Her Hacks: Gadgets galore

When we’re thinking about shopping for holiday gift-giving, too often we’re blinded the big, flashy possibilities: TVs, gaming systems, smartphones or the splendor that is a home 3-D printer.

That’s why the Her Hacks Team is her to ask, whither the gadgets, Gidget?

There is a whole wonderful world of gadgets out there that go beyond the well-worn territory of the Slap Chop or ShamWow! (The exclamation point is now required by law.)

Some of the key benefits going the gadget route include a moderate price tag, a certain amount practicality — since most are created to fulfill specific needs — and the fact that they’re great for

self-gifting, too.

After all, you deserve an easy, quick way to cool off a can of La Croix after a hard day of whisking, vacuuming keyboards and dunking Milanos.

In the kitchen

If you’re anything like the team at Her Hacks Central, you’ve been waiting for the day when you could re-create the scene in the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” where Molly Weasley has used a spell to have a scrub brush automatically wash a pan with no human intervention.

That day is (sort of) today.

Instead of scrubbing and dirtied pan, the wonders of modern technology can take the elbow grease out of the constant stirring when cooking. Uncommon Goods’ Automatic Pan Stirrer with Timer (tinyurl.com/y7g9anu2) tells it like it is and your elbows will never feel better for it.

While the environmental impact of one-use plastic straws has been garnered a lot of attention, one-use plastic cutlery also is an issue worth considering.

One of the more delicious ways you can do your part is by using an Edible Spoon Maker (ediblespoonmaker.com). It’s basically just a dough-baking machine with spoon molds.

The best part is, you can tailor the dough you use to the meal you’re about to eat.

One of problems we’re always having around the office is the shear amount of cookie crumbs left over from people dunking their delicious treats in milk.

Enter the Dunky Cup (www.dunkycup.com). It’s an all-in-one milk and cookie receptacle that solves all those pesky issues. And, it is a surprising fun thing to say out loud. Go ahead, we’ll wait while you try it.

And, when you start talking about cereal bowls with built-in straws (tinyurl.com/yjq4k7zn), we’re getting into brilliant territory. It’s a thing you never knew you wanted that you totally want once you know it’s a thing.

Finally, let’s end on a high note: Cheese. Specifically, tinyurl.com/yj264v3k) courtesy of Uncommon Goods. Let the Gouda flow like wine.

When you’re entertaining

Let’s be honest here, when are you not entertaining?

However, when it comes to having people over, we’ve got a few gadgets for that.

Now, there are few things worse than a warm can of, well, anything. Enter the Chill-O-Matic (tinyurl.com/yjmvnvvo). Besides having an awesomely cheesy infomercial-tastic name, it also purports to cool down those canned beverages to a drinkable temperature in 60 seconds flat.

When wine is on the menu, there are more gadgets than you can shake a stick at. Your reasons for shaking said stick will vary, of course, by the amount of wine you’ve consumed.

First up, there is the Vinturi Wine Aerator (vinturi.com), which will “open” and aerate red wine in the time it takes to pour a glass.

Next, take a look at The Aficionado’s Wine Thermometer (tinyurl.com/ydqe2rs7), which not only will gauge a bottle’s temperature, but also includes marks delineating the appropriate temperatures for types of wine.

Last on the wine list is the Oster Cordless Electric Wine Opener (tinyurl.com/yfwlktr5). Pop those corks with a minimum of effort and a maximum of style.

Pool parties might seem a million miles (or snowflakes) away right now, but that’s no reason to stop planning ahead for them. Case in point, see the Remote Control Floating Snack and Drink Holder (tinyurl.com/yf5mn2d5). The ostentation of that name is only matched by its cool factor.

And, to wrap it up, let us ponder the magnificence that is the Nachosaurus Dinosaur Dip and Snack Dish Set (tinyurl.com/yj3r6f4b).

In the office

Note taking in classic, college-ruled paper-and-spiral bound notebooks is so last century. The 21st century is home to such things as the Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook and its ilk (tinyurl.com/yjdkqrok), which bring modern convenience and reusability to classic pen-and-paper notes.

Not only are the pages reusable via a quick damp cloth wipe down, but there also is smart technology integration so you can save images of your notes and use optical character recognition technology to convert them into digital text.

Another invention that proves we’re living in some sort of “Back to the Future” style utopia is the Four-in-One Stylus Metal Pen with Laser Pointer and Flashlight. It’s a pen with a stylus for use with touchscreens, a flashlight and a laser pointer. Not only is it a great tool in the office, and it’s great for everyday use or even at the home game table.

There almost are too many options to list, so swing your browser to tinyurl.com/yjz8plus and start looking through the options, many of which are customizable as well.

So, let’s say that you haven’t gotten yourself one of the handy, previously mentioned fun to say aloud Dunky Cups (go ahead, try it). And let’s also say that the result of which is a keyboard fairly caked in cookie crumb impact ejecta.

Well, there’s only one sure-fire way to handle such a situation: USB keyboard vacuums. CTopReviews has a rundown of top options at tinyurl.com/ygmxym4k, but really, it’s hard to make a wrong choice.

Once you’ve got a spotless keyboard, it’s time to start hitting the caffeine, specifically coffee-based caffeine.

But you know what absolutely no one likes? Lukewarm coffee (hot and cold are equally viable, according to a recent Her Hacks Team poll). Fortunately, solving that problem is as easy as getting the Nomodo Trio (tinyurl.com/yecat749). It’s a wireless device that is capable of warming beverages, cooling beverages and wirelessly charging smartphones. It’s almost too useful.

Finally, because we’re obsessed with food and cleanliness in this edition of Her Hacks, there is the PhoneSoap 3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer and Universal Charger (tinyurl.com/ydmwu6th). It’s a clever little device that uses UV-C light, which is germicidal, to sterilize your smartphone, which reportedly is a repository for all sorts of unsavory bacteria. And it will charge your phone while it does it.

While it’s not a replacement for wiping down your phone (something you should probably also be doing), it has proven fairly effective, and there are multiple models and price points to choose from.

Anthony Frenzel writes for the Telegraph Herald. You can send your hacks, tips, suggestions, DIY thoughts, inspirations and cobbled -together-machinations to him at tony.frenzel@thmedia.com. You also can share a few of your favorite holiday or other pins with him on Pinterest (Anthony Frenzel). If you do, you might just be featured in an upcoming edition of Her Hacks.

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