Fancy boots, peppermint soap and a new vacuum are just a few of the things we're talking about this week in the OnMilwaukee.com editorial office.
Men's Timberland Earthkeepers City 6-Inch Boot -- I guess I can no longer say that I'm not a "boot guy." After first receiving a pair of Bed|Stu Riders, then the Timberland Earthkeepers City boots in the mail, I've hardly worn boring, old regular shoes. Both are comfortable and come with a unique back story. The Timberland's, however, are a bit dressier and more versatile, and super comfortable in a different sort of way.
What I like most about Timberland's Earthkeepers line is that they are unusually eco-conscious while maintaining an upscale look and feel. The boots feature "Green Rubber" outsoles, made with 42 percent recycled rubber derived from car tires and post-industrial latex. Some of the boots in the Earthkeepers collection use leather from "gold-rated" tanneries, which received the highest score for environmental assessment, including energy reduction, water quality and waste management in a third party environmental audit. The "City" line, though, uses leather from "silver-rated" tanneries, which is still pretty impressive. In other words, these are boots you can feel good wearing, and not just because they're so snazzy and cushy.
My pair of six-inch City boots are burnished wheat and black, and they look just rugged enough to wear with jeans, but nice enough for business-casual. They fully broke in within a few days, and I found them to be sized accurately, especially if I'm wearing a thicker pair of socks. You can find Timberland locally at several shops like Shoo, and the Earthkeepers collection now includes more than 100 men's, women's and kids' models. But this boot, specifically, is available at timberland.com for $160. This fall, it's quickly become a staple in my wardrobe. -- Andy Tarnoff
Kula Klips -- The owner of this Canadian-based company sent me a sample of Kula Klips, which are hair clips for little girls that claim not to slip. I happen to have a good friend, Olivia, who is 8 and she offered to wear them for a full day of school to see if the clips stayed in her long, fine hair. Turns out, even though it was a windy October day, the Kula Klips remained intact. The clips are super cute -- adorned with ribbon and felt flowers -- and because they work so well, unlike so many other kiddie barrettes, the $8 sticker price seems fair. Check them out at www.kulaklips.com. -- Molly Snyder
Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Peppermint Liquid Soap -- Nothing beats starting the day off with the refreshing all-over tingle of Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint soap. The crazy pseudo-religious ramblings printed on the label prove an interesting read in the shower, and the manufacturer claims 18 other uses for this organic soap including breath freshening and spraying for pests. -- Bob Purvis
Bissell Cleanview Helix HEPA Bagless Upright Vacuum -- A change in living arrangements sent me on a mission to buy my first real vacuum and after some studying, I settled on this mid-range model from Bissell. I made a good choice. A powerful machine, the Cleanview was able to suck the last remaining remnants of my previous roommates' dog, which shed hair at a legendary clip, from the deepest reaches of my carpet -- on its own, good enough to earn my recommendation. With five settings, I am able to handle the entire house, including the kitchen and bathroom and the attachements (crevice tool, extension wands, "TURBOBrush," and upholstery tool) let me tackle anything else that may need some cleaning. Plus, a 13 1/2-inch cleaning path cuts down on time. No bags, so I just dump out the crud and when the canister and filters seem a little gross, washing them out is a breeze. Now, I just need to find a carpet cleaner to finally clear the house of Shadow ... -- Andrew Wagner
Paper Jamz Guitars -- Sure, I could learn how to better play a real guitar, but in the meantime I'll stick to the fun that comes with a Paper Jamz Guitar. These things are super cool, and make great gifts for both kids and adults. The technology under this cardboard "guitar" is circuit-embedded, enabling you to "play" by simply touching the surface. You can play along to pre-programmed songs, take the words out and play just guitar, let the toy sing while you play it or just freestyle. There are many makes and models, all with different songs too. And at about $25 it's an inexpensive toy. A drum version is set to release soon, too -- just in time for an easy Christmas gift. -- Jeff Sherman