Trying to think of what to put on your Christmas list this year?
We think it's safe to say that both of us are pretty selective when it comes to spending money. I don't know...maybe it's because we've had our fair share of breadmakers, quesadilla makers, tortilla presses, juicers, cupcake makers, soda streams, Thigh Masters and the like. All of which were especially good at one thing: taking up space and cluttering up our lives, eventually making their way to Goodwill, along with many other well-intentioned Christmas gifts and impulse buys.
In the Spirit of the season, we have come up with a list of TWELVE of our favorite things we just can't seem to live without; gifts we've given ourselves or have put on our own Christmas lists at one time or another. They are those little special somethings that enhance, bring joy, and simplify our lives in a way that allow us to live a simply nourished life.
Cue the music and your inner Julie Andrews...
12 Gifts for Giving.....Yourself
1. belif The True Cream-Moisturizing Bomb: This is my all time favorite moisturizer and I have tried A LOT!! You know I avoid parabens and hate all the extra chemicals!! This stuff uses no animal origin ingredients and promises never to include dyes or artificial fragrances. It moisturizes skin quickly without leaving any stickiness or heaviness.
2. Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus: I really don't leave home without this little gem. Sometimes it's the only friend I've got. I love to use her for quick chopping of onion, garlic, celery, nuts and this can even blend up soups or hummus in a pinch!
3. Sushi-Rolling Kit: If you are a sushi lover or have a loved one that is obsessed...this is the perfect gift! It is so inexpensive and essential for rolling the perfect sushi roll. The paddle and knife are included which make the sushi-making task so much easier.
4. Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap: A friend of mine got me on to castile soap a few years ago. My absolute favorite is lavender and that's what you'll find in my shower. What I didn't realize is the many ways to use this organic soap! Shaving, shampooing, dental cleaning (???), hot towel massage, breath freshener...you can check it out here!
5. Silicone Spatulas: A MUST for any chef! These can withstand the heat so they are not only great for baking but also sauteing and frying. I use a silicone spatula every time I cook!! Quality silicone spatulas are important because ones of poor quality will melt or the ends will break off...trust me, I know!!
6. Fresh Balsam Candle from Bath & Body Works: I'm telling you, only the things that I love and truly cannot live without made this list. Bath & Body Works puts out Fresh Balsam candles seasonally, usually in the fall and will sell only through the holiday season. I must admit, I stock pile these candles and burn them year round.
7. Hot Cinnamon Spice tea by Harney & Sons: This is in my life EVERYDAY!! I can NOT survive without it! This is the herbal version of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, which is decaffeinated. You can choose the black tea version, which contains caffeine. But either way it is THE.BEST.DAMN.TEA.EVER. I have had non-tea drinking friends (why are we friends?) that LOVE this tea! If you buy only one thing from this list, make it this tea!!
8. Pop Socket: My daughter hooked me up with this little beauty. At first my fingers were like...wth? But I quickly grew accustomed and now it's like I've grown another finger. And who couldn't use one of those? The pop socket sticks to the back of your phone, making for a sweet lil' kickstand for when you're binging some Netflix or You Tube.
9. Nutra Ninja: This is NOT just for smoothies, people!! I use this powerhouse almost every day. I make cream sauces, dressings, desserts and more with this sucker! What makes it so great? Clean up is a breeze!! And that's why I love it so much!
10. Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker: The other love in my life. If the Cuisinart mini-prep is my bff, then the pressure cooker is like...my assistant. The BEST part of having an electric pressure cooker is that you don't have to babysit the cooking process. If I had to choose one appliance to keep, this would be it. I can take it to a hotel and saute vegetables, cook potatoes or whip up a soup! Besides the convenience, electric pressure cookers cut cooking time AND energy expenditure by 70%! Wonder why I chose the Cuisinart over InstaPot? Check out this Pressure Cooker Showdown! Whichever one you choose, I think we are all still #winning and it's just a matter of preference and whether having an electric pressure cooker is really right for you.
11. Frankincense: I'm in love with essential oils. I have many varieties and I could share with you many stories of healing in our home with these natural remedies. If you can only choose one essential oil, opt for frankincense. "The healing benefits of frankincense resin has traditionally centered on disease prevention and anti-inflammatory properties, and researchers have been able to confirm that boswellic acids contain a potent ability to modify the immune system as well. Part of having a more efficient immune system is the regulation of inflammation, as well, which can have effects topically or systemically." -US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
12. Meditation Cushion: It's all the rage. I'm actually not really sure about that. My dearest friend gifted me my first meditation cushion a few years back. It's buckwheat filled, sturdy yet comfy and is just the right height for relieving pain on pressure points such as joints, knees and ankles. It feels "proper" for practicing meditation and like a yoga mat, no matter where I find myself in the world, my very own meditation cushion helps ground me in my practice.
Please know that we are in no way being paid to market or advertise these products. These are truly our favs, though if you purchase through our links we've provided, we will make a few pennies (literally) through our Amazon affiliate. Don't worry, these few cents will only help to bring you more free access to Living Simply Nourished. LLC and will cost you nothing at all.
I'm trying something new this week...I shared this presentation with our nutrition workshop series participants and I thought it was worth sharing with you all, too! It's about how we can rewire our brains to create lasting changes. I don't want to give too much away...so check it out and let me know your thoughts!!
Thank you so much for checking it out!!
Peace, Love, Plants,
I have always been a morning person. I attribute that to the fact that I am a light sleeper and my parents were morning people. I remember having sleepovers as a child and in the early morning hours I would lie staring at my guest's closed eyelids with laser focus, willing them to wake up so we could get on with the day. At 9 years old, I recall being awake, of my own accord, to witness the marriage between Prince Charles and Lady Diana, which must have aired in the U.S. between 5-6:00 am.
I do love the mornings. It’s that time that belongs to me, alone. Everyone is usually sleeping, it's quiet and no one is expecting much of me. I mean...there were those days when my kids were really young and I felt like my time began only after I put them to bed. In hindsight, those were unhealthy years...it just went against my nature, really...but I had to take what I could get.
A couple of years ago my friend, Trisha, referred a book called, The 5 am Miracle, by Jeff Sanders. Trisha is always challenging herself in the coolest ways. I never bought the book because it turns out Sanders does a free podcast by the same name; listening just felt easier.
The 5 AM Miracle is a weekly podcast dedicated to dominating your day before breakfast. The goal is to help you bounce out of bed with enthusiasm, create powerful lifelong habits, and tackle your grandest goals with extraordinary energy. Omigawwd, sign me up!
Here’s how my ideal morning would go for an optimal day:
5:00am Wake up. Prayer of gratitude for 5 minutes
5:10am Yoga or meditation followed by drinking 1 liter of water to re-hydrate
5:30am Personal development reading or podcast listening
5:45am Facetime my husband (he works away) and tidy kitchen for the day
6:00am Creative Writing
6:30am Get ready for the day, make bed, greet and feed the dog
7:00am I’m ready to take on the world and give it all I’ve got!
See? This looks and sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? Doing all the things that really feed my soul BEFORE the rest of my day gets started. I’m just a better person throughout the day...operating from a really grounded place, on an even keel. I’m able to handle the spontaneity and challenge the rest of the day brings. Calmly putting out fires, talking my kids of the ledge, rollin’ with the punches.
But here’s what my mornings really look like :
5:22am Wake up and pray shit doesn’t go sideways
5:23am Go straight to the coffee pot and make myself a cup of BLACK joy-less coffee
5:25am Check my phone
5:30am Open the laptop and start to write, but end up checking my email
5:35am Nerved up because I’ve gotten distracted and begin to do some writing
5:45am Facetime my husband, Bless his heart, he’s looking at the toaster because I’m halfway into the fridge hurriedly finding something to pack for lunch or emptying the dishwasher
6:00am Go back to the laptop and stall for 5 full minutes trying to decide if I should write or edit or create posts or…
6:45am I get the writing in but am RACING up the stairs to get ready for the day.
6:50am Using my phone as a flashlight I creep through my bedroom trying to put together an outfit for work (my daughter is currently my bedmate), skip the shower and get ready for the day.
7:00am Leave for work, text the kids to feed and let the dog out (that I have once again, run out of time), eat my breakfast while recklessly driving with my knee.
So, clearly, this has just gotten all out-of-whack. I’m wanting to re-group so I can get back to feeling like a sane person again. It has dawned on me exactly what’s missing here.
A night-time routine.
It seems to me, when I back up from this whole picture, for all of these activities or blocks of designated time to happen, the preparation for them needs to begin the night before. Laying out the yoga clothes or meditation cushion, filling my water bottle and placing it beside the chair next to my book, pre-packing a healthy lunch, getting out my tea bags, mug and putting water in the kettle, organizing my work outfit, setting my alarm and turning all electronics off 30 minutes before I go to sleep.
Now, truthfully, I have to be careful to not wait until it’s too late in the evening to do these tasks, because getting up at 5am can make for a loooooong day. I start to fade around 7:00pm. (In other words, I don’t get many invites to a late night movie or dinner and dancing. I simply can no longer hang with my night owl friends).
If the very thought of 5am makes you cringe, I think the key here is to be very intentional about your time, productivity and your self care whether your 5 am Miracle happens at
5 am, 7 am, 10 pm or 1:00 in the morning. The point is to identify when you’re best energy of the day occurs, or where you could most easily carve out the time to do those things that ground you, feed your soul and allow you to become the eye of the storm.
Tip of the Day: Set the timer as you move through your morning routine. This allows you to fit it all in and avoid distractions. It may seem mechanical at first, but pretty quickly you will flow through it with ease.
What to Avoid: Checking your phone or email is an imminent rabbit hole...taking us on a wild ride through the internet far far away from our morning intentions. Try saving the activities that require reaction or response until after you’ve finished your morning routine.
I'm going to change things up this week...I'm not going to talk about food (what?!?! I know crazy, right?!). You all know I'm a big holistic health advocate so that means focusing on every aspect of health in the entire body...the body as a whole. So, if you'd like to hear about the healing of my spirit read on....
I had always been fearful of the word God. As a child, the God I learned about was vengeful, judgmental, a magician. I was told stories of a God that sent a vengeful storm for the sins of humanity, a god who judges based on the choices made in life, a god who magically creates. I didn't want to believe in that God. I would ask myself "why would a God punish people?" "Why would a God 'test' me?" "How could a God create something out of nothing?" This was heavy in my heart for a long time. As my world grew bigger, so did my understanding of God. I searched through religions trying to find something that would explain God more clearly to me. I learned that God is many things to many different people. Each of us has to find our own meaning and understanding.
I've found my own path and my own God. It's hard to express the ideas that we have of our own God in a world filled with dogmatic religious philosophy. Buddha has said, "Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; not upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in scripture. But when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them." That Buddha was a smart guy! He told us to believe what we feel is right and what we have experienced for ourselves and not follow along with things we've been told or rumors we've heard.
I am putting it into the Universe that your God may be different than my God and that's OK! I am finally finding peace in my God. I am no longer questioning my virtue in seeking my God. I have my own path for whatever reasons that the Universe has chosen. Whatever those reasons may be, I would like to share with you. My hope is that this reaches someone who is also searching for their path and they can find some solace in my thoughts.
My God doesn't punish.
My God doesn't judge.
My God is love.
My God is light.
My God is compassion.
My God is kindness.
My God has no face, no form.
My God doesn't create because my God shares the energy, essence, spirit in which all things are brought into the universe.
Imagine God as an ocean and all things as waves. Waves are not separate from the ocean. They are the ocean. As a part of the ocean, waves are a transfer of the ocean's energy. As a part of God, we are a transfer of God's energy. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; therefore, I am God, You are God, trees are God, animals are God...
I love myself, animals, you, trees and everything because I love my God and my God is all things. Since all things are my God and I am my God, then, I am you and you are me. This fundamental level is where we learn that we are all connected and what we do affects everything in the world. Wow, think about how powerful you are and I am!! Let us use our powers for good...Loving others means loving yourself. Having compassion for others means having compassion for God and all other things. As your essence flows through the Universe be sure it is filled with everything that you would want in return like love, compassion, kindness, joy because remember, we are all the same energy!!
At an earlier time in my life, I never would have had the courage to share these words. These words have come to me after meditation. Only through my experience could I believe that such a thing could be so powerful!! Through my practice, I have found so much peace, joy and abundance.
The power of meditation lies in its creation of mindfulness...living in the now. When we live in each moment there is no time for worry, guilt, regret, fear....I'm not telling you I no longer feel/think these things because I do! We all do!! Our minds are computers that never power off, but we CAN have power over our thoughts. As Douglas Adams says, "So much of our suffering happens between our own ears." How powerful is that statement?! Our worst critic is in our mind, our demise creator is our brain. We need to learn to take control of our thoughts. This is where meditation comes in; it is a PRACTICE of having power over our thoughts. That power comes in the form of mindfulness. In their innumerable forms, mindfulness and meditation can look like many things! I encourage you to find your THING! In all their forms, it allows you to find that silent space between your thoughts where peace, light, and joy reside.
Each morning, I dedicate 10-30 minutes to a silent, seated meditation practice, but another important part of my practice is getting outside...being a part of nature. When I am immersed in the silence of the forests and mountains, I find myself clearing my mind without thought of doing it. I find peace and joy. I've taken to photography during my nature adventures and this has helped me stay mindful, as I put all of my energy into focusing on the beauty around me. It is so easy to get lost in the miniscule details of the mountains and forests.
I encourage you to give meditation a try. It doesn't have to look like anything in particular! Take 5 minutes to focus on your breath, to stare at a beautiful flower, to watch your child smile and laugh, but be completely, 100% in that moment. Immerse all of your energy and spirit into that moment. FEEL that MOMENT. All we have is this moment!
Peace, Love, Plants,
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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