Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Green Thoughts on a Grey Day

As I sit inside my house today, recovering from a 3-day trip to Cold & Sinus Hell, I'm not even sure what to think about tonight's prediction of another 2-4" of snow.  Part of me wants to say, "Are you !@*$% kidding me?"  This is the same part of me that hasn't left the house since Friday night, thanks to being sick.  I'm starting to go a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs in here.  Then again, part of me wants to say, "Meh.  We live in the Upper Midwest.  It snows in May.  Getoverit."  This is the same part of me that figures I might as well enjoy being house-bound if the flakes are gonna start fallin'.  The fridge is stocked, I've got a surplus of Pier 1 candles, and there's a wonderful thing called pizza delivery.

The impending snow and overall crappy, cold weather does make me think about the climate in general.  Which then makes me think about the Earth.  And Earth Day.  Which is on the 22nd.  How timely.

If I'd forgotten about Earth Day, a hazy memory rolled into the college experience of years past, then retailers have definitely made sure I remember it this year.  From promotions to "go green," to offering "upcycled goods," to simply asking what you might do this year to make the Earth a little more healthy, stores are making sure to participate.  I guess selling green = seeing green (and, on a slight tangent, it feels like countless retailers are attaching themselves to all sorts of causes, the Japan tsunami/earthquake being the latest example).

OK, without further ado...

Daily Candy's limited-sale site Swirl offers an Earth Day-themed pop-up boutique this week (I can't guarantee how long this sale runs, so check it soon!).  Among the brands on sale are vegan bags by Matt & Nat, a great handbag line I ran across years ago in Chicago.  Glad to see they are still going strong.  Here are a few of their items for sale:

Poketo, a fun and quirky retailer known for collaborating with artists, sent me an email today about their upcycled leather accessories.  Fun, cute and salvaged!  Take a look:

The second image is a bag that was created from a leather sofa - the vintage (as in Brady Bunch-era) fan in me got a kick out of it.  I even spied some bags that look like they're crafted from suits - you'll have to check it out.

Anthropologie tells me it's hosting Earth Day events at many store locations with this crafty email:

Click here to see if there are any events at your local store.  Weirdly, they don't seem to have anything here in Minnesota.  Odd, since this state prides itself on green initiatives.  Their email also says:

Mega-retailer Target spread its word on Facebook today, asking:

Over 600 people liked this question, but man, over 1200 had something to say about it!  Personally, I always hold on to their bags.  If it's paper, we use them for recycling day (the city of Minneapolis has a  nice program which I really appreciate...  from plastic bags to junk mail to, um, cardboard boxes from Nordstrom and Zappos, they haul it all).  If it's plastic, well, I do this:

Why, NO, that's not a big bag of...  shoes.  

Hey, I wrap 'em up in my TGT bags and throw a pair in my purse to take to work.  They're also great for stuffing wet umbrellas into while on the bus.

Kate Spade's "color of the month" is a very kelly green for April, but I have no idea if that anything to do with Earth Day.  It seems to have more to do with lush lawns and the general celebration of the return of all things green and summery.  Sure is purty to look at, though:

While we're on the subject of green-colored treasures, you might want to glance at my earlier post dedicated to such finds here.

And finally, Threadless has a great little Earth Day shirt for sale on their site:

I wuv.  If you do, too, check it out here.  They're also promoting tree-planting and other nature-friendly wares.

"Green retailing" aside, Earth Day does compel you to give serious pause about the state of the environment today.  While the forecast snowfall for tonight is fairly benign and mostly scoffable, other areas of the US have had far more serious weather:  wildfires burning in Texas and tornadoes that marched a lethal path through the South.  You do have to wonder how much is linked to climate change and how much we've contributed to that.  And whether Mother Nature is giving us a stern warning to clean up our act.

On that didn't-mean-to-be-so-somber note, are you celebrating Earth Day?  Do you try and incorporate sustainability or recycling in your daily life (like my shoe bags)?  Is there an event you're attending in your state or country?  Or, simply, is there a favorite retailer of yours that's promoting Earth Day themed awareness?

Cheers (til the snow starts to fall anyway),

Image credits:
Matt & Nat purses -
Upcycled leather clutches and "sofa" purse -
Anthropologie email excerpt -
Target Facebook status - Facebook
Shoe mountain images - my own
Kate Spade bags - Kate Spade
"Let's Plant" t-shirt by Chow Hon Lam -

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Telling Your Inner Mean-Girl To Take A Hike

I know.  I've been MIA.  Bad me!  Life's been a little busier than usual, but that's a lame excuse, right?  Well, then I'll blame it on our prolonged winter.  After enjoying a few glorious days of temperatures in the, gasp, 60's...  we're headed right back to the mid-30's tonight.  Even better?  Snow is forecast for Saturday.  Guess I'll delay shoving the winter coats and boots into the hall closet.  Hmm, also means I can delay the quitting of comfort foods:  creamy mac-n-cheese, pillowy gnocchi, big ol' burgers, and the to-die-for lobster and eggs concoction at Bar La Grassa.  Oh, and cheese, cheese, cheese!

However, I did want to rouse myself from a self-induced weather pity-party (with cheese) to pop in here briefly and give another shout-out to a fabulous blogger and friend of mine.

Whether we want to admit it or not, all things fashion inevitably link to something a little less fun and sparkly:  body image.  Arguably, all those trendy magazines, e-tail sites, and billboards, down to the pretty pictures of clothes that I post on here, saunter hand-in-hand with an evil twin.  Even if said wares are not being modeled on a Photoshopped, size 00 nineteen year-old, it's hard not to automatically ask yourself, "I wonder if I could pull that off?" when you're facing that image.  And unfortunately, that question often spirals towards giving yourself a less than flattering once-over.

To add insult to injury, the arrival of warmer weather (ahem, for some of you anyway) means warm weather fashion.  Retailers parade swimsuits, shorts, and other skin-baring ensembles before our summer-starved eyes.  It's hard not to laugh/cringe/smirk when imaging some of those outfits on our own bodies.  Someone save us from ourselves already!  Sheesh!

That someone might just be Sally McGraw.

Armed with a background in creative writing and a heartfelt mission to quash all the negativity, Sally writes an impressive and thoughtful blog dealing with the many questions, perspectives and yes, positive takeaways, that come from such a loaded issue.  I invite you to check out her blog this week:  Already Pretty.

Ms. McGraw has become quite established in the blogosphere.  She's been invited to attend blogging conferences, she's appeared on local TV and print to share her advice, and her blog/full-fledged website garners many admirers who are excited to add to the conversation.

And it's not just serious stuff - Sally takes the hefty subject matter and then applies it right back to fun things.  One of her blog's highlights is her outfit of the day.  It's great to see how she styles the many items in her closet, and it's hard not to envy her collection of shoes and boots.  In fact, here's an image direct from her blog, showing off some of those great boots, on her great legs, I might add:

As I scan recent headlines from fashion news sites that yap on about the curviness of Victoria's Secret models and calling Kate Moss "fat," Sally's blog is a timely read and I daresay a bit of a life buoy in a sea of relentless body critique.

And while I've been guilty of the self-criticism, it's sure as hell not going to stop me from eating all the cheese I can unearth in this house while I wait for Spring to really, really arrive.

Happy reading!

Image:  courtesy of Already Pretty