Eco-Chick Because Mother Earth is a Woman <![CDATA[English Retreads Quick Tip by devora]]> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 18:34:38 +0000 <![CDATA[ - Eco and Vegan Fashion]]> carries only fashionable eco friendly and vegan clothing made of sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, soy, modal, and tencel.]]> Mon, 24 Jan 2011 22:15:56 +0000 <![CDATA[ Now I can always have a shopping tote on hand]]> BAGGU Reusable Shopping Totes for some time now. I had also looked at the Envirosax, ChicoBag and Waste-Less brands, but when the BAGGU's were available on a Lightning Deal recently I made the leap.

* Lots of colors to choose from - I chose Fuchsia
* Size - They hold a lot and they fold up into a small pouch. I carry two in my purse, so that I always have a bag available to me now.
* Sturdiness - I've loaded these up at the grocery store with heavy and sometimes sharp edged products and so far no tearing or damage to the bags.

* Price - This is the only thing I don't like about these bags. At just over $6 per bag it seems a bit high, but if they last and keep me from bringing home so many plastic bags I guess it's worth it.]]> Mon, 16 Aug 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ My laundry loves Charlie's Soap!]]> Do you think you need to use harsh chemical detergents to get your clothes clean? Think again. Charlie's Soap completely shatters that myth. The truth is, most conventional detergents do not clean your clothes - instead they use brighteners and additives to make it appear clean. Isn't that gross? I think so. I don't want any chemicals on the clothing I wear, let alone my baby's clothes. Charlie's Soap sent us their Laundry Powder and All-Purpose Cleaner for review and here are all the reasons why we love them!

Ease of use: I haven't ever regularly used powder laundry detergent. For some reason I always chose liquid. After trying Charlie's Soap, powder makes a lot of sense to me. Although they do have liquid that I haven't tried, I'm pretty sure I'm a powder fan! Why buy something diluted with water if you are going to put it in water anyway, right? Powder is super easy to use, I just have a scoop handy and I can always adjust to as much or as little as I need. It dissolves very quickly in the water and it is portable so I can take a little along if we travel. The All-Purpose cleaner is in a handy spray bottle that isn't so large that it's hard to hold. You can also dilute it to desired strength, but I usually reserve it full strength for tougher messes that other Eco-friendly cleaners can't handle. 

Performance: I love this stuff! The laundry powder really amazed me at the true test, cloth diapers. That is the primary reason I wanted to try it, I am always looking for great cloth diaper laundry products. Because Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder cleans down to the fibers and leaves no residue, it is ideal for cloth diapers. We had no stink, no stiff diapers, no new stains, and no rash on baby! It is really great on clothes as well, leaving them soft and odorless. I love it!

We put the All-Purpose Cleaner to the test as well. We have an old cast iron tub from the 1960s and a cheap plastic tub surround that we want to replace. First we wanted to clean it though and tackle the build up of soap scum and even mold in places! Yuck! Now, my mother was kind enough to help out. She has been a cleaning lady for the past 14 years, so she knows her chemicals. She was insisting we should use chemicals in our house as well. No, no, and no. With a 16 month old baby in the house the last thing I want is to pollute our indoor air with carcinogenic compounds. So I gave her the Charlie's Soap All-Purpose Cleaner. We first showered the walls and tub, sprayed this stuff on, and left it for a while. Then just a little scrubbing and it was good as new, all without chemicals! It has a slight smell, just smells like strong concentrated soap. It is an industrial strength cleaner, and I'm so glad they offer it to the public. I'll be tackling the oven next!

Value: When I test products I like to try the expensive stuff that I otherwise would not be able to afford. But it is nice to find things once in a while that I love and can buy myself without breaking the bank. Charlie's Soap is one of those. Eighty loads of the laundry powder costs $11.69 on Amazon, that's less than 0.15 cents per load! If you get the 5 gallon bucket it would be less than 0.10 cents per load. Compare that to around 0.40 cents per load for other non-toxic detergents! The All-Purpose Cleaner is anywhere between $9 and $14 for 17oz, and a gallon refill costs around $22. 

Environment: Just like in value, Charlie's Soap stands apart in their commitment to the environment as well. Their products are over 97% biodegradable over 28 days (the minimum to be qualified as biodegradable is 80%). Completely non-toxic! I don't recommend eating it though.

Company: Charlie's Soap is a family owned company, and always has been since 1976. Through many years of financial ups and downs, the company has survived and is now thriving through word-of-mouth. I hope they'll never get sold to some large corporation! There should be more companies like this, simple, honest, and good at what they do. 

]]> Sun, 16 May 2010 05:43:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ Worth a look, but not a personal favorite]]>
I'm mainly a polymer clay and paper artist, and I dabble in resin from time to time. I was looking forward to Haab's new book because I really enjoyed her previous work. They all gave me new ideas to try and directions to explore.

This book is a little different. Maybe because it's not really focused on one specific type of jewelry craft but on Haab herself, and the various materials she works with. I really like craft books that give me projects that I can start on immediately, but most of the projects in this book require many different findings, tools, and materials. I have a HUGE collection of jewelry making supplies, but I couldn't find much in the book that I could adapt to what's in my art studio. Maybe I'm different than most crafters or artists in that I tend to stick to a few materials and techniques, so the book's projects were way too varied for me.

I think this is a good book for someone who wants to get more "hands on" with their projects, but still have them come out looking really well crafted. If you have experience with jewelry making, resin, crafting, and want to put it together and take your work to the next level, this is the book for you. But if you want inspiration that you can put a personal spin on by using your own tried and true techniques and the materials you already have or are familiar with, look elsewhere.]]> Mon, 15 Mar 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ A flattering fit for the Eco-conscious gal]]>
I discovered Beckons Organic online and was impressed by the company and the style of their clothing. I came across many Eco-friendly clothing companies but found that their dresses were not very figure flattering. They would look hideous on me, not to mention that my husband would not let me wear a potato sack like dress. Not so with the Grace Hemp Dress! Thanks to Beckons I got to try this one for myself. I think it is even better in person than it looks on the model! The first thing I noticed was that the material and workmanship are top notch. A designer dress, perfect.

FIT: Well, the dress is perfect, but of course I am not. It fits perfectly from the chest down, but the shoulder straps are just a tad long for me because I have a short torso. An easy fix of course. Should not be an issue if you are over 5'2". Flattering is really the right word to describe it. It is the kind of dress that I think will look good on any body shape. With this perfect fit, the dress looks great dressed up with heels and exquisite jewelry or dressed down with flip flops and a beach tote. It is so versatile. You might think that buying clothing online is a hassle. Not with Beckons, they have a great returns policy. Plus if you are buying a hemp dress you are essentially getting two sizes in one because if it is a little big when it arrives you can throw it in the dryer after washing and it will shrink a little. If it fits you as is you can line dry it.

QUALITY: As I mentioned, the fabric is superb. I love the combination of sustainable hemp and organic cotton. A touch of lycra gives it a bit of stretch for a truly customized fit. It is so soft too, I'm afraid I will not want to wear anything else once the warm weather hits! I also noticed that the stitching is very neatly done, certainly not something that will fall apart in the wash.

VALUE: As with many things I review, with Beckons you get what you pay for. It is hard to find any clothing manufactured in the United States, let alone have it made from organic fibers. This dress is $89. They also have a sun dress for $69. The tops are in the range of $37 to $51. Not a made in China bargain, but that is probably not what you are looking for anyway. This is very well made, high quality clothing that will serve you well for a long time.

COMPANY: Beckons Organic is a company you can feel good about supporting. They have a great line of sporty clothing for active lifestyles. I am not a yoga fan, but if you are they certainly have you covered. Many of the styles are also great for pregnant and postpartum figures as you transition into motherhood. They do carry some men's yoga pants and shorts as well. They only use certified organic fibers in their clothing and mostly everything is manufactured domestically in San Diego. ]]> Mon, 8 Mar 2010 22:06:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ Inspiration--from everywhere]]>
Within the first chapters everything is briefly covered-a mere two pages devoted to tools and wireworking techniques. Ms. Haab also briefly explains mixing resins, metal clay, image transfers and other techniques, however, not in enough detail to really learn from her presentation. Inspiration-creativity and how an artist gets it-is the main focus of the book. Her prose journeys include By the Sea, Family Heirlooms, Seasons, Collections, Blast from the Past to name a few. Within these chapters are directions for making several items, as the Keepsake Photo Necklace, Sea Glass Image Pendants, Resin Heart Pendants and some cute images on buttons.

The ideas are good, especially for jump-starting your creativity. Some of the designs are truly lovely and do-able, however, others are not so simple. I'm no novice, but I would be hard-pressed to create some of the designs simply from the directions given in the book. However, if you're good at reproducing from minimal input, then this might be the book for you.

Each page has an array of photos which, in the final production, will enhance the browsing experience (my uncorrected page proof copy has fuzzy black and white photos.)

Do not be put off by my review. You'll find outstanding ideas and projects such as the Briolette Stone Earrings and a superb Viking Knit Bracelet. These alone are worth the price of the book.]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2010 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ How Brilliant Earth Brings Home the Booty]]>  20 years married and never wore a wedding ring! And it wasn't for any ethical reason either. Just never wore rings and thought we never would.

But then, we happened upon Brilliant Earth Jewelers (at the San Francisco Green Festival) and for the first time ever I was moved to set up a visit to the jewelers.... and look at.....; sapphires.... emeralds.... diamonds.... gold.... silver...... Wow; amazing precious fruits of the Earth; and benefiting the regions, the communities from whence they come.

Now I am astonished, delighted; the proud owner of....; a white gold sapphire wedding ring.

We as a People are finally finally able to play a part in helping to resolve and transform what has been called 'The Resource Curse'; (resource-rich regions have notoriously seen more conflict and deprivation than places that have nothing to exploit).

Now finally, the people who are mining these precious gems and metals are getting to reap the rewards of their labor. Now finally, their health and wellbeing is factored in. Now finally, their kids get to have a life worth living..., while we get to cherish our carefully selected Brilliant Earth jewels.

Now that's what I call a Win-Win!

'The resource curse' (also known as the paradox of plenty) refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources. (Wiki)]]> Tue, 8 Dec 2009 07:25:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Reuse, Recycle, Re-fashion with Echoes in the Attic!]]> Echoes in the Attic is showing the fashion industry that sustainability is more than just living green – it’s absolutely chic! It transforms discarded textiles and leftover materials from post-manufacturing into extraordinary fashion and home accessories.

To make its infamous “Tea bag” and pretty, pretty pillows, Echoes uses reclaimed materials like surplus designer fabrics and old shredded t-shirts. Be sure to check out the “Purse-ifier” diaper bag! This one-of-a-kind tote that doubles for work, play, school, and anything you can think of. Absolutely love it!

]]> Thu, 3 Dec 2009 02:21:44 +0000
<![CDATA[ Good Introduction to Green Fashion and Beauty]]>
Summer Rayne Oakes gives readers tthe basics on buying green clothing, shoes, beauty products, handbags and jewelry. She lists her favorite brands. By no means is this list comprehensive, but it is a good starting point.

A pretty book, makes green fashionable and chic.]]> Fri, 6 Nov 2009 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Talking Trash]]> Saving the environment just got a lot easier!

Based in Brooklyn, Playback is an eco-friendly clothing company in it’s truest form. Capitalizing on the importance of reusing and recycling, this vision is to make better clothing in a better way, to make you look and feel better, and to make the Earth a cleaner place. The clothier goes so far as to produce unisex tees and sweatshirts from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles – in other words, your Evian, Dasani, Coke and other plastic bottles. They’ve currently saved over 682,000 bottles from sitting in landfills, saved 205,000+ gallons of water by not growing new cotton and pardoned 71,000,000 (yes, million) pounds of textile scraps by upcycling!

Their five step process optimizes on discarded plastics and cotton textiles that would otherwise sit in a landfill and hurt our planet.

Available in Beer Bottle Brown, Soda Bottle Green, and Water Cooler Blue, their shirts are 65% recycled polyester from PET bottles, and 35% recycled cotton, and their yarn is ring spun to ensure you won’t be able to tell you’re wearing that water bottle you tossed at the gym last week. Each shirt uses about 8.5 plastic bottles to make, and considering Americans toss 2 million plastic bottles every ten minutes, it’s a great way to help Mother Earth.

And the best part is that, priced from $22-$44, they’re more than affordable. The Dave Matthews Band also used Playback to create a limited edition of earth friendly band merchandise! Another reason to go green and love DMB!

Pick up your recycled tee at Playback clothing

]]> Mon, 19 Oct 2009 20:28:09 +0000
<![CDATA[ - an online shopping site offering rewards for your ethical shopping]]> Fri, 2 Oct 2009 13:04:05 +0000 <![CDATA[ Buy One, Get a Tree]]>

Gotta love fashion that gives back! Dream Mullick jewelry is not only gorgeous, unique and fun to wear, but the company has a commitment to sustainable causes. The jewelry line is all artisan made and inspired by nature, ancient cultures, and Indonesian influences.

I love it when companies make it their mission to donate to or help a cause. Dream Mullick works with an organization called Trees for the Future and plants a tree for each piece of jewelry purchased (How awesome it that?). But it doesn’t stop there. Each piece of jewelry has a tag that is renewable. All you have to do is plant the tag, water it, and watch the wildflowers grow. Plus the company uses wind powered energy in their offices (so thoughtful and hip).

And the jewelry is cool. From gum drop bracelets in 24k gold to silver rings reminiscent of ancient Indonesian palace doors, charm necklaces embodying visions of daily Bali culture, and ornate silver earrings shaped like peacocks, Dream Mullick is funky, ornate, and fabulous!  So...can anyone guess what I’d like for my birthday?:)

]]> Mon, 13 Jul 2009 02:36:48 +0000
<![CDATA[ Eco Fashion at its best.]]>


Exotic, beaded, tribal jewelry is plastering the runways, magazines, and department stores. This may be another temporary fashion trend, but I’ve loved the look for as long as I can remember. One of my favorite jewelry lines, The Leakey Collection, embodies this indigenous and earthy style. The company also has an inspiring, eco-friendly story that makes their line a fun and educational purchase that supports sustainable causes.

The Leakey Collection is hand-made by the Maasai women of Kenya who create necklaces, earrings, and women’s accessories from natural products including local grass (called Zulu grass), Zulu wood (fallen acacia tree branches), and kiln-fired porcelain. Taught by the Leakey family, Maasai women grow Zulu grass themselves and then cut and dye it to create small colorful beads. These beads, mixed with Czech glass, create gorgeous and striking multiple strand necklaces and bracelets. Characteristic of the area and the culture of the Maasai, the jewelry is colorful and bold.

Beyond the pure aesthetic of the Leakey jewelry, the company, owners and mission are admirable. The owners Katy and Philip Leakey lived among the Maasai people for years and saw the immense problems the Maasai were having after the 2001 drought took their homes, crops and animals. The Leakey’s were single handedly supporting over 100 Maasai families in their area and decided to develop a sustainable business that would help the Maasai women earn money to feed their families without interfering with their cultural integrity. (Maasai men had moved away to work on cattle farms and were sending money back to their families.) 

The Leakey Collection also maintains an up-to-date blog that includes photographs of their work sites, jewelry production and stories about their bead makers. They frequently discuss Kenyan politics, the challenges the Maasai people are facing and their hope for the future. Their company transparency provides assurances that their intentions are appropriate and that they are working to create not only great jewelry, but a better life for the Maasai women and children.

In addition, their focus on the growth of Zulu grass has helped to protect and preserve the wet lands in Kenyan communities.  There is no longer need for the Maasai to burn and re-grow grass for cattle consumption. And in 2002 The Leakey Collection won the Environment Conscious award from the Association of Makers and Exporters of Gifts and Allied Articles of Kenya for its innovative use and management of natural materials.

PLUS, their jewelry is extremely affordable (necklaces cost less that $40), lightweight, and easy to tailor to an outfit. Their most popular multi-strand necklace has a sliding choker bead that creates varying length looks and makes it very easy to pull over your head. This is perfect if you are trying to put on jewelry without help (I hate messing with clasps and hooks!).

This line is sold in boutiques all over the country and makes a beautiful gift that supports a great cause.

]]> Mon, 6 Jul 2009 13:30:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Middle Path]]>
If you are a seriously ecologically responsible person looking for information on ways to reduce your carbon footprint without giving up make-up, you're going to experience some cognitive dissonance. Why, you'll find yourself wondering, are we taking up an entire page of paper with a photograph of two tubes of moisturizer? Why are we advocating a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption of unnecessary stuff and saying it's okay because said unnecessary stuff is made out of hemp?

The book is lovely, with great design.]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2009 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Cute but not worth the asking price]]> Fri, 8 May 2009 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ Costume jewelry]]> Fri, 8 May 2009 12:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[ Earth Friendly Shopping Bag]]>
Earth Friendly Shopping Bag

Amos Lassen

The Envirosax Bamboo shopping bag is an amazing product. It is both durable and elegant and is a great tote for just about any and everything.
It comes in a neutral color with a beautiful white bamboo print and helps the environment as well. It also is very portable and rolls up into a very small surprise yet can hold as much as 44 pounds. It also saves the use of plastic bags because it replaces them and can seemingly go anywhere.
It is also good t know that the proceeds from the sales of the bag as used to foster further conservation measures.]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2008 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ OOH-LA-LA! I had to have these trendy shopping bags!]]>
As the years passed and styles changed, more and more people started carrying their own shopping bags, especially for fruits and veggies at Farmer's Markets. I never wanted one until I received some postcards from my friends vacationing in Paris, France: The cards pictured these charming outdoor cafes, fairs, and markets, with every mademoiselle in sight carrying colorful shopping bags with fresh vegetables and fruit peeking out the top ... topped by slender loaves of French bread. Suddenly those bags were tres chic!

Ooh-la-la! I had to have one ... or more!

Like a lot of thoughts, that one got relegated to the back of my mind where it sat for several years--until I saw these bags--BAGGU Neutrals Reusable Shopping Tote - 3-Pack--on Amazon!

Deja vu ...

Okay, now that the notion turned into an obsession, I learned that the shopping bags are sold in two-, three- and six-packs, and that's when my dilemma began. Since I like my garments and accessories to be color-coordinated, I needed at least one black one and one tan one (the basics) but I also WANTED a colorful one. OMG, the colors were so "Gay Paree," they were hard to choose from. The basic colors were easy because they had a 3-pack of neutrals (which is this one pictured at top of page). But out of the vast selection of colorful ones, I narrowed it down to blue, lime green, shocking pink, yellow or red. Since each pack is the same color, I couldn't have them all, so which did I want the most?

After much deliberation, I selected yet another color--the red/orange striped package--so now I have two real show-stoppers plus three neutrals.

And, boy, do I love them all. Not only are they reusable, they suit my style and my eco-agenda. Each sturdy, rip-stop nylon bag holds the contents of two to three regular grocery bags. I feel so cool when I go into the bakery and whip my pretty bag out of its carrying pouch (whatever my color choice of the day may be) and place the bread in it. And now it's on to the Farmer's Market for fresh fruit and veggies.

Not only do I now sport a European flair, I'm doing my part for the environment too. With no more plastic to clog our dumps, I stroll around the shopping center head held high.

Now aren't I quite the stylish "little old lady?" I think I'll tell Maxine--of cartoon fame--about these. I'm sure her friends will soon be hitting the malls in all their colorful glory ... an army of women, carrying rainbows over their shoulders.

Reviewed by: Betty Dravis, 2008
author of "Millennium Babe: The Prophecy"]]> Sun, 5 Oct 2008 12:00:00 +0000