Monthly Archives: November 2015

Why in the world are you building another GAS station?

Next to the office building where I work, ExxonMobil just finished building a new gas station. I pass by it every day, and every day, I can’t help but think about what a stupid, short term, investment that was.

We don’t need another convenience store; there’s a Walgreens around the corner. We don’t need bad gas station coffee; there’s a Starbucks only a few blocks away. So why are they building it?

Oh, for the gas you say. Well, we’ll see about that.

One must have been living under a rock lately to have missed the electrical vehicle revolution started by a certain American made electrical car with a driving range of up to 280+ miles on one charge. With Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk in the driver’s seat and recently fueled by Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, this trend has only one way to go; up, up and up. Said scandal, I believe, is what I’d like to call a blessing in disguise, as the only way for VW to come back from this nasty, fossil fuel scam, is to go all electric.

Volvo just announced their EV coming in 2019, Porsche is building a luxury EV to compete with Tesla’s model S, Toyota has pledged to have a completely fossil-free fleet by 2050 (I think it will be sooner than that), Audi is making a whole line of electric cars, the list goes on…

Now that you’ve read this far into the post, it’s time for the fossil-lovers, also known as the corrupt crew, to say their “we’ll always need gas” line and their famous “your electricity comes from coal anyway” response. And don’t forget the “they can’t handle the battery disposal”. Ok, thank you, great input, way to think outside of the box on your part, I appreciate your insight.

There’s some truth to what “they” say. Heavy trucks, to name one type of vehicle, will probably run on gas or diesel for a while yet, and some areas are energized by coal or other fossils – for now. Trust me, that will change, there is no stopping solar. Toyota recently designed and built a solar driven power station for Yellowstone’s Buffalo Ranch, using old Toyota Camry Hybrid batteries (deemed no longer suitable for the auto industry, but have many years left in other applications), and solar panels so the park can run off the grid, noise free, pollution free. There are endless possibilities for batteries.

Back to the new ExxonMobil gas station on my way to work. I’m talking a two lane, two way street, 35 mph speed limit. Not a highway, not a freeway. No heavy traffic comes through here. No trucks will need to stop here for gas. And in only a few years, neither will any cars.

Which commuter, in their right state of mind, will stop at a gas station in 90 degree heat or zero degree winter air, to fill up their tank in the morning, when they could have had the car fully charged in their garage during the night? Who will opt for that old technology; pulling over, getting out of the car, touching those germy handles and buttons, while smelling that gas smell? Writing that reminds me of days when one had to find a pay phone to call home and drive to blockbuster to rent a movie. Yeah, I don’t think anyone misses that.

Seriously, dude? Stop this nonsense.
Seriously, dude? Stop this nonsense.

Commuting, less than 280 miles per day, is what most citizens use their cars for every day, meaning most will buy an EV when the market is ready. I plan on hanging around long enough to see more and more gas stations go out of business. I think we should turn the land into urban parks; grow trees, flowers, and have picnic tables. With all the newly found fresh air and noise free streets, thanks to our electrical, silent, zero emission vehicles, that makes for a pretty darn nice coffee break.

ExxonMobil, you rich bitch, I can’t wait to see you go out of business.

Let’s STOP and be thankful. Not SHOP and be thankful.

The holiday season is upon us. Candlelight, warm cardigans and silent nights are around the corner. But first, time to give thanks.

I am so thankful for everyone who decided to check a tag, made a change, or brought a shopping bag to the store this year. I am thankful for all of you who commented, shared and engaged in conversations about sustainable fashion, shopping local, eating right, being mindful and air pollution.

Honestly, thank you – for you I give thanks.

THANKS

Now that we are heading into the WORSE weeks of the year, when it comes to America’s overconsumption and unnecessary spending, I want to remind everyone of some truths about this season starting in two days, on Black Friday.

  1. The shopping frenzy you may be about to participate in, was created by clever advertising professionals and companies with ONE goal: selling you as many things as possible (mostly ones you don’t even need). By doing so, making you believe that material things make you and people you shop for, happy. Are you that gullible?
  2. Every single item that you buy has a story. Materials were grown or made, someone assembled it (at below-minimum wage), dirty energy went into it. Once you are done with it and it ends up in landfill you are causing further pollution of the world.
  3. You are making yourself POORER by buying things you don’t need. Is that what you really want? That sounds stupid.
  4. There are fun and loving ways of sharing holiday spirit without gifts. Spending time together and not at the mall is a good start. Games, conversation, homemade food and drinks may be added as needed.

Still feel the need to spend your hard-earned cash?

Well, there’s a way to do it better! Saturday is Shop Small Saturday, a day to remember your small community shops, farmers’ markets and locally owned businesses. So stay in on Black Friday, enjoy your day with friends, family or Netflix, and go explore on Saturday instead. It will be less stressful, you may find something locally made and meaningful to bring home or end up having interesting conversations with friendly store owners. You definitely won’t find that, elbowing your way to a new flat screen, at Wal-Mart.

Rise above shopping. Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s an eco-conscious, shop local, online-edition-only type of Vogue

One cool thing about having a shopping blog is that, if you’re lucky and have awesome friends, sometimes you get to pretend you’re Vogue. Eco-conscious, shop local, online-edition-only type of Vogue.

Let me back up.

What do you do when you write a blog about shopping local, but haven’t bought anything in the last two months? What do you do when buying something for no other reason than to blog about it, would be a CRIME against your sustainable lifestyle?

I’ll tell you what  – you turn to your beautiful and stylish friend, raid her closet for made in USA styles and then go all vogue on her. Yes, ladies and gents, THAT’S what you do.

Mary Beth’s clothes both differ from, yet remind me of my own wardrobe. She is bolder than I when it comes to prints, jewelry and length of shorts (sorry MB, I had to!) but we share the same simple, practical and sustainable approach to shopping.

Turns out, she had so many good looking made in America brands and styles; I had to limit my selection! We met on a Monday and had a very Miranda Priestly run-thru type meeting. (“I don’t know which one to pick, they’re sooo different”.) We ended up with five gorge outfits, representing different companies, looks and seasons. Lots of denim, of course, America’s favorite fabric.

MB1
On left, the tag we’re going for and fall colors on the right

Now, a week later, we just finished the photo shoot and I am so excited!! It has been raining and storming for the last couple of days but this morning the sun decided to come back and warm our backs and hearts (with all that’s going on in the world right now, we needed it).  Ashley (my photographer friend) rocked taking the photos, like always, and I got to stand behind the camera for once. I must say I have a talent for holding the reflector (yeah right!). I couldn’t have asked for a more gracious and lovely model than Mary Beth! I can’t wait to see the finished “roll” of film.

My blogging schedule is full for the rest of the year with holiday posts and other goodies, but come January I’ll be starting a multiple-post fashion series promoting the American made brands Mary Beth wore in the shoot. NEW year – NEW face in the Lookbook (yes!) so stay tuned!

Here’s a sneak peek and some behind the scenes action pictures from the photo shoot – I feel so inspired to write all of this up!

Apparently we all think that ducks are interesting. Their visit totally paused the shoot!
Editor in Chief Anna (that's me) ready to get to work, on left. On right, photo session in action!
Editor in Chief Anna (that’s me) ready to get to work, on left. On right, photo session in action!

The best butter is Booda’s – spread the goodness

It’s finally fall, my favorite Houston season. And even though I love that crisp feeling in the morning, it is that time of year when my hands get really dry due to the colder, dryer air. It’s time for some beauty on the blog!

What you put on your body, goes in your body, right?!

Introducing the Booda Butter daily moisturizer. Handmade in Washington State with lots of love, this butter doesn’t contain anything I can’t pronounce. It’s simply made of organic shea butter, certified organic and unrefined coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and Fair Trade organic cocoa butter – delicious! It is, as you can see from the list of ingredients, vegan and cruelty free. I imagine it is also extremely low waste thru production, since it is 100% plant based (compost!) and made in small batches with raw ingredients. All this goodness is wrapped up in a reusable tin can.

Booda is ALL natural. And I love his little face!
Booda is ALL natural. And I love his little face!

Personally, the butter is a little bit too rich for me, in order to use it on my entire body. So, that’s why I use it as my luxury, super soft and smoothing hand cream. Mmm, smells like chocolate cake in here! My first can has lasted forever by now; it takes a very little amount of butter to give my hands a quick spa day.

Booda Organics also offers all-in-one soap bars (which fit inside the old butter tin cans for storage), and lip-balm (I actually use my butter on my lips sometimes too). The source of water used in the soap process is filtered from a nearby spring, and leaves no residue of chemicals, chlorine or fluoride in the finished product.

This is beauty simplified, honest and safe. For all of us challenged in the d-i-y department; this is pure bliss.

Love it!

Please don’t take my tag away from me! (What I learned from Cowspiracy)

Whenever there is a new documentary on Netflix promising to get our wheels turning, we always watch it. Watch, absorb, discuss, research and make necessary changes. So when Leonardo DiCaprio (my favorite eco-celebrity) posted that “Cowspiracy” was available, we knew we had to watch it.

There’s a lot to be learned from watching this amazing movie about how agriculture, raising livestock and eating meat, beef in particular, impact our environment. I will not be able to do the movie justice by attempting to summarize what it’s all about; you have to see it (and listen!) for yourself.

Personally, we knew eating meat was bad for the environment (cow burps and farts = methane), but honestly, we had no idea to what extent.

Water usage, meat vs. plant
Water usage, meat vs. plant

One of the sources interviewed in this fantastic movie said something like; “No meat-eater can call themselves an environmentalist”. Based on the fact that livestock is the largest global source of methane and nitrous oxide pollution, number one reason for deforestation, causes drought and produces excessive amounts of waste, to name a few issues; there’s no doubt that he is right.

This blog is all about tags. I’m always saying we must check the tag to see what something contains, where something is made, what a brand stands for. Tags and labels are important, and when it comes to myself, I like to think my tag says “made in Sweden”, contents: opinionated (150% of daily recommended value) environmentalist. I can’t have my tag taken away from me!! I’ve built a whole blog around my tag! Must eat better!

Land it takes to have a steak.
Land it takes to have a steak.

We saw the movie a few months ago, and since then, low, lower, lowest meat consumption for me and hubby. It’s not like we ate beef several times a week, and I was already doing meat-free-lunch every day, but we’ve stepped up our game dramatically. It hasn’t been a very hard change for me to be honest. But, yes, I do need to work on my vegan-cooking skills. I love cooking, so I am sure I’ll get better in time (that’s the optimist in me talking).

You know we’re saving for our first made right (here) Tesla, and here’s an interesting fact from the movie; switching to an electric vehicle (from a gas driven) will save a teeny bit more CO2 per year, than what switching to a plant based diet from a meat based diet will (only talking CO2 not the other worse greenhouse gases). But, how easy is it to change the purchases at the grocery store today compared to saving up and buying a new car? Exactly, that’s a no-brainer; start at the grocery store. Combined, these two changes are dynamite – in a good way.

We must all admit that we don’t know everything, and we all have the right to be wrong – that’s the cool thing about being human. We are wrong to eat meat in the vast amounts that we are, and the solution is really simple.

This movie got the world talking. It got me and my friends talking. Thank you Leo and Cowspiracy, that is truly grand.

3 gases

Pictures are from Cowspiracy’s Facebook page and copyright Culinary Schools.org. Read more at cowspiracy.com.

Personal note: I reduce the amount of non-recyclable packaging I bring into our home, by not buying meats. It’s also easier to check tags on veggies than it is on meats (and processed foods) making it easy to shop local.

Celebrating fall with a layered look for my LuLaRoe skirt

I love November. While many cities are already moving on to winter wear, Houston finally cools down, opening the door for our fall pieces to come out and be worn comfortably. To me, there’s just something magic about layering and adding wool to the mix, probably because Houston weather doesn’t allow it very often.

About a month ago I bought my first LuLaRoe piece, a pencil skirt, at a friend’s pop-up boutique. At first I didn’t know how I wanted to wear it. Digging through my very modest closet, here’s what I put together to celebrate fall, the cooler winds and this American made skirt.

Balancing on a tree while showing off the outfit, was actually a great idea. Nailed it.
Balancing on a tree while showing off the outfit, was actually a great idea. Nailed it.

Shirt: One of my few H&M garments. This 2013 denim shirt screams Texas to me, yet it is made in Turkey (of course it’s imported – it’s H&M – but not China!). The embroidery and the tone of blue denim are unusual choices for me, but I like this shirt a lot. I normally wear it with black skinnies and a huge scarf. To me, it dresses down the skirt really nicely.

Scarf: I bought this marvelous scarf in 2004. Two girlfriends and I were vacationing in Spain and I bought this scarf, a pair of Diesel jeans and a Replay sweater at a very fancy shop. I was a student and couldn’t afford any of it really, but I was in a phase of “shopping cool brands is my life” so I guess it made sense at the time (?). I sold the jeans and the sweater many years ago, but the scarf has survived 5 moves (and four countries). It has a tag inside, but I don’t know where or by whom it was made. I actually love that it looks homemade! I wish I had made it. (Remove the tag, pretend I did?!)

Skirt: That’s my new, made in USA, 32 dollar, LuLaRoe skirt! Man, it is slim, but in a good way, and I like it. If I had a fancier work place, I’d love to wear it with a blouse and jacket, really dress it up. Right now, fall layers in warm colors are just what I feel like wearing with this skirt.

Socks: My mom got me these wool socks, a looong time ago. We’re likely talking late 90’s (don’t judge). Must say, they still look great.

Boots: My Ecco leather booties, made in Portugal. I bought them in 2013 on a Sunday morning outing with my husband. We’d actually gone out that day to specifically look for boots for me and my cold toes. I’d been in sustainable mode, ‘surviving’ wearing loafers and sneakers for quite a while, but realized my defeat early December (Burr, 32F outside) so we went shopping.

I can actually tag this outfit as “nothing made in China”. Yet, this time, it’s a coincidence.

My closet size may be modest, and some of my clothes have been with me for a while now. But things you love last, and even if the fashion industry is trying their best to make me believe I need a new wardrobe every season, I actually kind of love mixing and matching my old with my new. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for my economy. I think that’s what we label as ECO x 2.

My friend Ashley took these pictures, and we both love how that red scarf pops against the green of the woods.
My friend Ashley took these pictures, and we both love how that red scarf pops against the green of the woods.
She snapped this one before we had the reflector set up, and I love the darkness. That scarf is A M A Z I N G.
She snapped this one before we had the reflector set up, and I love the darkness. That scarf is A M A Z I N G.

[LINK to LuLaRoe] [LINK to Ashley’s Photography page]