Thursday 28 March 2013

a green pretty-in-pink fling

Happy 100th post! 

It's only fitting that my 100th post coincides with me writing about a fabulous sustainable ensemble I created for . . . myself!

Last weekend I went to the wedding of a couple of dear friends in a lovely natural setting in Royal National Park.  The invite called for guests to dress in 'garden formal'. I was thrilled with the brief and in love with the look I pulled together. I can definitely see myself wearing this again for another wedding, a girls outing or even the races.

The image on the left is shows the colour of the dress accurately - this was me
waiting at the bus stop to get a lift to the Manly ferry. I love public transport!
On the right is a full length image taken at the wedding. I had the hemline taken up
slightly, and the skirt tapered in. I also had the top of the dress altered to fit
my measurements - a good tailor is worth a million bucks!

The dress: Dear Gladys (with some help from Lucy's Alterations in Sydney's CBD - perfection!) I nearly shrieked with glee when I saw this vintage dress with peplum - sustainable and on trend! An eco-fashionista's dream come true!

The shoes: From my wardrobe (incidentally my own wedding shoes)

The earrings: Vintage, from my husband's grandmother Anne who passed away last year. She loved a party, so I know she'd be thrilled to have me wearing these to a wedding.

The clutch: From my wardrobe

The cardigan: Not pictured,  borrowed from a friend

The makeup: Combination of Musq, Korres and Ere Perez

The hair: Karpati hair spray held my sock bun in place (I'm amazed that I have a style blog and only just learned about this fabulous technique!)

Although attending formal events may seem like the perfect opportunity to splurge on a new outfit, I find it's so easy to make these looks sustainable because there's just so much opportunity for creative reuse and borrowing.

Anyway, enough about me. The most important thing about the event was celebrating the bride and groom.

xx Congratulations Annie & Shane xx

Thursday 21 March 2013

a green coiffure fling

Last night I spent a delightful evening with some of Sydney's sustainable fashion mavens - watch this space for what we're working on - and I was reminded of Original & Mineral, a haircare range I recently tried and meant to write about. Oops!

In the past I've been a champion of Aveda hair colour due to the strength of the company's sustainability policy, the high-percentage of plant-derived ingredients, and the fact that I could still enjoy a salon experience.

Well, the love affair is over.

It turns out Aveda colour includes both Ammonia, a known allergen, and p-phenylenediamine (PPD), another known allergen and likely carcinogen. Neither are ingredients I want on my scalp, nor do I want stylists putting themselves at risk for the sake of my beauty. Even we so-called experts get things wrong, and so I had to break it off with Aveda.

But what to do about my silver sparklers? I'm not ready to accept my greys at the ripe old age of 33.

Enter Original & Mineral, developers of Clean Colour Technology, designed right here in Sydney. This professional hair colour range is free from Ammonia, PPD and Resorcinol (another toxin commonly found in hair colour), and still achieves amazing, professional results. It's used in salons across Australia and at select salons in the US, New Zealand and Singapore.

I had the colour applied at the charming Atsi hair salon in Freshwater. My silver sparklers were fully covered, the scent of the haircolour was delicious and fresh, and after a few weeks of the harsh summer sun I still haven't experienced fading.

All in all, I'm very satisfied with the coverage, the colour and the experience.  For those of you in Sydney, and especially the northern beaches, I recommend Atsi. It's a small salon with a very friendly and casual vibe (as you'd expect in this part of the world!), and I had a wonderful sustainability discussion with the co-owner Angelo. He and his wife Tanya really understand sustainability and natural hair care, and they even have their own organic hair care range in the salon. I will definitely be back!

Have you tried any other professional-quality hair colour brands? What is your experience?

Thursday 14 March 2013

I can create that style sustainably : ellen degeneres

Dear Ellen,

We Australians are super excited to welcome your funny, kind fabulous self to our shores. I thought I'd help you prepare for your trip by giving you tips on sustainable fashion so you can pack accordingly. We Aussies are green and proud, and I know you'll want to fit in.


I think this look you were rocking at the Teen Choice 2012 awards is just perfect for a holiday Down Under - here's how you can recreate it sustainably.

White V Neck Tee

This important wardrobe staple from Melbourne-based Sosume is made of 100% certified organic fair trade cotton; grown in India, manufactured in Australia. It comes in a range of colours and varying necklines. Why not buy a three-pack?


Did you know that Nudie jeans achieved 100% organic cotton for their entire denim range in 2012?! Nudie are also committed to fair wages, slow denim, and saving water by encouraging less washing. I reckon the Thin Finn and Grim Tim styles would be perfect for you.  I'm sure if you stop by one of the Nudie concept stores in Melbourne or Sydney they'd be happy to sort you out.


Sosume is your brand again for this blazer. 100% certified organic wool with a Cupro lining (cupro is a silky fibre made of recovered cotton waste). They do a fantastic tuxedo jacket, too. Love them!


Try K-gravel by Australian haircare range Original & Mineral to style your hair with a bit of texture using all natural ingredients.


Surely Portia has told you sunnies = sunglasses in Oz? These aviators are made of 95% recycled material. They are by an American brand, Modo, so you'll have to buy these Stateside before hopping your flight.


This fab belt you're sporting can easily be replicated with a secondhand tie. This one is vintage Hugo Boss from eBay Australia (hurry! expires today!).  I'm sure any of the local Salvos Stores, Vinnies or Lifeline shops would have an interesting array of ties as well. 


These shoes are by Italian brand Noah, specialising in vegan shoes (you know you want these, Ellen!). What a great way to be sustainably dapper. Since you'll be on holiday you may also want to consider these more casual shoes by Tom's, famous for their One for One policy of providing a new pair of shoes to a child in need with each pair purchased.

There you have it!

Happy packing, have a great flight, and if you need any light reading for the journey, can I recommend Sustainability with Style by yours truly? (After all that research I figured I was allowed one shameless plug . . .). And if you need an eco-shopping buddy, give me a ring.

Enjoy Australia!

Monday 11 March 2013

a green furniture fling

Don't tell my physio, but for the past couple months I've been alternating between a wooden folding chair (with a slight recline) and a metal kitchen chair as my office chair.  It's really no wonder I've been waking up with an aching back in the middle of the night.

Here you can see both of my backache-inducing *office* chairs.

Today I thought I'd check out the local Salvos just in case they had any desk chairs. Bingo! A fabulous hot pink number with my name on it. $20 for the chair, a quick GoGet booking for another $6, and the chair was mine.

Jan the i30 wagon.

I think pink will certainly inspire excellent writing, don't you?

Have you scored any amazing secondhand deals lately?

Saturday 9 March 2013

the ethical social network

I feel like I'm walking on air, and I'm chalking up my current floaty-feeling to spending extra time among the ever-growing ethical social network.

I write about the green social network in Sustainability with Style, and the important role groups with shared values and a collective identity play in moving social movements forward. On a more personal level, I find that spending time with the group increases my eco-motivation.

This week I had a lot of contact with environmentalists and other ethical social movement members, and I thought I'd share some of the highlights.

100 Things
I'm starting from the end of the week, because last night's event was definitely the most inspirational of the week.  I attended the Australian premier of the "100 Things To Do Before You Die" documentary based on Sebastian Terry's adventures. 

With the death of a close friend when Sebastian (Seb) was 27, Seb experienced a moment of clarity about his life - he wasn't living the life he wanted for himself. So he started to make a list, and even better, he started ticking things off his list, and best of all, he's raising money for Camp Quality, a children's cancer charity. Currently Seb's raised over $81,000 (why not help him reach his goal of $100,000?).

Whilst watching some of his crazy antics - skydiving naked, getting shot at point blank, and riding an endurance-length tandem bicycle trip - was so entertaining, the largest emotion I felt from the event was inspiration. I've long been a believer in making your dreams a reality, and it's wonderful to meet like-minded souls inspiring happiness and positive change in others. And to be doing it off his own back while also raising money for Camp Quality makes this well-spoken, thoughtful and humourous individual all the more impressive.

What's on your list? Are you living your best life? I hope so!


Australian Packaging Covenant - Design Smart Material Guides launch
Totally switching gears, this was an industry event I attended along with my friends at Boxer & Co to celebrate the launch of sustainable packaging material guides. The guidelines will be provided free to all signatories of the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), and it was exciting to be present at the launch since Boxer & Co and I ran our Sustainable Packaging 101 workshop less than one year ago.

I loved meeting the environmental consultants and packaging professionals who are involved in sustainability, and celebrating this important milestone for the APC. There was also a recap on the work being done by APC and their signatories for Clean Up Australia and Green Biz Check. Whoever says that the packaging industry is only adding waste to the environment would do well to learn more about the impressive sustainability efforts being undertaken by a number of organisations.


Green Cities Expo - The Hub
Going back earlier in the week, I was also going back in time as I attended my first Green Cities as a delegate instead of an organiser. After working on three of these green building mega-events, it was a delight to be able just to visit and learn! And I was so excited to see that Reverse Garbage had aligned themselves more than ever with the conference, designing a beautiful learning hub from reclaimed materials. And hats off to InterfaceFlor, leaders in sustainable design for nearly a decade, for designing a truly beautiful expo space.

I attended the Expo specifically to attend the first Hub session - a 15 minute talk by Dr Matthew Parnell from GreenSynergy on the cultural change needed to roll out green building, and Green Star in particular, out to regional and suburban locales. And of course it was great to see so many familiar faces at Green Cities - congrats on another year!


Next week's diary is less busy with ethical social network engagements, but I'm not worried about losing this floaty-feeling. I connect with loads of other greenies and social movement members everyday online. I recently provided a guest post to the blog Soul Stories, managed by an Australian writer who is passionate about sharing positive stories through the internet. And don't get me started on the wonderful tweeps on twitter! (Which reminds, I finally joined Instagram @lisa_heinze - I'd love for you to follow me as I snap stylish, sustainable images).

I took this today - a corner of my bedroom featuring
a reclaimed wood frame, rescued and refurbished dresser,
beeswax candles, flowers in a vase made by my hubby, and
a pink beaded Maasai mat purchased direct from the artist!

So don't fret if you can't attend every eco- or ethical-event you'd like to, connect when and how you can, I guarantee you'll quickly feel more part of the movement and you'll be helping change the world as part of this growing ethical social network.


Thursday 7 March 2013

a green lip balm fling

If you're like me, you like to keep your lips smooth and soft - and ready for kissing at any moment!

As a good Aussie-gal I have a healthy stock of paw paw ointment stashed around the house (and in every handbag), but I'm always open to new products.

Enter eos (evolution of smooth).

My gorgeous mother sent me this delicious lip balm as a gift. And because of its fantastic packaging, it sits nice and pretty on my desk while I'm working everyday. Thanks Mom!

eos is USDA certified 95% organic, 100% natural, with key ingredients shea butter, vitamin E and jojoba oil. It's very hydrating and long-lasting, and the perfect accessory for any sustainable fashionista.

eos also make body lotion, hand lotion and shave cream.

Widely available in the US through Walmart, CVS, Costco, Rite Aid, Target and others. Australians can purchase online for a flat shipping rate of $15, a great opportunity to buy some for yourself and your girlfriends.

Pucker up!

Friday 1 March 2013

a green rainy day fling

It's days like these I wonder why I'm always talking about Sydney's fabulous weather.

As I sit typing with soggy feet I find myself longing for a beautiful pair of gumboots.  There are a couple good options on the market with some interesting, and different, sustainability approaches.

Roma Boots
These gorgeous boots are made of natural latex rubber (no plastics here!) and manufactured in a fair trade factory in China.  To up the feel good factor, Roma operate on a one-for-one basis - for each pair of boots sold they provide one pair of boots to a child in need. And to crank it up another notch, 10% of all sales proceeds go to Roma for All Foundation, a charity set up by Roma for education in poor communities that desperately need to break the cycle of poverty.

The boots come in a range of colours, both matte and gloss, and there are children's sizes available to purchase as well.

This Canadian boot company has made a real mark using sustainable materials in their wet-weather boots. Kamik has its own unique PVC-free synthetic rubber that is 50% lighter than natural rubber and 30% lighter than other synthetic rubbers.  The boots are all 100% recyclable, and if you send yours back to Kamik when you've worn them out, they will be made into new boots. They make over 2 million boots from recycled plastic each year! The manufacturing process is run sustainably as well, using hydro-power for the plant and recycled water in the cooling systems.

There are a variety of styles of Kamik gumboots (and other boots) in multiple colours and patterns for women, men and children.

Now the big question . . .
Which brand do I buy?! 

It's a toughie. Kamik are slightly less money than Roma, but they don't have the amazing one-for-one system or the charity contribution (both are less expensive than Hunter boots, which have set the standard for stylish rain boots). And I can get either one shipped to Australia. I'm probably leaning toward Roma at this stage.

Which pair would you buy? And do you know of any others?

Stay dry out there my Sydney friends.