It’s spring! Or at least it feels that way because the temperature is in the 50s, birds are singing, the snow is melting and the days are getting longer. Never mind that my children are off snow skiing today and folks are still out ice fishing on the lake — with their big trucks parked on the ice. Never mind that. It’s spring!
To celebrate, I am sharing a few of my favorite things. No, I won’t break into a song about raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens. I am so not Julie Andrews. Nor I am being compensated to tell you about these things. I just like them and thought you might enjoy them, too, either for yourself or for someone you love. All items are made right here in Minnesota, but otherwise it’s a pretty random list.
1. Lume Soapworks Butter Bar: I received my first bar of this in a gift basket from a dear friend, and it really does make my skin feel like a million bucks. Physician-formulated, the bar is 20% shea butter and features essential oil scents, including a light lemon scent that is so refreshing. It feels very luxurious on your skin, and it is made in Chaska, Minn. by the sister of my dear friend. The cost is $5.49 for a 3.5 oz. bar or $19.99 for a four-pack.
2. Lume Soapworks Lip Service: This shea butter lip balm, also in that gift basket I mentioned, makes my lips super happy. My daughters love it, too. It includes cocoa butter, castor oil, sunflower oil, Vitamin E, and eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils. I especially appreciate the container’s oval shape, which fits lips much better than the usual circle shape. Available tinted or untinted, this is also made in Chaska, Minn. by the sister of my dear friend. The cost is $3.99.
3. Daisy Blue Natural Deodorant Cream: Scented with lavender and spearmint essential oils as well as rosemary extract, this natural deodorant cream is a mixture of baking soda, shea butter and other oils. It smells wonderful and, most importantly, it really works. It is made in Albert Lea, Minn. The cost is $9 for 1.5 oz.
4. RenPure Originals Brazilian Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner: I have been looking for a while to find affordable, paraben-free hair care products, and I think I’ve finally found a favorite. These products combine coconut oil, keratin protein and shea butter for smooth, frizz-free hair. Plus, they smell fabulous. These are made in Mound, Minn. The cost is $4.99 for a 16 oz. bottle.
5. The Original Carlsbad Oblaten: These delicately crisp wafers are perfect with hot cocoa, ice cream, hot tea or coffee. My family adores them because of the powdered sugar in the middle. The vanilla-almond flavor is our first choice, but they come in many flavor varieties and are made in New Germany, Minn. from a 200-year old recipe. The cost is about $15 for a 6.75 oz. gift tin.
6. TeaSource Georgia Sunshine: Oh, how I love this tea! This loose leaf tea is a fine Ceylon black tea that combines ginger and peach flavors. It’s simply fabulous. The tea is obviously imported, but TeaSource is based in Roseville, Minn. and specializes in importing, blending, warehousing, and sales of tea. They ship tea everywhere and have retail stores in St. Paul, St. Anthony and Eden Prairie, Minn. The cost is $4.64 for 2 oz. of loose leaf tea, which makes about 25 cups.
7. Truffle Hill Chocolates: These hand-made chocolates are quite delectable and make a fabulous gift for any chocolate lover. Their cute little retail store sits atop a hill near Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minn. and they will ship chocolates out of state. The cost depends on how much you love the chocolate-lover.
8. J.R. Watkins All-Purpose Cleaner: What a terrific lemon scent this cleaner has! I mostly use it in the kitchen, and I appreciate that it is non-toxic and ammonia free. It is made in Winona, Minn. The cost is $4.99 for 24 oz.
9. J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap: Fragranced with essential oils, this mild soap is perfect for the kitchen sink. It cleanses and gently moisturizes. It is also made in Winona, Minn. The cost is $4.99 for 9 oz.
10. Broken and Beautiful Mosaic Jewelry: These lovely pendants, ornaments and belts are made by an amazingly talented friend of mine. Each piece is a work of art. Items are available at Uptown MN in the Mall of America, Art 2 Heart in Hamel, Minn., and Unearthed Arts in Waconia, Minn.
I hope you find a new favorite thing. Happy spring!