Wednesday, January 09, 2013

NOVICA Fair Trade Artisan Gifts Giveaway

NOVICA is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites. They work with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. Novica offers thousands of top fair trade corporate gifts, accessories, jewelry and home decor items on their website.

There are an amazing selection of artisan products including a stunning home decor range. I love these amazing geometric cushions called Crimson Riddle:

And check out this lovely Cotton kente shoulder bag, 'Ashanti Prosperity'

Click to view a larger picture

I'm a jewelry fanatic and immediately fell in love with the designs of Jaipur based designer Bhavesh. I ordered his Blue topaz dangle earrings, 'Blue Flow' and was impressed by the craftsmanship and quality.

When Novica send you the earrings they  also include an artisan story card, giving the background of the designer, which is a lovely touch had it been a gift. For example Bhavesh says:
"I come from the enthralling city of Jaipur where I was born and brought up. I was raised by a single parent, since I lost my father when I was barely two and half years old. He died in an accident. Since then, my mother worked so hard to bring us up. After my schooling, I received a bachelor's degree in commerce and also did a short term course in the French language."
"Jewelry crafting is our family tradition, dating back to the ancient time when Jaipur was brought to its present structure by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. During that time, my ancestors were jewelers in the kingdom of Jaipur. Since then, the tradition and art have been handed down from generation to generation."

Next on my list of things I want from Novica is this amazing handblown vase, 'Fiery Topaz'

Golden topaz and fiery crimson surge upward from a crystalline base. Enveloped in crystal, the colors swirl in a vase of seductive beauty. Talented artisans craft it by hand of molten glass, employing glass blowing techniques brought to Brazil from the island of Murano in Italy.

I love their stuff and you will too! Enter today to win!

NOVICA $75 Gift Certificate Giveaway:

One lucky reader will receive one $75 Novica Gift Certificate.

Novica Giveaway Dates: January 11 - January 31, 2013 Midnight EST

How to Enter: Enter through rafflecopter- just sign into the widget and click the entries you want to complete.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a Novica gift card that I used towards my purchase in the hopes that I would share my honest opinions. I did not receive monetary compensation and the opinions expressed are my own.

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Friday, January 04, 2013

The Pitfalls of Going Walkies

I am lone walker in a sea of joggers
Hello, pleased to meet you. I am a walkaholic. No, not a workaholic, I'm definitely not one of them. But to me walking is just amazingly therapeutic and fun, especially in a place like Baltimore. The only time I don't like to walk is in the summer when it's 100 degrees out and you can fry an egg on the pavement but the rest of the time I walk as much as I can.

The problem?

Americans just don't get walking.

The only people who walk around here are joggers. So okay, that's jogging rather than walking. In fact, there is a rather strange man, a doctor, who jogs to work come rain or shine in just cycling shorts and no top. He also has a plait down his back as he jogs carrying his medical supplies. He is a bit eccentric but it is good to know he could give me the Heimlich Manouver if I choked on some chewing gum or summat.

The only other people who I see when out walking are bag ladies with trollies full of magazines and tin cans. Also a woman who I think is schizophrenic who walks all over the place in snow, hail and rain but doesn't look that shabby so I think she has somewhere to live.

Um, hello? Where's the snow?

The other people who walk are 'power walkers' who swing their arms around like lunatics, like walking is a serious sport rather than a method of getting from A to B. And don't get me started on those people who walk with Nordic poles like they're fake ski-ing. Hello? Have you noticed there's no snow?

So apart from mad people and sports fanatics no one walks. Basically Americans seem to think you should walk on a treadmill at the gym if at all. Also there are not that many sidewalks so sometimes I risk my life on the edge of a road to go walkies.

Still I persist in walking. Although many's the time a friend has pulled up next to me in her car and said 'Are you okay? Do you want a lift?' And I have to say, 'Actually no, I'm fine, I like to walk.' And they look at me like I'm crazy, especially if it's raining. But I mean, haters don't hate, it's not my fault I have straight English hair that doesn't frizz!

Maybe I am. Crazy I mean.

I'm actually thinking of getting a dog because it will make me look less like an eccentric English person walking around Baltimore if I had a furry friend by my side.

Another person or rather animal who desperately needs to walk is one of my guinea pigs, Marshmallow. I bought Peanut and Marshmallow both guinea pig harnesses for Christmas but Marshmallow does not quite fit into hers as she has rather been putting on the poundage. I will have to make the harness a bit bigger.

And then I can take both of the guinea pigs walkies.

Because that won't make me stick out at all, will it?