Kuma the Shiba Inu’s Birthday 

Collage of three dogs’ pictures Yesterday was very special. We remembered our Veterans in the US, and it was also Kuma’s 12th birthday. He invited Riley and Tofu to his party, even though their energy is a little much for him. 

Riley and Tofu, playing with a ball

Riley and Tofu, fighting over a ball

Kuma’s dad brought him over, along with extra gifts. I made him his silly hat. He enjoyed his doggie churro! 

Kuma having a snack
I am so lucky to get to celebrate with such a special dog! He was my first Shiba, and will always be my baby. 

Kuma in his birthday hat
Does anyone else throw their dog a birthday party? 


Holiday Gift Guide – the Dreaded Man Gifts

gifts for men

#1 Tequila shot glasses made of Himalayan sea salt!! So cool! This would be a great gift with his favorite bottle of tequila and some limes.

#2 Anything with his favorite team on it from the NFL Shop. Well. Really you should probably only do this if his favorite team is the Packers. They are the only team that matters!!

#3 The best party game ever. The guy probably has nothing in his place but beer and an X-Box. Get him Cards Against Humanity.

#4 A cute doormat, but looks manly enough to not get you thrown out.

#5 I think this is super cool. A wooden beer caddy! I’m a little skeptical if a guy would use it or think it’s just stupid, so if any guys want to chime in here, let me know! Maybe I should just buy it for myself…

#6 Man crates are pretty cool if you want the wow factor. They are really expensive though, so it depends what you’re going for. This might be something you could do yourself, if you’re crafty.

Did anyone find anything really cool? I can’t say on here what I actually bought 🙂

❤ Jillian

Holiday Gift Guide- Girlfriend Edition

gifts for your girlfriendsI am not one of those people that has to do one holiday at a time. I’m excited for Thanksgiving, but I also love Christmas shopping. I like to multi-task. Part of it is that I create my budget in January, and put aside 1/12 of the amount every month. I’ve been doing it this way for a few years and I LOVE it. I have zero anxiety about how I will afford Christmas gifts, and I also can start shopping whenever I want. Ideally this would be all year round to get the best deals, but the minimalist in me can’t handle storing gifts all year. I usually start in November. I love gift guides, so I’m going to do a series of them this year!

Here are some ideas for your girlfriends, sisters, or anyone that likes girly things.

#1 (luggage tag) and #4 (flask) Anne Taintor is one of my favorites, right up there with Kate Spade (oh, you know I’m serious now!). Here are a few great gift ideas- luggage tags and flasks. She also makes magnets, planners, and so much more.

#2 You knew Kate Spade was going to come up. I think anything she makes is a great gift 🙂 But these business card holders are affordable and gorgeous- plus she’ll feel professional and put together when she pulls it out of her bag or pocket.

#3 I love this gorgeous “Full Exposure” make-up pallet by Smashbox with all the neutral shades plus glittery ones. I don’t wear eyeshadow enough to justify purchasing this for myself, but I have a few friends that I know would love it.

#5 You can’t tell me you have never been with your friend and drank your wine with ice cubes because no one remembered to chill it. Well, you can. But I will not believe you. You can fix all of that with a corkcicle from Give Simple (definitely check out the rest of their website, they have so many cool gifts). It’s a gift for her, and for you when you come over with wine!

#6 My friend K and I can’t get enough of People Stylewatch. Is that bad to admit? If you haven’t seen it, it is similar to People, but has way less celebrity gossip (which I don’t have much interest in) and way more pretty clothes and bags. Maybe your friends are like us and get way too many magazines already, but if not, give her a subscription and she’ll think of you every month!

#7 I love these double layer phones cases by DandyCase because they really protect your phone, but aren’t as bulky as something crazy like an Otter Box. They are also inexpensive, so it’s not too sad when it gets all banged up and you need a new one. Or, you can buy a few and change them out!

I hope you have fun looking at pretty things to buy for your friends! My last tip for today- definitely check your local dollar store (this may be just a USA thing?) for all of your wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, et cetera. I LOVE shopping there for paper goods. In my mind, it’s the only way to go. They have a pretty good selection, and nothing is ever more than a dollar.

Do you have any shopping tips for me, or any gift guides you would like to see? I’m working on hostess, the awful hunt for gifts for men, pet gifts, and silly stuff for gift exchanges.

❤ Jillian

Simplify Sunday- Gift Giving

shibasI think it’s safe to say most of us love giving gifts, no? Sure, it can induce stress budgeting for and finding the perfect thing, but there’s nothing like seeing a loved one opening up the perfect gift (my perfect gifts are pictured to your left!).

However, a lot of us are trying to minimize our consumption and general level of stuff in our lives. If someone gives me something I don’t need, I will donate it or reuse it in some way (I’m not afraid of the occasional, careful re-gift). Since I do this, I can’t help but worry that I am giving others gifts that they won’t use. I don’t want to give someone something that is actually a chore waiting to happen- something they need to get rid of or that will clutter up their home.

In this post, I mentioned that I find magazines to be a great gift. The recipient gets to enjoy them month after month, and they don’t take up a lot of space. They are an indulgence that not everyone will buy for themselves. However, they are still stuff. In a comment on another post of mine, Mag suggested both a way to personalize the gift of magazines, and a really great website where you can donate toward a birthday celebration for a homeless child. What a perfect birthday gift! I would love to receive that.

Mag says:

That site is a game changer. Another one that I love is https://www.birthdaydreams.org. Many of us are wrapped up in consumerism and believe the more expensive the gift or the number of gifts means we are more loved. It simply is not true.

The gift I love to give to my friends and loved ones is a magazine subscription. I always send the first copy filled with tabs and post-its about articles and recipes. It is my hope that this simple but monthly gift will remind them of me, while providing them a stopping point each month in their busy lives to take a moment for themselves. By the way, happy birthday.

One time, my friend MK gave me the gift of supporting a polar bear with World Wildlife Fund. I received information about the donation and polar bears, along with a stuffed polar bear. That was so cool, I adore bears and loved to know they were being supported. Gift cards are another popular choice, but of course that’s still contributing to general “stuff”. Even better might be a restaurant gift card and the offer to babysit while your friend has a much needed night out with their spouse.

You know what your grandma wants? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not another plant. It’s to see you. The perfect gift for her is to take her out for coffee or lunch and tell her about your life. Get her to tell you a story she’s never told you before. My sister took me for a spa day, and it was fantastic. My mom sent me a sweet message about how she thinks I’m amazing.

You can easily give a gift that has meaning and creates a memory- just think outside that Hallmark box.

One more thing- Mag also left a really cool site for registries (So Kind Registry). This site lets you register for intangible things as well as tangible gifts. Having a baby? You can specify what kind of meals you would love to have people bring by for you and when, or when you could really use a babysitter for your toddler. Getting married? You can register at So Kind Registry and tell people that you don’t need plates, but you totally need someone to officiate your wedding or set up chairs between the ceremony and reception.

On a side note- friends, I am so psyched!!! A reader emailed me and she is using my 2015 Exercise Log. She showed me what she has done, and it’s incredible. She did almost 40 miles and 17 days of exercise. I’m so happy that someone is using it 🙂 *insert absurdly ridiculous dance of joy here (followed by tripping and falling on the floor)*

Does anyone have any real cool gift giving ideas to share? Please let us know.