Scottevest Penney Coat (Images in slideshow)
Can a seemingly ordinary coat do double duty as a coat and handbag for a day of city sightseeing? Let’s put my new Scottevest Penny Coat ($200) to the test! I tried the coat out on the holiday-adorned city streets of downtown Syracuse on a 38 degree mild winter afternoon. The agenda: a museum, dinner and a little strolling past our cities’ festive Christmas tree. I was warm enough but not too warm. I’ll admit it was a little odd – but freeing! – to be without a purse for the outing. But I got used to it very quickly.
I usually carry a tote-style handbag with a main inner compartment, six inner pockets and two outer pockets that is jam-packed and bulging to the max. I emptied most of the contents of my handbag into the various compartments of the coat. With 15 pockets (not sure I even found all 15 of them!), I had dedicated space for everything I normally carry. Phone? Check. Tissues? Check. Lip balm? Check. Wallet? Check. There is even a zipper pocket deep enough to carry a full size water bottle. Fully loaded, would I resemble a puffed up marshmallow? Not even close. The stylishly slim lines of the coat stayed slender. I expected feel weighted down, but miraculously I didn’t.
But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself in the video attached to this review!
Perfect gift for: The city traveler headed to a cooler destination like New York City, Boston or Philadelphia in the late fall or early winter.
Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie II (Image below)
Brooks has become my go-to brand for technical running clothing. While not part of Brooks’ Nightlife collection, the Utopia Thermal Hoodie II ($110) features six reflective elements thanks to 360° of 3M™ Scotchlite™retroreflectivity for running in low lighting conditions. I choose a size larger than I usually wear in anticipation of wearing several layers underneath and I was glad I did. The hoodie’s longer, hip-hugging length offers additional protection from the elements and a sleek, feminine fit. The inside thermal fabric is brushed for coziness and extra warmth – the jacket is rated for 40 degrees and below – and I was most comfortable wearing this item when the temperature hovered right around 40 with a long sleeve technical top and workout bra underneath. When it was windy or in light rain I added a top layer, the women’s Brooks Nightlife LSD Lite Jacket III, for wind protection. When the mercury dipped below 40, I added another layer.
Other much appreciated features:
• Ergonomic hood with mesh splicing and ponytail exit (the elasticized hood didn’t fall off, even in windy conditions)
• Side zip hand-warmer pockets (I appreciated these post-run or for storing my keys and ID during my run)
• Internal moisture-proof media pocket
Perfect gift for: The marathon runner who is traveling to a cooler climate to run a race, the traveler who wants to keep running part of their travel routine even when headed to a cooler climate.
NatureBox (Image in slideshow)
It’s as much fun to give the NatureBox as a gift as it is to receive it! For $19.95/month, the recipient will receive a mixed box of 4 to 6 snacks (15 to 20 servings). It could be seeds, nuts, dried fruit, granola – you never really know what you’ll get! What you can count on is high quality nature-inspired snacks.
It’s fun seeing what seasonal goodies the box will contain in any given month; the September box contained apple-studded granola while the October box was all about eating foods that boost levels of antioxidants.
The November box contained the perfect combination of sweet and savory 5 snacks: Country Ranch Peas, Chipotle Maple Almonds, Cinnamon Spiced Granola, Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds and Carrot Chips. I gobbled up most of the snacks over Thanksgiving weekend and was relieved to have something healthy to much on after days if feasting. The carrot chips were my unexpected favorite with tons of carrot flavor and a brilliant orange color.
Perfect gift for: The traveler who needs to stash a snack in their travel bag, the athlete who needs to fuel up before or after their workout with wholesome and tasty food.