Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts

March 31, 2017

Shabbat Candle Holders with Gorgeous Flowers

These are our new Shabbat candlestick holders. 

So colorful, and full of nature and life, and it makes me happy. 

I just wanted to give a callout to Mira (Pinki) Krispil from Ashdod, Israel who makes this beautiful artwork. 

Her expertise is in using polymer clay and glass and making it very special. 

You can find her Mira's wonderful work on Etsy.

Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!
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June 7, 2016

Now You See It and Now You Don't


Took a little hike on Sunday through Sligo Creek. 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. 

Walking along the creek, we saw a mother and child wading in the water. 

(Not sure that I would do that based on how clean or not it is, but they seemed to be cooling off and having fun). 

Then crossing a little footbridge, we came across someone tossing this pretty big bolder over the side and into the same creek. 

There was another guy at the bottom who seemed to be looking out for the big splash (or perhaps anyone happening by who would get clobbered by this thing). 

Anyway, this was just a stark juxtaposition of people (including children) having fun in the water and the potential hazards from above.

This is life, one minute everything can be sunshine and roses, and the next bing bong!

Got to be grateful for every minute of peace, health, and prosperity-they are truly gifts and nothing is owed to anyone from the Almighty. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 6, 2016

Happy Hamsa

I took this photo in the local Judaica store.

It is a Hamsa--a palm-shaped amulet symbolizing the hand of G-d--and it is supposed to bring good luck, blessing, and protection. 

This particular hamsa was decorated in a more homey flower theme, which made it different and interesting from the others that I have seen which are traditionally either deep blue with a single watchful eye or others that are multi-colored and jeweled. 

This hamsa should bring us all good fortune and much happiness. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2015

The Hottest New Jewish Site


Just in time for the New Year you can shop at Jewish fashion site Hot Chani

"Sexy things for heimish girls."


Hot Chanis are modest and proper Jewish women who are still unbelievably sexy. 


You can truly be a "good Jewish girl" and feel and be gorgeous inside and out. 


Find your confidence, feel sexy, be beautiful, find love and romance...shop at Hot Chani.


Spice up your New Year and your life.


Be a Hot Chani! ;-)


(Source Photo: HotChani.com)

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May 24, 2015

Appreciating G-d's Gifts


Today, I heard a fascinating speech from Rabbi Haim Ovadia of Magen David Synagogue that put a beautiful new perspective on the Ten Commandments.

He explained how the commandments are not just commandments, but actually a covenant between G-d and mankind.  

G-d gave man gifts of:

1) FREEDOM and choice (He is the L-rd who brought you out of bondage)
2) DIVINITY, a direct spiritual connection (Thou shalt have no idols)
3) PRAYER, heartfelt (Thou shalt not take G-d's name in vain)
4) SABBATH, day of rest (On the seventh day thou shalt do no work)
5) FAMILY (Honor thy father and mother).

In turn, G-d asks that we appreciate His gifts to us, and not take from others what isn't ours:

1) LIFE (Don't murder)
2) Another Man's WIFE (Don't commit adultery)
3) THINGS (Don't steal)
4) DUE PROCESS/JUSTICE (Don't bear false witness)
5) Someone else's BLESSINGS (Don't covet, and essentially bring an "evil eye" on them)

This interpretation is sort of the ah-ha in the Ten Commandments, which otherwise some would say, "what's so novel or special about G-d telling us not to do these bad things--wouldn't we already know (many of) these ourselves?"

But what is novel here is that the Ten Commandments is a whole philosophy of thinking about life, one where we appreciate G-d's many gifts to us, but where we control our animal instincts and in turn act spiritually.

Thank you G-d for the many wonderful gifts, and for giving us the opportunity to elevate ourselves and be satisfied with our lot in life. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 14, 2015

Extra Special Delivery

I took this photo in Washington D.C. of a bicycle messenger delivery with Valentines Day treats.

He was carrying an assortment of balloons and gifts (those are hiding in the basket under the balloons)!

What do you think chocolate, flowers, or something even more romantic?

There is enough hate and hostility in the world. 

It's wonderful when love is in the air and people show each other that they really care. 

Going home from a day at work, and what can be nicer than someone waiting for you when you get there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 11, 2014

Taking A Bow

Wow--this is some an awesome piece of art!

Aside from the beauty of it, what do I think about looking at this?

Something like this:

Some people take a bow in arrogance and self-aggrandizement, while others are bowed in humbleness and grace.

Those who see only their own greatness fail to see all those people, factors, and most importantly, G-d's mercy that enabled them to achieve what they have. 

We are but agents of the heavenly maker above who endows us with creativity and the ability to capitalize on it. 

We should be bowed in thankfulness to G-d, but unfortunately all too often instead stare in the mirror admiring our own image that we imagine is so talented and successful because of who we are and what we ourselves have done--that we can't even contain our bursting self-satisfaction in wonderful selves. 

Yes, it's good to recognize when we do something good and when we make mistakes so that we can learn from them, but G-d is not only our one-time maker, but he gives us the knowledge, skills, abilities, and good fortune to succeed in what he wills. 

I remember being taught in Jewish day school that not a leaf falls from a tree without G-d wishing it--that G-d is not only the creator, but is intimately involved every moment with us and the world.  

Like the most brilliant computer that can calculate gazillions of calculations a second, G-d can orchestrate the fates of all his creations in a just and masterful way that takes everything we do and don't do into account.

May it be G-d's will to endow us with what we need to succeed and for us to be deserving of it, and to recognize from where it all comes and not be so in awe of ourselves that we fail to see our innate limitations and mortality that is us. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 30, 2013

Stupidest Holiday Gifts

Ok, this wins the prize for the stupidest holiday gift.

It comes from Brookstone, and it's sand. 

Yes, really--98% sand and 2% polymer to make it "soft and stretchy."

You can get one jar of sand (12 ounces) for $14.99 or be even more stupid and buy 2 jars for $25.

Just imagine all the fun you can have playing with the sand, and you don't even have to go to the beach or the dessert. 

The bus fare or gasoline you save on the trip pays for this glorious sand in probably just one or two visits. 

This is truly Pet Rock redux, where this guy sold 1.5 million rocks at the holiday time in the 1970's and became a millionaire. 

It's amazing the marketing and branding brilliance behind this.

Imagine, you can sell rocks and sand and there are millions of people that actually take this seriously and buy it. 

Next up, bottled flatulence (ok, I'll just say it...farts!) ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 8, 2013

For Somebody Who Has Everything

What do you get somebody who has everything? 

Well check this out...


You can actually buy acreage on the moon through The Lunar Registry, "Earth's leading lunar real estate agency."


Based on The Outer Space Treaty, no country can own a celestial resource such as the moon, planet, or asteroid, but this doesn't preclude private entities and individuals from purchasing a "lunar land claim."


The Space Settlement Institute, which "promotes the human colonization and settlement of outer space" is lobbying for the U.S. to recognize these space land claims (PopSci).


According to their website, when you purchase real estate through the lunar registry, "your property ownership is permanently registered by the International Lunar Lands Registry in its annual publication, which is copyrighted and deposited in the United States Library of Congress and with international patent and trademark offices."


You can view available properties here, from the Sea of Vapors ("moon on a budget" for $18.95 per acre--near Crater Manilius) to Lake of Dreams ("most popular" for $34.25 per acre and a special "Sweathearts package with 2 acres side-by-side).


Properties can be viewed at The Full Moon Atlas through The Luna Society.


I found Lake of Dreams by its reference in sector B-4, although I couldn't really tell from the atlas whether this was a place that I'd like to settle down or not. 


In real estate, they alway say "location, location, location"--when you're buying on the moon, who the heck knows? ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 2, 2012

Flying Gizmo At Brookstone


I took this video of a flying drone at Brookstone at Avetura Mall in Miami. 

The drone is flying among the crowds and actually goes right over my head a couple of times--I literally had to duck (as I think the salesperson was having some fun with me recording)!

The device is called the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 and sells for $299.

The drone is being controlled via wi-fi by a iPhone and also works with iPads and Droid devices.

The controlled flying as well as the stunts seemed easy to do. 

It has a front facing camera (and I think the salesperson said it has a rear-facing one too). 

You can capture the flight imagery and post the recorded video and still photos online. 

The quadricopter has stabilization controls and hull protection to keep the device safe and in the air. 

If you appreciate this technology and likes to have some fun, you may want to take this for a little spin around the yard, park, and beach. 

Also, watch out at the mall--this flying gizmo may be coming right at you. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 30, 2012

World's Nicest Ballerina Umbrella

So we've had our share of rain in the last few days with Hurricane Sandy.

But with the right umbrella even Frankenstorm can be tamed, a little bit. 

That's why I wanted to share with you this picture of the nicest umbrella that I've ever seen--it has dancing ballerinas all the way around. 

And if you like the umbrella, there are bags and totes to match.

I found these hanging in the gift shop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. 

Personally, I opted for a music box for someone special, but I still had my eye on that umbrella. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 26, 2012

Lead With Technology, Not Trinkets

RIM, the maker of the Blackberry, continues to flounder, and many organizations are rightfully moving their mobility solutions to the ever more capable iPhone and Android platforms.

Changing the device has the potential to bring the latest technology to the organization, but the risk is that the device is viewed as a "toy" to hand out to the end-users, like doling out duckets to the impoverished in the Middle Ages.

With the latest smartphones and tablets running at 4G and loaded with camera, video, and more than half a million Apps, end-users are more than happy to receive their bounty whether or not it is immediately tied into the business processes of the organization. 

In some cases, when there is money to invest to new systems, strategic planning, sound governance, and robust security, the CIO may choose to focus on gadgets instead.  

Unfortunately, innovation in the organization is more than about gadgetry, but about how the organization can benefit from the integration of new hardware, software, and information to better carry out the mission. 

However, delivering solutions is hard, while buying devices can be as easy as just writing a check. 

If smartphones are treated trivially like gifts, rather than as a true game-changer for how people perform their jobs better, then CIOs have simply bought themselves some more time in the corner office, rather than driving transformative change. 

Bringing new devices to the organization has many benefits in it's own right, but the key is not to do it for it's own sake. 

New devices are wonderful, and we want them personally and professionally, but it is the CIO's job to ensure that IT investment dollars are spent on genuine IT solutions to mission and business requirements, and smartphones and tablets need to be integrated firmly into what we do, not just what we carry. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to macattck)


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