Tag Archives: reader question

The Best Souvenirs

Now that summer is coming to an end, and all the travel that goes along with it, I’d love to know…Did you pick up any fun souvenirs on vacations this year? 

When I was a kid, souvenirs felt like SUCH a necessity. Visiting kitschy shops at beaches, amusement parks, and roadside attractions felt like a cruel joke if I didn’t at least get to select ONE item to come home with me. The allure of some magnet with my name on it or a toy representative of the past day’s adventure too difficult to resist whining about.

Nowadays, souvenirs fall into that careful balance of knowing I don’t need any additional tchochkes cluttering my home, but also wanting to take out an insurance policy on fleeting travel memories. With that in mind, I’ve developed a few categories of purchases I employ when looking to commemorate a trip…

Little things to tuck in a memory box, like a postcard or patch, are a go-to of mine. Not a huge investment, so I feel ok that it’s only going to be admired in those days I’m feeling extra nostalgic and pull down the box to sift through my collection of random ephemera.

But I don’t mind splurging on a high-quality consumable. A bottle of wine local to the area that can be uncorked months later. A lotion with a scent to transport me back to our travels. A candle from a sweet seaside shop or a box of local chocolate from the corner store.

And speaking of chocolate, let’s go ahead and put cooking ingredients in a category all their own. Something like a beautiful bottle of local olive oil, whole bean coffee from a cafe you fell in love with, or a couple teeny tiny jars of spices that easily tuck in your backpack. I also love this as an option if you’re tasked with bringing back a goodie for a co-worker or family member. A friend of mine gifted me a little tin of paprika she bought on a trip to Hungary and I thought about her and her adventure every time I sprinkled it in a dish for months to come.

Finally, there’s what I consider the daily item. These I reserve for truly special trips. I want to be transported to those memories frequently, so something like a piece of jewelry or a scarf fits the bill. For a lower budget option, I would go for something like a coffee mug or a small print I can transport carefully home and frame. Basically an item that I can seamlessly incorporate into my daily life…not one that is emblazoned with the city or attraction I visited. Those seem like a good idea in the moment, but then get shoved to the back of a closet.

Which of these categories do you normally go for? Have your own strategy when it comes to souvenirs? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

P.S. This would be a fun way to commemorate your trip once you’ve returned home!

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Balancing Minimalism and Joy: What Do You Collect?

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Little kids always seem to be working on some collection or another. When I was young I had all sorts–everything from rocks to beanie babies to dolls that lived on a shelf and weren’t meant for play. And kids these days are keeping up the habit. (Recently, I had a lovely chat with a little one about all her Tsum Tsums.)

But I’d love to know, what do you collect as an adult? Dishes in a specific pattern? Harry Potter paraphernalia? Miniature buildings to add to an ever-expanding Christmas village?

The nice thing about having a loud-and-proud collection is that it makes gift giving much easier. There’s always that one friend in a group who LOVES a certain Disney Princess or anything with roses on it. So you always think of them when you’re in a store and stumble upon an item that’s “on theme.” Convenient for the gift giver…and also kind of nice for the collector. Wouldn’t you feel sorta special knowing that people are thinking of you each time they spot an item with stars on it? Or used a fountain pen? Or interacted with whatever it is you squirrel away?

Yet, with the quest for minimalism being such a popular feature as of late (shout out to Marie Kondo and all those capsule wardrobe YouTubers) I wonder if some have let their little stockpiles wither away. Even when that little stockpile brought them joy. How do we balance that fad-driven need to cull our belongings with our own happiness?

Whatever your answer might be, I’m curious about what it means for adult collections. Personally, I’m loving my ever-growing collection of washi tape. (See photos for some of my favorite rolls.) This collection feels like the perfect marriage of minimalism dreams and hoarding realities. Haha! Washi is so, so cute with so many patterns to choose from. But it’s also cheap, technically a consumable (because I use it to make pocket letters and for other paper crafting and planning), and doesn’t take up much space. For now, washi collecting feels right. (And who knows! Maybe someday I’ll lift my embargo on rock purchases…but probably not on Ty products.) Bottom line: I don’t want to resist something that I know makes me happy. And washi tape makes me happy!

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What did you collect as a child? What about now? Does your collection bring you joy or does it make you feel guilty? I’d love to hear! 

P.S. Other questions for you to weigh in on — What were your favorite childhood TV shows? and What’s your favorite mug?