Bag carriers, driving gloves, museum wax and some recommended books

From CB: I ordered this key and item finder set for Christmas. It came fast and we installed the tiles on my son’s keys, his wallet and the TV remotes. It was really easy to set up and came with all the batteries. We’ve already needed to use it a couple of times and it works great. Here are some more things Hecate and I are looking at.

A bag carrying device so you’ll have to take less trips
From CB: I shop with reusable bags which fit so much more than plastic. Lately I’ve been ordering groceries for pickup though. This carrying device has a soft holder for easy carrying along with two side hooks to hold multiple shopping bags. You get two bag holders for $14. This listing has 4.7 stars, over 2,200 ratings and an A on Fakespot. People say these make it so convenient to carry groceries. “These are worth every penny. I live on a 3rd floor and carrying groceries in is a nightmare. These make it so easy.” “These are brilliant. I use these all the time carrying groceries up to the house. I’m going to be gifting some to my favorite people. They help minimize trips and balance the load when carrying bags.”

Special wax to secure items so cats won’t knock them down
From CB: I saw a similar product in one of the Buzzfeed posts, but it had bad Fakespot ratings. This museum wax secures glassware and items on RVs, in earthquake-prone areas, and in houses with cats and toddlers. It has 3,700 ratings, 4.4 stars and a B on Fakespot. Reviewers say it really works to protect their items. “I purchased this product to keep a lamp in place on a table which happens to be my cat’s favorite hang out spot. I applied the wax to the bottom of my lamp, pressed it into place and immediately my cat began to aggressively rub against the lamp and it doesn’t even budge.” “It is easy to create balls of wax to place under breakable objects and affix them to furniture. I have used it for vases, nick nacks, and holiday decor. Now I don’t worry that one of my cats will accidentally knock items off of end tables.”

A silicone lip brush for softer winter lips
From CB: My lips are dry and peeling this time of year. I apply lip balm frequently but it only works for a short time before they dry out again. This double sided silicone lip brush is under $8. It has over 2,500 ratings, 4.4 stars and a B on Fakespot. Reviewers say it really works to keep their lips smooth. “I’ve had very chapped lips for as long as I can remember even though I use Burt’s Bee’s Pomegranate all the time. This little scrubber clears away the dead skin cells and make the lips look plump and healthy.” “I use the exfoliating side of this brush to apply my lip exfoliating scrub and it makes the scrub work even better! It also makes it a lot easier to apply. I tried out the other side of the brush that is supposed to make your lips appear fuller and I couldn’t believe how well it worked!”

Faux leather driving gloves to stay warm and feel fancy
From Hecate: I’ll be honest, I’m going to be a little more indulgent in this week’s picks because I’ve been birthday shopping for myself. I just bought these really cute pleather driving gloves that only cost $14. They’re on sale for $12 currently. Since they’re pleather, they probably won’t last for years, but I don’t live in an area that I’ll wear them out too quickly either. Plus there’s a split on the thumb with fabric underlay to help them keep from cracking. I got the black but they come in deep purple, gray, khaki and burgundy and in sizes S-XXL. Almost 3,000 customers rated them with 4.5 stars and Fakespot gave them a B. They are also touchscreen compatible, although customers warn to get the right fit to ensure that works properly, “The touch screen function works really well but if your fingers don’t 100% fit the gloves properly, it can make usage a little clunky.” If you just want them for pretty gloves, like me, they are beautiful and they feel good. Other people who bought them agree, “The lining is so soft and keeps hands nice and warm.”

Bath salts to treat yourself
From Hecate: While I love bath bombs, I actually prefer bath salts. I usually get a big bag of Epsom salt from the drugstore and drop some essential oil in for a good Sunday soak. But since this is birthday week, I’m treating myself to these fancy ones. But they aren’t expensive at four sachets for $15. Plus they’re on sale this week for $12! These salts are 100% vegan and all natural. They come in a variety of experiences: pampering, relaxing, muscle and joint relief with arnica, eucalyptus, valerian and hops and lavender essential oils. They have almost 300 reviews with 4.6 stars that ReviewMeta confirmed. Apparently one sachet can be used for multiple baths. They color the water, too, “I didn’t know they change the color of the water! I had an ocean blue bath tonight that smelled heavenly.” They sound like a real treat, “These are not your typical cheap drugstore bath salts. They are truly transformational. The colors are part of the healing therapy.” Well I’m sold.

A cute cell phone holder that looks like two hands
From Hecate: This is just a bit of whimsy to snaz up your office, or freak out your more skittish co-workers, whichever floats your boat. It’s a cell phone holder in the shape of a pair of realistic hands. It’s not only a novelty piece, people who bought it say it’s actually quite sturdy and useful, “This is perfect I love how sturdy it is so it won’t drop the cellphone or whatever else.” Other folks have used it to hold notepads or second screens. The hand-holder is $22 and received 4.7 stars from over 1,200 reviews. Fakespot gave it an A. There are other desk accessory options like a fist pen holder for $23 or hand bookends for $27. And feel free to be creative with these guys, one customer who got the cell phone holder really made it her own, “I purchased press on nails from the drug store and stuck them on the hand.” There’s a photo of that on the Amazon site, it’s a scream.

A cutting board with a grid for more precise measurements
From Hecate: I need another cutting board like I need a hole in the head but I love both the novelty and practicality of this one. It comes with markings and grid lines to help with measurements and plating. Out of 924 reviews, it got 4.6 stars and ReviewMeta confirmed that. Customers like that it was not only useful but engaging, “Received this as a gift several years ago and just love it. It appeals to my sense of the absurd. Yes, it’s a great conversation piece.” It’s a great gift idea for the home chef in your life that has everything, “its a nice light weight cutting board. If you know an obsessive, perfectionist chef, this is a GREAT gift idea.” One note is there are several negative reviews of an earlier version of this cutting board about the wood splitting and the markings coming off. But they have apparently corrected both issues. The markings are now burned in and this board is made of bamboo, not beechwood.

It wouldn’t be a birthday week post without some books! Unfortunately, I haven’t read many I liked lately so I don’t have many to recommend. However, I did love these:

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
From Hecate: The write up for this book is that the protagonist falls for Loki. If you know anything about Norse mythology, and I really only know the basics, you figure out pretty quickly there’s a lot more going on than just a Loki love story. The beauty of this book is the perspective because it’s told through the witch’s POV. Plus it’s written like Norse lore and not a romance novel. I was worried where it was going but it finished really strong. Very impressive, especially for a debut novel.

The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibb and Michael Duffy
From Hecate: This is from a few years ago, it ends with Obama as president. I bought it at our library’s used bookstore for my son but ended up reading it first. The Presidents Club is a real thing. It’s how the former presidents refer to themselves once they leave office and the current president engages them in policy or diplomacy matters. The club was conceived by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover after their allegiance got the country through WWII. It’s a fascinating read and sheds new light on many of these men. I don’t know if it’s redemption, but it does round many of them out.

Lights Out in Lincolnwood by Geoff Rodkey
From Hecate: I can’t remember what made me pick this one up. I think it was recommended by the bookseller wherever I was browsing. It’s 544 pages and I read it in just over three days (remember I am a very slow reader). It held me rapt from start to finish. The author is a children’s book author and an Emmy-nominated screenwriter. The book feels like episodic TV, I think that’s why it’s so engaging. It’s about a catastrophic event that’s knocked out all electronics. But it’s told from the perspective of the family experiencing it. So the reader is never giving the blown up view, like how far or how devastating the event is. It’s crisis in suburbia and how ill-prepared anyone is to handle such an event. Despite the premise, it’s quite funny. It’s also touching because it addresses existing issues that regular people have and how they factor in when a larger calamity happens.

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