Hey guys! I'm back! Yeah, I mean, I didn't technically go anywhere except on a quick biz jaunt to the great (LOL) state of New Jersey, but I did move! BIGLY YUGE TREMENDOUS thanks to Jen for picking up my sorry-ass slack while I navigated the soul-crushing misery that is moving 7.5 years' worth of junk from one place to another.
It's also that time of the year. The MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR. No, not Christmas, silly. The annual Haters' Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog is out! Ugh, it's just the best. And it really inspired me.
Now, this is no Williams-Sonoma, and I'm no Drew Magary, but in the midst of the downward-spiraling cesspool that is 2016, we've gotten away a bit from our roots as a lighthearted, mostly nonsensical travel blog.
And for good reason. There are many things to be upset about right about now, and I do not suggest we pretend everything is normal because, well, it really fucking isn't. If you're struggling for gift ideas, I think donating to a worthy cause is a great way to go as is Jen's guide to gifts that give back.
That said, in the spirit of travel (since I suspect most of us will need a break from the good old US of A in the next four years), here is a guide to some legit nifty gifts for the travelers in your life (or yourself if, you know, self-care becomes a necessity).
1. Pocket Blanket, $24.99 Matador
If you're like me, you're cold and sleepy, ooooh, pretty much all of the time. This rather large blanket folds up into a neat and tiny little square (I have doubts I'd be able to fold it so well, but you know, for those of you who are good at that kind of thing) which makes it perfect for travel. Not exactly rugged myself, I could see myself using something like this primarily indoors or on an overnight flight in lieu of one of those scratchy airline blankets. But if you're outdoorsy, this is waterproof and durable with weighted corners making it perfect for camping, picnics, or the beach.
2. Camalapse 4, $25.75 camarush
Obviously here at HTJL, we love all the pictures, so a relatively affordable, easily packable little guy like this one is pretty lust-worthy. If you're like me, you can't take a good panoramic photo without making everything look wiggly, and you don't have the patience for a time lapse video. This gadget lets you be as lazy as I am, still getting both, making you Instagram master of the world.
3. State-Scented Candles, $29.95 Homesick Candles
If you live away from home or you're nostalgic for a state you've visited, Homesick Candles put each state's "scent" into a candle. Listen, I love candles and home fragrances, but I have to admit, I'm skeptical of the Maryland salt water-and-Old Bay combo. I'm not sure I want my home to smell like a crab shack, as much as I do love a good crab feast. And you know I miss New York, but I associate it more with the fragrance of steaming garbage rather than "Adirondacks forest floor, apple orchards, and pumpkin." (Is it a basic bitch's autumn in New York all year round? I think not.)
4. Boom Swimmer Bluetooth Hydro Speaker, $37.99 Polk Audio
If you are someone who regularly drowns your phone (stop looking at me), but you MUST HAVE ALL THE TUNES, you can literally soak this bad boy while streaming our excellent playlists at the beach, pool, or ::shudder:: camping near water.
5. Mini Power Nap Pillow, $16.99 YLMTOP
As I mentioned previously, I really like sleeping. I'm not much of a "power napper," I'm more of a power sleeper, but this pillow would be perfect for traveling via plane, train, OR automobile. I do love my memory foam butt donut travel pillow, but what's cool about this pillow is it wraps around your arms and creates a little pillow around them. So if you like to assume the face plant position over your (apparently unwashed) tray table like I do, this is the way to go.
6. HYDRA SmartBottle, $51.99 OPEN-2
If you're going camping (with someone other than me), this BPA-free water bottle appears to have everything you need to keep yourself alive for a few days -- Bluetooth speakers, a speakerphone (SOS?), power chargers, flashlight, and emergency lights! Oh and it carries water too.
7. GoPro HERO4 Waterproof Camera, $238 GoPro
If the camalapse isn't enough for your photography habit, you can go really HAM with this waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled GoPro that even has wiffy! Baller.
8. Coolest Cooler in Blue Moon, $448 Coolest Cooler
No but really, this kind of IS the coolest cooler. It has a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, can carry 600 lb of food and drank, keeps things cold for up to FIVE days, is equipped with a USB charger, LED light, and bottle opener, and best of all, IT HAS A BLENDER ON TOP. Daiquiris on the beach, anyone?