IWR GIFT GUIDE 2015
We spend the entire year exploring and experimenting with a variety of holistic health and whole-body wellness products. Every December, we compile a list of 15 of our favorites. So here it is...IWR's 2015 FOOD, MOVEMENT, LIFESTYLE, + SOULFUL TRAVEL GIFT IDEAS. The ultimate guide for what to gift all the yogis, travelers and wellness warriors in your life. If you missed 2014's list, check it out here.
SMALL, BUT SOULFUL ($30 or Less)
- No 1. Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder ($25) | Many tooth whitening products contain harsh chemicals. My Magic Mud uses certified organic ingredients to create an all natural product that whitens + polishes teeth. The IWR crew experienced smoother and whiter teeth after just a few applications. We're fans, and if you have any wine lovers, coffee drinkers and/or holistic health enthusiasts to shop for, consider getting them this!
- No. 2 Mini Moon Juice Dust Set ($20) | All of our favorite dusts from Moon Juice together in this amazing mini collection! Moon Dusts work synergistically to heal + enhance your brain, body and spirit. Transformative formulas with potent, organic herbs, plants and minerals. Each jar is filled with approximately 2 servings depending on your preferences. Great for travel or home use. Includes: Spirit dust, Brain dust, Action dust, Beauty dust, Heart dust + Good Night dust.
- No. 3 Breast Health Massage Oil ($30) | Boobs...if you have 'em or love 'em, then you'll appreciate Living Libation's Breast Health Massage Oil. Breasts contain an abundance of lymph vessels that support the circulatory system in maintaining proper fluid balance. Lymphatic flow can be obstructed by tight bras, poor posture, lack of exercise, shallow breathing, and tight neck, shoulder, chest and back muscles. Regular self-massage done with botanical infused oil encourages the body to release excess stored estrogen, move debris filled fluid away from the spaces between cells, and return the fluid to the bloodstream to be eliminated. If you read our 3 part microbiome + skin-care product series, you'll understand why we value high quality products like this. More ideas for safe skin care products here.
FOOD ( + KITCHEN)
- No. 4 Food Processor ($99) | When you get on the making more home-cooked, whole food meals train, you'll want a food processor by your side. This kitchen appliance is key in the IWR kitchen with Chef Claire. Kitchen Aid's 7-cup food processor is middle of the line price-wise and has great reviews. Awesome to have when chopping nuts and we absolutely have to have it when making some of our fave Vidya Living recipes.
- No 5. Organic Grass-fed Ghee Sampler Pack ($19) | Ghee is a cornerstone in Ayurvedic + Indian cooking. One of the many benefits of using ghee to cook with, beyond its amazing flavor, is that it can remain stable at higher temperatures. Pure Indian Foods Organic, Grass-fed Ghee Sampler Pack contains one jar of each of the following 6 flavors: Digestive Ghee, Garlic Ghee, Herbes de Provence Ghee, Indian Dessert Ghee, Italian Ghee + Niter Kebbeh. This makes a great gift for any culinary enthusiast. The package includes everything they'll need to get cooking right away: description of each spiced ghee, benefits of the herbs + spices used, and recipes.
- No. 6 Ceramic Electric Kettle ($50) | Add some elegance to the kitchen with Bella's Ceramic Electric Kettle. Perfect for warming up water in the AM for your warm lemon water routine or to have at work when you're stoveless, but needing some hot tea.
MOVEMENT (+ MOBILITY)
- No. 7 Chattra Zafu ($75) | A zafu cushion provides a bit of bolstering for better pelvic and spinal alignment while sitting on the floor. It's traditional use is during meditation or pranayama practice, but beyond that, at our retreats, we encourage people to use zafus throughout the day. Engaging in more floor sitting (daily) can help improve hip mobility. What the hips lack, will hurt the back, so we love zafus to help ward off back pain when our hips are too tight to just sit on the floor and it's the perfect prop while doing some computer work in a deep squat. We dig Chattra's artisans hand-block print zafus in richly-colored, mix-and-match prints that celebrate India's architecture, design, and spiritual heritage.
- No. 8 Apana Stool ($90)/Squatty Potty ($33)| You gotta do it, you gotta gift someone you love a toilet stool. There are mechanics involved with how our bodies are designed to eliminate. Humans are meant to void while in a deep squat and modern toilets don't facilitate that, but one simple adjustment... the addition of a squatty potty, does. With all this modern living, we've totally done away with deep squatting in our day, so let's reintroduce it during the most necessary times! We outfit all the bathrooms at our Malibu retreat house with toilet stools because we address digestive health from all angles using alignment and Ayurveda... plus, who likes to be constipated!? Choose the 7 inch to start, upgrade to the 9 inch if you've been diligently working on your deep squat hip mobility for > 6 months. Want a pretty wood one with a lotus flower design? Us too! Get on over to Apana Stool's online store to find it.
- No. 9 Topo Mat ($120) | There's a movement happenin' right now...towards standing/sitting desks. We're finally starting to embrace the whole "humans aren't meant to sit all day" idea, but standing on flat ground isn't exactly a natural position either. Static standing leads to postural fatigue, which forces people into unhealthy positions. Enter the Topo Mat. Topo is the only anti-fatigue mat designed with standing desk users in mind. The calculated terrain encourages healthy movement while supporting the user with incredibly comfortable environmentally-friendly foam. The peaks and valleys activate blood flow and engage more muscles than simple standing mats are able to. This encourages range of motion, circulation, and variations in your standing position- all which help to alleviate cramping and other discomforts associated with prolonged static standing.
- No. 10 Height-Adjustable stand-up desk ($490 - $4,000) | We're all about DYNAMIC workstations. That means you invite more movement into your day by sitting, standing, and squatting in a VARIETY of ways while you work. Doing this, breaks up stiffness and promotes whole-body health ALL day (much better than only relying on your 60 min yoga class, 3 days a week). If you're gonna splurge, check out the STIR Kinetic Desk. The easier it is to move during the work day--adjusting your desk with the push of a touchscreen button--the more likely you are to do it. With this desk you set your standing and sitting height presets and your standing goals on the built-in touchscreen. Double tap the touchscreen to seamlessly switch from one setting to the other. When in "active mode", the desk will occasionally take a "breath", subtly rising and falling, reminding you to change positions. The desk learns when it’s best to remind you, so that being more active is effortless. What could be easier than a desk that learns your goals, integrates them with your habits, and sets up a healthy routine? A more affordable option to consider that Jenn loves having at her home office: Ikea's BEKANT sit/stand desk (You can adjust the height of the table top electrically from 22" to 48" to ensure more variety of work positions throughout your day).
- No. 11 Moon Calendar ($15-44) | Here at IWR we love being attuned to the moon. Its cycle helps us maintain a lifestyle and work schedule that waxes and wanes. This helps us manage our creative projects and assures that our energy ebbs and flows, just like the tides. This kind of balanced workflow helps us get adequate rest in between bursts of productivity. A moon calendar keeps us aware of what's going on in the cosmos so we can adjust our work output accordingly. THE NEW MOON marks the beginning of a cycle; it is a perfect opportunity to savor the gifts of vast space and emptiness, to be meditative and go within. (We do less work around this time and are more reflective). LIGHT then builds for two weeks, up until the moon is FULL to the brim, lighting the night sky and inviting us all to celebrate, count our blessings, and enjoy each other’s company (This is when our creativity builds and there's a lot more meetings, a lot more output). IN THE FINAL two weeks of the cycle, the moon’s brightness slowly diminishes and we return to the spacious darkness (We wind down our projects and let the cycle begin once more). Amanda used Dream Inspired Design's print calendar in 2015 and we're excited to get their desktop version for 2016!
- No. 12 IWR Malibu 2016 ($1,350) | It's our 3rd annual Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga Retreat! Gift someone this experience and they'll be stoked! We'll actively engage in the process of living a more empowered, healthy, whole existence by learning how to use seasonal food as a powerful medicine + develop movement practices capable of transforming both body + mind.
- No. 13 Texture Subscription- an app for magazines ($35) | During Jenn's honeymoon to Bali, this app was clutch! Texture offers unlimited access to all sorts of magazines on one app, for one price. Their magazine catalogue is pretty impressive (160 options, to be exact). Health + wellness- wise they have all the mags we like to peruse like: Eating Well, ESPN, Men + Women's Health, Surfer, Yoga Journal, Fast Company, Bon Appetite, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated...the list goes on. You can create your own library, discover new titles, declutter your coffee table, read anywhere (perfect for long flights!), AND they make it really easy to gift a subscription to anyone who has a tablet or smartphone.
- No. 14 Pendleton Beach Towel ($49) | A Pendleton dynamic blanket pattern re-created in a supersized towel for beach, poolside or hot tub? YES. We like the black and white Los Ojos Spa towel, but Amanda owns and loves the Chief Joseph pattern (you won't catch her traveling in her VWbus without it).
- No. 15 Wifi + NFC enabled camera or lens ($200-$400) | NFC is a form of wireless communication that allows the flow of information between two devices. For all you soulful travelers out there who want to play around with cameras beyond your smartphones, but don't wan't to travel with heavy equipment or lots of cables, this may be for you. When you're in the depths of the jungle without Wi-Fi, the NFC feature still allows for immediate uploads of your pics onto your smartphone. For us, that means when we're traveling the workflow of capture, upload to phone, edit, and share to IG or facebook is simplified. When we were in Mexico + Fiji this year, we loved that we snapped pics all day and didn't need any cables to transfer photos onto our computer then our phone when we got home. For IWR's Tulum 2015 Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga Retreat we shot all of these pics with the Sony DSC-QX10 lens attachment on our iphone 5 32GB. "The QX10 is officially called a “lens-sensor module”, and it’s designed to be the perfect partner for your smartphone, rather than a standalone device. It doesn’t have a screen so it relies on being paired to your smartphone via a wi-fi connection to compose and review images." Because of that interface, there's a bit of delay between... "I want to capture that", turning on device, waiting for connection, and then actually capturing "that" - hence the less than ideal reviews (but we suggest you read this one) and in those cases we just whipped out our phones. And, of course, uploading straight to your phone is going to drain your battery faster than usual- the price you pay for convenience. Despite all of that, we LOVE the device AND for the purposes of taking blog-worthy pictures while traveling, we think it's a win. We purchased in January 2015, so our model clips onto our iphone 5 (case on) with ease, but the iphone 6 Plus (no case) is about the max that this clip is going to give. With smartphones getting bigger and bigger the downside is that eventually our phone will outgrow our clip size (we're assuming Sony has taken that into account and updated future models of this device). If you're looking for just a camera with Wifi + NFC features, we've also played around with Sony's a5000... amazing. Can't get over that immediate phone upload of such a high quality picture (and fellow travelers love the quick text that follows). Cheaper option we're eyeing that still offers the easy sharing capability...Sony WX350 Compact Camera with 20x Optical Zoom.