Meaningful Ways to Spend Money on Others

The last list from Ian K. Smith!

Purchase a dress or pants and a shirt for a toddler and give it to a family that needs it.

Trying to figure out what the 2nd to last item is…

Anonymously donate to a church a holiday gift that will be distributed to the less fortunate.

Purchase lunch for a colleague.

Purchase a toy for a sibling or a child in your community.

Quietly slip $10 (or more if you can afford it) to someone who needs it.

Offer to pay for the groceries of someone who is standing in the checkout line.

Find a charity whose mission you would like to support and donate money.

Purchase several books and donate them to a classroom.

Help pay for the school tuition of someone else’s child.

Send a gift basket and words of encouragement to someone who might be having a difficult time.

My Take:

I may have mentioned before, I prefer giving over receiving! When I compare the satisfaction of getting myself something, over doing something for someone else, it always feels good knowing you’re making someone else happy. I just got a new job, and the first thing I did was get some gifts–for two important people in my life! I didn’t even feel the need to spoil myself after that. I think I got this trait from my mom and grandmother. My grandmother was ALWAYS so giving to EVERYONE! She was the sweetest lady, so welcoming, and full of positive energy. If I ever liked anything, she wouldn’t hesitate a second to offer it to me. And it wasn’t just me–she showed love to everyone! And I’m pretty damn sure that being a selfless person is what made her truly happy (of course, I assume she was at peace with herself first!) I love you biji! 🙂

I really like the idea of a gift basket…so many possibilities! Fruits, spa things, books, candles, anything!

Some other ideas off the top of my head: take someone out to dinner and give them a nice “Just Because” card with flowers, go mini-golfing or to an arcade, go to the movies, plan a picnic, go to an amusement park, check out a museum, or take a mini-road trip. Alright, this is starting to sound like my ideal dates…but really, you can do these things with anyone you care about!

I recently got a nice gift for someone, made lunch, and a few other things…I was soooo excited! But then I was let down a little bit (okay I was pretty sad and got my feelings hurt a lil bit) at the lack of appreciation…but later I realized, it’s the thought that counts…and I made an effort and had a really good time picking it out and putting stuff together! So remember, even if your nice gesture is not appreciated, but the fact that you did it–that’s what counts and makes YOU a good person!

These are all great ideas, but if you don’t have extra $, you can always make a card, prepare a meal, or something for someone else (you can also check out my blog on Anonymous Acts of Kindness for additional ideas).

Perfect way to get into the holiday spirit 🙂


Sunscreen Tips / Comparison


Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55

Active Ingredients:
Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalat 10.0%, Octisalate 5.0%, Ostocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6.0%

Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Dimethicone, Ethylhexl Glycerin, Caprylyl Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyl Stearate, BHT, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Trideceth 6, Behenyl Alcohol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Fragrance

Nature’s Gate Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Dry Finish

Active ingredients:
Octinoxate 7.5%,Octisalate 5%,Octocrylene 7%,Zinc oxide 6.9%

Inactive ingredients:
aloe barbadensis leaf juice, caprylhydroxamic acid, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, cetyl dimethicone, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, dicaprylyl ether, glycerin, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) extract, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower extract, magnesium sulfate, neopentyl glycol diethylhexanoate, neopentyl glycol diisostearate, polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, sodium chloride, tocopheryl acetate, triethoxycaprylylsilane, water.

Badger Broad Spectrum SPF 34

Active Ingredient:
Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75%

*Olea Europaea (Organic Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax), *Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea) Butter, *Theobroma Cacao (Organic Cocoa) Butter, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E), and CO2 Extract of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Organic Seabuckthorn).

* = Certified Organic
Total Organic Content: 81.05%

Why Did I Make the Switch?

After doing extensive research, and also reading the ingredient list, although I loved my dry touch Neutrogena, it didn’t seem like the best options. It’s loaded with synthetic ingredients, including parabens. Ironically, it’s endorsed as #1 Dermatologist Recommended Suncare and has won awards from Allure Magazine.

Nature’s Gate — Probably better than the Neutrogena as it is free of parabens, phthalates, and xoybenzone, but still not the best.

Badger has no oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, avobenzone, or added Vitamin A. It’s going to take some time to get used to, but in the long run, I think it will pay off 🙂 OH YEAH, if you decide to go with Badger, it is much more expensive and you REALLY have to rub it in or you might walk around looking like a ghost!

Note: Sunscreen loses potency after 1 year, supposedly…

Simple Steps to Develop a Spiritual Life

More from Ian K. Smith, M.D.:

Set aside at least a few quiet minutes every day to say a prayer.

Think of five ways that you can improve the conditions of those around you.

Practice finding the good in others and in difficult situations.

Love others not just in words or thoughts but through the generosity of actions.

Humbly accept and honor the concept of your relatively smaller place within a greater and bigger universe.

Spend at least an hour during the day focusing on good thoughts and positive energy.

Release anger and grudges you still have in your heart from past misdeeds.

Make a practice of doing good things for others on a regular basis.

Ask others about their struggles and triumphs. Make a real investment in the lives and well-being of those around you.

Recognize that there is a higher force in your life. While you may not be able to see, define, or touch it, recognize its presence and vast capabilities.

My Take:

You don’t have to be religious…I feel being spiritual is just a form of finding peace within yourself. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Wisdom from Our Elders

Probably my favorite from Mr. Ian K. Smith:

Wisdom from Our Elders

Don’t waste time worrying about things you can’t control.

You can’t fight every battle. Choose which ones are worth fighting and let the others go.

When deciding on a life partner, think about whether this is the person you want to grow old with, not someone who just satisfies you now.

Surround yourself with good people. Goodness is contagious.

Don’t love only from your heart. Love also from your head.

Live your life to the fullest. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

Enjoy even the smallest of life’s blessings. You never know when the next one is coming.

The best way to receive is to give.

Happiness is a happy home.

My take:

These are really great ways to start improving your life — early! What people have taken ages to learn is right before your eyes. Start being more positive, easy-going, and happy today 🙂 Hope you liked this as much as I did, real good tips.

Anonymous Acts of Kindness

Dr. Ian K. Smith’s list:

Donate a coat to a winter coat drive.

Help prepare meals for a program such as Meals on Wheels.

Plant flowers in a neighborhood that needs some rejuvenation.

Leave a toy in front of the door of a family that has children.

Send a small box of school or art supplies to a school in your neighborhood.

Collect some of your books that are in good condition and drop them off at your local library.

Send a care package to someone overseas in the armed forces.

Purchase several pieces of infant clothing and donate them to a shelter.

Drop off a computer you no longer use at a community center.

Feed someone else’s parking meter that has expired or is almost out of time.

Tape some money to a vending machine with a note that it’s for anyone who is short on change.

Pay the bill for an individual or family dining at the same restaurant.

My Take

I always take more pleasure in giving and receiving (the tangible and intangible!). In fact, studies have revealed that individuals who commit at least 5 acts of kindness (as simple as holding a door open or complimenting someone) a day are happier than those who don’t. Moreover, a specific study discovered that participants who spread the 5 acts of kindness over a week did not feel increased happiness; perhaps this is because one small thing was not enough to affect them while going through the countless motions of the day — it may have been overlooked. I’ve always wanted to do that last one on the list, hopefully one day soon!

These are all great ideas and pretty basic. Feel free to add to the list!

P.S. I was looking up a picture to find for paying someone else’s parking meter…apparently some people have been arrested for doing so?! Crazy world…

Meaningful Ways to Spend Time with Others

Here’s Mr. Smith’s list, feel free to add your own:

Volunteer together for a good cause.

Learn together by visiting landmarks, museums, or a cultural dance class.

Participate in a project that builds something such as a house for the less fortunate or a playground for a needy neighborhood.

Explore the natural environment by taking a hike or a nature walk or camping.

Make holidays a time for family and friends to reunite.

Listen to an audio book together.

Combine your creative talents–planning a garden, developing an art project, or putting on a play for the community.

Trace and build your family tree.

Spend a day every month making sandwiches and then driving around and giving them to the homeless.

Invite friends over for movie or TV night where you have dinner and watch a popular TV show or movie.

Start a book club.

My Take:

I feel our society has been lost in the digital and social networking world. One of my biggest pet peeves in the entire universe is when you are spending time with someone and they are ON THEIR PHONE. In fact, I have dropped a friendship over this (after many incidences of course, and the person knew it drives me insane…perhaps it was overlooked…). If you are with someone and need to check your phone, please have the courtesy to let them know and not be constantly on it! If you want to hang out with your phone, do it alone and don’t waste the other person’s time.

TV is another common way people “spend time” together. By no means am I disregarding the value of entertainment that tv provides (…or am I…? I am, tv probably kills more brain cells than alcohol these days. Definitely most disagree w.Mr. Smith’s suggestion to watch a “popular” show or movie…commercialization, come on now…), but why not do something a little more interactive? If you have family over, pull out a board game. This may sound kind of lame, but it can actually be fun! Go outside if it’s nice weather. Cook together. Play a sport–it doesn’t have to be intense, you can play a simple game of catch. The movement will bring in positive flow. The possibilities are endless.