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by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 6094 times since Wed Dec 3, 2014
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Streisand: In the Camera Eye ( $40; ) is a coffee-table book that collects 170 compelling photographs of the iconic Barbra Streisand. Taken by some of the greatest names in photography—including Philippe Halsman, Francesco Scavullo, Douglas Kirkland, Bob Willoughby and Cecil Beaton—the images also represent her fabled concerts, as well as personal moments away from the set and stage.

Judge and jewelry

And what do you get someone who has just about everything? Swarovski ( ) has some ideas. For example, there's the Stone Ring ( $170 ), which has a domed silhouette and is encrusted with clear crystal pave. Then, there's the Blues Necklace ( $180 ), which has an exquisite mix of stones of sparkling shades, from blue to violet. However, there are the Blaze Tie Pin, the Tension Pendant, gold pattern smartphone cases ... you get the idea.

I believe I can iFLY

Who hasn't wanted to fly? ( OK: My parents might be two exceptions. ) However, a lot of people would love gift cards to iFLY Indoor Skydiving ( ), located just outside Chicago in Rosemont. You'll really feel like you're skydiving ( complete with instructors )—and you won't have to jump out at 10,000 feet to do it.


Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art ( ) has some very intriguing items in its store. The Dropp Bowl ( $60 ) is inspired by the image of a splash of paint frozen in time, while the Void Vase ( $20-$98 ) is almost invisible, making it the perfect showcase for flowers. Meanwhile, there are several items linked the David Bowie exhibit at the museum, including the David Bowie Aladdin Sane Mug ( $13.95 ) and Silver Lightning Bold Earrings ( $12.95 ).

Mod squad

Modcloth ( ) is a repository of innovation—and beauty. If you don't believe me, check out items such as the Sharp Image Pencil Sharpener ( $19.99 ), the Truly Gritty and Gorgeous Bag ( $99.99 ), the Cat Eye Cutie Sunglasses ( $11.99 ) and the Star Wars-themed Saber the Flavor Shaker Set ( $21.99 ). Oh, yeah: There are clothes as well.

Brit by Brit

No doubt everyone's heard of the England-set PBS smash Downton Abbey. Now, get your favorite Abbey enthusiast Downton Abbey wine ( $16.99; ). The wine ( which comes in blanc or claret ) is crafted with premium fruit from the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, France, by Dulong Grand Vins, a family-owned vineyard with more than 130 years of winemaking experience. Of course it is.

Nothing but a G thing

G-DRIVE Mobile and the Slim USB 3.0 ( $79.95-$119.95; ) are thin, stylish portable storage that combines USB 3.0 high-performance with Time Machine compatibility and are designed to match the latest Macbook Pro. Offering either 1 TB for the Mobile or 500 GB for the Slim, both can take on a LOT of material.

All about sleeve

I love LiteGear Bags' Trifold Garment Sleeve ( $39.95; and ). The sleeve—perfect for travel or even an evening get-together—can be folded up to fit in even the smallest of carry-on bags, or can be used as a stand alone bag with its hanger carry handle. It keeps shirts, suits and dresses wrinkle-free with padded fold points, two inside mesh pockets and one large pleated pocket for shoes.

A cut above

The Harry's Winter Winston Set ( $30; ) features precision-angled blades that come with comfort strips. It also comes with a foaming shave gel or shaving cream ( depending on your want ) that's made to moisturize. In addition, if you really want to get fancy ( cue that Iggy Azalea song ), you can also have the razor engraved.

Body language

Well, the Vlad the Impaler Body Builder Wine Holder ( $28.99; ) is certainly a conversation-starter. The item holds a bottle of wine, champagne, etc. ( not included )—just imagine the looks on your guests' faces when they see your "little guy."

Tea, myself and I

Entertaining and lifestyle expert Tracy Stern introduced Tea & Co. ( $40 for a set of two; ), a collection of artisanal iced teas unlike anything on the market. ( The flavor Tropical Green Iced Tea with Pineapple is just one stunning example. ) Those who love to entertain will love this one.

The gold standard

Moet Imperial Imperial Brut Golden Sleeve ( ) will put anyone in a festive mood. However, just as impressive is the Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco ( ), which has a very clean finish.

A piece of cake

Hahn's Old Fashioned Coffee Cake Company ( ) are very tasty—and very filling, which means you won't consume more than two at a time. Besides the crumb cake ( which come in so many different flavors, such as raspberry, apple, mocha cappuccino and chocolate ), there's the oh-so-popular Bucket of Crumbs.

Dawn of a new day

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the TV show Gilligan's Island ( "a three-hour tour..." ). Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the series, has released A Guide To Life: What Would Mary Ann Do? Among the topics she covers in the book ( $16.95 ) are men, family and friendship, fame/gossip and manners. She learned a lot on that island.

Carrying a load

"What should you never do in a public restroom?" This is just one of more than 200 inquiries in Loaded Questions Party ( $17.99; ), a board game that's filled with party favors and fouls, and that requires you to guess which player wrote which answer while writing your own creative responses. ( Another question: "What is something you find hard to stop doing once you start?" A possible answer: "Play this game." )

Tough enough

Kyocera is on a mission to put affordable, easy-to-use, rugged smartphones into the hands of adventurers—including Bear Grylls, who has endorsed them. Kyocera Brigadier with Sapphire Shield ( $19.99 a month as part of Verizon EDGE; ) has a virtually scratchproof 4.5-inch IPS HD capacitive touchscreen display made from pure, high-quality sapphire. It's also waterproof and practically dustproof—so go conquer the wilderness ( or at least the subway ), knowing your phone will keep it together.

Crazy like a Fox

Fox Home Entertainment is releasing a variety of films. Among them are the recent hit Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story: Coven as well as the classics Sleepy Hollow and Young Frankenstein. Cue Frau Blucher—and horses whinnying.

Nice to meat you

Chicago's Meatloaf Bakery ( ) offers meatloaf in various flavors ( e.g., Herby Turkey Loaf and Omega-3 Loaf ), sizes ( loafie, cupcake and loaf/tart/cake ) and prices. The biggest problem might be psychological—envisioning meat in the shape of a cupcake. However, the payoff is more than worth it: These items are delicious!

I'm so excited

Get your man's temperature rising with Excite for Men underwear at Fantasy Lingerie ( ). Who hasn't wanted a chain-link thong? However, if that's not your thing, there are briefs and boxers that, um, accentuate the positive.


Fodeez Frames ( ) are customizable display items that work on all smooth surfaces and can be reused hundreds of times. However, they're more than reusable—they're versatile, as the frames can display photos, pictures, messages and signs.

Word up

Cruciverbalists and number enthusiasts, the line for good times starts right here. The New York Times crossword and sudoku books—Winter Wonderland Crosswords, Winter Wonderland Sudoku and A Year of Crosswords—contain various levels, from "easy" to extremely challenging. I started doing these in pen; I learned my lesson quickly.

Wrap it up

Dr. Cool Recovery on the Go Wraps ( $24.99-$34.99; ) are pretty revolutionary: The only recovery product to combine ice and compression in one flexible wrap, the Dr. Cool wraps need just 20 minutes in the freezer to reach optimum temperature. The wraps allow consumers to recover on the go, and are available in three sizes for all parts of the body. Trust me, everyone will need one of these sooner or later.

And they're warm, to boot

A'rcopedico's Vegan Milan 2 boots ( $139; ) allow people to be fashionable—and environmentally friendly. This women's boot is so versatile it allows you to customize your look by simply adjusting the cuff. It's already started snowing, so you know you'll need a pair.

Skin tight

G.M. Collin Body Treating Oil ( $24; ) and Nerium's Total Anti-aging Gift Set ( $260; ) have the same goal: to make your skin smoother and softer—and they both exhibited impressive results. As talk-show host Wendy Williams often says, "Moisturize!"

Abs-olutely fabulous

Eight athletic male models are the subjects of the Ripped & Stripped: Sons of the Beach 2015 Calendar ( $19; ). And you have an extra reason for feeling good ( besides ogling the subjects ): The project has an underlying aim to raise money for good causes, with 20 percent of the price of the items purchased being donated to three charities—The Albert Kennedy Trust, Ballboys Testicular Cancer and Macmillan Cancer Support.

This article shared 6094 times since Wed Dec 3, 2014
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