You could feel twice as good the next time you give in and purchase a group deal. The Mutual is the latest group-buying service joining the dozen already filling up your inbox. But this one has a charitable twist: Billing itself as the “Groupon for good,” The Mutual rewards philanthropic giving with sweet hookups on VIP events, early product releases, discounts and more. The Brooklyn-based start up is simple enough: You pay a monthly $10 fee for access to the perks. Of that, 80 percent is donated to an environmental charity, with the rest going back to The Mutual. Perks right now include a VIP Brooklyn Brewery party, a free Sustainable NYC totebag and steep discounts to Broadway shows, which means you might recover your monthly fee in just one use. (more…)
One Christmas break, I tried to educate my southern brother-in-law on the trendy food fad of chocolate-covered bacon. Unfortunately, my attempt to recreate the amazing combination of salty meat and sweet chocolate was foiled by using hickory smoked bacon. But I am giving it another go this year: he is getting Vosges Mo’s Bacon Choco Chip Pancake Mix in his stocking. There is no better setting for mixing flavors than in an all-natural buttermilk pancake (the secret is Vosges Chocolates’ famous Mo
Bacon Bar chips). Breakfast experiences combining maple syrup and sausage have taught us that.
You know how your sister-in-law loves posting countless albums of her “exotic” cruise trips to Facebook? And how your roommate likes to put pins in a map to show how well-traveled and “worldly” he is? This awesome gift will keep them both busy logging destinations in a new way. A map of the world feels more like a lottery ticket when the shiny metallic suface scratches off. It’s a fun — and humblebrag — way to keep track of travel adventures. Meanwhile you can internally gloat over all the culture accessible in your borough. Measures about 16.5″x12″ when unrolled and about 5″x2″ in its travel tube.
Your cousin wants a rooftop greenhouse but she can’t even keep a house plant alive for a week. A self-watering Boskke Sky Planter under the Christmas tree should help move things along. The stylish planter is made of recycled polypropylene and it hangs upside down from a ceiling hook. The self-contained water reservoir is foolproof, even for your cousin’s green thumb of death. The planter comes in an off-white color and even has a locking disc to defy gravity and can support a large variety of plants.
Get 15 percent off animal butt magnets at Future Perfect.
We’re not going to tell you how to shop this weekend. We’re going to tell you how not to shop. For the love of [insert deity here], does anyone really need to:
1) Shop on Thanksgiving, when some retailers (Old Navy!) are forcing their employees to come to work?
2) Shop at midnight on Thursday, when Target, Best Buy, Kohls and Macy’s are forcing their employees to come to work?
3) Get up at 4 a.m. on Friday to stalk big-box stores for $10 DVDs?
Why not roll out of bed at a reasonable hour and head to the boutique down the block? Some of Brooklyn’s independent retailers are making it even easier this year by having holiday sales.
If you can make a mean martini and don’t mind volunteering to show it off, TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint needs your help. The local foodie event is looking for experienced bartenders for the waterfront block party this Sunday, is partnering with BurnedGreen, the folks behind that free Williamsburg waterfront concert volunteer offer. Payment comes in the form of drinks, a TASTE t-shirt and free food from the more than 40 local restaurants that will be on hand serving appetizers, including Cubana Social, Dressler and Juliette. If you’re interested, you can bypass the hefty ticket price that ranges from $35 to $90 and munch on Calyer’s chicharones with romesco sauce between shifts. There are a few four-hour shifts: 11am-3pm and 3pm-7pm. Volunteers should email Les Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TaskRabbits get paid to shop, clean, assemble and more.
In the past, you walked your neighbor’s dog or mowed their lawn for an extra Andrew Jackson in your back pocket. Nowadays, TaskRabbit can get you double that just for doing what other people are too busy/unskilled to do themselves: grocery shopping or waiting in line at the DMV. The site, which launched in NYC last week, pairs the odd job with the eager doer. Some people can make a living running several tasks daily. Dropping off and picking up a hat at repair shop can rake in about $13. Bigger tasks like website design and implementation pay more — picking up $1,000 in some cases. (more…)
Kayaking at Pier 1. Photo by Jonathan Barkey, courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.
Filling a kids’ summer with camp is like putting a full-size sheet on a queen-size bed — no matter how you try to stretch it, there just isn’t enough to cover the whole thing. If you’re a parent or a babysitter like me, you’re about to enter the gap between the end of camp and the beginning of school. Maybe mom and dad were smart enough to plan a trip, or maybe you’re trying to fill the time with local outings, which can cost as much as a vacation if you’re not careful. Here are some inexpensive ways to squeeze the most out of the season before school starts. And if you’ve got ideas, as always, please leave them in the comments. (more…)
A light bulb went off when when I heard about BookScouter, a website that scours the Internet for used book sellers, at a recent Brooklyn Brainery event. By simply typing in the ISBN code of any used book and getting an aggregated list of online sellers willing to buy it, I could be making easy money. But instead of selling my prized book collection, I wondered how much I could get selling my neighbor’s castoffs. I decided to try it out for myself to see if I could turn a bit of stoop scavenging into some real cash. (more…)