Good Ideas

Gift Guide: Non-Toxic Home (Under $20!)

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Gift Guide: Non-Toxic Home (Under $20!) | Sense of Sunny

I always start to kick myself this time of year for still not having a clue where to start my Christmas shopping. There’s so much pressure to find the perfect gifts that are valuable, meaningful and affordable. Of course, I find myself in a similar place this time around and I’m sure some of you are there with me. This gift guide for the non-toxic home will help you get in the giving mood and reach the new year feeling a little less broke.

These non-toxic gifts are great for the hostess in your life, as stocking stuffers, or in a gift basket for the new home-buyer/apartment-renter. Even if the recipient doesn’t (yet) have the goal of achieving a non-toxic home, everyone’s gotta start somewhere.

As I learn more about the toxins that surround us in our homes, our makeup bags, and even our showers, I want to keep learning all I can and continue to spread my knowledge to everyone I know. A non-toxic home is one that I’ve been working towards these past couple months, slowly, but surely.

If you take a look at any conventional item in your home, you’ll be surprised at how many ingredients are proven carcinogens–they’re in candles, dryer sheets, “cleaning” supplies and deodorizers. A quick search on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website will reveal just how bad these items are for our health. There are so many great alternatives for the common household products we assume are harmless.

These five gift ideas are all $20 or under, are free of any harsh chemicals and will make for a really great addition to any home.

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November Gratitude Challenge #senseofgratitude

November Gratitude Challenge #senseofgratitude | Sense of Sunny

Every once in awhile, usually on an early Saturday morning, over a warm mug and in the corner of my favorite coffee shop, the feeling washes over me. Unexpectedly, without warning, for no reason at all. Once it hits, it stays awhile, peering through my open eyes like a pair of rose-colored glasses. Abundant gratitude.

Similar to many feelings, it can be fleeting and slip out in the night. Usually when I’m not paying much attention, when I’m distracted by something else.

The practice of acknowledging and expressing gratitude can reveal silver-linings and optimism you never knew you had before. Here is a great article on the gratitude effect. Research shows the connection between practicing gratitude and increased happiness and well-being. To “practice” gratitude is to welcome it into your life with intention. It’s the capturing of the feeling before it leaves you. This can be in the form of meditating, writing thank you notes, journaling or even keeping a simple list.

During my senior year of college, I completed the Hundred Happy Days challenge, posting on Instagram each day for one hundred days about something that made me happy. Many days, the challenge wasn’t all that much of a challenge, and for good reason. Other days, I really didn’t know what to be happy about, which inevitably reminded me of the very purpose of the challenge. I really had to think about the moments in my day that made me happy, the small and large forces that carried me through the week. The habit of posting turned into a habit of paying more attention and looking more carefully. Amidst the struggle of getting through the last days of academia and thinking about an uncertain future, the challenge always led me to a place of renewed perspective. For a moment, every day, there it was. Abundant gratitude.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I want to bring this feeling back. Enter, November Gratitude Challenge 1.0.

Through out the month of November I plan to shine a light on gratitude by posting on Sense of Sunny, Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook using the hashtag #senseofgratitude. If you’re wanting to put a little extra grateful in your day, follow along and join me!

Today, I’m grateful for you. For your urge to click on a post, link, or image, no matter how slight. I share myself in this way so that I may resonate with someone who needs my words or just a moment of distraction in their day. I do it because it brings me an indescribable kind and immeasurable amount of joy. It keeps me up late at night and wakes me up early in the morning. It sparks that fire in my heart. The truth-telling, list-making, passionately curious heart of mine that somehow manages to write the words, but rarely knows how to say them. Without you, I would feel a little less alive, my corner a little more lonely.

SRS

(Last Minute) Gift Ideas: Mother’s Day

Mother's Day + 10 Non-Traditional Gift Ideas | Sense of Sunny

Every holiday that involves planning a gift for my mom has usually started with me asking what she wants. Which is a terrible tactic for someone who has often said something along the lines of, “nothing” or “everyone to be good.” My siblings and I haven’t always been able to be good agree to disagree when we’re together, so we’ve often had to overcompensate with presenting a slew of gifts, each one different than the last, and usually painted, cut, glued, cooked, wrapped and/or delivered.

While “being good” comes more naturally the older we get, the unique and worthwhile gift ideas start to wane after many years of birthday celebrations, Christmas mornings and Mother’s Day’s have come and gone. While I’m definitely not one to hate on a fresh bouquet of flowers or a new candle, those things usually end up in the same place. The trash.

And how terrible is that?!

Making memories will warm the heart for a lifetime. If you’re still piecing together the perfect Mother’s Day for that wondrous woman in your life, look no further than this list of (last minute) non-traditional gift ideas.

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International Women’s Day + Feminism

Please don’t let this day pass without acknowledging, in some way, its deep and undeniable importance in our lives. The social, economic, cultural and political achievements of all women make our world burn brighter. May you never stop to dampen the fire.

“feminist: a man or a woman who says ‘yes, there is a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.'”

SRS

The Truth: Everlane + The Most Powerful Woman

Disclosure: This post contains referral link(s).

The Truth: Everlane + The Most Powerful Woman | Sense of Sunny

I am all about being real. No one likes to hang out with people, companies, or food who pretend like they’re something they’re not. This week, it seems like we live in a world full of secrets, between Volkswagen cheating emissions tests and a peanut butter makers’ Salmonella scandal.

Are you okay with that? Because the Most Powerful Woman and I are not okay with that.

Every year, Fortune releases their list of Most Powerful Women. This list gathers the names of CEOs, Presidents, Founders, millionaire earners, change makers, and ultimate boss ladies. This year’s Most Powerful Woman is so real. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, began her journey at the international corporation just months before a swarm of lawsuits would reveal the troubled workplace culture at GM. Fortune recognizes Mary’s commitment to cultivating a workplace culture that welcomes transparency and rejects “business as usual.”

Transparency is broadly defined as the degree to which information flows freely. It’s saying how you really feel, how a shirt was really made, how your food was really produced, how your business really operates. It’s telling the truth, always. Even when it hurts.

“I know some of you are wondering about my commitment to solve the deep underlying cultural problems uncovered in this report,” Barra told lawmakers last June, referring to a damning report on the botched recalls delivered to GM’s board by former US attorney Anton Valukas. “The answer is I will not rest until these problems are resolved. As I told our employees, I am not afraid of the truth. And I am not going to accept business as usual at GM.” – The Verge

Mary let the world know that she was leading in favor of the truth. The ultimate duty of a fearless leader is to represent an urgency for positive change.

So, what does the Most Powerful Woman and my new gray t-shirt have in common?

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4 Ways to Manage Your Big Vision on a Small Budget

Project Bedroom: Big Vision, Small Budget | Sense of Sunny

Kitchens make food and bathrooms keep you clean, but your bedroom is where you make big decisions every single day. Are you going to push snooze eight thousand times or spring to your feet and crush that to-do list? Since entering my angsty high schooler phase of life, many moons ago, I have discovered that the ultimate feeling of comfort and solace can be found in the privacy of my own space.

As a tried-and-true introvert, my bedroom serves as a charging station to the center of my well-being. I love the victorious feeling of shutting the door before crawling into bed. It’s like saying #SEEYANEVER to the day.

Here are four ways I’ve managed to achieve my big vision on a small budget.

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4 Tips for Graduates (or anyone, really)

4 Tips for Gradutes | Sense of Sunny

After spending years mulling over a topic, hours studying for final examinations, and days preparing for THE day, it can be a struggle to decide what to do next as you transition in to the working world. While there are thousands of listicles summing up the things you shoulda/coulda/woulda been doing after graduating, these are just a few simple moves I found helpful.

With many college and high school graduations on the horizon or in the rear view mirror, these tips will hopefully guide you as you make the transition. If you’re not graduating, no fear, this post is still for you!

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Anatomy of a Thank You Note

Anatomy of a Thank You Note | Sense of Sunny

If I had only 30 seconds to sum up the most important lessons I’ve learned in my adulthood, “saying thank you” would top that list. As a society, we often focus on how the individual rises to the top, pursues their lifelong passion, or single handedly changes the world. However, I believe that there’s a little more to the story than any single one person.

We are all challenged, motivated, and inspired by extrinsic factors. I would argue, that some of those biggest factors are people that teach us how to be and how not to be, the ones that encourage us to reach higher, and the ones that forgive us and love us when we don’t reach high enough. While saying “thank you” is pretty simple, I have found that writing a thank you note can transform that simple gesture to a more sincere and memorable act.

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