DIY Upcycling Projects: 5 of 12 – Valentine Gifts

Upcycled Valentine Gifts |

One of the cool things about the green movement is that it has inspired people’s creativity for  repurposing items. The term “upcycling,” which was first used in 1994, is now a widely understood concept that refers to the process of transforming waste or unwanted products into something new, usually of a higher quality. This post highlights 5 DIY Upcycling projects you can create for unique Valentine’s Day gifts. Be amazed and inspired!   FOR YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER: “52 Reasons” Card Book from Austin, Texas     FOR YOUR KIDS: “I Love You Around the World and Back” Globe from Driven by Decor   FOR YOUR DAD: Scrabble Tile Cufflinks from Mom It Forward   FOR YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER: Apple Clay Jar from Crafty Moods   FOR YOUR CHILD’S CLASSMATES:  Hand Warmers from About a Mom  

10 Unique and Handmade Holiday Gifts under $25

Unique, handmade gifts for under $25 |

Yes, you can shop green while on a budget. If you shop Etsy while you’re at it, you support artisans and small businesses that focus on crafting handmade items. Here are ten unique gift ideas for the people on your list, and all are under $25! Sea Shell Hanging Air Plant, $4.99 Delight the plant lover in your life with these super cool tillandsias, or air plants. They hang encased in sea urchin shells and require only bright light and occasional water misting. Plants come assembled and gift wrapped and would add an exotic, conversation piece to any room. Aromatherapy Diffuser Necklace, $20.00 Fill these handmade necklaces with your favorite essential oil. They’re made from allergy, lead and nickel-free stainless steel accented in your choice of nine colors with the words “only love” etched into the side. A few drops of oil releases its aroma for you all day long. … Continue reading

Tips for Dealing with Kids and Commercialism at the Holidays

Tips for Reducing Commercialism at the Holidays |

After learning a song about climate change at school, my nine-year-old has been following us around the house turning off a light the minute someone steps out of a room. She has also been heard to make comments like, “Daddy, you shouldn’t buy a new TV because it makes more carbon dioxide, and that doesn’t help the polar bears.” I am thinking this could be a good time to make links for her between those cute polar bears and the pollution created in the manufacture of plastic toys. Yet I know this knowledge will likely be cast aside as the holiday season approaches. Sofie naturally succumbs to the childlike quality of always wanting more stuff – the latest doll or fashion style, new books, another adorable stuffed animal. And many of those wants come from advertising, whether it’s via TV, a store circular or word-of-mouth (a.k.a. her friends). At the holidays, … Continue reading

Review: Bottles & Wood Upcycled Jewelry

Bottles&Wood Upcycled Jewelry |

I’m a big fan of upcycling and creative reuse… and I also love pendant necklaces. So I jumped at the chance to review Bottle & Wood’s repurposed jewelry for The Green Mama. (Manda has a really awesome site and book, both of which you should check out!) Bottles & Wood is a California company that rescues used wine, liquor and water bottles from local hotels and restaurants and crafts them into gorgeous bangles, earrings and necklaces — like this Bombay Sapphire pendant necklace. Read my full review on The Green Mama — and receive 15% off your jewelry purchase!  

Product Review: Adopt a Healthy, Sweeter-Smelling Herban Lifestyle

Herban Lifestyle Body Butter |

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood. I received products to review but was not compensated for publishing the review. Opinions are all my own. One of the best things about being a blogger is forging relationships with small, natural living companies that I may never otherwise have discovered. Herban Lifestyle is one such company that makes it easy for us to balance our urban lifestyles with herbal habits. Owner Mary Kearns grew up in an ecologically conscious family and began making herbal bath and beauty products in 1999, selling them at local farmers markets. Her interest in the healing properties of herbs led her to found Herban Lifestyle in 2008 and share her products with a larger audience. Mary has also served as a wellness consultant on the scientific review of cancer prevention programs. With a mission to “make the world a happier, healthier, better-smelling place,” Herban Lifestyle creates products of … Continue reading

Taking the Shame Out of Regifting

Benefits of Re-gifting |

Regifting is a touchy subject. Even though about 50% of adults consider it acceptable, the practice is often shrouded in shame and secrecy. The belief is that a gift should be bought brand new — but why? What is this cultural obsession with newness? Newer doesn’t make us happier. According to the Story of Stuff, our national happiness peaked sometime in the 1950s, even though we consume twice as much as we did back then. Yet we continue to buy new stuff for ourselves and for others, especially around the holidays. The Truth About Buying New It uses up our planet’s natural resources. (One-third of our resources have been consumed in the past 30 years.)* It adds to landfills. (Every person in the United States makes 4.5 pounds of garbage per day.)* Typically, newer products are not made as well and don’t last as long. It costs more money. The … Continue reading

WILD MINT SHOP: One-Stop Holiday Shopping for Safe, Sustainable Toys

Wild Mint Shop Toys |

This post was sponsored by Green Sisterhood. As always, all opinions are my own. Do you have a lot of extra time around the holidays? I doubt it. Do you aim to buy gifts quickly without a lot of hassle or research? Ideally. And can you trust that those gifts are not only bound to put a smile on the intended receiver, but are also safe for their health and for the planet? Ummmm…. Yeah, who thinks of that? Of course you want your kids, nieces and nephews to play with toys that won’t emit formaldehyde or lead to early puberty or cancer. But that simply isn’t front of mind when we’re shopping, is it? We have a list, we have a budget, we pick something off the shelf or online. Wrap it up. Done. And it’s not that we’re cold-hearted or careless. It’s that we kind of want to … Continue reading

Top 10 Unique and Green Gifts for Fathers

If you’re a follower of my blog, you know I’m a fan of Uncommon Goods. The company is a charitable giving, B Corporation member that offers an array of handmade and eco-friendly gifts. This year, Uncommon Goods has a Father’s Day collection of unique gifts that will trump that necktie any day. Is Dad a Foodie? He’s another version of the Food Network’s Guy Fieri, waxing poetic over Asian style grilled salmon or making special requests of restaurant waiters. Take him to the store with you, and you’ll find your cart loaded with gourmet food items, top shelf liquor or strange vegetables he feels compelled to experiment with. Green his grilling tools with this set made from recycled hockey sticks. The artist’s company recycles 20,000 pieces of sports equipment each year into wine racks, chairs and more. I bought these whiskey stones for my husband last year, and he loves them.  The … Continue reading