Gifts That Give Back 2018

Each year I put together a meaningful holiday shopping guide especially for you. These are gifts that are tied to causes and help people around the world not only during the season of celebration, but all through the year.

So get your holiday shopping off to a great start with these gifts that give back.

Layered Cuffs 

These Kayan style solid brass hammered cuffs are made by refugee designers by hammering brass into a carved buffalo horn mold, which gives them their unique size, shape and textured quality. The founder of the jewelry site Akamae, Cara Boccieri lives and works with refugee communities in the Jungle on the Thailand Burma border.

Oofos Sandal

These are my favorite slippers to wear around the house and to run errands in. Revolutionary OOfoam technology absorbs impact to reduce stress on feet and joints and provides great support for arches. For every pair of shoes sold OOFOS donates 3% directly to breast cancer research.

Rise & Grind Crew Pullover

Can’t beat the soft comfortable fabric on a cold winter day. This rise and grind crew pullover didn’t even make it to my closet as I keep it on all day long!  United By Blue is a sustainable apparel and lifestyle brand with a big focus on waterway conservation. For every product sold, they remove a pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways. 

Give Thanks Charm

The delicately sculpted sterling silver charm with a message of thanks is a must for charm collectors. Chamilia, a Swarovski company supports WhyHunger, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ending hunger and poverty by connecting people in need to nutritious, affordable food through its “Give With All Your Heart” program.

 

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle

These cute water bottles are portable filtration systems perfect for camping, traveling or even school. New Go 2-Stage Special Edition bottles support public lands alongside the Conservation Alliance and also natural disaster victims through the Safe Water Fund. With every LifeStraw product purchase, one child in a community in need is provided with safe drinking water for an entire school year.

Fringe Basket

Moms will find this artisanal machine washable basket a fun place to store away toys, clothes and magazines. Portion of Lorena Canals’ proceeds helps finance the education of children in Northern India and make lives easier for moms in the community where their products are made. Recent projects include a nursery for 104 street kids in the state of Haryana in India.

Elephant Tote

Passion Lilie, eco-friendly, fair trade apparel company based in New Orleans, LA designed this beautiful elephant cotton tote using eco-friendly materials. Use it for groceries, gym or travel. Purchasing the product empowers artisans in India by creating dignified employment opportunities.

Artisana Arrow Blanket

From the first moment I spread this blanket, not only did it brighten up my living room, my cat did not leave the comfort of its warm and soft alpaca wool. The vibrant colors and artistic pattern remind you of the Andes. Each purchase helps support the weavers and craftsmen and their families in Ecuador.

Soul of Africa Canvas Shoes

Global barefoot shoe company VIVOBAREFOOT, in collaboration with Belgian co-creation brand Akaso, created Soul of Africa Ababa shoes for men and women, showcasing a unique body-painting art of Kara people in Ethiopia. The Kara tribe is one of Africa’s most authentic tribes known for their abstract body painting. This initiative provides local employment and training in Africa. It’s estimated that one fully finished product made in Africa creates five jobs along the supply chain.

LALF Limited Edition Tee

Having recently visited The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) in Nairobi, I love the new vegan, organic and sustainable clothing brand LALF (Love Animals, Love Fashion). LALF donates 25% of every piece sold from this collection to DSWT, which includes dedicated anti-poaching units, a rehabilitation program for orphaned elephants, actively working to conserve wilderness areas, and much more. 

Buddhi Box

Whether for a mom who needs a little Zen in her life, a sister the yogi, or your BFF who loves to try out new products, BuddhiBox is an easy, unique way to please even the pickiest ladies on your list. Get a monthly, quarterly or one-time BuddhiBox, filled with ethically sourced, made in the USA, cruelty-free products such as essential oils, healing crystals, mala beads, and jewelry. A portion of the proceeds are donated to a different charity every month, and this month’s benefactor is Feed the Children.

Use code buddhibox15 for 15% off all subscriptions and any sale items on Buddhi Box.

Corc Yoga Mat 

These yoga mats are durable, non slip, hypoallergenic and lightweight. Corc Yoga products are made from sustainable, organic cork, not rubber, which is gently harvested from trees in Portugal. Cork trees are the only trees capable of regenerating bark allowing for steady production from a 100% renewable, recyclable and biodegradable source. Additionally, Corc Yoga donates a portion of every sale to support the mental health crisis in Portugal.

Beaded Jewelry

BeadforLife empowers women by training them to create bead jewelry from recycled paper, earn an income, and lift their families out of poverty. These trendy bracelets make for meaningful fashion statement and cost only between $8-40. So go on and stuff your stockings!

Marula Oil

Marula oil is the trending super product this year full of antioxidants, fatty omegas, collages and oleic acid. It soothes sunburns, heals burns, moisturizes cuticles, tames frizzes, soothes lips, heals acne and reduces stretch marks and scars. All ingredients are produced by female-owned businesses and co-ops, and production of Vegamour marula oil provides jobs for women in Namibia.

Save 20% with code BLACK20 on Black Friday at Vegamour.

If you like to entertain, this handmade hamsa dish set with one large plate and six smaller serving or dipping plates is perfect for serving nuts and appetizers. When placed together, the plates create a bright, colorful hamsa hand that symbolize peace, prosperity, and protection. Each piece is made by local women for a fair wage in Neapolis, Tunisia, a city that’s been making renowned ceramics for centuries. And Kamsah supports the region even further, giving 10% of its profits to causes that benefit its artisans.

These beautiful brass necklaces won’t just make a fashion statement, they will spark a conversation. Each proceed benefits Love146, an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking through holistic, trauma-informed survivor care and prevention education. They operate two safe homes in the Philippines and care for survivors in the UK and the United States. They also have a robust prevention program called “Not a  Number,” which is currently in use in 20 states in the US, and in Madagascar and Liberia.

Growing Roots Sustainable Snacks

Instead of purchasing cookie-cutter gift baskets for your office crew, get certified organic, vegan and gluten free snacks that support urban farm initiatives across the country. From Pineapple Coconut Rum, Maple Bourbon and Coconut Curry to Cocoa Chipotle, Growing Roots snack bites and clusters are the perfect delicious, plant-based snack for any season. I am even adding them to my breakfast granolas and homemade salads!

Love Travel? Get This New Conversation Starter Card Game

“Do I need a conversation starter?”

It’s not an uncommon question.

We want to get know people better, have genuine connections, and be closer to each other. Whether it’s a friend of a friend, a traveler we meet, a colleague, an acquaintance, or even our friends at home.

But, sometimes we don’t know what to ask, or how to start a conversation.

To help create engaging conversations around travel and culture, I launched Travel Banter, a deck of conversation starter cards based on the popular #CultureTrav chat and blog.

I’ve been hosting my #CultureTrav Twitter chat for almost 4 years now. It’s been incredible to watch travelers connect with each other online, become friends, and have fun meetups offline.

I wanted to create the same fun chat interactions in a new way: an offline version of #CultureTrav chat called Travel Banter. Travel Banter travel-themed conversation cards feature popular questions asked by my #CultureTrav community.

The design process for Travel Banter

The concept of conversation starter cards came to me at the dinner table earlier this year. I started thinking that while it’s great to talk about travel, it’s even better to talk about it when you have a question or interesting prompt to consider.

Over the years of hosting my Twitter chat, thousands of questions have come my way. Fellow travelers, my co-hosts and I would think about engaging questions that we were curious to know the answers to. While I love hearing about people’s personal favorites, I find it even more compelling to hear about how people deal with things like language barriers or mishaps. I love hearing about people stumbling upon hole-in-the-wall cafes or having unexpected adventures, or discovering local street art.

A lot of these types of stories and conversations often come up during my Twitter chat, so I thought, “How can I translate the Twitter chat questions into in-person conversation starters?”

The concept of a conversation starter isn’t new. Companies have used conversation starters in their HR process to get to know candidates, and people have used conversation starters during events or orientations. But, I wanted to add a fun and engaging twist to travel-related conversations.

After thinking about it more, it was time to get “down to business” and start brainstorming design concepts. My boyfriend has advanced Photoshop skills (and is an entrepreneur of several product-based endeavors), so I asked him for help with the initial design of the cards. Additionally, I hired three graphic designers on Fiverr to see what they could brew up for the design. In the end, the final card design is a mix of my boyfriend’s design, elements of designs from the Fiverr designers, and feedback from family about an added visual element: a photo. Each card features two conversation starter questions on one side, and a community-featured photo on the other. I love that I’m able to highlight my traveler community’s photos as part of the game, because this game is very much a communal effort.

How to use conversation starter cards

While there is nothing “wrong” with talking about the weather, that’s not exactly exciting.

We carry around flash cards when studying Spanish or French verbs, but for some reason, it’s considered unusual to carry around a conversation starter card. And, when we have conversation starters on hand, how do we introduce them to people in a way that invites the conversation, and isn’t awkward?

It’s not that you’re bad at having conversations. But, a conversation starter can be a fun and useful guide to getting people to share stories that you may not have heard otherwise.

It’s easier than you think!

Here’s a real conversation brought to you by the Travel Banter question, “Would you try a local delicacy, even if you found something about it objectionable?”: 

“And, yeah, I ate a jellyfish!”
“….what did you do that for?”
“I know! Crazy, right?! Part of it was revenge for that time I got stung by a jellyfish.”
“Wait! What?!”
“But, really, jellyfish tastes like nothing. It’s like nothing. Which makes sense, I guess!”
“But, we were also on a trip with my students and I was trying to impress them by eating this weird thing.”
(Overheard at the Travel Banter Kickstarter launch party on Wednesday, October 17).

And, there you have it! A conversation created by Travel Banter. A story told that you may not have otherwise heard at all.

Wouldn’t it be great to have questions to ask to create a better conversation?

Travel Banter wants to make stimulating conversations happen. Travel Banter gives you a fun and easy way to bring you closer together, and share memorable moments.

Get to know your friends and family better, and also learn about strangers on the road. The next time you’re at a family gathering or party, pull out a Travel Banter card and ask a meaningful question. You’ll be pleasantly surprised about the things you can learn.

By guest blogger Nicolette Orlemans. Nicolette is the founder of #CultureTrav and CultureTrav.coTravel Banter is the byproduct of the conversations shared on the #CultureTrav Twitter chat. Follow her on Twitter.  

Always Travel With These 10 Things

Over the years I have gotten down packing to a science. Who am I kidding? I hate packing and find it to be the most dredging part about traveling. Having to decide what matching outfits, shoes, and jewelry to carry for 2 weeks that would be perfect for the weather, activities, and local culture consumes me.

However, there are a few items I have discovered that make travel easier and I never leave home without them.

1. THE BEST TRAVEL JEANS IN THE WORLD BY AVIATOR $98

This is my favorite pair of jeans ever, not just for travel. It is made of stretchable and breathable cotton, has hidden pockets to hide change, and loops for headphones. Best part is it looks really flattering!

2. POWERSHOT G9 X MARK II CAMERA BY CANON $529

I only recently discovered this camera and ditched my mirrorless Sony and Panasonic for it. The Powershot is so compact, it fits in my purse, so I don’t have to carry a seepage camera bag with all its attachments. And the 20.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor camera takes really good pictures, even in the dark.

Instead of carrying my Apple laptop charger, I now keep DART-C is, the World’s Smallest Laptop Charger® in my carryon. It is four times smaller and lighter than chargers found on the market today.

Because I am often on very long flights, I keep all my chargers and essentially in my hand luggage. The Techaway Roll with its zipped compartments makes it easy to organize cords. It’s like your cosmetic bag for technology.

I am an over packer and frequent shopper, which can lead to overweight luggage problems. This compact scale can weigh your bags, as well as serve as a battery bank. Its dual functionality eliminates the need to carry two gadgets.

Because I am often traveling by myself I think about what safety precautions can be taken. I recently found this 1-oz ultra-compact siren that emits a 120-decibel alarm that can be heard up to 300 feet away. It is safer than carrying pepper sprays.

Aromaflage is probably the only product that repels mosquitoes that cause Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya and Yellow Fever, and smells good too! I always keep a small bottle (the size of a perfume sample) in my clutch that serves dual purpose of insect repellant and fresh scent.

When changing hotel rooms frequently, it can be tough to get a good night’s sleep. In addition to my personal Tempurpedic pillow, I have now started carrying this ultra-portable humidifier.

You never know when you need a lint roller, and this one is smaller than the size of a smart phone and has a protective cover so the sheets won’t dry out. Always have one in my suitcase.

10. ZIPTUCK™ REUSABLE TRAVEL BAGS BY FULL CIRCLE $5.99

If you are a smart traveler, you will store your liquid cosmetics, medicines and snacks in air tight plastic bags. Made of reusable FDA-Grade EVA material, air tight and dishwasher safe, these are the most sturdy, practical and environment friendly storage bags I have ever found.

Do you have a favorite travel product you always carry? Do share with me by leaving a comment below…

Cookies That Do You Good

I recently discovered Sweet Loren’s, a brand of cookie dough available in most grocery stores. What caught my attention was that these were whole grain, dairy-fee, with no artificial flavors, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Finally, a cookie that won’t weigh you down and feels good to the tastebuds! What’s more unique is the story of Loren Brill, Founder & CEO of Sweet Loren’s, an enterprising young woman who herself survived cancer and wanted to make a change in how people eat. Read my interview with Brill below…

loren-with-package2What inspired you to start Sweet Loren’s?

I was inspired to start Sweet Loren’s after overcoming cancer at a young age, searching for ways to satisfy my sweet tooth with ingredients I felt good about. When I couldn’t find any delicious cookies in stores that had tasted great and had the ingredients I wanted, I realized I was going to have to make my own. So, I started to make my own recipes like a crazy scientist. Soon, my younger sister, who was my taste tester, agreed that these were the best cookies she’d ever had. Neighbors and friends started to order them, and that’s when I realized that the world was starving for better-for-you sweets and snacks. I knew we were in a different world than when I was a kid, a world where we are much more educated about how important food is to our health & well-being. I became inspired to find a way to share these recipes with as many people as possible, and making it easy for anyone to bake fresh cookies in their own homes. I started Sweet Loren’s with a mission to Change the Way America Bakes.

Did you have any background in baking/ food business?

I worked at Levain Bakery in NYC for several years and that is where I fell in love with baking and the way delicious baked goods make people feel. I was also a waitress for a long time to make money in the summers and that’s where I learned a lot about customer service. I attended classes at The Natural Gourmet Institute and completed The New School’s Master Class in Cooking before starting Sweet Loren’s. Mainly though, I just tweaked recipes until they tasted homemade and decadent, but were only made from real, whole food ingredients.

How did you start?

In 2010 I was managing a small restaurant in NYC, and was miserable. I knew I was an entrepreneur who wanted to change the world and make it better in some way. I entered a baking contest because my friends kept pushing me to and I had binders of recipes that I wanted people to try. I won the contest and the judge came up to me and said “You have to do something with this.” That’s when a light bulb went off in my head and I knew that I was meant to start Sweet Loren’s. So, I quit my job the next month. I lived at home at the age of 26 and emailed anyone and everyone I knew. I took a business writing course to figure out how I wanted to start Sweet Loren’s — a bakery? baking mix company? cookie dough? the possibilities were endless. A guy named Cory in my class worked at Whole Foods. He set me up with a meeting with the buyer before I had an actual packaged product. I took the meeting to understand the needs of Whole Foods, and they put in an order the next day for cookie dough. I remember crying on the call because that’s when I knew I had a real business. I immediately started calling factories nearby that could help me make the cookie dough so I could be the only one to sell it and run the rest of the business. I found the factory, and a month after launching in Whole Foods, I won a contest and the people’s choice award for The Next Big Small Brand for Culinary Genius. I got national press because of winning that contest and that’s when I started to get emails from people around the country, in every state, saying they were pressed for time but wanted homemade tasting, all natural, delicious cookies at home and would buy Sweet Loren’s if it was sold near them. That’s when I realized that I had a lot of work to do in order to make as many people happy with our products to make sure there was a natural option for them.

What are some of the challenges you faced?

How to get our story and product out there! We now are sold in over 4,000 supermarkets. This is very exciting but we are still small compared to the big brand names on the shelf. We need as many people as possible to be part of our community and help us figure out what other products they would like to see. Our goal is to unify as many people as possible that have a sweet tooth but want to have clean ingredients in their food. We want to keep you happy and healthy with our products!

Do you have a proud moment you want to share with our readers?

A proud moment was when Hoda Kotb of the Today Show picked Sweet Loren’s as one of her favorite things. She brought me on the show and interviewed me. Plus, she and Kathy couldn’t stop eating the cookies. It was so adorable and amazing that I almost had to catch myself from smiling too much. I feel very lucky that we’ve had support from amazing people – it has shown me that your wildest dreams can come true if you work hard and stay passionate.

How is Sweet Loren’s different from other cookies/ sweets found in health food stores?

Sweet Loren’s is very different than any other dough! It is the only better-for-you cookie dough on the shelf that is 100% whole grain, non-dairy, and made with no artificial flavors/colors, corn syrup or trans fat. We are award winning and have tons of delicious recipes on our website that you can make using our cookie dough too. Nothing is better than a warm cookie – and now you can make just one or two with our convenient place & bake packaging!

Where can consumers purchase Sweet Loren’s? 

Customers can find our products in supermarkets across the country in the refrigerated dairy aisle. We can be found in bright pink packaging in all Kroger’s, Publix, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, Wegman’s, Hannaford, Whole Foods (northeast and south pacific), and many more. Just put your zip code in our easy store locator on our website and you can find the closest store to you!

What advice would you give to someone who is an aspiring food entrepreneur?

The advice I would give is to find a need in the marketplace and then focus on creating a really great product to fill that need – make your product the best out there. Surround yourself with the best A players and advisors so that you have a team to help fight this fight with you. It is not easy! So, you need a smart business plan, pricing plan, and great factory to help you make the product. Sweet Loren’s is proof that the next generation is looking for higher quality products they feel great about eating themselves and feeding their kids. Passion, hard work, and focus have been keys to success. If you’re passionate about food, it’s hard to find something else that makes you as happy. Lots of opportunity to build a great business, make progress in the food industry, and make a lot of people happy with a brand they can trust.

Do you have an idea for a food product or just started a food related business? If yes, share your story below…

Go Eat Give Artisan Box – Gifts That Give Back

For the first time, we are offering a curated artisan gift box for this holiday season! Go Eat Give has partnered with GlobeIn, an online marketplace that offers handcrafted products sourced from direct relationships with artisans as well as vetted partner organizations. By buying on GlobeIn, you are supporting artisans from around the world and in developing countries where, after agriculture, artisan goods are the second largest source of employment.

globeinHere is what I have handpicked for the Go Eat Give box…

DIRECT TRADE COFFEE FROM NICARAGUA

A socially responsible dark roast that’s as unique as it is complex. This Direct Trade blend of Nicaragua’s finest estate varietals offers an experience like no other.

Boca Java sources their Nicaraguan single origins coffees via Direct Trade relationship with a family-owned, environmentally-friendly coffee farm that was established in the late 1850’s.

PURE GROUND VANILLA FROM MADAGASCAR

Lafaza’s Pure Ground Vanilla contains only hand-selected Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans that have been sun-cured and dried to remove nearly all of the moisture in the pod. The beans are then ground to a fine powder and sealed for freshness. Its superior quality and unique flavor makes a convenient and delicious addition to baked goods, spice rubs, coffee, tea, specialty drinks, smoothies, dry mixes and can be used in many recipes as a substitute for vanilla beans or vanilla extract. With no preservatives or additives, this is an all-natural, organic and gluten-free product.

SPOON REST FROM PALESTINE

Add a splash of Middle Eastern flair to your countertop with this hand painted spoon rest from the Palestinian Territories. The ornate floral design is an aesthetic staple of Palestinian heritage.

Hebron is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, with archeological finds dating back some 5,000 years. Shards of ancient pottery may even bear floral patterns similar to the classic Palestinian design curling delicately across your new spoon rest. Nour Diba, whose skillful painter’s hand deftly tends to the design’s fine eddies and curves, is an employee of Hebron Glass, a family company of glass and ceramic handicraft employing 60 artisans.

ORGANIC LEMONGRASS LIP BALM FROM ZAMBIA

Ingredients: organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, organic jojoba oil, lanolin, organic lemongrass oil, organic peppermint oil, organic rosemary oil, vitamin E.

As a company, Zambeezi is committed to providing the people of Africa’s pristine subtropical forests sources of income other than timber and strip mining, sources more sustainable for people and land alike.

KITCHEN TOWEL FROM TURKEY

This 100% cotton towel absorbs water faster than a regular towel, dries quickly, and folds up small–perfect for drying dishes in your kitchen. Plus, it has tassels!

Hatch, a rare female who has mastered the craft of weaving (traditionally done by men) is a member of Atlas, a growing organization of weaving families in Buldan. Membership with Atlas enables weavers to earn a living while keeping a deep cultural tradition alive and sharing it with the world—and with your kitchen!

HANDWOVEN BASKET FROM MEXICO

These decorative and whimsical baskets make beautiful home storage options, lending a pop of color and handcrafted warmth to children’s bedrooms, bathroom storage, kitchen countertops or as gift packaging for loved ones. Baskets measure 6″ diameter x 5″ tall.

For the people of the Mixteca region of Mexico, basket-weaving is a way of life that also sustains life. On the outskirts of Oaxaca City, Doña Martina Garcia and her group of eight artisan basket weavers produce roughly 700 baskets per month. For each artisan involved, basket-weaving means a stable monthly income used for building a house, starting a small business, or purchasing food and medicine.

Get the Go Eat Give curated artisan box for only $50 inclusive of shipping within U.S. through GlobeIn. It makes for a great hostess gift, a special treat for someone who likes to cook or travel, and the best part is, you will be supporting 6 families around the world by purchasing this box.

You can also gift someone a monthly subscription to GlobeIn, through which they will receive a new theme box each month! Subscriptions cost $35-40/ month.

Announcing – My First Book on Kids Travel

BIG NEWS!!! My first children’s book, Beato Goes To Greenland will be available in bookstores and online next week! Pre order your copy through Mascot Books by clicking here.

Beato Goes to Greenland cover

It has been a long process. I have started to write books, finished the chapter outlines, pitched to editors, and ditches the whole idea – about a half dozen times. I always knew I wanted to write a book, or two, and several of my well wishers (including readers, editors & publishers) have encouraged me to do so. However, I never quite believed in myself. Who would want to read this and why?

And I never found enough time to write, or perhaps made it a priority.

I have sort of dedicated my life to food, travel and community service, since I left corporate America to pursue my passion. I founded Go Eat Give in 2010 as a blog, and later into a nonprofit organization, with a mission to raise awareness of the diverse and beautiful world we live in. Finally, I discovered an audience, that is perhaps the most impressionable. Beato Goes To is a series of children’s illustrative books that takes young readers on a thrilling adventure across different countries. They learn about nature, culture, food, costume and much more.

I have no prior experience writing children’s books, but felt compelled enough to take this project on. After months of browsing through the little sections of Barnes and Nobles, and reading all the stories about bunnies, princesses, bees, elves, and what not, I realized that there were hardly any books that taught kids about travel or culture.

The main character of the book is my larger than life cat/ baby, Beato. He has been a great inspiration to me, while he lounges on my feet, at my desk, in the couch, and watches me write day after day, occasionally rising from his naps to give me a head nudge. Anyone who has met Beato can’t stop admiring his large size (he is a 20 pounder), handsome looks (yes he has his own Pinterest page), and friendly personality (aka life of the party). It just made sense that Beato took on my persona and started traveling the world!

Beato the cat

What I hope to accomplish from the series is not only to provide entertaining and educational material to kids, but inspire them to learn about each other and discover the world. We live in a interconnected community, where we have no other option but to expand our horizons. To do this at a young age will only give someone a head start.

So if you are reading this and know of any parent with young kids, send them a link to www.BeatoGoesTo.com. Perhaps you can recommend my book to your teacher friend or neighborhood preschool. Beato Goes To also makes a great gift for any young reader in your friends and family circle. Pre order your copy today!

 

Customized Lightweight Luggage That You Can’t Lose

When shopping for new luggage, what are some things that you look for? For me, it is looks, durability and price. With thousands of black, blue and red check-in bags circling around the conveyor belt, it can get difficult to identify your bag. Have you ever picked up someone else’s suitcase because it was the same, make, model and color as yours? Have your personalized luggage tags and luggage labels fallen off? Well, you can now get some relief with custom bags from UGO Bags.

I ordered a medium hardshell suitcase with Go Eat Give logo design and immediately placed another order for a large one! Here are some things I loved about UGO Bags…

uno bags goeatgive

SUPER LIGHT – Don’t you hate it when the bag weighs half the luggage allowance, leaving little room for your much needed clothes and shoes? The UGO Bag has shell casing that is super lightweight and robust polycarbonate. I can lift the large bag with one hand and no effort.

CUSTOM EXTERIOR – You can select an existing design on UGO Bag website or completely customize your own. Collections include colorful images of pets, cities, sports, contemporary art, and more. Chose the case color (white, black or silver), upload a photo or logo, change the colors (10 options) of the handles and the wheels, and click “add to cart.” It takes less than 5 minutes and now you will be able to spot your bag at the airport! The image is actually engraved on the bag, so it doesn’t risk peeling off like some of the adhesive ones.

uno bags customize

SMART INTERIOR – One of the things I look for in a good piece of luggage is how much storage capacity it has. UGO Bag’s smart interior design with multiple pockets divides both halves of the bag and secures belongings when opening. You don’t need to carry packing cubes as everything is already built in.

IN BUILT LOCKS – You buy a $200 bag, then a $10-20 lock. Often times, you lose the locks in hotel rooms or at home, then you go buy some more. Not anymore! The UGO Bag has a built in TSA locking system, so you can ensure your luggage is secure at all times.

GOOD WARRANTY – My UGO Bag is made with high quality materials and looks very cool. It says “Made in US.” UGO Bags warranty promises to repair or replace any malfunctioning or defective luggage in the first 5 years.

FUNCTIONAL DESIGN – The bags also feature ultra smooth four-wheel spinner, top and lateral handles for easy loading and unloading, and side bumpers allowing horizontal storage of luggage. The multi-lock retractable trolley handle allows for smooth maneuverability.

ufo-bags-luggage

MOBILE ART – If you are an artist or photographer and want to feature your work on a bag, apply here.

UGO Bags come in 3 sizes – Small carry-on $199, Medium for 1-3 night getaway $249, and Large $299 for week long trips. If you would like to order one for yourself or as a gift, use discount code  “UGOEATGIVE25” to receive 25% off!

Pure Water Anywhere In The World

Are you horrified by how much bottled water costs at airports and hotels? Sometimes, you arrive at your destination late at night, and have to searching for a store that is open late so you can buy a bottle of water? Or you love to go camping and hiking and find yourself hauling loads of water to last you through the adventure?
GRAYL’s newest product, the Ultralight Water Purifier can help solve all these problems! The portable water bottle can purify any water in matter of seconds, without any special equipment.GRAYL
The bottle is no bigger than any other stainless or plastic ones you would carry to the gym or the office. Mechanics are simple. Just fill in any water – from the river, sink or cooler, and press down in a slow motion (similar to a coffee press) to remove impurities. Your water is ready to be consumed with 15 seconds!
GRAYL’s says their unique features make them stand out from the competition.
  • Full-Spectrum purification – Removes 99.99% of Virus, Bacteria, Protozoa, Sediment, Chemicals, and Heavy metals.
  • [ONE PRESS] mechanism – no batteries, bulbs, chemicals, pumping, sucking or squeezing.
  • Fast & Easy – compact device for purified water in just 15 seconds. Weighs 11 ounce.
travel water filter
GRAYL is the perfect accessory to keep travelers safe and hydrated without all the plastic bottle waste. We at Go Eat Give believe in sustaining the environment, especially when you travel, and a $60 investment can help make a big difference.
Take 20% off any GRAYL products by using code “GOEATGIVE20.” Support GRAYL on Kickstarter until March 5, 2016.


Unwind with Pumeli sustainable rituals from around the world

You may not be able to afford a trip abroad every month of the year. But what if the world was delivered to your door? Pumeli is a monthly subscription box filled with teas and
textures designed to help busy women slow down, unplug and give themselves
permission to relax.

Each month, Pumeli delivers a care package of time-slowing rituals that enable women to experience more calm, peace and joy in as little as 5-10 minutes. Every shipment includes artisanal tea to soothe your soul, beautiful paper for your thoughts, and handcrafted goods that evoke mindfulness while empowering artisans around the world.

Pumeli Founder, Traci Pichette
Pumeli Founder, Traci Pichette

Pumeli works with small businesses and craft producers on different levels to bring well-designed and high quality products. They purchase products at a fair market price in order to deliver the highest value to the artisan and support global community initiatives. Each product comes with a story too. A monthly subscription runs at $49.95 or $249.95 for 6 months (with 1 month free). It is a great gift to send to a special lady in your life and remind her each month that you care – moms, sisters, girlfriends, or even your office secretary. See current package with stories behind the box and the products at Pumeli’s website.

The theme for November is “Be Like a Tree.” A tree is a great natural teacher of mindful living. Trees inspire us to stay grounded, adapt gracefully to the present moment, and continuously renew ourselves, and take time to rest. This month’s Pumeli box takes you on a journey through Africa to celebrate the life of trees with the following items.

Pumeli November BoxAduna Baobab Powder – Revitalizing facemark with baobab fruit sustainability harvested in Senegal and Ghana in partnership with several women’s co-ops. The African baobab tree, known as ‘The Tree of Life’, provides 100% organic fruit that dries naturally on its branches. Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants so you can feel good inside and out.

Mud Cloth Notebook – Hand woven in Mali, the mud cloth is treated in baths of leaves and branches, and hand dyed using mud mixture. Traditionally used to share village stories and African proverbs.

Tea Accessories – Hand carved Kenyan teaspoon from olive wood, adorned with colorful beads. JusTea has a direct-trade relationship with Central province village carvers in Kenya.

Jacaranda Wood Ornament – Hand painted giraffe by artisans in Kenya, this exquisite ornament reminds you to be gentle on yourself, just as the giraffe gently chews on the topmost under leaves of trees. Acacia Creations donates 10% of each purchase to animal conservation.

JusTea African Chai – Inside an East African fabric bag, is a 100% natural Masala Chai tea blend with Camellia saneness, cinnamon, allspice, rose petals and more. Each sip directly supports small-scale tea farming families.

Learn more about the artisans at Pumeli.

Ethical and Delicious Wildlife Friendly Chocolates

As you begin to stock your pantries with chocolates and candies, pay attention to the list of ingredients listed on the package. Depending on the brand and quality of a chocolate, it may be a product that is harmful to your body, as well as the environment.
However, there is a chocolate brand that we like, as it surpasses all expectations of quality ingredients, refined taste, and global standards. Nuubia is a new ethical chocolate shop based in San Francisco that goes far beyond Fair Trade.
san francisco chocolates
Nuubia hand-makes specialty confections from humanely sourced ingredients, without using either palm oil or GMOs. Founder Alexandra Saunders was born in Java, Indonesia and has dedicated to life to conservation (cultivating palms for their oil is highly destructive of the environment so Nuubia has found a way to make ganache without the use of palm oil). Just few weeks ago, Alexandra Saunders was an Honoree at Pongo Environmental Awards. 
Nuubia is the first chocolatier to not only refuse to use palm oil, but to insure that what they make has no negative impact on the rainforests of the world. The company is also working to launch the Chocolate Wildlife Project which provides farmers with a viable source of income. For example, Nuubia purchases their chocolate and ingredients directly from farmers who learn to produce sustainable, habitat-friendly crops.
nuubia chocolates

With Indonesia being the world’s 3rd largest exporter of palm oil, the production of palm oil has devastated the natural habitats of the animals and orangutans that inhabit the area. Founder, Alexandra Saunders took a personal interest in orangutan conservation when she lived in Indonesia and studied them in graduate school at UC Berkeley. It was through this passion that Nuubia created the Chocolate Wildlife Project, which provides small farmers living on the edges of Orangutan habitat with a viable source of income to abstain from destructive farming practices.

Some standout chocolates include fresh squeezed lime juice with vanilla bonbons, Caramelized Hazelnut Spread Sauce, that can rival just about any Nutella out there, and finally Johnny Walker Black Espresso Ganache Half Spheres! So when a box of chocolates is under the tree, you know that no orangutans were harmed to make your chocolate and that your treat can be enjoyed guilt free.
Not to mention the OMG Candy Bar was awarded “Best Foods in the U.S.” by Esquire Magazine. Layers of hazelnut praline, sea salt caramel, rice crisps and dark chocolate come together in harmony to create the perfect mood-altering balance. The chocolatier at Nuubia is Lionel Clement in 2011 he was named Chocolatier of the Year by Pastry Live.
Best Foods in the U.S
Nuubia also offers a heart shaped chocolate special (for pick up only), filled with more chocolate bonbons. This is the ultimate sweetheart gift for any special occasion.
nuubia choclate heart valentines day

In February 2015, Nuubia San Francisco opened its first flagship retail space in the newly built “Market on Market” inside the Twitter building, bringing fine chocolates, confections, natural spreads, macarons, hand crafted ice creams and seasonal specials to the city. Either take a selection of these handmade items home, or stay and enjoy a chocolaty treat with freshly brewed latte in-store while sitting at Nuubia’s Chocolate Counter. The chocolates can be purchased at their San Francisco location, or ordered online. They are very well packed with an ice pack and delivered within a couple of days directly from the store.

Nuubia San Francisco
1355 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 660-2030
http://nuubiasf.com
@nuubiasf