Tip Sheet

Summer Guide

The weather's finally warming up. Now what do you need to really enjoy your holidays this year? Tip Sheet took a quick look and found a number of things we can't live without. A sampling:

3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash Philosophy Heat up that outdoor shower. With "flavors" like Key lime and raspberry sorbet, you can skip that trip to the ice-cream shack. $16 at philosophy.com.

Beach outfit Dropped your ice cream? Look cute whining about it. Hat: $37; see www.petit bateau.com for stores. Swimsuit and terry slides: $22.50 and $16 at gymboree.com.

Waikiki hat Helen Kaminski Stash the Uggs and try on this Aussie beauty. $168 at delmarhat.com.

C-4 Outdoor Cooker Viking Make the neighbors green with envy. Not only does it grill hot dogs, it smokes turkeys and bakes pies. From $4,350; vikingrange.com for stores.

iPod speakers Altec Lansing Build a tiny stereo with big bass sound. $149 at apple.com.

Philippe Starck watches Fossil Brainy and beautiful, with two alarms and water resistance to 30.5 meters. $95 at fossil.com.

Cell-phone bag Mixx Even cell phones need summer clothes. Keep yours sand-free and stylish. $15 at flight001.com.

Men's ties If you haven't noticed, bold, striped ties are in, and Thomas Pink and Charles Tyrwhitt make some of the best. $95 each at www.thomaspink.com; $80 and $59 at www.ctshirts.co.uk.


Beyond Partying

Amsterdam, where 80 percent of residents travel by bicycle, has a decidedly slow pace. A guide to a laid-back destination:

* EAT. At INES ISPC, a restaurant-cum-private club known for great Mediterranean-Asian fusion. (31-20-6392899).

* DRINK. Sip cocktails while lounging on thick mattresses at the Supper Club, before the tempo brings everyone to the floor (31-20-6380513).

* SLEEP. Seven One Seven is the address for serious pampering. The dream room is the Picasso Suite, overlooking Prinsengracht Canal (from $464, www.717hotel.nl).

* SHOP. Meander around the leafy Jordaan neighborhood with its quirky boutiques and quaint cafes. For high-end shopping, head to Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat.

* SEE. The Van Gogh Museum (www.vangoghmuseum.nl), of course, but also the contemporary art gallery Stedelijk (stedelijkmuseum.nl) or the classic Rijksmuseum (rijksmuseum.nl).

Touring: Sights By Scooter

On your next trip to Paris, skip those double-decker sightseeing buses and hop instead on a Segway "personal transportation device." A four-hour tour starts with a 40-minute demonstration of how to use the Segway, a self-balancing two-wheeler with tilt sensors. Its steering is impressive, too; the Segway can make a 360-degree turn on a centime.

An informative guide leads the group like ducklings, weaving through crowded streets and stopping occasionally to impart useful bits of information: the Pont de la Concorde is made of the stones from the toppled Bastille, for instance, or the cavity under the dome in the Invalides was used to hide U.S. pilots shot down during World War II. Reaction among the local population is mixed; Segway riders are regarded alternately as celebrities, aliens or lazy out-of-towners.

City Segway Tours offers day and night tours of Paris and Nice (parissegwaytours.com, 70 euro); tours in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Chicago are coming soon. Other companies are offering similar tours elsewhere, including London (segways.co.uk ); Bangkok (thailandsegwaytours.com ); Minneapolis (humanonastick.com); and Hawaii (segwayhi.com/tours).

Road Test: BMW 645ci

Topless Fun

You might as well call that little black Sport button on the 645Ci's center console the car's very own jet pack. And when I pushed it, it felt like afterburners on the Batmobile kicked in; I was thrust back. And no wonder--it's the same big, 4.4-liter, 325-horsepower V-8 engine found on the heavier 7 Series. Cheap thrills? Not really; it is, after all, a BMW.

Bimmer fans have waited 15 years for the relaunch of the 6 Series, known to be the luxury sport model. With a shorter wheelbase than the 5 Series, and wearing more lightweight components, the 645Ci is deft and powerful, with balletlike handling. The back seat is roomy enough for two passengers, though maybe not for long trips. And trunk space is surprisingly generous. But all is not perfect. The convertible's design is an odd combination of bland and chunky, with large pieces of sheet metal contorted into inelegant configurations. And that nasty iDrive computer system makes it hard to program the radio stations--much less the air conditioning. But when that alluring low grumble emanates from the dual tailpipes, I smile and all is forgiven.

Tip: For a sleeker look, opt for the coupe and save $7,000.


Patch Up That Scar

Unless you're Harry Potter, friends probably don't admire your scars. So make them go away. Over-the-counter "scar sheets" from brands like Neosporin and Band-Aid are proliferating. But do they really work? Most of the adhesive patches contain silicone, which studies show can soften scars (the sheets aren't meant to be used on open wounds, so let them heal first). Two caveats: the patches are more effective on raised scars. And they must be worn for at least eight weeks. Of the topical gels that claim to reduce scarring, Mederma "probably works best," says Dr. Hayes Gladstone, director of the division of dermasurgery at Stanford University. Experts advise you to keep a new scar in the shade; apply sunscreen and a moisturizer, or vitamin E, regularly. If it doesn't improve after several months, a dermatologist may be able to flatten and fade it with a laser. That way you won't be scarred for life.