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.”


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”


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.


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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. “


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. 


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.”


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. “


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. ” 


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.”


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.”


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!”


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.”


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.”


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).”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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. “


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!”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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”


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!”


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.”


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.”


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!”


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.”


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.”


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.” 


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.)”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.

As I Lay Dying…

So a year ago today, this happened.

I’ve not quite gotten to the point where I feel comfortable talking about everything that happened that day from my point of view, but I like pushing myself so we’re going to give it a whirl.

That was not a good week – the day before, Jason’s youngest brother had been denied re-entry into Canada (where he lives with his wife) and we’d gotten news that some of our closest relatives, Jason’s other brother and brother’s wife had suffered a miscarriage.  Our family was under spiritual attack and we didn’t know why, we were all simply reeling.  Jason’s parents were coming to visit and I had let Canadian brother (Scott), entertain Lucy while I picked up the house a little bit and got ready for the latest visitors.  Jason even left work early to come help me and to be there when his parents arrived.

About four o clock, Scott and I set out to run some errands.  This included a run to Dutch Brothers, my favorite coffee stand.  When they handed my drink out the window, I suddenly felt very tired and lethargic.  My left arm felt like it was moving through water, as if I were pushing it through resistance.  I shrugged it off as an oncoming migraine (I’d been having a lot of those lately) and paid, then we went to Target.  Scott wandered off to look at video games and I ran to get teething tablets and diapers.  I had to lean heavily on the cart, I felt exhausted and dizzy.  I was still thinking a migraine, as my medical history has taught me to be aware of arrhythmia and chest pain – there were neither.  In fact, I wasn’t in any pain at all and I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned about what was happening to me, just annoyed.

A side note into all this – the clot was in the right side of my brain.  This is the side which not only manages the left half of your body, but also reasoning, problem solving, and social cues.  The part of my brain designed to tell me that something was wrong is the part that was being suffocated and damaged.  I wasn’t aware that by this point, Scott was very concerned about me.  It also is the part that is mostly likely controlling emotions, which is partly why through the entire stroke event and treatment, I never felt afraid.

Scott asked if I was doing alright as we left Target and it very briefly occurred to me that I should ask him to drive.  But I’m stubborn and proud and it was a little over a mile to our house so I didn’t ask.  He grew more concerned and asked me repeatedly if I was okay when I nearly swerved into a car changing lanes, and had to do three-point turns every time we needed to make a left hand turn (three times).  I just kept thinking I’m just tired, I need a nap.  Just need to get home to nap.  When we pulled into the driveway, I realized I had to lift my left arm off my leg with my right and open the door with my right hand.  I managed to swing my lower body out of the car and placed my coffee in my left hand – and immediately dropped it on the ground.  Which made me irrationally really angry.  I leaned over to pick it up and fell out of the car.

Scott ran to see what had happened and I continued to assure him I was fine, I just needed to get inside and sleep.  He tried to help me up and we couldn’t manage it.  By this point, I was getting confused, slurring words, and mixing up parts of my body as I talked about them.  Scott ran in to get Jason.  When Jason came out, he asked me if I was okay.  I emphasized that I just wanted to go inside and sleep.  I kept telling him something was wrong was my right side, when it was actually my left side that was completely paralyzed.  He gave me that “you’re somewhat ridiculous” look and told me if I could get up on my own and walk to the door, I could take a nap.  Which I obviously couldn’t, so he managed to get me in the car, give brief instructions to Scott and we headed to the ER.

The ride is somewhat of a blur, I do remember him asking me many inane questions over and over (the number of times I had to tell people throughout the evening that Obama was President was ridiculous).  I recall the nurses coming to get me from the car, but everything else is blank until they took me to get a CT scan.  By this time, my parents were there, as well as my pastor.  When they read us the results of the scan indicating a large clot (actually two), I thought well, that’s ridiculous.  That sounds like I’m having a stroke and strokes are for old people.  I’m only thirty.  Guess I get to have my head shaved.  They administered tPA (a stroke medication) but it didn’t have much effect on me.  They were continually asking me if I felt this or if I could move that and nothing was happening, which was frustrating but beyond that didn’t concern me.  I dozed on and off and every time I woke up, there were more people in the room – my sister and her boyfriend, my brother and his wife, my father-in-law and Scott.  I kept wondering why they were allowing so many people to be in my triage room and it was only later that I realized it was because they didn’t expect me to live.  I kept looking at Jason and thinking he looked so worried, I needed to cheer him up and reassure him.

If you’ve read his post, you know they were planning on airlifting me from almost the very beginning.  They prepped me for flight and I said goodbye to my family, borrowing my sister’s chapstick and again getting frustrated that I couldn’t open it one handed.  I later found out that they gave my husband a less than 33% chance I would still be alive when he reached me at Sacred Heart.  The helicopter ride was cold and bumpy – they had to give me something for nausea.  And I still remember seeing the lights glinting off my wedding rings (although that could’ve been my brain filling in what I usually saw on my finger) even though they weren’t actually there.  I was piled in warmed blankets and slept most of the way.  As we landed, I could smell rain.  I went straight to surgery check-in and prep.  The admins kept asking me to sign things and the nurses kept yelling at them that I was having a stroke – and I kept interjecting with “no, I’m right handed, it’s okay!”  And the last thing I remember before surgery was the doctor patting me on the arm and saying, “you’re going to do fine…”

I still don’t think I’ve processed everything that happened that day and week, it may take me a long time of talking and working through it.  I have a lot of thanks to share – with Christ who not only saved my life, but my soul so that if things had turned out differently, I still would be okay.  With my husband and Scott for their quick reaction time to my distress.  With my in-laws for watching LP and especially my father-in-law for driving my extremely distraught husband three hours to the hospital I was airlifted to.  With my pastor for being there for my family, for preaching a timely sermon the Sunday before, for being encouraging through the entire ordeal.  With my Bible Study and small group friend family for providing meals, with my parents for continually supporting us, driving up to visit us in the hospital, for helping out with Lucy, and for helping me the past 12 months as I continue to recover.  With the amazing baristas and baristos at Dutch Brothers who encouraged us, made us laugh, and plied us with decaf coffee this past year, helping me confront my fears of returning to the places I was at when I was suffering from my brain being starved of oxygen.  And with the literally hundreds of people who were praying for me around the world the entire night of my stroke and beyond.  With every single person who donated to our giveforward account and helped us cover medical expenses our insurance denied.  With our lawyer for fighting the insurance company on my behalf, and with the doctors and nurses for skillfully making decisions concerning my care and performing tests and surgeries – both at Kadlec and Sacred Heart. So much to be thankful for, such a family of support, such a blessed life.

Toddler Times – Playing in the Wind

Where we live, we may be blessed with 300+ days of sunshine a year (although a lot of times I wish we had more rain!), many of those days come packaged along with wind.  Sometimes, the wind brings lots of dust and allergens, but there are a few rare days that it’s just breezy enough to be fun. 


I’m part of an online knitters mama group where all of our babies were either due in, or born during April 2011.  We try and do a swap every six or so months – we send off packages of knitty goodness and treats to a secret partner and receive one from someone else.  It’s always very fun to see what things you get.  The last swap box we received came all the way from France!  LP was thrilled (and so was I) with the pinwheel and windsock that came along in our swap box, because these were new things we could use to play outside on windy days when it’s not fun to play in the water because it’s too cold. 


We like to stick to the front yard, because the grass is nicer and there’s a bit of shade from our one little tree.  When it’s windy, we like to play with our pinwheels, our fish windsock, and bubbles.  I haven’t found a homemade bubble recipe yet, but LP got a huge bottle of strawberry scented bubble solution for her first birthday and we’re still using that for the time being. 


What do you like to do with your toddler when the weather isn’t quite perfect?

Toddler Times – Sidewalk Chalk Paint

LP loves playing outside.  We have a water table, and a tiny tiny kiddy pool for her to play in, but sometimes I want something creative for her to do as well.  We’ve discovered the joys of homemade sidewalk chalk paint.  I love this stuff because she has painted on everything outside and herself and it hasn’t stained.  Not the sidewalk, or her skin, or the front door, or the windows.  Usually, she just gets to run around in a diaper and paint, but if the pool/water table are out, she wears a swimsuit.  The recipe we use for our sidewalk chalk paint is 1/4 c cornstarch, 1/4 c water, food coloring until it’s the tint you want.  Luckily, cornstarch and water don’t taste very good, so I don’t need to worry about her ingesting a ton of it.  The first time we painted, we used sponge brushes.  I don’t recommend this as the sponges just got seriously clogged with cornstarch and didn’t paint too much.  Brushes worked much better.  And cleanup of this is easy!  I’ve used both baby food jars and muffin tins to hold our colors.  And I put it on a rimmed baking tray to carry in and out of the house.  We even used this at playgroup one week and it was a big hit.

Toddler Times – Zucchini Bread

I’ve been keeping a journal for LP about everyday life with her and lately, she’s started asserting independence.  Which means, I might have to spend a bit more time thinking about what to write other than ‘ohmyword you were crazy cranky today and nothing made you happy.”  I’ve been trying to find at least fun thing to do with her each day, and I’ll try and share some of them here.
We had some leftover zucchini from a recipe a few nights ago, so I decided to make some zucchini bread.  We try to avoid white flour around here, so it took a bit of searching online to find a recipe for 100% whole wheat zucchini bread.  And then today, I realized I had no idea what LP and I were going to do together.  So I decided to let her help me bake.  Since she’s only 16 months, her part was pretty much just stirring and eating.  I set all the ingredients out and pre-measured them into bowls so she could dump them in.  She wasn’t interested in that.  Of. Course.  But she was interested in stirring.  Our table is covered in DH’s work stuff and things for me to put away, so we utilized the floor.




Of course, we had to bring our goldfish crackers to help us stir…


LP also helped me put them in the oven by pushing the “start” button on the timer.

Wow, I didn’t realize how disgusting my oven is.  (We have no self-clean option so I’m lazy about it).  Guess I’ll have to get on that.


Then we had to wait for it to cook, and cool.  But finally (after naptime) we got to the best part – eating!


Big, big hit.  We’re definitely going to try cooking time again sometime.  The recipe we used was this one from King Arthur Flour – 100% Whole Wheat Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread, and I substituted coconut oil for the vegetable oil.  This recipe is a keeper.


Just a bit of an update on the whole insurance escapade.


As of last week, our insurance company has stated they are not covering my surgery, or my hospital stay in Spokane.  No word on the airlift coverage, beyond the fact that they decided to cover the doctors in the helicopter.  Our medical bills at this point are near $150,000, including the airlift.  Why are things not covered?  The insurance company has decided the brain surgery that saved my life, as well as my entire stay at Sacred Heart in Spokane were “not medically necessary.” It’s okay, you can take a moment to be upset, we’ve been there.


We’ve had an overwhelming response from friends and family concerning this.  Several people in several states have helped us figure out the best plan of action to appeal, appeal, appeal.  We’ve even had offers from a state representative to get all up in our insurance company’s business about the entire issue.  We don’t want to post a whole lot of details here because we don’t know exactly how far this is going to go, but our current plans are these:  We have a request in to several doctors who worked on my case in both hospitals to give us a letter stating the necessity of my airlift, surgery, and recovery at SHMC.  We have contacted SHMC and asked them to re-submit our claim to our insurance and work with them.  We’re gathering as much information as we can about my heart condition, my stroke, and the procedure in case we need to further defend my treatment.  We’ve established a giveforward account to raise money.  And we’re working to trust God throughout all of this.  He brought this to us for a reason, stroke, insurance company, everything – and He’ll bring us through it.  Even if we don’t like how it turns out.


In the past, our insurance company hasn’t fought us on issues like this past a note from a doctor.  They refused coverage on my pacemaker a few years ago and all we needed to clear that up was my cardiologist talking to them.  We’re hoping something similar happens this time.  Also, it looks like the surgery may have been submitted as an exploratory procedure because a scope was used to guide the “clot-catcher”, so that may be what’s causing a lot of the confusion on the part of our insurance.  We’re trying to approach this situation with tact, grace, and gratitude that we even have an option to get all this paid for somehow.