The Annual Gift Guide is here!! I really look forward to putting these together, mostly because the holiday season has always been straight up magic for me, and I love spreading a bit of that cheer and anticipation here. As in past years, these are products that either I own and love, or things that have recently caught my eye that I wish Santa would leave under the tree for me.
When selecting gifts, it’s important for me to focus on things that are practical and functional, but also nice to look at, and most importantly, sustainable. I try hard to highlight companies that are making an effort to reduce their environmental impact, and/or keep animal welfare and fair labor practices top of mind. We are no longer living in an age where we can unconsciously consume, consume, consume without thinking about the impact on our planet and its inhabitants. To the best of your ability this holiday season, shop small and local when possible – it’s better for the earth, our local economies, and you usually end up with gifts that were thoughtfully, intentionally chosen, rather than whatever got the best reviews with the lowest price on Amazon.
I am wishing ALL of you the most joyous, bright, healthy holiday season. I’m grateful for your readership, support and community. ENJOY!
I’m a longtime fan of Jenny Rosenstrach, who writes the popular blog Dinner: A Love Story and has several companion books. Her newest book, The Weekday Vegetarians, focuses on her family’s serious efforts to eat less meat. When I ordered it, I was nervous that the recipes would rely too much on dairy and be mostly unadaptable to a vegan diet. Once it arrived, I was so happy to see that I had been very wrong! Most of the 100 recipes are totally vegan, and the rest can (almost always) be adapted to be completely plant based. Everything looks completely craveworthy (I’m looking at you, Eggplant & Tofu with Sweet-Hot Chili Glaze!), which is why it’s my favorite cookbook release of 2021.
This little bento-inspired dining set caught my eye ages ago and I’ve had it bookmarked ever since. It’s so beautiful, unique and the color options are ON POINT – anyone who loves quality, inspired dinnerware will go crazy for this.
I was admittedly influenced to buy this luxe loungewear by my friend Alex, who swears by her Cozy Earth Jogger & Pullover set. It’s more money than I’d usually spend on comfy clothes, but then I realized that A) let’s be honest, I wear comfy clothes 24/7 and B) sometimes you have to just treat yo’self (and in this case, you definitely get what you pay for). These clothes are ridiculously soft, flattering, made from sustainable bamboo, and completely free from toxins, harsh chemicals and dyes. I also love Cozy Earth’s commitment to the environment and fair labor practices in the manufacturing of its products.
In the last year or so, I’ve cut back significantly on my alcohol consumption to lower my cancer risk (I still drink – mostly red wine – just less frequently). There are some nights where I really miss the ritual of mixing/pouring myself something after the kids are in bed, and on those days, I’m grateful to have a high quality non-alcoholic spirit like Seedlip on hand. The bottles look beautiful on my bar cart, and the three flavors (Spice, Grove and Garden) are all great – I like them best on the rocks, with a splash of seltzer and a citrus wedge, but they can be mixed into traditional cocktails, too (Seedlip has plenty of recipe inspiration on their website).
I’m forever on the hunt for natural/nontoxic/vegan personal care products that smell amazing. I ordered a bottle of Urb Apothecary’s Juniper Artemisia Body Oil to use in the winter after showers and baths. From the pretty glass bottle to the intoxicating scent (smokey wood, bright herbs and grasses, forest floor and leather), it feels like such a luxury to use this each night before bed. Urb Apothecary is just an awesome company in general, with an incredible commitment to sustainability and quality. You can get 10% off your order until December 25, 2021 with my code, LAURENK10.
I 100% buy into the notion of taking regular baths as a (small but meaningful) form of self care. This salt bath caught my eye because The Herbal Academy knows their stuff when it comes to delicious infusions, and this one is what your winter dreams are made of: foraged white pine and juniper, balsam fir essential oil and extra virgin olive oil, all wrapped up in totally sustainable packaging. Each bag can be used for 4-6 baths.
I’ve talked a bit about Clevr Superfood Lattes before on my Instagram, and for good reason – they’re truly one of my favorite products. Oprah agrees with me, too – she put Clevr Blends on her coveted 2021 Favorite Things list! Clevr is a vegan latte mix that comes in 5 luscious flavors (Matcha, Chai, Coffee, Golden and Rose Cocoa); all you have to add is hot water and mix and you have a delicious beverage steeped with adaptogens, medicinal mushrooms and probiotics. I love mine during the 3 PM slump – it’s like comfort in a cup. The starter kit comes with your choices of 2 flavors and a handy little frother. You can get 15% off your order with my code, LAURENK15 (psst…my favorite flavors are Matcha and Golden, but they’re all fabulous).
I’ve long been a fan of Rothy’s shoes, but I recently discovered their bag line and everything is just so lovely, especially this tote. I am obsessed, not only because it’s spacious (Every day tote! Diaper bag! Work bag! Travel carry on!) practical and stylish, but because it is 100% machine washable and made completely from recycled materials (including plastic bottles). Like many of the companies featured on this list, Rothy’s prioritizes sustainability in the manufacturing of its products, so this is truly feel-good fashion.
It’s been a rough few years, as we are all well aware, and I think we’re all a bit connection starved these days. If you’re finding a way to make meaningful conversation without completely walking on eggshells (easier said than done these days!), Convers(ate) is a must-have gift to give and get. Co-created by a local socially-conscious mother in my town (who also happens to be a totally inspiring, kind human), Convers(ate) decks contain conversation tips and hundreds of prompt questions to spark interesting, respectful discussions with depth and meaning. You can get 20% off your Convers(ate) deck with my code, LAUREN20.
This bowl needs a place on everyone’s shelf, period. It caught my eye during a recent trip to the mall, and I’ve been coveting a set ever since. The Marin line at Crate and Barrel has the look of handmade pottery, and the Meal Bowl is the perfect size/depth for noodles, pasta, curries, soups and stews – aka, everything you want to eat when the temps drop.
I’m a bit of a candle junkie; they add instant hygge and ambience, make your home smell fantastic, and usually come in very pretty packaging. Unfortunately, many candles are made with toxic paraffin wax (=bad for our health and the environment), which isn’t exactly what I want burning in my home. I love this Burkelman Candle because it’s vegan, made from 100% soy wax with a cotton wick, and smells exactly like a cozy night in front of a roaring fire, somewhere deep in the mountains (and if you love the Hudson Valley as I do, it’ll transport you there immediately).
This is the answer to your prayers for a chic, uber-warm and cruelty free jacket to wear all winter long. I came across Save the Duck jackets at a boutique not long ago and was impressed by the quality and beauty of their outerwear, and was even happier to read about their commitment to sustainability and animal welfare. Who needs feathers and fur when you have compassion and style?