5 Gift Ideas for the most important person: You

standard February 16, 2017 Leave a response

5 Subscription Box Suggestions

So, the holidays have passed and now, finally, so has Valentine’s Day, which means that, unless your birthday is conveniently located in the dead of summer, you have long, long months to wait until someone gets you any nice presents.

You know the solution, right?

Time to get yourself something nice. Preferably in a service that delivers surprises monthly.

I’m not ashamed to say that I subscribe to a couple monthly boxes. OK, maybe one monthly and two quarterlies. Don’t judge. I like getting presents. Especially presents I got for myself, but didn’t have to pick out.

Here’s the rub. With the millions of new subscription boxes that pop up every week, which one should you treat yourself to? Lucky you, I asked my Facebook friends to suggest a few good ones. And no, they’re not all dirty.

(Note, I’m skipping all the food prep boxes. They’re all fine and dandy, but a subscription box that assigns you work is no gift.)

1. StitchFix*

Stitch Fix Subscription Box

Yes, you’ve heard of it. Yes, you’ve seen the countless Facebook posts showing off what people have received. So why haven’t you tried it yet?

Personally, I adore StitchFix. When that box arrives every month, I feel a little thrill. Before I open the box, I make sure that I have enough time to really savor what it contains…and that no one is around to taint my enjoyment.

To be brutally honest, I don’t love every single box. Sometimes I send everything back, sometimes I keep just one item. A handful of memorable times I’ve purchased the entire box and happy danced around the room because of my beautiful new clothes AND the 25% off the final price. The pieces I have kept have been in steady rotation and get me the most compliments of all the things I own.

Details: Subscription is $20/box. If you buy something, that $20 is credited to your purchase. If you buy everything in the box, you get 25% off. Bonus: StichFix is now available for men and for maternity wear.

2. FabFitFun*

FabFitFun Subscription Box

I’ll admit to hesitating before signing myself up for FabFitFun because I worried I’d be getting a box filled with random stuff that I wouldn’t either really want or know what to do with. Fact of the matter, it is a box of random stuff, but I’ve loved each one I’ve gotten.

Opening the box, which arrives quarterly, is kind of like opening a packed treasure chest filled with a mixture of beauty supplies, fun doodads, and a few fitness related items. I’ve received scarves, jewelry, yoga towels, hair serum, coloring books, tote bags, make-up, candles… you name it, it’s probably going to show up in a FabFitFun box one day.

This is one subscription box that truly makes you feel like you’ve gotten yourself an indulgent gift filled with little things that someone took special care to choose for you.

Details: You can sign up for Seasonal Membership to be charged $49.99 quarterly, 3 weeks before the box ships. Or you can sign up for an Annual Membership for $179.99 charged when you sign up. Annual Members have the option to select the items that go into their box before it ships. Seasonal Members receive a total surprise. All Members are allowed to purchase “add-ons” to supplement their boxes. Add-ons are generally items left over from previous boxes.

3. Roost Crate

Roost Crate Subscription Box

So, remember that thing I said up there about not including food boxes? Well, this one is an exception, but only because Roost Crate sends you carefully curated “treats” rather than ingredients you need to assemble and cook. While I personally have never tried this particular box, my Facebook friends swear by it. What you’ll get is a monthly box filled with 4-6 farmer’s market type products that could be found at local Upstate NY & New England stands and shops. Think handmade, artisan items like jams, honey, sauces and snacks; candles, soaps & scrubs, home & kitchen items and of course coffee & teas. This delectable box is curated by food blogger Kelly Pugliano.

Details: Select month-to-month for $39.95, three-months for $109 or 6 months for $219. Boxes ship on the 20th of each month and include 4-6 carefully curated non-perishable items.

4. Ipsy

Ipsy Subscription Box

So, this subscription box is hands down the favorite for my make-up loving friends. For a mere $10 a month (no, that’s not a typo) you get a “glam box” filled with deluxe samples and full sized beauty products. People rave about this box.  To get started you have to answer a bunch of questions about your skin type and color, make-up preferences, and product likes. On the Ipsy website you’ll find some amazing tutorials and videos related to the products that get sent out. You know, in case something arrives that leaves you scratching your head.

Details: $10/month, no apparent discount for signing for more more than a month at a time. You might get placed on a wait list when you sign up, but rumor has it the wait list moves fast. There’s a somewhat obscure “points” reward program, which I happily invite anyone familiar with to explain in the comments below. Certain “extra” products can also be bought on the site for additional fees.

5.  Bawdy Bookworms

Bawdy Bookworms Subscription Box

Here’s the deal, I won’t ask what you read when you tuck yourself into bed at night if you don’t ask me what’s on my Kindle. Ok? Phew, I’d hate to have to admit just how much fantasy fiction I read. But, if you’re the kind of person who likes the odd sultry romance, then this subscription box is definitely for you. At least, it is if we’re to believe my Facebook friends, many of whom were quick to recommend Bawdy Bookworms, prompting me to go check it out.

Dude. It’s the ultimate self-gift.

And I mean that in every sense of the term.

In short, every month, you receive in the mail a steamy read and…ah…an accessory or two that will help you take care of any urges the book stimulates.

Bawdy Bookworms was born when friends kept asking the founder (popular blogger Thien-Kim Lam) for advice on what to read after Fifty Shades or recommendations on the best bedroom toys. She dreamed up this subscription service and the accompanying members’ forum where people can come discuss books, toys, or anything else they don’t feel comfortable discussing in a more public space.

Details: If you’re into surprises, sign up for the quarterly subscription for $34.95. If you like peeking, then consider some of the boxes for sale on the site. Prices range from $57.95 to $29.95.

 

*Please note: links to StitchFix and FabFitFun are affiliate links, which means that, should you sign up for either of these subscription boxes, I would get a small commission. All other recommendations are shared with zero strings attached. 

No, but really, what’s for lunch?

standard January 31, 2012 2 responses

I know we’ve all read the book, or at least heard the maxim, about how no one really cares about what you had for lunch.

I mean, duh, in general that would be a terribly boring thing to write about. Unless you were a food blogger in which case it would be totally appropriate and would probably make me hungry.

But right now, right here, I want to know what you’re having for lunch. Especially if you hang out at home all day, working, not working, whatever. If you’re home between the hours of 11am and 1pm, I want to know what you’re feeding yourself.

See, I have a problem. I’ll find something awesome for lunch and make it, once, twice, three, fifteen times. I’ll stock up, pack the fridge or freezer full of my new favorite meal, and then, overnight, I’ll become overwhelmingly bored with my lunch options.

And that? Is when I start snacking instead of eating.

It is amazing how much crap I can ingest when I’m not sure what I’m craving.

So, since this whole having-lunch-at-home-pretty-much-every-day-instead-of-going-out thing is relatively new and since I’m almost over eating avocado and grilled cheese sandwiches, I’m turning to you for inspiration.



Do you make a big batch of soup every weekend? (That’s what Kelly of TheCentsibleLife.com does.)

Do you always cook enough dinner for lunch left-overs? (That’s what Tonya of www.tonyastaab.com does.)

Do you find ways to jazz up a salad? (That’s what Katja of www.skimbacofood.com does.)

Or do you just forage in the fridge for hummus or an errant yogurt and carrot sticks? (That’s what Julie of Just-precious.com does.)

Help me people! Don’t make me go back to the frozen burritos that have been playing hide and seek with the frozen peas!

3 Tips For Looking Fabulous in Photos

standard July 29, 2011 11 responses

At EVO’11 I had the good fortune to attend a photo session taught by the awesome Me Ra Koh*,  during which she was kind enough to share with us something she had presented in a photo tips segment for the Nate Berkus Show: The Secret to Looking Great in Photos.

No, it did not involve losing 15lbs and getting better make-up. It’s just three, super simple tips, that we can all easily put to work.

That’s it. Really. Three super easy tips that I guarantee will change your life and will stop you from cringing when you see the words “So&So tagged you in a photo!” pop up in your email inbox. Trust me. If it can work for me, it can work for you.

Tip 1: Turn your body at an angle and lean into the camera

Remember when you were at school and the photographer kept making you face the camera and smile?

Yeah. Don’t do that any more.

We all share the same fear of the camera, so when someone points a lens in our direction, we tend to square our shoulders and lean back. If you’re me, you also do some funky thing with your chin. (Don’t ask.) Even the skinniest supermodel looks boxy when photographed head on. So, take a page from their book, and turn yourself at a slight angle to trick the camera into showing you at your slimmest.

And then, when you have the angle down, slightly lean towards the photographer.

Feel silly? Let me demonstrate why this works.

Stand in front of a mirror and lean slightly back.
What do you see? A double chin, right?

Now, instead, try leaning into your reflection.
What do you see this time? Instant smoothing out of your neck and facial lines.

So, angle yourself towards the camera, drop your shoulders, and lean into the camera, putting your weight slightly on your front foot.

Instant transformation.

Tip 2: Scootch forward in your seat

If you’re sitting when the camera comes at you, scootch forward until you’re perched on the edge of your seat.

The reasoning behind this is simple. If you sit back, or lean back against the backrest, perspective dictates that your thighs will look disproportionately big compared to the rest of you. And I don’t know about you, but my thighs need no help looking any bigger!

So, scootch forward, angle yourself slightly, and lean into the photographer!

Tip 3: Refuse to let anyone shoot you from below

Unless the photographer is kneeling to snap a shot of your cute shoes, don’t ever let anyone snap you from below. Seriously, can you say triple chin?

See for yourself, get down on your knees and look up at people.
What do you see? Rolls, chins, and all those other things you want to camera to ignore, not enhance.

So, instead, invite the photographer to stand on a chair and shoot down. Then… you guessed it… lean into the photo!

Three little tips that will change the way you feel about your BlogHer photos and all other photos you’re ever in! You’re welcome.

*Yes, I have a hero worship crush thing going. What can I say, she’s worth it!

Think before you speak

standard February 25, 2011 2 responses

There is an old French adage that says that you should “turn your tongue seven times in your mouth before speaking.” Now, as a kid I spent a LOT of time wondering just how one is supposed to “turn” their tongue. Which is definitely not the point of the old saying, but probably did keep me from blurting out anything unthinkingly, which is the point. So maybe it does work.

This week, on his favorite podcast, my husband heard some more constructive and helpful advice on watching what you say before you speak. Five simple questions that will ensure that you never say anything you’ll regret later.

1)      Is what you’re about to say true?
2)      Is what you’re about to say kind?
3)      Is what you’re about to say useful?
4)      Is what you’re about to say timely?
5)      Does what you’re about to say further the connection between you and the other person? (Optional in that it doesn’t lend itself to every interaction you might have during the day.

Imagine for a moment that every person you work with used these questions before speaking? Meetings would be shorter, interactions would be more efficient, and feelings would never get ruffled.

Now imagine that you take those questions into consideration before talking to your husband, to your kids, to your friends. Nice, right?

Like any new habit, it’ll take a while to get used to pausing before you speak and making sure your words are filled with the right intent. But I guarantee that it will become second nature sooner rather than later, especially when you start to notice the impact on your interactions.