1. A pair of aerating wineglasses that aren’t just a gimmick — they’ll actually give your cheap wine a big boost.
Promising review:“We tested them by comparing the wine before and after using the glass and there WAS a difference in the quality of the taste. Most items are mostly hype but this one seems to be real. Besides, it’s cute to watch it flow.”
Price: $50 (for a pair)
2. A LEGO building kit of the Guggenheim Museum, because this just seems like the Frank Lloyd Wright decision.
Promising review:“Definitely the most unique and detailed of the larger architecture sets! A very solid and artistic structure, even Frank Lloyd Wright would be proud of.”
3. A white-noise sound machine with 20 settings to ensure you get a good night’s sleep even when your upstairs neighbors decide to do some late-night furniture rearranging.
“This device saved. My. Life. Well, not literally, but it definitely saved my sanity. I’m a highly anxious person who is extremely noise-sensitive and vulnerable to sensory overload. Cue moving into my first college apartment, where the upstairs neighbors’ every footstep can be heard amplified and bass boosted through my ceiling. (Of course, before I signed the lease, the landlord didn’t mention this… ‘feature.’) My room is right below their kitchen, so in addition to the stomping, I can hear all their yelling and banging around pots and pans all hours of the day and into the night. I was losing a LOT of sleep over this, and it ramped up my anxiety tenfold. I felt like I couldn’t be at peace in my own home and dreaded having to come back here at all… My safe, comfortable space was constantly being violated by noise pollution and there was literally nothing I could do about it.
I almost considered moving out or at least switching to an upstairs unit … that is, until I happened upon this amazing little device. I never cared for ‘white noise’ machines that wasn’t true white noise; ocean waves and rainfall isn’t as soothing when you have upstairs neighbors with lead for feet. You really need a good, loud, pure white noise that masks all frequencies and that your brain can easily ignore, so it seems as if there’s no noise at all. This thing was absolutely perfect for me, as it only had white noise and fan sounds (and a variety of ’em!) that can get loud enough to mask anything. I mean ANYTHING. I can now peacefully snooze through not only my neighbors’ stomping kitchen antics, but also the 8 a.m. garbage truck arriving bright and early every Wednesday.“
4. A genetic ancestry test kit for your pup, so you can finally identify the exact breed breakdown of the creature you’re living with.
“This was awesome, and I’m so glad we used it! We have a big, doofy looking dog that we adopted years back but never bothered to try to figure out what he was. He looks like a gigantic boxer with some other weird quirks thrown in. We originally thought maybe he was a Dogo Argentino, but when we started looking some more, we thought American Bulldog with some boxer thrown in. We got the test and gave him the ol’ swab in the mouth — only a couple seconds of swabbing between his cheek and gums was enough for the test. Sent it off, got the confirmation in a few days, then the results in about two weeks. Much to our amazement, he is 75% boxer, 12.5% American Bulldog, and 12.5% Standard Bulldog! Here’s where people get bent out of shape about this product: They think that it can magically discern everything in your dog’s bloodline, and that your dog’s looks have to comport with their genetics. Not so much. If you have a true mutt (e.g. a dog whose parents were mutts, and whose grandparents were also mutts), it’s not going to help you. It’s going to come back as a mixed breed. if you understand the product’s limitations, this is a great tool to give you some insight into your furry friend.”
“I love the organic shape of the Now House by Jonathan Adler Medium Cloud Vase. It mimics the shape of flower petals, making it a good choice for fresh or artificial arrangements. I like displaying mine as a centerpiece on a white shelf. The color I went with (blue) is a lovely deep shade that’s soothing to the eyes. While stylish, it has a modern sensibility that looks neat and uncluttered.”
Price: $26.35+ (available in six colors).
6. A plant — or plants, depending on your level of self-control — from Amazon’s very underrated Costa Farms collection.
Aloe vera! Succulents! Peace lilys! Palms! Costa Farms has ’em all, and will ship directly to your doorstep. Good luck picking out just one plant child. Check out the full collection here.
Price: $54.99 (for Chinese money plant with ceramic planter and stand; planter available black and white)
“I have used this kettle practically every day for the last five years and it has worked perfectly for coffee and tea. I use it with a Chemex, Aeropress, and French press. It boils water quickly on a gas range. The best part of this kettle is the spot design. It gives you so much control over your pour which is very important for certain brew methods. If you make coffee via any pour over method you have to get this kettle!”
Price: $39.50+ (available in two sizes and in black or stainless steel).
8. A DIY miniature kit if your takeaway from watching Hereditary was, “Toni Collette makes very good art and I want to be just like her.”
“This was my first time building a miniature. My 10-year-old loves craft projects and these rooms looked cute. They also looked complicated and time-consuming. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea but decided to give it a try anyway. I purchased both the greenhouse and the art studio. My daughter and I spent one to two hours a day over a couple of weeks working on these together. I built the greenhouse while she built the art studio. We had a blast! They were incredibly fun and actually easy to build. The instructions were superb. My husband looked at the finished rooms and was very impressed. He thought they looked great. I have since purchased the library and sewing room. We haven’t had a chance to start on these yet but are looking forward to it.”
Price: $35.99 (available in nine styles)
9. A stainless-steel cold brew maker because — no matter what the haters may say — cold brew is a year-round beverage.
“I love this coffee maker. It’s so easy to clean and stores in the fridge with easy access. The spout does not leak, which is pretty awesome too. The coffee basket is large, allowing you to cold brew both coffee or specialty teas. Highly recommend if you are considering a cold brew coffee maker. We had a pitcher styled one and you can’t compare!”
“Awesome product. Because it’s clear, it doesn’t change the look of your bathroom. And yes, the Squatty Potty really does work well for its intended purpose. This acrylic version is a quality product that seems like it will last a long time.”
11. A dermo-approved sunscreen that’s the holy grail for anyone with sensitive, acne-prone, or just all-around-impossible skin (yes, it might seem like a lot of money for a sunscreen but it’s worth it).
“I’m absolutely obsessed with this SPF. It works so well for my skin that I’ve now entered it into my daily skin care regimen. I have really bad rosacea, and when I went to a new dermatologist she told me that I needed to use something less oily than the Banana Boat I was slathering on if I wanted my ease the effects of my rosacea. The EltaMD is so good at protecting my skin from the sun that it doesn’t get dried out at all, and it doesn’t burn like it used to. Also generally speaking, my skin is so much better than it was a month ago and I’m hoping the improvements will just keep going. I definitely recommend this SPF to anyone who’s looking for a lightweight protectant against the sun that won’t clog their pores or cause them to break out.”
“Bought one of these…and then bought two more. I have these hanging in my living room, and they are perfect. You can hang them from a single hook or from two separate hooks. The quality is fantastic and the price was great. I’m pretty sure this is the same quality as the swings that cost almost double the price. Go for it. You won’t regret it. These are great.”
14. A mini video projector if you have an empty wall in your home and a void in your soul that MoviePass once filled.
“No more going to the movie theaters for my family — we will just get a movie from Amazon or Netflix and save the money for popcorn. This unit is quite small, but don’t let that fool you. The possibilities of this device are endless. I highly recommend this item for anyone that wants a movie-theater quality image (in both scale and quality) without the cost.”
“I love this! It took two seconds to put together and looks fantastic. I wanted something that I could store my son’s toys in and that he could practice pulling himself up to stand with that didn’t have sharp corners, and this is great!”
Price: $51.99+ (available in four colors)
16. A pair of Anker Soundcore Spaces active noise cancelling headphones to block out the stresses of a subway commute or help you get in a zone during your morning gym visit.
“I just bought these basically on the strength of Anker’s reputation as a company that produces electronics worth about twice what you pay for them. And so far, I’m not disappointed. I’ve been tempted by over-ear wireless noise-cancelling headphones for a while, and sort of flirting with either Bose QC35, Beats Studio, or Sony WH100MX2. The problem, of course, is that the sticker price for all of those is like $350, even though you can usually get the Sony and Beats for less — which is a lot to pay for ‘I’ve been tempted by this.’ A hundred bucks, on the other hand…is a hundred bucks. I’ll spend a hundred bucks on something I’m not sure I’ll like. But I like it! And I’m glad I didn’t pull the trigger on the Bose/Beats/Sony. I got all I want from these, for a third of the price.”
17. A wake-up light that simulates a sunrise to help you wake up gradually and peacefully instead of in a jarring fashion.
“I got this alarm clock because currently I’m sleeping in a basement room with no windows (I promise it’s not as depressing as it sounds) and was having a rough time waking up in the morning without the sun to give me an extra nudge toward consciousness. I was also dealing with some noisy upstairs neighbors and figured having a light-based alarm would allow me to sleep with earplugs and still get up on time, though I was nervous that I might not respond to the light. Turns out I’m super light sensitive, and this works great as a wake-up device. Even my dog (who also shares my windowless basement room) has learned what the light means.”
“This thing is worth its weight in gold, and not the gold-colored mucus that I was blowing up before I got it. This little beauty has kept my bedroom clean of microscopic pollen commandos sent by a cruel god to cause me pain and suffering.”
19. A trusty smartphone printer that’ll make you say, “Look at this photograph!” in your best Chad Kroeger voice.
“This is a huge hit with the teenagers in my household. We bought an Instax Mini camera last year, but we can rarely capture good photos on it. They are nearly all washed out or out of focus. It is also difficult to bring the big bulky camera along on trips. My kids love that they can snap photos on their phones and come back to print Polaroid photos. We have had no issues connecting to the printer. We’ve downloaded the app to our smartphones, and it has worked perfectly every time. Highly recommend!”
20. A ceramic nonstick cookware set because, if nothing else, you could use a splash of color on your kitchen counter.
“These are by far the best pots and pans I have ever owned. I was skeptical about buying pans like this because I have in the past and things stuck to them like crazy. These don’t have an issue with sticking at all! You need to be sure to hand wash them and DO NOT use any type of metal on them or they will start to stick and wear out faster. As long as you take care of them and do those couple of things these will last you a long time. I love the mint blue as well! Such a pretty color.”
Price: $85.99 (available in black, burgundy, and turquoise)
21. An Instant Pot that [shouts from nearest mountain top] has seven different uses to make your life so much easier.
“There are so many people who say they can’t cook, but I swear I’m on a whole new level of not being able to cook. This little appliance helps expand our menu and I have learned to do so much with it. I will sum up in a nutshell, I love how easy it is and how I throw everything in it comes out done. No stirring and not many messy dishes. I still don’t love it for meats (which I don’t eat much of anyway), but I think that’s just a matter of needing to experiment more with them. I seriously can’t believe how many foods can be cooked in here!”
Price: $79.95+ (available in 3-, 6- or 8-quart sizes)
“I had looked at a more expensive Breville convection toaster oven, but in comparing the two side by side, I decided to go with the Oster not just for the almost $200 savings, but for the look — I just love the black finish and curved sides. It blends so nicely in my kitchen.”
Price: $79.95+ (available in 3-, 6- or 8-quart sizes)
23. A sworn-by airtight storage container set that doesn’t need to be contained to just kitchen use.
“This is the second set of OXO Pop containers that I have purchased. I bought the really big set a while ago and was hooked. No longer will my white rice/grains/rolled oats/grits go wormy (I know…yuck); my cat’s kibble is stored in a clear container so I can see when it’s running low. (FYI: the pet food container is not included in these sets, but is worth the additional purchase.) I love these containers. They are lightweight enough so there’s no strain on the wrists, yet heavy enough they don’t tip over easily. The lids are easy to clean, and you could apply labels to distinguish between flours and sugars. They are expensive, but I believe you get what you pay for — quality costs extra money. If I need another set in the future, I will buy it.”
Price: $49.95 (for a five-piece set)
24. Portable Bluetooth speaker to give you seamless home-assistant integration and the freedom to fully submerge it in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes if that is something you’re into.
“I took this thing to a long weekend retreat to use by the pool, and we were all blown away by how good this speaker sounded. When you consider the price, size, and that it’s waterproof, this blows everything else away. Just one speaker filled a large pool area with great sound.”
25. A weighted blanket – reviewers with stress and anxiety claim it has helped them to finally get a good night’s rest.
“Comfort, style, and quality: These are all things you expect and deserve when purchasing a blanket. While it will give you this, there are other benefits as well that you can’t get with a normal blanket. The weight is very relaxing and stress relieving. You’ll be able to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and rest more efficiently. For all these reasons and many more, the YnM weighted blanket outweighs the qualities of any other.”
Price: $62.90+ (available in 12 sizes/weights and in six colors)
“Without a doubt one of the best razors I’ve ever used! The fit and finish is top-notch and everything about it screams German precision. Blade angle is achieved easily and smoothly with a twist of the handle. The razor itself is not super heavy, nor is it a featherweight. It has some weight to it, which IMO is actually a good thing. Feels nice and solid in your hand. Blade changes are quick and easy and do not require any special procedures, gizmos, or tools. It’s not a cheap product but it also won’t break the bank if you consider it’ll probably be the last razor you’ll buy.”
— John K