Val opening Christmas presents as a child of the 80s.

Some things you should buy for me or for someone you actually know.

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Growing up, we didn’t have the internet. And so, Christmas shopping wasn’t as easy as consulting a link to an Amazon wish list and pressing a one-click buy button. If you needed to go Christmas shopping (or, you know, shopping shopping) you had to get off your ass and go out into the cold and brave the overstuffed stores in the local mall. Online shopping just wasn’t a thing that existed and making a Christmas list involved more than just clicking a little heart icon next to the product you wanted or creating a Pinterest board to send to your family.

What the 80s lacked in online shopping, it made up for in catalogs. We may not have had the internet, but we had Wishbooks. Wishbooks were these massive 600 page catalogs that would arrive every year and that I would drool over. The catalogs had pages and pages of merchandise for my favorite cartoons and characters: My Little Ponies and Care Bears and Rose Petal Place and Strawberry Shortcake and Barbie and the Rockers and She-Ra. There were pages with crazy scenes where all the toys and stuffed animals and action figures were set up to look like they were actually in action. There were bedroom sets and furniture and sleeping bags decked top to bottom in each character’s theme. There were portable radios. There were telephones. There were toothbrush sets.

I loved getting those catalogs. I’d obsess over those catalogs. I’d page through those catalogs over and over and over. I’d circle the things I wanted most. I’d cross those out and circle other things in their place. I’d go back and re-circle the originals. And, with those catalogs, I’d form the perfect Christmas list. And then I’d rewrite it. And then I’d rewrite it again. And then I’d rewrite it again.


Christmas, 198I have No Idea

Christmas, 198I have No Idea


Thirty some years later, things are a little different. Now, most of my Christmas shopping is done online with one click of a button and whatever I buy is charged on a credit card that is already stored on the store’s website. Most of my wishlists consist of pressing a little heart icon next to a product or making a Pinterest board full of pretty things I can’t actually afford. And, usually, I actually just ask for cash or gift certificates for Christmas because what that little kid looking through those catalogs and circling everything she saw didn’t quite yet understand is that the money to buy those presents takes a long time to earn. And so does the money to buy groceries. And pay electric bills. And rent.

That said, I still love to window shop. I still love to virtually circle everything I could possibly want. Just now, instead of wanting a bedroom decked top to bottom in all things Care Bears I want an apartment decked top to bottom in all things pink and aqua blue…

I know I already wrote a gift guide for cat lovers but I thought I’d do another one that wasn’t all about cats. But then I put cats in it anyways. Deal. But I did try really hard to not make everything about cats. I even put some things on there that could have easily had cats on them but chose alternates. Because some of us have restraint.

Anyways, here are some things you should buy for me (all gifts welcome at P.O. Box 25239, Chicago, IL 60625-0239 — just sayin’). Or, I suppose, you can buy them for someone you actually know. Or you can pin this to a board of your own or you can press a heart next to the items on their online stores or you can print this whole page out and circle things you like. If that’s what you’re into.

Some things you should buy for me or for someone you actually know.

Some things you should buy for me or for someone you actually know:

1. Rosa Everyday Pocket Notebooks from Rifle Paper Co.
I go through approximately one million notebooks a year. I always have one in my purse for writing and rewriting my to do lists, jotting down ideas, sketching out blog posts, and wire framing web pages. So I can never have enough notebooks. And I love me a pretty notebook.

2. Paddywax Celestial Candle
I collect candles like I collect notebooks. I love lighting a candle at the end of the day. Half of my coffee table is covered in them. I won’t stop until it’s entirely covered. Even then I probably won’t stop.

3. Cat Study Mug
OK, so I did sneak one cat item onto this list. But I lust over these cat mugs every time I go into Anthropologie to window shop. So deal.

4. Eloise Light Pink Double Old-Fashioned Glass
I’ve had the same drinking glasses since college. I mean, they still function as drinking glasses. And they are perfectly fine at their job. But sometimes I think about pink-ifying all my drinkwear…

5. Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos
There’s a store down the block from me that’s had this book in their window. I’m intreagued to pick it up because if there are two things that I love (you know, besides cats and the color pink) it’s food and tattoos.

6. Razor Sharp Water-Resistant Longwear Liquid Eyeliner in Space Cowboy
Every time I go to one of those makeup stores I pick up this gold-toned sparkly eyeliner and consider buying it. And then I convince myself not to. Do I really need gold-toned sparkly eyeliner? Probably not. But who needs anything, anyways…

7. Ceramic Hedgehog Yarn Bowl
This is probably the cutest yarn bowl to ever exist. And by probably, I mean definitely. Except for maybe the sloth version. Or the fox version. Or the platypus version. Or, obviously, the cat version.

8. Meaningful Studs In A Bottle
OK, so I might be a sucker for cute packaging but I love the little bottle these earrings come in plus they are pretty little sparkly earrings plus they come in pink plus they spiritually represent good luck or something. And we can all use a little good luck. Right?

9. Chenille Cozy Socks
If you know me at all you know that I almost exclusively wear fuzzy colorful socks. Because life is too short to wear ugly boring socks that don’t wrap your chilly feet in softness and warmth. And these fuzzy socks come with a llama on them. Or a fox. Or a rabbit. Or, OK, a cat. My feet would be happy no matter what animal they have on them.


Opening Christmas presents as a kid in the 80s.

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

1 Comment
  • Jennifer Boaro
    November 24, 2017at12:32 pm

    Why is eyeliner just so difficult? I love the look, but I sure struggle for success. I’m actually going to check out the Urban Decay eyeliner that you have suggested here.

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