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Birthday books

Plus: computer backpacks

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Hip to Be Square
Coasters aren't usually the most thrilling things to buy, but we did a double take when we saw these square brushed-aluminum ones in a matching holder. They're so cool, you'll whip them out whether you're serving single-malt scotch or just a cerveza ($36.50 for a set of six).
Ad Hoc
136 Wooster Street
212-982-7703

Pretty in Pink
Pastel colors are no longer just for girly girls. Crate & Barrel's Opalin vases hit the right balance between soft color and sophisticated shape, perfect for just about any interior ($19.95 to $24.95).
CRATE & BARREL
650 Madison Avenue,at 59th Street
212-308-0011

Cover Story
Laura Friedland's brushed merino-wool blankets feel like cashmere but cost much less. They are unbelievably soft and come in pretty, springlike colors ($250).
Environment 337
337 Smith Street, Brooklyn
718-522-1767

Leader of the Pack
Nike isn't just for the gym anymore. The Atmosair, the company's first computer backpack, has a padded pocket for your laptop and a padded back, plus heavy-duty corner guards, a cell-phone holder, and adjustable straps that turn it into a messenger bag ($60).
Niketown
6 East 57th Street
212-891-6453

Writes of Passage
This supercute birthday book is the ultimate hint for friends who forget. A collaboration between Wendy Mullin (of Built by Wendy) and the folks at Fred Flare, the gingham-covered volume has very cool illustrations, tips on where to buy candy, flowers, and jewelry, and even a cake recipe ($8).
Patch NYC
17 Eighth Avenue
212-807-1060
Cozy's Cuts For Kids
1125 Madison Avenue,near 84th Street
212-744-1716
448 Amsterdam Avenue,near 81st Street
212-579-2600

Slim Chance
Denon's Super Compact Music System sounds as good as it looks. The brushed-aluminum control module has a CD player, a 30-station AM-FM preset tuner, and a clock with a sleep timer. The system also includes ultraslim two-way, three-driver speakers, and a powered subwoofer. The best part? Everything, including the subwoofer, can be wall-mounted ($749).
J&R Music World
23 Park Row
212-238-9000
THE WIZ (all stores)
www.denon.com

Don't Be Poopy
A litter box is a litter box. Usually. Now you can color-coordinate yours with your bathroom. The Barking Zoo has frosted plastic boxes ($40) and scoops ($20) in several mix-and-match colors.
The Barking Zoo
172 Ninth Avenue, near 21st Street
212-255-0658

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