BLACK FRIDAY DEALS!

This year especially, with many stores deciding to open for shopping on Thanksgiving Day, many people are voicing their opinions about Black Friday shopping. Personally, I have fond memories of getting up early with my mom and grandmother and stalking out good deals- but as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize the danger that this consumer holiday creates and try to avoid as many ‘big box’ stores as I can.

That said, there are many small businesses that also run ‘Black Friday’ or ‘Small Business Saturday’ sales, and I think this is a great thing to support this type of year. Below is a collection of great products- some from my gift guides, others from fellow blogger friends- that will be offered at discounted prices over the weekend. The best part? Shopping in your PJ’s. Happy hunting, friends!

This post does contain some affiliate links- same amazing prices for you, but a small commission for me. In addition, please consider shopping through this Amazon link this holiday season.  Thanks for supporting MY small business 🙂

Julep Beauty Inc.

Julep is offering one nail polish per customer for just $1!

Virtuous Woman Products

50% off  all Virtuous Woman products 11/29 through 12/2/13 using the code CHRISTMAS2013.


20% off the ‘More Than A Holiday’ family devotional ebook with coupon code ‘THANKS’.

skiphop
Skip Hop is offering 20% OFF Sitewide + Free Shipping + Free Gift, using code: HOLIDAY13.

The Holistic Mama Organic Skin Care
Holistic Mama is offering 25% off organic skin care using coupon code GIVE2013

http://intoxicatedonlife.com/weeding-out-wheat/Christ in the Commandments: A family study of the 10 Commandments at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Intoxicated on Life is offering 33% off everything in their store, including “Weeding Out Wheat”, along with family Bible studies and Write Through the Bible curriculum. Use the coupon code ‘bf33’. Good from Black Friday through Cyber Monday!

umislinglogo

Umi Sling is having an awesome SALE! Any ring sling is 20% off with the code THANKFUL, now through Dec 1st 🙂

FIRST BITES

Accidentally Green is offering free shipping on any Norwex order e-mailed to accidentallygreen@gmail.com. Also, her eBook First Bites also will be on sale for 25% off. Both sales are from Friday through Monday!

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

Bulk Herb Store is offering special discounts and bundles all weekend!

Everything in the Natural Herbal Living shop will automatically be 10-25% off this weekend- no coupon code needed!

Keeper of the Kitchen’s all-natural snack book, ‘Bliss Balls for Beginners‘,  will be just $1.50 instead of $3.50 for the PDF versions with code ‘blackfriday’.

The GROWING SLOWER blog is offering 25% off everything in her Etsy shop with coupon code CHRISTMAS2013 through Cyber Monday. Her book (Natural Birth Stories) is marked down to just $6.99 for the Kindle, ePub, and PDF formats.

Just So is offering their Christmas Sampler (reg. price 20 dollars) will be on sale for 16 dollars, Friday Nov. 29- Monday December 2.

Fiddlebumps offers handmade products- everything from air fresheners to hair detangler to body scrubs! Get 20% off this Fri-Sun using code ‘BThankful’ 🙂


, use Promotion Code FEEDMEMAMA1 TODAY!


, use Promotion Code FEEDMEMAMA1 TODAY!


, use Promotion Code FEEDMEMAMA1 TODAY!


, use Promotion Code FEEDMEMAMA1 TODAY!

Showing Love to Mainstream Birth Professionals

Over the past few months, I have had several conversations with friends that have left me really disappointed in the ‘natural birth’ circle. You see, I have many friends in the medical profession, including several who work in hospital labor and delivery departments. Though I am making an informed choice to birth in a freestanding birth center with a midwife, I love my friends and I have the utmost respect for the hard work that they put in for the mamas that they see- I would trust them with my life, and the life of my baby. It seems, however, that many people do not share that same respect.

I think that, in the natural-minded birth world, there is an inherent attitude that mainstream birth professionals are lazy, don’t understand birth or breastfeeding or labor or women in general, and that they should be virtually ignored and written off in terms of what they can bring to the table for a natural birth. Do these ignorant people exist? Yes.  Have people had very negative birth experiences because of the lack of knowledge or patience of some birth professionals? Yes, and if you recognize that you are under one’s care, get out- it’s never too late to switch care providers.  However, being responsible isn’t the same as being rude. I think that we are doing many hardworking, kind people a great disservice by giving them the blanket disrespect that we often do simply because of their profession.

Each time I have a conversation with one of my L&D friends, I learn something- whether it’s a tip they have about labor, or a crazy story about a natural birth they have staffed, or about what is and isn’t allowed in their L&D department. This past weekend, a friend told me about how she deliberately made choices to make an induction patient more comfortable during the night, even though they weren’t exactly ‘allowed’. Isn’t this the kind of support we want during labor- women who are on our side, and the side of our babies?

And yet, my friends have told me countless stories of how they are spoken to disrespectfully, both in public by perhaps well-meaning friends and actually in their job on the L&D floor. Stories of doulas, family members, and mothers talking down to them, ignoring them, talking about them negatively in front of them and being downright rude when all they are trying to do is do their job. These stories break my heart for my friends, who I know work their tails off to help moms have the birth that they want- but also have to maintain certain protocols because of the nature of the hospital setting.

I’m not saying that we all need to switch to hospital births and OBs and the like- far from it. I just think we need to treat mainstream birth professionals with respect until they have personally proved that they deserve otherwise. Writing someone off as ignorant or having another agenda when they simply are working in a different environment than you are used to isn’t showing grace or kindness, it’s being judgmental and exclusive.

If you are choosing to have a hospital birth, be kind to those around you! If you end up in a hospital because of transfer, pray that the Lord would soften your heart and that you would be able to show grace and love even though you’re probably disappointed. Finally, be careful of blanket statements. Speak kindly of others and always strive to be graceful in your interactions. Reflect the heart of Christ, even in trying times- or even if you don’t agree.! That’s what building the Kingdom is all about- showing His love even when it’s difficult.

Sleep, Stress, and Stretch Marks: Tools to Survive Late Pregnancy [WishGarden Herbs Review!]

Sleep, Stress, and Stretch Mark: Tools to Survive Late Pregnancy feat. WishGarden Herbs

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to receive a generous package in the mail of herbal pregnancy support formulas from WishGarden Herbs. They chose so wisely, too- I have used every one in the past few weeks! There are so many different symptoms of pregnancy, and each woman experiences it entirely different- some women will have two completely different pregnancies back to back, too. It helps to have companies like WishGarden that are formulating quality products so that we have a place to turn when things get rough!

The first product I dove into was a bottle of Pregnant Belly Oil, which seems normal enough though it is an interesting forest green color. The oil is surprising, though, in how moisturizing it is and how little of it you actually need to cover your belly! The smell takes some getting used to- it isn’t off-putting, but it’s definitely herbal and a little savory- I can’t exactly place the smell, but it’s pleasant and mild. I have to say, I really love how it makes my belly feel- smooth and supple, soft and pliable. At almost 35 weeks, I don’t have one single stretch mark 🙂 The ingredients include: Elderflower, Bee Pollen resin, Comfrey root, Almond Oil , Jasmine Essential Oil , Vitamin E Oil.

The second I have only used sparingly, but with great effect- Stress Relief for Pregnancy, an anti-stress herbal tincture. Thankfully, life has not been incredibly stressful lately, but there have been several different times that have brought me to a point where I felt like I needed a boost for emotional support, and that’s when I used the tincture. The taste is very mild, too- I barely notice it in the water! Two droppersful of the tincture in a small glass of water, and I truly felt calmer and more in control of my emotions within the next half hour. While I don’t think that the strength would hold off a panic attack, I think that for basic emotional support and to ‘take the edge off’ of a stressful day, the tincture is very effective. My husband has even used it in a pinch! The ingredients include: Lemon Balm leaf, Linden leaf and flower, Passionflower aerials, Milky Oat tops vegetable glycerin, rocky mountain spring water and organic gluten free alcohol.

Finally, I received a bottle of Sleepy Nights for Pregnancy, a sleep tincture. Lack of sleep and insomnia plagues up to 75% of pregnant women, and I certainly have not escaped that statistic. I do employ a wonderful essential oil blend that I love and does help me fall asleep well and, for the most part, stay asleep, if something happens that completely wakes me- I am awake for a long, long time. However, when this happens, I will take two droppersful of the sleep tincture in a small glass of water, and I usually can fall back to sleep within ten minutes- a stark contrast to the two hours that I would normally average! Again, this tincture has a very mild taste- almost unnoticed in the water. This is a great product to have on hand. Ingredients include Milky Oat tops, Linden leaf and flower, Passionflower aerials, Scullcap aerials, Hawthorne fruit, vegetable glycerin, rocky mountain spring water and organic gluten free alcohol.

On the whole, I really can’t recommend these products highly enough! If you’re experiencing stress of sleep issues in your pregnancy, grab some of these tinctures. And I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to use the belly oil for all of my pregnancies in the future. I love knowing that what I am using is top quality and natural- safe for baby & mommy!

While I did receive free product in exchange for my review, all opinions are wholly my own and I receive zero compensation from any sales through this review!

Easy DIY Hair Treatments

Several years ago, I was part of a management team for a lovely natural cosmetics line. The products basically sold themselves, what with their colorful packaging, intoxicating smells, and fun names. One of the perks of working there was that I got to take home “samples” of anything I wanted, as I needed to be able to speak for the products from personal experience. I, of course, took full advantage.

One of the things that blew me away about this product line was their innovative use of everyday, household materials: honey, baking soda, Castile soap, herbs, oils. This further propelled my growing desire to know all things health and natural beauty: if these products could be so effective, and yet use such common ingredients, why didn’t I just make them myself?

This question has lead me to where I am today: self-professed “witch doctor” of alternative medicine and natural beauty. Today, I’d like to share some at-home fixes for one of our most worrisome features: hair! You need look no further than your kitchen to find the remedy you’ve likely contemplated pawning your iPhone for.

Lack of shine? Try some lemon juice!
Lemon juice is one of those miracle products that can do just about anything: clean your sink, polish your furniture, marinate your fish, brighten up your skin….and shine your hair! Try squeezing out FRESH JUICE from two or three lemons and using it as a rinse for your hair. Just be careful not to let it sit, as it can have a lightening effect, particularly if you sit out in the sun!

Heat damage? Hit up the honey!
Honey is another miracle product. Chock full of vitamins and minerals, it makes better practically everything it touches, from toast to your t-zone (honey is a natural antibacterial, and also has a lightening effect on the skin, which is perfect for hyper pigmentation or general uneven skin tone). To help heal your poor, damaged mane, work one through the ends of your hair and use as a “pack” of sorts: let it sit for about 20 minutes before you shampoo and condition as normal. Honey is a humectant, meaning that it traps moisture and helps seal it in- which is exactly what your tresses need! If you find the honey hard to maneuver, try working in a bit of olive oil to make it more manageable.

Got product buildup? Break it down with baking soda!
I wash my hair exclusively with baking soda and an ACV rinse. Known for its scouring power in the kitchen, a smooth paste of baking soda and water worked in like a shampoo will gut through any amount of grease, silicone, or other excess product in your hair and strip it off, leaving your hair soft and natural! While you’re at it, us it as a gentle body and face scrub. And toothpaste. Again, miracle product.

Got grease? Detox with apple cider vinegar!
This is another cult product that many people use on their hair exclusively. Apple cider vinegar not only helps normalize oil production in the scalp, but because it is a “fermented” product, it will help combat any kind of scalp abnormality or even fungal issues. I know, it’s not pretty, but it happens! Apple cider vinegar is also an extremely good thing to ingest daily: I take a few teaspoons and mix it with water in the morning for a detoxifying, energizing tonic when I’m feeling sluggish.

Frizz and breakage? Call up the avocado!
Tis one can be hard to swallow unless you have an avocado tree at your disposal, being that they re definitely on the pricey side. If you can manage, take an entire avocado and mash it up guacamole style- but before you dig in with your Scoops, work it all through your hair instead. This will coat your hair with those lovely healthy fats that we all eat everyday (right?) and tame those pesky flyaways. In addition, this treatment strengthens the hair and protects against future damage!

Need some body? Grab a Guinness.
I know this one sounds totally bizarre,but at the uppity store I used to work for, we actually sold beer shampoo, marketed to those wanting to improve the volume of their hair. I absolutely love to have as much volume as possible in my hair, and this stuff made me look like an 80’s rocker gone awesome! It was my favorite. I soon realized that I could just grab a bottle of any old stout and work this magic myself-at a much lower cost. So, channel your inner sorority girl, grab a dark beer (the darker, the better) and head to the shower. Work the whole bottle into your hair and let it soak for just a few minutes, then rinse as normal. Try it if you don’t believe me! Plus or minus (depending on how hard you had to work to channel the sorority girl) is that your hair will smell slightly beer-like. You be the judge 🙂

Color need a lift? Brew up some tea!
This is a pretty commonly used trick, but I thought I would touch on it anyway. Different teas (for different hair shades) will boost color in very gentle but beautiful ways. If you are a blonde, try chamomile tea. Brunette, try any normal black tea- or a red tea if you like warm undertones. Redheads can have a bit of fun with this, too- red tea (like rooibos) works great, but if you can get your hands on some hibiscus flowers (called ‘karkade’ in Mediterranean markets, where they are easily found in bulk) you can see some really nice color deepening. While the results of this are never dramatic, it is always a good idea, no matter what your hair color, to do a test patch first, to make sure that you don’t end up looking silly!

No time to shower? Grab some cornstarch!
This is so easy, a baby could do it. No, really- if you are looking for an easy and affordable dry shampoo option, skip the aerosol and silicone loaded types in the hair section and find yourself a bottle of cornstarch-only baby powder. The shake lid makes it easy to sprinkle a bit on your scalp, comb it through, and give your hair new life and body by absorbing oils and giving hair a bit of texture. The lighter your hair, the better these things work- and that goes for commercial brands as well! If your hair is dark, make sure that you experiment with this on a day when you aren’t walking a runway just in case it makes you look likes colonist in a powdered wig. However, even now that my hair is dark, I still find this to be extremely helpful with careful application.

Just want some all-over oomph? Spoon in some yogurt.
Shine and strength are yogurts two big selling points. While the lactic acid in the yogurt will strip away product and grease that leaves hair looking dull and lifeless, milk fat will moisturizer and strengthen. Just be sure not to get a flavored kind, which will leave you quite sticky and smelling like a jelly jar- look for all-natural, flavorless yogurt if you can find it.

Got any more at-home hair tricks? Let me know!

The Smallest Gift

The Smallest Gift- Resources and Memorial Blankets for families grieving a miscarriage or infant loss.

One of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever been given is a tiny pendant that says ‘baby’ on it- a memorial to the baby that I lost last summer. It was given to me the week that would’ve been the baby’s due date, and it was, and continues to be, such a special reminder of that little life. In fact, as I prepare to give birth to my daughter in just a few short weeks, I am assembling a labor prayer necklace with beads from my friends and family- and that pendant will be included on the necklace.

As we’ve discussed before, showing support to someone who is walking through a miscarriage or infant loss is extremely difficult, especially if you’ve never walked down that road yourself. While there are great ways to show your love and encouragement, I want to introduce you to a beautiful and thoughtful organization that I learned of recently that’s doing a great job of helping memorialize these little ones.

Weighted Heart from The Smallest Gift- made to the weight of the baby, to give to families grieving infant loss

The Smallest Gift is a nonprofit organization based in Central PA that was born out of the losses of two families, and their desire to both memorialize their babies and encourage mothers who are walking the same painful path. They reach out to these families and provide a FREE blanket and weighted heart- made to the weight of the baby. In addition, they supply local hospitals with comfort gifts that can be given to families after a loss, and provide education to the community and healthcare professionals on infant loss.

If you, or someone that you know, has suffered the loss of a pregnancy or infant in the past year, and is living in the United States, you can request for them to be sent a FREE blanket and weighted heart in their memory here. They also have a thorough resource guide here.  You can also volunteer to make blankets and hearts!

You Never Think It’s Going To Be You

Hey friends!

Today I am honored to be guest blogging over at All That Is Seen An Unseen: Breaking the Silence on First Trimester Miscarriage. Elizabeth is passionate about uniting women who have suffered through miscarriage or are facing the struggle of infertility, and her book tells her personal story of loss and hope. I am so thankful that she asked me to share a bit of my story on her blog today.

You can read the full post here!

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide: Go Local!

LOCAL GUIDE

I am a big proponent of supporting local artisans and businesses. Especially when it comes to gift giving, I think this is a great way to invest in the local economy and show that you really put thought into a gift! I’ve collected some of my favorite businesses, artisans, and restaurants for you today- simply establishments that I love to support. Hope you enjoy!

Photography- After having personally received a photography package (sitting fee and gift certificate) as a gift earlier this year, I can’t recommend this enough! Professional photography is a wonderful gift, as are professional prints- this is especially a great gift for a couple who is expecting, newly engaged, or a family with children. Here’s a few local photographers that I have personally worked with, and highly recommend:

jenna profile

Jenna Shriver Photography: Jenna is not only a talented photographer, but a dear friend as well. Jenna is the mastermind behind Matt and I’s latest session of maternity photos (which you can see here) and does an incredible job from start to finish, creating beautiful images for her clients’ homes!

karlie pickett promo

Karlie Nicole Photography: Not only do Karlie and I share a name, but we work together, go to church together, we pretty much just love each other. It was a huge blessing to have Karlie’s creative eye capture Matt and I’s press photos last fall for Five and Dime- she did an incredible job!

Bonus for my readers in Florida..

k mali promo
K. Mali Photography: Kristy and her husband, Josh, are dear friends of Matt and I’s. Kristy is one of the fastest growing photographers I have ever seen- she truly has recognized her gift and passion and run with it- and a good thing, too! Kristy elegantly captured out first set of maternity photos, and we could not be more pleased with them.

Another quick and easy gift idea is a gift certificate to a local restaurant. We are blessed with some great ones around here; these are a few of my favorites!

Papa Joes– Everyone loves Papa Joes. Even Joe Flacco loves Papa Joes. I’m writing this currently at 9am and all I want is their tacos! Delicious, authentic mexican food in the heart of Westminster- but moving to a fun new location on 140 coming soon! If you are ever there and they offer Mole enchiladas as a special, do NOT turn it down!

birdies

Birdies– This is Matt and I’s favorite breakfast and coffee spot. Their drink menu is astounding, the staff is friendly, and the place is brimming with beautiful local arts and crafts, from jewelry to coffee mugs! A great gift for a student, a couple, or someone who spends lots of time working in coffee shops.

Martha and Mary’s- This one is actually in Reisterstown, but completely worth the drive. Martha and Mary’s is a subtly-Christian-owned restaurant, complete with fun biblically-named menu items- but not so much that it’s lame. The menu is extensive, with anything from pizza to jambalaya to massive salads and great quesadillas.

flying avocado

The Flying Avocado– Again, a wee bit of a drive in Owings Mills, but this is hands down my favorite restaurant. The Flying Avocado features vegan and vegetarian menu items, as well as delicious offerings for meat eaters as well (the lamb sandwich is a personal favorite). They also have an extensive smoothie menu and delicious baked goods!

johanssons

Johansson’s/Olordans– if you’ve never been to either of these restaurants, you are really missing out! Both owned by the Johansson family, these great eateries sit just a block apart, but offer two distinct experiences that are equally as enjoyable. O’Lordan’s is an authentic Irish pub, serving amazing Irish food (the Guinness beef stew is phenomenal) as well as Irish beers on draft. Johansson’s is an English-style pub, with tons of amazing microbrews on draft (ask for samples!) and delicious pub food, from crabs to burgers to pizzas. They also have amazing entrees if you’re up for something more fancy. Johansson’s is Matt and I’s go-to date night location- especially since we can walk there!

LOCAL COMPANIES:

jersey logo

jersey sils

Jerseymaids– I have such a crush on all of Jerseymaids’ products. Lauren’s jewelry is beautifully crafted, and she is releasing new products and lines all the time! One of the most unique offerings she has is custom silhouette jewelry- a perfect gift for a mom, mother of the bride, you name it. I also really, really love her newest Galaxy line- from bangles to headbands to dangly earrings, this stellar (literally) collection is both unique and whimsical. Jerseymaids also offers home decor items, such as lamps, pillows, and coffee mugs, too!

eastern lights

Eastern Lights– The sister store (literally, these ladies are sisters!) of Jerseymaids, Eastern Lights is curated by my friend, Annmarie, who hand makes unique Galaxy-themed clothing and accessories! I am the proud owner of a pair of galaxy leggings that I absolutely adore, and they always get me tons of compliments. She’s getting ready for a big shop relaunch, so get ready- it’s about to get awesome!

sowing seeds

Sowing Seeds Botanicals– Because my mother owns this company (which inherently makes me a bit biased) I have had the pleasure of testing many of SSB’s products (see the review previously published on this blog here) and I have to say, they really are great! If you’re looking for a truly handmade, local spa or beauty gift, you can’t beat a collection of SSB’s products.

Furnace-Hills-Coffee-Co.

Furnace Hills Coffee Company– The only kind of coffee we drink in our house! We love Dave, Erin, and the rest of the Furnace Hills crew, and their coffee is just as wonderful. Dave created the company as an employment opportunity for his daughter, Erin, who has Down Syndrome, and other adults with special needs. The proceeds from their coffee blends often go to other charities, as well- an orphanage in Ukraine, missionary efforts in Indonesia, developmentally disabled men and women in Ethiopia.

ben may clay

Ben May Clay– I’ve met Ben a few times through my friend Grace, and I absolutely love his work. I am a sucker for pretty pottery and Ben’s does not disappoint! I have my eye on some of the thumbprint tumblers and the oil warmer. And how awesome is the knitting bowl?? Ben’s pottery is made right here in Westminster, a stone’s throw from my apartment. It doesn’t get much more local than that.

soft and cozy

Soft and Cozy Baby– I’ve talked about my love for Soft and Cozy before here, but it’s worth mentioning again! This store is beautifully curated with quality items for babies and children, many coming from excellent companies or local artisans. They just started carrying these adorable, locally made slippers called Polliwogs- I am dying to get a pair for our little girl! It’s worth mentioning that SCB has a great gift card exchange program- so, if you get a card for a big box store, you can take it there and get full store credit instead!

coffeys

Coffey’s Music– My husband reminded me to include Coffey’s, and he is totally right! For the musician (or, ahem, aspiring musician) in your life, this is a great place to find a gift- even a gift certificate for lessons! They have a wide variety of instruments at different price points, and knowledgeable staff members and teachers on pretty much any subject involving music. Perfect gift idea= ukelele. They have a bunch of beautiful ones- and who doesn’t want to learn how to play the uke?

CSY

Center Street Yoga– Westminster’s newest yoga studio, and the only one offering hot yoga options every day of the week. Located in Gold’s Gym, the studio is beautiful and conveniently located in Town Mall of Westminster. I’ve taken almost every class offered at CSY, and they are all superb- some of the best workouts of my life! Many times, CSY runs a Groupon for a significantly discounted bundle of classes, so make sure you check that out. A bundle of 10 or 20 classes makes an amazing gift!

The Mustard Seed– This family-owned Christian book store is absolutely filled to the brim with awesome gift ideas- from books to music to wall hangings and other decorative items, the store is thoughtfully curated and truly would have something for everyone on your list.

serpent ridge

Serpent Ridge Vineyards– Just a few minutes outside of Westminster, this little vineyard is a total gem in hiding! Their wines are phenomenal and are sure to charm even the most educated palate- we know because our most knowledgeable wine friends swear by their wine! My personal favorite is the Basilisk, Matt likes the Cabernet.

Starry Night Bakery– Featured on The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, this is your chance to give the gift of amazing cupcakes. Just do it!

meltdown

Meltdown Pottery– Formerly known as The Pottery Loft, Meltdown now offers an exciting array of arts and crafts experiences. Not only could you go and handmade a gift for someone, but you could make a night out of it- gift them with an experience by taking them and creating togethe!

Gypsy’s Tea Room– While this maybe could qualify as a restaurant, an afternoon at Gypsy’s is really more of an experience. Fun to give as a gift certificate, even more fun to enjoy together! The food at Gypsy’s is absolutely phenomenal ( I still dream of an onion soup with gouda cheese that I had almost a year ago) and the tea selection is unparalleled. I’ve even had my husband go with me, and he enjoyed it, too!

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide: For Men Only

the FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide- For Men Only! Eco-friendly and socially responsibly gifts for men

As I said in yesterday’s women’s guide, I totally think that men are the hardest to shop for. Maybe it’s because my husband isn’t particularly into power tools or sports, but it takes a lot of thought and effort for me to find a good gift! Putting together this gift guide was a great start this year, however- these companies offer top-notch products and all find a way to be sustainable or give back. Hooray!

This post does contain affiliate links.  When you purchase through these links, there is no extra cost to you, but I do receive a small amount of commission, which allows me to keep writing! Many, many thanks for your support, friends 🙂

WeWOOD Watches– this is one of my all-time favorite gifts for men. My dapper friend Austin wears a WeWOOD watch and, well, when Austin wears something, you take note. WeWOOD not only makes beautiful, sustainably sourced watches out of many different styles and colors of wood, but the company plants a tree with each watch purchased! Here’s a word from the company themselves: “Completely absent of artificial and toxic materials, the WeWOOD Timepiece is as natural as your wrist. It respects your skin as you respect nature by choosing it. Your WeWOOD Watch breathes the same air that you breathe and may awaken memories from another time and place. Your WeWOOD Watch records your sensations and shares your experiences as the perfect natural mate, whose story also becomes yours to wear, smell and feel.” For every watch you buy, you are planting a tree, and you should be proud. You can print a personalized WeWOOD Certificate of Donation on behalf of yourself or a loved one.

Fed By Threads– While I haven’t actually seen any of these products firsthand, I am thrilled to be partnering with them as an affiliate for my blog! Fed By Threads has coined themselves as the first ‘vegan, US made clothing line’, making quality clothing and accessories (including my favorite, baby clothes) while using proceeds to feed people throughout the US. Fed By Threads has “set out to inspire change & get us back to the roots of what America stands for: generosity, community, feeding the hungry, and making real goods for our national economy. Let’s stop outsourcing jobs. Let’s stop destroying the environment. Let’s stop blaming the hungry for being hungry. We sacrifice profits to feed hungry Americans, revitalize U.S. garment manufacturing to create jobs, & use sustainable fabrics to protect our environment.  That is why Fed By Threads is the first and only humanitarian, sustainable, US-made clothing line & store in America that feeds 12 emergency meals to hungry Americans from each item sold.”

SOLO Eyewear– You know those men who just can’t have enough accessories? Watches, sunglasses, belts to match every outfit? SOLO eyewear was designed with that man in mind. Their sunglasses are high-end surf shop quality, but their message is brilliant: proceeds from each purchase go towards surgeries to restore vision and give prescription eyewear to those in need around the world. Since launching in 2011, SOLO has restored vision for 9,094+ people in need across 19 countries and it’s only the beginning. With the support of a stellar team, Jenny and Dana are leading the vision restoring efforts at SOLO. Their goal for 2013 is to restore vision for 12,000 people in need by funding prescription eyeglasses and cataract surgeries. SOLO Eyewear is a line of handcrafted sunglasses made with recycled bamboo. Each pair purchased funds eye care for people in need.

Freaker USA– Listen. I love my Freakers. I have to drink an unbelievable amount of water as a pregnant woman and Freakers make it just that much more fun- however, I have found that Freakers probably appeal more to men than women? Maybe? I don’t know. Freakers are designed & manufactured in North Carolina. They are truly ONE-SIZE-FITS all bottle insulators- keeping your hands dry and your drinks cold. They literally fit on any container-a baby bottle, a sippy cup, a Nalgene, an alcoholic beverage (not for me though), a vase, a 40-oz of green tea- you name it, you can Freak it.

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide- GIFTS FOR MEN- Eco-Friendly and Socially Responsibly gifts!

Rustic Handmade– These tie clips are a beautiful gift for a special man in your life- and at the price point, they could even be a stocking stuffer! All tie clips are made of high quality recycled woods from custom furniture, and proudly made in the USA.

Imperial Barber Grade Products– My husband laughed out loud at me for featuring this company on the guide- he says that ‘real men are bearded men’. However, I know that the beardiness just doesn’t work for everyone, and so, I give you Imperial Grade Barber Products. The team behind IMPERIAL BARBER PRODUCTS USA has spent a combined 26 years in the Los Angeles and New York City barber culture. They embrace and support classic American men’s grooming with utilitarian products grounded in heritage and functionality because they use them every day in the field. All products are American made!

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide- GIFTS FOR MEN- Eco-Friendly and Socially Responsibly gifts!

Barnabas Clothing Company: A super-encouraging clothing line, best described straight from the company: “In a culture overrun with violent images and messages of settling for society’s standard of what is ‘normal’, we at BARNABAS want to say something different. We say: ‘Be bold and courageous!’ And we want to encourage anyone and everyone to be fearless in making choices that make a difference in their life as well as those around them. We think the best way to get that message out is to be examples of this message and be intentional about living our lives with purpose and action – to LIVE A LIFE WORTH IMITATING. So, BARNABAS is more than a brand or a logo — it’s an identity and lifestyle. The actual meaning of the name is “Son of Encouragement,” and here at BARNABAS we see our purpose as just that – To be people of encouragement in every aspect of our lives – with what we say, what we do and even with the clothes we wear. And with our intent to build a solid brand, we want to lead the charge of change by donating 10% of all our sales here at Barnabas Clothing to an organization that continues to inspire us: The Living Room International. Purchase a gift for yourself or someone else and you directly give a gift to those in Western Kenya, Africa!”

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide- GIFTS FOR MEN- Eco-Friendly and Socially Responsibly gifts!

Bamboo Skateboards– Bamboo Skateboards is an ecologically-based skateboard brand and manufacturer of high quality skateboards made from sustainable bamboo from managed forests. We are social entrepreneurs who believe that giving back to our communities is as equally important as profits. We service core shops, brands and individuals around the globe while providing a solidified partnership and unique experience with each. We have been a part of action sports and skateboarding our whole lives and now passionately hope to inspire others to take actionable steps towards our preserving our natural environment.

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide- GIFTS FOR MEN- Eco-Friendly and Socially Responsibly gifts!

Skyline Socks: Socks are one of the most vital and overlooked articles of clothing that people need. They are a basic necessity that everyone should have, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. A report done by TIME Magazine found that 1 in 50 children in America are homeless, and many more living below the poverty line need assistance with basic needs. Together we can put smiles on children’s faces in need by giving them a brand new pair of socks. We can make a difference by providing socks for those in need. We partner with non-profits across the country to donate to those most in need. Some of the examples of locations are, youth centers & underprivileged youth, hospitals, homeless centers, women’s centers & Title 1 Schools.

TOAST Tech Accessories– TOAST is founded on the simple idea of bringing clever solutions and natural materials to our hi-tech world. TOAST products are proudly made in Portland, Oregon. We use only renewable energy and donate one percent of our sales to environmental non-profits working to restore, protect and create a healthy planet. Phone covers, MacBook covers, really awesome!

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide- GIFTS FOR MEN- Eco-Friendly and Socially Responsibly gifts!

Pocket Square Clothing– Pocket Square Clothing takes pride in its domestic manufacturing and attention to detail. Using traditional techniques, everything is carefully handcrafted by some of the oldest remaining craftsmen in the heart of Los Angeles. Each piece comes with a narrative and fully handcrafted vintage inspired packaging. The brand follows the mantra that American made is better, and that quality and attention to detail is key.  Great finds for the dapper gent in your life. Knit ties, skinny ties, bow ties, pocket squares- it would be hard not to find something totally classy and lovable in this American-made collection.

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide: For the Ladies!

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide: For the Ladies! Eco-friendly and socially responsible gifts for all the women in your life.

Do you have a woman or two in your life that you just can’t figure out a gift for? Personally, I think men are the most difficult people to shop for- though any man will tell you that they are easy, and that it’s women that are the most difficult! Well, no matter what side you fall on, here’s a compilation of some of my favorite responsible, eco-friendly companies with gifts for the ladies! Get your gift list out and start crossing out names! (Don’t worry, men’s gifts are tomorrow!)

This post does contain affiliate links.  When you purchase through these links, there is no extra cost to you, but I do receive a small amount of commission, which allows me to keep writing! Many, many thanks for your support, friends 🙂

Julep Beauty Inc.

Julep Nail Products– No lie, I have Julep polish on my fingers right now, and it’s about all I’ve let myself use since I’ve been pregnant. Their ‘4-free’ formula gives you beautiful colors and long lasting finish without the nasty chemicals of many commercial polish brands. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a start. They have great gift sets, as well as a monthly subscription program. You can get your first month free when you use the code ‘FREEBOX’ 🙂

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Onzie Workout Gear– this is a bright, fun line of workout clothes (specifically bent towards yoga and pilates) that is 100% american made and designed. Many different styles and cuts, so you’re sure to find something perfect for the yogi in your life!

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Greenola Style Clothing and Accessories– This company was new to me this year, but I really appreciate their direction and transparency. The products range from very fashion-forward dresses and turban headbands to more traditional/ethnic jewelry. All of their products are designed in Chicago, but manufactured in cooperatives in Cochabamba, Bolivia and Nairobi, Kenya. All of the women in the coops are paid a true living wage, and most of them are women who would otherwise not have a voice or a way of bringing in income for their families.

Conscious Box– here’s another company that I featured last year as well, but it’s just a really great gift. There are so many product subscriptions out there, but this one seems to rise above. Each box contains a variety of different all-natural products, from food to beauty to health, each with a eco- or socially-conscious bend. buy one box or save when you buy a subscription!

karlie african proverb

Karlie Pickett Artwork– Karlie is a dear friend and creates unique, vibrant, fun art sold on Society6! The beauty of Society 6 is that you can select a piece of art you enjoy, and then decide what you want printed- a card, an iphone case, a wall hanging- it’s all in your hands! Karlie’s art is fun and carefree, and would brighten anyone’s day this holiday season. I particularly love the African proverb design above!

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Tan Can Co– This is actually a local company, but I figured it’s really geared more towards women so I’d put it here instead. My friends, Kelly and Mark, own Tan Can, and let me tell you- I am super pale, and sensitive to chemicals, and this stuff is the best. It smells amazing, looks natural, doesn’t streak, and could technically be certified organic if it wouldn’t cost them so much dang money! The ‘tan can challenge’ could be an especially useful gift for the sun-worshipper on your list.

maggies organics

Maggie’s Organics– I was first introduced to this company when they did a small giveaway at The Justice Conference this spring. I got a super soft pair of Maggie’s socks and I absolutely love them! From the company: “At Maggie’s Organics / Clean Clothes our mission is to produce and provide comfortable, durable, affordable and beautiful articles of apparel and accessories made from materials that restore, sustain and enhance the resources, including human, from which they are made.”

OilSingles

DoTERRA’s Family Physician Kit- for the woman who likes to take charge of her family’s health, I can’t think of a better gift. The kit, a collection of 10 essential oils, is designed to help treat anything that you would normally treat with an over-the-counter medication, but with essential oils instead. In addition, each oil has a variety of uses, from cleaning to cooking to weight loss to cancer prevention. This is an amazingly empowering gift set, and any women would be lucky to own it! Please contact me to order, or shop online here.

LUSHLUSH Handmade Cosmetics– Full disclosure, I used to work for LUSH, but they will always make it onto my gift guide because of how awesome the company is and how amazingly fun the products are. My job at LUSH is arguably what gave me my start in learning about herbs and oils, and bent me towards an appreciation for all things natural. They use well-sourced ingredients, minimal packaging, and strive to make their products as natural as possible. There are even some that have specific charity proceeds. Every product they make is to die for- if you have any questions, let me know, I am still pretty well versed!

lgh vibrant

Light Gives Heat– though the organization is going through a transition phase right now, Light Gives Heat continues to make beautiful products and benefit the women of Uganda that are making them. Many of their products are on sale right now as they begin to transition, so hurry and grab them while you can!

Great Places To Shop:

Mighty Nest– This is absolutely my new favorite go-to place to find fun things for my home (and for me)! Not only do they have an excellent selection of kid’s toys and baby things, but they specialize in green living items for the kitchen and home. I was just gifted with soem of their double-walled porcelain coffee tumblers and some glass food storage containers, and I can’t say enough about them!

Roozt- you’ll find many companies featured in this year’s gift guides also for sale at Roozt. This is a great outlet site for organizations and conscious brands to get their names and products out to consumers- and for consumers to score them for less. You can search based on “humanitarian gifts”, “eco-friendly gifts”, and more! Anything from body products to jewelry to belts to tees.

PS. I Adore You– This site partners with artists to bring in high-quality products at discounted prices, in the name of fighting childhood cancer.  They often feature popular Etsy sellers and hard-to-find products!

Brickyard Buffalo– Similar to PS I Adore You, this site rotates in products regularly and offers them at discounted prices. they feature everything from instant art downloads to pretty jewelry to hair extensions! I have seen very popular artists be featured on the Buff- it’s a site I check daily!

Dayspring– This is an impressively curated collection of inspirational books and gifts.  Great for a grandmother, Sunday school teacher, pastor’s wife, professor, etc.  Really beautiful products!

Zulily– This site rotates in products each week, but you can’t beat the deals! They always have a great selection of women’s clothing and jewelry at discounted prices, in addition to nice home and gift items. Great for men and children, too!

Etsy– This is a no brainer! Girls love jewelry, and no matter what her style, you can find something beautiful on Etsy. The great thing about Etsy is that it connects you directly to artisans- there isn’t any greed-crazed corporate middle man to deal with, just you and the creator. Now, in terms of materials or ingredient sourcing, you’ll have to investigate each shop to make sure that they fit your responsibility standards.

The FEED ME MAMA Gift Guide: Babies and Children

babies and kids guide

When it comes to gift giving, selecting a gift for a baby or child can be particularly overwhelming. Given that the holiday is geared towards buying toys (read: junk) for kids, there seems to be an endless array of choices- that is, unless you decide to try to shop responsibly! Thankfully, there are a number of wonderful companies who are dedicating their work to creating quality products for babies and children that make beautiful holiday gifts. Here’s a few of my favorites!

This post does contain affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, there is no extra cost to you, but I do receive a small amount of commission, which allows me to keep writing! Many, many thanks for your support, friends 🙂

Vulli Toys– I got my nephew, Miles, a Sophie the Giraffe toy last Christmas, and he absolutely loved it! Moms all over the world are raving about Sophie and other Vulli toys. Made out of naturally sourced, nontoxic rubber, Vulli’s teethers and toys are specifically designed to be the perfect toy for baby- visually appealing, with a distinct smell and texture, and easy to grasp. They even make Sophie in a keychain for emergency situations!

Rainbow-04

Crunchy Mama Happy Baby– I came across this company by chance while surfing Etsy and I totally fell in love with it! Diedre handmakes beautiful teething pad strap covers for baby carriers- so much more awesome than the ones you’d buy from a box store (and free from the undoubtedly nasty chemicals you’d find in those store ones, too!). I am personally obsessed with the earth rainbow style- but there is one to fit everyone’s personal aesthetic 🙂 Can’t wait to get a set of these on my Ergo when baby girl comes!

umislinglogo

Umi Sling– This is without a doubt one of my new favorite companies! Umi Sling operates under a ‘one-for-one’ program- whenever you buy a sling for yourself or a loved one, another sling is sewn and sent to Papua New Guinea, where many children are malnourished because they are left at home during the day while their mothers work. When the mothers are provided with a sling, they can then carry their children (and, thus, feed them) while they work, which is significantly changing the health of the community!  Umi Slings are well-made, durable, single-layer ring slings made with the highest quality fabrics. I especially love their Batik line, made with fabric sourced from Ghana! Adriel, who works with the women in Papua New Guinea, writes, “Athough leaving a supply of baby slings will not “solve” the problems in Bamio, it’s a practical, achievable part of the approach we can take in educating and equipping these dear women (and their husbands) in regards to the importance of maternal availability during the newborn and infant stages.” I love this honest approach to their work- aware that they may not be solving a long-term problem, but they can provide a short-term solution in the meantime.

Fair Indigo: Joobles Line– What little kid doesn’t love stuffed animals? These are not only adorable, but they are hand-knitted in a Peruvian co-op out of sustainably-sourced yarn and dyed with certified baby-safe dyes. Proceeds from the sale of these little cuties go towards educational opportunities in Peru as well! They make the perfect special gift for your favorite little one. I especially love Racky the Raccooon! Fair Indigo is actually a much larger company, with great selections of clothing for men and women, as well as accessories. Their Joobles line is their baby-and-child specific selections.

two little fish

Two Little Fish Bedding– This new company is creating beautiful crib sets, wet bags, and other linens through a women’s cooperative in Ghana! Purchases from Two Little Fish then help to send mattresses to orphans in South Africa.  The best part: Two Little Fish is offering 10% off of crib sets to Feed Me, Mama readers when you use the code ‘FEEDMEMAMA’ 🙂

bee co diapers

The Little Bee Co. Diapers– Adorable cloth diapers. Another ‘one-for-one’ type company that gives a diaper to an orphaned babe for every one you purchase. From their site: “Orphans, especially those in 3rd world countries, often do not have proper diapering available. A large number of orphanages use split pants, rags or often times no diaper at all. These precious babies find themselves in unhealthy and unsanitary conditions that cause an already bad situation to be far worse. The diapers shipped to each orphan enable a healthier diapering system and a comfort they may otherwise never receive.”  Each color diaper represents a different country they work in. Christian owned, really great company!

Re:Play Dishes– These bright recycled dish sets are made locally in South Florida.  Re:play takes old milk jugs and other plastics and uses them to create their fun, playful dishes. An added bonus: they faithfully employ adults with developmental disabilities to make their products! I received some of their line at my baby shower and I can’t wait for my little girl to be big enough to use them!

Grimm’s Spiel und Holz Design– Awesome, very cool baby toys, such as blocks and stacking sets. The wood used for Grimm’s production is sourced from sustainably managed forests in Europe and includes alder, lime, beech and maple. The wood is cut into the forms then coated with natural oil. If the product is colored, the wood is then stain with certified non toxic, water-based colors.

Kate Quinn Organics– these baby and child clothes are absolutely stunning, and they are made with 100% organic cotton, and natural dyes! We have graciously received several outfits from Kate Quinn and I can’t speak highly enough about their quality- her pieces truly put box store clothing to shame. It’s a little higher price point, but well worth it, IMO.

Tegu Playsets– Given my personal affinity for wooden toys, I absolutely love these beautiful block and toy sets! In 2006, Tegu co-founder Chris Haughey returned from Honduras with a vision to create a for-profit business that would have a transforming effect on the lives of Hondurans. Four years later, not only has Tegu electrified the toy market with the introduction of its magnetic wooden blocks, but, in doing so, Chris and his brother Will have delivered on their commitment to make a lasting difference in Honduras and to its economy. The name is derived from Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, where Tegu block sets are manufactured. Tegu works with local Honduran cooperatives who individually hand pick each mature tree for use. These cooperatives are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and their process facilitates the forest’s natural regeneration cycle. Additionally, they have partnered with local communities to support reforestation, donating a portion of revenue to replanting efforts when Tegu blocks are sold.

Apple Park is another one of my personal favorites. While they do have some more developed toys in their line, I think their shining stars are their organic lovies and stuffed animals. They are so cute, soft, and make the perfect companion for babe- especially useful as a little friend for helping them soothe themselves to sleep. We have one of their loves for our little girl, and I can’t wait to see her snuggle with it!

Eco-Kids Art and Craft Supplies– My absolute favorite thing to do with kids is arts and rafts/ Maybe it’s because I’m not all that artistic, and I feel better about myself, but I feel like every child enjoys a good, fun art session! However, commercially-made art supplies are terrifying in their ingredients. Enter Eco-Kids: beautiful, totally safe art and craft supplies for your little Picassos! Colors are made with food sources, and they even have gluten free modeling dough– perfect if you have high sensitivities or hungry crafters 🙂