Awesome Stuff Gift Guide 2018

Last updated: January 18, 2023

Everything from the best costume on Amazon, massage balls, cat scratchers, and NYC advice. This is a guest post by one of my best friends, Danielle Strle. She presented this list at my Birthday Conference Party 2018.

Danielle Strle and Nick Gray
Danielle Strle and Nick Gray at my Birthday Conference 2018
Slides of neat things recommended by Danielle Strle
Slides from Danielle Strle’s keynote at the Nick Gray Birthday Conference 2018

Nick cold called me in 2006 after seeing some pictures I posted of a business trip to India.

We have been friends ever since.

Nick was living in Georgia at the time. I don’t want to brag, but I have been to Georgia for a visit. I have seen Sue Gray’s EPIC nutcracker collection in person.

So it is the Holidays and I figured everybody could use a little bit of a gift guide. I also wanted to impart some key life tips.

These are mostly all Amazon affiliate links. Proceeds will be donated to a left-leaning charity per Danielle Strle’s request.

Hot water bottle

It’s a cordless and squishy heating pad that is fantastic under the covers in the winter time. On particularly cold days I like to have one for the feet and one for the body. BUY HERE

Blue balls in a bag for massage

You can buy individual lacross balls or Pinky balls but the little bag that this pair comes in ia awesome. I often keep both balls in the bag, lay down on top of them, and roll it all the way down my spine. INCREDIBLE BUY HERE

Miracle cube timer

These pre-set timers are great for cooking but I use them often for productivity. Choose the time you want, set the cube with that number facing up and the timer starts itself and counts down silently. BUY HERE

Corner mounted cat brush

Listen. I know cats, and your cat will be so happy that they can brush themselves anytime they want I guarantee it. Probably also works for dogs. BUY HERE

Clip-in airplane foot rest

This thing makes ANY airplane seat comfortable. I usually have it clipped in behind my tray table before takeoff. BUY HERE

Light up badminton shuttle cocks

Come for the lightup, stay for the pretty good goose feather honestly you don’t need a net or even a badminton court you can play light up badminton anywhere it’s THE BEST GAME. BUY HERE

Finger monster finger puppets

Finger puppets make great gifts for anyone especially kids but these ones are the best because they are undeniably cute monsters. Any Finger Puppets are very compact if you need to travel with a gift for kids! BUY HERE

Home cooking NY

Home cooking New York has been honestly life changing and I use my kitchen all the time now. Very fun way to spend a few hours, and you get a delicious meal of all the stuff you cooked at the end! BUY HERE

Urban emergency preparedness survival training

Only $75

A 4 hour class in central park that will teach you what to do when the shit hits the fan. The guy who teaches it lives off the grid near Beacon where he teaches wilderness survival. As you might imagine, this guy Shane is INTENSE, extremely prepared, and highly entertaining. I hope never to use the knowledge I learned in this session, but I feel much safer having it! BUY HERE

Inflatable banana costume

There is no better costume on the market right now than the inflatable banana. Highly recognizable and exceedingly comfortable. Internal fan keeps the banana puffed up and will keep you cool or warm as the weather demands. BUY HERE

Miroir travel projector  or  for last year’s version

Both are excellent!!!

This 720P projector has wifi and built in apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Youtube. The built in speaker is actually pretty good, so you basically have a cordless projector HD Streaming projector that fits in the palm of your hand. BUY NEW MODEL HERE or BUY LAST YEAR MODEL HERE

Beat saber

$25 for the game, $799 for PS4Pro w/VR

It’s like if Fruit Ninja and Dance Dance Revolution had a baby in VR with Lightsabers SO FUN and also sort of exercise. BUY HERE

3 great board games

Okay I am a Catan & Ticket to Ride head so that’s where I am coming from here.

  1. HIVE is basically Bug Chess,
  2. In BOHNANZA you are a Bean Farmer managing yield and selling at market, and
  3. in AZUL, you are a Portuguese tile artisan.

All 3 are awesome games. Hive & Bohnanza are fairly easy to travel with & play anywhere.

Coconut lime Epsom bath salts

Listen I am a connoisseur of bath salts and these are the best ones. BUY HERE

Frameless kite

Maybe it’s the windswept midwesterner in me, but I just like having a kite in my suitcase. This one you just toss it up in the air and it GOES. Great for the beach, great for any breeze. BUY HERE

Life tips

  • Gentlemen! Ladies!!! If you are hailing a taxi and want to operate with the utmost politeness, DO NOT HOLD THE DOOR!!! To be polite you open the door, and YOU skootch in. That’s how it’s done. You do not want to make anybody else do the skootching if you are trying to be polite.
  • Stay Hydrated!!! Ask me later about the 6 principles of the Juggy Lifestyle
  • AND FINALLY a life tip for the dance floor. You can dance the macarena to ANY song AND IT WORKS.
Danielle Strle making a casual presentation
The author, Danielle Strle, presenting at Nick Gray’s Birthday Conference Party 2018 at Lincoln Center in New York City


Danielle Strle is one of my best friends. She worked at Tumblr before the Yahoo! sale and has since made several angel investments. She’s currently working on starting a new company involving water bottles. Find her on Twitter (@strle) and Instagram (@strl3). You can check Danielle’s and mine Amtrak Autumn Express Ride up and down the Hudson River Valley.

Bonus content

You can see our “video postcard” we made in 2006 from the Georgia Aquarium here on Nick’s old Vimeo.

Atlanta Acquarium
Wet Hotlanta: video that Nick Gray and Danielle Strle filmed in 2006

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