Recent Product Reviews

Adventures in Asian Art: An Afternoon at the Museum

Adventures in Asian Art

Sue DiCicco’s beautiful and exuberant illustrations lead readers young and old on a lively tour of San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. A rhyming storyline tells the tale as three children and their mother explore the treasures within the museum’s walls. Boxed text elaborates on each artifact with specific information, and additional details about the artifacts are presented on the inside front and back covers.

Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction

Hopeful Healing

Recently I watched James Taylor, world-famous singer/songwriter and recovering drug addict, on television receiving the Presidential Medal of Honor. Soon after, I learned that Carrie Fisher, a recovering addict who stepped forward to speak her truth boldly and creatively, had died. After reading Mackenzie Phillip’s new book, Hopeful Healing, the connections began exploding in my head.

EMDR and the Universal Healing Tao: An Energy Psychology Approach to Overcoming Emotional Trauma

EMDR and the Universal Healing Tao

The rise of trauma-therapy modalities has brought special attention to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Doug Hilton, with two decades experience in counseling, is a proponent of the technique. When he shared the technique with Master Mantak Chia, Master Chia instantly recognized the value of EMDR and began to discuss ways to merge it with the energy practices of his Universal Healing Tao System. The results were spectacular.

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

Acclaimed author and humanitarian, Acharya Shunya, has released a magnificent book on Ayurveda, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom.

Ayurveda is science and spirituality. The word Ayurveda means “knowledge of life,” derived from the Sanskrit words for life (“ayu”) and knowledge (“veda”). Ayurveda encompasses all aspects of vital living, not simply the absence of disease. It respects the natural rhythms of nature (diurnal, lunar, solar) and encompasses all aspects of familiar Sanskrit (doshas, dharma, karma, satsang, seva, and sun salutations) as a way of life.

The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance

The Leading Brain

The latest strategy to maximize leadership potential and deliver extraordinary results while working smarter, better, and happier is what The Leading Brain is all about. Team-building experts and co-authors Fabritius and Hagemann have combine efforts to produce this fantastic guide to increasing performance while cultivating trust and building strong teams.

Chinese Astrology, Plain & Simple

Chinese Astrology, Plain & Simple

The Hampton Roads Plain & Simple series scores again with this well-organized, densely packed book of information about the Chinese astrology system.

English Houses: Inspirational Interiors From City Apartments to Country Manor Houses

English Houses

From a rooftop flat in Bloomsbury to a North Dorset Manor Farmhouse, this is a tour of English house interiors that takes into account the people who live in them. Unique, inventive, beautifully photographed, and, above all, personal, these interiors inspire creativity as they affirm individual spirit.

The Five Thieves of Happiness

The Five Thieves of Happiness

Introduced by “happiness professional” Marshall Goldsmith, this book recounts John Izzo’s search to understand what makes us happy. It has been the guiding light of his life.

In his Wise Elder Project, he asked older people what they did that made them happy. From their answers he derived five secrets to happiness. Now he has similarly distilled five things that rob people of their happiness.

A Stork in a Baobab Tree: An African 12 Days of Christmas

A Stork in a Baobab Tree

Just in time for Black History Month, this unique version of the classic 12 Days of Christmas arrives with its musical tour of 12 African countries. Each of the 12 new verses replaces the familiar scenarios with a special glimpse into African village/tribal life.

Emotively illustrated by Alakija, readers will find thatched huts, woven baskets, wooden carvings, grazing goats, drummers, dancers, and storytellers, all of which draw them into the story with a warm and personal appeal.

Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep

Dream Yoga

Holecek’s early academic foundation began with degrees in music and biology. He then landed a doctoral in dentistry and co-founded Global Dental Relief, a humanitarian organization in underdeveloped nations. In Dream Yoga, the product of the author's decades of Buddhism training, much of it directly with the Dalai Lama, he attempts to answer everything you’ve ever wanted to know about dreaming but were afraid to ask.

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life

The Power of Kindness

Italian author, therapist, and philosopher Piero Ferrucci has re-released his 2006 sleeper hit, The Power of Kindness, as an updated 10th-anniversary edition. Complete with a 2004 blessing by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, The Power of Kindness continues to assert that the expression of kindness will induce a lifestyle that includes qualities most people seek out, such as sleeping and waking easily, feeling loved by others, a sense of protection from external harm, and a level of serenity.

The Intuitive Dance: Building, Protecting, and Clearing Your Energy

The Intuitive Dance

Accomplished medical intuitive and holistic energy practitioner Atherton Drenth offers a go-to-guide to energy work that can be done at home. The Intuitive Dance gives readers techniques and practices to utilize the innate intuitive abilities they already possess, while learning to "dance" with the ego and find a state of calm by reducing anxiety and living in relative peace and contentedness.

The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting

The Way Under the Way

“Poetry is the unexpected utterance of the soul that comes to renew us when we least expect it.”—Mark Nepo

Spiritual teacher, author, and poet Mark Nepo offers a handsome hard-cover version of his prolific, original poetry with The Way Under The Way. Nepo has organized his material into three separate sections within the book. Most poems are uncomplicated and only one page long, using everyday plain language and arranged like thoughts being expressed out loud.

Salt: Cooking With the World’s Most Popular Seasoning

Salt: Cooking With the World’s Most Popular Seasoning

Salt, once as highly valued as gold, is currently trending as a prized commodity. Whether it’s rock salt, sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or France’s prized Fleur de Sel, salt is a star (not just standard) ingredient in many modern recipes. The more than 50 recipes in this book feature it in every conceivable variation and use.

Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People

Leading the Unleadable

Successful leadership is an art. Whether it’s a small, project-specific group or an entire corporation, keeping the ship on a steady course toward its destination takes insight, experience, and the ability to keep team members working forward and not at cross purposes.

The Saints’ Little Book of Wisdom: The Essential Teachings

The Saints’ Little Book of Wisdom: The Essential Teachings

“I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.” — St. Francis of Assisi

In this palm-sized book of insight and inspiration, Assaf offers readers bite-sized nuggets from saints (famous and obscure) to guide, comfort, and instruct. The wisdom spans thousands of years and is rooted in Christian philosophy dating back through the history of the Catholic Church.Yet, at times, it seems extraordinarily modern (“Maintain a spirit of peace and you’ll save a thousand souls.” — St. Seraphim of Sarov)

Make Your Own Rules Cookbook: More Than 100 Simple, Healthy Recipes Inspired by Family and Friends Around the World

Make Your Own Rules Cookbook: More Than 100 Simple, Healthy Recipes Inspired by Family and Friends Around the World

This cookbook is not only a beautiful, lively treat, it aims to put community back into mealtime and restore the sharing of meals and recipes to their rightful place in the rituals of life. Stiles is on a mission to prove that healthy food can be easy and fun. The dishes aren’t vegetarian, but they’re plant-based. They are also international, including a (believe-it-or-not) SIMPLE pad thai. The secret ingredient throughout is fun. Stiles believes that cooking should be energizing, not a chore.

Brownies, Blondies, and Other Traybakes: Easy Recipes for Delicious Treats

Brownies, Blondies, and Other Traybakes: Easy Recipes for Delicious Treats

Some of your customers may be surprised to read in the introduction that the recipes in this book are easy throw-togethers that are accessible to bakers of all levels. A quick perusal of the book reveals Bakewell Slices With a Pastry Crust, Millionaire’s Shortbread With Caramel and Chocolate Topping, Banana and Nutmeg Custard Brownies, Cherry Marzipan Streusel Squares, Ginger Cashew Granola Bars, and Chili Pecan Brownies. Sounds pretty sophisticated, doesn’t it?

The Lion Who Lost His Roar, But Learned to Draw

The Lion Who Lost His Roar, But Learned to Draw

Lionel’s roar was deafening, and he loved it. He resisted all requests to tone it down a bit. Then one day, he woke up and couldn’t make a sound! The dynamic and appealing cast of characters in the book finally have a turn sounding off themselves as he remains helpless to reply. Then Monkey shows him that he can draw, and a new world of communication opens up for the little lion.

How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons: Learn How to Prepare Food and Cook Like a Pro

How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons: Learn How to Prepare Food and Cook Like a Pro

This is super-special starter cookbook. Youthful in design, wire-bound for ease of use, filled with illustrations of basic tools and techniques, and topped off with photos of the finished dishes, it’s fun, informative, and engaging. Everything is spelled out thoroughly. Soups, sauces, salads, dips, pastries, and modern classics (fish sticks, cheesecake, hummus, twice-baked potatoes, stir fry, pizza) flow across the pages in irresistible layouts.

The Magical Rooster: A Tale in English and Chinese

The Magical Rooster: A Tale in English and Chinese

Tang Yun’s mother embroiders a magical rooster on his clothes to protect him as he heads out to travel thousands of miles in order to take an imperial exam. He has studied hard and is determined to make the journey. His mother’s magical totem proves up to the task of protecting him as together he and Yun face one adventure after another. Even after the exam, when Yun is successful in his career, the rooster continues to be of help.

Zia

Zia

It’s more than a little staggering to this music critic to encounter a pianist like Alexi Musnitsky, who is one third of my age yet plays with the emotional depth and maturity of someone much closer to my years. However, it’s true—Alexi Musnitsky has only now entered his twenties. When you and your customers (in-store play!) hear this extremely gifted artist, I believe you will be as impressed as I was on my first playing of Zia.

Vibe Bottles

Vibe Bottles by Soulwurx

Created by Reiki practitioners and infused with love, Vibe Bottles ($19.97 suggested retail, 16-oz. jar; $34.97 suggested retail, 64-oz. growler) combine sacred-geometry designs with the power of intention. Beautiful, stylized artwork (hamsa, lotus, flower of life, Metatron’s Cube) produced in limited editions makes these glass bottles instant collectors’ items. Also available are waterproof vinyl decals, which allow customers to personalize their intentions with additional words and designs. Perfect for individual, spa, and festival use.

Cosmic Connections Live

Cosmic Connections Live

Cosmic Connections Live is the polar opposite in style of the other live album reviewed this issue (Yanni’s The Dream Concert), but is its equal in every other way: superb musicianship, wonderful (as usual) vocals, outstanding instrumental performances. My assessment is, of course, no surprise to anyone who has followed the recording career of Deva Premal (vocals, tempura, keyboards), Miten (vocals. guitar) and Manose (bansuri, vocals). These three are among the best chant artists recording today.

Guardian Grandmother

Guardian Grandmother

Stoned Parrot’s newest creation, the Guardian Grandmother (approx. 20" to 30" tall), is a beautiful work of art. A unique combination of natural feathers, wood, stones, and crystals bring into fruition this spirit totem. Guardian Grandmother reminds us to connect to our ancestors for guidance and protection. She can be placed on an altar or a bedside table to assist in a peaceful night’s rest. Each is a one-of-a-kind special piece of art.

Joyful Living: 101 Ways to Transform Your Spirit and Revitalize Your Life

Joyful Living

Amy Leigh Mercree, Renaissance Woman of our time, is a medical intuitive, spiritual healer, coach, and motivator pushing JOY. And push joy she does, with the hope of fostering an attitude that "life is an adventure meant to be enjoyed.”

Joyful Living is a portable and inspiring compact handbook of living joyfully that is filled with messages of love, bliss, relaxation, turning fear into love, letting go, meeting spirit guides, ancestral healing, animated adventures, and much, much more.

Sacred Rebel Oracle Deck

Sacred Rebel Oracle Deck

The Sacred Rebel Oracle ($23.95 retail, ISBN 9780738745770) is a truly unique blend of transcendent artwork and earthly wisdom. Cards feature images of resplendent, ethnically diverse women and symbols paired with relatable messages such as “Bring It Into Form,” and “Listening for Truth.” With practical clues to your biggest questions printed right on the card, interpretation is a breeze for the beginning or advanced practitioner.

52 Ways to Live the Course in Miracles: Cultivate a Simpler, Slower, More Love-Filled Life

52 Ways to Live the Course in Miracles

Longtime recovery powerhouse Karen Casey, a prolific author of best-selling self-help books, revisits her roots with A Course in Miracles with her latest book.

Sacred Geometry Magnets and Pendants

Sacred Geometry Magnets and Pendants

Sacred geometry is an ancient science experiencing a revival in modern culture. These magnets and pendants from are right on trend with an assortment of designs laser-cut into birchwood and sealed with a clear coat to protect the wood. Images include the ever-popular Flower of Life, Sri Yantra, and Triquetra, and several other sacred symbols. Crystal grids and handmade incense holders are also available.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

This extensively revised 25th-anniversary edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy arrives as interest in essential oils is rapidly attracting new readers—and it’s just in time for the holidays!

Wox Dog Doy

Wox Dog Doy

This durable dog toy (4" x 6.5") from certified B Corp West Paw Design has a lot to offer customers who are discerning pet owners: it’s BPA free; it’s made in the USA; it’s dishwasher safe; and it’s 100-percent recyclable. More importantly, its unpredictable bounce makes this fetch-and-tug toy fun for pups and their people. A great grab-and-go gift for Fido’s stocking!

Rupert’s Tales: Making More Magick

Rupert’s Tales: Making More Magick

Schiffer’s superstar rabbit and his lady friend Roxanne make another journey to the edge of the meadow. They watch intently as the children there gather natural objects for their altars. Grandmother Spinner explains it all as the pair of hares look and listen with fascination. In this second tale, Rupert and Roxanne are joined by several of their forest friends as a mysterious Lady answers their questions about the moon.

Pooch Selfie Smartphone Attachment

Pooch Selfie Smartphone Attachment

This fun impulse gift is for the dogs ... literally! Designed to help people take better photos with their pups, it easily attaches to iPhones and Galaxy smartphones and holds the one thing sure to capture a dog’s attention: the coveted tennis ball—and this one squeaks! Keep the ball rolling with a pet-selfie campaign: Ask customers to tag their Instagram moments with your store name.

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)

Sitting Still Like a Frog

Almost two decades ago, Snel created an exercise to help her five-year-old daughter get out of her head and into her belly where no anxious thoughts abided. The meditation she came up with is the first one (Sleep Tight) on the accompanying CD to Sitting Still Like a Frog. When her daughter reached the age of 12, they shared an experience that imprinted the power of just sitting and breathing on them both. The frog exercise, which teaches children to turn their attention to their breathing, followed.

Plush Purr & Pounce Cat Tunnel

Plush Purr & Pounce Cat Tunnel

This faux-furtastic play tunnel raises the bar on feline frolicking (and luxury napping). Complete with a peep hole for surveying the room for pounce-ability and a dangling mouse ready to be stuffed with catnip, this is a must-sell gift for cat owners who love to pamper their pets.

A Zombie Ate My Cupcake! 25 Deliciously Weird Cupcake Recipes for Halloween and Other Spooky Occasions

A Zombie Ate My Cupcake!

Lily Vanilli began baking grotesque cupcakes in response to what she calls the “cutesy icing/poorly baked” cupcake craze. She focused on making really good cupcakes and then icing them in bizarre and morbid ways. Among her gory successes are Zombie Hands, Shattered Glass, Day of the Dead Skulls, Ghastly Ghouls, Morbid Merengue Bones, Rotten Ragworms, Black Roses, and Marzipan Beetles. There are even zombie sliders. They’re all brought to life with seven basic cupcake recipes, two basic icings, and standard decorating fair.

Socks for Pet Lovers

Sock It to Me Socks

Whether your customers are pet owners or they just like expressive socks, they are going to LOVE these whimsical cat and dog themed knee-high socks. Sock It to Me has socks for women, men, and kids in many unique, fun-filled designs. A great hostess gift or stocking stuffer, don’t be surprised if shoppers splurge on a few pairs for themselves, too!

Sacred Visions

Sacred Visions

Harpist Peter Sterling (also keyboards, loops, percussion, ocarina, and recorder) ups the musical energy level on Sacred Visions, infusing his fluid melodies with healthy doses of world-beat influences, tasty but mellow grooves, and occasional side orders of chill and jazz. Frequent collaborator Richard Hardy (sax, flute, pennywhistle) and cellist Hans Christian, among others, lend their talents to the album. Track five, “Eclipse,” features notable players, including pioneering guitarist Bruce BecVar and New Age/jazz-fusion legend William Aura (leader of Third Force).

Healing Crystal Pet Charms

Vibes Up Healing Crystal Pet Charms

Crystal healing is not just for people—pets love it, too! These healing crystal pet charms are filled with positive intention. Available in green aventurine, rose quartz, clear quartz, amethyst, and jasper, each comes with a lobster-claw clasp that makes it a breeze to change out for a different charm. Start a fun Facebook campaign: Ask customers to tag photos of their pets modeling their favorite charm with your store page! After all, who says pets don’t love a little bling?

Trialogue

Trialogue

Renowned cross-genre flutist Sherry Finzer and guitarist Darin Mahoney made one of the more enjoyable albums of 2013, Transformation, a superb blend of desert ambiance and New Age melodicism. On Trialogue, the pair team up with world-class drummer and percussionist Will Clipman, and the results are every bit as spectacular as Transformation, with the added pizzazz of Clipman’s superb rhythms layered over Finzer’s flutes and Mahoney’s guitars.

Whisker Relief Bowl

Dr. Catsby Whisker Relief Bowl

Do you have customers who love to pamper their feline friends? The answer is YES, and they are going to flip over Dr. Catsby’s Whisker Relief Bowl, the Rolls Royce of cat bowls. Its unique shape eliminates whisker fatigue (look it up—the struggle is real!), and the stainless steel material protects against bacteria. The attractive packaging is also practical—the box makes gift wrapping a breeze!

The Dream Concert

The Dream Concert

You have to hand it to Yanni: He is a fantastic live entertainer. The New Age maestro has released a number of live albums, but The Dream Concert, recorded in front of the Great Pyramids and the Giant Sphinx of Egypt, may just be his crowning achievement—and that’s saying something! The two-disc album features not just the music but also a fantastic DVD of the concert, and it’s easily one of the most essential recordings I have ever reviewed. I was lucky to go to a Yanni concert in my hometown of Minneapolis years ago, and this man can put on a show!

Dreamland Fairy Kit

Dreamland Fairy Kit

Parents are looking for “unplugged” craft activities they can share with their kids. This adorable Dreamland Fairly Kit has everything they need to help tots express their inner artist, all in one easy-to-merchandise box. The kit comes with a fairy house ready to decorate with the included paint and magical fairy dust, and the beautifully illustrated companion book is sure to help spark imagination.

Beyond the Waves

Beyond the Waves

Subtitled “A soulful flute journey,” Beyond the Waves emphatically shows that flutist Ann Licater deserves a spot at the top of her instrumentalist category. Over the course of her last few recordings, Licater has demonstrated virtuosity and composing ability that showcases both her versatility and her cohesion of musical vision. Joined by a very capable cast of supporting players, Licater displays her affinity for an assortment of flutes and their respective characteristic styles (New Age, Native American, etc.).

Eco Fire Truck

Eco Fire Truck

Completely sourced and made in the USA (with USA-made tools!), this colorful, pint-sized toy (6" x 3" x 5") is actually a 3D puzzle that assembles into a moveable fire truck ready for kids’ imagination. Safety tested for ages three and up, it’s made from 30 percent sawdust and 70 percent BPA and phthalate-free plastic, and the colors are molded in, not painted on. The icing on the cake is the fun, attractive packaging that will help the trucks sell themselves!

AncesTree: Gift of the Ancients

AncesTree: Gift of the Ancients

This is my first exposure to flutist Kim Bold’s music, but I hope it won’t be my last. Playing an assortment of world flutes and accompanied by gentle percussion, piano, strings, and ambient textures, Bold weaves a hypnotic web of ethnic flute journeys, transporting the listener to a variety of landscapes, each subtly aglow with subdued primal energy regardless of mood or tempo. It’s always a delight for a music critic of 19 years (yours truly) to discover an artist who possesses a special gift and a unique vision. Kim Bold has both of these in abundance.

Once Upon a Mat Bundle

Once Upon a Mat Bundle

When Namaste Kid’s founder noticed her toddler following along with her yoga DVD, she realized kids are natural yogis. Active play helps kids develop their motor skills and their ability to creatively problem solve, and this fun yoga bundle helps kids do both! It comes with an instructional DVD geared to kids two-and-a-half years and up, a kid-sized (24" x 48") yoga mat, and a 12-oz. stainless steel water bottle, all packaged in an eye-catching box ready for fun in-store display!

In the Garden

In the Garden

With how tumultuous and chaotic our world is becoming every day, Seay’s new album, In the Garden has arrived none too soon. Possessed of one of the finest voices in music today (regardless of genre), Seay (who also plays piano and keyboards and did the sound design for the album) weds her magnificent voice to an assortment of life-affirming lyrics and dramatic, soulful melodies that will whisk listeners away from their trials and travails and deposit them in a land of beauty, light, and love.

Tassel and Bead Necklaces

Benjamin International Tassel and Bead Necklace

One of this year’s favorite summer fashion accessories is the long necklace. Benjamin International has many colors and styles of tassel necklaces to choose from, making it easy to mix and match. They are so affordable and stylish that customers will want to build a collection! Their basic tassel-and-bead necklace is 20 inches long and available in purple, peach, bronze, turquoise, grey, and black, and embellished necklaces like the ones shown here are available with an elephant, hamsa, om, or sun/moon charm.

The Magician Movie Maker Kit

The Magician Movie Maker Kit

This company’s tagline is “Dress up and dream big,” and their creative-play kits help kids do just that! The Magician kit, part of their Props in a Bag collection, comes in a drawstring backpack filled with magician essentials: top hat, eye mask, cape, bunny, magic wand, and a fun backdrop. Plus, their free app helps families create and film their own movies. This fun gift idea is begging for an in-store demo—with videos shared to your store’s Facebook page, of course!

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