Tag Archives: REI

Style of the summer: Fair-trade, 100% organic, made right (THERE!)

Despite being on a shop-local-misson, when it’s fair-trade and organic, I occasionally import. This summer, I decided to import a shirt.

After all, certified fair-trade initiatives must be supported and organic cotton growers in India must get paid. In fact, because of our purchases, they make a much better, safer living than farmers still growing conventional (pesticide-covered, fertilized, Monsanto seed) cotton.

Did you know that due to debt owed to the seed producer, one conventional cotton farmer commits suicide every eight hours in India? That’s three souls per day.

When we demand organic fabric, more and more farmers can make the transition to growing organic crops. Here’s a promising read about how growing organic cotton frees Indian families from the (GMO) debt traps, if you’re interested.

Back to the shirt.

Organic cotton PrAna Gina Top

A light, airy, plaid shirt from eco-friendly brand PrAna looks and feels just right for summer and my upcoming days at the office (going back to work soon!).

100% organic cotton, certified fair-trade, soft, great fit. Also, loving me some great bonus details such as the green stitching on just one of the button holes and a hidden pocket on the right side. I paid $47 for this shirt (sale price!) at our very favorite co-op REI right here in Houston.

Fair trade organic cotton pink plaid shirt

Organic is cool.

Oh, and you might be wondering how much I’ve shopped this year, since I’ve written posts about a few new things lately! In addition to this shirt I’ve gotten a new eco-friendly bag ($160/USA/recycled fabric), a handmade scarf ($55/USA/organic), black tights ($10/USA/cotton) and a well made t-shirt ($36.50/USA/cotton). Five things in six months – that’s pretty good!

I’m wearing a size XS of the “Gina Shirt”, I’m 5’8″, 140’ish lbs.

Locally owned and organically grown – that’s the Colorado way

We spent Memorial Weekend in Colorado. More specifically Boulder, Estes Park and the beautiful Rocky Mountains National Park. Wow, it’s so pretty! And for someone living in Houston, it was a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively speaking. Seeing all the vintage shops, locally owned boutiques and organic restaurants on Pearl Street, and joints (no pun intended) like Kind Coffee in Estes Park, was a welcome change to all the BIG Picture1chains I see here in the big city.

Kind Coffee turned out to be an awesome little hut with lots of nice-to-have things that caught my attention, in addition to their organic, fair trade, yummy coffee. I ended up getting a Yay! Earth! magnet I got to take home. Because that’s how I feel: Yay! Earth!

Even the weather was better than expected. We had prepared for IMG_5102rain, rain and more rain, and sure, we did get some, but also saw some beautiful cloudy skies, snow (!), and had a full day of sunshine on Sunday while hiking (and getting lost in the snow).

My new Smartwool socks did their job with excellence; I wasn’t cold or wet at any point. They are knitted in USA of imported yarn.

As you can see I’m also sporting my American platypus water bottle and organic Prana head band. The rest of my gear is imported (North Face hiking shoes, Columbia jacket), not from China though, and it all worked as intended and kept me dry and warm all weekend.

I love leaving the concrete jungle we call Houston. It gives me hope for the world.

Platypus, Prana and Alberta Falls
Platypus, Prana and Alberta Falls
Colorado scenery
Colorado scenery

Shopping for the outdoors (Camping gear part 1)

We decided to go to one of those we-sell-anything-even-remotely-related-to-camping type stores, to buy camping gear for our upcoming trip to the Grand Circle.

We needed a lot of things, since we hadn’t been out camping together before. We spent quite a while in the store and I must say we did pretty well. We bought Platypus water containers (folds up) and Therm-a-Rest mattresses and pillows – all made in USA. I also picked up a new US-made yoga headband from PrAnato keep my ears warm. See how remotely related to camping that item is?

The big problem was the sleeping bags. They were all made in China. North Face, Sea to Summit, Marmot, you name it. Prices varied a lot between brands, from $150 to over $300, but the funny thing was that the tags inside that said “Made in China” and described the item looked exactly the same. So all brands make their sleeping bags in the same place? A super-size sweat-shop factory for sleeping bags!? Probably! No sale. Irritated hubby.

When we got home I decided to search the web a bit. It didn’t take me long to find the cool site of Western Mountaineering, makers of down sleeping bags in California.

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The next day we hurried over to Whole Earth Provision (Western Mountaineering lists retailers on their webpage) and I chose a $360 blue, shiny, fluffy sleeping bag made in the golden state. I had to take some money from my savings account but it was worth it. Oh the joy!

I tried it out on the bedroom floor when we got home. It’s mummy style so it made me very warm, very fast. Let’s just hope it works during the upcoming cold nights in Utah too. We’re hoping to do some back -country camping. We shall see and I’ll let you know.

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*PrAna’s webpage is hard to navigate in terms of which products are US made. I picked up my headband at REI. PrAna seem to be focused on organic, fair-trade products and stand by their goods. Overall I think it’s a good company, though I doubt many items are US made.