Family gatherings. Friends' gatherings. Shopping. Gifts. Travel. Cooking. Packing. Wrapping. Expectations met or unmet. The holidays are here and it's easy to get caught up in a whirlwind and fall out of step with your usual, grounding routines.
This season I decided to assemble some of my favorite products and experiences to support your mental hygiene. I made this gift guide for you - okay, yes you can buy them for someone else, too, but this time of year (hello, holidaze) can be pretty challenging in the "me, myself and I" department.
Does the world really need another gift guide? Probably not. But the world does need you to be your best, most generative self. I hope some of the ideas below can help you get to (or stay in) that state this season. Each hand-picked suggestion is designed to stimulate a sense of well-being, help you enjoy yourself, nourish your mind and complement your pen to paper practice - some might even jump-start it.
Recently I was reminded (yet again) that if I don't properly look after myself then I'm not going to have the juice to take care of the people I love. So, instead of feeling like doing for yourself is selfish, please remember that the more energy you have, the better off your tribe will be as a result, too.
Have some fun and take good care...
The AllSwell Holidaze Gift Guide
Winter seasons always make me want to bundle up (even in sunny California). The AllSwell Deck + Notebook Bundle is no exception. Never again will you say "I don't have anything to write about" or "I don't know where to start." The Deck, the latest AllSwell addition, is an analog resource to support your pen to paper practice. Each card features both a "Write" and "Draw" prompt to kick-start or enhance your journaling practice. Pair it with your choice of an AllSwell Notebook and you'll be ready to expand your creativity and experience all the mental goodness that comes with journaling.
I swear by these little envelopes of wonderfulness. Before I lead an AllSwell workshop, this is what I imbibe. It's a beverage infusion from Prima that combines CBD, nootropics and adaptogens to help you focus and find clarity of thought. Taste great? Not so much. But not terrible and frankly they work so I suck it up, buttercup - and my brain thanks me. Break through that holidaze.
I've been fortunate to collaborate with prop styling guru Kim Ficaro on multiple AllSwell events and each one is a visual feast. One of her beautiful projects is Totem Home and you can spot her textiles and ceramics (handmade by artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico) around my Venice bungalow. I love sipping cacao blend or matcha out of these beautiful cups - which also served as the visual inspiration for my latest surfboard shaped by Evan Menen of La Mision. But really, you can't go wrong with anything from Totem.
Learn Something Salty
Speaking of surfing, whether you're a newbie or looking to up-level your longboarding, look no further than surf goddess Kassia Meador. She's created this digital guide for us all so we can benefit from her talent, knowledge and outragenously graceful saltwater style. Working towards mastery is a never-ending pursuit, but it yields multiple hits of dopamine in the process as we achieve small steps towards our goal.
Sit, Soak, Restore
Did you know the Hinoki cypress tree is supposed to be the most beneficial to our senses according to the Japanese concept of Forest Bathing? Want to lower your heart rate and increase your sense of well being? Hello, Hinoki. Maybe you can't bring yourself to a cypress forest, but you can bring the forest to your bathtub and experience the benefits.
A little bit pyro? Maybe. One of my favorite ways to cleanse is by burning pages of writing. Write, rip and release. But..despite my years as a girl scout..my fire starting skills are not going to win any awards. I'd be voted off the island. So, when I wanna light things up, I use these little short cuts. Not bad for the environment and not hard to use.
All the Better to Hear You With
I'm not above a little retail therapy and adorning my ears with something gold is a quick way to lift my mood. My favorite collection is made out of recycled precious metals by a fellow female entrepreneur and she really knocks it out of the park. I'm planning on gifting myself these retro babies for the holiday season to up-level my look. RSVP yes, please.
Celebrate Small Wins
I'm a fan of bubbles. My friends know this. one of them recently introduced me to the Brut Rosé from Strange Family Vineyards, a family run organic and biodynamic local producer here in California with a tasting room in Malibu (they ship out of state). Life is too short to drink bad wine so please don't wait for New Year's Eve to pop a bottle. Celebrate the everyday victories - a deadline met, all the presents wrapped, whatever is meaningful to you - pick a milestone of your own making and mark it with a toast.
Long Live Print
Less digital, more analog. Nothing personal against your Kindle, but there's a certain pleasure that comes from turning pages. And less screen time is a good thing for you and your brain. Make your way to your local bookstore and check out my favorite books of the year:
- The Nature Fix by Florence Williams: I discovered this book at a camp store in Santa Barbara. It's a terrific read about the science behind the positive effects nature elicits on your brain. This will inspire you to take a walk in nature like Darwin, Einstein and Beethoven consistently did.
- The Overstory by Richard Powers: I've been on a non-fiction tear for a while and this book rekindled my thirst for fiction. Heartbreakingly beautiful writing, it's a novel about one of my favorite topics: trees.
- Coming to My Senses by Alice Waters: Locavore chef and pioneer Alice Water's delicious autobiography is a fun and inspiring journey about how one woman followed her passions and created a counterculture movement that changed how America eats.
- The Paris Review: Not technically a book, but I have a crush on all things Paris Review. Their periodical, their podcast, their feeds. Can't get enough and appreciate the quality of all they do. I feel smarter and more literary with every hit.
Stress LessOkay, so it's not super realistic to think we're sipping adaptogenic matcha and lolling around in scented baths all day. I get it. We live in the real world. So when anxiety spikes and you need help getting your feet back on the floor, this travel friendly vape is my go-to. My friends at Miss Grass have helped me better understand the massively trendy CBD landscape, what's real and what's bunk. I keep this guy tucked in my wallet for those just-in-case moments and simply knowing it's there is comforting.