ShopVT2014 – Your Local Shopping Guide & Giveaways

fb header

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Shop VT is back for the second year to showcase amazing Vermont products, services, art work, jewelry, nonprofits and more! We are once again collaborating with the Burlington VT Mom’s Blog. Together we have 35+ giveaways to share with you, from 55+ local businesses! The total prize value is over $4,300! You will also find dozens of coupon codes designed just for this event.

shopvt2014logo

We believe that it’s important to spend our holiday shopping dollars in our great state. There are fabulous products being made, there are wonderful stores and restaurants to visit, and we want to support our neighbors and our state. Within our sixteen categories you are sure to find a gift, or two or three, for each person you are buying for. You are likely to find items to add to your own wish list too!

 

I would like to thank the sponsors of ShopVT2014: Localvore Today, Mix 102.3, Topnotch Resort, Vermont Harvest and Best of Vermont. Thank you for your commitment to Vermont businesses and bloggers!

 

Not in Vermont? Don’t worry… you can still win many of our great giveaways! We know that love for Vermont spreads far and wide.

 

Without further ado… please enjoy Shop VT 2014!

 

Best, best, best!
~Honi

 

 

 

Tiny Gang Giveaway

IMG_0943

Tiny Gang Designs opened in May of this year but started with a promise made long ago between two friends in sixth grade. Stephanie Farrell and Katie Wilhite made a vow to one day open a shop to share their doodles and drawings with the world.

IMG_1079

I asked Katie where their shop name came from and she shared this: “The name Tiny Gang Designs reflects just the two of us hanging out, doing what we love to do and having fun while we do it! We hang out like a little gang and draw and design (while listening to Beyonce most of the time). We’re a little weird, a little quirky and a little silly – which we try to showcase in our cards.”

IMG_1083

I really love sending and receiving mail, and I encourage my children to send mail to friends, grandparents, great grandparents, and cousins. Tiny Gang cards are exceptionally simple, and very eye catching. Their playfulness, fun fonts, and colorful drawings bring smiles!

IMG_1081

Katie tells us that their “Whale, Whale, Whale” card is one of the best sellers. Her personal favorite is “You’re A Real Gem“. Check out one of my favorites here.

IMG_1080

Who would you like to send a card to? And for what occasion? I like to send “Thinking of You” cards, because I so often am thinking of those that I love who I can not see everyday. I want them to know they are on my mind. Sending them a Tiny Gang card will be like sending a hug.

IMG_0947

Stephanie and Katie would like to send YOU cards that you can send and share. Simply ENTER HERE TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember to LIKE Tiny Gang Designs on Facebook!

Send a smile,
~Honi

IMG_0944

Sarita’s Bagitas Giveaway

Sarita Baker has been making re-useable bags for her children for years. Upon visiting her children’s school and seeing a great amount of plastic bag waste, she decided to start her business: Sarita’s Bagitas.

IMG_0831

Her business mission is simple: “To reduce our carbon footprint on the earth by eliminating plastic bags.”

IMG_0842

We pack snacks everyday. Snacks for school, snacks for after dance class, snacks for long car rides. Sometimes I look at our snacks and they look more like mini meals. It’s been great to pack a Bagita for each kid. The bags are big enough to hold a few things: fruit, crackers, cereal, nuts, and more!

IMG_0830

Each bag is 7×7 inches. They are made with 100% cotton and lined with nylon which is washes easily. The entire opening can be closed with a single velcro strip. The strip is sturdy enough to stay completely closed, yet can be opened easily by both of my young children. Each bag is BPA free and Phthalates free.

IMG_0843

Each bag also has a name tag. This is the first time that I have seen this unique feature… and I like it!

IMG_0835

I shared bags with my friend Aubrey and when I gave them to her she first remarked about how much she liked the fabric and then said “Nametag? Genius!”. Here is her review of Sarita’s Bagitas: “My daughter packs snack in these every morning and we love them! It’s great to have found an alternative to disposable plastic baggies and the fabrics are super cute too! The directions said to just shake out crumbs b/w uses and this works great (we haven’t had to launder them yet). I would recommend picking up a few if you haven’t already!”

IMG_0834

Here is my favorite fabric. It’s bold, it’s fun, it’s eye catching!

 

Another friend, Kelly, shares her review of Sarita’s Bagitas: “The Bagitas snack bag has been perfect for keeping the assortment of little snacks I always take with us on-the-go together. Instead of loose raisin boxes and cheese sticks disappearing in my bag, all of our food is contained and easy to grab. Plus, the colors and patterns are really fun too!”

IMG_0837

I could list 100 things that you can use Sarita’s Bagitas for. I’ll start with ten:

 

*School snacks and lunches
*Breakfast in the car
*Picnic in the park
*Play date with a friend
*Pine-cone collecting (no one said they were just for food!)
*Sneaking snacks into a movie theater
*Healthy snacks before ice cream treats
*Snacks for the football game
*Puzzle pieces
*Trail mix

 

IMG_0833

To care for these products simple wipe them clean. Making the change from using many plastic bags everyday to using one (or more) of Sarita’s Bagitas can be a very easy change, and though the change is small the impact is large!
IMG_0832
You can find Sarita’s Bagitas at Healthy Living, South Burlington, VT and Saratoga, NY, Natural Provisions Market, Williston, VT, Lantman’s, Hinesburg, VT, Richmond Market, Richmond, VT, Shelburne Supermarket, Shelburne, VT, City Market, Burlington, VT, Vermont HoneyLights, Bristol, VT, Naturally Grown, Troy, NY, Rutland Natural Foods Coop,  Rutland, VT, Myer’s Bagel Bakery, Burlington, VT. I recommend requesting Bagitas at your local Coop, food store, kitchen supply store.

Would you like to win a 6 pack of Sarita’s Bagitas which includes 2 mini Bagitas?

 

ENTER HERE TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Go Earth!
~Honi

Jewelry O’s Giveaway

IMG_0650

The Jewelry O’s Collection is a Vermont non-profit based in Norwich at, The Family Place. The Family Place hosts playgroups and offers parent education and support in a variety of ways.. including the Jewelry O’s program for young women.

IMG_0644

Read more about this exceptional program: “JewelryOs™ necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are handcrafted by the young women in our Families Learning Together program who are working hard to overcome the disadvantages that have thus far defined their lives.  At The Family Place they find the support and the resources they need to graduate high school, start college, learn to be proactive parents, find and maintain employment, manage money, find housing, get a driver’s license – the list is as long as they need it to be. One of the regular work sites of the FLT program is the JewelryOs™ studio. Accomplished jeweler Julia Dickenson teaches the women both the art of jewelry making and the art of small business management. The women take pride in the stunning products they create in the studio, and they take even more pride in earning money towards the program that helps them improve their lives and the lives of their children.”

IMG_0646

Julia Dickenson, supervisor of the Jewelry O’s program, sent me a Crazy Crochet Necklace in earth tones. The necklace starts with silk and is adorned with glass beads and natural stones. The finishing touch on the necklace is the signature Jewelry O charm placed near the clasp. I love this beautiful piece of art. It’s colorful, it’s eye catching, and it’s fun. The necklace alone can dress up any outfit. I appreciate the time and skill that went into selecting each bead and crafting this necklace.

IMG_0648

IMG_0647

The Jewelry O’s team can make a custom necklace for you and also offers bridal sets. Visit their Etsy shop to see the full color range of necklaces.

IMG_0641

These young women are making a lot of jewelry! Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more! Find their products here. ALL proceeds from sales go directly back to this program to support Vermonters. Think of Jewelry O’s the next time you need a gift…. you’ll be giving a lovely gift and giving back!

IMG_0688

I am so happy to host a giveaway for a custom necklace from Jewelry O’s! They appreciate your Facebook LIKE too!

ENTER HERE to win this giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Pay It Forward,
~Honi

 

IMG_0643

Juma’s Joy Giveaway For Pets

IMG_0376

 

Meet Indie, the newest member of our family. She is almost 10 puppy months old and loves to P.L.A.Y! She’s pretty cute too, right?

IMG_0273

Indie, and our older pup Daisy, are happy to share their reviews for Juma’s Joy. Juma’s joy comes from the toys that her owner Sara Chard makes from the heart. Playful toys made to last.

IMG_0268

Our dogs are always happy to get new toys. While Indie likes to be wild and crazy with her new toys, Daisy would like to bring them to her bed and cuddle with them. You can see from the picture above that Indie snagged all of the new toys and is hoarding them.

IMG_0271

Sara makes a variety of braided rope toys designed to be more gentle on dog’s teeth. They make for great tug tsoy, especially for two dogs. Indie has been known to take her toy and toss it up in the air and play a game of catch with it by herself.

IMG_0267

IMG_0272

Sara also knits cat toys and fills them with catnip. I don’t have a cat so I shared this toy with my friend Emily. Here are her thoughts: “I’m upstairs and I hear all this thumping and bumping. Hmmmm then I realize its my cat Lilly ( a respectable 12 years old lazy lady).  She rarely plays this much. All honesty I thought she might be having a seizure.  Great toy big thanks for sharing!”

IMG_0281

 

WIN your favorite pet a new toy from Juma’s Joy! We will choose two winners and each can choose two items!

 

ENTER HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck… now go PLAY with your pet,
~Honi

IMG_0283

Boysenberry Giveaway

From the fashion houses in Paris to her own home in Rochester, Beth Frock from Boysenberry, has been designing clothes for the last 20+ years. Her first job was creating ballet and dance costumes. She has spent time designing everything from coats to swimwear to Halloween costumes!

IMG_0845

 

While pregnant with her daughter, Beth found it frustrating that most baby clothes were gender specific and because she did not know whether she was having a boy or a girl she started to make colorful clothes that could work for either. Her current line of clothes is bright and she creates playful color combinations.

cache_240_240_0_100_80_crownpurple cache_240_240_0_100_80_DinoFtfix

Beth shares more information about the start up of her business: “My business started as a home based shop making to order whatever anyone asked for. Fleece was the new rage here then, although not so well known to me. Because of customer demand I started working with fleece fabrics. Having lost my job to “made in China”,  I was so happy to find that the best source of the best quality fleece was made in USA in nearby Massachusetts: at that time called Malden Mills, where fleece was invented.  I began my love affair with their fabrics. Now called Polartec®, the fabrics they produce continue to be premium quality, durable and long lasting, easy care wash and dry and resist pilling wash after wash, and needless to say maybe: colorful!”

IMG_0846

Beth has now opened a store which is located in Rochester at 61 North Main Street, in the same building as the Rochester Cafe. You can make an order online anytime at boysenberryvt.com.

I was thrilled to receive this lime green fleece vest from Boysenberry. I like to be warm, and like to have my neck covered, so a vest is perfect for me. This vest is very soft, fits well and is a lovely color. I think that I would like to get one in every color.

IMG_0862

Meet sweet baby Rosemary. She is ready for the snow to fly! She will stay warm this winter in this fleece hat in a salmon color. I really like the pattern on this hat, as well as the time that Beth has taken add stitching details and an under-neck closure (a must with babies!).

 

IMG_1009

IMG_1014

 

How will you stay warm this fall and winter? With Boysenberry of course! The winner of our Boysenberry Giveaway will have a choice of any hat on their website.

Flock of hatscache_240_240_0_100_80_Teal and blue velcro hat

CLICK here to ENTER this giveaway:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

IMG_1015

 

Good luck, and stay warm!
~Honi & Rosemary

IMG_1012

Lotus and Lily Giveaway

IMG_9331

The creation of Lotus and Lily was out of one family’s need and one mother’s determination. Owner Marcie Taff set out to make high quality and all natural products for her children who have allergies and chemical sensitivities. After Marcie’s friends and family asked her for products she saw a market and started selling her products online and locally.

IMG_9337

My family was first introduced to Lotus and Lily by my sister in law, who found these fun soaps at her local health food store. My niece and nephew loved their new and fun soap and wanted to get these soaps to share with their cousins. My son has been scrubbing extra hard to find the hidden toy inside his bar of soap. This idea of hidden toys is a favorite of Marcie’s son, Finnigan too. What a great concept!

 

IMG_9334

Here is more information about Lotus and Lily soaps, from Marcie: “Lotus and Lily’s mission is to produce All Natural/Organic Products that are locally sourced when available, Hand Made in Small Batches, contain No Parabens, NO Artificial Colors or Flavors, NO SLS, are safe and beneficial for your family.  Our products contain Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, which are the volatile liquids distilled from plants. They are Nature’s Medicine. We use them in our lives every day as a family and in our products to share the amazing healing benefits with you. The baby products are skin friendly, made for sensitive baby skin. Includes a Sensitive Skin Soak for bath time made from Oat Powder, Lavender, Rose, Calendula Flowers, Dead Sea Salts. Calendula,Rose, Lavender Infused Massage Oil. Calendula Healing Salve for rough skin, excema, cradle cap, diaper rash, boo boo’s and more.”

 

 

IMG_9323

My beautifully fair skinned cousin Jessica tried Lotus and Lily’s Sunburn Soother for me and here is her review: “I did use the sunburn so other and I love it! It is cool without being cold (like the green aloe gel), it is much easier to put on yourself especially your back, It smells great. I don’t think the cooling sensation lasts quite as long as the gel but all the other plusses more than make up for that one thing! Thanks for letting me try this out”

IMG_9327 IMG_9328

Jessica also used the Sweet Dreams Bath Soak for her twin girls who are 3.5 years old. She writes: “It smelled amazing and seemed to relax the girls I bet it works wonders with real little ones.”

 

IMG_9330

My friend Talitha is a massage therapist. She is also a mom of three young children. She offered to use the Massage bar from Lotus and Lily on her daughter who started school last month and had a hard time getting to sleep. Here are her thoughts: “I used the massage bar on Mayla’s back last night and it was great. Lovely scent, and a perfect glide/friction ratio for massage. She asked for it again tonight and it really helps her turn off her brain… sleep has been tricky this week despite being exhausted.”

IMG_9324

I have a Super Hero at my house. He is six and he just started first grade. It takes a lot out of a child to be their perfect little self all day. I love the idea of a Super Hero spray that uses essential oils including lemon and lavender to help keep kids calm and enjoying their day.

IMG_9335

Check out the Lotus and Lily Etsy shop and surprise your kids with new fun soap! Get a puzzle soap kit and give one color to each child in your family.

 

ENTER here to win a Kid’s Wellness Kit from Lotus and Lily!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck!
~Honi

Vermont Maple Granola Giveaway

IMG_0140

I am a very lucky blogger! Very lucky to be able to taste test amazing granola from The Vermont Maple Granola Co. I photographed and opened each package on the day that I received them. I had to, they looked beyond delicious! Ten minute later two bags were half gone.

Beth Vickers has been making and selling granola for six years. She started at her local farmer’s market and has since expanded her business with the help of a commercial kitchen in her own home. Beth balances her home based business with raising her three young children.

IMG_0180

Vermont maple syrup is one of the key ingredients in Beth’s products. She told us more about her special ingredient: “Using local maple syrup to sweeten the granola has always been central to creating this product, and I source the syrup almost exclusively from a family farm in North Bennington, where the farmer also grows sunflowers and other oil crops including canola that I use when available. The farm also produces its own biodiesel from the vegetable oils to run their tractors. The maple syrup is exclusively produced using a wood-fired evaporator using wood from the farm.”

IMG_0141

My favorite granola was the Maple Cherry Pecan. It has already become a staple in my home! The dried cherries are plump and chewy and the nuts add a bit of earthy richness. I ate this by the handful. My son actually asked me why I didn’t share this granola with him and his sister.

IMG_0142

My son’s favorite granola was the Blueberry Pomegranate Ginger Granola. He loved the flavor burst from the dried ginger and the dried blueberries that are plentiful in this granola.

IMG_0144

Beth tells us that the Maple Oat Nut is her best seller: “The bestseller is the Maple Oat Nut, one or our original and simplest varieties, which is quite popular sold in bulk through my website. With the continued popularity of the original Maple Oat Nut, we may soon offer it in the new 12 oz packaging as well.”.

 

My friend Emily and her daughters are reviewing the Maple Oat Nut granola for me: “My girls and I really enjoyed the granola.  My eldest liked all the different kinds of nuts.  My youngest like that the granola was sweet but not to sweet.  I appreciated that it was a delicious nutritious and quick breakfast that both girls would eat on crazy school mornings.”

 

IMG_0147

Another popular item from The Vermont Maple Granola Co is their classic trailmix. The combination of crunchy maple granola with roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cashews, wheat-free tamari almonds, Belgian dark chocolate wafers, whole dried cranberries, and jumbo raisins is a great mix of textures. Eat it fast before your kids find it!

Read more about these products and more at The Vermont Maple Granola Co’s website.

 

IMG_0159

Beth is hosting a very generous giveaway for Try Vermont First readers. Enter to be one of three winners! Stock up on granola for your own family, or for gifts and use the coupon code TRYVTFIRST for 15% off your online order (my son has already told me what to re-order for him).

ENTER HERE to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Good luck!
~Honi

Another Giveaway from Grannie Snow

IMG_0261

 

This Spring we introduced you to Grannie (Brenda) Snow, author of The Silas Series.  This series of children’s books are sweet stories that my children have enjoyed listening to over and over again. Previously we shared the first book in the series: Big Ole Striped Silas. We are now happy to share the next book in the series: Silas Gets a Sister.

IMG_0256

Each book is written with soothing, rhyming cadence and is delightful for both young and old readers (ie: me!). This books brings out emotions from both Grannie, who is still feeling a void in her family, and of Silas, who is a bit lonely.

IMG_0259

Illustrator Matthew Gauvin has outdone himself again with his lovely work! He brings life to the animals in the story in a fun and playful way.

IMG_0260

Grannie Snow wants readers to know that this is a series of books and the third book is already in production (Silas Gets a Sister is a bit of a cliffhanger!!). Visit her website and order directly from her.

IMG_0263

One of the best parts about writing a book is sharing your book! Grannnie Snow is hosting a second (very generous) giveaway with Try Vermont First readers! Three lucky people will win a copy of Silas Gets a Sister and one winner will win a personal reading (for a daycare, school, church group of your choice).

 

ENTER HERE TO WIN:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading,
~Honi

IMG_0264