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my favorite holiday specials & where to stream them

Posted in Entertainment by


I’m not very particular about the seasonality of media – I’ll watch my favorite movies and specials when I want, and now, with the miracle of the internet, I don’t have to wait for the 25 Days of Christmas to hope that they’ll air my fringe-y holiday clips. Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite holiday TV and movies!

Probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time is A Very Brady Christmas. I’m not joking – I get shit about this all the time, but in a very unironic way, it is one of my very favorite movies. It may be the warm childhood feelings I get from remembering the time I spent watching this at my grandmother’s, sprawled out on the floor in the living room or in my grandpa’s room, curled up in his recliner. The stressful suspense in Carol and Mike trying to surprise each other, the comedy in trying to find a spot for all the kids and their families to sleep, the suspense when Mike goes in to a falling building…

Plus, there’s a shot of Bobby Brady eating a lunch of Chinese food, a cheeseburger, a pop the size of my head, and basically everything that is great in this world. In that moment, he is truly my spirit animal. You can pop the popcorn and catch this bad boy in full over on Hulu.

As an unironic celebrator of Festivus, I would be remiss not to include the Seinfeld episode “The Strike.” Probably everyone has seen it, but it’s not December without hearing Frank Costanza bellow “I got a lot of problems with you people, and now, you’re gonna hear about it!” Seinfeld streams on Hulu.

Another of my favorites from back in the day is Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. I always really felt for Big Bird here – he just wants to validate what he has always believed after Oscar causes him to second guess. Plus, Mr. Hooper’s presence really just tugs at the heartstrings, and how can you beat Count, Bert, Ernie, and the others playing crack the whip on ice? Check it out on YouTube.

And no holiday season would be complete without A Muppet Family Christmas. The cameo by Jim Henson just a few years before his death is very sweet, and I love seeing the entire Muppet family together here on YouTube.

What are your favorite holiday specials? Do you watch them all year, or reserve them for the holiday season?

December 18, 2015

holiday gift guide: music gift list

Posted in Living, Music by


We’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, and in the crunch for wrapping up the holiday shopping lists! If you’re feeling stuck on gift ideas, I’ve put together a week of ideas to help you get inspired! Today we’re shopping for the music lover in your life, and go figure, it’s the longest list of them all. I tried to curate it down to just 5 or 6 options, but I just couldn’t stop thinking of all these great ideas. In addition to the obvious – physical music, or gift cards for concert tickets – there are so many other awesome, personal gifts out there. Read on for fun ideas for the music nut on your list!

These Frends headphones are on my list, for sure. Admittedly, I’m not much of an audiophile, but I’ll always sacrifice a bit of audio quality for some fashionable headphones. (And anyway, if you’re listening to music on a portable device, you’re not one to kvetch about audio quality anyway.) The oil slick design is awesome, but all of their art is really great.

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December 10, 2015

holiday gift guide: tech support

Posted in Living by


We’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, and in the crunch for wrapping up the holiday shopping lists! If you’re feeling stuck on gift ideas, I’ve put together a week of ideas to help you get inspired! Today we’re shopping for tech support – every group has that one friend who is always being asked for help in setting up the group’s new phone or figuring out what’s gone wrong with the computer. I tend to be that friend, so I’m sharing a few ideas I think your friends would really appreciate!

One thing that I love and that every nerdy tech person appreciates is a good phone case. I tend more toward the cutesy, like my Sonix “Rose All Day” phone case, but utilitarian is good too – a Mophie case doubles their battery life, and a Lifeproof case lets them bring their phone beachside without worry.

On the same note of keeping your devices powered, a juice pack is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. recently released this I Am Very Busy powerbank, which can charge multiple devices at once.’s cheeky message is really great, too.

You can never have enough memory backup, and I love USB keychains. They’re much harder to lose when they’re attached to something you have to carry with you everywhere!

I’m notoriously bad at two things: remembering to get up and walk around, and getting out of bed. Clocky can help your techie with both of these problems: set alarms throughout the day, and they’ll have to chase down the alarm clock to turn it off and set it back in its proper place.

Even the nerdiest can have days where machines (or the humans piloting the machines) get the best of you. Offer your friends some stress relief with a Dammit Doll – half stress ball and half voodoo doll, this quirky dude will help your friend go to town on letting it all out, without hurting the gadgets!

Do you have any great gift ideas for your geeky friends, or are you in tech with your own wishlist? Let us know in the comments below!

December 9, 2015

holiday gift guide: who run the world?

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We’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, and in the crunch for wrapping up the holiday shopping lists! If you’re feeling stuck on gift ideas, I’ve put together a week of ideas to help you get inspired! Today we’re shopping for your lady friends – women are notoriously bad at “treat yo self” or splurging on something fancy or non-utilitarian. Here are some great ideas for anyone struggling for gift ideas!

I’ll caution my first suggestion by saying know your lady – if she’ll get offended or think you’re making a fat joke, steer clear of this. But something many of my lady friends (and I) appreciate is a cute, comfy yoga mat. A lot of them tend to be one or the other – scratchy and thin with a cute design, or thick and luxe but very plain. I recently treated myself to a (heavily discounted) Kess yoga mat from Amazon, and it’s not only cute, it’s so thick, and perfect for any girl who suffers through workouts on a thin mat.

McClary Brothers Drinking Vinegar might seem like another strange suggestion, but I’ve really been enjoying these lately. They taste good – way better than drinking straight Apple Cider Vinegar (one of those old wives tales that’s supposed to have great health benefits) They’re also really great mixers for cocktails, or just for sipping!

I don’t know any girl who doesn’t secretly want a Spirit Football Jersey, but they’re so expensive, it’s hard to justify (for me anyway.) Pick one with an inspirational saying, her favorite sport, or her hometown. They’re super comfy for lounging around the house, so she’ll really enjoy cozying up for lazy and cold winter days.

Adult coloring books are really en vogue right now, and rightfully so. My grandma got me some at Thanksgiving to help with my stress and anxiety, and it’s a great distraction when I need to get outside of my own head. Not only is it relaxing, it’s really fun!

And finally, one that’s on my personal list – the Blogilates fit planner. Not only is it super beautiful, I love the built in workout planners and food trackers, along with the inspirational tips. Cassey is one of my favorite fitness pros, and she’s done a lot of great things for making fitness accessible and affordable.

Do you have any great gift ideas for girls? Let us know in the comments below!

December 8, 2015

Black Friday survival tips

Posted in Money by


So you’re taking on Black Friday shopping for the first time. It does get a lot of hate: all these people who have to work rather than spend time with their families, the gross display of American consumerism, blah blah blah. There’s some truth to the arguments, to be sure – but Black Friday in my family is just as much of a tradition as the Thanksgiving day turkey. Lots of great memories from it as well – like the year I was sick with pnuemonia and still insisted on going out, and promptly passed out at the outlet mall, or the year I was on crutches and wheeled around Walmart (full disclosure, these were the same year, but still.)

Over the past ten years that we’ve been attacking the stores, we’ve gotten pretty good at getting in and getting out with minimal damage – to ourselves, others, and our bank accounts. If this is your first year heading out, or

  • Hydrate: if you’re just now reading up on how to prepare, you’re a little bit behind – you want to go into Black Friday with a clear, well-hydrated head. Spend the week before drinking enough water, and know where you can find coffee late into the evening. My protip for Black Friday: stop drinking water around 6pm on Thanksgiving. You want to have a fair bit of dehydration so you’re not jogging for the bathrooms.
  • Have a plan: when you’re going through the ads, triage your list store-by-store. When I shop for my grandparents, their list always goes first, so this year I traipsed through Walmart with their 32″ TV and tablet, then ran around in search of a inflatable air mattress for my house.
  • Go big first: this is perhaps an obvious one, but pick the #1 thing you “must” have, and make that your first stop and first target. Once you’ve checked that off your list, hit the rest.
  • Communicate: if you’re going out with friends or family, be sure you have a communication plan. Cell phones have always been fine for NP and I, but if other family members are joining you, be sure they share your philosophy. I’ve seen some hardcore (read: crazy) groups head out with walkie talkies – whatever works out for you, because you’ll want to split up in order to better conquer the deals.
  • Go off the beaten path: your best luck to get all your buys is to pick a store or shopping center that won’t be hugely trafficked. If you’re in a bigger city, pick a less popular store to cut down on the crowds. If you’re in a small town where Walmart is the only thing to do… get to a bigger city.
  • Ask for a map: at big box stores, doorbusters will be strewn about the store at random. Staff should have maps that will help you find your big scores.
  • Have a budget: it’s easy to go overboard on spending with so many great deals being thrown in your face. Be sure to steel yourself against any impulse buys, and you’re all set for success!

Are you a Black Friday shopper? What are your feelings on shopping as a family tradition?

November 21, 2015