Support Your Local Shops and Artists This Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner and with that comes lots of holiday shopping. I am notorious for procrastinating and doing all of my shopping the week (or a day or two) before Christmas and I have vowed that I will not do that this year. I have also decided that this year I am going to give handmade gifts (don’t laugh – I make really cute stuff!), buy gifts at local shops or support my fellow etsy sellers.

Luckily for me to accomplish this, it isn’t too hard or painful.  I happen to live in one of the cutest towns I have ever visited – East Greenwich, RI.  I live right off Main Street and can walk to all the great restaurants and stores.  One in particular that is new this holiday season is Studio Main Street – it is owned by a group of girlfriends – each bringing their own unique personality and trade to the store.  This is a great place to find unique vases, mirrors or serving pieces – all at very reasonable prices.

On etsy I have one particular shop that I want to support for a couple of reasons – the store owner is local (East Greenwich) and her products are beautiful.  Awcombes store features brightly colored belt buckles on great quality leather belts.  I have had my eye on one belt in particular since the first time I saw it (hint hint hint for anyone needing gift ideas for me J).

Many of you who are reading this might not have the great selection that I have in my town but etsy is a great place if you want to still try to shop and support local people.  When you go onto the site you can search by your town or state and have it shipped right to your front door.  What better way to spend your holiday money then supporting a fellow resident or a nearby shop.  It will brighten your holiday spirit and those close to you as well.

Happy shopping!

Posted by: Becca

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Red is so cliche, go green this Valentines day

How many cards do you think are sold for Valentines day? That’s easy, about a billion. The real question is how many of those are recycled? And isn’t the saying REDUCE, reuse, recycle? Spending three bucks on a completely unoriginal, non-unique card just so they can read it once, toss it aside, and get to the good stuff is probably not the best reduce method. Send an e-card, or better yet, use your big kid words and tell them you love them! I’m sure you could get the point across just as good if not better than some guy named Earl at Hallmark can, (no offense Earl). Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a Valentines Grinch. I just think that on a holiday about love we should consider the planet we love as well. So here is a list of the usual gifts given on February 14th, and a couple of eco-friendly/socially aware alternatives…

1. Chocolates!- Instead of the the ridiculous, lace trimmed, $20 box of Russel Stovers (or the $60 box of Godiva’s) try these “Life is Sweet” chocolates from OrganicBouquet.com. They are USDA certified organic, fair trade certified, packaged in recyclable and biodegradable materials, and some of the proceeds go to non-profit programs. Or for the fellow Rhode Islanders that want to keep it local, check out Ocean State Chocolates and Confections. They use fresh and local ingredients in all of their chocolates. And if you want to give a truly unique gift, sign your sweetheart up for one of their chocolate classes that teach how to use chocolate in all kinds of cooking.

1558ced753948e9206bb1cc3b13026d022. Stuffed Animals- Personally, I am not a fan of stuffed animals, but the TofuBear is actually pretty cute.  He is made out of soy silk, (made from the residue left over from tofu manufacturing). This makes him free of any petrochemicals, he’s made from a comletely renewable resource, and is totally biodegradable. PLUS he’s super soft and machine washable. Teddy bear too cliche? They have goats, bunnies, even a ram.

3. Flowers- Instead of ordering a bouquet of flowers online and having them delivered to your valentines home or work, be  considerate to momma nature and just buy local and hand deliver. Again, its much better get flowers from your actual Valentine than from the Fed-Ex guy. Maybe instead of a bunch of flowers that are going to die anyways, you could try a potted plant. Keeping plants in the home or office is good for the mind and body (thank you Treehugger). OR you can do even better than that and plant a tree in the name of love. How romantical.

Hopefully I have given you somewhat of a headstart on a more eco-aware Valentines day. Anybody have any other Valentine alternatives to add?

Great Last Minute Green Gifts

You’ve waited until the last possibly minute and you still don’t have everyone checked off on your list? No worries. Here are some great gadgets brought to us by Cool Green Gadgets that are perfect for the holiday season.

beer-bottlesRecycled Glass Tumblers – Made from ordinary bottles that were headed toward the landfill, the  are transformed into stylish, unique goblets and tumblers.

iPod Cases – made out of recycled ’45s! This gift is perfect for the music lover in your life who has an eclectic taste for old 45s. The center hole on the 45 is the exact same size as the iPod wheel.  Not your typical mass-produced case: you choose your favorite piece of vinyl and they’ll custom build it to fit your iPod. The 7-inch singles are reclaimed/reused materials and the felt padding inside is made from 40% recycled fibers.

Recycled Beer Goblets – Now these are my personal favorites. Beer Bottle Goblets have been crafted from reclaimed Sol and Grolsch bottles. How? Glass artisans carefully cut away the base, polish the edges and then bond a base to the bottom (or should that be top?) of the bottle to form a robust ‘foot’. The result is a gloriously green or crystal clear, satisfyingly sturdy goblet.

The Worlds First Bio-Recyclable USB Drive – The “EarthDrive,” comes in capacities ranging from 1GB to 8GB, is a little expensive at $20 to $100 considering how cheap flash drives aipod-case3re getting these days. But it’s all for a good cause: ATP, which has partnered with the American Forest Foundation for the project, and says they will donate some of the revenues to the planting of trees.  The EarthDrive is also waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, so whatever extreme adventure you are participating in, it should be safe!

Solar Cell Strap – Ever been in the middle of a conversation and your phone not so polietly tells you that it is about to run out of battery and you are no where near your charger? The Solar Cell Strap from Strap-Ya features a tiny solar cell which is capable of harnessing the power of the sun to charge your handset.

 

Posted by: Lauren

Oh, Xmas tree, oh, Xmas tree, how green you be, artificially or naturally?

Naughty or nice?

Naughty or nice?

This is the time of year when those so inclined procure a festive tree and bring it home for the holidays, where they festoon it with decorations and other nice things.

So, if you’re thinking green, what’s better for the environment: a real tree, or a fake tree? As the Providence Journal finds, it’s not as clear-cut as you might think.

Posted by Joe Paone

It’s almost (green) gift giving time!

With the holidays right around the corner, why not stuff stockings with something fun AND eco-friendly?

The Eco-Friendly Water Powered Clock by Bedol doesn’t run on batteries…it runs on salt water!

clock

Simply fill the tank and you’ll be right on time for up to three weeks. Just refill the tank to avoid missing a date with your always-prompt wife.

Available in four colors for $16 at Bedol What’s Next.