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18 Things We All Miss About the 2000s

The early 2000s were simpler times, when all it took was some glitter and wasabi peas to make the world seem like an alright place.

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Steve Madden Slides

Remember these? Sometime around 2002 every girl in America was wearing these, and obviously angels were watching over all of us, because how often in history have we seen the trendiest shoes also be the most comfortable shoes? Almost never, which is why these get the top spot in our early 2000s nostalgia list. We know the world can be a better place if we all go back to wearing them. Like these favorite shoes, here are 29 things that 2000s kids will never understand.

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Style Network

There was a time when fashionable, fashion-craving humans of the world could pop their televisions on at any given hour of the day to watch near-endless marathons of makeover shows on the Style Network, the cuter little sister of E!. Unfortunately she began to die a slow, sad death at the end of the early 2000s decade, finally crashing in the next. Rest in peace, beautiful television channel. We miss you and your flawless advice on when to mix patterns.

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Things-We-All-Miss-About-the-2000sTatiana Ayazo /

Wasabi peas

Did you think we were kidding about adding wasabi peas to this list? We’re not sure how it happened, but the early 2000s were the height of the wasabi pea craze that left them lingering at every bar, in conference rooms, and in airport lounges. They were dehydrated bites of nasal-passage freedom, and our sinuses haven’t been fully decent since they went out of style.

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Cucumber melon everything

Remember when cucumber melon-everything was everywhere? Candles, lotions, gels, stickers, and the ever-popular hand soaps were a staple in so many trend-conscious homes. We’re not sure who came up with the idea of combining cucumber and melon scents, but we’d like to thank that genius, because the refreshing, soothing aroma got us through the early 2000s. No wonder cucumber melon is one of the scents almost all millennials remember fondly. The scent was so missed that some retailers, like Bath & Body Works, even reintroduced the line to appease cucumber melon-thirsty crowds.

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Being independent of a smart phone

Simpler times, indeed. Sure, loads of people had Blackberry phones and early iPhones, but the vast majority of people were still fumbling around rather slowly to send and receive emails and work-related messages, which left our time in the early 2000s relatively peaceful. Home hours were for home, and work hours were for work. We miss that work-life balance thing, because it’s all but extinct now. Here are 8 more of our favorite things that will probably be extinct by the year 2030.

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The pre-selfie era

Did we own cameras? Sure, but most of us didn’t even think about turning them around. We used them to capture beautiful moments, family vacations, and all the same stuff we do now, just with the noted absence of self-absorption. Photos were for family gatherings, nature, sight-seeing, and occasions.

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The golden age of Nickelodeon shows

Nickelodeon is still great, but shows like All That were at the height of success and fame in the early 2000s, and we loved them for giving kids and teens a shot at their own skit-style comedy with a diverse cast. All That broke barriers by giving female comics (kids!) a chance to shine, as well as stars of diverse ethnic backgrounds who would later go on to be major comics, like Kenan Thompson, and gave rise to the likes of Amanda Bynes. They made comedy cool for kids, and we miss that. The merchandise line is freshly relaunched though, so at least we can all rehash our favorite memories by wearing them on tees. In addition to watching our favorite shows, here are 25 more things we looked forward to when we were kids.

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Sex And The City

The early 2000s gave rise to the idea that single women over the age of 30 still had immense value, potential for adventure, and wit thanks to SATC. The show was everywhere—every magazine was talking about how to nab Carrie’s style, the insanely expensive Manolo Blahnik shoe collection she boasted, how we could all find a little Miranda in ourselves if we thought hard enough about it, and why Samantha’s character wasn’t one to be judged or picked apart.

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Boy bands and their breakout stars

The late ’90s saw the rise of boy bands, which continued into the early 2000s, but sometime in the middle of this decade things started to shift. Boy band stars like Justin Timberlake broke out with solo careers (can we just all take a minute to appreciate that?), and musicians-turned-reality-stars like Nick Lachey released their own solo albums for masses to pine over. Radios (yes, real radios) poured out sweet, poppy solo sounds made by former boy band leads, and we were all better for it.

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The Atkins Diet

Remember the Atkins Diet? The one that promised near-unlimited weight loss by eating endless steak, eggs, and bacon? Americans were excited by the idea of throwing salad to the wind to lose weight, and started ordering bunless burgers, egg-topped steaks, and chicken-covered-chicken at restaurants everywhere. Bread was cast aside, rice was out of style, and desserts were all but forgotten. It seemed like a good idea till we realized it was hard to keep up long term, and frankly, we all missed cake. We’ll miss the days when we believed we’d lose weight by eating burgers, though.

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Things-We-All-Miss-About-the-2000sTatiana Ayazo /

AOL instant messenger

Remember when we all used AIM, the instant messenger service provided by AOL? You’d leave your little chatbox open all day (closing the computer was basically shutting off your human existence), and leave emotionally-bizarre away messages, song lyrics, and strange concoctions from the symbols keyboard built into your computer. Never before were series of asterisks and exclamations so important to the human soul, and perhaps never again.

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We used iPods to listen to music

Those adorable little iPods changed the way we listened to music, giving us all the power to take our entire music libraries with us everywhere we went, eventually giving way to the best iPod ever, the iPhone. We still fondly remember our adorable little iPod shuffles, which came in bright pops of color like pink, green, and sea-blue. Take a look back at some of the most popular toys and gadgets from the year you were born.

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Playing Minesweeper

During the first half of the early 2000s most of us passed the time at work or at home by playing a relatively archaic computer game called “Minesweeper,” on our desktop computers. All the hours humans devoted to that game has since been repurposed as Facebook, Instagram, and selfie time, but we remember the game fondly. Before computer games, we all gathered around for game nights with physical games! Let’s try bringing back the 12 classic board games everyone should already own.

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Brad & Jen

Before Brangelina ever existed, there was Brad and Jen, the Hollywood power couple that ruled magazine covers, trends, and gossip around the world. Our collective hearts sank when we learned of Brad Pitt’s affair, leading to his divorce from Jennifer Aniston in 2005. The world hasn’t been the same since, and we miss for the olden days, where they’d show up on red carpets holding hands, looking flawless and blonde, and making sleek all-black outfits effortlessly chic.

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Nokia phones

Nearly everyone had one of those iconic, bulky Nokia phones in the early 2000s. You could push real buttons with your fingers (touch screens were just a dream at that point), add little charms to the antennae (yeah, real antennae were necessary back then), and customize your phone’s “face” with different plates ranging from demure to disco ball-esque. The best part? They were from a time when cell phone minutes were tracked, and you’d only use them for totally necessary calls, or after nine at night, when “nights and weekends” were free.

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Britney-mania swept the nation

She was a slave for us, dancing around our MTV TRL screens draped in real snakes and mere inches of fabric. We all seemed to eat it up, because Britney Spears had hit after hit after hit in the early 2000s, leaving the actual schoolgirls of America oozing with Britney lunchboxes, thermoses, backpacks, jewelry, and stickers. Here are 13 more pop culture references anyone born after 1990 won’t get.

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Everyone loved getting the Delia’s catalog

Not everyone actually shopped the Delia’s catalog, but most of us were signed up to receive it in the mail. It had become a sort of free magazine subscription, giving us trend ideas and insight, access to affordable immodest crop tops, and inspiration to wear the horrible skater jeans that were having a major moment. The Delia’s catalog of the early 2000s would end up paving the way for the modern day Urban Outfitters of the world, but we’ll always hold a special place in our hearts for the original paperback that got us all dressing like O.G. Gwen Stefani.

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Those velour track suits

Sure, we know you’re rolling your eyes right now, and we agree—the idea of anyone’s logo displayed on your butt is less than tasteful, but wearing head to toe velour was the intersection where pajamas and happiness existed, and we miss the early 2000s for this whole look being not only socially acceptable, but encouraged. Were they flattering? Not necessarily, but women were actually told by fashion magazines to dress for comfort for a change, and that’s as close to a revolution in terms of pop culture and fashion as we can imagine. Next, let’s remember 45 things that were so much harder “back in the day.”

Bryce Gruber
Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.