Staff Picks: A portable disco, some fancy oatmeal, and a book about coffee

Ion Block Party Live

God willing, it’ll soon be warm enough to start going outside for lengthy periods of time here in Chicago. I’m talking about porch parties, backyard barbecues, and block ragers. We even have a roof deck here at work perfect for sunny lunches and Friday night flip cup. But sometimes it’s hard to get decent sound outside, and iPhone speakers—even the nice ones—don’t always cut it. That’s where Ion’s Block Party Live comes in. The portable wireless speaker system delivers quite a little aural kick, and you can either run it off an electrical socket or charge it pre-party. Beyond that, it’s got a mic, an aux port for iPods, and—the pièce de résistance—party-style strobe lights that spin around as if they’ve hit a disco ball. (That feature’s not that effective outside, but inside …

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