"Runnin' Down a Dream," -- You don't have to be a Tom Petty fanatic to enjoy Peter Bogdanovich's documentary about the band. It doesn't hurt, though. Though the two-DVD set clocks in at a hefty four hours, the project is paced well and features enough old photos, home movies, performance clips and interviews to hold your interest. Although the private lives of band members receive only cursory treatment, the film has an intimate feel, without the trademark schlock of a "Behind the Music" production. The film traces Petty from a young pre-teen Elvis fan through the formation of his first bands (The Sundowners, Mudcrutch) and his quest to get signed to a label and his battles with the label over royalties and record prices. If you don't particularly care for Petty, you may like the segments on his collaborations with Bob Dylan, the Traveling Wilburys, Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash, Johnny Depp and Rick Rubin. The set includes a DVD of the band's 30th anniversary concert in Gainesville and an audio CD of unreleased music. For about $25, it's a pretty good deal. Check out the trailer at tompetty.com. -- Drew Olson
Soups at Whole Foods Market -- This is a two-parter. My love for these soups started with selection -- every day it seemed there was a tempting new soup choice, whether it was Moroccan ginger and pumpkin spice, the hearty veggie chili or the creamy broccoli and cheddar. The soups are delicious, but what really motivated me to recommend them is the fact that Whole Foods places little laminated cards next to each soup, not only telling you its name, but also listing each ingredient. This is so helpful for vegetarians, people with allergies or for anyone who can't get a good look past the sneeze guard to see what's really down there. -- Julie Lawrence
Riverwest Auto -- Since high school, Jake Henes has loved Volkswagens. Today, he's owned almost every model and runs Riverwest Auto, 801 E. Keefe Ave., a shop that services strictly Volkswagen group vehicles (which includes VWs, Audi, Skoda, Bentley, Seat, Lamborghini and Bugatti). Plus, along with his employee "Bio Bill," Henes converts diesels to run on bio-diesel and waste veggie oil. I took my VW Westfalia camper "bus" in for a look-see last month, and appreciated the solid, straight-up advice. Henes made me a list of what needed to be done ASAP (luckily not too much, which was a relief since I bought it on eBay) and a "wish list" featuring less critical improvements I could make down the road. -- Molly Snyder Edler
"Knocked Up" -- If you haven't already seen this funny, surprisingly touching film, check it out soon. Judd Apatow, who wrote and directed "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," is the man behind this movie starring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. Basically, it's the story of a 23-year-old slacker who -- during a drunken, one-night stand -- knocks up a slightly older, career-oriented woman. She decides to have the baby (instead of a "shmashmortion") and the couple try to figure out if they can be anything more than co-parents. The dialogue, especially between Rogen and his roommates, is hilarious. This is a great flick to watch when you just want to slip away into someone else's funny mess of a life for a while. And fans of "The Office" will love the cameos. -- M.E.
Tend Skin -- If you're a dude with sensitive skin, then you know all about razor burn on your neck. It's annoying, a little painful and rather unsightly (or so my wife tells me). Other than using a brand new razor blade every day, your best bet is a bottle of this magical elixir called Tend Skin. Its active ingredient is salicylic acid, the same stuff in acne medicine. But for some reason, it works specifically on razor burn, bumps and ingrown hairs. It stings when you apply it and it doesn't smell great, but within a few hours, your neck is good as new. Of course, the trick is using it regularly, which can complicate a guy's speedy / lazy morning routine. And it's not cheap: a four-ounce bottle from Amazon.com is $18.50. But it lasts a really long time. I've had my bottle for about two years. -- Andy Tarnoff
A down vest from Lands' End -- With frosty mornings and crisp, sun-drenched afternoons, this is a perfect time of year to break out a vest. Why not get one from the folks from Dodgeville. They're often on sale at Sears or the Lands' End Inlet store. Or, just dial them up online and you'll have it in days. -- D.O.
Eden Selected All Mixed Up Nuts & Dried Fruit -- These 4-oz. bags of nuts and fruit are a great snack. A solid mix of sweet, tart and salt, it's all organic, too. Pumpkin seeds, roasted almonds, cherries, Thompson raisins and a little sea salt. Get ‘em at Whole Foods. -- Jeff Sherman
Spin art -- Last month, I bought a spin art machine at Michael’s
($15) for my kids and it’s been their activity of choice ever since. I
love doing it, too, because it’s a fond childhood memory, and because
the results are so freakin' groovy. If you don’t remember what I’m
talking about, spin art is a battery-operated machine with a spinning
platform. You secure a piece of paper to the platform, and then, while
it’s rotating at a relatively high speed, you drip drops of paint on
it. Centrifugal forces take over and creates a really cool, intricate
pattern that looks sort of like an abstract spider web, sun and / or
tie-dye. The best part is that you can’t really see what it looks like
when it’s spinning, so stopping the rotation and checking it out is
always a fun surprise. We use our finished
spin art for gift tags / gift cards. -- Molly Snyder Edler
Ela Orchard apples -- I've never been to Ela Orchard, but they've sold their tasty apples at the Westown and East Town markets for years. Ed, the owner, is a friendly guy who knows his apples and always remembers your tastes (crisp, tart, etc.). Golden Delicious, Golden Russet, Empire, Liberty, Jonathan and many other varieties are now in season. Go buy some apples from Ela Orchard, you won't be sorry. Better yet, go visit them in Rochester (just an hour from Milwaukee). Call ahead (262) 534-2545. -- J.S.