Something we run up against occasionally as an online magazine that’s been around a long time is that there’s something we want to publish that doesn’t quite slide into our existing coverage framework.


So we’re starting a new product vertical! Here you’ll be able read about some of the fun stuff we’re sent (usually by publicity companies we work with in other areas who are excited about a new cross-over promotion) and some things we discover ourselves and really want to tell you about. We’ll link to this vertical from the travel branch when recommending items we think make life a lot easier and from our entertainment branches when there’s a fun tie-in. Home Entertainment reviews will continue to be published on the TV and Film branches.


All opinions will continue to be relentlessly our own.


So,  to get this new project started, we’re highlighting a couple of products we’ve been sent in the past few months that we think make for fun Easter presents or just generally Spring-y gifts if you’re not Easter people.


First is something that made us laugh a lot- Jelly Belly Stress Balls! Yes, you read that right. They’re absurd and their absurdity doubles their effectiveness because not only do they give you something to help take out your frustration but they’ll break then tension by making you laugh. Why is this a thing? Who knows, but they’re charming. I will admit however that, as a stress eater, I’m not actually crazy about the smell factor. The last thing I need when stressed is to be reminded of how much I like Jelly Bellies. I guess that’s good marketing ’cause it will 100% make me want to buy Jelly Bellies but I thought I should warn you. That said, if you are trying to stay away from candy gifts but are wanting to keeping your candy-centric Easter branding on point, it’s a good solution for a basket gift.


Also in the bright, cheery, candy-coloured camp is the new line of products from Rainbow Brite. For the character’s 40th Anniversary, a new line of toys and accessories is being released that brings the character closer to her original child-like design and emphasizes the playfulness of her style. The full line has a lot of focus on accessories like purses and backpacks but the products we were sent to take a look at are a very sweet plush doll with oldschool yarn hair, a small figurine, and some collectible buttons. The latter two feel mostly appropriate for that particular kind of adult who’s really into a franchise from their childhood, not really our jam, but the doll is kind of great. Suggested only for kids three and up (I assume in case younger kids try chewing on it), the doll is the exact blend of dress-up and play-with-able but cozy and hold-able that I loved most as a kid. The franchise is coded pretty feminine and I don’t think has a particularly inspiring history of embracing progressive values but the new releases seem primed for co-opting as a Pride symbol and fun franchise for LGBTQIA+ youth. Or non-LGBTQIA+ youth, frankly; please give this doll to your boys and teach them that 1) things coded feminine aren’t beneath them and 2) there’s a world beyond blue.