Hip Home Essentials:
Every haute home has its fair share of fabulous accoutrements -- in relation to style and décor as well as creature comforts and tech tools that facilitate a luxe lifestyle. Consider this selection of hip home essentials:
Dyson DC31 Handheld Vacuum -- $220
During a recent dinner party at my home a guest accidentally spilled a bowl of mixed nuts that, along with the powdered seasonings, scattered all over the floor. I immediately grabbed my new Dyson DC31 Handheld Vacuum and cleaned up the space in a flash -- thwarting this party faux pas and winning a few "ooh's" and "aah's" from on-looking gadget-freaks in the process. While vacuuming may never be described as "fun," the Dyson DC31 -- the newest handheld vac in the company's line -- certainly makes this task easier, more effective and, thus, far more satisfying. This technological marvel is incredibly lightweight, features two interchangeable nozzle attachments, and, most notably, boasts the fastest, most power-efficient motor ever developed for a handheld vacuum. Dyson engineers have packed 104,000rpms into the DC31's digital motor, which, according to product literature, is fully five times faster than a Formula 1 racecar engine! That's some serious suction.
Because the Dyson does not use carbon brushes that tend to wear out, this vigorous vacuum is designed to last. Like all other Dyson models, the handheld DC31 uses the company's famous "Root Cyclone" technology to separate dirt, fine dust and debris from the air to prevent the loss of suction. This allows it to do twice the work of a conventional handheld vacuum in just half the time. Press just one button to empty the device's dirt bin without coming into contact with its contents. The Dyson DC31's lithium ion battery does not fade out, also recharging up to three times faster than other handhelds on the market. And, it doesn't hurt that the Dyson DC31 looks high tech "cool" -- my children actually argue over whose turn it is to use it. Love that! Good things come in small packages, indeed. (www.dyson.com)
HoMedics Deluxe Shiatsu1 Heated Massaging Cushion -- $199.99
Anyone who reads my Luxe List column with regularity knows I'm indelibly on the hunt for a good massage, and am a bit of a massage snob to boot -- ever-seeking the best the trade has to offer. When I'm not basking in resort spa bliss, I've found a fabulous at-home alternative to get my fix: the Deluxe Shiatsu1 Heated Massaging Cushion by HoMedics, the leader in massage technology. This divine device, with its integrated strapping system, transforms an ordinary chair into an extraodinary massage chair!
HoMedics Deluxe Shiatsu1 Heated Massaging Cushion delivers an incredibly robust and relaxing massage to the back and shoulders, also providing a height adjustment to ensure proper positioning -- a feature lacking in lesser quality portable chair massagers on the market. Its dual moving massage mechanism provides both a Shiatsu and rolling massage up and down the back with three programs -- full, lower and upper, while the shoulders benefit from a stationary deep-kneading Shiatsu motion. This all-in-one massage cushion also includes spot Shiatsu to target troubled areas and a vibration setting for an even more invigorating massage experience. Activate the device's heat feature that warms in less than a minute and, all combined as is my personal preference, you're in for the most relaxing therapist-free massage imaginable. Users have full control of the experience, choosing to massage the back and shoulders together or independently, with or without vibration and/or heat at their discretion using a simple programmable hand controller. HoMedics Deluxe Shiatsu1 Heated Massaging Cushion is foldable for easy storage and portability, and comes with a built-in carrying bag allowing you to enjoy a relaxing time out even when traveling. (www.homedics.com)
Wül DeeperSleeper Pillow -- $120-$140
There is no better gift than a good night's sleep. Help friends, family members and yourself have a higher quality slumber and feel more refreshed in the morning with a WÜL DeeperSleeper Pillow -- a natural alternative to down or synthetic bedding. This posh pillow uses a 100 percent natural wool fiber that, for one, maintains even body temperatures for a deeper, more restful slumber. And, who doesn't need that? It's said that humans, on average, spend approximately one-third of our life asleep (about 22 years), so make them count!
In addition to keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, the WÜL DeeperSleeper Pillow -- available in a standard and queen-size -- also uniquely offers a choice of sleeping surfaces. One side is quilted with an all-natural layer of washable wool, which allows the skin to breathe while sleeping. The other side is a soft cotton casing. The pillow's long lasting loft and softness is credited to the wool-rich filling -- a blend of 60 percent wool and 40 percent spiral shaped manmade fibers that gently support the head and neck. Piping around the outside edge of the super soft 233-thread count shell maintains the integrity of the pillow's form. Of course, this and WÜL's full line of bedding products are machine-washable and dryable, hypo-allergenic, mold, mildew and dust-mite resistant. In the words of Samuel Pepys, "And so to bed." (www.wulusa.com)
Scanpan CTX Nonstick Skillets -- $99.95-$159.95
Every luxury home has its share of killer cookware, and Scanpan has earned its rightful place among the elite. This eco-friendly Danish cookware company just launched a new "ceramic titanium" line coined CTX that not only looks great with its brushed 18/10 stainless-steel finish and modern lines, but is also durable enough to be put through its paces for the long haul. I've tested the CTX skillet, arguably the most versatile item in the 14-piece collection, and it's become my go-to kitchen tool for nearly every hot meal I prepare.
The unique cooking surface of Scanpan CTX's induction-compatible nonstick skillets, which come in 8", 9 ?", 10 ?", and 12 ?" configurations, is completely safe for use with metal utensils. The pan's fused seven-layer clad-aluminum construction distributes heat without any hotspots that can adversely affect the outcome of the food, and it's also oven-safe to a full 500°F. This technology allows for browning, searing and deglazing -- techniques not optimal with traditional nonstick skillets. And, because the CTX skillet requires little or no butter, oil or fat for cooking, you can enjoy a healthy meal with minimal mess. Afterward, pop the pan in the dishwasher to make clean up a breeze! Health and Earth-conscious cooks can whip up some "green cuisine," since the skillet's "Greek Tek" surface is completely Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)-free. (www.surlatable.com)
Breville HealthSmart Digital Food Steamer -- $79.95
If you're looking for industry leading appliances that meet your high performance standard while also complimenting a contemporary kitchen aesthetic, Breville is most definitely for you. This world-renowned brand, revered for its breakthrough technology and award-winning designs, continues to revolutionize the kitchenware market. The company offers an incredibly comprehensive line of innovative appliances, but one that peaked my interest of late is the HealthSmart Digital Food Steamer. Designed with a sleek and sophisticated stainless steel base, Breville's HealthSmart Digital Food Steamer functions as great as it looks.
The steamer includes three large trays allowing users to separate and steam different items -- even a full meal -- simultaneously, such as a protein, rice and vegetables. Each steam tray also has six indents to stand eggs upright for cooking. Or, use just one or two trays if that's all you need. What's more, because the tray dividers are removable, users have the option of steaming larger portions of food. When not in use, the durable trays can collapse and nest inside one another for easy storage. The heating element on this device produces steam within 30 seconds, which is fantastic for those like me indelibly on-the-go. A built-in electronic timer allows users to activate the device by selecting the preset 20-minute steaming function, or you may customize your steam time up to two hours. A delay start timer may be preset for up to 12 hours prior to cooking. Other standout features of Breville's HealthSmart Digital Food Steamer include a LCD screen, one-hour keep warm function, safety auto shutoff when the steamer detects the water reservoir is empty, and on/off indicator. The steamer also includes a rice/sauce cooking bowl (holds 4 cups) and one vertical food divider. Thankfully, all of this appliance's attachments are completely dishwasher-safe. (www.surlatable.com)
Smart Strip LCG3 Power Strip -- $39.95
I'm here to tell you that you have vampires in your home. "Vampire electronics," that is -- those devices and appliances that suck wattage out of the power grid even when you're not using them. Luckily, products like OakleighVermont.com's Smart Strip LCG3 Power Strip are putting an end to the waste. When the Smart Strip detects that a main device (for example, the plasma screen in a home theater setup, or a computer) has been turned off, it automatically cuts power to that device's peripherals. As a result, the average home can save as much as 260 watts of electricity per hour and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The LCG3 model Smart Strip's built-in surge protection technology also keeps your devices and appliances safe and sound by defending them from power surges, spikes and line noise. According to the manufacturer, the Smart Strip is, in fact, the most advanced surge protector on the market. Other notable features include no less than 10 outlet receptacles, a recessed lighted power switch, combined ground and surge protector status indicator, red switched outlet indicator, a 45-degree angled space saver plug, impact-resistant plastic casing and a 6-foot heavy duty power cord. It's also wall mountable in all four directions. Find the Smart Strip LCG3 Power Strip and an array of other energy conservation products at OakleighVermont.com where you can save the Earth and give back to others with one simple purchase. This cause-conscious company donates 10 percent of its after tax profits to those in desperate need, regularly providing money to food banks and other worthy causes. (www.oakleighvermont.com)
- Merilee Kern
JustLuxé.com's "The Luxe List" Executive Review Editor
The Luxe List product, service and travel review editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for new and captivating "musts." Submissions are accepted via e-mail at Merilee@JustLuxe.com. View all of Merilee's Luxe List articles from here (scroll to page bottom).