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  • Jeanette Miura

Gift giving during the holidays can be a challenging endeavor especially when you’re on a budget or short on time. We’re down to 4 days until Christmas! For those of us that embrace procrastination as an art form, here are some classic, gift ideas you can easily find at any grocery or drugstore. It’s not the price tag that matters, but the thought and intention behind the gift. Keep it simple and fun this holiday season with these tried and true last minute, east-to-get gifts under $10:


1. Wine

You can never go wrong with wine! I am definitely not surprised that wine consistently ranks at the top of gifts people enjoy receiving. I personally enjoy receiving wine as a gift because I find that I easily get stuck in a rut and buy the same wine! I do love trying new wines and I especially enjoy trying wines from different regions. Getting wine as a gift pushes me outside my wine boundary and gives me a chance to try something new. Go for it! Give a little cheer with a bottle of wine.


Here are a few of my favorite wines that won’t disappoint for the price:


Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon $9.99

I found Ravage by looking through a Sommelier wine list and was shocked to find it at Target! Truly a delicious find for those that like a robust red with deep chocolate under tones. One of my favorites for the price!

Available at Target.


Green Fin Organic Red Blend $3.99

I am almost embarrassed to admit how much we love this wine. It’s a lighter red blend with very berry tones. This is my staple, table wine and if you were to look in my fridge you would find Green Fin. I always chill this wine before drinking.

Available at Trader Joes.


Fetzer Gewurztaminer $7.40

I can’t pronounce it either, but this is a great for those on your list that prefer a sweeter profile white wine. This is such a popular wine that you’ll usually find it chilled at most grocery stores. The only problem I have with this wine is that it goes down so smoothly you easily lose track of how many glasses you’ve had. This is also one of my husband’s favorites.

Available at most chain grocery stores including Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs and Target.


Chateau St. Michelle Riesling $7.89

This Riesling is a little less dry than most, but not to the point that you would call it “sweet”. Great wine to gift if you’re not sure of the recipients wine acumen. Pairs well with every type of holiday dish too!

Available at most chain grocery stores including Trader Joes, Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs and Target.


Cupcake Vineyards Pinot Noir $7.69

This is a very nice blend that balances dry and sweet tones. Ideal for those who enjoy red wines, but find cabs too strong on the palate.

Available at most chain grocery stores including Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs and Target.


Root: 1 Heritage Red Blend $6.99

This Chilean wine brings home the flavor in this red wine blend at an unbelievable price. The price is reduced because Target has re-labeled this bottle, but don’t be fooled. It’s velvety and smooth with some peppery undertones.

Available at Target.


2. Homemade Baked Treats

The holidays must always include indulging your sweet tooth. Nothing compares to the comfort of good, old-fashioned, baked goodies. My favorite thing about receiving baked treats is having them with my coffee in the morning. If you can bake the folks on your list will surely delight in the special treats you deliver and think of you with every bite. Write, “Made with Love Especially For You” on a gift tag and drop off at your friends’ and neighbors’ doors.


3. Books

For all the bookworms in your life, receiving a new book is always a happy moment. I found tons of paperback books for under the $10 at Barnes & Nobles today and some very impressive looking hard cover, non-fiction books too! Every book you read has the power to challenge and move you to new ways of thinking. I was so impressed by what I found at Barnes & Nobles that I even picked up a book to gift to myself this Christmas. And they also have curbside pick up! Win, win!


4. Plants

Plants are life. Filling any room in your house with plants brings the beauty and tranquility of nature indoors. I’m a plant person and there’s never been a plant I haven’t liked. This is a great gift to give someone that enjoys greenery and has a nurturing side. And the best part about gifting a plant is that the recipient will always think of you when they glance at their little-bit-of earth in a pot. My favorite place to buy plants under $10 is without a doubt Trader Joes. I was just there this morning and they have an entire of assortment of plants they have brought in over the weekend. Lowe’s also has a great assortment of plants right now in beautiful potters for under $10.


5. Framed Photo of You and Your Loved One.

Here’s another extremely meaningful, last minute, easy-to-get gift under $10. The beauty of this gift lies in its simplicity. Step one: select a photo of you and the recipient. Go through your social media or phone photos and print the photo you love the most of the two of you. Step two: After printing the photo write a personal message on the back or write an inspirational quote that you feel would be appropriate. This to me is the most important step that adds an extra special boost to this gift. Step three: purchase a frame and voila, your gift is complete. Super cute frames are available at Target for under $10 and I have also found great frames at the Dollar Tree. This gift will require a bit of time to create, but I promise will be absolutely worth it.


So there you have it: The top 5 last minute, easy-to-get gifts under $10. Remember, you got this. Reduce your stress level by keeping gifts simple. If you are honest with yourself you know that this statement is 100% true: It’s not about the gift you give, but the intention and love behind it.


Happy shopping everyone!

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  • Jeanette Miura

The month of December opens with great anticipation and excitement as we head straight towards Hanukah, Christmas, and Kwanza. COVID may change the way we shop this year, but it won’t stop the stress and pressure we place on ourselves to create the perfect holiday. Self imposed expectations of what the perfect holiday looks like diminishes the joy and peace offered by the season. Holiday stress is seductive. We don’t realize we are falling into the dark, stress pit until it’s too late. We fool ourselves into thinking we are in control and acting out of love, but instead we overextend ourselves physically, emotionally, and financially. If you are tired of “surviving” the holidays take a step back, reflect, and make a plan to reclaim the joy that is waiting for you.


Don’t survive, thrive this holiday season! Here are a few suggestions to help you find joy during the holidays:


1. Gift Time and Attention

We are wired to equate material gift giving with the holidays. What is this season really about? The best gift you can give is your time. Sharing time is how we say, “I love you,” and, “You are important to me.” Set aside time to spend with your spouse and children. Schedule a phone call or Zoom call with a friend. Have a wine date with your girlfriends online and laugh until you hurt. Gifting someone your time and attention is more special and memorable than any store bought gift.


2. Set a Realistic Budget

There is nothing worse than over extending yourself financially during the holidays. Suzie Orman says, “You can’t give what you don’t have,” and I live by this rule. The people that love you and truly care about you don't want you to get into debt or miss paying your bills especially during these COVID challenging times. Gifts should be tokens of affection not centerpieces of wealth. Take an honest look at your bank account and determine how much “free” money you actually have to spend on gifts. By creating a realistic budget for gifts we honor ourselves by setting a healthy, sustainable financial boundary. “It’s the thought that counts,” is not just what your Mama says, it’s the absolute truth. A true friend will cherish the gesture and the thought behind your gift because they cherish you.


3. Morning Reflection

I have played with my morning routine to see what truly works and what does not. Creating a morning routine that begins with reflection is key to reducing stress throughout your day. So many of us wake up and grab our phones. We are instantly inundated with news headlines and social media posts that only create mental noise. Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as your eyes open, capitalize on your refreshed morning state. Be still. Relax. Take in the morning sunlight. Breathe. Reflect on the fact that this is a new day filled with new possibilities. Think about how you can serve and help others. Offer thanks for the gift of life you are experiencing at that very moment. Think about your loved ones and feel grateful for their presence in your life. Do this instead of grabbing your phone first thing in the morning and a sense of peace will be yours the entire day.


4. Positive Self-Talk

We are constantly thinking and making self-judgments. We all know the phrase, “You are your own worst enemy,” and we are our own worst critics. Stop negative self-talk by using affirmations when stress begins to build. Quietly say these to yourself while focusing on your breath.

I will find joy right now where I stand.

I accept myself and know all is well.

The harmony of the season brings me joy.

I stand in gratitude for all the love that is present in my life.


5. Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

A sense of importance is key for healthy confidence, but it needs to be tempered with the realistic view that the world does not revolve around you. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Most things are really not that big of a deal. When you misstep, forget, or simply f-up, have a good laugh and move on.


6. Creative Gift Giving

Think about what you can create rather than buy. Every Christmas I open my memory box, look at each gift that has been made for me over the years, and have a good, joyful cry. One of my all-time, favorite, handmade gifts came from my husband. He wrote a beautiful poem for me on beautiful stationary and made a collage of photos of our family and framed it. I was truly speechless. When someone takes the time to “make a gift” rather than buy a gift, they are gifting you their time and their vulnerability. This vulnerability leads to deeper affection and connection. From beginning to end the giver magically infuses love into their gift for the recipient. As we all know from Peter Pan, “Love is a powerful thing.” Get creative and let your love flow in your handmade crafts. (I will be adding a creative gift idea guide next week!)


7. Write a Letter to Someone Special

2020 has shown us how important family and friends are to our very existence. I am grateful everyday for the love and support I receive from my tribe. I’m a big fan of writing letters especially thank you notes. Writing can be an easier way to express our true feelings. Write a letter or a short note to someone you cannot live without. Tell them how important they are to you and recognize all that you appreciate about them. Don’t hold back. Be genuine and vulnerable and let them know how important they are in your life.


8. Schedule Sexy Time

A great way to eliminate stress is to enjoy intimacy with your partner. During the holidays our tired, over extended selves usually just drop into bed exhausted. We’ve all been there! Clinical studies indicate that romance can be a great stress reducer and it also creates healthy connection. Schedule sexy time with your partner and follow through. Set the mood with candles and oils for full relaxation. Start with a massage and let the rest build organically. Have fun and enjoy!


9. Go For a Walk

Going for a walk either through your neighborhood or local scenic path will recharge your batteries. Walking gets your blood circulating, your breath regulated, and opens your mind to creativity. Last night we walked our dogs in the evening and stopped to enjoy all the beautifully decorated homes. We returned feeling calm, relaxed, and in the holiday spirit. Go for it, take a walk!


10. Listen to Music

Music is therapy. Music transports us to different places, regions, and times. Turning on some eighties tunes always reminds me of my younger years and quickly puts a smile on my face. Holiday music fills us with joy and nostalgia. Remember singing in your elementary school holiday show? When you are feeling out of sorts or a little anxious, turn up the music and let the melody carry you away.


You got this. Create your own plan during the holidays and know that you are not defined by the gifts you give. You are resilient and flexible. The holidays are about joy. By making the decision to experience joy, you won’t just survive, you will thrive this holiday season. Happy Holidays!



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  • Jeanette Miura

"Practice any art....no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow." Kurt Vonnegut


This advice by Kurt Vonnegut is exactly why I launched Fiery Living last month. It was an impulse that I decided to follow solely to grow my soul. My regular mode of operation is that of an over thinker. My mom nostalgically tells the story of my first steps. She says that I refused to take my first step as a baby until I was absolutely sure I would not fall. I looked around, assessed the room, and after a thorough risk analysis finally took my first step.


Fiery Living has forced me to step outside my comfort zone and jump in! For the first time I have decided to "feel" my way through a project instead of over thinking my way through. I have decided to focus on all of the reasons why I should be doing this instead of talking myself out of it in order to protect my ego. Through writing and this platform I am powerfully learning who I am, and more importantly becoming comfortable sharing this authentic self with the world.


Create and dream with me. Share your art with the world! I am happy to post your writing, artwork, music, or video on this website. You are brilliant. Inspire others to live strongly and brightly.


Wishing everyone a joyous day filled with love and laughter.


Letter from Kurt Vonnegut to a High School English Class

In 2006 a high school English teacher asked students to write a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond - and his response is magnificent:

“Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:


I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.


What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.


Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.


Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.


God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut




Photo Credit: Jamez Miura - Rae Lakes.

This backpacking trip to Rae Lakes was my first jump into living strongly. I found the courage to do something I was really scared of. Here I am resting after having climbed Glenn Pass (11,000 feet). I completed a 41 mile loop with a 30 lbs pack strapped to my back and life has never been the same since.

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