Buzzy Logic: That pod coffee system at your office is fine, if you’re OK with bland stuff like Shiva’s Moderately Pleasant Chai or Some Random Scenic California Bay Blend. But for javaheads who crave their beans strong, quick and not from a zillion lira machine, the Aerobie Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker ($25, Amazon.com) provides a jolt in a jiffy. Simply add ground beans to the thing, pour hot water over and press down the top plunger and sip or gulp.
The Bright Side: L.A.-cool clothing designer Trina Turk wins over boho fashionistas with her mod-print tunics and are-we-in-1950s-Vegas? bikinis. But her latest efforts — note cards she collaborated on with for Dempsey & Carroll — smack more of the country club than the beach club. Proper-yet-punchy missives ($65 for 10, A Mano, 1677 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-298-7200) boast bright paisley or geometric print envelope linings, which make it easier and chicer to write Aunt Wanda a thank-you note for the Christmas Chia Pet.
Ballard Designs’ new, no-animals-harmed faux zebra-hide rugs (left, $200) provide a dash of wild chic sans any big guns or troublesome taxidermy bills. A similar leopard-print style also works well in both macho, Hemingway-inspired dens or in minimalist bathrooms. Similar patterns come on doormats ($30-$49) and outdoor rugs, too.
Nicely Spiced: Google “ginger ale,” and a sea of green cans and bottles come up, all bearing the warring houses of Canada Dry and Schweppes. But in a taste test, we preferred the new, less-carbonated, less sweet Q Ginger ($4, Whole Foods and Giant), which works nicely with bourbon or other mixings on New Year’s Eve, or with a handful of aspirin the morning after.
By Katherine Boyle and Jennifer Barger.