diamonds, for example, are the most valuable. This is an excellent gift option for anyone with an April birthday.

The cut of a birthstone also affects its value. Stones that are poorly cut might lose their brilliance, so be sure to find a retailer that carries expertly cut birthstones. It’s important to note that that not all birthstones are cut. Opals (October), sapphires (September)  and rubies (July), for example, are all polished instead.

Keep these simple factors in mind before you pick out birthstone jewelry, and you’re sure to find a beautiful gift that will be treasured for years to come.

After months of relentless cold and bleak gray skies, spring is at long last approaching. As the days get longer and we reacquaint ourselves with the sunshine, it’s a great time to get our homes clean, fresh and organized.  Before you roll up your sleeves and tackle your spring cleaning, take a look at some of these great kitchen organizers:

A shelf pot rack can do wonders to clear cluttered counter space. Whether you’re packing a picnic, or getting ready for a sunny backyard barbecue, keeping your pots and pans neat and tidy is a smart way to cut down on time in the kitchen and take more advantage of the sunshine. Perch a small plant on one of these racks to add a fresh burst of color into your kitchen decor.

And what about all those cookout leftovers? The plastic wrap and foil we use so regularly in the warmer months can monopolize counter top space, and create tons of pantry clutter. A convenient under-shelf wrap rack can save lots of space instantly. You can wrap up sandwiches for a sunny hike or store barbecue leftovers without digging through a messy pile of boxes and packages.

Spring  is also an amazing time for fresh fruits and vegetables. But all too often, delicious produce goes to waste. By keeping apples, bananas, tomatoes and other delicious fresh foods more visible, you and your family are far more likely to enjoy them before they spoil. A four tier fruit rack is an ideal solution. Not only does this smart little unit help you incorporate fresh produce into your daily diet, but it also looks great in any kitchen. This is an excellent way to showcase nature’s little design masterpieces.

Keep these handy and simple products in mind, and you can whip your kitchen into shape for the fairest of the seasons.