Give a gift that's more than just another thing under the tree. If you've put off getting a holiday present until now because you just haven't found anything special enough, Aha Life probably has what you didn't know you've been looking for. I've browsed through some of the thousands of hand crafted items on their website and selected a handful of really lovely ones that I think would make great gifts. It's not too late to order and still receive your items in time for the Christmas holiday, so check out my Aha Life gift guide now!Read More
It's been a minute, but here they are - my favorite things from October.
The Maqui drops from Skin Owl are a reiteration of their flagship product, the Mangosteen drops. They are a lovely skin serum that is soothing and incredibly moisturizing - perfect for when the weather starts to shift into cooler dry months. What I love most about the product is the decision that brand creator Annie Tevelin made to develop it. When she learned that the mangosteen were being overharvested, she realized that to continue using the ingredient would be unsustainable and unethical, so she made the risky but responsible decision to reformulated her brand's #1 selling product. In making that choice, she put the planet over profit. I only wish more brands would make similar choices! I discovered the Maqui Drops via the September box from Beauty Heroes, the only monthly subscription box service I use. In addition to monthly boxes, Beauty Heroes also has an online store, where subscribers get 15% off every order, including Swin Owl products.
I've had my eye on this clothing brand for a while. When it was finally time to move some of my older t-shirts to the "pajama drawer," I decided to replace them with a few from Synergy, and am so glad I did. The shirts themselves are soooo soft. The fits are true to size and incredibly comfortable, and I really love the designs. Synergy uses GOTS certified organic cotton. They're a Green America certified business, and a member of the Organic Trade Association. (Pro tip: their sale section is wonderful.) Click Here to get 15% off your first order from Synergy Organic Clothing
My greatest guilty pleasure is my unwavering love for costume dramas. If it takes place a century ago, I am all in. The sweeping romance, the stunning period costumes, I swoon over all of it. I came across a kindred spirit in the writer of Willow & Thatch, a website devoted entirely to the historical / costume / period movie and TV genre. I can't get enough. If you love a sweeping costume drama, do indulge with me.
Speaking of kindred spirits, Summer Rayne Oakes is a blogger and Youtuber who creates an abundance of really informative content all about caring for houseplants. She has over 670 (!!!) plants in her apartment in Brooklyn. Wow. Her breadth of knowledge is beyond impressive, and I've gotten some great tips and ideas to care for my own growing jungle of around 70 houseplants. Her blog is Homestead Brooklyn. Check out her YouTube channel, and her Instagram account too!
I'm a big lover of mushrooms, so when this trend of adding mushrooms to everything hit, I was all over it. Maitake? Chaga? Reishi? I realize that super food trends come and go, and that maybe these ingredients are being a little overhyped at the moment, but for now I'm into it. I'd seen this brand and thought it looked interesting, but kind of forgot about it until I came across the products on a recent trip to Maine (where they're located). Since I think edible souvenirs are the only ones worth getting, I picked up a few Herbal Revolution products at the Portland Food Co-op. I got the Chaga Chai tea, the Roasted Root with reishi tea, and the Elderberry Plus Mushroom and Roots Elixir. Both teas have been perfect and warming for cool fall days, and I've been taking the elixir to try and stave off a cold I can feel coming on. It's great with a glass of unflavored seltzer water. I'm so glad I came across this product line on my travels, and will absolutely be ordering more.
The Act of Readying My Garden for Winter
During the month of October, I harvest the last of the season's produce from my garden. I may not love winter - in fact I dread the cold, and snow, and ice. But in taking the time to prepare my garden and my home for a long season of rest, I feel that I have prepared my spirit for the same. I am quite certain that I'll change my tune as the winter months drag on and the stir craziness sets in. For now, though, I am content with my cupboard full of tea and my shelf full of unread books, and a garden that will thaw in the spring. After all, nothing blooms year-round.
In January, I read a really great book. I chose it from a list of books I had dubbed "Revolutionary Reads," from which I planned to read one book every month for the duration of 2017. The best laid plans, am I right?
Next up was Bernie Sanders' most recent book, Our Revolution. And I tried. Oh, how I tried to get through this book. I bought myself a hardcover copy of the book and had it with me all that month, and the next. But every time I started to read it, my mind would wander or my eyes would droop. Finally, when I realized I'd never make it past the first chapter, I downloaded the audiobook from the library. The reader was Bernie himself, reading his own words! I listened to it for hours while I started seeds for my vegetable garden in the basement. I listened to it in the car while I drove long distances to guided foraging hikes in the spring. Still, I could not get through it.
I expected the book to make me hopeful, or optimistic about the state of the country. Instead, it was autobiographical, and merely told the story of how Sanders ended up running for President. I'm sure if I had been able to get further into the book, there may have been some more inspiring elements. But the more I watched what was happening with our current administration, the harder it became for me to read Bernie's book. The past 10 months have been so jam-packed with horrifying events, that it became emotionally difficult for me to keep paying attention to it. And so month after month passed, and I couldn't bring myself to read even one more page.
I could blame the lapse on the fact that I was too busy - this summer I started working full time after working part time for over a year. Or I could blame it on the fact that the subject matter didn't capture my attention. But in truth, the real culprit is simply privilege.
I am able to tune politics out, and ignore the world around me because I am a somewhat healthy, middle class, cisgendered, heterosexual white woman. When I stop paying attention to the news, or stop taking political action, I am not at risk of being deported. I do not have to choose between eating or receiving life-saving medical treatment. When my husband walks out the door every morning, I do not worry that he might not come home. These are privileges, and I acknowledge that. I have it easier than most people on that planet.
And so I will continue to incorporate books about difficult subjects into my reading rotation. Maybe I'll even write reviews of them. I will try to be informed about current affairs, disheartening as they are. And I will fight, in my own way, and speak for those without a voice.
April was full of beautiful things that brought me joy including a few beautiful skincare items, a vintage-inspired dress, and the discovery that gardening can be my version of a wellness ritual.Read More