Perfume Giveaway

Katy Knuth and Beckie Sheloske launched Rebel Intuitive Perfumerie last November and continue to grow their business. Each perfume is made by hand, in small batches, and aged at least six months to let the different notes marry together.




Grace at 67th blends Tarragon, Sweet Basil, Clary Sage, Rose and more. It’s earthy and mild.




The Winter Lewd perfume is a citrus blend which includes blood orange, tangerine, and black currant. “Winter Lewd is a fantastical, esoteric, unisex perfume that begins with top notes that are like uncovering  peels and branches of citrus from the damp earth. Experience the mysterious awareness that is Winter Lewd.” (From the RI website.)


Ninon is a complex and deep perfume with a vanilla, honey, jasmine notes (and more!).

You can find these products online and at Salaam Boutique in downtown Montpelier. Ask for them at boutiques and specialty stores near you.

Rebel Intuitive Perfumerie would like to send you a bottle of their projected best seller for Spring: Grace at 67.


ENTER HERE to win this giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Garden Mats Giveaway


Tis the season!

Spring? Yes, finally.

Mud season? Yes, for awhile longer.

Planting season? YES!


When do you start planting? We start at the beginning of March. Peppers and tomatoes are planted first, and they sit in the sunniest spot in the house. Then we look forward to the day we can transfer them to the garden.

Last year we learned of Garden Mats, located in Central VT. Owner Peter Comart started this business as a way to solve a problem: he hated to weed the garden. We can relate! Our summer days are filled and there is a little time left to weed the garden. It’s even hard to convince our eager helper children to go pull weeds.


Garden Mats are made from polypropylene. They are made to let in air and water, but to block sunlight and weeds. The pre-cut holes have been cauterized to prevent fraying, allowing these mats to last for many years. With eight different spacing options you are sure to find something for everything growing in your garden.




We moved our tomatoes into the garden last May, and found the Garden Mats the perfect convenience. The mats were easy to set up, easy to use, and also easy to put away and store at the end of the season.


Here is more information from Peter about Garden Mats: “We designed Garden Mats to reduce the time you spend working in the garden and increase your garden’s productivity by 10%-20%.” Find more great reasons to use Garden Mats here.

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Our garden thrived this year and our tomatoes were extra large, juicy and sweet. We look forward to our next garden season, and the ease of planting thanks to Garden Mats.


Visit Garden Mats online to learn more, to make an order, or to contact Peter in regards to commercial planting. Head to Worcester any Saturday March – June to find Spring Sale prices.

Peter will send one lucky winner TWO garden mats. Simply CLICK and ENTER HERE –> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy gardening!

Mill Brook Naturals Giveaway


Kathy Johnston, owner of Mill Brook Naturals, has been researching and testing products for years. She started with laundry soap, and then added gardeners soap, bath bombs, bar soap, lotion sticks and more!

Kathy has a goal of making items “that are natural, good for you and are good for the environment”.


A group of trusted friends helped me to test these items and here are their thoughts:


“Nice scents that are not overwhelming and would make a sweet gift for a new baby.” ~Lisa



“I loved how well this soap lathered and how natural and authentic the scent is. I usually have a hard time finding either of these qualities in a natural soap, let alone both!” ~Hannah


“This is super easy to use and apply. Once it is on, it really feels like it locks in the moisture. My hands stayed smooth all day, even through hand washings! That is saying a lot considering my knuckles crack in the winter! ~Hannah

“My girls loved the bath bomb.  This was the first time we ever tried a bath bomb and they loved watch in it dissolve while soaking in the tub. The room smelled of lavender all evening.  It was lovely.” ~Emily
“I LOVE all things pine scented and this soap did not disappoint.  The scent smelled very natural and just like our Christmas tree.  The soap itself was great in the shower for full body but would also be lovely as a hand soap!” ~Kelly
This Gardeners Hand Soap is a summer must-have. Kathy tells us about her inspiration for this product: ” I love to garden and have a potting shed my husband and 3 boys built for me a few years ago so I thought why not a gardeners soap? I hand mill an all natural soap and add beeswax ,pure olive oil and pumice to get hands clean but not too  abrasive”
Our family has benefited from the Gardeners Soap soap too. It’s both effective at removing caked on dirt and grime, as well has very gentle on hands.
My four year old was very excited to receive this beautiful heart shaped soap. As soon as I was done photographing it she had taken it and put it in her bath. My daughter’s skin is very sensitive and I always search for mild soaps for her. This soap has worked perfectly! It’s all natural ingredients clean as well has keep her skin soft. The soap has lasted through many baths too!
I have been happy to use this Lemon Honey Soap. It’s made with shea butter, goats milk, locally made honey and more. It’s a sweet smelling really great bar of soap. It’s as simple as that. Use it and feel clean, naturally!
Now it’s time for YOU to try these great products from Mill Brook Naturals!
ENTER HERE to WIN a gift pack from Mill Brook Naturals –>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

BIG Blog 3rd Birthday BASH Giveaway

Try Vermont First is officially THREE years old! In the last three years we have introduced you to hundreds of Vermont businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, authors, and more. We have given away hundreds of items worth thousands of dollars! We are not slowing down yet!

My goal has not changed: to find great Vermont products and services, to share them with you, and encourage you to shop locally and keep your money in our great state.


It thrills me so much to have friends, family, and strangers tell me that they have sought a Vermont made product because they’ve learned about it here on Try Vermont First. THANK you and you and YOU for reading each post, sharing each post, and entering each giveaway. The ripple effect takes this blog, and our support for Vermont businesses far and wide.

In 2015 we will host many more giveaways including a weekly fan giveaway on our Facebook page. We are on Instagram now too! We look forward to hosting ShopVT again with the Burlington VT Mom’s Blog in November.

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Now… are you ready to learn about the many amazing birthday gifts we have for YOU? Enter below to win our Big Blog Birthday Bash Giveaway, which will feature gifts from the following companies. Note that your gift may or may not be the same as the one pictured below and may or may not include gifts from each of the following companies.



Time Out For Whoopie WIN a 6 pack of Large traditional Whoopie pies.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Ariel’s Honey WIN a 10oz jar of honey.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Pinterest. To WIN enter below.


Alaina’s Mosaics WIN a copy of Alaina’s book ABC Animals and a gift pack of 5 cards.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Chunky Love Boutique WIN a soft and cuddly lovey blanket.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Capitol Cupcakes WIN a small care package including fudge, caramels and frosted sugar cookies.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Marsh Hollow Jams WIN a jar of delicious jam made in Vermont.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Cat Illustrates WIN six cards with this beautiful Vermont art.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Kat’s Paws WIN two mini fabric wallets.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Tiny Gang Cards WIN a set of fun and silly cards.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Cure For The Bad Hair Day WIN a gift pack of hair ties.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.

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Chickens A-Z WIN a copy of this fun and informational book.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Best of Vermont WIN a $25 gift card and enjoy shopping.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Two Guys in Vermont Soup WIN  two jars of Chunky Garden Tomato soup and a Two Guys soup mug.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Twitter. To WIN enter below.


Vermont Village Applesauce WIN a gift from Vermont Village Applesauce.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.



Blake Hill Preserves  WIN a jar of their NEW Extra Fruit / Reduced Sugar​ Raspberry & Hibiscus Preserve.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook. To WIN enter below.


Nutty Steph’s WIN  melt-in-your-mouth Salted Caramel bars.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Twitter. To WIN enter below.


Green Mountain Mini Baked WIN a dozen mini donuts.

Learn more. Find them on Facebook & Twitter. To WIN enter below.


Happy Birthday to US, but Happy Gifting to YOU! What great gifts we have collected!

We ask that you visit and LIKE these businesses and artists on Facebook and follow them on Twitter! Leave us a blog comment and SHARE this giveaway on social media.

*** ENTER HERE to WIN this giveaway —–> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheers to the year ahead,




The Little Rippers: Book Giveaway


As soon as she started to walk, author Becky Munsterer learned how to ski. Her own passion for skiing, and the passion of the young children she sees in lessons, and flying down the mountain inspired her to write The Little Rippers.


Since Becky’s own nephews are little rippers, they helped to influence the creation of the characters in this book.
The book is set at fictional Powderhound Mountain in Vermont. The two main characters, Max and his sister Molly, are visiting their grandfather and looking forward to their annual ski trip to the mountain. Both kids are surprised to learn that because of an injury their grandfather won’t be able to ski with them this year, and he has signed them up for the mountain’s ski program.


The shy children end up going on a great adventure during their ski lesson. They show both bravery and compassion. The story is motivating and fun to read.

I read this book to my six year old son and one of his friends. We ended up reading the book in one day because they would not let me put it down. At the end of each chapter they would beg me to read “just one more!”. There were happy cheers for the characters when we finished the story.
I shared the book with my ten year old niece and her comments were: “It was an adventure! It was a book I couldn’t take my eyes off of.”



Becky has included Vermont traditions and touches in her story. The children enjoy Sugar on Snow, a great spring sweet and there are family recipes at the end of the book. When I asked Becky what she wanted my readers to know she said: ” I’m thrilled when real Vermont little rippers enjoy the book!”.


Now you can win a copy of The Little Rippers AND more! ENTER HERE —-> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find The Little Rippers at a bookstore near you or online! Have fun reading and sharing this story!

Ski on!

New England Sack Giveaway



Jennifer Halpin, owner of New England Sack, contacted me a few weeks ago about collaborating to promote her business, which is currently showcasing Vermont made products. You can view my guest blog post here.

Jennifer seeks the highest quality products made in New England and will deliver these right to your doorstep via a monthly subscription. With your monthly subscription you are supporting your extended local economy and appreciating fine craftsmanship.


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A gift from New England Sack will be well received no matter where you send it! Send it near, send it far. Send it once, send it for 6 months. Send it as a thank you, a birthday gift, a housewarming gift, with congratulations, welcoming a new baby! Check out this page where you can create your own custom gift box!



Please visit New England Sack’s blog page and read more about how Try Vermont First started.

Would you like to know what’s in the March Vermont Sack? I may know what’s in the box, but am keeping it a secret! Here’s a way to find out: WIN IT! That’s right, Jennifer is going to send one lucky reader a Vermont box this month! I will give you one hint as to what’s in the box….. it’s a product that inspired me to start Try Vermont First.

ENTER HERE to win —-> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note this great coupon code just for Try Vermont First fans – enter Vermont5 to receive $5.00 off any length subscription, including a one month! Leave a note in the comments of the New England Sack check out page if you’d like to order a Vermont box. More and new Vermont products will be featured in coming months.

Like New England Sack on Facebook and learn more about their services and products!

Shop local!


Vermont Natural Whipping Queen Body Butter Giveaway

Winter is never going to end.


Okay, that’s a stretch…. but really… this winter has seemed a little extra long and cold. One downfall of a long hard winter is dry cracked skin.


I have a solution!

The Vermont Natural Whipping Queen is making body butters that will help to soften, heal, and soothe overly dry winter skin. Owner Judy McCormick started making her products last Christmas after being inspired by a friend. After her first batch a chance encounter at her local hardware store turned into her first order!


These body butters are made with shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, mango butter, and cocoa butter. The ingredients are whipped together to create a product that is an everyday must-have and a great gift. The “Natural Kellie” has been sitting by my bed and has helped to heal my hands! I add a generous amount each night and in doing so I am keeping my hands soft and happy.


Judy is also adding essential oils to her body butter. The “Salty Sailor” shown above had amber & sandalwood oils. Here is what my friend Kelly thinks: “The tiny tub body butter is the perfect on-the-go remedy for my super dry hands.  I am always desperate to find relief for dry skin this time of year and most of my lotions are too cumbersome to bring out and about.  The body butter is soft, soothing and absorbs well.  The tiny tub is so cute – it has a permanent spot in my purse!”


“Suzy Sunshine” has the addition of grapefruit, giving it a gently sweet scent.


My friend Emily was happy to try the “Sensei Fashionista” body butter. Here are her thoughts: “We are loving the Sensei Fashionista body butter. It’s rich and soothing to my winter abused hands. My girls tell me I smell like a peppermint cookie.”



Treat your skin well with this well made product made with natural ingredients. Note that Judy is cooking up more products and will have new releases this spring.



You can find Vermont Natural Whipping Queen Whipped body butter at Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, VT, and Lebanon Cafe and Home Brew Supply in Lebanon, NH. You can also shop online. Encourage your local store to carry this  made in VT product. Use code TryVT1st to save 15% on your online order!


Click HERE to enter to win a great body butter gift pack from Vermont Natural Whipping Cream —> a Rafflecopter giveaway



Good luck! Think Spring!



beCAUSE Craft Show 2015 – ticket giveaway

March brings Spring (sometimes), mud season (for sure!), and the beCAUSE Craft Show (for the last 9 years and going strong!).

We have brought you the chance to win tickets to the beCAUSE Craft Show for the last two years. Read our previous blog posts about this great event here and here.


What is the beCause Craft Show? “(A craft show) created so that our local community could reach out and help many organizations that are in need through the efforts of one event, while supporting the business of local vendors. The unique quality about beCAUSE is that every purchase made at the show directly supports a charity or non-profit organization.”

This year’s show will have 130+ VERMONT vendors. Each vendor has chosen a charity to support and will donate 50-100% of their profits from this show. Last year the beCause Craft Show brought in over $23,000, which brought their 9 year donation total to over $100,000!

Meet a few of this year’s beCause vendors. You might recognize a few!


Kat’s Paws


Marsh Hollow


Alaina’s Mosaics


Rogue Radish


Vermont Chocolate for Change

I am excited to attend the beCause Craft Show and meet new vendors! Here are a few I hope to meet and sign up for future Try Vermont First Giveaways: Douglas Sweets, Lindemann’s, Vermont Rolling Pins, Snipe Ireland Soaps, Oh Fudge, and many many more. Find the full vendor list here.


Here are pictures from last year’s beCause Craft Show:

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Do not miss this special event! Invite your friends, enjoy a day off from shoveling, maybe start your holiday shopping! Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 14th and head to St Mike’s in Colchester!

We will choose FIVE lucky winners who will each receive two tickets to the beCause Craft Show! Simply ENTER here: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy shopping & charitable spending!


Rogue Radish Giveaway


Gina D’Amico, owner of Rogue Radish, explains that she opened her Etsy shop as her creative juices were flowing and she was working on ways to share her fine art photography: “At first the whole concept was pretty selfish, my pictures on my buttons. I wasn’t looking at it like a business, just to satisfy my urge to display my photographs. Immediately I was hooked on the idea of spreading my buttons to other people! That stemmed into magnets and then much much more. I really like the idea of little pieces of art in everyday life.”



Gina’s images range from nature themes, animals, iconic, playful, whimsical, holiday, and more and more and more. One of my favorite images is from the Valentine’s Day Phantom on Montpelier.



Gina’s most popular items are her magnet sets (pictured above) and her bottle open key chain. ” I can’t keep track of how many people have showed me there keys with one of my key chains on it or told me about their magnet covered fridge! To me, that’s an honor! People look at their keys and fridge (or locker) multiple times a day, and they’re willing to look at my picture?! That’s a great feeling.” -Gina



Two of my favorite items are the earrings and hair ties pictured above. They are both so unique, special, and fashionable. Check out the variety of earring from Rogue Radish here.

Zipper pull

Zipper pull

Starting at just $5, the Rogue Radish zipper pulls are an easy, fun gift. The peacock zipper pull above is now part of my daughter’s jacket and she loves to show it off.




Have fun looking around the Rogue Radish shop. Find a great array of products from mirrors to hair accessories to badge reels. Each piece is made by hand with one of Gina’s original images. Note that custom items are available too! Now your gift giving, part favor options are endless!!




You can find Rogue Radish at the BCA Artist Market attached to the Farmers Market in Burlington’s City Hall Park from May – October. You can also find Gina’s tiny earrings at Bella Boutique on Church St. in Burlington & Splash Naturals in Montpelier. If you are in Rutland look for these products at PURE.original on Center St.


All of the art products from Rogue Radish come beautifully and thoughtfully packaged. They make the most perfect gifts!


Gina is giving one lucky Try Vermont First reader a Vermont Gift Pack. Read details and ENTER HERE –> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks for sharing your products and your art with us Gina!



Vermont Pepper Works Giveaway


Stay warm this winter and keep things just as spicy as they should be! Vermont Pepper Works has a variety of sauces to meet your every culinary need.

Current owners Josh and Hannah Pfeil enjoyed bottling 50 gallons of hot sauce so much on their first date that they knew they had to find a way into this industry that they are so passionate about. Josh contacted Jeff and Julie Mitchell, who had started Vermont Pepper works in 1999 and asked for a job. He called back everyday until they agreed.

Josh shared this about Jeff and Julia: “They started VPW with pure grit and genius chef skills. They were young and powerful and they crafted five of the best hot sauces on the market. “Nothing artificial”, just delicious food that has the perfect balance of heat and flavor.  The 5 recipes go “From mild to wild” and I knew that VPW was special, so I bugged him to let me help him build the company.”


In January of 2014 Jeff and Julie passed the company to Josh and Hannah, who had been selling sauces at the Stowe Farmer’s Market for years.

Vermont Pepper Works currently works with with local farms such as Sol Fresh Farm, Cave Moose Farm and Woods Market Farm, to name a few, and hope to continue to expand this list. They are also working toward producing sauces that are 100% organic.


Josh also tells us about their best selling sauce: “Our best seller and our personal favorite is the Roasted Garlic Carrot Cayenne. The local organic carrots and heirloom cayenne peppers make the flavor and color pop. It is hot enough and not too hot making it our good-on-everything sauce.”

I can tell you that during the short time we had this sauce (short time because we ate it so fast) it did go on everything! It became more than a hot sauce but also a perfect ingredient and addition to any dish. The roasted garlic flavor is amazingly powerful. For the holidays we mixed this sauce with cream cheese and cheddar cheese and baked until bubbly and then served it with crackers. We ate and ate and ate until we wanted to burst, and I am sure someone licked the dish clean.

A few friends would like to share their reviews too:


“We both tried the hempin jalapeno sauce Although only rated with one x, had some serious spice behind it. A heat that definitely lingered after the bite was gone, which we both enjoy. Also, it had a distinctly earthy flavor, which was hard to put a finger on at first, but was definitely present at every bite, which I am attributing to the hemp nut ingredient. My husband really liked it, he loves the freshness of a tomatillo salsa plus that bit of heat, he poured it all over his fajita.” -Lauren


“The chocolate chipotle flavor was a bit intimidating, I have to say. With a heat rating one higher than the jalapeno sauce, I was a bit nervous. Plus, chocolate and spicy ARE a great combo but I wasn’t sure if it still would be -combined with all the ingredients in my fajita. It was pretty thick so I, very apprehensive, put a dot on my plate and dipped the corner of my fajita into it…and….Awesome!! It didn’t have nearly the kick of the jalapeno sauce and the spice was soo perfectly balanced with the sweet, you almost couldn’t taste the chocolate. I thought it was a great hot sauce and wouldn’t hesitate to use it with any dinner, tacos, fajitas or chili.”-Lauren



“Peach ginger habanero pepper sauce- delightful sauce that doesn’t pack a lot of heat, but filled with flavor. Tried it on my pizza and eggs and enjoyed a fruity tropical sensation, almost like a jam, but with a kick! Highly recommended and would even go so far as to say it has the potential to be kid friendly.” -Angela

I asked my friend April, who happens to be Hannah’s sister, what sauce she liked best and she said: “I like Rancho Ancho the best because it’s not too hotand it makes a great marinade for chicken. I’ll either bake it or grill it.”

Support Vermont Pepper Works by LIKING their Facebook page here and look for/ask for their products in stores near you!
ENTER HERE to win your choice of hot sauce from Vermont Pepper works –> a Rafflecopter giveaway