Friday, September 30, 2016

Spinster Shopping: Miniature Care Package


My sister recently sent me a care package filled with tiny gifts, and I loved it. There were tiny gummy bears (yes, smaller than usual), a tiny body wash, candy corn pumpkins, the tiniest toothpaste I've ever seen, and much more. So inspired was I by this package, I've decided to make one of my own, virtually.

Let's discuss what I'd include:

1. Rollerball Perfume:
          This is the only kind of perfume I buy anymore. It's inexpensive and convenient, and it's a nice way to try a fragrance I may not be sure about. What would be even cooler (and tinier) is if you've recently gotten some of those teeny tiny vials of perfume samples from a recent cosmetics purchase. I love those, but I never use them.

2. Reese's Minis:
          I'm not talking about the foil-wrapped fun sized reese's. I'm talking about those itty-bitty ones you can find in a resealable orange pouch. They are magnificent.

3. A Mini Lotion:
          You can purchase one of these from the travel section in any drugstore, grocery, or target. OR, you can get one of the small lotions from L'Occitan. I think they're cute, and I love the metal tube.

4. Mini Solo Cups:
          Technically, I think these are supposed to be shot glasses, but I like to use them for mixing things for crafts. Whatever you plan on doing with them, they're little and cute.

5. Mini Post-its:
          These are, of course, really easy to find. They come in a bunch of colors, and they're really useful for office work. Done and done.

6. Mini Toothpaste:
          The mini toothpaste my sister gave me apparently came from some travel kit. It was less than half the size of a normal travel-size toothpaste. I'm not sure you can purchase those separately, but I think a travel toothpaste should also be fine. It is, after, much smaller than a regular tube of toothpaste.

7. Mini Nail Polish:
          Sometimes they sell these in multi-packs at places like Marshall's, and sometimes you can find them in the nail section at Walmart or Target. They're just smaller versions of regular nail polish...I guess in case you're not sure you're going to like it. If you can't lay your hands on one of those, there are also skinny bottles of nail polish with very skinny brushes for nail art.

8. Ritz Bits Crackers:
          Pictured here are the Cheese version of Ritz Bits, which I prefer. However, I am aware that most people probably like the peanut butter ones much better. Whatever you fancy, these are cute and tiny.

9. A Mini Soda:
          Bonus points if you're in Minnesota. But don't ship this in the mail. Something tells me that's a bad idea. When I buy these small cans of coke (there are a couple versions - the skinny ones, and the short, fat ones), I like to call them "cokelettes." It's like a piglet but a coke.

10. Mini Stud Earrings:
          These are really easy to find right now, and you can find pretty much any shape you'd like. If you're not in a place with a lot of fashion jewelry stores, you can also raid the kids' earrings section. The scale of those will be pretty small, too.

Ok! That's a wrap for today's care package post and a wrap for this week of care packages. I hope you've enjoyed thinking about what sorts of packages you might send or deliver to your friends and loved ones. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Spinster Shopping: Empty Nester Care Package


Since yesterday's post was about the college girl, today is about her parents...or more likely...her mom. I have, of course, never been an empty netter (heaven help me if Miranda decides she wants to go to college), so most of this is just conjecture. However, I think a care package is always fun, so hopefully this would brighten a newly-freed mom's day.

So, let's get started!

1. A Cute Passport Cover:
          Now that this mom has a lot more free time, she might want to actually get to some of that traveling she's been meaning to do. Of course traveling is already lots of fun, but having a cute passport cover makes customs more bearable.

2. Tickets
          Pretty much any kind of tickets would do, I imagine. Maybe not speeding tickets. But you could give her a fandango gift card, a plane ticket, tickets to a play or concert or the ballet or the symphony. Whatever you think she'll like.

3. Cheese Straws:
          This may seem random, and I guess it is. My mom has less of a sweet tooth than I do, so salty things work better, I think. Cheese straws are basically like cookies made out of cheese. If you want the cookie shape, there are also cheese wafers (which I actually prefer.) You can buy them at the grocery store, but I highly recommend purchasing from a local maker, gourmet store, or farmer's market. I think these taste much better when made in small batches.

4. Flowers:
          A delivery of flowers (or an edible arrangement) is a wonderful way to congratulate an empty nester on a job well done. They survived eighteen years of child-rearing, and that's something to celebrate.

5. A Group Painting Class:
          There are a bunch of different places you can do these sorts of things. You know what I'm talking about - where a bunch of people (generally women) get together and all paint the same painting. It's really fun and relaxing. She may not like her painting in the end, but who cares? It's a good time.

6. Fun Sunglasses:
          I persuaded my mom to use Zenni Optical for the first time recently, and she bought a really cute pair of turquoise-framed glasses. If your empty-nester wears prescription glasses, Zenni is a great place to get them to gift, since you can get off for less than $50 most of the time.Too scared to pick frames for someone else? Zenni actually offers gift cards. Cool, huh?
           If you don't want to commit to prescription sunglasses, just a regular fun pair will do the trick! With all this traveling she'll be doing soon, she'll want to do it in style!

7. A Good Book:
          Think beach reads. This should be something so engrossing, she'll forget she ever had children in the first place.

8. City Guide:
          After all those years of carting children back and forth, here, there, and yon, a mom might not have explored her own city in a while. Enter a current city guide. There are lots of new restaurants, shops, and galleries to try, I'm sure. If she lives in a smaller town, be not afraid! Gifting a city guide to somewhere near or far may encourage her to do some of the traveling she's been meaning to do.

9. Lunch:
          I don't recommend you include a salad in a care package you're mailing, but if you live near a newly-minted empty-nester, you should definitely take them to lunch. Or make them lunch. You can celebrate and/or commiserate. I'm not going to prescribe your conversation - but lunch is always a good thing.

10. A New Lipstick:
          Have a favorite lipstick? Buy one for your friend! An updated makeup look can give someone a fresh start and help them look at their face in a new light.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spinster Shopping: College Care Package


In keeping with our care package theme this week, I've got another one for you today! One of the best places to receive a care package is in your dorm room at college. Now that it's nearly October, all the college students should be settling in to their semesters. It's the perfect time to send a little package full of love and encouragement.

This package is geared toward the college girl, of course, but I'm sure you could substitute some things if you have a boy instead. Now let's talk about the contents.

1. A Water Bottle:
          A good, reusable, leak-proof water bottle is an excellent thing for a walking campus. A college student needs to stay hydrated!

2. Cute Paper Plates:
          For dorm room snacks, it's best to have a disposable container. We all know how annoying doing dishes is, and if there's no kitchen in your dorm room, it's even worse!

3. An Amazon Gift Card:
          This is great for ordering text books, but if your college student has Amazon Prime, then it's good for ordering...basically anything at all.

4. Facial Mask:
          Great for a movie night with the roommate and neighbors. I think college is an excellent time to experiment with beauty and skin products.

5. Mechanical Pencils:
          This is important, especially if your student is taking math classes. I love to take notes in pen, but tests and exams require pencil. Make sure that the mechanical pencils you buy, though, have lead that's equivalent to #2 pencils...that way, if their school gives mainly Scantron exams, your favorite student won't have to continuously sharpen a wooden pencil.

6. Fresh Undies:
          This may seem like a weird thing to include in a care package, but if your student is having to do their laundry on their own for the first time in their life, then they will appreciate all the undies, towels, and socks they can get.

7. Bobbi Pins:
          I feel like college was a really bobbi pin-intensive time for me. And, as we all know, bobbi pins disappear more quickly than matching socks. So, a new card of bobbi pins is alway welcome.

8. Popcorn:
          When I lived in the dorms, it seemed like almost every night, someone burned a bag of popcorn. But popcorn, because it can be cooked in a microwave, is a perfect dorm room snack. My freshman year friends and I used to all gather around to watch the newest episode of Law and Order: SVU every week. Just imagine how often students must be gathering for their favorite shows now, in this golden age of television.

9. Dryer Sheets:
          Yes, another laundry item. Chances are, your college student isn't buying dryer sheets. But they make such a great difference in the smell of their sheets, towels, and clothes. Additionally, these are easy to ship because a box of them is so light.

10. A New Toothbrush:
          It's always good to switch out your toothbrush. Keep an eye out for a nice one in an interesting color and include it in your package.

11. Air Freshener:
          Your student is living in a dorm around a bunch of people who haven't been away from home before. I feel like air freshener is necessary.

12. School Spirit Apparel:
          College and vacation are perhaps the only times wearing clothing with the name of the place you actually are is appropriate. A good college hoodie or tee shirt can last for years after college. I know I've had one of mine for at least ten years. So, go ahead, get their collection started - or add to it.

All right. Happy Wednesday and happy shopping!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spinster Shopping: New Mom Care Package


So, obviously I'm not a mom, let alone a new mom. However, I do think that new moms really deserve care packages. This is a huge change for them - whether it's their first baby or their fifth. It's a whole new life they're dealing with.

Since I'm not a mom, I asked my sister what would be in a care package she might send. I took her advice and added a couple ideas of my own, and that's how I got today's list. Now, let's discuss...going clockwise from top left.

1. Lotion:
          I guess with all the hand washing new moms are doing, they need some lotion. Make sure if you're giving or sending lotion that you get something that's actually moisturizing. I hate when I get a lovely-smelling lotion that makes my skin feel like it needs even more lotion.

2. Chocolate-Covered Pretzels:
          I'm guessing this is just because this was what my sister was craving. However, chocolate-covered pretzels are pretty great. Sorry you can't really read the text on the illustration. If your girl isn't so much into the chocolate covered pretzels, they can obviously be switched out for her favorite snack so she can munch in the little moments she gets to herself.

3. A Prosthetic Hand:
          Just kidding! There wasn't really a good way for me to draw a massage, so I drew a hand. I mean, you should also probably give the new mom a hand with babysitting or cleaning or something, but a massage is what I mean here. Don't give her the massage with your own hands, though. Get her nice, professional one...and then maybe keep the baby while she's there.

4. Mini Sound Machine:
          She might have a sound machine for the new baby, but she also needs one for herself. Sleep is such a coveted commodity for moms that the faster she can go to sleep the happier everyone will be.

5. Ice Pack:
          She's gonna need this. But also...why not include a heating pad or hot water bottle while you're at it. She needs all of the pain relief.

6. Earrings:
          New moms might not want to be putting on their favorite pre-pregnancy clothes yet, but earrings always make an outfit more complete. So, if she's still wanting to wear those yoga pants (and who isn't?), then get her a pair of cute earrings to pull it all together.

7. A Hotdog:
          So, I'm told this was the first thing my sister wanted to eat after she had my youngest niece. You're apparently not allowed hotdogs or deli meat. This means, a nice deli platter of a trip to Nathan's is in order....if she's not a vegetarian.

8. Cute Slip-ons:
          I'm not a mom, and I still generally have no time for shoelaces. Make going out of the house just fractionally easier for the new mom by getting her a pair of comfy slip-ons she won't be embarrassed to wear.

9. A Pill Dispenser:
          So, these are a thing right now. You can purchase them from a wide range of stores and at a bunch of different price points. I have one from Bendel's that was a special treat on my 30th birthday. However, I've seen them at much more reasonable prices. It's nice to get the zip pouch (as pictured here) because then  you can throw it in your purse and not worry about the pill lids coming off and dumping into your purse. If they do come open, the worst that could happen would be that they fall out into the pouch. That's not as bad as it could be.

Ok! That's all I've got! Check in tomorrow for another care package idea. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Spinster Shopping: New Job Care Package


Since I did a new breakup care package last week, I thought I'd do a few more this week. Today we'll explore what you might include in a care package for someone who just got a new job! If their office allows them to receive personal parcels, this could be a wonderful break in their work week!

So, let's talk about what to include.

1. A Good Pen
          Some people have favorite kinds of pens. Some people don't. If your care package recipient likes a special kind of pen, get that one. If not, though, you should buy something pretty or fun or both. think Glitter Pens, or something with a nice pattern.

2. A gift card to a coffee spot near their new office
          Do a little google search and see what's closest in terms of coffee. You'll be making mornings or 3pm coffee breaks that much nicer.

3. Desk Snacks
          What's her favorite snack? Whether it be granola or chocolate, keep your friend's tummy from grumbling!

4. Desk Art
          If your friend has a BFF (like her cute puppy), give her a nice frame with that puppy in it. If not, you can just give her the frame, or you can pick out some cool art that will keep her inspired!

5. A big water cup
          This is the best way to stay hydrated during the work day without polluting the planet and wasting money the company could be using to pay you instead of buying cups. So, if she's in a creative field, go all out. If she's in a more subdued place, then go with a solid smokey grey or something metal.

6. A zipper pouch
          Every girl needs to keep some personal items in her desk drawer. Give her a pouch for these things so that not everyone can see her business.

7. A good notebook
          Whether patterned, foil printed, moleskine or leather bound, a good notebook can make going to meetings a little better.

8. A fun desk calendar
          A desk calendar with cute kitten pictures, funny sayings, good advice, or awkward family photos, can make getting the day started at work more exciting...especially on Monday when you get to peel off more than just one page.

9. Chewing Gum
          For a quick freshening for that post-lunch meeting. Just make sure she spits it out before going in.

10. Pain Reliever
          Ok, I think we all know work can be a headache sometimes...literally. But pushing through is important, so that's why keeping a desk bottle of pain reliever is so important.

All right! that's it! Now, go put together a package for your friend with a new job. Now that I think about it, you could just use this as a work survival kit for someone who's had their job for a long time. These are just necessary items...

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Spinster Shopping: *Deluxe* Breakup Care Package



I love a good care package. And, as a spinster, the most appropriate one is generally one that has to do with being single. I've done a breakup care package before, but while changing my sheets the other night, I thought that I should revisit the subject. I thought I should, in fact, make a deluxe version. Why not? These items are a little pricier than the ones in the last box, but sometimes you gotta go all out.

So let's talk through this. I'm going to go left to right.

1. A Makeover
          A breakup isn't just the end of something. It's the beginning of a new chapter. So, why not get a new look? If there's nowhere to get a real makeover near you, then perhaps a gift card to sephora or her favorite beauty counter.

2. A Haircut
          Don't give the haircut yourself...unless you're actually her hair stylist. The haircut is one of the most iconic ways to deal with a breakup. So, if your single friend hasn't done this yet, get her the haircut yourself.

3. A Blowout
          She already chopped the locks in an act of liberation and self-renewal? Then get her a blowout...I just really think this is a gift for all occasions. This or a massage, really. How could you go wrong?

4. New Sheets
          Nothing makes me feel fresher and more relaxed than a clean set of sheets. But new ones? That's next-level. Want to go all out? Perhaps a new quilt or a new duvet cover. Something that will make her room feel like an expensive hotel, perhaps?

5. Tickets
          Get her some tickets to a show or concert or event that she'll really like. Since she's newly without a date, you might want to make sure you can go with her.

6. Jewelry
          So, he didn't want to put a ring on it? Well, that's ok. You can put one on it for her. Or a necklace...or a bracelet...or a fabulous tiara. Of course, I'm thinking costume jewelry, here...don't worry.

7. A New Bathrobe
          What kind of spinster would I be if I didn't include a bathrobe in this list? This one, though, should be something she'd never buy herself. Perhaps something with marabou trim at the hem and sleeves? If you find that at a reasonable price, let me know. I fantasize about traipsing about my mansion or penthouse apartment in a marabou-trimmed dressing gown and kitten-heeled bunny slipper mules. It would be the perfect spinsterly ensemble...and lifestyle.

8. A Maid Service
          So, you don't have to pay for the maid service in perpetuity. However, with all her bed-sniveling she may have let her apartment become a bit...untidy. Having someone else take care of the cleaning without judgement might be really nice.

9. Takeout
          Maybe your friend doesn't want to go out to dinner tonight, but that doesn't mean you can't send some her way. I've heard about girls on Tinder asking guys to send them pizzas, but it'd be much less creepy to receive one from a friend.

Have more ideas for this list of deluxe items? Leave a comment!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Jury Duty and Some Thoughts


Yesterday I had to report for jury duty for the first time in my 31 years. I had to report to the courthouse before doggy daycare opened, so I was really hoping I wouldn't get chosen. I didn't want the poor baby Miranda to be sitting all by her lonesome all day while I sat in a chair trying not to fall asleep. So, I read a couple articles online.

The articles were written in such a way that would help someone who actually wanted to be selected to be on the jury of a trial. So, I just took their advice and did the opposite. I wore fashion-y clothes, big earrings, pulled my hair back really tight and neat, and I wore some bright red lipstick. I didn't have any conflicting answers to the questions they asked (it was only a traffic-related case), but I still wasn't selected. I can only believe that it was the red lipstick. So, that's why I chose this illustration today, though Im' fairly sure I've published it here before. I was just too tired to think of anything else.

Now for the thoughts:

1. I fell off the treadmill this morning. Yes, that happened, and there was someone in there who saw it. This wasn't just like a stumble. I straight up fell off and sort of twisted my ankle. I have a little bit of a bruise just below my knee. I am an adult.

2. It is rude to talk on the phone while you're in the fitness center. It astounds me how many people don't understand this simple rule of human decency. Working out is already terrible. Don't make it worse by  making me listen to your conversation...unless it's juicy...

3. Is it bad that I'm not sad Brangelina is over?

4. I have a rolling rack I got from Ikea, and it was only $12.99. It's pretty light weight, but I'm not  using it for winter coats or rolling it down the streets of New York, so it was a bargain.

5. I bought Starbucks VIA Latte Caffe Mocha at the grocery store, and it was not delicious.

Ok. That's all for now. Happy Thursday!