INVITATION TO IMITATION
Oprah Winfrey's "favorite things" and the shopping discoveries in Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop newsletter are presented as must-haves for living the celebrity life. For us common folk, though, spending $60 on cherry pie that's eaten in an hour or an admittedly ridiculous $244 toothpaste squeezer (for people who want to get the most out of a $3 tube) is anything but practical. Not everyone has a bank account like Martha Stewart or Reese Witherspoon (newer to the lifestyle-maven scene), but that doesn't mean we can't have a little bit of luxe in our lives. Here are some affordable alternatives to celeb faves.
OPRAH'S FAVORITE: HESPERIDES GRAPEFRUIT BATH SET
Oprah says Hesperides' grapefruit-scented bath products smell "delicious." For $43 for a pair, they better make skin feel like butter.
ALTERNATIVE: MARIO BADESCU CITRUS BODY CLEANSER
At only $10, Mario Badescu Citrus Body Cleanser is actually a Martha Stewart pick -- take that, Oprah -- that contains refreshing grapefruit extract.
OPRAH'S FAVORITE: SKANDIA TALVI KNIFE BLOCK SET
Hampton Forge's Skandia Talvi knife set will make life easier, Oprah claims, but it will also set cooks back $150 for 13 steel knives.
ALTERNATIVE: UTOPIA KITCHEN KNIFE SET
For less than a third the cost ($46), Oprah enthusiasts can get a 12-piece solid-steel knife set with a distinctive acrylic stand. In reviews on Amazon, customers say the set is good quality for the price.
OPRAH'S FAVORITE: THOMAS KELLER'S AD HOC SALT CELLAR
That'll be $49, please, for a bamboo container filled with three types of high-end salt intended for fish, meat, and veggies. It bears the name of a celebrity chef and a pricey Napa Valley restaurant, which no doubt adds a considerable markup.
ALTERNATIVE: THE SPICE LAB PURE HIMALAYAN PINK CRYSTAL SALT
OPRAH'S FAVORITE: HAKUHO-DO + SEPHORA PRO BRUSH SET
Oprah says $148 buys "a great present for the woman who has everything": a makeup brush set hand-assembled by Japanese artisans.
ALTERNATIVE: ECOTOOLS LOVELY LOOKS GLAMOROUS GLOW SET
EcoTools makeup brushes are made with sustainable bamboo handles and recycled materials, so you can feel good about makeup application. They are also only $15.
GWYNETH'S PICK: BESPOKE LEATHER FOOTBALL
Gwyneth Paltrow recommends a $130 leather football because it can be monogrammed. We suppose that's a necessity for making sure such an expensive ball isn't lost during a game.
ALTERNATIVE: WILSON OFFICIAL GST LEATHER FOOTBALL
While a Wilson football is still pricey at $80, it's basically the same idea for less -- an old-school, genuine leather ball. (Reviewers note that leather makes it harder to grip a ball in the rain, so save it for sunny days.)
REESE'S CHOICE: DRAPER JAMES COTTON THROW
Reese Witherspoon's shopping site Draper James focuses on Southern style and living, but at plantation-owner prices. For example, a cotton throw goes for $128.
ALTERNATIVE: IKEA HENRIKA THROW
A lightweight beige throw from Ikea is only $17, cheap enough to get one for every room.
REESE'S CHOICE: HARRY BARKER PLAID LEASH
Reese suggests spending $28 on a plaid leash made of recycled plastic bottles. While that's admittedly not major bucks, frugal pet owners can think of better ways to spoil their furry friends.
ALTERNATIVE: PETCO COASTAL PET LIL' PALS NYLON LEAD
Save for other treats by picking up a plaid leash that's just as cute as Reese's pick but is on sale for less than $8. (Just keep in mind that this lightweight leash is best for small dogs.)
GWYNETH'S PICK: MACKAGE LEATHER LEGGINGS
It costs a pretty penny to emulate Gwyneth's wardrobe, so be prepared to drop $695 on leather leggings, declared to be the best pair Gwynnie and her team have seen.
ALTERNATIVE: HUE FAUX-LEATHER LEGGINGS
Get the trendy look for less with Hue faux-leather leggings for $48. True, they aren't real leather, but for some people that's a good thing.
GWYNETH'S PICK: HEMSLEY AND HEMSLEY SPIRALIZER
Turn mere vegetables into expensive spirals with a $65 machine that is a must-have for those who opt for vegetables disguised as pasta rather than let the real thing touch their lips.
GWYNETH'S PICK: JUNIPER BOOKS NEW YORK CITY GRAND CENTRAL SET
These coffee table books cleverly stack on their side to form an image from Grand Central Station, but at $650 for eight books, it's doubtful anyone will feel comfortable thumbing through one with a cup of tea and a snack. (Crumbs! Spills! Stains! Fingerprints!)
ALTERNATIVE: 'HUMANS OF NEW YORK'
"Humans of New York" is a New York Times best-selling coffee table book, based on a blog of the same name with millions of followers, that tells the life stories of everyday New Yorkers. For about $17, the book can be displayed proudly on a coffee table yet also browsed freely without concerns about disturbing a piece of décor.
MARTHA'S MUST-HAVE: MAGIMIX BY ROBOT-COUPE VISION TOASTER
Martha Stewart touts the Magimix by Robot-Coupe Vision Toaster, on sale for $250 at Williams-Sonoma. The clear sides allow a breakfast perfectionist to see how dark the toast is getting. It's billed as a gift for a graduate.
ALTERNATIVE: OSTER 4-SLICE TOASTER OVEN
An Oster toaster oven likewise lets users see the toast while it's toasting and fits in a small space, such as a recent grad's apartment. At $30, parents can wrap it up for a graduate and give the difference between this toaster and Martha's in cash. Let's face it -- that's what grads really need anyway.