A Journey Through Prime Day Anxiety

Welcome to Prime Day! Both 7/11/17 and the Amazon Prime shopping event when members are treated to 30 hours of slashed prices and special deals. If you’re a carefree online shopper this is right up your alley. If you’re a cautious spender but have been waiting to make a very specific purchase, you’re probably feeling pretty good, too.

But if you’re one of those people who both insists on buying everything on sale, but also frets and fusses about spending any unplanned cash, this is just nerve-wracking. Let’s talk about Prime Day Anxiety.

Phase 1: I’m Not Buying Anything

Maybe the right answer is not even going on Amazon today.

Phase 2: Well. Maybe I could just window shop.

The Prime Day Anxiety is creeping in: I don’t want to buy anything, but I also don’t want to not buy something I’ll just end up buying later, but for more money… right?

Phase 3: Confusion and dismay.

The real Prime Day anxiety starts when you surf over to Amazon (surf? as in surf the web? I’m elderly). There are THOUSANDS of deals and unless you spend your whole workday on there, you’ll never get through them all.

Wait… and there are upcoming deals? Yeah. They don’t just dump all of the deals into your lap at midnight. They open up on a rolling basis. You can set alerts. It’s a lot.

Oh. And after a certain number of deals are claimed, they go away. If you really want something, you have to act on it.

If you’re serious about this you either have to check Prime all day or hire some kind of a Prime Day Nanny to watch the internet for you.

Phase 4: Regrouping

It’s time for a list. I figured out the things I really need or have been wanting for a long time. It’s a hodgepodge ranging from a 6-month supply of flea and tick preventative for my dog (this year has been exceptionally tick-y) to a Fitbit Charge to a standing mixer. I use the Prime Day field to do a specific search for these items, bypassing any tempting deals I don’t need to be exposed to.

Phase 5: Shopping Cart Shuffle

Just a lot of putting things in my shopping cart “in case,” giving some of the satisfaction of shopping without actually buying anything. I basically treat it like one of those Toys R Us shopping sprees kids would win on Nickelodeon back in the day, but without getting anything at the end. (Childhood Shopping-Related Anxiety: how stressed I’d get about the terrible, inefficient choices those kids would always make.)

Of course, this is Prime Day and nothing can be easy. In the time between adding a $14 pair of sneakers to my cart and going to my cart to possibly check out, the sneakers were gone.

Other things I put in my cart: a set of knives for my parents, a $5 nightshirt for some reason, some retinol I guess, a watch (??). I buy none of them.

Phase 6: Comparison Shopping

To the people who can casually shop – in store or online – without checking to see if there’s a better price: I envy you. I had to check my trusty Google Shopping to find out if these were even the best deals. The knife set wasn’t, although it turns out the nightshirt was really very cheap. It was also a nightshirt.

Phase 7: Prime Day Deep Dive

I couldn’t stop myself. I looked at deals for things I didn’t need, which – when on sale – somehow become things I COULD need. I really don’t have to drop $30 on an Amazon Fire, but what if my laptop beaks this year? And I could have had a tablet for $30? On the other hand, what if I really need $30 this year and I have an Amazon Fire instead?

Phase 8: Checkout

Mentally, not literally. The best way not to get frazzled about Prime Day is not to do Prime Day.

Except for that flea and tick stuff. I did end up buying that. Only $12!

** This post is in no way sponsored by Amazon, I just get stressed about spending money **


Fashion Friday: Nordstrom Steals & Deals

We’re always trying to come up with new fun topics to talk about with you guys, and today, we’re introducing a new series, Fashion Friday! Of course this concept is nothing new, but it’s new to us and we are v excited about it! Basically it’s a way for us to highlight a favorite store or brand that we’ve enjoyed as of late, and want to spread the good word to you fine folks.

For this inaugural post, we’re going to focus on one of the best department stores in the U.S. – Nordstrom! I always see great items when I go there (especially Nordstrom Rack), so here are just a few of the fantastic steals and deals you can buy online or in a store near you – you can even use this handy store locator to find one! ALSO did we mention the cafe? Because many locations have Nordstrom cafes. What’s better than finding the perfect clothes to dress like a woman and then grabbing some tacos as a reward? Nothing, really. Get a head start with our guide below!

Rebecca Taylor – Metallic Clip Midi Dress

Was: $595.00 Now: $356.98 40% off

TBH, I think I was drawn to this dress because it reminded me of the dress Alexis Bledel wore to the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiere. Yes, I realize I’m a crazypants for even remembering what she wore.

Want & Need – Strapless Lace Jumpsuit

Was $58.00 Now $20.30 65% Off

If there was a way to make jumpsuits that a) looked great on every body type and b) had an easier way to pee in them, I’d say jumpsuits should be a required item in everyone’s closet. This black halter jumpsuit it simple yet versatile, and can be perfectly paired with a white blazer.

Athena Alexander – ‘Layla’ Boot (Women)

Was: $109.95 Now: $59.90 45% off

I feel like Betty (Draper) Francis would wear these on the way to horseback riding lessons.

Topshop – Floral Velvet Dress

Was: $75.00 Now: $34.99 50% off

You can’t really tell, but this is velvet, which apparently is a think that’s made a comeback because ’90s. Tamagotchi not included.

Ivy Park – Mesh Panel Racerback Tank

Was $35.00 Now $16.97  52% Off


kate spade new york cameron street – byrdie leather crossbody bag

Was: $298.00 Now: $199.66 33% off

Kate Spade is always classy but stands out from the rest thanks to the frequent use of bright colors. This adorbs crossbody bag is no different. Perfect for a holiday in Miami or night out in New York.

Equipment – Leema Tie Neck Silk Blouse

Was: $238.00 Now: $95.20 60% off

I’m no Vogue editor, but pussy bows are totally in, right? If it’s good enough for the First Lady, it’s good enough for me.

BP. – Square Stud Earrings (Set of 2)

Was: $16.00 Now: $9.98 35% off

These are v New Year’s Eve party, no?

Adrianna Papell – Floral Matelass? Fit & Flare Dress (Regular & Petite)

Was $209.00 Now $31.35 85% Off

True story: my friend has this exact same dress and she wore it to a wedding last year and got so many compliments. It was comfortable, breathable and best part – POCKETS.

Topshop – Stripe Detail Scalloped Knit Top

Was: $75.00 Now: $34.99 50% off

Because you can never go wrong with black and white.

TOMS – Desert Lace-Up Wedge Bootie

Was $119.00 Now $59.50 50% Off

I went to Nordstrom Rack specifically to purchase classic Toms flats because of the great price, and they have a YUGE selection of not only classic flats but sandals, boots, slippers and as seen above, fashionable wedges.

Helene Berman – Studded Ears Wool Blend Cap

Was: $122.00 Now: $73.20 40% off

I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like I’ve seen this hat before. (Update: yes I have).

Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts 2015: Santa’s Got A Brand New Douchebag

Haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet? Have an unreasonably large budget, no time to arrange a gift yourself, and a total d-bag on your shopping list? Yeah, me either, thank goodness. But for the second year in a row, we DO at least have the Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts to remind us that we’re better off than the people who do have those things — plus some low-budget alternatives for the rest of us.

A Motorcycle Day With Keanu Reeves and Keanu Reeves’ Friend Gard

Cost: $150,000.00

Arch Motorcyle and Ride Experience with Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger

First, go to breakfast with Keanu Reeves and Keanu Reeves’ friend Gard – which I’d be into, I mean I’d hit up a good brunch with John Wilkes Booth and Justin Bieber if promised bottomless mimosas. Then go on a motorcycle ride, then go to a cafe. Then take a friend to dinner and ditch Keanu. Or don’t: the man has been through a lot and I hear he’s one of the nicest celebrities. The next day, ride through a forest with Keanu like you’ve just watched the Matrix trilogy before bed and now you’re living in a weird dream. By the way, the 150K price tag does include the motorcycle.

Alternative: A set of Matrix DVDs (like $20 if Target’s running a sale); a moped rental; brunch with your most chill friend.

Couture Diary

Cost: $10,000.00

Couture Diary

I’m assuming if you’re buying this, you have the kind of friends who own a lot of couture, so good on you. All right, so the book part of this gift just seems unnecessarily complex:

  • Scandinavian calfskin cover is vegetable tanned in Scotland exclusively for bookbinding
  • All tooling is executed by hand in 24-karat gold at the Vogel Bindery in East Hampton, New York
  • Diary sheets are engraved on premium stock paper with hand-colored borders from The Printery in Oyster Bay, New York

Anyway, then someone draws 20 of your outfits on the Scandinavian cow, Scottish vegetable, Gatsby gold, Oyster paper that lives in the house that Jack built.

Alternative: Paper dolls, maybe? But couture ones.

Some Really Old Questionable Whiskey

Cost: $125,000.00

The Orphan Barrel Project

The Orphan Barrel Project, which sounds like a cool Orphan Black offshoot but isn’t, collects barrels of old whiskey from abandoned places then sells them to rich people. On this trip to Lexington, Kentucky, you hunt through an old distillery for booze like a troubled teen breaking and entering for the first time. Then you get a whiskey cabinet, some glassware, and a bunch of old liquor that I hope a health department has vetted.

Alternative: Go to your liquor cabinet, or better yet, your parents’. What’s the oldest bottle there, the one that you can’t quite remember buying? Okay, give that to a friend.

A 12-Day Journey Through The Nicest Parts Of India

Cost: $400,000.00


No shade, this sounds amazing and includes a surprising number of rides in private rickshaws, not like those gross crowded public rickshaws the poors take on their vacations to India. I’m most intrigued by kite-flying at a palace, which seems like the Neiman Marcus folks are just throwing together random wonderful things.

Alternative: A cassette tape of that one Alanis song about “thank you India” or whatever.

Going Almost To Space

Cost: $90,000.00

World View Profile

In high school, my brother and I had a coworker who went to Space Camp. My brother knew that she didn’t actually go to space, but wondered aloud whether she “maybe went up in a really high plane or something.” This is basically that: floating at 100,000 feet above Earth for a few hours. If any of you are very rich, I’d like this, please.

Alternative: A telescope; a reminder that we are but specks in a vast, unknowable, and ever-expanding universe; a Carl Sagan book.

An Art Tour Of Italy With A Jewelry Maker

Cost: $150,000.00

Italy Tour with Ippolita & Artemest Craftsmen

This trip includes more arts and crafts projects than you’d think, including playing with clay and “secret paper techniques” (which I imagine ends in you creating the world’s classiest cootie catcher). You have to go to the same glass-blowing “fornace” two days in a row, though.

Alternative: A gift card to JoAnn fabrics. Come at me if you want, I love me some JoAnn fabrics and the folksy suburban ladies I always talk to at the fabric counter.

A Trunk Full Of Iris Apfel’s Stuff

Cost: $80,000.00

Price includes a fancy trunk filled with jewelry and accessories, as well as lunch and a styling session with Iris herself.

Alternative: A copy of Iris, the Iris Apfel documentary that’s on Netflix. It’s life-affirming AF.

A Neiman Marcus Mustang

Cost: $95,000.00

Neiman Marcus Mustang

I’ve become jaded by this point, because my reaction to that price tag was “wow, only $95K?” I’d make the most darling rich person. You also get to go to racing school! Manual transmission only, soz.

Alternative: A day at the go-kart track! Everyone loves go-karts, right? Whee!!

Three Guitars

Cost: $30,000 each

Texas Trio Guitars

Steve Miller, Lyell Lovett, and Billy Gibbons all designed guitars. For a cool 30K you get one of them – not all three -as well as a backstage visit with the musician who designed it.

Alternative: Legit, you can find a guitar for like $30 on Craigslist, and something tells me it’s not too difficult to get backstage for any of these fellows if you really wanted to.

A Casket Full Of Gender Norms

Cost: $5,000

Mackenzie-Childs Trunk - Ultimate Children's Costumes

No, okay, what it really is is a custom-painted trunk for a “girl” (pink trunk, four different princess dresses) or a “boy” (primary-colored trunk, superhero costumes). It’s like those McDonald’s Barbie and Hot Wheels toys for the very rich (Stuff 90s Kids Remember: being asked if you want a “boy toy” or a “girl toy” instead of a doll or a car). If you know a girl who is into princesses, or a boy who likes Iron Man, and you have 5K to burn, this seems okay … but I still think this is some kind of bullshit.

Alternative: Dress-up clothes – one of my favorite gifts for the kids in my family! But you don’t have to be so rigid about it.


What To Buy: A Baby You Know

Welcome to What To Buy, a semi-recurring holiday gift guide feature I’m doing since I’m looking all of this stuff up anyway. It feels like all year I think of gifts that would be perfect for people, only to panic and scramble for gifts once November and December roll around. This year, I’m sharing my thoughts for anyone else in the same boat. Julie Andrews always told us to start at the very beginning, so that’s what we’re going to do … with gifts for babies, who are the beginning of people.

Something you probably know about me: I know a lot of babies. I don’t actually have one, which is great. There are a lot of people that I like hanging out with but I wouldn’t particularly want to be roommates with them, and babies fall into that category. But I think they’re really fun once they get a personality on them, and they’re some of the easiest people to buy for because they’re happy with an empty box. For gift giving purposes, we’re calling babies anything from brand new to age two or so, when they start to fall into the kid category.

For The Baby Who Loves 90s Hip Hop And Has Dreams

I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller or I Wish I Was A Baller shirt from tribeisalive




This is my niece, Lulu. I’m obviously biased but I think she’s as cute as a bug  – and at 17 months, she’s also about as big as one. She probably does wish she was a little bit taller but you can’t blame an auntie for wanting her to stay this size forever. Also comes in I Wish I Was A Baller, and is available in onesies or – why not – adult sizes. Lu has a great Jump Up Jump Up And Get Down shirt from the same site, but it seems to be no longer in stock.  $23, tribeisalive.com

[Because you didn’t ask, my personal criteria for “clever” baby t-shirts and onesies: nothing that references the father’s fertility or the fact that babies poop and pee. Why are those so popular?]

For A Baby Who Is Cold

Knitted hat that makes them look like something other than a baby

Baby it’s cold outside … is NOT a song you should sing to a baby. Creepy song, that. But it’s also a fact of life this time of year. One of the great things about babies is you can make them wear ridiculous things and they don’t know, like the adorable hats from Melondipity. These cute knitted caps are also a good way to circumvent that whole issue of not being able to find cute boy or neutral baby clothes. $19.99, melondipity.com.

For A Baby Who Likes Taking Things Out Of Containers And Putting Things Back In Again

Autumn Acorn Color Sorting Bowls

Autumn Acorn Color Sorting Bowls //  Wooden Bowls & Acorns // Wooden Educational Toy // Montessori // Waldorf

I know that sounds like a really specific type of baby, but if you also know a lot of babies you know what I’m talking about. I try to avoid anything that is probably full of lead paint and parabens, and if I were shopping for a sort-crazy baby this year something like this wooden set is just what I would go with. And since adults are the ones stuck with baby stuff strewn about their house, the bonus is that wooden sets like this are a lot less loud and ugly looking. $29.00, Simple Gift Toys on Etsy.

For The Baby Who’s Working On That Walking Thing

Plan Toys Push Toy

PlanToys® Push Toy Storage Capacity

During that wobbly stage, toddlers are so much happier to walk when they’re pushing something. This van is adorable and leaves storage space for kids to take a stuffed animal or two along for the ride. It’s also non-babyish enough that I could see it getting worked into pretend play into the early childhood years. $60.99, target.com.

For The Baby With A Crafty Gift-Giver And A Blank Bedroom Wall

DIY Name Sign

Not at all sorry for bombarding you with my Lu. My sister-in-law made this for her own baby’s room, but it would be a great gift, too. Use scrapbook paper and mod-podge to cover wooden letters, available at most craft stores, and accent with flowers or balloons, also in the scrapbook section. It’s a thoughtful, fun gift that will ensure that the baby you know never forgets who they are (as soon as they learn how to read.) $10 – 30 for supplies, JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels.


For The Baby Who’s Growing Teeth In Its Mouth

Josephine Mouse

Chances are, the baby you know already has a Sophie the Giraffe – but do they have Sophie’s friend Josephine yet? A few parents have raised choking concerns about Sophie’s long neck, although looking at the toy and the babies I know, it just doesn’t seem possible. But if you’re concerned, you might like the mouse’s rounder shape. $16.10, Target.com.

For The Baby Who Still Has A Lot Of Growing To Do

Set Of 30 Milestone Baby Cards

Milestone cards

It can be hard to document all of a baby’s firsts. If you know parents who aren’t painstakingly writing every moment in a baby book, they probably still have time to bust out the camera phone when baby does something new. These milestone cards provide a space to put the date the baby hit those big milestones, like smiling and saying mama. Parents can just write the date on the card, prop the card up next to the baby, and snap a photo. Instant, easy baby book. $24.59 for a set of 30, NotOnTheHighStreet.com.

For The Baby Who’s Sleepy

Constellation projecting turtle light



The soft light from this projector will create a peaceful glow in the baby’s room … and make parents 50% less likely to stub their toes walking into a dark room in the middle of the night. Win-win. $34.95, hammacher.com.

For The Musical Baby

Baby Instruments


Instruments aren’t just great for a baby’s burgeoning musical abilities, they also help teach cause and effect. Pro tip: go for the non-electric ones that are baby, rather than battery, powered. The parents will thank you. $19.93, thejunglestore.com.

For The Baby Who Likes A Good Story

Baby Lit books

Pride & Prejudice

I have bought these for so many babies, and they always get a great response. No baby is too young to get drawn into the Bingley v. Wickham v. Darcy debate. Other titles include Sherlock, Wuthering Heights, Moby-Dick, and many more. If you’re a lit nerd trying to get your favorite babies on board – guilty! – these are just the ticket. $9.99, babylit.com.


ICYMI: Last-Minute Christmas Shopping That Will Break The Bank

We’re in the single-digit countdown to Christmas now, and you only have mere hours to get your final Christmas gifts. If you need some inspiration, and have a few thousand Benjamins lying around, this list is for you.

Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts: Santa’s Got A Brand New Douchebag

There is one joy that money can never buy: the pure delight of making fun of rich people. And there is no better time to mock the wealthy than Christmas – turning the season of giving into the season of taking (the mickey). When the affluent want to give an elaborate gift, but don’t want to actually arrange the present themselves, they turn to the year’s Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts. But let nothing you dismay – we have low-budget alternatives to all of them.

Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker

Cost: $35,000.00

No, it’s not an amusement park swing ride for 7-up bottles. I thought so, too. It’s a Tanqueray shaker, complete with a year’s supply of Tanqueray and a mixology class. So, essentially a Rube Goldberg invention that turns a rich asshole into a rich, drunk asshole.

Alternative: A case of Crystal Palace gin ($100.00, your local college-adjacent liquor store), a shaker ($20.00, eBay), The Joy of Mixology ($20.00, Target)

Vanity Fair Academy Awards Experience

Cost: $425,000.00

This is like famous person fantasy camp. It includes two nights at the Beverly Hills Hotel, dinner at the Chateau Marmont (Lindsay Lohan optional?), pampering (such a gross word), a dress and some borrowed jewelry and getting your hair did, access to the Vanity Fair party, and a crushing, sobering return to reality the next day.

Alternative: a Groupon for a local spa, a gift card to some sort of place that sells dresses, and your personal stash of back issues of US Weekly.

The House Of Creed Bespoke Fragrance Journey

Cost: $475,000.00

Whenever someone starts describing something as a “journey,” I tune out. You can say that you’re losing weight, but tell me that you’re “on a weight loss journey” and I’ll picture you with a compass and maybe a Saint Bernard, getting Sacajawea’ed through a Planet Fitness. So, what’s a “fragrance journey?” It’s a straight-up trip to Paris, with three nights in a five-star hotel, meals, a jaunt to the countryside, and a consult with a perfumier to make your “signature scent.”


Are those items a little too costly for you? Well maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop gift guide is more in your budget. If your pockets are lined with gold.

Guess the (Ghastly) Goop Prices!

I’ve always said that if I ever win the lottery or suddenly inherit loads of money, I would not buy extravagant things. I would probably still shop at places like Target and Forever 21 H&M, but just buy more stuff without having to think twice about it. None of that designer stuff for me.

But there are some people who do fall under the category of throwing money at random stuff – e.g. American Apparel shoppers. The ones that pay $24 for a tank top. I mean, obviously the quality is better etc. etc., but $24 just seems a little too extreme for some fabric.

If you happen to be one of these folks, I have just the site for you. Welcome to Goop.

goopIf you’re not familiar, Goop is a lifestyle website created by Gwyneth Paltrow. It started off as a newsletter, but has since expanded into a website for online shopping, recipes, parenting advice and more. However, Goop has been known to sell some pretty pricy items, which of course is nothing new. However, the site takes the American Apparel route to the next level, selling simple clothes (like tank tops) for twice as much. Here are a few ridiculously priced Goop products that Gwyneth is peddling to the masses. And just for funsies, try to guess how much each items is before looking at the actual retail price! Either highlight the space next to ‘Actual Retail Price’ or click on the pic to purchase it for yourself!

>Actual Retail Price: $175<

>Actual Retail Price: $98<

>Actual Retail Price: $91<

>Actual Retail Price: $950<

>Actual Retail Price: $295<

>Actual Retail Price: $130<

>Actual Retail Price: $195<

>Actual Retail Price: $1,298<

>Actual Retail Price: $165<

>Actual Retail Price: $55<

>Actual Retail Price: $50<

>Actual Retail Price: $140<

Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts: Santa’s Got A Brand New Douchebag

There is one joy that money can never buy: the pure delight of making fun of rich people. And there is no better time to mock the wealthy than Christmas – turning the season of giving into the season of taking (the mickey). When the affluent want to give an elaborate gift, but don’t want to actually arrange the present themselves, they turn to the year’s Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts. But let nothing you dismay – we have low-budget alternatives to all of them.

Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker

Cost: $35,000.00

No, it’s not an amusement park swing ride for 7-up bottles. I thought so, too. It’s a Tanqueray shaker, complete with a year’s supply of Tanqueray and a mixology class. So, essentially a Rube Goldberg invention that turns a rich asshole into a rich, drunk asshole.

Alternative: A case of Crystal Palace gin ($100.00, your local college-adjacent liquor store), a shaker ($20.00, eBay), The Joy of Mixology ($20.00, Target)

Vanity Fair Academy Awards Experience

Cost: $425,000.00

This is like famous person fantasy camp. It includes two nights at the Beverly Hills Hotel, dinner at the Chateau Marmont (Lindsay Lohan optional?), pampering (such a gross word), a dress and some borrowed jewelry and getting your hair did, access to the Vanity Fair party, and a crushing, sobering return to reality the next day.

Alternative: a Groupon for a local spa, a gift card to some sort of place that sells dresses, and your personal stash of back issues of US Weekly.

The House Of Creed Bespoke Fragrance Journey

Cost: $475,000.00

Whenever someone starts describing something as a “journey,” I tune out. You can say that you’re losing weight, but tell me that you’re “on a weight loss journey” and I’ll picture you with a compass and maybe a Saint Bernard, getting Sacajawea’ed through a Planet Fitness. So, what’s a “fragrance journey?” It’s a straight-up trip to Paris, with three nights in a five-star hotel, meals, a jaunt to the countryside, and a consult with a perfumier to make your “signature scent.”

Alternative: some essential oils (Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/ any decent grocery store), a glass bottle (basically wherever).

100th Anniversary Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition Maserati Ghibli S Q4

Cost: $95,000.00

The copy for this gift reads like a how-to guide for being an insufferable douche. For instance: “Pulling out onto the road, you notice surrounding cars slow as you cruise down the street. Ubiquitous German luxury sedans become mere traffic in your presence—catching a glimpse of a Maserati is still a treat.” And also: “swiveled heads and open mouths accompany your arrival. Was it the aria emanating from the Bowers & Wilkins stereo or the symphony coming from the tailpipe that created the audience? Either way, one thing is certain: Everyone loves an Italian accent.”

The person who finds that braggadocio appealing is also, frankly, the last person I’d want to buy a gift for.

Alternative: A lump of coal. Do they make Italian coal? Then that.

Custom Locket and Trip with Monica Rich Kosann

Cost: $100,000.00

First, you go to Germany (airfare not included). Then, “you’ll join forces with jewelry designer and photographer Monica Rich Kosann at the workshop of Constantin Wild (whose family has been in the gem business since 1847) on a quest to find—and design—the perfect locket. Together you’ll select a stone and collaborate on your creation. The final version, and a hand-painted rendering of your piece, will then make the journey to your home soon after. In the meantime, you are welcome to visit Kosann in New York City, where she’ll photograph you and your family for the very portrait that will be kept and prized in your locket.”

This gift combines my least-favorite things: group work and appearing in photographs. Also, what’s the point of a locket unless your long-lost relative has the other half of it somewhere? Does Neiman Marcus sell that?

Alternative: One of those lockets where you put in the stuff you want and it floats around like a necklace-snowglobe. Starting at like 30 bucks. Google “make your own locket.” You’re welcome.

Ultimate Mardi Gras Experience for Six Couples

Cost: $125,000.00

Who the heck knows SIX couples? That they’d want to travel with?

Alternative: some beads (Party City, $2.00), some booze (however much you think it will take), some regret (the next day, free).

His & Hers Vilebrequin Quadski

Cost: $50,000.00 (each)

I’m a little confused here. These are billed as a “his and hers gift,” which is sort of unnecessarily heteronormative. I mean, if stereotypes are to be believed, lesbians love outdoor adventures. Although the Very Straight Man pictured seems pretty into it too. But the catch is, the quadskis are 50K each. Do you have to buy two of them, then? What if you know a single person who would like to traverse land and sea on his very own prat-mobile? WHAT THEN?

Alternative: a pool float, an ATV from Craigslist.

The Slot Mods USA Ultimate Slot Car Raceway

Cost: $300,000.00

It’s a scale model of a racetrack. And it costs more than most houses.

Alternative: A train set.

Preston Bailey Peacock Floral Sculptures

Cost: $25,000-$65,000

Do you have more money than you know what to do with, and an affinity for Edward Scissorhands? Here ya go, it’s a topiary that looks like a peacock.

Alternative: An Edible Arrangement. It’s also a plant cut into the shape of another thing, but you can eat it.

Leontine Linens Home Trousseau

Cost: $55,000.00

  The Neiman Marcus copy reads: “Most are perfectly content to live with lovely store-bought linens. But for those who envision slumbering among the finest custom cottons and dressing their tables with signature flair, the Leontine Linens Home Trousseau is a dream come true.”

Are you one of those garbage people who uses blankets from a store? Why not just cover yourself with day-old newspaper and a used pizza box, you living trash heap? Included in this gift are a series of phone interviews to determine what kind of linens you need. So not only do you have to pay $55,000.00, you have to talk on the phone. Also, you know what you could buy for 55K instead of a “home trousseau?” A home. A solid down payment on one, anyway.

Alternative: some sheets and blanket from a store. I just got a new blanket from Target. It was on sale. 17 bucks; warm as hell.

It’s 11.11, Single People, Make A Wish

I work for a British-based company, which means we don’t get a lot of American holidays off. Basically if there’s any sort of Columbus Day or Martin Luther King Jr. Day type day, I only am alerted to it when I see Macy’s commercials boasting special three-day sales. So I guess a happy Veterans Day and giant thank you to all who have and are serving for our country.

But did you guys know there’s another holiday today and it’s been a huge deal in China? It’s called Singles Day and it’s basically anti-Valentine’s Day meets Cyber Monday. For all those who believe V-Day is a holiday made up by card companies to sell millions of greeting cards this year – you’ll be interested in Singles Day.

Singles Day, or Guanggun Jie in Chinese, was founded by a group of college kids in 1993, inspired by the imagery of “11.11”, since guanggun translates to “lone stick”.  It started off as a “Bachelors Day”, but the day of being single and partying with other single friends spread to females as well. But in 2009,  Alibaba, a huge Chinese e-commerce company that owns sites like their own version of eBay, were all like, ‘Hey, let’s start marketing  to these sad single people on Singles Day and push them to splurge on one-day sales’. In other words:

Over the past few years, Singles Day has grown into a billion dollar sales day, becoming the world’s biggest online shopping event – last year the day brought in $5.8 billion worth of items, which is almost $2 billion more than the year before. In comparison, us ‘Murricans spent $1.7 billion on Cyber Monday in 2013. This is what happens when we (don’t) spend money on other people.

Besides the fact that Singles Day is one of the best marketing ideas I’ve heard in some time, it’s particularly big in China because of some demographic factors, including the country’s one-child per family policy, which means there are a shit ton of single men in China right now, ladies.

So it would only make sense to celebrate Singles Day here in America, right? There are already a ton of people every year who are against Valentine’s Day (Anna Howard Shaw Day, anyone?), not to mention the fact that about half the adult population in the U.S. (that’s about 124 million folks) are single, which honestly makes me feel a little bit better about my life, but not by that much. Combine that with young people who are looking for excuses to shop online AND at discounted prices, you’ve got yourself a new Cyber Monday. Here’s hoping Singles Day makes its way to the U.S. soon, because these are just some of the possible items that would sell out immediately:

  • Personalized flask
  • Wine of the Month
  • Anything to do with alcohol
  • A comfy onesie
  • Gourmet chocolate
  • A body pillow with Chris Evans on it

  • A year subscription to Match/eHarmony/ChristianMingle
  • A Keurig
  • Gift certificate to a spa
  • A Batman suit
  • A box of meats from Omaha Steaks
  • This poster:

*Update: after I wrote this post, turns out Alibaba announced they hit an astonishing $2 billion in gross sales within the FIRST HOUR of Singles Day.

Shave Time And Money (It’s The American Way!)

TV viewers launched into a 552-episode Simpsons marathon last night, and in my opinion, this is just the ticket to make late summer a bit cheerier! Everyone is talking about their favorites episodes from the series, and as I’m buried under piles of work during my six-month “busy season” I’m reminded of this little gem:

If  you’re not a video-watcher, sample lyrics include “If you cut every corner, It is really not so bad // Everybody does it, Even Mom and Dad // If nobody sees it, Then nobody gets mad //It’s the American way!”

Now, I don’t advocate doing things poorly … but there are plenty of little ways to shave time and money without sacrificing the end result. But can you really nick both at once? Well, sort of… Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you strike the balance as poorly as a skinny kid on a seesaw (source: a childhood spent as the skinny kid on the seesaw).

If life is hacking into your time and money, too, try some of these life hacks!

Morning Routine


Take all of the makeup you actually use on a normal day and put it in one small bag. Sparkly purple eyeliner? The color palette you bought because you saw a tutorial where the girl made her eyes look like a cupcake or whatever? Stash it somewhere else! You don’t need to rifle through all of that on weekdays.  If you’re anything like me, before work you just slap some brown crap on your face and hope for the best.

Honestly if it’s not the color of something you could buy deep-fried off a fast food menu, it’s too much for my face and brain to handle at 6:30 in the morning.

*Time saved: A minute or two, anyway.


Take if from a Catholic school survivor: it’s NICE not to think about what to wear every day. One option is to make your closet look like a cartoon character’s, with rows and rows of the same outfit. The other – dare I say better? – choice is to pick your outfit the night before.

I know this seems obvious, but trying on outfits isn’t even the major time-suck. It’s hanging up all of the discarded clothes later that gets you.

* Time saved: 5 minutes in the morning, plus 5 agonizing minutes hanging clothes at the end of the day (ahem… week).


It only takes a second to pour some cereal or pop some bread in the toaster. Or a Pop Tart, because we’re all adults here and can do what we want. Or a Toaster Strudel, which is a Pop Tart for children who like to pretend that they’re German. But nothing beats a semi-healthy filling breakfast – especially when you made it the night before. My favorites:

Summer fridge oatmeal: equal parts old-fashioned (not instant!) oats, Greek yogurt, and milk, plus fruit or honey or whatever.

Baked eggs: nonstick spray a muffin tin, crack in eggs, bake at 450 until center is set, and store in fridge. Toast an English muffin in the morning, add cheese and you have an instant breakfast sandwich!
* Time saved: Up to 15 minutes

* Money saved: Up to $4.25 on the breakfast sandwich!


Anyone who has to pay for parking understands the struggle. By parking my car semi-legally in a grocery store lot (I do buy groceries there) and taking the bus, I save over $200 a year over even the very cheapest lot. By “cheapest lot” I mean the one that is a 15-minute walk from work. The last time I was parked there I almost ran over a man who was sleeping in a parking spot dressed like a pile of clothes.

* Time Saved: Between negative 15 and negative 25 minutes. But I get to use that time either reading a book or being forced into conversation by a weirdo who doesn’t understand that an open book on my lap, headphones in my ears, and responding to everything he says with “hmm” or “yeah?” is international language for Don’t Talk To Me, Thanks. As a child I did get my school’s Student of the Month award for Politeness And Respect In Answering Others, so maybe this is partially my fault. Should be ruder.

* Money Saved: Up to $350 a year

At The Office


Oh, Lordy. Even the word “spreadsheet” makes my eyes glaze over in boredom. I’ll make it quick. I am SERIOUS about keeping an updated spreadsheet of my deadlines and due dates to combat those “oh my gosh did I remember to do that thing?!” moments. Then, I set corresponding reminders for those dates on my Excel calendar so I don’t miss any, because almost every day is something. The technology is there, guys. We have to use it.

* Time saved: Hours. It takes a long time to create a comprehensive annual spreadsheet, but having all of the necessary information in one spot is completely worth it.


I know everyone’s mileage varies with the work/home split, but spending 5-10 minutes checking my inbox before work can shave major time off of my morning. I can delete anything unnecessary, respond to the quick ones, archive anything that doesn’t require a response, and mentally prioritize the rest. I absolutely hate being blindsided by some major issue right when I get in in the morning. I’d rather be blindsided while I’m eating my oatmeal, so I can talk it over with my good friend from the bus who won’t let me read. [Kidding. I don’t talk to strangers, strangers talk to me.]

* Time saved: It should be a wash, but I think this can save me up to a half hour. It’s so easy to get sidetracked once you’re at your desk.

To-Do Lists

Look. I’ve called a lot of things “my jam” in the past decade or so, but to-do lists might be my main number one jam. The best thing ever is to make a to-do list and leave it on your desk at the end of the day. It leads to a lot less scurrying and brain-wracking in the morning.

* Time Saved: Can we come up with a time version of the word “priceless,” because that’s what this is. Like, the amount of time this saves me cannot be accurately measured.

Vending Machine

When 3:00 calls I turn into an adult baby. Not like the kind I saw on this one TLC special, but in that I’m hungry and cranky and want a nap. It’s definitely tempting to head to the office vending machine, and sometimes that $1 bag of peanut M&Ms makes my day so much nicer that it’s worth it. But you can shave a lot of money by buying snacks and setting up a dedicated snack drawer. Take it from the girls who came across an empty locker in high school, bought a lock for it, and made it our “junk food locker” so we could snack during rehearsals for the musical. Peach rings for DAYS, kids.

*Money saved: Up to $2 a day, depending on what you were snacking on. Plus whatever you buy on purpose at a grocery store is probably healthier than whatever you ransom from food jail (aka the vending machine).


I was lead to believe grocery shopping would be so much more fun.

 Bulk It Up

It takes a bit of comparison shopping, but sometimes you can save a ton of money on things like nuts, oatmeal, even cereal by buying them from the bulk bins. Plus you’re not wasting as much packaging, so even the environment wins here!

*Money saved: Depends on what you’re buying. I save up to $2.00 a pound on raw unsalted almonds! Life is a Ferris Wheel and I’m just waving from the peak, my friends.

Shave Pennies

I wear skirts and dresses all summer, so having fresh razors is important. By the way, I also won Student of the Month for Personal Grooming – twice.^ Whenever I buy razors I get really angry that the refills cost more than the handle itself. This spring I signed up for Dollar Shave Club. I pay $6 a month, get 4 blades, and the product is indistinguishable from the expensive ladies’ razors, except not pink. Which is fine. It looks dignified. As do my non-stubbly legs. Win all around.

* Money saved: Legit $5-15 per every 4 refills.

* Time Saved: one grocery store trip. More if you can’t remember what brand you use and buy the wrong cartridges. Hopeless, I tell ya.

^My third and final Student Of The Month award was for Neatness And Appearance Of Work. Put them all together and I believe I won the Type A Goody-Goody trifecta.

Pretend You’re A Duggar

Sometimes it’s better to shop like the standard American family of 20, even if you’re a single adult – in members-only big-box stores. You don’t want to buy cases of perishable food for one person, but if you have the space you can save a lot of money on paper products and shelf-stable items.

I’ll admit it. I probably do eat as much peanut butter as a family of 20.

*Money saved: up to half off of the grocery store price.

Pet Food

Ah, man’s best friend. Although dogs will eat anything from table scraps to literal poop, I like to feed my pup dog food. Call me old-fashioned. If your dog goes through a lot of food, consider buying the larger, bulk sizes. If you get it from some pet stores, there’s even a loyalty card that will give you a a percentage off every time, and bonus dollars for ever $50 or $100 you spend.

*Money saved: Up to $1 a pound on that mid-range of dog food that makes you feel like you aren’t dooming your dog to kidney disease nor treating it to Black Forest truffles.



I know, “go to the library” isn’t groundbreaking advice,but if there’s one thing I’m likely to impulse buy, it’s books. I’ve started keeping a note in my phone of books that look like I’d like to read. Hello, everything in the Target book aisle! Middle America, I am you and you are me. Then I check them out at the library. I read most books once, anyway. And then I lend them to people, and get annoyed that they don’t return them –  even though I was never going to reread it.

* Time Saved: However long you would have spend stewing over those unreturned books

*Money saved: probably $10 – 25 per book, less your library late fees if you just can’t get it together.

Cable TV

I think everyone knows about Netflix and Hulu and Roku, but presumably some people are just cable people. I’ll just say that between over-the-air programming, free online tv, and an $8 a month subscription (plus a plug-in device if you’re into it) – you can pay hundreds less than your typical cable package and never miss a show. You can save even more if your parents have an HBOGo account they don’t use because they’re too busy watching Gunsmoke on Me-TV.

* Money saved: $50 – $150, depending on your TV package

* Time saved: Negative two minutes if you insist on trying to save 35 seconds by fast forwarding through a tv show’s theme song on Netflix, overshoot a minute or so into the show, try to rewind, and end up somewhere before the song started. But frankly I don’t think I should have to sit through theme songs. They’re like commercials for the thing I’m already watching.

Are there any corners we’re not cutting yet? Let us know your tricks! As Shary Bobbins would say, “If you cut every corner you’ll have more time for play – It’s the American way!”

Saturday Spotlight: We Just Did All Your Christmas Shopping

Whether you are holiday shopping for a child, a pop culture fanatic, a lady who wears underthings, a rap aficionado, or Rebecca Black’s mom, we pretty much gave you all the info you’ll need on the blog this week.

For Rebecca Black’s Mom: Rebecca Black’s Saturday: A First Listen Live Blog

0:24 Bec just said to “call everyone you know” but like does she realize how much work it is to call five whole different people? No thank you.

0:29 In the past ten seconds we’ve seen people drawing on a passed-out guy’s face, a kid doing the worm, Rebecca drinking cereal out of a bowl that’s labelled “Gotta Have My Bowl” because she acknowledges that we’re only watching this because of Friday, and two guys trying to fry something.

0:52 Suddenly, it’s daytime. Rebecca does not want this Saturday to end, although I really, really do. She and her friends pile into a car (throwback!) and go to a beach where they act annoying in a group.

1:02 If you’re playing the Rebecca Black’s Saturday Drinking Game — where you drink every time you see a reference to Friday — R.B. and her friends just wrote “So Excited” in the sand.

For The Pop Culture Fanatic: The Multiple Pop Culture Personalities Of Barbie

Katniss Everdeen

I know the Girl on Fire’s braid is her signature style, but does it really have to be that big? It’s bigger than the loaves of bread Peeta threw at her in the rain back in the day.

Went with the Wind! The Carol Burnett Show Doll

Ok this is brilliant and I have no snarky commentary for it. I mean look at her face!

For The Lady Who Wears Underthings: Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2013: Things That Made Me Say WTF 

Parisian Nights

      • Evidently Parisian Nights means something other than trying to sleep in a hostel when a bunch of high German teenagers come in at 5 am. Victoria’s Secret, you are not reflecting my experience here.
        Everyone’s lingerie has these weird straps between the bra and underwear.

[Note: I’m saying underwear because I’m not saying panties.]

      Do people do that? Maybe it’s a wing harness?

    •  I
    • No, actually, my real favorite thing is the girl in dishwashing gloves.
    •  How come some of the models rate wings and others don’t? I kind of want to stop the wingless girls and tell them, you know, “girlfriend, you ARE beautiful,” but since beautiful is their job description, they probably know, right? That would be like them telling me “Girlfriend, you ARE a lawyer.”

For The Rap Aficionado: A Beginner’s Guide To Childish Gambino

Do Ya Like {Culdesac}

Pre-Rolling in the Deep, Adele had minor hits off her album 19, and on that same record there’s a song called Melt My Heart to Stone. And CG managed to sample that song on this track. And it’s fucking catchy as hell.

I Got This Money {Culdesac}

The version below is the acoustic version, which I actually like better than the original, but you might like that one better. S/o to the guitar player, whose name is Ludwig Goransson who is CG’s main music man, not to mention he’s the music supervisor on a ton of TV shows, including Community.

For A Child: The Cool Aunt’s Guide To Holiday Toy Shopping


This is so perfect for the creative kiddo in your life. They can write and illustrate their own books, then they get a hardcover copy of it. Kids can make their book on paper or online, and there are even instructions and story web planners, in case the child is one of those people for whom story webs actually work, I guess?

Fort Kit

Didn’t you love making forts in the living room when you were a kid? Now you can share the magic! I suggest searching on etsy if you want to buy one. There are some really cute options out there!

Crafty Auntie: The photo above links to a sewing tutorial. It’s not too complex, but you can make it even simpler. Buy a drawstring bag or backpack, and include a few sheets, clothespins, and clothes line inside. It’s sure to be a hit!

The Cool Aunt’s Guide To Holiday Toy Shopping

Whether you’re a real aunt, an honorary aunt, a godmother, or a lady who for some reason buys gifts for children who aren’t her own, you understand the desire to be the cool aunt.  Now, I’ve never been the cool anything, but I am my nephews’ and niece*’s youngest, most childless aunt – so I do know a thing or two.

Of course, this guide isn’t just for cool aunts — it’s also for fun uncles, awesome parents, great grandparents, and good great-grandparents. These gifts are sure to cement your cool relative status.  Best of all, most of these items are kid-powered, and there’s not a licensed character in sight! That should help cement your cool status with the kids’ parents, too.

[Click on the pictures to go to a place that sells the gift, but be aware that most of these are available from multiple vendors, so you may want to hit up Google to do some price comparisons.]

Buddy Bounce Ball

This fits ages 6 and up… which I assume includes adults? Because I kind of want this. I also know that this would have devolved into an instrument of sibling torture when I was a kid but you know… not my kids, not my problem. Warning: reviews are only so-so, I just think it looks cool.

Spiro Bouncer

If you have a family with at least two tots, this looks like a great bet – and a good way to get kids moving when they’re stuck inside. Check out the Spiro Hop for bigger kids.

Wonder Loom

I’m not sure what the deal is with this but kids are kind of obsessed with it lately? Also, it seems less horrible than a lot of toys out there. For a throwback toy that uses a similar skill set, why not get them one of those potholder sets with those fabric loops? My 6-year-old nephew got one a few months back and he loves it.


This is so perfect for the creative kiddo in your life. They can write and illustrate their own books, then they get a hardcover copy of it. Kids can make their book on paper or online, and there are even instructions and story web planners, in case the child is one of those people for whom story webs actually work, I guess?

Puppets and Puppet Theater

This gift encourages creative play, plus is just really cool. There are tons of different setups out there, so search around. I love that this is a gift you could buy for a preschooler, but they could still play with it when they’re in fourth grade.

Crafty Auntie: They sell fabric puppet theaters that hang from a tension rod in a door frame, which is really useful if space is at a premium. If you have solid DIY capabilities, you could definitely make one of those yourself!

Your Favorite Children’s Book (On CD, optional)

I could do a whole post on children’s literature (heck, I could do a whole blog on children’s literature), but a safe bet is often to get a kid whatever book was your absolute favorite at their age. If there’s a long car trip in their future (like, maybe to visit you?), you could consider getting a book on CD, or whatever the modern version of that probably is.

Zip Line

Sure, in a lot of climates your  favorite kiddo would have to wait a few months to use this, but in my estimation, your very own zip line is the very definition of “worth the wait.”

I’m sure there are specs for the kind of space you need to put this in, and you’ll want to have it installed by somebody who you trust with the well-being of your niece or nephew’s spinal cord.

Band Set

However annoying this gift may sound to the kids’ parents, it’s a lot less annoying than an electronic toy that has a bunch of beeps and plays the same song over and over. I love music sets for toddlers and preschoolers, because they get a kick out of them while developing some pretty important skills, like how to keep rhythm during a song so they’re not that one guy at a concert who can’t clap in time.

Crafty Auntie: A lot of these instruments are sold at the dollar store, believe it or not. The quality is questionable, but I know 3-year-olds to ruin even the best-made toys, so really every gift is a crap shoot. You could round up a bunch of these yourself and present it in a nice basket or a plastic carrying case with a handle.

Foam Bungee Jumper

This is like a more balance-friendly version of a pogo stick. I’m all for getting gifts that allow kids to be active inside, since many kids will be inside for the next 4 months or so. This foam jumper supports up to 250 pounds, so maybe you’ll get to take a turn on it, too!

A Super-Special Aunt-Kid Outing

You know the kid, so you make the call. Maybe there’s a good children’s theater nearby, or a science museum, or a professional sports team. This can make a more memorable gift than a toy that they’ll break or lose.

Fort Kit

Didn’t you love making forts in the living room when you were a kid? Now you can share the magic! I suggest searching on etsy if you want to buy one. There are some really cute options out there!

Crafty Auntie: The photo above links to a sewing tutorial. It’s not too complex, but you can make it even simpler. Buy a drawstring bag or backpack, and include a few sheets, clothespins, and clothes line inside. It’s sure to be a hit!

Archery Set

I’m usually not one to buy weapons for small children, but Katniss Everdeen makes it look so FUN! Obviously, scale the level of intensity to the child’s age. I love this one for little kids – it’s super safe and it seems to have something to do with math? Which is nice.

Black Apple Doll

There’s a reason that dolls have been a classic gift since the first person realized that you could make a tiny effigy of a person, give it to a  child, and somehow not be creepy. I love these Black Apple dolls. You can buy them on etsy, but they are SO easy to make.

Crafty Auntie: Click the photo to go to the templates – although, you can probably just freehand. A big plus is that you can make the dolls look however you want. My niece is Puerto Rican, and I try to hold off on the little blonde girl dolls as much as possible (until they make a Leslie Knope or Tami Taylor doll). I made a few of these for little Miss M. a couple years ago, and they were so cute that I wanted to keep a little effigy for myself.

Rory’s Story Cubes

Great for kids or adults! Roll the cubes, and tell a story joining all nine pictures. It’s a “non-competitive” game but I’m sure you can find a way to make somebody the winner if you’re not a “non-competitive” family.

Mustaches and Tattoos

Hand to God: fake mustaches and temporary tats are a hit with children. If your little angel is more of a little Hell’s Angel, give this gift a try.


THIS IS SO COOL. Kids can build and design their own miniature rooms, including furniture. I loved my dollhouse as a kid, but mostly for the interior design aspect. Those little people were like an upwardly-mobile suburban couple, always renovating their kitchen or redecorating their living room. Roominate just cuts to the chase and goes straight to the building and decorating, although of course some little dolls could live in here when it’s done.

A Puppy!

No OH MY GOSH do not actually give a puppy as a gift. Don’t do this. It’s not a good idea. But seriously… look at these freakin’ puppies, though.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I have five (soon six!) nephews and one niece. I know. Just call me Aunt Molly Weasley. But I still think I’m qualified to talk about girl gifts because I … you know, was one and stuff. The kiddos range in age from almost 3 to almost 7.