Holiday Shopping Guide / Product Parade

Or should I call it “Daph’s Favorite Things”? More like I got worn down by press releases. I get so many emails everyday from companies asking me to put their products in my “holiday gift guide”… but I don’t have a holiday gift guide. There’s a barrel of other sites that do a great job of listing products and I do it very infrequently. Then I thought, ah heck, I will throw them a bone. I will have a Holiday gift guide!  You see how suggestive I am?  Glad they didn’t ask me to hide nukes in my suitcase.

My first pick is one I found ON MY OWN and LOVE. It’s a diffuser. Yes, those sticks that jut out of a glass bottle and are supposed to cover the smell of crap. Most of them do nothing. Then, a few months ago, I stumbled across a gal at the Renegade Craft Fair in Downtown LA selling her good smelling wares and I become a devotee. Pure Palette scents. It’s a one gal band. Well priced. She also has candles, which I bet are also great, but with little kids I prefer no open flames in the house. She will be at the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair this weekend and I will be stocking up.

How about cute, old-fashioned style gift tags that also help feed hungry kids? These gift tags from Share Our Strength are inexpensive and put a little “spirit of the season” on all the material things we covet.

WHY WHY WHY? As mentioned before on this site, your kids can help you to realize what a dumb ass you are. That’s why I like the sound of these Worx toys. They are trucks, helicopters, and fire engines that also tell you HOW they work. Because when my kids ask me, their liberal arts, alternative education mom has NO idea. I have not gotten one yet. I hope too soon, and if it’s as cool as it sounds I’ll let you know.  But it’s worth a look! Price is $30 to $65 and at least in my area it’s in smaller retailers which I also like.

One I was sent too late for the vid, but love is Prank Pack.  Very Mad magazine, wacky packs, silly stuff.  You wrap a good gift in one and people thing they are getting some lame “see on TV” product like a “beer beard”.

I am in the blogger category of “no, big company, I will not publicize your giveaway/FB contest unless you are a sponsor of some sort or provide a solid giveaway for my readers which help make this sight a place to return to.”  But, sometimes a smaller company, a particularly charming pitch and here I am.  That pretty much what happened with the ones in this vid.  (One product in my vid Vitacare toothpaste I do miss now that it is gone. I liked the toothpaste more than the mouthwash though.) Thanks to Vivien for not only adding her talent, but as you will see, her production skills to this.

Valentine’s Day

I think the day I would like to have is Sit-on-the-Couch day. I’ve been nursing a cough… Rex and I have mommy and me coughs right now. Before I had kids, if I felt off I could put on my pajama pants, my worn sweatshirt from the ’80s, and watch trash TV on the couch while I ate chicken soup.

Well, that ain’t going to happen. But, oh, if it could. That’s the gift I would want.

My New Scent, a.k.a. I’m Obsessed

Years ago in the Clinton era, I was a swinging single in San Francisco. I used to wear Issey Miyake perfume. I’d put on my short skirts, vest without shirt, short blazer (think Melrose Place), chunky high heel loafers, a splash of Miyake and work it! A guy friend used to inhale me as I came near. It actually was kind of a problem as we were always dating different people, but my scent made him wild, and I was wild for the attention.

Then one day I saw that friend, and he didn’t inhale.

“It doesn’t work anymore.”


“Your scent, it changed. The Miyake, it doesn’t work. It’s gone,” and he walked off to crush on another woman’s smell.

I had sensed what he said. My scent wasn’t working.

Then in the zeros, it was Michael Kors. That was my smell. I put on jeans, with high heels, an empire shirt, and rode the ups and downs of the ’00s with Michael Kors. I landed a husband, so it must have been okay.

But while my previous scents were about attracting men and feeling sexy, my newest scent holds for me the association of prosperity, security, a newly remodeled bathroom in a big house. In short, what most woman want as they approach middle age. Let me explain.

Shortly after we got the bad Madoff news, my co-host Lawrence Zarian gave me a bottle of Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin bath oil.

I took it home to my beautiful house that I knew we would have to sell soon and plunged my big pregnant body in a warm bath with a splash of this new scent. I was transported. Does it smell like Lime basil and mandarian? No, it smells like a fresh start. It smells like my bills are paid, and I’m pretty. I can’t explain it, I need a scratch and sniff web site. What else are you going to do to unwind when you are pregnant? Run? No. Drink? No. Pop a tranquilizer? That would be another no. I would breathe in the clean, fresh, spring, soapy-like scent of the Jo Malone and tell myself that it was all going to be OK. That my baby would healthy and we would have another nice home one day, and I wouldn’t be eating cat food at 70. That smell always made me feel better.

Cut to this past Christmas when I asked my husband for knee-high boots and Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin bath oil. They ain’t giving it away, but I figured, hey, we got through this year, time for a treat. Christmas day I got the wrong boots (took them back, added money and got the ones I wanted), and no Jo Malone. I said to Mark, “Um, you said you were at Nordstorms. I told you EXACTLY what I wanted.”

Him, “But then it wouldn’t be a surprise.” Argh! I am slightly embarrassed to say how bummed I was about this. I was, a tad furious. I had been waiting to sniff the stuff in my smaller, but nice, rented house and do my affirmations for the new year.

Once again I had to take matters in my own hands. And Voila, here it is. (I also got their vitamin E body balm. The smell is different; see if that shapes up my arm skin.)

And on a rough day, the smell still makes me happy.

Hello, scent for the teens.

V Day

Only two weeks to start feeling conflicted, miserable, or immune. That’s right. Valentine’s Day is almost here.

Most of the time it’s positioned as a lover holiday, but I liked those store-bought Valentine’s that we used to exchange in elementary school. You know, if you give one to one, you give it to all. I just loved giving them and getting them. I didn’t think, “The school makes everyone in your class give them.”  I thought, “Wow, look at all these valentines!”

When I was about 11, I made or bought, can’t remember, Valentine’s presents for my sister and parents. They didn’t give me anything, but I didn’t think about it. Then I went to do errands with my mom. She ran into the grocery store while I dreamed of putting money in a bank (I don’t remember where in the shopping center I was). Anyway, my mom pulled up, and I got in the car. On the passenger’s seat was a potted red tulip. She said I had been so sweet to everyone else on Valentine’s Day, and she wanted to do something for me.  It made me so happy.

I think that was the high point.

Momversation: Who’s the Better Gift Giver?

This was more a more interesting conversation than I would have imagined it. I ask the ladies, who is better at gift giving, men or women?  Not sure I can give it to the women. My ex-boyfriend Tim gave me arguably the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. Before my birthday (back in the late ’90s when we dated) he asked me to go through a fashion magazine and tell him what I liked. Cut to a couple of months later on my birthday, I open up a box, and Tim had created a Daphne Doll. He had taken a picture of me standing in a slip and then cut out and created small clothes on magnets to go with it. So I could dress “Daphne” like a paper doll, or a magnet doll. I was speechless thinking of the time this must have taken. It was an extensive wardrobe. Then there was one small box left. I opened it and it was one more magnet mounted dress for “Daphne”. But it was a dress I had pointed out in the magazine. I turned it over, and he had written that he had called Cynthia Rowley’s studio in NYC (the designer), and it wasn’t in yet, but it would be sent to me within the month. I still have the dress. I am not a tenth that thoughtful.

Maybe guys are better at gifts because my mother-in-law gave one of the most questionable gifts I’ve seen. Bless her heart, but when Oliver turned 11, his grandmother gave him stuffed faux chickens. Oliver is so kind he didn’t go “wtf?” a one would expect. He looked quizzically at it and then moved on to the next present.  My family and I were stunned. I said, “Oh, when he was little did you guys have a special book you used to read about chickens?”

“No” she replied. She must have known that most 11-year-old boys love wheat sculptures made to look like poultry. After an X Box why not?

So, I bet you all have good ones about super thoughtful and not-so-thoughtful gifts.

New Mom Visor

My mother-in-law has a ton of crap at her house. Now, there are some diamonds in the rough: old photos, an arts and crafts china hutch, a vibrating recliner, but there are also piles and piles of old magazines. And yes, she does still have her property tax bill from 1967, just in case anyone wants to see it. So one way she is thinning the herd is she gives us things from her house. And no matter what it is I have to accept it, right?  Even though I’m throwing my own excess stuff out by the fistfuls. (Sidebar: when I say I no longer want presents, I really mean it, but that’s another blog post.)

So, the other day she gave me this visor… but I’m making this gift work.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

My sister-in-law, Leslie, is staying with us for about a week and a half.  She’s a great house guest: She works during the day and is good company at night, if you want it. If you want to be solo, that’s good for her, too.  

Vivien loves her.  Leslie speaks kid and when she arrived she gave her what I thought was a great gift. Some kind of rice krispy-like, sparkly play dough. I threw away the box, so I don’t know what it is called, but it came in blocks of color and I thought, “Hey, this will be fun!”

Well, now look at the multi-colored mess above. Last night, as little balls rained down on my couch, ottoman, and carpet, Leslie said, “I think I’m going to be making up to you for a long time for this gift.”

Fortunately, Viv’s interest is starting to wane, so I’m slowly smuggling the bigger chunks out of the house. The smaller chunks will be here longer.