It’s been a long winter, even on America’s west coast, with enough back-to-back rain to make up for the drought we experienced last year and earlier this one. It made it easier to dive deeper into some of the products we got in for this winter & early spring and we discovered some new brands in the process. Here’s our product picks for this year’s Spring Gift Guide!
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 Skincare
We had never heard of the Golden Door Skincare line but loved what they sent us, especially their Bamboo Face Scrub. Golden Door offers a variety of retail products including skincare, bath and body, artisanal foods and lifestyle items.
Our favorite as noted above is their Bamboo Face Scrub, which exfoliates dead skin cells so your skin feels smooth, rejuvenated and even-toned after using it. Designed for all skin types, except extremely sensitive or couperose, this unique scrub includes bamboo powder and berry seeds along with healing, hydrating and nourishing plant extracts.
We also loved their Golden Peel Away Masque, which is designed to lift away impurities and dead skin cells. They use a combination of botanical extracts and sugar enzymes to nourish, hydrate and aid in the skin cell renewal process. It has some unique enriching ingredients in it, such as Willow Bark Extract, Sugar Cane, Green Tea Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Red Iron Oxide, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tin oxide and Yogurt Powder to name a few.
Golden Door Artisan Food
It turns out that Golden Door also 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 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.
Rick Ross Collection for Men
The packaging is what jumped off the page for us initially for the Rick Ross Collection for men. They offer hair and shaving products made with the best stuff possible, Caviar, Cannabis and Champagne. It’s hard to go wrong with such a luxurious and enticing combo right?
Their nine-piece line includes a Luxury Beard Oil, Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair & Body Wash, Styling Gel, Shaving Cream, Aftershave Balm, Classic Pomade and Strong Styling Wax, all aimed for what they call a #BossUp lifestyle.
The so called Boss experience consists of a triple-threat elixir composed of Hemp Seed Oil, Caviar extract, Champagne extract (yes, really — it actually includes anti-aging antioxidants and a small amount of proteins that help to remove impurities, repair and rejuvenate damaged hair and reduce hair loss. The Caviar extract has phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, omegas (3 and 6) and essential fatty acids.
Also included in their products is Kona coffee, which is an antioxidant that moisturizes, revives and brightens up the skin. Their line is free of Sulfates, Parabens and Mineral Oils and is not tested on animals. For more information on their line, visit their site.
32 Degrees Clothing
23 Degrees’ long sleeve polos for men come in three colors and are incredibly comfortable for casual wear or for traveling — we love that their colors are fairly neutral and easy to wash. The material is a polyester, acrylic, spandex blend, is light weight, anti-odor, and quick dry, which is a godsend for avid travelers.
We love their fleece hoodies as well, which are also a polyester, rayon and Spandex blend, and have a zip closure in the front, two pockets and come in nine colors (Yes, really! So much variety here). And, their light weight down packable jacket comes in eight colors.
Tackle the cold weather minus the bulk in our light weight down packable jacket. There’s a matching packable pouch which makes traveling super easy. There’s a zip front closure and two side zip pockets and its machine washable which is essential if you’re on the road a lot. We love how soft their products are and WARM, such an awesome brand for extreme cold and extreme hot climates.
For more information about their line and how to order, visit their website.