My No Bullshit Gift Guide - Thyme Is Honey

The No Bullshit Gift Guide: a transparent round-up of things we actually use and love that make great gifts.

This week you are going to be bombarded with a lot of gift guides. They’re going to be all over your Instagram Feed and your Pinterest Boards and they’ll even make their way into your Facebook Newsfeed. Personally, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with gift guides. On one hand, I love seeing recommendations from some of my favorite bloggers or celebrities and find it so fun to see what types of things people recommend, but on the other hand, we’re a no-gift household and as a former social media + campaign manager I can sniff out a bad-faith recommendation from a mile away.

Because, in case you didn’t know, brands can (and do!) buy their way onto the gift guides of some of your favorite online personalities, bloggers, and brands…sometimes thousands of dollars for a spot on the most coveted of gift guides. Some people sell spots on their gift guide just like they’d sell advertising space in a newspaper. Sometimes they’ve never seen or tried the product, but the brand paid for the placement, so there it is.

Although most gift guides are not created to be deceptive, it’s not always easy to tell what is being recommended to you truly because someone loves and uses it, and what is being suggested purely for profit or partnerships.

This year I wanted to create a gift guide, but wanted to do it a little differently by following a couple of rules:

  1. I won’t accept any payments or partnerships for placement on my gift guide.
  2. I’ll only recommend things I truly love and have used for at least a year.
  3. I’ll only share real pictures of these products — even if they are beaten up or worn down, rather than styled flatlays or white-background product shots.
  4. I’ll be transparent about any commissions or referral codes mentioned in the guide so that you know what I stand to gain from recommending it.

And so, The No Bullshit Gift Guide was born! Below are a few products that we truly love, use frequently, and think could make a great gift for someone on your list. This year in particular I’d also like to encourage you to think locally and shop as much as possible at stores in your neighborhood, or opt for gift cards to local restaurants or even pre-pay for your loved one’s hair appointments or spa treatments for the year. These local businesses need the extra love right now! Cheers!

P.S. If giving gifts isn’t joyful for you, stop doing it! I think sometimes we feel so much pressure from what society expects our holidays to be about that we let it consume us. So, if you need permission to skip gifts, go for it! Personally, we don’t do gift-giving at our house, but I love sharing products I love — hence….a gift guide that will hopefully lead you to some tried and true products.

The Best Water Cup Ever – $10.00

Why I love it: Obviously I think that hydration is super important (hello, it’s my entire shtick), and one of the best tips I can give people is to get a designated water cup with a lid and an oversized straw (the oversized straw is a sneaky way to naturally drink more and it helps prevent the formation of wrinkles around your mouth) and keep it with you so that you sip consistently throughout the day. This Bubba Tumbler has been my favorite for years now and people always rave about it after they purchase it.

What’s in it for me: Although I literally dream of being some sort of hype girl for Bubba, that dream has not yet come to fruition. The link above is a commissioned link through Amazon and will provide me with a small commission (usually 5-10%) if you purchase through it.

World’s Greatest Neck Massager – $14.00

Why I love it: Know anyone who always has a neckache or headache? I’m a firm believer that everyone needs this Gideon Massage Tool. There’s nothing I’ve found that gets at those tight occipital muscles at the base of your head quite like this thing does.

What’s in it for me: I’ve owned this neck massager for at least 4 years and even made a really awkward video review for it once (enjoy!). It really is one of my most prized possessions (I mean…I moved it across as ocean for crying out loud) and I have given it to practically everyone I know as a gift. The link above is a commissioned link through Amazon and will provide me with a small commission (usually 5-10%) if you purchase through it.

Our Favorite Board Game – $25.00

Why I love it: We purchased Hive at the beginning of the pandemic and have been playing it nonstop ever since. You’ve likely seen it in photos or in my Instagram Story because we are constantly playing it. It’s similar to chess as far as the strategy, but a bit simpler and faster-paced. It has expansion pieces you can add to make it more complex once you get the hang of it. I love that it all fits inside this little pouch for easy travel, and it’s super COVID-friendly because the tile pieces can easily be washed. You can click here for a post of all our favorite board games.

What’s in it for me: Genuinely obsessed with the game (which I think is obvious) and the link above is a commissioned link through Amazon which will provide me with a small commission (usually 5-10% of the purchase price) if you purchase through it. Would love for you to look for these at your local book or game shops!

The Prettiest Puzzles – $40.00

Why I love it: We really enjoy doing puzzles and have fallen in love with this series by Martin Schwartz. He has a series of beautiful prints featuring iconic cities and has turned them into puzzles, too! The quality of these puzzles is really outstanding and they come with a matching print to help as you put it together. They are bold and have incredible attention to detail, which means you don’t get bored while putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle because there’s just so much to look at. We’ve started purchasing them for cities we been to together, which also makes it kind of a fun keepsake. You can click here for a post of all our favorite board games.

What’s in it for me: Nothing! This a Danish artist but his website offers worldwide shipping. Just sharing because we love them so much and I know other puzzle enthusiasts will, too!

My Favorite Headphones – $89

You can use the code HONEY10 for 10% off your entire order at Sudio.com. Right now they also have 25% off site-wide (plus free delivery), and you can combine this 10% off code with it for a total of 35% off your purchase! That makes the Sudio Tolv (my fav!) only $65.

Why I love it: Unpopular opinion, but I really don’t like Apple Headphones. They hurt my damn ears and I hate the fact that they have that little part that sticks out. It makes it so easy to knock them out of your ear and they get caught in my long hair. I’ve found Sudio to be really great quality at a better price point, with a design that fits better in my ears and is more comfortable. Pictured above is the Sudio Tre, which are wireless but have a cord that runs ear to ear — they’re nice for working out (they stay in your ears so well!) but would also be nice for younger people who might have a hard time not losing completely wireless headphones. I also had the Sudio Tolv, which are completely wireless, and love them, too! I recently tried out their latest design, the Sudio Ett, and gotta say I did not like that model as much as these two. They were kind of clunky and uncomfortable.

What’s in it for me: Nothin’ much! I received my Sudio Tolv’s for free from them after having a previous version of their headphones that I really liked and suggested a lot (the Tre). They gave me the discount code for you to use, but it doesn’t provide me with any commission or a referral bonus.

My Favorite Shoes – $145.00+

When you purchase your first pair of Rothy’s through this link you’ll get $20 off your entire order.

Why I love it: I don’t think I need to justify my love for these, and you probably know I’ve been wearing them for years and never shut up about it! They are super comfortable and practical. I can walk miles in them and easily jump on a bike or scooter. They are lightweight and perfect for travel and can be tossed into the washing machine when they get dirty! But, best of all, they are created from plastic water bottles, which help clean up our planet’s waterways. Such a great cause.

What’s in it for me: When you purchase your first pair using this link you’ll get $20 off and I’ll get a $20 credit toward new shoes. However, I have all the Rothy’s I need, so I now have a program called Shoes for Activists and I donate the pairs I earn through this account.

BookShop+ Favorite books of 2020

Why I love it: Books are one of my favorite gifts to give and this website benefits small, independent book stores. Not sure which book to order? Here are some of my recent favorites:

Atomic Habits (on BookShop) – for the person who wants 2021 to be their year (or get it on Amazon here)
Quench (on BookShop) – for the health nut (or get it on Amazon here)
Titan (on BookShop) – for the history buff (or get it on Amazon here)
You are a Badass At Making Money (on BookShop) – for the aspiring business owner (or get it on Amazon here)
Food Fix (on BookShop) – for farmers or anyone interested in politics (or get it on Amazon here)
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes (on BookShop) – for midwesterner who love The Great Lakes (or get it on Amazon here)
The Deepest Well (on BookShop) – for anyone who has or works with children (or get it on Amazon here)
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding (on BookShop) – a fiction read for your adventurous friend (or get it on Amazon here)

What’s in it for me: Nothin’. BookShop is a website that supports small, independent book stores. I’d love to see you use websites like this for any book purchases this season, along with purchasing locally whenever possible! There are also Amazon links above and I may receive a small commission (usually 5% or less) on book purchases.

Best Self Co. Cards – $24.99

You can find their products on Amazon, but if you purchase directly through their website you can take 30% with the code BLACKFRIDAY, which is good for the rest of this week.

Why I love it: We purchased these about a year ago, and have gotten so much use out of them. We toss a few in a bag on date nights and have also played them with friends over Zoom during quarantine (for 3.5 hours the other weekend, lol). We really like The Edison Deck and highly recommend it for your entrepreneurial or deep-thinking friends,  but the Intimacy Deck is also a great one for couples (the questions are a bit more personal, and many are based around Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, which is one of the Ten Books that Changed my Life). They’ve also got a set called Little Talk which is filled with conversation starters for kids. You can click here for a post of all our favorite board games.

What’s in it for me:  I do not receive a commission when you purchase directly through their website, but would much prefer that you purchase there and get that 30% off! Would also love for you to look for these at your local book or game shops. Update! I messaged Best Self Co today and they offered me 15% commission on sales through this blog post. So, I now *do* get a commission on your purchases here. I plan to invest all my earnings into more cards, lol. Thanks for supporting my biz.

Mr. Mocks Double  Hammock – $49.99 (for the entire set)

Why I love it: We got this hammock as a wedding gift nearly ten years ago and it has long been one of our most appreciated and used items. We especially appreciated it the past 9 months during COVID when we sometimes felt limited in what we could do, but finding a place in the trees to relax was always an option. This set is $50 and includes the tree straps and everything you need for getting it set up.

What’s in it for me: The link above is a commissioned link through Amazon which will provide me with a small commission if you purchase through it. Most recreational stores will have these or can order one for you, so try checking with your local shops, too.

Creative Market Gift Cards – $25.00+

Why I love it: I love the idea of giving people things they really need. If you know someone who is starting a business or dreams of starting a business or blog I highly recommend giving them gift cards to Creative Market. This is a website where they can purchase all sorts of creative assets for their business — logos, fonts, stock images, templates, website icons + so much more. Trust me, they’ll find a way to use it and they’ll appreciate you SO much! Note: you’ll need to create a (free) account and sign in to order gift cards.

What’s in it for me: Nothing. Just sharing something that I love and would appreciate myself.

The Daily Page Planner – $54.99

Everything in my shop is 10% off now through Cyber Monday. No code needed.

Why I love it: Clearly I wouldn’t design the planner of my dreams if I *didn’t* love it, but The Daily Page Planner makes a great gift for the organizer in your life, especially this year! The dateless design makes it ideal for an uncertain year, and the pages are designed to help you organize both work life and personal life all in one place! Sort of your dream work-from-home-during-COVID planner, if you ask me.

What’s in it for me: What sort of business owner would I be if I left my own product off my gift guide?! My products are designed to help reduce waste in the paper goods industry and I plant a tree for each planner that is purchased. We’ve planted an entire forest together at this point, friends, and it feels so good!

My No Bullshit Gift Guide

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