Indoors 1367

Published on December 25th, 2010 | by Greg


Versatile, Inexpensive Gifts

It’s a bit late for gift-finding. But we spent the last couple of days shopping, so forgive our slight lateness on this piece- and think of it as a way to get an early start on next year, or even simply gifts for yourself now that you’re armed with those oh-so-common gift cards. With Christmas at hand, and a few people still on the list, we find ourselves contemplating compact, relatively inexpensive gifts, appropriate for most people in our lives. (Ever been ambushed with a lovely gift by someone you didn’t have a reciprocal gift for?)

We love the Joseph Joseph Preparation Bowl Set. It has great form, beautiful colors, and the bowls and measures nest neatly together. It’s ideal for small kitchens, when cupboard space is at a premium, or for quickly stocking a kitchen with baking bowl essentials- it comes with a large bowl, a small bowl, a colander, a sieve, and several measuring cups. We’ve used the big bowl for whipping maple-syrup-cumin yams and for making cookie dough (along with Anolon’s bakeware). The colander has been useful for pasta-making, and the strainer came in handy when serving hot mulled wine without the mulling spices floating around. The small mixing bowling doubles as a wet measure, and the pour-spout it comes with has been handy several times. Our only complaint is about the measuring cups: the handle design leaves something to be desired. Growing up, we were taught to use a knife to smooth across the top for precision while measure flour for baking. The odd ledge on the admittedly lovely handle makes is difficult to do this, and in pouring, ingredients have a chance to come out in ways you can’t quite anticipate. Despite that, we find ourselves smiling every time we use the set- it has great rhythm.

If it’s something closer to a gag gift you want- or you’re willing to risk the wrath of the receiver and are trying to make a statement- consider the Blabber Meter. It’s exactly what it sounds like- a way to track how much time is wasted in a conversation (or you can convert easily to money, as you can input a value on your time). It’s silly, sure, and probably only a actually useful for lawyers. You can even let the device know the number of people in a meeting- manually, mind you- and then have a useful tally of exactly how much is wasted. At $25, it’s a great way to save your company money… or get fired for being counter-productive.

Finally, for those needing a spare pair of headphones or earbuds, we’ve been listening to the dB logic SPL2 headphones (in black) and earphones. These aren’t going to wow anyone with noise reduction, or big names behind them, but are decent value pairs- good sound, small packages, decent looks, fair prices. The black earphones won’t impress anyone with bass or by their looks- but they fold up as nicely as we’ve seen, and held up fairly well to some abuse in our bags. Ear cushions are comfortable, though the band was pretty awkward (all metal and a bit hard to adjust). The main selling point for both sets is that they are supposed to be better for your ears- sound limiting to 85 decibels. In practice, we didn’t notice really, and the fairly leaky sound meant that we turned them up pretty loudly. The earbuds were better- more sound isolation and better overall tuning (noticeable bass, lower distortion). They’re more comfortable thanks to the multiple included silicone tips. At press time, though, clicking the “Buy Now” button on their site mentioned that they’d be available in time for the holidays… but it doesn’t seem like they quite made the deadline and we couldn’t find them for purchase online.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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