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The 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

Posted Nov 28 2011 4:38pm

At the risk of repeating myself, I can't believe it's that time of the year already, but it is. The holiday decorations seem to be everywhere you look these days. Holiday advertisements are all over the TV. And the words Black Friday and Cyber Monday are being used ad nauseam. Those are all sure signs that it's time for this year's holiday gift guide post. 

Just as a little reminder to everyone -- this is a blog, which means that everything written here is my humble opinion. The gift guide posts aren't about advertising but about my own personal finds/loves. My intention is to share what I've been enjoying this year in the hopes that you can find something of value (for yourself and/or others). My tastes tend to run on the simple side, so much of what you'll find here is fairly reasonably priced. Happy browsing...

Hot Stuff: I am a teetotaler, so I'm always on the lookout for new brews and tea accessories. My friends over at California Tea House are selling an inexpensive tea brewing system for simple tea making. The Sleek Steep teapot  makes the whole brewing process easier and cleaner. You can read more about it here . Take it from me, if you have a tea drinker on your holiday gift list, this is a great gift (and it won't bust your budget).

Calm Down: Do you have someone on your list who is stressed and in desperate need of relaxation? Becalm Balls are an inexpensive therapeutic tool that can help you tap into your relaxation response quickly and effortlessly. I use them myself and wrote a review of them on this very blog . With many people's time and money being so tight, it's not often feasible for people to get regular bodywork or take yoga classes or meditate regularly. Becalm Balls offer even the most resource-challenged person the gift of relaxation.

Organic Beauty: Since I'm not a Botox/Plastic Surgery kind of gal, I'm often on the hunt for natural beauty finds. My latest love is Vapour Organic Beauty . All Vapour products are made entirely from certified organic plants, minerals, and vitamins. I especially love the blush stick , elixir plumping lip gloss , and the eye color . The shipping is quick and the prices are fair.

Bag It: I know that I've mentioned Sherpani before, but I must mention them again. With a tagline that includes the words pretty and functional, how can I not like this company? Sherpani's collection of bags are both pretty and functional, yes, but they are also sturdy and nicely priced. There's a bag for every need and for every personal style. If you're like me and you don't care for designer bags, you'll love Sherpani.

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve: You could buy clothes (YAWN!) or you could buy clothes with meaning (YEAH!). The folks over at Chewylou Designs  and Anything is Possible T-Shirt Company offer up a whole line of clothing that allows you to express yourself. There's enough negativity in the world -- why not spread a little positivity with clothing that features inspirational messages? And if you're looking for flip flops that are far from average, I highly recommend Musewear Flip Flops . Not only are the designs unique and inspiring, but donations are made with each purchase. 

Staying Present: This year you can give the gift of presence with a Meaning to Pause bracelet . These bracelets aren't your standard, run of the mill jewelry. Rather, they are functional in that they prompt the wearer to pause with a gentle vibration. You choose between a 60- or 90-minute interval. The bracelets come in multiple writst sizes and can be custom fit on request. I don't know about you, but I'd take presence over presents any day!

Yoga Clothing and Accessories: Finally -- a site that sells yoga clothing at reasonable prices! NadiFlow is a wonderful Web site that offers yoga clothing made from natural fibers and made largely  in the US and Canada. They also offer a number of fair trade accessories including yoga mat bags, flip flops, eye pillows, and jewelry. And if you have yoga guys on your list, NadiFlow offers a wonderful variety of yoga clothes for men. Hmmm...stylish and eco-friendly. What a perfect match.

Denim Delight: I've seen a lot of yoga bags in my time, but Aurorae Yoga managed to surprise me with their unique, stylish, and functional denim yoga mat bag . The bag costs just under $30 and comes in either Midnight Wash or Vintage Wash (for those of us who loved that acid wash jean look back in the day). The bag is lightweight, machine washable, and offers up an extra wide opening so you can fit more than just your yoga mat. 

A Floral State of Mind: Lotus Wei Flower Essences offers a variety of mood enhancers in the form of Balancing Serums, Energy Mists, and Flower Elixirs. You shop by picking a flower or a mood that you want to invoke and then you choose how you like to absorb your flower essences. The result -- body mind balance. If you're a bit skeptical, Lotus Wei guarantees results. 

Good News: What if I told you that you could read more good news than bad and that it wouldn't cost you a dime? The folks over at Om Times Magazine are offering wonderful content in the form of an online subscription for free. 

Spicy: I love chai, therefore it's no surprise that I jumped for joy when I found Crazy Rumors Spiced Chai Lip Balm . This wonderful product softens and protects lips while offering up a powerful punch of cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger. Yum! 

Artwork that Inspires: If you're looking for something inspirational and unique, I highly recommend the shop of the ever-talented Kelly Rae Roberts . Kelly offers a wide variety of products at every pricepoint and her artwork never fails to make me smile. 

Fashion and Flare: Without a doubt one of my favorite things in my wardrobe is the Flare Pantsuit from TranquiliT. This comfy, stylish, and versatile piece is made out of rayon from organic bamboo and sewn locally in Washington, DC. You can dress it up or down (I once wore it into NYC to attend a daylong workshop and then an evening yoga class and it was perfectly suited for both), and it's oh-so-easy to pack.

Delightful Reads: My Kindle has gotten a bit dusty of late, as I haven't been reading all that much (gasp!). Still, I've found time for a few books have proved to be both attention getters and quick reads. I know, I know -- not a yoga book in the bunch. Still, keep an open mind: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life , The Power of Less , Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui  (gee, are you noticing a pattern here?), What We Say Matters , and The More We Get Together: The Sexual & Spiritual Language of Love

Additional Ideas: I don't necessarily have personal experience with these items, but they sure do sound special:

-- Jeweled Essentials -- hand-stamped sterling silver, gold, and copper jewelry inspired by the magic of India.

-- Shanti Generation: Yoga Skills for Youth Peacemakers -- 90-minute DVD designed to help teens and tweens develop strength and confidence while cultivating inner peace and mindfulness. 

-- The Accidental Yoga Teacher -- one part memoir, one part self help book, this book offers up thought-provoking vignettes that are sure to strike a chord regardless of one's experience with yoga.

-- Plank Designs -- stylish, out-of-the-ordinary yoga mats, bags, and clutches. 

-- Wee Yogis Play -- children's yoga music designed to teach children yoga in an entertaining way. 

-- Stories That Come Alive Through Yoga -- a book for children and adults who want to experience yoga in a fun way.

Happy shopping, happy giving, and happy holiday season!

Namaste!

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