Thursday, March 10, 2016

Exciting Eco Friendly Finds and More at The 2016 International Home and Housewares Show

ChiIL Mama's IHHS 2016 Photo Recap

It was our pleasure once again to cover the immense, cutting edge, world showcase for the home, The International Home and Housewares show right here in Chicago. We've been covering it extensively for years and this season was no exception. We made the booth rounds and we're here to share our top pick for the hottest useful gadgets and eco friendly finds. Many of these cool, new releases aren't even out yet! So get your wish lists ready.

IHHS is not open to the public, so once again ChiIL Mama is your eyes and ears on the inside.Check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We'll have photo and video filled recaps, cool new product reviews, news, tips, and giveaways all year long.

Check Out The Slideshow Here For Our Full Photo Recap.
More favorites and short product reviews appear below.

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More of ChiIL Mama's Top Picks & Green Gadgets:

IHHS is a home + housewares haven of epic proportions, spanning 3 giant halls of Chicago's massive McCormick Place Convention Center. Here at ChiIL Mama, we tend to explore it and shoot photos for at least 2 or 3 days, and still don't make it around to the entire show floor.

We began with the New Exhibitor Preview, a great place to check out the newbies in one hall. We've documented many of them in our full slideshow and the two below we took home to review.

Lid Sid has become a welcome part of my cooking gear. I have several and they're a simple and effective way to keep spoons off the counter and keep lids ajar so pots don't boil over. Highly recommended!

I also gave Hydaway a spin. I'm always on the lookout for eco-friendly water bottles and reusable coffee mugs. Hydaway reminds me of a telescoping camping cup I adored as a child. It's a clever, compact design and it's great that it folds flat when you're done with your drink for easy storage or clipping to a carabiner. Highly recommended! 

I was sent a Keurig Kold machine to review when they first hit the market, and many sample pods of Coke products, tea, and craft sodas. It was fun to use, easy to set up, and my teens enjoyed the ease of making cold drinks on demand. Still, with a $375 price point, a large footprint in my small, urban kitchen, all the packaging waste from the multipart pods, and the need to stay plugged in, I really can't wholeheartedly recommend this. I doubt this will be a big seller for Keurig unless they find a way to slim down the machine and the price tag. 

I was sent an iCoffee Opus machine to review and adore it! With a $140 price point it's more reasonable than it's close competitors and takes any kind of pod including an eco-friendly refillable one. Although I'm still more of a fan of their original SpinBrew machine that makes a full pot at a time, over any single serve brewing system, Remington iCoffee Opus is highly recommended. We're eagerly awaiting their next new release, iCafe, that will do fancy coffees like espresso, latte, cappuccino, Americano and more! Check out our video interview with CEO, Bruce Burrows HERE:

We were early adapters, doing a feature on Soda Stream way back in 2009 when they sent me two of their original machines to compare and contrast for ease of use with kids. Check it out HERE.

**Look how young my kids and their friend were back then! Now they're 13 & 15 year old teen agers and our Sodastream machine is still in daily use. We've bought an additional, larger tank Sodastream machine and several more as gifts since then. Highly recommended! 

Every year they pass out mini bottles with samples, so we make their booth an annual stop. Sadly, the rounded bottles don't work as well in the older model machines, overflowing easily and featuring a low water fill line. I've been asking them to send us a newer model, automatic machine to review every year since we first began covering IHHS in 2012, and they always say they're going to, but never follow through.

Contigo is a long time, local Chicago favorite of ours, despite a buyout this year. We've partnered up with them numerous times on giveaways for our readers including their iconic West Loop stainless travel mugs, adult water bottles, and kids' water bottles. Their eco-friendly, reusable, travel mugs and bottles are stellar, and they keep improving the designs every year. In 2016 I brought home a stainless water bottle and a new design coffee cup to review. The Newer lids are easier to clean. The water bottle has an angled, attached straw that's a big improvement. Their leak proof, locking qualities are excellent, as is their heat and cold retention. Highly recommended!

Fresh Wave is another local Chicago favorite of ours. They make natural, eco-friendly odor remover packets, sprays, and refillable jell air fresheners. My family uses them prolifically, in our bathroom, kitchen, shoes and more. They're releasing updated, eye catching packaging this year, with their tried and true, high quality products. Even the Blackhawks use their sport sprays! Highly recommended!

IHHS is a fun source for reusable bags and clever lunch packaging. We've been moving toward zero waste lunches for years now. It's a process, but every bit helps. This cute Peanuts line is great for snacking in style!

We're also lifelong fans of Aladdin's excellent products. We own many, and my first lunch box ever, at the age of 4, was their iconic red plaid, metal, in the early 70's. I loved it and adore that they've reissued it!  

In 2016 we came home with a new sandwich carrier with a hinged, attached lid. My son is loving it and taking his PB & J in it daily. It's easy to clean and the lid doesn't go missing. 

I also got the reusable travel mug below to review, in the gorgeous blues in their stock photo. It's made from recycled materials and has great heat retention, and it's microwave and dishwasher safe. My one beef with it is that it's too tall for my microwave unless I remove my glass, rotating plate from the machine, which is a pain. If they make this a bit shorter and wider, so it's still the same capacity, I'd more than recommend it.

Bodum is a best seller for a reason. We've bought many of their mugs, a glass tea maker, several Bodum coffee presses in various sizes and more, over the years. This is the 5th year in a row that we've swung by their impressive IHHS display space to see what's new. They give out French Press coffee samples in their travel mugs, so they're hugely popular and always have a line down the aisles. They also hire chefs and whip up tasty treats throughout the show. Their style, durability, and design are hard to beat. Highly recommended!

I was invited to an off site KitchenAid Mixer Release for their new Artisan Mini ($329). This line is pricy, but well worth it, with proven durability and quality. Their new mini mixer still has a high price point, but it's stellar for smaller kitchens, small batches, and baking with kids. Highly recommended!

Pantone's fab color displays are a highpoint of the IHHS Show! 

I also enjoy the daily cooking demos at various booths like Nordic Ware.

We'll have photo and video filled recaps, cool new product reviews, news, tips, and giveaways all year long. So be sure to ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often!

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