Slice of life

Ask any professional chef or kitchen expert and the importance of proper knives to accomplish culinary needs. A favorite of top chefs, this Asian-style Santoku cutlery tool from Gunter Wilhelm is another all-purpose knife that's great for slicing, dicing, and chopping. It features dimples down the edge of the blade, which create air pockets that allow even wet and sticky foods to slide right off. The 7-inch Santoku Knife is a perfect addition to kitchens big and small.

WHERE TO BUY: $129 at Costo, Amazon.com or gunterwilhelm.com

A terrific toast

Emilio Moro 2013 Finca Resalso is a wine that displays an intense, ripe black cherry color. On the nose, it develops well with ripe red berry hints (mulberry and blackcurrant) intermingled with elegant, balsamic, oaky aromas. On the palate it is powerful with nuances of incense, spice and sweet-tasting cinnamon. This wine combines the sweetness of the ripe tannins with the polyphenolic structure of the Tinto Fino variety. It is well balanced, lingering, harmonious and has a lingering finish.

WHERE TO BUY: $13.99 at emiliomoro.com

Prickly perfection

True Nopal is marketed as "nature's cure to the dreadful hangover" and works as a natural pick-me-up for a helpful, hydrating boost during summer activities. True Nopal Cactus Water is made from the prickly pear fruit of the Nopal Cactus. This bright pink fruit is loaded with antioxidants and is scientifically proven to reduce symptoms from lack of hydration, which is one of the reasons so many people suffer from headaches during hangovers, as well as the debilitating nausea. In addition to calming the stomach and easy the head throbbing, True Nopal Cactus Water has half the sugars and calories than coconut water. It's natural pink color also makes it a great mixer for refreshing summer beverage blends.

WHERE TO BUY: $5.99 at truenopal.com

Cat attack

The ages old game of cat and mouse is now far more appetizing for skillful felines. Mars Petcare's Temptations brand, known for "the treats cats can't resist," has introduced a new, first of its kind cat toy called the Temptations Snacky Mouse. Snacky Mouse provides cats with an interactive bottom-weighted, mouse-shaped wobble toy designed to dispense Temptations treats as cats bat, bobble and play with it to make playtime more irresistible. Best of all, the toy offers an incentive to keep cats moving and active, important motivators given today's trend of inactive pets fighting unhealthy weight-gain.

WHERE TO BUY: $7.99 in stores or at temptationstreats.com

In the cards

In today's world that leans more and more for "virtual games and enjoyment for entertainment," it's nice to know the options for fun and diversion with a standard deck of cards is still boundless. Author Tara Gallagher's new book "Shuffle & Deal" is a handy hardcover with 50 card games for any number of players. It includes color illustrations and helpful tips.

WHERE TO BUY: $19.99 in stores or hc.com

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.