December 11, 2014

luscious gift guide

When the holidays are nearing, the last thing I want to do is run around like a crazy person to decorate, buy gifts and cook huge dinners.  I really love just focusing on spending precious time with people, enjoying a simple meal together, playing games or going for walks.

But  I do love giving gifts when it’s serendipitous, synchronistic and stress-free. And I know there’s a lot of people who absolutely adore the holidays and giving gifts to loved ones.

So whether or not we buy gifts in December or at another time, here’s a reference for beautiful items that are made by companies who are either owned by women (starred below), run ethically or exquisite and thoughtful. I love supporting businesses that ‘do the right thing’ and whose mission is aligned with ours.

Each section is categorized with a certain type of person in mind that you might be giving a gift to: creatives, busy people, kids, health-conscious, gluten-free, vegan, high fashion, etc.

flora bowley books


I love the way artist Flora Bowley teaches her students (primarly people who are not professional artists), encouraging them to be brave, intuitive painters and dissolve their inner critics through painting. Flora is super prolific with her painting and paired up with Papaya to create some gorgeous little notebooks. They’re the perfect size to slip into a purse or bag for jotting down notes or ideas.

You can buy them individually or in a set of four – they look even more luscious in person than online and make sweet little gifts. You’ll see that besides the notebooks, Flora offers quite a few other lifestyle goodies.



I live in Phoenix and I am always gifted with a membership to the Desert Botanical Garden and I love it! It’s my favorite place to visit in the entire Phoenician valley – it’s relaxing and fun! Walking around gorgeous plants brings out people’s playful, peaceful side.

No matter where you or your loved one lives in the world, consider a membership to the nearest botanical garden. It encourages  them to spend more time in nature, which relieves stress, increases vitality and joie de vivre.

Here’s a list of all the botanical gardens by state in the U.S, the top 10 most beautiful gardens in the U.S. and the most beautiful gardens in the world.  The best thing? Most memberships have a reciprocal relationship with other gardens around the country,  offering free or discounted entries.

no more diry looks


I read the book, No More Dirty Looks, a few years ago and decided that I should buy it for every girlfriend, mother, sister-friend, etc.  It’s an easy, but super informative read – the kind that has at the power to change habits and prevent cancer or birth defects. I later met the authors of the book, Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt, who now run a popular green beauty blog titled after their book.

Siobhan told me that part of their book-writing process involved distilling their instant messaging notes to each other (Siobhan lives in NY, her best friend Alexandra lives in LA), as they were doing research: “Can you believe …?” When you read the book, you definitely feel like one of your girlfriends wrote it for you – and it has the power to improve lives.

citrine beauty bar


If you live in Phoenix, you’ve got to check out Citrine Beauty at the Biltmore. They have the best organic and natural skin care, body care, perfumes, make up and more. Their customer service is excellent and the girls are happy to help you – everything from trying  a new eyeshadow color to how to transition your beauty regimen to all natural. If you don’t live in Phoenix, no worries, they also sell goodies online and will help you over the phone.

essentialism statement


For someone who is extremely busy, the Essentialism Audio Book on CD is perfect for listening to in the car. I work so much that I don’t have much time for reading books, but I am in my car daily to go to the office, run errands or go grocery shopping.

In order to make the most of that time, I listened to Essentialism – as in what’s absolutely essential in life … and what’s not. This book (cd) has helped me figure out the best way to prioritize the things that matter most to me in both business and personal life.

wildcraft yes


When I found out about the Wildcraft Board Game last year, I bought it right away. There’s a six-year-old in my house, so I got it for her. Everyone in the house has played together several times. A cooperative (not competitive) board game for kids, it teaches the basics about herbal remedies, which ailments they heal and how to play cooperatively.

This year the family that invented this board game give away a video/recipe for how to make herbal root beer – yum! And they also have a program for older kids called Herb Fairies, along with an Herbal Remedies Kit for all ages. I love the work they’re doing – it’s important for kids and adults to learn to make healing remedies from plants for their families and communities – very empowering.

wei of chocolate


I truly believe that Wei of Chocolate is the best chocolate in the world. Why? It’s designed by Lisa Reinhardt, who spent over a decade in Asia studying with some of the greatest meditation masters of all time. Her intention was to create a means for people to practice meditation and mindful-awareness by eating chocolate. Hello, yes.

There are only 2 grams of organic cane sugar in each piece. I am super sensitive to sugar, but I can eat as many pieces as I want in one sitting and I always feel good. It’s an empowering, guilt-free and meditative chocolate. Rumor has it, there are some pretty special flower remedies infused into her chocolate too (wink, wink), along with Ayurvedic and Chinese tonic herbs.

It’s dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, so anyone with food sensitivities can eat it – and it’s incredibly delicious with flavors like Chai, Lavender, Himalayan Pink Salt, Chili, Peppermint and cacao profiles that range from 68-85%. There’s even a ‘sleep chocolate’ called Wei Relaxed.

It’s the most nourishing, feel-good, healthy chocolate in the world in 3-minute break-size pieces. And we even created a chocolate meditation to go with them! Challenge your friends and family to do a one-month challenge: daily chocolate meditation for 3-5 minutes.

granola bars


I discovered a banana chocolate chip muffin at a local coffeeshop – I’m not one to buy pastries ever – especially as I try to avoid gluten and sweets. One day I was intrigued – omg, these muffins are like crack – seriously – so good I didn’t care if they were gluten-free or not. And then after the fifth muffin I found out they are gluten-free!

I researched the baker and found that she also sells Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies! And Gluten-Free, Organic Granola Bars. So if you, a friend or family member are gluten-free but still occasionally have a hankering for treats, check out Pistol-Whipped here – she ships all over the U.S.



Founded by a friend of mine, Ellie Whalen, Sprayology makes super effective and easy-to-use homeopathic remedies.
I had taken homeopathy in the past without very noticeable or tangible results (except in India where it practically saved my life). But the in the U.S. with the remedies I had tried – I just wasn’t sure if they were ‘doing’ anything. With Ellies remedies, however, I notice a difference.
Sprayology offers a way to balance and revitalize the body without popping pills. Instead, spray a homeopathic remedy in your mouth. There are 23 homeopathic remedies to choose from and two liquid vitamin sprays (which are super yummy) – check them all out here.
wisdom nectar tea


If you know anyone who drinks tea, head on over to Wisdom Nectar Tea. Hand-blended by the owners of Wisdom Nectar Tea, only certified organic teas and herbs go into these healthful magical potions. Turns out most non-organic tea is full of pesticides! So organic is really important. And tea from tea bags is about 10% of the healing power of whole herbs – sorta like the difference between fresh-squeezed orange juice and oj from concentrate.

There are nine different blends of tea. My favorite is Nourishing, because it makes a mineral and vitamin-rich tea. Lunar Grace is lovely because it’s chocolate-y and subtly sweet from the licorice. The Chai Garam is great for making big batch for the holidays for family.

collette malouf


Earlier this year, we did a giveaway with Colette Malouf. I met Colette several years ago when I was giving a talk at Clodagh’s design studio in Manhattan and we’ve been friends ever since. Colette is an iconic designer for hair accessories which, by the way is HUGE in Japan. Colette has a raging business in Japan and every high-end department store I went into in Tokyo, there was a big CM counter!

Who would have ever thought that hair accessories make such a difference in how pulled together you feel? Maybe it’s from years of watching Asian movies – admiring the jade hair pins and Japanese adorned hairsticks. I used to wear kid-sized chopsticks in my hair, and that did the trick, but now when I want to take it up a notch, I go to my small but exquisite collection of Colette Malouf.

Even if you don’t shop for anything, watch her hairstyling videos – I never tire of watching them.

down jacket tibetan prayer wheel


I like to buy from companies that are small, ethical, privately-held, b-corps, or run by entrepreneurs that I personally know and love. And I especially love buying from women-owned companies. But I make an exception with this company, because they make amazing down jackets and vests for cold weather. And it’s a great gift for men who are hard to buy for.

I grew up in the Midwest and I remember the super-ultra-bulky (and not very warm) winter jackets that we used to wear. I don’t like being cold and moved south when I could. Now the latest technology from mountain climber gear has hit the mainstream – in the form of down jackets & vests.

I live in Phoenix now, but the desert gets pretty cold at night. Down is the perfect solution, because it also doesn’t get too hot – I wear it all winter long. Keep your loved ones warm.

kabuki spa


If you know someone who lives near or travels to Santa Fe or San Francisco and is in need of a little self-care, get them a day pass or any spa treatment from one of my favorite locations: Kabuki Springs & Spa in San Francisco, Osmosis Day Spa (try the Cedar Enzyme Baths) and Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe.

A total nourishing treat that involves various kinds of saunas, hot tubs and Asian spa treatments … you can’t go wrong with any of these locations (exquisite!) – Kabuki Spa is featured in the photo above.

rancho la puerta


If you or someone you know would love an absolute getaway for a digital detox or retreat, but wouldn’t want to give up their fitness routine or healthy eating plan, head to Rancho La Puerta. Stay from 3 days to a whole week in an all-inclusive stay – guests get picked up from the airport in San Diego and get driven across the border into Mexico to Rancho La Puerta.

One of the first true wellness destinations of North America since the 1940’s, ‘the Ranch’ offers fresh meals from vegetables grown in their organic gardens and classes in everything from cooking to fitness to sculpting to handwriting analysis. What I love most about the Ranch is the incredibly lush gardens and landscaping. You could be walking though their 3000 acres of property, feeling like you’re the only one there. The hiking is amazing and the hot tubs and hammocks sprinkled across the property are divine – perfect for some “doing nothing” time off the grid.

vana wellness


If you know any world-travelers who love wellness retreats, this is the ultimate journey. Based in Dehradun, India, a quick flight from New Delhi, Vana Retreats opened its doors earlier this year, offering exquisite, customized wellness retreats.

To give you an idea of the quality of therapies offered, here are are few examples: Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping) Tibetan healing arts, Panchakarma, Yoga, Meditation, Massage, Aqua therapies and Raag (music) therapy.

The founder of Vana Retreats, Veer Singh, is uncompromising in terms of quality of every detail, from the expert practitioners to the mindful cuisine made with local food. For those who would love an international adventure paired with a deeply inspiring bespoke experience, Vana is a divine voyage into self-awareness.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays!

Love & flower petals,


AUTHOR: LOTUSWEI CATEGORIES: adoration, yummy treats



Thanks very much for this post! I found out about some interesting products, and am very intrigued by Sprayology.



You’re so welcome, Shandi! Sprayology is good stuff. ; )


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