Tag Archives: Ikea

Best Bets: Best Christmas Gifts under $10

Maybe your workplace is doing a secret Santa this year. Maybe you got an invite to a holiday party and want to bring a gift for your hosts (which is proper and good form). Maybe you need something for the mailman or your kid’s teacher or someone else you don’t really care about at all. Maybe you’re just cheap.

Whatever the case may be, we all sometimes need to find gifts that cost as little as possible. Just because you’re not spending much though doesn’t mean you’ve got to give up on good taste. They say it’s the thought that counts, and if you put a little thought into your smallest gifts, you can make them count, too.

Magazine Subscriptions

You’ve probably heard by now that print media is dying, and that iPads and Kindles are the wave of the future. All that aside, light reading is as enjoyable as it ever was. Magazine subscriptions are ridiculously cheap right now, with most running just over the cover price of one issue, and in most cases you can get two full years for around $10. The Chop recommends Esquire, Baltimore Magazine, Interview, W Magazine, The Atlantic, and Juxtapoz. It’s a breeze to order gift subscriptions online, although shipping of the first issue typically does take some time.

Alarm Clock

Ikea is well known for three things: good design, low prices, and shoddy materials. Their DEKAD alarm clock is two of those three things. Made of nothing but glass and steel, it’s as solid as it is stylish. Clean, classic design and a $6 price tag put it right at home in any room. Alternately, their lower level has a ton of housewares, textiles and decor items at budget friendly prices.

Handkerchiefs

A tie may be the default last-minute generic gift idea for men, but a set of handkerchiefs is a fraction of the price, and he’ll probably get more mileage out of them than any tie. This set of Dockers handkerchiefs from Kohls is on sale for $10, and presents well in that cylidrical package which might double to hold pens, change, or whatever.

Christmas Ornaments

A Christmas ornament is another pretty standard go-to gift, but the ones available at Ten Thousand Villages in Fell’s Point are anything but ordinary. This set of three is handmade in China and marked down to the ridiculously low price of $5.00. There are also options from India and Nepal as well as other handmade gifts from all over the world.

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Whether you’re stuffing a stocking, sticking to a budget or treating yourself, any of these gifts will be money well spent. Have you received something inexpensive that made you smile? Come up with the perfect solution for secret Santa, maybe? Post your own economical gift ideas in the comments.

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Chop Style: Five Things You Need to Get Dressed Properly

We caught you Baltimore. Red Handed. You’ve just been busted by the fashion police. We caught you slipping, and you’re going to have to step up your game wardrobe-wise, or risk being mocked mercilessly out in public for looking like a complete heel.

This weekend was full of uniforms everywhere we looked. There was, of course, the literal uniform of a football jersey which has become de rigueur for everyone everywhere all day on Sundays. On Friday though, it was a different sort of uniform altogether. We went down to check out Helmet at Sonar on Friday, where the dress code was a strict black XL band t-shirt, everyday jeans that haven’t been washed in a year, and black boots. That was a really cool look when Meantime came out, but of course, we were in middle school then. And so was the rest of the over-thirty crowd Friday night.

Every Baltimorean should own an ironing board. Just ask Divine.

Your clothes should be age appropriate, Baltimore. It’s a rule. It matters. It’s time to start dressing like a grown up. Of course, if you’re going to do it right, you’ll need more than just new clothes. You can’t fix what’s broken without the proper tools. What are the proper tools? Read on:

A Mirror

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it occurs to us that some of you bachelors on renters’ row are living without a mirror in the bedroom. Even our own roommate relies on the small, slightly cramped bathroom’s mirror. We were once guilty of this too, before we moved into the Chophouse, and we hated it. If a decent dresser/mirror combo is out of the question for you, at least take yourself up to Ikea and grab one for under $10. We bought one of these the week we moved in. You can hang it on the back of the closet door and paint the frame any color you like.

An Iron and Board

We know what you’ve been doing… waiting until Sunday to do your laundry, then getting sucked into football and food and other chores, and leaving the laundry to sit and wrinkle in the dryer. Or worse, dragging it home from the laundromat in a sack and leaving it for 3 days. If you’re going to look like a grown up, you need an iron and board. Hanging it in the bathroom during a hot shower isn’t cutting it. Bed Bath and Beyond will hook you up with an iron and compact board for $10 each. And when football season ends, you’ll be all set to pursue an interest in extreme ironing.

A Lint Brush

A lint brush is possibly the best five bucks you can invest in your wardrobe. Make sure you get one like this, and not one of those crappy ones with sticky paper on it. They’re available at any grocery store or pharmacy chain, and for a few bucks you can throw it in your drawer and leave it there forever. No matter how nice your clothes are, they look stupid when they’re covered in lint and pet hair.

A Shoeshine Kit

These are also available anywhere. You don’t even have to spring for a whole kit. A can of Kiwi and an old t-shirt and toothbrush will be serviceable. There’s no need to go overboard with it, like some pretentious assholes are wont to do. It’s not even necessary to put a lot of time or effort into the actual polishing if you don’t want to… just a quick shine 5 or 6 times a year will make your shoes look better and last longer.

A Door Hook

Time was, we’d take off a jacket or a pair of pants and toss it on a seat, intending to wear it again the next day. Then change our mind and gradually watch the clothes pile up. With the addition of a simple hook over the door, we now have a decent place to hang that stuff and keep it out of the way. And when the hooks get full we know it’s damn well time to put some clothes away. Buying a door hook is the best thing that ever happened to our dressing routine, and we can’t recommend it highly enough. Target has a ton of them, anywhere from 2 to 6 hooks, and starting as little as $4.99. Go get one.

With these tools in your box you should be able to fix any wardrobe wheels that may fall off on a Monday Morning. There’s plenty of other tools that may serve you well also; sewing kits, shoe insoles and the like. What sort of other items are helping you get dressed, Baltimore?

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The Chop vs. Ikea

Okay. We admit it. This is a half-assed post. No links or brilliant commentary today.

We’re busy as hell this weekend and don’t have time for a proper post. In fact, we’re so busy we don’t even know what we’re up to today.

We might go to the Senator Theater to catch a free screening of Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story at 1pm. But probably not since we’ve already seen it.

We might go to Ottobar for Jello Biafra’s new project, but probably not, because it’s not DK and never will be.

We might even go to the Metro Gallery for the Victoria Vox CD release show. But maybe not.

You know what they say about guys with big bookshelves...

What we’ll probably do is stay at home and open a bottle of wine and attempt to assemble this monster, the Expedit 5 x 5 which is the centerpiece of the Chop’s new home office. We’ve already knocked together two of the smaller ones this week, but this is the big leagues right here.

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