Hey there, fellow parents of teenage daughters! Are you ready for the ultimate challenge? No, we’re not talking about math homework or sex ed. We’re talking about finding the perfect birthday gift for your teenage daughter.
My “bundle of happiness” has her 14th birthday coming up in the next few weeks. (Something I’m pretty sure you may have heard about, considering she has told every perfect stranger and coffee barista from here to Timbuktu…..)
I don’t know how the teens roll in your home, but in mine, from the moment the calendar ticks over to February 1, the screenshots, messages, emails and social media dm’s arrive with a fury.
Feb 1 marks the point where it is exactly 44 days until my daughter’s birthday.
Not an extreme amount of time at all.
A month out, makes sense to me. A month out in my eyes, is ample time to curate the perfect selection of gifts that will make this birthday, “the best one everrrrr!”
But alas, we are not talking about a level-headed, straight forward grown up here. We are talking about my devil-spawn, hormonal, emotional, volatile, temperamental, sweet cherub that I bum-wiped, rocked, patted, burped, coo-ed at, from the moment she was yanked out of me.
This kid has demands. This kid has high expectations. This kid has lists.
And screen shots. Of every single product that has trended on TikTok, that naturally she wants for her birthday.
So, being the crazy-busy lady that I am, a few days before the “birthday” (because of “shipping…”), I scoured the internet and put together a list of top gift ideas that I hope will make my daughter smile, no matter how much she tries to hide it behind her Mr Winston Hoodie!
As not only a woman in the tech biz, but as a parent, I am truly grateful for the internet in so many ways. But it’s the ease that online shopping gives me that is the absolute cherry on top.
I remember back when if you needed to buy a gift for someone, you had to haul your butt out to the nearest mega shopping center, (In the olden days…!). For me that is Chadstone. Also known as “The Fashion Capital”.
Chadstone is the largest shopping center in Australia.
It’s also the place where I got my start in the workforce as a wide-eyed 16-year-old, who had BIG dreams of BIG employee discounts…..
I have spent more hours in Chadstone in my life than I have probably anywhere else. I have seen the center through the eyes of a parent, frantically maneuvering a double pram around Target whilst apologizing to mannequins that I accidentally bowled over.
I have also seen the center through the eyes of a retail worker, watching the seconds on the shop analogue clock, slowly ticking down to the moments the store must be opened on Boxing Day; all the while being filled with dread about the impending arseholery that will be thrust upon each and every casual worker who is just there to save enough money until they can get a plane ticket for their European gap-year. (Some great stories, I will share in another blog post!)
Flouncing around Chadstone with a teenager in tow, is a whole different beast.
If you are the type of mother who loves aimlessly wandering in and out of stores, with the soundtrack on repeat of “can I have…?” and being forced to stand and wait for an agonizingly long period of time at the bubble tea stand, because your daughter cannot decide which popping pearl goes with the lychee sugar tea, then I applaud you.
I am not that mother.
When it comes to a visit to Chadstone with my teens, I give myself a pat on the back for successfully instilling in them a hatred of ‘shopping with mum”. I have single-handedly altered what could be a “bonding with the teenagers” experience and morphed it into one of those memories that my children will never let me forget about when we are all old and sitting around the family dinner table with our grandchildren.
I’m sure if you asked any of my children about the experience, they could recite verbatim my “we’re off to Chaddy” speech.
“I am not buying any meaningless shit from random stores”.
“We will not be going into Kmart; I don’t have time to spend looking for more crap that clutters your bedroom”.
“And under NO circumstances are we getting McDonald's, I don’t care how short the line is, it’s NOT happening.
“I hope you brought your own pocket money, because your mum isn’t a billionaire, yet.”
“If you guys’ fight, scream, yell, push, shove, poke, prod, or even grease each other off while we are there, we are going straight home”.
“The plan is this: I need to go to Mecca, Target and then quickly grab something for dinner. You can go off by yourselves if you stay together, but if you are not ready to leave when I am, then you find your own way home”.
I could tell you all the common sayings that come out my mouth when we are actually at Chadstone, but it’s really just me saying “no” repeatedly, with a side splashing of “for fucks sake” (sometimes, said under my breath..)
The fact that I can now shop online for everything and anything I need or want, brings me the greatest pleasure.
As mentioned earlier, a few nights before the birthday, I sat on the couch with my glass of rose and my laptop. I had all the SMS’s, emails, dm’s and screenshots of the items my daughter curated in front of me, and I went to town, furiously deleting the crazy shit that made its way onto her list.
She had categories. So many categories.
I am going to share with you some of these items, and I’ve added links to the places you can purchase them. It’s not that all of them are unreasonable gift ideas, it’s just that my child seems to believe that I poop $100 bills and will buy everything she sent me, because it’s her birthday!
(Hey, just so you know, I’m like a secret agent with links to a bunch of cool online shops that I share both in Suggesterfy and on the blog. If you click on one of those links and end up buying something, I get a sweet commission from the retailer. So basically, you get to buy awesome stuff and I get to make some extra cash. Which when you see this list, you will understand my need to earn every extra dollar I can!)
Teenagers love technology. They don’t know a world without it. So no suprise here that the list was full of tech items!
“The Instax Mini 11 is a popular instant camera that’s great for capturing memories with friends. It has a compact size and a built-in flash, making it easy to use in any lighting situation.”
Shop Here: https://amzn.to/3yhn1Ff
Let’s be fair, if anyone should be getting these bad boys, it’s me! I live with 3 children, a golden retriever and a husband. I need a noise-cancelling lifestyle!
“For the music lovers, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are a top-of-the-line choice. They have excellent sound quality and noise-cancelling capabilities, making them perfect for studying or traveling.”
Shop Here: https://amzn.to/3YkTRzC
What a surprise a vlogging kit made its way onto her list. I’m told this is ESSENTIAL if my daughter is to be successful as a “You-Tuber” or have her own podcast!
I figure if I can get the noise-cancelling headphones for myself, this may not be so bad!
The day has arrived when the world has officially gone mad. It’s clearly become so cumbersome for a person to have to physically tap their phone to like a post, and even worse to have to swipe! So, some entrepreneurial smarty-pants invented this contraption. A remote control you wear like a ring that saves you from the hardships of navigating TikTok.
If this remote control ring came with diamonds and had the ability to shut a person up from across a room, I would buy shares in the company!
Shop Here: https://ebay.us/2eE5UR
How many times I try to get in touch with my “lost” teenager, only to be told, “my phone ran out of battery”! I have bought so many chargers in my phone-using life, but this is the one that comes recommended to me from the Suggesterfy Searchers.
Teens are always on their phones, and the Anker PowerCore Portable Charger ensures they never run out of battery. This compact charger can charge most smartphones up to 2.5 times on a single charge.
If you have a teenager, then you have TikTok. Whether we parentals like it or not, it’s the one social media app that is a stalwart obsession that we just need to make friends with.
If you have a business of any form, you need to be present on TikTok. If you are an “influencer”, you are on TikTok. If you want to increase your brand awareness for your product or service, you gotta be on TikTok.
The hashtag, #tiktokmademebuyit, has a whopping 45.2 BILLION, yes, BILLION, views.
You can check it out here: https://www.tiktok.com/tag/TikTokMadeMeBuyIt
So if you are wondering why your 13-year-old daughter is all of a sudden asking you for the Dior Addict Lip Glow (insert link), it’s because it’s a product that’s been trending on TikTok.
Naturally this goop made it onto the list of beauty items that my daughter wants for her birthday. However, I cannot understand why any child (especially one that lives in a hoodie and clocks up days without fresh air, because of, TikTok?!), needs to have a $62 dollar lip oil?
I am a former make-up artist, and I love my beauty products, maybe more than the average woman who lives in activewear, but when I was 13, a trusty pot of Blistex did the job of “deeply protecting and enhancing the lips, lastingly bringing out their natural color”.
So, what else do you think was on this list? Well, if you are interested to see what else are the “must have” items, spruiked by TikTok’s finest video-makers, check out the list below.
I have this and use it, daily. It’s my go-to palette when I can’t be bothered matching a make-up look to whatever I’m wearing. It’s also my “palette of choice” when I travel because you can create natural looks and evening looks all with the one product.
Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palettes are a popular choice for teens who love makeup. They have a range of neutral shades that can be used for both day and night looks.
Skin that is dewy and glowing makes me happy. I personally pay my Botox lady a handsome amount to ensure that my skin is “free from fine lines”. But why in the funny farm, does my 13-year-old child need a product to give her “glowing and youthful” skin??????
SHE IS 13!!!! SHE STILL HAS YOUTHFUL AND GLOWY SKIN!!!!
(And another thing, why would she need a product that promises to give her a “Hollywood Flawless Filter”, when I don’t think she has taken a photo in 3 years, without a filter applied??)
Either way, it’s actually a great product that I shall be adding-to-cart for myself!
WHAT MAKES IT MAGIC?
• 96% agree Hollywood Flawless Filter gives skin a real-life filter
• 100% agree skin looks GLOWING!
• 99% agree skin looks more YOUTHFUL!
Shop Here: https://www.shopper.com/p/ZI9t/r
This angled stone, usually made out of crystal, bone or horn, is used to scrape the skin on the face to promote blood flow and energy redirection. This product comes out of the rising popularity in Korean and Chinese beauty that has been featured all over Instagram, and of course TikTok.
“Boasting claims of bright, improved skin, as well as a ‘natural facelift,’ the tool has been plucked out of the history books and onto the top shelves of beauty obsessives everywhere.”
Yah, ok. My kid isn’t getting this. As I always yell before we go to Chadstone, ““I am not buying any meaningless shit from random stores”. And this one will most certainly add clutter to her bedroom!
Shop here: https://www.shopper.com/p/Xwzy/r
This product has been around since 1971. Since before they were even swimmers in their dad’s ball sacks. The reason for its popularity?
“It appears to be a goth-like dark stain, but the second you slick it on your lips, it transforms into a sheer veil that makes everyone’s lips look amazing”.
The claims are all true. It really is the “little black dress” of your make-up bag. Even for those who don minimal make-up when they go out to dinner, slicking this puppy on gives a very effortless, “I was born this way” look.
This small bottle is akin to the fountain of youth. Or at least it must have the tears of Jesus himself inside because it is always sold out. Everywhere.
I doubt that there are that many women out there who have suffered so horrifically from the effects of pollution on their face to explain why this product flies off the stores shelves as soon as it’s unpacked, but any product that you can add to your morning face moisturizer that gradually makes me look like I’ve been to Hawaii, has me sold.
As a mad-tan-fan, I have always used the Isle of Paradise Face Drops, (https://amzn.to/3LgDL7o ) to give me “tha glow”, so I have bought these to see if they are similar in results.
(I’m starting to realise that my daughter’s birthday list is actually my lust-list….)
or here: https://www.shopper.com/p/NSXh/r
Zits and teens go together like gin with tonic. At some point your fresh-faced cherub will have an erupting, cheesy zit, and it will probably be right before school pictures or some other important life-defining moment.
I picked up a pack of these whilst deep in a iherb.com rabbit hole. To be honest I didn’t think my daughter would actually use them but they ended up on her beauty list!
This product is the greatest lust-have to hit Amazon in ages. Apparently now we need an overnight lip mask as a part of our nightly beauty routine.
“A global best-selling overnight lip mask that maximises hydration for a smooth and supple pout.”
With flavors like “gummy bear” and “sweet candy”, I can see why the kids want this. But before I purchase this for my daughter, I want to know who she is kissing that demands a “smooth and supple pout”!?
I think it’s hilarious that this brand is trending all over the place when I have been using it for years! The Bum Bum Cream is a thick body butter type of cream, perfect for when you need to moisturize to maintain a spray tan, and even better when you have a sunburn. I’m a huge fan. I’m also obsessed with their lip balm.
I’ll be buying my daughter this for the scent alone!
This is another one of my fave products. I was given one of these as a gift from a good friend who worked in the hair industry. The promise behind this hair turban is that it dries hair superfast and somehow leaves your hair 5 times stronger than traditional drying methods. It’s also said to be engineered to reduce frizz.
I’m not sure about the major claims behind the manufacturing, but I do find it does get all the moisture out of my hair before I blow wave it, which saves me time.
My daughter put this on her list because she has thick, curly hair. And I won’t let her borrow mine!
A Mason Pearson this is not. But it has achieved cult-status online, and for good reason.
They say it “Glides Through Tangles; Minimizes Pain; Protects Against Breakage; Less Detangling Damage”.
They were right.
I bought one of these purely because I needed a new hairbrush, and it actually does brush through wet hair very easily. As far as minimizing pain goes, unless you are being whacked in the head with the brush, I can’t say brushing hair is such a painful process. But if it gets my daughter to keep her hair neat for school then it’s a good edition to the list!
*I suppose it’s easy to see where my daughter gets her love of beauty products from…. So I’m gonna say in the beauty category, mum wins over TikTok!
Teen fashion is a thing that we don’t understand. Our mothers before us didn’t understand it either. For those of us over the age of 30, we can be thankful that we walked around looking like fluorescent hobos in a time where a fashion faux pas couldn’t go viral.
Our kids, they are not so lucky.
Every outfit they wear, they post. And unlike us elder-folk, who discovered fashion trends from the pages of Seventeen Magazine, or Cleo Magazine, our kiddos get their inspo from, you guessed it, TikTok!
I’ll admit that when I finished icing my wrist from the RSI I developed (from the amount of scrolling through my daughter’s birthday fashion list), I absolutely culled and deleted a myriad of the inspo she sent me.
It’s not that she has bad taste, it’s that I cannot stand so much of the stuff that teens are wearing these days. Not everything was horrendous, so here are some of the items that I didn’t delete….yet!
These are major among the Aussie girl gangs. And they have a great brand story. Poppy Lissiman is a Western Australian designer who launched her apparel brand but then moved into the exciting world of accessories.
All the bags are exclusively made using faux leather materials which are cruelty-free with no animal parts.
“In recent years, the brand has also incorporated rPET fabric made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastics, otherwise destined for landfill into most of the handbags and opting for recycled acetate options for many of the sunglasses styles.”
So the brand is sustainable and good for the animals and the planet, and also has a lot of accessories that have really fun prints and vibrant colours.
I don’t hate it.
Everyone knows Peter Alexander Pyjamas. Any self-respecting teenage girl going to a sleepover just has to have a pair of these for the bed-cred.
I’m not one who enjoys sleeping in silk, but I think perhaps that’s because I’m in the age bracket where I get the mysterious morning outcome of having sweated through my sheets!?
But the youngens, they love them. (*A word of advice from my mum to you — wash the bright colours away from the whites…. You have been warned.)
If I had seen these tops when I was a teen, I would have lost my mind! They come in so many fun colours and I would have been positive that if I had worn one, I would have looked exactly like the model in the picture!
“Driven by our shopping addictions and love for fashion, we knew opening a one-stop-shop would make online shopping sprees that little bit easier. He and She caters for EVERYONE and we are always looking to expand our products to bring you all the latest trends.”
I had never heard of Kendra Scott before I saw all of this on the birthday list. So I decided to do a background check on the brand and see why it’s such a big deal on TikTok.
It turns out, the business was a start-up by a fellow mum. She started the business after the birth of her son and the brand has a major focus on positivity and philanthropy. In fact a portion of their annual sales directly supports women and youth in the areas of health & wellness, education, and entrepreneurship.
“Through the use of natural materials, including genuine stone and shell, we create quality, affordable luxury products that make fashion and its trends truly accessible.”
“Shine Bright, Do Good. Every Kendra Scott purchase supports women and youth causes.”
My verdict is that if our daughters are going to follow trends they find on social media, then this is a brand they should feel proud to support.
This is another “teenage girl” wardrobe staple that I hadn’t heard of. I really like the style of this skirt. I like relaxed, easy-to-throw-on fashion.
The Venroy brand is Australian Owned and started in Bondi, which is fitting given that all the clothes look like they would be easy to wear either on Bondi Beach, or in one of the café’s close by.
“Venroy makes clothes to elevate everyday life through light-hearted escapism. While styles vary by season, all collections are guided by the ineffable sense of freedom that comes with travel.”
Whilst I find the above “about us” completely wanky (and I had to fix the spelling mistakes between the copy and paste from the website to blog), I do live to travel. And I buy most of my clothes with the ideal of if I can wear it while travelling, or if it can be packed while travelling.
If my daughter likes the clothes Venroy have, then I can support it!
For those of us who have survived the “Mr Winston” phase, closely followed by the “White Fox” phase, seeing Champion on the list is a welcome addition.
Who doesn’t love a hoodie? They are comfy, keep you warm, hide your midriff…. A hoodie is the gift that keeps on giving.
“Champion hoodies are a popular choice for teens who want comfortable and stylish loungewear. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and are perfect for lazy days at home or running errands.”
Just like a hoodie, I loves me a sneaker. The day that sneakers crossed over from sportswear to streetwear and beyond, was the day I hung up my stilettos.
I like Nike, and I like their Air Jordans. I prefer a Nike Blazer.
“What’s a Nike Blazer Mum?”, asked my daughter.
Clearly unless Michael Jordan’s name is attached to the sneaker, Nike’s entire sneaker line is not desired by the TikTok generation. I find this hilarious given that most of these kids who live for these kicks, were not alive pre-2003, when Michael Jordan hung up his jersey.
Ahhh, dear sweet active wear, how you know my loyalty. I remember the day Lululemon opened up their flagship Chapel Street store in Melbourne. They had complimentary yoga classes, and so many variations of comfortable, sweat-wicking items, that promised to “support me during my toughest workout”.
I wasn’t purchasing Lululemon gear to sweat in, I was buying it to do my supermarket shopping in. So promise me the world, I didn’t care. The line of garments were comfy, washed well and never gave me even the outline of a camel-toe. I want my kid to know the freedom that these leggings give you.
Consider this gift wrapped.
“Lululemon is a popular brand among teens, and the Align leggings are a favorite. They’re made with a buttery-soft fabric that’s both comfortable and flattering.” https://amzn.to/3STogDY
If you are still engaged in reading this blog, you may think that my daughter is getting everything I have listed here. I can assure you she isn’t. But her list has opened up my eyes to a whole lot of new brands that I never would have known about, if not for her birthday.
Some of the items she has selected are way too expensive for a teenagers birthday. Some are just really great items, but she doesn’t need them as she probably has so many similar items already taking up space in her wardrobe. And some are just downright, bat shit crazy.
What is with these kids and fancy water bottles??? If you are thirsty, you get a drink. Who cares what the bottle of hydration looks like?
The teens care. They care a lot.
“The Hydro Flask Water Bottle is a trendy and functional accessory for any teen. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes, and can keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours.”
Again. The fancy drink bottle phase.
When all of my kids asked me if I could buy them Frank Green drink bottles, I thought they had been eating mushrooms they found at the dog park.
I thought Frank Green was the old man mows all the neighbours lawns.
“Frank Green isn’t a person, it’s a philosophy.” So says their website.
I wanted to learn more about this Brand, that was taking over school playgrounds all over Australia.
I found some interesting information.
“Today, frank green exists to create sustainable solutions to the single-use plastic problem. we make beautifully designed and innovative products that people love to use, over and over and over again. Because all kids deserve to feel like huckleberry fin. by using frank green products, we will create a future where they can.”
(source: https://frankgreen.com.au/pages/about )
At first I thought, “another great company, setting a great example for our children”……
But something didn’t smell right to me. Other than the offensive use of only lower-case letters used on the Frank Green website, I couldn’t stop looking at the very large photo of their Founder. Who may be an amazing person. But he is wearing a very obvious Polo Ralph Lauren Shirt in his “Founder’s Photo”.
What’s wrong with Polo Ralph Lauren?
Nothing at all. I love their clothes. My husband and son look super-handsome in their Polo gear.
But my husband and son do not profess to be “planet-saving-warriors”.
Polo Ralph Lauren is far from a sustainable, planet-saving, future-proofing company, an image the company Frank Green seem to be chasing.
“This company was one of the “Fashion Fifteen” implicated in the report for irresponsibly sourcing tree-based fabrics such as rayon and viscose. Polo Ralph Lauren was involved in the notorious Saipan sweatshop case where 30,000 garment workers on US territory were abused over the course of ten years.”
(Source: The Ethical Consumer Group: The Ethical Consumer Group is a community based, not-for-profit organisation and network, set up to help facilitate more sustainable purchasing practices for the everyday consumer. They are based in Australia)
Make of this hypocrisy what you will…..
This edition to the birthday wish list made me laugh my head off!
The very child who I have spent 13 years screaming at to “go brush your teeth!!!”, was asking me for a water pistol for her teeth crevices.
But if she decided that now is the time to prioritise her oral health, then I must be a supportive parent!
Of all the insane shit that any of my kids have asked me for in their history of birthdays, this one takes the cake.
I was alive and well in the era of “The Abdomenizer”, I may have even bought “Billy Blanks’ TaeBo” exercise videos, I know my mum had a “Thighmaster”, and we all weighed up if we preferred having “Buns of Steel” or a “Body By Jake”. But this weighted hula hoop horseshit is by far and away the stupidest fad I have had the pleasure of seeing.
Even though I won’t be buying this contraption, I would love to hear from anyone who has joined the “hooping revolution”, because I have so many questions!
“Two in one Fitness and Massage — These smart hula hoops can not only use up body fat quickly but also achieve an ideal figure. When the hula Rings hoop is rotating quickly, the soft rubber massage heads (including magnetic therapy disks) deeply massage your muscles, helping you burn fat quickly and eliminating fatigue. In particular, it is particularly useful for postpartum waist training, after long periods of sitting in an office and when your physical fitness levels are low.”
The teenagers birthday is right around the corner.
I have ordered the gifts; I have bought the gift-wrap.
I have told her siblings to make her a nice card, so she feels loved.
I am confident she will be thrilled with some of the items she unwraps. I am also confident she will look at me with a questionable face that will say “but where are the rest of the items I sent you?”
If nothing else, my angel, my baby, my almost 14-year-old daughter will have an amazing birthday. She will learn that through her birthday-gift-list research, that she has educated her old mum, and shown me that if I want to understand the cryptic mind of a teenager, I need to get on TikTok!
*It took me a lot of time to find each and every product on this list. Had I used Suggesterfy, I could have just asked my trusted network what gifts they would give to a teenager. It would have been much faster and I would have been given hundreds more ideas!
Suggesterfy is a social discovery app for sharing suggestions and recommendations with your trusted network. It’s available for download on IOS and Android.
*And if you want to check out even more of the products that Suggesterfy Suggests, check out our Shopper Store: https://www.shopper.com/Suggesterfy