2014 Best Subscription Box Gifts

One of the most fun gifts to give and receive are subscription boxes. For Christmas this year I would suggest getting a subscription box gift for a least one person on your list. They are a fun way to give a unique gift that most often has a greater value to it than what you pay for it. And often times these services offer specific subscription box gifts that don’t require a full year-long subscription.

Subscription Box Gifts

For Women:

There are a lot of options of buying subscription box gifts for the women in your life this year.

PopSugar Must Have

PopSugar Must Have is offering 3 limited edition subscription box gifts this year. The Neiman Marcus box and the Special Edition Holiday box for Her are both curated to the female in your life. I have purchased the Special Edition box on a few occasions and have always been impressed with the value.

popsugar

Golden Tote

Golden Tote is a curated women’s clothing service. This holiday season they are offering a few extras to buyers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are introducing gifts under $50 for Black Friday that will include curated gift sets for the woman in your life. On Cyber Monday they will include an additional item in each tote! This is a really great value.

GT

Birchbox

Birchbox has 9 limited edition holiday subscription box gifts available in addition to their fun monthly subscription service. Of those, 6 are female oriented with prices ranging from $18-$98.  The fun thing about these boxes is that you know what you are purchasing right away so if the box has perfume and you know your mother in law hated perfume you can move on to the next box.

Birchbox

Wantable

Wantable doesn’t offer any special edition boxes, but it is a great subscription box and would make a great gift for the woman in your life. Watch for Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts too!

Wantable

 

 

Fabletics

Like Wantable, Fabletics doesn’t offer special edition boxes, but they have an awesome deal going for Black Friday. They are offering 2 tops for $19.95 and/ or 2 leggings for $49.95. This would make a great gift for the workout queen in your life.

fabletics

For Men:

There are a few great subscription box gifts available for men.

PopSugar Must Have

PopSugar Must Have’s third subscription box gift available is the Special Edition Holiday box for Him. I gifted this to my husband last year and he loved it. It had some really great luxury items that he never would have bought for himself, but has really enjoyed having.

popsugar

Birchbox Special Edition Boxes

Birchbox offers 3 options for subscription box gifts for the man in your life. There is a sporty one, a eco conscious one, and a grooming essentials one. These range from $39-$88.  You can view what is in each of these boxes on their site.

Birchbox

For Kids:

Fab Kids

Fab Kids has already kicked of a Black Friday sale off buy one get one free for new subscribers.

fabkids

 

Check out our other gift guides here: Tech For Dad, Tech For Mom, Wardrobe Essentials For Mom

Alternative to the Classic Barbie Doll

Are you like me and looking for an alternative to the classic Barbie doll for Christmas this year?

Alternative to the Classic Barbie Doll

My daughter is almost 3 and obsessed with babies, dolls, and the whole process of mothering. She has been pretending to dress her dolls in her own clothes for awhile now so I thought it would be a good time to get her a doll to dress.

Currently her “baby” is a plush doll that she uses as a comfort item which includes sleeping with it and hugging it when sad, upset, or just tired. Since I’d like to keep “baby” as this comfort item, I thought it would be fun to have a doll that is for pretending or make believe. When I was a child Barbie fulfilled this need, but I don’t like the idea of giving such a small child a doll that is so grown up. Barbie does not even look like a real woman let alone a girl.

So after some searching I found my alternative to the classic Barbie doll: the Lottie Doll.

Lottie

Lottie is a pro-girl, age-appropriate alternative to the classic Barbie doll. She has a child-like body and does not wear makeup, jewelry, or high heels. A variety of outfits are available to buy that all are easy to put on and take off her. They even have a Snow Queen version for the Frozen fans.

Since the Lottie doll was launched its been awarded 19 international awards. It was even in mentioned in a New York Times article on toys that encourage science and engineering.

According to their website, 18 months of research went in Lottie’s development:

“Arklu carried out 18 months of research working with girls, parents, retailers, industry experts, child psychologists and child nutrition experts, leading to the generation of over 100 action points which have been incorporated into Lottie’s development. The three points that resonated the most strongly were:

  • Girls being concerned by body image from a young age
  • Girls being prematurely sexualised
  • Girls missing out on their childhood

To address these issues, Lottie has been based on the scientific proportions of a 9 year old child, with the exception of her head (which has been increased to accommodate hair play). She does not wear jewellery, makeup or high heels. She can stand on her own two feet…… always a useful life skill for all girls, big and small!
Her clothes are vibrant in colour and have significant attention to detail. Lottie’s clothes are very much activity based, in line with those of a 9 year old instead of an adult. She wears pretty dresses, as well as hard-wearing clothes for muddy, outdoors play. Lottie allows girls to be girls and enjoy their childhood, in all its facets. Lottie’s motto is ‘Be bold, be brave, be you’.”

How cool is that? Lottie doll will be on my daughter’s Christmas list this year.

Why Your Memories Could All Be False

Memories Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever heard of the phenomenon of confirmation bias? It’s where you believe said idea or concept and when encountering new information you remember and interpret it so that agrees with that original idea. Wikipedia defines it as:

Confirmation bias, also called myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, or prioritize information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.”

I have usually seen this most prominently in regards to politics. We have an idea of what we believe in (a stance if you will) and when we listen to the news or other people’s take on an issue we interpret this information to confirm why we believe what we do.

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus takes this concept a step further in her research of memories and in particular, false memories. She has found that people will not only confirm an existing memory or belief, but that they will subconsciously create a memory or belief if coached to do so.

Read the really interesting interview Vice.com does with her here.

 

Gadget Gifts for Dad 2014

Are you looking for gadget gifts for dad for Christmas?

I’m sorry, but 99% of the “gadget gift guides” online contain nothing but useless iPhone accessories, headphones, and speakers. Here’s some other gadget gifts to get Dad in 2014:

2014 Christmas Gift List - Tech for Dad

1 – Arduino Kit

Don’t know what he’d do with this? It doesn’t matter. It’s like the science kit you got as a kid. Learn to design circuits, write code. Plenty of neat project ideas online as well.

2 – Tile

If he’s anything like me, he wishes the “Find my iPhone” app would work with everything he owns. Well, it can. Unfortunately, he will now be unable to keep track of anything without one of these attached to it.

3 – A good kitchen scale

A scale is an essential tool in the kitchen. From mixing drinks, baking, to brewing coffee, it’s a great time saver.

4 – Aeropress

Much discussed by all coffee snobs, some love it, some hate it. Honestly, if you have any desire to brew your coffee without a conventional brewer, this is the easiest (and arguably best) way.

5 – Raspberry Pi

Similar to the Arduino, but an entire Linux-based computer on a tiny circuit board. Build your own music server, tiny web browser, etc.

Did you like our Gadget Gifts for Dad 2014? Looking for technology gifts for mom? Check out our gift guide here.

Serial Podcast and 4 Other Must-Listen Podcasts

Are you as obsessed with the Serial podcast as I am?

I have loved the This American Life podcast for years. It has been my my go-to in the car listening. For me it is the best available podcast option for longer car trips, but now I am suddenly obsessed with the Serial podcast, a podcast spin-off if you will, from the This American Life creators and hosted by Sara Koenig.

 

My 5 Favorite Podcasts:

serial podcast

1. Serial

Serial is a podcast where we unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. We’ll stay with each story for as long as it takes to get to the bottom of it.”

The first season of the Serial podcast follows the story of the murder of Hae Min Lee and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed who was convicted of her murder.

 

this american life

2. This American Life

“There’s a theme to each episode of This American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There’s lots more to the show, but it’s sort of hard to describe.”

If you are new to This American Life, I recommend starting here.

 

radio lab

3. Radiolab

“Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”

Radiolab is awesome for people who love the application of science and sound to everyday life.

 

planet money

4. Planet Money

“Imagine you could call up a friend and say, “Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.” Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening. That’s what we’re going for at Planet Money.”

I would add that you should also imagine your friend is brilliant and an amazing teacher.

 

freakanomics radio

5. Freakonomics Radio

Did you ever read the book Freakonomics? It’s a great, quick read that makes economics relevant to the everyday person. The authors created the podcast in 2010 for more fun.

 

2014 Christmas Gift Wish List – Wardrobe Essentials for Mom

Wardrobe Essentials for Mom

Golden Tote Gift Card

I love Golden Tote and it’s the perfect gift for the woman in your life who needs a little wardrobe refresh. Gift her the $150 tote and she gets to choose 2 items she loves and the designers pick 3-5 more items to go with it that match her style profile. It’s great way to quickly update her wardrobe with fashionable pieces that match her style.

GT

Woolrich Women’s Baltimore Harness Boot

These boots are not only super cute, they are super practical especially for mamas that chase after babies all day or mamas that work on their feet all day. Comfy meets stylish.

Nine West Double Vision Satchel Top Handle Bag

I love the idea of a stylish over the shoulder bag that can double as a diaper bag or a sipper cups and snacks bag, etc. This is the perfect combination of sleek, stylish, practical and efficient.

ZilverPassion Sterling Silver Stacking Ring

Stackable rings are definitely on trend right now and I love the idea of getting them in your child’s birthstone.

Kensie Women’s Short Sleeve Pajama Set

Okay, okay I admit to going to bed in old t-shirts purely because they are so dang comfy. Get the mama in your life some cute and comfy pj’s ASAP. Trust, it is worth it for all involved. 🙂

 

Mamas, what else are you dying to get this year for Christmas?

The Best Baby-Cams

I’m not usually intimidated by a little bit of an IT challenge, so I started with this one (Foscam, $60):

FOSCAM

Cons: There is considerable finicky router setup, and most of the information is in a message-board style format. My guess is that this product came out of the do-it-yourself home security market, so there is considerable flexibility, but also a lot of settings that take quite a bit of research to understand.

Pros: There isn’t much you can’t do with this camera, if you have enough IT know-how to set it up right. You can pan it and toggle the IR lights from a web browser, and set up to view from outside your home network if you know how to deal with port forwarding.

Conclusion: It’s a bit more on the “open-source” side of the spectrum. If you want total control over what it does, this is your camera. However, I found that this is the last item that I want to messing around with while the kids are sleeping.

So, I moved on to this one (Belkin, $63):

Belkin

Cons: No remote pan/tilt, and very little ability to mess with any settings (which turns about to be a Pro, actually). So, on to the Pros.

Pros: The set up and use is idiot-proof. You set the camera up with your free iPhone app on your home wi-fi network (no trying to find an extra Ethernet cable!) and you’re good to go. Belkin hosts the video stream, so now you can view the camera from anywhere with internet access.

Conclusion: This is the last item you want to try to get fancy with. Keep it simple.