When you work at a newspaper, there’s always someone who wants your attention to cover their story, their event, their product. One simple way companies get attention for their product is to send samples out for review.
As a result, some weird and wonderful stuff shows up on Eugene Weekly’s doorstep, from books to beer and from hot sauce to coconut sandals.
Here is a roundup of some of the more giftable items that have come in through the mail slot for your holiday gifting pleasure.
Uncommon Green sent over a set of rocks glasses from their Maps Barware drinking glassware catalog, which features street maps etched on pint glasses, wine glasses and anything else you might drink out of. Rocks glasses are so-called because they are designed for drinks sipped “on the rocks.”
Because the University of Oregon is the center of the Eugene-Springfield universe — many of us still think about Marcus Mariota despite his NFL call-up — the Eugene rocks glasses centered on the campus area. The unfortunate part is that the heart of Eugene-Springfield isn’t the best piece of street grid to look at when you’re taking a sip of hard liquor.
Nevertheless, an order of the Maps rocks glass would make a great gift for someone who has a passion for cartography or city planning — or who works as a getaway driver and needs to memorize a bank robbing route over a stiff drink. Theuncommongreen.com. $16. — Henry Houston
I never thought I’d need a device to track my keys. I thought I was better put together. But I’ve found hooking a Cube Tracker to my keys to be useful as I hunt for my keys when I’m late for work. What’s nifty about this tracker is that it syncs with your smartphone. You can attach the Cube Tracker to anything — guitar cases, important equipment or keys. The tracker also helps you find your smartphone. The downside is that it can’t help you find dignity — trust me, I’ve tried. Cubetracker.com $29.95 — Henry Houston
OK, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but having a Kit-Cat Clock has exponentially improved my workday. The classic Felix The Cat-inspired moving-eyes-and-tail clock has truly taken my office to the next level. The clock not only makes my office feel more home-y, but also is surprisingly great for me to stare at and space out on. (It’s helpful when writer’s block has you in its clutches and you just need to rest your brain for a while.)
I have the classic black-and-white model, but Kit-Cat also comes in a multitude of patterns and colors, even lady cats that have eyelashes and rock a pearl necklace instead of a bowtie.
Although it can be a bit loud (if you’re like me and you run a podcast out of your office), it would be a great addition to a communal space as well — like the kitchen or living room. Kit-Cat clock is a classic gift I would highly recommend to anyone looking to spruce up her decor (and accurately keep track of time). Kit-cat.com. $49.99. — Meerah Powell
For me, the seriously best gifts ever are the ones I never thought I needed, but someone else realized I did in fact need. Wise Owl Outfitters’ DoubleOwl Hammock fits that bill.
I camp, not as often as I’d like, but enthusiastically when I do it, and I’ve always been a tent camper. My circa-2004 REI tent has seen some wear and tear, but I’ve had no complaints with it.
Then the Wise Owl DoubleOwl Hammock showed up. It was the camping item I didn’t know I needed. I haven’t slept in a hammock since an erstwhile and overly adventurous trip to Playa Zipolite on the coast of Mexico, long before my ancient REI tent ever existed. I had forgotten how nice it is to sway in the branches of a tree.
Wise Owl hammocks are made of lightweight parachute nylon and come with the ropes and carabiners to get them hung properly — and if you care about the trees you hang from, be sure to get a set of tree straps as well.
One reason I never thought about getting a camping hammock is because I assumed it would be spendy, but I assumed wrong. The DoubleOwl is $35.95 and holds up to 400 lbs. while weighing 26 oz. The SingleOwl is $25.95, also holds 400 lbs and weighs 16 oz.
Each hammock fits in its own little stuff sack that doubles as a little storage bag on the side of the hammock as you nap.
Make your camping friends happy, make your hang out in the yard friends happy, make your friends who are complaining about the cold weather and dreaming of beach vacations happy: Get them a hammock. Wiseowloutfitters.com. — Camilla Mortensen
“A unique vegan sandal that is eco-friendly, coconut scent-infused and female-founded in the USA, Vines Islandwear will be your new obsession for any adventure!”
They had me at coconut sandals. And I admit I didn’t read the press release much beyond the fact that somewhere in the world, someone was making sandals that smell like a tropical vacation. In my head Vines Islandwear were actually made of coconuts.
Beyond Birkstocks, I don’t think of sandals as comfortable. I associate them with toe rubs and blisters. But when Meerah pulled the sandals out of the little white bag they came in, they did smell like coconut. They were cute. (Birkenstocks, on the other hand, embody a different aesthetic.)
Once I figured out how to put them on and ascertained they were not going to cut off the blood flow to my big toe, the coconut sandals (I know they are called Vines, but they will forever be “coconut sandals” to me) were comfy. I was feeling brave so I decided I’d test out the memory foam heel and walk downtown.
They stayed comfy.
As Meerah put it, “although I probably wouldn’t take them on a 10-mile hike (not that they wouldn’t work, just that I wouldn’t want to wreck them), with Vines, I felt good dressing them up with a nice maxi dress, wearing them with jeans or grabbing them on the way out the door to a yoga class.”
And here Eugene where the words “recycled” and “eco-friendly” go a long way, they make a nice, “summer will return” gift. Also, the price point isn’t terrible for a solid pair of sandals — all styles are under $60 on their website. Luvmyvines.com. — Camilla Mortensen and Meerah Powell
I’m not a man of luxury. The Dreampad pillow is supposed to immerse one into deep sleep thanks to its comfort and internal speaker. When I received the Dreampad pillow, the first thing I did was lie down on the ground to get some sleep to see what an expensive pillow is like. To truly experience the pillow, you have to use the Dreampad app — because every company has to have an app. The curated music apparently increases deep sleep. But I went with a classic to increase deep sleep and calmness: Enya. Even though the speaker is inside the pillow, it doesn’t prod you but it does muffle the music. Overall this pillow is fine unless you’re listening to Enya’s music from The Lord of the Rings, then you’ll be in a deep sleep dreaming about hobbits and Sméagol. Dreampadsleep.com, $139 to $159. — Henry Houston