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38 Creative Gift Ideas

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How you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world.

Having spent my entire Thanksgiving weekend organizing and de-cluttering my living space, I am a bit afraid of acquiring any more stuff. I mean, I love receiving and opening presents, it makes me feel special… but soon it becomes just another thing that I take for granted, while adding to the clutter at home. As the saying goes, “The stuff we own ends up owning us”. Very true!

This year (and for all years after this), I’m advocating for no present exchanges amongst my circle of friends. Their love, friendship and occasional pet sitting favors will suffice. Thank you.

Having said that, many of you are still ‘obligated’ to produce presents. Thus, I’ve compiled this list of gift ideas, following last year’s tradition. Given my current bias towards owning nothing, this year’s list leans towards gift ideas that are practical, clever, frugal, or eco-friendly.

I had way too much fun compiling this list, and I hope that some of these ideas bring many more smiles to the loved ones in your life.

Pen Zen: Bring Clarity to Writing

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Have you ever read an email from someone that was too wordy, lacked focus, and left you confused? How can we learn from reading such emails to improve our own communication? How do we compose emails and writings that others will actually want to read?

The ability to write clearly is crucial to getting your message across no matter what you’re writing, whether it’s an email, a blog post, a magazine article, or a letter to a friend. Clear and concise writing is vital to having your words read and understood.

The whole purpose of most writing is to inform readers of something or to persuade people to do something. The more clear and concise your language, the easier your message will be understood, and the more likely your readers will respond to that message.

Before you can write clearly, you have to be able to think clearly. A big reason many writers don’t see desired success in conveying their message is that they were not focused on a clear message. Good writing usually stems directly from clear thinking.

In this post, we’ll first look at some common obstacles to clear thinking and writing, then offer some suggestions to develop the mental state for clear writing, and finally give some specific writing tips that, if implemented, will immediately add that magic touch of clarity to your writing.

How to Tap Your Nap

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What do you do when you have problems that need creative solutions? Would you like to be more creative? Are you willing to give sleep a try?

Thomas Edison, Salvador Dali and Stephen King all did it. So did Wagner, Poe and Twain. They all used this technique successfully at one time or another.

What am I talking about? The ability to use the initial stages of sleep to generate creative ideas or to solve a perplex problem. Sounds a little far-fetched, doesn’t it? I thought so too, until I discovered that many of the great scientists, artists and engineers of our time have used sleep as a means of inspiration and problem solving. It has been described as trolling or mining for ideas in the subconscious of our mind.

We now know that our minds are just as active while we are sleeping as when we are awake. Portions of the brain do shut down during the midnight hours, while others become active and take us to far-away places where the ‘wild things roam’. Some of the greatest minds of our time have mastered this technique and enhanced their creativity. And with a little help, so can you.

Connect with Your Creative Writer

Photo by Cindy Loughridge

Do you have to complete a piece of writing but are putting it off? A report, a blog article, or a letter? Are you finding that the moment you sit down to write, your mind seems to go blank? Crap! Writers block! What can you do about it?

Although, the term writers block is popular, this feeling of blockage and mind blanking is not specific to writing, but of any creative feats. Other examples include, brainstorming for a new business, dancing, musical performances, music composition, painting or photography. I’ve personally experienced this during my photography work, blanking out as I stand in front of a client waiting for me for direction. I call these Creative Blocks, where your mind just comes up empty and you feel lost. It’s purely mental.

Through practice and observation, I’ve gotten pretty good at getting past these blank moments, and this article shares some insights for unlocking your creativity. Throughout the article, I will be using writing as the example, but keep in mind that it is equally applicable to any creative activity.

Your Guide to Get Spinning in the Idea Tornado

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Have you ever felt mentally blocked from finding a solution to a problem you are facing? Most of us have had this experience, and it can be quite frustrating. Writers call it writer’s block, and the rest of us call it stumped, stymied, confused, etc. Brainstorming is one effective tool for helping to remove the mental roadblock and come up with ideas and solutions.

Brainstorming is a method of generating ideas that allows the brain to think freely and use both sides of the brain to ideally come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. Brainstorming can be used whether you’re sorting out a problem at work, coming up with your next business idea, or resolving a personal relationship issue. Brainstorming can help you hone in on the problem and come up with creative ways to approach it.


40 Simple Gift Ideas to Spark a Smile

I have a confession to make… I still have not started my Christmas shopping. Having said that, I’m guessing that many of your out there are just like me, waiting for the last week before Christmas. :) As a gentle reminder to myself, I’ve compiled a list of gift ideas for the holiday season. These ideas are not limited to just Christmas, but for all occasions. I hope you may benefit from this list as well.

The list is broken down into several categories:

  • Unique Gifts
  • Gifts that Touch the Soul
  • Books that Change Lives
  • Alternative Wrapping Ideas


Unique Gifts:

1. Seed Gift Wrap that BlossomsOkay, this is really cool. Imagine a wrapping paper that you will plant instead of throwing away. These are biodegradable paper embedded with wildflower seeds. Once you’re done using the paper, just plant and water for beautiful blossoms. There’s no waste.

7 Habits of Highly Innovative People

Have you ever looked at super creative or innovative people, and felt they are special beings blessed with gifts? Have you felt that you are not as fortunate? I used to feel this way. I have since learned that creativity is more about psychology than intellect, and there are no secrets to being creative. Actually, there is no such thing as “being more creative”, you are already a creative being.

I’m sure we can all relate to moments when we felt stuck trying to tap into our own creativity. Did you know that this block is merely your mind at work? Your mind is creating all sorts of assumptions, self-imposed constraints and self-limiting inhibitions. I have found that we can remove these assumptions just by being in the moment; start doing, and stop thinking.

Here are seven habits found in highly innovative and creative people that I’ve organized and summarized from Scott Berkun‘s “the myths of innovation“.

1. Persistence – Innovation involves more than just great ideas. We need faith, hard work and a laser sharp focus for the end result to keep persisting for our vision in the face of roadblocks. We tend to see the end result of a creative idea in awe, but what we don’t see are the actions, hard work and persistence behind the scene to make the vision a reality.

Invention is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration“,

–Thomas A. Edison

9 Ways of Cultivating Creativity

Photo by Cindy Loughridge

I believe that Creativity and Spirituality are interconnected. By spirituality, I don’t mean religion, I’m referring to the human spirit, our Source, that place in us that feels connected to Life. Napoleon Hill calls it “Infinite Intelligence“. Deepak Chopra calls it “Pure Consciousness“. My friend Joshua Roman described it beautifully, “..that place in us that never ends.”. This beautiful place in us which cannot be accurately described by words, and can only be felt by the heart.

Being creative is simply relaxing into that place in you and connecting with this “Infinite Intelligence”. It is a gift in each of us, waiting to be discovered. We are all talented beings, because we all have access to the same infinite Source. We are all richly endowed, naturally.

When we act from a place of Creation, we are in a place of abundance, where there are no bounds. Limitations and scarcity only comes when we act from a place of Competition.

There is no such thing as Being more creative“, you ARE already a creative being. But, you can practice to become more in-tuned or aware of that creative energy surrounding you, all the time, of which you have unlimited access to.

Here are 9 practices I personally use to help me in ‘cultivating’ creativity.

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