If you’ve been in my vicinity for a second or three, you know that I value efficiency, ease, commonsense, laughter, frugality yet also paying top dollar for things & people worth top dollar, referrals, feeling good about myself, and helping others feel good about themselves. If I can smoosh all of that into list form, be still my beating heart. So every year, I combine my faves from the past twelve months and share the result as Fall begins to grab hold of us, for those who like to start the gift-giving wheels turning early for the holiday season. And honestly, living a Life of Yes℠ means giving gifts and getting gifts whatever the season. So go ahead and buy someone a Happy October 9th! goodie.
Before you open the wallet, two concepts to noodle on —
☆ The change you seek starts with your shopping list — gift differently
☆ Gift Someone With the Fanciest Version of What They Already Use — Best Friend and his parents have gifted me numerous iterations of this, e.g. commericial-free Pandora and Lastpass Premium.
If you’d like to see previous years’ lists, head here.
Hope you find something for family, friends, coworkers, people who make your life easier and more full of joy, and of course, yourself!
NOTE: Links in this post may be referral links — when you click, you may get goodness, M&C may get goodness, both may get goodness. Goodness being a credit, discount, compensation, a high-five. If M&C refers someone or something, know that the referral is rooted in genuine reverence for his/her/its quality and usefulness. Thank you for valuing and trusting M&C referrals!
Silicone Round Lid — Best Friend loves these when making bread and needs an airtight container but is using a mixing bowl without a lid. Also a good green option if you’re looking to use less cling wrap in your life.
Plants+ from The Sill — a must-visit website and store if you have green thumbs (or want green thumbs; plant consultations, what?!) in your life
Cutting Boards — after our trip to Japan, Best Friend got very into fancy knives and cutting boards; he bought one of these and loves it. I’m not allowed to use it. Which is fine by me. Ban me from the kitchen completely.
KitchenAid Mini Food Processor — we have a regular sized one but it can be annoying to drag out and clean, especially if it’s a small need so I bought this for Best Friend for his birthday and he’s over the moon. Plus, adorbs. Especially this color.
Pet Care Card — for the animal owners in your life. They have a lot of other iterations of this concept (keychain, etc).
Purple Swiffer — I know, I know, who wants cleaning tools as a gift? Me! You saw me die and then die again last year when Best Friend got me a Dyson for my 40th. I have to think at least one of you also loooooves cleaning tools. After trying a purple Swiffer at a client’s, I immediately gifted one to myself. I didn’t think there’d be a big difference between the green and the purple. Oh my goodness. If you have a lot of floor, if you know someone who has a lot of floor, get the purp. So much easier and faster.
The 100 Best Pens, As Tested by Strategist Editors — I figured if you’re into pens, you probably wanna see the whole list and not just No. 1, as ranked by these fine folks. Nerds unite.
Sourdough Bread Tools — Best Friend has been into bread baking for the past year and of late, sourdough specifically. These are the tools he recommends:
Digital Kitchen Scale
Glass Canning Jar
Homesick Candles — scents like Road Trip, Summer Camp, and Chicago. Mmmmmm. I love their packaging and esthetic.
Grease Splatter Screen — a dirty stove is a point of contention in our marriage; I care, he doesn’t, and unfortunately, he’s usually the one making the mess. This was our compromise and it works pretty well.
Air Vent Car Mount Phone Cradle
TCL Roku TV — I don’t know how many of these we have now. Seventeen? I feel like one arrives every other week. Addict Best Friend says, “You can buy them lots of places. I recommend setting up a slickdeals/dealnews alert to see when the size you want goes on sale somewhere online (rakuten, costco, amazon, walmart, best buy, ebay, etc). Check out rtings.com for reviews. They’re nowhere near the ‘best’ tv technology out there, but if your standards are pretty low like mine, they have top notch value.”
Universal TV Stand — to hold all your Roku TVs
Mechanical Backlit Gaming Keyboard with Customizable Lighting Effects — it was one of the silliest, loveliest wastes of twenty minutes watching Best Friend excitedly set this up, as he ohhh’ed and ahhh’ed at every setting. Despite the silly, he says, “Worth it!”
Clothing & Accessories
Saxx Underwear Men’s Boxers — Best Friend is on the hunt for a replacement for his beloved merino wool travel boxers which he can no longer buy due to his veganism and is happily experimenting with these.
Toms Shoes — I love these shoes for travel. You wouldn’t think it to look at them that they’d be good for traipsing about Sweden but I’ve roamed many a country in them and been so comfy. I love them for travel because they’re so light and flexible, thusly easy to pack. Their casual vibe fits my vibe and in the instances when flip-flops won’t cut it, they’re a nice step up. I like these but so many to choose from. Bonus: Ortholite inserts for us oldies!
Keen Shoes — I admit, when I saw people in these, I judged. They’re not the cutest. But I was looking for sturdier travel shoes (you learn your lesson stupidly climbing Norwegian mountains in flimsy footwear) that still allowed for breathability. I bought these the day before we left for Italy and wore them every day for 2.5 weeks, averaging a bazillion steps in them each outing.
Life of Yes℠ T-Shirt — my babyyyyyyy. 😍 The main way of life, mantra, and philosophy of Mac & Cheese Productions℠, in wearable form. A conversation starter and a magnet for other Cheese-Its and Life of Yes’ers (or as they’re commonly called, LOYers) — “Life of Yes, what’s that? Mac & Cheese Productions, what’s that? They sound cool but I have no idea what they mean.” “Heyyyy, you know Mac & Cheese? You’re into positivity and joy and fulfillment too? You’re friendly and all about meeting other friendly folks? Me toooooo!”
Project Bag — I’m in love with this whole company. Their tagline is “Nice things for makers.” I like nice things and I’m trying to be more of a maker. Creating with your hands is a nice break from the digital world. Even if you’re not artistic or it’s not good. Stop being so hard on yourself. Get a project so you can get this bag!
Health & Wellness
CBD — get help with anxiety, pain management, and more. Friend o’ Mac & Cheese. $10 off with code “macncheeseproductions123”
National Parks Annual Pass — one of our favorite travel discoveries was how fun and majestic our National Parks are. We’re on a mission to visit them all.
SIX! — my favoritest musical and musical experience of all time. It’s on tour now, check out if it’s gonna be in your city. And then get tickets straight away! It keeps selling out. About Henry the VIII’s six wives but, like, in pop concert form.
The School of Life – 100 Questions — well, this is a vehicle to an experience. I use these at various events of mine to create community and help people get to know each other.
I will always tout activities, travel, and services as being tops as far as gifts are concerned, for self and for others. I’ve shared many suggestions of where to go and whom to hire in past years and keep a running list on my Life of Yes℠ Resources spreadsheet and Service Provider Referral List. Take a class, head to Savannah, hire a housecleaner! Special shoutout to our Handygal Kelly who recently made the scary leap from 9 to 5’er with a side hustle to full-time hustler. She not only can fix things, she makes things. Make it rain for her during this nervewracking first year of self-employment!
A reminder to Shop Local and to Shop Small! Many of the provided links are to Amazon which is the antithesis of both of those things. Amazon is great, I use it all the time. You can’t beat the convenience. No judgment here or plea to stop using it; that would truly be pot, kettle, black. Just encouragement to swing both ways. As a small business owner who relies on y’all opening up your wallets for me, I constantly remind myself to balance out my Amazon’ness with visits to the little fish. On behalf of all little fish, thank you for thinking of us, referring us, buying us!
One other concept to keep in mind: plan for and feel the pain before the pain. Some purchases can be stressful due to their price tag. We bought a new car a few months ago. PRICE TAG. Oy. But because Best Friend is a financial genius — sometimes to my chagrin cause I’m like “Dude, let me live my best life by spending my money now! F saving for the future! I’ll be dead then!” — the car purchase wasn’t as punch to the gut as it could’ve been. In preparation for the expense, he had both of us start making monthly car payments before we had a car. Beginning last January, we both put $310 into a fake “new car” account each month to feel what it’d feel like to have a car payment. While I hated the concept and kinda hated him when he suggested this, when it came time to down payment our new car and pay an actual car payment, the financial and mental strain was non-existent because we had a nice chunk of cash to use and were already used to the account withdrawl. If you have an upcoming expense that’s gonna be at all stressful due to the amount, firstly, Best Friend would want me to say, do you really need to have that expense? Should you have that expense? And then secondly, if the expense is one you want to take on, do some preparation for it now so that when it comes time to pay the bill, the pain won’t be so painful. I’m all for spending money to create joy but am also all for being smart and realistic around the spend. Spend wildly! But within reason!
Got suggestions of things, people, or experiences to gift? Would love to hear ’em in the comments! Self-promotion encouraged.
Guided by the mantra “Find something that makes you happy and use it to make others happy”, Mac & Cheese Productions℠ connects people to people, people to opportunities, and people to themselves. To see upcoming servings, head to the Calendar.