Year: 2014

Don’t Forget to Call Your Mother… Every Day?

When I was in the first grade, my mother summoned me to our kitchen to take a phone call. “Hello?” I chirped, the chunky ‘80s receiver the same size as my blonde head. My classroom crush, a boy named Jamie, sang back in his best Stevie Wonder voice, “I just called / to say / I hate you,” and hung up. I never really forgave the telephone for that. I was a decidedly un-chatty teenager, my dorm phone gathered serious dust in college, and if unused cellular plan minutes were tangible things, I could swim in mine like Scrooge McDuck in his vault of gold coins. There are researchers stationed in Antarctica who use the phone more than I do. Big deal, right? Who makes old-fashioned calls these days, anyway? More than 40% of Americans don’t even have land lines, and many of us use our smartphones primarily for things like texting, shopping and taking grainy photos of our dinners. But the thing is, I left my mother, father, and sisters back in California when …

No Way Can I Give Up Sugar. But I’ll Torture Myself For 30 Days

The s’mores cookie from Gregory’s Coffee. The chocolate cookies from Smith Canteen. 16 Handles (insert flavor of the week here______________). Pinkberry with mochi. Oh my God the Fruit & Nut Five-Star Bar I never talk myself out of buying at the supermarket. Um, what else? Oh yeah. Dude. DUDE. DUUUUUDE. Those chocolate chip cookies (or sometimes the peanut butter ones, sometimes both) from Jacques Torres. The occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s. 4 p.m. peanut butter M&Ms from the vending machine at work. Those crappy orange jelly rings — the generic two-toned ones COVERED in granulated sugar? Oh my God I love those. The ones from CVS? Lord, yes. And drugstore York Peppermint Patties? I’ll miss you most of all. These are a few of my favorite things made of sugar. My other favorite things made of sugar? Pretty much everything else made of sugar. Are you sensing the self-defeating, Sisyphean nature of the worst part of my diet? Who am I kidding. That’s not even the worst part of my diet (she says, as she …

Why Do I Blame Everyone Else?

I’m Lauren Young. I am the oldest of four children. I am a mother. I am an ex-wife. And I am a blameaholic. I blame everyone else when something bad happens to me. I blame others when I break a nail, lose my Metrocard or driver’s license, when I hurt my shoulder or when I find a brownie shoved into my rug after a holiday party. (All of these things happened in the past week, by the way.) Several years ago, I got laid off from a job that I loved during a takeover – I naturally blamed the acquirer, even though some of my colleagues moved to the new company. When my boyfriend moved in with me for the summer, I rearranged my closets so he would have more hanging space. During the closet switch, one of my favorite Kate Spade dresses was impaled by a wire hanger. I blamed him for the giant hole. Speaking of my boyfriend, he is terrified of being blamed. It’s gotten so bad that he prefaces everything with: …

I’m Going Pants-Free For a Month

For the month of January I have resolved to give up… pants. No, I’m not becoming a nudist. I am committing, for 30 days, to trade in my jeans, leggings, sweats, cords and trousers for bottoms of a prettier variety: namely, dresses and skirts. “It’ll be fun,” I tell myself. “Different! Like, a whole new me!” I have since come to realize that it will be hard. Maybe not as much fun as I’d first thought. Actually, it’s going to suck. There are surely more important things I could have chosen to give up — things that would make me healthier and less anxious. Like afternoon Nespressos, late-night shoe shopping, 2am email-answering, wine. But, as frequently as I partake in all of those activities, there is just one thing my husband and daughter jointly agreed I could never, ever, in a million years give up for a month straight, and it was pants. The gauntlet was thrown. “Ha! I’ll show you guys!” I said. (That was back when I thought it would be fun.) I …

Three Words I Want to Stop Saying

There are certain words I say all the time. As in (and I’ve counted) as often as 15 times a day. These words are defaults, slightly more illustrative “ums,” when I don’t have anything more creative, or specific, to say to you. Or I’m just being lazy, sorry. Oops! Let’s start with “sorry” — the worst, most classic offender, said in the most innocuous situations. Bumping into someone anytime, anywhere. When someone nudges in front of me on the subway (a terrible, knee-jerk reaction.) When I hear what you said, but it was so bizarre I need to hear it again. Sorry? Spacing out at packages of Selfie Sticks at the counter at Duane Reade and wondering if I really don’t need one last gift… if Selfie Sticks are, in a sense, a more inclusive photo accessory, allowing for more landscape, more people in your photo. So, then, is it really a “Selfie” Stick? The cashier clears her throat. “Ahem.” “Oh!” I wake up. “Sorry.” According to a 2010 study, we women do apologize more …

Takeout Takedown: Saying Goodbye to Delivered Food

I am giving up takeout. This is not about health. This is not about calories. This is not about honing my kitchen skills (they are great, thankyouverymuch). This is not about family time. This is not about putting a pause on my all-out consumerism. This is about money. According to my AmEx statement, last month my husband, Gabriel, and I spent $590.88 on restaurants. Since we didn’t go out for a date night in November — too much holiday and work travel, plus the cost of a babysitter, plus really, cozying up at home when the kid is asleep is a pretty blissful date — I know that that $590.88 is pure takeout. Wait a minute. The great sushi place on the corner doesn’t take AmEx. Neither does my neighborhood Thai, or burrito joint. Crap. My Visa takeout bill: $351.56. So, last month, we spent $942.44 on takeout. This is not included the random cash spent for a coffee or bodega snack here or there. Let’s just pretend that money wasn’t spent. Does cash even …

2015 Resolutions TueNight

Making a New Year’s Resolution? Consider These 5 Tips

Forty-four percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and I know I always do. Now that I’m obsessed with habits, I’m more inclined to make resolutions than ever, in fact. If my happiness and habits research has convinced me of anything, it has convinced me that resolutions – made right – can make a huge difference in boosting happiness. So how do you resolve well? This is trickier than it sounds. Here are some tips for making your resolutions as effective as possible. Remember, right now, you’re in the planning stage. Don’t feel like you have to do anything yet! Just start thinking about what would make 2015 a happier year. 1. Ask: “What would make me happier?” It might be having more of something good – more fun with friends, more time for a hobby. It might be having less of something bad – less yelling at your kids, less regretting what you’ve eaten. It might be fixing something that doesn’t feel right – more time spent volunteering, more time doing something to strengthen a relationship. The more your life reflects your values, the happier …

Margit’s Note: A Tweak For 2015

Some say it takes 30 days to change a behavior, to start – or kick – a habit. Some say 21, some say 66, but we like the tidy sum of 30. (Yes, yes, January has 31 days, but we need the first one to recover, right?) So like the rest of the world, we’re resolving to resolve and starting small. We’re thinking of it as a tweak for 2015: changing one tiny thing about our usual routine, for 30 tiny days. For some of us, it’s a challenge just to test ourselves; for others, it’s a real problem we’re trying to solve. Our self-prescribed tweaks: Jenna Briand will stop wearing pants. Amy Choi will stop ordering takeout. Lauren Oster will call her mother. EVERY DAY. Lauren Young will stop blaming everyone else. She did it. Tamar Anitai will give up her sugar addiction. Because, adult. And, sorry, but I’m totally going to stop saying the words Sorry, Totally and Cool. Which is cool. Finally, our dear friend Gretchen Rubin offers 5 solid tips to make and keep those resolutions. Pencils at the ready. Follow …

Holiday Events Collage

The TueDo List: Movies, Shopping and Holiday Cheer

Hanukkah is happening. Christmas is nearly here. And the crush is almost over — as well as the chance to order anything in time for, well, anything. I’m not sure I can take one more bold type e-mail from a retailer, telling me that “THERE’S STILL TIME,” which of course implies the opposite. (There is still time for stocking stuffers, and there are some fun ones all day today on Amazon Prime.) Here’s how to catch up on some last-minute odds and ends for the people in your life. You can buy most of them from home, so you’ll also have time to relax and enjoy the weekend, holiday-style. Movies and TV I already told you I love my Roku, and I can’t stop talking about it. I’ve already got a Netflix membership, but I only have Hulu free for three months, so I’d love to get that picked up for me by someone who loves me. Sometimes, it’s the coolest thing to have someone else spring for a relatively small splurge item like that. If someone cares about my media, they care …

Margit’s Note: Ho Ho Hectic

At the risk of sounding Scrooge, I too, would love to ban “busy” — the holiday kind of busy. Not so much the word, but the whole concept. Lately, I feel like I’ve lost my mind in crazy-making holiday tasks. Up at 2 a.m. trying to get Picmonkey-fancy with my holiday card; crafting a collaborative spreadsheet with my husband where we can track gifts, cards, tips for folks like Johnny, the UPS guy who leaves a note every year reminding us. (This comprehensive tipping guide, while amazing, had me in a panic.) And hey, the holiday spirit is meant to be about family, cherishing loved ones, giving, and drinking too much glug, right? So I hereby announce that we’re taking one week of chill. The TueNight crew will be off next week, celebrating with the aforementioned loved ones, and we’ll resume our regularly scheduled editions on December 30. (It’s a goodie, too.) But this week we’ve got our 2nd Gift Guide — which ideally should save you some time and headache. Great picks herein: Tamara …

A Chef Shares Her Favorite Food Gifts

Are you inundated with Gift Guides? Yeah, probably. But are you inundated with gift ideas that follow my golden rule: “Give the gift that you would most like to receive?” Probably not. Well, this is that guide. For the chef, home cook, food aficionado, or just plain eater in your life. I would be completely happy to receive any and/or all of these gifts. So you know they are for real. 1. Spices from La Boite Tucked behind a nondescript storefront way over on Eleventh Avenue in NYC is the magical land of La Boite Epices. Chef, owner, and spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz is an absolute alchemist, and the magic he creates in his beautifully packaged spice blends will blow you away. They make all other spice blends I have ever seen seem amateur. Rub a simple roast chicken with his Vadouvan mix and it becomes crispy, lightly curried skin with a hint of Herbs de Provence. His Ararat No. 35 is a smoky blend of Urfa Pepper, Smoked Paprika, and aromatic Fenugreek. His …

Merry and Bright: 5 Colorfully Chic Gifts

As I write this, it’s 27 degrees out and the sky is as grey as the sidewalk, and I’m feeling like it’s going to be a very long winter indeed. One way I try and combat the seasonal gloom is to surround myself with bright colors and prints. The effect they have — on an outfit, a room, a stinky mood — can be truly transformative. For the holidays, I’m choosing only items that promise a happy pop of bright for the recipient.   1. Aurelie Bidermann Cotton and Gold-plated Cuff Aurelie Bidermann’s jewelry is an obsession of mine; this gold-plated and cotton number is such a chic, grown-up version of a friendship bracelet. $120, net-a-porter.com   2. Tatsuro Kiuchi’s “Tunnel” This print is pure sunshine on paper. It makes me think of old Pan-Am and TWA travel posters from the 40s and 50s — so bold and saturated and graphic. $60, 20×200.com   3. Comme des Garcons Embossed French Wallet It is possible that over the years, I’ve given more Comme des Garcons pouches …

5 Gifts For Kids That They Don’t Already Have

Gift giving for children gets harder and harder as kids get more and more sophisticated. Outwit the little ones this year with presents they could never find on a TV screen or through an app. Warning: You may have to reach into your own past…   1. “Vintage” Star Wars belt buckle You DID watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, right? Episode VII of the series? No…? That’s OK, I’ll wait while you check it out. From now until December 2015, you’ll need to know enough about the movie to talk to any kid over the age of 8. Impress them (and their folks) with an eBay original that might just remind you of your own days of yore. $35, eBay.com   2. The Drawing Robot Speaking of R2D2, check out this super cute robot. Your DIY-loving kid can put it together using cardboard, tape, a little wiring and a battery. Add pens and turn it on, and this is a mini marvel. Include another robot and tape on a couple of …

Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Coffee can become a big part of your life when you quit drinking. It certainly has for me and many of my sober friends. Surely you, too, have coffee lovers in your life. Here, I’ve rounded up some snazzy gifts for them, from a monogrammed mug to an amazing body scrub to a fancy-schmancy French press, there’s no shortage of goods for the caffeine-inclined. 1. Death Wish Coffee For the seriously addicted. Behold: the world’s strongest coffee. $20, deathwishcoffee.com   2. Monogrammed Travel Mug This sturdy, stainless steel mug is perfect for those who take their coffee on the road. The monogrammed top adds a nice personalized touch. $30, gifttree.com   3. Starbucks Home for the Holidays Gift Basket Give that Starbucks-obsessed best friend a huge holiday treat with three blends that can be enjoyed at home. It’s also packed with gingerbread biscotti, a caramel wafer, hot cocoa and more. $50, ftd.com   4. The World’s Finest Collection of Coffee Beverages Poster A really cool poster that’s perfect for the kitchen (it includes quick recipes!). $25, etsy.com   5. Cool Beans …

11 Problem-Solving Tech Gifts & Apps

To me, a tech gift is a romantic gift. What is more loving than solving major problems in my life so that I may live more seamlessly? Dreamy. Here I offer problem-solvers for every kind of person you know. They will adore you — and hopefully not be too annoyed that you’re trying to fix their issues.   1. For the Stressed: The Muse Place this stress-reducing contraption around your head and it actually senses the electrical activity of your brain. Pair it with an app called Calm and it walks you through a series of guided, chill-out exercises. You have to fiddle with it to make sure it’s adjusted correctly, but once it is, it’s a pretty effective way to reinforce those five minutes of meditation. $299, gaiam.com   2. For the Person Who Could Be a Little Neater: The Stash Catchall We love the bright colors and sleek design of this simple, smart cord, coin and “stuff” container. Enable your inner Joan Crawford: No more wires! $30, modco.com   3. For the Person Whose Headphones Aren’t …

Gifts Under $35 for Secret Santas & Yankee Swaps

Every year I do a Secret Santa and every year, I am boring. I always go the gift card route. This year, I have decided to try something different: Be creative. I’ve been on the look out for cute but unusual presents. Nothing says, “Happy Holidays” like a gift that proves that you’re thinking of the recipient — and that you can be fun with a side of quirky for less than $35. 1. USB Cassette Mixtape  Perhaps the mixtape isn’t a thing of the past. Milktape’s version allows the owner to drag and drop songs to a USB drive, which is in the shape of a tape. $15, milktape.com 2. Groove iPhone Stand Help a friend or a colleague keep his iPhone in plain sight with this stand. $20, etsy.com 3. Cool, Calm and Connected Bento Box Packing a lunch can be a chore. This bento box makes it fun again. $15, modcloth.com 4. Retro Nintendo Controller Soap Be nostalgic and play Mario while in the shower. $13, etsy.com 5. Snackeez I’ve seen one of these …

Books to Give Your Trickiest Recipients

Like I said last year — there are certain folks that are always tough to shop for. This year I changed up my trickiest recipients list. I’m guessing each of us has one of these types in our life, so hopefully at least one of these suggestions will be helpful. If you can check one item of your list because of my advice, then I’ll have checked one item off of my list, too. Everybody wins!   1. For the Extreme Foodie: Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton You may have seen reviews of Hamilton’s book, some of which were critical and/or puzzled: She doesn’t provide all of the steps for all of the recipes! Who makes capon broth? Etc. Listen, Hamilton can do anything she likes, especially after writing her extraordinary memoir Blood, Bones, and Butter. Only she could get a publisher to make her cookbook look like a giant hot-pink Moleskine (complete with elastic closure) and include restaurant measurements written on strips of masking tape. $45, randomhouse.com   2. For the Long-Married: Kama Sutra Connect-the-Dots by Eland …

Gifts For Discerning Dog Owner

  Janey, my dog, is an amazing beast who has discerning taste. It doesn’t help that her mom has a certain penchant for fabulousness, as well — I always seek out the best of products for the best of friends. I buy Janey gifts so often that she goes nuts when the UPS person comes to the door. Here, I present some of our favorite shipments, which Santa or Hanukkah Harry may deliver if pup isn’t on the naughty list.   1. Tattooed-Inspired Dog Sweater I never thought I’d own a dog who sported outfits. Seemed dumb. But once I moved to New York City and got a little, lean pup with scant hair, I learned that clothing is not optional: It’s essential. Add to that the fact that I like to think that someday I will get a tattoo, and maybe Janey thinks she will, too. So here’s our intermediary endeavor: a comfy and warm sweater with an old-school, tat-inspired logo. Janey shows the world how much she loves her mom, and I share …

6 Hand-Crafted Gifts From GREAT.LY

Editor’s Note: We asked Flora Lels of GREAT.LY for her holiday gift picks from her shop’s amazing collections. She chose a few things that are great for the person who’s got it all… We’ve all found ourselves wracking our brains, trying to think of something extra special for the person who already has everything. I like to surprise that person with a handmade gift they’ll find unique. And bonus points for a present that has a personalized touch. 1. Customized Word Bracelet This beautiful 14K-gold charm bracelet makes the perfect gift for girlfriends, sisters, aunts or coworkers. You can customize it with any word you’d like. ‘ have fun with it and choose a short, meaningful nickname or phrase. My friends and I are getting these made with the zip code of a small Italian village where we all vacationed together. $55, great.ly.com   2. Willow Speaker The days of the CD are going by the wayside, so what do you get the music lover? Here is a speaker system that is gorgeous and eco-friendly …

Luminary Collage

Tue Do List: Holiday Lights, Cheryl Strayed, and Quality Time

At this point in December, gifts are on everyone’s mind. If you’re shopping this weekend, at home or outside, godspeed. And may you subscribe healthily to my favorite gifting philosophy: for every one for them, at least the dream of one for me. Cool Gifts at Pop-ups and holiday markets Refinery 29 pointed readers to the holiday pop-up shops at 73 Spring Shop, Tictail at 90 Orchard Street, and Cuyana at 311 West Broadway, plus its own Tinseltown brick-and-mortar pop-up bazaar, open through Sunday at Nolita’s open house at 200 Mulberry Street. If you’re not in New York, their online Tinseltown holiday guide is a fun read with lots of ideas for gifts, parties, style–all the seasonal fun stuff. DC’s Brightest Young Things has the most comprehensive holiday market and pop-up shop guide I’ve seen for this city. My picks this weekend would be the Del Ray Artisans Holiday Market in Arlington, and Georgetown Glow, with a focus on local stores including the actual Moleskine store–a pop-up that will remain in place, selling the best little …

TueNight’s Holiday Gift List (Plus, a Giveaway!)

I know, I know, typically we’re all about stories in our 40s. But here at TueNight we also love stuff. And we love to give. And we love the holiday spirit. And we’d like to buy you all the things. And, and, and. So this week (and next) allow us to indulge with our 2nd annual Gift Guide! We’re featuring some of our sparkliest contributors and their very personal gift picks — the stuff they’d want to receive. So let’s git ‘er done…. This week: Susan Linney offers beauty goodies for everyone in your family. Land Du Pont has selected some of the choicest gifts for the man in your life. The Mash-Up Americans have the best multi-culti foodie gifts. Heather Barmore solves all your Secret Santa anxiety. Lilit Marcus is sending your loved ones on a trip. Rachel Kramer Bussel gets naughty with her NSFW gift picks. Lauren Oster has gifties for the cat lady in your life. And Maura Johnston preps you for your New Year’s Resolutions, AND A GIVEAWAY…. We have a …

Beauty Gifts For Mom, Sis, Dad, Even the Pooch

The best thing about beauty goodies is that they make great gifts — I could shop for my whole family in the aisles of Sephora or even Duane Reade. And even if your mom isn’t really into wearing makeup, or your daughter is too young for lipstick, it’s usually easy to find something appropriate (think hand creams and light perfumes). These five ideas are easy to find and fun to give — there’s even something special for the dog! 1. For Your Hands-on Mom L’Occitane Hand Cream Soiree By now, your mom probably has her daily skincare rituals down pat, and she likely knows what kind of products work best for her. This is true for my own mom, and it’s why I give her high-end hand creams each Christmas, instead of makeup or hair care. I’ve put mom’s name on this set from L’Occitane, which contains 10 of the brand’s best-selling hand lotions. $88, sephora.com 2. For Your Beauty-Clueless Dad Jack Black Mr. Big Set A beauty gift for dad usually means cologne, which is …

5 Timeless Gifts For The Classic Man

Ask a guy what he wants for a present and he will often deflect the question with, “surprise me.” Can you blame him? Gifts for men are often either welcome-but-overplayed (single malt scotch) or nice-but-rarely-used (fun cuff links.) This year, don’t ask, but choose from these handsome, utilitarian objects that have stood the test of time. 1. Model 9090 Espresso Maker 1978, Richard Sapper The first espresso maker released by famed Italian manufacturer Alessi, the 9090 has been in continuous production for almost 40 years and, like most of designer Richard Sapper’s work, looks like it has arrived from the near future. Made of chromed steel and cast iron, it is glossy and satisfyingly heavy. Recently updated to work with energy-efficient induction cooktops, the 9090 is available in a range of sizes. The seven-inch size is probably the best choice, perfect for making Sunday morning coffee for two.  From $193, alessi.com 2. Akari Lamp 1951, Isamu Noguchi In the late 1940s, sculptor Isamu Noguchi traveled to Japan where he first saw traditional fisherman’s mulberry paper …

Gifts For the Multi-Cultural-Minded Foodie

Mash-Up Americans love food. Really, really, really love food. It’s how we explore and express our identities. It’s how we bring our families and friends together. So what better way to celebrate the Holidays than with a guide from our Mash-Up Kitchen to Yours. Here’s a list of absolute must-haves! 1. Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer Rice is the staple of many cuisines. Also, it’s so delicious and we eat it at every meal. A rice cooker makes perfect rice and needs no tending to. Arroz for all! $139, amazon.com 2. Wei Kitchen Shallot Oil & Amber Vinegar  This wonderful new company is creating artisan Vietnamese-inspired products. They’ve started with the Amber Vinegar & Shallot Oil that Vietnamese-Chinese-Jewish-American Founder Debbie grew up making at home. You know that vinegar that comes when you order bun? Who wouldn’t love to pour that on everything? $32 for a gift set, $10 for a sample pack, weikitchen.com 3. Stainless Steal Spoon (Sudgarak) and Chopsticks It’s just better to eat with the long handled spoon and the stainless steel chopsticks that …

10 Gifts for the World Traveler and the Day Tripper

Whether you’re shopping for a Wild-inspired backpacker or a globe-trotter who considers a two-star hotel “slumming it,” these gifts will work for just about any kind of traveler. And best of all, they might inspire you to book a last-minute flight and head off on your very own adventure. 1. Flight 001 Mondo Travel Alarm When you’re switching between time zones and still need to be sure you don’t miss that early morning wakeup call, this cute, lightweight alarm can help. It’s small — not even a full three inches across —so you can justify packing it, and just like your alarm at home, comes equipped with a snooze button. $25, flight001.com   2. Cath Kidston Mini Ticket Holder One major travel challenge is keeping all those pieces of paper together: boarding passes, train tickets, printed-out hotel confirmations and the like. This organizer is small, flat and easily stashes all your paperwork. Plus the London bus design gives it a sense of whimsy. $10, cathkidston.com 3. Trakdot Luggage Tracker We’ve all had that sense of …

What to Get the Cat Lady Who Has Everything

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a good cat must be in want of a bunch of cat-related holiday gifts. That said, all cat-related gifts are not created equal, and no one deserves a third copy of the Jingle Cats’ Meowy Christmas album. Celebrate the feline enthusiasts in your life with gifts that say, “I realize that if you’re interested in a bunch of Grumpy Cat stuff, you’ve probably already bought it yourself.” 1. Anatomical Heart Cat Toy These organic catnip toys are handmade in England from recycled wool and velvet. If Kate and William ever add a cat to the royal family, I’m guessing they’ll head to London’s Cheshire & Wain for supplies. Semi-realistic organs don’t strike your fancy? The company also sells toys shaped like gingerbread men, lobsters and turkeys — but c’mon, what’s cuter than a cat trotting around with a heart in its mouth? $14, cheshireandwain.com  2. KitNipBox Subscription Each month, the team at KitNipBox sends out a seasonally-themed assortment of handcrafted toys, all-natural treats …

50 Shades of Sexy X-Mas Gifts

Whether shopping for a friend, a lover or yourself, these fun gifts are both sweet (sometimes literally) and sexy, plus they work for anyone who could use a little pampering (or paddling). 1. Fantasy Fondue How better to indulge than with edible chocolate fondue? This tantalizing treat comes with a mini paintbrush so you can turn yourself (or the object of your affection) into dessert. It’s “virtually fat-free,” but when you’re licking chocolate off someone’s skin, does that really matter? $18, bootyparlor.com 2. Whip Me Stockings You won’t have to say a word to signal that you’re in the mood while wearing these. Emblazoned with “whip me, bite me, eat me, tease me” down the leg, these seamed stockings leave nothing to the imagination. Kink up your next date or be the talk of the holiday party. $70, agentprovocateur.com 3. Bettie Page Paddle I’ve always enjoyed paddles that offer a smile with their sting, and classic kinky pinup Bettie Page can offer inspiration to the spanker and spankee with this quilted paddle. Available in round …

5 Gifts For Your Resolution-Ready Friends

It’s natural that the indulgence and celebration of the holiday years precedes the asceticism and vows to do better of the new year. If you have a friend who’s already figuring out how she’s going to make big changes once the clock strikes midnight on January 1, these five gifts will show her your unwavering support for her mission. The best part? You can buy them for yourself — all in the name of self-improvement. 1. Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, as she’s known, actually released two albums this year; the Think Like A Man Too soundtrack wasn’t officially dubbed as such, but she sang all the R&B jams on that album. For her just-released The London Sessions, though, she packed up and headed to the UK, where she reflected on getting sober and collaborated with of-the-moment songwriters and producers like the soppy Sam Smith and the glitchy duo Disclosure. The result is an album that’s very 2014, with Blige’s undeniable pipes pulling her collaborators’ sounds even further into …

Island for One, Please: Why I Love Traveling Solo

Are you one of those people who say they could never work virtually because they’d miss being around other people? Not me.  When I tell, friends that, they look at me in bewilderment. “But if you were stranded on a deserted island…” and I cut them off with, “Wait, where is it?” I’ve been looking for that island for years. No, I don’t need to go 100% off the grid, and it’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that sometimes I prefer solitude. I find travelling alone, even in a crowded city, can give me some sense of “alone.” About 10 years ago, I took my first solo trip — on my way to visit a friend in Hong Kong, I decided to go to China on my own. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken, but eventually, I forgot that part of what I had loved was being on my own. Then, a few years ago, a friend bailed on a trip to Prague about a week before we …

I Always Travel With My…

When traveling, we all have that one thing we wouldn’t dare leave home without —a pashmina to keep us warm or earplugs to tune out Loud Baby. We asked our contributors for that one special thing… Baby Cashmere Blanket When my son was born, we received a gorgeous cashmere baby blanket from Susan Lazar, the designer, who is a childhood friend of mine. It is gray with his horoscope sign (Scorpio) in white. He no longer needs it — he is 10 now —  but it is the perfect blanket to use on an airplane. It is easy to stuff into a backpack, and it is cozy, soft, warm and luxe. —Lauren Young Moccasin Slippers I ALWAYS fly with my old Dearform moccasin slippers. Beige, furry and a hand-me-down from my mom circa 1982, these slippers are on my feet before the plane takes off. I’ve gotten some funny looks from other passengers but I don’t care. A few years ago, I lost my lucky slippers before a long haul to London, so I picked …