Find Alaskan Gifts All Year!

We encourage people to keep Alaskan gifts in mind all year, not just on the holidays.  Alaska Cache Box brings you unique Alaskan products every three months, but you can discover fun Alaskan made items elsewhere too.  We have started a list of some of the products and websites we love and have featured in Alaska Cache Box.  Take a moment and visit these wonderful artists and businesses.

So many fun items in an Alaska Cache Box!
So many fun items in an Alaska Cache Box!

Artists

Brianna Regan

Ellen Million

Kristen Hendricks

Sean Kurdziolek Photography

Trickster Company

Ugly Mugs

William Corey

Authors

Kaylene Johnson

Breweries & Distilleries

Anchorage Distillery 

Clothing & Accessories

907 Clothing Company

Meet me In Alaska

Crafts

Backwoods Leather Stitchings

True North Project

Whimsy Paper and Books

Food

Copper River Seafoods

Indian Valley Meats

Moosetard

Sipping Streams Tea Co.

Skin Care

Alaska Soaps & Scents

ArXotica

Boreal Winds

Ever After Me

Salmonberry Origins

Music

Marian Call

Pet Supplies

Ruby Snacks

Publications

Last Frontier Magazine 

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Happy Holidays!

At Alaska Cache Box, we like to make you smile by sharing the things we enjoy about Alaska.  In the coming year, we hope that you will share your favorite thoughts and dreams with us as well. You are important and matter to us.  We hope you have a warm and joyful holiday and a bright new year!

 

Happy Holidays

Business Spotlight: Meet me In Alaska

One thing we love at Alaska Cache Box is working with brand new small businesses.  It is our goal to help expand the reach of the small Alaskan businesses we work with and in turn help you discover new and exciting products. Today we’d like to introduce you to Meet me In Alaska, a clothing company in Juneau, Alaska. We are featuring them in our December boxes and they offer a variety of clothing and accessory products.  Read on to learn more about Meet me In Alaska.

 

Visit Alaska? Just go.
Visit Alaska? Just go.

 

Describe your business; how long have you been operating?

Meet me In Alaska is a relatively young business, having started with the idea in January 2016 and going live in April 2016. We are located in Juneau, Alaska.

Kelsey, the owner and operator, was born and raised in Alaska and her love for Alaska runs deep. Her parents met in Alaska, and she also met her husband in Alaska, so “Meet me In Alaska” has been years in the making.  Kelsey created Meet me In Alaska to highlight the adventurous, fun, romantic, and wild side of our wonderful state!

What is unique about your product or artwork?

The advantages of being an artist is that each day there is a new opportunity for fresh ideas to bloom. Kelsey often doesn’t follow a strict business plan on her inventory. She creates new products almost weekly and does artwork for her business daily. Follow them on Facebook to see what new and original inventory they will come up with next!

What product would you recommend as the best gift for the holidays?

Everything in Meet me In Alaska’s inventory is designed to be the perfect gift for any person that truly loves Alaska. The most personal item would be a commissioned work of art (canvas, tote, mug, etc). The best products available for shipping today are the Alaska-themed coloring books and baby onesies! Their clothing is always changing and often times only a limited amount is available. Snatch them up when you have a chance because they may be gone tomorrow 😉

If a first time visitor to Alaska could only visit one place in the state, where would you recommend they visit?

Beautiful Sitka by the Sea!

What do you love most about Alaska?

There are WAY too many things to list about Alaska that we love. Here are a few to get the ball rolling…Alaska is mysterious, exciting, breathtaking, wild, liberal, easy-going, multi-cultural, romantic, and downright amazing!!! We are thrilled to call this wonderful state our home.

Anything more you’d like to add?

Please check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/MeetmeInAlaska. We are currently working on designing and opening a website. Stay tuned!!!

You can also contact us at- meetmein907@gmail.com or by calling 907-738-1414.

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Alaska Cache Box Black Friday Sale!

15% off all your Alaskan gifts for the year!
15% off all your Alaskan gifts for the year!

 

This Friday through Monday we are holding our first ever Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale.  We have a limited quantity of boxes available for purchase this December so now is the time to get the best deal before they sell out!  Use the coupon code MOOSE2016 at checkout to get 15% off your first subscription order.  This includes year subscriptions, which will give you the best deal to enjoy Alaskan gifts all year long!

We also had a review written about our boxes on Hello Subscription website.  You can read their review here.

6 Unique Alaskan Gifts for the Holidays

Let’s face it, shopping for the holidays can be a daunting chore, but finding that one unique extra special gift makes it all worth it.  We have compiled a list of some truly unique Alaskan gifts that will make your holiday a little brighter.

Brianna Reagan brings whimsy and strange together beautifully.
Brianna Reagan brings whimsy and strange together beautifully.
  1. Brianna Reagan Art – Ok, we admit that we have a huge art crush for Brianna Reagan’s works.  Her strange and beautiful images are full of the whimsy of nature plus a twist into a world of wonder and oddity.  You can find original pieces and prints from her shop as well as functional items like tote bags and phone cases at her society6 partner site. Items range from $15-$335.

    Beautiful bowls made by Zach Perierre.
    Beautiful bowls made from salvaged wood by Zach LaPerriere.
  2. Zach LaPerriere Bowls – If you’re looking for a family heirloom piece or something that will simply look stunning on your kitchen table, the turned bowls from master woodworker Zach LaPerriere will make a perfect gift.  These bowls are made from salvaged wood from the Tongass Rainforest in southeast Alaska and are truly beautiful pieces of art.  Made in small batches, bowls are not always in stock so check the shop often and act fast once they’re available.  Bowls should be in stock in their online shop in early December. Pieces range from $50-$195.

    Anti-aging serum from ArXotica.
    Quyung-lii, an anti-aging serum from ArXotica.
  3. ArXotica Skin Care – Natural wild sourced skin care products are hard to come by, but ArXotica has you covered.  Their anti-aging serum, soaps, and scents are all made from wild ingredients harvested from the tundra around Bethel, Alaska, a rural town that is not connected to the main road system in Alaska.  You want to win a giving a useful gift that you can’t find on the corner store, then you need to check this out!  Items range from $3-$150.

    Yes, that is an Alaskan take on Star Wars!
    Yes, that is an Alaskan take on Star Wars!
  4. Trickster Company – From Juneau, Alaska, this cooperative of Alaska Native artists offers beautiful and contemporary Formline artwork on a wide range of products.  Not only can you adorn your walls, but you can also buy jewelry, clothing, sunglasses, basketballs, even snowboards all with traditional Alaskan Native Formline designs.  They even have fun Alaskan interpretations of iconic Star Wars images. Items range from $3-$600

    Beautiful and sweet smelling soaps from the Arctic!
    Beautiful and sweet smelling soaps from the Arctic!
  5. Boreal Winds Soap – Who doesn’t love a bar of nice smelling handmade soap?  Boreal Winds, located in Salcha, Alaska, creates a wide variety of soaps that not only smell good but are made with Alaskan ingredients, like silt from Portage Glacier, or reindeer milk! You can’t get more festive than freshening up with a bar of reindeer milk soap!  Items range from $8-$11

    Alaska Cache Box Fall Quarter Box 2016
    Alaska Cache Box Fall Quarter Box 2016
  6. Alaska Cache Box – If you’re interested in a surprise assortment of Alaskan gifts, an Alaska Cache Box is the perfect gift!  These subscription boxes contain 4-6 items from the best Alaskan businesses, makers, and artists and are sent out in December, March, June, and September. You can order one time boxes, or sign up for a  reoccurring subscription and enjoy Alaska all year long. Discover the best of Alaska from rural villages like Anaktuvuk to the bustling city of Anchorage, and everything in between!  This November 25-28 you can receive 15% your order with the coupon code: MOOSE2016 .  Boxes are $45.95.

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Artist Spotlight: Kristen Hendricks – Paint Alaska

The state of Alaska is full of many different artists all exploring various styles of mediums.  Kristen Hendricks of Fairbanks, Alaska is one such artist.  Her watercolors have been featured in the 2016 Fall Quarter Alaska Cache Box, and exemplify the beauty of Alaskan wilderness and landscapes. We asked her to share with us a little bit about her work.

Rainbow Ridge as painted by Kristen Hendricks
Rainbow Ridge as painted by Kristen Hendricks

Describe your artwork; how long have you been creating art? Where are you located? Why did you start your business?

I have been creating art since I was a kid, my parents really encouraged creativity and were incredibly supportive growing up and still are! Right now I live in Fairbanks. I have a background in Medical Illustration, but have always enjoyed fine art and painting. I started the Paint Alaska venture shortly after moving to Alaska as a way to document and share my experiences exploring the state.

What is unique about your  artwork?

Watercolor is a greatly explored medium, and landscape painting is definitely not a new, but I try to push colors and vibrancy in a medium more often known for its subtleness.

What product of yours would you recommend as the best gift for the holidays?

Notecards. Who doesn’t love getting hand written note at the holidays, or anytime?

If a first time visitor to Alaska could only visit one place in the state, where would you recommend they visit?

I would recommend taking a drive down the Denali Highway from Cantwell to Paxson. I’ve visited this area during several times of year and I’m always wowed by the beauty of the area.

What do you love most about Alaska?

I love the landscapes, but I also love the sense of community in Fairbanks.

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5 Alaska Events and Festivals in November

Once the winter months hit it may seem like the best option for entertainment in Alaska is to stay indoors and binge on Netflix.  While I’ve done my fair share of consuming mass quantities of television while it is cold outside, there are also plenty of other activities and events to enjoy that are well worth emerging from your blanket den. Here is a short list of fun activities around Alaska held in November.

 

Observe bald eagles in the wild at the Haines Bald Eagle Festival.
Observe bald eagles in the wild at the Haines Bald Eagle Festival.

1. Haines Bald Eagle Festival – Pushed back a week because of the elections, the Bald Eagle Festival runs from November 14 – 20th in Haines, Alaska. The festival is filled with tours observing eagles in their natural habitat, but also events to learn about the natural history of eagles, and opportunities to learn to paint eagles on turkey feathers. There is a lot to learn during this festival and a special opportunity to view Bald eagles as they feast on the late run of chum salmon.

2. Great Alaskan Shoot-Out – Basketball is an important community building sport in many towns in Alaska, rural and urban alike.  It is no wonder why the Great Alaskan Shoot-Out is a popular event. Held at the Alaska Airlines Center on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, the Great Alaskan Shoot-out is a multi-day tournament of both men’s and women’s basketball teams from colleges across the U.S.  The shoot-out starts on November 22nd and continues through the 26th.

Sliding down an ice slide. Image courtesy of AKJLOphot.com
Sliding down an ice slide. Image courtesy of AKJLOphot.com

3. North Pole Christmas In Ice– One truly unique thing about Alaska, especially the Interior, is the magic the winter brings. In Fairbanks and North Pole, elaborate ice sculptures can be found popping up all over town once it is cold enough to harvest blocks of ice from ponds and other water sources.  Christmas In Ice is a truly magical experience, an ice park filled with whimsical sculptures and ice playgrounds where you can ride down slides of ice.  The park is open from November 26th to January 8th.

4. Ketchikan Winter Arts Faire – Over 80 artists and vendors will be selling their products at the Ketchikan Winter Arts Faire. The event runs from November 25th to November 27th and kicks off Friday night with a gala full of food and live music with the proceeds benefiting the Arts Council.  This is a great event to get some holiday shopping done as well as keep the kids entertained.  There will be an Imagination Station set up to keep the children occupied.

5. Juneau Public Market– Juneau is also hosting a holiday market from November 25th to November 27th. The past year’s event boasted over 170 vendors from 20 Alaskan cities as well as several vendors from outside of Alaska. This is the place to be if you want a large variety of products and artwork to choose from.  Undoubtable you will find a gift for everyone on your list here!

These are just a few of the events happing around Alaska in November.  If you want to find more November activities, visit Idlewild Alaska.  Also, if you can’t find your way up to Alaska to enjoy these events this month, sign up for an Alaska Cache Box and let us bring Alaska to you!

6 Places You Should Eat at in Fairbanks, Alaska

While Fairbanks, Alaska isn’t exactly known for its quality cuisine, if you look hard enough you can find some delicious eateries tucked away like shiny little golden nuggets. Here is a list of a few of our favorites (order is not indicative of greatness, they’re all pretty great!) that aren’t the typical tourist fare, but all local flavor. You’ll want to try these on your next visit to the Golden Heart of Alaska.

 

1.Sipping Streams Tea Co. – Just want to relax with a nice cup of tea? Sipping Streams Tea Company is the best place in Fairbanks to do so. All the teas are hand blended and offer unique tastes for tea lovers.  We recommend trying the Northern Serenity blend, a soothing tisane tea made with mint and cocoa nibs.

2. Brazen Bistro– If you want a meal that will stick to your ribs, you can’t do better than the fare at Brazen Bistro. But get there early because they can sell out of their Brazen Bowls rather quickly!  The bowls are made with a potato or veggie base of your choice, followed by tasty brazed meats, topped off with fresh sauces or cheese.  Outdoor seating is limited; it is best to utilize the drive up option.

A Brazen Bowl is the taste of Fairbanks.
A Brazen Bowl is the taste of Fairbanks.

3. Lemongrass– Fairbanks, oddly enough, has a high percentage of Thai restaurants, so choosing a favorite can be difficult. However, Lemongrass has been a staple in Fairbanks since the mid 90’s and their menu is nothing short of comfort.  Fresh local ingredients are used when in season, and their seasonal specials are well worth it.  In the autumn, they serve the much anticipated pumpkin curry and their green Thai iced tea will satisfy any sweet tooth.

4. Alaska Cheesesteak Co. – When you need something to warm up your insides and your spirit, this is the place to go! These hearty cheesesteaks will dispel any winter chill but the tiki shack themed décor will also brighten up those winter blues.  The item to get on this menu is the Pineapple Teriyaki cheesesteak, a family recipe full of all sorts of goodness!

The Original Pineapple Teriyaki Cheesesteak!

5. Pita Place– The summer in Fairbanks heralds the return of the seasonal food trucks and food stands. Pita Place is one of best seasonal food stands in Fairbanks.  They offer fabulous falafel tucked away in homemade fluffy pita bread.  Don’t forget to get a piece of golden sweet baklava for dessert!  Seating is outdoors, but comfortably covered.

6. The Blue Loon– Located right next door to Fairbanks, in Ester, Alaska, the Blue Loon offers not only good food but also entertainment. Most nights of the week this theater pub shows movies for a nominal fee.  The burgers are some of the best you’ll find in the area.

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Life in Alaska: Living Without Running Water

Here at Alaska Cache Box, we not only want to bring you authentic Alaskan products, but also provide a peak into what life in Alaska is like.  Few things are as important to Alaskans as water. Water is something in our everyday lives that doesn’t get that much attention, but in some way, affects a lot of what we do. Humans and animals need water to survive and getting it in the remote areas of the state can be quite difficult. Alaskans have adapted to their environment and have come up with a variety of ways to meet their water needs in the arctic environment.

Many people in Alaska live in dry cabins like this one.
Alaskan life can be tough, but it is worth it.

In Fairbanks, many people live outside of areas that have what would be considered “standard” water service. Due to cost and environment (permafrost ground), water mains and piping don’t extend to certain areas of the city. To get around this, people will often use 5-gallon jugs and fill up their water at filling stations around town. Others will put large water containers in the back of their truck and fill up at a water station to take back home. Others can subscribe to a water service, where a big truck full of water will come and fill up inside or outside tanks based on how much water one would need.

A typical 'dry' cabin (no running water) in Fairbanks, Alaska.
A typical ‘dry’ cabin (no running water) in Fairbanks, Alaska. Note the blue water jug on the porch.

Amenities like taking a shower or using a toilet can become something to look forward to in places without access to running water. Many people will use shower facilities wherever they can find them. People will shower at paid shower facilities, at schools, at work or wherever there is an available shower. In the summer, there is a sun shower method that can used, where a bag of water is placed in the 24-hour sun. The sun warms the bag and when someone wants to shower, they clip the bag over their head and let gravity control the flow of the water while they wash.

outhouse
Outhouses are a common item for many households in Fairbanks.

Many homes without running water have pit toilets (outhouses) or compost toilets where people can do their business. Without the standard piping and water that many of us are used to, there is no easy way to bring waste water into or out of homes. Some homes do use leach fields and septic systems, but the cold winter months can often cause backup issues and frozen pipes. While a simple pit toilet or compost toilet might not sound that glamorous, both are very low maintenance. Water is vitally important to survival, and Alaskans have shown how people can adapt to their situation and enjoy the last frontier.

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Business Spotlight: ArXotica

This is the first in our series spotlighting Alaskan small businesses.  At Alaska Cache Box we hope that you enjoy the products we introduce you to and purchase more items directly from the businesses we partner with.  ArXotica is one such business we have had the pleasure to work with.  Heralding from Bethel, Alaska, a rural community 400 mile west of Anchorage with only just over 6,000 residents, the sisters of ArXotica run a thriving business offering skin care products wild sourced from the tundra surrounding their homes. They have been gracious enough to provide a little insight into their business and life off of the Alaskan road system.

ArXotica offers a variety of skin care products perfect for your every need.
ArXotica offers a variety of skin care products perfect for your every need.

Describe your business; how long have you been operating? Where is your business located? Why did you start your business?

We are triplet sisters, best friends and members of the Qissunamiut Tribe. Our name ArXotica, is an amalgam of Arctic and Exotic, we wanted our name to connote the wild, breathtaking purity and uniqueness of our wild harvest sourced materials. We’ve been around as an award winning concept and company for 10 years, based out of Bethel, the heart of the massive 44 million acre Yukon Kuskokwim Delta of Western Alaska. We started our business because the Alaska Federation of Natives wanted to cultivate entrepreneurial thinking in rural Alaska. We sisters felt that even though we had day jobs and were starting our families, we had something special enough to share with the marketplace.

original
This anti-aging serum Quyung-lii, pronounced “kai-oong-lee” means “the potent one” in Cup’ik Eskimo.

What is unique about your product?

Each of us brings a talent and skill set to the table. Luckily for us, Cika is an Art Director and graphic artist. Every image you see that represents our botanicals, identity, collateral, is purely through her artistry. The logo itself is literally the Fireweed Blossom, but shaped to make the A for our name, and neutralized in color so the bold fuchsia wouldn’t turn away male shoppers for themselves. Cika, for all her work around the country for agencies and organizations, has been able to convey the importance of cultural representation, in a universally appealing way. We were inspired by our culture and our land and waters to incorporate, and we feel a de facto responsibility and ambassadorship to best represent and honor what is given to us through the richness of it all.

Picking sage in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Picking sage in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

What product would you recommend as the best gift for the holidays?

We constantly offer gift sets for the season, and any of them that has a sampling or full bottle of our Quyung-lii Anti-Aging Skin Serum is imperative to gift to yourself or your loved ones. With a powerful blend of mid-night sun powered tundra antioxidants, naturally ionized glacier water, and extra-virgin, cold-pressed wild salmon oil, it’s the best of Alaska in a bottle, with no parabans, mineral oil, added colorants or fragrance. It’s the best thing to gift your skin.

 

If a first time visitor to Alaska could only visit one place in the state, where would you recommend they visit?

The Yukon Kuskokwim Delta alone is the size of Illinois, but imagine that there are no roads leading to Chicago. You have to fly an hour from Anchorage to get to Bethel, and take any number of commuter planes to any of the sixty-one villages in our region. There’s not much infrastructure beyond schools and private homes to visit in a conventional tourist fashion. There is a lot of cottage industry so arts and crafts are plentiful, but unless you are a fisherman, hunter or birder, there are very little services to cater to your off-the-beaten path adventure. We are not conventionally beautiful in the Alaska post-card sense, but we do have uncultivated, breathtaking scenery from the heights of our headwater mountains, to the prime migratory waterfowl habitat toward the Bering Sea, far from industrial ills.

Harvesting botanicals on the tundra.
Harvesting botanicals on the tundra.

What do you love most about Alaska?

It’s different. It’s unique. We have to depend on each other because there is very little public works or safety infrastructure to assist us in our daily lives. We hunt, fish and gather for our kitchen table, not as a novelty, but as our daily bread. We police ourselves, are civic, patriotic, give thanks, we share, we are tough, kind, humorous and generous. We are still here despite a millennia of extreme environment and harsh and expensive supply chain challenges. We make due and are resourceful. We love who we are, and where we are, and welcome strangers to our far off land.

 

Anything more you’d like to add?

We’ve sold to all fifty states and one territory. We’ve sold product in 71 countries, and we are a three-person company that has experienced enormous reach, but count every sale, no matter how small, as important. We need you as much as you need us, and when you are nearly out of your serum, lotion or soap at three a.m., we understand the urgency, and are here for you. We’d like our customer base to think bigger. Think group orders and company gifts, events like weddings and banquets. We will work with your vision and budget. Let us grow through your life occasions.

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