We love this time of year since each and every fall, we learn about new brands and offerings, ranging from wellness, beauty and fitness to fashion, food, wine, books and more. It’s been a rough year for all of us as we plough through uncertainty together with Covid affecting the planet. As we go inward more and more reflecting on the past year, we hope that you can get some quality time with those closest to you, whether that is on or offline. Gratitude and health are the orders of the day.
We have included a few more wellness products this year with this in time as well as some great ‘reads’ on consciousness and spirituality. Take a look at this year’s top picks. And, stay safe this holiday season. Namaste and Peace to you all.
For the Techie
Lenovo Android Tablet with Alexa-Enabled Dock
I used to be an HP fan and after far too many hiccups, I migrated my entire world to Mac. In the last few years, I moved back to the PC Land; despite Mac lovers saying Mac Land would simplify my life, that was far from being the case. Before I went through my Mac transition, we always had great experiences with Lenovo and that’s where we now sit. Bottom line: they offer consistently reliable products.
We had the opportunity to test out the latest Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus, which combines an Android Tablet together with an Alexa-Enabled Smart Device. Our unit has 64GB Storage and 4GB RAM. There’s an SD card slot so you can expand your memory to 256GB if you wish.
This powerful Android tablet includes 2. 3 GHz octa-core processor and a 10. 3″ FHD display with dual speakers tuned by Dolby Atmos and dual 3W speakers on docking solution. There are also rear and front-facing cameras, with Bluetooth 5.0 built in. The included smart dock also acts as a charger, holder, and speaker system.
We love how slim and elegant the tablet is on or off the speaker dock. With Alexa activated, there’s very little hands-on anything you need to do for information, whether that means accessing the latest news, weather or asking “her” to play your favorite playlist.
You can stream music or play videos, access tens of thousands of Alexa skills, dim the lights, or change the temperature simply be requesting it verbally.
It’s fairly fine-tuned, meaning it has worked for us even in the next room if you speak loudly enough. And, the accuracy is much better than we expected.
For more information on their tablets, head on over to their website and click on Tablets for their latest offerings.
For the Yogi
Sunia Yoga Clothing
We just discovered Sunia Yoga, a woman-owned brand who has a wide variety of patterned designs for yoga pants. OMG – you’ll love the colors and combos. Take a look at the variety of offerings available for yoga bottoms and of course, you can get matching tops for most of your favorites.
As for our favorites, we loved the geometric circle flower yoga leggings as well as their Aum Yoga leggings (above left) which are apparently one of their most popular designs. Aum in sanskrit translates to all matter, all energy, all thoughts — exists in Aum. And, yogis and meditators know that chanting aum can increases your self- awareness, greater focus, as well it is meant to open your mind for positive thoughts, pushing negative thoughts out.
Then there’s the RIMA — note that many of these are available as both capri shorter leggings and full length leggings. The below is the RIMA shown as a Capri.
We love the mandala design — the fabric is made from 82% polyester and 18% spandex. They are created with a smooth and comfortable 4-way stretch 38-40 UPF material and micro-fiber yarn fabric for ultimate comfort as well as a wide and soft raised waistband that gently hugs your waist without sucking you in. While we didn’t take a look at any of their offerings for men (or their yoga bras), they offer a lovely collection of both as well.
Although we’re new to the brand, so far, so good. We love the variety here as well as the quality. Two thumbs up! For more information on Sunia Yoga including how to order, be sure to visit their website.
Yoga Pants from Inner Waves
We love the comfort of the yoga pants from Inner Waves. While they also offer options for men, we only reviewed the pants for women for this holiday season‘s guide.
The inspiration for Inner Waves Organics started in Maui where the vision was inspired by the natural environment and by living in harmony with nature using solar electric, rain catchment systems and organic gardening for everyday life. Hear hear! They are committed to conscious living and as their team says: “we are literally rooted in sustainability. We don’t believe in “fast fashion” is sustainable or ethical.”
Their pants are so soft, that you feel as if you’re bathed in nature. They use only organic cotton and other plant based sustainable fibers and note that all of their pieces are made in the United States. The pants are hand-made so it was a bit of a longer wait to get them, but it was well worth it.
We opted to test out their Moana and Luana yoga pants. First, let’s take a look at the Moana, which comes in several colors all of which are fun, bright and joyful. This design gently hugs your waist and thighs and has a slight flare to the lower leg. The Inner Waves signature waistband can be worn rolled up (for more coverage) or rolled down to your hips and is made with a double-diamond gusset.
The Luana pants currently comes in even more colors. This style is a little looser fitting than the Moana meaning that the fit is a bit more flattering and relaxed through the hips and thighs. They offer so many fun, bold and beautiful colors that you will be sure to find one that you love — all of them are made from low impact dyes as well.
Of course, if you want a capri style, an even more relaxed fit or a matching top, they offer options in many vibrant colors as well.
We love the sustainable aspect to this brand as well as the beautiful color options and incredible comfort. Of course we have tested them out for yoga as well as general cardio exercise (the Elliptical) however we also love just wearing them to lounge around the house — yup, they’re that comfy. For more information including how to order, visit their website.
ESPA for Longevity & Glow
Beauty products from ESPA are new on our radar — let’s just say we are impressed. We get pitched with lotions, cleansers, and oils all the time and most of them are rarely ‘above average.’ ESPA is a cut above the rest. Let’s take a look at some of their popular items as well as some of our favorites.
Given that it’s the holiday season, let’s take a look at a wonderful kit that comes beautifully packaged, which is perfect for gifting. Their Optimal Collection includes a pro-cleanser (100 ml), a pro-serum (30 ml), a pro-moisturizer (55 ml), a skin rejuvenating night booster (10 ml – we love this product btw) and a skin instant facial (10 ml). The kit also comes with a muslin cloth and comes in an elegant and regal dark green box.
One of our favorites is their Clarifying Clay Mineral Mask which helps to balance excess oils, leaving the skin feeling purified and soothed with hydration. It includes Kaolin Clay and Rose Geranium to help clear excess oils, impurities and congestion. Ingredients include relaxing and soothing Rose Damascena and Marshmallow to help calm the skin. I have used it four times since it has arrived and LOVE how it makes my skin feel. (it’s a perfect option for me as its designed for oily, combination and congested skin).
They have plenty of other options for different skin types as well however. They are also known for their Serums as well. Whether you’re looking to tone, reduce fine lines or revitalize and brighten, they have a type that will work for you. I have to say: I really loved the quality of their packaging as well.
We tested (and loved) their Tri-Active Lift & Firm Intensive Serum, which is a concentrated serum designed to help tone and firm, perfect for us “over 40 year olds.”
Two thumbs up. For more information including how to order, visit their website.
For Your Well-Being
Tinctures & Tablets from CBD Living
CBD Living uses nanotechnology to ensure you receive maximum benefit from their CBD products. Driven by an interest in the global hemp industry, they created CBD Living to push the envelope on the science of CBD. Their nanotechnology is said to reduce CBD molecules into nano-sized droplets, without the addition of emulsifiers.
In other words, their nanotechnology process allows for CBD to absorb into the body more efficiently, which apparently increases the efficacy of the CBD by increasing its bioavailability up to 90 percent. This means that it can deliver CBD directly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system.
We decided to take a look at their tinctures and capsules. CBD Living Gel Caps combine CBD with non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, terpenes, phospholipids, nutrient-rich hemp oil and Omega -3,-6 and-9 Fatty Acids, creating what is called an Entourage Effect.
The above gel capsules are available in 150 mg, 750 mg, 1,500 mg and 3,000 mg.
T’is the season for pumpkin, spice and all things nice, so we opted to try their Pumpkin Spice Latte Tincture as well. Available in two strengths: 300 mg and 750 mg. It is meant to be a great option for beginners, so if you’re new to CBD, then it could be a nice one to start.
We are not suggesting any specific health benefit with any of their products however we enjoyed using them ourselves. You should always check with a medical practitioner before using supplements and tinctures. CBD Living offers a variety of tea and coffee options to choose from as well. They offer many fun flavors such as Mango, Green, Coconut and more.
Note that CBD Living uses only 100% organic hemp sourced from state-licensed farms in Oregon and Colorado. Be sure to check out their website for more information including how to order.
CBD Products from ExtractLabs
We also had an opportunity to test out some products from ExtractLabs, namely their softgels. They offer both a regular full spectrum CBD oil capsule and a PM Formula softgel with a 3:1 ratio of CBD to CBN.
Combat veteran Craig Henderson founded Extract Labs as a way to help heal his fellow veterans. As most of us know, PTSD and injuries obtained while serving in the military often results in pharmaceutical prescriptions, which can become very addictive, despite their legality. He felt that CBD could help provide a natural alternative to harmful pills. They are cGMP, certified kosher, and the company touts that they use only organic ingredients in all of their products.
We tried out their PM formula in softgels, although you can also get tinctures as well. PM Formula CBN Softgels has 30mg of CBD and 10mg of CBN per capsule, along with a host of full spectrum naturally occurring hemp plant compounds. They say that it’s all full spectrum (less than 0.3% THC) and is made from American hemp, lab-tested for purity.
Their PM Formula hemp oil softgel capsules are a full spectrum, whole-plant extract that features a 3:1 ratio of CBD to CBN. Additionally, the full spectrum of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other hemp compounds are available and work synergistically with the higher concentrations of CBD and CBN.
Although we didn’t test out their vegan CBD Gummies, it could be a fun option for the holiday season. Each gummy has 33mg of CBD – the exact same dose as our hemp softgels and equivalent to a full dropper of our regular strength CBD tincture. Flavors include strawberry, lemon and watermelon.
Again, as noted above, you should always check with a medical practitioner before using any new supplements and tinctures. For more information including how to order, you can visit their website.
Theragun Elite Massage Gun for Sore Muscles
Theragun offers several different models, however we opted to review their Elite version for a number of reasons but the most important ones are the fact that the Elite is designed to be quieter than most and it’s lightweight. We also love that it comes in both black and white.
The Theragun Elite offers powerful deep muscle treatment, in an ultra-quiet smart percussive therapy device with advanced sound insulation. Their QuietForce technology sound insulation in the QX65 model delivers up to 40 pounds of additional no-stall force while running quieter than a standard electric toothbrush. Our experience can confirm this — it’s definitely quieter than other massagers we‘ve used over the years.
The Therabody app integrates with Apple Health and Google Fit and learns from your behaviors to suggest guided routines that can be sent to your device via Bluetooth.
Some of their research shows that their massage guns reach 60% deeper into muscles than many other average massagers in its category. There’s a OLED screen with a force meter that displays your speed and you can toggle up to 3 pre-set treatments.
The Theragun Elite comes with a very sturdy carrying case that makes it easily portable and great for travel. It also comes with five different attachments to help with different parts of the body. They include the dampener, the standard ball, the wedge, the thumb and something they call the cone.
There’s also five built-in speeds (1750, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2400 percussions per minute) and app–controlled customizable speed range (any speed between 1750-2400 percussions per minute).
It’s also very lightweight, at only around 2.2 pounds, a feature we love especially for women. As for the battery life? It will run for 120 minutes and takes around 80 minutes to charge it back up to capacity. You can find out more and order from their website.
NOTE: we reviewed three massage products earlier this fall, so be sure to check out our guide. In addition to TheraGun, we reviewed the PowerMassager Pro from TimTam, which is also a massage gun. Unlike the TheraGun, it includes a heated tip which we love. We also took a look at the SNAILAX Full Body Massager with Air Compress 236 which is a massage chair that offers flexibility, portability, heat and adjustability, especially for the neck area — a big plus for those who do a lot of sitting. In our guide, there are links to where you can purchase any of the three massage products.
Steep Echo Tea
Steep Echo offers a selection of all-natural olive leaf teas. Each tea combines natural immune-boosting ingredients with hand-harvested organic olive leaves designed to enhance healthy living.
Given our Italian connection, we are huge fans of olives and use them often. Olive leaves contain the nutrient rich ingredient Oleuropein which promotes increased energy, cardiovascular health and a more robust immune system. The olive leaves used in the Steep Echo teas are hand-harvested from their certified organic orchard: Bel Lavoro Orchards.
Apparently they take pride in also coming up with fun recipes as well, ranging from tea-infused cocktails to refreshing sorbets.
Each of their teas bring together hand-harvested organic olive leaf with a collection of natural botanicals curated by artisans. For those of you who are more spiritually minded, you’ll probably know that the olive leaf and olive tree have both served as a symbol of power since the days of the Ancient Egyptians. In other words, the medicinal qualities attributed to the Oleuropein compound found in both its leaves and fruit have been known for years.
They have five different blends to choose from: Ascent, Bloom, Hush, Repose, and Tend. If you’re new to the brand and not sure which one to choose, then they offer a sampler option as well so you can taste each one before you commit to additional boxes.
Those interested in learning more about the wellness benefits of the compound found in olive oil and leaves, apparently the potency of Oleuropein is almost double that of green tea extract and four times higher than vitamin C. When combined with natural herbs, fruits and spices, olive leaf tea contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds that are beneficial for your overall health and wellness.
A great replacement for traditional green or black tea, olive leaf tea is 100% natural and caffeine free. Although we can’t validate any health claims, the company touts that the compound that exists in their teas has shown to not only help strengthen the cardiovascular system, but also stimulate the immune system and help to fight infections.
One other thing we’d love to mention about their tea offerings — the packaging is stunning, so much so that you will likely want to keep the box for future use, whether that be for teas or other things. For more information including how to order, visit their website.
Hand Sanitizers from OLIKA Life
As we buckle down for the winter season, it’s even more important to kill those germs with Covid cases on the rise. OLIKA Life offers a variety of small hand sanitizers (in spray form) that you can put in your pocket, your car, your backpack or purse. They make great gifts and/or stocking stuffers.
Their original mist available in six scent essential oil fragrances. OLIKA Hydrating Hand Sanitizer offers refills as well which is such a great option so you can reuse the bottles. They tout that their formula kills 99.9% of germs.
There are six hydrating hand sanitizer essential oil fragrances: Mint Citrus, Lavender (below), Orange Blossom, Cucumber Basil (fabulous right?), Charcoal and one that is fragrance free for those more prone to allergies.
They also offer something they call an OLIKA Clip-On Scent Sampler, which includes one OLIKA Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Clip-On in each of their six signature essential oil fragrances. This option is super handy for travelers since you can clip them to your bag.
We love the idea – super creative right? We find them incredibly handy and have used them in our car as well as clipped to our bag when we go to the grocery store. Our favorites? The cucumber basil and lavender. Two thumbs up!
For more information including how to order, visit their website.
We were introduced to these fabulous masks by HALOmask, which is designed with a sleek contour fit and offers a soft antibacterial bamboo lining inside. Its unique construction holds the mask away from your face for easier breathing and speaking. So far, so good.
The concept of the HALOmask was conceived in New Zealand before Covid hit. Their masks were used for protection against the volcanoes erupting in Indonesia and for those hit by the fires in California and Australia. Apparently even those heading to Burning Man used them to protect themselves against the raging sandstorms.
The masks offer superior Nano-filtration that protects you from a wide range of airborne pathogens, pollens and pollutants. They also have a great contour-fit that prevents air-leaks and because they’re so comfy, they can be worn for many hours at a time. Their ‘breathing edge’ technology is great for harsh, real-world conditions including the Coronavirus.
The HALOmask captures over 99% of all airborne particulates in both directions down to an incredible 0.1µ (microns). The mask uses proprietary SETA Nanofiber filters that capture virtually all airborne pathogens and pollutants threatening to our health. They’ve been laboratory tested to capture 99.99% of all airborne pollutants and contaminants at PM2.5 microns, and 97.9% at 0.3 microns – which apparently exceeds the known N95 filter standards.
HALOmasks are durable, reusable with replaceable filters and fully adjustable to any face and make a great gift this holiday season. We love that they’re adjustable which a lot of masks are not — we also love the flower of life symbolism on the masks as well, a style which comes in both blue and black. You can also get them without the design as well.
For more information including how to order, visit their website.
For Your Wardrobe
Sunglasses from Remo Tulliani
We are new to the Remo Tulliani brand and discovered them just in time for the holiday season. We opted to review their sunglasses (for women although they have men’s options as well) and their belts for men (although they have a beautiful range for women as well). Let’s start with their sunglasses, which are all crafted in Italy. Note that each beautiful style offers different color options as well.
Let’s get a close up to a couple of our favorites. The Faith sunglasses (below) feature substantial Grilamid arms and frame with a high strength rating, which is a godsend for frequent travelers. The handmade shatter resistant glass lenses are up to 95% UV and IR protective, protecting your eyes from the suns harmful rays. This beautiful style comes in six different colors.
Now let’s look at my personal favorite: the JOY!
This too has Grilamid arms and frame (a high-strength and very durable plastic), shatter resistant glass lenses, is hypoallergenic and lightweight. This elegant style comes in four different color options.
Check out their website for more styles and to order.
Men & Women’s Belts from Remo Tulliani
Remo Tulliani also makes incredible belts for both men and women. For this holiday season, we only reviewed the men’s collection but opted to do so because of their wide array of options. There’s so much wow in their collection, from plaids and khaki to luxurious leather in a diverse range of colors, there’s plenty to choose from.
Here are a few of our favorites from the men’s collection. Note that in each of the below offerings, different color options are available as well and sizes (for most) range from 30-60 inches.
What truly blew us away was the range. Often when we are pitched on men’s belts, the range is fairly limited and the quality is average at best. Just look at the quality and design of their collection (above and below). Suffice to say that we were impressed. And, we are even more impressed by the quality of the stitching, colors and leather.
They also offer socks for men as well as sunglasses as well. Our top vote? Their belts — take a look at their website where you can view their entire range and of course, order as well.
Bravo bravo – it’s a great gift option for that special man in your life.
For the Reader
Here are some insightful books that will get you to dive deeper into your awareness and step out of your comfort zone. For the full list of ‘spiritual and conscious’ reads, see our article on Winter Reads for Enlightenment. Here are a few of our favorites but be sure to check out complete winter reading guide.
C.G. Jung on Synchronicity
I’ve always been intrigued by Jung even before I was schooled in Europe during my college years. Of course when you study in Europe, Jung rises to the top of the reading pile moreso than it might had I stayed in the United States.
Jung spoke of coincidences or one might say synchronicity often and discussed it publicly as well as in his writings. He also wrote about it and discussed these ideas with Albert Einstein before World War I.
From the various books I read, it seemed as if it rose to the forefront more publicly after 1930 — this was the first time he used “synchronicity” in a lecture, in reference to the unusual psychological insights generated from consulting the I Ching.
There were letters written not just to Einstein but also to a friend of both Einstein and Jung: Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli who was among the dialogue and gatherings of the time on quantum theory and physics.
These ideas of Jung were originally published in 1952 and reproduced here in this fabulous read. It is a beautiful recap of the astrological experiment which Jung conducted to test his theory.
Synchronicity reveals the full extent of Jung’s research into a wide range of psychic phenomena. Buy it on Amazon.
The Origins and History of Consciousness by Erich Neumann
The Origins and History of Consciousness draws on a full range of world mythology to show how individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as human consciousness as a whole.
Those who are new to the mystical world of higher consciousness and dimensions, you’ll find this read fascinating.
I’ve read quite a bit about Erich Neumann because he comes up frequently in readings of Einstein and C. G. Jung, as he was one of Jung’s most renowned students.
You learn about the magical myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence, the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.
Whether you’re a historian, scientist, philosopher, artist or healer, you’ll find this analysis into the origins of consciousness compelling. We had a hard time putting it down.
Now more than ever, we are exploring the inner and outer workings of the soul, the human body (and energy fields), life after death and consciousness itself. As humanity wakes up more to the inner power of the mind, our intentions of thought and our own ability to heal ourselves and others, we also see how the Butterfly Effect (or ripple effect) of our thoughts can be used. It’s a must read for your expansion of universal consciousness itself.
Here’s the link to order.
The Complete Book of Dreams by Stephanie Gailing
Who hasn’t wondered about the meaning of their dreams? From children to those in their seventies, we all have dreams that we don’t understand and forever remain curious why we have them, what they suggest and how we can use them to find more inner peace and meaning in our lives.
This great read provides you with exercises and tips on how to better understand your dreams but takes it a step further.
For example, the author Stephanie Gailing gives you suggestions for what to do to go deeper into understanding your dreams and how you can use them for further awakening and enlightenment.
She provides sanctification rituals, relaxation practices and even flower essences to amplify your sense of well-being.
Think of it as a guide that can help you tap into not just more meaning behind your dreams, but why you have them and various strategies to actually decode them.
Whether you want to gift this to your loved ones or a friend, it will serve as a useful guide and talking point between you. You can even use it to help your children further connect to their sleep and dreams. The book also includes various holistic topics to help you enhance your sleep and dreams as well such as sleep hygiene principles, how to use herbs, essential oils, flower essences, and crystals to transform your place of sleep into a sleep sanctuary.
You also learn how to create a dream journal, ancient dream temples, how to understand lucid dreaming versus other forms of dreaming and more.
Here’s the link to order.