It's that time of year where we pay our annual homage to consumerism, fighting through crowds to get the newest electronic gadget or toy. But we can also aim to buy gifts that are inspiring and life-changing for our loved ones. I particularly enjoy giving and receiving "experiences" as gifts, as the memories created last longer than any material object.
Here are some of my favorite gifts and experiences that can motivate and assist your loved ones in leading a healthy and happy life. What better time to receive the gift of healthy living than the beginning of a new year?
Keep your favorite runner toasty during winter running with Mizuno's groundbreaking Breath Thermo running apparel, available at the Runner's Soul in Elmhurst. The staff at Runner's Soul, all avid runners themselves, say the revolutionary fabric absorbs moisture from your body to generate heat, thus keeping you warm and comfortable even in the most inclement weather. Stop by and they'll show you how this fabric works!
Healthy eating doesn't have to be boring! Whole Foods Market gift boxes are available in several themes. I like the Mighty Bowls of Goodness Gift Box, containing a selection of popular fixings for healthy, one bowl meals. They'll send them anywhere in the country.
Commuting by bicycle can be a fantastic, time-saving method of getting your exercise in each day, and it's environmentally friendly as well. Bicyclists commuting to work face the dilemma of carrying extra clothing, laptop, electronic gadgets, lunches and more. Stemple's Cycle Center in Elmhurst has a wide selection of saddlebag carriers that will make commuting a breeze. A good one has ample room, is flexible, has appropriate closure, and is waterproof. Many are versatile and can be used as a backpack as well.
The eco-friendly Handy Andy in your life would appreciate a DIY workshop at the Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago. This nonprofit organization reclaims wood and other construction materials from renovation sites, teardowns and more, and sells the materials for a fraction of their regular cost, thus diverting it from landfills. They offer an interesting array of classes and workshops on crafting your own furniture and other home improvement projects. Local businessman Todd Jones of Every Last Morsel uses reclaimed wood from the Rebuilding Exchange for his raised garden beds.
One of my resolutions for the upcoming year is to drink more healthful teas. I plan on visiting SereneTeaz in downtown Elmhurst to find a tea that I like. Elmhurst resident and motivational blogger Connie Lee recommends SereneTeaz for its wide variety of teas and the owner's expert knowledge and advice. Tea tastings are available to assist you in finding the perfect blend for you. They also carry an assortment of accessories that will be appreciated by any tea drinker.
Many health-conscious people are discovering the benefits of making and drinking smoothies, created with a variety of nutritious foods. Since a good blender is key, the Vitamix high performance blender is the best of the bunch. Its strong technology can cut through seeds and pits quickly, allowing you to make use of every nutritional part of the food. The Vitamix can whip up green smoothies, soups and sauces in seconds.
Celebrate the holidays and toast in the New Year in style with Dom Perignon champagne, available through the holidays at Flight 112 Wine Bar for only $99 per bottle. Did you know that a glass of champagne contains only 91 calories, making it one of the best diet-conscious alcoholic drinks around? Order it online throught Flight's online retail site or pick up a bottle at their establishment, at this significantly discounted price.
Foot reflexologists say there's a part on your foot that corresponds to each part of your body. All I know is there's nothing better than a foot rub to pamper yourself, especially at the reasonable prices at Happy Feet in Villa Park. Their 40 minute foot massage, which also includes a hand and neck treatment, will leave you feeling regenerated for the low cost of $30.