All posts tagged: Shopping

13 Homemade Gifts that Don’t Suck

I’d guess I was about seven or eight when I made my dad an ashtray for Christmas. I’m pretty sure everyone in art class made their parents ashtrays for the holidays that year. We might even have been told to. Who knows. Mine was quite the specimen. It looked like I had taken a misshapen ball of clay, jumped on it with a pogo stick, dropped it and then fell on it. Oh – and stabbed it in with an eraser and etched a shamrock on the side with a pencil (because I actually did those things). Had my parents smoked, it at least would have been a practical gift – function not form and all. (In my defense, the glaze was spectacular. A nice emerald green. Ye olde Irish ashtray.) Let this be a lesson: Don’t do stupid homemade gifts. Don’t decoupage anything, don’t use papier mache unless you actually have talent, and – whatever you do – don’t bedazzle anything. NOTHING. Hear me? If you’re dying to express your creativity or don’t have …

11 Gift Guides From a Few of Our Favorite Women Bloggers

We are smack in the middle of the alleged most wonderful time of the year, and I have one question: Are you still shopping? Because I am. And when I’m in this kind of cyber-December-retail mode, there is no enabler like the internet, home of gift roundups of every size and focus. Some of our favorite women online have made lists of the best gift ideas for anyone on your list. If you’re still out in the internet streets looking for the as-yet elusive perfect gift for anyone or everyone, I can help. Read on: 1. The gift guides at Petit Elefant include this one with great ideas for women. The Complete Works of Jane Austen in a beautiful hardcover boxed set and a blanket scarf from ModCloth are just two of the picks your sister, your mom, or your best friend are likely to love.   2. The gift guides at Girl of a Certain Age are a double treat—packed with cool presents, and fun to read. I’m loving her list of gifts that …

I Learned Everything I Needed to Know at a Vegas Cosmetic Counter

In the summer of 1989, I got myself gussied up and stepped onto a gleaming marble sales floor ready to beautify the world, or at least those fortunate enough to pass my counter. A 21-year old small-town girl with retail stars in my eyes, I had confidently parlayed my limited (and decidedly unsophisticated) local-mall sales experience and a few freelance makeovers into credentials for this glamorous new gig, but I was unprepared for the insane, international and immensely delightful cast of characters who would teach me everything they knew about selling and survival—whether they meant to or not. Why and how I came to be in the cosmetics department at Saks Fifth Avenue in Las Vegas is a story for another time, but suffice to say it had to do with a car breaking down in the desert and someone’s uncle’s girlfriend knowing a manicurist who knew someone in human resources. Long story short, Saks—and later Neiman Marcus—empires of elegance, service and style, served as my first salt mines. Livelier and more luxurious than any …

6 Gifts That Give Back — With Style

There’s no denying that the holiday season provides plenty of opportunity for self-defeating habits and thoughts: We eat too much, sleep too little, plan more than could possibly be done and then feel bad about all of the above. Really, though, the holidays are meant to be a time to feel joy and happiness and sweet relief from the daily grind. Fortunately, there is gift giving to help us correct the balance. There’s a particular thrill to getting just the right gift for a friend or family member you love—and we all know the simple trick of doubling your pleasure with a gift that “gives back” (with a portion of the proceeds supporting a cause you care about). But let me propose a third dimension of uplift and awesome: By buying one of these gifts that give back, we are also funding the thriving American ecosystem of idealistic entrepreneurs, the believers and doers who literally can’t sleep at night because someone is hurting, hungry or in need. Each of the below organizations is about helping …

8 Seriously Cool Subscription Services to Give This Year

In 2015, as Facebook algorithms remind us to ping each other with birthday e-cards and Amazon gets closer to making deliveries by drone, the idea of gifting someone a jelly of the month — an anything of the month — feels quaintly retro. Strike that: It feels right. Send your favorite humans some good-old-fashioned, curated-and-dispatched-by-real-people, recurring snail-mail love. (It doesn’t have to be jelly.) 1. Vinyl Me, Please The “best damn record club today” kicks off your recipient’s new bespoke music library with one of their special-edition color LPs (think Wilco’s AM in swirling marigold, or a limited-edition clear pressing of Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear). Each month thereafter, they’ll send a new album, a 12”x12” art print inspired by the album and a custom cocktail recipe pairing. Starts at $99 for 3 months + 1 bonus album, vinylmeplease.com   2. One Story Your favorite bookworm might now prefer an e-reader to full-sized tomes — I get it, I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to read War and Peace on the subway a few years ago …

Gift Wrapping Tips For Every Type of Gift (You’re Welcome)

Growing up, my mom and I had the best agreement a person with a love for wrapping could hope for: I wrapped ALL the presents and, in return, not only did I get to know what everyone was getting but my mom would also indulge my every wrapping-supply whim.  For me, wrapping presents always starts with the theme. Yes, that’s right…THE THEME. I’m pretty sure it all started when I was about 13 when she dared to suggest I use the — gasp — leftover paper that had been sitting in the wrapping bin for, like, the last 100 years. And, in true teenage fashion, I’m sure I gave her that look that only teens can give that said, No Way. Mom then decided my wrapping skills were worth a few extra rolls of new paper. Each year, I chose a set of colors and/or design attributes — a theme. Some years, it would be the classic red and green or silver and gold or a delightful plaid. I would gather my supplies, turn on a …

12 Gifts for Aspiring Bartenders & Drink Lovers

Craft cocktails have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, moving some to try their hand at making these drinks at home for gatherings or for themselves; avoiding the $15 per drink cost. For those who want to revive the lost art of home hospitality and entertaining, or for those who just love the art of drinks, here’s a list of gifts that any expert or novice would love. 1. Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds  Ice is one of the most important things for bartenders to consider. If a stirred drink calls for a cube of ice or someone requests a whiskey on the rocks, a good bartender will reach for one solid hunk of clear ice both for appearance and to provide the slowest dilution rate possible — no one wants a watered down drink. Though bartenders in Japan will hand carve these spheres, these silicone molds are the easiest way to make them at home. $10, amazon.com 2. Cocktail Kit with Canvas and Leather Tote For those who love to travel and show off their …

Margit’s Note: I’ll Be Home For Christmas

  Last weekend, I stood in front of a slew of bulb-emblazoned items and felt the rush of retail — I wanted it all. A tinsel pig. A glowing paper lantern. A stormtrooper tree skirt! (Seriously, so cool and actually quite tasteful.) I purchased the latter two, though I still covet the pig. Turns out my brother who lives in Philly bought two tinsel pigs. Weird sibling serendipity. I can’t remember the last time I stayed put for Christmas. Maybe never? My husband and I are usually on the road to one of our family homes. Our own apartment decorations have only ever been teensy little Charlie Brown table trees and holiday cards on the fridge. This year, however, because of some unforeseen, aforementioned health-related snafus, I’ll be Brooklyn-based. And I figure if I’m going to feel like crap, I might as well Santa-up my surroundings. This means, finally, a real TREE. The hubs and I nabbed the biggest we could find from one of those French Canadian guys who sell them on the sidewalk …

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8 Merry & Bright Home & Office Gifts

I had a trifecta of goals as I searched for items to include here: First, to bring you my usual explosion of patterns and brights (I am nothing if not consistent; this is my MO every year Tue Night asks me to compose a gift guide). Second, to only include items that are everyday useful because even the most workaday things in your life should be bold and fun. And finally, to feature only items that’ll run you $75 or less. Done, done and done. 1. Pendleton Bowl Pendelton is a fantastic resource for good prints and not just on their famed blankets. This bowl, in their Suwanee Stripe pattern, comes in a set of four and brings just that much more excitement to your morning oatmeal. $39.50, pendelton-USA.com 2. iPhone Case I just think this iPhone case is gloriously pretty. Enough said. $32, shopbop.com 3. Cork Coasters The fact that these playful cork coasters come in a set — but each have their own look — is pretty cool. $16, michelevarian.com 4. Mara Hoffman …

tuenight gift guide susan linney beauty

8 Under-the-Radar Indie Beauty Gifts

I love introducing the people I love to high-quality, under-the-radar beauty brands, and what better way to do it than by tucking it in a stocking or gift bag? These goodies are all under $100 and made by some of the best beauty brands you’ve never heard of (yet!). 1. Hand in Hand Bergamot & Ginger Sugar Scrub Swirling with notes of ginger, green tea and sweet orange, this exfoliating sugar scrub makes a great stocking stuffer — plus, the Philly, PA-based brand saves 100 square feet of rainforest for every scrub purchased. $24, Handinhandsoap.com   2. Olie biologique Limited Edition: The Ultimate Oil Collection Facial oils are not for everyone, but as a recent convert, I urge everyone to at least give them a try. This limited-edition collection contains five of Olie Biologique’s bestsellers (including my favorite, the amazing Huile Radicale Rejuvenating Oil) and has such pretty packaging, you can absolutely skip the wrapping paper. $62, Oliebiologique.com 3. Beautycounter Holiday Hand Collection For the eco-conscious, organic beauty lover on your list, treat them to this …

9 Passive Aggressive Gifts They’ll Love. I Guess…

Ah, the holidays. ‘Tis the season to rejoice, make merry, listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” and bite one’s tongue when one’s confronted with the time-tested barrage of unsubtle passive aggressive comments from friends and family. Well, two can play that game. In the name of holiday harmony (and your sanity), why not bite your tongue as you wrap the world’s most passive aggressive gift ever? Why say it when you can pay it forward with a gift that does the indirect communicating for you? Why not give something that says you care enough not to say exactly how you feel but not enough to not be somewhat passive aggressive about it in your gift-giving? What? I was only joking! God. You don’t have to get so upset. 1. Fiberglass Confetti Eiffel Chair The gift that passive aggressively says “your taste in housewares is beyond basic.” $395, Modernica.com 2. Basic Repellant Phone Case For your “friend” who IS basic. $38, Valfre.com 3. Shut Up Cards The gift that passively aggressively says, “Literally …

tuenight gift guide holiday land dupont outdoorsman

6 Gifts for Your Urban Outdoorsman

Does your man like to hit the trail, or just to look like he does? These gifts range from practical to elegant, inexpensive to extravagant, but each would get real use in either the mountains or the city.   1. The Cinder Cone Some books are better as hard copies. Designer and surfer Foster Huntington, best known for his A Restless Transplant hit-the-road project, documented the building of a treehouse and skate park complex located in the mountains of Washington State. The Kickstarter-funded book shows that the 1970’s luxury hippy aesthetic lives on. $35 A Restless Transplant Store 2. Backcountry Navigation with Map and Compass Class GPS batteries die and cell phone signals fade, so knowing how to read a map with a compass might help your guy get back on the trail. REI offers a range of orienteering and backcountry navigation classes at locations across the US. $50–80 REI 3. Light Up Dog Collar There is no motivation like a dog to go hiking, whether it’s on the trail or through city streets and …

Margit’s Note: Let’s Go Shopping!

It’s our third annual, two-week extravaganza called the TueNight Gift Guide! Hard to believe we’ve hit year three. Whee! As per usual, our quirky little gift guide is different in that it’s personality-driven. Our contributors select the gifts of a particular type (books, home, beauty) or for a finicky recipient (the urban outdoorsman and even well, um, a few passive aggressive suggestions). We know how to please. Speaking of giving, today, December 1, is still #GivingTuesday. Consider this your friendly evening reminder that there’s still time to give to the charities that are important to you — and maybe even break a world record for gratitude. Here are just a handful of our favorite charities. You could: Save the lives of refugees at sea [Moas.eu] Plant a virtual tree in Paris [1heart1tree.org] Support girls’ education in Sierra Leone [ShesTheFirst.org] Help NYC students become better writers [826NYC.org] Feed children, the homeless and seniors [FoodBankNYC.org] Help fight for laws and policies to protect women’s rights and health [PlannedParenthood.org] There are so many ways to help — think …

What Ever Happened to Customer Service? Meet Bette

What the world needs now is a customer service vigilante. Her name: Bette. (Bette is short for Better, as in Better Customer Service.) Bette is not a caped crusader, though. Bette wears a 1980s skirt suit. The jacket has shoulder pads and an asymmetrical hem. The matching knee-length skirt is formfitting — not 21st century formfitting but pre-Herve Leger formfitting (i.e. touching, not hugging, her in all the right places). Bette wears black square-toe heels and maroon lipstick. Her cheeks are sometimes stained with excess rouge. She is attractive, but she’s formidable. The sound of her heels clicking against the floor makes you shudder. Bette is my imaginary hero. She is the avenger whom I wish would pop up whenever a cashier yells, “Next!” instead of cheerfully asking, “May I help you?” (And, no, a sullen “May I help you” sans the lilt of a question mark doesn’t count.) I wish Bette were there to break up a conversation between two cashiers who are so busy talking to each other that they haven’t bothered to …

Don’t Stand So Close to Me. Especially at the Grocery Store

I love my personal space. At the same time, I also try to remember that I’m on the planet as one person among many, many other people. I try to help where I can and leave others in peace to be themselves — to “do them,” as it were. Until they’re behind me in the grocery line. Apparently, I have some deeply held beliefs about how much space I can expect to have to for myself, and about how little is too little. If I see you in a yoga studio without your mat space clearly marked on the floor, I will show you exactly what I mean. I’m not bragging about this predisposition. I’m not excited about anything that makes me feel intolerant of other people and their pushy, all-up-on-me ways. I can concede that it’s not them, it’s me. Kinda. [pullquote]Sting and I are on the same lyrical page with at least one thing. Don’t stand so FREAKING CLOSE to me.[/pullquote] I don’t hate people, I swear. I’m not a germaphobe. I was …

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 …

Everything You Need to Know to Find Your Perfect Jeans

I am a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of gal — always have been, always will be. There’s something so amazing about finding that perfect pair of jeans and breaking them in so they mold perfectly to your shape. I am a denim brand’s ideal customer: I’m loyal and will purchase a sack of the same pair once I find a cut I like. But why — oh God, WHY — is the process to find a pair of jeans so hard? It’s like running the Gauntlet, fraught with perils like bad dressing room lighting, the wrong underwear and branding that simply lies. Also, the cost of denim is bordering on ridiculous. There is no such thing as denim that’s so sumptuous that it merits a price tag over $150. I’m sorry, but no. Also, why is it that our asses are getting larger yet it feels like the pants are cut smaller? I don’t understand this logic, denim brands. We would like to buy your pants, but we have to be able to fit into them first. …

A Music Journalist’s Go-To Spots in London

While known for its legendary performances, sticky floors and the place made famous by The Who poster, the Marquee Club will be forever remembered as the spot I met my UK BFF Katrina Kelly. We met in the graffiti’d dressing room after a show for a band we loved, Twenty Flight Rockers. Katrina was dating the guitarist Ian, while I was seeing the drummer, Mark. It was 1986, my summer abroad, and when I wasn’t in class or interning for Melody Maker, Katrina and I were inseparable. I was 19 and she was 22, and we were living on a stretched budget in the Kensington section of London. We lived for record release parties, gallery openings, guest lists, concerts and free drinks. We knew a ton of doormen, bartenders and musicians. Fast-forward 28 years and our tastes have matured and our wallets are a bit little fuller. Katrina and I still love being together in London, but we experience it with more sophistication. Since 2010, I’ve been visiting London regularly for my job, so I’ve …

9 Things You Must Know to Thrift Like a Pro

Ever since I was little, I have been singularly obsessed with Other People’s Clothes. I say this as a proper noun because, well, it’s a proper little obsession. I love new clothes too, but there’s nothing that makes me happier than buying something that’s already been broken in. This, of course, makes my mother practically apoplectic. She grew up in poverty, was adamant that I have brand-new clothes for every occasion so that I looked crisp and clean. My unrequited love for vintage and thrift was confounding and concerning for her. I can see her plight: a single mother working multiple jobs to give her child the things she never had, and yet the child insists on second-hand everything as the main source of her wardrobe. It’s nothing personal, Mom. I just prefer that lived-in look. My love for these items took on a life of its own in college, where I discovered the joy of “borrowing” my boyfriends’ items of clothing. I pilfered college sweatshirts and created quite the stash of broken-in denim; I’ve …

How to Find the Best Second-Hand Culinary Items

Occasionally, I fantasize about getting out of the incredibly competitive racket that is food writing. I’d put my second-hand shopping gene into high gear and hang a different kind of shingle — as a local merchant. The shop would stock gently used kitchenware and cookbooks. There might be a small lunch counter serving strong coffee, grilled cheese, soup of the day and a really good cookie. First person I’d hire is my mom, a former antiques shopkeeper and the subject of “Confessions of a Garage Sale Addict,” an April 1973 story that ran in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Susan wasn’t much of a cook (I’m working on it), but she was and remains a master at spotting the choicest relics from a second-hand/vintage haystack. It takes a special kind of crazy to bring home a 500-pound oak icebox for display in the living room. Together, we’d comb the world of fleas, estates, garages, attics and basements for all things culinary and kitchen-y to fill the shelves. But we’re a picky pair; we’d buy as if outfitting …

The TueDo List: Get Sized, Buy Some Bras, Feel Your Boobs & More

We were all about boobs this week, so why not carry that into the weekend? Get Fit A recent Women’s Wear Daily survey showed that 64 percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size. I believe that I am guilty, in spite of years of gentle reminders from a fashion blogger friend to figure it out already. (Her guide on how to get fitted is still the best thing I’ve read on the topic.) If you need some help with the measuring tape, there are plenty of places to go. In the NYC metro area, Brooklyn’s Iris Lingerie is an excellent place to get fit, as is the Upper West Side’s famous Town Shop, which has been sizing up women for more than 100 years (seriously). In the D.C area, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Coup de Foudre Lingerie. They even offer a free 30-minute bra makeover, so there is really no reason to procrastinate. If you’d like to start out online before you work with someone in person, Victoria’s Secret has a “Find Your Perfect …

Cataloguing: The L.L. Bean Backpack

When it comes to shopping for my kids, thank goodness for the wonderful world of the Internet. There are a dizzying variety of colors, hipster styles, Euro shapes and eyeball-searing prints to choose from. But it’s overwhelming. And personally, I long for the simpler styles of the 80s. That’s, of course, about the time I was buying my own backpack as I entered high school. I already owned one — a nylon Eastpak that my mother bought for me at the Jewelcor showroom. It was fine for junior high, but it didn’t have the cool factor a freshman truly required. Back then, there was really only one place to find the “must-have” backpack: the L.L. Bean catalogue. But this required some work. It’s hard to remember a time when catalogues did not fill our mailboxes unbidden, but back then, you had to request to be on the mailing list, and our family was not. I think I must have cribbed the L.L. Bean address or phone number from The Official Preppy Handbook and ordered a …

Packing It In: My Perfect Purse

Let’s be clear: I’ve never really been a purse person. My checking accounts or credit cards were never stretched to the breaking point in pursuit of a soft, buttery clutch or Swarovski encrusted tote; I’ve never gazed wistfully at the accessories on display in the windows of Barneys, Louis Vuitton, Bergdorf or any other number of the luxury goods palaces that line the streets of the Upper East Side or Soho. I had a hard time identifying with the more consumerist themes in Sex and the City. I don’t like Marc Jacobs and I strongly believe that the term “hardware” belongs in the aisles of retailers like True Value or Home Depot. I’ve owned bags, yes – canvas totes, small leather purses, maybe a pocketbook or two picked up from Forever 21 or DSW – but the particular sort of  “must have” style statements that found popularity in the mid-to-late ’90s and retain a relentless grip on the Western female imagination never got my pulse racing. Still, I am a creature – and product – …