Monthly Archives: August 2015

Glasses, glasses, glasses and a Jordi Labanda girl

Anyone who’s spent time with me during the last year has probably heard my “I can’t see, the road is blurry” complaints. Well, hubby finally managed to get me to the optometrist.

I’m not going blind or anything, which is great news since there’s so much beauty in this world, but my eyes have gotten quite a bit worse since April 2013 when I did my last check and bought my Oakley (made in China!) glasses. So a little complaining has been in order. My prescription sunglasses are even older, 2011(!) and way overdue to get upgraded style-wise and prescription-wise. They have definitely been bothering me lately.

My husband also needed new glasses, so we headed over to Lens Crafters hoping to find something cool for both of us. Frames are very often made in China, but I think eyewear is one of those exceptions where you need to keep an open mind and go with what works for your face and vision needs. If China happens, China happens. Also, I have not seen any local or environmentally friendly, good looking choices.

Since I still really like my 2013 Oakleys, I decided to change only the prescription lenses (USA made!) and keep the frames. Yay, that’s glasses done sustainably!

My husband decided to go with Ray Ban black hipster frames (you know what I am talking about) which were made in China, unfortunately. Our first felony of 2015! I wasn’t even considering asking him to pick something else (wife points – wop wop). Record the felony and move on.

For sunglasses, I did navigate towards the ones they keep locked up (figured they were less likely to be made in China) and immediately found myself eye to eye with the most gorgeous Tiffany & Co frames. Made in Italy* gorgeousness with a price tag to match… But they were perfect, and could be made with my prescription. Where do I sign?! (Let me just mention that the minty-turquoise box is FSC® certified and gorgeous too, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I was walking around with it in the mall.) This is the fanciest thing I have ever bought I think! ($369 with prescription lenses)

tiffany

I love my new sunglasses so much! They are spectacular! My Spanish friend at work told me I look like a Jordi Labanda girl. O M G, it’s my dream to look like one of them! (I’m dead serious about that.) And all it took was some Italian bling?! I wish I had known this trick sooner.

IMG_5868Conclusion of this story: I am beyond excited to actually see! I feel like the world is now displayed on an apple retina screen. Lens Crafters gave us a really good deal too, since we bought two full pairs (China/USA, Italy/USA) and one set of lenses (USA) at the same time :)

We committed a felony but we also made a Jordi Labanda situation happen. All in all; extremely successful.

*Made in Italy may mean parts or labor have been sourced other places. They do not have to report foreign sub-suppliers per Italian law, as far as I understand. But, considering this is a luxury brand, I am hoping for the best. Also reading about Tiffany & Co. I feel very comfortable with their sustainability efforts.

“Sweatshop” – Ready to see the (sad) story of your imported clothes?

I talk a lot about pollution, shipping and waste on this blog, as it is the reason why I am on a shop local mission! The health of this planet has such a big place in my heart, so for me, that’s the motivator.

However, I know many people around me relate and are more motivated by injustice, cruelty or by gaining insight into other people’s stories and their welfare. Many donate to save starving children or to better situations for people in need, while I would donate to an environmental organization. The world needs all of us.

That’s why I am sharing this link to a 12 minute episode today, (trailer below) which I first saw on the blog The Delicate Tension a couple of weeks ago. It scared me, but also made me feel like I am definitely on the right path. Long story short; three western youngsters who live to shop, go to Cambodia to experience first hand, the life of a sweatshop factory worker making about $100 a month, in order to understand where and how their clothes were made.

I feel like I am taking a stand against this kind of industry with how I shop. Are we at risk of putting garment workers out of work temporarily if we stop shopping? Probably. But how else do we show the big chains (who use sweatshops) that we don’t accept it? What do you think?

Maybe you have noticed that while this is a “not made in China challenge”, when it comes to clothes I try to buy 100% US made. This is because I consider all clothes to be luxury items; things I want but don’t NEED. (I think we all need to be honest with ourselves when it comes to what clothes we actually need). For me, buying a top from Bangladesh or Cambodia just because I think “it looks cute on me” is not ok per this challenge either, even if the tag per definition doesn’t say China; it’s just not worth the import. (Factory workers in USA don’t make great money either, but there are regulations here I do feel more comfortable with.)

I hope you feel inspired to look at your consumption after watching this clip, just in case my pollution propaganda ain’t working. I’m pretty tough, but this series made me tear up.

If you want to watch the whole series (there are five episodes and it’s worth the time), click here. If the link above for some reason doesn’t work, here’s another to that same video.

Thanks for reading.

In a world of apps; my memories are still handwritten

I bet you didn’t know that USA organizers, calendars and day-planners are made in China – did you?

As an eco-girl I should be using some kind of “app-planner”, but I just don’t want to! I love lying in bed before sleep, writing some notes on what happened to me during the day, without the glare of a screen. My planners never end up in landfill though, I keep them all, and sometimes I go back and remember a random Wednesday from two years ago; maybe we saw a movie, went swimming or had delicious spaghetti.

plannerThat being said, the paper industry is a big polluter. You can read all about it on Wikipedia, it does not paint a pretty picture.

USA has hundreds of paper mills… yet we can’t seem to find the resources among the 100,000,000’s of tons of paper and paperboard they produce to make planners? I guess not; since all of the planners I saw at Barnes & Noble, except two, were made in China. The two best options were bound here, but the paper may still be imported! How can that be a better business case than using paper made here? – I wonder.

My choice was between Quo Vadis and Gallery Leather; both bound in USA. I picked Gallery Leather since the size was just right, had a weekly planner (best layout for me) and there was one in salmon color screaming my name (Hubby said “oh, that’s soo you!”). Researching it more, Quo Vadis would have been a better eco-choice as they are committed to materials from certified sustainable forests, no bleaching, water recycling, 100% controlled sourcing – to name a few environmental initiatives they have taken. At least the leather cover of my planner is handcrafted in Maine, I like that.

At the end of day, a planner can be made “here”, but with like many other paper products; hardly ever made “right”…

I still enjoy my planners! The little things you do every day are the things to cherish down the line; it’s nice to have a place to keep them, handwritten.

planner 2

Eat Local, Shop Local – Let your t-shirt do the talkin’

I’ve had a huge crush on Locally Grown Clothing ever since I bought their baby onesies for our friends’ baby last year. I’ve been dying to wear an outfit with a statement too! I finally got my act together and ordered a t-shirt online. It was very hard to pick a statement since there are so many good ones, but I ended up with something I am very passionate about; Buy Local, Good food. Yes!

tee

The confirmation email I got, after hitting that dangerous purchase button, said “Allow up to three weeks for your order to arrive”. This is of course because they make the tees upon order, instead of stocking all versions they offer, which makes perfect sense for a sustainable, small company. I respect the hell out of that.

It turns out, that as a somewhat frequent internet shopper and citizen of 2015, I was not prepared to wait that long. I was getting a little nervous. “You have to call them and check” said both my bestie and my husband, but I assured them (crossing my fingers) “They said three weeks”. Eventually it got here; a teeny, sustainable looking package with a great smelling (yes it was!) navy t-shirt inside, which of course made me love this company even more.

Locally Grown has a great made right here concept (made in Iowa y’all!), soft fabrics and eco-friendly statements: this is right up my alley. Read more about their story here.

Next time, when it’s time to get another t-shirt; I will know that, for once, great things do come to those who wait.

lcg[Details in LookBook] (Photo credits: Shutterluv by Ashley.)

Because I write, I also read (blogs that is)

Sustainability champion and fellow eco-blogger Danielle @ No Need for Mars, nominated me for the Liebster Award a couple of weeks ago (yay!). It’s taken me a little while to decide how to approach this topic in my own way, hence the wait.

So what’s it all about? Well, it’s an award given by bloggers to other bloggers in order to bring attention to great blogs that we read and love, so others may discover them too.

There are some rules to it, kind of like a chain letter (which makes me freak a little) but I am doing it; with my own words.

First rule of the award is that I’m supposed to thank the nominator and that’s a given: Thank you, No need for Mars! I look forward to following your sustainable journey!

Then (step 2) I share the logo (look left!) and name a few of my own favorite blogs (step 3). These five (full of beauty!) make me smile:

  1. Sustainable Daisy. Her vintage finds and thrift store treasures look adorable. Every time. Wish I could pull it off!
  2. Timber+Thread.  I can almost smell the (locally sourced) wood. And I love handmade in USA. {Note. This blog is no longer active but they’re on instagram}
  3. Shutterluv by Ashley. This photography blog, which belongs to one of my best friends, is full of photos that capture joy of life in people’s eyes, and I luv it (and her!)
  4. Joli Naturellement. Because she knows green beauty and shows it off with the best photos. I just love the whole concept and look!
  5. StockholmBerlin. It is so Euro. So minimalist. Vintage fashion in German packaging. {Note. This blog is no longer active}

If you haven’t already, go check them out!

Another part of the award process (step 4) is that whoever nominated you, gets to ask you a few questions. Since blogging is all about personal views and experiences, I am happy to answer the questions I’ve been given! (Danielle, I did leave a few out, where I did not have an interesting answer).

What do you want your readers to know about you besides pursuing a sustainable lifestyle? *** I am always listening to music and when I hear a great line I want to use it as a blog title! It hardly ever works, since very few lines in songs match my blog theme. I did get to use I got Stripes by Johnny Cash for my new striped dress and On to Something Good by Ashley Monroe for my new face-wash routine. I do have a few more lined up, I’m just waiting for the right posts to come along where I can use them.

songtitle

Do you consider yourself a minimalist or have you implemented minimalism into your lifestyle? *** I do think I am a little bit of a minimalist: buy only what we need, use what we need. Honestly, the fact that I live in Houston probably makes me look like a minimalist in comparison to people around me (waste, waste and greed). I don’t know anyone with a house as small as ours. That said, I wouldn’t label myself one ;)

Who is your biggest blog inspiration and why? *** Honestly? Julie from the movie Julie & Julia. I’d love that to happen to me (minus the hectic cooking).

Do you have any advice to people who get overwhelmed by the pursuit of zero waste and trying to inspire others?*** No one is perfect, we all just do our best. Making an honest effort for our environment is admirable in itself and more than most people do. If you can’t do it all, do what you can!

What is your favorite zero waste recipe or recipe you look forward to trying? *** I must say I am the master of leftovers. I always come up with something yummy to use them for. Quiche is a versatile favorite, I use for taking care of small amounts of left over veggies or meats.

Do you have a favorite charitable organization or ethical company? *** There are so many companies that I love. Locally Grown Clothing is a favorite. Organizations, I’d say Stand for Trees and Swedish Naturskyddsforeningen.

What lifestyle change or action item is next on your sustainable journey?*** I want to get way better at finding and buying previously owned things. I tend to lose patience real quick and end up buying new stuff (especially clothes!)

My questions to other bloggers (step 5) would be: What is your favorite part about blogging? When do you feel most inspired to write? Do you have a favorite post (among your own) and why? How did you come up with the name for your blog? Have you made any lifestyle changes lately in order to live more sustainably and eco-conciuous? What’s your one bad habit you wish you could kick (but can’t seem to!) in the name of sustainable living?

If any of the blogs I nominated want to take part, nominate some other blogs, tell us more about you and your blog – go ahead! If not, there ain’t nothing mandatory about blogging!

Anyway, some of my readers may have been inspired to check out some of the blogs I like – and that’s what it’s about. Thanks for reading, now go be sustainable!

We all just need a bit of inspiration and the guts to shop differently

When I first started the not made in China challenge January 2014, I had to re-think my entire shopping pattern. My husband and I were both frequent shoppers at Banana Republic, J.Crew and Coach. I bought my occasional pair of shoes (Michael Kors’ heels and Keds being favorites) at DSW. I came to realize, quickly, that all these stores and brands were practically off limits. At the very beginning, I bought my Juicy Couture soft grey sweats on sale and I thought I would run into more affordable clothes made in USA. Well, at the mall, you just don’t, and so for a long time; I didn’t buy anything at all.

I started to reinvent some of the outfits I already had, but I was still a bit uninspired and tired, though very determined to not give up. Obvious US choices like American Apparel and designer dresses and jeans were a no-go as well, for style or price reasons. Then it happened: I ran into that Richter Co. tee at Whole Earth Provision, and started wondering if there were endless, small American brands yet to be discovered. I started to search online, look in new stores and scavenge the racks (which has always scared me a little – too messy!). Bit by bit, piece by piece, rack by rack – I have become a made in America shopper. I say America and not USA because when it comes to sexy shoes, yes, I need to include South America.

My friend and I have been talking a lot about this topic, and I presented her with the idea to make a LookBook. In other words, make a photo collection of the clothes I have found and bought on this challenge and present them in a stylish way, in order to inspire others to go look for made right here. As a blogger I have a lot of words and as a photographer she has lots of talent, technique and cool spots to pick from, so we headed out to the country side.

One hour, 101 degrees, a few bugs and an exhausted reflector girl later, we had more photos than we would ever need for this project.

Made in USA top, Made in USA sweats, Made in USA bottle, Made in USA arm wrap
Made in USA top, Made in USA sweats, Made in USA bottle, Made in USA arm wrap

I am so thankful to have friends who inspire me, and whom I get to inspire in return. Does she shop made in China anymore? Very rarely! Did she return an expensive, online purchase when she saw the tag? Yes, she did! (See, I am saving her money ;))

Check out the results and get more information about the clothes on my new page LookBook! (I also had a few photos/outfits from before) My plan is to keep adding to it, whenever I have a new outfit to show. Hopefully, there’ll be enough good stuff for a fall shoot later on! (Can’t wait! Another chance to play model!)

If you want to be inspired by beautiful people, laughing children, posing dogs and killer locations, head on over to Shutterluv by Ashley, and like her on Facebook.

That’s a wrap people!!

DSC_0141

My five zero goals; inspired by you #zerowaste

I’ve been really inspired lately by quite a few excellent blogs written by people who aim to live life with zero waste. #zerowaste bloggers are crafty, innovative, smart and caring! They remind us of how we can all live a more sustainable and appreciative life.

All these great posts made me think about that I actually have a few “zero hashtags” of my own, in addition* to the brilliant, say-it-all-in-one-tag: #zerowaste.

Believe me, I know they all fall on a scale of impossible to very impossible (and nobody is perfect!), but you know what they say; aim for the stars and you may reach the treetops.

zero- 1. Zero Made in China (Zero Imports). Buy local stuff, all the time. Start with made in town, state, country, part of the world… Work my way out. Some things are quite easy, like veggies, some things are hard, like good looking shoes. (By all means, correct me if I’m wrong!)

2. Zero Chemicals. No lotions and potions in the bathroom with any ingredients I can’t pronounce.

3. Zero Processed Foods. Actually, this one is probably the easiest of all my zero goals! Except bread – does that count? Will still buy and eat bread (I’m a terrible baker, don’t even go there).

4. Zero Oil for Fuel and Energy. We’re saving up for our first Tesla! Yes, we are! And we hope to one day be energy independent. Reaching for the stars here? Well, so is Elon Musk (literally).

5. Zero Bad and Grumpy Days. Move forward with a happy spirit, banish worrying and always remember that everything will work out :)

That’s it!

Maybe you have some zeros of your own to pursue? If not, go ahead and borrow mine. Feel free to alter, add and customize as needed. See, that’s another cool tag I like, it’s called #reuse.

*We are not a household committed to 100% zero waste. Yes, we are always mindful about waste and packaging, but it would be an insult to people committed to a zero waste lifestyle, to say that we are.