Many vegans already know and love Matt & Nat for their beautiful vegan handbags and wallets. A year or so ago they decided to make their line more “upscale,” i.e. more expensive, which priced many of us out. However, they also launched a new brand call Samsara, priced more closely to what Matt & Nat used to charge. The founder of Matt & Nat and Samsara “set out to create an accessories brand that, although vegan, was first and foremost beautiful, understanding that the two could co-exist.” And they are beautiful. Additionally, for every Samsara item sold, one dollar will be donated to a non-profit of your choice. Samsara is a Canadian brand (those Canadian vegans have it almost as easy as the Brits!), but they are currently offering free ground shipping for all orders over $50. As of this writing, they also had a holiday sale going, with 30% off every item!
These items have a the same high quality craftsmanship we appreciate about Matt & Nat. Samsara offers wallets, clutches, handbags, overnight bags, briefcases, and belts in a range of colors. My personal favorites are the Neuville handbag (on sale for $80.50) and the Sterling (on sale for $108.50), which is big enough to carry your lunch, clothes for the gym, your knitting project, or anything else you need to take with you.
Samsara did not solicit this review, we just like their bags!
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Maybe you don’t think that tea is a legitimate holiday gift, but believe me, quality tea is something a person can never have too much of! Regular readers know how much we love tea here at the Primate, and if you also buy a nice tea tin to give it in, it will be a delightful gift. (Prettywood Tea offers several lovely tins for $7-20.) When buying tea, the quality is obviously important, but you should also keep in mind that tea is often grown in countries where the laborers could be exploited. Happily, the Fair Trade movement makes it easier to know that you’re not contributing to poor worker conditions. Choice Organic Tea fits both bills: excellent tea and fair trade certification.
Now, they do offer tea in bags, but really, loose leaf tea is well worth the effort! Every morning I drink an equal blend of Assam and Ceylon, with a spoonful of agave nectar. 🙂 Choice Organic also sells a variety of green and herbal teas. If you’re a little intimidated by extra work involved with brewing loose leaf tea, don’t despair! An infuser tea mug makes it as easy as boiling water!
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I know Sara and I have been major slackers on the recipe front lately, and I am sorry! But here’s another installment of our Vegan Holiday Shopping Guide. Regular readers of the Innocent Primate know how we feel about tea, i.e. that we drink it at every opportunity. If you have a tea aficionado on your gift list this holiday season, a porcelain infuser tea mug from Teavana will make an inexpensive (<$20), unique and beautiful present. These cups come as a three piece set: a cup, a fitted infuser and a lid, so that you can make a perfect cup of loose leaf tea. Just put a teaspoon of tea in the infuser, poor boiling water into the cup, cover with the lid, and then remove the infuser after the steeping is complete. It’s great to have at the office, so that you can have a fresh hot cup of tea on a few minutes notice. Or leave it at home, to simplify your bedtime herbal tea ritual. Teavana also offers gift sets of two ceramic infuser mugs ($40), if you think one just won’t be enough. 🙂
If up until now you’ve been drinking tea from tea bags, consider this: loose leaf tea not only tastes better, but also produces less packaging waste. It’s not a trade secret that the tea used for tea bags is of the lowest quality. Loose leaf tea allows for full and complex flavor development. And you only have to throw away (or compost) the tea leaves, and not the bags you used to use.
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