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5 Things We Love

  • COURTESY MCDONALDS



  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM
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Oatmeal for people who don’t like oatmeal

Trust me, it is as good as it looks in the commercial. As a lifelong oatmeal hater, I was a bit skeptical to try McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, but I was converted by its sweetness and creaminess. It’s made with 100 percent whole-grain oats, but what really makes it addictive is the topping of crunchy diced apples and chewy dried cranberries and raisins. If you want to tone down the sweetness, ask for the version without brown sugar. The oatmeal, which comes in at 290 calories per serving, is available for $2.49 all day at participating McDonald’s restaurants. — Charlene Robinson

Share aloha with cool cushions

The "North Shore" and "Waikiki" lumbar pillows from Kaypee Soh are the coolest, most graphic cushions around. They’d make a great hostess gift or the perfect present for a friend leaving Hawaii. You can find them at Somace or check online at www.somacedesign.com. While on their website, be sure to check out the lifestyle blog by Isla. It’s one of the best design blogs out there! The pillows cost $90. — Martha Shade, Los Angeles

Justify this

"Justified," the Elmore Leonard-inspired crime series on FX, is not for the faint of heart. Bullets fly in this drama, good people get killed and the bad guys are so menacing — although blessed with incredible dialog — that you can’t turn the channel. Now in its second season (Wednesdays at 8 p.m.), this edgy, back-roads tour of Harlan County, Ky., rides on the shoulders of its charming hero, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Played by Timothy Olyphant of "Deadwood" fame, he’s a sure-shot lawman with a lot of childhood friends who grew up to become crooks. — Mike Gordon 

Buddha beat box

I bought my first Buddha Machine back in 2005 on a visit to Hong Kong. Made in China, it’s a wonderful variation of the plastic music box used in Buddhist temples to chant or play prayers. The Beijing electronic duo FM3 (Christian Virant and Zhang Jian) converted the box into a musical loop player. The original version played nine different drone loops, which can be switched at any time, depending on your mood. I love the buzz of the sound coming out of the built-in speaker — it’s like a transistor radio of the past — and the device also makes for a great sampler for musicians to use.

I’ve got the latest version of the Buddha Machine, the clear-case Chan Fang, or Zen Room. Instead of electric-generated sound, all of the tracks were composed and performed on the qin, the seven-string zither that is the oldest of Chinese instruments. This is old-school technology at its best, plus it comes in different colors. It’s $20 (AA batteries not included) at www.forcedexposure.com. — Gary Chun

There’s a latte to like about this tea mix

I rarely make it through the day without some form of caffeinated pick-me-up. Lately, 8 a.m. has been chai latte time, but at $3.50 a pop from the coffee bar near work, it is a bit tough on my wallet. That’s why I was thrilled to discover Tazo’s chai-spiced black tea latte concentrate. Mix the tea elixir with milk, heat it up and I’m ready to face the day. The 32-ounce boxes are sold for $5.99 at Foodland and Safeway, or $8.29 for three boxes at Costco. — Donica Kaneshiro

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