It’s the most Goopiful time of the year!

Last year, I shamelessly copied my friend Beck’s idea, who brilliantly reviews Oprah’s Holiday Gift Guide each December.  I need a slightly easier ticket to ridiculousland, so I’m reviewing one of Hollywood darling Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Gift Guides.  If you’re in for a few minutes of abject embarrassment (or titillation, if you’re completely different from I am) you can check out her gift guide for lovers here.  It contains mainly underwear and high end sex toys, many of which I’m sure were featured in the Fifty Shades movies (which I haven’t seen).  But because my mom reads my blog, and because I have very little experience in the sex toy arena, I won’t be reviewing that list.  Instead, since Gwyneth is who she is, and I have a little experience with health care professionals in a constant patient sort of way, I’m taking on the health nut list.

 

I think we can go ahead and just get the obvious out of the way – the majority of these gifts are intended for the same people who benefit from Trump’s tax plan – the rich and frivolous.  They’re incredibly overpriced and many of them, if you think “that looks interesting” could be found for a more reasonable cost somewhere else.  Shall we deep dive?

The Health Nut List:

shamansays

Shaman Says sweater by Lingua Franca x goop – $400

Goop scoop: This cushy cashmere pullover sweater is about as cute and giftable as they come—it has a cheeky “shaman says” saying hand-stitched in sky-blue and made just for us.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Gwyneth has her own personal shaman.  Apparently that’s the “in” spiritual guide this season.  Goodbye yogis!  Farewell priests and priestesses!  Make way for the shamans.  Sorry, I’m not trying to be insulting, I just feel having a personal spiritual guide of any sort leaves room for a lot of abuse and personal gain on their part.  Anyway.  This sweater is cashmere and hand-stitched, which justifies a little bit of the price, but still out of the average consumer’s reach.  IF you are wealthy, AND you have a family shaman or your friend does, and you are from a culture that includes shamanism…I could see this being a cute gift.  Otherwise, I think it’s a little kitschy and demeaning to a religion.

Alternate idea – buy a cashmere sweater yourself and pay to have it embroidered by a local seamstress.  Or, opt for a nice sweatshirt and hit up one of those personalize anything sites.

 

leggings

Star Bra and Legging Gift Set by LNDR – $215.00

Goop scoop: This technical tight and bra matching set comes with a retro starry-print graphic—a no-brainer gift for the active type. Snug yet breathable, sporty yet feminine—the set is extra supportive and great for any sweat session.

I publicly stated last year and have not changed my opinion – giving workout clothes to anyone is a bad idea unless they specifically ask for them.  And even then, I personally would offer a gift card so they could pick the size and print.  These are obviously high end and I’m sure feel lovely.  Not my taste in print.

Alternative idea:  Kate Hudson’s line of workout wear has been favorably reviewed and is much more cost-friendly.  And you can say it’s from a big name actress, as well.  You could get both a pair of leggings and a sports bra for around $100.  That’s without signing up for her VIP package, too.

 

soma

GOOP glass water bottle with Soma – $32.00

Goop scoop: This lightweight water bottle, made from a shatter-resistant glass, will go everywhere with you. Designed just for us, it has a protective silicone sleeve rendered in a neutral blush with the “goop” logo and a bamboo cap. Plus, it’s slim, so you can stick it in your gym-bag or work tote. More reason to love it? For each bottle purchased, a donation is made to the nonprofit group, Charity:Water, to support safe drinking globally—sold.

I can’t bash this without admitting that we own a Soma water filter and love it.  They’re a lovely company and I wouldn’t mind owning a glass water bottle once I have a child who doesn’t steal everything of mine and drop it repeatedly.  Would I pick one emblazoned with the goop logo?  No.  But if that’s your thing, I don’t see why this wouldn’t be a good gift if you can afford $32 for a water bottle.

Alternative idea – Note that if you are an Amazon shopper, you can get many styles of Soma glass bottles for cheaper than $32.  And if you are just considering this because of the charity water plug, why not make a straight donation to charity water in the recipient’s name?

 

bowl

Facial Treatment Bowl by May Lindstrom – $40.00

Goop scoop:Handmade in L.A. by designer Melissa Brown exclusively for May Lindstrom, this clay bowl is the perfect vessel for mixing facial treatments and masques. Use it with Lindstrom’s facial treatment brush.

I had to do some research, as no one in my social circles has ever mentioned or needed a facial treatment bowl.  Apparently, it’s used to mix up facial masks or potions for beauty treatments.  Does the average person need one of these?  Totally not.  Every woman I know would rather shell out $40 to go to a spa to have someone else mix up a mask and apply it than spend the same amount on a bowl.  As far as I can tell, not even Gwyneth is claiming that this bowl adds anything other than an element of beauty for the eye to your facial routine.

Alternative idea:  A spa gift card for $40.  Or if you’re dead set on buying a facial treatment bowl, go to one of the plethora of craft fairs going on during the holiday season and find a potter who runs their own business and buy something from them to support small business.

 

mask

The Problem Solver Correcting Masque by May Lindstrom – $100.00

Goop Scoop: It starts out as a powder (a blend of raw cacao, bamboo charcoal, soil nutrients, and spices), only releasing its potent elements once mixed with water. The resulting mousse helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and inflammation, and tightens the appearance of pores pretty much instantly. Use Lindstrom’s facial treatment bowl and brush to mix the paste.

Do you see where this is heading?  Read my opinion on the bowl and apply it to this.  Rather go to a spa, etc etc.  Skincare products are even more personal than workout wear.  Many people have allergies and sensitivities, so if you opt for skincare and beauty products as a gift, make triple sure you’ve got it right.

Alternative idea: Like I said, spa gift card.  Or a gift card to somewhere they can pick their own skincare product.

 

brush

Facial Treatment brush by May Lindstrom – $30.00

Goop Scoop: An incredibly useful tool for applying both the Honey Mud and the Problem Solver Correcting Masque without making a mess. Use it with Lindstrom’s facial treatment bowl.

And rounding out the trio, we have a special brush for your recipient to use once or twice and then get lost or trashed in their bathroom.  If we’re tallying, that’s $170.00 for one masque and the “required” tools to use it.  And why would you buy just one of these elements?  Smart marketing there, Gwyn.

Alternative idea: You can get a similar brush, including the all-natural bristles, for about $8 on Amazon.  And you can even get some Alaskan glacial mud along with a brush for only $40.  Or, like I’ve said twice now – spa gift card.

 

amethystquartzrosequartzsmokyquartz

Crystal Bottle by Glacce (in Amethyst, clear quartz, rose quartz, or smoky quartz) – $80

Goop scoop: This gorgeous glass water bottle is designed with an obelisk-like clear quartz crystal to infuse water with positive energy. Tied to cleansing and clarity, clear quartz is thought to generate a productive energy, channeling focus into positivity. /Made with a heart-opening rose quartz to remind you to seek out positive energy, give love, and remain open to new, healthy relationships and experiences./A soothing crystal, amethyst is thought to help transform negative energy, enhance existing psychic abilities, and calm the mind./A grounding crystal, smoky quartz is thought to reduce feelings of anxiety, encourage relaxation, and protect from negative energies.

Personally, I don’t want my water to taste like rocks.  Unless it’s whiskey stones.  And my water is whiskey.  They do make a disclaimer on Glacce’s home site for this listing that you shouldn’t expect any actual effects from drinking water from these bottles unless you are healed by beauty.  They also say these are exceedingly fragile and I for one am not soft on my water bottles.  They get tossed around in my car, my purse, fall off my desk and bedside table – so this seems like a poor choice for a gift unless your recipient likes drinking micro crystals and isn’t worried about their stomach lining.

Alternative idea:  Skip the crystal in the water bottle and buy a pretty crystal for their bedside table or desk – and put it under a glass cloche.  If you want a glass infuser water bottle, you can get one for about $25 online.

 

sweats

“Happy Everything” Holiday Bundle by Alternative Apparel – $98

Goop Scoop: The kind of perfect piece you’ll want to give and receive, this “happy everything” sweatshirt and drawstring pant combo is as cozy as it is festive. Done in an eco-fleece cotton-blend, they’ll be the first thing you’ll reach for the moment you get home.

It’s unfortunate, but I do need to point out that “Happy Everything” is a trademarked statement by another company called “Coton Colors.”  They do not carry sweatpants/sweatshirt bundles, which is maybe why Alternative Apparel has these.  Once again, I feel obligated to tell you I am the sort of person who would love to receive sweatpants and a comfortable sweatshirt for Christmas, as long as you’re not going to guilt me for wearing them whenever the hell I want.  I would caution you against giving holiday themed wear on Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa as then the recipient has a very short amount of time to wear them without being mocked.

Alternative idea:  If you’re dead set on buying some expensive sweatpants, I can wholeheartedly recommend MeUndies – they carry sweatpants for about $80 and I have heard nothing but stellar reviews about their company.  Otherwise, get some from Uniqlo for $20.

 

goop

In Goop Health gift card by Goop – $650.00

Goop Scoop: Give the goopiest gift of them all—a ticket to our next wellness summit happening on January 27, 2018 in NYC. In goop Health brings together the most compelling corners of the wellness world for a celebratory deep-dive into well-being that spans mind, body, and soul. During our second-ever summit, we’ll be hosting additional health-defining doctors, more of our trusted experts, and fresh sets of self-care sessions and well-being practices.

Oh man, the self-promotion is here.  This would be a good gift for a recipient who adores Gwyneth and Goop, has no medical conditions, and plenty of free time to rearrange their schedule to be able to attend this conference a mere month after receiving this gift.  I almost wish I could be a fly on the wall at this “health summit” to hear some of the fun new ways they’ve found to treat people.  They’ve already covered vaginal steaming, fecal facials, and encouraging your water verbally…wonder what will be in this next year?

Alternative idea:  Some well written pamphlets or an intervention by a real medical professional.

meditation
Meditation Band by Muse – $350.00
Goop Scoop: Keep calm with this techy meditation headband, perfect for anyone looking to improve or deepen their practice. It uses soothing sounds from the great outdoors to gently guide you back to a meditative state: when your mind starts to wander, the weather intensifies.
So, I looked into this and it’s actually a bit of a simplified EEG machine dedicated to helping you meditate.  Basically this thing detects when your brain has focused brain waves like during meditation and plays soft nature sounds.  If you get distracted, it begins to play turbulent ones to get your attention and refocus you.  This throws up a few red flags for me.  First, similar to parents with at home fetal monitors, people could get way too invested in how their brain waves are doing.  Second, there are options on this device to share your brain wave data with the Muse company.  Any electronic with this option can be hacked, and while I don’t think there’s anything nefarious a company could use your brainwave information for, this is a world where personal information of any sort goes for a premium price.  And if your meditation habits are in need of a $350 device to keep them in line, you may want to invest in a class rather than a gadget.
Alternative idea:  I can highly recommend the Headspace app for meditation.  The free version has 10 ten minute sessions that are guided and fantastic for meditation and paying for a subscription will open up meditations on a variety of topics such as insomnia and anxiety.  Also, you can buy this device for only $250 from Muse’s site.
roller
Vyper 2.0 Fitness Roller by Hyperice – $199.00
Goop Scoop: This hi-tech riff on the traditional foam roller has a grooved exterior and three powerful vibrating speeds to ramp up the muscular penetration while gently massaging. Great for athletes looking to warm-up, cool-down, or hit hard-to-stretch sore spots (back, feet, IT bands, quads, even shoulders).
Ok, so I’m not sure what adding vibration will do to ramp up muscular penetration when you’re using a foam roller.  Other than the obvious.  I feel like this would make a good gift for a very specific sort of person.  A sort of person who is really into working out and toning their muscles.  I know no one in this category other than my friend Ross, but he would probably wonder why I spent $200 on it.  This is a very niche gift.
Alternative idea: I can’t find any other vibrating foam rollers on the market, which means Hyperice has cornered the market for this.  But if you’re looking to cut costs I’m sure you can find a significantly cheaper foam roller without the vibrating option.  Also, this item is a teensy bit cheaper on Amazon.
burner
Burner Gym Duffle bag by Vooray – $50.00
Goop Scoop:  This slick navy mesh gym bag is also super-practical: Reinforced for supreme durability and protection, it’s got an extended dual-zipper track, so you can open it wide and find anything you’ve buried in there. The leather handles are magnetic, too, making it especially easy to close.
It’s a gym bag.  I mean reinforced with fancy handles and probably a bit on the durable side, but it’s a gym bag.  Guys, this is a boring gift.  Super boring.  Don’t get this.  That’s like getting someone socks.
Alternative idea:  A gift certificate to work out with someone (if that’s your jam).  Or the number one rated gym bag in the world for $21 – the Everest Gym bag.  But be more exciting than a gym bag in your gift giving.
apple cider
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules by Tonik. – $25.00/120
Goop scoop: For people who want the benefits of apple-cider vinegar but hate the taste, these brilliant, gelatin-encapsulated pills are the chicly bottled, easy-to-swallow solution. Each capsule contains 1,000 mg of powdered apple cider vinegar, along with “the mother”; take one or two a day to add beneficial live bacteria to help maintain a healthy gut.
I’m not going to lie to you.  I would totally buy these.  But not as a gift!  I’ve taken acv in the past and it has increased my gut health, but it’s disgusting to take in liquid form.  My in-laws both take it, so I would totally buy them this.  If you know someone who is on the acv train, this would be a cool gift.  And I think it’s pretty good value.  And yeah, I know it’s probably better for you to take it in liquid form or incorporate it into recipes, but I’m lazy.
Alternative idea:  Got none.  Though if you search for an alternative brand, make sure it has a lower dosage of acv on the scale.  Too high can give acid reflux or cause burns.  And buy from a reputable company you trust.

schmidt

Jasmine Tea Sensitive Skin Deodeorant Stick by Schmidt’s – $11.00

 

Goop scoop: A brilliant solution for people with with a sensitivity to baking soda (most clean deodorants rely on it), this jasmine-tea-scented deodorant smells incredible—and, most importantly, really works.The coconut oil- and shea butter- infused stick glides on smoothly, plant-based powders naturally absorb wetness, and the certified-vegan formula contains no aluminum or other potential toxins, and it’s absolutely baking-soda free.

 

Unless you’re a mom or a grandma, I don’t really think deodorant is a great holiday gift.  That may be my privilege showing.  And also, see my comments on buying skin care products as gifts.   However, that aside, I do like Schmidt’s brand and have used their deodorant.  It works well as long as you don’t want an anti-perspirant, and their scents are great.  So if your recipient enjoys skin care products as gifts and also the smell of tea AND has no allergies you know of, this might work.

 

Alternative idea:  I don’t have one, but I will put in another plug for Schmidt’s.  They have a holiday line! (Which I think is hilarious.) They have travel sizes that would be good for sampling their scents and blend! My favorite scent is their cedarwood + juniper.  Mmmmm.  They also have deodorant in fragrance free if that’s your cup of tea.

 

bag

Keep it Clean pouch by Coral Clark – $60.00

 

Goop scoop: Perfectly sized to stash all your clean beauty essentials, this zip-up pouch comes with a cute “keep it clean” saying illustrated across the front. You can easily toss it in your everyday bag, so it’s great for travel, work, even the gym.

 

This is literally just a linen bag with a saying stenciled on it.  From France.  I’ll admit linen is a lovely fabric and if I was not a heathen who stored her makeup in mason jars and cute baskets in her bathroom, this might appeal to me.  Or if I wasn’t a heathen who never re-applies makeup during the day.

 

Alternative idea: Check out the literally hundreds of small business shops on Etsy to find something similar.  The only thing I could find that might be Coral Clark as a company is a fashion blogger from France.  Keep it local, people.  Also, spend less money on storing your makeup.  See also, above why gym bags are boring gifts.  This is in that same vein.

 

diffuser

Stone diffuser by Vitruvi – $119.00

 

Goop scoop: This gorgeous ceramic aromatherapy oil diffuser is handcrafted in Taiwan and works as a stunningly simple piece of home decor at the same time that it softly streams essential-oil-infused steam out into any room. Use it simply to non-toxically fragrance your environment, or use it to treat everything from colds to low energy with essential oils. Ingeniously, it’s got longevity and safety off-switches, so it’s worry free. One of the most gentle, beautiful, life-enhancing ways to detoxify we know.

 

We use a diffuser in our bedroom.  No, we are not on the essential oils cure everything train, but I do like diffusing pine scent during the holidays, eucalyptus during cold season, and various other oils for scent throughout the year.  If you really want to drop this much money on a gift of a diffuser for someone, based on the reviews I would recommend you think twice.  Many customers say this has a very small basin (continuous run time of 3 hours, for comparison ours runs 36).  It’s more of an art piece that is functional in a small room than something you can count on to really diffuse effectively.  So maybe if your friend lives in a tiny house with a modern esthetic and is a huge fan of EO.

 

Alternative idea:  Any of the thousands of other diffusers that are cheaper online.  I got my sister one made of treated wood a few years ago that is beautiful.  Plus, this is porcelain, which means unless your recipient’s household is child free (or this is for their office) it’s probably going to get broken.

 

oil

Pink Grapefruit (pictured), Lavender, or Eucalyptus essential oil by Vitruvi – $10-$15

 

Goop scoop:Made of 100% USA-grown pink grapefruit, this essential oil is refreshing, uplifting, and rejuvenating; it’s also a brilliant brightening and cleansing treatment mixed with carrier oils; it’s also effective for breakouts. Diffuse into the air with Vitruvi’s gorgeous Stone Diffuser, or breathe in via direct palm inhalation, it smells fantastic and invigorates both body and spirit. / Made of 100% certified-organic lavender harvested from high alpine fields in France, this essential oil is paradoxically soothing and energizing all at once. Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, lavender’s powers can be accessed via Vitruvi’s gorgeous Stone Diffuser, or through direct palm inhalation. For blemish-prone, sensitive skin, it’s also a gentle-yet-effective spot treatment. / Sourced from France, this certified organic essential oil is known for its fresh, herbaceous scent—hence its popularity in spa steam rooms. The stimulating oil is brilliant to use with Vitruvi’s White Stone Diffuser to cleanse, detoxify, and clarify the air in your home/office/personal sanctuary.

 

First off, don’t put pure essential oil in your hand.  That’s a good way to get a rash, a burn, or accidentally get it in your eyes.  Second, people who are avid essential oil users generally have loyalty to one brand, whether it’s this brand, youngliving, DoTerra, or something else.  So if you’re dead set on buying your friend essential oils, do a bit of research on their preferences.  And as a sometimes essential oils user, I would put this on the same line as a skincare product in terms of preferences and sensitivities.

 

Alternative idea:  A gift card to their preferred essential oil provider.

 

blue_cocoon

The Blue Cocoon by May Lindstrom – $180.00

 

Goop scoop:  This deeply luxurious, miracle-working pale-blue balm genuinely (and immediately) transforms irritated, sensitive, or delicate skin, and it feels incredible, no matter what your complexion. Intensely moisturizing, it melts into skin on contact and calms, nourishes, and softens with anti-inflammatory concoction of blue tansy, botanicals, and oils. Created by reactive-skin-sufferer/former model/gorgeous-skin-guru May Lindstrom, the glacial-blue formula is as gorgeous as it is effective.

 

See ad nauseum – skincare products.  Don’t buy them for people unless they ask for them by name.

 

Alternative idea:  Like I’ve said several times before, spa gift certificate.  Gift card to boutique skin care shop, or generic gift card to buy their own skin care products.

 

tea

Ritual Tea Set by Matchaful – $95.00

 

Goop scoop: This set, packaged in a gorgeous, highly giftable 100% bamboo box, has everything you need to make the perfect cup of matcha. The USDA-certified-organic Emerald Grade Matcha is sourced directly from Japanese farms that use sustainable and organic growing techniques. Also included is a bamboo whisk and porcelain whisk holder, a ½-tablespoon scoop for easy serving measurement, a sifter for the matcha powder, and detailed instructions to make your homemade matcha as delicious, invigorating, and uplifting as you’d get at a legit matcha bar, every time.

 

I have never had matcha tea, so I have no frame of reference for rating this.  Would I enjoy getting a fancy tea kit?  Maybe.  Is your recipient the sort of person who loves matcha, and has the time to make tea-making a ritual on a regular basis?  If you answered yes, then maybe this would be a good gift?  I am told you need a special cup to drink matcha out of to get the full experience, and this kit doesn’t contain that…so…there.

 

Alternative idea:  *insert shrug emoji*

 

matcha

Reserve: Limited Release Matcha tea by Chalait Tea – $60.00

 

Goop scoop: Sourced from Japan, this complex tea tastes a bit nutty, with subtly sweet floral hints, and a light seaweed flavor. Although it’s naturally fragrant, don’t expect any of the bitterness you get from regular matcha. And it’s adorably packaged, making it a worthy gift for any tea lover.

 

It seems in bad taste to promote two different brands of matcha.  But with a little digging, I found that Goop has a business relationship with this company and sources their matcha for their matcha lattes at the goop pop in NYC.  I’m not sure how a tiny tin counts as “adorable” packaging, but whatevs.

 

Alternative idea:  I don’t have one, yet again, but I will post a warning.  You should only consume one cup of matcha a day, or risk lead poisoning.  Also, if you choose to purchase matcha, confirm it is pure matcha and not something like powdered and sweetened milk.

 

bowl

Large Standard Singing Bowl set by Incausa – $185.00

 

Goop scoop: Here, everything you need to aid your meditation practice, in one beautiful bundle: a petite pillow, mallet, and a hand-hammered brass bowl crafted by skilled artisans in Nepal. The incredible-smelling incense and vegan soap are all handmade from sacred plants and raw ingredients said to help better connect with your spiritual practice.

 

I can’t use anything like this with my meditation because it triggers my anxiety – the droning same tone in the background.  Also, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to be still and meditate and make a bowl sing at the same time.  It would seem awkward to have someone near me while meditating just to make some bowls sing.  I’m sure if your recipient wants these for something other than decoration, they’ll figure out a way.

 

Alternative idea:  I’ve mentioned the headspace app before and I’m sure there are many other apps you could gift that include the sound of singing bowls in meditation aids.  Unless you just want to buy your friend really beautiful bowls, in which I say find a local artisan.

 

floss

Cocofloss by Cocofloss – $8.00

 

Goop scoop: Try clean, refreshing Cocofloss once, truly, and you’ll be forever ruined for regular floss. Never mind its non-toxicity and social impact, it’s simply better than anything we’ve tried–ever. Created by two Bay Area sisters, one a dentist, the other an artist, Cocofloss is thick, yet glides smoothly between your teeth, is strong but flexible, and just feels—fantastic, transforming a chore into a pleasure. The floss has the faintest hint of the coconut oil its infused with, and the mint scent is especially fresh and invigorating.

 

It’s…it’s dental floss?  I guess I would try this?  I don’t expect it to making flossing “a pleasure” b/c I know very few people who actually enjoy flossing at all.  *cue someone commenting “I love to floss!* Also, be aware that many people are allergic to coconut so this would be a bad bad gift for them, obviously.  Plus it’s FLOSS.  Also, when I first saw this picture, I totally thought this was a light up condom.

 

Alternative gift:  Sadness.  B/c if you’re stooping to buy someone dental floss, you might as well just slap them in the face.

 

wipes

Essential Face Wipes by Ursa Major – $24.00

 

Goop scoop: The company’s miracle 4-1 Face Tonic formula is infused into each individually-wrapped bamboo-cloth face wipe—use as a pH-balancing cleanser, gentle-but-powerful exfoliant, potent skin-healer, and firming hydrator, for all skin types. The wipes smell subtly of orange, fir, and lavender—refreshing after the gym, beautiful for taking off makeup, life-changing for the breakout-prone.

 

I love face wipes – not that they do that great a job, but I think they’re convenient and transportable.  I, once again, don’t know how great of a gift these would make.  I am, generally, of the belief that a gift should be something the recipient wouldn’t necessarily purchase themselves.  Traditionally in my family, we get small hygiene items as stocking stuffers but I can’t see spending $24.00 on a stocking stuffer.  But I’m not married to Daddy Warbucks.

 

Alternative gift:  First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Caffeine Matcha Wake Up Wipes – highly rated and a bit cheaper, I think these would be a great alternative.

 

serum

Active Botanical Serum by Vintner’s Daughter – $185.00

 

Goop scoop: It’s not surprising that this oil has a cult following: It’s an infusion of 22 of the world’s most active organic botanicals mixed with powerful essential oils. Phytonutrients and minerals balance compromised skin; skin-firming phytoceramides, nourishing fatty acids, and antioxidants stimulate cellular turnover, enhance elasticity, brighten dull complexions, help to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and protect against free radicals. The revolutionary formula penetrates deeply, restoring moisture, clarity, smoothness, and glow to your skin.

 

If you’re a woman, buying a gift for another woman, this might be a nice gift.  If you’re a man, general rule of thumb don’t buy them anti-aging products unless they specifically request them.  This seems like a quality gift, and this company is highly reputable.

 

Alternative idea: I don’t really have one – I don’t know my serums.

 

goe

Goe Oil by Jao – $49.00

 

Goop scoop: A combination of 28 plant, fruit, and flower oils and butters, this multipurpose, semi-solid oil smells faintly of Monoi (Tahitian gardenias soaked in coconut oil) and moisturizes skin like nothing else. Lighter than a typical body butter, longer-lasting than a moisturizer, it’s made with a high percentage of jojoba oil—not technically an oil, but a polyunsaturated liquid wax similar to human sebum, plus rosehip, hemp, meadowfoam, and rice bran oils, all of which are high in omega and essential fatty acids. Antioxidant avocado, grapeseed, mango, and pumpkin seed butter, plus kukui nut oil protects the skin, while chamomile and calendula calm.

 

I actually wouldn’t mind getting this as a gift.  This oil is supposed to be very close in makeup to the oil in human skin and work for all skin types.  I’m always on the watch for good skin oils somewhere between the retro cold cream and my usual use of sweet almond oil for my facial massages.

 

Alternative idea:  Don’t have one, sorry.

 

lorox

Lorox Aligned Travel Roller by OPTP – $17.00

 

Goop scoop: A workout essential, this foam roller is designed by structural integration practitioner and fascia expert Lauren Roxburgh for superior results. Use it to elongate muscles, tone your body, and get rid of inflammation (thanks in part to the roller’s lymphatic-boosting, textured surface). It’s the perfect size for a gym bag, carry-on, or a fit-it-in-anywhere kind of workout—plus, the contrast color combo is pretty fun.

 

As I said before, a foam roller is a very niche sort of gift.  But at only $17, this might be a good gift for someone looking to get into working out, getting fit, or just generally testing out muscle rolling.  I might like one of these.

 

Alternative idea:  For the third item in a row, I don’t have an alternative, but mostly because I think this is priced right and would make a good gift for the right person.

 

elvie

Elvie trainer by Elvie – $199.00

 

Goop scoop: The Elvie Trainer is a revolutionary device that makes working out your pelvic floor incredibly easy and surprisingly fun. It’s a small, smoothly shaped pod, that you slip in just as you would a tampon. Via Bluetooth, the pod links to the Elvie app, which tracks your progress through five-minute, game-like pelvic floor exercises. If you’ve ever been interested in strengthening your pelvic floor—for more bladder control, a better orgasm, a solid core—but you’ve been unsure about how to do it effectively, this makes it pretty simple.

 

We all knew Gwyneth wouldn’t let us get through any list without a nod to our vaginas and here it is.  This is an insanely personal gift – one I wouldn’t consider giving to anyone, much less a friend.  But if you have a spare $200 and you’re looking to up your kegel game, this might be a good investment…according to Gwyneth.

 

Alternative idea:  Find a class specifically designed around pelvic floor exercises and pay for you and your friend to take it together.  Beneficial and hilarious.

 

vitamins

Balls in the Air/Why am I so Effing tired/The Mother Load/High school Genes by Goopwellness – $90.00/$75.00 with subscription

 

Goop scoop: This antioxidant-rich (beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E) regimen plays defense so you can play offense, helping to unburden inflammation in the body, ensuring that all systems operate at full capacity. Formulated with a blend of building blocks that boosts the body’s production of glutathione—the master detoxifier—this regimen is designed for women who function at an intense pace, and want to keep it that way. /Formulated with a variety of vitamins (including a high dose of the B’s) and supplements—many sourced from ancient Ayurveda—this helps re-balance an overtaxed system. Replenishing the nutrients you may be lacking may improve energy levels and diminish stress./While undoubtedly magical, having a baby can be a taxing and depleting physical experience for mothers—and effects can be felt for years after. This regimen is a top of the line natal protocol (you can take it prior to conception and while pregnant as well), with extra support for getting new, and not so new moms back on their feet./Formulated for women—particularly in a perimenopausal or postmenopausal state—who feel like their metabolism might be slowing down, and whose bodies are no longer responding to the exercise and diet levers that they’ve always pulled. This regimen addresses numerous systems in the body that may contribute to weight gain when not functioning properly.

 

So – this is their attempt to sell you their Goop brand vitamins.  Like most vitamins, they’re aren’t vetted by the FDA or any government agency.  They’re each developed by different doctors for a specific person.  I would never recommend buying any sort of vitamin or drug for a person as a gift of any sort.  That’s just a bad bad idea.

 

Alternative idea:  Literally anything that isn’t a pill.

 

greens

The 8G Cookbook by 8 Greens – $20.00

 

Goop scoop: To get the eight most-important greens into your diet on a regular basis, this is the (easy, incredibly delicious) solution. Model and cancer survivor Dawn Russell found her young family didn’t like vegetables, so the inventive mother of two started blending spinach, kale, spirulina, blue-green algae, barley grass, wheat grass, chlorella, and aloe vera together and working the combination into her daily recipes. In The 8G Cookbook, she shares the 40 favorite eight-greens recipes—they’re healthy, easy, and delicious.

 

This may be a good gift for the health nut in your life – so good job Gwyneth!  I’d consider getting this for my brother who is very health conscious and normally eats spinach and eggs (when he lived with us, I got to smell slightly overcooked scrambled eggs for the first six months of my pregnancy – super fun).  Almost everyone loves the idea of getting more greens into their diet and so this would probably be a very well received gift to many people.  And, reading the blurb about this book on Amazon, it piqued an interest in her green tablets.

 

Alternative gift:  The Kindle edition, if your recipient has a Kindle, is almost $10 cheaper.

 

planter

Solar Hydro-planter by Modern Sprout – $219.00

 

Goop scoop: From peppers and tomatoes to herbs and leafy greens, this self-sustaining, solar-powered hydroponic kit comes in a beautiful wooden planter that you can stash on your sill for sunlight year-round. Great for the green thumbs, it’s designed to water the plants from within, based on a fuss-free, pre-programmed feeding schedule.

 

I would argue that this maybe isn’t a gift for green thumbs for for black thumbs who have a hard time keeping plants alive.  It’s a nifty high tech solution to forgetting to water your windowsill garden.  So all you rich people, buy me this.

 

Alternative idea: A non-solar powered nice window box with plants and an app to remind your recipient to water said plants with notes on how much to water.

 

8g

8G Greens Dietary Supplement by 8 Greens – $14.00

 

Goop scoop: An easy way to get more nutrients from real greens, these effervescent tablets are packed with spinach, kale, spirulina, blue-green algae, barley grass, wheat grass, chlorella, and aloe vera. A single tablet has as much vitamin C as six oranges, as much B12 as seven cups of milk, and as much B6 as six cups of spinach.

 

Not gonna lie, I told my husband I would like to try these next paycheck.  These would make an excellent stocking stuffer for a health conscious person (I might get some of these for my sister in law).

 

Alternative idea:  Nope.

 

uiio

Ullo wine purifier by Ullo – $80.00

 

Goop scoop: What makes this purifier so innovative is its Selective Sulfite Capture™ technology that not only filters out sulfates and sediments (read: no more headaches) but aerates it, too, restoring wine—table or vintage—to its natural, drinkable state. Use it at your next dinner party to pour out your favorite reserve or give it as a gift (to impress the wine-snob on your list). Bonus points: it’s sized to fit directly on top of a variety of wine glasses—no decanter needed.

 

I didn’t actually expect to find gifts on this list, damn you Gwyneth.  My dad loves wine and this would be a quality gift for him.  I like the idea of filtering sulfates out of wine – it might make it easier for me to drink it.  This would also be a fantastic gift for anyone who has a sulfate allergy and misses drinking the vino.  It may seem spendy, but many wine accessories are, so if you’re dunking into the wine market, be prepared to crack open your wallet.

 

Alternative idea:  I don’t know enough about wine to say whether or not this is a rip off.  But I do know most of my friends who drink wine prefer a filter and/or aerator.  There are less expensive ones on the market, but I couldn’t direct you to one, sorry.

 

soma

10-cup water filter pitcher by Soma – $39.00

 

Goop scoop: In a family-friendly size, this pitcher holds up to ten-cups of refreshing water thanks to the plant-based, coconut-shell carbon filter that helps reduce everything from chlorine and mercury to copper and zinc in regular tap water. And when you do eventually need to re-fill it, just stick it under your faucet and voilà, the lid automatically opens. Plus, it’s made from BPA-free plastic and comes with a sleek white oak handle, so it looks chic on your countertop, too.

 

This is very cool and very pretty – we’ve actually owned one for several years.  I don’t care for the idea of buying someone a gift that requires regular replacement of parts, such as the filter in this pitcher.  I can also say that this needs regular cleaning – it’s white and will get a lot of use if it’s the primary filter you use in your household.  And if you allow it to remain at room temperature for an extended period of time and you live in a warm climate, it can mold (don’t ask me the story behind this, it’s gross).  And heads up, if you have friends who are allergic to coconut, they can’t use the water from this.

 

kalumi

Kalumi Marine Collagen Bar variety pack by Kalumi – $19.00

 

Goop scoop: Feed your skin from the inside out with this collection of best-selling marine collagen bars. Each bar contains a full 12 grams of collagen, said to support skin health. Includes 3 bars: Sweetie Pie, Lemon Love, Cocoa Kiss.

 

I tell you what, these better be some damn good bars at $6 a pop.  I get it that it’s a gift, and maybe rich people would use this as a stocking stuffer, but I don’t want collagen protein bars as a gift.  Ick.

 

Alternative idea:  A better snack.

 

firefly

Firefly Running and Biking Lights by Schatzii – $25.00/2

 

Goop scoop: The safe solution to early-morning runs, evening walks, or after-hours bike rides, this brilliant light easily clips onto the heels of your shoes to vividly illuminate your feet in a fluorescent neon green. Did we mention they’re incredibly lightweight?

 

These look cool!  I want to buy these for my brother in law and his wife who are runners.  (I am not a runner.  This would be a bad gift for me as I don’t run unless zombies are chasing me, nor do I bike except for fun once every great while). Anyway, I think these would be a great gift for a runner.  They also come in red and blue!

 

Alternative idea:  I think these are fun!

 

untranslatable

Untranslatable Words card set by The School of Life – $18.00

 

Goop scoop: A beautiful collection of twenty perfect, expressive words gathered from all over the globe—words that don’t quite translate into the English language because of their incredible depth in describing a specific mood or feeling. We think it makes for a thought-provoking gift.

 

Hm.  I’m not really sure what to make of this.  These are a bunch of pocket sized cards (not like greeting cards) with words that don’t translate into English.  They suggest keeping ones that speak to you in your wallet or frame them on your wall.  This might be a cool gift for the bibliophile or writer in your life.

 

Alternative idea:  The School of Life site shop has a ton of really cool notebooks that would also be great gifts – journals for feminists, buddhists, pessimists, etc and pencil bags, drawing notebooks…just cool stuff for people who love journals, doodling, and writing.

 

air

Air Ionic Car Purifier & Charger by Schatzii – $60.00

 

Goop scoop: Not only does this air purifier clean the unwanted smoke, fumes, odors, dust, and pollen in the car using its negative ion generator, but it works overtime—thanks to the built-in dual USB ports—as a handy charger for you and your road trip buddy.

 

Once again, this would be a great gift for a very specific person.  However, this person will probably already have an immaculate car and a preferred brand of air purifier.  Also, multi use port items like these are notorious for failing to work after a short period of time.

 

small p

Small Pleasures Card Set by The School of Life – $18.00

 

Goop scoop: Because we all need a reminder to stop and smell the roses, this guide is an ode to life’s little treasures—from the joy of midnight walks to late-night whispers in bed—aimed at changing our outlook and even refocusing our attention to the small indulgences of the day-to-day.

 

See review of Untranslatable Words Card set above.

 

incense

Circa Incense Burner: Copper with clear quartz, rose quartz, black quartz by Cinnamon projects – $345

 

Goop scoop: This gorgeous gift set comes with three hand-cut semi-precious stones (clear quartz, rose quartz, and black onyx) that hold your incense stick sideways so it can burn at both ends. It even comes with a clever copper-tone brass tray to collect falling ash (read: no clean-up required). The packaging is so pretty that no additional wrapping is required.

 

I can’t even comprehend shelling out this much for an incense burner.  It is very pretty, but it’s basically an ash tray.  I’m betting if you were motivated, you could make something very similar on your own.

 

Alternative idea:  Get an incense burner from an independent artist on Etsy, then a package of your recipient’s favorite incense.  Probably for less than, yep – found one with mother of pearl and quartz for $65.00!

 

halosport

Halo Sport Training System by Halo Neuroscience – $749.00

 

Goop scoop: Not your average headphones, this specialized high-tech training device uses a twenty-minute neuropriming session, in which soft foam tips deliver stimulation to build a stronger connection between your brain and muscles, which helps improve overall muscle memory. Best part is, you can blast your favorite tunes while doing it, so it’s great for athletes, trainers, musicians, or any tech-lover types.

 

I don’t understand the science behind these, but apparently they massage your head to get you all primed to exercise…and then they’re headphones.  Anyone that’s this into upping their exercise plan (and isn’t an Olympic athlete) probably has some issues.

 

Alternative idea:  Cheaper headphones like Beats by Dre, then throw in one of those weird looking head massagers.  But, currently these are on sale for $499.

 

book

Goop Clean Beauty by Hachette – $30.00

 

Goop scoop: From eating clean, getting good sleep, and making sure that everything else—adrenals, hormones, micronutrients, hydration, mood—is in balance, to how to have glowing skin and optimum energy no matter what your age, GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY is the ultimate guide to the goop lifestyle. You’ll get our favorite detox hacks, staff-obsession workouts, advice on how to age gracefully, our most-loved recipes, vitamins and minerals to make hair shine, best sauna practices, ultimate clear-skin routines, hair and makeup how-tos modeled by goop staffers, and advice from the best experts in health, wellness, fitness, food, and beauty. GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY also covers the unregulated personal care industry in depth, and outlines the easiest ways to evaluate and clean up the products you and your family use every day. You’ll learn the very best clean (i.e. entirely nontoxic and safe) beauty essentials, from sunscreen and shampoo to mascara, and you’ll get all our favorite tips for looking naturally healthy and gorgeous—without compromises. Essentially, this is goop in book!

 

This would be a great gift for the goop-obsessed person in your life.  I don’t know anyone like that in my life, so this gift is worthless.

 

Alternate idea:  a subscription to goop?  Idk.

 

exercisefreak

The Exercise Freak Workout Essentials by Ursa Major – $68.00

 

Goop scoop: Ursa Major’s four best sellers—Fantastic Face Wash, Fortifying Face Balm, Essential Face Wipes, and Hopping Fresh Deodorant—in travel size, perfect for the gym bag or carry on.

 

I’m a broken record.  Toiletries = bad gift unless it’s a stocking stuffer.

 

Alternative idea:  One of the items in this kit as a stocking stuffer.

 

crystal

The Goop Medicine Bag by Goop – $85.00

 

Inspired by the Shaman’s medicine bag from various indigenous traditions, this (goop-exclusive) pouch holds magically charged stones: citrine, clear quartz, black obsidian, rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and chrysocolla (also known as The Goddess Stone). This essential starter kit—learn more about it here, The 8 Essential Crystals—is a beautiful introduction to the spiritual practice of harnessing one’s own intuition, protection, healing, and inner strength.

 

This is a bag of rocks.  Semi-precious stones some of them, sure.  But it’s a bag of rocks, guys.  I get similar bags of rocks for my daughter when we stop at the highway side fruit stands between my parents and in laws’ houses.  The only one I haven’t seen locally is chrysocolla and you can get it for a few bucks on etsy.

 

Alternative idea:  Don’t call this medicine.  And put together your own bag of rocks, polished if you feel compelled to, for your friends.

 

hum

Here Comes the Sun High-Potency Vitamin D3 vitamins by Hum – $20.00

 

Goop scoop: Do most of your glimpses of sunlight come from behind a glass window, through a screen, or longing from afar? Long days in the office are more common than ever, and have led to widespread vitamin D deficiency across the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK. Even if you spend the right amount of time outdoors, cloud cover, air pollution, altitude, and skin color all affect the amount of sunshine available to the body. That’s why HUM formulated Here Comes the Sun, the”sunshine vitamin,” especially for skin craving the sun. Packed with D3 for strong bones and cellular health and regarded as superior to D2 by many scientists, Here Comes the Sun offers a summer’s day, every day.

 

Again, vitamins are a crappy holiday gift.  So boring.  Friends don’t get friends vitamins as a gift.

 

Alternative idea:  If you’re rich enough to be shopping off the goop list, take your friend to the Caribbean as a gift.

 

palermo

Detox Body Scrub: Tea Tree and Grapefruit by Palermo Body – $48.00

 

Goop scoop: Packed with mineral-rich, detoxifying, and anti-inflammatory ingredients, this scrub is both skin-polishing and profoundly cleansing. The sea clay works to draw out toxins and impurities, while gentle abrasion from the Dead Sea salt and pumice stone slough away dead skin cells and encourage circulation. Tea tree oil and grapefruit tone and calm the skin, while rich coconut oil cleanses and hydrates. A little of this massaged in circular motions in a warm shower or bath (leave it on a little while for complete absorption) leaves skin smoothed, plumped, and primed for other treatments, and it’s a brilliant support to any detox program.

 

I was struggling to find something bad about this, as the right person would probably enjoy it…and then I saw it’s only $18 ON PALERMO’S WEBSITE.  So goop has marked it up by $30.00.  That is garbage.

 

Alternative idea: Buy it off Palermo’s website, not goop’s.

 

brush

Dry brush by the Organic Pharmacy – $15.00

 

Goop scoop: This genius, long-handled natural-bristle brush allows you to thoroughly dry brush every part of your body—especially your back, which feels particularly amazing (and is uniquely hard-to-reach). It’s also the perfect balance of soft and firm, designed to gently exfoliate, support circulation, condition skin, and boost the lymphatic system. Brilliant for detoxing, and equally brilliant for everyday skin-smoothing and energy-generating support.

 

This would be a decent stocking stuffer gift if you know a friend into dry-brushing.  I’d try it.  If your recipient isn’t into dry-brushing, be prepared to do some ‘splainin.

 

detox

Detox body oil by The Organic Pharmacy – $68.00

 

Goop scoop: This invigorating body oil helps detoxify and reduce inflammation with juniper, grapefruit, and rosemary essential oils, improving microcirculation and deeply nourishing skin. Use alone, right after dry brushing, or you can actually apply it with a dry brush, working upwards from the feet in a circular motion, towards the heart for ultimate detoxification and de-puffing.

 

If you’re willing to spend the money, I suppose this would be a nice gift.  But like I’ve said a plethora of times before, people are picky about their skincare products, so exercise caution.

 

Alternative idea:  Gift card.

 

charcoal

`Binchotan Charcoal Body Scrub towel by Morihata – $21.00

 

Goop scoop: Made in Osaka, Japan, the Sasawashi textile is a naturally deodorizing, hyper-absorbent blend of organic Kumazasa plant fibers, and is exclusive to the family-run company. Besides being pretty to look at, this wash cloth has odor absorbing qualities and removes toxins and oils from the skin thanks to an infusion of Binchotan charcoal.

 

So the reason this towel is goop-worthy is the charcoal that helps exfoliate your skin.  I guess it’s a cool idea?  However, the charcoal only lasts 4 to 6 months and isn’t recommended for anyone with sensitive skin.  The odor absorbing qualities aren’t for your body, but meant to keep the towel from smelling bad, which could be avoided by drying it properly and hanging it up after use instead of dumping it on the floor.  So…lots of caveats to this gift – the cool thing about it isn’t really long lasting in the grand scheme of things, if you want to give it as a gift, be aware of your recipient’s skin type.

 

Alternate idea:  A nice set of bath sheets – they provide ample exfoliation for toweling off post-shower.

 

spiralizer

The Spiralizer by Hemsley + Hemsley – $65.00

 

Goop scoop: Bearing a stamp of approval from brilliant culinary duo Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (who tested their way through every version on the market), the Hemsley Spiralizer is the insanely useful gadget your kitchen’s been missing. Its claim to fame is effortlessly turning fresh veggies (cucumber, carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash…) into spirals or noodles, which are the backbone of so many great recipes in Hemsley + Hemsley’s cookbook, The Art of Eating Well.  Use it to make our noodle pot lunch recipes, too.

 

A spiralizer is a cool gadget for someone who wants one.  Otherwise, it might be somewhat of a bewildering gift.  It would be interesting to own a spiralizer, but I don’t think I’d use it very often.

 

Alternate idea:  There are several cheaper and highly rated spiralizers on Amazon if you absolutely must purchase one.

 

compost

Countertop Compost Bin by Alasaw – $175.00

 

Goop scoop: Set this pretty box on your kitchen counter, or anywhere you like to prep food, and stow away compostables from egg shells to coffee grounds to fruit peels—composting is good for the environment, not to mention good for your garden, and this bin makes it easy by neatly sealing everything up in the process.

 

If this wasn’t so expensive, I might consider replacing our disgusting plastic compost bin with this.  It seems like it’s efficient and easily cleaned – the stainless steel tub part easily comes out of the wooden base.  It also holds a little over 6 quarts, so you probably would only need to trek out to your compost heap or bin once a day (recommended anyway).  But honestly, you can find a less expensive compost bin…and a compost bin isn’t the most attractive of gifts.  I’d advise only giving it to someone who has requested one (not your mother in law who you hope gets into composting but knows next to nothing about it).

 

Alternate idea:  One of the stainless steel compost bins you can find anywhere online.

 

sneaker

Classic Nylon Sneaker by Adidas – $60.00 for adults, $50.00 for childrens

 

Goop scoop: These retro sneakers—famous for comfort—feature a combination suede-and-nylon upper for added breathability. Built with an EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning and a high-abrasion rubber outsole, they have plenty of traction and are perfect for everyday wear.

 

Shoes should be bought with the recipient or very specifically chosen (size, style, color, etc).  Otherwise, these sneakers are classic and I think they’d make a fabulous gift for someone into them.

 

Alternate idea:  Take your recipient out for a day shoe shopping.  Make memories instead of simply spending money.  Corny enough for you yet?

 

glow

Goopglow by goop wellness – $60.00

 

Goop scoop: Drink your way to glowing skin with a mega-dose of skin-supporting ingredients: grape-seed proanthocyanidins, vitamins C and E, and CoQ10, along with the critical carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. A power shot of antioxidants designed to reduce the free radical effects of the sun, pollution, stress, and more, it helps face down oxidative photo-damage, which can lead to signs of premature aging like dullness, uneven tone, fine lines, and loss of firmness.* Drink as part of a healthy morning-skin ritual—it tastes of oranges and lemon verbena, and looks…like a sunrise as you mix it in a glass or water bottle with water. The single-dose packets fit easily in a gym bag and travel effortlessly, so you can get the goop glow just about anywhere.

 

On par with the goop brand vitamins, Gwyneth is trying to sell us a cure-all for our naturally aging skin.  A mega shot of vitamins to help you feel younger, and possibly look it – though if not you can’t blame them for the fact you’re out sixty bucks.

 

Alternate idea:  Facial or spa day.

 

We’ve made it to the end!  Goop didn’t disappoint with questionable supplements, crazy crystal items, and a nod to our vajayjays’ health.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a few things I wouldn’t mind receiving as gifts and one or two things I may try out on my own.  Got your own gift guide review?  Make sure you comment below!

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2016 Top Ten – #6

#6 – Captain America: Civil War

#7 – The BFG

#8 – Moana

#9 – Rogue One

#10 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Captain_America_Civil_War_poster

Captain America: Civil War was directed by the Russo Brothers and stars…well… here we go:  Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, and Daniel Bruhl.  *whew*

If you’ve spoken with me at any length about Marvel movies, you’ll know that Captain America isn’t very high on my list of favorite superheroes.  He’s the quintessential lawful good character, who never toes over the line, never lets loose a white lie, never turns down an opportunity to do good.  At the very beginning of the movie, Steve is forced to begin dealing with the aftermath of his decisions to always do the right thing when innocent people are killed while they’re on a mission.  This is the tipping point for the introduction of the Sokovia Accords – the creation of a special group of international leaders to oversee and control all of the Avengers’ missions.  Steve vehemently opposes this, seeing echoes of Nazi Germany, while his friend Tony Stark is the poster boy for it, having seen the destruction unchecked supers powers can bring.  The strain on their friendship is the focus of the film as Steve begins to shed his “America’s White Knight” armor – not only to control who makes decisions for him, but also to rescue his friend Bucky, who has been framed for the assassination of the King of Wakanda.  This movie calls itself a Captain America movie, but it really is the next ensemble film, complete with a fight between almost all the Marvel superheroes we’ve met so far (Hulk and Thor are conspicuously absent, somewhere in Asgaard after the second Avengers movie).

 

I like this movie because it took a character whose very existence is based on his unwavering service to his country and dedication to doing good and both substantially changed his character and reaffirmed it at the same time.  He becomes an enemy of the state, he refuses to be controlled and essentially takes half the Avengers team and forms a splinter group.  Unprecedented for the man who truly inspired the United States during WWII.  He falls from grace publicly while never falling personally – he still sticks to his ideals and beliefs while sacrificing everything that defined his Avengers character.  He’s no longer the icon for the US’s strength, unity, and purity, rejecting it to support those who are in need of help (Bucky), openly calls out his teammates who are making (what he sees as) bad choices, and leaves to maintain his independence from those who would seek to control him for their own ends.  He sheds his mantle as America’s hero to embrace the values that originally defined America  Timely, in our day and age.

While not explored as in depth as Tony and Steve’s relationship, the choices they make concerning the Sokovia Accords place stress on other relationships.  Sam Wilson (Falcon) and Steve as Wilson sees the enduring bond between Steve and Bucky and must find a place for it alongside he and Steve’s brother-bond.  The burgeoning romantic relationship between Vision and Scarlet Witch as they find themselves on opposing sides – both newly added to the Avengers and processing not only their new roles, but how their powers work.  And the mysterious but incredibly strong friendship between Hawkeye and Black Widow – tested but still strong throughout the entire film – Hawkeye straight up saying he’s only on Steve’s side because Steve called before Tony did.

I think this film is interesting. It came out before our politics got really incredibly insane with an unqualified leader with murky loyalties and a desire to control everything.  It’s easy to say “Oh, Tony would be on this side and Steve this side” and leave it at that.  But beyond this, it’s more important to look at how each character had to examine their ideals and decide where they stood, especially as the fallout started hitting.  There wasn’t a clear right side and a wrong side in this battle, which I hope was the point of the film.  Nobody won.  Everyone was hurt.  And everyone was weaker because of where the film was ended.  I’m deeply interested in seeing what happens in the next Avengers movie, and have some pretty complex theories about it if you’d ever like to talk about them.  And just to be clear, I never really get this deep about films in real life…I mostly just enjoy a good superhero flick.  This definitely qualifies.

2016 Top Ten#7

#7 The BFG

#8 – Moana

#9 – Rogue One

#10 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding #2

 

The_BFG_poster

The BFG was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill.  It was adapted from the Roald Dahl book of the same title.  It centers around the relationship between an orphan named Sophie and a giant whom she calls the BFG – or Big Friendly Giant.  The BFG kidnaps Sophie after she sees him one night and takes her to giant country, where he shows her his hobby of capturing and mixing dreams and must protect her from his fellow giants who are much larger than he is and oh – also eat children.

This film is a bit of a sentimental choice for me.  The BFG was the first chapter book I read out loud to our daughter and is still one of her favorites.  She begged us to take her to see it in the theaters, but it came out while we were in the fray of moving across the state, so it never happened.  But one night while DH was away on business, she and I snuggled on the couch and watched it together, forever cementing it as one of my favorite films simply due to that memory.

I’ll put it right out there – if you’re a fan of the book, you will most likely be a fan of the film.  There are very little differences between the two, primarily the fate of the other giants (the film opts for a much more humane ending than the book, imho), the introduction of the story of a little boy who used to live with the BFG, and also a few of the scenes where Sophie is threatened by the other giants are a bit different.

The film does a lovely job of exploring the relationship between two individuals who feel abandoned and disliked – Sophie being an orphan who is especially bookish and not conventionally pretty, and the BFG being the smallest of the giants and also the only one unwilling to eat children.  The giant himself is endearing in that he desperately wants to be a hero and helpful, but stumbles around in trying to find his way.  Rylance does a brilliant job bringing his character to life and the CGI, while not perfect, does a good enough job to immerse you in the universe.  There are some spectacularly beautiful parts, especially around Dream Country and as the BFG travels to and from Giant Country.  And if your kids like fart humor, there are several laugh out loud parts that were delightfully entertaining to my flatulent enthusiast daughter.

Overall, I would say this is the best family film of 2016.  It would make a lovely family film night choice, just be aware there are some intense parts with the larger giants that could scare smaller children (everything turns out okay in the end).

2016- # 8

8.  Moana

9.  Rogue One

10.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

moana

Moana was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and is the 56th animated Disney film.  It featured songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina.  It also introduced Auli’i Cravalo (possibly the cutest Disney star ever), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Rachel House, Jemaine Clement, and Alan Tudyk (as a chicken).

Moana tells the story of a future Maori chief.  She has a special relationship with the ocean, they’re friends and although she cannot command it, it’ll help her by carrying her, bringing her fish, and helping her sail.  It also gifts her with the relic the Heart of Te fiti – the heart of the Polynesian Island goddess that was stolen by the demi-god Maui many years before.  Moana longs to cross the coral barrier that surrounds her island and see what’s out there.  But her father (the current chief) forbids it.  When a mysterious plague threatens her island, Moana recognizes both her responsibility as the chieftain’s daughter (she’s not a princess as she repeatedly emphasizes) to protect her island and the chance to fulfill her dream to sail.  She takes a boat and Te Fiti’s heart and goes in search of Maui to heal the islands.

If you go into this movie wanting another Disney princess flick, you’ll probably be disappointed.  There is no Prince Charming in this film and Moana outright rejects the role of princess.  Instead, going so far as to declare “I am Moana” – her birthright is the ocean and all the adventure and responsibility it entails.  She is capable within herself to save her people and is strong enough to inspire a demi-god and confront lava demon, Te Ka.  Moana is the fierce role model young girls in our day and age need just as Wonder Woman is the fierce role model we as women have been longing for.  Moana is both smart and brave, willing to confront both her weaknesses and her fears, and able to take ownership for her mistakes and responsibilities.

The other fantastic thing about this movie is the music.  It’s just as catchy as those Frozen songs you’ve had on repeat for years, but not nearly as annoying.  I have never been quiet about my lack of love for Hamilton, but Lin-Manuel Miranda’s song writing in this film is incredible.  He not only utilized his own creativity, but collaborated with artists from Maori  tribes to be sensitive to their particular culture.  I don’t think that Disney has ever been this culturally sensitive in making a movie, which some criticized but I found overwhelmingly refreshing.  This film isn’t just a girls’ Disney movie, I feel like any kid would love it, no matter their gender.  There are a few mildly scary parts with Te Ka, and a jewel obsessed coconut crab named Tamatoa.  If you think of a reason to not watch this film and have not seen it yet, I’d love to hear it (and will probably dispute it) in the comments.  This is not only one of my top ten films of 2016 but probably one of my favorite Disney films overall.

 

 

2016- #9

9. Rogue One

10.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

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Rogue One was directed by Gareth Edwards and was the first standalone Star Wars film Disney has released since adding the Star Wars rights to their gluttonous pile of money making machines.  Going into the film, the general population knew that Disney could handle Star Wars, The Force Awakens was a triumphant return for many fans.  But it was our first time in the galaxy far far away without any beloved faces – no Han, no Leia, no constant whining Luke.  There were a few scenes with everyone’s favorite Darth, but for the most part, Disney had the challenging job of taking a precious framework with a rabid fanbase and construct an entirely new story to fit within that framework as well as produce characters who could stand on their own and win our hearts.

 

They were highly successful.

 

Jyn Erso is the daughter of a brilliant scientist.  He’s taken by the Empire (and also has his wife killed to fulfill that tired old trope) to make a super weapon (enter Death Star) and Jyn is placed into the somewhat dubious care of a Rebel extremist named Saw.  Years later, Jyn has forged her own rebellious identity and is a criminal who has been captured by the Empire.  Rescued by the dashing Rebel officer Cassian Andor, she somewhat begrudgingly joins their cause with the sub-mission of her own to find her father.  Along with Andor’s acerbic droid K2S0, and a few oddball crewmates they pick up along the way, Jyn and Andor are tasked with destroying the Death Star or gaining the plans which will reveal a way to destroy it.  (Remember the beginning of a New Hope?  Those plans Senator Organa put into that little droid?)

 

I had my suspicions on how this film would turn out as soon as I saw the premise – the lead into a New Hope.  And I’ll do my best to remain spoiler free here.  But Disney and Edwards did a fantastic job keeping the action running as well as bringing home just how desperate a situation this galaxy is in.  A corrupt and all-powerful empire who seems to stamp down its constituents, I mean people, at every turn and only cares for more power for themselves.  A band of women, deserters, and minorities who are fighting not only for their own freedom but for the freedom of their entire galaxy.  And the crushing cost at which it comes.  It changes the tone of the entire series, the entire Star Wars universe.  Maybe because of the political landscape in the US today, or maybe because I’m an adult watching these instead of a kid.  But either way, Rogue One earned its place in the pantheon of Star Wars films, cementing Jyn, Cassian, K2S0, Saw, Bodhi, Baze and Chirrut as heroes of the Rebellion just as much as Solo, Organa, and Skywalker.

 

#10 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Ok, I’ll admit, this isn’t that spectacular a film – BUT it did really hit the spot because the weekend before, I saw the worst movie of 2016, which I talk about here.

10.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

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This movie was directed by Kirk Jones and starred Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lanie Kazan, and Elena Kampouris.  It takes place roughly two decades after the first film – Ian and Toula now have an 18 year old daughter, Paris.  The vague semblance of a plot is the dual crises of Paris graduating from high school and wanting to escape her Greek family by attending a college very far away AND Toula’s parents discover their marriage certificate isn’t valid so they are not actually married.  Greek chaos ensues as Toula’s mother refuses to marry her father legally because she feels taken for granted and Ian and Toula struggle with wanting to support their daughter in her desire to be independent but desperately wanting her to stay near to them.  Add in the fact that Paris is in her first romantic relationship and the passion is waning in Ian and Toula’s and you’ve got the basics of the film.

Yes, I know it’s not groundbreaking.  I know it wasn’t nominated for any awards and most people (including me) only saw it because they have some affection for the first movie (which is a classic).  But – this movie didn’t make any huge promises.  It promised to take a look back at the Portokalos family two decades since Ian and Toula were married.  And it did just that.  It simply shows a slice of familial life in a family that’s a little bit crazy and a lot Greek.  And after the incredibly skin crawling let down that was Batman V Superman, it was just what I needed.  Sometimes it’s nice to see a film in which a family who seems somehow more insane than mine can survive the little (and the large) stumbling blocks to happiness that crop up in life and that sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want but you still have your family.  Nothing explodes, no one dies violently, no big twists – just a little bit of family time with the Portokalos’s.

In Which I finally Keep my Word…sorta.

So – I’ve completed my Top Ten list of 2016.  And I’ve started my top ten of 2017.

But before we kick it off, I’m sure you want to know the worst movie I saw in 2016.  Honestly, this is one of the worst if not THE worst movie I’ve ever seen.  Jason argues with me that Ultraviolet was the worst, but I spent most of Ultraviolet too confused to be angry that it was awful.

This movie did not have that.  Instead, it had one shining amazing character who just managed to provide an idea of how great the movie could have been and instead fell flat on its face.

Know it yet?

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

It was directed by Zack Snyder, who has not made a lot of movies I like.  But in the past that wasn’t his fault because the material was too dark for me.  See – Watchmen and 300.  Batman_v_Superman_poster

The only great part of this movie was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, giving us a brief taste of what was to come in her origin story movie, but not focused on enough to save this film in the slightest.  Jesse Eisenburg was alright-ish as Luthor, but I have a hard time seeing past his awkward teenagerness to picture him as a supervillain.

Here’s a shot at giving you the plot.  And if you want it unspoiled, skip this paragraph.  The world has turned against Superman, including Batman who witnesses the destruction left in Superman’s wake while fighting General Zod.  Meanwhile, Superman isn’t too pleased with Batman’s methodology and they begin to hate each other.  Enter Lex Luthor who exploits the entire situation towards his favor, setting off a bomb at a congressional hearing and both making Superman look guilty and inflicting guilt for not stopping the bomb.  Superman runs to hide with his guilty feelings and Luthor kidnaps his adoptive mom, Martha.  Meanwhile, Batman is investigating Luthor with the mysterious Diana Prince.  Luthor demands Superman kill Batman to save his mom and they fight, destroying tons of warehouses in the process.  While they’re distracted fighting each other, Luthor releases a huge monster he has concocted using his own DNA and that of General Zod.  Batman gets the upper hand on Superman but only stops from killing him when he finds out their mothers share the same first name – Martha.  The monster is smashing the city outside and fighting Wonder Woman, who has not been distracted from her JOB.  It can absorb all the energy Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman use against it and in the end Superman sacrifices himself to use a kryptonite spear originally intended for his demise on the monster.  (We know that death won’t stick long).  Luthor goes to prison where he and Bruce Wayne have a dick measuring contest (not really, they just posture about who is the real winner in the conflict).  And then DC uses Wayne to clumsily hint at the formation of the Justice League.

 

Why don’t I like this movie?  Well, I dislike movies that rely on the stupidity of men to form an entire plot, bolstering it with miscommunication and manipulation by someone who is clearly narcissistic or evil.  The plot was so thin that it probably could’ve been covered and resolved in a 42 minute television episode, yet the movie was two and a half hours long.  The average intelligent movie goer didn’t need an hour and 45 minutes to show us that Wayne and Kent are at odds and being manipulated by Luthor.  We knew Prince was Wonder Woman so trying to make that a mystery was a lost cause.  The fight scenes themselves were claustrophobic with a little too much emphasis on being dramatic.  Dramatic glares, dramatic punches, dramatic scowling.  The fighting was clunky and predictable.  The inability of these characters to actually communicate with each other borders on the unrealistic.  If they’re really set up as protectors of their respective cities, they should already have experience with mediation and communication – especially Kent as a reporter.

The other horrid thing about this movie, was surprisingly, Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack.  Very rarely does a soundtrack detract so much from the film that it’s painful to listen to.  Relying heavily on dissonance and awkward chording and sooooo much choral input, listening to it made me feel I was getting an insight into a schizophrenic person’s mind.  It was so terrible that afterwards, Zimmer announced he was retiring from scoring superhero films.

 

There you have my vitriolic rant on the worst movie I saw in 2016.  Stay tuned for #10.  Maybe it’ll take me less than six months to post.

 

2016 in Film – S

DH has decided to resurrect his yearly top movies, so I guess that means I am too.  I don’t know if it will be top ten because parents don’t get to go see as many movies as kid-free adults do.  If I see any more, I’ll add to this list.  J will prob post his later.  We’ll post our top films for 2016 in January – guesses welcome!

Here’s what I saw in the dumpster fire that was 2016:

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Deadpool
  • Zootopia
  • Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
  • Captain America :Civil War
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • Ghostbusters
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad
  • Doctor Strange
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Moana

 

Here’s what I’m going to try and see before January:

  • Zoolander 2 (Don’t judge me)
  • The Boss
  • The Jungle Book
  • Now You See Me 2
  • Finding Dory
  • The Legend of Tarzan
  • The BFG
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • Bad Moms
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Queen of Katwe
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

 

But let’s face it, I won’t get to see all of those in 20 days.

In which I copy Beck, but focus on Goop.

One of my all-time favorite people is Beck, formerly of Frog and Toad, now over at This is My New Blog.

Every year, she does this amazing thing, even though it’s time consuming and tedious.  She reviews the Oprah Holiday Gift Guide with her fantastically cutting sarcasm, from a point of view of the normal person – the person who does not wish to spend $50 on a gift for their dog.  And I was inspired to copy her.  With Goop.  Because I have a deep seated disdain for that ethereal being, Gwyneth Paltrow and her borderline insane views on life and the universe.  Beck shares most of my views on our friend, Gwyn, and she gave me her blessing.

Imagine how shocked/surprised/impressed I was that the ladies over at Goop have not just one holiday gift guide.  They have ten. I didn’t really know how to choose, and since posting a poll on Facebook seemed like overkill, and the vulva rolling paper disappeared, I just went with one that seemed ridiculous.  So, I present, with apologies to Beck, my review of the Traveler’s Gift Guide from Goop.

The nice thing about Goop gift guides is they now have a physical store you can shop at.  Provided you live in the area.

The Traveler Gift Guide: Here, all the utilitarian necessities; TSA-friendly beauty and wellness products (indispensable for the jet-setters and the jet-lagged alike); and bucket-list trip ideas to spark some wanderlust and take the sting out of packing.

First up, A James Perse Cashmere Plaid Blanket for $995. – “A blanket that’s as home on the red eye as it is on the couch.  This supremely soft cashmere blanket, in goes-with-everything navy-and-grey plaid, is incredibly luxurious and even more comfortable—it’s the ultimate throw to keep at the foot of the bed, or to drape over the couch for cozy nights in.”

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Ok, I get it.  Airplanes can be cold.  And it can be kind of skeevy to use the same blankets everyone else does on the plane.  But there are these fancy new things called sweatshirts that you can wear to keep yourself warm.  Cashmere is delightful, but if I’m going to drop $1000 on a blanket, it’s going in a vault in my bedroom, not with me on a plane where I could forget it.  To a place not my house where I could forget it.  And let’s face it, I’m not dropping $1000 on a blanket.  But if any of my never-known-to-me wealthy relatives want to buy this for me, I’ll take it because I am an unashamed blanket hoarder.

 

A Williams Sonoma Aeropress Coffee Maker for $29.95  – “Brew the perfect cup over any mug”

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This is actually something I would probably buy, because I love coffee and it’s small and cute.  But I’m not entirely sure why this fits in the travel category unless you’re one of those people who refuses to let anyone make you coffee but you and your specially coffee college trained servant, Juan Valdez.  You have to have a mug to brew it over and doing this on a plane seems…unwise.

 

Janessa Leone Henningsen Hat for $181 – “The felt keeps its shape even after being stuffed in a carry-on…In cool light-grey wool, this simple-chic hat instantly upgrades any look, from jeans and tee to even a dressed-up evening ensemble.

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Unless you are Gwyn or Diane Keaton, this hat is probably not for you.  It is definitely not for me.  Or anyone I know.  Also, I’d like to see what dressed-up evening ensemble this goes with.  Second also – $181 for a hat?  Nope.

 

The Gin & Tonic Carry On Cocktail Kit for $24“Picks up where the bar cart leaves off.  These carry-on-friendly tins include the ingredients for one of three classic cocktails (Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned, and Gin & Tonic), as well as tiny versions of the tools you’ll need to mix them mid-flight—just ask for a glass, ice, and the actual booze.”

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Because nothing screams “I’m a douche-canoe!” like pulling out your own tiny cocktail making kit on an airplane.  Sorry guys, this is sold out.

 

 

Lou & Grey Snowdrift Sweater for $79.50“A quintessential layering piece.”

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This is actually a pretty average price for a nice sweater.  And it’s a fairly attractive sweater though white sweaters make me look like a puffball.  I get they’re going with the whole “airplanes are cold” gig again.  But it’s a sweater and if you’re buying for a traveler, they probably already have a favorite layering clothing item to wear on a plane.  Plus, I’m going to go with my guru Beck and say you probably shouldn’t buy clothes for someone you don’t know incredibly well.  Meh.

 

Alder New York Organic Natural Dry Shampoo for $27“a life-saver on long-haul flights. This clean, USDA-certified organic dry shampoo powder is the kind you use sparingly, so one of these bottles lasts a long time. Not just a cleanser but a texturizer, apply this blend of refreshing eucalyptus, cleansing clay minerals, and absorbent, volume-boosting rice powder and horsetail powder by tapping a bit into the palm of your hands; then, using your fingers, comb it through at the roots, then use a brush to gently dust off any excess.”

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Did you know you can find recipes to make your own dry shampoo that coordinates with your own hair color on Pinterest?  And they only cost about 5o cents.  Of course, those recipes don’t contain HORSETAIL POWDER, so if that’s a dealbreaker for you…then you’ll just have to shell out $27 for this stuff to hide your hideousness.  Or y’know, $181 for that hat up there to cover up your airplane hair.

 

de Mamiel Altitude Oil for $44“Just a few deep inhales helps ward off headaches and kicks the immune system into high gear.  An inhalation essence that utterly transforms the experience of flying—a few deep breaths of it over the course of a flight clears your head, boosts immunity, and energizes both mind and body. But carry this exquisite mix of luxurious plant oils everywhere in your bag—for a lift in spirit, energy after long hours at your desk, on a train or bus, and to clear congestion from colds or allergies. A unique multi-tasking, do-it-all essential that’s life-changing.”

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I’m not going to say I never use essential oils for anything because that would be a lie.  But, I do know that lots of people have allergies and odor sensitivities which might be triggered should I whip this out on an airplane.  And lots of people may look askance at me if I start huffing out of a tiny bottle on an airplane as well.  Plus, these types of bottles are notorious for leaking if they aren’t stored upright and I really don’t want something like this leaking all over my carry-on.  Did I mention the smell of patchouli gives me a raging migraine?  This is a big fat fail of a product for me.

 

All-You-Can-Eat Press Food Maps for $8 each“The NYC ramen map is a team Goop favorite.  More cities coming soon. “

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I am a food-lover and I find these quaint and adorable.  But if I’m perfectly honest, I’m not going to use a paper map to find somewhere to eat.  I’ll use my phone, or ask friends from the area, or a social media site.  I guess I’m just not hipster enough to use these for anything other than framed on my wall for decoration.

 

RMS Beauty Ultimate Makeup Remover Pack Wipe: 20 pack for $16“works wonders for all skin types.  These easy-to-use, easy-to-transport cleansing cloths are stealth skincare treatments. Made with cold-centrifuged organic coconut oil, which contains rare lauric and caprillic acids—found mostly in breast milk and destroyed by heat, including typical “cold-pressed” processes—these have powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. They are ultra-moisturizing, yet don’t cause breakouts (and can actually help treat them), and are gentle enough around the delicate eye area to smooth away mascara. Brilliant for all skin types, from sensitive to blemish-prone, to super-dry. 

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I’m a sucker for anything that makes it easier to clean my face at night so I would probably try these.  So…good job, Goop?

 

The School of Life Writing as Therapy Travel Journal for $20“190 gridded pages for tracking journeys both physical and emotional.  Writing itself can be therapeutic, but few journals actually feel as good as this one to write in: its 100grm Munken paper has a beautiful texture and weight, and the classic, embossed linen cover and binding look simply, timelessly elegant.”

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It’s a nice journal.  Whoop.  I would love to get this as a gift, but I’ll maybe write in it twice before I lose it.  I’m not a big journaler, so maybe if you have someone in your life who loves journaling?  Is that a word?

 

Quip Electric Toothbrush for $45“A beautiful, un-bulky electric toothbrush (fresh brush head refills shipped to your door every three months. “

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Admittedly, this is attractive for a toothbrush, but I also feel it’s kind of a jerk move to gift something that requires you to pay more to upkeep it.  Like signing someone up for a subscription service such as this.  “You get a cute electric toothbrush!  But you also have to pay to get replacement heads mailed to you!”  Yes, it’s only $5 a month but I would recommend shying away from gifting hygiene items that require monthly financial commitment of any sort.  And guys, it’s a toothbrush.  That’s not that exciting of a gift unless you’re in the dental industry.

 

Poketa Umbra Shift Cowboy Coffee Kettle for $98“Open range recommended, but not required. Inspired by traditional open range fire brewing, this coffee kettle by Castor Design brings sophistication to your morning coffee ritual. Comes in black or speckled white with a beechwood trivet. Serves four cups of coffee. ” 

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I…don’t understand.  Is this for campers?  Well…it’s Goop.  So is this for glampers?  And if you’re shopping for the sort of person who is both a coffee aficionado and a traveler…I’d go with the aeropress.  Because no one wants to drink 4 cups of coffee on a plane, or start a small fire in their hotel room to brew coffee.  Also, this seems like SO MUCH WORK FOR COFFEE.  Recommended only for your camping or cowboy friends, I guess.

 

Flight 001 Goop Spacepak Travel Pouch Kit for $115“Magically creates extra space in suitcases of all sizes.  This endlessly useful travel pouch kit incorporates different sized, uniquely stamped Spacepaks—one for packing clothes, another for shoes, another for underthings, all in a cool space-age design. Made of water-resistant nylon, this is perfect for the serious world-traveler.”

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So this is a tiny suitcase filled with other, smaller, suitcases to go in your suitcase.  Seriously though, it might be nice to have ONE smaller case to keep your dirty undergarments in, but three seems excessive.  And I can use ziploc bags instead of space age sacks to sort my dirties from my clean clothes.  So unless you’re shopping for someone who a) travels constantly for their job and b) you’re willing to spend $115 on, I don’t really see this being a viable gift option.

 

Lauren Manoogian Neck pillow for $220“Handmade in Peru of cushy boucle wool.  This soft, plush, handmade baby-alpaca and merino-wool bouclé neck pillow is the coziest, most luxurious travel accessory ever, so comfortable you’ll emerge from your flight feeling actually well-rested.”

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I will never, ever spend $220 on a special neck pillow for traveling.  Though I probably would spend a good ten minutes squishing this in store just for the cushiness.  Because I know how soft baby alpaca is.  Also – one of the warmest fibers out there, so if you used this to actually sleep (and if you had your fancy cashmere blanket with you) you’d probably get pretty sweaty.

 

VSSL Supplies for $99.50 “Essential survival supplies stacked into a slick flashlight. Contains the outdoor gear you need for short-term excursions.  Wherever your adventure takes you, be prepared!”

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Okay, so *now* I’m getting that they’re including camping supplies in this list because the term “Traveler” to me is not the same as “outdoorsy person.”  Maybe that’s my bad.  This, if it were not nearly $100, would be something I would maybe buy for my brother in law and his wife who mountain climb and kayak and hike and spend lots of time in the mountains.  Would you like to know the contents?  I bet you would!  It’s got a beeswax candle, an oil filled compass, a razor blade, water purification tablets, a wire saw, an aluminum beadless emergency whistle, waterproof matches, some Tinder Quik fire starters, fishing gear, a signaling mirror, Marine grade rope, reflective trail markers, a military type can opener, first aid supplies, and instructions for survival – oh and it’s in a flashlight.  The thought is nice, “don’t die in the outside!”  But it’s a heck of a lot of money to spend on someone unless they are really, really into outdoor activities.   So maybe a great gift for someone not me?  And I bet refilling this thing is a bear to manage and expensive.

 

A four issue subscription to “The Collective for $64 – “A beautifully documented deepdive into a single destination every quarter.”

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This is a gift I feel you would need to buy for someone you know very very well.  Because you don’t really get much choice when choosing which destination gets a deepdive for your subscription.  So if your recipient hates deserts, I wouldn’t get it this year because next up is the Mojave desert.  I mostly just think this is a gift for rich old white men who dream of shooting endangered animals.

 

 

Herschel Supply Co. Anchor iPad Air Sleeve for $30“Extra padded for extra protection.  Fully padded and lined with super-soft fleece, this sleeve helps protect your iPad from impacts, scratches, and other damage—and with its signature anchor and stripe design and pebbled-leather zipper, it looks classically smart and deeply cool.”

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Oh, okay.  I think we’re back to actual travelers here.  So this is obviously to protect your iPad.  And it’s…sort of cute?  But if you’re really serious about protecting your electronic tablet, I’d spend another $10 and get an otterbox brand (or Lifeproof if you’re protecting your phone).  Not as cute but I bet they would do a hell of a lot better job protecting your iPad than a padded case.  Maybe not as great a job protecting your reputation as a devil-may-care traveler with cute accessories.

 

Goop Flight Pack for $198“Our essential-packed travel kit is back (and better than ever)!  The goop flight pack is the perfect (clean) beauty solution in-flight and on-the-go. This cotton pouch comes filled with every wellness essential imaginable to get you through a long-haul trek, each one in its own dedicated compartment and conveniently sized (with the TSA’s blessing) to fit in your carry-on. Each pack comes in a perfect pouch designed exclusively for goop by Corroon (one of our favorite travel accessory brands).”

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So this is a travel pack containing a lot of the other things they’ve been trying to sell you on but these are their own brand.  You’ve got five little bags, four face wipes, vitamin C sachets, ear plugs, a sleep mask, 4 sachets of magnesium fizz, ear phones, lip moisturizer, and face moisturizer.  So go ahead and self-diagnose yourself with mineral deficiencies and have fun rooting around in your carry-on trying to find the right tiny bag.  Not to mention most of these items (maybe not the magnesium fizz or the goop brand moisturizer) can be found at your local drugstore and are very inexpensive.  If you need to drop $200 to tell someone they need to look better when they’re on a plane, you have bigger issues in your life.

 

Billykirk Medium Carryall Bag for $352“Form, meet function.  This perfect carryall-meets-briefcase fits most laptops (up to 17″) and, with its adjustable shoulder strap, signature leather luggage tag, and durable Denier olive nylon lining, it’s also an excellent travel bag. Finished with luxe leather trim, it’s elegant enough for everyday and office use, yet resilient and versatile enough for everything from a work trip to a camping trip.”

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Hey, the 1980s called to see how that carryall bag was working out.  Not my taste and not my thing to buy a laptop bag that costs almost as much as a plane ticket.  Additionally, this bag only comes in this dark blue color so if your recipient isn’t a blue fan, you’re out of luck.  Don’t be fooled, this is a Goop subsidiary brand.

 

National Geographic Expeditions by private jet, price upon request “24 days to explore Machu Picchu, Petra, and ten more UNESCO World Heritage sights by private jet.  Circle the globe with top National Geographic experts on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Traveling in the comfort of a private jet, encounter legendary places from Machu Picchu and Tibet to the Taj Mahal and Marrakech. Experience natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Serengeti Plain, and the island paradise of Samoa.”

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That price upon request?  I did some digging and if you want to get this for just one person it will run you about $95,000, making this easily the spendiest thing in this guide.  Honestly, if some rich person wants to buy this for me I would be their best friend forever.  And feel guilty about them spending nearly $100,000 on a gift.  I hear Robin Leach’s voice just reading about this.

 

Tokyobay Obi Watch Roll for $90 “The Only Way to transport a timeless collection.”

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I guess if you just have to get something for Kanye or Brad Pitt, this would do.  But honestly, the best place to transport your watch is probably either on your wrist or in your carry on.  Or do what normal people do and look at your phone for the time.

 

Master & Dynamic ME05 Earphones for $200 – “The best-sounding buds out there.  These earphones are small, yet mighty: Engineered for precise, perfect sound quality, a comfortable, ergonomic fit, and an elegant look, each pair is hand-finished with solid-brass and mirrored detailing.”

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Again, something I would misplace my first flight.  I can’t really make much of a statement on earbuds because I can’t wear them.  I prefer the noise cancelling headphones that double as actual headphones.  And if you’re looking to be impressive with your ear/sound gear, I’ve been advertised to death that Beats by Dre is the way to go, and about $80 cheaper.

 

The Beach People The Tulum Round Beach Towel for $110“Because all beach towels are not created equal.  This big, beautiful towel is the perfect family-sized beach blanket, made of weighted, super-soft, 100% cotton. The Roundie leather carrier makes it extra easy to tote to pool parties, parks, or camping trips.”

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This is just an opinion, but I think round towels are about the stupidest invention.  It will never get wrapped tightly around you.  So if you shell out the $110 for A TOWEL, then make sure to go to Target and get a bath sheet for about $10 to actually wrap yourself up in.  Then use this $110 TOWEL to go on the sand to sit on and get trashed.  Smh.

 

The Beach People Roundie leather carrier for $39 “Also works with a yoga mat.  This sleek leather carrier has adjustable buckles, so it’s incredibly versatile—perfect for yoga mats, blankets, foam rollers… and, naturally, The Beach People’s signature Tulum round beach towel.”

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This is to carry your stupid $110 towel around in.  Instead of a giant tote like normal people.

 

Master & Dynamic MH40 Over-ear headphones for $400“Crisp sounding, design-y and built to last.  These noise-isolating headphones comfortably insulate you from the world (M&D calls them “modern thinking caps”), making the rich, warm sound quality even more incredible. Even better: they’re built to last for decades, created with the highest quality professional-grade materials.”

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Now these headphones are pretty.  And usable by me.  Obviously, the cost is prohibitive from any sane person buying them.  But if I found them abandoned on the street (or left behind on a plane), I’d use them.

 

Rimowa Bossa Nova 22″ Multiwheel Iata for $995“A worthy investment for the frequent flyer. The luxurious and classic BOSSA NOVA collection by Rimowa adds a special touch with its elegant color, its workmanship, the highest-quality materials and its passion for detail. Lightweight and durable polycarbonate gleams in a Jet Green hue. “

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I don’t think getting a suitcase is a very exciting gift, but then again – I’m not a world traveler.  Maybe a suitcase in this price range is the holy grail of gifts…who knows?  I sure wouldn’t want one.  And what is “jet green”?

 

 

Related Garments The Weekday Package for $125 “For the guy who hates to pack, a week’s worth of briefs and socks.  5 sets of matching boxer briefs and socks as featured in The Zoe Report & InStyle’s holiday gift guides. Bonus! For purchasing our week package you get our new garment washable travel bags. Wear them together, Wash them together!”

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The ultimate insult of gifts – underwear.  But not just any underwear.  Underwear for men who are too lazy to pack their own underwear when traveling.  So they just buy more.  OR ASK YOU TO BUY MORE.  Grandmas of businessmen, your day has come.  Let’s just get past the fact that you would a) need to know the recipient’s foot and underwear size, and b) know they wear boxer briefs…you’re still buying them underwear.  And just a heads’ up – the $125 is the sale price.  They’re normally $175 for five days of chones and socks.  I guess because sometimes you can’t be bothered to hit up wherever you go for undergarments.

I’m just going to add here, my husband DOES hate to pack.  But that doesn’t mean he goes out and buys new underwear whenever he travels.  He mans up and packs.  (Or if I’m feeling particularly generous, I’ll help him pack).  This just tells someone, “I know next time you travel, you probably won’t pack underwear, so let me get you covered.”

 

Cote Traveler Gift Set for $38“Get the perfect 10 on the go. For an instant (clean) manicure or pedicure anywhere, this kit comes with two nontoxic, swipe-off, non-acetone remover pads (one pad can do all ten nails); a petit Côte nail file for smooth, easy shaping; the brand’s strengthening base coat/top coat, and three super-shiny, long-lasting nail colors: A delicate pink, classic fire-engine red, and a gorgeous gold. Packed in an adorable organic-cotton pouch, it’s ready to travel—and makes an amazing gift.”

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If you’re considering this as a gift option, here’s a suggestion.  Find one of those hundreds of tiny bags probably around your house from Clinique makeup sets or whatever and go to Rite-Aid or Target and get some little emery boards, a few inexpensive nail colors (or grab some of your unopened ones) and a few individual nail polish remover pads and ten to one, it’ll come in under $38.  I feel like nail polish is a pretty personal choice when it comes to color, and maybe that’s just me.  But if I got this as a gift I would not be impressed.  Also, if someone pulled out nail polish remover on a plane or a train or in an automobile…I would probably garrote them.

 

Vianel Personalized Backup for $110“Don’t leave home without it. Crafted from anodized aluminum and wrapped in pebbled leather, the 6000mAh V.BACKUP delivers an extra 27 hours talk time for your smartphone. It comes equipped with 2 USB ports, which makes for easy charging, and its gorgeous, natural leather means each one looks a little unique; have it personalized with your monogram to make it even more so.”

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Hm.  Okay, I don’t really have anything snarky to say about this except it’s kind of a pretentious version of a smartphone charger.  And I’d lose that little adapter in about two seconds flat.  And there are much cuter options out there for lots less money.  Nothing says “happy holidays” like “this’ll help you talk on your cell phone more or play that next round of Candy Crush.”  Oh look!  I did have some snark!

 

Beautycounter Rosewater Uplifting Spray for $35 “Spritz liberally.This is an office staple: Lightly scented with real rose, one or two mists is a total pick-me-up.”

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Ok for real, this stuff is the bomb.  I’ve used it before and I adore it.  I would think it’d be a great gift unless the person you are giving it to is allergic to or hates the scent of roses.  So maybe check that first.  Then buy it for yourself.  Btw, Beautycounter is a direct sales company so if you do buy it – don’t get it from Goop and Gwyn.  Find a local consultant and help her get some money for the holidays.

eta: I just legit went and added this to my wishlist.

 

St Frank Baby Alpaca Throw for $225“More lightweight than the average travel blanket. Besides being unbearably cute, baby alpaca have some of the softest, cuddliest wool in existence, which is what makes this blanket so incredibly soft and comfortable. Perfectly sized as a cozy throw for couch, bed, or on-the-go, it’s made especially great by the delicate eyelash fringe and signature gold St. Frank plate”

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Another blanket for the cold plane blah blah blah.  If this is actually cria (the first shearing from a baby alpaca) then this is actually reasonably priced.  But I can’t see it listed as being cria alpaca anywhere and I feel like that’d be a special snowflake attribute Goop would advertise, so feel free to mock its expensiveness.

 

Tierra Patagonia Photography Adventure, price upon request“Five days at the Tierra Patagonia resort with a focus on wildlife photography. Designed for lovers of photography, the Tierra Patagonia photo adventure gives participants an opportunity to discover the biodiversity of Torres del Paine National Park and at the same time, get some great wildlife photography tips!”

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Once again I did some digging for you and a double room will run you $4100 USD for the adventure.  This does include lodgings, food, and the excursions – but not airfare, photography and hiking equipment, and any tipping, add ons, etc.  If you have a metric ton of money to spend on someone and that someone likes photography and travel, they might like this.  But it’s only for people who are physically able to hike out where the wildlife is.  If I had a metric ton of money, I would buy this for my dad who is a professional photographer and loves hiking.  But I don’t.  So it’s a moot point.  It’s hard being a normal person sometimes.

 

Shhhowercap Shower Cap for $43“Designed to look and fit like a chic turban, it protects your hair—works for all hair types—and it looks, against all odds, super chic doing it.”

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This is for people who apparently don’t need the dry shampoo because they don’t want to wash their hair.  And yes, I had to check that I spelled that right about five times.  But it’s so chic, so maybe you can wear it on the plane and avoid dealing with your hair entirely.

 

Native Union Night Nautical Lightning/Micro USB cable for $40“Ten feet of charging bliss.  This ten-foot-long charger cable (perfect for Apple devices using the Lightning port) has a super-convenient, weighted knot, which anchors to any flat surface, making it easy to find and giving your space a less-cluttered look/feel.”

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I’m gonna go ahead and call bullshit on this advertising jingo.  We have a ten foot USB lightning port cable and I’ll tell you, if it had a huge ass nautical knot in it, it would not make our space look less cluttered.  It would get caught on everything.  It would make it hard to plug in to hotel electrical sockets b/c those things are usually behind bedside tables.  And it would make it unwieldy to pack.  Any child who found this would instantly turn it into a weapon if they were a real child.  This thing has got to be an epic fail.

 

The Beach People Beach Cart for $245“Needless to say the kids love it.  A durable, essential, carry all beach cart. This sturdy thing has made our beach trips bliss, enjoy!”

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This is cute, sure.  But I feel like you would only buy this for someone who lives in the Hamptons.  Otherwise, grab a Radio Flyer.  They’re about $100 cheaper.

 

Owen & Fred Hey Handsome Shaving Kit Bag for $68“Lest he forget. This army-green, USA-made cotton-canvas shaving kit is endlessly useful (it holds all the necessities, from shaving cream to a toothbrush), but it’s also low-key adorable—he’ll get a kick out of the loving reminder every time he travels.”

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This is cute.  But not $68 cute unless it shaves my husband’s face for him.  And I think you could find something similar on Etsy and support a small business owner…maybe for even less than $68.

 

Lumillamingus Perforated Laia Clutch for $700“Works double duty as an iPad cover. The cool thing about LumillaMingus’ clutches is that they double as iPad covers, making them indispensable for travel. This playful, feminine version is perforated on one side and solid on the other.”

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Good news, this $700 leather bag with holes in it doubles as an iPad cover.  And it’s leather, so it’s an iPad cover with no ability to absorb shock if you drop your iPad and you’re going to have to worry about it getting wet as well – because neither leather or iPads take kindly to liquids.  You’d be better off constructing a thick bag out of all the dollar bills you’d need to buy this thing.

 

Goop Label Classic G Tote for $285 “A gorgeous and hard-working weekender, carry-on, pool tote, diaper bag…This roomy, truly iconic tote is the perfect weekender, carry-on, or beach bag: it fits everything you need (laptops, books, toys, snacks…), and then some. The Italian vachetta leather accents are a chic and functional detail that defines and supports the structure of the pristine white-cotton canvas body.” 

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Another leather bag, but this one is white!  So you’re even more paranoid about exposing it to anything outside of your home!

 

Poglia the Poglia Porter for $475“So beautiful it hurts.  Our signature “hat-holder” bag embodies classic design with a modern twist on utility. It seamlessly blends style and functionality, perfect for the traveler looking for a place to lay his/her hat.  At Poglia, we use one piece of vegetable tanned leather, nearly one half of a skin, to make our bags. That means fewer seams and improved overall durability. No two Poglia bags are the same. Each bag will retain markings from the original skin. We preserve these natural imperfections to enhance each piece’s character and individuality.”

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Oh look.  Another leather bag out of my price range.  But this one holds a hat.

 

Best Made Seamless & Steadfast Enamel Gift set for $98 “Not just for camping. Coming to us from a legendary European manufacturer using World War Two era machinery, and reinforced with a double dipping of enamel, makes this is the most steadfast bowl in the land.”

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It’s nice that they’re using old machinery to make this, but I don’t know if that justifies spending $100 on two place settings.  And if someone has asked you for place settings, I doubt enamel is what they want.  And if you’re buying for a camper, as enamel place settings are stereotypically used for, I don’t think they’d want to take the uber expensive sets out to the boonies.

 

Corroon the Weekender Bag for $400“Not too big, not too small.  This super lightweight bag is made for a chic getaway: it’s got plenty of interior pockets, plus a detachable clutch with three pockets. The cotton canvas body is stain- and water-repellent; with sleek leather accents and brass hardware, it manages to look elegant while still being totally utilitarian.”

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Anyone else feel like they’re padding this list for “Travelers” with all the “chic” expensive bags they can find?  I’m running out of sarcastic comments concerning overpriced bags.

 

Rodin Travel Kit for $250 “Linda Rodin’s greatest hits in TSA approved sizes.  This kit of Rodin’s beautifying essential oils and creams comes in an adorable, perfectly giftable nude-pink pouch, perfect for stashing in your carry-on.”

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I have heard this stuff is pretty incredible and I love trying out new facial/hair products (but not facial hair *badump bump*) so I wouldn’t turn this down.  Though I’m betting with Jasmine and Neroli oils, it’d be a pretty pungent smelling product.

 

Skagen Johannes Shave Kit Bag for $145“A good old-fashioned dopp kit.This timeless classic leather shave bag is lined with durable, water-resistant cotton twill, making it perfect for both everyday use and travel—you can easily fit all of your grooming essentials without having to worry about spills damaging the gorgeous leather.”

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A spendy leather bag for men.  Another bag, really Goop?

 

White + Warren Cashmere Arm Warmer and Beanie Set for $208 “Endlessly useful when jumping climates.  A  little piece of luxury, these arm warmers are comforting, not to mention cozy, on a flight or anywhere—they keep your hands warm while leaving your fingers free. Wear the soft, extra-cozy cashmere beanie one of two ways: folded over for a snug fit, or straight-up slouchy.”

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Other than that jet trip around the world, this is actually what I may want most off this list.  I adore cashmere and it is prohibitively expensive for someone lower middle class like I am.  This is a bit above average cost for a set of cashmere warmies, but if you were wealthy, I think this would make a great gift.  Now excuse me while I go find some less expensive cashmere gloves for my Christmas list.

 

 

White + Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap for $330 “Turns into a scarf as needed.  In luxuriously soft cashmere, wrap this around you to cozy up instantly, whether in-flight or just for lounging at home—ideally with the matching Cashmere Eye Mask & Cashmere Ballet Slippers Set, and Cashmere Plush Rib Arm Warmer & Cashmere Plush Beanie Set for a completely, blissfully cozy in-flight (or at-home) experience.”

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Just read what I wrote for the gloves and beanie but insert the word “wrap” instead.

 

White + Warren Cashmere Eye Mask & Slipper Set for $187 “On board or in the hotel.It may seem like nothing more than a little luxury at first glance, but this petal-soft cashmere sleep mask serves a very important purpose, blocking out any excess light that may be preventing precious shut-eye.”

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Third verse, same as the first.  Only I wouldn’t want the slippers.

 

Goop Travel Beauty Kit for $150 “Our favorite minis for a bit of indulgence anytime, anywhere.  The ultimate feel-good-anywhere essentials, wherever your journey has led you, these are our all time-favorites for plane, hotel room, and beyond.”

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We get it, people are extra ugly when they travel…at least according to Goop standards.  Also, this is one of four travel beauty kits on this list.  It does include a few tiny portions of some of the other things advertised on this guide, so if you want just a little bit of everything (including a bag!) maybe shell out $150 for this.

 

Ursa Major Traveler’s Skincare Kit for $41 “For the dudes.  This best-gift-ever assortment of on-the-go skin care essentials includes Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash (2 oz), 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic (2 oz), Fortifying Face Balm (0.5 oz), and Essential Face Wipes (5 singles), each of which is a tried-and-true goop team favorite. (Bonus: Men love it as much as women.)”

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The final travel toiletries kit on the guide.  This one is only $41 but I’m guessing it’s because it doesn’t come with a bag.  And just so you know, I hate it when toiletries get sorted into gender specific recommendations.  Some men like floral scents, and some women like scents like leather and cedar.  Get over it.

 

Alternative Apparel Good Travel Gift Bundle for $98 – “Plane outfit goals.”

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Don’t get me wrong, these are cutie patootie clothes.  But I don’t really want to pay $100 for sweats when I can pick some up online for about $12.  Also, I hope you don’t want to buy these because all the links to them are broken.  This might be a good gift for the person who has to have an expensive set of plane clothes.  But I don’t know anyone who lives in that reality, so I can’t be sure of that.

 

Lauren Manoogian Cashmere Crown Beanie for $220 – “Simple and Unisex.”

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Now they’re just trolling us by putting nearly identical items on the guide.  You can get a high quality cashmere toque for much less than this elsewhere, too.  Also – another broken link.

 

The Miles Guy Service starting at $375 – “The Miles Guy takes whatever credit card points and frequent flyer miles you’re sitting on and turns them into travel gold.”

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So this guy has capitalized on the horrible combination of people’s laziness and the gordian knot that is the miles and points system employed by credit card companies.  He takes all your points and air miles and finds the best way to use them.  Pretty clever for him and if you’re a rich person who still cares about using miles and credit card points but no time to get them to work for you this might be useful.  Or if you’re a rich person who is too cheap to pay for a friend to travel with you but not too cheap to pay someone else to help them use their own miles and points to come with you.

There you have it.  All of Goop’s best ideas and products for the person you know who travels a lot.  Whether that travel is by plane or with packs – they’ve definitely got the bag for you and the toiletries kit.  Open up your wallets.

 

A Recap of the Library

I, like The Bloggess, have an aversion to the number 13.  So when she came up with the brilliant idea of calling 2013 “the library” to avoid unpleasantness, I jumped on board.  I’m pretty thrilled that it’s over.  It wasn’t such a bad year, but let’s just say I’m happier to be writing 2014 on my dates instead of the other number.

Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan posted this and she took it from All & Sundry…and I’m taking it and running with it.  Here’s my recap of the library.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I became an Independent consultant for Thirty-One gifts.  I’d considered becoming a consultant for a few other direct sales companies before, but something about Thirty-One just resonated with me.  I became an aunt for the first time (and the second) this year.  I joined the MOPS steering team and participated in ministry leadership for the first time in almost ten years.  There were of course things like being mom of a 2 year old and cooking with cabbage, but they aren’t as exciting.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I actually didn’t make resolutions for the library, but instead decided to participate in One Word 365.  My word for the library was grace and although it didn’t impact me as much as I would’ve liked (I’m not perfect yet) I’m still looking forward to integrating 2014’s word, which is “intentional”.  I’d like to make more moments count with my family.  I’d like to make better decisions on running my business instead of what just feels right at the time.  And I’d like to eat healthier, read my Bible more, and basically make better use of my life – which means being intentional about the use of my time, energy, and money.  And it’s not really a resolution, but we’re going to try going gluten-free.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes!  My brother-in-law and his wife gave birth to my nephew, Jude.  My other brother-in-law and his wife gave birth to my other nephew, Eli.  And my friend Elle had a baby boy, Logan.  Lots of boys!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, my paternal grandmother passed away this autumn.  I miss her.

5. What countries did you visit?

Um, the U.S.  Which is where I live, so super exciting.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Peace, confidence, and rest.  And a potty trained kid.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Not specific dates, but some of the moments of my panic attacks will probably stick with me because they were so intense.  The sight of my daughter as she fell onto an escalator in Macy’s and had her fingers ripped open.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Probably not dying.  That feels like an achievement every year.  Getting the flooring replaced in our living room/dining room/kitchen, but that was more my brother than me.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Managing stress.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes.  I was diagnosed with depression at the end of 2012, and an anxiety disorder early in the library.  We’re still trying to get my meds sorted as well as trying to get my platelet function where it needs to be after my 2012 stroke.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My starter kit for Thirty-One gifts.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Probably food and our daughter.  Kids are expensive.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Our new flooring.  Fourth of July.  My daughter’s birthday and her Christmas.  Winning an Xbox One (shallow, I know).  My nephew being born.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Bahaha – What Does the Fox Say?  My daughter loves that song.