Reluctant Favorites

It’s well-known that I despise and aggressively avoid all domestic chores, but even I have to succumb to the drudgery once in a while.


“Scullery Maid” by Charles Emile Jacque (Image via Art Institute Chicago)

And while most the time it is miserable, there are a few items that bring (limited) joy to the process.


Ok, I am quite obsessed with having nice-smelling laundry. This is basically laundry perfume that you add on top of your clothes before starting the wash cycle.

It looks like this:


My friend A. introduced me to this a few months ago, and I can’t get enough. Considering that my gym clothes are often quite rancid, this has been quite a find.


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This Honest Company hand sanitizer spray comes in different scents, but I like the orange the best. I usually have two or three bottles at my desk and I keep one in my car to use after I fill the gas tank, which is a dirty chore that inevitably involves me spilling gas on my pants, shoes and hands.


This shower spray smells great and makes the shower door and walls sparkly clean. You could probably use this every day and never clean your shower. Oh, wait! That’s what I already do.


Image via Anthropologie

If you’ve ever shopped at Anthropologie and wanted to move into the store because it smelled so good, it’s likely because of this scent. Capri Blue’s “Volcano” room spray is citrus-y and delicious. 


This one is more for our whole family: Bliss Lemon+Sage soap. I’ve never actually purchased this soap, but I’ve hoarded enough mini bars from staying at W Hotels to have a lifetime supply.

While I haven’t bit on this (yet), I am very intrigued by the Fruits & Passion home products subscription boxes.

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Fruits & Passion is a Canadian company that makes really nice home and personal care products in a wide variety of scents. Their Cucina line features several types of hand and dish soaps in scents like Sea Salt and Amalfi Lemon and Coriander and Olive Tree.

At least that would make washing dishes more pleasant…

Gift for a Baby

One of my dear friends at work is having a baby any day now, and naturally, I want to get her a cool gift.

The only tricky thing is that this is her third baby, and by now she already has a lot of the major stuff that babies require.

My usual strategy in situations like this is to get something that will be used up and not make more clutter. A huge bonus would be to get things that make life easier, too.

This is my plan:

  • Gift cards to a few local restaurants, preferably ones that deliver. Will print menus and include with the cards.
  • A bottle of champagne. Cheers to the new baby!
  • Special baby care items that are unique and non toxic, like Honest Company products. Check out this baby arrival gift set:


  • Something interesting for her two older kids, like the fun toys like these from Land of Nod:

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  • A month of free babysitting. Just kidding! I can barely take care of my own two kids.

Other ideas to consider:

  • Hire someone to cook a meal (or a week’s worth of meals) in her home. And clean up the mess! This is so much better than just dropping off, say, a frozen meal that needs re-heating and assembly of sides, etc. Don’t get me wrong; bringing frozen meals is still a great gesture, but what’s even better would be to have someone else shop, cook and serve the meal at her home, then clean up, leave the kitchen spotless and get out the door. I know I could do this  myself, but of course I do not cook.  Many decent-sized cities have personal chefs who will be happy to do this. You can also do a quick search for local caterers, as many boutique operations would find this right up their alley.


  • Spa treatments at home. While I personally think a gift certificate to a day spa would be an awesome gift, it’s not easy to make the time to use it with a newborn. Having someone come to your home for a massage, pedicure or facial is better suited to a newborn’s schedule (and by that, I mostly mean “non-schedule“). Finding someone legit to do this is actually not as hard as it sounds. Even though our city isn’t that big, I know that my usual esthetician (she does great facials and also massages) and at least one other massage therapist I have used have their own tables and sometimes work out of their homes or on the side. Since I know them well enough (and know they are not sleazy), I could probably ask for a favor this one time and tip generously on top of their usual fee.


P.S. While I promised myself that I would not succumb to anything ordinary, I did fall for a lot of the adorable baby outfits at J. Crew. Seriously, this little gray bunny outfit and the “hi” onesie are too cute for words.

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And what about these tiny swim trunks? So European man at the beach.


More baby stripes I could not resist:

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