Where Inspiration Is Pulled From: A Holiday Guide to This Years Favorite Makers, Impactful Books, Adventures as a Gift, Why We Should Keep Sending Letters, and Ways in Which a Little Can Go a Long Way


My initial thought was to simply call this a Holiday Gift Guide, but for some reason, that alone just didn't feel right.

You see, I've been wanting to put together a collection of companies, people, books, activities, and what not, that has been part of my inspiration and creative process for the past long while. 

So as you read on, keep in mind that though some of these things cannot be physical gifts, they are just as, if not more important, lasting, and impactful. From the tools I use to pull myself out of a slump, to the novels, poems, and stories I get lost in, women to be inspired by, why we should keep sending letters, to the companies that make a point of supporting local artisans, makers, and those of us working our darndest to carve out a place in this world for our stories, 

While moving over to create even more room for you, you and you.

You see, a gift can be anything, anything at all. From a little hand-written note, a donation to a cause close to your heart, or an adventure with a dear friend. Though I tend to shy away from "going big" during the Holiday season, finding it hard to purchase gifts that can best represent how I feel about someone or something, especially when those feelings and emotions come bubbling up in exceeding amounts. For some reason, it's easier for me to take the relationship I have with that person, and come up with something that we can both integrate into our lives with meaning and purpose, no matter the size or price.

Not to mention, it also allows time for me to reflect on our relationship and just how much it means to me.

You know...something that will lift them up when tough gets tougher, or say the right things with the turn of a page when negative thoughts are impossible to keep at bay. Or simply, a letter with their favorite photo on it, or a pair of gloves because you always seem to lose that one pair.

Really, this is about not letting one person carry all the weight by lifting each other up.

By being the best we can be right now, without external pressures, unnecessary expectations, and timelines. 

It's about celebrating what makes you, you, and me, me.


Artists + Makers

Other Inspiring Companies + People, To Name a few...

Mybyta - No more throwaway cups, just one beautiful cup.

She Explores (+ She Explores Podcast) - Inquisitive women in the outdoors, on the road, and besides. Founded By Gale Straub

Wylder Goods - Wylder is committed to doing business better . We’re working hard to balance our values and visions for the future of our ecosystems with our gear needs of today.

InSpirochete - Transforming life with Lyme Disease through creative expression, with the goal to inspire connection and share the untold stories. By Sylvie Lamb.

Arielle Core Co - A woman looking to heal the world, one story at a time. Programs and apparel created for women on the rise. By Arielle Coree.

Femmehead - Empowering Ladies, One Cycle at a Time. "Here at FemmeHead I believe in the power of knowledge, in the beautiful, magical, "holy crap" power of body literacy. Because learning about and understanding what is happening in our bodies is magical thing. Girl, it's positively life changing." By Victoria Zimmerman.

Wu Haus - With a focus on food, style, and wellness, Wu Haus is a place to share recipes, tips, and inspirations that are a part of her daily life. By Alison Wu.

LoilJ Handmade - Diffusing Bracelets, Earrings, Chokers + Clips. We are momprenuer BFFs who love essential oils & natural living. 

Gem Water - It's any water enlivened and restructured by the natural vibration of gemstones. By Anjanette Dienne Sinesio.

Naomi Loves - My goal is to lead a life that is slow, creative and personal; in a world that can all-too-often feel frantic, mainstream and remote. Let's call that goal a work in progress." By Naomi Bulger.


Novels + Lengthier REads...

You'll Grow Out Of It, By Jessie Klein

The Book Of Dust, By Philip Pullman

Homesick For Another World, By Ottessa Moshfegh

Nobody Is Ever Missing, By Catherine Lacey

The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, and Soul, By Almila Kakinc-Dodd (to be pre-ordered + released this spring!) 


Poetry + Such...

Good Poems For Hard Times, By Garisson Keillor

Go West Young Women, By Gieorgie Abel

You Are a Circle, By Prof. G

The Sun and Her Flowers, By Rupi Kaur

Anything Written By Mary Oliver

Subscription To Darling Magazine

Boss Ladies Magazine - Portraits of inspiring creators


Lyme Related Books + Authors With Lyme...

The Border Of Paradise, By Esme Wang 

Unlocking Lyme, By Dr. Bill Rawls

Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease, By Yolanda Hadid

Wired For Healing, By Annie Hopper


Currently On The Bedside Table...

Men Without Women, By Haruki Murakami


What's Next?

Braving the Wilderness, By Brene Brown 

Wind-up Bird Chronicle, By Haruki Murakami 

Can you see the theme here? Oh gosh...


the benefits of reading, without reading...

Audible - Whether you're unable to read at the moment, have a long drive ahead of you, or are wanting to gift a loved one with books, without having to purchase however-many you were thinking, this is a great option, and far less expensive. Not to mention, you'll have a library of books and knowledge at your fingertips without having to turn a page. 


A Zero-Waste Letter

Paperless Post - I adore this option. It's such a wonderful way to write a little note to someone, making it even more special by way of custom colors, font, design, "paper" size, and so on. It pops up in your inbox and unfolds as if a real letter. Not to mention this option is free if you want it to be, as well as a zero-waste gift. 


Bringing Back Postcards

Said Best In a Postcard - Who says you have to be traveling to send a postcard? At Artifact Uprising you can order a pack of 20 postcards with a photo of your choosing on the front of every single one. This is also a great option if you simply want to let someone know that you're thinking of them or to make it extra special, you can add in a little crystal, dried flowers, or a little piece of jewelry and package it up in an envelope. A letter, memorabilia, and gift all in one! 


A photo That Keeps Giving

A Photo Sent with Love - Also through Artifact Uprising, you can order a set of square prints with photos of your choosing. Something that's fun to do with these is to write a little note on the back of one, and send a bundle to someone, with photos from a recent adventure you took together, or a place you'd like to go. Plus, they're a great addition to a blank wall, all you need are a set of clothespins and string


A Notebook for two 

The Traveling Notebook - I've done this with my good from Almila of The Thirlby, and it was a wonderful way to send letters without having to buy a new card every single time. All we did was pick out a notebook that we both loved, one person would write in it as if sending a letter, stamp + send, and once the other person received it, they'd repeat those steps and send it back. You stop when the notebook runs out of pages, deciding if you'd like to grab another one and keep going! It's a wonderful way to document the different stages of your friendship as well, especially when you live miles apart. An on-going coffee date, of sorts. 


Mail as art 

Alright, this one kind of falls under both "people I'm inspired by" as well as "letters." Naomi Bulger, of Naomi Loves, has made her letters into a piece of art, and now you can too. She has a Mail Art Colouring Book, Beautiful Letter Course, Meals In the Mail, Air Mail, a book to be inspired by, and a Mail Art Gallery, a compilation of all of her past work. 

This is not only a great way to stay in touch with long-distant friends, but it can be considered a piece of art, as well as being extremely fulfilling for you, the person making it, and whoever receives it! 

the gift of an adventure

tea for two

Inviting a friend out, or over for tea, coffee, matcha...may not seem like a gift, but there is oh so much to be gained from it. Whether it be at a cozy little cafe or beneath a blanket on your couch, bouncing between your current reads, conversation, and complete silence, making time for moments like this are essential, especially when it's all too easy to stay indoors during the Winter months. 

Instead of sending a text, why not mail a letter over to your friends house, or slip a note under there door, inviting them over for tea.  


road trips + snacks

Even if it's only a few hours in the car, and you end up sleeping in your own bed that night, it still counts as a road trip. Something as simple as a drive to a little town near by, a picnic at a national or neighborhood park, and a few hours spent gathering up blankets, making tasty snacks, hot drinks, and anything else you might need, is such a wonderful way to spend time with a good friend. You could even draw out a little "road map" of where you'd like to go, taking along a polaroid to snap a few memories, only to quickly get back to the car to warm up those frozen fingers. 

Before you go, make sure you have a favorites playlist, book on tape, or podcast ready! 


trip planning + Daydreaming

This is a must, an absolute must, especially for those of you that long to travel, but can't always make it happen, whether that be from financial strain or health issues, this is always an option. 

  • Pick a place you've been or have always wanted to go, or maybe even a few.
  • Invite a friend over by way of a postcard, with a photo of the said place, asking them if they'd like to go with. If this friend doesn't live near you, still send the postcard but instead ask them to help trip plan from afar.
  • Research as if you're traveling there. For example, where would you stay, what kind of food would you be looking for? Go all out! Even to buy a map of the country or city, honing in on details that might initially seem silly.
  • Once you've done this, make a promise with each other that when the time is right, you'll buy those tickets, take that train, rent that car - whatever the means to get there, you'll do it. Together, and it won't be all that difficult seeing as the adventure has already been planned. 


MTL Adventures

Where we're looking to bring the connections and friendships that we've made through our social media platforms, directly to a new city or town every Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

We will be forming lasting in-person relationships, new ways to advocate for our health, and spread awareness for Lyme Disease and other invisible illnesses as a community. 

We'll be doing all of this through retreat styled gatherings, encouraging those of us impacted (including loved ones, friends, or someone interested in advocating), to put our dreams into action, share our experiences, goals, and ideas through a wide variety of creative outlets such as (all of which will be optional):

  • Yoga and meditative practices
  • Both little and big adventures
  • Writing and storytelling
  • Cooking and sharing meals
  • Painting, ceramics, and other classes and craft-based  activities  led by in-community artists
  • Discussions on topics such as daily wellness tips and tricks, getting diagnosed and what to do after, treatment options and doctors, communities to join for support, mental and physical health, diet and exercise, as well as advocating and getting involved on a bigger scale. 


First adventure?

Will be at The Weller Society in Portland, Oregon during the first weekend of March 2018! Tickets will be available soon, so stay tuned. 

Not able to join? No problem, we'll hopefully be making our way to you soon...

small gesture, big impact

Giving Back

This one is now more important than ever, not just that, but it's also incredibly simple and only requires you to click a few buttons...


First things first 

Pick an organization or movement that you feel strongly about. Sometimes making a list helps. 


A little push 

It's easy to talk yourself out of it, especially when money is tight, but rememer, even five dollars can go a long way. Heck, one dollar...


Say it with a meal 

If you'd rather keep it closer to home, there's always the option of giving someone the gift of a meal, whether it be new parents, someone in the depths of fighting a chronic illness, a cold - you name it, a meal never hurts and can often mean so much more than a physical gift. 


ideas to get going

The Global Lyme Alliance: GLA-funded projects have led to unprecedented advances in such areas as prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne illnesses.  

The LymeLight Foundation: Our mission is to provide grants to enable eligible children and young adults with Lyme disease to receive proper treatment and medication as well as raising awareness about Lyme disease.

GoFundMe: Is there a friend or someone you can think of that is need of a little extra help for treatment this year?

Planned Parenthood: Standing up for women's health rights. 

Outdoor Womens Alliance: To create strong initiatives for women worldwide.

The Sierra Club: So we can start protecting our national monuments.

NRDC: On being a force for nature.

Thirst Relief: By changing the world through clean water.

Unicef: By helping to save children's lives.

National Immigration Law Center: One of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please note that this post was not sponsored, all of the above information is straight from the inspiration bank, one that is now open to you as well. 

I'm sure there are other people, things, ideas, and companies that should be included alongside everyone here, so if you have any suggestions or ideas, please do let us know! 

The photos used for this post are either taken by the artists themselves, myself, or Julia Duke, Adam Mckibben, and Elli Doran.