Today is my birthday and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to relive all the amazing things from my childhood that I remember fondly and wish still existed. I wanted to give ya’ll the ultimate guide to the 80s and 90s.
I get nostalgic for the 1980’s (and 1990’s) more times than I care to admit. Sometimes its a smell that triggers a memory, sometimes it’s a taste or a song, but whatever it is the feeling is still the same, it’s almost like my breath is taken away and I am whisked away to another time… like floo powder from the world of Harry Potter, I can see time and places speeding by in front of my eyes until I wind up in the past reliving vivid childhood moments. I long for another time, I long for my kids to experience the same joys I had and I wish I could share them all with them.
I have become obsessed with the television show The Goldbergs because it seriously makes me feel like I’m right there in the 80s, plus its crazy funny and the best of the 1980’s.
So take a trip with my back to the glory days of the 80’s and 90’s.
From Super Mario brothers to film exposures and Jelly shoes, the 80’s and 90’s have so much amazingness to offer.
This list is in no particular order of favorites, it’s just a compilation of all the things that I think made the 80’s and 90’s great.
- Snap Bracelets– what kid didn’t love these and didn’t own a million and one of them? I will let you in on a little secret though, I always flinched before the band snapped on my wrist, I was always worried that it would hurt, it never did of course, but the momentary “fear” was still there.
2. Jelly bracelets– I can remember wearing so many of these on my wrist that it was almost impossible to bend my wrist. Owning a dozen or more of these was a right of passage of sorts.
3. Stick on earrings– These things were all the rage, never mind the fact that they fell off as soon as you moved or did anything physical. But they were cute and I always wanted them. They were my most favorite stocking stuffer at Christmas time.4. Doc Martin sandles– I remember coveting these so badly, its seemed like every kid owned them in the 90’s and I did not want to be left out. I remember saving up my money so I could own these bad boys. 5. Adidas shoes- These were the main reason I got a job as a teenager, I needed these shoes. I ended up getting them before my Sophomore year of High School, navy blue stripes, and wearing them proudly my first day of school. I don’t think I have ever taken care of a pair of shoes as well as I took care of those.6. Sandles- these things were not even close to being comfy but every kid still owned them. I remember the color bleeding onto my feet when I was sweaty. My mom owned several and I was anxiously waiting for the day when my feet were big enough that I could borrow hers.
7. Crayon barrettes – I’m pretty certain that these adorned the hair of every little girl on her first day of school. They were a MUST.
8. Hair bows– Shoe lace hair bows and balloon hair bows were the main accessory to all of my outfits for several years. My mom made them in every size, color and variety you can imagine and I don’t think there is a single picture of me from the age or 5-9 where I didn’t have one of these bows in my hair.9. Hair clip– Crimp your hair, pull it up and throw these bad boys in your hair and you were ready to rock the block in style.10. Colored barrettes– I’m most certain that I had every color and every animal you can imagine in these barrettes. Bangs cut too short? Trying to grow your bangs out? No problem, throw a barrette in your hair and you are good to go… never mind that they hurt when you snapped them closed, fashion comes at a price, am I right?11. T-shirt clips– I remember rocking these with my New Kids on the Block shirts or shirts I stole from my Dad. T-shirt too big? No problemo, pull the edges through the loop and rock that bad boy like any true 80’s kid would.
12. Jelly Shoes– Man did these things stink so badly and they left crazy indents on your feet, but come heck or high water I was GOING to wear them.13. Hair ties– These things came in all sorts of colored and hurt like heck when they snapped back on your fingers. I have to admit that anytime I asked to borrow someones hair tie and they handed me one of these I cried a little bit inside… those things were my nemesis because I always seemed to snap the plastic part onto my fingernails. Ouch!!
14. Wooden jewelry– My mom owned so many of these and I always stole them from her to wear. They were so “Mom” style but I still loved them.15. Rope charm necklaces– The 90’s were something else all together, grunge meets hippy. But of course I thought I was so cool wearing my sun or dolphin charm necklace and when I saw Elijah Wood wearing one on Flipper I knew I was the coolest kid around. I had a slight obsession with dolphins at the time as well, and maybe Elijah Wood too.
16. Big chunky plastic jewelry– The 80’s didnt mess around when it came to bright colors and funky designs. I still own a few of these tubular pieces.
17. Chokers – I’m not sure what we were thinking in the 90’s. Hey, Lets were a necklace that fits super tight on our neck and leave a mark when we take it off. Sure, sounds like the greatest idea around. Man did I love my necklace though… I’m sure that there isn’t a picture out there from my Freshman year of High School that doesn’t include me wearing this necklace. Also chat rooms… I was always on chat rooms. Again WHAT WERE WE THINKING? I can’t imagine letting my kids sit on a chat room for hours talking to random strangers… oh wait, my parents didn’t let me, I always did it when they were gone and learned how to delete the history… I was living on the edge (I hope my kids are nothing like me.)
(case in point, beaded choker from Mexico.)
18. Lace socks– I don’t think I went to church in the 80s or had family pictures taken without these socks being part of my outfit. I was hip I tell yah.19. Stirup leggings– So leggings are back in style and sometimes I wish the strips came back too. I loved my stirup leggings and would have worn them every day with my New Kids on the Block shirt and a neon colored T-shirt clip.20. Caboodle, hair pick, crimper– no sleep over was complete with out pulling out the caboodle and putting on makeup. Of course if you were going to do each others make up you also needed to pick your hair and tease it really big or rock the crimped look. Complete and utter hotness I tell you.21. Srunchies– These things were the Bomb.com and your status symbol was based purely off of whether or not you had the coolest srunchie that day.22. Press on nails– These were the stuff of dreams… that is until they fell off, got stuck in your hair or ended up in your food.
23. Mood jewelry– Did you ever ask your crush to wear one of these so you could see what their mood was and inevitably find out whether or not they liked you? True, full proof trick right there.
24. Nintendo– YOU GUYSSS have you seen that they are coming out with a new version of this were all the games are in the little console? We don’t own video games in our house now but we WILL be buying this. I loved Nintendo so much. My brothers and I would sit for hours marathoning Super Mario brothers and Donkey Kong. It was epic. Dr Mario was the game my parents played together at night after we went to bed. My room was right by the living room and I could hear them playing, so when I finally got to play it I thought I was so grown up. I can’t believe my wish of having these for my kids is going to come true. So stinking excited.
25. Oregon Trail– No elementary computer class was complete without this game. I’m not sure I ever made it out alive, I always contracted some disease, died of dehydration or a snake bite, or some other equally tragic thing. In today’s society where everyone is offended, I’m sure this game would not be nearly as popular in schools as it was back then.
26. Game boy– My siblings and I fought over this every time we took a road trip or got in the car to go anywhere. It was so hard to see when the sun light was shining, but that didn’t matter… it was portable Nintendo, its doesn’t get much better than that.27. Pay phones– Our children will never know the anxiety felt when searching for a pay phone to call home, only to find that the cord was cut or your couldn’t find a quarter. I remember talking to a boyfriend on a payphone when he was out-of-town and I was at work and how I had to frantically search for more quarters and quickly get them into the slot before my time ran out.
28. Floppy Disks– These bad boys were so thin and delicate and one had to be very careful with them. I had a very old apple computer in my room and little plastic box to keep all my sacred floppy disks in (i.e. Sesame Street games).
29. Bulky Cell phones– My grandma gave me her old cell phone when I was starting High School, this was around the time that smaller phones were coming out… past the point of the huge flip phones… and this is what she gave me. Yeah, I didn’t use it… I would have had to carry around a big bag just for the phone.
30. Sweet Valley High books– These were the definition of awesome. 31. The Baby-sitters Club– These books were a right of passage. I remember going to a friend’s house and she owned all of them and I thought she was the luckiest kid in the world. 32. Nancy Drew and Nancy Drew Files– These books were my life. I asked for them for every holiday or birthday and read them non stop. I usually could be found with one in my hand and decided at a very young age that I wanted to be a detective… that’s still my dream. I hope my daughter love these as much as I do. I’m trying to get my boys into the Hardy Boys books as well. I also still have all of my books. 32. R L Stine Goosebumps and Fear Street- I LOVED these books, they provided just enough terror to still be fun. I may or may not have slept with a knife under my pillow for years after I started reading Fear Street. R L Stine has the most wickedly twisted mind, but in the best way. 33. Scratch and Sniff stickers– These bad boys were AMAZING. I still occasionally scratch and sniff random stickers hoping that they magically have a smell. 33. CANDY– Oh the glorious candy of my childhood. They really don’t make stuff as amazing as this anymore. I remember riding my bike to the convince store (or Shoppette for Military kids) and spending my dollar on a big ole bag full of candy. I could get suckers for 10 cents and gum for 5 cents… a dollar bough way more than a candy bar back then.
The drink flavored gum. The coolest gum around. Bandaid gum. These things had flavor that really rocketed you to the moon.
I LOVED the powdered flavor in these. They were my addiction for several years. I would get them out of the quarter machines or buy the big pack of them for a dollar at the store. If I saw them I bought them. Please tell me I’m not the only one that had the hardest time getting these off the wrapper… a little paper with your candy please.My grandma used to smoke cigarettes and would buy me the cigarette gum. I thought I was so cool sitting there with my pink gum “cigarette” looking so grown up. I don’t know what I was thinking…. Tart n Tinys were the thing that began my love affair with all things sour. I thought these were the greatest candy invention every. That sour taste was beyond compare.Fruit Stripes gum was a must buy every time we went to Toys R Us. I remember my siblings and I fighting over who got what piece and whether or not we would share. The tattoos were the greatest but the gum lost its flavor soooo dang fast, but regardless, the taste was out of this world (while it lasted). I was obsessed with these things. I don’t know why… I found some at a gas station on a road trip a few years ago and bought one, I was surprised to find out that I still loved it and wished I had bought more. I loved that they had the perfect amount of sour in them.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang made these whistle pops the coolest thing on the market… to bad they didn’t always work.I was often guilty of eating a whole entire container of these in one sitting… they were so stinking good. Way better than lifesavers.I would buy a bag full of these and sit and suck on them all day, I also pretended they were lipstick and rubbed them on my lips very frequently.
34. Slush Puppie– Those were the bomb diggity when it came to slushies and that dog was the cutest thing around. I always wanted to go to the gas station just so I could get one of these.35. Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine– I just saw one of these the other day and I decided that my kids need one. I have amazing memories of this and I can’t wait to make some with them.
36. McDonalds– Oh McDonalds… why oh why did you have to ever change? My kids have never been to a McDonalds because it’s just not like it used to be. The playgrounds were the coolest, the cookies in the shape of the characters were the best, and the characters… what ever happened to those guys? Plus your happy meals used to be the best in the land with the coolest toys ever. I wanted to collect them all, there was nothing that I loved as much as anxiously awaiting my surprise. We rarely visited you when I was a kid, but when we did, man oh man did I not want to leave. I have fond memories of climbing into the top of the burgers head on the playground and holding secret meetings with my brothers…. seriously, your whole restaurant used to rock the block, tis not so anymore.
But seriously… the toys!! They were the greatest. Why did they ever “evolve”?
I made it my life mission to own all the Happy Meal toys… I hunted them down at garage sales and bought up as many as I could find when I was a kid. I am not ashamed to admit that I think about buying them off Ebay all the darn time.
37. New kids on the Block– This was my life!! I had the Barbie dolls (including Donny with his ponytail). I had the sheets, the posters, and the shirts. They were my first love.
38. Water beds– I had a water-bed identical to this one. I would hide under the end of the bed and make a fort, all my books were on the shelf and I loved the amazingness that was a water-bed, I was however always worried it would pop… who came up with the idea of a water-bed anyway?
39. Lipgloss/Chapstick that came in cool containers– these were the coolest, never mind that they didn’t last long, these were somewhat of a status symbol. 40. Bright colored lipstick– those neon colors that stained your lip and were a pain to wipe off were all the rage.41. Soda flavored chapstick– I actually just saw these in the store the other day and I really wanted to buy them… that’s not weird right?42. Lipshades– I love, love, loved those pop up lids. This was my most favorite lipstick.
43. Lip Smackers– I still remember wanting to buy this chapstick as a little kid, just so I could eat it… it was that good. I still have insanely fond memories of this… if anyone ever finds one and send its to me I won’t be mad at all, for using, not eating.
44. Sun In– This was so popular when I was in High School but it totally destroyed your hair. I tried it on my dark brown hair, which was a big mistake… that little experiment resulted in me having to get my hair colored for the first time ever just so I could fix it.
44. Teen Spirit deodorant -Smells like Teen Spirit…… no other words are needed.45. Malibu Musk– Talk about Saved by the Bell memories. This .99 cent “parfume” was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but oh did it smell nasty and so strong, they weren’t kidding when they put Musk in the name.
46. Little Tykes pedal car– We had this car in yellow and it was the most amazing thing. Every kid on the block wanted to ride in this. We were the coolest kids in our neighborhood just because we owned this car. Then we moved to Alaska and my Dad left it behind in Texas, that was a sad day indeed.
47. Big Wheelie– I can remember the commercials for these like it was yesterday. Speaking of commercials, how come there aren’t any cool toy commercials anymore? I miss cool toy commercials. My brother owned this sweet ride and I borrowed it as often as I could. 48. Blockbuster– Oh the days of going to the video store. I definitely love that I can sit on my couch and watch anything I want, but I do miss the thrill of going to the video store and walking up and down the isles, reading the back of the movie cases trying to find just the right movie for Friday night. I begged my Dad to take me there all the time and it was so thrilling when I finally was old enough to get my own card. 49. Film– oh film… I loved taking pictures but I’m pretty sure I ruined more exposures than I actually printed. I did love to go to the store and fill out the envelope for my film, drop it in and wait (not so patiently) for the film to be developed.50. Used Film– I still have a huge box of my old film strip exposers. Can’t risk losing the original.
51. The Jetsons meet the Flintstones– This was the greatest combination to ever happen. I LOVED this movie. It’s pretty much the greatest Saturday morning movie ever!! Now we need a Star Trek meets Star Wars movie and my life will be complete.
52. The Chipmunk Adventure– This movie was my childhood. I loved it so much that I stalked it on Amazon and bought it as soon as it came to DVD, I will watch it even when my kids don’t want to. It never gets old and I would have to say it’s in my top 10 most watched movie ever.
53. Sweet Pickles Preschool program– This was the best box of goodness ever. I loved reading the books, I love the action cars with arts and crafts ideas. I was obsessed with the experiment cards and wanted to take this box everywhere with me. I need these in my life again. They were amazing!! Why are these not still a thing?54. Wildlife Treasury– I can fondly remember sitting in my room with this box of cars and studying each animal religiously… do I remember anything I studied? Nope, I just remember the elephants. But it was still one of my favorite past times. 54. Tupperware Toys– My mom sold Tupperware so we had lots of these Tupperware toys in my childhood. I loved them. Mix and match animal pieces and fit those shapes in the holes… what little kid doesn’t love that?55. Tupperware– This was my childhood. I don’t know if we owned anything besides Tupperware. Every variety and color. I didn’t even know any other kind of cup or plate existed besides the Character cups that my grandma had (more on those later).
I still wish I had some of these.
56. Character collectable cups– My great Grandma had all of these in her house, some of each set and I remember when she passed away that this is what I wanted from her (I didn’t get them though). I LOVED these cups, they were the coolest things around and I became obsessed with the hunt of finding new ones. I have seen them in thrift stores since then and buy any I find that is less than $5… I wont spend $20 on one cup, mainly because I want them all.
This Disney Collection of cups were the greatest. We never owned any but I had a few friends who did and I wanted them so badly.
57. The See through Phone– This was the most amazing thing to hit stores. Neon colors!! Doesn’t get much better than that.
Thanks for taking this walk down memory lane with me. I try not to live in the past too much but it sure is nice to visit it sometimes.
The Ultimate Guide to the 80s and 90s is never ending.
You can see my post on 80s/90s Tv Shows here.
And my post on 90’s toys here.