Tag Archives: reuse

Sometimes reinventing something is just as awesome as getting something new

I had, for some reason, never paired up this necklace, this shirt and these shoes before, and when I did, I instantly loved it! I feel way new today, very colorful and perfect for a day at the office. Reinventing comes in especially handy when you’re on a not made in China challenge, since shopping for cute stuff can be a bit challenging (obviously).

reinvented

Shoes: Missoni for Target. Back in September 2011 they did a guest spot, and a friend and I went there just a few hours after the launch and pretty much everything was already gone! I did find these flats in my size and grabbed them immediately; I think they were $35.

Shirt: By my ex-lover J.Crew. Got it at the outlet (of course) in 2012.

Necklace: Gift from my sweet mom; it was for my Birthday 2009. I remember it was that year, because I wore it in a few pictures during a New-York-sister-get-away the following May. I had paired it with this purple cardigan I had, which fit really well, a beige skirt, black ballerinas and a white blouse. It looked really nice together. Unfortunately, I never saw that cardigan again! To this day, I have no idea what happened to it. I think I must have left it in New York.

Jeans: My somewhat new made in USA 7’s, the modern straight. Outlet again, paid about $100. They’re so soft!

So many memories kept in some (old, but good) well-chosen pieces! Today, good memories plus feeling pretty, definitely beats something brand spanking new. Happy Monday!

[Jeans featured in LookBook]

My new best friend is saving the planet, straw by straw

You know, I didn’t want to buy a new reusable water bottle for myself, despite the fact that the cup I had been using had a huge crack in it. I was in super-sustainable-mode when my husband suggested it. But this one was cute, lilac and made in USA (of US and European parts) so I let him buy it for me. Introducing the Life Factory 16 Oz bottle – my new companion.

Picture1Most of us love drinking from a straw, right? So, cups with straws are nice for that reason (think “cold beverage Starbucks cup”), compared to a regular bottle you just open and drink from, but the big drawback is that they will spill if they get to ride the purse, or if you turn them upside down trying to carry groceries, lifting things… I hate that. THIS one on the other hand, combines the awesomeness of drinking from a straw and the convenience of having a no-spill container with its straw cap. And it has a little handle to carry it in (cute!). Another cool thing is that there are no BPA/BPS or phthalates since it is made of glass (water tastes delicious).

So now, this little guy gets to go everywhere with me.

A very fantastic part about this country in general, is that diners, fast food places and coffee shops alike will give you water for free with your meal or coffee. And when I say “I brought my own cup” everyone’s like “ok”. Can you imagine how many plastic straws, cups, lids and wrappers could be saved if more people were doing this?! I am not embarrassed to bring my own at all. I am proud and I love that I get to save cups from going to landfills every day. Every day, folks!

LifeFactory Bottle

And if you are one of those people that walk around your OWN house drinking bottled water from the grocery store, shame on you. That water was bottled, wrapped in plastic and trucked several hundred miles. Evian and Fiji water were imported on a ship! All that energy lost – for water. Even if you put the plastic bottle in the recycling bin, guess what, recycling something takes energy too, and plastic has limited recyclability.

Come on, join the revolution. A reusable water bottle is the coolest thing you can carry. Eco-friendly is so freaking cool.

How my dad ended up on the blog… and why he is rocking it

When my dad first heard about me blogging, his first question was not “why?” but “are there any pictures of me on it?” Erm, no dad, it’s about eco-living, product origin and shopping consciously.

But come to think of it, he is right, he does deserve to be on the blog! Why? Because he is an excellent role model for sustainability.

He never buys anything he doesn’t need, rarely shops for clothes, buys good quality items so he rarely needs to replace anything, gives us gifts we want and need, eats mostly organic and locally grown foods (his wife helps on that part), recycles everything, reuses his coffee mug over and over (the so called dish-saving-program that sometimes drives us a little crazy), and always bikes to work; rain or shine.

It so happens, that he has just gotten a new t-shirt which is perfect for his first blog photo. (A gift from my sister – he did NOT go shopping.) It has glasses and a mustache, just like him. So he gets to be on the blog in a not made in China, but El Salvador, t-shirt. It’s looking pretty cool, I must say.

Go dad!

pappa11

Cute kids deserve safe, US made toys (yes, they do!)

How annoying is it when people try to force their beliefs on you? Most of the time, it’s very annoying. Hopefully, I am not as annoying. I’m not trying to make you do what you don’t want to do, but I will keep talking about reducing consumption and making better choices. It’s just a reminder, and one you can’t really argue. Of course we should all be more mindful of what we purchase and ultimately, what we throw away.

So, with that said, I am guilty of bombarding my sister’s family with a lot of “good choice” presents and “advice”. She does get the organic pasture raised eggs now (they’re better for you and for the chickens) but I fear that alone won’t keep me from nagging.

Last time we visited, I brought the gift of recycling. To be precise, a recycling truck made from recycled plastic, here in the states, by Green Toys Inc. Score! I was really excited about this gift (naturally) and fortunately my nephew seemed to love it too.

maxan

Green Toys have a bunch of different products and lines. Buckets, water toys, kitchen play sets, cars, airplanes and more. All their toys are non-toxic, safe, BPA-free and made from curbside collected recyclables.

So don’t tell me all kids toys are made in China! Here’s proof that they’re not. And you can afford it. Just buy one Green Toy instead of three random ones at Toys R’ Us. Reduce your consumption and vote with your dollars.

My gorgeous nephew and I will discuss the (depressing) recycling situation in America in more depth when he gets a little older. Maybe when he’s like three. That should be a good time to start.

I am a beauty-blogger too. No, not, really.

I don’t blog about beauty. Two reasons:

1. I don’t really invest any time or money in make-up. My best friend, who is a bit of an expert, would laugh if she had to read a beauty blog by me. What should I be sharing, my semi-annual mascara purchase?
2. It is so easy to buy domestic beauty products. They are everywhere actually. Favorites include Burt’s Bees, Ole Henriksen and Neutrogena (nothing with microbeads though!). You might want to check these brands out immediately, based on my extensive research and experience mentioned in point 1.

Yet, here I am, blogging about beauty products. Well, it’s right up my alley this time.

My skin had been acting out, so I decided to get a Bare Minerals foundation (splurge!) and I needed a brush. The lovely lady that color-matched me at ULTA showed me a brush she liked. To her surprise, I asked her if she had something not made in China, maybe something domestic or European. She had never had that request before and she wanted to help me look.

We flipped over a lot of packages without success. Surely something as expensive as Lancôme ($48.50) must be made in France? But no. She was shocked and asked me why I was doing a not made in China challenge. I told her about my cause, the pollution issue, the transport, the horrible working conditions.

After we established that all the brushes at ULTA were made in China she said she couldn’t believe it, that she had never thought about it before and how could that be? (Yay, I made an impact.)

I left without a brush, but continued my search. I checked all of the common places like CVS, Walgreens, Sephora, Macy’s, Target. Sephora had quite a few brushes where the tags didn’t even say. That seems illegal to me, and normally means China.

aveda

Having no luck there, I went to Origins, Aveda and Mac too. AND The winner is Aveda’s foundation brush.

40 dollars, assembled in USA, partly sourced in Korea. Origins is a close second, also assembled in USA, but the tag didnt’t tell me where the materials are from, so a bit of a gamble. Mac has brushes from Japan and France. Happy to see there are some not made in China options at least!

After all that investigative work, I ended up finding a brush at the bottom of my drawer, which I rejuvenated. Reuse and reduce is always the best option – even a shiny, fluffy brush from Aveda can’t beat that.

Not a fan of fans

It’s been a while since I made an update on my blog. Work has been extra busy and I’ve made some long overdue family visits (that’s a great excuse!). What I have been doing, in the name of the challenge: looking for that outdoor ceiling fan I mentioned a couple of months back. I was hoping to find something not made in China or at least previously owned.

But…not even the downtown stores, with fans I can’t afford, have fans made here and not there. I went looking for a previously owned one, but without success, so I ended up at Lowes. Ultimately this led to my second felony since I started the challenge.

Unlike my last felony which happened by accident (online shopping!) this one was due to pure defeat.

Oh well, new month new spirit. August will be awesome!  On the “to find list”? Shoes, shoes and more shoes.

Can’t stay away from shopping? Try thrifting

A part from being passionate about not made in China/buy local, I also love to reduce, reuse, recycle. Love and practice it. A lot. (My colleagues may have heard my tree-saving speech once or twice)

These two “interests” go well together! How?

When you buy reused, or what we call previously owned, it doesn’t matter where it was made. Somebody already bought it and sent a positive (devastating “please make more”) signal to the manufacturer that this item is wanted. So the damage is done. Now, the most important thing is that the product gets used instead of it riding the fast lane to the landfill.

So let’s say you are looking for something that is (almost) always made in China, like toys. That’s easy to find used, and often in good condition at places like eBay. Barbie used to be from all over Asia, now she is only Chinese, but she is always on eBay!

For me, what I am looking for is a nice beach-style ceiling fan for my outdoor area. I haven’t been able to find a single one not made in the far east. I googled but only found alternative-style fans made in USA. So I’m going to check out all the local resale shops for something previously owned. Wish me luck!

(I wrote the other day about the money you save by buying not made in China – here is another reason. Pre-owned stuff cost less!)

Oh, the choices we make (go ahead, ask questions!)

People sometimes ask me if I have thrown away everything I own from China. Of course not. That would be even worse for the environment and contribute even more to the American over-consumption (which makes me sad when I think about it) as I would have to buy new lamps, shirts, sneakers, pillows, kitchen stuff, crafts…..

No – my already purchased “made in China” will be worn and worn out! My favorite shirt in the world is made in China. I didn’t check the label as I bought it last year. Today, I would have checked and passed. Could I have lived without it? Yes. Do I love it still? Yes. Hey it’s never too late to make better, more enlightened choices. The past never decides the future.

Dying to know more about the shirt? It’s from China-central also known as J.Crew. It’s a fine knit in off white with tiny orangey fruits on it. Vintage and adorable.

J.crew shirt