Monthly Archives: December 2010

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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A Little Side Project: santa (cry) baby

As promised, I’ll be back shortly with some last minute, easy to find green gift ideas, but first, I just wanted to mention this little side blog I’ve just started. Inspired by a few truly hilarious pictures of my friend’s baby crying on Santa’s lap, I’ve launched santa (cry) baby.

I’d love it if you checked it out, or helped spread the word.

Happy Holidays!

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Pretty Green Last Minute Gift Guide: Soda Stream

Wait, Christmas is next week? Up until the big day, I’ll be highlighting great eco-friendly gifts that are easy to find in person (no waiting for online shipping).

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write this post. I’ve had a Soda Stream for over a year and I love it. LOVE it. I’m addicted to fizzy water, but always felt guilty about buying those green glass bottles, both for the packaging – even if it is glass – and because most of them are imported. For full disclosure (hi FTC! Merry Christmas!), Soda Stream sent me one of their soda makers to try out, but I truly love it, and would have bought one myself if they hadn’t.

So, for any sparkling water lovers in your life, here’s the perfect gift! It couldn’t be easier – attach the carbonator, fill the BPA-free bottle with water (I always keep an extra bottle cold in the fridge), screw it into the maker, press the button on the top a few times, wait for the somewhat loud (and, um, a little awkward) noise and voila! Bubbly water, deep from the crystal streams of your own tap. You can even mix the water with soda flavoring, though I must say I wasn’t a fan of the ingredient list on the flavorings that came with the Soda Stream (I gave them away on Craigslist), and would prefer to make my own soda syrup, though I nearly always drink the water plain or with a squeeze of citrus. Or, ok, occasionally in an egg cream. When your carbonator runs out, bring it into one of their authorized retailers to exchange for a new one at a discount, or arrange a pick-up and exchange online.

Available in a variety of colors and models, you should definitely be able to find something that works with anyone’s style. You can find the Soda Stream at Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond (bring your 20% off coupon!), Crate and Barrel, Sur La Table, Sears, Williams Sonoma and more. SF Locals: The always awesome Cole Hardware sells them as well. Note: There are a bunch of different varieties, so I’d suggest calling ahead to see what your local store has in stock.

Perfect paired with: Stainless steel straws

For more information on how the Soda Stream is green, click here.


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7 Simple Eco-Friendly Tips To Ease the Travel Guilt

Flying is one of the least eco-friendly things we can do, but who wants to live a life without travel? I certainly don’t. I think it’s so important to visit other places and cultures, see how other people live and try new things.

I just returned from a trip to London (again). I rented an apartment in Notting Hill, three blocks from that book shop in the movie. You know the one. Sadly, there were no Hugh sightings, but the neighborhood was charming and a lot of fun. I had a lovely trip, filled with cupcakes, friends and even a Thanksgiving abroad. But still, I can’t help but have a nagging feeling about how far I flew to get there. To help ease a bit of the guilt over all this traveling I’ve been doing, here’s how I keep my trips as eco-friendly as possible. No, it doesn’t make up for all that fossil fuel, but it’s a start.

7 Simple Eco-Friendly Tips To Ease the Travel Guilt

1. Bring a reusable water bottle
Sure, it can be a bit bulky, but I never leave home without my Sigg. I make sure to drink up what’s left in it before I go through airport security, then find a water fountain once I’m in the clear to have liquids on me again. This keeps me hydrated at the airport, on the flight and throughout my trip, no plastic water bottles or plastic cups required. Besides, have you heard what’s in the ice on airplanes? Ick.

2. Bring your own food
A good meal or snack is always on my Day Of packing list. It’s rare that airports have healthy and tasty food options, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that anything you pick up is going to come in wasteful packaging. Save the waste (and the calories) and bring your own. I like packing a good, well-balanced meal and a fun treat, like a healthy sandwich, a vegetable side dish and a baguette with a chunk of dark chocolate. I tote my food in my own Tupperware, which I can then reuse throughout my trip for leftovers or keeping my suitcase organized.

3. Visit a Farmers Market
One of the first things I like to do when I book a trip is figure out where the nearest Farmers Market is. On an earlier trip to London, I was pleasantly surprised to find a wonderful market a short walk from my friend’s house in Bermondsey. We stocked up on fabulous produce and meat, and ate for days. Sure, I love eating out on vacation – and you might not have a kitchen where you’re staying – but seeing what’s local and in season in a particular area, and at the very least picking up a few snacks, is a great eco-travel experience. For travels in the US, check out Local Harvest; everywhere else, turn to my good friend Google.

4. Pack your own silverware
Did you know those forks and spoons made of corn and potato starch aren’t actually compostable if you don’t, you know, compost them? However, one thing they definitely are: totally reusable. If you have to grab one, and it doesn’t melt in your soup, save it! I also like to wrap up a fork, knife and spoon in a dish towel, secure it with a rubber band (maybe even one of those fat purple ones that came wrapped around your broccoli stems), and toss it in my purse. Instant lunch set!

Thankful I had this fork in my purse for a delicious but sticky Almond Orange Cake with Chocolate Fondant at Ottolenghi

5. Unplug everything before you leave
This is a good thing to do anyway (my Dad says he always knows when I’ve been to his house, because he finds his toaster unplugged), but it’s especially important to remember to unplug appliances before you go out of town. When you’re leaving on a trip, it’s time to pull the plug and flip the switch. Your TV, alarm clock, microwave and floor lamps don’t need any power while you’re out of the house. The environment (and your electricity bill) will thank you.

6. Exercise outside
Speaking of unplugging, travel is the perfect excuse to get away from the treadmill or elliptical hamster wheel. There’s no better way to explore a city than by foot. A run through town is a great way to see a different side to your travel destination. And remember to pack comfortable shoes for all that walking you’re sure to be doing!

7. Buy locally made
Since you’ve already flown the miles, why not do a little importing yourself? Keep an eye out for fabulous, locally made products. Be sure to look for things actually made in the country or area you’re in, and not tourist items made in China! Besides, it’s a lot of fun when someone asks where you got a certain something, and you can oh-so-casually respond, “Oh, in London (or Spain or Hawaii or Kansas).”

What do you do to make your travels as eco-friendly as possible?”


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