1. Getting stylish and green with JulieApple

    Posted on March 6, 2012 by The Modern Gal

    I used to get frustrated trying to incorporate eco-friendly choices into my wardrobe and accessories. Green clothing, shoes and purses might be made of recycled, organic materials but they rarely seemed to have any style to them. And I do care about style almost as much as I care about green. That’s why I get so excited when I discover designers like JulieApple, whose handbags are stylish and fashionable but are about as eco-friendly as you can get.

    JulieApple, the brainchild of Julianne Applegate, is a company that produces handbags that are “respectfully and intelligently sourced, manufactured, and distributed.” That M.O. is evident not only in the final products available for sale but in every step of the production process.

    Read more…

  2. Are TOMS Shoes all they’re cracked up to be?

    Posted on May 30, 2011 by The Modern Gal

    I ordered my first pair of trendy TOMS shoes about a year ago, a pair of the classic style made from burlap. Even though I know some people wouldn’t agree with me, I like the simple, loafer look of them. Plus, TOMS sells some vegan styles and promises to ‘use earth- and animal-friendly materials whenever possible.’ The kicker about these kicks, of course, is that for every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS gives a free pair to a child in a need somewhere in the world. When I received my shoes, I was struck by how comfortable they were on top of all the other benefits.

    Are they too good to be true?

    Read more…

  3. Matt & Nat

    Posted on January 17, 2011 by NPW

    Because I was a good little NPW throughout the 2010 calendar year, Santa saw fit to leave me a beautiful gift under the Christmas tree: this gorgeous Santogold bag from vegan designer Matt & Nat. The few times I’ve used it to go out I’ve received bunches of compliments on its distinctive look. When I’m wearing it I also like to pretend I’m like a modern day, non-musical Joan Jett because it is so punk rock.

    In addition to being awesome-looking, Matt & Nat products are all made using vegan leather and recycled materials. The About Us section of their website words it beautifully:

    “In 1995, MATT & NAT Founder and Creative Director Inder Bedi was challenged by a Mahatma to become a Vegetarian for 30 days. It was during this time that MATT & NAT was conceived. A brand and movement shaped by the power of duality. Fifteen years later, he is continuously working towards this goal – exceeding norms to offer cutting edge products that are fashionable and beautiful and yet made in a socially responsible way, or as we like to say, with Compassion. MATT & NAT products have never used animal by-products. That said, the brand is more than just vegan. It has always been a trailblazer in the environmental movement. Each product contains at least one recycled element and on average 21 plastic bottles are recycled to make linings for our bags. MATT & NAT has always been a Pioneer in Eco-Fashion.”

    Plastic bottle linings! I love anything that combines form and function with fashion. So the next time you decide you NEED a new bag (this happens to me quite frequently), I’d highly recommend one of these bags. Or, you know, if you decide you NEED to buy me a gift, may I suggest this Portland bag? Because seriously: swoon.

  4. Bazura Bag Giveaway Winner!

    Posted on December 30, 2010 by Courtney

    We interrupt Best of The Greenists Week for this brief announcement …

    Thanks to all who entered our Bazura bag giveaway! There were only six entries this time, and we used the Random Number Generator to pick the lucky winner of this colorful bag. And the winner is … commenter #3, which is lizgwiz!

    Congratulations, lizgwiz! We’ll be in touch with you shortly to arrange for your free bag to be sent to you. And if you didn’t win, why not visit the Bazura shop for a little post-holiday present to yourself?

  5. Bazura Bag Review & Giveaway

    Posted on December 23, 2010 by Stefanie

    My fellow Greenists have shared so many great gift ideas the past few weeks. Is December 23 a bit too late to share another one? Perhaps. If you’d like to get an early jump on NEXT year’s holiday season, however, or if you simply feel that your busy, busy December warrants a New Year’s present for yourself, then I do have one more suggestion for you. How about a Bazura Bag?

    These sturdy, colorful bags are made by a women’s cooperative in the Philippines, out of traditionally non-recyclable materials that would otherwise litter the streets or crowd landfills. Children from local schools collect used drink containers (called doy packs in that part of the world) and sell them to the co-op, where the women sanitize them and sew them into bags of all sizes, as well as accessories like belts, placemats, and sandals.

    “Bazura” means “garbage,” but the end result is anything but. Their catalog includes so many fun and useful designs, from pencil pouches and small handbags all the way up to a giant laundry bag. Read more…

  6. My Early Holiday Gift

    Posted on December 17, 2010 by Allie

    I’ve been saving our old clothes in boxes in the basement for years now, hoping to find new ways to use them.  The problem was that every time I had an idea and ran to my sewing machine to work on it, I’d spend hours trying to get the @#%*&$*ing machine to work.  The frustration level was high, the productivity level was low, and most projects ended in tears with a mess of thread and bunched up fabric.

    Last weekend, J got me a new sewing machine as an early holiday gift, and I’m finally learning that sewing can be a stress-relieving hobby rather than a stress-inducing one.  I’m amazed at how easy it is to give new life to old clothes, and make repairs to things I’d like to keep in action. Read more…

  7. GreenSmart Bags (And A Giveaway!)

    Posted on September 8, 2010 by NPW

    Every year around the end of August I get myself all in a tizzy about finding a new bag to bring to school. I have very specific needs and wants; it has to be big enough to lug around six classes worth of research projects, plus my gradebook, lunch, water bottle, and professional review magazines. I need to be able to carry my laptop when traveling. It needs to have enough compartments for writing utensils, hair ties, flash drives, and keys. The strap needs to be long enough that I can carry it slung low by my waist, but it also needs to be adjustable, because I am nothing if not totally fickle.

    This August I received an email from GreenSmart asking me if I would like to review their bags. Despite my intense bag requirements I agreed to try them out. And since the people at GreenSmart are lovely they sent me not one, but TWO of their recycled bags to test. I chose to use the Baringo messenger bag as my school bag because it’s spacious and comfortable to wear, plus it came to me in a snazzy blue with orange interior. I’ve already had compliments from a bunch of teachers! But the best part about this bag, in my opinion, is that it was made using 31 plastic bottles that were broken down and made into fabric.

    They even have a breakdown of how 100% of the fabric is made from plastic bottles. Fascinating! And surprisingly soft.


    No joke, I told my principal about the recycling process after he complimented me on the bag and I could practically see the admiration sparkling in his eyes. Way to make me look good, GreenSmart!

    But the love didn’t stop there. I also tested out the Mandrill backpack (in olive) during our long weekend trip up to Maine. It seemed to be a great size for travel and has a separate back compartment for your laptop, which always comes in handy. This bag uses an even 40 plastic bottles to create the interior and exterior fabrics. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a good-looking bag, either!

    Because they are delightful, the people of GreenSmart have agreed to give away one of their awesome bags to one lucky winner. All you have to do is check out their website and leave a comment about which of their products would suit your green lifestyle best! Please also mention which color you would prefer, unless you want me picking for you (I mean, we all know I have awesome taste).

    One person will be selected at random from the comments section. Comments that will be included in the contest will close on Wednesday, Sepember 15th, 2010, at 11:59 pm, EST. Good luck!

  8. Earth Divas Giveaway Winner!

    Posted on August 12, 2010 by Stefanie

    Earth Divas Fair Trade Made

    Folks, thanks so much for participating in last week’s Earth Divas contest. I’m really glad I asked you all to include the link to the bag you liked best. I could have sworn I had scrolled through all of them, but you found so many cute bags I didn’t even see! That is not the point right now, however. The point is that one of you gets a free bag from Earth Divas! And that one of you is… [superfluous fake drum roll, please]Jennifer Y.!

    Jennifer picked this hand-embroidered shoulder bag, but we won’t hold her to that if she’s changed her mind. Jennifer, we’ll be contacting you for your mailing info shortly, after which your bag of choice will be on its way!

    I’d like to extend a quick thank you again to Earth Divas for making this contest possible, and to all of you for participating. Oh, and thanks also to the Random Number Generator. We couldn’t keep things all fair and legit without you!

  9. Earth Divas Review (and Giveaway!)

    Posted on August 5, 2010 by Stefanie

    Earth Divas Fair Trade Made

    Does anybody here remember that I’m the Greenist who’s supposed to talk about green cleaning? That’s OK; I nearly forgot, too. Sorry, folks, but I’ve had soy candles to tell you about! And book release-related local drinking to do! I’ll get back to the green cleaning tips eventually, but first, let’s do one more product review.

    A while ago, a representative from Earth Divas fair trade handmade products contacted me, asking if I’d like to give one of their handbags a test drive. I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, but I’m still girlie enough not to turn down a new bag, so I happily let them send their blue and natural hemp shoulder bag (shown above) off to me.

    Read more…

  10. Make That White Dress Green

    Posted on July 26, 2010 by The Modern Gal

    We’ve written a little bit about how to make a white wedding more green. From invitations to flowers to food, it can be done with a little bit of extra resolve and planning. Some things take a little (ok, a LOT) more planning and resolve than others — like trying to find a Earth-friendly wedding dress that’s both suitable for a more formal affair and affordable to boot. I’m a Catholic gal through and through, so getting married anywhere but a Catholic church wasn’t an option for me, and I wanted a dress that was formal enough for the occasion but stood up to my Greenist values.

    Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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