Holiday Gift Guide for Her

Last week, I posted a holiday gift guide for him. Today, I am posting one for her, with the caveat that the ‘her’ I am envisioning is a person similar to me. This may lead to disappointment, especially if you are looking to astound with diamond rings and glittery gowns, or if you are looking for the latest clothing or shoe recommendations. However, I have hope that there is something useful here for the modern femme in your life; that leading lady, boss chic, super heroine, extremely active go-getter, et cetera.

Other Gift Guides for Her

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

  • I have been dying for this digital notepad for years. The Remarkable 2.0 looks amazing. I love to write but my minimalist tendencies has gotten me to throw away countless notepads over the past few years. This notepad looks super sleek and seems to have a good paper-feel to it. I heard great things about the pen and the accuracy when translating from notepad to other devices. The slim profile looks quite modern and I can see myself writing more each day with this notepad around. It is on sale right now, for that really special someone. $300.
  • As much as I have been dying to get the Remarkable 2.0, I have made the conscious decision to buy a Surface Pro Pen to go with my Surface Pro instead. I have owned a Surface Pro for more than five years and really love it! It is a great option for minimalists who primarily use their computer for basic blogging and web-surfing. Buying a Surface Pro Pen was more cost-efficient, even though the feel is just not the same. I found I haven’t been reaching for it as much as a pen and paper, because the pen writing on the Surface pad still feels too digital. But the pen did provide me that happy medium between keeping notebooks around and buying the Remarkable 2.0. $99
  • No matter what, I keep a physical daily planner with me 100% of the time. It’s the only paper source I can’t shake. This daily planner by Unbound is the best planner I have ever used! If you have a gal who loves to plan, gift her this planner for 2022. She will love it! If you want another option, I wrote a list of Top 5 Planners here. $52
  • All of my friends have recently gotten into smart watches. This Fit Bit Inspire 2 with the white band looks so chic and does the job in a minimal way. A watch like this can really help someone hit their wellness and fitness goals. All my gal pals are stoked about their Fit Bit watches. $70
  • Alternatively, give the gift of relaxation and flexibility with this Manduka yoga strap. It takes up small real estate in the home but gets the job done. $16
  • This bag is just right for the shy vocalist in your life. Some people want to spread a message without having to get behind a speaker or mic. And why not get them the matching sock, too? $18-28
  • Give the gift of a strong boy brow. This brow stick from Glossier is my favorite make-up item in my minimalist arsenal. It was game-changer, and the perfect anti-dote to when I’m feeling glum. $16
  • Ocean lovers and cat lovers will equally love this phone case from Pela, plus other beige cases this way. $54
  • This is the perfect knife set for a gal who loves to cook. It’s minimalist, modern, and just stunning! The wood display comes in a few colors, but the trio would look just as nice on a steel magnetic plate. I am always on the lookout for simple solutions and these three are really all you need in your knife block. $125
  • And for the non-cooks, this Beast Blender is revolutionizing mornings for women everywhere. Make a healthy smoothie, throw in some collagen powder and protein, and top off with a to-go lid. (W+P Design has a few cute insulated bottles that I’ve been curious to try.) My friend got this blender and has all good things to say. Her husband is also using it on the daily now. This is the perfect no-fuss solution for those who love to sleep in a little extra, or leave home a little early. And it cleans up well! $185
  • Rather, you could just gift her the most amazing collagen ever! I love Thrive Market’s collagen. I can really feel and see the effects. I have also tried the Vital Proteins Collagen and I must say that Thrive Market’s is wayyy better. I throw this into my smoothie bowls and bone broth to keep my skin, hair and nails looking happy and healthy. $25

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Holiday Gift Guide for Him

I am definitely a gift giver and there’s nothing I like more than shopping for someone else. This is especially true for my husband. I never have trouble finding gifts and I enjoy imagining what a guy would want to receive. Of course, it usually ends up being things that I want, too! Convenient, huh? Haha. Luckily, my significant other is extremely easy-going. I know that we are coming upon the holidays soon, so here is a last-minute holiday gift guide for him! Some of these items are actually on Mike’s wishlist this year. Then again, about half are things I would like for myself, as well. I also tried to include frugal alternatives to the more wildly expensive stuff. Since when did things cost so much?

Alternatively, a more simple holiday:

Holiday Gift Guide for Him

  • A water carbonator that’s easy on the eyes. Mike never drinks enough water. But water carbonators can make drinking water a real joy, rather than a chore. Help your guy create the habit of staying hydrated by sprucing up his drink. Moreover, this carbonator from Aarke is so pretty to look at, it totally solves the issue of putting it away every time versus keeping it out. Technically, this makes it a gift for me, too! Haha. There are seven colors to choose from. I personally love this beautiful ‘Sand’ color! Yuppie water, here he comes. $249
  • Of course, sometimes it’s the little things that makes all the difference. I fortified my water-drinking habit by buying one of these Ikea pitchers with a lid. I have it on my desk with a glass every day, and refill as needed. It makes water within arms reach and constantly accessible, without breaking the piggy bank. Plus, it is such a joy to pour from, and the lid keeps all the dust bunnies out! $4
  • This toaster seriously deserves all the hype. We have owned this Balmuda toaster for many months now and we use it almost daily. My husband cannot get enough bread, and Balmuda has revolutionized the way toasters reheat our gluten-full foods. We’ve been dishing out some perfect toasts and life couldn’t be any better. Just like the Aarke, it comes in multiple colors, which allows you to match your appliances (again, a pro for me!). $300
  • If you don’t want to drop $300 on the Balmuda, this beautiful toaster by Hay Design runs at a cheaper price point. It’s for toast and sliced bread only, but sometimes, that’s all your kitchen needs! $95
  • My guy is a coffee guy. Therefore, coffee gear is always being upgraded at our house. We have owned the Fellow Stagg stovetop kettle for years, but decided to upgrade to the Balmuda Electric Kettle when we upgraded our toaster and I haven’t gone back since! This kettle is petite and beautiful to hold in my tiny hands. The weight is ergonomically balanced and I don’t experience severe forward tipping like I do with the Fellow Kettle. Additionally, the indicator light at the end of the handle has a moody orange glow to it, which really makes my gloomy mornings. And it heats up way quicker than the stovetop kettles! We have this in white and use it almost daily. We are now Balmuda people, what can I say? $150
  • When Mike heard I was publishing a ‘Gift Guide for Him’ post, he told me that I needed to add Miir mugs to the list. He got a free 12 oz. camp mug from his company and uses it every day for his coffee. That surprised me because the internal is metal and ideally you want a glass vessel for coffee. But he swears by it and loves that it keeps his drink warm. So I guess there you have it! From the coffee lover, himself. $25
  • Mike and my brother have both gotten into training for marathons recently. They’ve also both gotten a watch to help improve their running. Mike got this Coros Pace 2 Watch and has been loving it! The watch is extremely light-weight and minimalist. My brother purchased a more intense Garmin watch that includes GPS tracking since he goes on multi-day hikes in national parks as well. Both have enjoyed not carrying their cell phones around when they are out in nature. Mike loves that the Coros Pace 2 has no music capabilities, which allows him to think on his long runs. I haven’t seen him enjoy a product this much in a long time. $200
  • If your guy is more like me and has no intention of running a marathon, but wants to get into shape, this Fit Bit Inspire 2 has really been inspiring me these days. And they’re going for only $65 a pop!
  • One of Mike’s best guy friends defines air-frying as cooking. I swear, everything he makes for dinner requires an air-fryer. If yours is the same, maybe getting a nice one this year would be a good idea. The best part – this one is dishwasher safe! Simplifying life in 2022, yeah? $90
  • What guy doesn’t love pizza? This Ooni pizza oven is a year-round gift, perfect for pizzas in the park, as well as cozy winter pizza parties! This has a minimal profile that would fit inside a tiny home. It is portable and having one in your friend group can be quite useful. Pool party, anyone? I would prefer one of these on our balcony over a grill. That would be a dream! $400
  • If you can’t quite stomach buying an entire oven, I’ve personally got my eyes set on this pizza stone by Emile Henry. It will work just as well in a kitchen oven! $55
  • My husband is really into the crypto-world. He had asked for, and received, a Nano Ledger last year. Now that crypto is becoming more relevant, perhaps this epic drive would be a great gift. Store coins off the web in this hard wallet. The security is well worth it at only $60.
  • This Theragun Mini is perfect for guys who like to go to the gym. Muscle relaxation is just as important as exercise! $199
  • Mikey himself opted for a cheaper alternative on his wishlist, which is a foam roller. This Lululemon roller has gotten a lot of attention for it’s dual capabilities. It is also available in a mini version, designed for people on the move! I would definitely carry this roller to the gym, yoga class, or dental office! Plus, it’s got this great marble print, making it approved to be left out in an inconspicuous corner of the living room. $58 for the regular, $38 for the mini.
  • Here is another gift on Mikey’s wishlist this year: a cocktail smoker top/smoke stack. A perfect gift for your personal mixologist, or the next Manhattan lover. $60

I really hope you found this holiday gift guide for him useful. As always, feel free to share what you got your significant other! Crowd-sourcing is the absolute best.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Prepping for a Mindful Holiday Season

It’s mid-November and I’m left wondering where the first half of the month went, let alone the majority of the year. It seems that as we age, our perception of time quickens,  as if a reminder that the time we have left dwindles. Perhaps this is why mindfulness becomes more relevant as we get older. Perhaps it’s why senility exists, as a pungent way to signal the world that we are focusing on the things that don’t really matter. I wonder if this blog brings that same sort of light, without the heartbreaking undertones of senescence. Hopefully, it has brought you something.

Today, I want to take the time, before holiday rush, to instill mindfulness in the home before good cheer takes away all thought in our fervent search for comfort and joy. Let us welcome the holiday season in all the right ways. We will be wishing and receiving all season long, which isn’t wrong per say, but I think it would behoove us to approach it with some serious thought so as to avoid the need to de-clutter and figure ourselves out all over again amidst the noise in 2020.

A few suggestions, nothing unheard of especially in this space, if I may.

  • Take stock. Make a mental note of everything you already own. Figure out ways in which they can do double duty in function. Find what is enough in your life, with an intention to add less.
  • Declutter. Always declutter. It seems my advice runs redundant but it signifies the habitual act of. Get rid of the noise distracting from the important parts of the holiday season. Hone in on what brings you true joy. Strengthen the ability to know what holds value and what does not. This will also help with the selection of which social obligations you commit to, lest you run amok trying to please everybody and not enjoying the season at all.
  • Write your wish list early. And then publish it late. In the meanwhile, edit, edit, edit. Treat your wish list like a draft. It’s similar to pausing prior to purchasing things. Sometimes, it’s even more important to do because of the ease with which we can ask for things. Sleep on it. Search the house for dopplegangers of stuff (are you asking for things you already own?). Prioritize, putting needs at the top and considering making do without the wants. Perhaps you’d like to request consumable giftsFor ideas, a simple holiday gift guide.
  • Focus on the non-material. Not just in gift-giving and wish-making, but also in the doing. Forego the stresses of perfect Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas mornings. Rather, revel in the gathering. Spend less time thinking about what to wear in to the holiday party and more time focusing on the conversations you wish to have. Et cetera. If you need a reminder, create an advent calendar for a slow holiday season. If you’d like to take it a step further, write a no-gifting letter or say no to Secret Santa.
  • Simplify. Instead of asking for ten things from one person, ask for one or two thereby lightening their need to make even more decisions. Instead of decking halls this year, maybe go bare to save you from entering 2020 with a large amount of un-decorating to do. Instead of ordering holiday cards, email a digital picture. There are many ways to simplify, some of which I’ve written about here and here.

I am always of the mind that we need to prepare for the holidays in different ways. In doing less and thinking more. It’s worth a try, in hopes that we all enter the new decade with truer joy, and a lot more peace.

 

A Simple Holiday Gift Guide – 10 gifts for the holiday season

Call yourself frugal, minimal, mindful, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. There’s still the matter of gift giving for the holidays. Unless you’ve found a way to completely let go of gift giving without hurting or disappointing your closest loved ones, there’s the issue of buying more material goods that could do the planet more harm than good. Gift giving is a bit of a funny thing. You hand someone something to celebrate a birthday or holiday, as a way of saying, “Here’s a piece of the Earth I killed for you in your name.” Extreme much? Yeah, I am sometimes, but there’s a little bit of truth to that statement, don’t you think?

It’s taken a bit of time for me to find a balance in my gift giving strategy. There is the issue of giving someone something they actually want. If there’s a specific list or wish, I don’t stray much from that, only because the point of gifts should be making someone else, and not yourself, happy. But it doesn’t hurt to ask if you could do an alternative. And for those people that didn’t insist on a particular item, there are always these options. Here are my top ten gifts for the holiday season.

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+ Home baked cookies – wrapped in linen napkin or placed in a reusable container (also being gifted). If your group of friends or family is anything like ours, bring it to a party Pizookie style. We recently served a pizookie this way at our Friendsgiving dinner, and it was way more fun to grapple over each other, digging in with our own spoons, and frantically trying to eat more than your neighbor. It was an awesome way to end a group dinner, bringing us together to literally share our meal. Grossed out by the idea of sharing? Make traditional individual cookies, plate, and top with a heaping scoop of ice cream.

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+ Your best homemade sauce in a mason jar. This is great whether it’s pasta sauce, a secret dressing, or a favorite dip. It is a sure way to bring a little piece of your home into someone else’s. Mike and I share a love for Mexican food, and in the last year, we’ve found a Tomatillo Sauce recipe that tastes almost as good as our favorite sauce in Valle de Guadalupe. Made from scratch, we wanted to share this sauce with our friends and family. We gave away little jar samples as a gift for attending our Thanksgiving dinner. The “Thank You” email sent the next day included our three go-to ways to cook with this tomatillo sauce, from something as simple as chips and salsa, to chilaquiles and enchiladas, which added even more of a personal touch!

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+ A bouquet of everlasting flowers from a local flower shop. I am a huge fan of supporting local farmers, florists, and small shops. Stop by your local florist and ask for a bouquet of flowers that dry beautifully. These in particular are Everlasting bouquets from Petals and Pop, a local floral shop in Huntington Beach. These bundles will last through multiple seasons, and technically, could last forever if left alone. Place in a mason jar or a vase to your liking.

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+ A bar of soap, without the wrapping, tied with a reused bow. My favorite gift that Mike and I ever received during the days leading up to our wedding was a single bar of soap, unwrapped, from my friend Jo as a housewarming gift. On it was a handwritten note tied with a single bow that read, “In my culture, a bar of soap symbolizes prosperity.” The simplicity of the gift stunned me, but it’s something I never forgot. It was my favorite present because she gave us a gift that symbolized a wish.

+ A mini Christmas tree for holiday cheer. Having an early party this season? Bring in a mini Christmas tree, small enough to stand on a coffee table or on the floor. Nothing beats bringing some natural element or other into the home. Plus, the smell of pine is a winner.

+ A reusable shopping bag, with some produce bags and linen bread bags, or mason jars, collected over time. I love these items, and they are particularly useful and actually friendly to the environment. I have a couple of tiny produce bags for fruits and veggies, and a disarray of totebags. The point isn’t to match (although matching is a plus!) but to have a sense of sensibility and practicality when it comes to shopping for those holiday dinners your loved one is about to throw.

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+ Homemade candles, infused with your favorite scents. There is nothing I love more than lighting scented candles. These are easily homemade in a mason jar or a jar that once held a previous candle. It’s great for lighting dark afternoons, when the sun has just gone done but the sky isn’t dark enough to turn on the lights. I love working by candle light in the evenings. There’s something romantic and peaceful about that, and it reminds me of childhood days in the Philippines when the electricity would go out and we only had candles to get us through to the morning. Click here to learn how to make one of your own.

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+ A stack of your favorite books that you’ve read this past year, ready for de-cluttering. I had a goal of reading through the leftover unread books that I foolishly hoarded in my early twenties this past year. But the year flew by so fast, that it seems I only got through seventeen or so books. With my new ways, I no longer feel the emotional tie to books like I once did, and can’t wait to part with them once I have sucked all the knowledge out of their beautiful smelling, yellowing pages. But what to do with them has been a dilemma. I’ve donated a bunch to my sister’s charter school, which does not have a library and wherein she is trying to create a collection of books for her high school students to read. Some of my favorites, I’ve held on to and gifted to fellow bookworms for their birthdays. So why not do the same for the holidays? Choose some of your favorite reads, add a review or synopsis, and wrap them stacked and with a bow. Their book lives are not yet over.

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+ A bottle of wine, brought to a holiday dinner party. Since giving up alcohol, I have constantly been trying to pawn off bottles and bottles of wine at every dinner party we’ve hosted at our house, and then some. It’s a great, merry addition to a party, and a good gift for any host or hostess. Plus, you and the guests may get something out of it too!

+ Handmade cards, for future birthdays and other well wishes. I love giving cards with every gift, but I hate paying $5 for them. I have recently acquired a novice level skill of using a calligraphy pen and could use some practice. I figured, why not practice by making a set of handmade cards? I started to do just that, then grouped ten cards together to gift to someone else for the holidays. Practiced a new skill, and saved someone $50 worth cards for the following year. Win win.

** All gifts were given sans wrapping paper, and tied with a bow that has been re-used from previous gifts that I’ve received.