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Iguana's Holiday Gift Guide Series: Cecily's Picks

Katie Morroni

By Cecily Kidd

Note: This is the second post in our Holiday Gift Guide series. You might also want to check out Katie's Picks.

 

For the procrastinator

A beautiful design and a good reminder
The Time Is Now Poster by Dave Radparvar - HOLSTEE
 
 
For the techie

A power strip that allows you to use phone to turn individual outlets on and off from your phone
Pivot Power Genius
 
Because it never hurts to have a lightning to usb cable on your keys
NOMAD® Official Site \ Portable Smartphone Tools
 
 
For the photographer

A light meter that interfaces with your phone to help get the perfect exposure on your DLSR every time
 Luxi - The Photojojo Store!
 
 
For the traveler

I hate when earbuds fall out while I try to sleep, and this seems like the perfect solution
SleepPhones Night Headphones \ Shop Original SleepPhones®
 
Noisy passengers on an airplane, noisy neighbors, and construction while trying to focus are all alleviated by these noise canceling headphones
Amazon.com: Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones: Electronics
 

For the person who loses and forgets things

Luckily I don’t have to sit in many physical meetings, but if I did, I would definitely need this pen that also records audio and then syncs via usb
Livescribe :: Never Miss A Word
 
As someone who couldn’t find my keys this morning, Tile would have been helped me find them and get to the office on time
Amazon.com: Tile for iOS - For Finding Anything and Everything - 4 Pack: GPS & Navigation
 

 
For the design lover

Beautiful design + extremely useful = the perfect combination (I have 2 of them on my coffee table to hold remotes, pens, glasses, and everything else)
Remote-Control-Container \ MoMA Store
 
What design lover doesn’t need a Lampersand?!
Lampersand \ Mod Retro Vintage Decor Accessories \ ModCloth.com

Quick Fire: Museums, Ice Cream, and Goals

Katie Morroni

Favorite museum
Rob: Tough one... The MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) is great, but I guess my favorite is the Air & Space Museum in DC.  Both locations are outstanding and there's always fun stuff to see. Plus, I am looking forward to returning to the downtown one in a few years to see the USS Enterprise model in the main gallery!

Cecily: I tend to prefer museums that have hands-on aspects and my eyes tend to glaze over after about an hour in a typical museum. Some of my favorites are:

  • The City Museum- St. Louis, MO
  • Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center- Virginia Beach, VA
  • National Gallery of Art (in limited doses)- Washington, DC
  • Space Center Houston (NASA)- Houston, TX
  • Desert Botanical Garden- Phoenix, AZ

Katie: Definitely the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix — so unique and so universal at the same time
 
 

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Rob: Vanilla. But REALLY good vanilla.  Like with the specks in it.

Cecily: Cookies and Cream

Katie: Cinnamon, chocolate chip cookie dough, or butter pecan — depending on the day

 

Favorite thing about working for Iguana
Rob: Two things (tie): The challenges of always seeing how we can solve visual problems efficiently and quickly AND working with great people where teamwork always brings out the best solution.

Cecily: The people. Their creativity, passion, and sense of humor make working for Iguana a total dream, but above all, they are simply good people. I also love that it is a truly collaborative environment and we all have each others backs.

Katie: Our team! It’s such a pleasure to go to work when you love the people on your team. I try to think about new ways to make their lives easier all the time, and I feel so supported by them, too. #TEAMIGUANA (inside joke…)
 
 

Goal to accomplish before the year’s end
Rob: Full office/house cleanup and a declutterizing that results in a better, more consistent focus on things that matter for 2015

Cecily: Organize the files on my desktop and in my downloads folder

Katie: Finish a book I’ve been reading

Iguana's Holiday Gift Guide Series: Katie's Picks

Katie Morroni

By Katie Morroni

It's the most wonderful time of the year -- and time to go shopping. Here are a few gifts that have caught my eye lately...

 

National Parks checklist map
For your favorite explorer… a beautiful way to track visited national parks. I'm in it for those little tree stickers!

A Salami Sampler
When I spotted this on Oprah’s Favorite Things list this year, I made a mental note to come back to it if I ended up with one of my brothers’ names in our sibling Secret Santa exchange. Spoiler alert: I didn’t draw his name, but I’m still working on who might need to receive this. And if your budget is a little higher, go for Olympic Provisions' Salami of the Month Club. Best. Idea. Ever.

Unique onesies and baby clothes

For the littlest ones on your list this year, consider a unique onesie or outfit that evokes adventure, fun, and bravery. Most of these picks are suitable for boys and girls, or available in additional colors:

 

Jump Up Journal
For the creative kid who’s outgrown those cute onesies and old enough to write a bit, try this fun journal from Gadanke. My niece loved it, and I bet your niece or nephew will, too.

 

The Giving Keys
It was love at first sight for me and these pendants and iPhone cases — and more importantly, their beautiful philosophy of passing along their inspiring pieces to someone who needs the message and employing those transitioning out of homelessness. This is a beautiful choice for a friend or family member who needs some encouragement, or who appreciates gifts that help make the world a better place. Or, there’s no shame in buying one for yourself if you’re the one who needs a little extra support right now.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy
Buy the movie of the year for your friend or family member with great taste — in movies, music, action heroes, etc.

 

Foodie Dice
This fun foodie gift first caught my eye on Kickstarter, and now they are available publicly via Etsy. There’s also a cocktail version now if you’re shopping for an amateur bartender.

 

LindsayLetters.com
I’m in love with everything sold on this site. If I had an unlimited Christmas shopping budget, I’d be getting every woman I know something from here. And if I had an unlimited decorating budget, I'd be hanging something from here in every room of my own home.

One of the 100 Notable Books of 2014
For your friends who like to read… or laugh… or learn… There’s no shortage of gems on this list.

HTML Beer Glasses & Floppy Disk Coasters
For your beer-loving, coding friend... Ok, so I don’t really know anyone who really meets this description, but if I did, I'd be buying them these two things as a set.

 

Birchbox Subscription
There’s something for all ladies to like here: a monthly box of makeup, hair care, and skin care samples, plus other goodies of interest. When you gift a subscription, you can select from a few choices for the recipient’s first box, and then they complete a beauty profile used to tailor their future box picks. I’m a subscriber myself, and this has been a go-to gift for friends and sisters for years. There's even a subscription option for men now, too.

 

Motivational Mugs
For your work BFF, how about a mug that makes Monday mornings a little less painful? I have the Keep Not Settling mug, and I can attest: it works every time.


Hue Knew?!

Cecily Kidd

By Cecily Kidd

I have been a user of Hue lights for 2 years now and they have changed my life. I never realized how inconvenient it is to turn on/off a lamp until I was able to do it from my phone. I realize that is a ridiculous first-world problem, but I hate getting into bed only to realize I left a light on in the other room.

Beyond being able to control the power from my phone, I can also do useful things like adjust the brightness and change the colors. I am usually pretty plain-jane and have mine set on white, but I use the dimmer/brightness feature regularly and every now and then I change it up and pick fun colors.

One of the best parts is that I haven’t had to change a lightbulb IN TWO YEARS! Its only a matter of time before my entire house is decked out in Hue lights!

Quick Fire: Thanksgiving Edition

Katie Morroni

Favorite Thanksgiving tradition
Rob: It used to be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, having family over for dinner at 1PM and then putting up some Christmas decorations. But as families grow and changes we're finding that we're having less and less visitors this year which means we're about to invent some new traditions we're looking forward to!

Cecily: Drawing names for the sibling gift exchange at Christmas.

Katie: Going to Mass. It’s a nice way to pause and remember that the day is about more than who is bringing the mashed potatoes. Ok, but seriously, who is bringing the mashed potatoes? :)

 

Favorite Thanksgiving food
Rob: "Post-thanksgiving hash".  This is what I used to do with the leftovers when I had Thanksgivings by myself in college... you put Turkey, corn and gravy in a skillet until bubbly and then add in the mashed potatoes until the whole thing is browned on the bottom.  Absolutely amazing.  And probably horrible for one's health. ;-)

Cecily: My Dad’s stuffing

Katie: Hands-down, my favorite Thanksgiving food is sausage stuffing. Not stuffed in the turkey, of course. That’s just gross. I guess that makes my favorite technically “dressing” and not “stuffing,” but to me, dressing is the usually-lame liquid you put on lettuce… I wouldn’t dare lower stuffing to that level by calling it that!

 

Least favorite Thanksgiving food
Rob: That's a tough one... I used think cranberry sauce was gross as a child but then later realized how it adds the right amount of flavor to other things on the traditional Thanksgiving plate.  Not sure I have one... I like it all!

Cecily: Sweet potatoes

Katie: If I say turkey, will you all promise not to tell my husband? Don’t get me wrong: I love HIS turkey. And it’s GOT to be on the table. But I’m really in this for the sides.

 

Preferred way to enjoy turkey (roasted, fried, smoked, other?)
Rob: GRILLED!  We've done this for a few years... super hot charcoal grill (www.chargriller.com is my personal favorite) gives you extra heat like an oven that makes the outside seem like it was fried but the inside juicy and perfect.  Plus, no extra heat in the house from the oven -- and the grill time is sometimes HALF or less of a conventional oven.

Cecily: Cut into pieces on my plate. Just kidding... I like them all.

Katie: We usually have smoked and fried, and I usually can’t pick a favorite. I’m crazy about the fried skin (sorry, vegetarians!) but the smoked bird is so pleasantly ham-ish without being ham… I think we shall stick with cooking both. :)

 

Black Friday shopping: Fight the crowds or sleep in?
Rob: Sleep in.  No reason to get up early... online shopping is the way to go.  I think. ;-)

Cecily: Sleep in and not leave the house all day. I worked retail for MANY years and have grown to hate Black Friday because it is pure mayhem!

Katie: Yikes, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which I’d want ANYTHING enough to fight the crowds. I might browse some online deals, but if I can, I’m sleeping in. Or waking up early -- but to make Christmas cookies, not to shop.

We're grateful for the most random things

Katie Morroni

This fall, we started a semi-frequent series on the blog called Thank You Notes, inspired by Leah Dieterich and Jimmy Fallon, taking a moment to hand-write a thank you note to miscellaneous things we appreciate.

With Thanksgiving this week, we thought it only appropriate to look back at the oh-so-random things that evoked gratitude for us.

Hey, it's the little things.

 

Rob's Thank You Notes:

Ebay

Leaf Blower Battery

 

Cecily's Thank You Notes:

Coffee Table

Sharpie Pens

 

Katie's Thank You Notes:

The Color Orange

Credit Card with Custom Photo

Quick Fire: On Twitter Feeds, Finding Inspiration, Mockingjay Part 1 & Christmas Music

Katie Morroni

Favorite Twitter account of the moment
Rob: There's a lot I like (and I don't use Twitter enough), but @appletize ALWAYS has great bits of Apple-related info that somehow gets missed in many other places.

Cecily: Ellen DeGeneres always has something funny and lighthearted to say.

Katie: @Unstuck… I love their app, but don’t always think to (or have the time to) open it up and work through a full exercise. I like seeing their bite-sized tips and the articles they recommend… and the reminder to get the app out when I need it.

 

Where have you found inspiration lately?
Rob: Long walks. Been trying to get more walking in for health and focus.  It's working great and I am continually amazed at how short the distances are between things that we assume are much longer.  Though now that it is getting colder in the desert, I found I need to bundle up.  And yes, this is funny in that the 60s are considered cold here... trust me, your blood thins out in the heat!

Cecily: Pinterest. It doesn’t matter what I’m looking for, Pinterest always has the answer.

Katie: Gearing up for Advent and Christmas, I’m reading Joy to the World by Scott Hahn, and it keeps inviting me into the season a little deeper. I love that. Oh, and I’m still on a high from the Over the Rhine release, Blood Oranges in the Snow

 

Mockingjay Part 1 is released today. Are you planning to see it?

Rob: My wife and daughter are... I'll probably wait until iTunes and then go see Part 2 with them next year!

Cecily: No... I had to google it to find out it was from The Hunger Games.

Katie: UM, by that, do you mean: Has it been on my calendar since the day they announced when the movie was being released? Then YES. I bought tickets earlier this week and will see it tonight. (Last year, my husband and I saw Catching Fire the day it was released — and we were the first people in line for our showing by nearly 2 hours. You can see the discrepancy between our levels of excitement. Man, he's such a good sport.)

 

Christmas music: Acceptable or criminal before Thanksgiving?
Rob: Criminal.  Plain and simple.

Cecily: Absolutely 110% UNACCEPTABLE! I may be a bit of a Scrooge, but I don’t approve of it before December 1.

Katie: Acceptable. Heck, I already mentioned it in this post. (See inspiration question above.) I know it drives some people mad, but you know what? I love Christmas music. And sometimes I turn it on in July. Don’t judge.

 

8 links I love: A mighty promise

Katie Morroni

By Katie Morroni

Here's a few links from the last week or so that caught my eye:

1. Perhaps the most important thing I've read in a long time: A Simple Exercise to Increase Well-Being and Lower Depression from Martin Seligman, Founding Father of Positive Psychology. This practice comes with a mighty promise: that we’ll be “less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.” I'm so in. (Brain Pickings)

2. "The dark is just a canvas for your grace and brightness." YES. (Lindsay Letters)

3. How to Deal With Anxiety, Tragedy or Heartache — 4 Steps From Research (Time.com / Barking Up the Wrong Tree)

4. The best work advice I ever got, something to bookmark and revisit. (Unstuck)

5. Um, a new study suggests that looking down at a cell phone is the equivalent of placing a 60-pound weight on one's neck. Not ok. (The Atlantic, via Daniel Pink on Twitter)

6. Gift guides for him & her (Thoughts by Natalie)

7. A simple observation & a challenging reminder from the pope (Twitter)

8. Scientists have invented a way to make non-alcoholic beer taste less lousy -- a welcome advance from the perspective of this expectant mama and craft beer fan. (Food & Wine)