These beautiful baskets from Tether Made are hand crafted by Texas native Norma Vela with cotton rope.
Dec. 5, 2019
Help her indulge in gifts that allow her to take care of herself and the planet at the same time. Self-care goodies are at the top of our list this year of ethical and eco-friendly ideas that honor Mother Earth and the gals in your life! Lots of organic items are included as it is so critical to reduce pesticides and other chemical use as much as possible.
It wasn’t long ago that it was hard to find gifts that could be considered green. Now the choices are many because we have all voted with our dollars to let companies, both large and small, know we support this incredible Earth on which we all live and depend. Many of the companies featured have gone the extra green mile for certifications either as a B-corp or other benchmarks, which is very costly, especially for small shops, so we love to advocate for them.
Before heading out, check current availability. Any pricing listed is subject to change and is at the discretion of the individual merchants.
Straight from historic Golden, Colorado, Spinster Sisters is an all-natural microsoapery that takes its eco goals to heart. Their mission statement puts it this way: “We are committed to creating safe and gentle skin care products that benefit our consumers, our employees and the earth.” That’s why they use the good stuff like essential oils, minimally processed plant oils and botanicals in their products, while avoiding the bad stuff like sulfates, phthalates and parabens. Their processes and packaging are also sustainable. Give the special lady in your life the Spinster Sisters Home Spa Day Gift Set ($44) that offers all the luxury of a spa without having to leave the comfort of home! Includes a Bath Soap, Body Butter, Bath Butta' Bomb and Soy Lotion Candle scented with soothing lavender or their bestselling Oatmeal, Milk & Honey. Leaping Bunny and PETA Certified Cruelty Free! Several others from which to choose at Main Street Mercantile, an absolutely delightful store that’s loaded with great gift ideas. 156 West Main Street. Lewisville, Texas 75057. 469-464-3564.
GLUTEN A GOGO
My sister has a severe gluten sensitivity and is very careful about everything that she uses, even toothpaste and shampoo. So when I buy body care gifts for her, I always make sure that there is no gluten in them. Desert Essence offers several choices that are gluten-free plus made with only the best ingredients. The company was founded in 1978 and is a certified B-Corp Corporation.
Looking for an easy gift? Just put together a gift basket or bag with some favorites such as Coconut Shampoo with Organic Jojoba and Olive Oil, Coconut Conditioner with Organic Sunflower Oil and Shea Butter and throw in some luscious Jojoba, Coconut and Chamomile Body Oil that will moisturize skin for up to 24 hours after bath or shower.
The MyChelle 3 Piece Dermaceuticals Beauty Set includes a vegan trio of plant-based products for skin care that will hydrate, refresh and protect using the power of lemon and grapefruit, lavender and lemongrass, eucalyptus and honeysuckle (depending on the product). All MyChelle Dermaceuticals are cruelty-free and free of phthalates, parabens, sulfates, ureas, artificial fragrances and colors, petroleum, GMOs and gluten. Gift Trio includes: Perfect C Serum (.5 oz), Remarkable Retinal Serum (1 oz), and Sun Shield SPF 28 (2.3 oz). Reg. $111.50. On sale through the holidays for $74.50 at MyChelle.com.
Another plant-based beauty regimen is made by Poethique, using only vegan and natural ingredients. Founder Gayatri Pradhan created Poethique utilizing her pharmaceutical and cosmetic chemistry experience (she's also an MIT graduate) and her passion for the environment. Pair up Poethique’s Deeply Cleansing Milk - Natural Face Cleanser for $19.99 and Nourishing Lip Balm for $14 for a sweet gift for your gal. Use the code ANDREAS15 to get a 15 percent discount from Nov 15 - Dec 20. Poethique.com.
White Rock Soap Gallery has won numerous awards for their amazing soaps, body care products and candles but owners Keith Bailey and Mark Fuentes also help to promote other earth-friendly Texas-based artisans.
One of those is Patty Goya of Koke Gardens, Patty is a genius with plants and she creates magical mini gardens in the time-honored Japanese tradition of Kokedama. Each work begins with a ball of moss and dirt out of which grows a variety of exotic plants. As Patty notes on her Facebook page, “Kokedama translates to moss ball in Japanese. Considered the poor man's bonsai because moss and dirt are used to create a pot.” Each one of Patty’s Kokedamas is unique and beautiful and no two are alike. They can either placed on a shallow dish or suspended from a macrame hanger. Prices start under $20 at White Rock Soap Gallery in McKinney, Lake Highlands and Bishop Arts in Oak Cliff. 469-215-5125. While you’re there, be sure to pick up some amazing WRSG body care and candles too!
GO FIR IT
Have you ever visited a Christmas tree farm and just wished that you could bring that incredible smell home with you? Well, now you can! In an effort to find a use for the leftover sheared branches from the trees on their New England Christmas tree farm, Bedrock Tree Farm began using fir needles to make candles that smell so amazingly authentic and refreshing that even Mrs. Claus would love them. Stocked by Marshall Grain in Grapevine, each candle is made from 100 percent pure American-grown soy wax and is individually hand poured using fir needles and fir needle powder. Made with all-natural, non-GMO soy wax and reusable or recyclable glass jars. Clean burning and non-toxic. Various sizes range from $3.99 to $34.99. Marshall Grain, 3525 William D. Tate Ave., Grapevine, 76051. 817-416-6600.
Aromatherapy, or the breathing in of scents, usually derived from essential oils, has been known for thousands of years to calm anxiety, soothe aches and pains and heighten the senses. Now your loved one can take the benefits of this ancient healing treatment wherever she goes with an Aromatherapy Locket in 14k gold plate from Kitsch and Whole Foods Market. Simply drip a few drops of oil onto the felt pad, close the locket, wear and she can breathe in her favorite fragrance all day. Three felt oil pads included. Necklace with chain measures 21 inches. Works with essential oils and most perfumes. $36. Match up with Whole Foods Market’s lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils for a holiday gift that she’ll treasure all year long. Oils from $9.99-$21.99 each. At Whole Foods Market locations around the area.
Fair & Square Imports in McKinney is all dressed up for the holidays. Owners Andrew and Kate Jones have a mission to offer unique and tasteful gifts such as this vivid tumbler ($35), hand-blown by Fair Trade artisans of Hebron Glass & Ceramic Factory in the West Bank. Made with the age-old process of Phoenician glass blowing, skilled artisans add substances to recycled molten glass, with the resulting reaction creating a range of brilliant colors.
Another fav at Fair & Square are gorgeous Kantha Throws ($75) made in India from repurposed saris. Double-layered and embellished with hand-stitched kantha embroidery, these super-soft and lightweight throws are a patchwork of color and pattern that would please anyone on your list. Many other delightful gifts sold in-store and online at FairandSquareImports.com. Fair and Square Imports, 219 E. Louisiana St., McKinney 75069. 469-343-4421.
Did you know that eating a serving of fermented food each day can help to create a more robust gut and provide other health benefits? Peruse the shelves of any natural foods store and you’ll find many choices of these yummy treats, but the prices can sure add up. Small-batch fermented pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha can cost up to $20 per jar! Now it’s easier than ever to make your own and save lots of money with the Kraut Source Fermentation Kit.
The ingenious stainless steel top unit creates an airtight seal, preventing the escape of carbon dioxide needed for the fermentation process, and is spring-loaded to keep veggies submerged under brine at all times. Created in San Francisco by chef/nutritionist Karen Diggs and product designer Eric Klein, their original Kickstarter campaign raised almost $185,000 in 35 days! Kit includes a 1-quart wide-mouth mason jar, stainless steel top unit, sea salt, spices, gasket and instructions for use – all packaged in a compostable box with compostable insert filled with seeds that grow dill when broken down in soil. Handy spice chart is found on box’s side panel. Now stocked at Sur la Table locally for only $42. Save 20 percent with code FRIEND19.
Roma Boots has a mission “to bring impoverished children throughout the world hope, love, and lasting change through aid and education.” The Dallas-based business was launched in 2010 by Samuel Bistrian, a Romanian immigrant who wanted to build a fashion company here in the U.S. and also help children back in his home country. He had often seen these kids literally walking in snow and ice with shabby shoes on their feet. Now, when you buy a pair of their boots, ROMA donates a pair to a child in need. They have given out nearly 3 million pairs to children all around the world in Romania, Guatamala, Haiti, Lebanon, here in the U.S. and over a dozen other countries.
Waterproof and vegan, Roma’s are made from 100 percent natural rubber with a soft cotton lining. Starting under $70 per pair. To find a dealer, click here or visit the company’s flagship store at Roma Boots - Shops at Park Lane, 8060 Park Lane #126, Dallas, TX 75231, 888-612-6264. Note that some dealers may be special order only.
ORGANIC WINE & LOCAL JAM
Patina Green Home and Market is another shop in McKinney to pick up some treats for the greenie in your life.
If the label on this Robert Sinskey Bordeaux style blend wasn't enough to flag it as an eco-friendly gift, then your granola friend will love that the ecologically farmed estate vineyards in Carneros, Napa Valley are certified biodynamic and organic. The winery even uses solar power and homemade biodiesel to power their operations. Save this 2014 fruit of the vine for the holidays or enjoy it anytime. $70 per bottle.
Pair the wine up with some amazing jam, house-made at Patina Green. Created with only three ingredients; local, seasonal fruit, organic cane sugar and lemon, just like Grandma made it. Choose from Blackberry and White Nectarine, Texas Peach, Summer Berry and Texas Heirloom Fig. $15/jar. Patina Green Home and Market, 116 N Tennessee St #102, in Historic McKinney. 972-548-9141.
According to the EPA, paper towels and napkins make up one of the largest shares of consumer waste in the U.S. It’s a good thing that cloth napkins are back in style and make a perfect gift and in time for holiday dinners.
Just about every major retailer is carrying some cloth napkin choices but we found some that were especially adorable at Anthropologie. Made in India in a rainbow of subtle hues, these soft cotton napkins would please any hostess – even Grandma. We especially liked the different colors so that it’s easy to tell whose napkin is whose, especially if you want to reuse them for a few days between washings. We also found some lovely cloth napkins on Etsy in both cotton and linen.
Gina’s Soft Cloth Shop offers 2-ply, USA-made organic cotton napkins that also make great kitchen or bar towels with lots of other uses around the house. Extra thick and absorbent, the colorful edging is just enough to add some zing. $24.46/10 pack.
Urban Flax declares that their linen napkins are made from naturally stain repellent, hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, anti-static material. Crafted in the USA from unbleached OEKO TEX certified, 100 percent environmentally friendly European linen. $39/set of 4.
Surf Etsy.com for scads of other makers and feel good that you are supporting small craft industries.
The Container Store is a Dallas institution like no other and it has helped many of us go from clutter to Super Organizer! But did you know that they have lots in stock other than containers with more and more eco-friendly products every year? We just love perusing the aisles of bamboo drawer dividers, reusable silicone lunch pouches and recycling containers, just to name a few. Our picks this year for gals are a couple of handy items to keep around the kitchen.
First is a Mini Eco-i-Lite ($14.99) that serves as a flashlight, night light and power failure light - all in one palm-sized gadget. Comes on automatically when the power goes off. Lasts for over four hours as a safety light or flashlight when fully charged. Wall charger acts as a holder so it always has a home.
Another nifty item is this 100 percent recycled plastic Eco Marble Cutting Board ($19.99). Looks like marble but unbreakable and dishwasher-safe, it's sleek and elegant enough for use as a cheese tray, buffet server or cookie board. Would make a nice lap desk too! Both at all Container Stores in Dallas and Fort Worth or ContainerStore.com.
Sometimes it’s tricky to find just the right gift, especially for nature lovers who are also minimalists. We’ve solved your dilemma with something that just about everyone would enjoy. Fort Worth artist and cofounder of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area Debora Young has created a book of wildflower drawings ($25) and postcards ($10) featuring native prairie flowers found at Tandy Hills. Outdoor aficionados will recognize old favorites such as Indian Paintbrush and Milkweed and perhaps learn a few new varieties such as Blue Flax and Horsemint. Visit DeboraYoung.com to order.
Pair the book up with a donation in your loved one’s name to Tandy Hills Natural Area and a day trip to explore and wander. If you’re not familiar with Tandy Hills, it’s a true Texas treasure. Designated a Natural Area in 1987, Tandy Hills Natural Area is a 160-acre wildgrass prairie located in Fort Worth. It is resplendent with more than 900 native plant species including an amazing show of spring wildflowers. Visit TandyHills.org for more information.
If you want to create a wildflower sanctuary of your own, you’ve got to start with the right seeds. Native American Seed Company in Junction has the perfect starter kit to create a verdant and colorful garden of nectar-producing native wildflowers that will host butterflies in each phase of their life cycle. The bloom time starts in February with Winecup and ends in December with Gayfeather, with an additional 25 different wildflowers species blooming in between.
The Butterfly Garden Kit also includes a copy of Butterfly Gardening for Texas, wherein author and butterfly expert Geyata Ajilvsgi shares a wealth of practical information about all kinds of butterflies and the many flowers and other plants they utilize in their miraculous life cycle: from hidden egg to munching caterpillar to cryptic chrysalis to nectar-sipping, winged adult. The book is a feast for the eyes – and the seeds will create a feast in your garden for a myriad of pollinators. Butterfly Garden Kit is $56. Add $6 for gift wrapping in a lovely jute bag with gift card. Many other gift ideas available at SeedSource.com.
PRETTY COOL STUFF
Dallasite Kim Young has assembled some lovely gifts at her online shop Pretty Things and Cool Stuff. We’ve chosen two that we think just about anyone would adore. First are these precious sterling silver starfish earrings cast from nature. These eye-catching earrings were handmade by artisans in Sardinia to support traditional crafts and your gal will almost hear the beach when she wears them. Medium size is $50/pair and large size is $60/pair.
Next are some incredible art kits from Wattle and Loop in Australia. Everything is included for the ladies in your life to make their own pieced fabric art. As Wattle&Loop’s founder Kylie Wright expresses, “Each Wattle and Loop Slow-Stitching Kit combines a carefully curated selection of these beautiful textiles, along with some Liberty of London fabric, DMC cotton threads and an embroidery needle. By combining the beautiful textile pieces with slow-stitching and applique, you can make a truly beautiful textile collage of your own that is completely unique, as while they are similar, no two kits contain exactly the same pieces of fabric!” Kits also available in fig, magnolia and protea designs @$70 each. Visit Pretty Things and Cool Stuff for these and more delightful gift ideas.
SAVE A SHEEP
If you want to make a statement and save a real farm animal, consider giving a gift of adoption from the Farm Sanctuary starting at only $10 per month (minimum one year). This haven for former factory-abused creatures such as cows, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens and even turkeys is a place where they can live out their days in safety and security, without being eaten. When you adopt an animal, Farm Sanctuary will even email your gift recipient a certificate with the name and photo of their new friend that they can place on the dining table and perhaps influence some of the family to eat less meat. Adoption fees help Farm Sanctuary to provide food and shelter for the adopted animal as well as to carry on their good work. Founded by Gene Baur and Laurie Houston in 1986 when they saw a sheep (later named Hilda) barely alive on a pile of carcasses behind a stockyard.
The sanctuary was originally funded by sales of vegetarian hot dogs at Grateful Dead concerts. It now operates on a budget of more than $5 million per year and is supported by donations, adoptions and with help from celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Casey Afleck. BTW, Hilda lived 11 years happily munching grass and making friends on the pastures of Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter. Visit FarmSanctuary.org to learn more.
Speaking of sheep, Texas native Norma Vela retired to Maine and now lives on a pastoral sheep farm near Acadia National Park. Her former career as a screenwriter on TV shows such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; St. Elsewhere; Designing Women; and Roseanne could not be more different from her current activities. When she’s not tending the flock with her son and his family or sketching the whimsical chickens and majestic horses outside her kitchen door, Norma spends her days creating baskets out of simple cotton clothesline rope. Each one is a unique work of art, with muted hues that reflect from the zig-zag stitching between each row. Norma’s baskets have a subtle Amish or Shaker quality about them that is soothing like a warm bun coming out of the oven.
But her talents don’t stop there. Norma’s delightful folk art and colorful sketchings adorn a wide variety of goods such as mugs, kitchen towels and even T-shirts. Baskets start at $35 on TetherMade.com. Mugs, T-shirts and other artwork from around $15 at Society6.com (search for Chicken Happy).
Love your product. Know your producer. Change her life. That’s the slogan of Global Mamas, an online reseller of clothing and accessories with an important mission. Founded in 2003, the Global Mamas community works to create prosperity for African women and their families by selling unique, handcrafted products of the highest quality. Being able to do the work they love and being empowered by financial independence leads to greater fulfillment and happiness for these women.
This lovely Camelia burgundy print Batika robe in 100 percent organic cotton is one example. Lightweight and comfy, the natural Batik style will please your lady, especially when she knows that its purchase helped someone halfway around the world. Elbow-length sleeves and knee-length skirt are just right around the pool or heading to bed. Full wrap front with removable belt and belt loops. Choose from Small/Medium or Large/Extra-large sizes. Also offered in blue and white print. $60 each. Just two of the hundreds of delightful items at GlobalMamas.com.
Love Your Melon, an online reseller of adorable beanies and headbands, has an important mission. Founded by college friends Zach and Brian, their goal was to make enough beanies to supply one to every child in the U.S. who had cancer. After giving out 45,000 hats, Love Your Melon set a new goal of donating one million dollars to pediatric cancer research and support to children and their families. As of this year, they have given more than 6.2 million dollars to the fight against pediatric cancer and over 180,000 hats to children battling cancer!
Shop for beanies made with 100 percent cotton and faux fur poms in a variety of styles and colors starting at $30 at LoveYourMelon.com. They also have some items from their Revitalize Collection on sale made from recycled plastic bottles.
FANCY FANNY PACK
Ethica is known for their vegan and eco-friendly selection and this year they have several delightful offerings. This lovely clutch and belt combo by CEIBO can either be used together or separately. Made of vegan leather and soft canvas lining, your sweetie will love the versatility. She can pair them up for a chic and safe belt pack for work, shopping or on-the-go, or she can use the belt as a trendy wardrobe accessory and carry the clutch in hand for an evening on the town. How smart is that!
All CEIBO products are designed and handmade by owner Maria Cadena at her home studio in Houston, dedicating several hours in designing, cutting, sewing and assembling for a quality look and feel. It’s a gift that will last for years. $60 at ShopEthica.com. Free shipping on order over $75. Available in camel, black and nude.
Ben Franklin Apothecary on the main drag down in Duncanville is the kind of store that my parents used to take me to when I was a kid. You can pick up just about everything that you need in one stop - from candy to small groceries, toys, clothing, gifts and so much more – and check out their full compounding pharmacy. Owner Dan Jespersen and his family of employees take obvious pride in creating a true shopping experience for each customer, starting when they personally greet folks as they enter. The staff will take you to whatever you need and suggest a sandwich and soup for your lunch from their nostalgic soda fountain near the back of the store.
When you leave, be sure to grab a few six packs of Dublin Soda ($10.50) as gifts for the someone special – or to take to the office for a unique holiday treat. Dublin Bottling Works is one of the few soda factories in the USA that still makes sodas the old-fashioned way, on equipment that is over 100 years old. Their Dublin sodas are sweetened with pure cane sugar, not corn syrup of artificial sweeteners. The glass bottles are recyclable (or collectible) with bottle caps that are cute enough to make into earrings or other crafts. Just a few of the delights that you will find at Ben Franklin Apothecary, 302 N Main St, Duncanville, 75116. 972-298-4936.
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