Valentine Gifting From Companies that Give Back #ValentinesDay #Sustainable

If you want to shop sustainably this year, support small business, or like to avoid big box stores, I’ve got a shop for you. If you just like unique and high quality products at a reasonable price- this is a shop you will love. Marketplace Africa has clothing, bath and body products (and I’m in love with some of these already), purses, bags,- really, gifts for everyone on your list. Thoughtful gifts anyone would love to receive.

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This website lets Africans can sell their one-of-a-kind handmade goods to the entire global market.  Anyone looking for a unique gift for the holidays can feel as good as the products they are buying, since they are purchasing directly from the source. Buying from small business owners in Africa boosts not only the store owner, but also the economy.

For more information on Marketplace Africa and to choose some fantastic gifts,  visit www.marketplaceafrica.com

Sudara creates ethically and sustainably sourced clothing for men, women, and children. This brand came about because of a desire to help women escape sex trafficking in India. 12 years ago, Sudara’s founder partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for pants.The year prior, she had been to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery or were at high risk of being. The company was created to give woman the chance to have an education, a job with livable wages, and to be free.

ethical clothing

Sudara is a Certified B Corps company, which means they meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems”. You know, the best of the best- the “good guys”.

The clothing is beautiful, as well. High quality, unique designs with fun colors and patterns, lots of options available. If you have not yet shopped with Sudara, I hope you take the time to give them a look now. Check them out on social media while you are at it, see what they have to offer- sudara.org  facebook  twitter  instagram

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Gifts for the Active Men in Your Life #GiftGuide

If you are anything like us, you want to be active and outside as much as possible. Colder weather complicates things, but not to worry. You can get outdoors and enjoy your vitamin D year round, just bundle up a bit. Check out these functional and eco friendly cool-weather options we are loving right now- they would be perfect for the active men in your life this holiday season.

eco friendly clothing

Stopping off at Trader Joe’s on the way home- active wear that is great as any wear

The perfect slip on shoe for indoors or out, the Original Stegmann is not only comfortable, but also functional. They are great for camping, running errands, and everything in between. They have fantastic arch and toe support, so if you have aching feet, issues like Plantar Fasciitis, or a bad back, these might be worth considering. They have free shipping and exchanges, so nothing to lose. Made with a Tyrolian & Merino wool blend into a single piece, it is then paired with an anatomically contoured cork sole that is balanced for both arch and metatarsal support. These shoes have a gentle slope which helps reduce ankle and back pain as well. These shoes as a whole are designed for comfort, so if that’s your thing- and honestly, whose isn’t- check them out at https://www.stegmannusa.com . Prices vary.

A brand we have really fallen in love with over here is Mountain Khakis. Not only are the products soft and durable, but the environmentally friendly fabrics and practices have completely won us over.  Take for example the Rainmaker Jacket. It’s all sorts of wet-proof (rain, snow, mud, etc), and it’s strechy as well. It’s also warmer then some raincoats, without being swelteringly-sticky-hot like so many can be. A nice medium-to lightweight, and easily layered. It has a removable hood, with welded seams and snap-closed patch pockets.  It has a relaxed fit and hits about the hip area. Best part? The eco-friendliness of this jacket. Polyurethane is a greener alternative to the traditional raincoat’s vinyl. It’s also more durable and is better for the environment in long term care and use. Polyurethane does not require the chemicals used to soften vinyl in the manufacturing process, and is eventually biodegradable, where as PVC (vinyl) never breaks down, and is usually incinerated.  This leaches toxins into landfills and emits carcinogenic dioxin into the air. Any reason to choose PVC over PU? Not in my book. Check out https://www.mountainkhakis.com for your jacket, available in several colors, for $139.
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Trudeau – Making Food Prep Easy

Coffee is life’s bood for many.  Most are very specific in their personal tastes, and either only enjoy a certain brew from a certain source or only enjoy their beverage a certain way.  While I’m not that picky, and no one in this house is, I will tell you that my husband’s favorite way to make coffee is infusion by French Press.  This method has you first put your coffee into a beaker then add almost boiling water.  This makes the coffee blend with the water.  The longer you keep the infusion working, the stronger and more robust the favor becomes.  If you want something on the tame side, use less coffee and steep for a shorter amount of time.  Once you are ready to drink, press the filter through your beverage from top to bottom and pour.  The grounds stay at the bottom. Enjoy your fresh made French Press coffee.  This coffee can be as personal and unique as you are so, experiment and find your favorite.  But be warned- this may be your new favorite coffee.  The coffee press by Trudeau is perfect for this and has superb quality as well as making 34oz.

coffee press

Next up are some school lunch or work lunch necessities from Trudeau, FUEL. FUEL features a variety of innovations and “I need that” designs that set the line apart from traditional lunch box offerings such as; individual condiment containers, a salad bowl with built in dressing storage and ice pack, a multi compartmentalized Bento Box with removable insides, a vacuum sealed soup and food container with separate pieces to house crackers and chips, snap together cutlery, double walled hydration and beverage bottles, and so much more.
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YOXO Join the Makers Movement #YOXOtoys

As our little ones grow up, it seems like their toys get more and more complex.  They start with simple push and pull cars and rattles, they morph into tech and “batteries not included” before you can blink an eye.  Every so often, a new toy comes along that puts electronic toys in their place and brings play time back to its roots with pieces that fit together in a creative way and are easy to fit together.

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YOXO is a fun new toy, named after the basic shapes of their building pieces, Y’s, X’s, and O’s.  Each of these shapes have small slits or longer slits depending on the shape, to accept other shapes attaching to them.  This can create some interesting shapes and creatures, with possibilities only limited by your imagination.  Each piece is cardboard, so it is completely recyclable.  The design may be simple, but the toy set itself is quite fun.  I’m not sure if it is because of the odd shapes of the pieces or because each piece fits into the next with little effort, but we really liked messing with it.  Whatever the reason, YOXO is quite fun to play with.
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Eco-Friendly Activities at Home Together With Your Kids

Every parent will tell you that catering to their kids can often be rather expensive; trying to get them the latest toys and games can absolutely destroy your budget for the month. That’s why a lot of parents have taken to creating their own activities at home for the kids, fun little events and games that are easy on the bank account and more importantly, ensure that you’re being eco-friendly.

pic3These activities can involve anything from learning about recyclable items through fun games and songs to something like competitions and prizes for finding the most recyclable items in the house. The types of games you can play can involve giving the kids a list of recyclables on a card with each card containing a different item inside it. You can then give them a small prize for whoever manages to fill in their card the fastest.

Another could involve having the kids arrange recyclables outside in the garden, these kinds of games work great as an alternative pastime activity at the garden as it encourages the kids to go outside and interact more with the environment.

A great benefit of these games being eco-friendly is that it teaches the kids the importance of looking after the environment, behavior that they’ll practice every day before eventually passing onto their own kids in the future.

Outside of games some parents have even started turning to arts and crafts with their kids using recyclable materials to show that junk that they would normally throw away can be turned into beautiful works of art. Some have even made a small profit out of turning their recycling activities with their kids into a small business.
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Sandgrens Environmentally Friendly Shoes

Disclosure: The below was provided to me to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” tab for more information.

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It can be hard to find shoes that are comfortable and cute at the same time. Some of us (this chick included) can fall into a rut of tossing anything on that fits and is easy to wear, even if it’s not all that flattering. Sneakers and flip flops are the footwear of motherhood, right? Sometimes, a girl’s gotta remember that….well, she’s a girl. And she was a woman before she was a mother (with a whole separate identity). Yes, your child(ren) come first, should, and always will. But what’s wrong with taking a few minutes (and dollars) for you now and again? As far as I know, none of us are martyrs destined for Sainthood, and it would do us good to be reminded of that now and again.

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You deserve to look and feel pretty. Invest in yourself- a few items that make you feel good, and that you can wear with multiple items of clothes (so the guilt monster doesn’t come to eat you). For Spring and Summer, Sandgrens clogs and sandals are adorable, comfortable, and versatile. They are able to be dressed up for formal occasions like weddings and anniversary dinners out on the town, but easy to dress down for regular use with a pair of capri pants and a cute tank top. I have worn my Caspain sandals with my long formal IGIGI dress that I adore to formal dinners, events, and a wedding. I also took them with me on a recent cruise, and wore them dancing (they really are comfortable) and for every day touring. I wore them with a cute tank top and shorts, capris, and summer sun dresses. They really do go with everything, and they can be worn for long periods of time without hurting your feet, unlike most heels and wedges.

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Eco-friendly Easter Basket

Spring is the time of year that, for many of us, we are inspired to celebrate nature. As the snow clears and the flowers begin to bloom once more, it’s a handy reminder for us all about life cycles, renewal and the importance of protecting nature—even in big cities. New York is a city that positively bursts with color in spring, whether you’re exploring the wilds of Central Park or merely lucky enough to be a resident in a complex that respects and protects green-spaces (such as The Greenwich Lane in the West Village, which features incredibly serene gardens.) Of course, this great season of re-birth coincides with Easter, and if you’re looking for an eco-friendly way of celebrating with your kids this March 31st, a thoughtful Easter basket could be the way to go. Here are five ideas of what to put in yours:

1. Eco-Friendly Books
Thoughtful publishers are now, more and more, focusing on sustainable practices when it comes to releasing their books. Since it wouldn’t be Easter without a bunny or two, we’d recommend a copy of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. The new Snuggle Book version of the classic tale comes in a cuddle-friendly organic cotton and is perfect for toddlers, while the original version has been delighting children for over a century now and is a great way to teach kids about farming and wildlife.

2. Seeds and Gardening Equipment
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EcoTools Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set

With fall upon us, it’s the perfect time to try out a new makeup routine to freshen up your look. EcoTools, a leader in earth-friendly beauty products, has teamed up with celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles to showcase a new makeup routine to get gorgeous in just five minutes. Made from 100% cruelty free, soft taklon bristles and recycled aluminum ferrules, it comes in a convenient natural cotton and hemp travel case- making it the perfect on-the-go kit for fashion forward ladies that care about the planet.
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