Gift Ideas: Cord Taco

Yes, the name of this product — the Cord Taco — might sound a little odd at first, but it’s been recommended by enough readers that I’m seriously considering giving it to a few people for gifts this year. I love that there are a bunch of fun colors, like this turquoise, and it’s something that’s affordable, functional, and a little fun. It has a lot of great reviews, too. You can get 3 for $16 at Amazon. Cord Taco

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  1. For those of you who have ever had issues with runaway irrational and really not helpful thoughts, how do you gain control of them?

    • Anonymous :

      A lot of very correct people will say therapy. In addition to the therapy you could totally benefit from, I will say that I’ve found it really helpful to create a little physical ritual to get rid of these kinds of thoughts. I make a flipping gesture (bonus: it can be done unobtrusively under a desk) to literally “flip off” the negative thoughts.

    • For me, medication. I’d always been troubled with this, but didn’t realize it was a symptom of anxiety until I went on an anti-anxiety medication for other symptoms and it stopped those trains of thoughts entirely.

    • New Tampanian :

      S0me people also use a talisman, an object that you can touch or hold when you start having those thoughts as a way to ground yourself. I will forever encourage “Gratitude ABCs” as a way to focus just enough (works for sleep and when you’re in a negative loop mentally). Writing it down can help as can asking yourself “So what?” Sometimes by exploring the absolute worst case scenario, and coming up with what we’d do then, we feel prepared enough to handle. But most of this is learned from therapy or various books related to therapy.

    • I hear you :

      Therapy. Meditation. Daily exercise. Affirmations (“I am calm. I am peaceful. I am grateful. I am happy.”). Smiling. Leaving the office for lunch.

      Also, working with therapist to not go down the rabbit hole at all.

      Brains are weird.

    • If i notice early enough, I can sing my safe song (internally), which can help me concentrate on something other than the internal song.

      Also can you find a game on your phone which totally engages you and requires both hands and lots of coordination? I use a ‘snake’ emulator as snake was a totally addictive game I early phones. Also works for panic attacks.

    • Therapy. My therapist recommended this series on YT called “The Noise in Your Head: Episode 1 – “Meet Your Competitor: Anxiety”” which has helped me. That might be a start but I highly recommend talking to a therapist or counselor nearby.

    • Anonattorney :

      Anti-anxiety medication. This is a classic symptom of anxiety. If you don’t have other symptoms of anxiety, try the non-medication route–CBT, meditation, affirmations, making lists, etc. Sorry, this sucks!

    • My therapist introduced me to Ellis’s Irrational Beliefs recently (google it and you’ll find a list). Basically the idea is to ask yourself if what you’re thinking is true, and reeeeeally push yourself on it. If it isn’t true, think about which one of the irrational beliefs it falls under. Then reframe it in a way that is true and represents how you feel. The key is to do so consistently so that your brain learns to do it automatically. It has been really helpful for me getting my anxiety under control.

  2. Gifts for Husband :

    Looking for variety of gifts suggestions ($5-$150) for my husband. We don’t spend a ton on each other by choice, so $150 is would be max ideally, but I’d like to give him a few things.

    He likes:
    – Working out/Crossfit
    – His college football team
    – Flannel/lumberjack type clothing

    I am super stumped this year.

    • Flats Only :

      Knee socks? Football team item? Something from LL Bean?

    • Probably because he has everything he wants/needs for his hobbies and interests. Might I suggest an experience you can do together or something for the house you’ve both wanted? Reading all these gift guides is fun, but really drives home the point that overgifting is rampant.

      • Gifts for Husband :

        Yes! The first two years of Crossfit were super easy! Always something to buy him. Now he has it all!

        Thanks for the experience suggestion! I have one in the works, so hopefully I can find a few little items as add-ons!

    • If he’s very into his college football team (I am in SEC country so maybe my ideas are off for other schools), I think the college sweaters from Hillflint are great.

      • Gifts for Husband :

        Great suggestion! Yes. SEC fam. Haha.

      • Hey FP, not sure if you’re still there but how do you find the fit on them? Did you find the size guide helpful?I’ve been eyeing them for… over a year now! and want to get one for me and my husband!

        • I don’t own one but I have gifted one to my brother. It seemed like good quality but can’t really comment on the size, especially for women. I would love one for my school though, much better than my college t-shirts!

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Fellow Crossfitter here. Check out the a company called WOD Welder. They make natural skincare products for athletes. Their handcare kit is one of my favorite “to-go” gifts for other athletes. The solid salve smells amazing and works like a charm to heal beat up hands.

    • Nothing to do with any of the interests you listed, but I bought my husband a 2 hour “sampler” at a shooting range last year and it was a big hit. He had never showed any interest in guns but I thought it might be something different/fun to do. He got to try out a bunch of different types of guns one on one with an instructor. It’s not my thing, but hubby seemed to have a blast and it didn’t turn into a “let’s buy a bunch of guns!” experience (thankfully). It was about $80, maybe?

  3. Q for horse ladies :

    When I ride a bicycle, I have a padded seat cover and then I wear padded shorts.

    I rode a horse this weekend. I’m still feeling it. What can I do next time (will probably be in 3-6 months — trail riding with my children who are having their Misty/Stormy/horse phase)?

    It was otherwise really awesome.

    • Anonymous :

      Unfortunately, not much! You can try to wear the padded shorts under your regular pants and see if the trail riding vendor has a sheepskin pad to put over the saddle to add some comfortable fluff to what may be a cheap or hard saddle, but without regular riding you’ll just be plain sore after rarely using those muscles.

      • +1 It unfortunately just takes repetition. Do make sure you’re sitting correctly on the horse, which should help incrementally. You may be too rigid in your seat and tensing your muscles, or sitting too far back. Relax and flow with the movement of the horse. You’re looking for a straight line from your ear to shoulder to hip to heel, and you want to feel balanced, which minimizes the jarring you’ll get from the horse’s stride.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I have a gel seat cover I used to use on endurance rides that will help with uncomfortable saddles–like this:

      But that only helps if it’s just from the saddle instead of muscles you aren’t used to using:-)

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        This is a cheaper version:

    • There’s specific seamless underwear for riders – I find that helps. Also you can use some chamois cream similar to cycling stuff (or something like diaper rash ointment, calendula cream, etc) before you go.

  4. In House in Houston :

    Can anyone recommend a good eyelash curler? I think I’ve had mine for 3+ years and I’m sure there’s something better out there. TIA!

    • Kevin Aucoin or Shiseido

    • anon a mouse :

      I use the basic one from Sephora. One tip that I think makes a big difference – give it 5 seconds of heat from a hair dryer before using it. The warmth will curl your lashes better (like a curling iron).

    • Your curler may be fine, but you may need to replace the rubber cushion (pro tip from my makeup artist friend!)

    • Tweezerman has one shaped for almond shaped eyes which has been a difference maker for me. standard eyelash curlers pinch. Sephora sells it

  5. Anyone have stories of dramatic career changes? For example, corporate lawyer to art director? Would love to hear.

    • I went from nurse to lawyer. Best decision I ever made. Being a lawyer is ten thousand times easier than being a nurse.

    • Well, you’re probably not going to go from corporate lawyer to art director without some stops much lower on the art/design totem pole first.

    • Anonymous :

      teacher to lawyer (not super dramatic); ditto the nurse’s sentiment–lawyering is easier.

      also check out Hsu Untied (podcast of former lawyers, or at least ppl who went to law school although he’s starting to branch out “interesting people”)

    • Late, but just in case: my husband is going from high-end cheesemonger to social worker. It’s a really good move.

  6. Anonymous :

    I was let go from my job about two weeks ago. I left my work laptop in the office at that time. Today they sent me an email asking about missing data— I left all work related files intact. There were some personal files on the machine but I deleted those. I did have a password on the machine which I will provide since they can’t seem to access the machine. I am writing this to ask if there’s anything else I should include in my email back to them other than the password and to say that all the data should be on the machine which was also synced to a backup server. I leave the area permanently on Wednesday should I offer to go in tomorrow I.e. Tuesday? I want to make sure that I’m not later accused of withholding data etc. This was a researcher position so they do need this to continue with what I’d been working on and their message says I should get co-authorship should anything be published. It’s my first time dealing with this kind of situation so would appreciate advice. Thanks

    • Anon in NYC :

      I think what you have planned to say is fine. Don’t offer to go in tomorrow. I’m sorry about the job.

  7. Anonymous :

    We are doing full length corporate photos this week. I have ugly hands so don’t want to clasp them in front. “Sorority arm” is one option. Are there other ideas for how to stand? Any websites that could help me look at photos and decide?

    • Traveller :

      Go to google images and look up “business people standing”

    • I have never looked at anyone’s hands and thought “wow, they’re ugly”, even if they were missing fingers. Seriously, in the wise words of Elsa, LET IT GO, LET IT GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  8. Recommendations for a couples gift for a brother and sister-in-law? They live in Cleveland, are pretty minimalist, live in a small apartment, are more interested in experiences vs. objects. Both skew hippie/hipster. They visit a lot of restaurants, but I don’t want to get a giftcard to a restaurant that they’ve already visited/don’t like very much. Michael Symon’s restaurant group requires that you pick one of their restaurants when purchasing a giftcard. Any other restaurant groups that do general giftcards? Other ideas? Budget is $150.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Opentable gift certificate.

    • cat socks :

      I believe you can get general gift cards Cameron Mitchell restaurants. They have locations in Columbus, but not sure about Cleveland. If they like tiki drinks, Porco Lounge & Tiki Room is great, but they don’t have much in the way of food.

    • Anonymous :

      Art museum membership, Beer tasting at local microbrewery, monthly local organic greens/veggie delivery (any farms/farmers markets do this?), basket of goodies from local bakery, subscription to wine or cheese club, passes to local film festival, theater tickets, concert tickets. Not sure if any of those hit the right note?

    • Know your audience, but I got my brother and SIL a gift certificate for one of those Escape the Room places.

  9. UAE and Oman :

    Any recommendations for must dos in these countries? Thank you!

    • In Abu Dhabi our favorite activity was a visit to the falcon hospital – falconry is the national sport in the UAE, and the falcon hospital tour was an opportunity to learn a lot about the sport. Part of the tour involves engaging with the birds, and holding them if you’re interested in doing that.

      Also if you’re in Abu Dhabi, a stop by the Grand Mosque is a must. If you have time, book the afternoon tea at Emirates Palace and try the 24k gold cappuccino as well as the other goodies.

    • Recommendations *really* depend on the time of year, but, in addition to the above AD recommendations, Burj Khalifa in Dubai is another reliable favorite. Depending on the time available, you may also want to go into the mountains. The UAE has Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet areas (among others), and Oman has lots of choices.

  10. High Maintenance Reality Check :

    My family has reached a point where we’re all so busy in December, we don’t hint around at gifts anymore but just send each other wish lists, usually with links to items online. I’m fine with this, since I’d rather pick out a sweater in the size, style, and color I want than forcing someone else to play a guessing game. However, I draw the line at actually purchasing my own gifts. Recently, a family member asked if I could just order a gift on my list and have it sent to them and they’d reimburse me, wrap it, and give it to me for Christmas.
    Am I being high maintenance if I put my foot down and say “no, I won’t buy my own gift?” It’s not like this person isn’t comfortable ordering items online. The gift was from Amazon and they even have a Prime subscription (which I do not). They have a link to the exact item, it’s just a matter of putting forth the least amount of effort to actually order it. If they aren’t willing to even do that, I’d almost rather say please just don’t bother giving me a gift because clearly you don’t care.

    • What? That is ridiculous. Say no! My in laws are ridiculous about presents but they aren’t this bad.

    • cat socks :

      What? I don’t get that at all. If they don’t want to do any work they should just pick up a gift card for you while they’re at the grocery story. Then you can buy whatever you want.

    • Anonymous :

      I would decline. Can you cut back on the gifting as well? If ordering from an Amazon wish list is too much, maybe they would be okay with dropping the gifting? For adult gifts, DH and I exchange with my/his parents and that’s it.

    • Eh, I do this for my Mom. She generally gives cash, but likes to have something under the tree for us to open as well. I place my order and she wraps the box that arrives.

    • That’s bananas. Why even bother? This would be enough for me to make a movement to stop exchanging gifts between adults.

      On my DH’s side of the family, all the adults literally end up exchanging gift cards. At that point, seriously, why bother with a “gift exchange”? It felt super transactional. A couple of years ago, we decided to opt out and people were super PO’ed about it.

      • High Maintenance Reality Check :

        In high school I had 2 friends with the same birthday and every year they would exchange $20 bills and laugh it off. That’s what this reminds me of!

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I think it depends on how different households handle money. A gift card requires you to buy something fun and not just spend it on bills. If you have an allowance account and gift money goes there, it is different than just general spending. My dad and I have birthdays around the same time it always feels weird for him to give me money and then me spend the same amount on him but his present comes out of our joint account and the money he gives me goes into my personal account so there’s that.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree that it sounds like it’s time for the whole family to cut back on gift-giving. Switch to drawing names, so there’s only one gift, giving gifts only to children, or something else simpler.

      And for the record, nope, not high maintenance. This would get a real eyebrow raise from me, along with the feeling of “eh, don’t bother.”

    • Senior Attorney :

      “Hahaha! That’s so funny! Nope, sorry I’m not gonna buy my own gift! Nice try, though! HAHAHA!”

    • Anonymous :

      Tell them you want a donation to your favorite charity.

    • I do this with my sweet parents who are too scared to buy things online – I buy the gift myself and have it sent to their address. My mom than packs it and adds some small stuff as well. Mostly they are concerned with ecommerce security and I admit that it is difficult to shop for me (even though I said I am fine with no gifts at this age).
      If your family member is my mom, I would be fine with that. If it is someone with their own Amazon Prime, I would draw the line there and also suggested to stop the gifting madness.

  11. Buttery garlic craving :

    I’m pregnant and haven’t had much in the way of cravings. But man right now all I want is garlic and butter.

    But I have young kids at home, and the only thing I can think of that will satisfy what I want is shrimp scampi and my kids won’t eat that, though I can just give them pasta/butter. And it’s a lot of work for just me (DH is working late).

    What else is super buttery and garlicky? Garlic bread was an idea but may not quite do it. bonus if somewhat modifiable for not super picky but somewhat spice averse kids.

    • Order shrimp scampi takeout for yourself. Cook whatever is easy for the kids.

      • +1. Takeout for you, mac and cheese for the kids. Done.

      • Buttery garlic craving :

        This is so smart! I didn’t see it in time and instead bought super garlicky bread and ravioli with plans to serve it to myself with extra butter and garlic ;). I’ll have to find a local Italian place that does take out – I’m sure there are a few!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      A shrimp (/seafood) scampi can be pretty easy though! I sometimes do the trader joes mixed bag of frozen seafood + butter + garlic + white wine –> dump on angel hair pasta, add some parsley if I’m feeling really fancy, grate some parmesan. Mmmmm.


      You can do this with basically any green vegetable, it doesn’t have to be broccoli rabe. If your kids like less flavor than you and won’t each shrimp, you can just cook the shrimp separately just for you and pour less sauce over their portions. Or put canned bland pasta sauce on theirs instead.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Just dip warm bread in garlic butter! The kids can have plain bread and butter, or jam, or pb, or whatever. I’ve done this with naan (homemade at the time but you can also buy it and then nuke it in a napkin, like tortillas).

      • Anonymous :

        or get garlic naan at Trader Joe’s. also love minced garlic sauteed with cherry tomatoes and olive oil. dump it over pasta and add parm

    • Flats Only :

      Garlic knots from your local pizzeria. Plain cheese pizza for the kids. Melt some extra butter for the knots if necessary. Call in the order as you leave work, pick it up on your way home. Mom’s a hero!

    • Anonymous :

      Artichoke with garlic butter dipping sauce

  12. I promise I’m not a total Scrooge and don’t hate the holidays, but I kind of wish I could stop giving gifts to other adults. Most are impossible to buy for, and all of us have everything we need. With my in-laws, I end up doing 90% of the work for them in coming up with ideas for DH, me and the kids. I do it because my MIL asks and genuinely wants to give us stuff we like, but it is an exhausting amount of emotional labor. She also doesn’t understand the concept of “quality over quantity” and I don’t consider myself a minimalist, but I’m in my late thirties and have amassed enough stuff already. I’ve gently suggested experience gifts, but she firmly believes that’s no fun.

    DH keeps pestering me about what I want for Christmas. I have told him in no uncertain terms that I really don’t want anything other than peace and quiet and time to decompress, and no, I’m not joking around. I wasn’t always that way, but in this very challenging, stressful stage of life (working mom, two young kids), gifts are just not my love language.

    • High Maintenance Reality Check :

      Tell DH that what you want for Christmas is for him to come up with the ideas to tell the in-laws. Seriously. Drop that emotional labor and explain to him that it’s enough work to qualify as a gift (which he will see after he does it!).

    • I totally get where you’re coming from.

      Honestly, I AM a scrooge. My family includes two bipolar members who have a tradition of making everyone else miserable at the holidays and they’re in fine form this year. Asking me to deal with them and also be thoughtful with gift giving for lots of other adults whose specific preferences I don’t know especially well is just a lot. At this point I want to stake out a lounge chair on a beach somewhere, hurl my phone into the waves, and not leave until I read my entire stack of 10 or so unread books.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Torin, I fully support that life choice. Is there a reason why you cannot do that this year?

        • Haha thank you! I’m being grouchy about the rotten apples at the moment. I’m not actually going to let them spoil everything for me. I have family members I actually DO want to see who are going to be in town. So instead of telling everyone to shove it I am going to stop making any effort to please the nasty people and let them do whatever the hell they want, make time for people I want to make time for, and get a massage this weekend to pamper myself.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      For the MIL, could you start adding things to an Amazon wish list throughout the year as you see them but don’t feel like spending the money? I’m thinking things like a book you saw mentioned that might be interesting, or a movie you wanted to see but never got around to it. Then you could send her the link every December and it would have a lot of items for her to choose from (or would fulfill her quantity over quality tendencies). That doesn’t help much this year, but for the future it might. If you have a Goodreads want to read list or something similar, you could send her that in the meantime.

      If your husband keeps asking, ask for a spa day where he deals with the kids and gets you a gift certificate for a massage or something.

    • Oh, I feel you.

      I am 8 months pregnant. One of my parents is recovering from minor surgery. They’re on a retired income and planning on flying cross-country to meet the baby very soon. We recently moved and spent the last 3 months getting rid of extraneous crap. Our hometown just underwent a major natural disaster.

      Every year, my mother is out until the late hours of Xmas eve buying presents and spending money that is better spent on other things (even when the presents are really nice and well thought out, which they usually are).

      I really thought this year would be the year that I could convince her that we adults do not need present and could make a family donation to charity instead. My brother was on board (he is way, way over it). But the mere suggestion sent her into an emotional spiral, and so I withdrew my suggestion.

      Some people cannot be saved from themselves. But I swear, next year. No presents.

  13. Engagement present help :

    Help finding an engagement gift for a former coworker turned real life close friend? I looked on Etsy but didn’t have anything specific in mind and just saw all the stereotypical “future Mrs” stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but I want something she’ll find useful or pretty well beyond the engagement period. I really like her fiancé, so a gift they could both use would be great too. We are mid-20s if that helps.
    I do plan on taking her out to dinner/brunch/drinks to celebrate, but I’d also like to get her a physical gift. $50 or under including shipping is my budget.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Honestly, I mostly just do a fancy bottle of champagne. Like something in the $40-60 range. It’s probably nicer than what they normally buy themselves. I figure that physical gifts (like cookware) is best saved for a bridal shower. But, if you know that she’s planning on changing her last name, perhaps monogrammed hand towels?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Fancy cocktail accessory set?

    • Miz Swizz :

      I got a ring holder as a gift and it’s been surprisingly useful. Actually, I just realized I have 2! One is cut crystal and hangs out on my nightstand. I also have a ceramic one from World Market that lives by the kitchen sink so I can take my rings off when I cook or do dishes. Honestly, the ceramic one is more my style, but the crystal one was a gift and it’s nice to have.

    • I always do a custom ring holder from etsy in these situations!

      • +1 to the ring holder! I got one for my best friend and she loved it.

      • Engagement present help :

        Thank you so much! I’ve looked on Etsy and found some beautiful custom ring holders. Now to pick just one!

  14. Shopping help needed. My wife wants a warm, comfy fleece zip-up jacket for the holidays. Any specific suggestions? Many thanks!

    • Not sure of your budget for this, but Athleta is great for that type of item. A friend of mine has their Easy Cozy Karma jacket, and it’s as soft as they say, nice quality, and the asymmetrical zip gives it a cool look.

    • I’d look at REI.

    • Mine is Mountain Hardware and I love it. Got it at REI. I’ve had it for years and it’s still going strong. If you don’t like any of theirs for some reason REI has dozens of others.

    • Baconpancakes :

      High end: Patagonia Better Sweater. So lovely, cozy, warm, breathable, great colors, excellent customer service/warranty. Purchase from REI as a member if you’re outdoorsy to get points and easy/no questions returns or exchanges.

      • i just bought one of these on blackfriday from backcountry. I noticed ebags also had them – look around for coupon codes and cash back through ebates. Love it – its amazing and looks way more polished than my old north face fleece

    • Anonymous :

      patagonia! north face! athleta (as mentioned above). Kuhl also has a really cute one. REI is awesome. Great return/exchanges too!

  15. Lorelai Gilmore :

    I have THREE white elephant gift exchanges this week (yes, I know this is ridiculous). Would like to get a reasonably nice present in the $20-25 range. Two of the three gift exchanges are with mom friends, so a lady-focused present would be good. Any suggestions for something good I can get off Amazon Prime?

    Thank you!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      On a scale from “unusual but definitely nice to have” to “complete gag gift” where are you trying to land?

      Any particular interests uniting these groups?

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Booze is always good. Can you get something a little weird (besk/malort)?

        Scrub Daddy sponges are good!

        Ant farm.

        A funky cheeseboard:

        A bunch of funny/weird sheet masks?

    • I would get a garlic zoom ( and a nut zoom (

    • My friends would love this:

    • Booze. If you want to jazz it up, include jello shot cups and a box or two of jello. Available at all grocery stores near me.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Fun: Disco ball

      Cute: Felt board

      Pretty: Bar earrings

      Delicious: Olive Oil

      Small but appreciated: Lipstick Queen’s Medieval (Alternately, more fun but maybe less appealing:

      • Baconpancakes :

        Ok so maybe I need more clarification: I originally thought white elephant gifts were things you didn’t really want (gag gifts), but then I heard they were just a cheap, can be funny or not gift exchange without a specified gift recipient, but the other replies seem to be more gag gift oriented. In which case, this terrifying horse head is the best gift ever:

        • Lorelai Gilmore :

          I thought white elephants were gag gifts, but my recent ones have all been relatively nice items – things you’d actually want.

    • The woman cards

    • Swig or Lifefactory stemless wine glass and bottle of wine

  16. Anonshmanon :

    Thanks Rainbow Hair for recommending that podcast! I spent much of yesterday baking Christmas cookies and listening to what flat earthers have to say! Pure entertainment!

  17. Had a 10% payrise signed off today, with prospects of another 12% in 6 months!

  18. Thanks for Post,

    My Self George Dutch is a certified Job Change Expert “For 20 years, he has helped over 5000 people who felt lost, confused or trapped–and wanted a better jobfit”. Read more:

    • Kat – How does this and 3LL3N get through and yet completely innocuous posts from regular posters languish forever?

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