Black (Referral) Friday: Shop yer ass off with the communicatrix

Referral Friday is an ongoing series inspired by John Jantsch's Make-a-Referral Week. For more about that, and loads more referrals for everything from cobblers to coaches to gee-tar teachers, start here. Pass it on, baby!


Just because I'm decluttering, doesn't mean I can't shop! I just (mostly) buy consumable goods, by which I mean shit that gets used up or used a lot.

I've collected a bunch of these favorite items for you, below; some have Amazon affiliate links, but at least as many are just awesome things from awesome people just like you. Because we're all going to get through this with joy and love in our hearts if it kills me.

Me? I don't want anything. Seriously, I'm good! But I will ask this: if you are shopping Amazon, I'd love it if you'd shop via my store (which has tons of great book ideas) or one of my links. For now, it helps keep me in the books I love reading and sharing, but I'm always open to the idea of more money flowing in (and back out!)

Don't forget there's also almost a full year of Referral Fridays to shop from (several of the items below were originally posted there), plus a slew of book reviews (via the shorty, catch-all, not-recently-updated page or the unwieldy tag.)

Thank you, and let's shop careful out there!


Food & beverages

The Best Dessert on Five Continents

The Flan King®'s official tagline is "Give your taste buds the royal TREATment!"®, but from the moment he vanquished my own skepticism back in 1997, my unofficial tagline for him has been "Even people who hate flan LOVE Flan King flan." There's a Flan King flan on every holiday table I set (or one that I crash, which makes me a much sought-after guest.) For now, the Flan King is L.A.-local only, but I have it on good authority that nationwide shipping will be available in, in time for this holiday season. Get your orders in now, is all I'm sayin'...

The poor(ish) man's perfect cup of coffee: a multi-step/present odyssey

Have you heard there's a little recession we're in these days? Yeah. Well, that's no reason you or your loved ones should drink crappy coffee. In fact, it's all the more reason to drink the good stuff--you just shouldn't pay a lot for it, if you can avoid it.

  • First, get a stovetop espresso maker (aka moka pot , 3-cup style, $19.95 on Amazon). It will do you fine, provided you use the right coffee, which is Caffe Umbria's Gusto Crema Blend, if you're going all out. If you're really on a budget, I recommend either Bay Blend or Organic Fair Trade Five-Country Espresso Blend, both from Trader Joe's.
  • Next, grind matters. Those little Krups jobbies are okay, but if you or your loved one is a big-time coffee person, I'd invest in a burr grinder. The BF bought the Solis Crema Maestro ($149 on Amazon) and, with some fiddling on the grind, we can now make coffee, not apologies.
  • Finally, you know about good water, right? (Please, tell me you know about good water.) At the very least, get yourself a Brita; we use Sears' countertop and under-counter single-stage filters, to deal with the chlorine (and rust balls from my rental apartment pipes).

Pears! Pears! Pears!

My dad sent us Harry & David pears for every occasion they were still in season. I laughed a little, but after he died, I found myself buying them myself--for myself, and for a very select few folks on my list. They ain't cheap, but they're insanely good. It was all I could do to keep from pulling off the I-5 at Medford to go lick the packing plant.

Adornments, Art and Arty Stuff

  • One of my earliest Referral Fridays was for Andrea Scher's Superhero Designs. I still say that barring my grandfather's speech team gold medal (which I wear on a gold choker), they're the prettiest necklaces around.
  • I discovered Dave Sheely's beautiful rings (Etsy shop, various prices, sizes & colors) after I began decluttering, but believe me: once I pare down my stuff, I'll start building up again with these. Breathtaking, and super-fashionista.
  • Hey! In case you weren't paying attention the first time I told ya, there are 2009 reindeer (various prices & cities, for now) making their way around the globe, courtesy of Brad Nack (full disclosure: Brad was a former client). One of them is going to end up in my home; if you're smart and lucky, one will end up in yours (or the home of someone you love).
  • I own two original Walt Taylor (aka Sparky Donatello, aka Crackskull Bob) drawings and love them so. Sparky/Walt has no originals for sale currently, but you can get a collection of his work via Lulu titled Downtown for the positively weird price of $29.82.
  • Good as they are, the photos up at 20x200 do not do justice to the art of Mr. Mike Monteiro. Take my word for it: kickass stuff. (There is also an array of genius tshirts ($20, mostly) at his Mule Design shop. Remember this one? Yowsa, and hot damn.
  • I am also mad for the beautiful, charming, witty and impeccably produced shirts (various prices) of my design hero, Mr. Chris Glass, available for purchase at Wire & Twine.

Needful things

  • New year calls for a new calendar, right? I give my highest snooty Virgo calendar snob recommendation to Nikki McClure's paper cut calendar, which I've used for several years now. Last year, I hit on the bright idea of buying three, that I might survey the quarter with ease; now everyone may enjoy the Nikki McClure 3-pack! ($40 for three, plus shipping) Or, you know, keep one and give the other two as gifts, like a normal person.
  • Oh, what I won't do when this accursed decluttering is over with and I've used up all my notebooks and can start buying Field Notes ($9.95 for 3, plus shipping) like the cool kids. And did you know there are subscriptions you can buy that get you various colored Field Notes throughout the year? Watch the video and use the coupon code on the page for $20 off through November 30. You lucky clutterer, you.
  • I've been lovin' up my Envirosax (3-pack, $37.90 on Amazon) since Oprah pimped them in her magazine some four...five years ago? They're nylon, which is not exactly earth-friendly, but they roll up small and pack light so you (or your loved ones) will always, always have one on you (or them), thereby passing on more of the plastic and paper. Good stuff.

Miscellaneous consumables to make you feel fancy

  • Yeah, yeah--I like those Red Currant jobbies, too. Unfortunately, I am not made of money. And fortunately, I live in sunny SoCal, where I can buy Farmers Market Candles ($10 + shipping) for ten bucks and haul them home myself. You, poor thing, will have to pay for shipping. It's worth it. TEN BUCKS. I should be getting a cut, dammit.
  • I have used Vitabath ($24.42 on Amazon) since I graduated from Mr. Bubble. Tried other bath & shower stuff, but come back every time, overscented tail between my legs. This stuff is the best. A little goes a long way, so it's not as expensive as it seems. Whoever you give it to will thank you forever.
  • I hate patchouli and stinky hippies. I race past that guy outside the P.O. selling the horrible head-shop stuff that brings back Proustian memories of one ill-fated, 100% high summer (and stinky hippies). But I love love LOVE every stick of incense I've burned from Shoyeido. My especial fave is "Diamond-Power" ($3.50 for 40 sticks) but really, hard to go wrong. Expensive for incense, but CHEAP for presents. I buy it by the case.
  • Okay: this one is NOT cheap. Still, Lollialife, while very expensive, makes one feel sexy (smells amazing) AND stealth (comes in teensy metal tubes). I can only vouch for the "Breathe" fragrance ($7 for 1 oz., yikes!); the others smell like grandma to me. But it's the bomb. If you're getting it as a gift, buy one for yourself or have it shipped it straight from the source, to reduce temptation.

For kids!

Aunts! Grandparents! Godparents! I didn't know this, so you might not, either, but Tessy is an adorable duck! And Tab is an equally adorable kangaroo! Together, they have all kinds of adventures which are then written up, colorfully illustrated and mailed out twice monthly to rabid fans in the 2 - 5-year-old set who apparently have no idea they are learning reading and math skills. Sure, you could fill the landfills with more crap, but how much better would it be for that little one in your life to get ACTUAL MAIL addressed to them twice monthly? A lot. The Tessy & Tab Reading Club ($48/year for 24 issues).

Image by kevin dooley via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.