Archive for the ‘Gift Guides’ Category
Sure, there are all the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts that you can give. But this year why not take your presents up a notch and give the eco-friendly version instead? I’ve compiled a few options so your ‘I Love You’ can be both red & green.
1. Bouquets of flowers are the most traditional and foolproof gift option for Valentine’s Day. But not all flowers are eco-friendly, so make sure you do it right. Check out your green flower options here.
2. I’m a fan of jewelry for Valentine’s (I mean who isn’t?), but nothing says I love you quite like green jewelry. Among all the shops out there, Linhardt is a personal fave.
3. Why not give a practical gift this year? I love the funky red design of this Baggu reusable grocery bag. Even better if you fill it with organic food.
4. A little red in your life is always welcome. And how cute are these felt purses from Canvas?
6. Give organic or locally produced chocolate. One option is Dagoba, a chocolate company dedicated to sustainably grown, organic cacao.
7. What better way to say I love you than with a heart? I love these hand crafted French ceramic hearts from ABC Home.
8. Make your own Valentines with this eco-friendly stamp kit from Branch.
9. Give a Valentine’s Day card made from recycled paper like this cute French Bulldog from Sycamore Street Press.
Thank you to all of you who entered the Fabric Wrapper giveaway. It was so wonderful to read your comments and hear your eco-friendly gift wrap strategies for the holidays. Before I get to announcing the winner, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites suggestions from the entrants:
- Reuse gift wrap year after year – two readers still use the Care Bears and Snoopy paper from when they were kids. It’s tattered now, but represents all of the holidays spent together as a family. What a meaningful tradition!
- Use old newspapers, calendars and other paper from around the house. I do this one too and I actually think this makes for more interesting wrapping.
- For the techies, use old cables and wires as ribbon.
- Bring out memories of singing holiday songs by wrapping gifts in old sheet music.
- Use linen bags that can be repurposed.
All of your comments were so thoughtful that we decided to randomly pick a winner (selected out of a hat by my husband. Honestly!). And the winner is…Diana! Congratulations Diana. Expect an email from me and a package from Stephanie soon.
If you didn’t win (or enter), there’s still time for the other three giveaways. Good luck!
Happy Tuesday and on to Day Two of Pretty Little Green Things’ Holiday Giveaway. Today’s amazing eco retailer is Moss Envy!
I think we’ve all agreed that green is not only here to stay, but incredibly important for our families and our planet. I mean, you’re on this website reading this post, right? But even with all our good intentions, finding eco-friendly products still takes time. With our busy schedules, our decisions are often based on what’s fastest, not necessarily what’s best. I’m definitely guilty of the quick trip to the drugstore to pick up whatever we’re out of rather than stocking up on the green option.
Fortunately for you, there are easy options out there. Moss Envy sells everything you might need to live a green life: furniture, home decor, gifts, jewelry, bath and body, stationery, clothing, mattresses, baby gear, building materials and so much more. If you live in Minneapolis, you can stop by and visit their store. If you don’t, they also sell all their products online. The next time your busy life gets in the way, you’ll have no excuses not to go with the green option.
For Pretty Little Green Things’ Holiday Giveaway Day Two, Ryan & Tina North of Moss Envy have generously donated a reusable glass water bottle in the color of your choice for one lucky winner. Why this water bottle? Well, I’m sure you can understand the importance of reusable bottles, but glass? That’s right, those plastic water bottles we’ve gotten so used to drinking out of actually leach toxic BPA into your drink (um, eww!). And while metal is a better choice, many people don’t like the tinny taste. Glass, however, is non-toxic and has no metallic taste. These water bottles are encased in a silicone sleeve to make them easier to grip and help prevent breakage. I’m loving the bright colors. I might just have to get one for myself!
If you’d like your own reusable glass water bottle care of Moss Envy, leave a comment at the end of this post and tell us how you’ve been curbing the plastic bottle habit (disposable or reusable). How have you been greening your water drinking?
Although not required to win, I highly recommend that you follow Moss Envy on Facebook or Twitter (and me too if you don’t already). And help us spread the word on by telling your followers & friends about this amazing giveaway (use @PrettyLGreen and @MossEnvy on Twitter so we can see your tweets). The winner will be announced next Tuesday, so you have an entire week to send us your comments. Good luck!
Monday is finally here, which means Day one of the first ever giveaway on Pretty Little Green Things! I couldn’t be more excited about it and the amazing retailers who are participating. While each of them sell different products, the one thing they all have in common is a commitment to the environment without sacrificing style or beauty. And today I am very proud to introduce you our first retailer, Fabric Wrapper!
Not content with traditional wrapping methods and *gasp!* the trash they create, the founder of Fabric Wrapper, Stephanie Lancaster, set off to change how we look at gift wrap and the assumption that it must be disposable. Now, like most of you reading this, I love beautiful things and a gorgeously wrapped package is no exception. They’re almost works of art unto themselves. But have you ever thought about how much garbage we create when we tear that paper to shreds trying to get to the present on the inside. Tons! Four million tons each holiday season to be exact. I can’t even comprehend a number like that! And I’m also going to take a wild guess and say most of that trash isn’t recycled (or even recyclable!). But before you get depressed by that crazy huge number, did you know that if every family in the US wrapped just three presents in reusable materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields? If you needed a reason to change your wrapping habits, I’d say this was a good one.
And that’s where Stephanie & Fabric Wrapper come in. Instead of throwing away tons of wrapping paper this holiday season, why not use beautiful fabric to wrap gifts? Your Fabric Wrapper can be used over and over again, saving all that paper from ending up in a landfill. Finally, something that’s not only acceptable to re-gift but absolutely encouraged! There are tons of color, pattern & size options at Fabric Wrapper, so you’ll be able to find something for everyone on your list. My personal favorite is Furoshiki, which uses traditional origami folding techniques to create really unique and beautiful wrappings. And if you’re like me and the last time you folded origami was an airplane in elementary school, fear not. Stephanie’s got you covered with illustrated wrapping techniques for every size & shape present.
Furoshiki wrapping techniques
Furoshiki in Peacock
Fabric Wrapper has generously donated a Furoshiki wrap for Day One of Pretty Little Green Things’ Holiday Giveaway. One lucky reader will win this wrap in the color of their choice (Peacock, Golden Honey, Purple or Ocean). To enter, leave a comment below and tell us how you plan to wrap gifts this year. How are you going to be green and save your wrapping paper from the landfill? Be creative! We’re excited to hear your ideas.
Furoshiki in Golden Honey
Although not required to win, I highly recommend that you follow Fabric Wrapper on Facebook or Twitter (and me too if you don’t already). And help us spread the word on by telling your followers & friends about this amazing giveaway (use @PrettyLGreen and @fabricwrapper on Twitter so we can see your tweets). The winner will be announced next Monday, so you have an entire week to send us your comments. Good luck!
Photos from Fabric Wrapper
I know Small Business Saturday was officially last week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue this great idea for your holiday shopping. If you’re going to buy gifts (as opposed to giving money to a charity or making your gifts) support your local shops. You’ll support your local community & economy. I’m based in New York so I’ve put together a list of my NYC favorite small shops. I’m sure you have your local favorites but if you don’t know where to start looking, Design Sponge has a ton of very comprehensive city guides for many US & international towns. What are your favorite local small businesses?
- One of my absolute favorite shops is Michele Varian in Soho. She always has an impeccable selection of well designed home decor & jewelry. You can check her out online but I highly recommend a visit in person. You’ll be inspired.
- If you’re looking for the a luxe gift, look no further than D. Bryant Archie. She sells the most gorgeous baby alpaca blankets & pillows hand woven in Peru. You can buy her products online or visit a store near you.
- Ochre has the most gorgeous collection of home furnishings. Their products are also not cheap but oh so beautiful. Take a walk down to Soho for some inspiration and really special gifts.
- Like vintage pieces but hate the hassle of searching through antique stores & flea markets? The Upper Rust in the East Village has a very well curated selection of goods.
- If modern Scandinavian design is more your style, check out Just Scandinavian down in Tribeca. They have a lot of furniture but some really well designed modern home accessories as well.
- For Moroccan decor, check out Sheherazade in the East Village. They have a huge selection of punch metal lanterns, pillows, mirrors and even furniture.
For those of you doing your holiday shopping online, here are a few of my favorite small business retailers.
- Don’t forget about Etsy. This marketplace is full of the most amazing artists & crafters. From clothes, home decor, jewelry, art and vintage, you can find everything for everyone on your list.
- Redefine Home has a gorgeous collection of home decor & accessories. All the products are even listed with an eco rating so you know how green they are.
- For a well curated selection of the coolest vintage goods, check out Three Potato Four.
- Looking for an interesting & unique green gift? Look no further than Branch. (Psst, next week I’m doing a holiday giveaway with Branch so stay tuned…)
- I couldn’t possibly put together a list of awesome small businesses to support this holiday season and not include Hammocks & High Tea. I love their tea towel patterns and might just buy a sachet for every drawer in my house. (And I have a giveaway from Hammock & High Tea next week too. Check back!)
For me, the holiday season is all about spending quality time with friends & family – not necessarily giving a huge pile of gifts. And over the last few years I’ve become a bit disheartened with the rampant commercialization of Christmas. So this year, starting with last week’s Buy Nothing Christmas post, I decided to take back the holidays and return to what makes them so special in the first place. We’ve covered why this is so important in the first place as well as charitable donations as gift ideas. So today, on to new topics. No cost or low cost gift ideas! All of these take a bit of elbow grease on your part, but what you’ll get in exchange is so much worth it. I guarantee that if you make an effort to give really meaningful gifts this year, your family & friends will notice and appreciate it.
- Make a winter warm up basket filled with hot chocolate & marshmallows or apple cider & cinnamon sticks plus eco-friendly mug all wrapped up in an organic kitchen towel.
- Go to your local thrift store and get a collection of mismatched tea cups & saucers. The contrast of shapes, sizes or colors will make the collection unique and beautiful.
Chic handknit scarf from PhylPhil on Etsy
- If you knit, sew or bead, put your creativity to work! I’ve always found that the hardest part of giving away things I’ve made is that I undervalue them. Be proud of your accomplishments because your family & friends are!
- Bake – everyone on your list will appreciate a batch of cookies, brownies or pumpkin bread. Just skip the fruit cake! Try these cooking blogs for inspiration: Smitten Kitchen and Simply Recipes are two of my favs!
- Dip. Anything. In. Chocolate. (okay only food products that is).
- Try your hand in canning or pickling. It’s not as hard as you think! Plus antique looking Bell jars tied with a pretty ribbon make a really nice and long lasting gift.
- Give the gift of time because that’s really what most people want anyway. Make dinner for your significant other, take a niece or nephew out for a day of fun just the two of you, plan a museum day for a parent…
Cookie mix in a jar from Linaloo
- Cookie mix in a jar. I actually got this once as a gift and thought it was just about the coolest do-it-yourself idea. What you give is a large jar (find a cool vintage one!) filled with all the dry ingredients needed for cookies. Write up the recipe directions including the wet ingredients they’ll need to add later. Add a bow & voila! Not into just chocolate chip? Try here for tons of different cookie recipe options.
- And finally from one of my readers, she’s giving reusable shopping bags to encourage her friends & family to make Mother Nature a priority. Way to be eco conscious in a not at all preachy way!
What about you? What sorts of eco gifts will you be giving this holiday season?
I’m starting this series of meaningful and creative holiday gift ideas with charitable donations. What better way to show you really understand someone than by supporting something that’s important to them. I’ve gathered a list of sixteen pretty amazing green, fair-trade and social causes (I couldn’t narrow down these good causes anymore than that). There are plenty of other charities out there for just about every interest or cause so if you don’t see something perfect here for someone on your list, do a quick google search for your loved one’s favorite activity.
Green Building/Environmental Causes
- Architecture for Humanity: A non-profit design firm that taps into more than 40,000 professionals willing to lend design services for global projects that most need it. Their members have done extensive work rebuilding New Orleans as well as projects throughout Africa, India & areas affected by the tsunami of 2004.
- Charity: Water: A non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Why donate? Because one in eight people doesn’t have access to clean water, and that’s a scary fact. But $20 can provide one person with clean water for 20 years.
- Green for All: This organization is working towards a clean energy economy throughout the United States by partnering with businesses, government & grassroots organizations to increase awareness, create jobs and develop green policies. Their goal is two fold: to create a healthier environment as well as more domestic jobs.
- Global Green USA: This is the United States arm of Green Cross International. Their mission is to fight global climate change through green affordable housing initiatives, National Green Schools Initiative, national and regional green building policies, advocacy and education.
- Nature Conservancy: The leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Their Plant A Billion Trees campaign is working to bring the Atlantic Forest back from the brink of destruction by planting a billion trees by 2015. You can help them plant one tree for one dollar.
- Garden Harvest: Has two farms of 105 acres with a goal to alleviate hunger & improve nutrition of this country’s economically disadvantaged citizens. With only volunteer help, Garden Harvest grows and donates produces to over 100 shelters and food kitchens throughout Maryland. They also have an education program that trains youth sustainable agriculture procedures.
- Natural Resources Defense Council: The NRDC is an environmental action group with 1.3 million members and a mission to “safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.” You can give a membership as a gift to your loved ones.
Microfinance & Social Charities
- Kiva: “Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.” This microfinance organization was borne out of the belief that impoverished people with an entrepreneurial spirit are highly motivated and just need a bit of help to get started. As a lender, you can pick a specific business you’d like to give money to and follow them as they grow. This charity is especially great for kids to teach them the basics of finance and the realities of worldwide poverty. You will receive your payment back when the loan is repaid, which you can then use to lend to another business.
- Microplace: Similar to Kiva, although your donation is pooled with others, which means that you can’t follow a specific business. You will, however, earn interest on your loan and then give even more next time around (should you decide to continue donating that is). Microplace is associated with eBay & Paypal.
- Women’s Microfinance Initiative: Also similar to Kiva, but this charity loans only to women and so far only in Uganda. They believe that by supporting impoverished women, it’s possible to raise their standard of living and help their entire family rise out of poverty. Your donation is not returned but after being paid back stays with the organization and continues to work for other women.
- The Girl Effect: I don’t think I could have summed up their mission any better – “If you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls. It’s called the Girl Effect, because girls are uniquely capable of investing in their communities and making the world better.” I firmly believe that girls in these communities are the future and deserve all the help we can give them.
- NextAid: I may be a bit biased about this NextAid because a good friend has been an integral part of the organization, but I can tell you firsthand what a worthy cause it is. NextAid’s mission is to ”improve the lives of children, youth, and women in Africa by promoting and implementing sustainable solutions.” These solutions have included small scale sustainable building projects, community causes, health care education and much more.
Animals & Farms
- Heifer International: This non-profit donates livestock to disadvantaged families throughout the world with a goal to alleviate poverty and hunger by providing self-reliance. And as most of the livestock produce offspring, it’s truly a gift that keeps on giving. With your donation, you can sponsor a specific of animal or goal.
- Farm Sanctuary: With farms in both New York & California, Farm Sanctuary works to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.
- World Wildlife Fund: The WWF has been around for more than 45 years and is the world’s leading conservation organization. They work to protect natural areas and by 2020 will conserve 19 of the world’s most important natural places, such as rain forests, coral reefs & endangered animals.
- North Shore Animal League: They are the world’s largest no-kill companion animal rescue and adoption organization. Although located in New York, North Shore Animal League rescues animals and provides education throughout the country. To date they have saved almost one million lives.
I have to admit, I’m always somewhat of a Grinch come Christmastime. Don’t get me wrong, I love traditions, family, holidays and giving. But Christmas has just become so overcommercialized and all about how much stuff you got (and you know how I feel about stuff). There’s so much pressure to have the PERFECT holiday that people lose themselves and what’s really meaningful this season. I had been going back and forth on whether to put together an eco-friendly holiday gift guide this year and have finally decided against it. If you read last week’s post on Buy Nothing Christmas, you’ll probably understand why.
Now to be perfectly clear, before you all hate me for ruining the spirit of Christmas, I’m not saying presents and giving aren’t important at all – actually just the opposite. Giving meaningful gifts to the most important people in your life is absolutely rewarding and a wonderful way to show how much you love them and understand them. But why give those people a pile of mediocre gifts that will end up collecting dust (or *gasp* end up in a landfill!) when you can give them one perfect gift instead? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a few untraditional gift ideas to help spark your inspiration & creativity for a truly meaningful and rewarding holiday. And keep your comments coming on how you’re going to make this year the best yet. I’ll be including the best ones in some upcoming posts.
But lest you think this post is all me babbling on about gifts and the holidays, I won’t leave you hanging. I’ve gathered a few of my favorite holiday decor photos to inspire your holiday spirit. Enjoy!
Gorgeous pinecone Christmas tree via Something Green
And why not hang your pinecones from pretty ribbons rather than the traditional wreath. Another gorgeous idea from Something Green.
I love this wreath idea. I never quite know what to do with all the holiday cards we get so I usually end up doing a similar concept above my mantle. This one is from Amy at ABCD Design.
What holiday decor inspiration would be complete without Martha Stewart. Here she takes magazine pages and repurposes them into chic Christmas trees spray painted gold.
I spent most of today sanding our soon to be painted kitchen cabinets and I think every pore of my body is filled with sawdust! I will definitely be hopping in the shower soon (lest you were worried) so I’m going save apartment construction updates for another day. Don’t worry though, I’ve been taking lots pictures of the progress. It’s coming along!
In the meantime, I want to tell you about a sale going on at one of my favorite home decor stores, Redefine Home. You may remember I wrote about Linsi’s beautiful online store a little while ago. They have a gorgeous selection of furniture, lighting and home accessories all geared towards sustainability. So here’s the deal, from now until October 10, you can receive $100 off a purchase of $500 and $300 off a purchase of $1500. If you’re in the market for furniture or a few new touches for your home, this is a great deal. Happy shopping!