Kula's Favorite Things - Our 2019 Gift Guide!
Hey Kulaverse! Kula Founder Anastasia Allison here, and I thought that it would be fun to share with you our carefully curated gift of pure awesomeness. As you peruse the items on this list, keep in mind, that we are very real friends with all of the amazing individuals who live behind the brands that we've recommended. These are wonderful people who are making their own way in the world and bringing their own dreams to life through the sometimes overwhelming opportunity of being an entrepreneur.
In addition to traditional gift options, we've also provided some DIY ideas and some donation ideas as well.
No matter what, keep in mind this holiday season, that giving is just as much a gift for YOU as it is for the recipient. There is something special that happens when you give a gift freely and without expectation. Energetically, it places you in a true place of abundance - and a state from which you can receive not only 'things' (because it isn't about the things), but also the abundant love and joy and ideas and experiences that you desire in your life. Giving is a powerful practice - don't limit it to just holidays. See if there is a way that you can include giving into your life on a regular basis, and watch what happens.
Wherever you are in your life and whatever you are cerelbrating this year - I hope that you celebrate the most wonderful gift of all - YOU.
For the coffee lover in your life...
First Ascent Coffee Roasters Instant Coffee
As a PNW-er, I have the self-proclaimed title of completely-uneducated-coffee-snob (meaning, that I have no experience in the coffee industry, however I consider myself a defacto expert simply based on my zip code). First Ascent isn't located in Seattle, but it is a small business that makes (in my opinion) the best instant coffee in existence (Outside Magazine agrees with me on this point as well). For those of us who don't want to sacrifice our coffee snobbery in the backcountry (or just on the go), First Ascent is there. I absolutely cannot recommend this coffee enough.
For the backpacking foodie in your life...
Outdoor Pantry Biscuits and Gravy
If you've ever heard me mention Outdoor Pantry, you've also heard me mention their biscuits and gravy, which is SO GOOD I WOULD EAT IT AT HOME. Seriously, this is rib-stickin' creamy deliciousness that is on par with homemade... because it is! Deb Cyros is my dear friend and the genius behind Outdoor Pantry. Her recipes are delicious, without being salt-bombs. A few of my other favorites: BEEF STEW, BEEF STEW, BEEF STEW (yes, it's really that good - I once ate it every single night on a 4 day trip), and chicken and waffles (yes, you read that correctly). Deb and her team make everything from scratch and freeze dry it. Do yourself (or a friend) a favor and skip the 'big box' brands and get some good that will nourish your adventures in the most delicious way possible.
For the eco-conscious gear lover in your life...
Kelli Jones, bada$$ lady entrepreneur, is the founder of NOSO Patches. These patches are not only stunningly gorgeous, they also are the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the gear lover in your life. A bit too hard on your gear? Rip your pants on your last class 3 scramble? Instead of paying for costly repairs or worse, tossing your pants in the landfill, slap a patch on 'em! I've been using NOSO patches exclusively for the past several years, and they have extended the life of my jackets and pants indefinitely. Plus, I actually like my pants BETTER with the patches on them, because they are so adorable. My favorite pair of Arc'teryx hiking pants has a longhorn skull patch on the butt. How can you possibly not love that?
For the backpacker, hiker, athlete, traveller (aka ANYBODY) in your life...
Rawlogy eco-friendly cork self-massage balls:
I first tried these balls last year, thinking that they were more of a 'luxury' item on a backpacking trip. I was so wrong. After a long day on the trail, I gave myself a massage in the tent... my husband, who was experiencing some severe foot pain after a long day of off-trail bushwhacking, used the balls on the bottom of his feet. Our lives were forever changed. I now have balls in my vehicle, and I carry them with me on every single trip - backpacking and otherwise. Marek Bowers, the founder of Rawlogy, has also become a very real life friend. He is one of the kindest, most genuine individuals that you will ever meet and I'm so proud of him for following his dream of helping others with self care in all areas of life - on and off the trail.
For anybody who wants the coziest most adorable dress ever made...
I own TWO Fjord dresses and they are, without a doubt, the most comfortable, cozy dresses that I've ever owned. I have worn them while hiking, and while playing my violin in the mountains. If you are looking for the PERFECT (literally perfect) winter dress, look no further. Mallory, the founder of Kind Apparel, is also one of my dear friends. She started her company when she graduated college with a $100 serger that she bought on eBay. We met through instagram a few years ago, and I remember feeling so awestruck by her and everything that she was doing. She is one of the most inspiring, hard-working people that I know. Not a day goes by when I'm not grateful for my friendship with her.
For the mountain-loving, uber-comfortable person in your life...
Contour Creative hand stamped apparel:
Contour Creative is the brilliant work of another dear friend, Devan Nichols. Devan hand carves and hand stamps every single item on her website (I've actually been to her studio and watched her process - it's remarkable!). Devan is even going to be releasing a custom hand-stamped Kula in the next few weeks (watch her website for that!). With Contour Creative, Devan wanted to create comfortable clothing that made her feel good. I own one of her beanies and one of her sweatshirts, and it is the softest most comfortable sweatshirt I've ever worn. Her designs are unique and simple but timeless.
For the person in your life who loves art (several suggestions below!)...
Over the past few years I've had the opportunity to become friends with some of the most talented artists that I've ever known. Each of these women has followed their heart and pursued their passion in the art world, and I am so proud of each of them. As a musician, I know that it can be so tought to ignore the 'internal chatter' about being good enough or worthy enough. There is nothing that excites me more than seeing women who are just going for it. You can truly be or do or have anything that you want in life. I love watching these women, and I'm so blown away by what they have created with their art.
Drawn to High Places - Nikki Frumkin (2020 Calendar, notecards, prints, stickers and originals!)
Claire Giordano and Charlotte Austin collaboration (notecards, prints, originals!)
Drawn to Ecology - Alyssa Black (notecards, prints, stickers, shirts!
For the caring person in your life who wants to make a difference...
Beads of Courage Carry a Bead Kit -
The Beads of Courage program is a non-profit devoted to helping children who are suffering from a terminal illness. Carry a Bead kits are a perfect way that adventurous folks can carry a bead on hikes or adventures to create positive energy for a child. This is how the program works:
Each time you Carry a Bead, you support the mission of Beads of Courage with your $15 donation AND encourage a child in our program with the bead you carry and return. The bead you return will be given to a child on a tough treatment day or to celebrate a treatment milestone.
Everyone can Carry a Bead! It's as easy as 1-2-3:
1) CARRY: Your CAB kit contains a pair of matched beads with accompanying story card to carry or wear on an adventure big or small.
2) CONNECT: After your activity, return one bead along with your story card to be given to a child or teen in the Beads of Courage Program.
3) COLLECT: Keep one bead to symbolize your shared strength. The more times you Carry A Bead, the more beads you will have for your own strand of support.
A gift you can make yourself...
Wood burning workshop with Crystal Bailar (aka @mosstangle)
Crystal Bailar is the owner of the Moss Tangle website and if you are local to the PNW, she teaches wood burning classes! I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend one of her classes and it is so much fun! Not only will you be able to make a gift for somebody else, but you'll get to learn a fun (and addicting) skill in the process!
For the foodie in your life...
Harrod Outdoors Pioneer BBQ Sauce
This BBQ sauce was created by the father of one of our Kula Ambassadors! Richy and Vicki Harrod are the creators of Harrod Outdoors and they produce not only a television series, but they also released their own line of spice blends and BBQ sauce. I've personally purchased this BBQ sauce and I use it almost every day and I can vouch for its pure deliciousness. YOU WILL LOVE IT, and you'll also love supporting a local brand and a family creating their own dream.
For literally anybody who wears sunglasses...
My friends Nikolai and Jensen are the founders of Ombraz sunglasses, which is quite possibly one of the most brilliant innovations of the past century in the outdoor industry. Ombraz sunglasses are armless, which means that you simply cinch the beautiful drawstring cord to tighten the glasses onto your head, and it also allows you to wear them like a lanyard around your neck. The glasses don't pinch your head and give you a headache and they DO NOT MOVE. You will never have sunglasses fall off your face EVER AGAIN. I'm so proud of Nikolai and Jensen and they are deserving of all of the amazing awards and success and buzz that these glasses are creating.
A few of our favorite places to support:
If you'd like to make a donation in somebody else's name as a gift for the holidays, there are a few organizations that we love supporting!