Happy holiday season everyone! Gee, some deep breathing, bending and stretching and BAMMO -- time fast forwards to holiday gift guide time once again. Here are the things that have caught my fancy this past year. Throughout the year I get a lot of pitches for inclusion into the gift guide but the joy of having a blog is that it's not about advertising but personal opinion. Here are my personal recommendations for unusual, fun -- and useful -- gifts for the holidays:
WildBath -- I love supporting entrepreneurs/local businesses/homegrown businesses, so it's no surprise WildBath has become a favorite of mine. I love, love, love the exfoliating shower whips. They come in delightful scents, last a long time and are priced right.
Lavanila -- These scented deodorant, fragrance and body products are a bit pricey, but I love the scents. When I'm feeling like a splurge, I head to Lavanila products.
Kaliana -- With a tagline like "Turn on your happy," how can you not love this company? Kaliana's natural healing products are offered in mists, body oils, and supplements and come in the following formulas: comfort, confidence, stress relief, healing, calm, and joy. I use the mists and supplements and absolutely love them!
Melanie's Magical Mermaid Mist -- And speaking of mists, I also love this formulation, which combines oxytocin and essential oils for a complete joy-inducing experience. I use this mist everyday (sometimes more than once because I love the scent so much).
Desert Alchemy -- If you're a fan of flower essences, I recommend Desert Alchemy. The formulations are excellent and the shipping is super speedy.
Dr. Singha's Muscle Rub -- Get a little too down in your Downward Dog? If your muscles are crying out for a little TLC, I recommend Dr. Singha's Muscle Rub. I found this formulation when I went to a spa last Spring and I've been using it ever since. I like to buy it from Vitacost.com because the price is so low. It's the perfect gift for either yourself or someone else to make the muscles go AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Alvera All-Natural Deodorant -- After years of trying every natural deodorant on the market, I was so disgusted that I went back to regular ole deodorant. I wasn't happy about it, but I was happy that I was using deodorant that was effective. Then by accident I found Alvera. It's all-natural, it's cheap, and it works! Finally the search is over -- effective deodorant that I feel safe putting on my body. Again, I like to buy it from Vitacost.com because it's so cheap.
Omtique -- I know -- another online store for yoga clothing. Boring, right? Well, I just adore Omtique's adorable socks, which showcase a yogini in Triangle Pose. These socks are the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite yoga practitioner.
Wei of Chocolate -- My friend recommended these chocolates to me last Winter and I've been indulging ever since. These yummy chocolates are infused with spices, herbs, and flower essences and they are actually good for you as they are made from dark chocolate (they are also vegan, gluten and soy free, organic, and fair trade) that is 65-74% cacao. I tend to get the assortment because I love all of the flavors.
Yogi -- This particular yoga clothing retailer offers stylish and comfy clothes that go from yoga studio to street.
Yummi Yogi -- I happen to think that cookie cutters in the shape of yoga postures is pretty darned adorable but what I really like about Yummi Yogi are the inspiration/ideas offered on the web site for using these cookie cutters in a variety of ways. Nope, it's not just cookies but everything from pumpkin carving guide to paper ornaments to hostess gift.
The Mystic Masala Aromatic Malas -- Malas make great gifts so I was delighted to find these scented malas from The Mystic Masala. Each mala features semi-precious stones and scents to coordinate with each Dosha.
Buddhist Boot Camp -- I have an overabundance of T-shirts, but these cute Tees from Buddhist Boot Camp made me want to buy one anyway. These Tees are emblazoned with the saying, "Sit Happens." When I discovered these, it was a true LOL moment for me. I couldn't resist buying one.
Yoga in India -- If traveling to India to study yoga is on your wish list this year, you might want to check out this guide, Yoga in India: A Journey to the Top 24 Yoga Places. The book conveniently comes in all formats from hardcopy to PDF to eReader format. It's the perfect guide to ashrams and yoga centers in India.
Books -- Yes, I'm a total book freak. Often I buy too many books and have to create a prioritized reading list to get to them all. Here are my favorites of the year thus far:
Etsy -- As I've already mentioned, I love Etsy. Here are a few of my favorite Etsy shops: Spademan Pottery, Madelynn Cassin Designs, Alkemia Perfumes, Gaia Conceptions, Outiart, and Tickle Me Pink Boutique.
Ahhh, my work is done here. You're free to shop to your heart's content. Seriously, though -- may you have more joy than stress this holiday season. May you enjoy the moments rather than struggle to create the perfect moment. And when all else fails, BREATHE. Here's a little soft belly meditation for you to keep you centered and happy this holiday season.