TGIF, Holiday Gift Guides, and Other Fun Things

Good morning, and happy Friday!

It’s a rainy morning outside, but I’m excited because it’s about to get chilly up in here. Yesterday it got up to a whopping 66 degrees — which, while enjoyable for a day or so, feels kind of strange for December. I did, however, take advantage of it as much as possible with a walk to Whole Foods and a 4 mile run around the National Mall. It’s always wonderful to get outside and get some fresh air!

Speaking of Whole Foods, I picked up this grocery bag there, and I’m convinced it’s the cutest grocery bag ever. We have a ridiculous surplus of reusable bags, but I couldn’t resist this little guy. I mean, it’s a baby stegosaurus om nom noming an apple! (The tag says he’s a generic monster, but I beg to differ. He’s clearly a stegosaurus.)



Anyways, today I’m sheltering myself from the rain by working from home. I don’t often get to do this, but I was given a project that has some flexibility — so, for the first time in the five years since I moved back to DC, I’m chillin’ in my home office. I had one other day of working from home a few weeks ago, and OMG. It was sublime.

I expect today to be similarly fabulous: I’ve got a warm cup of tea, and I fully intend to spend the day looking like a total schlub in my yoga pants and sweatshirt. (Yoga pants > work pants. In fact, yoga pants > work pants by a power of 10,000. Also, can we talk about how work shoes/heels are actually instruments of torture? Every single pair is giving me horrible blisters now. Even my old faithfuls have started tearing up my skin when I wear them for more than 10 minutes. And, because I have super narrow feet and struggle to find shoes that fit, I reeeaaaaalllly don’t want to have to go shoe shopping. Blergh.)


And, on a wholly separate topic (or, as the Monty Python boys say, “An now for something completely different!), when I had some downtime the other day I started scouring various holiday gift guides for some shopping inspiration.

I don’t know about you guys, but holiday shopping makes me want to crawl into a hole and hide. I haaaaate large crowds, and I especially hate large crowds filled with frantic holiday shoppers. This is made even worse by the fact that I often don’t know what to buy for people (why is everyone I love so hard to shop for?!), which means I’m forced to browse among the aforementioned awful crowds of frantic holiday shoppers.



Like I said, it makes me want to crawl into a hole and hide. Happily, though, I’ve been doing most of my holiday shopping online for the last few years (Amazon: you complete me), so that’s made things better.

However, coming up with gift ideas is still a challenge. Because I can’t deal with that whole hot mess of guesswork anymore, this year I sent my parents and brother an email saying that they were forbidden – absolutely, totally, unequivocally banned – from saying things like “Oh, I don’t know what I want” or “Oh, just get me something you think I’d like.” I told them that I need definitive ideas, or at least a list of places they’d like gift cards to, because I’m not taking shots in the dark on this anymore.

If that’s not the embodiment of holiday cheer, I don’t know what is.

Anyways, for those of us who aren’t heartless enough to give their nearest and dearest holiday ultimatums, a lot of awesome healthy living websites have been compiling some great holiday gift guides. If there’s a foodie, athlete, or health junkie in your life (or, possibly, someone in need of healing), these lists could help with gift-giving inspiration.

For foodies: Greatist has an awesome list of kitchen gadgets, edible goodies, and books that will light up the eyes of any foodie or kitchenista (yeah… I totally just made that word up) in your life.

For athletes: Girls Gone Sporty, one of my favorite online health and fitness resources, has a fantastic gift-finder. You can search gifts for men, women, and teens – and you can sort the options by price, gift type (relaxation, athletic tools, etc.), so it’s super user-friendly. FitSugar also has a list of Practical Stocking Stuffers for Fitness Fans, and it’s chock-full of great ideas.

For eco-mavens: Well + Good features a lovely list of five gifts for a healthy, stylish home.

For those who love healthy living or are looking to get healthier: Meghan Telpner, author of UnDiet and nutritionista extraordinaire, compiled a fantabulous gift list for just about anyone who’s interested in health and wellness. Truth be told, I’d gladly accept every single thing on her list. Especially the meal delivery. Sweet fancy Moses, the meal delivery. If I had a week off from cooking dinner, I’d be so excited I’d probably faint.


Anyways, with allllll that being said, happy Friday! And now, I want to hear from you…

Do you ever get to work from home?

Do you like cold weather around the holidays?

Do you love or loathe holiday shopping?

What’s the best gift you ever bought/made for someone?

What’s the best gift you ever received?


7 thoughts on “TGIF, Holiday Gift Guides, and Other Fun Things

  1. Robin December 6, 2013 / 8:48 am

    Happy work from home day! And thanks for the gift guides. I’m like you and consider Amazon Prime, the best thing in the world + a few other local sources, Living in the country, we just don’t even have too many places to shop even if we wanted to. I take the Last minute shopping approach and avoid crowds as much as possible. Retailers tend to put everything on sale about a week before the holidays because they can already tell they have too much inventory on some items—I think it works well and we can still get decent deals….

  2. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama December 6, 2013 / 10:11 am

    Thanks for the awesome gift guides. I love finding inspiration from new places. And living in a po-dunk town, there really aren’t a ton of great shopping options. Besides, I like to keep my adorable FedEx and UPS delivery men gainfully employed. Maybe there’s something on one of these lists for them!

  3. Caitlin | The Siren's Tale December 6, 2013 / 11:50 am

    Yes, yes, and yes to everything in this post! High heels and work attire are the absolute worst of the worst. I think my least favorite part of being a ‘career girl’ is the need to constantly be in clothes that are jammies. And holiday shopping? It’s the pits. People are so rude and terrible in shopping scenarios this time of year. Thanks for sharing these great shopping lists… I’m headed to check them out now!

  4. livliveslife December 6, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    That bag is just too cute!

    I hope your day working from home was just as nice as it sounds! 🙂

  5. Kevin aka Pops McT December 7, 2013 / 10:10 am

    I think the reason some of us are apparently elusive in providing gift lists is because what we really want is a gift that is symbolic of the love you feel for us. As long as you find something that says “I love you and I’ve thought about what to get you”, I don’t care much what it is. In a way, it reverses our trend of “objectifying” people by taking an object and turning it into a powerful subjective symbol full of meaning.

    How’s that for a little Saturday morning psychology while in my sweats?!

  6. musingsoftheamusingmuse December 8, 2013 / 11:21 am



    Absolutely loathe it. Absolutely. I hate it. I hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns. I don’t like shopping to begin with, but I detest holiday shopping even more. I asked for lists from the nieces and nephews – none came – they get money. Everyone else gets gift baskets of “consumables”. Because that’s how I roll.

    I made my Mom, Sister and Sister in Law all apron and hot pad sets one year – which apparently they all loved.

    Best gift I ever received…. hmm. I was pretty damn excited about the bicycle my parents bought me when i was 16. I still use it. I also really liked the iPod Nano Mr. Muse got me many moons ago – liked it to death, as it is now, about 8 years later, completely dead.

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