5 Favorite Gifts That Bring Joy

The joy of gift-giving has endless possibilities. If I am being totally honest here, I recycle gifts all the time! No, it doesn’t mean I take unwanted gifts or used gifts and “gift” them to some unsuspecting friend or family member. It means, I have realized that I have My 5 Favorite Gifts that I always seem to buy for multiple people throughout the year! No matter the age, budget or occasion, these gifts always seem to be hit for those on the receiving end. The brand or choice of item might change slightly depending on whom it is for, but for the most part the concept of my 5 favorite gifts remain the same.

My 5 Favorite Gifts That Bring Joy To All
Books/journals
Tea/Coffee with a cute mug
Beauty & wellness products
Slippers or cozy socks
Food gift sets

Using these 5 gift ideas as a base for my holiday shopping, I found some wicked cute items and great products. Not only did I buy them for myself, but I can not wait to gift them to those I love. No matter the age or budget, you can find these items for just about anyone on your list! I love to shop for my family. However, when I am happy with the product personally I am even more excited to buy it for someone else! Spread the love, right? Below are the products I am gifting this year!

Forks, Knives and Spoons By Leah DeCesare
This book is insanely funny and I was so lucky to receive a copy from the author herself and fellow Rhody Blogger. First, where was this book when I was in college? It could have saved me from myself and from many player forks. If I am being honest, it is almost 400 pages, about 200 pages longer than most books I like to read, but it was such a good one that I really didn’t mind the extra pages. It is light, yet emotional. Funny, yet serious. And the analogy of branding utensils to certain types of men is really ingenious that I often say, why didn’t I think of that? This book is on my list for all my college graduates and those friends who are just starting out in the dating world or newly married! If you want to check out this book or more from Leah DeCesare you can do so on her Amazon author page and follow her on Facebook.Pukka Tea & Yoga Expression Mugs
I am no stranger to tea and cute mugs. I have way too many of both, but they always seem to get into my cart even when I am not in the market for either of them. I recently was introduced to Pukka tea at The Well Summit that I attended last month. I instantly fell in love with their mission and their quality of ingredients. Organic, fair trade and ethically harvested herbs are just some of the reasons this brand is my new favorite! Their blends of teas are unique and taste even better, this I promise. I am pairing two fun mugs that I recently scored at Home Goods with a box of Pukka Love Tea for a great hostess gift for an upcoming party!Calm-A-Mama Flower Remedies
Wellness is so important to me. Caring for my body in the most natural way possible is always something that I hold in high regard. With so many products on the market, I was so grateful to discover Calm-A-Mama about 18 months ago. The power of the flower is as natural as you can get. These drops are a blend of flower essences and an herbal water extract, or hydrosol. The herbs work on your physical body, while the flower essences support you emotionally. They use all USDA organic, non-GMO and pesticide-free herbs and all their blends are alcohol free! The sleep & immune drops are my favorite and I can not wait to gift this to all my friends! If you want to learn more about these drops and other blends, you can visit the website here.
Trader Joes Rainbow of Honey
I love to give food sets to foodies, especially out of the box items like the Rainbow of Honey from Trader Joes. Sure, you see spices and sauces and even baked goods in a jar, but nothing is sweeter (IMO) than a literal pot of gold in a rainbow of colors! The flavors vary based on where they come from and I’ve tasted all of them and each one stands out for different reasons. Some are sweet, some are floral and some a bit more nutty. Regardless, you can use these jars of honey for so many reasons! My favorite way to indulge is some mimosa honey over brie with a side of grapes! Have a Trader Joes near you, get there and snag one of these sets for you and a friend!Victoria’s Secret Pom Pom Slippers 
Chances are if you are like me, the idea of spending my own money on socks & slippers doesn’t make me thrilled. I mean, the stuff goes on your feet and no-one sees it anyway? However, when I get my feet all cozy into some fluffy socks or slippers I instantly feel better. There is nothing better than relaxing on the couch on a cold winter day with a pair of cute slippers, a good book, some tea and a yummy snack. See what I did there? These pom pom slippers from Victoria’s Secret are so cute and trendy that anyone would love to open a pair of these this holiday. I might have grabbed a few extra pairs for myself as well!As you can see, I can take My 5 Favorite Gifts and can spin them in many ways that bring joy to all the people in my life! Do you find yourself recycling some of the same things to other people because you love them so? When you find something good, why not stick with it and spread the joy to others in the process.

Happy Gifting & Happy Holidays~
Joy

DIY December Bucket List

December. The holidays. The events. The parties. The traditions. There is so much to be mindful of this month because before you know it, the month is over and we are left wanting to do some things we inevitably missed during this magical season! I have just the thing to get you in the spirit, spend some quality time as a family and help you plan what matters most to you this month! For under $15, you can create your own December Bucket List, DIY style! This will help you prioritize the special events & traditions you don’t want to miss as well as make a nice decoration you can use year after year!

The supply list is simple to find items and can be customized depending on budget and desires:

Photo Frame
White computer paper
Sharpies (or markers in any color you want)
Paint/brushes (any color you want)
Sticker or embellishments (holiday/winter themed)
Glitter glue or loose glitter
Ribbon
Hot glue gun or tape

You probably read the list of supplies and thought to yourself that you have most of them already at home! Chances are if you have kids or are a habitual crafter like me, you have at least 50% of them stashed somewhere! The next step is really up to you. Paint the frame any which color you want and in any style you wish. Add as much or little embellishments and stickers to the frame as you crave. Skip the glitter or go crazy!  This is you time to be as creative as you want!  My son really was very symmetrical with his design, but there is no right or wrong way to use your imagination. A December Bucket List your way is the best way!

The last step was in my opinion the most fun! We thought of 12 things (sticking with the 12 days of Christmas theme we all know & love) to add to our DECEMBER BUCKET LIST. We cut a piece of computer paper to fit inside the frame before we started. We started reminiscing about all the things we like to do, things we wished we did, things we never wanted to do etc.. We started jotting them down on the scrap paper we just cut from. This helped us narrow it down to the items we knew needed to included and those that did not.

We were so excited to start our list that after we made it, we went out and completed 2 and started a few more! The holiday movie one is an activity that we have been working on since Thanksgiving so thankfully we have a nice head start! Each year I will scrapbook the list with some photographs of the activities listed. Then we will rewrite one every year on Thanksgiving when we decorate the tree. A new tradition is born!  What are some of your not-to-miss bucket list items for the month of December? Let me know what activities you are going to put on your December Bucket List by commenting below!

Merry Holidays~
Joy

New England’s Favorite Fall Festival

Fall in New England would not be complete without a visit to King Richard’s Faire, New England’s favorite fall festival! King Richard’s Faire is the largest and longest-running Renaissance Faire in New England and is back for it’s 36th season! Picture live, interactive entertainment set amongst 80 acres of enchanted forest that resembles a 16th century marketplace in Carver, MA.

Carvershire has been bustling with excitement as King Richard welcomes new entertainers and
talented artisans to their enchanting village in 2017, including:

  • Rick, Jan and Snorkel the Trained Stunt Pig Show – new for this year featuring juggling, stunts and piggy humor – first four weekends only
  • The Vodca Family musical dance and drumming show
  • Gibbon the Troubadour and Hannah Rose on the fiddle
  • The Lord Sheriff Glenn Fieldenstream is back after a three year hiatus, ready to write tickets and
    summons laughter in “court”
  • And a new puppet: Jasper, King of the Rag Dolls!

This year we got to get in on the action with Troll Ball. We got to the play on the tournament field, which was definitely a highlight for my son. Plus, our team WON! Plus, we threw knives, shot arrows, saw exotic animals and got to enjoy the tournament of kings! All in all, we had a great day!

Photo Credit: King Richard’s Faire/Julie Dennehy

Photo Credit: King Richard’s Faire/Julie Dennehy

Faire hours are 10:30am-6pm every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays, from September 2 through
October 22, 2017. Tickets are $32 for adults (12+) and $16 for children ages 4-11. Children under 4
are free and parking is free. Check out their website to purchase tickets ahead of time and remember only CASH is accepted at the gate.

If fall is your favorite season, than nothing says “FALL” like a visit to King Richard’s Faire! Also, get a bloomin’ onion while you are there. You’re welcome.

 

 

*This was a hosted opportunity and all opinions are my own.

How To Get Your Car Winter Ready

I know it is only September 1st. However, all the pumpkin spice, Ugg wearing, sweater loving peeps are making their love for the season known. Winter is already churning at the bit to steal falls thunder!  While summer technically lasts for 3 more weeks, I find it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to winter car maintenance, especially in New England. One day it is 70 degrees and the next we have 1 foot of snow on the ground. And that is not an exaggeration! I love my car and I want to keep it running for many years to come! This is where Cars.com comes in handy!

Cars.com has an entire maintenance 101 section that has everything you need to know about winter driving. How much antifreeze do I need? What kind of antifreeze do I need (yes, there are many types)? How do I store my car for the winter? Do I need special tires? Specific windshield wipers? You get the picture! Plus, while you are on the site, they have reviews on just about any car you can imagine. Maybe look up your make and model and see how well it rates. Hopefully, it rates well or you just might be in the market for a new car. And you guessed it, they can help find you a new car too! It’s like a one-stop shop for all things cars!

Winter driving in New England is always an adventure and not always the fun kind. Let’s give your car a head start before it tackles Mother Nature in New England! Visit Cars.com to learn how to get your car winter ready!

Yoga Reaches Out: An OMazing Event

A balanced well-being & proper self-care is something that I preach about daily. Whether in my own daily life, my freelance writing or my yoga teachings, it is something I take great pride in. So, when I was approached about spreading the love about Yoga Reaches Out, I jumped at the chance for sure. Not only does it encompass my favorite workout of all time YOGA, but the money raised goes to organizations that impact the health, education, and well-being of children and their families. Through acts of selfless service (seva) those attending, sponsoring and donating to Yoga Reaches Out CAN make a difference!


View More: http://tracyrodriguezphotography.pass.us/yogathon

The YRO New England Yogathon  is taking place on April 30th 2017 at Gillette Stadium’s Empower Field House from 9am-5pm. For the seventh consecutive year, the Yoga Reaches Out Yogathon will bring together yoga practitioners, marketplace vendors, sponsors, and volunteers from across New England to enjoy a day of yoga, community, FUNdraising, and empowerment. The proceeds will benefit the Boston Children’s Hospital wellness center, which is basically a place where the parents and family of those being cared for can take care of themselves through yoga, meditation, reiki and more! How OMazing is that?

There is a total of 4 – 4 1/2 hours of yoga throughout the day and the Yogathon is open to participants of all levels, ages 14 and over. Between the sessions, you may experience live music or performing arts demonstrations, hear from the organizations who benefit from Yogathon, walk through the Marketplace for yoga and wellness related goodies to sample and purchase, have lunch with friends, or enter a raffle for some amazing prizes. You can attend the entire day or a portion of the day.

View More: http://tracyrodriguezphotography.pass.us/yogathon View More: http://tracyrodriguezphotography.pass.us/yogathon

If this sounds like a splendid way to spend your Sunday, then I urge you to consider attending. Registration is OPEN for this event and you can join as an individual or set up a team for a fantastic day with friends! If you can not make it to the event, please consider donating if you can. If you wish to donate, you can do so here.  Whether you donate, sponsor or register for the event, you can feel grand knowing that all monies raised will be utilized in a way that benefits all. Your selfless act can help put a much deserved smile on someone’s face.

Will I see you there?

Namaste~
Joy

 

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Boston Auto Show Review

It was the Biggest Auto Show in New England… and the perfect place to browse hundreds of the newest vehicles!  I was lucky enough to have a private tour alongside She Buys Cars BEFORE the doors opened to the public. Located at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in the Seaport District, the New England International Auto Show is the premier showcase of  imported and domestic vehicles. Efficiency and more eco-friendly options were certainly the theme I noticed among manufacturers! Of course, technological advances couldn’t be missed either! You must check it out next year! Below, I highlighted just some of the things I found interesting and thought were worth mentioning.

boston auto show1

  • 2015 & 2016 were not great years for the car industry. Manufacturers are already feeling the pressure for 2017, which is a huge benefit for consumers. In the market for a car, now is the time to buy!
  • The industry is trying to stay ahead of safety standards. Many cars on the market have features that were once considered a luxury, are now standard! Talk about getting more bang for your buck!
  • Nissan Rogue was the #1 selling crossover for December 2016. Nissan is innovating from the ground up. Plus, they sold a limited edition Rogue One (Star Wars), only 5,000 available. What a cool concept for the Star Wars & car lover!
  • Chevy Volt was the first car to have a hybrid plug-in capability 6 years ago. Was a cool fact I didn’t know!
  • Prius Prime– This hybrid gas plug-in is even more gorgeous in person. This car will be the future. The features are amazing  and I know what my next car will be! With 640 miles EPA total driving range and 133 EPA-estimated MPGe , this car will save you money as well as limit the footprint we leave on the environment.
  • Scotty Reiss, founder of She Buys Cars is like a walking dictionary on vehicles. It didn’t matter the make, model or year, she provided us with a one-on-one tour of the event and knew anything and everything about these cars. If you are in the market for a car, you must visit She Buys Cars. They will give you a non-biased opinion based on your needs and wants. I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the day the most! So informative!

boston auto show

While there is so much more I could write on all the amazing cars I saw, above were just some tidbits of information that really stuck with me. As a hybrid driver, I was pleasantly surprised to see more manufacturers offering hybrid options. My favorite car of the day without a doubt was the Toyota Prius Prime. I can’t wait to hopefully get my hands on one of those bad boys. Well done Toyota. Well done. What is your favorite car for 2017?  I would love to hear all about it!

Namaste~
Joy

 

 

Why I Set Intentions AND Not Resolutions

2017 has reared it’s head and people are shouting out to the world what they “resolve” to fix this year. I’ve written about this very notion before (see here) and I stand by my initial thoughts. I don’t do resolutions, never have and never will. A resolution to me, seems to be a means to end. And end to something bad or a flaw. Like I need to fix something that was broken or change immediately (or else). I don’t think I need to change and I certainly don’t think I am broken. Change is good, but not when it comes with baggage…

I totally get the idea that a new year should bring change, hope or a fresh slate. That sounds positive, whereas to me a resolution has a negative connotation attached to it. Instead of thinking onto 2017 in terms of what you resolve to fix, why don’t you think of 2017 as an opportunity to CREATE something positive in your life? Listen, if the word “resolution” doesn’t get your panties in a twist like it does mine, then by all means RESOLVE away! Who am I to judge? I however, don’t like anything that feels negative or daunting to me.

This year I am setting intentions and not resolutions. Maybe you can set an intention for the life you are actively CREATING?  Change your intentions whenever you see fit. Commit yourself to being PRESENT in this world, for each moment can bring something different to your life.  Resolutions, opportunities, intentions, goals, wishes, whatever you call your deepest desires, don’t fall victim to them. Don’t let them hold you hostage. Change them without warning. Grow through, what you go through. Not being free to express yourself without judgement (even from within) is damaging enough.

If you made a resolution this year, I wish you the very best. For me, my intentions are clear.

In 2017,
I intend to live with intent;
I intend to love my body more
I intend to laugh louder
I intend to hug longer
I intend to try new things
I intend to express my emotions without fear of judgement
I intend to create
I intend to love deeper
I intend to breathe
I intend to embrace my life, for it is the only one I am ever going to get….

Don’t fear failing, fear having never tried at all.
Namaste~
Joy