Category Archives: Window Shopping

Awesome Advent Calendars

YAS!

YAS!  Tarte’s “Petite Treats” Advent calendar from 2014!

I know, I know–it’s not even Halloween yet. I hate rushing the seasons, too. But if I want to buy a fancy beauty/candle/gourmet Advent calendar (and I do), I need to think about getting it soon. They sell out quickly!

Are you familiar with these calendars? You probably know about chocolate Advent calendars–the ones where you open a little cardboard door each day in December and pop out a piece of (poor quality) chocolate.   I’ve gotten one of those every year since I was I child–I love them. But there are fancier Advent calendars available, too, that are filled with little gifts–especially in the UK (lucky ducks). Check out these 2015 round-ups here and here.  (And this link shows last year’s calendars, if you’re interested.)

I totally want a Tarte, Lush, QVC, Yankee Candle, or Charlotte Tilbury calendar!  The only one of these that’s available already is the Yankee Candle calendar:

This one is available now and I might just bite the bullet and get it.

I might just bite the bullet and get this. It would be fun to burn a little tea light each night.

If makeup/skincare isn’t your thing, check the list below for some of the other kinds of Advent calendars I’ve seen online:

– Whiskey
– Beer
– Tea
– Gourmet chocolate (Lindt, etc.)
– Lego (with City, Friends, and Star Wars versions)
– Playmobil (numerous themes!)
– Barbie
– Kinder Surprise (the chocolate eggs with toys inside!)
– Starbucks

Are you going to snag a fancy Advent calendar this year?  I want them all!  I think most of these will hit stores right after Halloween, so I plan to start checking sites daily on November 1st!

-Angela

10/27/15 Edited to add: The 2015 QVC calendar is now available here! The Charlotte Tilbury calendar is now available here…but for $200!  (Nope!)  I recently saw the Tarte “Petite Treats” set on either the Sephora or Ulta website, too, but the goodies were packaged in a makeup bag for 2015, not an Advent calendar.  I can’t find the set online now, though–maybe it already sold out?

The World of Everyday Cosplay

That shirt wouldn't be my first choice, but everything else is on point!  Image from http://disneybound.tumblr.com/.

That dad shirt (crop top?!) wouldn’t be my first choice, but everything else is on point! Image from http://disneybound.tumblr.com/.

So I stumbled across this article on BuzzFeed about casual cosplay–or dressing like your favorite fictional characters in a way that works for everyday life (i.e., not the full-on, elaborate costumes you see in pictures from comic conventions). I had never heard of “closet cosplay” before but I’m intrigued–it’s like having a low-key Halloween every day!  (Brief aside: Is it just me or do the terms “casual cosplay” and “closet cosplay” sound kinda…unwholesome?)

Like writer Jada Young says in the BuzzFeed article, I can see how dressing like a favorite character might give you some extra confidence–especially when you have an interview, presentation, first date, or whatever. Depending on the items and details you choose, the character and inspiration can be as obvious or subtle as you want, too.

I spent a few minutes looking around some of the casual cosplay sites (like this one and this one, which Young recommends) for inspiration. I stopped myself before I got too far, though–I wanted to create outfits based on some of my own favorite characters before seeing anyone else’s ideas for them!

So can you guess the (female) characters who inspired my three outfits? I used the free tools and image library on Polyvore to make these collages:

Look #1.  Images from Polyvore.com.

Look #1. Images from Polyvore.com.

Look #1. This one is pretty easy, right?

 

Look #2.  Images from Polyvore.com.

Look #2. Images from Polyvore.com.

Look #2. Hint: This is inspired by a hot and kick-ass character in a live-action TV commercial that’s currently airing. I have a major crush on her.

 

Look #3.  Images from Polyvore.com.

Look #3. Images from Polyvore.com.

Look #3. This one’s the toughest. I took some creative liberties here. Hint: She has a long tail.  And that jacket is purple.

 

So, what do you think? The answers are below!

 

Look #1. Ariel from The Little Mermaid! And wouldn’t it be cute to find a big blue and yellow purse to represent Flounder?

Look #2. Kate Upton as Athena in the Game of War commercials! Me-yow! This ensemble is kinda a “Casual Cosplay Athena Goes Out for Margaritas With Aphrodite and Persephone” look.

Look #3. Gadget from The Rescue Rangers! If Gadget were a human, I’d like to think she’d wear this outfit when riding her motorcycle to the local dive bar. She would also need a cool analog watch.  (Brief aside: I wonder if Gadget would ever date Ralph from The Mouse and the Motorcycle?)

These outfits were really fun to imagine and cobble together–everyone should try it.  I wonder what characters I could create from the contents of my actual closet…Maybe I’ll pull something together for my next Target run.  🙂

– Angela

Pink Sunday

She's laughing at your attempt to purchase something she's wearing.  (Image from Target.com.)

She’s laughing at your attempt to purchase something she’s wearing. (Image from Target.com.)

I like to think that I am fairly unaffected by marketing or consumerist “hype,” but I guess not. Read on…

If you didn’t know, Target announced a limited, one-time collaboration with designer Lilly Pulitzer months ago, and the female internet community has been abuzz ever since. The preppy, beachy line is very popular with Southern college girls, and it’s also the perfect stuff for adult women to wear for beach vacations, cruises, and resort stays. The original Lilly line is cute, colorful, and bold, but it’s also a bit pricey, so people were super-stoked about the afforable Target line.

Personally, I’m not a huge Lilly Pulitzer fan (the floral clothes aren’t really my style), but I’ve bought several small Lilly items over the years for myself and for gifts–stuff like drink cozies, pens, and agendas–so I was interested in the Target collection’s small accessories and home goods. Target released a comprehensive Lilly “lookbook” a few weeks ago and the items were cute, affordable, and fun. Everyone (including me) was getting their wish lists ready and saving their pennies in anticipation for the day of the big launch–Sunday, April 19th.

Well, the big day finally arrived, but…

The Target website crashed, store shelves were cleared out within 5 minutes (literally) of opening, and resale-minded shoppers filled carts with obscene amounts of Lilly merchandise–whole racks of dresses, whole stocks of pillows, etc. Scores of shoppers who had lined up outside in the early hours before the stores opened left empty-handed, crestfallen, and angry. People on social media called it “Pink Sunday”–a frenzy of excited young women–and it looked worse (but briefer) than Black Friday.

This entire scenario is fascinating to me. I spent a lot of time yesterday on news sites and social media, reading the (heated) shopper comments and looking at photos of the loooong lines, empty racks, and grabby resale folks. And I have a very complicated response to all of this:

It makes me wonder: Do companies have an ethical responsibility to match the intensity and breadth of their marketing campaign to the available supply of goods? And do companies have an ethical responsibility to limit the number of items a single person can purchase from a limited collection? Or is all fair in capitalism, especially when the items in question are luxury goods? Floral dresses and swizzle sticks are not needs, after all.

It boggles my mind: It’s amazing how a company can create such intense desires, and with so little–after all, this Target frenzy was sown only by a few pretty photographs online. People saw the photos and just “knew” they wanted this stuff, even though they hadn’t seen it in person, already have closets full of clothes, and Lilly Pulitzer items have been available for purchase since the 1960’s (literally). Sure, the official designer items are pricey, but if you really wanted a little bit of Lilly, you could have planned and saved for a special purchase long ago.

It embarrasses me: I have nothing against fun clothes and disposable income and the occasional impulse buy. We are so fortunate to live in the U.S. where our needs are met and we are free to play. But I’m still embarrassed that I found myself buying into the Lilly + Target hype. I pored over the lookbooks, too, made a list of the few pieces I might be interested in, and even visited a Target on late Sunday morning (everything was gone). And I’m embarrassed by the frantic, emotional portrayal of Pink Sunday on social media. Sure, it’s honest and real, but it’s also embarrassing to young women. It plays into all our bad stereotypes and distracts attention from all the good things we do on Regular Monday through Regular Saturday.

It angers me: Legions of smart, talented people are tasked by companies to research markets, study psychology, and design ads to part us from our money (and our logical reasoning?). These professionals are very good at what they do, and they make it hard to resist their companies’ wares. But what if we used all that talent and power for something else? Like enticing people to make better environmental choices, or to volunteer more, or to travel more?

It confuses me: Why was I so interested in the Lilly + Target stuff, even though I’ve never been interested in buying big Lilly pieces before? Was it the affordability mixed with the scarcity mixed with the hype? I suppose that’s FOMO at its finest–making me really want something I didn’t even imagine wanting before just to be part of the fun!

Sigh. So what can we do to “fight back,” or at least better control our emotional response to these kinds of highly orchestrated temptations? Maybe:

  1. Seek out simple living and non-consumerist inspiration and guidance. See my Blogroll for some of my favorite folks.
  2. Unsubscribe from junk mail and unsubscribe from junk email. Fewer temptations!
  3. Unsubscribe from all but my favorite fashion and lifestyle bloggers on social media. Or follow only one or two at a time. After all, they get tons of merchandise for free, present a highly-edited view of their lives, and it’s their business to create desire for their stuff!
  4. Have a bigger and better financial goal. It’s easier to bypass the small purchases when you remind yourself that you’re saving for an awesome vacation or paying off a nagging debt.
  5. Don’t shop for entertainment, or when highly emotional (sad/angry), or when hungry/bored.

Sigh. I already do most of these things, but I STILL would have liked to see the Lilly + Target pieces in person, and maybe buy one or two items depending on the quality. The next time I buy cat food at Target, I’ll keep my eyes open for any returned items.  🙂

In what clever marketing ploys have you found yourself ensnared? Please tell me I’m not the only one…

– Angela

P.S. Target says that there are no plans to restock and that they are learning from this experience.

P.P.S. Interestingly, my favorite bracelet is actually a heavy (fake) gold bangle from Lilly that I received as a FREE gift with a small online purchase. I’ve worn it so much that the finish is wearing off!

P.P.P.S. Why am I so basic?! 🙂

Monday Musings

Everything I eat is crap.

Everything I eat is crap.

— I finally did my taxes and cannot wait to get my returns. I plan to use the money towards some bills, but still…It will feel so great to make a big lump payment!

— The limited edition Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection hits the website and stores on Sunday. It’s all very cute but I’m going to try to limit myself to buying only one piece. I’m debating between the Upstream espadrilles, the Upstream scarf, or the tall drinking glasses. (The Upstream pattern is a crisp navy and white fish print.)

— Hmm. I bought a chocolate croissant from a non-oven Starbucks yesterday and received it in its original plastic wrapper…which says the croissant is good (refrigeratered? unrefrigerated?) until the end of AUGUST. That totally bums me out–all the pastry marketing from Starbucks talks about how fresh everything is supposed to be! I suppose I imagined near-daily shipments of bakery boxes filled with fresh goodies–not from Seattle, of course, but from some regional hub. Sigh.

— After reading and re-reading Marie Kondo’s tidying book and studying pictures of Bea Johnson’s sleek house, I have the decluttering bug something fierce. I keep my clothes pared down, but I now want to edit ALL THE OTHER THINGS–my files, makeup, hobby stuff, etc. Nothing is safe!

— I read all about Masters golf champion Jordan Spieth this morning, and he might be my new Tim Tebow–a cute, sweet, athletic college guy to ogle from afar.

— OMG.  I saw this John Frieda shampoo and conditioner when I was shopping yesterday and it TOOK ME BACK.  I used this stuff over 15 years ago and it made me feel so fancy.  It was my first “expensive” shampoo and conditioner and I loved the mint smell.  It’s been off the market for at least 10 years and now it’s back!  I kinda want to buy it for another roll in the hay.  I mean, roll in the tub.

A blast from the past!

A blast from the past!

The Honest Company – Mini Reviews of 25 Products!

My most recent shipment...

My most recent shipment…

I don’t remember how I got hooked into actress Jessica Alba’s book The Honest Life, but it was my introduction to the importance of “clean” ingredients in household and personal care products. Alba’s book really struck me and changed the way I shop for and use makeup, sunscreen, cleaning supplies, food, etc. As a result, my eczema is better than it has ever been in my life (for real) and I’ve been able to clear out so many sketchy chemicals from my house. I highly recommend The Honest Life as a first “primer” for people who are curious about the chemicals in the products that they use every day—or for people who are struggling with skin allergies. Alba’s book was easy to read and understand and it covers a lot of ground. I still refer back to it every now and again!

Image from Amazon.com

Image from Amazon.com

Because she was frustrated at the limited quantity and quality of clean household products for her home and family, Alba started a safe, all-natural, mail-order line of household, personal care, and children’s goods called The Honest Company. I’ve subscribed to the Honest Company’s discounted “bundles” for a couple of years now, and I order a new supply of goodies about every three or four months. I’ve tried quite a few of the Honest products by this point, so I thought I’d give some mini reviews. Read on if you’re interested…

What I Love And Regularly Purchase:

Laundry Detergent and 4-in-1 Laundry Packs. My clothes get really clean with the liquid detergent and the laundry pods, and neither has perfume or fabric softeners. My eczema really improved after I began using this for all the household laundry (towels, linens, etc.). Highly recommend.

Conditioner in Sweet Orange Vanilla scent. This is hydrating and detangling and it smells like a Creamsicle. I use it as a great shaving lotion, but others in my family use it as a great conditioner.

Organic Lip Balm Trio in Sweet Orange Vanilla, Rosemary Mint, and Pure & Simple flavors. These lip balms are the bomb. The Sweet Orange Vanilla flavor is my favorite and I have one at my desk, one in my purse, and one on my bedside table. The balm lasts a long time on your lips and is very moisturizing. Works great during dry, cold winters.

Stain Remover in French Lavender scent. I hate the strong smell of most stain removers, so I really appreciate the lavender scent of the Honest version. This remover works just as well on clothes as other brands, plus I use it directly on carpet to clean up pet messes.

Organic Healing Balm. This is good stuff to use in place of petroleum (yuck) jelly to moisturize and waterproof skin.

What I Like and Sometimes Purchase:

Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 30). This stuff works, but I find it thick and hard to spread, plus it’s expensive. My sister likes it a lot, however.

Oxy Boost laundry pods. Hmm. I didn’t see much of an effect from this on my laundry. The regular Honest detergents are very effective on their own.

Toilet Cleaner in Tea Tree Eucalyptus scent. The cleaner smells fresh, herbal, and pine-y. I like knowing that I’m not dumping chemicals into the water supply when I use it. However, I could probably achieve the same results—i.e., a clean toilet—with just my toilet brush and some baking soda. Note: This cleaner got thick/sticky/clogged over several months. Always close the spout after using it and aim to finish the bottle in a few months.

Bubble Bath in Tangerine Dream scent. This smells great and foams up decently. The bubbles are short-lived, but that’s okay with me. I’d rather have “clean” temporary bubbles than more persistent and chemical-laden bubbles. I use this more for the scent than the bubbles. Would be a great gift idea for kids.

Conditioning Detangler Spray in Sweet Orange Vanilla scent. Smells great and works great. Personally, I need to wash it out before going a second day after using it or my hair looks greasy.

Hand Soap and Foaming Hand Soap in Mandarin scent. Smells good, rinses clean.  (I also use diluted Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap in the peppermint scent.)

Hand Sanitizer Gel. This gel is fine. I just don’t use hand sanitizer. The smell of sanitizer (including this one) is too strong for me.

Dish Brush and Caddy. The short, chunky shape of this brush is comfortable to use and the bristles are medium-firm. Inside the caddy, there’s a pierced platform mounted atop a spring, so you can add soap and water and then pump the brush up and down to produce bubbles.

Wipes. I don’t have a baby, but these are good wipes to have around. They are very large, thick, and soft.

What Did Not Work For Me and What I Will Not Repurchase:

Bug Spray. This did not work for mosquitos. I would spray my skin and then watch the mosquitos light on me right afterwards.

Air & Fabric Freshener in Orange Cypress scent. Ugh. This scent was very bitter and medicinal. Also, the pump-style spray nozzle was hard to use and there was no cap.

Organic Body Oil. This was too runny and greasy for me. Would probably be great for babies. I prefer the Organic Healing Balm instead.

Shampoo & Body Wash in Sweet Orange Vanilla scent. This was drying to my hair.

Face & Body Lotion. I loved the original formula of this (it used to smell lightly like roses and absorb quickly) but I dislike the new version, which doesn’t absorb into my skin.

Dish Soap in White Grapefruit scent. This didn’t cut through grease for us. (We use Seventh Generation dish soap instead.)

Multi-Surface Cleaner in White Grapefruit scent. This counter spray didn’t seem much more effective than plain water for us.  (We use J.R. Watkins pomegranate spray instead.)

Glass & Window Cleaner. This is essentially vinegar and water. I could have made the equivalent on my own.

Toothpaste. Does not contain fluoride, which I prefer in toothpastes. (We use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste instead.)

What I’m Trying Next:

Spray Sunscreen
Stick Sunscreen
Dryer Cloths

For me, the discovery of the laundry detergent, lip balm, stain remover, and conditioner is more than enough to keep my subscription with The Honest Company. Let me know if you want more details on any of the products I’ve tried.

P.S. – You can find Honest products at Target now, too! Look in the baby section. I’ve also seen Honest toilet paper at Target!

P.P.S. – Honest also sends fun free treats every now and again. Once I got a baby tree in commemoration of Earth Day or maybe Arbor Day (sadly, it died after I planted it), and once I got an extra lip balm for Mother’s Day. Last Christmas, subscribers received organic sugar cookie mix and a snowflake cookie cutter, but I skipped that month. D’oh! 🙂

P.P.P.S. – This is just a reminder that I am not being paid or compensated by any company in any way. I just like this company and I’m sharing my thoughts.

The Carry On Cocktail Kit

Image from PunchDrink.com

Image from PunchDrink.com

Starting an unintentional (but wonderful) theme of kits and travel, look what I stumbled across on Instagram:  the Carry On Cocktail Kit!

How cute is this? The metal tin is about the size of a deck of cards, and it includes everything you need to make two Old Fashioned cocktails–except the alcohol!  You take this (TSA-approved) little kit on the plane, buy a mini bottle of bourbon from the flight attendant, and then mix up your drinks per the instructions!

The Carry On Cocktail company only makes an Old Fashioned kit right now, but they’ve hinted that more kits are coming.  I’ve never drank an Old Fashioned, but I’d like to try one. It sounds strong but good–and very Mad Men.  I would love to see kits for dirty martinis and margaritas, too!

Here’s what’s inside the kit:

  • Aromatic bitters
  • Cane sugar
  • Spoon/muddler
  • Linen coaster
  • Recipe card

These little kits would be a great stocking stuffer or “bon voyage” gift for a friend flying out for vacation.  The only downside: The kits are pricey–$24 a pop!–but I guess you’re paying for the cool idea and presentation.

This also gives me another idea–wouldn’t it be fun to make (or receive!) a DIY basket of little kits like this for several different cocktails?  You could buy mini bottles of liquor, pair them with the appropriate mixers and garnishes, and then include instructions on how to make each kind of drink.  You could also throw in swizzle sticks, cocktail napkins, etc.  This gift could work for so many occasions (providing the recipient drinks alcohol, of course!).

Bottoms up!

P.S. – Speaking of cocktails, check out this book–Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist.  Wouldn’t it be fun to make these drinks for a book club meeting, writer’s group, or an English major’s graduation party?

Pass the BVLGARI Butter, Please

Fruit by Nike, by artist Peddy Mergui

Fruit by Nike, by artist Peddy Mergui

Would you buy Nike-branded fruit? What about Tiffany & Co. yogurt?

Um, actually…I totally would.

So I read an article this week on NPR.org about artist Peddy Mergui, whose current exhibit features (faux) grocery store staples like eggs and milk packaged in designer-inspired boxes and bags. I highly recommend that you read the article and check out the photos.

Yogurt by Tiffany, by artist Peddy Mergui

Yogurt by Tiffany, by artist Peddy Mergui

This artwork really hits home for me. I definitely see how expensive designer groceries would entice shoppers looking to project a certain image or participate in a certain lifestyle, but I think there’s something else at play here, too: Well-designed items are a pleasure to use. They’re nice to look at, they work well, and they usually last longer than other products.

Still, I know that I (literally) buy into the allure of fancy packaging for common items, and I will often choose “fancy” products over more inexpensive—or even FREE—versions of the same thing. I greatly dislike drinking plain water, for example, but if I buy Fiji or Evian bottled water I’m more likely to actually drink it and enjoy it…even though there are multiple sinks and fountains around me supplying endless amounts of clean, free water. The fancy bottled water seems to taste better to me (I know, I know…but I swear it does) and the bottles are pretty. In fact, I bought some SmartWater earlier this week. Look at this little dolphin hidden behind one of the labels!

My fancy bottled water comes complete with a surprise pet dolphin...

My fancy bottled water comes complete with a surprise pet dolphin…

I think, too, that giving inexpensive goods a designer gloss, as Mergui invites us to imagine, would provide the opportunity for us “commoners” to dip our toes into the pool of the wealthy. I can’t afford a Cartier watch, for example, but I could participate in some small way in the world of Cartier by buying a bag of Cartier coffee. Target does a version of this, too—the store often partners with designers like Philip Lim, Lilly Pulitzer, and Joseph Altuzarra to provide cheaper designer products to middle America. (Brands have to weigh the risk, though, of such democratization devaluing the cache of the brand among their wealthy core customers).

Eggs by Versace, by artist Peddy Mergui

Eggs by Versace, by artist Peddy Mergui

Mergui’s exhibit also makes me consider how we waste and throw away so much food in first-world countries. For many of us, food is cheap and plentiful. If our food was more expensive and exclusive, maybe we would respect it more—perhaps we would plan for it, buy it, and store it more carefully, and then use it more completely. And what if we could we could somehow apply the price markup of the fancy foods to provide assistance to the hungry and food-insecure? Or would all of this be trading one form of waste (food) into another (excess packaging)?

Lots of food for thought here (hah!).

P.S. – Some good counterpoints: Marie Kondo advises her readers to remove all tags, labels, and stickers from consumer goods as soon as you bring them into your house. The tags are an aesthetic distraction, she says, but they also give outside forces too much influence and presence inside your home, which is supposed to be a sanctuary and retreat from the world outside. Actress and super-organizer Jamie Lee Curtis advocates for something similar. She even decants all of her groceries and personal care products into plain containers to avoid looking at marketing and packaging in her home.

First Class Goodie Bags!

Airline amenity kits! (Image from CheapFlights.com)

Airline amenity kits! (Image from CheapFlights.com)

A friend of mine flies frequently for work and she gave me a United Airlines goodie bag…and I’m in heaven. I have never flown first class and I had no idea such little treats existed. They are called “amenity kits,” apparently, and they are my spirit object.

This isn’t my photo, but here’s a good shot of the case I got:

Image from www.hub.united.com.

Image from www.hub.united.com.

Look at all the fun goodies packed into that little case!

  1. Eye mask
  2. Socks
  3. Mints (in a packet)
  4. Hand sanitizer gel
  5. Ear plugs (in a packet)
  6. Philosophy lip balm
  7. Philosophy facial cleanser towelette
  8. Philosophy lotion
  9. Toothpaste
  10. Flosser
  11. Toothbrush with case
  12. Comb
  13. Tissues
  14. Pen (but my hand-me-down kit didn’t have one)

The case itself is really good, too—it has a mesh pocket side, an opaque pocket side, a smooth zipper, etc.

Squee! This little bag hits on all my tingly buttons:

  • I love miniature things (that toothpaste!).
  • I love kits—a set of things gathered, prepared, and ready to go to tackle a specific task.
  • I love feeling prepared.
  • I love bags, boxes, etc. with organizational nooks and crannies.
  • I love good free stuff (well, “free” with the price of an airline ticket).
  • I love it when everything coordinates in style and color.
  • I love good branding (stupid but true).
  • I love trying “fancy” brands of makeup and skincare products (I’m not a huge fan of Philosophy, though—their stuff is often full of random chemicals and a lot of perfume).

These amenity kits totally seem like the adult version of birthday party goodie bags!

Anyway, I Googled around and, as it turns out, I’m not the only one who is smitten with these little kits. There’s a market for them on eBay! Also, an article on CheapFlights.com gives an airline-by-airline breakdown and review of amenity kits. I might have spent way too long clicking on all the links and comparing kits. Some airlines use very high-end products and some airlines try to reflect their home country or culture in kit style, materials, or products. Also, there’s often a difference between first class kits and business class kits. (I didn’t even realize there was a difference between first class and business class…I thought it was the same thing…) Also, several airlines make their amenity bags in such a way as to do double duty as iPad cases, wallets, clutches, etc.

Sigh. Back in steerage, we don’t even get a snack anymore. I wonder what else I’m missing out on?

P.S. – In a similar vein, I just gave several of these as Christmas gifts.

P.P.S. – LightbyCoco, my girl crush, makes herself similar kits when she travels—an airplane kit and a toiletries kit.

P.P.P.S. – Here are some more good kit round-ups:

A New Spin on the Charm Bracelet

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was a glass locket rimmed in sparkles and filled with tiny Christmas charms. Check it out:

My new Origami Owl necklace!  (I included a quarter in the photo to show scale...)

My new Origami Owl necklace! (I included a quarter in the photo to show scale…)

Can you even see that tiny gingerbread cookie girl? Totes adorbs!

The best part of the gift was that the locket and charms were packaged separately, so I got to assemble everything myself. I couldn’t wait to get home and put it all together. 🙂

Anyway, my new favorite pastime is browsing the internet for new “floating charms.” Origami Owl is the name of the company that made my locket and Christmas charms, but there are also oodles of less expensive options on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and in craft stores. I even saw a few options in the jewelry making aisle at Walmart.

I finally found and settled on a deal on Amazon that let me choose ten tiny charms (from an impressive menu) for about $11 including shipping, which is about the cost of two Origami Owl charms. The quality and detail on these inexpensive charms isn’t as nice as Origami Owl’s, but I know I will enjoy them. Here are the charms I chose and why:

My new charms!

My new charms!

Football – A nod to my love of the Florida Gators and SEC football.

Laptop – A nod to my love of reading, writing, and…online shopping.

Coca-Cola bottle – A nod to my favorite treat and my Georgia roots!

Starbucks logo and Frappuccino – A nod to my favorite coffee shop, which always reminds me all things cozy and homey.

Bathtub – A nod to the HOURS I spend in the tub each week.

Cocktail with umbrella – A nod to my love of fun and fancy drinks, plus I wanted a splash of color in my locket.

I also got three new charms to add to my little Christmas set:

Nutcracker

Snowglobe

Green crystal heart  

All my Christmas charms!

All my Christmas charms!

Squeee!

I know I’m late to the party on this trend, but I like it. These glass lockets are quieter and easier to wear that my traditional charm bracelets, especially when I’m typing all day, and the little magnetized locket door makes it easy to switch out charms.

Now I gotta find a book charm, and an alligator, and some cats… 😉

Target Beauty Box – Available Now!

Target Beauty Box, Fall 2014.  Image from Target.com.

Target Beauty Box, Fall 2014. Image from Target.com.

Target occasionally releases one-time beauty boxes and one is available now!  It’s only $7 with free shipping and can be purchased here.  These sell out fast, so don’t wait to order one if you’re interested.

I’m going to skip this one, I think.  I don’t use hairspray, dry shampoo, or lipstick, and I’ve already sampled the Laneige foundation through Ipsy.  I’m glad Target posted a list and photo of the actual contents–I would have been bummed to get this as a surprise!