Shopping for a tech-obsessed loved one this holiday season? Why not gift them something useful for around the home? Take a look at some of my favorite gift ideas, as seen on my recent appearance on FOX5 San Diego!
1. Brilliant Smart Home
Convert your house or apartment into a smart home! Smart’s easy-to-setup and easy-to-use home system lets you control your lights, music, and all sorts of other gadgets with a wireless touchscreen. What’s great about Brilliant is ready to work with other systems your tech-savvy gift recipient already owns, like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri. I recommend checking out what they have to offer for every room in your home: https://www.brilliant.tech/home .
2. Somfy Motorized Window Shades
Automatic window blinds and shades are one of the easiest ways to upgrade home life in such an unexpected package! These sleek shades have a built-in motor that is practically silent, and battery that you have to charge maybe once a year. If you’re like me and go to bed with your window blinds closed to block out ambient evening light, you have to miss out on the sunrise waking you up. However, with Somfy, you can let the sun in and wake up naturally with its automated programming. Or, perhaps you’ve left the house in the middle of summer and forgot to close the blinds. Instead of letting those hot sun rays turn your house into an oven, simply open the included app and lower the shades. It will even keep that electric bill low by blocking heat, so you don’t have to run your AC as often. https://www.somfysystems.com/
3. iROBOT Roomba s9+ Vacuum with Clean base
We all wish for the day where we have our own Jetsons’-style robot named Rosie who does all of the household chores for us. But, until then the next best thing is an robotic vacuum. The Roomba S9+ not only quickly and quietly vacuums your whole home, but also disposes of its own waste in its charging station. Instead of having to make time to vacuum every other week, just empty the Rooma’s wastebin every other month. This is especially amazing for homes with pets, as the Roomba s9+ is designed to handle animal fur and dander, and won’t clog or get bound up with hair. https://www.irobot.com/
4. Thermomix TM6
I wish I had the time to make an Instagram-shareable dinner every night, but sometimes you want dinner to just magically cook itself. Not only that, but there are dozens of kitchen gadgets that claim you can do everything without preparation. You may know of some of these “instant” pot meals, or found that throwing a hunk of meat and some veggies is quite the “crock.” But now, smart devices are coming to the kitchen! My Themomix lets me literally select one of thousands of recipes, add the raw ingredients, push a couple buttons, and walk away! After doing things that matter in life, I can walk back into the kitchen and dinner for the family is ready! And my favorite feature is that because the Thermomix can do everything, it can also do anything. This has replaced my blender, kettle, and even the kitchen scale. https://www.thermomix.com/tm6/
In a world of reflection and uncertainty, here are a few things that are certain to keep you calm, connected and moving forward…
1. SHAPE YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Fill your “working” space with things that simply bring you joy. Flowers, pictures of family, nostalgic items or a card you’ve held on to…Anything that triggers a smile.
2. TUNE INTO YOUR SENSES. Reconnecting positively to our hearts can be done by shifting to our others senses, especially our sense of smell.
Smell: Fill your space with scented candles, (I just bought one that one that smells just like Coppertan! The beach is my happy place) or even essential oils.
Touch: Keep soft and cozy clothes and items around you that bring a sense of ease and comfort when you touch them.
Sound: Put on music that makes you want to get up and dance. No surprise for me, it’s the 80’s! –
These small efforts can be so helpful and rewarding to stay grounded in an ever-changing world.
3. JUST BREATHE. Find your breath in your body by simply “noticing “ where it is predominant- ie chest, nose, belly. No need to try to change your rhythm of breath, just sit or lay quietly for 5 minutes 3 times a day to quiet your mind-. Remember our body is ALWAYS present, it’s our mind that escapes us.
4. MOVE YOUR BODY. Working in the health & fitness industry for 20 + years- I am here to tell you there really are no right or wrong ways to workout- it’s just what works for you- but what I can tell you is when it feels good to your body and makes sense to your mind, your going to want to repeat it and naturally become more active. Being physical is just one simple way to offload anxiety, depression and release neural tension.
Controlling what we can is our best strategy for success. For fun workouts and recipes along with other mental health tools, my book The Right Fit Formula is now available on Amazon.
5. TAKE A CUE from The Budda himself and… put a half smile on your face before your feet hit the floor every morning. He says can shift our perspective for the day.
6. MEDITATE. As a mindfulness educator with UCLA for the last 15 years, I know the power of sitting and increasing self-awareness as well as making space to listen to ourselves. It’s life changing. So I share with you one of my favorite meditations ever. It reminds me that we are strong and resilient like a mountain.
7. DANCE. Set up a dance zoom party with your friends. I just did this and I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it was to belly laugh and to just be silly! This is a time to connected with lightheartedness.
8. GIVE BACK. It always feels better to give than receive. Give your time, energy, guidance, compliments–it doesn’t have to be monetary.
9. EXPRESS GRATITUDE out loud. Tell yourself, strangers and anyone who will listen how grateful you are.
10. EAT WELL. Sugar and alcohol are depressants-and believe me- I’ve had my fair share over the last few weeks but realized if I want to get through this in the best way I know how- (I do)! Not only do I have to refrain from these, we must stick to our previous routine as much as humanly possible. Oranges, spinach and ginger are great immunity boosters filled with iron, vitamin C and should be a part of our daily food intake!
Hope these help. Be good to yourself, trust this will end soon and remember we are all in this together. Please feel free to reach out for any content for your platforms.
For meditations, healthy recipes, fun workouts and nutrition, checkout my book The Right Fit Formula, now available on Amazon.
They’re a mouthful, but these concepts saved my life and my sanity. Because I’m an impatient Leader personality prone to Bigger, Better, Faster, and I’ll-Be-Happy-When- Syndrome, I needed to learn the concept of it is what it is. Buddhists believe that desire is the source of all unhappiness, and it’s hard to argue that. But given that we’re all human (even if Buddhist), I’d say it’s more realistic to simply stop wanting something to be different from what it is.
Acceptance and equanimity (which is the understanding that things simply are as they are) teach you to get your ego out of the way, because it’s not all about you. You are not in control of everything. Moreover, if your boss just fired you, jelly Munchkins are not going to undo that. You gain peace when you learn to work with reality as it is, rather than fight it or feed your face because of it.
For me, accepting what is feels extremely freeing. (“If you want less stress, make isnessyour business,” says life coach Marie Forleo. Amen!) Once when I was freaking out over a major dental procedure, my teacher (Elisha Goldstein, author of Uncovering Happiness)told me, “Your feelings are already here.” All I had to do was put out the welcome mat!
For practicing Acceptance and Equanimity, here’s a short and sweet exercise from mind- fulness teacher Jack Kornfield:
Sit in a comfortable posture with eyes closed. Bring soft attention to your breath until body and mind are calm. Reflect on the benefit of a mind that has balance and equanimity. Sense what a gift it can be to bring a peaceful heart to the world around you. Let yourself feel an inner sense of balance and ease. Then begin repeating such phrases as, “May I be balanced and at peace.” Ac- knowledge that all created things arise and pass away: joys, sorrows, pleas- ant events, people, buildings, animals, nations, even whole civilizations. Let yourself rest in the midst of them. “No matter how I might wish things to be otherwise, things are as they are.” “May I learn to see the arising and passing of all nature with equanimity and balance. May I be open and peaceful.” “May I one day accept myself just as I am.”
For more on this practice, see Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life.
This is an excerpt from The Right Fit Formula