It is no secret that this holiday season will look considerably different than years past. Many families are spending the holidays apart to stay safe. But with these challenging times also comes a great opportunity to help our loved ones in ways we would not have known to or maybe did not need to before. I think collectively we have all been checking in on each other more than we have in the past and are more in tune with what our loved ones are feeling right now.
Maybe your mother has been struggling with anxiety. You can give her something to ease her nerves. Maybe your father has been suffering from a lack of sleep. You can send him something to help him rest at night. Or perhaps some family members have been affected positively. You can help nourish their growth. Maybe your brother has gotten more into cooking at home. You can provide him with tools to make it easier and healthier. Maybe your sister picked up an old hobby. You can give her something that will make it more enjoyable. Whatever the case, this year has unearthed and amplified a whole new set of necessities, and that is why I am so excited to share my 2020 holiday gift guide with you. It is full of the most healing products that I know will help you and your loved ones leave 2020 and welcome 2021 in a calm and joyful way.
I urge you to take a moment to reflect on how these circumstances have affected those closest to you, for better or worse. And as you look through this list of the products that I have used and loved for the past year and well before that, think about who could benefit from them given their specific situation. These companies are not paying me to include their products on my guide. I genuinely believe that they can bring joy to someone in your circle.
1. Bala Bangles
Carving time out of each day to do an at-home workout is not possible for everyone, including me. That is why I love sliding these weighted bangles on my wrists and ankles to supplement my movement with a bit more resistance. They are light enough (weighing only one pound) for me to forget I am wearing them but heavy enough to make a difference after a while. I love how soft they are and how well they stay on, even during intense full-body workouts. I also use them during my yoga and Pilates practices and for brisk walks around the block. I think these are equally perfect for someone who has lost touch with their exercise routine and is looking for new ways to incorporate fitness back into their life and someone who has maintained a steady workout schedule during the lockdown and wants to increase the intensity a bit.
Stopping by the chiropractor’s office has not been such a simple endeavor this year, and I have spent a lot more time complaining in recent months about the pain in my shoulders and lower back. The Theragun Mini has been a god-send for me. The idea of quickly whipping it out to stamp out the knots in my shoulders and soreness in my back is not burdensome like some of the larger models I have used before, and I find it is just as effective. I even bring it with me in the car when I know I will be driving for a while! This would make great gifts for anyone who spends a lot of time moving or sitting (aka everyone), and I enthusiastically recommend adding it to your wish list, too.
Because of the aforementioned discomfort I have been experiencing this year as a result of spending more time sitting (admittedly, sometimes hunched) in my office chair, I have had no choice but to prioritize therapeutic remedies. Now that it is a bit chillier out (yes, even in LA), my favorite part of the day has been laying down on this heated pad to unwind. I love closing my eyes and letting it penetrate my muscles and joints, ease my tension and pain, relieve my stress, and revitalize me. I sometimes even fire it up to use during my meditation practice!
I have been experimenting with various weighted blankets to help me sleep at night for years, and I can honestly say that I will never go back to traditional comforters! And it is more than a placebo effect. The pressure from the blanket suppresses your autonomic nervous system, essentially putting it in rest mode, reducing some of the symptoms of anxiety while stimulating the production of serotonin, reducing cortisol, and increasing melatonin. Happy, stress-free, and sleepy: if you know anyone who would like the sounds of that, then this one is for them. I love this brand because it makes such soft and cozy weighted blankets from eco-friendly and animal-free materials.
5. Higher Dose’s Infrared Sauna Blanket
I am a HUGE fan of Higher Dose’s products, but my favorite is the sauna blanket. It makes me feel like I have a spa in my own home, and the benefits are incredible. It temporarily increases your blood flow and makes you sweat—I can almost feel the toxins leaving my body! The result is a feeling of total relaxation and rejuvenation. I recommend this one for the person in your family who could use a little TLC.
6. Flamingo Biodynamic Serenity Steam
When I find myself getting stressed out and overcome with anxiety, deep breaths are my go-to strategy for relief. It is so simple yet so effective, and this serenity steam takes it to the next level. All you have to do is pour some boiling water into two scoops of the Flamingo Biodynamic Serenity Steam and inhale deeply over the mixture. The combination of California poppy, chamomile, lemon balm, and lavandin oil is so soothing and it almost instantly gets me back to a level head and steady heart rate.
I have used a lot of diffusers in my day, so I can tell you from ample experience that the Vitruvi is a cut above the rest. It is one of my absolute favorite diffusers because of its beautiful and elegant design, pleasant and quiet hum, and gentle light (which you can turn off). The lovely, but not overpowering scent, intermittent setting for bedtime, and ease of use make it my top recommended diffuser. And I would be remiss not to mention Vitruvi’s incredible customer service.
8. OPTP LO ROX Aligned Foam Roller
An icon in the world of wellness, Lauren Roxburgh is the creator of my favorite foam roller. Finding and creating moments to be mindful is an indispensable part of wellness, and one way to do this is by creating rituals. Getting out my beautifully and functionally designed Lo Rox foam roller after a workout and putting my phone on airplane mode has brought some of my most peaceful and present moments this year.
I am a big fan of massages and have seen, by the results I get, that the face is just as important as the rest of the body. My kids can tell after I use this device and call it the “FaceBlaster glow.” What they are referring to is the reduced appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and crow’s feet. And it gets the blood circulating, which works wonders for the skin. Even though it was crafted for the face, I still use the FaceBlaster on my neck, shoulders, and hands for a mini massage and to work the little knots right out.
This dry brush has been a game-changer for my skin. The bristles are the perfect coarseness as they exfoliate, remove dead skin cells, reduce the appearance of cellulite, increase blood flow, and stimulate the lymphatic system. Sitting down to use the dry brush is another moment of mindfulness for me and reduces my stress. Afterward, I feel like a new woman—physically and mentally. This set makes the perfect gift that someone you love does not know they need yet.
11. Galactic Brain Palo Santo Sticks
After discovering the rich, woodsy scent of burning Palo Santo, I cannot imagine doing a meditation practice without it. The packaging is impeccable and that alone makes this product feel like a special high-quality gift. And the scent of the Palo Santo, sourced from Peru, has become an irreplaceable happy and calming daily experience for me.
The Oura ring is unlike anything I have ever used before! Think of a Fitbit, and then imagine something 10x more accurate and informative. The small yet powerful ring helps you get the most out of sleep and also reach your potential during your waking hours. By measuring your active and resting heart rate, body temperature, sleep quality, activity, total sleep, restfulness, REM sleep, and so much more, it delivers insights into your body’s needs as well as your output potential. You would otherwise need to do extensive testing at the doctor’s office to get a hold of this precious data.
13. Blue Light Blocking Glasses
As someone who spends a lot of time on the computer and corresponding with clients on my phone, I am such a big fan of glasses that block blue light. I truly believe that they are non-negotiable for society as a whole, given our extensive screen-time. These glasses do what they are supposed to by increasing melatonin without altering color, despite their tint. I have always struggled to fall asleep at night, and ever since I started using these blue light glasses, sleep comes much quicker after a long day of work on the computer.
14. Note and Shine Self-Love Kit
Practicing self-love can be quite challenging. Frankly, we could take all the help we can get with it! This kit offers 40 gorgeous hand-illustrated affirmation cards that help me set a self-loving intention each morning. I sometimes even use the words on the cards as the mantra during my meditation practice. They come in a beautifully crafted box made from recycled materials that I proudly display in my bedroom, which helps me remember to read a card every day.
15. Molekule’s Air Mini Purifier
The importance of having fresh air cannot be overstated enough – especially in cities like Los Angeles. We are constantly on high alert for poor air quality, and although we cannot control the atmosphere, we can control the air our families breathe-in when they are home. Now, more than ever, we are spending a lot of time at home, and I am enamored with Molekule’s adorable mini purifiers that are never too loud, and make the air feel noticeably cleaner and easier to breathe. We have got one in each bedroom. Another great feature is the convenience: the filters ship automatically as needed and shipping is free!
I received this ear seed kit as a gift myself and that is why I know, firsthand, that someone in your life will be so thrilled to be gifted something so beautiful and unique. I had never heard about ear seeds before, but they are tiny beads and you put them on your ear’s acupressure points. They stay on while you sleep and you can feel a real difference after using them. They lower my stress and put me into a Zen-like state—it is like acupuncture without the needles.
17. Lettuce Grow
There is something so wholesome and mindful about growing your own fruits and vegetables. The trouble is, most of us do not have the time or know-how to be our own farmers. I am obsessed with Lettuce Grow’s farm stands and pre-sprouted plants that remove the need for a green thumb when it comes to growing your own greens and making fresh, organic produce accessible to everyone. Having constant access to fresh herbs and vegetables to pluck straight from my patio and tossing them into the pot as I am cooking has elevated how I enjoy meals more than I can say.
18. Breville Juicer
Having a juicer has been a revolutionary addition to my kitchen! A bottle of cold-pressed juice can cost $9-$20, and considering healthy juice is a crucial part of my daily routine, that would not be sustainable. Plus, making green juice fresh maintains the nutrients more than store-bought options. Having access to fresh celery juice in the morning or a hearty green juice to go with a light lunch allows me to get the crucial vitamins and nutrients—in their most bioavailable form—that I need to thrive. Plus, I get to use all of my produce before it goes bad, reducing my waste and making my lifestyle more sustainable.
I get asked a lot about my choice of blenders and whether or not the Vitamix is worth the money. And I have to say, yes, it is worth every penny. I love using it to make veggie soups for my whole family because it can handle large quantities and does not require much liquid. I use it all the time for making smoothies and fresh almond milk, too. And with a Vitamix, I do not even need to soak my cashews before turning them into a delicious creamy sauce. This blender is an undeniably brilliant investment.
20. Our Place Pans
A good quality pan that is lightweight, easy to clean, non-stick, and does not contaminate your food is not easy to find—you have got to know what to look out for. Our Place’s pans are beautiful, eco-friendly, and functional, and one of the best pans I have ever used! They come in a variety of gorgeous colors and are absolutely perfect for the cook in your life.
Who says tupperware has to look like flimsy plastic that gets clouded and stained after a few months? Goop makes a superior product that I use any time I need a meal on the go. I am a proponent of mindful eating, and this substantial and elegant bowl with a ceramic base covered with a protective silicone makes me feel like I am sitting down to a meal at home no matter where I am. Anyone who wants to have a home-cooked meal despite working long shifts or having lots of errands to run will love getting this a gift.
22. Brightland’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Vinegar
There is nothing quite as delicious as fresh olive oil, and as you may know, some of my favorite brands (and I have tried a lot) are made right here in California. Brightland’s oils and variety of vinegar are an explosion of flavor that I can rely on to be fresh and nutrient-dense. I do not shy away from using a generous portion of high-quality olive oil on salads and in marinades, as it contains antioxidants, including oleocanthal, which kills cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. It has anti-inflammatory benefits, is safe for anyone with gut issues, a great source of healthy fat, and beneficial for longevity, immune support, weight maintenance, and glowing hair, skin, and nails.
I hope you and your loved ones enjoy these healing products as much as I have. Stay safe this holiday season and have a happy and healthy new year. Happy holidays!