Shopping Articles

HTC RE Camera


The folks at HTC dropped off a RE Camera for me to play with.

Trying out the RE camera from HTC. Looking forward to using it in the Cook Islands.

A photo posted by Jessica Gottlieb (@jessicagottlieb) on

It’s a weird looking camera. Almost like a periscope and since there’s no viewfinder my kids and I just spent a lot of time staring it and waiting for it to do something.

Pro tip: It doesn’t do anything if you just stare at it.

The RE Camera is pretty cool though if you’re looking for something between your phone and a GoPro. It’s really a perfect camera to share with kids because it’s near impossible to break (please don’t interpret that as a challenge) and you don’t turn it off or on.

I don’t have to tell you that there’s a lot of fun to be had with a camera. I certainly don’t need to tell you that a fisheye lens multiplies the fun.

The RE Camera and it’s two buttons allow you to take pictures, take video, take time lapse video and to take slow motion video. We tried taking slow motion video with the airsoft guns and some pellets but that didn’t work well. First the kids kept shooting the camera and knocking it over and then the pellets were just too fast to be seen. So we went from bullets to poodles. Here’s Junior all slowed down (but not bathed so please don’t judge me harshly).

There are two buttons on the RE Camera. The silver one acts as a shutter. Click it once and it snaps a photo, hold it down a few seconds and it becomes a video camera that you click to start and click to stop.  The white button allows you to do slow motion video or timelapse video – all through your app.

When the RE is sitting on your counter it’s off, when you pick it up the grip sensor turns it on so you don’t have to worry about having a camera ready. It’s always ready and the battery isn’t draining.

The RE is water resistant and with one additional accessory it’s water proof. Everything is universal on it like the 5 pin micro USB.

Here’s the deal. The RE is a fun camera at $199. It stores images to the cloud that you can download from your ios or android phone. It’s not going to dazzle you like your Canon or Nikon so camera snobs need not apply. It will travel well with you, it will get wet, get dropped, get giggled at and record your vacation without taking up space in your luggage or taxing your skills. It’s the point and shoot your kids want because the photos are a bit of a surprise but the lens is wide enough that you never miss the shot.

Connecting the RE to an iPhone is a bit of a hit or miss proposition. I am guilty of letting my electronics get below 10% battery and the RE gets uncooperative when that happens. You need to connect the RE to your iPhone via bluetooth to see the images. This is great because it saves precious memory on phones and other devices but also a bit of a bummer if you’re used to seeing your photos instantly.

RE Camera


RE Camera HTC

2014 Holiday Gift Guide


I know I’ve forgotten things. I know that I’m not supposed to recommend a gardenia scented candle in the middle of winter but I refuse to believe that my home shouldn’t smell like gardenias all year long.

I don’t have a zillion kid toys listed because the reality is that kids know what toys they want and they’ll be sure to let you know. I didn’t list a specific charity because I’m always hopeful that people will give close to home and close to their hearts.

This year my holiday gift guide lives on Pinterest. I’ll be adding to it as I find new gifts and some of them are electronic (who wouldn’t want a gift card?) so you don’t have to freak out about missing the postman.

Follow Jessica Gottlieb’s board 2014 Holiday Gift Guide on Pinterest.

If you have a favorite thing I missed be sure to leave it in the comments. We’re looking for new gifts this year.

My First Untenable Business (as an adult)


Shortly after Jane was born and I came out of my post partum haze I realized I was bored. I loved being home with my daughter but I needed a hobby and I needed one quickly. We bought a house when she was 6 or 7 weeks old. I spent a few months painting and decorating it and then I needed something else to do. There’s a limited amount of decorating you can do with 1,800 square feet and a minuscule budget.

So I started buying and selling things online. First it was the shoes that I’d outgrown in pregnancy. There were several hundred pair (that will never happen again) and since there are only 365 days in a year most had been worn less than 5 times.

A friend asked me to pick up a handbag for her as she was living in the Philippines. That quickly became it’s own business and I was buying and selling handbags to rich friends overseas. Between the Birkin and the Ligne Cambon line I was able to make a few thousand dollars on each transaction. I worked a few hours a week and one year my income approached Mr. G’s. Friends referred friends and my wait list was almost as long as Hermes’.

In 2003 Oprah put UGG boots on her Favorite Things show and they sold out everywhere. I had a garage full of them. I bought the $110 short boots at Bloomingdales with my Bloomingdales card and all the combined coupons I could get my hands on for as low as $80 a pair. They sold on eBay for $200 to $300 a pair. The sales associates at Bloomies loved me. Mine were never returned.

During this time I was also getting my master’s degree. It was the slowest degree ever obtained as I took just one class a semester. My mom would watch the kids one night a week so I could do it. Sometime around the UGG boot craze I met one of the professors at the business school. I explained my business to him and he said, “That sounds like a great hobby but it’s an untenable business plan.”

After clearing significant money with my untenable business we plunked it down and bought a larger home. I decided that I never again would ask a professor anything about business.

Then the recession came along. Martha Stewart was lambasted for carrying her Birkin to court. She was out of touch. CEOs wives were instructed to leave the couture at home and my clients started buying Coach. My clients were never CEOs. People who work for their money don’t pay over retail. They recognize the lunacy.

My business shifted again. I was buying and selling websites and truckloads of overstock. It’s a long and boring story but I became a jobber. I didn’t know what a jobber was until after I’d shuttered my business (it was totally tenable but I found that I preferred blogging to selling).

When there’s a conversation about women in business I jump in. I don’t have a typical career path. I’ve never heard the word no and thought that I had to pay attention. I’ve worked almost exclusively hand in hand with other women. Women collaborate well. Women see opportunity. Women know how to spend joyfully at every income level. If you don’t believe me go to the 99 cent store and then go walk the most expensive store in your local mall. Women know how to buy pleasure. Sometimes it’s a knick knack, a favorite color of nail polish or diamond earrings. We find the joy.

Reflecting on all of this came from a twitter chat that I stumbled onto this morning. Read and learn. Because there are inspiring women everywhere you look. We just need to ask the right questions.

In Case You Were Worried


There was almost a tragedy here. You see there’s this pair of booties that I’d been coveting.

Fendi booties

Like everything covetable they were ridiculously expensive and teetering into the range of overpriced. So I waited. Then I waited some more. Then Christmas week arrived and they were 40% off at Bloomingdales and I thought about it. Then there was another 20% off and I thought, “Why the hell not?” And a trigger was pulled.

Of course by the time they got to be 40% off and then another 20% off on top of that for a grand total of 52% off (trust me on the math okay) all the good sizes were gone. By “good” sizes I mean my size. The guy in the shoe department gave me a song and dance about how there are only 3 pair left in the system and he’d order them and hope they arrived.

When we came back from our trip I was greeted by an enormous box from Bloomies and I assumed it was my new bed linens. Remind me to tell you about my new bed… actually remind me to buy a new bed. All we have now is a mattress set. The bedroom is looking a little neglected.

The box. The box was massive and rattly and lo and behold it had my booties in it. I squeed a little and slipped them onto my feet. They would have fit  if my toes naturally came together into a perfect little point. I love everything about these shoes except they’re torture devices.

I did what every blogger does when shoes don’t fit and there are no replacements to be had. I tweeted.

And Bethany answered.

I was actually considering keeping the shoes because I love them so much but then a few minutes later Bethany tweeted this


I took it as a sign and last night I packed up my booties and headed to Bloomies for a refund. I also needed to grab some Wen at Sephora. So I did the late night bootie return. I was wearing my son’s favorite outfit. Yoga pants, a tee, Nikes and a smattering of cat fur. I hear it’s like glitter for the lonely. I walked up to the shoe department and asked to return the shoes.

“Fendi runs really small.” Karen in shoes said, “Would you like the next size up?”

I stammered, “You have the next size up? Will you honor the sale price?”

When the answers were yes and yes I almost cried and Karen disappeared into wherever shoe people go to retrieve me a yellow box of self esteem.

I practically danced out of Bloomies with my new shoes at the old price and popped into Sephora where I picked up some hair conditioner and lip treatment. My kids are dying in the heater/air conditioning climate we’re currently in. While checking out at Sephora I flipped past a $50 Bloomingdales coupon that expires on January 8th.

“What day is it?” I asked the clerk. She checked her register and told me it was the 6th and I fairly ran out of Sephora to Bloomies.

“Hi Karen, you’re not going to believe this. I found a coupon!” I declared, wrongly thinking she’d be happy for me.

“Oh those never work on Fendi.” She said, “But we can try.”

So for the second time in 20 minutes I returned a pair of booties and a miracle of all miracles occurred and the $50 coupon worked.

So basically my shoes were ThisClose to free. Or not. But they fit and I’m going to wear them everywhere so get used to them.

The Unlikely Feminists


Thanks to William for this wonderful guest post. You can follow him on twitter at @willibaldoea

Kardashians are Feminists

Say what you will about the Kardashian sisters, but they’re smart ladies. They’ve managed to spin an entire empire out of nothing (well, maybe a sex tape, but…).

Their ability to get people talking should be noted, because people certainly do talk – whether they like them or not. There’s no denying that they have had an effect on the collective consciousness at some level.

Take Kim’s marriage to Kris Humphries, for example. She filed for divorce after 72 days and the world erupted into a furor. Boycott, boycott, boycott!

Not too long after, Sinead O’Connor filed for divorce after just 17 days. That’s right. You heard it here first, because apparently no one cared to comment – TWO YEARS AGO. But then again, I suppose a divorce pales in comparison to O’Connor’s other antics. Let’s not forget that Nothing Compares 2 ripping up a photo of the Pope on live TV.

Back on topic.

The silence that followed O’Connor’s divorce should serve as an indication that it’s not attention that matters, but the magnitude of that attention. Remember when Britney annulled her marriage after 52 hours? Again, whatever.

People raged on for days, weeks, months about the Kardashian divorce. She was making a mockery of marriage, they said. We should cancel all of their shows, others cried. And amid it all, what did the Kardashians do? Kim went into hiding, releasing a public statement asking for privacy. Ironic, much?

Kris Jenner made the interview rounds to hawk her memoir and the upcoming premier of Kourtney and Kim Take New York. The world asked for answers, and all Kris could say was: the world would know more and get all the answers to their questions once the new season premiered.

Fury, anticipation, but most of all – ratings. The world watched. And around this time, Keeping Up with the Kardashians went from a half-hour show to a full-hour.

More ratings.

So what does this have to do with feminism? Probably nothing, but maybe a little something. You see, I have a friend who abhors Oprah Winfrey. Wait, I have more than one friend who does, but whatever. The point is, this friend – a very vocal and self-described feminist – hates the fact that Oprah, admittedly one of – if not the – most powerful women in America (the world?), spent her time doing shows about poop, bra fittings, and other seemingly trivial matters.

Of course, Oprah also did shows about serious issues. She made it her mission to use her show as a platform for the safety of children. She even got America to read! That’s no small feat. But she still talked about poop, which is kind of like what the Kardashians do. They just sit around and spew. Poop, poop, poop.

But the Kardashian girls may be up to a little more, whether they know it or not.

On a recent visit to Sears, I got to see firsthand what these ladies are doing for women. You see, my sister has always been petite, but after her second child, things just didn’t bounce back the same. She’s still tiny at 4’ 10”, but her hips are much wider than you would expect for someone her size. This small fact has had an enormous impact on her fashion choices, since she now has to dress for comfort.

Having two children under the age of 6 also means that there’s no money to pay for fancy, personally-fitted jeans, or even to tailor every pair of pants in one’s closet. So there are now only a few pairs, with their forgiving fabric, that get regular circulation.

I found this sad, since my sister had always enjoyed dressing cute and being adorable. I mean, come on, she’s 4’ 10”! It doesn’t get cuter than that unless you’re a grumpy or hipster cat on the internet!

My sister and I went through every rack at Sears in search of new, cute clothes. We tried every possible cut. Nothing seemed to fit, and sometimes even didn’t make it past her knees. Clothes for women that are 4’ 10” assume you’re also 12. The only option was to buy larger jeans, but these were made for women well over 5’, so these would require major tailoring. Again, not an option with two kids.

What began as a joke ended up saving the whole shopping trip. We had seen the Kardashian Kollection and grabbed a few pairs and headed to the fitting room. We prepared for the worst, but hopefully most Instragram-worthy moment. And then, nothing. No sucking in. No yanking at the zipper. Just, nothing. They slipped right on. The only minor problem was that there were about 8 inches flapping around. They were too long.

It didn’t matter, we said. We’d get them tailored. Sure, it would cost money, but nothing had fit my sister quite like this for a few years now. We headed back to the rack and picked up a few more. After a while, we noticed that they all fit differently but were essentially the same style. We looked closer: KHLOE, KOURTNEY, KIM.

Each pair had been designed for each sister’s body. The KHLOE was hippy and tall. The KOURTNEY was narrow and petite. The KIM was hippy and short.

In her single days, my sister was a KOURNTEY. This was the style you’d normally find in the juniors section. Now, her hips corresponded to KHLOE, but the length was all wrong. But in true fairy tale fashion, the third one was just right: KIM was generous at the hips and met the height requirement. Not only that, but they were comfortable.

I don’t think I had seen my sister beam that much since she gave birth to her son. You might think I’m exaggerating, but this was the face of an adorable young woman who was too busy, too cash-strapped, and too stressed to take care of herself while she went about being the best mom one could ever imagine. For her to be able to find a pair of jeans that slipped on without a hitch, and more than anything framed her body – which had changed significantly – meant the world.

There’s a difference between putting on something that fits and putting on something that feels great. And there’s certainly a difference between dressing up to reduce discomfort and dressing up to accentuate and celebrate your body. The Kardashian sisters seem to know that difference.

So maybe these girls will lead the revolution. It might not seem like much, but for women like my sister, it means being able to celebrate her feminity, her curves, and her youth.

Sure, Kardashian Kollection jeans run well over 60 bucks a pair, but they are occasionally on sale (we found them at about $25/pair). And in the end, being able to buy a pair of jeans that fit you at the first go might be worth it. More than anything, it means that women with uncommon body types, or simply more curvaceous in their features, can buy jeans without having to go out of their way to adjust them after the fact.

With all of the attention the Kardashian sisters get, I’m fairly certain their fashion line will have some sort of impact. Maybe not a huge one, but an impact nonetheless. And that’s significant when we take into consideration the critiques lodged against the Kardashians for their excess, vanity, and just plain pointlessness.

These ladies, famous for being famous, are leading the charge in redefining standards of beauty. And if you don’t believe me, take any woman with curves shopping. See what having not just your size, but your shape readily available does for a woman’s self-esteem.

Sexy is no longer just for those whose bodies can fit into the ready-made sizes you’re likely to find at most places. They’re for every woman, at every height, at every size. And they’re at a major department store, not a fancy shop where your jeans are fitted while your bank account is sucked dry.

I think that’s pretty amazing.

So yes, friends, the revolution will most certainly be televised.

OHMIGAWD, I’ve turned into Kris Jenner!

A Little Too Much of Everything


I didn’t write much last week because I had too much free time. It sounds strange but it’s true, mostly. Jane is away at camp and Alexander came home over the weekend. I spent the week alternately working too hard and playing too hard, each method was a failed attempt to not miss the kids too much.

On more than one occasion I went to the gym and yoga. That’s a solid 3 hours of “me time” which historically has been enough to hold me over for a week at a time. Twice I had two yoga classes in a day. I still cannot touch my toes without bending my knees. I’m an enthusiastic yet underachieving yogi. I went to Las Vegas and won enough at the blackjack tables to pay for my plane ticket. Everyone says you should always split 8’s. I’m not sure who everyone is but I think that everyone is wrong.

When I wasn’t gambling, working or exercising I was eating and reading. In Vegas I dropped into Nobu which left me yearning for Katsu-ya. My jaw about dropped when I sat down to a table with disposable chopsticks wrapped in paper. The service was good but missing the near silent attentiveness of the Los Angeles and San Diego restaurants. Also at about $150 a person I don’t want to walk through a casino to use a restroom. I’ll be sitting and sipping sake for hours, I need a real restroom in a real restaurant. The food was almost as good but eating from splintery chopsticks ruined it for me. Of course here in LA we celebrated our anniversary with our son at one of my favorite lunch spots, Crustacean. I think I’ve learned my lesson and Crustacean will remain a lunch spot. We love the crab and the noodles are good too but frankly there’s a really great dive in Reseda that makes it better at about an eighth the price. I’ll never stop loving the lobster and mango salad so anyone who wants a snooty lunch with me can always meet me there.

While we were waiting for our table at Crustacean I saw a mob of tourists outside of Sprinkles with their cameras trained on an SLS convertible and a silver haired man. So I looked at Mr. G and I’m like, “Isn’t that your dad’s car?” And he’s like, “Oh my god they think he’s a celebrity.” And we watched the Senior Mr. G wave to his fans while he grabbed a cupcake. Alexander’s eyes were like saucers, I’m still not sure if he thinks his grandfather is a genius or if every tourist in Beverly Hills is a little bit stupid. I suspect the latter.

Never underestimate the power of good hair and a snazzy car.

During the week I’d been sort of limping through three books, flipping from one to the other. One was a bust so I won’t even mention it, but the other two were perfect reads for me. There was Afterbirth: Stories You Won’t Read in a Parenting Magazine. Well, the tagline is 100% honest… I’ve never read about a bloody jockstrap in a parenting magazine but they stories are all magazine length. Most are 4 pages long and easily digested. It’s a good summertime book to leave in your purse, enjoy a story… take a nap… read another… have lunch…obviously I’m living in a fantasy world.

The absolute perfect kids are at camp book has got to be Getaway Mom. I don’t want to ruin the whole story because it unfolds so nicely but in Getaway Mom a Long Island mom trades places with her unattached LA sister for part of a summer. It’s fun, readable and uncomfortable all at once which is the trifecta of a good novel. I wish that some of the dialogue rolled off the tongue a little better but the story was so good, it captured the LA conundrum so perfectly that I happily forgave one too many I will‘s and in my head substituted them for I’ll because I’ve decided that is how these characters should speak. It looks to be a 99 cent kindle purchase right now which is a great buy but can’t rival my penny dress. 

DVF dress for a penny

The time before last when I popped into Bloomingdales I found a great black and white DVF wrap dress that I thought was 40% off. I was understandably excited to get the dress for under $200 and over the moon when the cashier asked me for a penny. It’s now my favorite dress and I think I’ve worn it twice in June.

I made my way to the mall again while the kids were gone. Since I’d been the beneficiary of a $364.99 sale I had cash to burn and managed to snag a Tory Burch sundress that wasn’t covered in T’s along with a matching cardigan that was. I’m torn because I love the pale pink but I want to bring to a close the days of wearing someone else’s initials on any part of me.

The week. It was well spent in every way.


The Playroom Needs to Grow Up


When we bought this house eight or nine years ago air mattresses weren’t something you’d put guests on. They were hot and they leaked air so your friends would have their hips on the floor by 3am. We have an extra bedroom. A bedroom that used to be a master suite so it seemed like the perfect guest bedroom/playroom. With a toddler and a preschooler we just added a toychest and a sofa and the house was perfect. Kids could toss toys all over a room, we could shut the door and still have a clean house without always harping on them to clean it up.

They stopped using that room several years ago. Well, to be fair Jane uses the bathroom in the mornings for makeup. I don’t know how a little mascara and lip gloss turns into this… but it does.

messy teenage bathroom


We have the Playstation and xBox in our family room, which is a room that is very open with the kitchen and sort of the heart of the house. I’ve enjoyed having it there because I like the idea that Alexander isn’t off gaming in a room by himself. Mr. G has been bugging me to put a TV in the playroom and move all the kid stuff in there but I’ve been resisting.

Finally Jane looked at me and said, “If my friend and I could watch movies in the playroom I think I’d have everyone over all the time.” Alexander bobbed his head and talked out getting some beanbag chairs and inviting his friends over more too.

So I’m shopping for a TV. A friend has a leather love seat she’s looking to get rid of. I’ll also need bean bag chairs (OMG Furry ones at PB Teen!) and the will to turn a blind eye to new messes. We need another DirecTV receiver and storage the devices.

It’s time to sort through all the old books and give them new homes. It’s time to move the cubby organizer into my office (I really do need this room to be less awful). It’s time to empty the closets of the old linens and let the board games live there.

It’s time to make this house friendlier to teens. Which is exciting and wonderful but leaves me feeling nostalgic for days when I could delight my kids with a visit to the toy store.

Transformation coming… just not quickly kids. I’m dragging my feet a little here.

Playroom before makeover

playroom before makeover

There’s a Reason We Give Girl Gifts and Boy Gifts



I’m quick to shop but slow to wrap gifts so it was the day of the first night of Hanukkah when I sat down to wrap the kids’ gifts. I put a pile in place for Jane and a pile in place for Alexander. I looked at my daughter’s pile and I looked at my son’s pile and I realized that they were very gender specific and her gifts were meant to make her adorable and his gifts were meant to make him smart. This is not the mother I’d ever intended to be.

Because Hanukkah is an eight-day event I was able to scramble out and buy more gifts in an attempt to balance everything out.

Before you string me up let me explain how we got to this place.

Jane is going to England in March with her class. It’s a trip she’s really looking forward to and since she wears a uniform to school each day she doesn’t have a ton of winter clothes. She has a lot of summer clothes but England in March will be quite a bit colder than winter in Los Angeles so her massive summer wardrobe is mostly useless. I bought Jane boots, jeans, sweaters and the Nicki Minaj lipstick she’s been longing for. Everyone knows you need pink lipstick for international travel.

Alexander has been wanting an iPhone. He got one on for the second night of Hanukkah. He also got some puzzle games and a zillion Pokemon cards. I’m not a creative gift giver. I ask people what they want and then I buy it.

When your daughter is 14 and your son is 11 they will want Free People Sweaters, pink lipstick and iPhones. You can buy them things that they don’t really want and they’ll remember Hanukkah that way or you can get them what they’re actually wanting and delight them. I like to delight my kids.

I also want smart kids. I want kids who are nicely dressed and care about their appearance. I want kids who think outside the box and kids who love math. I want the world for them so I set out to buy the world one gift at a time. I had a plan of attack and I think we all know what happens when parents have plans.

I bought Alexander clothing (OMG the cutest sweatshirt ever that has a sports coat attached… I’ll post pictures one day) and picked up a diary for Jane along with some board games. There are other tchokes but you get the point.

Let me tell you what happened when I bought the things they need to be well-rounded. They mostly shrugged. Most of it is going back. I’m going to have to spend time waiting in store lines while the goyim get ready for Christmas.

The one and only benefit of an early Hanukkah is not being at the mall when it’s packed and I’m going to be standing in line returning pajamas that my son doesn’t want and a diary that isn’t as adorable as it needed to be for a 14 year old.

Sometimes girls just like pink and boys just like blue no matter how much you try to offer them yellow.

The Subscription Gift Guide


I’ve promised myself NO MORE GIFT GUIDES. But this year Hanukkah is a second away and Serena is already hounding me for gift ideas so I’m sharing with you the best subscriptions of the web.

My kids love to get Hanukkah gifts, but like every other kid in America they tire of the new things they’ve received. It’s a whole lot of stuff all at once and I suspect that folks who work in offices and are gifted 83 bottles of midrange wines and craft beers are also wishing they could have holiday gifts year round.

For the people you love subscription gifting will pamper them long after December and for the people you do business with subscription gifting keeps you top of mind for months to come.

Enjoy these great gift subscription ideas for 2012

Wittlebee kids clothes every month
Citrus Lane kids toys every month up to age 3
Craft Coffee monthly coffee that will spoil you
Pop Up Pantry delicious three course dinners
Mantry man food… you know… packaged…
Spud weekly produce delivery for juicing
The New York Times Wine Club
Bark Box a box every month for dog lovers
PV Body fitness wear, a top and bottom each month
Birchbox makeup every month
Look Bag makeup every month
Svbscription luxe items for him and her

WittleBee: Without question Wittlebee is the way to go for the toddler set. Mall shopping is a nightmare at this age so the adorably dressed kids are getting Wittlebee boxes each month. Each box has 6 items with a retail value of $100. Wittlebee is $39.99 a month and can be cancelled at any time. This is a great gift for the parents and the kids will probably play with the box.

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Citrus Lane will deliver a box of goodies for children up to age 3. All you do is sign them up with the baby’s birthdate (I’d use an adjusted birthdate if they were a preemie) and wait. Boxes are $25 a month or $125 for six months. Babies change so quickly these boxes are a great idea.

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Craft Coffee: I’m pretty sure that my children would not have survived their first two years without coffee for Mom and Dad. Coffee can be brewed a multitude of ways but for those who love a hot cup of richly flavored coffee there is only one way to get it: buy good coffee beans. Enter Craft Coffee and their subscription plans. Coffee is delivered each month from three different roasters along with tasting notes and brewing tips.

Subscriptions range from $75 for three months to $240 for 12 months.

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Pop Up Pantry: I have been using Pop Up Pantry since their early testing. The food is exquisite and the portions are generous. Tom and David have hit a home run with this startup. Meals are three courses and on average take 25 minutes to prepare. And by “prepare” I mean “boil water”. My family loves Pop Up Pantry and the Grilled Cuban Spiced Chicken is out of this world. Plans range from $76 a month for two dinners (each dinner feeds two… in my house it actually feeds three) to $224 for an 8 dinner plan. I use a 4 dinner plan because I have a tiny freezer. Use this link and save $10 on your first order.

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Mantry: Decidedly less ornate but equally fabulous is the Mantry Subscription. It’s billed as food for men, but really it should just be billed as food for people who indulge. Subscriptions are available for one or three months at a time at $75 a month. There is no discount for volume. I’ve never tried Mantry but their December box looks like a beautiful and indulgent gift.

Back to top this is an urban delivery of sustainable produce. Which is a really snazzy way of saying “real food delivered to your home”. But they’ve got something new and wonderful that makes a GREAT gift for anyone who loves juicing (or just wants to try it). Spud now has juicing boxes. Basically they deliver a box that includes a week’s worth of juicing veggies to your home. If your gift recipient doesn’t have a juicer they can send one too and spread out the payments (big win).

I’m on week two with Spud and the kids and I are absolutely loving it. Mr. G just thinks we’re weird every time we add kale to a drink. Subscriptions range from $30-$50 a week.

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NYT Wine: The New York Times has a wine club. Subcriptions are $90-$180 a month and if you order by December 12th they can deliver for XMas. There’s something lovely about the New York Times and it’s iconic food and wine reviewers.

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Bark Box: There’s a Bark Box subscription for the dog lover in your life. With gifts ranging from $29 for a single month to $105 for six months the dog lover in your life will get “four or more carefully selected products and presents for your dog – anything from bones and treats to shampoos, leashes and innovative new gadgets!”

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PV Body is a subscription service for workout wear. Every month you get a two piece outfit for just $49.95. At the moment I’d say it’s best for women who love the gym and yoga. I got a great outfit from them but it’s WAY clingy for sharing photos. Here’s a link that will get you 20% off of your boxes bringing it down to just $39.96.

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Birchbox: Everyone knows BirchBox, they were the first to introduce us to subscription makeup and haircare. I love my boxes each month as does my daughter. The presentation is spectacular and it’s fun to try new things. They even have a box for men now but your man has to love grooming. Subscriptions are $10 a month or $110 for the year.

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The Look Bag is similar to BirchBox but a few dollars more. At $12.95 a month they are still incredibly reasonable but Look Bag includes two full sized items each month. Recently they had some growing pains and missed a few shipments and the presentation isn’t nearly as lovely as Birchbox but (and this matters) their selection is so fabulous my 14 year old looks forward to it the most every month.

I’d recommend this only for your own daughter or wife. They don’t have a gift plan or a prepurchase plan so it’s charged each month. Again, not great packaging, but loads of stuff… and teenage girls love stuff.

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Svbscription: I found a lot of shave clubs and underwear and condom subscriptions. Frankly I get my husband and my son subscriptions to Sports Illustrated and Sports Illustrated for Kids each year as a Hanukkah gift (they stopped being surprised in 2009). So this year I’m thinking about trying Svbscription. It’s unapologetically snotty with a horrible return policy and it’s $300 a box, delivered each quarter. I probably have Stockholm Syndrome from shopping at Barney’s but their last box looked beautiful and if you can swing it, it might be worth a try.

Everlane Unboxing: I Do EVERYTHING for You People


A zillion people were wondering if Everlane is any good. It’s a new shopping website with some pretty nice clothing and everyone wanted to know if the cashmere was any good.

Well, here it is. You’re welcome.