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10 must-haves for end-of-summer

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Last-days-of summer essentials that will make the fun last

 

A hot Indian summer can last for weeks, or longer, after Labor Day, so don’t give up yet on fun in the sun. For summer’s last hurrah, do it right with these are six essentials for entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. Gear up and get outside, while you can.

Beach head

Let your groovy self go, with Violet Love chic headbands ($17 and up) and bandeaus ($24) that stay in place, at the beach, riding in the convertible, or wherever you head out or bust a move. This playful line of headwear, strapless bra tops and other accessories and apparel items features fun prints and styles and soft, stretchy lightweight fabrics that are comfortable, cute, and functional.

Throw on the towel

Distinguish your base camp on the beach with colorful Lacoste beach towels (Macy’s, $42). These stylish, crocodile-emblazoned towels are lightweight yet plush and absorbent, and their large size makes them a cross between a towel and blanket, to wrap up in after splashing in the water, or for sandphobes who want spacious ground cover when basking in the sun.

Blow up your kayak

If you’ve always wanted a kayak but didn’t think you had the space to store one, Innova Kayaks has a solution that blows traditional kayaks out of the water. These inflatable kayaks are lightweight and constructed of heavy duty natural and synthetic rubber that will last for years, even decades.  They blow up in minutes with a high-capacity foot pump, and after the adventuring they fold up compactly and can be carries away in an oversized backpack and loaded into even a compact car. One-person and three-seater models available, with capacity up to 900 pounds. Available at dealers nationwide $399 to $1,299.

Hot or not

Need to Facebook while you are on the beach? Stop being a lame-o and enjoy the beach, but if you do need your phone for an emergency, take along ClimateCase ($34.99) insulating smartphone case. The lined pouch protects your phone against extreme temperatures that can cause a phone to stop working.  The case features a multi-layered thermal system comprised of 7 mm of Neoprene and gel infused materials. Pop it in the fridge for four hours before using (or in the microwave for 20-25 seconds in cold weather), to keep your phone safe; or if the worst happens, you can restore an overheated (or frozen) phone in less than 60 seconds.

Skeeter-free

Mosquitos don’t stick to any calendar when it comes to biting season, so keep them away from you and your patio party with Thermacel Patio Shield.  ($39.99, at retailers nationwide). This sleek little portable-speaker-sized mosquito repeller burns an insect repellent mat that creates a 15’ x 15’ protection zone, perfect for a small outdoor area. It uses butane cartridges (four included, to last 48 hours) and two AA batteries to operate.

Coolest cooler

You’ve got your hands full, with beach chairs, blankets, boogie boards and kids. Free up a hand by strapping your cooler on your back, with the IceMule ($49.95 to $69.95), a portable insulated backpack that will keep your food and drinks icey cold for up to 24 hours. These padded sacks feature a heavy-duty inner and outer skin, a range of sizes and a ventilated backpack strap system.

Who wears skort skirts?

In between summer and fall, it’s the perfect time to wear something in between shorts and a skirt. The Royal Robbins Jammer Skort ($60) is a sporty and comfortable skirt with stretchy built-in shorts underneath that allow you to be active and lady like at the same time.

Shoe be do

Step out in fashion forward and comfort-driven Off the Beaten Track sandals. You can stride in style the best thing next to bare feet, on the boardwalk, at the theme park, shopping, strolling, or anywhere you want to wander in these casual go-anywhere, do-anything earth-inspired leathers, with attention to detail that will make you want to put your feet up, to show them off.  The line also features shoes and boots for all seasons, $79 to $179.

Hydrate, or dry

If summer’s sun had taken a toll on your skin, hydrate and refresh it with Vichy’s Mineral 89 ($29.50), a skincare formula comprised of 89% Vichy Thermal Water, derived from mineral-rich volcanic territory in Vichy, France, plus the addition of hyaluronic acid which ramps up the performance of the mineralizing water to boost skin’s resistance to daily aggressors, for year-round healthy-looking skin.

Snack on

When you are tossing some treats into your tote for an outing, its hard to find nutritious and yummy snacks that won’t melt into mush on a hot day. All-natural KUTOA snack bars ($23.99 fo r12-pack)are not only delicious, they are perfect for packing along to the beach or pool, soccer game, or other outing, and you can feel good about eating these oatmeal bars because they are non-GMO verified, vegan, gluten, and contain no dairy, soy, wheat, preservatives or added sugar, plus for every bar that’s purchased, KUTOA helps feed a children in need around the world. Flavors include Chocolate Banana, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Blueberry Almond, Chocolate Espresso Bean, and Cherry Cashew.

 

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A little off the top

thinning hair

Solutions for women at a loss about hair loss

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January Jones admitted it, but she was a rare case. Female hair loss is a beauty issue that many women don’t want to talk about, or even acknowledge.  In her case, Jones’ hair thinned due to frequent color treatments related to her acting career, so she started wearing wigs.   But most women though will only wear wigs and hair pieces or turn to prescription remedies as a last resort and in the case of extreme hair loss, but for those who have a mild to moderate hair shedding, which can be due to age, medications, hormone levels, genetics, and other health or lifestyle issues, fill-in powders may be a suitable option.

While the beauty industry has been slow to provide solutions, there are several options for women who experience hair loss.  Products like Fill-in Powder from Cover Your Gray can be dusted on with a brush to conceal thinning around the temples and cover graying or balding spots. Cover Your Gray’s formula contains Procapil, a natural botanical that promotes hair growth and prevents hair loss, so while camouflaging thinning areas it can help thicken hair and protect against further loss. The powder comes in four shades for matching, and it stays on through rain, sweat and normal daily activities.

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While many other similar cover-up hair products are designed for touching up hair color between highlights or color styling, they can also be used to cover thinning hair and boost volume, such as sprays to cover thinning spots; permanent or wash-out root touch up designed to cover grey close to the scalp; touch-up sticks for around the hairline, side burns and roots; and brush-in wants for broader cover-up for scattered gray hairs throughout the head.

These are all affordable options, usually around $6 to $16. Look for brands that are waterproof, do not flake or rub off, and in shades that match as closely as possible to the rest of the hair, or slightly lighter. Powders and other topical solutions for thinning hair are generally the most efficient way to treat this beauty concern, and they are the safest and most economical, not to mention they can help extend time between salon visits.

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Mother’s Day gift ideas for the best mom ever

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Show your appreciation for your mom this Mother’s Day with one of these fabulous gifts that will make her day.

Got that sunshine in my pocket-book

Give Mom a gift she will cherish and literally keep close to her heart every day — the M Hulot Gia cross body bag ($199), perfect for work, shopping, travel and everyday outings. With its luminous yellow color, luxurious Italian vegetable-tanned leather and bespoke craftsmanship, Mom will admire it each time she carries it.  Designer Anna Kreeger chose the materials for the M Hulot line based on an “emotional response,” which this purse is sure to elicit from Mom, for its beauty and hand-finished detail.  Like the bag itself, the collection’s intriguing M. Hulot name, taken from a character of a classic French comedy, is a conversation piece that adds to the fun Mom will have carrying it. Available at www.waremakers.com.

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Here, there every wear

Mom wears many hats, so give her the clothes to go with them. Royal Robbins makes a versatile line of go-anywhere clothing for mom, and the whole family, for a classy casual day at the winery, or a weekend campout. The Royal Robbins line, created by an active, outdoorsy, rock-climbing married couple, are as comfortable as they are functional, with smartly designed pockets and details, like reinforced bartacks at stress points, and they are made of eco-conscious materials, such as UV blocking, wicking and odor resistant fiber blends.

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Outfit Mom for a relaxing Moms’ Day weekend in the ultra-soft wool blended Merinolux V-Neck Tee ($65) paired with the comfy Jammer Capri or fun hybrid Jammer Skort for trekking and travel ($65); or suit her up in the tailored-for-comfort Diablo Camp Shirt ($70) or the perfect-for-layering breathable Cool Mesh Shirt ($70) for a sophisticated casual look that works on the trail, a picnic, at the office, on a plane, or at dinner.

A face any mom will love

Even if you can’t afford to send mom to a tropical island for Mother’s Day, you can still give her a glowing sun kissed tan with Skineral’s organic California Sunless Bronzer (8 oz., $27.99). Applied with a special velvety mitt, its unique foam formula goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly without streaking, and it has no strong unpleasant smell like many other self-tanners, and the natural looking color lasts for days. Help Mom keep her skin feeling and looking healthy, youthful and dewy with dermatologist recommended Skineral’s line of skincare, including cleaners, moisturizers, anti-aging serums and the best-selling mineral spray, Topazanite Theraceutical Skin Solution (2.5 oz., $19.99), containing organic ingredients with more than 77 powerful mineral and earth elements sourced from seven parts of the globe, for miraculous effects on acne, sunburn dermatitis and eczema skin.

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Fry easy

Mom can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, so give her cookware that’s worthy of her super abilities, from the Hexclad collection (Starting at $79.99 for 8” frying pan).

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This new high-tech cookware blends tri-ply stainless steel with a patented nonstick surface that can handle whatever Mom throws at it.Portable Network Graphics image It has faster heating and greater heat retention than traditional cookware, so it uses less energy to cook, and its unique hexagonal honeycombed-pattern nonstick surface takes less energy to clean up, and Hexclad ware even can go in the dishwasher. It has a stay-cool handle, so no potholders are required to handle it, and it can be used in the oven up to 500°.

Drink up-scale

Mom can stay hydrated in style with Not Vodka bottles, the sleek and colorful line of designer insulated drink thermoses that keep beverages cold for up to 30 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. Not only will Mom enjoy having her drink taste cold (or hot) and fresh all day (and night), she will feel great about using this reusable container to replace disposable bottles and knowing  that the bottle maker donates a portion of proceeds to charities that help hydrate humanity in water-starved areas of the world. The line comes in an array of feminine and pretty hues, like rose glitter, neon pink and Tiffany-ish sea foam, emblazoned with the conversation-starter brand name Not Vodka — but if you do fill it with vodka, who would know? $25 for 17-oz., $32 to $59 for 25-oz.

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A run for the money

There’s those moms who get a flutter over Jimmy Choos, and then there’s those moms who can run circles around them, in Icebug running shoes, the absolutely cutest athletic footwear she will ever blaze a trail in and that are as hard core and durable as her. Running wonder moms can rely on these Swedish-made hi-tech and high-performing but low-maintenance shoes for serious runners that will get them over the hills and through the woods and streams in comfort and style. Emblazoned with the distinctive Icebug emblem, she will stand out as she tears up the trails, in one of the many specialty styles designed for just about any weather conditions, such as the feather-light, mesh upper Oribi RB9X ($149), an everyday running shoe that can conquer rocky terrain with aplomb.

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Moms need support

It may seem like a rather intimate Mother’s Day present, but Mom will never forget the gift of all-day comfort and confidence in her clothes that a ThirdLove luxury bra ($68) will give her. Guaranteed to fit, the ThirdLove bra system begins with an online survey that she can fill out, indicating her shape and form and bra fit issues. She can select her preferred style, from the 24-hour T-shirt bra style to full coverage or push-up styles, and she can even indicate a half-size. Using the try-before-you-buy option, if after wearing the bra for up to 30 days she decides the bra doesn’t fit, she can return it or exchange it, until she’s completely satisfied. The styles come in a variety of neutral and flashy colors to suit any mom’s style.

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Cabana girl

Moms of all styles and shapes will love the way they look and feel in Cabana Life swim and beachwear ($50 and up), with built-in 50+ UV protection, designed by mompreneurs who are skin cancer survivors. With flowery and flashy patterns, stripes and solids, the mix-and-match collection suits every taswomen_s-rashguard_cabana-life_cabana-coast-zipper-rashguard_and-aqua-side-tie-bikini-bottomte and body type, with multi-functional two-piece and one-piece swimsuits coverups, rashguard swim shirts and skirts and even
swim pants.

Perfect for the mom who likes to do a little paddle-board yoga or splash at the pool or beach with unique style. She can top off her look with a Cabana Life sun hat and accessorize with a colorful tote or even a matching cell phone cover.

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Barking up the cocoa tree

If mom loves to indulge in delicious chocolates, but you don’t want to be cliché with a traditional box of bonbons, treat her to JoJo’s chocolate bark. This sweet and rich 70-percent dark chocolate was created by breast cancer survivor Jodie Jones, who wanted to satisfy her chocolate cravings in an antioxidant-packed, brain-boosting, heart healthy way. She formulated a blend of all-organic chocolate infused with slow-digesting protein and pure ingredients that tastes scrumptious and offers an uplifting and guilt-free chocolate fix. $13.99 for an 8.4 oz. bag/one-week supply.

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A cut above

Mom can cut it anyway she wants it with a new shiny set of Edge of Belgravia stainless steel precision knives ($86.00 for complete set), the remarkably light but durable cutlery that will look stylish in her kitchen and makes slicing and dicing quick and easy. A unique creation of contemporary London designer Christian Bird, the ergonomically designed diamond-like facet shape handles offer a comfortable and steady grip, and the razor-sharp non-stick coated stainless steel blades can cut through the toughest meats like butter.

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Sweet dreams

Let mom sleep in on Mother’s Day, but let her rise and shine other days with the gentle and Hi-Tech wake up Experience of BEDDI Glow ($79.99), the new smart alarm clock that features a glowing LED light that mimics a sunrise and can be set to wake her up to her favorite radio station or streaming her favorite tunes from iTunes or Spotify premium music services. The light changes color to suit mom’s mood and even pulses to her favorite streaming or airwaves music if she desires. Other features include two USB charge ports and a white noise generator with a variety of sound effects, such as rainforest or crashing waves.

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Always effervescent

Forget the reservations, make Mom brunch at home, and toast her with Gran Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva ($16.99), perfect for mimosas with its complement of  aromas of white fruits with hits of wood.cava_brut_reserva

As festive as it is delicious, this refreshing golden colored Spanish sparkling wine is aged 18 months and undergoes a second fermenting process in the bottle, giving it a persistent stream of bubbles and a sensational finish on the palate.  If wine is the way to Mom’s heart, she will savor ruby-red colored Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva ($12.99), a bright and deep ruby-red colored wine that balances fruit flavors of cherries, black plums, ripe blackberries and the nuances coming from the American- and French-oak casks where it is aged 18 months before rounding off the aging process for another 18 months in a wine cellar.

 

 

Cover girl

Spread out Toad &Co’s Debug Ground Cover ($55) and treat mom to a bug-free Mother’s Day picnic. The light-weight ground cover can fold up compactly to carry along wherever she goes – from the sidelines at soccer games, to camping, the beach, or anywhere bugs might be pesty. The odorless Insect Shield Technology built into the fabric is a safe and effective alternative to insect repellant sprays, and it stays effective for up to 70 washings. Toad & Co also makes fashionable insect-repellant Debug apparel for Mom and the whole family, made of eco-wise and organic materials.

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Grill momma

Summer is coming, and moms who are flippin’ crazy about cooking on the grill will love quick-and-easy cleanup with Grill Daddy ($14.99), the mother of all grill cleaning tools. This baby is a wire scouring brush with steam cleaning power that will shine up a grill rack in no time, so that mom can get to some serious searing and enjoying steaks, burgers, whatever she wants to charbroil without worrying about the mess.

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Pressed for time, the Skin Laundry hi-tech facial cleans skin in 15 minutes

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IMG_1630Skin Laundry is an apropos name for a new breed of salon that offers the latest laser technology facials. As the name promises, the treatments clean the skin, at a deeper level than possible by other traditional  facials, and without the downtime of redness and breakouts. The treatments take about 15 minutes and are done by a facial technologist who zaps your face with a laser, while you lie on a memory foam padded lounger – which by the way is stylish enough I wouldn’t mind it in my home – in a small brightly lit treatment room, that looks part doctor’s office part massage room.

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My only hesitation about this treatment came upon confirming my appointment online, when I received a number of health forms to review, including a laundry list, pun intended, of contraindications. While I did not have any of the contraindicated health concerns listed, such as precancerous skin, facial scarring recent Botox or tanning bed use, it did give me pause to think that some of these common things could cause a predisposition to a complication. The fact that I was asked to review the contraindication list at least three more times before the treatment further made me nervous, but as I said, I had none of the conditions, so I proceeded with the treatment.

The therapist was thorough in explaining the procedure, and she started slowly and told me each step what she was doing. She explained, “I am starting here in the middle of your four head, and I will move to the right.”

She explained that if I smelled any unpleasant odor it might be the debris from under my skin vaporizing. She assured me it was not my skin burning. As she began to move the laser across my face I felt a hot pin prickly feeling, similar to if you were frying oil on a pan and small amounts of oil were popping and landing on your skin.

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The therapist did one side of my face, then began the other. I asked for a short break before she completed the other side, to momentarily rest, because of the slight discomfort. The therapist explained that most people tolerate the procedure very well, though a few do not. Being a pretty big wimp myself, who fainted when I got my ears pierced, I figure if I could tolerate this procedure, then most people can.

After the laser treatment, the therapist did a second treatment, where she spread a gel across my face and used a very large flashing light laser to treat all areas of my face. Under the goggles I could see about 10 bright flashes of light as she went all over my face.

After the treatment, an assistant took over to clean the gel off my face and apply a toner and moisturizer. She also explained to me all the other products skin laundry carries that would be suitable for my skin.

In the end I felt no pain as I left the salon. I looked in the mirror and saw my face only slightly pink, as if I was flushed from a brisk walk. I noticed one small reddish blemish on my cheek that I had not noticed before, but it was very slight. Otherwise I did not notice any change to my skin. The therapist told me to avoid harsh cleansers and the sun for the day. Otherwise, she said I could carry-on as usual.

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My skin is in the normal range, and I don’t have any major skin issues, so I didn’t notice a significant improvement. I could see how this treatment would be beneficial for those with acne and blotchy skin. In fact the slideshow on the large TV screen in the lobby area showed the before and after pictures of women with severely damage skin who, after a number of treatments, had remarkable results.

I left with a number of products as recommended by the therapist, including a hydrating mask and an antiaging mask, as well as an advanced protection daily moisturizer with 35 SPF, a gentle washing foam with green tea cucumber and chamomile extract, and a nourishing cleansing oil that the therapist highly recommended. All of the products are carried at the salon under their own brand name of Skin Laundry.

While for myself this is not a treatment I would need very often, I can see the benefits for those with more severe skin problems, and it is great for busy women like myself who need a quick facial don’t have and hour or more for a treatment, because we are all pressed for time, and we hardly have time to do our jobs, meet family commitments and of course housework, including regular laundry!

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Valentine’s Gifts for Him and Her

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Valentine’s Day is an occasion to express our love for those who are special in our lives.  Show your sweetheart you care with these thoughtful Valentine’s gifts for her or him that are sure to warm your loved one’s heart.

I heart dogs

For those of us who love our pets, the way to our hearts is often through our furry friends. Hugger Memories has found a way to capture our sentiments for our pets and express them in a unique art pieces using inspired fabrics. Sarah Gibson Wiley, the artist behind these creations, uses photographs and stories to render Custom Pet Portraits in the form of monogrammed style pillows or fabric art suitable for framing. These home accents are sure to become a family heirloom and a gift that preserves special memories of a pet to cherish for years to come. $225 for a single pet.

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Jewelry from the sea of love

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to give a special piece of jewelry, like a design from artist Wendy Mignot. Each of her unique and elegant bohemian chic creations features pearls and natural and reclaimed items from the ocean and surrounding terrain. Her pieces combine Tahitian, South Sea, and freshwater cultured pearls along with sea glass, shells, stones and ancient and shipwrecked coins, strung on soft, hand rolled-leather and tied with precision to create a one-of-a-kind piece that can be worn to the beach or a ballroom.  Priced $75 to $1,250.

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The face of love

Pamper your sweetheart with Annemarie Borlind natural skin care products for that make the wearer feel beautiful inside and out. The anti-aging LL Regeneration collection with proprietary bioactive complex includes a Gentle Cleansing Milk ($43.99), a Revitalizing Blossom Dew Gel ($49.99), Revitalizing Day ($59.99) and Night Cream ($59.99), and Eye Wrinkle Cream (54.99). These cosmologist-created, vegan products, made in the Black Forest, are made from plants, deep spring water and all natural and pure ingredients like Shea butter. in laboratory tested formulations that make skin look and feel firmer and revitalized. To make you feel even better about the line, none of the products are tested on animals and all are made in an ecologically responsible manner with fair working conditions and no child labor.

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I’ve got your backpack

Your loved one works hard for the money, so make carting around work stuff easy. Solo backpacks look as stylish as they are functional, with rich textures and thoughtful details such as fully padded laptop compartments, key clips, internal iPad or tablet pockets, front pockets, cloth interiors, and lightweight but durable materials. Two polished and preppy styles for her or him are the Bridgehampton Ladies Backpack, $89.99; and the East Hampton Backpack, $119.

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Locks of love

Your Sweetie will have a good hair day and feel spoiled with luxurious hair care products from Obliphica Professional.  The heart of Obliphica’s rejuvenating formulas is the powerful and therapeutic Seaberry superfruit, a centuries-old secret to beauty, rich with bioactive compounds, that naturally nourishes, heals and protects the scalp and hair, and has been revered for its rejuvenating powers by ancient cultures since 5000 BC. The Seaberry Shampoo ($24, 300 mil. size) cleanses hair and scalp, removes impurities and softens the hair, controls static and protects hair with natural UV filters for longer-lasting color, hydration and shine. The Seaberry Mask ($38, 250 ml. size) intensely hydrates and repairs the hair, and nourishes and moisturizes the scalp. Seaberry Serum ($38, 65 ml. size) nourishes and repairs hair, while leaving a luminous, shiny and silky finish.

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Sizzling hot love

Give your honey a gift that he or she will use every day and think of you. IMUSA Induction Sauté Pans are go-to every day pans that are both durable and versatile. Great for sautéing foods, making pancakes and eggs or grilling sandwiches, these pans are quintessential pieces for any kitchen. The induction bottom is suitable for gas, electric, ceramic and induction stove tops. The hundred percent ceramic nonstick coating makes cleanup easy and allows you to use less oil. Available in assorted sizes of 8 inches, 10 inches or 12 inches for all size cooking jobs.  $54.99 for a three-piece set.

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Light up your love light

Set the mood for your Valentine’s Day celebration by lighting up fragrant Goat Milk Stuff candles. These soy candles last up to 50% longer than paraffin candles, and they burn slower, cooler and cleaner, and they hold their sent beautifully. They come in a variety of fragrances and colors, such as the soft pink Luv Spell scent, to suit any mood and taste. $6 each.

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