My husband, Doug, loves to give gifts for no reason. It is a lovely gesture and many (probably all) people will tell me I have no reason to complain. But I’m frugal (read: cheap) about things that aren’t food or healthcare related. Gifts are also not my love language. It’s words of affirmation in case you want to tell me I look nice today. Every time Amazon shows up at our door you can catching me grumbling “what did you buy this time?” or “did you actually NEED this?” I rarely think to buy (or even look for) myself “stuff” or “gadgets,” no matter how much value they may add to life.
Some of the things that have shown up at our door were total busts, but the majority are big winners. If you need to a gift idea here are some of my favorites.
P.S. None of these are affiliate links. I make no money from anything on this blog (yet), so click away!
Gel Polish, LED Light & Manicure Tools
This. Was. A. Game. Changer. For years I have always envied other women who had the time and funds to keep their nails beautifully manicured. My nails have always looked awful. Competitive dance meant no polish. Marching band…no polish. Color guard season? You better keep your nails short AF or risk losing one…and definitely no polish. Working at Starbucks for seven years? Yeah…don’t even think about it. Since going back to work in 2020, I have the funds…but ZERO time to head to a nail salon.
*Cue incredibly thoughtful husband. For Christmas 2022 he gifted me an LED light, gel polish, and the Meticulous Manicurist Nail Kit. Even though he picked out a mermaid-themed set which included a lot of sparkly, bright colors meant for summer or a teenage girl, I was IMPRESSED. I bought a more neutral set of polish for winter/spring time and my nails have also never looked better. I’ve been able to grow them out past my fingertips because they aren’t breaking, splitting, or chipping every other day. Even my husband – who never notices anything different about me unless I come home with bob-length hair or wear a new lingerie set – has complemented on each new set without me mentioning a word.
I wish I had invested in this years ago! I recommend watching The Meticulous Manicurist’s YouTube Videos to learn how to use the tools. I also purchased the plastic clips to hold the cotton ball in place during removal. I feel like Edward Scissor-Hands, but I find it much easier than foil.
Red/Blue Light Face Mask
About a year ago, I started getting regular facials because I was sick and tired of my crappy skin. Years of horrible cystic acne had left nasty scars and some uneven skin texture. My esthetician recommended blue light therapy. After a few treatments (at $50 a pop) Doug noticed that my skin was looking much improved. I told him I’d been getting blue light treatments and then a light mask showed up.
There are so many different masks at a range of price points, so read reviews! I really only cared about red and blue light capability, but some have every color you could possibly want. I like to use the blue light first thing in the morning, close my eyes and meditate for 20 minutes. It was expensive…but saves me money in the long run.
When we went to Aruba in 2021, my husband’s younger cousins had these. They were game changers in restaurants and on the beach! When I found out this toy was over $20 I almost returned it on the spot, but my kids have spent hours folding this into different shapes. It’s a great fidget toy that actually requires some mental muscle instead of mindlessly spinning or popping something. I even enjoy playing with it.
At-Home Laser Hair Removal Tool
My brother’s friends used to tease me about my dark body hair and so I’ve been shaving head to toe since I was 14. They called me “Black Forest” and yes, it’s given me a complex (no, my brother did not defend me and we’re going to leave my feelings about that unsaid). Shaving is the bane of my existence and I’ve flirted with the idea of getting my hair lasered off for years, but it’s expensive and time consuming to sit through all of the sessions. Sometimes my husband pays attention to me when I talk and he thought that this gadget would solve the problem.
And it does! It’s really easy to use, painless, and has worked really well on my underarms and considerably thinned by bikini area, which has greatly improved my ingrown hair problems. The only issue I have is that it takes some planning before each treatment. You have to exfoliate and shave the area before hitting it with the laser and it takes some considerable time to go over my very long legs.
There isn’t definitive data on whether or not this is safe to use during pregnancy, so I haven’t used it since last October, but my armpits have remained fairly hairless over the last four-ish months.
This goes on sale pretty frequently, so keep an eye on the price before you buy!
Tibet Almond Stick
Do you have wood floors? Even luxury plank vinyl? Unpainted kitchen cabinets? Bathroom cabinets? Wood furniture? If the answer is yes, then you NEED to keep these bad boys on hand. It smooths and camouflages small scratches in wood. There is no skill needed, just rub the stick on the scratch and watch it disappear! It’s magic.
My husband works for a hardwood flooring company and they buy this product in bulk.
I’ve had the same pair of old school Airpods for three years and I LOVE them. I did not know how I survived finishing school with an infant with corded headphones. I used to snake the cord up the back of my shirt to avoid baby Addison yanking them out every time I held her (which was practically all the time unless Daddy was around). My Airpods still work great, so I never thought about getting the Pros.
Two words: noise cancelling. Y’all! My kids can watching Encanto for the 50th time and I can listen to anything else (bad example…I actually really like that movie). Or sweet silence…because once they go in my ears, we don’t have to talk about Bruno.
The best part? I’ve trained my kids to not talk to me with my headphones in since I started working again. With my old Airpods I pretended to not hear them even though I very much could hear their demands for yet another snack. But I needed them to have a visual cue for when I was actually in a meeting and they could not talk to me for a bit.
Now…before I get some hate messages…I NEVER leave my kids unattended with the noise cancelling feature on. They are usually in the living room and I’m in the kitchen. I can see them and they can see me AT ALL TIMES.
The only thing that irks my pickle is the charging cord that came with them is lightening to USB-C (the teeny tiny one that android phones use) and my kitchen outlets are wired with regular USB ports. So I just use one of the ten regular Apple chargers I have laying around, but it makes me think that I’m going to have to upgrade my outlets sooner than I want to.
Twistable Crayons and Colored Pencils
I don’t know what genius over at Crayola came up with these, but they deserve a big fat raise. I’d like to think they are a mom who’s toddlers have repeatedly broken every single crayon they touch and are over replacing crayons every couple of months.
The concept is simple…crayons and colored pencils in a plastic tube that can be twisted up as they are used. My kids use the heck out of the pencils and other than some going AWOL, there have been zero casualties. The coloring utensil doesn’t shrink, so my kids can work on correctly holding a pen the correct way instead of pinching teensy nubs. AND! I almost forgot…no little bits of shredded crayon wrappers.
Where were these when we were kids?
Let me know if you try any of these and they brought you as much joy as they’ve brought me! Follow me on Instagram @joyandotherthingsblog for more unsolicited advise on things that make me happy.