Tag Archives: 2015

Gift Ideas: Best Toy Gifts for Christmas 2015

2015 is about to wrap up but that does not mean we are done with wrapping for the year. No, no. Still got gifts for our children. Whoa, again?! Well, are you sure they’re happy with what they got?

Anyway, if you still have the budget then these toys would surely break ’em children into a wide grin. Yup. Just look at these..

Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Robotic for $204.99 + 8.49 Shipping Fee at Amazon.com
Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Robotic for $204.99 + 8.49 Shipping Fee at Amazon

Well, who wouldn’t like robots, huh, especially a Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Robotic? And what’s nice about this is that its remote control could do over 1,000 action combinations using its ten-button program; its got exciting sound effects with coordinating head movements as well as walking and spinning actions, too.

Plus it could move forward, backward, left and right, and turns — not to mention it could even project a 16 inch (height) image of Princess Leia on the wall. Hah! How cute?!

Razor Hovertrax Electric Self-Balancing Scooter for $599 at Amazon.com
Razor Hovertrax Electric Self-Balancing Scooter for $599 at Amazon

Still, how about a ‘strolling’ toy or even a ‘traveling’ companion?Hmm… the Razor Hovertrax Electric Self-Balancing Scooter would certainly fit the bill. It features silent, dual hub motors with gyro sensor technology for a super smooth, hoverboard-like ride which reaches speeds of up to 6 mph on a run time of 115 minutes of continuous use. Cool, that would be lots of fun!

Yet although its got an anti-slip foot platform, it’s only ideal for those aged 13 and up with a maximum rider weight of 220 lbs..

Jedi Master Lightsaber for $54.99 at Kmart
Jedi Master Lightsaber for $54.99 at Kmart

Can’t have enough of Star Wars? Then this toy would be the closest thing to being part of the movie, the Jedi Master Lightsaber.

The Bladebuilders system includes numerous components that are compatible with the Jedi Master Lightsaber toy that your child could create over a hundred different and unique Lightsabers with their own imagination. This popular Jedi Master toy comes with a main Lightsaber that features both light and sound effects. It also has two Lightdaggers that are independently-lit, an expansion hilt, two elbow connectors, and a dual and cross connector.

And don’t forget, this set requires 9 AAA batteries: that’s 3 for the Lightsaber and 3 for each Lightdagger. Can you dig it?

Guide Gear Snow Racer Sled for $80 at Amazon
Guide Gear Snow Racer Sled for $80 at Amazon

Now here’s one for the slopes, the Guide Gear Snow Racer Sled. It features sleek wide-track skis, steering wheel and brakes. Kids and even adults would now love navigating downhill even more!

But, but, but be careful. Yes, it may have a foot brake and a strong tubular-steel frame with a retractable pull rope on its 11-pound 56 1/4 x 24 x 17 1/4″ makeup but — you’re still going downhill, so too much fun might make you forget about the dangers a sled poses..

Just a reminder.

2015 NBA Weekly: Who’s the Cavs likely Eastern Finals opponent?

Okay, the Cavaliers are once again in a funk after losing 2 straight games — the last one by a blowout against the Portland Trailblazers who didn’t even play with Damian Lillard. Hey, the Cavs didn’t play with Kyrie Irving, too!

Well, that’s the point. Kyrie is already on minutes restriction, so why was he even made to sit out when he just came back? Shouldn’t the Cavs just be guided by those minutes instead of a DNP on Kyrie? Yeah, to ease him back sooner! Or, were the Cavs just confident of beating the Blazers that time?

So who got beat now?

December 26: Cavs losing to the Blazers, 76-105 (Photo: AP)
December 26: Cavs losing to the Blazers, 76-105 (Photo: AP)

Still, that doesn’t diminish the Cavs as the favorites of the East. Then who do you think could challenge them in the Eastern Conference Finals come PlayOffs?

The Hawks? They may currently be second in the East’s standings but just the same, the addition of Tiago Splitter won’t help their cause unless they move him to the starting lineup to match up against Mozgov who’s just too big and strong for Horford in the middle.

The Raptors? Okay, they may have gotten DeMarre Carroll to slow down LeBron James but one man’s toughness won’t do much against the whole Cavaliers’ team. There has to be better team effort — and ‘toughness’ within each guy on the floor.

The Pacers? Yes, they have returned to ‘elite’ status in the East with the comebacking Paul George and his tremendous play; but what happens when George ‘takes a break’? Who do they turn to? Ellis? Hill? Miles? That explains some of their ‘winnable’ games.

Fact is, only 2 teams come to mind when thinking of who could in fact beat the Cavaliers in a seven-game series. Yup. Miami Heat. Chicago Bulls.

Miami just has a deep bench that even the likes of Stoudemire who still has a lot of ‘All-Star’ caliber juice left in him doesn’t really get to play much. So what’s the reason why Miami’s not winning as many games? Goran Dragic. Luol Deng.

Goran Dragic drives on a waiting Joaquim Noah
Goran Dragic drives on a waiting Joaquim Noah

Dragic to this point hasn’t found his place under the sun, I mean Heat. Maybe he was just meant to be a Sun. ‘Cause with the Heat, he’s just limping with his shots. And his overall playmaking? If he were a little more efficient then the Heat could have won maybe 3 more games at least.

Deng. Is he kinda deteriorating already? Now imagine if Dragic and Deng were to have an ‘impact’ in the starting lineup like teammates Gerald Green and Tyler Johnson have been providing off the bench. Wow! And they haven’t even maximized Stoudemire, McRoberts, Udrih and Winslow!?!

Chicago? They’re actually in a deeper funk than Cleveland. Really. While Gasol has been playing at an All-Star level and Butler has come to his own — Derrick Rose still has to really get his bearings back. That says a lot on his ‘locker room’ voice. If Rose could get back to form then the team would ‘stabilize’ as everybody would be more, shall we say, ‘energetic’ in every play.

Derrick Rose against Luol Deng
Derrick Rose against Luol Deng

Tell ya, they just got a complete team. And though Noah injured his shoulder recently, Joaquim Noah is starting to play like the Noah we all know — the good news is, he’d only be out for, what, 2 weeks. This would make the Bulls are tough team to beat come April.

Yes, Cleveland may be at ‘full strength’ now. But suddenly, that’s the problem. Just too many players. Know what I mean? This is why they are struggling to develop that rhythm. And this could be bad if they face either Miami or Chicago in the PlayOffs.

2015 NBA Weekly: The Return of Kyrie Irving and What it means for the Cavs

After 6 months since his last game in Game 1 of last season’s Finals, Kyrie Irving is back. Obviously not the Uncle Drew we know as we did naturally see some rust in him but, Kyrie is back!

Missing his first couple of shots, he only had 2 points in the first half before scoring 7 in the 3rd period and eventually finishing the game with 12 points (5-12 fg) including 2-2 from deep as well as 4 assists and 2 steals — all in 17 minutes.

So, the Cavaliers are just about at full strength now with only Mo Williams unable to play (second straight game) due to a sprained right thumb. Then again, what does this mean for the Cavs? Good? Should be.

Yet what we see here would also be the return of Kevin Love as the team’s third gear. Okay, nevermind this game with the Sixers where he only attempted 4 times and was just good for, what, 10 points? Hey, they’re still easing Kyrie back into the lineup so, okay..

But, as the Cavaliers eases Kyrie back, they would also push Kevin down to where he was last time out — with all those possible issues, loss of confidence, poor games and dissatisfaction. Oh, not this time? Well, that remains to be seen. And one could only surmise through his body language. Hmm…

And that’s just the first outgrowth.

Next ‘could’ be Kevin versus Tristan. With Uncle Drew weaving his magic anew, the Cavs would need a tenacious offensive rebounder and good defender rolled-into-one more than a ‘stretch four’. Uh oh, personnel issues. Or to ‘some extent’, it could also otherwise even be Delly versus Mo. Heck, no? Then what about LeBron versus Blatt part 2? Ridiculous? Then.. they just have to keep winning and hope nobody wants a trade (even in thought) before the PlayOffs begin.

2015 NBA Weekly: Utah vs New Orleans for the West’s Last PlayOff Spot?

While the Golden State Warriors continued in its winning ways, by the way, they’re 22-0 now — as we predicted, both the Clippers and the Rockets would be able to catch up since on paper alone, there’s not much competition at the bottom half of the Western conference.

Warriors doing very well
Warriors doing very well

Yup, especially with the breakup of the Portland Trail Blazers. Hmm… the Suns? The Wolves? Well, they’re just good while it lasted.

So, who’ll secure the ‘last’ berth to the PlayOffs? Utah (9-9) who’s currently at number 7, or the Pelicans (5-15) who’s actually at number 14? Oh, you must be surprised why we chose the Pelicans to challenge for the last spot when they’re way below the rankings..

Coz they’re good. They’re just good.

Anthony Davis trying to catch up
Anthony Davis trying to catch up

Of course, just don’t expect Anthony Davis could still be MVP this season. Steph Curry. Paul George. They’re just playing in another dimension now. And their teams are winning — not trying to catch the last bus, you know.

Anyway, at number 8 is Houston — with a 10-11 slate — which we expect to overtake the Jazz for number 7; and who else could challenge the Jazz but the Pelicans?! They maybe 5, 6 games behind Utah but it’s certainly doable. Hey, we’re still close to 25 percent into the season!

Okay, Denver does have the personnel to compete for the last spot but they still don’t know their identity. Even Kenneth Faried who used to be a starter is now a ‘bench’ player — he’s not even that old or seriously injured, or is he?? Well..

The Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz

Sacramento.. Maybe next year. They seem to need more time together, build character and all. So, they better hold on to Rajon Rondo.

Thus, even if the Nuggets and the Kings got better records than New Orleans at the moment, the Pelicans has a good core led by AD — and a better system — to compete at the next level..

With that, expect a wild finish between the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans come March. Good for the fans.

Gift Ideas: 3 DIY Christmas Gifts

Well, December has set in and the countdown begins; but does that mean our wallets has to suffer in gift giving? Uh oh.. Not so much, hah, if we could only be a little more creative. Yes, surely the effort would greatly be appreciated by our real friends and loved ones.

Here are some of our choices and courtesy of Country Living..

Mason Jar Lid Coasters
Mason Jar Lid Coasters

Mason Jar Lid Coasters 

For once, the ubiquitous mason jar isn’t the star of a DIY hack — we focused on its cap instead. First, gather four lids: We used weathered zinc ones ($1.65 each; 3 1/4″ diam.; candlesoylutions.com). Place your lids upside down on top of adhesive cork shelf liner ($7.99; 12″W x 4’L; containerstore.com). Trace around the lids with a pen, then cut out the circles. Next, stamp an image into the center of each cork circle — ours references the classic Ball jar — using solvent-based ink, which won’t smear when wet (stamp, $8.75; 1″W x 2″L; dragonflybuzz.etsy.com. StazOn solvent ink pad, $7.99; hobbylobby.com). Let the ink dry at least one minute, then peel the backing off the cork circles, affix within the lids, and crack open a cold one. (Alison Gootee)

Marigold, Honey, and Oatmeal Soap

These creamy cleansers aren’t just beautiful, they also pamper your skin: Marigold soothes, honey moisturizes, and oatmeal gently exfoliates. A pound of melt-and-pour Castile base ($4.46; bulkapothecary.com) yields about six 3-ounce soaps. After drying your marigolds, follow these steps:

Marigold, Honey, and Oatmeal Soap
Marigold, Honey, and Oatmeal Soap

Step 1: In a large pot, melt the soap base according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, in a small, microwave three tablespoons honey for 15 seconds on low until the honey is slightly runny. Stir into the melted soap base.

Step 2: Add five tablespoons dried marigold petals, four tablespoons coarse oatmeal, and 10 drops mandarin essential oil ($2.36 for 1/2 oz; bulkapothecary.com). Stir to combine, then remove from heat.

Step 3: Grease a six-cavity metal tartlet tin with sweet almond oil (for similar tin, Bakers Select, $14.37; amazon.com. Oil, $4.81 for 16 oz; bulkapothecary.com). Evenly divide the soap mixture among the cavities, then gently tap the tin against your work surface to release any air bubbles. Let the soaps set at room temperature for four hours; carefully run a knife around the edges to release. (Yuki Sugiura)

Homemade Trivet
Homemade Trivet

A Homemade Trivet

Whip up a Scandinavian-style table protector from–get this–wooden clothespins and floral wire. Oslo-born crafter Paul Lowe shares his easy how-to in ‘Sweet Paul Eat and Make’ ($30; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Simply disassemble 40 clothespins, lay them flat side down, and drill a hole in each, about ½ inch from the tapered end. Thread the pins onto the wire with the double-notched sides facing right, as shown. Then, pull the wire into a circle and twist the ends to secure. You’ll be done before the kettle boils. (Alexandra Grablewski)

So?? Cheap.. or kinda expensive? Com’ on! The coasters? The trivet? Maybe a little more effort that is, especially with the soap. Got to be careful indeed. But if you could really finish well, surely they’ll be awed and thankful. After all, these are something from the heart..

Fashion Watch: 2015 American Music Awards – Red Carpet ‘Best Dressed’

Just last week, the 43rd Annual American Music Awards was held at the Microsoft Theater in LA, and which was hosted by J-Lo. Wow!

Many must have had a lot of expectations when they heard Jennifer Lopez hosting the event. And this probably carried on even before the actual awarding, that is the ‘red carpet’. Hmm… and you must have an idea now on what happens during the ‘red carpet’, huh? Celebrities all lined up in their ‘best’ attires for posterity sake.

So, here are our choices for the ‘Best Dressed’..

Gigi Hadid
Gigi Hadid

First up, Gigi in a Bao Tranchi dress, Sutra and Harry Kotlar jewelry. This is when skin doesn’t really matter. Just an awesome design by Bryce Scarlett and an equally awesome carriage by Miss Hadid!

Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough

My.. Julianne looks every bit a Persian princess in a Naeem Khan..

Nina Dobrev
Nina Dobrev

Always something to behold, that is Nina — and looking gorgeous in a Zuhair Murad dress, Rene Caovilla shoes, and John Hardy jewelry.

Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez

Finally, Justin must be drooling with Selena here, see — she’s simply stunning! Oh, doesn’t she just look like an Egyptian princess with her Givenchy dress, Jimmy Choo shoes, and Tacori earrings?

Yes. With an even matching ‘facial expression’..

2015 NBA Weekly: Notable ex-NBAers at FIBA 2015

With all FIBA games concluded and the last one being the FIBA Asia in Changsha, China last Saturday — one keen observer can’t help but question the possibilities if only some of these ex-NBA players were given some kind of consideration.

For our feature, let’s talk about a crucial member of this edition’s champion squads from Europe and Asia..

RUDY FERNANDEZ 

Rudy Fernandez
Rudy Fernandez

6’5″ Guard of Eurobasket’s champion team Spain. So, where again did Rudy last play for in the NBA? Portland? Denver? Well, he’s not really a journeyman per se as Rudy quit the league while recovering from a back injury with just his second team (Denver Nuggets) back in 2012 — and still 27 years old at that!

Why? Agent problems? Injuries? Rumors has it that like many promising players, Rudy simply wanted more playing time or better yet, touches on the team’s offense. And so, the energetic Spaniard brought his exciting brand of game to Real Madrid.

One might say, ‘Why didn’t he just talk to the coach or transferred to another team?’; oh, he probably pondered. Yet without hesitation, he felt that it would be the same thing. Well, guess this was more of an attitude thing. He could have just been a little more patient. Just work hard in training camp. And show consistency and toughness in practice — surely, he’d get more time and touches then.

Look, it’s just impossible that not a single NBA team wouldn’t value these. Try the Spurs. With his skills and athleticism, Rudy could have easily been Manu Ginobili’s heir apparent — more than either Alexey Shved or Marco Belinelli. At still 30, boy, it’s not too late.

YI JIANLIAN 

6’11” Forward of 2015 FIBA Asia champion China. Oh, by the way, Yi was named the MVP of that tournament after China won the Gold Medal game against the Philippines last October 3.

Yi Jianlian
Yi Jianlian

Hmm… with teams starting to neutralize Iran’s Hamed Haddadi and a 27-year-old Yi taking over the leadership left by Yao Ming, expect a young and ‘growing’ Chinese team to continue its ‘dominance’ in the Asian region for the next 3 FIBA Asian meets at least.

So, could this be Yi Jianlian’s ticket back to the NBA? While there were those who considered Yi a flop after being drafted 6th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2007 — we here believe the Bucks (and eventually Dallas) just didn’t know how to use him, so the hops..

But how come NBA teams failed to fully uncover his potential?

Looking closely, Yi is like the Asian version of Anthony Davis. He’s got the height of a PF-C, a good jumper, and he’s fast and athletic.. Hey, he could be good for ‘small ball’! And he’s just 27!

Oh well, just a lucky number for this issue..