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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Holiday Gift Guide (my favorite things)

This isn't your traditional gift guide where I put together a set of random things I don't actually own, curated for "Hikers" "Moms" or "The Runner In Your Life".  

Nope, this is a list of things I have bought myself lately (or have been gifted) that I love and think would make a great gift. It's an eclectic list with everything from hiking packs to cordless vacuums. There's something for everyone and trust me, e v e r y o n e needs a cordless vacuum. 

Cybex Libelle

Travel Stroller - Whether you plan to travel or just want something small to store in your apartment or transport in your car, a travel stroller is an amazing investment. It seems silly to own three strollers but the Uppababy Vista is vital for two kiddos and amazing with the basinet/car seat inclusion. The jogging stroller is a must for avid runners or taking the stroller across uneven terrain (beach, parks, etc). The travel stroller is amazing for planes, trains, and automobiles and when you don't want to lug around your larger heavier strollers. I wrote a lengthy travel stroller comparison guide and landed on the Cybex Libelle. 

Hiking Pack - I wrote a whole review on this pack and this pack makes our active lifestyle so much easier. The large storage compartments make this a great pack for longer and overnight adventures. We love Osprey and we are thrilled to keep buying into this brand we trust. If you are looking for a gift for the family who hikes, this is a great option and one I personally stand behind. 

Cordless Vacuum - Robotic vacuums are getting all the love lately and don't get me wrong, we have one and run it daily but you still need a decent vacuum for the details (deeper clean sessions, baseboards, stairs, etc). This is truly a gift for anyone as cordless vacuums make this household task so much easier, especially if you have pets. I was very devoted to the GoCleanCo cordless vacuum review and decided on the Roomie Tec Cordless Stick Vacuum ($110) for its price point and high ratings. *disclaimer - it hasn't arrived yet but I am anxiously awaiting its delivery and I trust a GoCleanCo Review. 

Lifeprint - I am a sucker for Good Morning America Steals and Deals and this came up for half off and I snagged it. I have the 3.5x4" model and it is very convenient to be able to print out a picture on demand without having to go to CVS for one measly photo. The quality isn't amazing but it's good enough (and so convenient) for baby books and thank you cards. The printer is user-friendly, only requires paper (no ink) and its tiny portable size is a big plus. This is great for parents or family members who like to actual hard copy photos and would make a perfect gift bundle with a baby book. 

Wireless Headphones - I totally get the appeal for wireless headphones. The cord was constantly getting tangled or pulled out while running and I was sick of getting tangled in it. The breaking point was my exercise bike which only has a connection for Bluetooth headphones (no jack) and I needed a solution for nap rides. I really struggled with a price point for this. I didn't want to spend $100+ (I don't trust myself to not lose them) but I also didn't want a $20 pair with awful quality. I settled on the middle and got the Lypertek SoundFree S20 ($40). The quality is good and while I do get some vibrations out running, I won't be devastated if they get lost one day. 

Myx Fitness Bike - this is a splurge item for sure but it's one I have been so thankful for this year. I was never an avid biker but I knew I needed something for a) pregnancy when running beyond 30 weeks wasn't working b) something I could do during nap time c) a way to do cardio when it's too cold to bring Whitney out in the jogging stroller. The bike uses OpenFit (an extra $20 a month) and classes vary from weight workouts to barre. The screen swivels for off-the-bike mat work and it's a much more affordable option than the Peloton. This is great for the cyclist who wants to keep up his cardio and bike training in the winter (safely out of the way of icy roads and dark streets), or really anyone who wants a gym experience at home and a quality bike. 

Address Stamp/Embosser - My sister gifted me an address embosser and I also went out and bought a stamp. This inexpensive gadget makes thank you cards, wedding invites, and holiday cards so much easier. This is a great holiday gift and the perfect housewarming present for your friend who just moved. 

Coffee Maker - There are a lot of awesome coffee makers out there. I currently have the Nespresso machine which I love. It came with my husband from his bachelor pad and I have been pleasantly surprised by the ease of the machine and delicious creamy coffee it creates. When this thing goes, I am hoping to splurge on a real espresso/coffee system like this Breville ($700) but, that's a large price to pay for coffee and if you want something quick and easy with a pod, the Nespresso Vertuo is wonderful and affordable ($200).

Jambu Slip On Waterproof Shoes - Another Good Morning America Steal and Deal (guilty). I have a young son and two dogs and our usual morning routine is grabbing Whitney and walking outside with the dogs to let them off the back deck. This means I'm one-handed and I wanted something that easily slipped on and off, had a sturdy sole, was waterproof for snowy mornings or dewy grass, and was warm in the winter. This is the best slip-on waterproof shoe and it's perfect for everyone/anyone. It would also make a great heavy-duty slipper (you know, for those of you who like to wear your slippers out ;).

External Battery Pack - I have one and I am constantly gifting this to friends and family. It is perfect for traveling, perfect for hiking and camping trips, and great for the person that is always letting their phone die. I use an Anker battery pack and it's lasted for years. You can also grab them in various compact sizes and with different battery/charge life. 

Art Prints (local/small shops) - My 2021 theme may have been "find local artists on instagram". We were starting to decorate our home and I didn't want a generic homegoods print on the wall. I found beautiful artists on instagram of all places and purchased (or added to my wish list) various beautiful prints from Kesia Finley Art, Jodi Mac Calligraphy, and Brittany Smith Studio


I am always urging people to buy and gift experiences over things and felt it was necessary to share some of my favorite experiences I have bought or gifted. 

Language Learning Software/Subscription - This is such a fun gift for the traveler in your life. Have a friend or loved one heading abroad for a trip? Get them a subscription to some software like Duolingo and have them speak a new language before their next trip. 

Audible Subscription - This is a great gift for the friend who says "I wish I had time to read". Audible means you can "read" on your walk, on your commute, and just about anytime. I love it when a book is read by an author and usually have an audiobook going with my normal library books =. 

Art Class - You don't have to be an artsy person to learn a new craft. I don't have an artistic bone in my body but always fantasized about being able to create art for my own home. Our Parks and Rec department offers a seasonal watercolor class (six sessions from 9:30 to 12 on Sundays for $100) and it's been the best gift to me. I'm the youngest one by 15+ years but it is insanely fun and relaxing to learn this new skill (especially in person). Our class came with supplies and I'm sure you can find a local program near you. 


And then there is #Thriftmas. You probably saw me post on instagram how I found some great gifts for Whitney that are all second hand. I really urge you to try to get at least a gift or two this year that is thrifted. There are a bunch of great "Buy Nothing" facebook groups, there is facebook marketplace, your local consignment shops, and Goodwill. With the 2021 shipping delays, this is a great way to avoid panic, go green, and save money in the meanwhile. 

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