The Return of the Claw + Other Amazon Finds.

By: Jen Shoop

Who else wore claw clips similar to the style seen above in her teenage years? I’d more or less forgotten they existed until recently, when I ordered this $13.99 pack of four and now have no idea how I’ve lived for so long without them. Handy for pulling hair up while overheatedly scrubbing the dishes or washing my face before bed at night — but without the telling crimp of a hair elastic. (I also really like the size of the set I bought — works for pulling all hair up onto top of head or just doing a little half-up-half-down situation.)

A few other recent purchases and discoveries from Amazon I had to share:

+A tiny stiff-bristled stain brush. Hill managed to near-ruin the tiny seersucker suit I’d bought him for Easter and I decided I needed a new implement to help with our recent leveling-up to constant-clothing-destruction-mode. Little boys! (More laundry favorites here.)

+Ateco cake tester. I can’t remember if it was an interview with Christina Tosi of MilkBar or an episode from The Chef Show, but at some point over the last year, a revered baker mentioned how important inexpensive cake testers are to the craft. I remember whoever it was using the tester several times in the course of a brief showcase. Over Easter weekend, I made cupcakes that left me inserting the dull end of a knife into the middle of one to test for doneness and thought — “you know? maybe I don’t need to ruin one of the 18 cupcakes in this way every time I bake?” Cake tester it is.

+Kitchen gloves. I loved those flocked Mr. Clean Bliss gloves but there must be a national shortage because I can’t find them anywhere at a reasonable price. (On Amazon, I’ve seen a single pair go for like $18! NO!). I’ve tested a couple of other brands and these are the closest I can find to the real thing. I like the soft lining and the lack of latex scent. They are also durable — a pair will last a good month of nightly hand-washing.

+Plastic envelopes. I was going crazy with piles of paper all over the place that were not yet ready to be filed away in my file storage boxes because they are still in-use and need to be easy to access, so I recently snapped up these inexpensive, differently colored envelopes to help organize my life a bit. I have one folder pertaining to our house hunt; another for the children’s schooling; another for medical papers; another for items like pre-purchased timed tickets to the Zoo and other upcoming reservations; another for items we need on our trips down to DC (checkbook, train tickets, etc). Having them all in color coded envelopes in a tidy stack on my desk has made me feel a small measure of control during a time of many moving parts. (More chic desktop finds here.)

+Cropped running tank. I mentioned this recently, but I find a lot of inexpensive fitness finds that are inspired by other brands like Lululemon to be sorely lacking in quality. This cropped running tank is a true exception. Remove the cups and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how soft and durable the material is, and how flattering the cut! I am in love!

+Phlona is a great children’s brand to investigate for less-expensive, traditional-style pieces with smocking. I just ordered mini this dress, which looks like a La Coqueta, and I have this seersucker style in my basket as a follow-on if I like the quality! I’ll report back.

+Toddler chopsticks. Mini loves eating noodles with these. She has the shark style and I just ordered micro the t-rex set.

+Travel bottles! I actually think these would also be good for decanting items into a diaper bag, i.e., sunscreen, sanitizer, diaper cream, bug spray, etc, but also amazing for travel. I know it sounds a little crazy-person-ish, but having each bottle (or each folder) a different color really helps with organization!

+Bread basket liners with a scallop trim edge. Talk about things you never knew you always needed…ha!

+Montessori mom moment here: I just ordered Hill these tiny silver pitchers to practice pouring after I saw a fellow Montessori mom present her eighteen-month-old son with a DIY breakfast tray: a bowl of oatmeal, a few small ramekins with toppings like raisins and fruit, and a tiny pitcher of milk. The little boy very calmly, independently, went about preparing his own bowl, and it was frankly amazing to watch. Very Montessori to promote those kind of fine motor skills via practical life exercises. I figure we can use the pitchers for lots of different activities, from sensory play trays to oatmeal breakfasts.

+Rattan liquid soap dispenser. Looks similar to a higher-end designer style I’ve eyed for awhile, but one third the price. Details like these can totally transform and finish a bathroom.

+These rattan benches are just so chic, and at $100 a pop, a great buy. (More on the utility and style of x-benches here.)

+These hem-stitched napkins are classic and just go with any tablescape. I love the price — they look like there were inherited from a great-great aunt but cost $40 for the set!

+Pretty spring runner.

+NOT Amazon, but I am loving this blue striped dress. The details are fantastic — the scalloping! The stand collar! The exaggerated sleeve! Reminds me of this more-expensive Thierry Colson. (BTW, more stylish blue and white finds here.)

+A lot of other great Amazon finds in this post.

P.S. I have really strong memories of my husband’s Jeep in college.

P.P.S. On cynicism versus criticism.

P.P.P.S. Good beauty buys.

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6 thoughts on “The Return of the Claw + Other Amazon Finds.

  1. The absolute best travel bottles and containers are by Nalgene and available at the Container Store. Affordable, multiple sizes available and leakproof. Highly recommend!

  2. Would it be possible for you link to sources other than Amazon? If you did some research I am sure you would find many small business and other chains that could profit from your links. Amazon is good in a pinch but if you have time it would be nice to promote other businesses.

  3. The claws are also very useful for clipping blankets on to furniture to create tents/canopies for children 🙂

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