The discussion in the editorial office was freewheeling and far-ranging this week. As a result, we offer our take on a hot destination -- the Iron Horse Hotel -- superhero hands, skin care products, a fantastic baby blanket, a great Taj Mahal record and tasty beer in a can.
The Iron Horse Hotel -- The Iron Horse Hotel, 500 W. Florida St., bills itself as "the first modern luxury boutique hotel geared toward business travelers and the growing segment of motorcycle enthusiasts." That's a fitting description, but it doesn't even come close to telling you how amazingly cool it is.
It's simply stunning, warm, relaxing and ultimately -- I kid you not, one of the best hotels I've ever walked into. Seriously. Stop reading right now and get to the Iron Horse to check it out. (Or, check out the Web site -- theironhorsehotel.com).
The loft-style rooms are warm, edgy and inviting at the same time. They are configured to take full advantage of the architectural features of the historic warehouse building. I could go on and on about this place, but won't. Check it out, have a drink (the restaurant, Smyth, opens early next year but the bar has a solid menu now), hang out in the library or just walk around -- you'll be amazed. --Jeff Sherman
Hulk smash hands and power glow mask -- If your kid needs a last-minute Halloween costume, consider these Hulk-tacular items. The combination will set you back $35 ($20 for the oversized Hulk hands and $15 for the mask with glowing eyes), but the products go beyond trick-or-treat time. My guys love playing "dress up" with their Hulk gear -- that is, when they're not clobbering each other over the head with super-sized, green fists of power. --Molly Snyder Edler
Through her, I discovered Yes to Carrots' Feel the C Pampering Hand & Nail Spa treatment, which has been a savior as the cold, dry weather wreaks havoc on my hands. I've moved on to more of its paraben-free products, including C Through the Night Moisturizing Cream, C Through the Dry Spell Deliciously Rich Body Butter and an array of the C Me Smile Lip Butters, that come in mint, melon, berry, carrot and citrus. This company is amazing; all of its products use little more than organic fruits, vegetables, Dead Sea salts, and oils to create beauty supplies. How gorgeously green. --Julie Lawrence
"Maestro" by Taj Mahal -- The notion of an iconic artist in his twilight years collaborating with younger stars has almost become a cliché. That's not the case here. Taj Mahal, a master of slide guitar, banjo, ukulele mixes the blues influences of Robert Johnson and Leadbelly with African and Hawaiian accents. His guests here include Ziggy Marley, Ben Harper and Los Lobos and the songs grab you from the first note and don't let go. Listen to "Scratch My Back" and try not to smile. --Drew Olson
The Miracle Blanket -- Since I never learned how to wrap a present, it's not surprising that I'm not great at swaddling a baby, either. Having read the testimonials and seen it work in person, I understand that infants love to be wrapped up like a little burrito. It soothes, quiets and comforts them like magic.
Nevertheless, whenever I tried the down-up-down-up method with a regular receiving blanket, baby Mara looked more like a taco salad than a burrito. Fortunately, the Miracle Blanket stepped in and helped me quiet my crying baby with ease. This stretchy blanket has a pocket for baby's feet, then two flaps to hold her arms in place. Then, you just wrap the remaining material around her three more times -- and voila -- your baby is safe, secure and straight jacketed (kidding, but just barely).
At $30, the Miracle Blanket isn't cheap, but beware of cheap imitations: We tried the $10 knockoffs available at Target and found them utterly useless. If you can handle the origami that is baby swaddling, then you might not need a pair of Miracle Blankets. For clumsy dads, this invention is a lifesaver. --Andy Tarnoff
Amstel Light (in cans) -- Amstel Light has always been high on my beer list. Until this past weekend, I'd only had it out of a bottle. For some odd reason, it's much better out of a can compared to its standard amber bottle. I can't explain this, so just trust me. And, it's still only 95 calories per 12 ounces. Pick up a 12 pack today. --J.S.
Honeycrisp apples -- The 8-year-old in my house is addicted to the sweet, tart, firm honeycrisp. I was always a Macintosh fan, but now I'm digging the honeycrisp, too. --D.O.