5 of Your Favorite 90s Childhood Crafts (That You Can Still Buy for Under $20)

1. Lite Brite

lite-brite-e1426111103852

Right out of the gates, we’re starting strong with my personal favorite on today’s list, king of creativity, the Lite Brite. What couldn’t you make with one of these bad boys? Never mind that the little plastic pegs always slipped out of your chubby toddler fingers. If you could manage to stab one through the board, man. The world was yours, my friend. I’ll bet there’s some legit, professional-level Lite Brite art out there. Hmmmm. Now that’s an interesting thing. Excuse me, I need to Google something.

Yep. Called it!

litebrite1

P.S. These run for about $18 on eBay.

2. Perler Beads

PLANT

Okay, I’m back! Believe it or not, you can still buy complete Perler bead sets at Hobby Lobby. Obviously the price depends on the kit you buy, but I can assure you from recent experience with my boyfriend these are still insanely entertaining. Tip: Retro pixelated designs are pretty much a guaranteed success, if you’re looking for high-reward, low-risk. If you want to make the Mario Piranha Plant above, check out my other post for a tutorial!

3. Beaded Keychains

41d9cdc8-f496-432d-9431-9dbfd9aeee14-680-330

Monkeys and lizards and turtles – oh my! If you had one of these on your backpack in elementary school, you probably listened to aTeens on HitClip, rode a scooter everywhere, and pulled a roller BSB backpack to school. Okay, fine, I’m referring to myself. Today, these unopened babies are infinite on eBay and sell for as low as $1. Yes. One single dollar. Have at it, kids.

4. Plastic Looms

potholder_deluxe_sm

I’m not sure this distinctly 90s, but I have definitely never seem a kid “looming” in 2016. They’re probably too busy writing CSS or learning how to Tumblr. Meawhile, we were off weaving used hairbands together and calling it art. Either way, this loom kit was a staple of my childhood, providing hours of tedious entertainment and literally drawers full of weird, stretchy potholders that my mom politely tolerated and occasionally used in private. If the loom calls to you, you can grab one at Walmart for under $5. Careful. Don’t spend it all in one place.

5. Blow Pens

Oh man. Blow pens. I don’t know about you, but I bugged my parents relentlessly for blow pens thanks to that insanely cool infomercial on Nickelodeon where they made sweatshirts and hats and other commodities far beyond my ten-year-old skill level. You don’t remember it? Here, let me take you back to 2001.

Can we just talk about that invisible ink? THE SECRETS I COULD TELL. You know, after I finish washing the spit off my hands, that is. You probably didn’t have $19.99 plus shipping and handling then, but you sure do now, you high-rolling adult. The complete set you always dreamed of for just $10.99 on eBay.

Just so you know, there are way more than five of these gems out there. I deliberately excluded Floam (because it smells weird and ew) and Marvin’s Magic Doodle Pad (because I literally could not make that amazingly cool fish from the ad to save my life, and yes, I’m still upset). Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your niece/nephew or your own kid, please let us live vicariously by sharing your craft projects below.

So, anyone planning to buy one and/or have used one recently?

21 90s Toys You Probably Forgot About

1. Pogs

2. Puppy Surprise

3. Gooey Louie

4. Tinkertoys

5. Moon Shoes

6. View Master

7. Perler Beads

8. Doodle Bear

9. Don’t Wake Daddy

10. Pin Art

11. Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time” Doll

12. Hoberman Sphere

13. Water Wiggler

14. Blow Pens

15. Socker Boppers

16. Betty Spaghetty

17. Crocodile Dentist

18. Koosh Ball

19. Critter Keychain Kit

20. Magna Doodle

21. Mouse Trap

So, how many did you have?

The One Where Laura Pierces Her Own Ear

Once upon a time, in a singularly angst-filled moment of spontaneity, a young maiden so decided to obtain a second ear piercing from an enchanted shoppe named Claire’s. I am she and yes – my definition of rebellion is an ultra tame piercing from a store that caters in Hello Kitty and Glee apparel. Haters gonna hate. Anyways, I was on the fence about the whole thing, staring through the Claire’s window like a pedophile.

How much was this going to hurt? Like shot-at-the-doctor or bullet-wound? But wait, should I really let pain deny me this rite of passage? Did I even want another piercing?

I probably looked like SNL’s Kaitlin at the mall…

Kaitlin

Seriously, you have to watch the video.

Then I saw a little five-year-old girl walk in with her mother. The worker hoisted her into the chair, threw on some gloves and shot two little diamonds effortlessly through her fatty earlobes. She didn’t bat an eyelash. Alright. If this toddler could muster up the courage, then so could I. I was a nineteen-year-old woman, dangit.

So I did it.

Yes, it hurt. Yes, I made her count to three. No, I didn’t cry (much). Still, it was the crowning glory of my freshman year. Those two little gold studs stood for independence, unbreakable autonomy, and untouchable sass. Word. I felt cool, I felt confident…

And then they grew shut.

Two and half years later, I couldn’t even wiggle a post halfway into that vanishing freckle of a hole. Totally lame, right? Try as I might, I could not shove that blunt post through my ear, and the sass started to slowly slip away. This would never do. I would simply have to repierce them.

Myself.

“Are you sure you don’t want to just go get them done at Claires again?” asked my roommate, Kasey. At least one of us has some sense.

“Positive. Why should I pay $20 for something I can do myself?”

Those are words to live by, folks – but not this day.

As any true 90s girl would do, I looked to The Parent Trap for inspiration.  Candle. Check. Needle. Check. Earring. Check. We decided to make one last-minute substitution: lemon out, almond soap bar in. Fortunately, one hole needed only the sharper end of the starter earring. Bam. Piece of cake.

Then came the right ear.

Our friend Andrew was in the living room, having no part of  my shenanigan. With my roommate staring in horror from the bathroom door (ready to hurl at any moment), I tried desperately to just shove that post through with raw, blunt force. No luck. I would have to use the needle. I ran the needle through the flame of my Paula Deen candle, Hallie Parker style, and poised to strike. Slowly, I pushed the needle’s point into the invisible opening. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Swollen and ticked off from previous attempts, my ear was having none of that. Defeat was inevitable.

“It’s okay,” said my roommate, walking away with a pat on the shoulder. “You can just have one second piercing. It will be cool.”

That did it.

Something snapped inside. Teeth gritted, muscles clenched, I shoved that needle all the way through.

With shaky, panic-stricken hands, I pulled the bloody needle out, grabbed the earring and shoved it in like a champ. My battle cry (i.e. choice words) flooded the apartment. Finally, after snapping the back into place, I zombie-marched into my roommate’s room – lifeless, void of emotion.

“Did you do it?!”

I just threw my arms in the air, Rocky style.

Rocky

“Good girl! You don’t look so good. Do you need a hug?”

I sort of crawled into this awkward fetal position hug. We stayed like that for a while, until the hot, throbbing of my ears demanded another dose of icing.

“Get this girl some painkillers!” cried Andrew, rushing around like some wartime medic.

After several varieties of painkillers (taken simultaneously, of course) I returned to the scene of the crime, pictured below. If you’re of the squeamish variety, you should just scroll to the end. Really. There’s a dash of blood.

photo (10)

It’s been three days now, so let’s skip to the Q and A portion, shall we?

Q: So tell us, Laura, was Annie Parker overreacting in the film?

A: If anything, she was under-reacting for the sake of PG.

Q: Are you sure you aren’t just a wuss?

A: No comment.

Q: Do you wish you had just gone back to Claire’s?

A: Sometimes, but then I remember I have an awesome story.

Q: Do you recommend this method to others?

A: NO. NO. NO. DO NOT VAN GOH YOUR EAR ON MY BEHALF.

Q: In the end, was it worth it?

A: Ask me in 3 months.

Q: Laura, you are just so brave. Can we get a picture?!

A: Absolutely!

photo (11)

The evil risk of infection had been overthrown by one foolishly courageous heart. Oh, how the people rejoiced! And so it was that the fair maiden and her glam-tastic golden studs lived happily ever after.

The End.

Boybandology

Believe it or not, there’s an entire branch of psychology dedicated to the study of boy bands. I started it this morning, and it’s called boybandology. To quote an online article I once read but can no longer find, “which boy band member you like says more about your personality than all the macaroni art you could ever make for your school psychologist.”  Word. This is the boybandology mission statement. By understanding  the five boy band archetypes below, the dedicated professionals of boybandology (me) hope you will come to better understand yourself. Enjoy.

The Rebel Without a Cause: To the horror of God-fearing mothers everywhere, young girls have been fawning over these poorly-tattooed, overly-pierced, wild childs since the dawning of pop. If this is your type, you’re destined for a thorny rose tramp stamp and a lip ring. Get used to it.

Some phases never should have happened.

What’s happening here, Chris?

Examples: AJ McLean, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey Fatone

The One You Always Forget: Everyone loves an underdog, especially one without a Wikipedia page. Like your crush, you tend to pass the spotlight on in favor of a more humble, forgettable existence. On the plus side, you won’t have to deal with paparazzi at your wedding.

Do you even know this guy's name? Exactly.

Do you even know this guy’s name? Exactly.

Examples: Justin Jeffre, Danny Wood, Howie Dorough

The Silent Mute: You know his name, you recognize his face, but you have never once heard his voice. Is that even possible? You like The Silent Mute because you’re a perpetually wound-up Chatty Cathy

I'm pretty sure he's only had one solo. Ever.

Pretty sure he’s only had one solo. Ever.

Examples: Jonathan Knight, Kevin Richardson

The Golden Boy: The star of the show and of your 5th grade notebook. Pursuing The Golden Boy means you’ve got a go big or go home attitude and you’re not afraid to show it (even if it means naming your firstborn Nick.) The forerunners of the Beliebers, these girls be cray.

Oh, Justin. You've come so far.

Oh, Justin. You’ve come so far.

Example: Justin Timberlake, Nick Carter, Nick Lachey, Justin Timberlake

The Consolation Prize: Second in popularity only to The Golden Boy, the Consolation Prize typically attracts just enough attention to score a spot on MTV while leading a perfectly normal life on the side. Choosing The Consolation Prize means you’re generally down to Earth, but you love to live large when opportunity knocks.

The less famous/hunky Lachey.

The less famous/hunky Lachey.

Examples: Brian Litrell, Lance Bass, Drew Lachey

It’s no secret that I always go for The Golden Boy, but which category do you fall under?

Was Doug Funnie a Racist?

I hereby call to order on this day, the fourth of June, the Council of Nineties Kids for the trial proceedings of a Mr. Douglas Funnie of Bluffington. Recently, I came across an article by the Huffington Post titled “Was ‘Doug’ and Its Central Character Doug Funnie Racist?” and couldn’t help but ponder the curious dilemma presented in the article. In a land full of green, purple, blue, and hot pink citizens, is it mere coincidence that the title character, his family, and love interest are the only white characters in the show? Below, I make cases both for and against this accusation in hopes that you, the jury, will have adequate evidence to pass a verdict.

Doug

Pro:

As the article correctly stated, Bluffington High School is a 100-count box of crayons, and Doug manages to seek out the only other member of the beige family for his long-term love interest. Blogger Wolf Gnards, in a 2009 post that sparked much of the Doug Funnie controversary, states that this discrimination serves as a subliminal racist gesture that only white characters deserve to be in the spotlight. Additionally, in the show’s eight-year history, Patti Mayonnaise never pursues romantic relations with any of Bluffington’s colorful crew.

Patti

Con:

Although Doug and his love interest may be the closest in hue, Patti Mayonnaise is clearly darker complected and could represent a different ethnicity altogether. Additionally, Doug Funnie’s mother (a title character) sports a pinkish hue with blue colored hair, like many of the other townspeople. Exectuive producer Doug Campbell defends the accusations by stating that the show’s key demographic was caucasian children, and like any other television show, production centered around a marketing component. He claims that creators attempted to dodge the issue of race altogether by creating a unique host of rainbow-tinted characters in addition to the Funnie family

Funnie Family

Now that the evidence has been presented, it’s time to pass a verdict. Doug Funnie: average kid or racist symbol? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to follow my blog for updates on this pressing case!

How to Get a Celebrity to Follow You on Twitter

Twitter

What is it about the rich and famous that draws us to them like a moth to a flame? It’s like we’re genetically wired for celebrity crushes. As any professional stalker can tell you, the objective is to be near the action but not close enough to catch the eye of Sven the beefy, Swiss body guard. The solution: social media.

There are no body guards of social media, which means there’s nothing separating you and your favorite celebrity (except the millions of miles between your cellular device, your provider’s satelitte dish spinning in space, and said celebrity’s cellular device.) Still, you get the point. So how do you do it? How do you get a celebrity to follow you on Twitter?

By following these 10 steps:

1. Follow them. (duh)

2. Tweet them.

3. Tweet them again.

4. Tweet them a third time.

5. Start tweeting them witty puns from their own songs/films.

6. Get your friends to tweet them.

7. Tweet them again.

8. Set up a Hootsuit account so you can schedule tweets while you sleep.

9. Tweet them in the morning.

10. Tweet them until your thumbs bleed, or they follow you.

Disclaimer: Your friends may disown you/unfollow you by the masses. Simply disregard this.

If they haven’t followed you by the end of the process, you may repeat steps 1-1o or find a new celebrity to fawn over. What authority am I, you ask, to preach on such a topic? I, friends, am the proud Twitter-friend of 90’s teen heart-throb Aaron Carter. Highlight of my Twitter career? No doubt. (90s pun intended)

Follow

If I can do it, so can you. Now you have the tools to achieve your creepy, celebrity stalker dreams without the Sven-factor. So go, future creepers! Go forth and get those follows!

P.S. I swear I’m not as creepy as I sound. I just really love the 90s and all things boy-band. Especially the Carters.

Dr. Mario

The Nostalgia Blog

With his busy plumbing career, his constant go-cart driving and frequent murder attempts on seemingly innocent turtles, you wouldn’t think Mario had time to go out and become a fully licensed physician. But he did. He probably would have done it earlier in life had he not wasted so much time rescuing Princess Toadstool from her many kidnappings. Mario, at some point you got to ask yourself: if this girl gets kidnapped this easy and often, maybe she shouldn’t be rescued? I mean do you want someone that dumb running a monarchy? Something to think about.

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You Might Be a 90’s Kid If…

It’s time to face the facts. There are a lot of 90’s kid imposters out there, but I’m not saying any names. *cough* The 1995-1999 batch. Being a 90’s kid is not simply about the year you were born. No, it is so much more. It is a culture, a lifestyle, a shared history. You could even call it a cult following.

So  how do you know? How do you weed out the authentic 90’s kids from the millenium babies? Fortunately, there are a few tell-tale signs.

You might be a 90’s kid if…

Skip It

You consider Skip It a cardio workout.

Pokemon Cards

You were dealing cards in the second grade. Pokecards, that is.

Mario Kart

You’ve ever taken a red shell for your best friend.

Goldeneye

Goldeneye N64 was your first shooter.

Are You Afraid of the Dark

You’re still afraid of the dark.

Polly Pocket

Your Polly Pocket doll actually fit in your pocket.

Slime

Getting slimed was ever on your bucket list.

Beanie Babies

You’re still waiting to strike it rich with your Beanie Babies collection.

Digipet

Your first brush with death was when you killed your digipet.

Super Saiyan

You ever tried to go Super Saiyan.

Lisa Frank

You dreamed of riding your Lisa Frank unicorn off into the sunset.

Furby

You still have a healthy fear of Furbys.

Lucky Rabbits Feet

You’ve ever taken your lucky rabbit’s foot to school on a test day.

Perler Beads

You still have scars from ironing perler beads and had no idea they were called perler beads.

Think I missed any crucial criteria? Feel free to add your own 90’s kid credentials in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow my blog for regular updates on new posts!

Ultimate Valentine’s Playlist

With just 7 days until Valentine’s Day, it’s time to start the preparations. Dust off your Nicholas Sparks collection and buy yourself a box (or two) of Russel Stovers. More importantly, it’s time to sift through your iTunes library in search of those sappy songs that melt your heart and trigger your gag reflex.

They’re the songs you love to hate, cheesy enough to make fondue. Whether you’ll be crying into a bottle of wine or getting down with your inner Barry White, nothing sets the mood like a Valentine’s playlist from those who know estrogen-targeted romance best: boy bands.  As an early Valentine’s gift from me to you, here’s a playlist of the best worst boy band love songs. If you think the songs are bad, just wait until you see the music videos. Click the pictures to see for yourself.

Note: This program contains toxic amount of sappy romanticism, which can lead to vomiting. Viewer discretion is advised.

song1

Title: I Swear

Artist: All-4-One

Year: 1994

song2

Title: I Do

Artist: 98 Degrees

Year: 2000

song4

Title: Little Things

Artist: One Direction

Year: 2012

son8

Title: One

Artist: Brian McKnight

Year: 2000

song6

Title: God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You

Artist: N*Sync

Year: 1998

song3

Title: Make Love to You

Artist: Boyz II Men

Year: 1994

song7

Title: I Knew I Loved You

Artist: Savage Garden

Year: 1999

I realize many of these are 90s boys bands, but what can I say? The boys of the 90s know what’s up. Men, come a little closer. We’re about to have a heart-to-heart. No matter what they tell you, all women love boy bands. It’s coded onto that second X chromosome. If you’re feeling romantic, why not serenade that special someone with a little boy band bliss? Oh, you sing like William Hung? In that case, stick with a mixed tape. It’s sweet; it’s sexy; it says “I love you like a love song,” and what’s better than that?

No matter what you have planned for the big day, make sure to leave a little one-on-one time with the boys of N*Sync, One Direction, and Savage Garden. Remember, they loved you before they even met you. That, friends, is what Valentine’s Day is all about.

The APS Epidemic

          In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve decided to post about a topic truly chilling, one that will leave your stomach churning and your skin crawling. Now, the things you will see and read in this blog are no laughing matter; In fact, 9 out of 10 scholars believe today’s topic could be the next universal epidemic (and by scholars, I mean my friends). Brace yourselves, loved ones, for the horror that is to be revealed. Shield the eyes of innocent children and steady the faint of heart, for the time has come for (ominous music chimes softly in the distance)…awkward childhood photos.

            We all have them. They’re the photos only Stevie Wonder could appreciate. Whether they are mounted not-so-proudly just above your fireplace or imprisoned in some air-tight storage bin in the garage, there’s no escaping them. Without invitation they slither out of their dusty slumber, devaluing years of meticulously-filtered Facebook photos. They strike without warning at the most inopportune times: family gatherings, birthday parties, throwback Thursdays, you name it. No occasion is safe.

            This past week I had the pleasure of reacquainting myself with a whole slew of childhood photos ranging from “Mullet Man Holding Cat” to “4×6 Acceptable” on the awkward photo scale. After close analysis and a pan of soul-searching brownies, the conclusion was clear. There is no cure to Awkward Photo Syndrome (APS). As long as cameras exist in this world, there will be an awkward child doing some awkward thing in some awkward way, and odds are, that child was you.

            “What do we do? How do we stop the madness?!” you cry desperately at your computer screen, having a meltdown that would embarrass even Bella Swan. Remember that time when your mom told you not to let that little boy from school bother you? You know, the one calling you “Gorilla Arms”? No? Huh, maybe that was just me… Though, really, is it my fault I was bestowed a snowy complexion with the arm-hair of an Italian mobster? Not that I’m still holding onto that. Obviously. Alright, back to the moral.

Cue Full House music.

            What I’m trying to say is, the only way to overcome those embarrassing memories is to embrace every last inch of your bowl-cut, brace-faced self. Whether you were an ignorant toddler or a socially confused tween, your awkwardness deserves to be cherished. Besides, you can only hide those photos for so long before they creep up unexpectedly like unwanted gas.

So raise your glass; cheers to us! May our awkwardness thrive as heartily as the Chia Pet, granting many years of embarrassingly photographed bliss. And cheers to the little girl in the collared Dalmatian sweater: may she forever look back with a warm heart on those short-cut bangs, frizzy curls, and her “I’d Rather Be Anywhere Else” smile.

Image

Note: Should you feel compelled to share an awkward photo of yourself, by all means do. I declare this domain an awkwardly awkward-loving zone.