I’d always rather trade ideas than gifts, but other people seem to like gifts during the holidays, so if one must one must as “In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Kahlil Gibran
When I do give gifts, other than for Toys for Tots, I love gifts that are useful and share an idea. The theme of this year’s gift bag is travel, since I’ve been doing so much of it in 2015 these are the things that have helped me during my journeys. Also in honor of Sherlock returning to BBC in January, I will have the adorable Funko Pops help me illustrate what I gifted my girls this year.
“Hey Jess, why do you have a phone cord in your hair?” Mal yelled at me from across the parking lot. Yes, a phone cord. Earlier this year when I was researching the best travel kit to make on Pinterest I came across a blog post that highlighted these:
Basically a phone cord called the Traceless Hair Ring. The great thing about them is that you can ponytail your hair, take a flight and arrive at your destinations with waves instead of creases in your hair. Each of the loops helps make sure that pressure is unevenly applied to your hair preventing dents from taking hold and applies pressure gently which means less tangles and less breakages during your travels.
Turbulence. That stomach dropping feeling that sometimes happens during inclement weather on a flight. While I almost always drink ginger ale in flight, I really dislike having to bum rush the bathroom or climb and claw my way over other passengers in the middle of the night. My solve for nausea this year has been Gluten Free Reeds Ginger Chews. My office mate for 2 months this year introduced me to these and I have since ordered them in bulk.
When my brother was briefly working at NASA, he used to sign me up for a bunch of user studies. Since then I have had a love for participating in user studies and this year I’ve done a number of them. There are usually a bunch of snacks in the green room before you end up going into the study and because of that I discovered Half Pops. It’s those kernels that are not fully popped that you find at the bottom of a bag of popcorn that you fight over because they are so crispy delicious, except they come in aged cheddar flavor. Super noms. Another great thing that has come from user studies, snacks that are perfect for bringing on a plane.
I hated my travel brush. To save space for everything else I have been traditionally bringing this awful pop in and out brush.
Bringing this just means that I spent a lot more time untangling my hair or trying to get the lint or dust that collects in a brush that is frequently used out. To solve for this I scoured the webs to find Tangle Teezer and have been using it ever since. I’m not sure how exactly it works but all the knots I normally have are removed in an instant and if it ever needs cleaning a quick rinse under the sink and I’m good to go. It’s slightly bigger than my previous option but works SO much better.
Finally to wrap up this years travel gift guide are two things for adding flavor on the go. This year I’ve been doing a lot of outdoorsy adventures and the problem with traveling and food is often food on the move can be bland.
Earlier this year I was talking to Renee about cooking, and she mentioned Maldon Salts as the finishing salt of choice for all her foodie friends. After we discussed I bought it immediately and it has been a staple in my cooking and travels as well. Maldon salt is a finishing sea salt that comes in light and flakey crystals but packs a really nice flavor. It melts smoothly on the tongue and is quite tasty on steaks, a top butter, part of a charcuterie platter, or even a top of salads. Taste wise it’s fresh and crisp without any lingering bitterness in flavor. I carry a small jar of it in my luggage just in case food isn’t savory enough where ever it is I may go.
The piece de-la resistance of my gift this year is … a carabiner of Sriracha 2 Go. I’m a frequent shopper on Etsy and how I discovered this was via their recommendations emails. My group of friends loves Sriracha and travel and this just seemed like the perfect addition to a backpacking adventure or even just a daily jaunt to the city. Because really, everything needs Sriracha and it’s great that there is the carabiner so you can attach it and have it hip ready if your noms needs so called for it. If you don’t know what it is, here’s a great comic by The Oatmeal on the universal love of Sriracha, Tasty Firestorm indeed.
Hope this gift guide helps and you found it useful, it’s kind of eclectic. These were my absolute pleasure discoveries for this year that I have been using religiously on my adventures.
Finally candy. I always bring back candy from wherever I go as representation of the sweetness in each region and the local flavors, and I love that my friends all do this as well. Especially since I don’t like kitsch or random souvenirs to liter my otherwise neat home. I’d rather eat your travels any day.
Sharing is caring. Happy holidays.