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Birthday books

Plus: computer backpacks


(Click on links to view images)

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

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).
650 Madison Avenue,at 59th Street

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

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).
6 East 57th Street

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
Cozy's Cuts For Kids
1125 Madison Avenue,near 84th Street
448 Amsterdam Avenue,near 81st Street

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
THE WIZ (all stores)

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

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