• Gift Guide | Experiences Rather Than Things

    I must confess, at 45 I’m learning how to be a better friend.  This isn’t something that’s easy for me to say, it’s actually a bit embarrassing.  The list as to why I’ve been this way is long (and for another post) but good news!  I’m working on it daily and what’s most amazing is that my soul has benefitted from the process.  That missing piece of my heart that I’ve always wondered about has been filled.  Does this even make sense?!

    So, I’ve been thinking about how to better connect with friends and family over the holidays and I think for me it will be more about experiences than material gifts.  Don’t miss understand, a material gift is lovely and I’m not opposed it them.  It’s just with the  realization that conversation, connection and bonding with others is so rewarding I think having experiences is my priority.

    So, here are four simple suggestions but remember that just spending time together is always the best gift.

    Tea List-5Afternoon Tea at Tea List in Davis is one of my most favorite things to do with a friend.  It’s an entire experience; the decor, small bistro tables, hot tea and delicious food.  Add the best conversation with a friend and you’ve created a wonderful day.  Afternoon Tea is $19.95 per person.


    I’ve never gone on a hot air balloon ride but fellow Woodland Blogger Stacy Brown has and she blogged about it here.  I’m not a big fan of heights but it looks so fun and it’s an experience you’ll always remember.  Yolo Ballooning Adventures rates begin at $195/person

    Tickets to the Woodland Opera House is a new thing for me.  It’s become a ritual for my mother in law and me, to spend a Sunday afternoon watching a play.  I’ve laughed, watched her laugh, cried and have really enjoyed every performance.  Individual tickets are $25 for reserved seating and they also have options for season tickets and a flex pass.


    A crafting class, especially one by our very own locals, is something special.  Creating art and learning a new skill with others is lasting.  I’ve taken two of Emily Murphey Design hand lettering classes; one with friends and one with my sister.  For her it’s not just about the art, it’s an entire experience.  Her ability to create an environment and setting that is personal is a highlight of the class. Another local class I’ve been eyeing is the Full Belly Farm Floral Workshops.  Pricing varies depending on class $45 and up.

    I’d love to know what you do with your friends and family to enhance your time with them?  Leave a comment below and share!

    Woodland Opera House and Emily Murphey Design photos courtesy of their sites (links above)

  • Gift Guide | Ideas for the Home Gym

    Happy December!  I know everyone is saying it, but I can’t believe it’s already December. It’s time for the mad rush of gatherings, gift buying and stress.  I’m starting the month with my Gift Guide Series, something I’ve thought long and hard about.  There won’t be an onslaught of guides coming from me but the ones I do share will be beneficial to your body and mind (and maybe your taste buds).  Like this one, a guide to building your home gym.  I’m far from fit, but I do know the power of exercise and that’s why I feel good sharing this post.  So, here goes…

    I’ve asked fitness lover (and fellow Woodlander) Robin Savala to help with my first ever Gift Guide, Ideas for the Home Gym.  Robin has built up her own home gym from scratch.  She started with just a set of dumbbells and a stability ball.  She’s gradually added other equipment to the mix and was interviewed by Garage Gym Life for her dedication to her home gym. She often posts her garage workouts on her Instagram account. Her videos are always motivating and fun to watch!

    Obliques today! You can’t tell but my arms were shaking on the TRX! 💪🏼😅#garagegym #garagesweat #garagefit #happyfriday ❤️

    A post shared by Garage Gym Party Of 1 (@savalamama_garagefit) on

    Today she is sharing her list of gifts to give yourself or that someone special who wants to create or add on to their own home gym.

    $25 and under

    Resistance Bands for versatility, these are my favorite from B-Force.  Here’s one of Robin’s band workouts.

    Stability balls are great for their versatility and price point.

    $75 and under

    Also from B-Force, Gym in a bag.  These bags come with different weight options, can be used indoors and outdoors. Targets upper and lower body. It really is a gym in a bag!

    $100 under

    A Weight bench is a great addition to any home gym. Work great with dumbbells and bands. Standard weight bench at Dick’s is now $79.99, or upgrade for future barbell purchases with this weight bench, on sale for $99.99

    Over $100

    A variety of dumbbells is essential in a home gym! Start out with 2 or 3 sets of weights and add to your collection as your needs/strength change.

    If you have a questions for Robin feel free to contact her through her Instagram account.  Leave a comment below if you have other suggestions for us.

    *Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription.