Holiday Gifts From Uncommon Goods

uncommon goods pick punchIt’s mid-November, which means that Christmas is about 6 weeks away. Not only has life been hectic with the holidays fast approaching, but our family is in the middle of a cross-country move.

We know that a lot of our Christmas shopping will be done online this year.

I was contacted by UncommonGoods to see if I would be willing to feature some of their products in a holiday gift post. I was already a fan of their site, so I was excited for the opportunity to explore their products and review some gifts that called my name.

homemade guitar picks

UncommonGoods is an privately-owned retailer that features unique products and handcrafted gifts. They specifically showcase products that are created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people. Most of the products they carry are created in the USA, and about one-third of their collection incorporates recycled and/or upcycled materials. I love the variety of items on the website, and found some things that you can’t just buy at a big box store.

The Pick Punch

The first item I selected was the Pick Punch, which calls to the inner band groupie in me. The Pick Punch allows you to make your own guitar picks by recycling old credit cards, ID cards, plastic lids, and gift cards. Although I don’t play guitar myself, I have a lot of musician friends. I plan to use the Pick Punch to make some custom guitar picks for them.

uncommongoods pick punch

To make the pick, you position the credit card (or other card) in the device so that you see the design that you want, and press down. It takes a little bit of muscle, but it pops through quickly.

To demonstrate, I used a hotel room key card. I liked the pink designs on the card, so I positioned the punch to make a pink kaleidoscopey pick.

Have you ever seen a pick like that in a store? I  haven’t.

The Pick Punch is available on the site for $25.00.

periodic table of the elements building blocks

Elemental Blocks

The next item I chose were the Uncle Goose Elemental Blocks by Uncle Goose. There are 20 hand-crafted wooden cubes with the entire Periodic Table of the Elements printed on them. The building blocks are non-toxic, use child-safe inks, and are good for children (and other budding scientists) aged 2 and up. These blocks are created out of replenishable basswood and made in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

It seems like so many children’s toys are made out of plastic now. It felt good to play with wooden building blocks. Not only does it help your dexterity, you learn all about the elements in the Periodic Table. I love bright colors of the ink and the printing is very easy to read. Who knows…maybe the world’s next Einstein will get his start playing with these blocks.

The Periodic Table Building blocks are $31.00.

Other Gift Ideas

Needs some other ideas? There are plenty of options for adults and children. Check out some of these products. Happy shopping!

Aquafarm http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/aquafarm
The Chillsner http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/chillsner
Kinetic Sand http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/kinetic-sand

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Disclosure: I received free products from UncommonGoods for the purpose of this post. I received no other financial compensation. All opinions are my own.

My Last Night With The CRV – The Breakup

honda test drive 2013

Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when you’re in love.

John Mayer has a song I love called “Spilt Screen Sadness“, which is about breaking up (even when you know you’re good together in so many ways).

“All you need is love is a lie, cause we had love, but we still said goodbye. Now we’re tired, battered fighters. And it stings when it’s nobody’s fault, cause there’s nothing to blame at the drop of your name. It’s only the air you took and the breath you left…”

Last night was my final night of my week with the 2013 Honda CRV EX-L that was lent to me by Ken Garff Honda of Orem. I needed to go up to Bountiful to borrow some snow pants for my daughter’s winter campout for school, so I figured it was a good time to take a nice long drive by myself.

Pearl Jam "Black"I’ve had many loves in my life. I’m one of those girls that falls hard and fast when she sees someone that’s a good match for her. That can be evidenced by the fact that I married my first husband less than four months after we met for the first time. It took a lot of restraint to wait a whole six months to marry Taylor.

But not all love is good for you, and last night I had to come to terms with the fact that it’s over for me and the CRV. Because the dealership wants it back. My week of the #HondaTestDrive is almost up.

True Story: Many of my breakups have happened while sitting in a dark car, listening to music, and trying to find the right words to say. And one of the songs playing during a breakup with a high school boyfriend was “Black” by Pearl Jam: “And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass of what was everything. All the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything.”

Last night in the CRV, “Black” came up on shuffle. It reminded me of that breakup, and how I’ll be “breaking up” with the CRV tomorrow when Ken Garff gets it back. This line of the song was particularly poignant:

“I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life,
I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky,
But why, why, why can’t it be, can’t it be mine?”

Last night became a sad night for me. I cranked up my angsty “melancholy” playlist and  sang at the top of my lungs. I also grabbed my last #PDR (a bottle of IBC Root Beer, mind you! I’m part of the Bloggers Against Drunk Driving campaign).

A full review of my week with the CRV will be published this week. Until my hands are pried from the smooth leather steering wheel, I’ll enjoy my last few moments with my love that was not meant to be.

My Ride This Week: 2013 Honda CRV #HondaTestDrive

honda test drive nicole bullockI’m a car junkie, and I especially love Honda vehicles.This week I’m driving a brand new 2013 Honda CRV…how cool is that? Honda of Orem selected me as one of the local bloggers to participate in the #HondaTestDrive. I’m reviewing and sharing my experiences driving a top-of-the-line 2013 AWD Honda CRV EX L. It’s the posh model with the upgraded stereo and rear entertainment system. Here are my first impressions of the CRV.

The car was delivered to me at work on Monday, and I got the full run-down on all of the CRV’s features. I was given the EX-L RES model, which has just about everything you could ask for: heated leather seats, Bluetooth, moonroof, all-wheel drive, Econ Drive, and the rear entertainment system. It’s a 4-cylinder model, but with 185 HP, it’s got a lot of pep.

The guys from Ken Garff Honda of Orem helped me set up my iPhone with the Bluetooth system, which enabled me to make and receive phone calls, stream music, and get turn-by-turn navigation. I was given the keys and a full tank of gas, signed some papers, and was told to enjoy myself for a week.

honda test drive

Part of the agreement for the #HondaTestDrive was to share my experiences over social media. I have been posting pictures to Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook. I have mostly had positive things to say about the experience. I realized that I hadn’t done any sharing on YouTube yet, so I recorded this video while I was on my way home from work yesterday. Forgive me for the poor lighting (very bright drive home) and for taking the video vertically…I didn’t have a great place on the dashboard to secure the phone.

One thing I’m not thrilled about with the CRV is how long it takes for the windshield to defrost. When I left for gym at 5:30 am, it was about 16 degrees. There wasn’t enough frost on the windows to use an ice scraper, so I thought I’d wait for the windows to defrost. When I’m driving my Scion xB, I usually have a melted section of my windshield within about 2 minutes. I sat in the car for a few minutes, and enjoyed the seats as they heated up, but the windshield looked exactly the same. I tried playing around with the buttons for the heater, both fresh air and recycled air, and it still took 10 minutes to have the windshield about 90% cleared off. In my book that’s not cool, because I really am a stickler about having a clean windshield.

Sidenote: I think it’s funny that picture shows Depeche Mode’s “It’s No Good” playing when I snapped the picture. Frosty windshields are no good!

So far I’ve driven about 200 miles, and I’ve got about a quarter tank left. Even with having the Econ button pressed for most of the time I’ve driven it, the fuel efficiency hasn’t been as good as I’d expected. I watch the dials on the dashboard to see if I’m driving at the most efficient speed, but I still don’t think I’m getting as high gas mileage as I should. But…it is a new car, and I’ve heard that engines need some time to be broken in to get the most efficient gas mileage.

So…all in all…I’m having a great experience. It’s been fun to get to know the folks at Honda of Orem, and also to spend some time in a really classy vehicle. I’ve had fun showing it off at social media events and to extended family members and coworkers. I’m a little sad my #HondaTestDrive is already halfway over.