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Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

How many times have you bought something simply because “it was a great price”? And what’s more, when you looked at the item, weren’t you certain it had to be just as good as any other at more than triple the cost? But when you started using that great bargain at a third of the cost of that other brand, it turned out that it was just a great price but really lacked in the area of performance.

It's happened to all of us at one time another. It’s easy to confuse a low price with a value. One of my biggest pet peeves in the price versus value equation is bath towels.  As I walk through the aisles of my local warehouse clubs, big box store and off-price retailers I see all the beautiful towels with their vibrant colors, soft and luxurious touch, great designs, and all at prices that make them look like a great value…Right? Not really!

I decided to buy some of those great priced towels with that soft and luxurious touch and irresistible colors and give them a try. They looked great in my bathroom, hanging there all fresh and new. I couldn’t wait to take a shower and dry off with that luxurious soft loft. Just one thing, that beautiful soft loft is created by the use of an industrial grade fabric softener that is applied to the towel to give it that great look and feel. The side effect of that softener is a towel that performs like it’s made of silicone rather than cotton—silicone may be a bit extreme but you get the idea. The towel just moves the water around rather than wicking it away with all of its luscious soft fibers. My result was a less than enjoyable experience trying to dry off.  So I thought, maybe I should have washed it first. The next thing I did was wash the towel and try again. Unfortunately, it didn’t really help and after a few washes I just gave up and donated the towels to my local thrift store. 

 In my next attempt, I tried a slightly higher priced towel from an off-price store. A nice brand name and some pretty cool embellishments gave them the appearance of being really high quality. Just to be sure, I washed my towels first.  After the first wash, they weren’t quite so special looking, however. The embellishments didn’t shrink like the towel and were all puckered up, but I could live with that as long as the towel performed well. Unfortunately, I got the same result; it just moved the water around and now I had a ratty looking towel that didn’t work

For my final attempt, I tried the towels from my Wholesale Club. They looked great and the price was outstanding. They seemed so thick and absorbent; I just knew they would perform the best.  Yet, the performance after washing was even worse than the other 2 sets I’d tried!  I wash them 5, maybe 6 times; sure it was bound to soften them up…wrong again. They still hung onto that watershed performance, but now they were puckered on the ends and full of picks, pills, and pulls. These towels were just about a week old and looked like I had them for years.

My lesson here was “I get what I pay for”. That and not all towels are created equal. I would rather pay for a towel that truly performs and lasts than to buy a bunch of “great price” towels that I will never meet expectations and will need replacing in just a matter of months.

You’ve heard my story, and here’s my recommendation: Before you buy, be sure they don’t use any industrial softener in the towel. Look for 100% cotton or a cotton/model mix. Cotton is best from Egypt or America, including the U.S. and Brazil.  Long staple carded cotton, organic cotton, and genuine Egyptian cotton will offer you the best performance, best look, and the most durability. But, weight is also important.  A good basic towel will be from 440 GSM (Grams per Square Meter) to 800GSM with your nicest loft in the 600-700GSM range.  

For this reason, VivaTerra offers beautiful Brazilian Long Staple Cotton Towels with a lofty 700GSM weight. We never use industrial fabric softeners so that our towels perform like the best you’ll ever own. They are available in classic neutrals, such as white, ivory, birch or aqua, so that their style stands the test of time as well as their quality. The price for our premium carded cotton bath towel is just $29, or $25 when you buy 2 or more. I may be biased, but I do know for a fact, this towel is a value.

Now that you’ve taken the time to read my story I hope you learn from my towel buying mistakes. I truly believe you will love our towels and I want you to try them! I want to extend a “Try Me” bath towel at just $12.50, that’s half the cost of the 2 or more price.  Call our customer service team at 800.247.6799 and let an agent know that you’d like to try a VivaTerra premium carded cotton bath towel. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Once you’ve tried it, let us know by giving it a rating on our web page. I am certain that you’ll agree, it’s the best value towel you’ve every tried.

 

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Michael Weibel Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

Our Summer 2016 collection is brimming with the tones and materials of Mother Nature, displays of time-honored methods of craftsmanship, texture, bright color, unique design, and the traces of human touch on each artisan crafted product. As always, our mission in selecting these products remains to help you transform your home into an eco-sanctuary. From sourcing and selecting, to styling and photographing, and finally printing and mailing, we pour time and care into every step of the process before these items land in our catalog and into your hands. As you flip through its pages, have you ever wondered how it’s all done? Well, we are going to give you a behind the scenes sneak peek at not only one of our favorite photo locations, but also a look around the location of one of our close neighbors in our home, Virginia. 

Meet Early Mountain Vineyard:

Early Mountain Winery

Located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Early Mountain Vineyards is a part of the well-known Monticello Wine Trail. The trail and land around it is steeped in American history. In fact, the first owner of the land that Early Mountain now calls home was Revolutionary-war veteran, Lt. Joseph Early, who served General George Washington at Valley Forge. And ironically, the story goes that Lt. Early was home one night and caught wind that there was a traveler in the region seeking shelter for the night. He sent out word that the weary wanderer was welcomed into his home, and low and behold when he arrived, it was Washington himself. While this is certainly a unique fact about the vineyard—“George Washington was here”—the story's true significance is the spirit of generous hospitality it tells us embodies the land. Early Mountain’s owners Jean and Steve Case have made it their mission, and some would say passion, to keep this hospitable spirit at the heart of their vineyard.

Adding to the hospitable vibe is the beauty you’ll see at the vineyard indoors and out. From the charming décor to the rolling mountain views, it’s easy to feel welcomed here. Take a look at some of the breathtaking views below, as well as a few of our favorite shots from our last visit to Early Mountain Vineyard.

Early Moutain Winery Photo 2Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Photo 3

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery with VivaTerra Chair

Early Mountain Winery Photo 4

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Outdoor Dining

Photo Credit:Paula Bartosiewicz

 

Early Mountain Winery Interior Room

Photo Credit: Andrea Hubbell

 

Early Mountain Winery Rattan Sofa

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Journeys  Thoughts 
Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017

As we begin to notice fresh green growth and blossoms bursting into color, each sunny afternoon fills our minds with thoughts of vibrant outdoor gatherings filled with the joy of good company, beautiful weather and fresh food. There's nothing that quite rivals an evening al fresco shared with friends and family. Spring and summer entertaining call for the celebration of the earth's all-natural bounty, reveling in fresh ingredients bursting with flavor.

Here at Viva Terra, we've fallen for the brightness and subtle decadence of Italian cuisine, especially it's served up with such style and grace as at Eataly in the heart of New York City. A combination market and dining experience, Eataly features seven different restaurants, all located around a central market that provides the fresh, high quality ingredients served up in each restaurant. Both market and restaurants are dedicated to providing fresh, local produce and fine, artisanal ingredients, offering a divine, little taste of everything Italy.

We like to keep this same mindset when it comes to spring and summer entertaining, enjoying the decadence of the finest, freshest things in life. When it's time for backyard barbecues and al fresco evenings, our selection of classic and chic outdoor furniture is the perfect way to bring an extra touch of comfort, function and charm to your gathering. With everything from unique and colorful seating to just the right table for any space, it the perfect way to extend your entertaining space into the beautiful outdoors. See our stunning selection of weather-sturdy yet elegant outdoor furniture here. And like any good Italian meal, don't forget the vino! We love serving our wine in casual tumblers and goblets that speak to the relaxed elegance of al fresco dining.

Wed Aug 16 00:00:00 EDT 2017 Kristen Journeys  Thoughts 
Tue Nov 08 00:00:00 EST 2016

It’s that time of the year again. Fall is in full swing, coats are coming out of the closet, we’re getting ready for family gatherings, and we are starting to feel the pressure of…gift giving! So many friends, family and loved ones, and so little time to stop, shop, and thoughtfully pick out a gift for each one. For this reason, we have created the VivaTerra Holiday 2016 Green Gift Guide as a solution for green gift-ers who need a one-stop-shop for organic apparel, eco-chic home finds, and green seasonal décor alike. With a huge range of categories, you will be able to check everyone off your list with ease!

Artisan-Made Gifts

artisan made 1

Artisan's hands craft each piece in this collection, from carved jewelry boxes to woven log baskets and much more.

Eco-Friendly Gifts

eco friendly

Gifts made from recycled, salvaged, or sustainably sourced materials! An easy choice for your gift recipients and for Mother Earth.

For Her

gifts for her

Totes, jewels, florals, frames and more feminine gifts for every lady on your list.

For Host & Hostesses

gifts for hostess

For the friends and family members that host the most (and the best). If you have anyone on your list that loves to entertain, this collection of serveware, kitchen goods, and dining accessories is for you.

On Sale Gifts

items on sale

A collection where giving meets savings—and who doesn’t like that? 

Gifts Under $75

gifts under $75

Green gifts, décor & more that’s perfectly priced for giving! Spend a little, give a lot.

Best Selling Gifts

best-selling gifts

Best sellers, staff picks and customer favorites all rounded you so you can't go wrong. These are gifts they’re sure to love!

Global Gifts

global gifts

Gorgeous gifts from all around the world with global-style that reflects the rich cultural influence of the country in which they were made. 

Zen Gifts

zen gifts

For the “keep calm and carry on” crew. Those in your who need a little serenity, or even better, for those who bring you serenity, give it back with this Zen-style collection.

Gifts for the Kitchen

kitchen gifts

Calling all cooks! These giftable kitchen goods are for the culinary queens and kings in your life.

For Tea Lovers

gifts for tea lovers

Any and every avid tea drinker is sure to get joy out of one of these gifts. In this collection, you’ll find Japanese ceramic teapots, unique drinkware, and more.

Winter Wreaths & Plants

winter plants

Wreaths and plants that truly capture the natural beauty of the season can be given and brought indoors, so your recipient can enjoy fall and winter foliage without braving the cold seasonal temperatures.

Flower Bulb Deliveries

bulb gardens

Perhaps the greenest gift of all, select your favorite blooms and send a living gift directly to those who appreciate having flowers in their home all year long.

Gift Baskets & Sets

Gifts that do everything but give themselves. These sets and baskets are no-brainers for anyone you know, from friends and family to coworkers and acquaintances.

Statues & Garden Décor

garden statues

For your favorite people who you can always find outdoors, these gifts are perfect for patios, decks, gardens, and flowerbeds. Serene and beautiful statues and accents that bring décor to the outdoors.

Artisan-Made Jewelry

artisan made jewelry

Breathtaking and delicate necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that are inspired my nature and crafted by artisan's hands.

Sea-Glass Jewelry

seaglass jewelry

Gorgeous gifts inspired by the sea! These beautiful recycled-glass adornments are handmade in the USA and complement every style with eco-friendly charm.

Eco-Friendly Knife Blocks

knife blocks

For anyone, seriously! Our eco-friendly knife blocks come in a variety of styles, from rustic to sleek and are filled with sustainable bamboo skewers that safely hold your knives within reach on your counter.

All-Natural Apparel

apparel accessories

Organic cotton, cashmere, felted wool and more, this collection is brimming with stylish looks and luxurious, eco-friendly materials.

Soapstone & Copper Cookware

soapstone cookware

Kitchen classics with an eco-friendly twist, our soapstone collection is a lovely gift for the holiday season or any occasion, such as a wedding or housewarming.

Stoneware & Ceramics

stoneware serveware

A collection of Japanese-inspired designs that range from specialty tea sets to everyday dinnerware. No matter the item, the quality and style are sure to appeal to anyone.

Reclaimed Wood Décor

reclaimed wood products

Rustic, reclaimed, and full of character, our earth-friendly wood designs are perfect for any character you have on your list.

Reclaimed Wine Barrel Designs

reclaimed wine barrel serving tray

Family in Sonoma? Even if not these upcycled wine-inspired designs are sure to please. Salvaged from retired wine barrels, every piece is a one-of-a-kind with loads of character.

Recycled Glass Vases & Décor

balloon glass vases

Recycled glass in its best forms! This collection features organic shapes, artisan craftsmanship & eco-chic home accents for every décor type.

 

SHOP THE COMPLETE 2016 GREEN GIFT GUIDE!

Tue Nov 08 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Thoughts 
Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016

By definition, driftwood is “wood floating on or washed ashore by the sea or other body of water”. It can come from fallen trees and branches, or trees along a river’s edge, swept away during a flood. Some driftwood is even the result of humans cutting and disposing of wood, or from rare occurrences such as old shipwrecks or lost cargo crates. However it finds its way to water, erosion and natural elements such as wind, sun and rough water take their turn crafting the wood into its new form. When it washes ashore, it has been stripped of its bark, smoothed by the wind, and often bleached by the sun to a lighter color. And while many may see driftwood as simple debris on the shoreline, some see it as more.

 It’s often prized for its structural beauty, being known to take on artistic, almost sculpture-like forms over time. And for pieces that don’t become works of art naturally, they can be used as material in a manmade work instead. Driftwood can be hard to obtain in some areas however. In Oregon for example, law—for the cause of environmental and natural habitat protection—protects most driftwood. Here, and in many other places, it may only be collected by individuals or companies who possess a license or permit.

The artisan responsible for creating many of our beautiful driftwood products has been granted such permit due to his indigenous heritage. He collects driftwood from the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. The collected driftwood is then carefully arranged together to create a nature inspired sculptural work. Once his work is complete, the sculptures are sent to a United States based nursery. Here, succulents and plants are hand-picked for each one and hand-planted. The combination of the sun-bleached, monochromatic, textural driftwood and lush, green, living plants brings a perfect natural balance to every work.

We believe driftwood is a work of art created by Mother Nature herself. And we love that this artisan, with respect of the environment and this nature created material, gives driftwood a breath of new life in a work of art that can be admired in the home. You can browse our collection and find a driftwood work that will perfectly fit your home.

driftwood details

driftwood landscape

Sources:

http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_700/oar_736/736_026.html

Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Sat Apr 23 00:00:00 EDT 2016

Happy Earth Day to all! Today is easily one of our favorite days of the year, maybe even our favorite. As our name suggests—VivaTerra, meaning, “living earth”—we are strong supporters of the Earth Day cause. In honor of the earth & its preservation, today we will make a donation to TerraPass for every order we receive. What does that do? Well, we’re glad you asked…

TerraPass began in 2004 with a modest mission to help individuals offset the CO2 emissions of their driving. Quickly gaining participation, recognition, and success with their individual program, they set their sites even higher. TerraPass has since helped thousands of business and institutions do their part to reduce their own impact on the environment. They have also helped, and continue to help implement greenhouse gas destruction projects all across the nation. The projects range from helping farms better use animal waste, to creating wind energy, to landfill gas-capturing initiatives, to BEF water restorations. To learn more about these and other TerraPass projects, you can visit TerraPass.com. For today, our project, in partnership with TerraPass, it to offset the carbon emissions generated in the transport of any orders we send out. When you place an order, we’ll make an investment into a CO2 eliminating project. So, not only will your shipping today be FREE, it will be carbon footprint free as well.

We hope this helps shed some light on our company initiatives to protect the earth, as well as some ways you can help get involved on this earth day. Ship your order free, we’ll offset it’s CO2, and you can enjoy a breath of fresh air outdoors today.

Sat Apr 23 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Fri Mar 18 00:00:00 EDT 2016

It’s here! Arguably one of the most anticipated seasons of the year, spring has finally (officially) arrived. A figurative light at the end of the tunnel, it represents the end of the cold monotony of winter and holds promises of sunshine, buds, blooms and an overall brightening-up of the world outside. Spring not only promises us growth and change but is the predecessor to the season of fun: summer.

Summer is the time when we can get outdoors and truly enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer us. But then again, summer only lasts a while before it gives way to the much-romanticized season of autumn. Another season of colorful changes where we look at our world in wonder and take in its beauty. And once the air grows crisp and the transformations of the trees have all taken place, we find ourselves in winter again, readying ourselves for the magic of the first snow and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

We believe every season is one worth celebrating. This is the reason we love our Four Season Locket Collection. We all have a favorite season, and this collection of handmade accessories allows us to keep that time close to our hearts all year long.

Each locket is made exclusively for us in Austin, Texas. The two small outer disks are 14k gold-filled and sterling silver-plated and hand-stamped by the artisan with seasonal symbols. Between them you’ll find an additional representation of the season—a colorful natural gemstone. These lockets make great personalized gifts, and choosing one is easy! Take a look below and find the season and locket that best suits you (or a lady in your life!):

The Spring Springer:

For starters, a love of tulips is a pretty sure sign spring is her season. A girly girl, she’s pretty in pastels, gingham and eyelet. She has pep in her step and is bright and cheerful just like her favorite season. She’s always full of child-like anticipation for whatever is ahead of her.

Her Locket: Hand-stamped with a sprig of foliage and contains a bright green gem.

The Summer Heart:

The summer lover is easy to spot, because she is probably a ray of sunshine herself. She loves the great outdoors and is always up for adventure. This lovely lady’s idea of a dream vacation? At the beach enjoying sandy toes and salty air.

Her Locket: Hand-stamped with Mr. Golden Sun and contains a gem as bright blue a summer skis.

The Autumn Romantic:

If she is pulling on her boots at the first sign of a fallen leaf, she is likely an autumn girl. Her favorite dessert? Home made apple pie of course, and she always picks the apples herself. She has an invigorating energy about her just like the crisp autumn air. He Locket: Hand-stamped with a falling leaf and contains a warm burnt-orange gem.

The Winter Wonderer:

She’s all about snow days and waste no time stirring up a mug of hot chocolate at the first sign of her breath in the air. Knitted accessories and wool socks are prevalent in her wardrobe. If “bundled-up” is her favorite way to be and her idea of a great getaway involves a cabin, she’s a winter wonderer.

Her Locket: Hand-stamped with a swirling winter cloud and contains an icy light blue gem.

 

The Complete Four Season Locket Collection

Shop the Four Season Locket Collection now.

 

 

Fri Mar 18 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Jesse Thoughts 
Wed Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2016

March 8th is International Women’s Day—a day dedicated to coming together across the globe to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s a day to rally behind equality, support and encourage females, speak out for women’s rights, and take action to accelerate gender parity.artisan stories at vivaterra block printing 1

VivaTerra wholeheartedly stands behind the mission of this day in support of our artisans, our neighbors, our friends, our communities and our world. We take this time to celebrate and honor our female artisans from whom we source beautiful goods from across the globe.

View our collection of items, crafted by the hands of talented women, here. And to take further action in support of gender parity and equality around the world, visit InternationalWomensDay.com and make a #PledgeForParity now!

 

 

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Wed Mar 09 00:00:00 EST 2016 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Fri Feb 05 00:00:00 EST 2016

Eco-friendly materials, artisan-made décor, and organic apparel—our new spring catalog and web collections have it all! All of your favorite things about VivaTerra with a bright & refreshing twist for the upcoming season. Naturally, we have a few favorites of our own, and we’d love to share!

Walk on the "wild side" with Lucky the Elephant, our newest favorite artisan-made design! Available in two sizes—accent table or tabletop sculpture—you’re guaranteed to find a space for this lovable, hand-carved accent in your home. He is a perfect side table, a whimsical candleholder, or a charming shelf accent that we can’t get enough of.

Lets. Get. Organized. Our variety of conveniently sized and shaped hand-wired storage baskets are a revolution in organization. Bridging the gap between storage and style effortlessly, every one of them possesses a chic, modern look and is sized to fit your life. See the entire collection of Wire Storage Baskets now.

New season, new style. A fresh wave of organic cotton apparel from Indigenous has just landed on site! You’ll love the relaxed look and cool color palette, but you’ll love it even more once it lands in your closet. Each piece is handmade in Peru from super soft and breathable organic cotton fibers that are perfect for the upcoming transitional weather.

Look out for these new VivaTerra favorites, updated signature collections, and more in our catalog—due to land on your doorstep very soon!

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Fri Feb 05 00:00:00 EST 2016 Bryn Huntpalmer Interior Decorating & Design  Thoughts 
Fri Dec 11 00:00:00 EST 2015

Can you believe it? There stands but one weekend between us and the home stretch to Christmas. And while most of us are filled with excitement, there are also those of us that feel a little panic… the late shoppers. We are all guilty of it, so to help, we made a list for 5 last minute gifts ideas that are sure to please anyone on your list!

slate board

1. What: Natural Slate Menu Board - Genuine slate stone featuring a natural edge transforms into an elegant menu board with the simple addition of a tamarid wood stick easel and a limestone “chalk” stick. It’s an au naturel combination that is perfect for displaying the courses at your next dinner party, or what’s on the grocery list for the week in your home.

Who: The Hostess with the Mostess

Why: Not only will you (as the giver) love the price, your recipient will genuinely feel like you “get” her. No more fussing and pointing at dinner parties to let people know what is in each pot or on each tray. Thanks to you, she’ll have a handy menu displayed so she can sit back and relax—for once.

 

rosemary

2. What: Rosemary Plant Topiary - Our miniature rosemary topiary may be small but it thrives with endless charm. Perfectly giftable and wonderful for greening up smaller spaces. When blooming, this topiary is dotted with beautiful purple flowers.

Who: The Gardner

Why: First of all, you’re on a tight timeline at this point. That is to say: the less wrapping required the better! Put a burlap bow around this topiary’s terracotta pot and hand it over to your recipient—it’s that easy. Plus, your friend who has the gardening itch will be pleased she has something to apply her green thumb to during the colder month of the year.

 

capiz candle holders

3. What: Capiz Shell Lotus Tealight Holders - Artisan made in the Philippines, each lotus is created from carefully cut capiz shells to a yield a glimmering combination of translucent petals with a metallic metal lining. Capiz shells, like pearls and mother of pearl, are harvested from oysters. They naturally possess the beautiful shimmer that makes our lotus holder so breathtaking.

Who: The Aspiring Decorator

Why: First the obvious: everyone loves candles, right? But secondly, these vessels possess a certain simplistic, shimmering beauty that will fit almost any décor style. This it good, because your decorating-obsessed friend is always changing up her home style. The price is right and she will appreciate the opportunity to place something fresh and new in her house once her seasonal décor is put away.

  

pocket scarf

4. What: Cloud Block Stripe Pocket Scarf - Light as a cloud and cheerfully striped, this tasseled scarf has “blend-in” pockets to keep your hands conveniently cozy when you need them—no mittens required. And it will always be there, as the multicolor stripes allow it to be worn with nearly anything.

Who: The Fashionista (We all know one)

Why: Yes, it’s understandable if you feel hesitant about giving a scarf. The secret to avoiding giving gifts that feel cliché is to find gifts with a twist. The fashionista in your life likely puts a lot more emphasis on style than comfort—If the scarf doesn’t go with her look, she’s not wearing it, despite possible below zero temperatures. And she may not hold mittens in high regard either; giving her this scarf, complete with pockets, will help her bridge the gap between looking chic and staying warm.

 

ipad holder

5. What: Barrel Stave iPad Stand - This rustic ipad or bookstand is cleverly fashioned from fine-grained oak wine barrel staves and sturdy metal barrel rings. Use if for a handy home for cookbooks in the kitchen or for indulging in a show or movie on your iPad.

Who: Him

Why: This one is easy; recycled, a little rustic, and tech friendly—he’s going to love it. From his desk to the kitchen and everywhere in between, this is a gift he is sure to (actually) use all year round and for years to come.

Fri Dec 11 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Thoughts 
Tue Nov 10 00:00:00 EST 2015

The season has arrived for gifting and giving, getting and thanking, and with that, searching and shopping. We all hope to find the perfect gift for each person in our life—people who are special to us, people who are unique, and probably, people who already have everything. This is why we created our artisan-made gift collection.

We’ve sourced beautiful handmade products from artisans in over 20 countries across the globe, including “locally” from the US and Canada. The combination of hand-craftsmanship, traditional artistry, and global cultural influence yield an assortment of truly unique and genuinely one-of-a-kind products. Not only are these gift-able selections sure to be original, but they possess a quality and durability that comes only from the hands of the artisans who craft them, using time honored skills passed through the generations before them.

We additionally love the thought that these gifts allow you to do double the giving. Your purchase supports our artisans across the globe, many whom work with our fair trade partners, to sustain their production, and ultimately, invest in their communities and personal livelihood. While your loved ones receive a handmade, one-of-a-kind gift, an artist and crafter benefits from your investment into their work as well.

The artisan-made gift collection puts the globe within your reach, while allowing you to reach someone across the globe! We hope you, and those to whom you give, are inspired to give, receive, and even decorate in the artisan handmade holiday style.

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Tue Nov 10 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Mon Nov 02 00:00:00 EST 2015

With Halloween weekend approaching, we have been in the mood for telling stories, but not the usual kind. Ghouls and ghost may be the usual suspects of this time of year, but we have a few other characters in mind. So pull up a chair and gather around the fire for a few tales about our statues and the mythology behind them… 

The Birth of Ganesha:

ganesha elephant statue

Once, while the goddess of love, fertility and devotion, Parvati, was bathing, she gathered the dirt that had fallen from her body and collected in the bottom of her tub. Longing for a guardian for her door, as she did not desire anyone to intrude on her bath, she molded the dirt in her hands into the form of a child. The formation came to life and Parvati sent him to guard the door and settled back into her bath. When her partner, Shiva, returned home, he desired access to her bathing room. The young man charged with the task of guarding her door denied him entry. Shiva, already displeased to see a handsome young man near his wife’s bathing room, was outraged by his refusal, and in retaliation took off the boys head.

When Parvati saw this she was inconsolable at the loss of the child she had just created. So to appease her, Shiva sent for a new head for the boy, and his servants returned with the head of a young elephant.

Attaching the elephant’s head to the human’s body, Shiva revived the child, and thus Ganesha, god of new beginnings and remover of obstacles, was born. Shiva deemed him the leader of his troops and demanded that he would be worshiped and his name invoked before taking on any great new venture. Ganesha, from this time on, was known as the lord of success and great remover of obstacles.

 

The Immortality of Quan Yin:

Quan Yin Statues Quan Yin, the goddess of compassion, is widely known for the depths of her compassion and unrelenting mercy. Known even to be reluctant to punish individuals for the worst crimes, Quan Yin sees the good within all beings. As she is truly enlightened and cares deeply for all living things, she has vowed to stay forever in earthly realms until all others have also become enlightened, and thus end their painful cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

 

Traveling with Jizo:

Jizo StatuesFor those traveling through physical and spiritual realms, Jizo is known to be a protector. Particularly protective of children, he is said to guard them before birth, throughout childhood, and after death in the event of an untimely death. This also makes Jizo a protector of pregnant women.

He is also known to protect travelers through all six spiritual realms—Deva-gati: the heavenly realm of the gods, Asura-gati: the realm of titans, or strong beings often depicted as enemies of the gods, Preta-gati: the realm of hungry ghost, Naraka-gati: the hell realm, Tiryagyoni-gati: the animal-realm, and Manusya-gati: the human real.

 

The Bag of Hotei:

Garden Hotei StatueOne of the Seven Gods of Luck, Hotei is often called the “Laughing Buddha”, and is known as the god of Contentment and Happiness. Hotei is depicted as carrying a cloth bag, which is filled with treasures, food, and drink that he uses to provide for the poor and downtrodden. This bag has no end and can never empty of supplies. It is said that Hotei is based on a person, likely a monk, who actually once lived.

 

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Mon Nov 02 00:00:00 EST 2015 Jesse Thoughts 
Wed Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2015

We support and admire the artisans from all around the world, whose meticulous craftsmanship makes our handmade products one-of-a-kind, quality pieces. Whether hand carved, woven, stamped, or crafted we believe that the artistry and craftsmanship of a handmade product is beyond compare to any mass-manufacturing process. Because of this, we also support non-profit and fair trade organizations worldwide to ensure the artisans who make many of our products see fair wages, healthy working conditions, and sustainable development for their communities. Additionally, we source many products from global, fair trade partners. Not only do these partners ensure that artisans are treated well and paid fairly, but also that these artisans, their families and their communities directly see the benefits of their artistry and craftsmanship. This support helps promote artisans as valued members of their societies, and gives recognition to the value of their artistry in our own communities as well. In support of fair trade month, we are offering 20% off a select assortment of products, many artisan made, that we hope you’ll enjoy. You can shop the sale by clicking here. We thank you for your support.

Wed Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Wed Sep 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Silk, cashmere, leather, these are some of the most valued and appreciated materials on the market for many reasons. They are softer, warmer, durable or simply more beautiful than other fabrics. But what is the process for producing these goods? Silk in particular, is a textile that’s origin often goes unconsidered, because it may be slightly less obvious than the origin of a material like leather. But where does silk come from?

The silk worm; a little guy we’ve all heard of, who does a very big job. It is amazing to think that all silk products result from the work of these tiny worms. In preparation for its metamorphosis, the silkworm spins a cocoon made of one continuous strand of saliva. These cocoon strands are unraveled and reeled to result in what we know as a silk strand. And while it is easy to marvel at the concept of this process, there is an unfortunate and cruel aspect that is often unknown. Traditionally, once a silk worm spins its single-stranded cocoon, its life is the cost of collection. To avoid breaking the strand, the cocoons are boiled with the worms still inside, both to kill the worm and to soften the silk. According to animal rights groups, a single pound of silk can cost around 3,000 worms lives to. And while the silk worm may not be fluffy, fuzzy, cute, or cuddly, we believe there is value in its life.

You may have noticed our new home goods labeled as “peace” silk. Because fortunately, there is a cruelty free alternative to traditional harvesting methods, which spares the life of the silk worm while still yielding a beautiful and luxurious fabric. Peace silk, also known as “Eri” silk, is harvested after the Eri silk worms of India have completed metamorphosis and left their cocoons as moths. The natural escape of the moths causes the single strand of the cocoon to be broken, and therefore in need of repair. The repair process results in a silk strand that contains small “nubs” where the strands are reconnected; the nubby strands are then spun like other fiber rather than reeled. Through this process, a soft, cozy and highly valued silk yarn is made and yields a unique texture to the. We choose this beautiful and humane fabric to make luxuriant home accessories and apparel. This assures these silk products not only feel good, but also that you can feel good about them. From here on out, when you read the words “peace silk” you can rest assured that it means, “No silk worms were harmed in the making of this product”.

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Sources:

http://www.ecofashionworld.com/Glossary/Cruelty-Free-Silk-or-Peace-Silk.html

http://thekindlife.com/blog/2012/09/alicia-silverstone-what-is-peace-silk/

http://greenopedia.com/wild-peace-silk/

 

Wed Sep 09 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kurt Jacobson Eco Tips  Thoughts 
Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015

At VivaTerra we love a good farmer’s market. Fresh organic produce, environmentally friendly local shopping, and a slew of artisan made products and US grown goods. In fact, we may even dare to call ourselves farmer’s market connoisseurs. With markets all across the country in full swing, and summer threatening to wind down before we know it, we thought we would share a few tips on making the most of your local market while you still can. Whether you’ve never stepped foot in your local market or you are a total veteran, we hope you can learn a bit from our team’s “best advice on navigating the farmer’s market.”

1. Get Outfitted: For starters, you will want to carry a good market tote. Sure, most stands are going to have plastic bags available, and sure, you can recycle them later. But why take one at all if you don’t have to? Plus, having all your items in one place is more convenient. You’ll want free hands to grab a fresh made donut or an iced coffee. Not to mention a market basket is more fashionable than adorning your arms in red and white “thank you thank you thank you“ bags. Secondly, dress the part. Markets are most popularly in operation during the warmer summer months. So, you’ll want to be cool and comfy, stylish, yet casual. May we also suggest pockets? In short, our Organic Cotton Pocket Skirt is a perfect fit for the market—stylish, airy and convenient. Top off with the Madagascar Hat to gain a little personal shade and complete the look.

market tote

2. Scope it Out: Be sure to arrive early and do a full lap to see what is there. There’s nothing worse than jumping on buying something and then passing another stand later that has a better price, or a variation of something you prefer. Avoid any chance of buyer’s remorse by getting a quick lay-of-the-land before you shop.

market shot

3. Bring Cash: of course, with technology in this day-and-age, you can probably fair just fine at your local market without. There will be an abundance of iPad and app armed vendors happy to take plastic. But, for those smaller, more traditional stands, you won’t want to miss out on what they have to offer if you’re not prepared.

4. Negotiating Price: Maybe the prices aren’t so much better than the grocery stores, but without the store, your money goes straight to the farmers and you support your local economy. We’d advise not to try and haggle with vendors or question their prices, as this may put them on the defensive. There are a few methods you can use though, to get a better price:

Ask for “seconds.” This is produce that is visually damaged or bruised and may not be on display. If you don’t need items to be beautiful—say you plan to juice them, dice them, or can them—then seconds are a great option for you.

Ask about bulk pricing. Going to a cook out? Baking a few pies? Ask to buy a whole box of peaches or apples and see if a discount is available for buying at a higher volume.

Prices may be lower if you wait a few weeks after the beginning of a fruit or vegetable’s season, because at first less farmers may have them available. Wait until they are in full swing and let competltion drive down the price for you.

There are two tactics to saving by arriving at different times of the day. You might need to visit a few times, at different times, to figure out which happens more often at your specific local market. Option one is to go early; there may be a great deal on produce that you miss simply due to the fact that the farmer runs out of stock before you get there. The second option is to go late; sometimes farmers are eager to get rid of what they do have left over. You may score a great deal if you are around when they drop the prices to empty their stands. 

5. Expand Your Horizons: The farmers market is a great place to explore something new! Look out for things you’ve never tasted before and ask farmers or stand owners to tell you a little bit about them.

market tote full

6. Learn the Tricks of the Trade: There may be no worse disappointment than bringing your fruits and veggies home only to find out they are under or over ripe when you’re ready to use them. To avoid this, we give you full permission to judge the book by its cover. Here are a few tips on how to spot perfect produce right on the shelf:

Avocados, Tomatoes, and Mangos: These three fruits (and yes, they are all technically fruits!) have more to tell than meets the eye. You are going to want to pick these guys up and give them a squeeze. If they are very firm, or have little to no give beneath your fingertips, they are not ready. If they feel “squishy” they are overly ripe. All should have a general firmness in your palm but give a little when you give them a poke.

Pineapples, Strawberries, and Peaches: This aromatic trio has one dead give away: smell. Always look at the color first—you don’t want to go crazy sniffing every fruit in the basket. Pineapples should be golden brown and show little to no green at the base. Peaches should be striated red and yellow. Strawberries should be bright to deep red. After that, give ‘em a sniff. Peaches and strawberries will smell almost exactly how they’ll taste, and a pineapple should smell slightly sweet.

Cantaloupes and Watermelon: These two are always worth their weight in flavor. Both melons will feel heavy when they are ripe. For cantaloupes, when you slightly push the stem at the end you should feel a little give; for watermelon, look for a yellowish color on its underside and listen for a hollow sound when you knock on its side.

Honeydew, Cucumber, Corn and Eggplant: An unlikely group with only one real thing in common, you can take them at face value. Honeydew should be waxy, smooth, and golden in color. Eggplants should have a fresh green stem and cap with a deep purple, solid-colored, elastic skin. For corn, look for a still green husk and silk threads that cling to the kernels. The cucumbers are the easiest; just find dark green skins and double check for firmness.

7. Putting Your Harvest to Use: To really get the most from your local, organic, perfectly in season produce, look up some raw recipes! Sure you could smother those carrots in a buttery brown sugar glaze (and we aren’t saying don’t!) But the best part of fresh, flavorful produce is the great natural taste. 

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Mon Aug 24 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Mon Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Mon Aug 17 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Interior Decorating & Design  Thoughts 
Thu Jul 02 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Thu Jul 02 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Artisan Stories  Thoughts 
Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Thu Jun 25 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Eco Tips  Health Living and Home  Thoughts 
Thu Jun 11 00:00:00 EDT 2015
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Thu Jun 11 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Jesse Thoughts 
Thu Jun 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015

It is always our goal to not only provide excellent customer service, but also to better serve our customers by being open and transparent. We are writing to inform you about some exciting changes happening at VivaTerra.

We believe home is where your products should be, and we our bringing ours home to Virginia. As our fulfillment center transitions, we apologize for any inconveniences you may experience due to extended shipping times and lowered inventory levels. Rest assured, we are intent on minimizing the negative impact of these concerns on you and your orders. We thank you for your patience.

By the way, have you checked out our new site? We are so proud to present you with a new and improved look, and updated shopping experience. Beautiful, functional, and easy to navigate; our hope is that you will love the new VivaTerra.com as much as we do. It’s almost done! In the mean time, please excuse us while we tie up any loose ends. We are working around the clock to dot the i's and cross the t's in our content, and work out any tweaks in the site navigation and usability.

During this time of growth and transition we greatly appreciate your patience with us, both on and off-line. We can’t thank you enough for your loyalty; we’re pleased to have you as a customer during this exciting time in the life of VivaTerra.

Thu Jun 04 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."

- Honore de Balzac

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015
Welcome to the Journal!

We are excited to introduce our new blog, THE JOURNAL. In our blog we hope to share our newest sustainability tips, guides to entertaining and decorating your home, and ideas and artisans that we’re excited about here at VivaTerra. We also hope to take you with us on our journeys around the world as we bring beautiful handmade artisan products to you and your home. Check back weekly for our latest artisan stories, entertaining tips, and global adventures.

Happy reading!
The VivaTerra Team
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

On a recent trip to D.C. we stopped by one of our favorite museums to see an intriguing exhibit. National Geographic's exhibit FOOD: Our Global Kitchen, put into context the difficult questions facing countries, communities, and families regarding the future of food. The exhibit showcased the history of food, food traditions around the world, the economics of food, how food is cooked and many other important categories and themes. What intrigued us the most, was how the problem of feeding the growing world population is so dynamic that possible solutions demand cooperation between often disparate entities. When one combines the facts that in the United States more than 30 percent of our food is wasted with the truth that there is enough food currently being produced to feed the entire world population, it makes us think about what we can do to reduce our daily waste. We often talk about plastic waste, but food waste is an important reality as well. The FOOD: Our Global Kitchen exhibit reminded us of that important truth and highlighted the need to find ways to take steps in conserving resources, no matter how small.

 

Information on the Exhibit:

Exhibit Dates: Through February 22, 2015

Admission: Adults - $11; Members/Military/Seniors (Over 62)/Students/Groups (25+) - $9; Children (Ages 5-12) - $7; Local School & Youth Groups (18 and Under) – Free

http://events.nationalgeographic.com/exhibits/2014/10/16/food-our-global-kitchen/

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

As we eagerly wait for spring, we are reminded of the joy and vibrance to be found with the approach of the season. Nowhere in the world is this more apparent than in during the Holi Festival.

Traditionally a Hindu religious festival, its popularity has grown far beyond the religion. Each year, it is celebrated throughout India and much of Southeast Asia—and celebrations can be found in other locations all around the world, too. The Holi Festival falls each year on the full moon known in the Hindu calendar as Phalguna Purnima, which is close to the vernal equinox. Typically, this is in March or late February. This year, Holi will be celebrated on March 6!

A truly ancient tradition, Holi Festival, also known as the Festival of Colors or the Festival of Love, can be found in writings as early as the 4th century, mentioned by the poet Kālidāsa. It serves as a celebration of the arrival of spring, the victory of good over evil, and is a time to truly rejoice. Communities come together to laugh and play, to forge stronger bonds and to repair those that have been ruptured. Celebrations start on the eve of Holi with a Holika bonfire. Days before, community member work together to begin collecting wood for the bonfire, and on the night before the colorful festival, the pyre is lit. People, young and old, gather to sing and dance around the flames.

The next morning the true festival begins. Community members gather in open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings, and a free-for-all color fight begins. Participants play by coloring each other with dry pigments and colored water using water guns, water balloon and simply the dry powders, too. Everyone, regardless of age, sex or social standing, is fair game. Traditionally, these pigments come straight from the abundance of the earth and are made from all-natural, plant-derived pigments like turmeric, neem, dhak and kumkum. While the color free-for-all unfolds, musicians move throughout the city, inviting people to sing, dance and rejoice.

Afterwards, participants return home to refresh themselves and clean up, then they return to visit friends, neighbors and relatives, exchanging sweets and delicacies like gujiyamathri and malpuas. A celebration of true joy, the Holi festival strives to forge bonds and generate harmony in the community, bringing residents together to rejoice over the abundance of spring colors.

Hindu legends explain this joyful celebration also. In his infancy, Krishna was poisoned by the demon Putana, turning his skin its iconic dark blue color. As he aged, he despaired that the fair-skinned girls, particularly Radha, would find him repulsive because of his skin color. His mother, after growing frustrated with her son's desperation, suggested that he approach Radha and color her face any shade he would like. He does this, and as a result the two fall in love. This playful exchange is commemorated each year as Holi.

The tradition has arrived in American popular culture, too. It serves as the inspiration for the popular 5K Color Run, and can be found in many other instances, too. At VivaTerra, we find Holi Festival simply amazing. We love the joy and strength it brings to a community, and the attention it centers on celebrating the seasonal transformation of our beautiful planet. Each of our all-natural, all-colorful artisan pieces handmade in India with love and care serves as a reminder for us—and we hope for you too!—of the vibrance and pure jubilation to be found in the Holi Festival.

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Kristen Thoughts 
Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015

Happy Earth Day from the entire team at VivaTerra! To celebrate, we're donating Terrapass Carbon Offset for every order placed at VivaTerra.com. As we work to provide sustainable and fairly traded products for our customers, we also want to offer a way to offset our carbon footprint.

We hope you have a lovely Earth Day filled with time outdoors enjoying this beautiful planet on which we're lucky to live!

Wed May 06 00:00:00 EDT 2015 Emily Thoughts 
Mon Jun 24 09:32:12 EDT 2019