December is the craziest month where you actually have to have your shit together. With work deadlines, closing out projects before the end of the year, and navigating social functions, sometimes a few of the gifts you were supposed to order slip your mind. We have all been there, and many of us may actually be there right now. Well thankfully in 2019 we are blessed with the gem that is Amazon Prime. AND there are some really great gift options that can be shipped to your house in time for the holidays. There is still time!
I've rounded up my tried and true options and made this guide super easy to shop. Just click the items below and it will take you straight to Amazon to directly add it to your cart.
Consider this my gift to you. Less time braving the crowds at the mall for last minute gifts, and more time relaxing and actually enjoying your holiday!
December has been WILD so far. In every kind of good way. But it, for real, has been super chaotic. The runner up in the gift guide poll I did the other week was this one! Gifts for Guys! I put together a list of man approved (and Crohnically Blonde suggested) gifts that you can order now and they'll still arrive in time for Christmas.
This one Is a little brief, but pretty self explanatory, so I wanted to get it out to you all before the last shipping date passes us by. You can click through the images below and read my comments on why they made my list.
Also, if you are looking for a super meaningful (but also you are doing it kind of last minute) gift, check out my Guide to Gifting Experiences for some other awesome ideas that will make a big impact and are unique.
Happy shopping and I'll be back with some additional details on what has been happening soon!
Last week I took a poll on what gift guide you all wanted to see next on the blog. The big winner was a guide on gifting experiences or things people will actually use. I have been a really big fan of the whole gifting an experience thing, especially in a few specific situations. With family members that you always find yourself grabbing gift cards for, for couples who you are getting a joint gift, or for your significant other who you literally have no idea what else they need… experiences are great options.
Here’s an example, Matt and I, instead of doing gifts for each other for holidays, we use that money and take a vacation instead. We both love to travel so this allows us to do so and use our money to spend time together instead of just on stuff. The gift is the whole experience and the memories we will have, which top any physical gift we could have gotten for each other.
I think a lot of the times, gifting experience to those who you know well, can help introduce them to something or somewhere new that they may not have thought of! I’m listing a few of my favorite suggestions below. Hopefully they will inspire you to gift one of these or come up with an experience of your own.
A class in the recipient’s city. I love this one for just about anyone. For couples this is a big favorite of mine because there are so many options. Look up local cooking classes in the area or classes that relate to their interests as a couple. A few weeks ago, Matt and I found a candle making/distillery tour class that was so incredibly fun, it is a perfect gift to give. There are also things like cocktail making glasses which can be a great date night and educational.
If you are looking for a family member, significant other, or friend, an easy go to can be their favorite workout spot. You can buy them a pack of classes with their favorite instructor or vouchers to try something new like aerial yoga!
Airbnb in your town. Airbnb has a whole section devoted to experiences in different cities. They have some super unique adventures that allow you to explore your own city in a new way. These are great gifts because often times, we don’t explore our own city as we would when traveling elsewhere. There are a ton of options as far as price range and some of them are a really great deal. They are different in every city so you will have to check your own, but some great ones I’ve seen near Baltimore are wine walks, thrift store tours, and goat yoga!
If who you are gifting to a couple or friend who already has a vacation planned, that makes things EVEN EASIER. You can gift them a tour they have been dying to go on, or a special dinner at a scenic restaurant in the area. These also make really special wedding gifts! If you don’t know exactly what experience they would like for their trip you can always gift them a physical item they can use. Think, a care package for a long flight, AirPod converters for inflight entertainment, or a Polaroid camera to capture their memories.
If you want to stay on the path of experiences but also gift a physical item, I’ve got you covered there too.
Gifting board games/card games is always a fun idea that promotes many family or friend game nights to come! You are giving the gift of all the good times the recipient will have playing that game in the future, and honestly, gifted games are where Matt and I have discovered some of our favorites. Here are a few we love!
Games are also always a good gift for office gift exchanges or ‘White Elephants”. Here are some of the ones I recommend.
If you have a friend or family member who can’t stop reading, definitely think about getting them a Kindle. They are offered at many different price points and are truly the gift that keeps on giving. If they are often on the go, try gifting an Audible subscription so they can listen to all of their must read list while driving or working out.
Let me know if you end up giving any of these experience focused gifts and share your ideas with me! Happy Holidays y’all.
The holiday season means you will, more than likely, be dashing from event to event all December long. From meeting up with friends, office parties, spending time with family, and checking everything off of your pre holiday 'to do' list, chances are you are letting your regular nutrition, fitness, and sleep routines fall by the wayside. With IBD, this can be the time when flares and symptoms can hit the hardest. In my experience, I see this happen due to changes in my routine and added stress. It is also, of course, sick season so the more you socialize the more you are exposed to potential bugs that can knock you on your butt for quite a few days. Every year, I feel like I tweak my routine a little bit and become savvier in how to keep my health in check throughout the holidays while still being able to enjoy myself.
This year I have five tips that I am living by to help me make it through this crazy busy, festive month.
Vitamins and hydration
Holiday season means lots of eating and drinking outside of your normal routine, or at least the option to. I like to indulge a little when I can. Wine night with friends that are in town, dinner out to celebrate a successful year with my team, gluten free Christmas treats..... My usual rule of thumb is to let yourself enjoy what you want, while being mindful of how they will impact how you feel. It is all about the balance, baby. And honestly, this time of year we can get a little off balance and live your best life, and you should not feel guilty. That being said, during this time of the year, proper hydration and nutrient intake can become an afterthought to all of the holiday cheer. Instead of stressing, I am making things easy by sticking to a regemine I can keep conveniently in my purse everyday. I am making sure I drink at least one packet of DripDrop ORS for dehydration relief each day (more than one for sure if I am having a few glasses of bubbly). This is also key for if my Crohn's symptoms start acting up. Even when I can get those under control, the dehydration can keep me down and out for even longer. Mixing in a packet of DripDrop ORS everyday helps to keep me on my A-game no matter what my body is throwing at me.
I also make sure I take a quality multivitamin once per day. I have been taking Ritual vitamins for the past year and a half and absolutely love them. I can feel confident that no matter what weird combination of foods I'm grabbing from our holiday potluck, at least I am getting my core vitamins everyday.
Limit your plans - its okay to say 'no'
This one took me so long to actually live by. There are so many plans happening around the holidays, but you don't have to attend every single event you are invited to. I've realized that it is better to give your all at a few events you are really excited to attend then be half checked out at a laundry list of events that you only sort of care about. I also used to always feel really bad about saying no to events I would get invited to because I didn't want to let down the host. Well, let's be real, the host has so much going on, they probably don't really care one way or another. Not being rude, but unless you are the guest of honor, it is not a big deal. And if the host is a close enough friend, they would probably want you to be relaxing at home if that's what is best for you anyway.
As part of limiting my plans I make a list at the beginning of December of all of the things I want to do/attend and then I prioritize them. By adding the things I really want to do into my planner from the start I have a more realistic idea of what else I can commit to.
Work from home if your office is sick
If there is a bug cycling through your office, do yourself a favor and if you can, work from home. So many people will try to power through their illness and bring all of their germs to work with them instead of laying low at home. As someone with a compromised immune system, this does NOT sit well with me. If I notice something is going around and too many people are dropping like flies in the office, I try to limit my exposure. Whether that means staying in my office or requesting to work from home, this ensures that I can continue to get my work done and hopefully not succumb to the office plague.
Keep your sleep schedule regular
Sleep can be tricky when your social calendar is packed. You might be out late on week nights when usually your bedtime is 9pm or you may find yourself with extra time to hit snooze on your days off. The best thing you can do is keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. I usually try to have an hour time frame that I go to bed and wake up routinely everyday (including days off!). If I am out at an event, I always set a target time for me to say my goodbyes and call an Uber, so that I can be home in time to do at least some semblance of my nightly routine and be in bed at a regular time. Of course there are exceptions and nights when you are having such a great time, turning in for the evening sounds miserable, and that's fine, stay out! Like I said, all about balance, baby.
If you have PTO take it
I can't tell you how many times I hear my coworkers talking about all of the hours of PTO they are going to lose at the end of the year. A lot of companies have a maximum amount of PTO that you can roll over to the New Year which leaves a lot of hours to be taken or lost. Most of us workaholics rack up time all year just to keep running ourselves to the ground until December 31st then starting all over again. If you have time banked up, please do yourself a favor and USE IT. It is your time, you earned it, don't feel guilty about taking off work to refresh yourself for the New Year. It doesn't matter if you are going on vacation or staying on your sofa watching Netflix for three days, either way, you're doing what you need to do to give you mind and body a break. This will help you to feel less rundown as you tackle the mid winter months, and hopefully help to keep you a bit healthier.
I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season full of B A L A N C E.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.