Saturday 30 July 2011

a green artwork fling

I enjoy art, and I enjoy having pretty things in my home; I've also been known to spend a bit of cash updating my home accessories to keep my apartment in the latest style. 

This is why I LOVE my chalkboard wall - a wonderful reusable canvas that allows me to change the artwork in my home on a regular basis.  It's the perfect home accessory for this fickle fashionista. 

Okay, I'll admit the chalkboard paint itself was not environmentally friendly - those VOCs could have been detected from two blocks away, and the clean up was extremely difficult - but now that the wall is complete it saves me from buying new things for my apartment every few months because I can update the design whenever I feel bored.

Here are some of my favourite pieces over the past couple of years.

Floral inspiration
Owls courtesy of 'guest artist' Nat Boog

 I'd love to hear from any artists who want to inspire my next design!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

a green iPhone fling

So far I've resisted upgrading to the iPhone 4.  My current iPhone was less than a year old when the new version came out, so in the spirit of 'de-materialisation' (translation: buying only what I need), I've stayed strong.  After all, about 70% of all metal waste is from e-waste, in the US anyway, and I don't want to add to the problem (of course I'd recycle my phone when the time came - but reduce first, right?)

I even stayed strong after dropping my iPhone one too many times, and a tiny crack appeared in the base; instead I decided it was time to get an iPhone cover, so I began researching eco-friendly covers.

If I had an iPhone 4 I would absolutely purchase a gorgeous, artistically designed bamboo cover like this one by Grove.

Isn't is divine?! Sadly they don't make them for iPhone 3 anymore.  I'm devastated. 

Instead I bought an Incase Bamboo slider made from 40% reclaimed bamboo shards - this means the bamboo pieces are being saved from the landfill and protecting my iPhone at the same time. Love it!

Like Grove, Incase appears to have discontinued iPhone 3 covers, but I found some on eBay and promptly ordered one in Eggplant.

I didn't think I'd like having a cover on my phone, I've always loved the sleekness of the original design. But when I hold it in my hand and feel the tiny bamboo pieces I'm reminded that I've done the best thing for the environment.  Actually, it's sort of like having a whole new phone after all - a fantastic fix for this still-recovering shopping addict!

Thursday 21 July 2011

a green reading fling

My book club meets in a couple weeks time and we're reading The Help.  

Never one to miss an environmental opportunity, I've made my hunt for this book as green as possible, but I'm hitting some roadblocks.

In an attempt to reduce my consumption of new products, I tried to borrow the book, checking the library first.  Unfortunately The Help is too popular, and between my two libraries there are nine copies out and all are on reserve when they get returned. I also asked my usual book-lender, Erica, but her copy is with someone else right now.

My next preference was reuse, but when I checked my local secondhand book shops last week they, too, were out of the book.  It better live up to the hype after all this 'shopping' around!

Photo credit Maggie Smith
I haven't yet made the leap to e-readers.

Truthfully, I'm not thrilled at the prospect of staring at yet another screen; I already look at screens for 10 hours a day, my eyes prefer the comfort of paper pages for my leisurely reading.

I'm also not convinced they are better for the environment.  An Op-Ed piece in the New York Times last year considered the life-cycle assessment of e-readers versus paper books and revealed that:
With respect to fossil fuels, water use and mineral consumption, the impact of one e-reader payback equals roughly 40 to 50 books. When it comes to global warming, though, it’s 100 books; with human health consequences, it’s somewhere in between.
All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library. (Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris)
New versions of e-readers (be they Kindles, iPads or others) come out all the time, so readers must consider if they'd really have purchased that many new books in the time frame they own the e-reader before upgrading to a newer version.  For me, the answer is no; it would take me years to buy that many new books. For now I'm content with my library cards and secondhand shops, and the occasional new book.

I still don't want to buy The Help brand new, though, so if anyone has a copy to lend me please let me know - I promise to take very good care of it!

Friday 8 July 2011

product of the week: funkis clogs

You may not know this about me, but I'm a total Swedophile.

I love Swedish music - from ABBA to Peter Bjorn & John to my latest obsession with Lykke Li.

I love Swedish furniture and its ability to remain functional and stylish all the time (including, but not limited to, IKEA).

I love Swedish architecture, like this amazing one room micro home that's definitely 'at one' with nature.

I love my Swedish friend Örjan and his wry sense of humour.

My latest Swede-infatuation is with my clogs. Our love affair has been going strong for about six months now and I don't see it ending anytime soon.

I'd wanted a pair for years, and when I finally brought them home I quickly learned they added that certain something that had long been missing from my wardrobe.  I wear them with denim, with minis, with tights, with shorts, dressed up and dressed down - I'd never imagined such a unique style would complement so many outfits.

As an added bonus, they're kind to the earth, too.  

Funkis clogs are produced using only natural products including sustainable plantation timber and leather treated with vegetable dyes.  The Funkis label has embraced a range of other sustainability practices that include packaging reduction, use of 100% green power and development of an organic cotton range of fabrics; they are also working toward carbon neutral status. You can read more about why Funkis is an eco-amazing company at one of my new favourite websites, How Big Is Your Eco, or on the Funkis website.

As an eco-savvy shopper I have resisted the urge to buy a dozen more pair (Reduce, Reduce, Reduce!), but I think I may crack soon - how can I possibly resist these gorgeous pieces of wearable art!?

All photos copyright Funkis

Saturday 2 July 2011

product of the week: mario badescu toner

Now that winter's settling in it's important to exfoliate regularly to keep your skin looking its most radiant.  Revive your dry, dull skin with this divine Mario Badescu Alpha Grapefruit Cleaning Lotion, and save yourself from the harsh chemicals of other beauty brands.  Containing 100% natural ingredients, you'll love the naturally exfoliating citrus extracts, and the aloe and seaweed make this toner perfect for sensitive skin as well.

  • Deionized water
  • Aloe gel
  • Seaweed extract
  • Lemon extract
  • Grapefruit extract

I love truly natural beauty products filled with recognisable ingredients.

Mario Badescu does not test on animals, and with celeb endorsements ranging from Jennifer Aniston and Eva Longoria to Natalie Portman and Sheryl Crow (true greenies themselves), you know the stuff really works!

In Australia: buy Mario Badescu at Kit Cosmetics; an 8oz bottle is $40.

In America: buy direct from the website and enjoy the cheaper price of only $15 USD for an 8oz bottle.