Gift Guide: Father’s Day

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Last year, the blog’s most popular gift guide was the one for Father’s Day. Y’allll I can relate!! My old man himself has been notoriously difficult to shop for, because he always says he doesn’t need anything. Dads are like that, I guess. Truth of the matter is, it’s not that my pa doesn’t need anything. It’s more so that he doesn’t feel deserving of luxurious gifts and frivolous items. Practical to the tee.

But fathers are equally deserving of a day of rest, an afternoon of enjoyment, a bit of luxury and celebration. I feel like I’ve exhausted all my good ideas in last year’s list, but I will try again this year for the sake of all humble fathers around the world. This is for you. Happy Father’s Day!

Gift Guide: Celebrating Frugal Minimalists

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As a frugal minimalist, there are two things I want to normalize when it comes to receiving gifts: Gifts under $25 and consumable items. I know it sounds silly, but for many years, I have struggled with the privilege of receiving gifts from loved ones that I (in all honesty) give away or throw in the trash (if I can’t return them, of course). I have expressed multiple times that I would prefer not to receive anything during holiday celebrations because of the wasteful saga that follows each one. Alas, I have found myself born into a gift-giving family, who, after many years of reproachful, miserable, and difficult conversations, has finally started to hear my wishes. Gift giving is my love language (believe it or not) but I want to receive gifts that I love or need. My actions may come across as ungrateful but nothing pains me more than receiving a gift that does not belong in my life. That’s why I always have to get rid of them right away – because they remind me of thoughtlessness and they hurt my feelings.

For gift-givers who ascribe to the idea that affection is proportional to a price tag, please hear me, a person who LOVES gifts, but believes that this is not true. I am a frugal minimalist. I would love gifts that fit both of those categories. I think the best way to show love to a similar friend or family member that you may have is to follow two simple rules.

  1. Keep the price tag under $25. I remember the gifts I received in my childhood for my birthday. They were always under $25, and they were all perfectly generous gifts! Since when did gifts start costing $50-$100? Did we all decide to participate in a game of one-upping each other and that’s how the baseline for gifts escalated? Did our gifts increase with our age, or our salary? Do gifts increase our status? Because surely it depreciates our wealth, let alone devoid our meaningfulness at being a loving friend or family member. If your friend is a frugalist, they will likely be stressing about the amount of dollars you spent on them. If they’re like me, they would be considering all the better buys your money could have been used for. We need to normalize the idea that $25 is generous, still. We have to change our mindsets about that, or go broke trying to impress the people in our ever-growing networks.
  2. Buy consumable gifts. I like gifts that are meant to be used and will no longer be around a year later. I stress about clutter around me and constantly clear my surroundings. Don’t bother buying decor items or things that have no use for your minimal friend. Gift something that will live out the course of their life and then be gone. The world changes so fast these days, so do you really think a person will like the same thing a few years from now? I change my mind all the time, so I certainly don’t.

Chances are, your own frugal minimalist has been trying to communicate these things to you for years. They may feel frustrated, stressed, or guilty at receiving lavish gifts from their friends and family. Worse, they may feel pressured to return the favor, even though it goes against their values. I think it’s time to normalize less expensive, consumable stuffs. In order to help others celebrate their own frugal minimalist, I am publishing a gift guide that will be helpful to all others like me.

Gift Guide: Moms On The Go

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When I look at moms these days, I wonder how in the world god-send super humans came to be. Although I am not one such being, I imagine a modern day mama to be extremely well-organized, balancing society’s expectations of being a nourishing provider to their families, a hard worker who may or may not contribute financially (but should be getting paid none-the-less), a fit athlete concerned about well-being and overall health, a never-ending source of emotional support, and on top of that, a model socialite, well-informed and light-hearted – a person who never loses her cool, has time to see her friends, and holds everyone’s schedules, down to the second, together.

Of course, this is exactly the kind of perfect imagery that would be strong enough to break any warrior. I personally do not agree that the standard we hold for mothers require my writing a run-on sentence. Yet, still, I see mamas be this exact lionheart day in and day out. Which begs the question of what mamas really need to support their crusade. Sure, I would love to give all mama’s a few days of rest throughout the week, although I am sure some would be satisfied enough with a few moment’s of sleep. But what of it afterwards? They go back to being the champions of our families, and I can’t help but think that the best gifts to give would be those that support their daily activity. Because super mamas, they don’t stop. Mine didn’t, even after we’ve all left the nest. And neither did my father’s. There’s something about them that always keep them on the go. They are heroes deserving of our protection and support, and because of that, I’ve wrangled together a list of special items that my very own modern mama would use.

If you liked this and would like more ideas, you may also want to check out last year’s suggestions centered around giving mothers the rest they need.

Gift Guide: Earth Day

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April 22 is Earth Day. While adopting Earth friendly habits on Earth Day are good, I would like to challenge this community to adopt sustainable practices every day. The reasons for doing so are quite simple, really.

First, it saves money. For those who argue that sustainable products are pricier than non-sustainable products, take it as a sign that the need to practice going without remains. Perhaps the crux lies in certain shopping habits? Most of the time, the most sustainable option is buying nothing. The second most sustainable is revamping old things into new ones. The third most sustainable is accepting hand-me-downs or asking to borrow. A fourth sustainable option is to practice minimalism, so that even the purchase of a more sustainable option is cheaper than buying ten gadgets that add up to the same functions. I find that most people, when it comes down to it, are simply not intentional enough.

Hand me down pants, and an all organic cotton shirt gifted by PACT.

On that previous note, it limits clutter. A bag of 12 rolls of paper towels can be replaced by one or two reusable rags. A case of water bottles bought from the grocery store can be replaced by a reusable water bottle. A stack of books can be replaced by library ones, a closet full of clothes can be replaced by a capsule wardrobe, a bag of rolled up plastic bags can be replaced by one or two totes, etc. All of this to say, one of the solutions to waste is summed up in the word “LESS”.

Thirdly, it creates community. Challenge friends and family to save the Earth. Celebrate by experiencing Mother Nature – go on an arduous mountain hike, or surf in the ocean before work. Share common items with each other. Give your baby’s old crib to an expecting friend. I take unwanted articles of clothing from my friends all the time. Carpool to work, and chat about your day on the way home.

These reasons, and so much more. Consider this a gift guide for yourself, and Mother Nature.

More ideas, right this way.

Gift Guide: Valentine’s Day

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February 14 is an upcoming excuse for me to celebrate love in all definitions of the word and I’m jumping on said opportunity like a runaway train. This past year has brought to my attention the importance of meaningful relationships and I thank my lucky stars everyday for the makings of my post-COVID world, namely family and a toothless cat. Add to the mix my recent infatuation with signs of self-love and you’ve got Cupid herself. Valentine’s Day presents a solid excuse for me to go BIG- and stay home.

I’m shelling out on June Shine and wine, and staying in to dine. My ideas frolic around remaking a favorite wedge salad and sprawling on cement floors with puzzle pieces between my toes, wearing my Levi’s, a sweatshirt and my finest jewelry. I’m hoping for California gloom, which may be too much to ask for in February, but I am a hopeless romantic after all. I’ll stick tortoiseshell barrettes in my hair, walk with bare-feet, and relentlessly lounge around hoping my candles don’t light my plants on fire. And if that doesn’t paint a picture of modern age glam, muted and minimalist, then perhaps these Valentine’s Day gift ideas will do – a collection of small gestures and grandiose offerings.

Of course, there’ll be kisses and cat cuddles, couches, Netflix, and a sink full of dirty dishes mixed in there too. It’s gonna be purrfect.

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Gift Guide: For Coffee Lovers

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We are coffee geeks. Well, to put more accurately, Mr. Debtist is a coffee geek and I happen to benefit tremendously from his random tidbits of coffee knowledge. We have traveled the world, he in search of the best coffee, me in search of the best bread. It’s a good marriage, coffee and bread.

We have visited to a coffee farm in Hawaii, attended coffee cupping classes, and visited cafes in Mexico City, MX, Melbourne, AU, and San Francisco, CA to name a few. Over the course of our time together (it has already been ten years!), we have owned all sorts of gadgets and have experimented with everything from uniquely processed coffee beans to cupping vessels.

Coffee, to me, is more than energy fuel. It is a symbol of slow living. Ironic, isn’t it? I don’t drink coffee to get stuff done. I don’t even drink coffee to wake myself up. I drink it because I like the preparation process. I like the nuances in taste, which is dependent on everything from type of bean, location of the coffee farm, roasting process, roasting date, water temperature, and of course, how you pour. There are very few activities that keep me in the present moment but making coffee is one of them. It is the part of my life that keeps my day-to-day united. Whereas some people consider their days in terms of new beginnings and an end, I am trying to view them as connected to each other; a continuous cycle, if I may. Coffee is one of the things that ground me in that cycle. Every evening, I look forward to the next morning’s cup. Every morning’s cup creates space to slow down and think about all the things that happened to me the day before. And so it goes, connecting my days into one full life.

Of course coffee symbolizes different things for different people. Whereas I view it as my reminder to live slowly, others may view it as the giver of life. Even if coffee isn’t your thing, there is likely someone you know who loves coffee. In which case, here a coffee gift guide, for whoever needs it. These are our favorite products (all of which we have either owned at some point or personally tried).

Gift Guide: Well-being and Mental Health

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Well-being and mental health have become increasingly imperitive for those living life in the fast-lane. I count myself in the tally. Before switching to a slower pace, I was constantly in a state of low-grade panic. Instead of taking breaths, I was holding them in. I was literally throwing away my life force towards menial tasks that got me nowhere. I was also throwing my money around like it was free. Sound familiar?

Twas nice to finally put on my metaphorical brakes and force myself to a complete STOP. Well, if I was being truly honest, it was COVID that gave my life pause. There were a couple of weeks where I literally had nothing – no job, no responsibility, no travel plans, nowhere to go, no one to see. The stay-at-home mandate was a sudden wake up call, as well as a slight shift in perspective.

I had already been pursuing slow living, but it was still a pursuit. With me, everything is a pursuit.  Even doing nothing is a pursuit. Who could blame me? Our society trains us from day one to achieve. Which competes with our wishes to be.

Anywho, we could all use some healing right now. This month, I alluded to mental health as being one of my main foci in my August Goals post. Whether you have yourself or someone else in mind, here is a gift guide for well-being and attending to our mental health.

  • A planner centered around gratitude and intention.
  • An app for meditation.
  • Live plants and natural surroundings (try their monthly subscription!).
  • Reviving products for stressed out skin.
  • Happy pills, but good for you.
  • The gift of good sleep (with $40 OFF a purchase of $200 or more).
  • Beautiful sheets that prompt a whole day in bed.
  • Towels worthy of a bath soak.
  • Pillows for sinking into and creating reading nooks (with 15% OFF using my code: debtist15) .
  • A beautiful new mat for an early morning routine.
  • Something soft for our weathered feet.
  • A polish whose proceeds are donated to a non-profit helping those with mental illness.

Gift Guide: Father’s Day

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I have always had a close connection with the celebration of Father’s Day.  One reason is that I  share the date with my birthday every six years or so, and my dad and I would always celebrate together. The second reason is perhaps related to a similarity to my dear pops and the close relationship that results. When I used to work down the street from my parent’s home, one of my favorite moments of the week was the hour prior to my workday when dad and I used to stand around the kitchen island sipping coffee and talking about whatever. When I first graduated from dental school, I invited my dad to breakfast at his favorite diner and over eggs and a cup of joe, I asked him for finance advice. And when there is trouble brewing between myself and my mom or my sister, guess who the first person I talk to is. That’s right. Dear old dad.

I know there are different types of dads out there, but mine in particular is the great listener type, and provides good, practical advice. He is my number one sounding board. I’m sure many daughters can relate. Still, there are fathers who fill other roles – the errand running type, the babysitting type, the cook for large gatherings type, the adventurer type, the handyman type, the chillax type … well you get it.

For those wishing to shower their fathers with gifts this year, I put together a collection of ideas which can all be ordered online. Just make sure to account for the extra time it takes to ship during these times.

+ A dutch oven for the dad who loves to cook or bake (or anything else from this list.)

+ The most versatile coffee mug and a coffee subscription to match.

+ A pair of sneakers for the errand-running, dog-walking, on-the-go type of dad.

+ A new tumbler for dads who love a good workout.

+ Packing cubes for the frequent flyer or backpacking adventurer.

+ Blue light blockers for weekdays and sunnies for weekends.

+ New speakers for music and movie loving dads.

+ Organic undies for carefree, lounging dudes.

+ Finally, a good night’s sleep, which every dad deserves.

These are my personal picks that I imagine different types of fathers would enjoy.

I hope you find one that suits you.