The 20 Products Mental Floss Readers Loved Most in 2018

iStock.com/LeszekCzerwonka
iStock.com/LeszekCzerwonka

Mental Floss loves to surface the coolest, weirdest, most delightful products available online. We put together reviews, lists, and gift guides full of the best stuff available on Amazon, Kickstarter, and elsewhere in the hopes that our readers—that's you!—will enjoy those products just as much as we do. In the past year, we've recommended items like sushi-shaped pushpins, a shockingly well-reviewed $95 mattress, smart planners, and more.

Some of these products proved especially popular with our audience. Below are the 20 products Mental Floss readers enjoyed (and purchased) the most in 2018.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts

A pop-up paper version of Hogwarts
Insight Editions, Amazon

While you're waiting on your acceptance letter from the greatest wizarding school in history and fantasizing about which house the Sorting Hat might choose for you, get familiar with the Hogwarts campus with this 3D pop-up guide to the castle and grounds, which we wrote about in August 2018. Once you finish flipping through this book, check out designer Matthew Reinhart's other 3D works, including pop-up guides to the worlds of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more.

Find it on Amazon for $35.

2. Harry Potter Funko Advent Calendar

A Harry Potter-themed advent calendar
Funko, Amazon

As you might be able to tell, there are few entertainment franchises Mental Floss readers love more than Harry Potter. Between late October and December, readers bought more than 150 of Funko's Harry Potter advent calendars, which capture the expansive wizarding world in an adorably bite-sized fashion. Instead of chocolates, behind each door is a miniature Funko Pop! figure inspired by JK Rowling's beloved characters. But remember, it does not do to dwell on dreams—so if you want to get your hands on this bestseller for 2019, you should grab it early before it sells out.

Find it on Amazon for $63.

3. Pimple Pete Game Presented by Dr. Pimple Popper

The cover of the Pimple Pete board game shows zits popping out of an illustrated face
Spin Master Games, Amazon

Depending on what kind of person you are, this new board game from Mental Floss's favorite dermatologist, Dr. Pimple Popper, is either the grossest thing imaginable or the most satisfying game ever. Pimple Pete revolves around players taking turns pulling "pus" out of the eponymous Pete's zits. Even for those that find the act unappealing, it's a uniquely goofy activity that will surely get some good laughs at family game night.

Find it on Amazon for $10 and at these other retailers:

4. Nerdwax

A tube of Nerdwax
Nerdwax, Amazon

There have been countless niche products pitched on Shark Tank, but Nerdwax—a sticky substance designed to keep your glasses from slipping down your nose—has been the biggest hit with our readers. As Mental Floss's Michele Debczak puts it, the Chapstick-like tube allows you to "stop worrying about pushing up your glasses and focus on looking fabulous."

Find it on Amazon for $10.99.

5. Tiny Titans Vol. 1: Welcome to the Treehouse

The cover of Tiny Titans Vol. 1
Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, Amazon

Tiny Titans Vol. 1: Welcome to the Treehouse is the first of eight books that follow the adventures of DC’s beloved adolescent heroes. But instead of intense crime fighting, it’s about an even more perilous endeavor: elementary school. Comics are actually a great starting point for getting kids into reading, and this is one of many fantastic ones out there for young readers. Fans of the early 2000s Teen Titans show on Cartoon Network will find it especially endearing.

Find it on Amazon for $10.

6. Cat-Opoly

A Cat-Opoly board
Late for the Sky, Amazon

Love Monopoly but tired of the same old aesthetic? Get this paw-some unofficial remix called Cat-Opoly. The game has the same premise and rules of regular Monopoly, but instead of buying property, you buy different cat breeds. Instead of houses and hotels, you collect litter boxes and fish bones, all while trying to avoid dogs and water. It's a purr-fect activity for any cat-loving household—just hope your game doesn't last fur-ever.

Find it on Amazon for $18 and at these other retailers:

7. Paladone Moon Light

A moon-shaped lamp on a desk
Paladone, Amazon

If you’re a space-obsessed night person (and not a werewolf), this popular moon-shaped lamp might be just the thing for you. It’s designed with accurate crater formations that make it look just like the real Moon. The portable lamp would be perfect either as a night light or decoration for a space-themed party.

Find it on Amazon for $11.

8. Zollipops The Clean Teeth Pops

A box of Zollipops
Zollipops, Amazon

Great for kids and adults alike, Zollipops are designed for you to pop post-meal. The gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free candies contain erythritol and xylitol, two sweeteners that have been found to reduce acidity in your mouth and protect against cavities. Readers went wild for them after we wrote about Zolli Candy founder Alina Morse, who came up with the idea when she was just 9 years old.

Find them on Amazon for $6 for 25 Zollipops.

9. First Aid Only 299-Piece All-purpose First Aid Kit

An open first aid kit
First Aid Only, Amazon

Mental Floss fans like to be prepared, apparently. Tons of our readers purchased this compact all-purpose first aid kit in 2018. And who could blame them? The handy case features an extensive number of first-aid necessities and is wildly affordable.

Find it on Amazon for $13.

10. My Pen15 Club Set of 4 Golden Girls Celebrity Prayer Candles

Four prayer candles with the cast of 'The Golden Girls' on them
My Pen15 Club, Amazon

A lot of Mental Floss readers are praying to the patron saints of sitcoms these days. With one for each Golden Girl, this stellar set of four candles—which we wrote about back in December—is the perfect addition to any fan's home.

Find it on Amazon for $60.

11. Funko Pop! Mister Rogers Collectible Figure

A Mister Rogers figurine
Funko, Amazon

This Funko Pop! version of Fred Rogers released last June (just in time for the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) is as delightful as its inspiration. Like the man himself, it's bound to make anyone feel a little more wholesome. And if you're as obsessed with Funko Pop! figures as we are, read all about how the company conquered the toy world here.

Find it on Amazon for $6.

12. T-fal E91898 12-Inch Nonstick Pan

A nonstick pan with a glass lid on it
T-fal, Amazon

Every kitchen could use an everything pan, and this 12-inch one from T-fal seems to have made it into many Mental Floss readers' homes in 2018. It's nonstick, comes with a lid, and is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. Even better, it's massively on sale right now.

Find it on Amazon for $32.

13. Anker SoundBuds Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth headphones
Anker, Amazon

A stylish and affordable substitute for inconvenient and easy-to-lose AirPods, these Bluetooth earbuds are perfect for your workout, your commute, or your day in general. We suggest using them to watch a few of our videos.

Find them on Amazon for $26 and at these other retailers:

14. Extra Long Stainless Steel Metal Straws

Six straws and two cleaning wands
MalloMe, Amazon

Last year, many of us found out just how damaging disposable plastic straws can be to the environment. Several cities, companies, and tourist destinations began to phase them out, and as the trend spread, plenty of people decided to proactively cut back on their straw habit. Back in July, we recommended several different products that could help reduce the carbon footprint of that iced coffee addiction, but these stainless steel straws proved the most popular. (Readers also loved our video on the LOLISTRAW, a plastic-free straw that you can eat.)

Find them on Amazon for $12.

15. Sharpie 37001 Permanent Markers

A box of Sharpie pens
Sharpie, Amazon

Our readers sure do love Sharpies. Amazon regularly has great discounts on the beloved permanent markers, so we often feature them in our Smart Shopping section's daily deals posts. Last year, readers bought them in bulk. At $7 for a 12-pack, these ultra-fine-point versions are a permanent bargain.

Find it on Amazon for $7 and at these other retailers:

16. The Bob Ross Coloring Book

The cover of the Bob Ross coloring book
Bob Ross, Amazon

Coloring is already an incredibly relaxing activity, but coloring the paintings of legendarily chill TV art instructor Bob Ross is another level of tranquility. The official Bob Ross Coloring Book includes ready-to-color outlines of the beloved painter’s soothing nature scenes alongside some of his most famous signature quips, so you'll never forget the appreciate the happy little trees as you work. Almost a year and a half after we first wrote about it, this coloring book is still one of the most popular products we've featured on the site.

Find it on Amazon for $13.

17. 3D Crystal Puzzle, Saturn

A clear 3D puzzle in the shape of Saturn
Bepuzzled, Amazon

In 2018, Mental Floss readers added another dimension to their puzzle-solving skills with this 3D puzzle of Saturn by BePuzzled. When finished, the 39 translucent, interlocking pieces create a beautiful model of the ringed planet that's ready for display. (BePuzzled also makes versions in the shape of various fruits, animals, and other figures.)

Find it on Amazon for $13 and at these other retailers:

18. The Constellations Glow-In-The-Dark Star Map (Northern Hemisphere)

A star map of the Northern Hemisphere
Star Finders, Inc., Amazon

In the light of day, this sky map shows all the constellations visible in the Northern Hemisphere. At night, the stars glow in the dark and the lines fade away, creating a spellbinding night sky within your home. The poster was a particularly popular addition to our holiday gift guide for astronomy geeks.

Find it on Amazon for $25.

19. Go-Cat Da Bird Rod and Feather Toy

A feathered cat toy
Go Cat, Amazon

Cat-loving Mental Floss readers bought a whole bunch of these great, excellently priced Go-Cat feather toys after cat behavioral consultant Mikel Delgado recommended them in her July 2018 article “10 Science-Backed Tips for Getting a Cat to Like You.” Wand-style toys with feathers or other attachments that look like potential prey are some of the best ways to engage with a cat, leading to some excellent bonding time.

Find it on Amazon for $9.

20. Kikkerland Playing Cards

A spread of playing cards
Kikkerland, Amazon

Perfect your poker face with these stylish playing cards. Kikkerland offers glow-in-the-dark, translucent, and other unique card styles, but our readers particularly loved the pixel design, which gives the deck a retro video game vibe.

Find them on Amazon for $9.

Wayfair Is Offering Up to 75 Percent Off on Furniture, Rugs, and Pet Essentials Through Tuesday

Wayfair
Wayfair

If you’re looking to upgrade your home furniture in the new year, turn to Wayfair. From orthopedic dog beds to convertible couches to luxuriously soft bedding, the online retailer has just about anything you can imagine to spice up your home décor. And through Tuesday, January 21 at 9:00 a.m. EST, shoppers can save up to 75 percent on hundreds of items. Check out some of our favorite deals below.

Living Room Furniture

- Corwin Twin Convertible Sofa $134 (Save $16)
- Swiger Sleeper $481 (Save $57)
- Spraggins Armchair $195 (Save $135)
- Oday Wingback Chair $297 (Save $72)
- Luper Tufted Storage Ottoman $127 (Save $212)
- Tannis Futon Chair $183 (Save $11)

Pet Essentials

- Ginny Pet Crate $88 (Save $83)
- 72-Inch Mya Cat Tree $64 (Save $165)
- Bernice Quilted Orthopedic Dog Sofa $22 (Save $28)
- Cathey Wooden Litter Box Cabinet $142 (Save $9)
- Ian Double Bowl Elevated Feeder $82 (Save $50)
- Boris Ultra Plush Cooling Gel Foam Pillow $23 (Save $27)

Dining Room Furniture

A Wayfair stool
Wayfair

- Marni Bar & Counter Stool $54 (Save $9)
- Boyes Dining Table $187 (Save $13)
- Chelsey Four-Piece Solid Wood Dining Set $256 (Save $256)
- Eaman Dining Table $215 (Save $45)
- Abbey Extendable Solid Wood Dining Table $847 (Save $910)
- Abbey Solid Wood Dining Table $727 (Save $744)

Extra Storage

- Petrone Combo Laundry Center $42 (Save $51)
- Cubeicals Shoe Storage Bench $69 (Save $17)
- Caryl Overdoor Six-Shelf Cabinet Door Organizer $35 (Save $17)
- Arapahoe 24-Inch-By-32-Inch Cabinet $102 (Save $83)
- Wicker Oval Double Laundry Hamper $60 (Save $10)

Bedroom Furniture

-Geraldine 4 Drawer Chest $195 (Save $15)
-Fuente Upholstered Panel Headboard $75 (Save $64)
- Eichhorn Platform Bed $102 (Save $150)
- Kemmerer Vanity Set with Mirror $206 (Save $303)
- Rossford 6 Drawer Double Dresser $263 (Save $42)
- Amher Adjustable Bed Base $271 ( Save $129)

Rugs

Wayfair flower rug
Wayfair

- Brandt Blue Area Rug $26 (Save $52)
- Abstract Multicolor Area Rug $25 (Save $73)
- Shiflett Flatweave Dark Gray Area Rug $31 (Save $29)
- Meador Hand-Braided Natural Area Rug $38 (Save $40)
- Geometric Gray/Ivory Area Rug $34 (Save $25)

Bedding

- Adena Ultra Soft Down Alternative Reversible Comforter Set $33 (Save $97)
- Eldon Solid Color Sheet Set $25 (Save $35)
- Kiril Duvet Cover Set $25 (Save $75)
- Arrington Ruffle Skirt Bedspread Set $61 (Save $89)

Outdoor Décor

- Marquis Vertical Hello Non-Slip Outdoor Door Mat $14 (Save $10)
- Arden Welcome Paw 36-Inch-By-24-Inch Non-Slip Outdoor Door Mat $33 (Save $10)
- Midori Planter Box $73 (Save $37)

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

These Grass Straws Are an Eco-Friendly Alternative to Plastic

Kickstarter
Kickstarter

We know plastic straws have created an incredibly serious environmental issue, and while many alternatives have been introduced, there are definitely some drawbacks to each of them. Paper straws, for example, tend to dissolve faster than you can finish your beverage. Some companies have tried to get around the issues paper and plastic straws present by introducing a special lid to sip cold beverages through. But they’re still made out of, well, plastic.

A Kickstarter campaign is offering a solution by producing sturdy grass straws that work perfectly in hot or cold drinks and decompose in just 15 days. With $3606 raised, the startup La Couleur Monochrome is still working toward a $27,877 goal, but you can back this project until January 31. For as little as $6, you can receive 100 straws in a reusable, eco-friendly zip-up bag, and the more expensive tiers offer bigger rewards.

The straws are made from hollow-stemmed grass that is grown and hand-harvested in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. After the grass is harvested, it is cut into 20-centimeter pieces and disinfected through a boiling process, rather than with harsh chemicals. Buyers have the option of selecting either dried-out straws, which can last for up to one year when stored at room temperature, or fresh straws, which can remain in the fridge for up to six weeks. According to the startup, both straws are suited for hot and cold drinks, but when using the fresh straws, you’ll get “a slight scent of fresh cut grass without changing the drink's taste.”

Grass straws
Kickstarter

If you’re worried about the environmental impact of harvesting the field, there’s no need. According to the campaign, the grass regenerates itself within a year. Currently, the startup is producing 1 million straws a month, but they hope to up it to 10 million by July 2020. Also beginning in July, the company plans to only send out orders once a month to create a more sustainable shipping program.

With so many large-scale changes that need to happen to help the environment, starting with a simple straw may seem inconsequential, but it’s not. Estimates have put the number of straws littering the world's coastlines at anywhere from 437 million to 8.3 billion.

If you want to visualize how much plastic humans have produced, it's equivalent to 25,000 Empire State Buildings or 80 million blue whales. And of all that plastic, only 9 percent has been recycled. At this pace, some have predicted that the amount of plastic in the ocean may outweigh the ocean's fish by 2050.

Cutting out straws is a great way to start reducing single-use products in your everyday life, and you can head here to find out more about the Kickstarter.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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