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Is it just me, or does it feel like just yesterday we were talking about New Year’s resolutions and promising ourselves to take full advantage… and now here we are. I mean, I can’t just be the only one who just saw a holiday commercial and went into full menty b mode, right?
The first thing I thought of when I heard there are 75 days until Christmas (yes, you read that right) is how the hell am I supposed to get all the gifts I need? As I’ve gotten older it feels like the number of people I’m getting gifts for is growing and growing—like, why do I feel the need to buy my doorman’s wife a pashmina?! I digress. I guess my Alexa was listening to me because for the next 2 days (October 11-12), Amazon is hosting a Prime Early Access Sale. If you’re reading this, I guess you’re on the nice list, because I’ve rounded up the very best holiday deals for you to shop. Maybe get a little something for yourself while you’re at it. You deserve it.
Gifts For Her
For the reader on your list, or the person who is always saying they want to start reading haven’t picked up a book yet. The Kindle is perfect for traveling without a bulky book or reading in bed.
Slippers are one of those little luxuries that no one wants to buy for themselves but have always really wanted. These are super comfy and aesthetically pleasing for those who want their life to look like a perfectly curated IG feed.
While not only practical, this bag is incredibly cute and trendy. Did I mention it’s made with vegan leather made out of recycled plastics?
Gifts For Him
What guy doesn’t want a reason to use a torch? This cocktail smoking kit keeps things interesting (and safe) with four different flavor wood smoker chips of apple, cherry, pecan, and oak without artificial fragrance ingredients.
Ok, ok… This might be just as much a gift for you as it is for your significant other. Quality coffee in the morning? I’m in.
No Shave November is right around the corner and I have a feeling a lot of men are going to keep the beard through the holidays. You’re welcome.
I wasn’t kidding when I said I was getting this for my mom. It’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made—especially if you have a shedding dog, a child, or overall are just a mess (like me).
Okay, ice is having a moment on TikTok and we really should all invest in one of these.
For all your cheeseboard, butter board, dessert board, whatever-board dreams.
Because honestly I feel like anything
Kris Jenner Kim Kardashian touches is gold. Plus, I’ve found all the Beats products to be very functional and good quality.
Adding a record player into your life just makes everything 10 times more classy. This one even has a Bluetooth receiver so you can connect your phone and use it as a normal speaker.
Make your binge-watching days easier with a smart TV. It’s worth it.
Everyone could use a shacket for those in-between weather days. It’s a great gift to use as a layering piece or as outerwear for the balmier winter days.
This dress has gotten me through so many weddings this year. It’s perfectly trendy but still timeless, plus the ruffles and neckline allow it to be dressed up or down.
Everyone needs a good blazer—they’re so versatile and stylish. You can wear it to work, an interview, or just a night on the town.
The reviews are in—this balm is a 10/10. Get one for yourself, your sister, your aunt, your friend, literally whoever. Everyone needs this Cleansing Balm.
This stuff smells like heaven. On top of that, it’s talc-free and has over 10,000 ratings & reviews. It’s a great addition to anyone’s beauty routine.
I won’t lie, I originally bought these because I liked the look of them, but once I used them I was hooked. They are another little luxury you might not want to buy yourself but are perfect for a gift.
This lip mask is a cult favorite that every person should try at one point in their life. Once you start you won’t be able to stop.
Want to put a smile on someone’s face every-time they look at their phone? This’ll do it.
This feels like something a father-figure would get you, but if we’re being honest it’s useful and replaces the need for a ton of tools in a pinch.
The holidays elicit all types of feelings: joy, gratefulness, a burning desire to get cuffed. And if the latter is something you’ve penned in your daily manifestation journal, there’s a strong chance you’re a resident member of a dating app or two.
For those of us who are on dating apps, it’s around this time of year when you may have an urge to throw in a Christmas pun or festive pickup line here or there. Or, for those of you with restraint, you may be on the receiving end of such a one-liner.
And sure, holiday themed things can be an absolute delight. Starbucks holiday cups, Michael Bublé’s Christmas album, what’s not to love? Well, there’s a fine line between what’s festively tasteful and what’s just plain icky, cringy, or overdone.
As my holiday gift to you this year, I’m here to help you dodge a bullet. Below are holiday themed dating app lines that come off as red flags (or even deal breakers), whether you include them in your dating app bio or someone uses it in conversation with you. I’ve made the list, be sure to check it twice before making any adjustments to your apps this winter.
“What’s The Naughtiest Thing You Did This Year?”
There’s a three-way tie for the honest answer to this: 1) eating spaghetti with marinara sauce on my white bed sheets; 2) maxing out my credit card by ordering Uber Eats everyday for a full month straight; 3) pirating the Paris Hilton documentary. AKA, I have nothing to share that’s even remotely “naughty” in the way you want it to be when you ask that question. I’m just a girl living her best mid-to-late 20’s life, with a 17-step skin care routine and Google alerts set up for Ben Affleck. If you want dirty and flirty, this section of Santa’s workshop is closed.
“‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Is My Fav Christmas Song”
When you make this statement, what you’re really saying is that you haven’t logged onto Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or even looked at your Apple News in the past five years. I mean, what other explanation is there for you being clueless that this song has been canceled by society? NGL, I’m looking for someone who’ll have an intelligent debate about whether Lindsay Lohan’s career can make a comeback or whether Kim and Pete are actually dating, not someone who’s stuck in 2012 and thinks J.Lo is still dating her backup dancer.
Using a Family Christmas Photo As One of Your App Photos
This isn’t a pickup line, but it’s worth a mention. Don’t use your family’s annual holiday photo as one of your profile pics, because nothing screams your net worth like five adults dressed in $$$$ white and red outfits. If you don’t take this warning and your fam looks Onassis-level status, don’t be surprised when your match on the app is expecting a pre-pandemic Bachelor-level date. I’m talking about private plane rides, lavish shopping trips, and solo adventures to Instagram-worthy waterfalls. Going dutch is not an option.
“I Listen To Christmas Music All Year Long”
Personally, by January 1 I feel so overdosed on Justin Bieber’s prepubescent voice singing Mistletoe that I feel like writing “never listen to Xmas music again” on my New Year’s resolution list. I mean, c’mon. From December 1 onward, a version of “Christmas Pop Songs!” is all you hear blaring through the mall speakers, is apparently the only playlist your gym is able to find on Spotify, and is clearly the only music underlay option available for IG stories. If you feel differently, we’re diametrically different people… so get out, and take your eternal cheer elsewhere.
“I Wear My Ugly Christmas Sweater At Non-Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties”
The only person pulling off “bad” fashion is Adam Sandler. End of story. If the invite says “semi-formal”, “casual”, or doesn’t specify that you’ll be banned from the open bar unless you wear an ugly sweater, there’s absolutely no reason you should be wearing a holiday themed eye-sore out of the house. And please don’t follow up this comment by saying you throw an annual ugly sweater party… unless you instantly want me to report you for inappropriate behavior on the app.
“‘Home Alone 3’ Is the Best Home Alone”
As much as everyone loves a hot take, having an opinion that bears absolutely zero truth screams that you just want attention. And let’s get real: if someone in our potential future relationship is going to have the spotlight on them, it’s going to be me… at all times. But back to Home Alone… not only is U.S. national treasure Macaulay Culkin not in Home Alone 3, I’m pretty sure I saw a petition floating around Twitter asking for this film to be banned from certain countries (for good reason). So all in all, just keep in mind that the only acceptable response to ““Home Alone 3 Is the Best Home Alone” is an unmatch.
“‘Elf’ Is Will Ferrell’s Worst Movie”
There’s a reason that when you Google “Christmas images”, the first photo that pops up is the meme of Buddy saying “So, good news… I saw a dog today”. And not to mention, haven’t you noticed that when the clock strikes 12:01am on December 1, Elf doesn’t stop streaming on loop on the USA network? So buddy (pun intended), get on board and start contemplating getting quotes from Elf tattooed on your body like the rest of us… or, refrain from using the apps all Christmas long because you’re a walking red flag.
Images: Oleksii Syrotkin /Stocksy.com
Ah, the holidays. Time to try to get gifts for every single important person in your life, despite not knowing WTF they want (and they really need nothing). Even harder is coming up with what you yourself want, since it feels like you have a million ideas of what you’d want as a holiday gift, until the moment someone asks for your wish list, when it all goes blank. Well, we’re here to help you in that department. I polled the team at Betches for their holiday must-haves. Here’s what’s on our wish list for 2020.
Sami, Co-Founder And Co-Host of Diet Starts Tomorrow
LoveShackFancy Rosa Beaux Bath Wrap, $25
Extend the length of your towel sitting sessions with a towel wrap that stays up. Also, I am a sucker for a floral design. Since I last checked, the price has gone down to $25 which gives you a better reason to buy it.
Hillhouse December In New York Candle, $50
Since I am not leaving my house this winter, December in New York aromas will have to come to me.
Birthdate Co. Birthdate Candles, $38
Perfect for astrology lovers and people who like to think about themselves, because it comes with a whole blurb about your date of birth that describes your personality. Mine was 100% on point and no one has paid me to say that.
Double Burner Grill From Le Creuset, $99.95
For those in apartment living who want to simulate a bbq, this is the closest you’ll get this winter.
Cliff House Plaid Robe, $150
Ok, I technically bought this for myself (from the hotel on my honeymoon), but it’s the most comfortable robe I’ve ever worn and is extremely soft. I get questions about it on Insta story whenever I wear it.
Aleen, Co-Founder & Co-Host of Diet Starts Tomorrow
M Jewelers Personalized Letter Necklace, $145
Nostalgia is so hot right now, and what could be better than a nameplate necklace that mixes throwback with self-involvement? There’s also a gothic font option if you can’t leave the 90s in the past.
My City Alocasia Cube 16, $65
Never worry about killing another plant again because these are self-watering planters. See mom, I don’t kill everything I touch!
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ AHA + BHA Mask, $80
I know the price tag seems scary, but this is the best at-home facial. Odds of being able to get in-person facials this winter seem slim, so it might be time to invest.
Jordana, Co-Founder & Co-Host Of U Up?
Gravity Weighted Sleep Mask, $40
My top priorities this year are soothing my anxiety and getting a good night’s sleep, so this is pretty perfect for that.
Yeti Rambler 20 Oz Tumbler With Magslider Lid, $29.99
I need something to take on my morning walks where I don’t have to carry a cap and that won’t leak. I need to be able to take a quick sip before putting the mask back on, and I’m hoping this will do the trick.
Ravensburger The Portal 1500 Piece Puzzle, $26.00
I”m planning on having a very inactive social life this winter, and puzzles are a great way to relax without looking at a screen.
Ashley, Director, Content & Strategy
Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Trio Max, $350
I forgot how to do makeup over quarantine and this will help when I’m trying to cover all my maskne.
Theragun Prime, $299
Since the only thing to do is workout from home, this will help with recovery. You probably don’t want to be getting an in-person massage right now, just saying.
Brittany, Art Director & Manager of @betchesmoms
Lunya Washable Silk Button Down Pant Set, $258
“Washable silk” sounds like an oxymoron, but I promise it isn’t. Might as well invest in fancy pajamas since we have no chance to wear fancy clothes anywhere.
Electric & Rose Neal Sweatshirt, $158
Abbot Kinney Lounge Pant, $158
Tie. Dye. Sweat. Set. The motto of 2020.
Jessie Rubin Studio Drippy Lippy Rainbow Tray, $120
Jessie makes amazing art and home decor, and it’s original art that you’re not going to see in all your friends’ houses because they got it from Target.
Juicy Couture Anniversary Hoodie, $149.50,
& Anniversary Velour Pant, $99
My mom never let me have one of these in middle school, and now I know why! But, I mean, look at how beautiful it is. And I’m putting it on this wish list because I obviously can’t justify spending that much money myself on a throwback piece.
Lululemon Down For It All Earwarmer, $38
I regret to inform you that quarantine has forced me to become one of those people who (*pauses for dramatic effect*) runs outside. And with the weather getting colder, keeping your ears warm is key.
Dano’s Dangerous Pineapple & Jalapeño Infused Tequila, $40
Onto things I will actually use: this pineapple and jalapeño infused tequila. As a person who likes spicy margaritas but is too lazy to invest in ingredients like Cointreau and real limes, this will make a good addition to my bar cart (that is actually just a shelf in my freezer, but whatever).
Dylan, Assistant Editor
Ugg Blanket, $98
Now that we’re getting to the cold part of quarantine, you need to be as comfy as possible at all times. Since you can’t actually wear your Uggs in bed, this blanket is the next best thing.
Nintendo Switch Lite, $199.99
I successfully avoided buying one of these in the spring, but nine months later, I’m still f*cking bored. Can’t hurt!
Shop Betches Candle, $3o
Obviously we’re all spending a lot of time at home right now, so why not spruce up your space with this candle that smells great, and is also topical?
Nicole, Marketing Manager & Co-Host of Betches Brides
Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Heathered Adult Robe, $180
Let’s face it—you’re not going anywhere exciting soon because of 2020, so you might as well splurge on items that make you comfortable from your couch. This Barefoot Dreams robe is a bit expensive for a robe, but I can assure you that it will change the course of your life. It’s the softest thing I’ve ever touched. There’s a reason the Kardashians are also obsessed with this brand. If you’re like me and already own 12 different robes, you could opt for a blanket instead. Get this for the ultimate lounger in your life or yourself.
Brooklinen Sheets, From $99
2020 has made me realize it’s important to invest in my bed. I can’t describe how much of a difference quality sheets on your bed make—just trust me on this. Also, they’re a good gift for couples for whom you don’t know what TF to get this year.
Urban Stems The Dinero Plant, $60
The money tree is symbolic of good fortune and prosperity, which we could all use more of. Get this for the person in your life who needs that extra spark of motivation, and also just wants a cool decoration to put next to their WFH station. Also, it’s a low-maintenance plant, meaning you won’t kill it as you did with all your other plants. But let me be clear—if I don’t hit the lottery after buying this, I’m returning it (JK).
Kelsey, AE Brand Partnerships
LLB Pile Fleece Vest, $89
It just looks really cozy and is perfect for layering and outdoor activities, which are the only activities I will be doing this year!
Athleta Whisper Featherless Jacket, $199
I’m going to need a lightweight jacket to run outside in, again, cause I’ll only be able to be outside, and this will make sure I’m seen on the roads when it’s dark at 4pm. Plus, it’s cute.
Athleta Balance Jogger, $89
Matching Sweatshirt, $119
I’ve only been wearing yoga pants, so the joggers will switch it up, plus it’s a fun, bright color which might put me in a better mood than wearing all black. Also looks cozy chic to me!
New Balance Fresh Foam Sneakers, $149.99
Threw in an extra—I already bought these, but it feels like stepping/running on a springboard and is the fluffiest comfiest thing ever, plus ankle support—worth the investment!
Sean, Podast Manager
American Giant Classic Full Zip Hoodie, $112
I’ve been waiting for someone to get me this sweatshirt since I first heard about it being called “the greatest hoodie ever made.” Sadly, no one loves me enough to take the hint, so this year I finally exercised a little #selfcare and ordered one for myself. This thing is amazing. It lives up to the hype. Don’t let your loved ones go unloved this year (like I did) and get them a quality US-made hoodie.
‘Friends’: The Official Advent Calendar, $29.99
Every holiday season has that one must-have item. Some years it’s an annoying talking Elmo doll. Other years, it’s a different annoying talking Elmo doll. Most years, it’s whatever Frozen merch my niece seems to be clamoring for. This year, it’s the Friends Advent Calendar. But one thing is guaranteed every year: I will always wait too long to order the must-have gift and be left kicking myself. If you manage to find this Friends advent calendar in stock somewhere online, please DM me and I’ll be forever grateful. Complete with 40 keepsakes, I can think of little else that would bring this much joy to my holiday season.
Playstation 5, From $399.99
Speaking of must-have items for the holiday season, look no further than the Playstation 5. This is a perfect example of “you always want what you can’t have.” Playstation has been around forever, and I haven’t bought one since they originally came out in 1996. So when I heard about the new console being released, it didn’t really excite me. Then I heard about the low supply due to COVID and I immediately had to have one. If you’re trying to find the perfect gift for that special someone (most likely someone that’s driving you crazy in quarantine and needs a new hobby) look no further than the impossible-to-get PS5. Available online only this season, there are already countless stories of people getting one into their checkout cart, only to have it go out of stock before they could even click ‘next’. I’ve tried and failed to get one several times now. If you can somehow pull it off, you will be crowned the queen of Christmas this year. Best of luck to you all.
Kristin, Sales & Brand Partnerships
Tula 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day And Night Cream, $52
I am obsesssssed with TULA. You can’t go wrong with any of their products. Their 24/7 Moisturizer is legitimately the best thing ever. Their website also has a dedicated holiday section right now with some bundle discount gifts.
Sips By Tea Subscription, $15
For the tea lovers in your life, this gift keeps on giving for a very reasonable price. They’ll get four personalized teas a month chosen based on their preferences.
Framebridge The #1 Gift: 10×12, $75
With a name like that, how could you not get it for someone? This frame works with any iPhone or Instagram pic and is perfect for all the couples you know who just got engaged.
Abby, Graphic Designer
Shop Betches What Day Is It? Hoodie, $56
Be honest, you’re going to wear this every single day from here on out.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera, $69.00
This nostalgic instant camera will transport you to happier times, like when you could legally be in the same room as total strangers.
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Images: freestocks / Unsplash
I don’t care what the calendar says (I feel like all my book roundups start this way), it is winter. And you know what that means: a winter reading list, because it’s that time of year again where we just cozy up with a good book. Or at least, that’s what I do. In honor of that, I’ve compiled my winter reading list. Please note that this is not a comprehensive 2021 reading list, which will be coming ASAP. (In more realistic terms, probably like, January.) But for now, here are 14 books you can dive into, from spicy romance to twisty thrillers to poignant historical fiction.
‘A Princess For Christmas’ by Jenny Holiday (October 13, 2020)
I could have included this in a fall roundup, but given that Christmas is in the title, it didn’t feel right. If you already watched The Princess Switch: Switched Again and all the other Christmas movies on Netflix but still need your holiday romance fix, pick up a copy of A Princess for Christmas. It’s basically got everything you loved from Princess Switch or Princess Diaries: a fictional kingdom called Eldovia, a princess who’s in way over her head, finding love in unexpected places. Leo, a cab driver in New York City, picks up Princess Marie of Eldovia and ends up with more than he bargained for—namely, a gig driving Princess Marie around for the remainder of her NYC trip. He doesn’t expect to fall for the princess, or that he will end up in Eldovia for Christmas.
‘Every Last Secret’ by A.R. Torre (December 1, 2020)
What would you do for the “perfect” life? That’s what Cat and Neena, two neighbors in Silicon Valley, are duking it out over. Cat Winthorpe seems to have it all: a beautiful house, social standing, and William, her dreamy husband. And that’s precisely what Neena Ryder wants: Cat’s husband. Neena tries to scheme her way into William’s life; meanwhile, Cat has a secret of her own that could blow up her charmed life. While the ending may not completely take you by surprise, Every Last Secret is a fun and fast ride.
‘Heiress Apparently’ by Diana Ma (December 1, 2020)
If you, like me, are still sad you finished Last Tang Standing, Diana Ma’s latest novel serves up a similar dose of fun, relatable, hot mess fiction, with a Lizzie McGuire Movie-esque twist. Really doesn’t get more fun than that. Gemma Huang disappointed her parents by foregoing college to pursue an acting career, which is how she finds herself living in LA with three roommates, barely scraping by. Things start looking up when she takes a gig in a production of M. Butterfly in Beijing, only to realize she apparently is the doppelgänger of one of Beijing’s most notorious socialites. And there might be a reason for that…
‘How To Catch A Queen’ by Alyssa Cole (December 1, 2020)
If the name Alyssa Cole sounds familiar, good—it should! I’ve been raving about her new thriller, When No One Is Watching, and she also has a romance novel coming out. And I can’t even figure out how to do my job plus one hobby and still have a somewhat normal sleep schedule. SMH, some people can really do it all. Anyway, How To Catch a Queen is the first book in the new Runaway Royals series. Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, and with it, her dreams of becoming a queen finally come true. What she hadn’t imagined since she was a little girl? Nobody in the kingdom respects her. The King is equally perplexed, since Shanti has all the answers to solve Njaza’s problems… except nobody will listen to her.
‘This Time Next Year’ by Sophie Cousens (December 1, 2020)
If you want Love, Actually but in book form, this is basically it. It’s about Minnie Cooper, whose New Year’s birthday has always been a source of woe in her life—especially because her mother missed out on winning the cash prize for giving birth to the first baby of the year born in London, thanks to a guy named Quinn Hamilton, who was born just moments earlier. Even worse, he stole her name! When Minnie runs into Quinn at, where else, a New Year’s party, she’s surprised to find herself wanting more.
‘White Feminism’ by Koa Beck (January 5, 2021)
We didn’t stop reading antiracist books in the summer, and Koa Beck, former Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel, has a new book out that is a necessary read. Beck explores how feminism has been commodified, and how it excludes women of color, from the suffragettes to corporate feminism, and how we can fix it for future generations.
‘You Have A Match’ by Emma Lord (January 5, 2021)
Protagonist Abby signs up for a DNA test and gets more than she bargained for: she finds out she has an older sister. But not just any sister: Savannah Tully, an Instagram model. Abby’s plan to find out how tf this happened? Meet up with Savannah at summer camp and find out the truth. But there are a few problems, or else this would be a sentence and not a book: Savannah is a total narc, so getting the truth isn’t as simple as it seems. Plus, Abby’s crush works at the camp. Oh, and Abby’s parents are hiding a secret that could blow everything up.
‘Lana’s War’ by Anita Abriel (January 12, 2021)
Ok, so. I think we’ve maybe reached a point where WWII fiction is an escape again and not a harbinger of things to come? Fingers crossed it stays that way. With that said, Lana’s War is set in 1943 Paris, where Lana Antanova witnesses her husband being executed by the Gestapo—right when she was about to tell him she was pregnant. A few months later, Lana is approached to join the resistance, putting her face to face with the man who killed her husband. Taking up residence with a wealthy Swiss industrialist in a villa, Lana helps Jews escape. Obviously, the Nazis want to stop her, and Lana has to try to protect herself, everything she’s worked for, and the people she’s beginning to love.
‘The Perfect Guests’ by Emma Rous (January 12, 2021)
From the author of The Au Pair comes another suspenseful read set in a creepy Gothic manor. Raven Hall is a sprawling manor in a coastal plain in eastern England. In 1988, 14-year-old Beth Soames is taken there by her aunt to stay with the Averell family. Beth quickly becomes like one of the family, until the Averells ask her to play a twisted game, and nothing is the same after that. Cut to 2019, when Sadie Lawson, a struggling actress, shows up with a suitcase and a dossier of the role she’s meant to play: a weekend guest. Can’t be too hard, right? Right, except the house feels haunted, the party guests feel off, and the host is not what they seem.
‘Waiting For The Night Song’ by Julie Carrick Dalton (January 12, 2021)
Julie Carrick Dalton’s debut gives me serious Where The Crawdad Sings vibes. Its protagonist is forestry researcher Cadie Kessler, who’s on the verge of a breakthrough that could help prevent serious damage to the wilderness. But then she gets a message from her estranged childhood best friend, and the two have to face a dark secret that they’ve kept hidden for over 25 years. As drought, foreclosures, and wildfires spark tensions between locals and displaced migrant farm workers, Cadie has to decide how far she’ll go to protect herself and the forest she loves.
‘Your Corner Dark’ by Desmond Hall (January 19, 2021)
Hall’s debut tackles gang life in Jamaica and pushes the limits of how far a teen will go for his family. Frankie Green gets a coveted scholarship letter, which should be his ticket out. Until his father gets shot, and he finds himself joining his uncle’s gang to pay for his father’s medical bills. Is there such thing as a point of no return? And is it too late for Frankie to build the life he’s always wanted?
‘The Obsession’ by Jesse Q. Sutano (February 2, 2021)
Think of The Obsession like the YA book version of You. Instead of Joe, we have Logan. Instead of Beck, we have Delilah. Some might call Logan a stalker, but he just thinks he’s romantic. Besides, nobody likes Delilah like he does, and they’re meant to be together. All he needs is the right moment to convince her they’re meant to be. When Logan witnesses Delilah kill her abusive stepfather, she may not have much of a choice but to be with Logan.
‘Wild Rain’ by Beverly Jenkins (February 2, 2021)
A little bit of romance, a little bit of historical fiction, Wild Rain tackles women’s rights, suffrage, and Black American history in Reconstruction-Era Wyoming. Did you know Wyoming was a pioneer in women’s rights and women’s suffrage? I didn’t either, but its territorial legislature passed a law in 1869 that gave women the right to vote. So with that in mind, Spring Lee, a property-owning Black female rancher, moves to Paradise, Wyoming. She has one rule: she does not need a man. Until she meets Garrett McCray, a Washington reporter who escaped slavery. When a dark spot from Spring’s past comes back to light, her ranch, her safety, and her newfound love are all on the line.
‘First Comes Like’ by Alisha Rai (February 16, 2020)
The third book in Rai’s Modern Love series, First Comes Like is about Jia Ahmed, a 29-year-old beauty influencer who doesn’t have time for love. But when a Bollywood legend slides into her DMs… well, that only happens once in a lifetime. Meanwhile, Dev Dixit grew up as Bollywood royalty, but his world was rocked by his brother’s unexpected death, and Dev finds himself as the guardian for his teen niece. Unable to deal with the constant public scrutiny, Dev sets off for America, where, one night in Hollywood, he meets a beautiful Instagram influencer. He’s surprised that he’s intrigued by her, and all the more surprised to find out someone has been catfishing her, posing as Dev. Who tf is catfishing Jia? And is Jia and Dev’s relationship doomed from the start?
‘Honey Girl’ by Morgan Rogers (February 23, 2021)
Twentysomething Grace Porter is a straight-laced overachiever who just got her PhD. Which is why it’s totally out of character when she goes to Vegas, gets hammered, and gets married to a woman whose name she doesn’t even know. After that trip, Grace does yet another unexpected thing and goes to New York for the summer to spend time with her new wife. But you can’t run from your problems forever, and soon, Grace’s come knocking at her door.
Images: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; Bookshop
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Ahh, the holidays. Michael Bublé on blast, holiday drinks at Starbucks, and Christmas party hookups (we’re kidding, please stay in). The holidays will look pretty different this year with ‘rona still rampant, but regardless of how you spend it, gift-giving with friends and family is probably still on your mind. Now, we know retail therapy is real, and let’s just say 2020 is giving us even more reasons to want to fix our problems by buying things we don’t need. But before you start maxing out your credit cards and landing in that pool of tears and regret (like you did after you drunk-texted your ex, oops), make sure you’re not falling into one of the following traps this holiday shopping season.
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Mistake #1: Not Setting Your Budget Beforehand
Before you buy anything, be sure to get organized and craft your budget. Start planning out your holiday shopping by making a list of every single person you’re planning on buying a gift for and how much you are willing to spend for each of them. Then remember to include white elephant gifts, potential travel expenses, or (virtual) office parties. And of course, smaller expenses like wrapping paper, shipping fees, and decorations. They’re small, but they add up! Once you’re done making your budget, stick to it! Impulse-buying is real, we get it, but you do not want to end up spending more than you can afford. This especially applies to people who recently entered the workforce and started making money. We know it’s tempting to go all-out and splurge once that paycheck hits, but be sure to slow your roll and think savvy!
Mistake #2: Buying Gifts Last-Minute
Like that presentation you need to work on for tomorrow’s meeting (we see you procrastinating on Betches, girl), you will not be on your A-game if you wait until the last minute. Retailers know that shopping tends to spike closer to the end of the holiday season, and they often raise prices because they know buyers will be willing to drop more. To make matters worse, if you don’t shop ahead, many items may be out of stock or otherwise unavailable, which could lead you to settling with higher-priced alternatives. You don’t want the stress of having to rush to finish up your holiday shopping. Start hunting down deals right now! (Bonus: It gives you an excuse to procrastinate at work, just saying.)
Mistake #3: Overspending On Credit
If you haven’t started saving up for this holiday season, it might be tempting to just swipe your credit card and deal with the expenses later. But patience, young padawan. You do not want to end up drowning in exorbitantly high interest rates and fees or to ultimately take a hit to your credit score. It’s noble and generous to give extravagant gifts, but do not jeopardize your financial health for the sake of it! Remember that handmade gifts and sentimentality (self-care craft night, anyone?) can be just as appreciated as store-bought gifts. If you do take on debt, set strict goals to pay it off by January or February of next year—do not let those interest rates accrue!
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Mistake #4: Splurging On “Great Deals”
So you’re perusing stores looking for gifts, and you see it. 50% off the MOST FETCH handbag you’ve ever seen. Or free shipping if you spend just $10 more. Or even 10% off if you apply for a store credit card. It always feels like an opportunity we just can’t pass up! I get huge FOMO when shopping for deals, and we’ve all been guilty of spending extra when we really thought we were spending less. Retailers know how to take advantage of human psychology, and they push just the right buttons to make us buy things that we don’t really need, or even want. So this holiday season, ask yourself if you would still buy the item if it was full-price, or if your money would be better served elsewhere.
Mistake #5: Impulsive Buys
Now if you’re like me (I have definitely bought a dress because yes, I totally saw myself wearing it while eating a pain au chocolat in a cafe by the Eiffel Tower like Emily), you have also totally shoved that dress in the back of your closet, only to collect dust. Impulse-buying because we think we need the item makes us vulnerable to overspending and maxing out on our holiday budget. Stick to the 7-day rule: if you like something, think about it over the course of the week, and then act on it! You will be surprised to see how much your opinion can change when you’re out of the spending mindset.
Mistake #6: Sh*tty Gift-Giving Strategies
Like any good investment (read more on investing here), the best gifts aren’t necessarily the expensive ones—they’re the ones with high value. Before you buy a gift for someone, ask yourself: is this something they need and will use daily, or will it just end up being re-gifted? Have you taken a look at their Pinterest boards, or any of their wishlists? The best gifts are useful and high-quality; think tickets to an art museum your BFF is dying to go to (after COVID ofc!), or a standing desk extension for WFH. And also, if you are tight on cash this holiday season, consider doing a gift exchange with family, setting maximums for gift exchanges, or just planning a virtual get-together instead. Normalize that money talk!
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Mistake #7: Not Shopping Savvy
As you’re shopping for gifts, don’t take prices at face value; do your research and compare prices across retailers. Now more than ever, it’s easy to automate your deal shopping by adding a couple of browser extensions like Honey or Rakuten. Like any potential cuffing season bf/gf, be sure to shop around and compare prices before you commit! Don’t leave money on the table.
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Mistake #8: Not Planning For Next Year
If you’re like me and are just waiting for 2020 to be f*cking over, start off next year on the right foot by determining how much you will need for gifts the next holiday season. Establish a small fund early on and divide it into months, so it’s easier to manage. It’s also worthwhile to throw that moola into a high-yield savings account or a brokerage account early to earn some bank without breaking a sweat!
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And that’s it! Best of luck with the holidays! We hope it’s not too stressful. If you want more tips like these, comment below, check out our website here, and follow us on Instagram @her.capital!
Images: Ben White / Unsplash; @her.capital / Instagram
If you’ve ever read a story by yours truly, you know that the holidays give me all the life I’ll ever need. Even now, as a 26-year-old jaded New Yorker who is impressed by nothing, I tear open a perfectly-wrapped gift with the same energy that most people save for fighting strangers at Target on Black Friday. However, sometimes I’ll rip off the wrapping paper, lift the cardboard lid, and find a disappointing gift. Honestly, the last time I got excited over a gift that came in a box was in 2004, and guess what was in the box? A puppy.
Unless you’re gifting someone the eternal happiness that comes with a dog, wrapped gifts just aren’t as exciting as they used to be. Maybe it’s just a downside of being an adult, but my favorite kind of gift is a monetary one. Like, want to give me a gift I’ll truly cherish? Pay for my gym membership for a month! Just kidding, but like, not really. If all you and your loved ones want for Christmas is some cheddar, listen up, because etiquette expert Elaine Swann will clue you in how to give money as a gift seeming like you put zero thought into your present, and on the flip side, how to ask for money without looking like an entitled douchecanoe.
The only time I’ve ever witnessed people asking for money instead of presents was at my brother and his wife’s wedding. Yes, you read that right. These two asked their guests to donate to a honeymoon fund instead of losing their sanity on a wedding registry. At first, I thought it was the tackiest thing I’d ever heard, but then I saw the photos of them gallivanting around the Ritz in Paris and realized they didn’t drop a damn cent on this. And that’s when I realized that asking for money in lieu of gifts is, honestly, the move.
So if you’re just looking to give cash this holiday season, Swann suggests, “Make sure you personalize this gift. Give some thought to how this person may use the money. Then, in the note, you can add in a line about something that is a hobby of theirs or something they may enjoy doing with the money.” So, for example, if you’re giving me money, tell me a little tale about a thirsty girl who’s strapped for cash and loves white wine. Cute, right?
If you’ve been raised to exhibit classiness in your day-to-day life and don’t want to stop now by asking for money, worry not because there are ways to do it without looking like Mona Lisa Saperstein.
Swann says, “Be honest! Let them know that you have your heart set on a ski trip, a spa treatment, paying off your student loans, or any other kind of experience you’re interested in. By stating this, you can encourage them to give the gift of money that can go toward this experience.” For an added bonus, she advises, “Keep it towards an experience that people can see and feel a part of when you share stories or photos through social media.” Because the only thing better than seeing the look on someone’s face when they open a gift is being publicly thanked (and tagged) on Instagram stories once they actually use your gift.
Look, if anyone is actually giving you a holiday gift, chances are they know you pretty well, so they’re not going to judge you for asking for money (they probably know you well enough to judge you for your choice in exes/Seamless orders/generally destructive life choices instead).
If you do want money, don’t wring out your generous friends by asking for a fortune. That’s actually why putting this money towards something specific, like a trip or a facial, is the way to go, and it will actually give them an idea of how much they should give you without you having to awkwardly name a number. At the end of the day, everyone loves getting money as a present! I’ve never heard any of my rich friends who work in finance or advertising open an envelope of cash and be like, “Ugh, I wish it was bath salts!” So, if you love your friends and family, get them something they really want, like a crisp Benjamin.
Images: NBC; Giphy (2)
I’ve lived in this city for so long that truly nothing phases me anymore, and that’s a personal achievement of which I’m very proud. However, there is one exception to my inability to experience awe, and that is when Gingerbread Lane comes to town, when Bloomingdale’s is decked in twinkly lights and, of course, when drinking spiked eggnog and hot chocolate is not only acceptable, but encouraged. I’m talking about the most wonderful time of the year, people! The motherf*ckin’ holidays! Am I getting too excited? Whatever. One more thing this New Yorker loves about the holidays in this godforsaken city is the festive decor that takes over my favorite watering holes, hotels, and restaurants. If you, too, have no shame in your game and want to sip spiked eggnog under mistletoe, but don’t know where to go, I got you. These are the most festive holiday spots that you don’t already know about.
This is the type of place I usually avoid because lots of people and staying out past 10pm aren’t really my vibe, but I think I may just move in here between the months of December and March for the holiday themed pop-up. The Lobby Bar will be transforming into what the Dream is calling The Winter Rose Garden and what I call What Dreams Are Made Of. This particular pop-up is exciting because it’s the downtown hotel’s first foray into holiday festivities, and rest assured, they’re pulling out all the damn stops. I’m talking oversized rose walls (made with 15,000 red roses), red furniture, and more candles than Anthropologie. And obviously, they have a special menu of holiday-inspired cocktails. The Primrose Cider is my personal fave because it’s made with classics like sparkling rosé, Barking Irons Applejack, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, and a rose ice cube. I mean, yum?
This is the only place in Midtown I’ll go without complaining about all the finance bros Juuling everywhere I look. For this holiday pop-up, which they’re calling Midwinter Nights’ Dream, they are seriously going all out, and I’m not mad about it. As much as I love holiday-themed alcohol, the actual reason I love this time of year is because of the genuinely cheerful atmosphere, and this place understands that. Obviously, they’re doing the red and gold ribbons, the hanging lights, and the gorgeous garland, but most importantly, they’re having a tunnel of light, because if you go to a holiday pop-up and didn’t post an Instagram of it, did you even go? As for the holiday menu, def opt for a Peppermint Mojito, which is a normal mojito, but served in an ornament! Is that festive af or what?
If you don’t remember from my last article where Magic Hour got a mention re: where to drink enormous drinks, let me just say that I love this place. For the holidays this year, it will turn into what I can only imagine is Nicki Minaj’s wet dream. It’s called Pink Holiday Playground and will boast ceilings covered in hot pink twinkly lights, oversized disco balls, and human-sized festive bears. Oh, and there’s also a carousel, because why not? Not that it’s a competition, but Magic Hour is playing to win and they got my vote. Also, my general policy at bars is to not eat the food, but I’ll make an exception for the Pink Dough Pie, which is not only meant for 12 people, but it’s also a delish boozy apple cider doughnut-pie hybrid (sold) filled with Honeycrisp apples and drizzled with a maple bourbon glaze, topped with pink sprinkles and pink chocolate balls. My love language is officially sweet pizza that will get me drunk. How do people even come up with this stuff?
Club Wyndham Midtown 45
Though technically neither a bar nor a restaurant, Club Wyndham earned its spot on this list because it is committed to spreading holiday cheer, like, for real. Don’t believe me? Check out the aggressively Instagrammable holiday suite inspired by, you guessed it, Buddy the f*ckin’ Elf. By the way, that movie was released in 2003, so if you don’t already feel old af, how about now? Just from looking at the photos of this suite, I can say with confidence that there were no cotton-headed ninny-muggins on this hotel’s design team, and that I am blown away. Because you are absolutely playing yourself if you think you aren’t already dead-set on booking this suite, I’ll let you know what’s included, starting with the full kitchen that’s stocked with the ingredients to recreate Buddy’s famous spaghetti and syrup dish. Honestly, I don’t really know if that’s a selling point, but I do love a hotel suite with a full kitchen. My personal favorite element of this suite, though, is the enormous living room that’s fully decked out in holiday garb (including an oversized Christmas tree). If that’s not festive, tell me what is. I’ll wait.
Sunday in Brooklyn
I am a Manhattan snob and generally don’t acknowledge the other boroughs, but Sunday in Brooklyn is the one exception. Running through the end of December, this beautiful restaurant that makes a case for minimalist design is doing SNOWday in Brooklyn. Yes, their holiday pop-up has arrived and I’m already on the L. I’ll get to the menu in a minute, but first I want to talk about the vibe of the place during this magical time. Some of these pop-ups go a little overboard (do a bar crawl one weekend and lmk which ones you think those are), but Sunday in Brooklyn is classy af. It’s how I imagine Aidan and Carrie would decorate his Suffern house for the holidays if they had stayed together. The place generally has kind of a rustic feel, but with the garlands hanging from the wooden beams on the ceiling and the wreaths in every window, it’s hard to stay away. I ordered the Scroogin’ For A Bruisin’ because I love a good Grease reference, but also because it’s delicious with scotch, baijiu, China-China Amer, pineapple, cinnamon, sesame oil, and brown rice. Those last two ingredients threw me too, but they’re only there to give the drink a little bit of texture, not to give it a salad dressing flavor.
The NoMad Bar
Before this past Sunday, the only time I’ve ever been to The NoMad Bar was on a horrible date that ended with him telling me how much he misses his ex girlfriend. Awesome. Anyway, after hearing about this place’s new Holiday Spectacular cocktail popup, I decided to start positively associating it with two things I love: Christmas and alcohol. Honestly, they didn’t have to do much beyond the bar’s typical decor because it’s already pretty festive in a very chic way. Dark leather tufted booths, glossy wooden tables, the kind of lighting that only seems to exist in Woody Allen movies…etc. The one thing they’re doing differently for their Holiday Spectacular is the charming cocktail menu that’s separated by Naughty and Nice cocktails. Lol. I had one from each column and let my reaction determine which I am and, to everyone’s surprise, I’m nice! The Winter Wonderland, which is a milky punch—that tastes like pumpkin pie in cocktail form—is served in a snow globe. I can’t resist a snow globe. This is also a fun bar to hit up because the NoMad Hotel is a cool place to walk around afterwards, especially when you’re a little tipsy.
Images: Winter Rose photo by Edward Menashy; Midwinter Nights’ Dream photo Courtesy of Michael Kleinberg; Magic Hour photo by Sarah Kelley; Club Wyndham photo courtesy of Club Wyndham; Sunday in Brooklyn photo by Eric Medsker; The NoMad Bar photo courtesy of The NoMad Bar
If the proliferation of Christmas music through my eardrums is any indication, it’s holiday season. That means it’s the one time of year when you have to think about other people and not just yourself (bummer). However, as a conceited person, I’ll say that there is no rush quite like the influx of praise you receive from buying someone the perfect gift. But that is hard to do, so I’ve rounded up some gifts that will get you those compliments you so badly need, organized by price point. Whether you’re ballin’ on a budget or straight ballin’ you can find something on this list.
On this list, you’ll find luxe gift options for all the people you really feel like you need to splurge on. For gifts that won’t hurt your wallet so badly, check out our other Gift Guides, with options under $50 and under $150.
Onepiece Holidays Are Coming Onesie, $160
F*ck an Ugly Christmas Sweater, an Ugly (but not actually ugly) Christmas Onesie is so much better. This has a hood, pockets (you know a bitch loves pockets), suede sleeve and elbow patches, and a two-way zipper closure (meaning, you don’t have to get completely naked to pee). This is the kind of gift that you get for your bf, but really, you get it so you can steal it… if he’ll let you once he feels how f*cking cozy it is.
Drinkworks® Home Bar by Keurig®, $199
The chances you actually want to leave your house to get a cocktail in the winter are basically slim to none. However, I know there is no shot in hell I’d be able to make myself a cocktail I actually would enjoy drinking at home so this is where I run into a problem. But we have found the solution to that with the Drinkworks® Home Bar by Keurig®, which is exactly what it sounds like. Now you can make cocktails from the comfort of your own home without knowing a thing about mixology. The liquid-filled pods that you put in the machine come with all the ingredients already in it so you just have to stick it in the machine and voilà – a craft cocktail!
La Mer The Replenishing Moisture Collection, $245
La Mer is the sh*t, and even though it’s pricy AF, it’s worth the money. This three-piece mini regimen includes the Replenishing Oil Exfoliator, Moisturizing Soft Cream, and Renewal Oil, plus a chic little carrying case that you can definitely use as your go-to travel beauty case once you’ve gone through all the La Mer products.
Apple AirPods Pro, $249
Yeah, we getting bougie bougie in this section. To be honest, these kind of look like the sh*tty Skull Candy in-ear headphones I used to buy from Sam Goody, only without cords. But we as a society have decided AirPods are aspirational, so here they are on this list. You can get these engraved for free, which really ups the gift factor.
George The Jeweler Custom Name Necklace in 14K Gold, $259.99
Nameplate necklaces, so hot right now. Don’t just get a crappy one from Forever21, get a real, 14K gold, customizable nameplate necklace from the Kardashians’ jeweler. You can get it in yellow, white, or the still-somehow-trendy rose gold. I have one of these, and it’s legit my favorite thing.
Hale Bob Unity Lace Dress, $274
I feel like this dress is something one of the witches in AHS Coven would have worn when they were testing to see who the next Supreme would be, and I mean that in the best way because I honestly want it rn. And if you haven’t heard of the designer yet, pay attention, because Hale Bob has been featured in the likes of Vogue and Elle (and now, Betches!) and been worn by celebs like Jenna Dewan and Cheryl Burke.
MZ Wallace Travel Jim, $295
This bag is perfect for holding all the sh*t you need to travel with, or take to the gym, but it’s still lightweight. It comes in a number of cute colors and patterns, including the oh-so-trendy camo. (It’s also important to note that it isn’t an obnoxious camo.) Anyway, I feel like everyone needs a solid weekend bag, and this one from MZ Wallace is that bag.
Connex Frequent Flyer Hardside, $299
Before you come at me for this one, let me just say that all the luggage I’ve ever owned in my life has been a gift from my mom. So, this holiday season, maybe return the favor? This luggage is made by the same people as Swiss Army Knives, and is seriously legit. It’s got built-in space-saving features, plus a USB port, SIM card replacement tool, ID tag, and pen.
Harrys of London Grace Nappa Sneakers, $425
I’ve participated in enough wedding gift giving that the thought of giving my college friend a crock pot infuriates me. I helped that girl do her first keg stand and now I’m supposed to act as if she’s some delicate homemaker? Chances are she’s going to want a pair of fancy AF shoes to change into at her wedding and these sneakers are the perfect gift to give as a group. So hit up those other bridesmaids and split the cost of this pricey but comfortable sneaker. Give the gift early enough and she’ll have these for her bachelorette party too. And you know she’ll be living in these on her honeymoon.
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