Cascadian Living

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

The days are finally getting longer, and with the sun comes the promise of spring. Valentine’s Day, while often maligned as a day of consumerism and romantic pressure, can also be thought of as a much-needed stopping place on our trudge through winter. This winter has seemed especially rough on the Pacific Northwest. Here in Portland we’ve been walloped by a number of intense snow and ice storms, and I believe I can speak for us all when I say that the people and small businesses are ready for warmer, sunnier days. Faced with a harsh winter and uncertain future, perhaps what we all need most is a celebration of love. Let’s reclaim Valentine’s Day as a time when we think not only of our sweeties, but also of our family, friends, and neighbors. Sit back and think of all the people that have made a difference in your life — perhaps Valentine’s Day is the time to give them a little something as a sign of your appreciation and love.

In honor of love, friendship, and goodwill, I’ve put together a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide highlighting a few of my favorite local shops and handmade products. I’m hoping that within this guide you’ll find a few items that will inspire and nurture the friendships and loves in your life.

Field Trip is one of my favorite recent discoveries in Portland. Located at 3725 SE Division St, Field Trip is a lifestyle and community space filled with light and inspiration. Inside you will find clothing, jewelry, home goods and body care products. They also host workshops led by local artists.

Field Trip Shop

My pick is a Body Refresher spray by St. Olio. Available in three natural and fresh scents, this after-shower spray is a perfect indulgent treatment. Each batch is handmade in Portland, Oregon and filled with only the purest oils.

St Olio Body Refresher

St. Olio Body Refresher, $20

One of my absolute favorite shops to find unique, comfortable, and stylish clothes, Radish Underground also stocks unique handmade accessories and jewelry. Located in Portland’s West End neighborhood at 414 SW 10th Ave, I’m pretty sure that their arrival in 2008 is directly tied to the subsequent surge in style and popularity of the neighborhood. They earned my love forever by introducing me to Yoga Jeans, but my pick for Valentine's Day are these adorable Recycled Skateboard Hoop Earrings.

The line of recycled skateboard jewelry is the brainchild of Portland designer Lindsay Jo Holmes. These earrings are a triple-threat — natural wood, recycled and handmade. Her designs focus on simple, elegant shapes that let the beauty of the colored plies of the skateboard take center stage.

Skateboard Hoop Earrings 

Recycled Skateboard Hoop Earrings, $42

No Valentine’s Day Gift Guide would be complete without a perfect token of love. Luckily, Nested Yellow’s romantic love knot jewelry is the perfect combination of delicate, romantic and unique. Available in gold, gold-filled and silver, there are price-points for all wallets.

All Nested Yellow jewelry is handcrafted in Portland, OR with 100% reclaimed precious metals, fair-mined gold, ethically sourced gemstones, and low-impact, environmentally conscious practices.

Love Knot Ring 14KSecret Knot Ring SS

Love Knot Ring 14K Gold, $179

Secret Love Knot Ring in Silver, $49

For your skin-care obsessed friends, may I suggest a Rejuvenate Clay Facial Mask by Handmade La Conner? Handmade in small batches using only natural ingredients and essential oils in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, I particularly love the simplicity and honesty of the Handmade La Conner skincare line. You can visit their store online or in person at 106 1st Street Suite D, La Conner, WA.

 Rejuvenate Clay Mask

Rejuvenate Clay Facial Mask, $18

The Rhassoul clay within the Rejuvenate Clay Facial Mask is ideal for reducing the dryness of winter-parched skin, and improves skin clarity, elasticity and texture.

For those of you who, like me, are obsessed with the combination of vintage & modern design, you will love Beam & Anchor. Located at 2710 N. Interstate Avenue in Portland, Beam & Anchor is an inspirational mecca for home decor and accessories.

 Beam & Anchor

Don’t you just love this cozy and boho vibe?

My favorite picks are the Moon Wooden Hair Pin by Katie Armour and the Moisturizing Coffee Soap by Maak Lab.

Moon Hair PinMoisturizing Coffee Soap

Moon Wooden Hair Pin, $42

Moisturizing Coffee Soap, $9

I’d be remiss if I didn’t promote a few Cascadian Dry Goods items as well. 

The geometric stone jewelry made by Alison Jean Cole makes my heart sing, and the Rhodonite Half Moon Earrings in delicate pink are a perfect match for Valentine’s Day.

Perfect as a small token of affection to slip in pockets or alongside gifts, the Felted Wool Hearts by House of Moss are a no-brainer for being both adorable and affordable.

Rhodonite Half Moon EarringsFelted Hearts in Bowl

Rhodonite Half Moon Earrings, $100

Felted Wool Hearts, $3.50

For foodies and mushroom lovers, there’s the perfect match in Jacobsen’s Infused White Truffle Salt and Nell & Mary’s Morels Tea Towel.

Infused White Truffle SaltMorels Tea Towel

Infused White Truffle Salt, $35

Morels Tea Towel, $20

New Products:
January 2017

A New Year calls for new products!

We hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday break -- up in the Pacific Northwest we've been experiencing one of the snowiest winters in years, and the Cascadian Dry Goods team has been taking full advantage of the snowy mountains!

This winter hasn't been all play, however, and we're excited to share with you some of our new additions for January!

We are thrilled to be carrying our favorite items from Nell & Mary. Designed and printed in their studio in Portland, Oregon, Nell & Mary's prints are classy yet also so much fun. We're certain that these items will brighten any home.

New Products from Nell & Mary

A great addition to any bathroom, these cute Cosmetic Pouches are available in two different patterns. They are a perfect size for carrying makeup, jewelry or toiletries.

Looking to add some classiness to your dining table? The Sideways Rain Napkins and Wave Napkins are the perfect combination of elegance and whimsy.

Nell & Mary Tea Towels

We love these tea towels celebrating some of the best things about the Pacific Northwest --  Succulent Tea Towel, Morels Tea Towel and Oceanic Tea Towel.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, we've also expanded our collection of 100% pure beeswax candle products from Big Dipper Wax Works. Their holiday-themed candles and natural tapers were a big hit in December, and we are in love with their love-themed candles.

Valentine's Candles from Big Dipper Wax Works

To make a big statement, check out our large Beeswax Heart Pillar Candle. These make wonderful gifts, and also would be perfect centerpieces for Valentine's Day decor.

The Natural Beeswax Taper Candles were such a hit that we've added a few new colors! Red and White certainly fit for Valentine's Day, but we also love the elegance of the Black and Forest Green candles.

For a candle that's slightly more exciting, check out our Porcelain Aromatherapy Cup Candles! Available in three scents/patterns, these unique porcelain cups illuminate as they burn, lighting up the botanical designs and filling the air with sweet warmth.

The Beeswax Aromatherapy Heart Tin provides a big impact in a small package. Each cute heart tin is filled with a cinnamon-scented aromatherapy candle. Spicy!

Another hit over the holidays was (unsurprisingly) the salt from Jacobsen Salt Co. We are expanding our lineup to include some of our favorite flavored salts.

Flavored Salts from Jacobsen Salt

Classic Steak Seasoning Salt is perfect for adding the ideal flavor to steaks, whether you are pan-cooking or grilling. Infused Cherrywood Smoked Salt adds a delicious smokey essence, while Infused Garlic Salt is perfect for those garlic lovers out there. And last but definitely not least, we have Jacobsen's Infused White Truffle Salt -- this salt packs the most amazing flavor punch. Instantly take any dish up a notch by sprinkling a bit of white truffle flavor on top.

As a reward for sticking through this post until the very end, we've saved some of the best for last! Alison Jean Cole has fully stolen our heart with her amazing geometric carved stone jewelry. We have added a few more one-of-a-kind pieces to the store. *cough* *cough* Did I mention that Valentine's Day is coming up?

Alison Jean Cole Jewelry

Benefits of Activated Charcoal for Skin Care

Our Black Bamboo Activated Charcoal Soap is one of our most popular skin care products, but many people have questions about what this funny-looking black soap is for and how it works.

Benefits of Activated Charcoal Soap

First, it pays to have a bit of information about what activated charcoal is and how it works. Activated charcoal is not the same as the charcoal used in your barbecue grill. Activated charcoal has gone through a physical or chemical activation to drastically increase the surface area of the carbon molecules. The carbon forms large pores, fissures and pockets on the surface of the molecule. Other molecules, chemicals, and toxins then bind to the pores and gaps within the activated charcoal, becoming trapped and entangled with the carbon. When the carbon molecules are subsequently washed away, these other molecules are taken along too.

This amazing property of activated charcoal to attract and bind to other molecules has been known about and used for centuries. Egyptians were using activated charcoal as a medical aid thousands of years ago. Today, activated charcoal is used to clean up environmental pollutants in air and water at an industrial scale, as well as for air and water filtration at a consumer level. Tablets of activated charcoal are used to treat poisoning or overdose, and it makes a great whitening tooth scrub. It has uses in organic farming, gas purification and metal finishing.

But back to skin care. Anecdotally, soap with activated charcoal can help treat a variety of mild skin conditions. The most popular tends to be that stubborn case of adult acne that many people fight. Now, activated charcoal isn't going to be able to solve serious, extensive cases of cystic acne, but for those of us that always seem to have a few small pimples on our faces at all times, an activated charcoal facial soap can do wonders.

Hopefully, the description of how activated charcoal binds with various molecules and impurities helps explain how the soap can help remove unwanted molecules, particles and toxins from the surface and even within the top layer of facial skin. The skin is a permeable membrane, allowing chemicals and molecules to flow both in and out. Activated charcoal can help draw the impurities out through this membrane in a safe and gentle manner. Because it binds with such a broad range of particles, activated charcoal soap can help a wide variety of people suffering from irritation from a wide variety of skin impurities.

For those of you with sensitive skin, the activated charcoal does not bind with the natural oils that soothe and protect the skin, leaving your barrier layer intact. This is also why it has less of an effect on teenage acne that is primarily caused by excess oil production.

The small particles of carbon that make up the activate charcoal are also an excellent mild physical abrasive to help scrub and remove the top layer of dead skin cells. In fact, the activated charcoal can often replace any other facial exfoliation.

If this sounds like activated charcoal soap can be somewhat of a one stop shop for facial cleansing, well, that's because it is! Strong physical or chemical exfoliation routines can leave your skin feeling squeaky clean and refreshed, with dirt and impurities removed from your skin, but it also removes a lot of your skin and can heavily damage your skin's barrier layer. Over time this causes your skin to become drier and drier. Activated charcoal is a much gentler way to draw out and wash away these impurities, scrub off only the topmost layer of dead skin, and keep your skin moisturized and strong.

At only $2.80 for a 3.5 oz bar, our Black Bamboo Activated Charcoal Soap is a clear winner.