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General Purpose Gifts Under $8?

What low cost item has changed your life recently? I'm looking for gifts that you could give to anyone; male or female, 20 to 60 years of age. Preferably in the $5-$10 range. [more inside]
posted by royalsong to Shopping at 5:51 AM on Dec 18, 2014 - 46 answers [162 favorites]

What books from 2014 blew your socks off?

What literature from 2014 would you consider to be the best? I'm looking for page turners that tempt you to stay up late at night and exceed your expectations to a great degree. Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, space opera, graphic novel, anything goes. I'd like the best of the year to enjoy over break, and I'd like the recommendations to come from other like-minded mefites.
posted by SpacemanStix to Media & Arts at 9:07 PM on Dec 24, 2014 - 34 answers [151 favorites]

How do I mindfulness?

The stock answer to everyone who's posted an Ask about being stressed or anxious lately has been "Mindfulness! Meditation!" But, um, what does that mean, exactly? Please share anecdotes, techniques, references. What - exactly - did you do, and how did it help? Walk me through this like I'm five. [more inside]
posted by telepanda to Grab Bag at 7:46 AM on Dec 12, 2014 - 41 answers [129 favorites]

Bean soups are, generally speaking, fairly boring.

Bean soup is convenient for lunch and winter-friendly and healthy and all, but in reality most of them are mind-numbingly boring. (Sorry, Bean Soup.) I am looking for very lively, assertive, strongly-flavored bean soups. [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama to Food & Drink at 9:19 AM on Dec 8, 2014 - 38 answers [122 favorites]

Guide to Gift Guides

In the vein of this question last year, I am canvassing for good 2014 gift guides. [more inside]
posted by hepta to Shopping at 6:55 PM on Nov 30, 2014 - 12 answers [115 favorites]

How do you maintain or build mental discilpline?

How do you keep yourself from growing mentally flabby, falling into lazy thinking, defaulting to mindless entertainment, devolving into a decreasing attention span and ability to focus?
posted by roaring beast to Health at 10:08 AM on Dec 17, 2014 - 22 answers [89 favorites]

Do you know how to make the lemoniest cookies that ever lemoned?

I love citrus and sour things, and would like to make super-lemony delicious holiday cookies. Do you have a recipe that just knocked your socks off with lemon power? Either cookies or bars, as long as they are transportable, are acceptable. My friends and family thank you, as do I.
posted by lillygog to Food & Drink at 9:59 AM on Dec 12, 2014 - 25 answers [86 favorites]

Car Maintenance for Womenfolk

I aspire to be a woman who knows how to take care of a car. Where do I begin? [more inside]
posted by Gray Skies to Travel & Transportation at 7:07 AM on Nov 29, 2014 - 18 answers [80 favorites]

Compelling true-life mysteries that end with a definite resolution

The final episode of Serial will be released this Thursday, and I fear that there will not be any sort of satisfying conclusion to the central mystery of what, exactly, happened to Hae Min Lee. So, as an antidote to the frustration that I'm likely to feel soon, I'm looking for real (non-fiction) mysteries that do get resolved in an unambiguous way. [more inside]
posted by akk2014 to Media & Arts at 12:35 PM on Dec 15, 2014 - 17 answers [73 favorites]

Food? How?

I would like to be given a very specific grocery list telling me exactly what to buy in a week, as well as instructions on how turn the groceries into meals. [more inside]
posted by vogon_poet to Food & Drink at 11:43 AM on Dec 6, 2014 - 28 answers [72 favorites]

How do I make myself do things?

I've always been really bad at motivating myself to do necessary tasks. However, this has finally gotten to a point when it's actually hurting both my personal / work life. What's the best way to solve this problem? Simply telling myself: "you have to get this done before you can do X" never actually works. [more inside]
posted by aleatorictelevision to Grab Bag at 10:25 AM on Dec 12, 2014 - 16 answers [67 favorites]

I know; I'll post a question on Ask MetaF

I have lots of neat ideas for creative projects – cool websites to build, little indie games to make, music mixes to assemble, "maker" projects to create – but I'm terrible (terrible!) about follow-through. My hard drive and apartment are littered with unfinished projects that I started with enthusiasm, and have since only fiddled around with half-heartedly, if at all. How can I get better about this? [more inside]
posted by escape from the potato planet to Grab Bag at 8:57 AM on Dec 3, 2014 - 22 answers [66 favorites]

How to escape the spiral of loneliness

How do carry on living in the world and trying to make connections when your lack of validation and friendships over all of your life has worn away at you so much it feels impossible? When you're so lonely and sad you need so much from other people that you're bound to frighten them off? I feel like I am turning into stone. [more inside]
posted by ninjablob to Human Relations at 3:28 PM on Dec 14, 2014 - 15 answers [63 favorites]

The best, the most beautiful, and the most metaphorical lemonade

It is said that "There are no mistakes, only opportunities". My mind is blown by kintsugi, the art of repairing ceramics using precious metals so that the repaired piece is arguably more beautiful than the original. Are there more things like this? [more inside]
posted by emilyw to Society & Culture at 6:53 AM on Dec 23, 2014 - 16 answers [63 favorites]

Let Me Gladly Google That For You

How can I get paid to be a human Google + Wikipedia + Snopes? [more inside]
posted by divabat to Work & Money at 10:26 AM on Dec 18, 2014 - 18 answers [59 favorites]

Twisted and weird, disturbing but not gory

If I like(d) The Babadook, Confessions, Under the Skin, Gone Girl, and Welcome to Night Vale, what should I read/watch/listen to next? [more inside]
posted by Flannery Culp to Media & Arts at 5:08 AM on Dec 21, 2014 - 24 answers [59 favorites]

How to take joy in your body

What are some everyday ways to inhabit my body more positively? For a lot of my life, I have felt disconnected from it or have had negative feelings towards it. [more inside]
posted by anonymous to Health at 3:24 PM on Dec 1, 2014 - 29 answers [56 favorites]

The Value of Growing Up Poor

My (hypothetical) offspring will know a level of privilege and wealth early on in their lives that... frankly, blows my mind. How do I make sure that my kids grow up to understand the nuances of poverty, affluence, and everything in between? [more inside]
posted by gemutlichkeit to Work & Money at 10:54 PM on Dec 24, 2014 - 27 answers [56 favorites]

What is the best episode of the podcast?

I'm looking for interesting podcasts, but a lot of previous questions about them have recommendations for the whole podcast serieses, and I would like recommendations for SPECIFIC EPISODES. Think of your one or two or three favorite podcasts, and please link specifically to your ONE FAVORITE EPISODE of the podcast. I am looking not just for a Podcast name, but an easily-clickable link to your FAVORITE EPISODE of the podcast. Anything is fine - information, comedy, narrative, improv, whatever you like. Just your FAVORITE EPISODE. Thank you!
posted by Greg Nog to Media & Arts at 12:33 PM on Oct 3, 2014 - 86 answers [324 favorites (55 in the past 30 days)]


One of my favorite little and silly gifts to give people is adopting a lobster from the UK's National Lobster Hatchery. What are other similar inexpensive and slightly silly -- but ideally also socially/environmentally conscious -- gifts you like to give people? Ideally it's a similar deal where they don't actually get more stuff to deal with, or if they do it's some sort of small acknowledgement that they won't feel bad about throwing out or recycling.
posted by naturalog to Grab Bag at 12:10 PM on Dec 16, 2014 - 17 answers [55 favorites]

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