Cool, Unconventional Valentine’s Day Gifts

Sick of getting your sweetheart that coupon book for massages and movie nights? Or that ridiculous heart-shaped box of candy that she never eats (she’s off sugar, you idiot)?

We’re here to help!

Here are some unconventional gifts that are sure to wow your valentine:

Encourage her to relax and rejuvenate with Olivina Napa Valley Bubble Bath, $22.

Honeysuckle Rose

The Dr. Hauschka Aromatherapy Bath Kit will awaken her senses and make her feel luxurious, $19.95.

If she’s a traveler, how about one of these adorable La Jolla cosmetic bags by Lapin Vilardi?

La Jolla Travel and Cosmetics Bags

Get her back to her roots with Potting Shed Scatter Gardens or Rice Hull Gardens, $11-12.75.

If all else fails, you can always fill these awesome single bud vases from Chive Nature with flowers:

Shop Green This Holiday Season

If you ask most Americans, the holidays are a time when friends and family get together to enjoy meals and exchange presents. Black Friday is the official start of holiday shopping season, but this year we encourage you to do something different–shop green! Shopping green can take a variety of forms, so we’ve listed some of our favorite ways to green your holiday season:

  • Buy local - When you spend money locally, a larger portion of this cash stays close to home. Hit your local farmers market for gourmet foods, handmade crafts, art and more! Also, shopping at any non-chain does the trick too!
  • Avoid toys with PVC and other toxic chemicals – Check all packaging to ensure toys are safe. We have a variety of child-safe toys and products to choose from at Charleston Naturally.
  • Say no to wrapping paper - Get creative and use old materials and turn them into a beautifully packaged gift. If you’re not the artsy type, reuse old wrapping paper, boxes or bags.

    Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Recycle, recycle, recycle – Avoid disposable cutlery and plates and make use of reusable materials at holiday parties. Don’t forget to recycle all packaging and wrap.
  • Donate as a gift- Make a donation in someone’s name or to their favorite charity. This is a great option for the person that has everything.
  • Replace holiday cards with e-cards, tree-free cards or cards made from recycled materials.
  • Shop thrifty and upcycle - One man’s (or woman’s) trash is another person’s treasure, and this holds true for holidays. Thrift stores often carry gently used items. Plus, you can upcycle old items into something new and different!
  • Don’t forget reusable bags
  • Shop online - Shopping online can cut down on transportation costs and materials because home delivery is more efficient than shipping to individual stores.
  • Green your holiday travel - Check out our article on green travel for some tips that apply year round.

2011 Organic Gift Guide

Are you looking to treat some of your loved ones this holiday season? Well, we’ve got you covered with organic gifts that will satisfy anyone–even the ones that are tough to buy for.

For the Gardener: Herb Markers

For the Globe-Trotter: Coco Walk Travel and Cosmetic Bags

Coco Walk Travel and Cosmetics Bags

For the Entertainer: Fig Kitchen Towels

For the Sun-Obsessed: Fake Bake Self-Tanning Airbrush Spray

For the Fur Babies: West Paw Barn Mouse Toy or West Paw Tux Dog Toy

West Paw Barn MouseWest Paw Tux Dog Toy

For more gift ideas, check out Charleston Naturally’s gifts page.

Pick of the Week: Lapin Villardi Breast Cancer Awareness Travel Bags

Hey Ladies! It’s that time of year again! October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and what better way to stay organized and fashionable than supporting a good cause with Lapin Villardi’s travel bags?

Perfect for traveling, these two bags protect your valuable items and support a good cause at the same time. A portion of the proceeds of these bags goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

With two sizes available, everything from clothes to earrings will remain safe and in place during your travels. Both bags are made of ultrasoft cotton and sport a pink and cream floral cotton exterior. Use the Lingerie Bag ($38; 12″ wide, 10″ deep when closed) to store larger items such as clothes, scarves and socks. The Lingerie Bag has two zippered pockets and comes in a decorative box. The Jewelry bag ($50; 9″ wide, 15″ long when open) can be used for smaller items such as toiletries and jewelry. The Jewelry bag features three zipper pockets with dividers and a large interior packet.

Pick of the Week: Pop Top Zippered Clutch

Ladies, we can never have enough bags! Why not make your next one an ec0-friendly model? We just got in a stylish  Pop Top Zippered Clutch from  Two’s Company.

The Pop Top Zippered Clutch ($15) is made from soda pop tops that have been repurposed and sewn into a cute 5.5 x 9 inch bag. The clutch comes in various colors, like blue, green, orange, purple, pink or teal. This versatile bag can be used to store your make-up for an upcoming summer vacation, collect change or as a small purse (comes with a wrist strap). It also makes a great gift!

What would you put in your Pop Top Zippered Clutch?

The Art of Gift-Giving

Organic Gift - fabric gift wrap

The art of gift-giving is a delicate one. Gift-giving helps define your association and bonds to other people. It also strengthens relationships. The history of gift-giving is as long as civilization itself. In ancient cultures, people gave gifts to their tribal leaders to show loyalty and affection. They tried to fashion unique gifts from natural materials such as bark, wood, and reeds. So, the first gifts were organic gifts!

A well-chosen present is a thoughtful expression of appreciation and affection. Think about some of the best gifts you have ever received. They are usually things you would never have bought for yourself, or something that utterly surprised you, or something that evoked memories of an earlier time.

Being a good gift-giver is more about your attitude and how much attention you are paying to those around you than anything else. If you see buying presents for other people as a chore or an unpleasant task, then you probably won’t be very good at it. If, however, you see it as a chance to demonstrate your caring and fondness for someone, then you are starting from the correct place.

The biggest thing you must do is resist the temptation to buy for yourself. You are trying to fulfill your recipient’s desires, not your own. This is not the opportunity to point out all the ways the recipient’s life is lacking or to try to improve them. You are not trying to force your value system onto the recipient.

Organic gifts are a perfect example of this. Some people shy away from giving organic gifts because they fear it will make too much of a statement and insult the recipient. But the fact is that you can find tons of organic gifts that are just great to have and would be pleasing to a recipient—whether they embrace an organic lifestyle or not.

By contrast, those who are invested in an organic lifestyle have reported that they have received gifts that were not organic. To them, this demonstrated either a lack of awareness and attentiveness on the part of the giver, or an unwillingness to purchase what the recipient would want.

Organic gifts are easy to give and easy to incorporate into what the recipient deeply desires. Organic products are widely available now. It’s easier than ever before to find organic products, which would be appropriate as presents.

If you are giving organic gifts to someone who does not share your passion for organic living, simply give them something you know they would want—organic or not. When you present the gift, do not make mention of its organic feature. Merely give the gift and let the recipient discover on her own that their beloved item is indeed organic. Let it be a bonus.

Share your gift-giving tips in our comments section.

Did you find this post helpful? You may also enjoy:

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Gift Ideas for the Organic & Green Lifestyle

If you are looking for organic gifts, then you are in luck. There are more organic gifts available now than any other time. You can find quality organic companies, committed to environmental consciousness. If you have dedicated yourself to living a more green lifestyle, then organic gifts should be part of your routine. Once you get into the habit of buying organic gifts, it will get easier to continue doing so for everyone on your list.

If you’re committed to giving organic gifts for all the gift giving occasions you encounter, then it makes sense to go ahead and get acquainted with companies who provide organic products worthy of gift giving. You want to seek out a plethora of products because you want to honor your recipient’s preferences. You may need to buy for a sports enthusiast or for a young mother.

Organic gifts can be purchased ahead of time and stored until you are ready to for your gift-giving occasion. You will enjoy the look on your loved one face when they peel back the wrapping and see the carefully selected organic gift you have for them. Gifts show our affection for others and express our feelings of fondness and care.

Some companies have begun giving organic gifts to valued customers and employees. Many organizations and corporations have grown environmentally conscious and aware. Organic gifts are seen as the gift that gives back.

Finding organic gifts is not difficult to do. Once you have decided the type of gift your recipient would cherish, try to find the item from a company committed to producing and selling organic products. A quick internet search will likely yield many options in organic products regardless of what you had in mind for your loved one or friend.

When you give organic gifts, you know you are giving something that is not only good for the environment, but for the recipient as well. In fact, many organic products contain ingredients that are actually beneficial to the recipient. Many organic products have ingredients with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are the gift that keeps on giving. Giving organic gifts makes you feel good because you are doing something good for everyone involved.

Whether the occasion is a birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day or Christmas, there are organic gifts to suit your needs. Show you care by buying organic gifts for the ones you love the most. You will be glad that you did and so will they.

3 Untraditional Wrapping Ideas for Wedding Shower Gifts

As the weather warms, the flowers bloom, and spring sets in, more and more wedding showers seem to pop up in your planner. And, most likely, you follow the same routine: consult the engaged couple’s wedding registry, purchase one of the products, and have it gift-wrapped by the store. Done.

But how do you add a personal flair to your gift—something that will make your gift stand apart from the rest of the piled-high Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware gifts that are wrapped in the same exact paper?

Here are three untraditional wrapping ideas sure to make your gift stand out from the uniform cluster of wedding shower gifts:

1. Recyclable Paper: For an eco-stylish appeal, dress your wedding shower gift in any type of recyclable paper such as newspaper or a brown bag, and then spice it up with a colorful grosgrain or silk ribbon. You can also use a white cord ribbon around the box, and attach a bundle of dried lavender to the ribbon. This adds a pop of color and a hint of delightful aroma to your gift, while staying in line with the gift’s nature-inspired wrapping.

If you want to attach a kitchenware item to your ribbon, you can do a set of salad tossers. We suggest the Core Bamboo Salad Hands, which act as extensions of fingers to ensure a controlled toss without the mess traditional salad tossers make. Not only are these salad hands the perfect accent to a salad, but they’re also the perfect accent to your wedding shower eco gift.

Salad Hands

2. Stylish Tote: Place your gift in a classic tote bag with plenty of tissue paper. The great feature about this wrapping is the bride-to-be can use it for future trips to the beach, picnics, tennis workouts, and more. Using a tote to hold your gift is also an excellent way to add color to your gift. Try purchasing a tote in the bride-to-be’s favorite color for an extra personal touch.

We love the RockFlowerPaper Pocket Totes for their unique designs, bright colors, and durability. These stylish totes can take the soon-to-be bride just about anywhere – the garden, the beach, or the gym.  Just about anywhere.

3. Decorative Box / Basket / Bowl: Use a bowl-shaped woven basket, a rustic wooden basket, or, depending on how large your gift is, a wide flower vase to hold your wedding shower gift. To hold your items within the box / basket / bowl, purchase clear wrapping and ribbon to wrap and secure the products.

We love the Recycled Magazine Bowls by Two’s Company for their eco-chic design, hints of color, classic shape, and diversity—not to mention this basket can be used again for holding fruit, makeup supplies, or anything else you can think of.

Spring Showers: 5 Perfect Gifts for the Mommy-to-Be

Spring ushers in more than rain showers. For the numerous baby showers held in  April,  May and June Charleston Naturally has put together a hand-selected collection of our favorite baby shower gifts. Whether you’re looking for gifts for baby or the expectant mother, we’ve got you covered.

Here is a list of our top 5 spring shower gifts:

  • The Erbaviva Organic Mommy Travel Kit is the go-to organic baby gift for expectant mothers. The reusable bag arrives complete with everything from Erbaviva’s best-selling stretch mark cream and oil to nausea-soothing lip balm to luxurious milk baths. The mommy-to-be can be comfortable wherever she goes.
  • Thoughtful touches, such as cuffs that fold over to create mittens and an elastic bottom for convenient diaper changes, make Beba Bean’s Bamboo Kimono Sacque the fashionable must-have baby clothing item. Plus, moms love that bamboo is naturally antibacterial, UV protective, and insulated. Ideal for protecting delicate newborn skin.

    Bamboo Sacque

    Bamboo Sacque

  • 3 Sprouts Organic Hooded Towels are designed for the eco-chic mom and baby. The adorable organic cotton knit towels allows mom to swaddle baby with warmth after a bath or dip in the pool. Available in a selection of five cuddly animals and packaged in red grosgrain ribbon, these cozy, organic certified baby towels are a perfect no-hassle baby shower gift for a mommy-to-be.

    3 Sprouts Organic Hooded Towel

    3 Sprouts Organic Hooded Towel

  • Erbaviva Baby Wash Bag is perfect for new moms nervous about baby’s first bath. The unbleached, soap-free sachets are filled with herbal ingredients. Simply drop the aromatic bag into the tub and gently rub on baby’s skin. The Erbaviva Baby Wash Bags clean without drying to maintain the necessary oils important for good hydration, while leaving baby clean and fresh.

    Cuski Boo Baby Comforter

    Cuski Boo Baby Comforter

  • Cuski Boo Baby Comforter is a must-have for the first days home from the hospital. Ultra absorbent, antibacterial, eco-friendly, and biodegradable, the bamboo woven comforter holds crucial mommy and baby scents which soothe baby and aid bonding. Best of all, the Cuski Boo Baby Comforter’s scents help to bring on mommy’s milk flow, making breast-feeding easier.

Are you invited to a baby shower?  Shop now and we guarantee yours will be mommy-to-be’s most cherished gift.

Charleston Naturally—Perfect Housewarming Gifts

Moving into a new abode is a huge undertaking. There are heavy boxes, packing and unpacking, and moving trucks to contend with. The process can be an emotional and physical strain.

Having gone through the sweat and tears of several major moves myself, I understand the importance of transforming a foreign space into your own. From an antique oriental rug in the dining room to your favorite painting above the mantel, personal touches are what transform a house into a home.

When offering a housewarming gift to celebrate the move of a family member, congratulate a friend, or welcome a new neighbor, I look for thoughtful items tailored to the moving party’s situation. Here are my never-fail housewarming gifts:

  • Honor Ancient Traditions –  To find a cricket on the hearth has been a sign of household luck for thousands of years. And the idea is prevalent in every corner of the world.  From Native American tribes to the Far East and in Europe, crickets are believed to bring good luck and to serve as a watch for danger.  A Hearth Cricket makes a thoughtful housewarming gift.

Hearth Cricket

  • Comfort with Comfort Food—Bring over a friend’s favorite dish while it’s still hot and fragrant. Not only will it provide a tasty treat, but the familiar scent of fresh-out-of-the-oven red velvet cupcakes or homemade lasagna is a fast way to warm up any space.
  • Neighborhood Flavor—When welcoming a family new to the area, give something that incorporates the local culture, such as Achla Designs Pineapple Bird Feeder in a region known for its wildlife.

    Pineapple Birdfeede

  • Flourish with Flowers—DIY gardens, such as organic seed gifts, Bloembox Habitat Gardens and Potting Shed Garden-in-a-Bag, allow a family to quickly and easily transform their new dwelling into a place of beauty. Planting flora is a fun activity that allows the family to begin a new while simultaneously improving their yard. Everyone on the block will thank you!

Potting Shed Organic Flower Seed Gift

  • Locals Only—Even a move across town can feel like it requires a passport. Help your friend out by getting to know the area for her. Scope out the nail salon and cafés in her new neighborhood. A gift certificate to these places will encourage her to explore the local haunts. Note: when giving a manicure gift certificate, toss a few dollars of cash in for the tip. It’s a small step that makes the gift extremely thoughtful.

Certified Organic Bamboo Mini Me Outside-In Bowl

  • Felicitations!—Nothing is more welcoming than a handwritten “congratulations” on your favorite stationary.

What is your favorite housewarming gift? Drop us a comment and let us know.