Clever Gifts Under $15.00




What will the future bring?  You don’t need Criswell to tell you, a fortune cookie can do as well, and taste good, too.  While the kind you get in the Chinese restaurant might be wrapped in cellophane, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be fresh, or tell you anything interesting (other than a word in Chinese and an obtuse,  pontificating statement).  However, a clever company called Super Accurate Fortune Cookies offers colorful take-out containers with  fortune cookies in colors that not only are fresh and delicious, they contain cute quips appropriate for the occasion (e.g. Christmas, Chanukah, Valentine’s Day, or customize your own –great for weddings and baby showers).  The cookies are individually wrapped in plastic for freshness, 10 to a box. These would be really great for a New Years party, too.  I don’t want to give away all the quotes, but the Christmas fortune cookies are colored in festive red  strawberry-flavored) and forest green (cool mint) with sentiments inside such as:  If you’re a lord, please stop leaping. You’re scaring the children.  The Chanukah cookies are crystal blue (blueberry-flavored) and off-white (toasted coconut) and contain quips such as: If you don’t think oil can last for 8 days, try not washing your hair for a week. Cute!  *note that these may or may not be Kosher…the website is a bit vague on that.  At  just $8.99  (*the more your order above 5 boxes, the higher the discount), they’re reasonable for a little gift or a novelty ending to your holiday dinner or New Years soiree.


What can you do when you’re walking, dancing, or otherwise on your feet and you’re beginning to feel pain?  Taking off your shoes and going barefoot probably isn’t the best idea due to dangerous (and sharp) obstacles, and the threat of picking up foot ailments. However, if you’re prepared with a tiny packet of Kushy Foot Flats to Go ($9.99), you’ll have something to slip into when your shoes pinch and your ability to walk, begins to wilt. These little flats cost less than $10.00 and yet, they are priceless when your feet hurt so much you feel like you can’t walk or stand, another minute. .  These “pleather” flats are housed in clear, mini-bags that snap closed for travel, but the folded flats inside are functional, with an elasticised back for a good fit, and a soft, 3-dimensional wavy sole that cushions and massages your weary feet, as you walk. The soles are not super-thick (you can feel the street through the soles), but they’re good enough for getting through an hour or two indoors or out, when you need them. They’re also great for travel, especially on an airplane when your feet might swell in regular shoes. Flats to go come in a variety of colors, from basic black to shiny silver, to fleecy leopard. These flats also come in sandals and open toed styles, and in sizes  5-6,; 7-8 and 9-10 . At least one pair is a holiday must-have, but get a bunch for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts. Limping is not a fashionable look! You can get these at drug stores and mass market retailers, or visit:

Vanilla is a known aphrodisiac, and of course, it is belo

ved by cooks (and perfumers) everywhere for its intoxicating taste and fragrance. Did you know that vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron?  Perhaps it’s because vanilla, although you see it everywhere, is flavoring derived from orchids. There are basically three types of orchid that produces vanilla, all of which come originally from Mexico: Vanilla planifolia fromMadagascar and other tropical areas along the Indian Ocean; V. tahitens

, grown in the South Pacific; and V. pompona, found in the West Indies, and Central and South America. Bourbon vanilla from Madascar is the most common.  You can get vanilla extract for a few dollars in a supermarket, but high quality vanilla is another experience entirely.  High quality vanilla extract makes the watered-down versions hardly worth the trouble to use. Nielsen-Massey has 2 fl. oz. bottles of high quality vanilla extract that make great gifts for a hostess, or for yourself for holiday entertaining.

Get a stocking stuffer of a$6.95 2 fl. oz. bottle of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, to $8.95 for organic, and upwards for other sizes and types. Nielsen-Massey also has high quality extracts other than vanilla, such as chocolate or lemon, and package it with the Nielsen-Massey book  the Advice Sisters  reviewed in NovemberA Century of Flavor, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, The CookBook Marketplace  (2008).  You can find Nielsen-Massey products at fine gourmet shops and retailers like Williams Sonoma.

There are just some people who can’t take the heat. The heat of hot foods, that is!  Moms area always blowing on their kids food so they don’t burn their tongues.  But even grown men (e.g. my husband can’t stand hot food) may have a sensitivity or a full blown aversion to putting hot stuff in their mouths. Enter the KoolSpoon ($4.99).   The plastic spoon has a freezer gel inside it just like the cool packs you put in lunch boxes.  Pop the KoolSpoon into your freezer to chill.  When you stir something hot with the pre-chilled KoolSpoon (e.g. hot liquid like coffee or hot soup or cereal), the freezer gel inside absorbs excess heat as it melts, so your food doesn’t get watered down, but it’s made more “temperate” so sensitive tongues don’t get assaulted!  Store your KoolSpoon in the freezer so it’s always ready It is so simple and clever, and yet it can make all the difference between enjoying a meal, and struggling with it. These make a great gift for a child’s stocking, or for your favorite heat-averse adult!  You can get these in places like Amazon and Etsy, and also the KoolSpoon web site

About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: &

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