We love learning about new products, services and books which help aid the soul’s journey, from meditation and serenity to the visual arts, music, food, music and books. Here are some of our favorite picks for the season. Enjoy!
Gaia’s Workshop Drums
We’ve always been drawn to drums and are huge believers in the power of Shamanic drumming, crystal & singing bowls and other forms of sound as a medium for healing. We came across Gaia’s Workshop Drums, which is run by partners Michelle Meister and Luke Martinez out of the Portland/Salem Oregon area. Their drums are sacred tools for healing and integral to their work and their offerings is part of “Honoring the Mother & All the Ancestors.”
They subscribe to the notion that all actions each human takes should be guided by a desire for excellence within the natural balance of all things. The drums they create use the magic of both this land and the land of our ancestors, focused on the energies, elements & numbers used by practitioners of Paganism, Wicca, Celtic & Norse Shamanism, Faery & other ways — in other words, right up our alley. Michelle put together a great video showing how they make their signature harmonic shamanic drums, which is the drum they sent us to review.
A soft suede handle wrap is included (you can choose the color too) and they offer a variety of custom and pre-made drum beaters in your choice of hardness, color and style. A variety of custom and pre-made drum beaters in your choice of hardness, color and style are available to choose from as well.
They also offer drum and rattle making workshops for individuals and groups in the larger Portland/Salem area.
True Nature Jewelry
It should be no surprise that we are huge believers in the power of gemstones, both energetically and symbolically. If you’re drawn to a particular stone, our belief is that you should wear it, hold it and meditate with it, for stones always have something to teach us. We came across the beautiful work of True Nature Jewelry, which is all handmade by its owner and founder Christie out of Carmel Indiana. Given that the feather also represents who we are (and is even in our logo), we were drawn initially to the feather symbol at the top of her Etsy store.
One of the things we really love about Christie’s work is not just that she does handmade mala beads, custom mala’s and yoga jewelry but her approach to personalization and customization. You can truly personalize your piece in a way we have rarely seen on Etsy. For example, you can add a custom tassel to your mala and unlike so many malas which only offer the more traditional tassel, Christie offers Sari Silk tassels as well as leather ones as well. And, you can choose your color and there are so many variations to choose from. You can even offer them “loose” so you can affix them yourself if you wish. What else is cool is that you can even choose your clasp, i.e., clasp, looped cord or a jump ring. While the tassels are around four inches long, you can even let her know if you want a different length or thickness and she’ll work with you.
Her work is unique in that there are so many choices to choose from, not just one style as you so often find on a particular Etsy store. From natural and down-to-earth colors to vibrant stones like Lapis and Carnelian, she’s got you covered. We were given the opportunity to review a few of her pieces and while there are countless ones we were drawn to, we opted for a variety of colors and energies.
What’s lovely is that she includes descriptions on what appears to be handmade rustic paper about the stones in the mala you order.
The Sensory Herbal Handbook
New out from the Seed Sistas, this super handy sensory herbal handbook distills over 20 years of clinical and teaching experience into an easy-to-use comprehensive system of herbal medicine. We love using natural herbs on a regular basis, whether it be for basic ailments and healing or for cooking in the most ancient of ways. Using this book, you can take charge of your own well-being by reconnecting to the local plants wherever you may be living, as well as with the land, the elements and the seasons.
This is a great addition to any book collection, whether you’re simply a nature lover, a healer yourself or subscribe to using whatever resources we have available from the Earth for cooking and healing. The handbook is a useful resource whether you are new to the ways of herbs or have been a practicing herbalist for years.
Sensory Herbalism combines traditional herbal knowledge with an understanding of how the elements (water, fire, air, earth and spirit) and the ever-changing seasons interact with the human body. Their approach blends science, medicine, creativity, ritual, magic and fun into practical, easy-to-use tools that guide readers in developing their own relationship with plants.
What else is fun about the book is that it is illustrated with 140 beautiful graphic images — art, photos and diagrams. You are walked through the five tools of Sensory Herbalism: observation through the senses, intuition, interpretation, characterization and the poetic creation of plant dreams. You will also learn bout the plants based on each season and how to use them cyclically throughout the year. You’ll learn recipes and healing rituals as well!
You can grab this newly released book over on Amazon.
Drums by SoundNest
We discovered a beautiful collection of handmade drums out of Lithuania — they have an Etsy store so you can easily order them online. They make them in 22 cm and 30 cm sizes and these handpan drums have such beautiful sound. We feel honored to have had the opportunity to review one of their 30 cm drums — Owner Mikalojus Smulskis was easy to work with and takes great pride in the work that they do.
Here’s the unique thing about their drums. They’re handmade to order and made from Carbon Steel, Wool, Wood, Stell and a Propane Tank – fascinating right? The one we were sent was around 12 inches and although they included a couple of mallets to play it, like the hang, you can also play it with your hands.
“I make my instruments with a lot of love & every instrument is different and unique.” Mikalojus Smulskis
Pigeon Pray Jewelry
Based out of Woodside New York, Pigeon Pray Jewelry also offers handmade malas and beaded necklaces. All of their mala beads are 100% made in the states and as we believe, let yourself be guided to the piece that most speaks to you. They assert the same philosophy: when you choose your Mala stay open-minded and let it guide you in your choice. It can be used for meditation, a reminder of something that you wish, a piece that inspires you, or a manifestation of a feeling.
They have an Etsy store where you can purchase items directly.
If you’re up on technology and into consciousness and meditation, you’ve likely heard of the Muse products, right? Based in Canada, we first learned about them several years ago when they had a table at the SAND Conference and tried out an early version of Muse. Since then they have grown and we recently were able to spend time with their team at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.
Here, Anthony tried out the latest and greatest and their team sent us a Muse 2 to test out. If you’re not familiar with it, Muse 2 is a multi-sensor meditation device that provides real-time feedback on your brain activity, heart rate, breathing to improve your meditation focus.
The process is very simple. For those who consider themselves luddites, you simply charge your headband and then enable Bluetooth on your phone. Once you Muse is turned on, Muse will pair automatically with the Muse app. After you download the Muse app (you can find it in Google Play and the Apple store), you create an account so you can track your progress.
Their passion for creating positive change is intoxicating. Through their work at Muse, they’ve learned that offering real-time feedback is an essential way of helping people shed light on their “hidden inner world,” if you will. As they say, “it’s about making a surreal experience that shifts the intangible to tangible.”
Muse allows you to discover your mind-body connection in a unique way through real-time feedback. Feedback essentially helps you understand yourself and your meditation practice. As a research-grade EEG device, Muse was also developed for neuroscientists, researchers and health professionals to help us learn more about the brain and how to improve brain health.
You can start to use Muse for only five minutes a day and increase your time from there — the key is to be consistent and of course, gentle on yourself. Anthony loved his initial experience with it at the show and our follow up use at home. They suggest to “gently lean into discomfort instead of avoiding it,” which is very Buddhist in approach. We love it.
Handmade Paper Prints by Barloga
Barloga Studios is made up of a father son artisan duo and they’ve been around for more than twenty years. Dennis Barloga is best known for his unmatched portfolio of color photographs that depict old world Europe and his son Roy initially specialized in infrared photographs and is best known for his series of “trilogies” that span a wide variety of subjects.
The process? They use a combination of handmade paper, film, wood and fabric in their creations. Of course their work has cultural connections as well. In Japan, they are known for their unique specialty paper and of course in the Himalayas, Nepalese artisans combine a traditional process of ancient papermaking with modern fashion and style.
In their art, they use handmade paper from the bark of the Daphne plant by women’s cooperatives in Nepal (bravo!!). The paper is handmade using a combination of local raw materials, simple technology and ancient skills. Although we have only experienced two pieces of their magical artwork so far, apparently each piece of paper is unique with slight variations in color, thickness, size and shape.
The quality and attention to detail behind their work is gratifying to say the least — we were thrilled with their finished “product” and have become huge fans of the creative magic they deliver. Distinctly one-of-a-kind, which is increasingly becoming harder to find, even in distant lands.
Based in northern California, you can learn more about their work on their website where you can also order handmade paper prints, images and framing accessories directly.
For more information on their work, visit their website where you can also order handmade paper prints, images and framing accessories directly.
Dreamcatchers & Feathers by Dreamcatcher Alley
While dreamcatchers are not new to us, we have never used one in our bedroom or elsewhere in the house. That said, we’ve always been intrigued by them and came across Jessica’s work, who is the founder of Dreamcatcher Alley on Etsy.
All of her dreamcatchers are made the traditional way that was taught by the family and handed down through the generations of the Sappony Tribe. The vines are wild grown. She does not soak the vines to create the shapes, but rather accepts the shapes that Gaia gives her and in this way, all of her dreamcatchers are unique and one of a kind.
We love the diversity of her dreamcatchers and that she creates small, medium and large ones.
While she is probably most known for her dreamcatchers, she also creates other artisan products, including smudge kits, walking sticks, unique feathers and others.
What most drew us to her work was her beautiful talent with feathers. After all, we are very drawn to feathers in general because a feather is part of Blue Soul Earth’s logo and integral to our lives. Her creativity and authenticity is the real deal and her artistry matches her “voice.”
Jessica sent us a combination of feathers to review but to give you an idea of the diverse offerings, she creates Smudge Feathers, Native American, Prayer Feathers, American Indian, Turkey Feathers as well as Ceremonial Feathers and others.
Smudge feathers can be used solo, for decorative purposes or with smudge kits to spread the smoke of white sage and other ceremonial herbs. These are examples of some of her offerings however they come in many different colors and sizes.
If there is a certain color of ribbon or type of feather you’re interested in, you can let her know when you place your order and she will do her best to fulfill them. For more information on Jessica’s work, visit her Etsy store where you can find out more about her work and order products directly.
Golden Door Artisan Food
In addition to a skincare line, Golden Door offers an artisan food line, which includes tasty cookies in several varieties, sea salt and honey. Their sea salt collection is what really spoke to us because we love to cook (and we review restaurants regularly as well — check out our food/wine section of our travel magazine as well as our sister brand, Luxury Foodies on Instagram).
Golden Door’s salt collection includes Smoked Fennel Salt, Spicy Serrano Salt (uses ground serrano peppers) and a sweet maple salt, which is delicious on both savory and dessert items. The collection allows you to give any meal a boost, from smoky & spicy flavors to sweet and decadent.
We use the Spicy Serrano salt all the time, from grilled chicken or steak to salads and corn on the cob. Their three pack makes a great gift item, regardless of the season.
They also do a scrumptious spicy honey which is slated to pair well with cornbread, salmon, salsas, teas, mango, nuts, dressings, chicken, ham, strawberries and beyond. They carry other flavors as well such as Wildflower.
We also love that 100% of Golden Door’s net profits go to help end child abuse and transform young lives. For more information on Golden Door’s artisan food, lifestyle products and skincare line, visit their website.
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.
Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.
Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.