Posts filed under ‘clothes, shoes and other goodies (or badies)’

Second-Hand Reads

book2I just wanted to take a second to make a shout-out to a long beloved but oft overlooked entity: the used book. In a time of economic and environmental woe, the used book is a cheap and green way to entertain yourself and reward others throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Yesterday I picked up my mail and was pleased to discover that my expected delivery from Amazon.com had arrived. Just a week earlier, I went online and paid $3.50 for the book ($7.50 with shipping), which happens to be a 1977 paperback edition of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath“. This is a classic piece of American fiction that I’ve never read before, but have recently been compelled to pick up after reading another book, “Stuffed and Starved” by Raj Patel.

“Stuffed and Starved” gives an informative and well-researched overview of our ailing global food system, and although it’s not as artfully written as some other works in its genre, particularly those authored by Pollans, Schlossers and Lappes, it is a must-read for anyone who cares about food, nutrition, environment and social justice. But more to the point, Patel’s book regularly quotes Steinbeck, and inspired me to read “The Grapes of Wrath” (which I will, starting today).

A new copy of “The Grapes of Wrath” will run you at least ten bucks, so I really scored with my $3.50 copy. Plus, my copy has a nice yellow coloration and some lovely coffee (or maybe chocolate?) stains on the cover, which give it character and a light fragrance. I am a strong believer in judging books by their covers, and I can tell that this is going to be a good read. And new books are tainted with carbon footprints and the blood of happy young forests, which is simply awful.

So if you’re planning to buy a book (or anything else, for that matter), try and get it used. I promise it will be better for your wallet, better for the planet, and it will look cuter on your coffee table.

December 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

Guilt-Free Sneakers

It’s been over a year since I wrote this post about my old sneakers. They were good shoes that held up for a long time, and my only regret was that they weren’t even the slightest bit green. So when the time came to get a new pair of shoes a few weeks ago, I remembered the stabbing guilt that tortured me after last year’s shoe purchase and made a point of getting something green to sink my feet into.

I settled on these:

simple_shoes

These sneakers are made by Simple, a shoe company that makes a great product and is working to attain “100% sustainability”. The company does make leather and suede shoes (from environmentally-friendly tanneries), but most of their products are vegan, made of green materials like recycled paper, hemp, organic cotton, recycled rubber and plastic, and even coconut shells (for buttons).

My sneakers are comfortable, attractive (although they’re getting dirty – I should have known better and gotten a darker color!), and they were affordable, to boot. I highly recommend visiting the Simple website if you have feet and care about the environment.

December 1, 2008 at 3:53 pm 1 comment

Bling Goes the Hybrid

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This is the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, a vehicle that Cadillac is calling, “The Future of Luxury”. At 22 mpg (up from 18) and $70+ thousand, this monstrosity would really be better referred to as “an awkward but perhaps inevitable consequnce of America’s transition to true green transportation.” Even when you ignore the yards of leather, numerous flat-screens and other shiny, non-recycled decorations lining the interior of this “car”, the fact that this eight-seater only gets 22 mpg (highway!) is a real shame.

Cadillac boasts that the Hybrid Escalade is the “world’s first full-size luxury hybrid SUV”. Maybe it’s just me, but the phrase “luxury hybrid SUV” is a bit of a brain-bender. It seems like the Cadillac people have maintained the illusion that they can have their luxury SUVs and be green too. But they’re wrong. My 1995 Volvo 850 sedan gets 28 mpg. It’s 13 years old, not a hybrid, and it’s still better for the environment than the new Escalade. Granted, my car does not seat 8, but you can buy a Toyota Sienna mini van for 1/3 of the price, seat the same number of passengers, and get a whole extra mile to the gallon – and the Sienna isn’t even a Hybrid. It’s just Japanese.

The moral of this story: it’s officially time for the American Car Manufacturer to wake up. WAKE UP! Just because you might sell a few of these luxury hybrid SUV’s to trend-setting Rappers and other LA types doesn’t mean that they’re worth making. It’s time to make some compromises and develop some really nice cars for real Americans. You can keep the shininess, but you might want to consider dropping some of the extra tonnage and make a nice, efficient hybrid (or even an electric car! why not?) that gets over 40 miles to the gallon. The true bling is in the MPG.

November 21, 2008 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

People Power

alarmclockfront.jpg

Isn’t this a sweet new alarm clock? I bought it for myself the other day, after the cheap plastic one I’d been using for three years self-destructed. I didn’t want to get another cheap one, because I need an alarm clock that will be with me for the long-haul, so I looked for a sturdy, metal model that could put up with my morning crankiness, as well as being repeatedly knocked off my night stand by my cats.

So this is the clock I found. I bought it at a small local appliance store and it’s nice and sturdy, which is great, but it has one more feature that I think is totally cool: it’s people-powered.

Now, many of us may look at the back of this alarm clock in confusion and perhaps mild disdain, because it’s quite old-fashioned. I, however, see it as a symbol of the future. (more…)

January 30, 2008 at 6:45 pm 1 comment

Obsolescence vs Reuse

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This is a 2003 iPod. Maybe I got it in 2004 – I honestly can’t remember. Regardless, I know when it stopped working: approximately 2 years ago. And it’s still in my desk drawer. Yup, still there. Why? Because I have no idea what to do with it. Apple has completely shirked the responsibility of disposing of these gadgets which it has successfully managed to distribute worldwide. The company has also successfully managed to design these music machines so that they pretty much self-destruct after about two years, and then are essentially unrepairable.

This is why I no longer own an iPod, and why I also use a PC (hear that, Steve Jobs? Of course you do). (more…)

January 16, 2008 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

Green Skincare

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I just want to take a second and give a shout-out to Dessert Essence for making this super facewash. It’s made of tea tree oil and other natural, non-toxic ingredients. It keeps my skin looking smooth and clean and I totally recommend it.

On a similar note, I think it’s time we give up these plastic scratchy body wash thingies and instead switch to loofahs. Like tea tree oil, loofah is a natural, non-toxic, biodegradable and totally effective skin care option. Next time you’re shopping for skin scrubbing devices, go with loofah and forget the plastic. It’s better for you and its better for everybody else, too.

loofah.jpg

January 16, 2008 at 11:10 pm 1 comment

Armed and Ready to Cook

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I must have been pretty good this year, because Santa brought me some sweet presents.  Two of my favorites:  the Atlas Pasta  Maker,  and the Cuisinart Food Processor.  Pretty much as soon as I got home from Massachusetts last night I took them out of their packages and put them to work.

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The meal: Ravioli with Cheese and Veggie Filling

Ravioli is fun to make but can be a bit time consuming. I recommend making a bunch on a slow weekend or when you’ve got some time to spare, and freezing some. It’s also a fun meal to make with kids. When I was little my mom would make home-made pasta (usually lasagna) and it was always a fun cooking event for the kids to participate in. Cooking with your kids is a great way to get them interested in food and nutrition, and also to encourage them to eat new foods that they haven’t tried yet.  (more…)

December 31, 2007 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

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