A Chevron Problem

Inspired by my Pinterest obsession: Chevron 2011 vs. 2012.

Pinterest definitely makes staying green (and saving money, hoo boy) a challenge, doesn’t it? In 2012, I’m going to try to focus on pinning more eco-friendly products and crafty projects that require reusing existing resources instead of brand new stuff I want and totally don’t need. Seen any great green pins or eco-friendly boards I should be following? Send ’em my way!

Note: I don’t in any way mean to make light of the terrible oil spill in Brazil. If anything, it’s a reminder to refocus on my green goals, rather than my superficial ones.


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Ain’t it S’well?

My local hardware store is amazing. Cole Hardware is a small, locally-owned chain here in San Francisco that carries everything  from classic hardware store nuts and bolts to fun kitchenware, Soda Stream carbonators and accessories, toys and even freshly-popped popcorn. Besides the awesome selection, the kind, friendly and helpful staff, and the awesome rewards program, one of my favorite things about Cole is their monthly newsletter, Hardware Hotline (you can read it online here). Full of home improvement tips, local and store news and even coupons, the newsletter is a treat to receive in the mail each month. I know – I’m excited about receiving a hardware store newsletter in the mail. If you told my 10-years-ago self that, she would laugh for a very long time. And then take a vodka shot.

Anyway, I just received the November issue of Hardware Hotline, and was excited to find a piece on S’well water bottles. While I’m a Klean Kanteen devotee of late, I’m always looking for other fun new pretty green products, for myself and for gifts (hello, upcoming holidays!). I was particularly excited at the mention that the 25-ounce S’well bottle (they also come in a 17-ounce size) is perfect for bringing along a bottle of wine to events like picnics, outdoor concerts or the beach, where glass is not allowed. The bottles are very pretty – I’m a big fan of their sleek design and fun color selection (they come in 17!). They’re also non-toxic and BPA-free and insulated to keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot. Better still, 10% of all sales go to a partnership with WaterAid to build safe water sources in Africa and India. That’s S’well, for sure.

I’ll definitely be looking for a S’well bottle next time I pop into Cole. If you can’t find them at a store near you, you can buy the bottles on S’well’s website!

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Pretty Green Fashion Finds

As you probably know by now, my eco philosophy is that it shouldn’t be hard to be green, it’s ok to be just a little (pretty!) green and that being green can be totally lovely, fun and fashionable. When it comes to eco-fashion, here are a few of my recent favorite pretty green discoveries.

Loving Eco

I just learned about this cool green flash-sales site through one of my favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo. Featuring up to 70% off on eco-friendly fashion, cosmetics and accessories, Loving Eco is a fabulous way to try out green brands at great prices. How pretty are these lip stains and bamboo sunglasses?

Josie Maran Lip Stain w/ Argan Balm – Set of 2, $15 at LovingEco.com

Rawa Bamboo Sunglasses, $72 at LovingEco.com

Rent the Runway

I’ve been meaning to try out this super cool fashion site since a friend scored a gorgeous designer dress for New Years Eve a few years ago. The concept is simple: “rent” a designer dress at a fraction of the cost, wear it and send it back to be cleaned by their eco-friendly dry cleaner. They’ll even send you more than one size the first time you try a particular designer, let you rent a backup dress for only $25, and give you everything you need to send the dress back, pre-paid. They also offer awesome accessories and bridemaids dresses (hint, hint, green bridezillas!). Sure, you’ll be shipping stuff back and forth, but instead of always buying a new dress for every event, taking up space in your closet (and eventually the landfill), you’ll be able to share the wealth with other deal-loving, tree-hugging fashionistas.  I’m definitely eyeing these beauties for some upcoming events.

Milly Sunny Summer Dress, $50 rental at Rent the Runway.

SACHIN + BABI Petal to the Metal Dress, $150 rental at Rent the Runway

Mark & James by Badgley Mischka Fierce Flame Dress, $50 rental at Rent the Runway

See, not a piece of hemp clothing in site. Pretty green, right?

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Around the Internet

I used to subscribe to about 15 magazines. Women’s glossies, fitness and lifestyle monthlies, gossip rags: you name it, I probably got it in the mail. But over time, I not only grew bored with the content (you can only read 12 Ways to Lose Weight While Roasting an Engagement Chicken and Pleasing Your Man so many times), but also realized all that ink and paper wasn’t exactly green. Now, I subscribe to only a select few mags that I really enjoy (Whole Living, Real Simple, Sunset) and make sure to pass them along to friends or leave them at the laundromat when I’m done to extend their lifecycle. These days, I tend to do most of my reading online (and on my Kindle). I guess it’s a choice of cost: MacBook energy vs. trees, but somehow, it just feels a little greener and less wasteful. Anyway, this is basically a long, circuitous way of saying: I like blogs. A lot. Where my mailbox was once stuffed, now it’s my Google Reader that’s filled to the brim. Blogs make me laugh like magazines never did. And here are some of the posts that have made me laugh the hardest lately.

Nothing But Bonfires: Brought To You By The Letter Q

This post literally made me laugh so hard I cried. Thank Q, Holly.

Peas and Thank You: Bah Bah Pickle

You don’t need to be vegan or a mom (I’m neither) to appreciate the hilariousness that is Mama Pea. This video of her daughter cracks me up to no end. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve watched it several times this week. This one, too.

Homefries: Joy the Baker Podcast

Ok, so it’s not a blog post, but it is courtesy of two of my favorite bloggers, Joy the Baker and my friend “Tracy from Shutterbean.com.” I had to stop listening to their podcasts on the bus, because once I laughed so hard I think I scared a Marina Girl. I’m telling you: Episode 8. Mos Def. Trust me.



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A Few of My Favorite Things

It hasn’t been so easy being green lately. A trip to Thailand (oh, the plastic!) and several other international trips will do that to you.

However, as I suddenly find myself with a little more time on my hands and no more long flights on the horizon (until I figure out how I want to cash in all those frequent flier miles, that is!), I’m rededicating myself to my pretty green efforts, with a little help from some of my favorite things.

1. Klean Kanteen Water Bottle with Sports Cap

I used to be a devoted Sigg girl, and I still think they’re great. But when I found this bottle at my local Whole Foods, I knew it was the one for me. The sports cap is great for the gym (though fair warning: it does squeak a bit. I choose to think of this as a way to educate the plastic-bottle-carrying girls in my kickboxing class. Squeak squeak, look at me, I’ve got an awesome reusable bottle!). Mine’s orange (go Giants!) but they come in tons of great colors. Plus, they’re BPA-free and responsibly made. Find one near you here.

2. My Kindle

Like many others, I resisted the Kindle for a long time. How could it replace the feel of a real book in your hand, or the smell of a great bookstore (am I the only one who loves the way bookstores smell?)? But after losing a book I was excited about on my flight to Thailand, I finally caved, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been reading more than ever, love that I can instantly buy a new book as soon as I finish the last, and honestly find it much more comfortable and easier to hold than a paperback. I know there’s been some debate about how green Kindles really are, but after reading a report that says “printed books have the highest per-unit carbon footprint,” and “on average, the carbon emitted over the life of the device is offset after the first year of use,” I feel comfortable with the decision. Of course, I still continue to visit and support my favorite local bookstore, and think books make wonderful gifts. Some of my favorite reads since I bought the Kindle: The Help, Sarah’s Key, Bossypants, The Glass Castle and Spoiled. What are you reading? Any recommendations?

3. The Train

You know what’s awesome? Taking the train. Over Memorial Day Weekend, I hopped on Amtrak and went down to visit my friend Janet of This Confetti Life (if you’re not already reading her blog, you must!). My friends in London teased me about the six hour each-way journey – “you know you could get from London to Paris and back to London and back to Paris in that amount of time” – but the hours flew by while I read my Kindle, chatted with my friendly fellow passengers, napped and visited the snack car. Before the trip, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was beyond impressed. The seats were huge and comfortable, the staff was friendly, funny and helpful, and the scenery was great. It’s so much easier than traveling by plane: you can bring liquids on board, you don’t have to get there hours in advance, and it’s generally pretty darn affordable.  Plus, there’s that little matter of your carbon footprint. According to this Newsweek article, “Hands down, traveling by rail is the most fuel-efficient and least-carbon-intensive way you can go.” All aboard!

So there you have it: a few of my favorite pretty green things. What are your favorite eco-friendly discoveries or rediscoveries of late?


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Pretty Green Last Minute Gift Guide: Foodzie Tasting Box

If you still haven’t found the perfect gift, it’s not too late!

Yup, Christmas is tomorrow. Never fear, procrastinators and last minute shoppers! A Foodzie Tasting Box is the perfect gift for any foodie on your list. If you don’t know Foodzie, check them out! They’re a great online marketplace for small, artisan food producers. I’ve had the privilege to get to know some of the lovely people who work for Foodzie, and to taste many of the fabulous treats they sell, and I can promise your gift recipient won’t be disappointed, as long as they like food! Plus, each month Foodzie shares the stories of each food producer, so you know where your food comes from, and who made it.

The tasting box is available for 3 ($55), 6 ($100) and 9 ($200) month subscriptions. Inside, your lucky giftee will get 5-7 hand-picked samples from Foodzie producers. Past boxes have included Maitelates Alfajores Cookies, Amella Passion Fruit Caramels , The Spice Lab’s Salts of the World and The Redhead’s Bacon Peanut Brittles. You can either send the gift instantly to the recipient’s email address, or have it sent to you and send and schedule the box when you’d like.

PS: You can totally order Tasting Boxes for yourself, by the way. I think I just might.

Amella Passion Fruit Caramels on Foodzie

Persian Blue Sea Salt from The Spice Lab on Foodzie

Maitelates Alfajores Cookies on Foodzie

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Pretty Green Last Minute Gift Guide: Etsy Local

No time for expensive (and not so green) last minute shipping? Up until the big day, I’ll be highlighting great eco-friendly gifts that are easy to find in person.

Who doesn’t love Etsy, right? If you’re not familiar with the site, get yourself over there immediately! It’s an adorable little place filled with handmade and vintage items, including art, clothing, jewelry, paper goods, home decor and more.

Recently, I discovered a very handy little link on the site. After doing a search for an item, click on Local Items on the left sidebar. For example, I searched for birds, and found 652 results in San Francisco. You can also go straight to Local Shops in your area, and browse that way. Choose an item you like, like these adorable little bird earrings (a gift for your favorite Twitter addict, perhaps?), and contact the seller. Many will be willing to work out an in-person pick up. You’ll avoid the lines, support a local business and give a totally unique and charming gift.

I checked out the local options for several different search terms in various cities, so hopefully you can find some great stuff in your area!

Some other favorites in my area. What did you find in your local Etsy shops?

Adorable tote bag

10 Speed pillowcases (I know someone who might like these!)

Leaves dipping dish

Owl magnifying glass necklace

If you find something, I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments.


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