15 Space-Related Gifts for the Astronomer in Your Life

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

Have a few friends who are always looking up at the sky? Here are some gift ideas that celebrate the celestial bodies they know and love.

1. MOON LIGHT BALL; $14

The whole moon can be lassoed out of space and brought near you. Give this 4-inch lunar light to anyone who needs a little illumination on their desk or in their closet.

Find It: Amazon

2. SATURN CRYSTAL PUZZLE; $11

Take puzzles to another dimension with a 3D crystal model of Saturn. The jigsaw is made of 39 interlocking pieces that come together to form the shape of the ringed planet.

Find It: Amazon

3. PLANETARY GLASSES; $50

Now, your loved one can take drinks from all the planets in the solar system. This set comes with eight glasses (which can hold up to 10 ounces) that look like the planets, along with the sun (which holds up to 16 ounces) and Pluto (which holds up to 4 ounces). The designs are applied to the glass with a high temperature heat wrap, so they can't be put in the dishwasher—but would you really want to get the sun wet?

Find It: Amazon

4. SOLAR SYSTEM NECKLACE; $40 AND UP

Have a friend who believes they're the center of the universe? Now, they can really assume that role with a miniature version of the solar system wrapped around their neck. This necklace from ThinkGeek comes on an 18-inch chain and features an array of colorful semi-precious gems. It has all the planets, plus the sun, Pluto, and an asteroid belt.

Find It: ThinkGeek

5. GLOW IN THE DARK CONSTELLATION MAP; $25

Skip the travel poster and go for something really out of this world. With the lights on, this nearly 29-inch poster shows the stars and constellations of the Northern Hemisphere. When you flip off the lights, the lines fade and the stars and Milky Way shine vibrantly.

Find It: Amazon

6. CHART OF SPACE EXPLORATION; $37

This all-inclusive map from Pop Chart Lab details the history of cosmic exploration by highlighting every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever enter space. In total, the chart features 100 exploratory instruments.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab

7. ASTRONAUT ICE CREAM; $10

We can't all be astronauts, but we can at least eat like them. Though the Neapolitan square was originally created for early Apollo Space Missions, it isn't eaten by modern astronauts today because of its crumbly nature. Still, it's a novelty snack worth trying. The ice cream is frozen at -40 degrees and vacuum dried, so it doesn't need to be kept in the freezer.

Find It: Amazon

8. SPACE PLATES; $40

A great addition to any space-themed kitchen, the melamine plates feature watercolor designs of the eight planets (Sorry, Pluto!) that will make any entrée seem otherworldly.

Find It: Amazon

9. EARTH FLEECE; $20

Global warming suddenly has a new—and less dire—meaning. These 60-inch fleece blankets feature actual NASA photographs of Earth, Jupiter, or Mars.

Find It: ThinkGeek

10. PLANET BALL SOCKS; $17

At first glance, this looks like a plush toy of Earth, but once you unroll it, a pair of colorful socks emerges.

Find It: Amazon

11. FINDERS KEEPERS xSHIRT; $24

Here is a humorous shirt for patriotic friends and family. It features an astronaut on the moon with the triumphant words, "FINDERS KEEPERS." The shirts come in men's and women's, in sizes ranging from small to triple XL.

Find It: Busted Tees

12. VIRTUAL REALITY PLANETARIUM; $69

Give your loved one the gift of a planetarium that they can hold in their hands. The device has eight different modes and three hours of educational audio and is compatible with images of 150 different celestial objects, all taken by the Hubble Telescope.

Find It: Amazon

13. MOON PHASE EARRINGS; $45

Perfect for both the science-inclined and the mystics in your life, these brass earrings show the phases of the moon covered by little dollops of glass.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

14. SOLAR SYSTEM WATCH; $13

As it's telling time, this watch certainly makes a statement. Lacking any numbers, the accessory has three working hands that dutifully move around the face of the watch.

Find It: Amazon

15. SUPERNOVA SKIRT; $15

Help your loved one show off their supernova "flare" with this skirt that features a faux-leather waistband and a vibrant design of a galaxy.

Find It: ModCloth

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25 Back-to-School Products That Earn High Marks

iStock
iStock

New school style: Whether you're starting college, shopping for the kids, or just want an excuse to treat yourself to new office gear, Mental Floss has you covered. Equip yourself or a loved one with these stylish and functional school supplies.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. COFFEE AND DOUGHNUT POST-ITS; $13

coffee and doughnut Post-its
Courtesy of Post-it

Add some flavor to your notes with the two-pack set of coffee and doughnut Post-its. Each of the 60 sheets is 3.20-by-3 inches.

Find It: Amazon

2. PACKIT FREEZABLE HAMPTON LUNCH BAG; $16

PackIt Freezable Hampton Lunch Bag, Blanket Stripe
Amazon

This spacious lunch bag is designed with a freezable lining, so it can be folded and placed in the freezer. When you're ready to take it on the go, it'll be ready to chill your food for hours. Bonus: It's also lead- and BPA-free.

Find It: Amazon

3. MONSTER REUSABLE SANDWICH BAGS; $11

Orange Monster Reusable Sandwich Lunch Bags
Amazon

Save the Earth and amuse little students with these reusable, dishwasher-safe bags. Each set of four includes two sandwich bags and two snack bags—all with an easy-to-grip opening.

Find It: Amazon

4. BENTO BOX FOR KIDS; $40

OmieBox Bento Lunch Box With Insulated Thermos For Kids
Amazon

This three-compartment bento box is roomy enough to fit a hearty, healthy lunch. The BPA-free container—available in five bright colors—is leak-proof, easy to open, and comes with a built-in thermos.

Find It: Amazon

5. LARGE MONTHLY PLANNER; $15

Large Personal Monthly Planner
Amazon

JStory's minimalist planner is made of thicker-than-average paper and includes a column for notes. And the blank design offers flexibility: You fill in the dates yourself.

Find It: Amazon

6. ORANGE LINED NOTEBOOK; $9

Rhodia Staplebound Orange Lined Notebook
Amazon

French brand Rhodia earned a strong following among artists and designers for its high-quality paper that's unbelievably smooth. The cover is sturdy so you can take notes anywhere.

Find It: Amazon

7. HONEYSTICKS BEESWAX CRAYONS; $23

crayons
Amazon

These sustainable crayons are made of 100 percent beeswax from New Zealand. (They smell like honey, too!) The thick shape is perfect for toddlers to hold.

Find It: Amazon

8. MOPHIE POWERSTATION XL; $66

external battery
Amazon

An external battery is a must for days when shuttling around campus from classes to clubs to rehearsals is unavoidable. This slim rose gold option has two USB ports and is compatible with both smartphones and tablets.

Find It: Amazon

9. CABLEKEEP; $13

Nice GLD-02 Goldie CableKeep
Amazon

This helpful gadget for iPhones holds both your power adapter and USB cable while keeping them tangle-free. It also functions as a stand for your phone when the Cablekeep is plugged into the wall.

Find It: Amazon

10. PARKLAND BAYSIDE KIDS' BACKPACK; $28

Parkland Bayside Kids Backpack
Amazon

Tote books in style with this eco-friendly backpack, featuring a polyester exterior made from recycled water bottles.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO BRICK BACKPACK; $50

LEGO Brick Backpack
Amazon

This whimsical statement backpack from LEGO features a padded handle and shoulder straps, so it's as comfortable as it is cool.

Find It: Amazon

12. HERSHEL NOVEL DUFFEL; $81

Herschel Supply Co. duffel
Amazon

Class up your gear with this stylish duffel from Herschel. It features a padded shoulder strap and a special compartment for those dirty cleats.

Find It: Amazon

13. ANTIQUE BRASS PHARMACY FLOOR LAMP; $50

Dawson Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Amazon

Overpower dim dorm room lighting with this brass floor lamp. Its height can be adjusted from 33 inches to a maximum of 55 inches, while the arm can be adapted to shine light at a variety of angles.

Find It: Amazon

14. EGYPTIAN COTTON TOWEL SET; $24

bathroom with towels
Amazon

This set of soft Egyptian cotton towels from Amazon's Pinzon brand includes two hand towels, two washcloths, and two bath towels—all listed as 100 percent cotton and at an affordable price.

Find It: Amazon

15. WHITE MARBLE MACBOOK KEYBOARD SKIN; $12

White Marble MacBook Keyboard Skin
Nordstrom

Protect your keyboard while adding a little luxury to your Macbook with this white marble keyboard skin.

Find It: Nordstrom

16. MAGNETIC CHALK BOARD; $18

chalkboard
Amazon

Get organized with this wood-framed chalk board, which comes with chalk and two vintage-style magnets.

Find It: Amazon

17. COFFEEBOXX SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER; $230

portable coffee maker
Amazon

This ultra-durable single-serve coffee maker is great for the dorm as well as the campground. It's water- and dust-resistant and works with K-cups.

Find It: Amazon

18. TRAVEL MUG; $25

 Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug
Amazon

If you need java to survive, pick up this sleek vacuum-insulated travel mug, which features a splatter-free push-button lid. It's also lockable, so you won't be that person who spills coffee in class.

Find It: Amazon

19. SIX-PACK OF STACKING DRAWERS; $32

stacking drawers
Amazon

Stack these versatile transparent drawers to create a dresser so you can fit your huge wardrobe in your dorm room.

Find It: Amazon

20. FACETED TAPE DISPENSER; $7

gem tape dispenser
Amazon

This elegant copper tape dispenser will give your desk some class. It's also weighted, so you can grab with ease. (Roll of Scotch tape included.)

Find It: Amazon

21. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE; $84

microwave
Amazon

Master the art of dorm room microwave cooking with this 1000-Watt model, featuring that all-important popcorn setting.

Find It: Amazon

22. SATEEN SHEETS; $18 AND UP

sheet set
Bed Bath & Beyond

These 400-thread-count sateen sheets feel silky to the touch: They're a simple way to make your dorm room feel luxurious.

Find It: Bed Bath & Beyond

23. TOUCHSCREEN MIST CLEANER; $10

Two-In-One Spray and Microfiber Cloth
Amazon

Use this screen-safe spray to remove dirt and fingerprints from your phone. It comes in a bottle that's coated with microfiber cloth so you can spritz and wipe all in one.

Find It: Amazon

24. MESH SHOWER BAG; $13

 Saltwater Canvas, LLC Zip Top Mesh Shower Bag
Amazon

No more feeling around outside the shower curtain for your shampoo. Take this quick-drying mesh shower caddy right into the stall with you.

Find It: Amazon

25. MINI FRIDGE WITH DRY ERASE BOARD; $250

 Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator with Neon Markers
Amazon

Make your dorm room unique with this fun fridge that has a dry erase exterior and comes with neon markers so you can write notes directly on it. No paper and magnets needed. It also includes a freezer unit and ice cube tray.

Find It: Amazon

The Brilliant $20 Gadget That Will Keep Your Beach Umbrella Firmly Anchored in the Sand

iStock
iStock

Failing to properly secure your beach umbrella is more dangerous than you think. Tumbling, airborne umbrellas can be a safety hazard, with the potential to collide with beach-goers. Recently, a woman in Maryland was struck in the chest by one that was carried away by high winds.

Usually, it’s simply a matter of inconvenience—chasing a rogue umbrella is not how anyone wants to spend their day. Today recently broke down some preventative measures to help keep umbrellas secured, including using a rocking motion to bury it in the sand and making sure at least one-third of it is underground. You also want to tilt it into the wind so the gusts help keep it secured. 

The best way to avoid umbrella-related mishaps, though, is to opt for a sand anchor. These cheap-but-effective devices are like giant screws that bite into the sand for a much more secure fit. You then place the umbrella pole in the anchor. You can find the Beachr Beach Umbrella Sand Anchor, which fits all sizes of umbrella, for $19.97 on Amazon.

Experts like beach superintendents also advise you to consider taking down umbrellas if it's too windy and never, ever bringing a patio umbrella to the beach. With a larger surface area to catch wind, they can be extremely dangerous.

[h/t Today]

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