Elevate Difference


Headache Soother Badger Balm

I suffer from migraines. They date from the eighth year of my life, but it took until my junior year as an undergraduate to get much-needed prescription drugs. After a three-day headache left me unable to leave the house, I squinted and hobbled to the nearest bus stop and took a shuttle to the student health center. The kind physician who met with me also suffered from debilitating migraines. “Do you twist your body into weird positions for relief?” he asked. When I immediately nodded my head affirmatively, he began nodding as well.

Good Karma Pendant

The Good Karma Pendant from The Pretty Peacock is an interesting metaphor for my current relationship with feminism. At some point during my teenage years, I discovered the identifying term while reading Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, which I'd found in a secondhand bookstore that I frequented.

Paperie for Inspired Living: Stationery and Decorations for Weddings, Parties, and Other Special Occasions

Ever since I was in elementary school, I have been a DIY girl. I always received craft kits as a kid, and even now, I will not buy a sweater if I think I can knit it myself. So when I saw a book that claimed it could teach me how to make stationery and paper goods for special events, I was intrigued. In short, Paperie for Inspired Living is a DIY dream! Karen Bartolomei provides easily to follow instructions for each of the projects provided.

Teatime in Bombay Earrings

Swingy, playful and pretty, the Teatime in Bombay Earrings also work well for cocktail time in Manhattan. Equally attractive is the quality construction and affordable price.

Turquoise and Carnelian Sterling Silver Earrings

You can’t get Mexican food in Kolkata to save your life. Sure, some places say they have Mexican, but when you get there all you find is some wack version of nachos that are so tasteless and bland that even the most spice-phobic person would beg for something to liven up the dish. You can get passable tapas if you’re willing to spend a pretty penny, but that's hardly the same. In other words, if you want the real deal, you’ve got to make it at home. This lack of Mexican food here makes no sense to me considering the abundantly similar ingredients used in Bengali and Mexican cuisines.

Pendant: Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty

Canadian artist Viki Ackland's handmade jewelry uses pop art, found art, and ransom-note style letters to create a visually appealing cut-and-paste aesthetic from 2-Mile Jewelry.

Greens Plus Protein Bars

Snacking is inevitable. I regularly snarf all varieties of energy bars, even though I am not climbing mountains, lofting from ski jumps, or training for triathlons. I schlepp groceries and books and stomp down city sidewalks, but do not exert myself on Himalayan Peaks or the Appalachian Trail.

Organic Dark Chocolates

If you have a vice, you might as well indulge it responsibly. Shaman Chocolates' profits propagate Huichol communities and culture. Descendents of the Aztec, the Huichol population is approximately 18,000. They reside in the sierra of Jalisco and Nayarit, and their traditions persist despite the encroachment that ensued with the arrival of the conquistadors. Huichol ceremonies use peyote, and the people are known for vivid depictions of themes from nature utilizing beads and yarn.

Sicilian Orange & Mandarin Body Hydrate Oil / Rejuvenating Face Cream / Active Face Hydrating Gel

My skin is dry. How dry is it? It's so dry that it makes the Kalahari look like the Everglades. It's so dry, that it makes the Gobi look like the Ganges. It's so dry, that I'm going to be flayed for Sham-wows. The lizard-leather shins and cracked elbows do not appeal. What to do? Thank goodness I discovered Organic Apoteke products. The Rejuvenating Face Cream and Active Face Hydrating Gel samples did not allow evaluation of the results of extended use, but were not unpleasant after a single application.

Lucky Jade Collection Ring

Lately I am most offended by one thing, and that thing is cliché. Cliché is so offensive to me because it is steeped in one’s inability to be creative. Whether Jon Stewart wearing a fat suit in order to get cheap laughs about American obesity or trolls who hurl sexist epithets on feminist-y blogs, my tongue goes into automatic clucking mode when the formulaic is, well, formulated.

Cherrystone Earrings

When I was a kid, my mom would stop at the same gas station every week to fill the tank. The spot was a local affair with a tiny convenience store attached that housed assorted odds and ends. I always looked forward to those trips to the pump because my mother's way of occupying my sisters and I during the seemingly endless flow was to give us a quarter each to buy ourselves a piece of candy.

Red Gold Tomato Products

Italian cuisine is my favorite, and I'm not adverse to chili or Mexican dishes either. Therefore, there is always some form of tomato in my pantry. Despite the fact that this fruit—not vegetable—was considered poisonous (due to its membership in the belladonna family) and warnings of reflux, to me, it's a staple. I missed the state fair this year, but apparently Indiana is second in the nation in tomato production—over 10,000 acres of tomato plants blanket the state—so the festival was declared the Year of Tomatoes.

Shea Butter Hand Cream & Foot Cream / Ultra Rich Body Cream Rosebud

Founded in 1976 in the small Provençal town of Manosque by Olivier Baussan, L'Occitane grew from his individual distillation of rosemary to its essential oil into an international organization offering an array of skin care and beauty products. The company partners with three women's cooperatives in Burkina Faso to obtain fairly-traded shea nut butter.

Wise Owl Pendant

The Wise Owl Pendant is just the kind of jewelry I love. First of all, it’s unique. The pendant was obviously made with an artist’s eye for arresting images. While owls have become popular figure in hipster iconography, there’s nothing cliché about NoisyBirdStudio’s representation of the popular bird. Somewhere on the line between charm and intelligence, this owl is a conversation piece.

Pregnancy Body Oil / Nursing Tea / Skin Food / Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion

Mean, lean, and green is not a trend come-lately. Weleda has been producing natural, organic beauty products since 1921. Dr. Rudolf Steiner, a founder of anthroposophy, joined forces with Dr. Ita Wegman to take this transcendentalist world view to a personal practical level. They offer salves and solutions for human afflictions ranging from stretch marks to dental plaque, all derived from some of the two hundred species of plants cultivated in their medical plants garden.

The 2010 Lonely Planet Calendar

There’s something about getting a new calendar that brings out my inner geek, the part of me that revels in stationery supplies and finds the smell of pencils and paper somewhat intoxicating. As a student, the beginning of fall—my favorite season—was always exciting not just for the crisp sunny days and technicolored leaves. I was equally thrilled to have fresh, new school supplies, and to this day, I get a charge when replenishing my office supplies or choosing a new journal. I also carefully select an agenda book and a wall calendar each year.

Freshwater Pearl and Blue Topaz Earrings

I’m going to my first Indian wedding this December, a celebration I am enormously excited about because of the sheer enormity of this type of event. Indian weddings are multi-day festivities filled with family, friends, fun, and (best of all) food. The wedding I will attend will be a particularly exciting culinary event; it is sure to include a sampler of delicacies from West Bengal, the Punjab, and Burma, a feast that is a reflection of the multiple and overlapping ethnicities of the bride and groom. Now, I’m not a wedding kind of gal.

Bluestocking Bonbons

I'm already picky enough as a dedicated omnivore. Attempts at vegetarianism, let alone veganism, resulted in such extreme fatigue I had to give up after a month. However, for those dedicated enough to a peaceable kingdom to live without omelets, ice cream, and steak, and are capable of pursuing the benefits of avoiding animal proteins, I am delighted to report that there are delicious vegan chocolates available.

Pink Grapefruit Body Lotion / Linen Spray / Botanical Facial Moisturizer, Facial Wash / Shea Body Butter Bamboo / Green Tea Facial Scrub

I am, obviously, pro-choice. And if you are similarly inclined to an abundance of options in personal products as well as personal life, I recommend a visit to Dancing Dingo. They offer unctions and salves for all members of your family, including the four-legged. Dancing Dingo lotions, moisturizers, oils, scrubs, and sprays are paraben, formaldehyde, mineral oil, sulphates, SLS, and phthalate free. Their 'Dog De-funkifier' and other products are approved by Leaping Bunny and PETA.

Glycerin Goat’s Milk Soap

In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry says, “I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.” One of my simplest pleasures is gained by placing an aromatic bar of soap in my dresser drawer and later slipping on a crummy T-shirt that smells like a lavender sachet in a cedar chest. This has the potential to alter the entire course of my day.

A Case of Olive Jade Filigree Earrings

When I was in middle school, I became obsessed with all things macabre. From [R.L.

Lapis Birds with Malachite Earrings

I have to admit, I have a weakness for unconventional, handmade jewelry, so I was quite eager to own something from Black Rabbit Handmade Jewelry. The business is run by a mother-daughter team based in Vermont who have a passion for creating jewelry inspired by nature.

Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil

The pomegranate has a long history as a helping, healthy fruit. No less an authority than the (seventeenth century) Dr. Fothergill described as it among the plant species “most salutiferous to mankind.” Queen Hatshepsut's butler, Djehuty, attempted to pack one along in his journey to the afterlife. Its red, leathery hide, floral ends, and core of pulp-encased juicy purple kernels fascinated me as a child, although it struck me as a bit labor-intensive for a snack. I had no objection to grenadine in Shirley Temples at the same age.

D:tox System

Half a million women in the world die every year from breast cancer. One in eight American women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer in her lifetime. Judging from these startling statistics, it’s not difficult to see why corporations that cater to women have begun creating lines of products that support the fight against this disease.

Resin Art Necklace

The oil-in-resin necklace from native Californian artist Michelle Stitz is a unique piece unlike anything I have come across. The pendant is in the shape of a cube measuring 1.5 by 1.5 inches. Inside the cube is an original painting made of layers of oils, paint, and resin. Mine resembles a conch shell colored with gold and a deep red, and outlined in black.

Baby Care Gift Set

Everyone likes good shampoo. Even though I am neither a baby nor an African American, I am delighted to use pure organic hair cleansers with a fragrant blend of rose petal, rosemary, and sage. African American Baby Care offers a full range of infant care products made from pure organics, natural botanicals, and rare herbs.

Mystical Orb Dangle Earrings

The sky dimmed and dark monsoon clouds began to roll in as I sat down to type out this review. I put on Bjork’s Vespertine to further capture what seems to my American sensibilities to be a melancholy mood.

Migration Earrings

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be close to you. —Karen Carpenter This is the song that first came to mind when I admired the Migration Earrings handcrafted by Sheryl Pang of Bohème Jewelry.

Eco Lips Gold / Vegan Eco Lips / Eco Tints

The founding of Eco Lips is a charming romantic tale: a lone female balm-brewer gave out samples of her homemade lip tonic to friends, and an appreciative recipient sought her out, asked her hand, and upon their marriage, the couple invested her life's savings in the production of the limp balm “Hemp Lip Buzz.” I am happy to report that they're still at it, and that with the energetic assistance of their premier marketer, over two hundred competing lip balms were examined prior to the formulation of Eco Lips.

Red Bamboo Tank

Cotton is a quandary. To me, no fabric is more comfortable, but its environmental impact is vast. Cotton is sprayed with reservoirs of pesticides, dumping tanks of volatile organic compounds onto the soil. The wide spacing necessary to cultivate cottons also diminishes soil fertility. Also, if you use cotton, odds are that you are exploiting a child in Uzbekistan. Is there anyway to avoid culpability? Synthetics make me feel like I'm wrapped in plastic.