Holiday Gift Guide For Everyone On Your List

The holidays are almost here and it’s time to shop! Save big on holiday sales and find awesome gifts for everyone on your list. Time seems to fly by faster every year, and finding the right gift can be difficult and time consuming. Check out some of the gifts we put on our wish list this year. You can either pick a category or start scrolling to see our favorite finds:

Gifts for the Traveler

Gifts for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Gifts for the Home

Gardening Gifts

Gifts for Foodies

For most people, the holidays = travel, travel, travel. Whether you’re going on a long road trip or catching a flight, make sure you wear compression socks to protect your legs against fatigue, swelling and blood clots. They help to keep your legs feeling fresh and energized, so you can enjoy your time when you get to your destination. To keep yourself entertained, check out some of the gadgets and accessories we’re hoping to get this year:

Universal Travel Power Adapter – $16.58

This is a great present for someone who travels internationally a lot. This power adapter will work in over 150 countries. Perfect for traveling to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

AmazonBasics 4 Piece Packing Cube Set – $19.99

Figuring out how to pack in an organized way for a trip can be stressful. These cubes are a great way to smartly store all your things for your next vacation. Great to take on any road trip or flight!

Coloring Book and Colored Pencil Set – $8.99

Coloring books are a great way to relieve stress and keep yourself entertained on any trip. Adult coloring books are the new trend, and I can get behind it! Coloring can be a fun way to unwind and kill a few hours on a long car or plane ride. I suggest colored pencils….crayons can melt and if a cap falls off a marker it can leave an unwanted mark on your vacation!

Rosetta Stone 12 Month Subscription – $117.99

For the international traveler, a subscription to Rosetta Stone is a huge help! Get your fellow traveler a gift they can use this holiday season. Choose from a variety of subscriptions and language options. The Rosetta package we chose is a 12 month subscription for 24 languages.

Airbnb Gift Card – Any Amount!

Traveling can be expensive. What better way to encourage your friends and family to travel than to help them out with accommodations! This also makes a great stocking stuffer. Choose the amount you would like to give on the Airbnb website.

Sockwell Compression Socks – $24.99

If you are a die-hard traveler, you’ve heard about the wonders of compression socks. If you haven’t, here’s the travel game changer you’ve been waiting for: 15-20 mmHg compression is recommended for travel to prevent fatigue, swelling and blood clots, all while keeping your legs fresh, energized and ache-free. Skip boring beige and opt for some fun compression socks, like these ones from Sockwell! Choose from a variety of patterns and colors for men and women.

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Headphones – $179.00

Music is a great way to pass the time while traveling, but there’s nothing worse than a baby crying right behind you. Leave those days in the past with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Throw in an iTunes gift card with these headphones and your friends or family will be singing praises!

Travel Notebook – $11.95

Get your favorite traveler this vacation-inspired notebook. Great for jotting down notes, attractions and fun things to do. Can’t go wrong!

Go Pro Hero5 Black – $399.00

This present is definitely a splurge, but a worth-while treat at that! Any athlete or traveler would love, and excessively use a pocket-sized weather-proof camera like this. There are tons of camera devices nowadays, so see what they would want! Digital cameras and Polaroids are great options too!

Priority Pass Subscription – $99.00+

This is a great present for anyone who flies a lot. This subscription gives you access to lounges with free WIFI in various airports. Finally, a quiet place to relax before catching their flight!

Habor Digital Luggage Scale – $9.29

I’m one of those people who always needs to check the weight of their suitcase before flying to make sure the weight limit isn’t over 50 lbs. If you have friend or family member like me who has to sit on their suitcase to close it before a trip, this luggage scale could come in handy!

Book Club Subscription – $14.99/month+

Another way to pass the time is to put your nose in a great book. Since everyone loves getting lost in different adventures, finding a good book, especially for someone else, can be difficult. Instead, opt for one of these book subscription services! Here are few different book clubs to see what would be best for your friends and family.

 

If you have a friend or family member that practically lives outdoors, we have some great ideas for gifts this holiday season. Check out some of our favorite camping, hiking and outdoor lounging finds below:

Arctic Zone Cooler – $30.99

This cooler can hold 16 cans and is very durable. It is great for camping, hiking, day trips, or sitting on the sidelines at a game. There are other sizes than can hold up to 48 cans! This one is available in three colors.

Winner Outfitters 2 Person Hammock – $25.99

Nothing says relaxation like a hammock! This one fits two people, or up to 500 lbs. This lightweight hammock takes about 3 minutes to set up and is small enough to bring on hiking trips. Choose from four color combinations.

Shrink Sports Collapsible Water Bottle – $15.99

This nifty collapsible water bottle is lightweight, durable and versatile. It expands into a normal, functional water bottle, but when you don’t need it, collapse it and save the space in your bag. Great stocking stuffer!

Cairn Subscription Box – $27.45+

This is a pretty cool gift. There are a few options to choose from, but this subscription service through Cairn will surprise you with a mystery a box each month filled with surprise gifts you’ll love. You’ll get 3-6 full-sized outdoorsy products monthly. These subscription boxes like Cairn and FabFitFun are the hot new presents to get this year.

Evocrest Collapsible Trekking Poles – $59.95

If you love hiking, grab yourself a pair of these trekking poles. They are collapsible so they can easily be stored when they’re not needed on your hike. They are also shock absorbing and adjustable so either kids or adults can use them. These lightweight poles are a great gift for your favorite explorer.

Venture Pal Backpack – $20.99

This backpack is perfect for a day trip or going for a hike. This durable backpack has plenty of pockets to keep your friends or family organized. It is very lightweight and can be folded up to save space! Great for traveling too. Available in nine fun colors.

KuchenChef Picnic Backpack Set for 2 – $34.95

A picnic to go! This cool backpack has silverware, picnic blanket and room for lots of food, all in one place. This picnic set is set for two, complete with wine stakes for holding glasses upright, a wood cheese board, wood handle cheese knife set, stainless steel cutlery, non shatter acrylic cups, salt and pepper shakers, wooden corkscrew with bottle opener, matching gingham plates and napkins, salt/pepper shakers and fleece blanket with a waterproof backing. This lightweight picnic basket even features a cooler section. What more can they want?

Sigvaris Athletic Compression Socks – $28.76+

Compression socks are a great way to keep athletes healthy and active. 15-20 mmHg of compression promotes muscle recovery to help you get back out there the next day. 20-30 mmHg of compression helps to enhance performance so you can run farther and train harder at the gym. Save an extra 10% off all Sigvaris compression socks through December 31st – no coupon code required.

Toasis Multi Tool for Camping – $8.98

This handy tool is small enough to fit in your pocket to help you out of a quick jam when you’re camping. It can convert into pliers, a knife, wire cutter, screwdriver, bottle opener, saw, nail file, fish scaler, and can opener. Great for Mr. Fix It!

Omni Inflatable Lounger – $34.99

This inflatable lounger doubles as a place to lay down and as a pool floatie! Great for the beach, the backyard, the pool or to take camping. Best of all? This lounger folds into a small, lightweight backpack so it can be taken anywhere.

SuBleer Collapsible Lantern 2 Pack – $15.99

This 2 pack of lanterns are the size of an iPhone 6 and are collapsible for easy storage. Great for camping or emergencies like hurricanes or power outages. Up to 12 hours of battery life with regular, continuous use.

Teryei Portable Solar Powered Charger – $21.99

Low phone battery? No problem! This phone charger is great for hiking, camping or even a day trip to keep your devices alive so you never miss a picture. This is a great present for anyone on your list.

 

Whether you’re looking for a housewarming gift or something to brighten someone’s day, here are some great gifts for around the house:

Handmade Watercolor World Map – $49.99

Looking for a handmade gift? This world map will make an awesome present for your favorite traveler. What better way to mark old memories and plan new ones?

Bonsai Tree – $26.99

This dwarf tree is a great gift for the greenthumb in your life. Bonsai trees are believed to bring good luck. Growing and taking care of it is thought to relieve stress and can be a great hobby!

Chanasya Faux Fur Throw – $26.99

This super soft, comfy fur throw is a great present that you know they will love! Features velvet on the other side. This particular frost grey throw is available in two sizes. The best part – no animals were hurt making this blanket 🙂

Capri Blue Stargazer Candle – $14.00+

This cute candle is a simple, easy gift that you know they’ll use. Perfect for those who need to de-stress after a long day at work. Choose from three different options.

Destinations of a Lifetime: Coffee Table Book – $27.19

This book covers 225 places to visit and serves as a great flip through or conversation starter. This hardcover book is made by National Geographic so you know the pictures are to die for! It makes a perfect coffee table book.

Therafirm Core-Spun Compression Socks – $16.97

Compression socks help to stimulate circulation so blood doesn’t pool in your legs. This helps to prevent fatigue, blood clots and swelling. Therafirm offers a ton of different compression socks in a large variety of sizes. EASE are soft, stretchy and come in a variety of colors. Looking for something stretchy? Try the Core-Spun line. Shop now and save an extra 15% off through January 2nd, 2018. Prices already discounted.

Clip Collage Frame – $20.24

Give a sentimental gift. Pick up a picture frame or DIY your own and share your favorite memories together. This is a really great gift for moms!

Mixed Color Agate Coaster Set of 4 – $44.99

These cool coasters are a great present that you know will get used.  This unique, fun gift is great for the artsy type and adds a great splash of color to any room.

COOSA 100 ml Glass Essential Oil Diffuser – $39.99

This oil diffuser is great for the office, living room, or bedroom is a great way to freshen up the room and promote relaxation. A cool mist adds moisture to the air to make it feel more like a spa. This quiet diffuser has 4 time settings and features 7 color changing LED lights.

Assorted Antique World Map Glass Magnets – Set of 6 – $21.50

These cute magnets are a great gift for friends and family of all ages. Great for college kids too! This set of six magnets features a world map. This gift makes a good stocking stuffer as well.

 

Gardening gifts always go to use. We searched the internet and found tons of useful and fun things. If you’re looking for excellent senior products you’re in luck. Here are our top picks of fun garden accessories and tools to help make gardening easier and even more fun for people of all ages:

Windmill Birdhouse – $22.97

This cute birdhouse will look great in any backyard. This is great for the nature-lover or birdwatcher in your life. This rustic windmill birdhouse is sure to brighten up anyone’s day, but there are a lot of cute options out there to choose from. Another notable option is this adorable lighthouse birdhouse.

Costzon Cider Press – $89.99

This is a great gift for families with kids or a passion for apples. This cider press holds up to 1.6 gallons and can be used to make various kinds of fruit juices and even wine. I’d say it’s a win for kids and adults!

Mason Jars – Set of 12 – $21.99

They might seem underrated, but these are one of the most useful gifts you could give! Mason jars are great for crafts, canning and so much more. They’re also perfect for meal prepping and storing salads. These make good gifts for artsy, outdoorsy people. They can always find a use for an empty mason jar! Check out some of these DIY mason jar makeover ideas for inspiration.

Wexley 2 Gallon Watering Can – $29.64

This trendy watering can makes a great gift for anyone who spends their time in the garden. This watering can hold 2 gallons and features a beautiful blue color.

Best Choice Gardening Work Seat – $64.94 

This is a great gift for someone who has a hard time getting around. Instead of having to kneel down to garden, sit on this work seat and wheel yourself around as needed. It even includes a basket to keep tools in!

C-Hopetree Flower Box – 3 pots – $39.90

This flower box has 3 pots built into it and can be hung. This stylish planter box makes a great gift for greenthumbs, especially in the winter so they can bring the outdoors inside with them. This also is a good gift for seniors who love to garden but have a hard time bending over. Place it on the windowsill for them to enjoy.

Regal Art & Gift Gecko Decor – Set of 2 – $15.49

There are so many cute animals to add to your garden! Between butterflies, birds, lizards, dragonflies, and even artsy mushrooms, suns, stars, and more, you can help someone create a wonderland in their own backyard!

Vegetable Seeds – $0.50+

If you have friend or family member who’s always in the dirt, seeds are a great gift! Get them seeds of their favorite vegetables or bulbs of their favorite flowers. You can buy seeds at your local farmer’s market or even Home Depot, who even has a guide to help you find the right seed and buy it in the same place.

FLORA GUARD 3 Piece Gardening Tools – $19.99

Most people who love gardening have some tools in their shed. So what better than to get them something that stands out from all the rest? These cute garden tools are an awesome gift for your favorite greenthumb.

Mod Hod 3 Stackable Bins – $29.95 each

Another great gift for those who have a hard time bending over. Plus, these stackable bins are a great way to store those yummy veggies straight out of the garden!

VegeAQUA Vegetable Soap – $11.49

If you know a germaphob…..they will appreciate this! Finally they can wash off their fruit and vegetables from the store and remove all the pesticides and germs with organic soap that is specifically designed to go on produce. It is safe to use and better for you and your veggies. It uses No Detergents, Oils, or Preservatives. You can pick up soap for produce online or at your local grocery store.

Thick Kneeling Pad for Gardening – $15.94

This kneeling pad is a knee-saver. It is perfect for anyone who’s always got their head in the garden or is always on the ground working on their car. This pad is also great to use to sit on while you’re outside too.

3 SunGrow Glass Terrariums – $11.95

These are a great way to bring the outdoors into the office or house. Place them on your desk or hang them above your table. They can also be hung in a hanger. This set of orbs includes succulents, flowers & colorful stones.

Frog Tree Peeker – $12.98

You’ve probably seen the tree face before…but did you know how many different variations there are these days? There are elf peekers, racoons, bears, frogs, owls and so much more. If you know someone who finds these other tree decals as silly as me, they will love this gift.

 

For the professional chef or the food fanatic, these gifts will take their cooking to a whole new level. Pick out cooking utensils or a funny apron for them to use their next meal. For the friend or spouse that struggles to cook, you could sign them up for cooking classes to learn how to make quick and simple dishes that everyone will love. Check out more gift ideas for foodies below:

Kitchen Gizmo Snap ‘N Strain Clip On Strainer – $12.99

This handy gadget makes life so much easier for the regular pasta eater. Just clip this on to any pot (big or small) and strain without the stress! This present also makes a great stocking stuffer. Made BPA free and is dishwasher safe.

Mr. Beer Premium Homebrewing Craft Beer Making Kit – $49.99

This is an awesome gift for the beer-lover in your life. They can make their own craft beer with this kit. It comes with two beer refills, a convenient 2 gallon fermenter, bottles, caps, carbonation drops, sanitizer and brewing instructions.

Constellation Mug – $15.95

If you know someone who needs a cup of coffee before starting anything in the morning, you know they can always use another mug in the cupboard! This constellation mug will have you thinking big every morning. What’s cooler is that when this cup heats up it reveals the constellations in the starry sky.

Williams Sonoma Gift Card – Any amount!

A Williams Sonoma gift card is a great gift for chefs, waiters, bartenders and passionate food lovers. Let them get the tools they need to run a tight kitchen!

Watermelon Slicer – $7.49

This watermelon cutter is revolutionary. If you know someone who loves watermelon then they need this in their life. This not only slices but picks up each slice easily and without the mess. Bring it to your next picnic and see for yourself! This is an awesome stocking stuffer too.

Deluxe DIY Gourmet Kit With 6 Hot Sauce Recipes – $39.95

This make your own hot sauce kit is a terrific gift for all ages. If heat isn’t your thing, check out other make your own sauce kits like this DIY barbecue sauce kit.

Avalon 7-in-1 Slow Cooker – $69.00

This slow cooker is on my wish list this year! I love meal prepping with a slow cooker –  just throw it in and it cooks itself. It’s the easiest meal and tastes amazing every time. But this handy appliance is a total game changer. Features a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and a warmer. 

Copper Moscow Mule Mug Set – $59.99

This set is a great present for any adult that enjoys a good drink. Includes six straws, two shot glasses, and six coasters.

Allegro Milk Compression Socks – $23.49 

If you work in the food industry and you’re on your feet all day, these Allegro Milk Compression Socks are a match made in heaven – they’re our softest socks yet! These socks will give those tired, achy legs life again after that never-ending shift. Mild compression energizes tired, achy legs and feet to keep them happy and healthy. Save an extra 20% off MSRP on all Allegro socks and stockings through December 4th, 2017. Prices already discounted.

Vegetable Spiraler and Cutter – $14.84

This spiraler is a great way to change up the traditional vegetable dish. Includes a cutter so you can even peel and roll your vegetables. This is a great present or stocking stuffer for any healthy nut.

Kamenstein 20-Jar Revolving Spice Tower – $34.49

This spice rack is pretty cool, and price isn’t bad either, but the real sell is that you get refills on your spices for FIVE years. Yes – you read that right. What a great gift!

DEMMEX Copper Sauce Pan – $54.95

This copper pot is a great gift for any chef or food lover. It will make a gorgeous addition to any kitchen. Handmade in Turkey.

Wood Cutting Board – $12.99

This 14 x 10 inch wood cutting board is great for anyone who spends time in the kitchen. There are a lot of different styles available online for great prices!

Vintorio Wine Aerator Pourer – $18.80

This aerator makes your wine taste better than ever. Just attach it to the bottle and pour and taste the difference yourself. Pair this gift with a cute set of wine glasses and voila!

Pineapple Corer – $5.99

Last on the list but certainly not least is this pineapple corer, made from stainless steel. It’s a great price to save a ton of hassle. Just turn the knob at the top and spiral it down and watch it core and slice your pineapple. Pull it out and it’s ready to serve. Yum!

What are some of your favorite gift ideas this holiday season? Comment below to share.

Travel Comfortably: Choose the Best Compression Socks for Travel

Travel Compression Socks

A strong Dollar, compared to the British Pound and Euro, means now is a great time for Americans to travel to Europe.  And every trip to Europe needs a pair or two of compression stockings.  Frequent flyer miles are great, but you don’t want to arrive for your dream vacation with sore, swollen legs and feet. The reason your legs and feet get so achy when traveling is that your muscles are not being flexed or used enough, and blood pools in your leg veins. This lack of fresh oxygenated blood can cause soreness and cramping in your legs, and swelling in your ankles and feet. If you’re at higher risk for blood clots, are overweight, or you have notoriously poor circulation, this could lead to more serious problems like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

There are a number of ways to increase circulation when you’re on a long flight. First, and most important is to get up and move! Stand up, shake your legs, and walk the aisles when possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option if the seat-belt light is on. The easiest way to increase circulation is by wearing compression socks or stockings, often called “travel socks.”  Travel socks provide graduated compression from your ankles to your knee. This increases circulation naturally, coaxing the blood to flow back to your heart, instead of getting trapped in your legs and feet. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for compression socks to take on your trip:

  • Medical-grade compression socks will have a compression rating of 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg, but for traveling, it’s fine to wear socks that have a compression rating of 15-20 mmHg. (This is assuming you don’t suffer from other venous disease.) These ratings simply tell how tightly the compression socks will squeeze your leg (i.e. 15-20 mmHg is a lighter compression than 30-40 mmHg, which will feel much tighter on your legs and be more difficult to put on).
  • Find socks that have graduated compression. This means that the compression will be tighter at the ankle, and will gradually become looser as the sock extends up your leg. This will help return blood to your heart.
  • Pay attention to the material the socks are knit from. Travelers often prefer natural fibers like cotton, because they’re plush, absorb moisture, and are very comfortable.  Polyester, merino wool, and fabrics embedded with copper and silver are great for absorbing excess moisture on the skin, keeping your feet cool, and decreasing foot odor. No one wants stinky feet on a plane!
  • Socks don’t have to be labeled as “Travel Socks” to be used on a long trip. You only need to find socks with a stated compression of 15-20 mmHg, and at least knee high.  If you prefer thigh-highs or tights, they work just as well in the same compression level.

If you’re looking for the best quality compression socks at a great price, be sure to check out our full selection of Travel Socks.  If you think of compression socks as thick, flesh-colored tights your grandmother wears, you will be pleasantly surprised with these. No one will know you’re wearing compression!

Allegro Premium – Italian  Cotton Socks are a favorite among flight attendants – so you know they’re good!  They are priced at $19.09 per pair, and during the month of January, like all our Allegro stockings, they are part of our Buy-3-Get-1-Free Sale.  You can mix and match any Allegro items, so everyone in your travel group can get a pair or two.  Compression socks are great for everyday wear while traveling too.  They provide all day leg comfort while hiking, on city tours, and country walks.

If you’re someone who likes to roam the plane in only socks during flight – try Top & Derby’s Random Stripe, with 15-20 mmHg compression. These socks have a fun striped design you’ll want to show off and cost $24.09 a pair.

Finally, the Sockwell brand offers a wide variety of natural fiber blend socks that are a customer favorite.  We stock the full line, and there are colors and patterns available for every taste. Plus, they’re Sarah Michelle Geller’s travel socks of choice. If Buffy the Vampire Slayer wears them – you can too!

Don’t travel without compression…. And Bon Voyage!

BrightLife New Year’s Resolutions!

The end of every year is a time for reflection. As we look back, we set new goals for the next year of things we want to change or improve. This year, we asked the BrightLife family what their resolutions are. Take a look:

Resolution 1:

My resolution is to be able to take on leg day at the gym and actually be able to walk the next day…without limping or feeling like my legs are Jello. TheraSport Recovery Socks are the key to success here.

resolution

Resolution 2:

It’s time to stop kidding myself. My real resolution is to embrace the amount of time I spend on the internet. Sitting there for hours isn’t as bad if I’m wearing compression socks…right??

Resolution

Resolution 3:

My resolution is to wear jeans less often! Good thing I can stock up on Allegro sheers & stockings during the January Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale! 🙂

new year resolution joke

Resolution 4:

My resolution is to be more bold and outgoing this year. Check out these hot new colors! I’m really going to stand out at the gym wearing these Sigvaris Performance Calf Sleeves. The compression helps to enhance performance and speed up recovery, so I can lap all the other “Resolutioners” at the gym.

Sigvaris 412 Compression Calf Sleeves - BrightLife Direct

Resolution 5:

My resolution is to stop spending time sorting laundry by color, what’s machine washable vs. hand washable etc. and to start living life on the edge and just throw it all in. Good thing Juzo is machine washable!

New Years Resolution

Resolution 6:

LOSE WEIGHT. But seriously, just need the time/energy. I have the compression!

Calvin and Hobbs

Resolution 7:

Instead of dreading traveling, my resolution is to start looking forward to new adventures. Between the hassle of flying and the stress of driving in traffic, there’s a lot of time spent sitting around. It’s time to start traveling comfortably and in style. These Sockwell compression socks are a must have!

Sockwell On the Spot Compression Socks

Resolution 8:

This year, I’m going to take it upon myself to spend more time in the kitchen and really learn how to cook. Now, this could take all year, so there’s going to be a lot of standing involved. Compression socks anyone?

Funny New Year Resolution

What is your New Year’s resolution? How do you plan to stick to it?

Holiday Gift Guide 2015!

It’s that time of year again! With Christmas right around the corner, here are some ideas to start crossing people off of your list. Let’s start with the guys.

Holiday Gift Guide For Men!

If you’re drawing a blank on what to get your male friends and family members, think about useful and functional presents. Guys tend to like practical gifts, so look for something they can use often. H&M has a lot of great shirts and jackets at great prices right now. You could also look for a nice bag or wallet to keep his things organized. If your man tends to run on the late side, get him a watch as a funny way to help him keep track of the time.

Now that “No-Shave November” is over, it’s time to break out the razor! Celebrate by getting him a nice grooming set. You can find these at Target, Walmart or your local mall. Another great must-have item this season is a comfy, warm hat. They even make hats with speakers in them now!

Compression socks are great for any guy who travels, exercises or for someone who sits or stands for long periods of time. They help to reduce leg fatigue and blood clots, which is important to keep him happy and healthy. The socks shown above are made by Sockwell. This brand is great for casual wear. Compression socks are available in tons of styles, fabrics and colors for any occasion. Comfort is everything these days, so make sure he has a comfortable pair of boots during the winter months!

Get the look:

1. H&M Parka / 2. H&M Shirt / 3. H&M Button Down Shirt / 4. Target Gift Card / 5. Beats Headphones / 6. Slouchy Hat / 7. August Steiner Stainless Steel Watch / 8. Sockwell Men’s Circulator Stripe 15-20mmHg Compression Sock / 9. H&M Leather Messenger Bag / 10. H&M Boots / 11. Buxton Men’s Grooming Set

 

If the men on your shopping list love technology or STAR WARS, here are some of our favorite picks:

Gifts for the Techy

If you have friends or family who are anxiously awaiting the new Star Wars movie, get them a Darth Vader toaster, Death Star cutting board or an R2D2 USB Flash Drive. For the cold commute to work this winter, pick him up a pair of driving gloves or a scarf. You can’t go wrong with sunglasses – they are a necessity in any season. Compression socks are also a must to keep his legs energized all day long and eliminate the feeling of tired, achy legs. Those commutes can be pretty lengthy and let’s face it – nobody likes cramps!

For your man on the go, a portable charger is a great idea so he can charge his phone or any other USB-charging device from anywhere. You can also pick him up a briefcase or backpack to carry around his new gadgets! If you’re looking for some other technology gift ideas, try a nice camera for that vacation you’ve been hinting at, wireless bluetooth speakers or an fitness armband to hold his phone while working out.

Get the look:

 

Now for the ladies. If you are completely stumped on what to get the special woman in your life, try some spa-inspired gifts. Here are our favorite products to help her relax after a long day.

Gifts for Her

For your leading lady, pamper her with the beauty essentials – makeup, nail polish, body lotion, bubble bath and chapstick. These gifts are great for her friends too! A lot of stores offer gift baskets with different kinds of foods and small items that are tailored towards different interests. These are easy last minute gifts as well.

For a more sentimental gift, pick out a picture frame and put an image of your favorite memory with her in it. Or, you can fill the frame with a picture of a future trip to take together. You can even get her a passport case to go with it! You can also pick up a nicely scented candle and dinner for a relaxing evening at home.

Cold weather items like scarves, hats and gloves are nice generic but meaningful gifts. To me, a great gift is something people will actually use and not just shove to the back of their closet. For women who frequently work out, travel, or for those who sit or stand for long periods of time at work, compression socks are a must. The Sockwell Women’s Chevron Compression Socks shown above increase circulation to prevent varicose veins and spider veins. Plus, they make her legs feel amazing, even after a long day on her feet. Finally, Sockwell provides a fashionable and functional solution to the health and beauty dilemma.

Lastly – Remember, you can never go wrong with jewelry.

Get the look:

 

SHOP TRAVEL SOCKS

 

Beat the Heat with these Summer Health Tips

 

It is important to take care of your body, especially in the warmer months. Whether you’re heading to the pool, going camping or getting some exercise outside, we have tons of tips to keep you healthy and comfortable all summer long. Plus, check out some of the best skin care products and how to stay cool in the hottest weather.

The Basics

  1. Hydrate! The more water you drink, the easier it is for your body to regulate its temperature.
  2. Wear loose clothing to avoid overheating and to make you more comfortable.
  3. Avoid salty foods to prevent dehydration and swelling.
  4. Skin care is important! Make sure to moisturize your skin multiple times a day.
  5. Wear compression stockings while traveling and take frequent breaks on long trips to walk around.
  6. Stay in the shade as much as possible and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Skin Care

During the summer months, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun and moisturize frequently. If you have lymphedema, getting sunburn can damage your lymphatic system, resulting in overly sensitive skin. Make sure to apply sunscreen before heading out, but try to avoid applying it to areas covered by your compression garment. Suntan lotion can cause the material to deteriorate faster and can irritate the skin underneath the garment. You should also put on bug spray to avoid infections, cuts and discomfort. Try to use natural bug spray to eliminate unwanted chemicals such as DEET on your skin. If you do get bit, make sure to carefully wash and dry the area and apply a hydrocortisone cream.

“If you are going camping or hiking, be sure to take along a specialized first aid kit. The kit should include alcohol wipes to clean off any skin break, antibiotic cream for application on the skin, and bandages to protect the area.” – National Lymphatic Network

If you have dry or cracked skin, try using Remedy Skin Repair Cream. It is non-allergenic and great for those with diabetes or sensitive skin. If you are looking for a cream that won’t clog your pores, isn’t greasy and can be used with compression garments, try the Cutimed ACUTE Cream Mouse to moisturize your skin. It is perfect for people with diabetes, lymphedema or those with damaged skin. It is available in three different strengths, depending on what you need. For an everyday lotion that is also safe for compression garments, apply Medi Day Gel. This fast absorbing gel makes it easier to get your compression stockings on without the greasy residue.

Comfort is Key

During the summer, make sure to wear loose clothing to stay cool and to avoid restricting the flow of your lymphatic system. One of the most important things when you’re out in the sun is to wear comfortable shoes. Check out the new Dr. Comfort summer shoes for men and women. They are great for those with diabetes, plantar fasciitis or sensitive feet. They provide additional cushioning and shock absorption to keep you comfortably on your feet all day long. Nothing’s worse than tired feet halfway through the day!

Summer is one the best times for traveling, but it can also be the most uncomfortable. Whether you are flying, driving or traveling by train, make sure to wear your compression stockings! Sitting for long periods of time is bad for circulation and can lead to fatigue, swelling and more serious complications. If you are driving, make sure to use the air conditioning and stop as much as possible to get out and stretch. If you have lymphedema, try to keep your affected limb as elevated as possible. If you take a plane, the lower air pressure can aggravate lymphedema. If you have lower extremity lymphedema, try to get an aisle seat so you have more leg room and can get up to walk around more frequently without the difficulty. If you have lymphedema in your arms, make sure to carry a light carry-on or get a rolling suitcase to avoid heavy lifting. Again, make sure to stay hydrated while traveling!

How to Keep Your Cool in the Summer

If you have lymphedema, you know the importance of staying cool. When you start to feel overheated, try taking a cool shower and elevate the affected limb in an air conditioned place. You can also wrap the limb in a cold, wet towel and elevate it as well. To avoid getting your compression garment wet, the National Lymphatic Network suggests putting a plastic bag between the garment and the wet towel. This avoids skin irritation and damage to the garment. If you have upper extremity lymphedema, check out Lymphedivas. These fashionable compression armsleeves are made with moisture wicking fabric to keep your arm cool and dry. They are lightweight and are infused with aloe vera to soften and moisturize your skin. They are latex and silicone free, and made in America. To stay cool with compression socks, thigh highs or pantyhose, try an open toe stocking. This style is great to wear with sandals or other summer shoes.

It is also important to wash your compression garments daily, especially in the summer. Frequent washing is better for compression stockings because it helps to maintain its effectiveness and prolongs the garments lifespan. Regularly washing compression garments also helps to get rid of dirt and oils that can reduce the effectiveness of the garment and avoids bacteria that can cause skin irritation or other complications. Plus, lotions that aren’t safe for compression can cause the fabric to deteriorate faster.

Diet

Eating healthy is important for more reasons than getting the perfect “beach body.” During the summer, it is vital to avoid salty foods because they can lead to swelling, water retention and bloating. Instead of grabbing a soda and chips, snack on fruits, vegetables and nuts. Make sure to get lots of protein and to eat a big, balanced breakfast to keep your energy up all day long. Avoid foods with lots of carbohydrates and sugar to keep you from craving sweets and junk food. Eat 3-5 small meals throughout the day and make sure you’re not hungry. When you don’t eat enough, your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs and can lead to fainting, dizziness, exhaustion and fatigue. Most importantly, drink lots of water to give your body the oxygen it needs. Dehydration can cause you to feel overheated, so stay cool with a nice, refreshing glass of water.

Exercise

The summertime is great for exercising and playing sports, but it is important to take it easy. Physical activities you do in the winter won’t affect you as much as they do in the summer because of the heat. Even though you typically run 5 miles in the winter, you may not be able to run as far in the summer. The heat can cause your lymphatic system to “overload”, which is why many people with lymphedema dread the summer months. However, the heat doesn’t have to prevent you from going outside and enjoying yourself, you just have to be more careful. Make sure to exercise for a shorter amount of time and to take a lot of breaks. If your arm or leg starts to ache, hurt or feel irritated in any way, go inside to cool down and elevate the affected limb. This is a sign that your lymphatic system is overloaded.

Swimming is recommended for those with lymphedema. Make sure to moisturize after swimming in the pool to avoid dry skin. Once you are out of the water, remember to put your compression garment or bandages back on as soon as possible. You can use an old garment if you want to swim with one on. Remember to rinse off after swimming and dry completely to avoid infection and skin irritation. If you have lower extremity lymphedema, make sure to wear shoes at the pool whenever you’re not in the water to avoid bacteria or getting cuts or scratches that could get infected. If you have a cut or open wound, it is best to avoid swimming until after it has healed.

Resources

Cool Tips For A Hot Summer – NLN

How to Wear Compression in the Summer – RejuvaHealth

4 Tips To Get Your Legs Ready For Summer

Protect Your Skin From the Sun – American Cancer Society

Diabetes and Summer Safety Tips

Sigvaris Hypoallergenic Skin & Foot Cream

7 Critical Precautions for Summer if You Have Diabetes

How to Prevent Skin Cancer – American Cancer Society

Are You At Risk For Varicose Veins?

Did you know that running and lifting weights can cause varicose veins? Things that you think are helping your body may not be benefiting it in the same way you would like.  It’s not just hereditary, things you do on a day to day basis can increase your chances of developing varicose and spider veins. Even standing for long periods of time can put you at risk.

Generally, varicose veins is most common in older people and pregnant women, and usually occur in the legs and thighs. Your family history, age, lifestyle and hormones can all play a factor in developing varicose veins. Obesity can also increase your risk. Additionally, women are more likely to develop this condition than men. Although in most cases this is not a life-threatening condition, it can still cause pain and discomfort, or turn into something more serious.

About Varicose Veins

First things first-what exactly are varicose veins? This condition develops when your blood is not circulating properly. In your veins, there are one-way valves that pump blood to your heart. When these valves become too damaged or weak to stop blood from flowing in the wrong direction, the blood remains in the vein, causing the veins to swell and twist near the surface of the skin. Both spider veins and varicose veins look somewhat similar in appearance, but the main difference is that spider veins do not usually cause pain or discomfort. Varicose veins can also be caused by inflammation in your veins and from blood clots.

Symptoms include burning, itching, aching, cramping, tiredness and swelling. They can cause blood clots and skin ulcers as well. If it gets worse, the skin may become inflamed and change color. Veins can appear blue and look like they’re going to pop out of your skin. Varicose veins can evolve into a more serious condition called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This can cause symptoms to intensify. According to the ACP Vein Center, 30-50% of adults are at risk of developing CVI. If a blood clot forms and blockage occurs, this can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). With all of that being said, you’re ready to hear about some preventative solutions right??

Prevention

To help prevent developing varicose veins, you want to improve circulation in the body. To do so, you want to focus on your calves. They pump blood from your legs back up to your heart, so you want to strengthen these muscles as much as possible. One easy way to improve circulation is by wearing compression socks. The graduated compression helps to reduce swelling and muscle fatigue to keep your legs energized and ache-free all day. You can find thigh highs, pantyhose and knee highs that all fight varicose veins in a variety of colors, fabrics, styles and compression levels. Not sure what level of compression you should use? Check out our Buyers Guide for more information.

Generally, 15-20mmHg is a good compression level for both the occasional and everyday wearer. Compression garments do more than improve circulation. They are great to wear traveling, to work, or when you are sitting or standing for long periods of time. Compression socks can also help athletes enhance performance, speed up recovery time and help to prevent injuries such as shin splints. It’s amazing how good your legs feel when you wear compression pantyhose or socks all day.

Listed below are some compression stockings that help with varicose veins. There are knee high, thigh high and pantyhose styles available by many different brands. Prices can vary anywhere from $12 to $60 or more depending on what compression level you need, the type of fabric and style you prefer. Sockwell has great products if you’re looking for something with style. Try our house brand, Allegro, if you are looking for a more affordable solution. Juzo compression stockings are perfect if you want something that is really comfortable. Wear Sigvaris or Jobst if you appreciate luxurious fabrics and a stylish look. Mediven offers a variety of products in many different styles, fabrics and compression levels for a great price.

For minor varicose veins, try a compression garment that provides 15-20mmHg of gradient compression. This level is perfect for traveling and relieves minor swelling, spider veins and helps to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The Sockwell Men’s Circulator Stripe 15-20mmHg

Juzo Attractive Sheer Thigh Highs 15-20mmHg

Sigvaris Soft Opaque Pantyhose 15-20mmHg

Use a compression garment that provides firm 20-30mmHg of gradient compression for moderate varicose veins. Wear this compression level to treat mild to moderate swelling, DVT and post-schlerotherapy.

Juzo Basic Ribbed Sock 20-30mmHg

Jobst Opaque Thigh Highs 20-30mmHg

Allegro Sheer Support Pantyhose 20-30mmHg

Wear compression stockings that provide 30-40mmHg of gradient compression under a doctor’s super vision. This compression level is best to wear during healing after surgical or sclerotherapy procedures to reduce swelling and chronic venous insufficiency.

Jobst Relief Knee Highs 30-40mmHg

Medi Assure Thigh high 30-40mmHg

Allegro Surgical Pantyhose 30-40mmHg

When you sit or stand for long periods of time, wearing compression socks improve blood flow. When you are sitting down, it’s harder for your veins to get the blood back up to your heart. Compression socks squeeze the leg to reduce how much pressure and blood is in your veins and helps to regulate and maintain a healthy blood flow. By improving circulation, recovery time for tired, achy legs decreases. It is also important to keep your legs flat on the floor instead of crossing them when you sit. Making sure you get up and walk around every half hour to an hour when you are sitting for a long time can also help.

Walking is a great exercise to keep your legs happy and healthy. You want to find activities that stretch the muscle and also strengthen it without going overboard. This is why running and lifting weights can cause so much damage to your body. Lifting weights and doing activities like Pilates and Yoga can strain your abdomen which results in less blood being able to reach the heart. Light, moderate exercise can help prevent varicose veins from getting worse. It is important to keep your body health and in the best shape possible. Losing weight and wearing loose clothing can also help prevent varicose veins from worsening.

Treatment

There are a couple of procedures to treat varicose veins. One option is to undergo sclerotherapy, which is where a solution is injected into your veins, which prevents blood from filling them. The veins are eventually absorbed by the body and fade as time passes. However, this isn’t for everyone. Pregnant women cannot use this treatment. People who have a history of blood clots may not be eligible either. Other treatments include vein stripping, where an incision is made to remove the vein, and may result in scarring, or a similar operation called ambulatory phlebectomy that results in minimal scarring. It is really important to wear compression socks after this procedure to reduce the pain. Another option is laser treatment. In this procedure, a tiny fiber is put in the vein that sends out laser energy to kill the part of the vein that is diseased. Read more about treatments at the Society for Vascular Surgery website.

Resources on Varicose Veins

Why Be Concerned About Varicose Veins? – Johns Hopkins

Frequently Asked Questions – Venefit

What Are Varicose Veins? – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Truths and Myths about Varicose Veins – Venefit

Difference between spider and varicose veins – American Academy of Dermatology

What you should know about varicose veins – American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

Treatment Resources

Varicose vein treatment – Radiologyinfo.org

Hear what people have to say about sclerotherapy – Realself.com

Varicose veins and exercise – La Jolla Light

Treatment Resources – Baptist Health Systems

Forums and Blogs

Varicose veins forum – American Venous Forum

Should I stop lifting due to varicose veins? – Bodybuilding Forum

Varicose veins and dieting obstacles forum

Varicose Vein Forum – Patient.co.uk

Varicose Vein Blogs – Smart Living Network

Community Forum – MedHelp.org

Support Groups

Varicose veins support group – DailyStrength.org

Varicose veins information and support group – Varistop.com

Q&A, blog and support group – Drugs.com

Varicose veins discussions and support group – People Helping People

Best Selling Products of 2014

As another year comes to a close, we tend to look back on the highlights of this past year. Here at BrightLife Direct, we are excited to share some of our major accomplishments of 2014: Our best sellers! Here is a list of all of your favorite products from this past year. Thank you for supporting us, we couldn’t have done it without you all. Happy New Year!!!

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Best Selling Sheer Compression

  1. Allegro Sheer Hosiery
  2. Jobst UltraSheer
  3. Medi Sheer & Soft

Best Selling Compression Sock

  1. Allegro Athletic Support Sock
  2. Allegro Ribbed Support Socks
  3. Therafirm Core-Spun Socks

Best Selling Compression Accessory

  1. It Stays – Body Adhesive
  2. Sigvaris Ridged Donning Gloves
  3. Hosiery Mate Revitalizing Washing Solution

Best Selling Diabetic Socks

  1. Jobst Sensifoot
  2. SmartKnit Seamless
  3. Allegro Pillow Soft Diabetic Socks

Best Selling Lymphedema Combined Armsleeves and Gauntlets

  1. Allegro Armsleeve/Gauntlet Combo
  2. Mediven Harmony Armsleeve & Gauntlet
  3. Sigvaris 912 Advance Armsleeve/Gauntlet Combo

Best Selling Athletic Compression Socks

  1. Allegro Athletic Support Sock
  2. Jobst Active Athletic Socks
  3. Allegro Athletic Copper Support Socks

Best Selling High Compression Socks (30-40 mmhg)

  1. Allegro Surgical Knee High
  2. Jobst Relief Knee Highs
  3. Allegro Men’s Super Support Sock

Pilot Approved Travel Socks

We’ve always been a fan of TravelSox travel compression socks for traveling by plane, train or automobile, but we think a review from a Boeing captain means more than our humble opinion! Check out what Captain Lorentz thinks about TravelSox below.


My name is Victor Lorentz. I am a Boeing 767 Captain and Check Airman for United Airlines, flying long haul international flights from the U.S. to various destinations in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.

A number of years ago, one of our pilots who is a competitive athlete authored an article in our airline’s flight safety publication highlighting the health risks associated with the lengthy, sedentary “sits” during such flights.

Besides recommending frequent movement and lower limb exercises, he advocated that we wear over-the-calf graduated compression socks. That is how I learned about TravelSox.

I immediately purchased several pair and have worn TravelSox Soft compression socks on every flight since. My experience was so clearly beneficial that I purchased more for my wife and adult children to wear whenever they fly, regardless of the length of the journey.

All four of us report the same effects: Noticeably less fatigue, no foot or ankle swelling, and the reassurance that comes from lots of research concluding that we are mitigating the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Despite many, many cycles through the washer and dryer, my TravelSox Soft socks retain their elasticity and compression.

Serendipitously, these are the most comfortable socks that I have ever worn. After several years as a satisfied customer, I just ordered more.

Note: I personally pay for the purchase of the TravelSox Soft socks that my family and I wear. I have received no compensation from the manufacturer, importer, distributor, or vendor of these products.

Captain Victor Lorentz United Airlines

Find all of the different TravelSox product options on BrightLife Direct.
This review was originally posted on the TravelSox Facebook page.

Travel Socks a.k.a. Compression Stockings

The British love to travel, and they make it really easy.  Major airports have listings of last minute travel packages.  Just show up, pick a holiday, and off you go.  Supplemental travel and health insurance can be purchased inexpensively right at an airport kiosk.  And wearing compression socks on long haul flights is a must, not an afterthought.

The British newspaper, The Telegraph, ran a medical advice article just the other day about a woman who will be traveling from London to Tokyo and was concerned about developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and wanted to know what steps she could take to prevent it.  Dr. Richard Dawood, a travel health expert, recommended against aspirin because of the low, but definite risk of bleeding in the stomach.  His best and safest recommendation to prevent a DVT… wear compression stockings.  They speed up blood flow, and reduce discomfort caused by ankle and foot swelling.

Dr. Dawood consulted with his travel guru,  vascular surgeon, John Scurr, whose research studies have shown a significantly reduced rate of clot formation among air travellers using graduated compression stockings.  Dr. Scurr recommends a knee high stocking that is sized properly, and specifically mentions Mediven Travel Socks.  Both doctors also recommend standing, walking and stretching as much as you can, and keep hydrated with as little caffeine and alcohol as possible.

For high risk individuals, those who have a past history of blood clots, have had recent surgery, especially on their legs, have blood clotting disorders or are overweight, they recommend talking to their doctor before travel.   In addition to compression stockings, blood-thinning medication might also be considered.

This is probably the twentieth blog we have written with news about travel socks.  You know why?  They work!

By: Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+

Travel Socks from the #1 Physician Recommended Brand

Jobst Travel Socks are back.  These were a customer favorite for many years, but due to production problems, were discontinued.  Jobst has just reintroduced this sock in the same great cotton blend fabric for men and women.  Features include:

  • All day comfort top-band, that keeps your stockings in place no matter how long the trip
  • Reinforced heel and toe for durability
  • Soft cotton/nylon/spandex blend fabric that feels great against the skin and keeps your feet dry and comfortable
  • Ribbed design in two colors: black and

    beige

Jobst Travel Socks

Travel socks have been proven to reduce the risk of developing a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clot in the leg which can turn into a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.  They also prevent your legs and feet from swelling due to sitting in a confined space for an extended period of time.  If you have ever taken your shoes off at the beginning of a long-haul flight, you know how difficult it can be to put them back on when you land.  If you keep your shoes on, you’ve felt how tight they become. Compression travel socks will help prevent this problem.

The improved circulation also alleviates some of the aches and pains in your legs associated with sitting for a long time.

Jobst Travel Socks have a graduated compression of 15-20mmHg.  Graduated means the compression is higher at the ankle, and gradually decreases up the leg.  This is one of the ways the stocking helps your circulatory system push blood from the lower extremities back to your heart.  This level of compression is considered moderate and is the recommended level of compression for travel, assuming you don’t have any other venous issues.

If you prefer a fabric other than cotton, BrightLife Direct has a large selections of other fabrics and styles to choose from.  If your summer vacation plans include traveling for more than 3-4 hours, don’t forget to wear your travel socks.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+

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