The (non) Definitive Gift Guide for Roller Derby 2016

By December 8, 2016Blog, Gift Guide

I want to be Oprah.

Not all of the time. I mean, her life must be crazy. But there is one, very specific, time of the year when I wish whole-heartedly that I could be her.

Any guesses as to which day?

Me: (in my best Oprah voice) It's OPRAH'S FAVORITE THINGS!!

Me: (in my best Oprah voice) It’s OPRAH’S FAVORITE THINGS!!

First of all, being surrounded by that amount of noise and enthusiasm has to mirror — at least a little — what winning the Superbowl or World Series or Hydra must feel like. Do I want to be followed around by women screaming and crying hysterically all the time? Fuck no. But for 60 minutes, one day a year? I imagine it’s hilarious.

Second, giving shit away to people is one of the best feelings in the world. The saying “Tis better to give than receive” exists for a reason, especially around the holidays. Being the architect of that amount of wonder and joy for a hundred people has to be pretty incredible.

Lastly, when I fall in love with something (a product, a living creature, an inanimate object), I want to shout it from the mountaintops. What better way to force someone else to love something you love than by giving it to them?


Hey, I’m just going to casually give you this thing I fell in love with. You’ll love it too. You better. I know where you live.

Perhaps I’ve taken poetic license with Oprah’s personality. Maybe. Probably not.

Unfortunately for both of us, I can’t send all of the things that are making my life easier/more awesome to you. However, in the spirit of the season — and with the monster of gift-giving breathing down your neck — I wanted to tell you (Oprah voice) PRIME’S FAVORITE THINGS!!!

(WAIT! Before we continue, here’s a disclaimer related to any products that I tell you about. Basically, I might receive money/swag/tea/books/sexual favors/etc. for any links you click on and/or purchase from this blog post. But I also might not. It’s a crap shoot. Heads up!)

I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to receiving gifts, but these are the things that are currently changing my life. In small ways and big ones:


I can never find leggings that stay up. It’s a curse, it seems. I’ve been on a bit of a search to find leggings that are less problematic. Which landed me here.

I like leggings, but I’m also cheap as fuck so Old Navy was my first stop. I bought 2 pairs of the high-waisted workout leggings and they’re pretty great. They sit slightly under the band of my bra (See? High-waisted.) which means they have more to grab onto before they slide off completely.

So far I’ve tried them:

  • during yoga — DID NOT BUDGE ONCE
  • weight lifting — 2-3 ADJUSTMENTS NEEDED
  • sprinting — 8-10 ADJUSTMENTS NEEDED

They are definitely not perfect, but I have to adjust them much, much less and I don’t think about them as frequently either.

My only suggestion is to be picky about your sizing. I probably should have gone down a size and would have had to adjust them even less. If you can swing it, I’ve also heard good things about the high-waisted leggings from Onzie, but haven’t tried them myself.


Graphic t-shirts that just have phrases on them are so hot right now.

I jumped on the bandwagon over at Buy Me Brunch and bought a sweatshirt that says “Sunshine + Fuckin Rainbows” because that’s basically my modus operandi. Only because I’m assuming the shirt speaks my native language fluently: SARCASM.

While the message is rad, it’s actually become one of my favorite sweatshirts just because it fits well and is super comfortable. Buy your boss a “Surprise I’m Drunk” t-shirt or workout in a “Sleeves are Bullshit” tank top.

What could possibly go wrong?


Don’t worry. I’m not going to sell you on breathing in Tea Tree Oil to detoxify your face holes. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that diffusers and essential oils have become ubiquitous. Throw a rock and you have a high chance of hitting someone that you know that sells them.

Regardless of what you think they do (or do not do), they DEFINITELY work to make your house smell good. I do like it when stuff smells good. And, with a toddler in the house, hot wax and flames are persona non grata.

That’s where diffusers come in. I have several:

  • one I bought at the spa (that’s right, I have a spa)
  • one I bought from an essential oil MLM
  • one that I got for Christmas last year

This one is my favorite. Mostly because it’s toddler tested and mom approved. #autotot loves all the colors and I love the fact that this one isn’t as easy to remove the lid from. It means fewer moments of “Well shit, that water just spilled everywhere.

I personally buy most of my essential oils from Young Living, but I don’t think it matters too much where you get them from. My go-to good smells are cedarwood and lavender in bedrooms and peppermint and orange in the kitchen. Smells can go either way for me (meaning a particular smell can trigger a migraine) so I don’t experiment much. But there are a million different oils out there to mess around with.

BONUS BENEFIT: Peppermint oil might help increase your exercise performance. Studies show that you can gain athletic benefits from ingesting it or breathing it in.


The holidays are a perfect time to plan your sports watching for the rest of the year BECAUSE THE SALES ARE ON!

Most major roller derby tournaments are preparing to (or have already) started selling tickets at a discount. You can grab tickets to The Big O or start planning your 2018 travel to Manchester to watch The Roller Derby World Cup.

Are you more into doing than watching? You can already pick up tickets to RollerCon or certain dates of Camp Elite in the new year. If the event/camp you want to attend hasn’t announced ticket sales yet, keep watching. Lots of great tickets with lots of great prices open up between now and the end of the year.


Let’s face it, roller derby skaters are suckers for things that act as badges of honor. Something that might indicate where they skate, what position they play, where they’ve been, etc. etc. etc.

With this (and your budget) in mind, here’s a list of rad places to get cutesy shit for your derby family:

I don’t own any of these things myself, but I consistently drool on them from afar. I’m counting on living vicariously through you and your cutesy shit.


I have the world’s worst acne.

That’s possibly hyperbolic, but also possibly true. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve tried everything to get my acne under control. With the move and the holidays, my entire face is basically Mt. St. Helens early morning May 18, 1980.

While scanning through the droves of face crap I’ve already tried — Proactiv, Murad, Clarisonic, Accutane, montly facial peels, etc. — I stumbled across a website called Curology. I’m still in the early stages of the process, but so far I’m cautiously optimistic that this will work. And if it doesn’t, they’ll tweak the formula.

You just have to fill out a questionnaire, send in embarassingly gross pictures of said pizza face, and chat with a dermatologist about ways to help mitigate your face volcanoes. It’s given me the most hope I’ve had in a long time for managing my acne. I can’t wait to get the prescription.


Books are always my go-to gift when:

  1. I don’t know the person very well.
  2. I know the person really well.
  3. The person is a person.
  4. Books.

My favorite books from the past year are legion. I read a ton. And I’m always looking for new recommendations to read and notch into my bedpost.

If you’re planning buying a book for your derby crew, make it a whole thing and join the Roller Derby Book Club. This month the book is The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. And new books related to derby mindset, coaching, training, or other will be chosen each month.


What gifts have made the biggest impact on you during the holidays? Post them below or head over to Facebook and join the conversation. I’m always looking for new things to drool over from afar!

Want more?

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About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

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