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Emily Lapkin

Author Archives: Emily Lapkin

Emily Lapkin is a writer, editor, and content strategist. She lives with her husband and two little girls in Vancouver, BC.

  • Don't Be Regifted: Unique Gifts They're Sure to Keep

    Our new infographic says it all, really. Scroll below the image for more details on each sure-to-be-loved gift idea and links to help you start your shopping.

    holiday gift guide

    Here's a recap of the gifts we're sure will be "keepers." Click the links to learn more or buy now.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Remember, friends don't let friends get regifted. Let others know where they can find truly unique gifts this holiday season. Pin, like, or tweet this infographic below to spread the word!

  • Think Local: American-Made Products from Hometown Entrepreneurs

    Hand Stitched Baseballs from Leather Head Sports

    How 'bout some USA-made baseballs to play our national pastime?

    Is it the flags? The fireworks? We're not sure, but something about Independence Day makes us even more patriotic than usual.

    In the spirit of the 4th, here are some of our favorite American-made Grommets. (And since there's way more where this came from, be sure to browse the Made in the USA category of the Daily Grommet site, too.)

    Reclaimed Fishing Rope Doormat
    David Bird's company, Custom Cordage, recycles old float rope from lobstermen to make these all-American doormats handwoven in Waldoboro, Maine. They’re indestructible as they are colorful, as they've already withstood the Atlantic, and you know, lobsters!

    Vintage Style Hand-Sewn Baseballs and Footballs
    Paul Cunningham's company, Leather Head Sports, makes hand-sewn baseballs (shown at right) and footballs both brimming with nostalgia and ready for real play. They're also made from American leather, right here in the USA.

    Reusable Produce Bags
    Friends Sasha Barr and Meagan Claire Hall of Wonder Thunder produce these whimsical, screen printed produce bags in Seattle. And they attend to every detail - from drawing the designs and printing the unbleached cotton, to stitching it up. The bags make it easy to shop for fruits and veggies without plastic bag-induced guilt!

    Letterpress Paper Goods

    Alabama-based Night Owl Paper Goods makes eco-chic cards and journals out of sustainably harvested yellow birch wood. Partners Alan Henderson and Jennifer Tatham embellish their stationery with hand-pressed graphics influenced by American folk art.

    Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillets
    The folks at Lodge have been making cast iron cookware in Tennessee since 1896, so it's no surprise they figured out how to pre-season their pans. For serious cooks, that means no time (or food) wasted breaking in your cookware. Gotta love American ingenuity!

  • Citizen Commerce™: Join the Fun!

    Smith Island Multilayered Cake

    Not only is this cake delicious, it's also a slice of Citizen Commerce™ .

    At Daily Grommet we've created an experience where anyone can help us find good products and help share their stories. By "good," we mean things that preserve craft, provide real innovation, give back, and/or are ecologically responsible. That's the central idea of our Citizen Commerce™ philosophy.

    Here are just a few examples recommended by the great citizens of the Daily Grommet community:

    Smith Island Cakes, suggested to Daily Grommet by Jessica Smith (no relation), hail from Smith Island, Maryland, where they've been prepared since the 19th century. Their thin layers, sealed with frosting made from cooked fudge, stay fresh longer than conventional cakes. The results are not only delicious, but make them ideal for shipping and storing (once opened, they stay fresh for a week, or can be frozen up to two months).

    Charlie's Soap, suggested to Daily Grommet by Leslie Reichert, author of The Joy of Green Cleaning, is a non-toxic, biodegradable laundry detergent that cleans stains and doesn’t leave any perfume or residue on your clothes. It was originally invented to gently clean oils and grime from yarn machines at an American textile company in 1976, and worked so well that mill employees wanted to use it at home.

    Vapur Collapsible Water Bottle, suggested to Daily Grommet by Molly Ruffle, is made in the USA from flexible BPA-free plastic that collapses, flattens, and rolls up when emptied. How neat is that!

    The Zip-n-Go Waterproof Picnic Blanket unfolds to provide you with many satisfying summer outings in a portable, durable, soft-yet-weatherproof package. Sue Bruce recommended it to us because she was impressed by the quality of this USA-made item, and we think you'll be too.

    We hope you will join the movement and tell us about your favorite things.  Just fill out our super-quick form, and know that we really do look at each and every submission. Can't wait to see more of your personal Grommets!

  • Father's Day Gift Guide: Cool Gifts for Fab Dads

    Man in Portable Hammock

    What dad wouldn't love a hammock?

    The dads in your life deserve something extra special, and we've got the Grommets to fit the bill. In fact, all of our favorite Father's Day picks have been man-tested and dude-approved! You might just find the perfect Father's Day gift here.

    Anywhere Fireplace Ventless Fireplace
    Keep the home fires burning, literally, with this wall-mount or tabletop smokeless fireplace that runs on green and clean-burning bio-fuel.

    Handpresso Wild Domepod Portable Espresso Machine
    Your favorite java junkie can enjoy perfect espresso any time, anywhere with this gadget that's both economical and chic. Just add boiling water and his favorite ground coffee.

    VersAudio Vers 1.5R Wood Sound System
    Rock dad's world with this sound system that marries his love of all things audio (it plays and charges all docking iPods, has an AM/FM tuner) with his love of woodworking (choose from dark walnut, natural walnut, cherry, bamboo, piano black or piano white).

    Trek Light Gear Portable Hammocks
    Make Father's Day more relaxing with this lightweight, portable hammock that can support up to 400 pounds with its strong, mildew-resistant parachute nylon. This clever design is suspended from tension ropes, and is flip-resistant.

    SodaStream Fountain Machine
    Make dad's bar complete with this great gizmo that makes fresh sparkling water, or handcrafted soda (in loads of tasty flavors).

    A Better Back Lumbar Support Pillow
    Soothe dad's aches and pains with this special pillow that provides long-lasting hot or cold therapy, and can even be worn like a backpack for relief on-the-go.

    Undecided? See more cool gifts for guys.

  • Cool Travel Accessories That Won't Weigh You Down

    Daily Grommet travel gift guide

    Team Grommet won't leave home without these travel accessories ... read on to find out why we think they're the ultimate in lightweight travel gear:

    Mom and Dad never had to deal with baggage fees, but they're a new fact of life for us. Here are three ways we pack light:

    • The Balanzza luggage scale lets you weigh your bag before you take off so there won't have any surprises at the airport.
    • The SPIBelt is a modern take on the fanny pack with all the pros (hands-free, handy hauling) and none of the cons (looking like a style-challenged tourist).
    • The Zen Class Nirvana Travel Organizer converts your airplane seat pocket into something useful and keeps all carried-on things at your fingertips.

    We also like to pack these protective products to make sure our trip goes off without a hitch:

    • Coolibar clothes keep you cool and sun-protected.
    • Kinesys suntan lotion/spray will keep your skin safe no matter how sunny your destination is.
    • Psi Bands prevent motion sickness with acupressure, not pills.
    • Uncle Bill's Sliver Grippers mini tweezers will remove a splinter, arch your brow, or multitask in a million other ways while you're on the go.
    • Pacific Shaving Company's travel-sized shaving oil replaces his giant can of shaving cream, and keeps her legs silky smooth. It's so good, you'll never go back to the other stuff.
    • Mabel's Labels are great for summer camp, but just as good at keeping your brood organized on long vacations. Road ID is a great way for grown ups to label their loot, and keeps kids' sneakers identified.

    When traveling with little ones -- kids or pets -- we've found that these must-haves make the journey a little easier:

    • CARES airplane safety harness swaps in for that humongous toddler seat, keeps your tot safe, and lightens your load considerably.
    • Lillebaby's EveryWear 4-in-1 baby carrier gives you lots of options when carrying your infant, every one of them hands-free -- great for busy airports or crowded subways.
    • The game Bananagrams will keep kids entertained on longer trips
    • And even if his bowl is packed away, Fido can get rest stop refreshment from portable Slurpabowls.

    And of course, wherever we're bound, we think it's wise to set the mood with cool music or a transporting book, so don't forget:

  • Grommet Road Test: Pup-To-Go Dog Carrier

     

    photo of Isabelle in Pup To Go carrier

    Not a great self-and-dog portrait, but you get the idea. I'm wearing her in the Pup To Go carrier just like a baby.

    The Challenge: If folks carry their tiny pooches in purses, why not wear them baby-style in a doggy version of a Baby Bjorn? Pup To Go dog carriers are brilliant in theory (hands-free small dog hauling), but not so easy to get used to (Isabelle, my little American Hairless Terrier, seemed rather freaked out at first, and I struggled to get the straps adjusted comfortably).

    The Road Test: Took Isabelle on a few errands around Boston's North End  in the Pup To Go carrier.

    Public Reaction: "Look at that!" "How CUUUUUTE." "Oh, she's like your baby."

    Isabelle's Reaction: "Grrrrr."

    The Takeaway: Hands-free pet carrying is a wonderful thing, especially for those of us who live in busy cities where you worry about your dog getting stepped on in crowds. Not every pet is going to like being carried around this way (the Pet To Go folks readily admit this), but plenty do (and they've got the adorable testimonials on their site to prove it). If your dog already enjoys being toted in different types of pet carriers, she's probably a good candidate. I can see it being especially great for older dogs or dogs who have a harder time getting around.

    More: Check out leashes, collars, and other unique pet products on Daily Grommet.

    Here is the Pup To Go in action. Plus, a chance for you to WIN one for yourself (and your pup of course).

    What new adventures would be possible for you and your pup if you were the winner?  Leave a comment and we'll give one reader a Pup To Go of their own!

     

    General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment sharing how/where you would use the Pup To Go. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive a  Pup To Go carrier.  Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 8am EST through 10pm EST May 3, 2010.

  • This One's For the (Teen) Girls

    Have one of those tough-to-shop-for teen girls in your life? We've got a treat for both of you.Invisible I Book Jacket, Teen Fiction

    Remember how nutty everyone got over the Da Vinci Code? Staring at The Last Supper, looking for clues... well, Invisible I, the first novel in a new series called The Amanda Project, is a little bit like that, but its target audience is teen girls. It is a story of a mysterious "new girl" at Endeavor High who touches the lives of the main characters, and just as quickly disappears, leaving everyone -- including the reader -- compelled to figure it all out. Even more importantly, it's a totally interactive experience. Beyond reading the book, your teen can use a cell phone camera to crack a code in the book, visit the website, and contribute her own stories and ideas to the online community.

    Author Melissa Kantor creates a vivid and authentic reality, with text messages and passed notes baked right into the story, as well as moments of gritty realism (an alcoholic parent) all tastefully and carefully handled.

    The next book in the series, Signal from Afar, is due out in June, which makes it a great time to join in the fun.

    And if you're a grown up with a fondness for other younger folks' series (Twilight anyone?) this might be something new for you, too!

  • Giving Tot Yoga a Try!

    Tot Yoga DVD cover imageI recently tested out TOT YOGA, a cool toddler yoga DVD, designed for parents and their 10-month-to-3-year-olds to do together. It was definitely an interesting experience. My wiggly almost-2-year-old tester was, well, a little too wiggly to focus on the program, but there was definitely a glimmer of future interest, so we're going to to keep trying. I caught up with Havona Madama (pictured below), the mom and registered yoga teacher who created the program, and got a chance to ask some burning questions.

    1) My toddler has a hard time sitting still and concentrating on just one activity. I noticed some of the children in the video seem to have the same problem! What should we expect from our kids as we introduce them to this video?

    Havona Madama creator of Tot YogaThe first time a toddler sees this video they will likely look at the television for a short period of time and then toddle away in standard toddler fashion.  That is why we recommend that the first couple of times you use the video you have it running in the background so that you learn some of the poses and get a chance to do some of the parents’ stretching portions.  The purpose of the video is stress-free fun exercise, so if your child runs away to do something else you can choose to continue following the video and get some great warm up exercises in, or crawl over to them and see what they are doing.  Either way, you can incorporate the video in your child’s playtime.  And, when you least expect it they will run back to the area where you are, roll on the floor and grab their toes making bear noises.  Even when they are not paying attention, they pay attention, toddlers are the ultimate multi-taskers.   We intentionally used some children in the video who had no prior exposure to yoga so that parents would not feel stressed out by seeing perfect children following perfect routines, that would create too much stress and pressure, we want the child and the parent to feel free to explore and learn poses to incorporate in their daily routine.  To make up stories that relate to their life, environment, and imaginations using the poses.

    2) Which poses are generally most popular with toddlers?

    Every child is different, but most children who have used the video respond best to crawling at first.  They seem to really love to see their parent crawling around on the floor, and it is an amazing benefit for the parent, crawling has the same benefits as standing on your head, without the risk of neck injury.  My daughter particularly loves to race me while crawling, I think because she usually wins.  She also loves it when I do cat and cow, at first she uses me as a tunnel racing through one way then another – getting out all that pent up energy before she rests.  I like to make the sounds of the animals when I do the poses, and that usually gets my daughter to join me.  Stopping every so often to tell me I am doing the wrong animal, “No, CAT MOMMY”.  However, my daughter says “Look, Yoga” she always starts with a dog pose, followed by alternatively lifting one leg, then the other, then doing a donkey kick.  I never taught her the donkey kick, she thinks she invented it.  When your child masters, or creates, a pose, their confidence and sense of accomplishment will permeate everything in their world.  When my daughter turned the corner from casual observer to active participant, she became the instructor demanding I do yoga with her when she is frustrated with the attention I am giving her, and by saying yes to her demands we both benefit.  After two months of active TOT YOGA, she also tossed her pacifier to the ground saying “I don’t want binky, I’m a big girl.”

    3) Can you do those poses over and over if your child shows less interest in others?

    Yes, you should do the poses you and your child like the best.  The video is a guide and your child is your ultimate teacher, the one who gets to design the program with your assistance.  That is how it becomes stress free, we allow our often frustrated toddler the opportunity to be in charge and we all get down on the floor crawling around which naturally leads to rolling and laughing.  You can make up your own stories using the poses and your child’s interests.  If your child is interested in fire engines you can be a fire engine when you are crawling, if they love hippos you can be a hippo instead of a cow, there really are no rules, except we recommend you stay close to the floor so you and your child are on equal footing and to reduce any injuries.

    4) When is a good time to try this program with your child -- before a nap, after a meal?

    When you first start the program it is best to do it about 30-45 minutes before your child’s nap, depending on what routine you are already using prior to nap time and your child’s personal unwinding time needs.  As a rule, I don’t recommend any exercise immediately after eating a meal, however, the movements in this video are natural daily movements for toddlers, so you do not have to necessarily wait any specific length of time after a meal, I would caution against fast crawling and a lot of dog poses on a very full stomach.  Also, anytime your child is starting to get frustrated, you can get on the ground and crawl around, pop in the DVD and begin to change frustration into fun.

    5) I can see that this video could spark a love of yoga in beginners, and get parents looking into actual classes. What should moms and dads look for in an in-person toddler yoga class?

    In person toddler yoga classes are springing up all over America, and they can be a lot of fun.  However, it is not necessarily relaxing to do yoga in a room filled with toddlers.  So, smaller class size is important, with the chance for individual attention.  Also, the environment is important, I recommend studios where the floors are padded or carpeted, even if they simply bring in a large mat during the toddler class, that is preferred to small individual mats.  And it is important that the class is not simply a parents class where they tolerate children running around, it should be a class where they intend to incorporate your child, when your child is willing to participate.  If the class has a lot of standing poses, it is not really safe for the parents or the children.  It is very important to avoid whipping your neck around to see what your child is doing when you are in a warrior stance or any other alignment based pose, that is why TOT YOGA emphasizes floor poses. But most importantly, it should be stress-reducing not stress inducing, if you are stressed out on the way to class, and/or you are stressed out after class, you probably should pick another class.  That’s how TOT YOGA was born, I personally could not handle the stress of trying to get to my local class, two blocks away, on time.  Yoga is for the mind body and soul of the parent and the child, enjoy it for 1 minute, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, as long as it is fun and you are moving your bodies, it will relax and rejuvenate you both.

    Sounds good to us! And with that, we're thrilled to give away a copy of TOT YOGA today. To enter, just leave a comment or question below.

    General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question about Tot Yoga. No purchase necessary. The winner will be randomly selected and will receive a copy of the DVD “Tot Yoga.” Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. You are not eligible to win if you have received a prize or giveaway from Daily Grommet in the last six months. Void where prohibited. Contest will run through 10pm EST February 12, 2010.

  • Got Company Coming? 8 Must-have Host and Hostess Ideas

    Host and hostess gift ideas, Soundview Millworks wooden cutting boardWhether you're getting the gang together for Superbowl Sunday, going upscale with an Oscar party, or hosting overnight guests for President's Day weekend, these eight great items make throwing a party painless and playing host or hostess even easier.

    1. Clean Up (Almost) Everything
    2. You won't need three toxic cleaning agents to tidy up for your guests when a rag and water makes cleaning easy - and green. Not just any rag, though, we're talking about E-cloth, which is made from a special kind of microfiber that lifts dirt but won't leave streaks. You'll like it so much, you'll probably want to do a demo for your friends. So miss a spot on purpose.

    3. Sweeten Up the Front Closet
    4. When a house smells of air freshener, guests wonder what its owners have to hide. Getting rid of odors beats masking them any day. Good thing you can absorb that musty closet smell in a flash with an all-natural bamboo charcoal deodorizer called Ever Bamboo.

    5. Fresh Bedding at the Ready
    6. You never know who is allergic to what these days, and no matter how tidy you are, you might just have sneeze- and wheeze-inducing dust mites. Make all your guest bedding allergy- and asthma-friendly with the CleanRest Ultra One line that blocks the microscopic pests.

    7. Make Things Shine
    8. Replace your noxious silver, brass, and copper polishes with Cape Cod Polish and you'll thank us. You can use their reusable cotton polishing cloths - infused with just the right amount of polish - on all fine metals, and it smells like vanilla, which makes the job a little more fun. Yummy, shiny, yay!

    9. Eco Chic Paper Towel Substitute
    10. It's not a party until someone spills something. And this time you'll have just the thing to wipe it up (and no, we don't mean that stinky old sponge). One Twist Clean reusable, biodegradable sponge cloth will outlast 17 rolls of paper towels (but is just as easy to use).

    11. Play a New Game
    12. Banish boring board games to the closet. Instead, break out Yamodo!, which is bound to become their new favorite. With something for the wordsmiths, and something for the doodlers, it's a creative game that's fun for just about everyone.

    13. Fire It Up
    14. If you've got entertainment planned, don't derail it with an impromptu contest of "who can get the fire started." The Maine Flame firestarter leaves nothing to chance, and you'll love that you're using an eco-friendly product (just wax and sawdust) in your fireplace (or fire pit). It's as easy to light as a candle, and doesn't produce ash.

    15. (Really) Good Eating
    16. Sure you can whip up your old Seven Layer Dip, but if you're in the mood to serve something that's fresh and seasonal, the Clean Food cookbook has a Mexican Layer Dip you might want to try. Terry Walters will teach you how to eat close to the source and avoid processed ingredients. The result? Guilt-free, good eating for all.

  • Grommet Gift Guide - Best Valentine's Gifts

    Want to keep the romance alive? Celebrate Valentine's Day. Seriously. No complaining that you just handed over oodles of Christmas presents. Just pick out something special -- and start your search now. The best Valentine's gifts aren't the most extravagant, they're the ones that are chosen with a little TLC. Here are our favorite unique suggestions to help put a smile on that special someone.Liquid Metal mesh fabric bra and g-string.

    All weekend you can enter to WIN a sexy set of lingerie: a bra and g-string hand-crafted from the signature Liquid Metal woven metal fabric.

    More ideas from our website ...

    Hotel Chocolat Dipping Adventure for TwoSweets for your sweet:
    Whether your lover prefers decadent chocolate or rich caramel, we've got sweet options. Caramel mavens might especially enjoy Fat Toad Farm goat milk caramel sauces.  Chocolate fanatics will go crazy for dessert toppers from Sassy Sauces, gourmet tasting squares from TCHO Chocolate, or a delicious "dipping adventure" (pictured) from Hotel Chocolat.

    The ties that bond:
    You like it when he dresses up, he likes it when you recognize his unique flair. We've got two tie makers who just might match his style: Cyberoptix (for the hip) and Josh Bach (for the sporty classic).

    For your honey bunny:
    If your darling loves the sweetness of honey without the mess, Honibe dried honey drops would make a sweet treat. If your babycakes is honey-obsessed, a Savannah Bee all-natural honeycomb round (honey, beeswax and all) might be a truly memorable experience.

    Getting warmer:
    First, help her thaw out with her own Polartec Heated Vest. Once toasty, she might happily show off her new Hanky Panky (or as it's known at Grommet HQ, the most comfortable thong ever)!

    Breakfast in bed:
    Whether your lover is kind of crunchy, or into comfort food, we've got just the treat: Personalized granola from MixMyGranola (pictured), or gourmet pancake and waffle mix from SweetStacks.

    Liquid Metal mesh metal fabric cuff braceletSomething sparkly:
    Is it time for something bling? We think these exquisite metal fabric cuff bracelets from Liquid Metal (pictured) and brooches by Anne Koplik are the kind of finer things that get plenty of attention.

    Sporty spice:
    Love the body? Treat the athlete! Gifts like Road ID (sturdy wristband identification), SPIbelt (the un-fanny pack), and  Go Motion (vests and belts that light the way) encourage the safe pursuit of healthy habits.

    Spencer Peterman, Natural Edge Spaulted Maple Bowls Wooden Bowl, Hand Carved Wooden BowlsBe crafty:
    If you could, you'd craft the perfect gift. Whether you're short on time, lacking creativity, low on skills -- or all of the above -- you'd both appreciate Spencer Peterman's handcrafted bowl (pictured) or a gorgeous, colorful willow twig-framed mirror from Around the Bend.

    Romantic rubdown:
    Give a good massage? Go one better. Get yourselves a Scandle Candle -- the soy-based aromatherapy candle that turns into warm, skin-soothing massage oil. Now that's hot.

    So many memories:
    Let your Valentine know that you never forgot those good times.  We love Animoto (a custom photo slideshow montage), Zoom Album (a professional-looking pocket photo album), and i-concepts (cool vintage photo sets) to prompt plenty of happy flashbacks.

    And we've got more! Keep browsing more great Valentine's gift ideas for her, and for him!

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