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2020 ATX Sustainable Gift Guide
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2020 ATX Sustainable Gift Guide

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Hey guys, this is our ATX gift guide! I know there are a few already out there, but I’m confident that ours has a special lens. Before we dive in, here are some things that we want you to know.

  1. Every product on the list is sustainably made. We’ve talked to the owners, asked about how they source ingredients, and dug into the making process too. It’s important to us that you know these details.
  2. All these gifts are below $50! And some are as cheap as $15 after shipping. Sustainable gifts don't have to break the bank.
  3. We’ve bought products from each one of these local business owners, and frequent them regularly. None of this is paid advertising (as if anyone would pay our tiny blog anyway ha!)
  4. A bunch of the businesses on this list dedicate their profits to causes, or give back to their community in some spectacular way. We’re gonna talk about that.
  5. These guys are our friends. It’s better to buy kickass products when you know they are made by kickass people. Each of these creators has something special, and we want to share their passion with you!

Let’s go!

An Orange Clove Chocolate Bar (or three) from Madhu Chocolate

We met the makers of Madhu on Valentine’s day of all days! They were hosting a chocolate-making workshop at our local farmer’s market. Audrey and I snagged tickets of course, and it was an awesome experience. Aside from growing the cacao, they do everything in house - roasting, grinding, tempering, and moulding. The cacao is sourced very consciously, from three farms in the Tumaco region of Colombia. As with all the ingredients in their bars, the cacao is all natural and slave free.

Here’s where it gets really cool - they infuse their chocolate with flavors inspired by India. So unique and delicious, this chocolate really stands out from the cacao-crowd. It should be said, I’m a sucker for Indian flavors. My mother is from Pakistan and there’s a ton of overlap. I grew up with tastes like cardamom, rose, saffron, & cashew. Indian sweets that I remember pack a punch and a kick - super strong! If we ate chocolate, it was Cadbury or something like that (Who remembers flake bars?) Madhu brings two worlds together and it’s truly something special. Orange clove is my favorite, but variety feeds the soul! Try Saffron Milk or Spicy Peanut. A lot of their bars are vegan and the ingredients are all listed on their site!

What they are up to? Elliott and Harshit recently took a big leap of faith and rented a commercial kitchen space in Georgetown. They’re selling at a bunch of stores now and I’m sure that they will need to rent an even bigger space soon!

A ZZ Plant (AKA Zanzibar Gem) from Desk Plants

Loving plants is easy. Keeping them alive is hard, but does it have to be? ENTER DESK PLANTS! These guys sell indoor plants that are hard-to-kill, and can deliver to your home or office. All of their plants are basically bulletproof but I especially love the ZZ. I bought one from them more than 6 months ago and it’s positively glowing right now! I water it once a month or maybe less.... We met the folks at Desk Plants right when they moved to Austin and started up their company. It was at a holiday market around this time last year, and we were slangin’ candles right next to them! Since then, they have taken Austin by storm with beautiful plants and plantiful puns ~

Audrey and I love gardening. She grows all the cool house plants - pothos, pilea, monstera, aaaaall the jungalow types. On the flip side, I grow fruits, veggies, and herbs with *cough* varying levels of success. Having plants around makes you happier, there is no question in my mind. They’re full of life and add electricity to the air. By taking the guesswork out of growing, Desk Plants makes gardening so accessible. Most importantly, they do it all with a focus on sustainability. Aside from a few tropicals that come from Florida, all of their plants are propagated in Central Texas greenhouses. Their soil is turned from community gardens in Austin. They use lightweight cement planters which are also made here in town. And every time that you buy a Desk Plant, a dollar is donated to One Tree Planted. Check, check, and check again!

What are they up to? Lawrence just opened a “Desk Plants” store! It’s in the Domain and here is the best part - the address is 3200 Palm Way, Ba Dum Pshh. A tree reference! It’s the little details guys! So go pick up a plant for yourself and another for that friend who has a black-thumb. All shipments are plastic free, and you can pick up in-store too!

A bullet journal from Paper + Craft Pantry

The inspiration for this one comes from the journal that I bought earlier this year. We’ve all contemplated journaling at one time or another... For me, it’s about working through my thoughts in the moment and also having a record of myself in time. I’ve written intermittently, but this is the first time that the habit has stuck. My journal is one of my favorite possessions and I have it with me almost all the time. Btw - getting a really nice, sustainably-made journal doesn’t have to be expensive. This is a great gift for someone special, and one that can help them kick off 2020 the right way.

There is a whole other side to P + C that we haven’t talked about - workshops! A good friend of mine told me this week that his holiday season goal is to give only experiential gifts. Honestly, that's baller ~ Workshops are the perfect opportunity to explore yourself and spark creativity in a new way! They host artisans from multiple crafts throughout the year, including us! But candles are just the tip of the iceberg - ceramics, weaving, macrame, doodling, painting, lettering, it’s endless! 

What are they up to? Pei just had a baby!!! Watching her run the store as an expecting mother has been a huge inspiration. We’re excited to see her kicking butt again in 2020, with a tiny crafter in the sidecar!

A gift card from Revival Coffee Shop

This is our main coffee shop on the East Side. Head there on any weekday afternoon, and there’s a good chance that you’ll find me lurking with an almond milk cappuccino in hand! Fun fact, our popular Lavender Latte candle was inspired by their shop and we use their coffee beans in a lot of our batches. The coolest thing about this shop is that they donate 10% of their profits to charity, and the shop patrons choose the charity using a voting system! So you come in, buy a coffee, and then drop your ticket into one of 1 of 3 charity buckets. This quarter, the donation is going to Living Water International!

Another fun aspect of this shop is that you can pay it forward and buy a drink for someone else. “A latte for the next person with a Golden Retriever” or “an americano for the next teacher to stop by” - so rad! All of this is just to say that Revival Coffee shop is a great place to meet up with friends or get work done alone. Every time your friend stops in for their pumpkin spice fix, they’ll look up at the sky and think about you. Or maybe the gift is seeing your lovely face again - give them the gift card and let them know that they need to take you on a coffee date - HA!

What are they up to? Alyse just announced that new food truck park is opening up at the shop so I'm sure that will keep her busy. She uses all of her free moments to pet doggos and give 'em treats!

And all the greeting cards that you need from Acouplepuns

Last but not least on our 2019 Gift Guide  is Acouplepuns. Every gift should have a card. To be honest, a great card is sometimes the BEST PART of receiving a gift. Who remembers the pasta card from Mr. Deeds? I’ll leave that right here, just in case.

The right card can underline your relationship with someone special. And oftentimes, it’s the smallest details that make your connection to that person unique. Maybe you both love sneakers, and talk about Jordans 24/7. Or maybe you guys try out every new taco spot together and only order Al Pastor. Whatever it might be, finding a card that tells that story in an instant is the best feeling! Acouplepuns is originally from Corpus Christi but she’s been surfing the ATX Market Scene since before we were ever making candles. She has the most punderful cards for every occasion. I’ve bought 'em for birthdays and v-days alike! As with all the gifts on this list, community and sustainability are top of mind. All materials are either recycled or semi-recycled. And she often partners with organizations like Hugs From Hercs, to send cards overseas to our service men and women. 

What are they up to? Ok, so small confession. Angelica of Acouplepuns is no longer a Texan. Some might say, “ Whaaat Zaid, this is supposed to be a guide for Sustainable ATX Holiday Gifts!” To those folks, I say “You right fam, but we shouldn’t stop supporting our best makers just because they move a little farther away!” Afterall, she only moved because her partner got into an incredible program at MIT! So go show her some love this holiday season!

That's all for now. It's a short list but a good one! Now get off the internets and go burn a candle! Happy holidays y'all :)

- Zaid