Style » Life

Green Goodies Galore :: An EDGE Holiday Gift Guide

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Dec 23, 2009

Having grown up in Seattle, Style Editor Jason Salzenstein knows a thing or two about eco-living. Raised in a city where nearly everything is recycled, he's always embraced the 'green' philosophy -- even after moving to LA. That said, he's also our style editor, which comes with an expectation to fit -- and live -- a certain image. Somehow Jason manages to pull it off, marrying the worlds of high fashion and environmental awareness -- something he calls ecouture. As you'll see from his selections below, eco-friendly doesn't necessarily mean 'tree-hugger;' green and gorgeous go hand in hand!

Be sure to check out the rest of the EDGE Holiday Gift Guides
here


Eco-STYLE

Fashionably (Eco-)Friendly

Contrary to what some might think, being environmentally friendly does not mean giving up beautiful fashion -- a fact that becomes abundantly clear when perusing the selection of jewelry from Bottled Up Designs.

A new line of simply beautiful pieces for women (and men), the jewelry is made mostly from antique glass and bottles reclaimed from old bottle dumps throughout the Pennsylvania Amish Country. Not only does this result in gorgeous "green" accessories made from what was previously discarded "waste," it also helps clean up the environment of the wooded habitats and rural farmlands by removing an environmental hazard.

Each piece in the collection is handmade and comes with The Story of the Glass, detailing where that unique piece came from (its previous life, if you will), and the age of the piece. The concept is brilliant and the result stunning: A creative, practical, and gorgeous way to preserve the past while helping the future.

We love the simple yet sophisticated style -- not to mention the versatility -- of the Aqua Coke Bottle Necklace (pictured) and Emerald Hoop Necklace ($54 each), although with more than a dozen eco-chic designs you’re sure to find something to please any sophisticated eco-fashionable friend on your gift list... and likely something for yourself too!

Available at www.BottledUpDesigns.com


Eco-friendly, but Still Sassy

If you think eco-friendly means "pacifist lovey-dovey," let me tell you something sister: you’re f*#&!ng wrong. Just because you care about the planet and its inhabitants doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of attitude -- just ask the Angry Little Girl at Alternative Outfitters.

Having climbed her way to fame with her short temper and sassy sayings some years back, the Angry Little Girl has returned in full force. With her appearance at Alternative Outfitters, she’s making her presence known -- strongly -- in defense of the earth. The website, known for their fashionable yet eco-friendly products, has adopted the tiny trash talker, who’s recently popped up on a canvas tote with a subtle request for her friend: SHOP WITH A REUSABLE BAG, B#*@%! Of course we love the high quality reusable tote, but we love the attitude even more.

Aside from fab bags, Alternative Outfitters has an impressive collection of low-impact, eco- and animal-friendly shoes, clothing and accessories for men, women and children. They also carry a great selection of grooming and beauty products, and their sales are delish. There’s nothing overly "crunchy" about their site -- or the selection -- just fab gear that happens to be good for you, the earth, and the people who live here.

The "SHOP WITH A REUSABLE BAG, B#*@%!" tote is available for $23 at www.AlternativeOutfitters.com (While you’re there, check out the cute shoes, tees and luggage tags too!)


Flower power!

If your mom has embraced the whole "green thing," we’ve got just the gift for her. Not only is it "green" and fashionable, it may just spark some great memories (which you may or may not want to know about) of a time when bellbottoms were big, hair was long, and love was free...

Jim Rado, co-creator of HAIR and iconic hippie, recently designed two fabulous Love Bead Necklaces. They’re made by hand, incredibly reasonably priced, and recently enjoyed a huge fashion "moment" when they were spotted on Anna Wintour at the HAIR>/i> performance at the Queen’s Center Macy’s during Fashion’s Night Out.

You -- and your mom -- may not be the fashion icon of Ms. Wintour’s level, but at least you can share her fabulous style.

The Love Beads are available for $20 at the HAIR website and in the lobby of the Hirschfeld in NYC.


Still to come :: eco-lunch, beautiful books, and stocking stuffers!


Lunch :: Waste-free and Fabulous!

Although you might not think that a few plastic baggies could be that bad for the earth, when you consider the fact that hundreds of thousands of people -- from little kids to old timers -- bring their lunch to work or school each day, then multiply that by the number of work/school days in a year, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed. (And not just by the math -- it’s also a LOT of plastic sandwich bags...) What can you do about it? Simple: Stop eating.

Of course if you’re not in LA, that option might not be very practical -- although moving towards a vegetarian diet does greatly decrease your carbon footprint. No matter what you take with you for lunch, however, you can make sure that it’s less harmful to the earth, and still stylish, with the Waste Free Lunch Kit from everydayJun.

Brilliantly designed, the Waste Free Lunch Kit includes an origami-esque lunch container that holds a sandwich and two snacks, a reusable beverage bottle and a cleverly designed ’spork,’ all in coordinating colors, all dishwasher safe, and (of course) all BPA- and lead-free. The whole bundle comes housed in a machine washable neoprene messenger style lunch bag, which has a removable front panel that can be swapped out with 9 various designs, allowing you to customize your kit as often as you like. Cute, practical and eco-friendly: We like that!

The Waste Free Lunch Kit will save you -- and the earth -- an estimated 1,225 plastic bags, single-use water bottles and disposable plastic utensils each year. It’s available for $42 at www.everydayJun.com


Support Fair Trade & Indigenous Peoples :: Eat Chocolate!

Isn’t it lovely when you can give a great gift and support a worthy cause or two at the same time? Yes! And that’s exactly what you’ll be doing when you order one of the organic Gift Boxes from Shaman Chocolates. Not just another sweet gift, Shaman’s Chocolates offer a socially responsible way to indulge! How? Simple: all profits from the company help support the Huichol Indians, a tribe living in central western Mexico in the Sierra Madre Mountains-- considered by many to be the last Indigenous Tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions intact.

For the holidays, Shaman Chocolates’ new Gift Box features beautiful flower-shaped solid chocolates in a variety of flavors. We love the Dark Variety Box, which includes flavors like Ruby Raspberries, Coconut, Acai, Lemon and Orange, and Green Tea & Ginger. (We also love the Extra Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts and Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt.) Of course, you can always customize your order from a broad selection of chocolates, and you should probably pick up some rich chocolate bars for the stockings while you’re at it!

The Gift Boxes and Shaman Chocolate bars are available at hundreds of retailers nationwide and online at www.ShamanChocolates.com


The Green Bible

There’s one gift that’s good for anyone on your shopping list -- no matter how green they are: The WHOLE GREEN CATALOG: 1,000 Best Things for You and the Earth. Featuring Renee Loux, the "Queen of Green" (and "environmentalist to the stars" -- a title that, to be perfectly honest, makes us a bit queasy), the book includes both tips and tricks on how to introduce (or expand) green living in your life, as well as interviews with the likes of Paul Newman, Owen Wilson, David Duchovny and Helen Hunt on topics including organic living and "going green."

Much like the original Whole Earth Catalog from the 60s, the WHOLE GREEN CATALOG is an essential "roadmap for living a life that considers the needs of our planet." The book is available for about $30 at bookstores nationwide; less at Amazon.com For more info, www.WholeGreenCatalog.com


Beauty.... Naturally!

If you read Beautiful Skin... Naturally!, you know that we’re big fans of simple, fresh skincare. It seems we’re not the only ones-- a fact made clear with the release of Narine Nikogosian’s Return to Beauty: Old-World Recipes for Great Radiant Skin,which is essentially a "cookbook" of natural beauty remedies that can be made with ingredients found right in your kitchen. Narine believes in harnessing the power of nature to slow, and even reverse, the aging process and keep you looking your best. We like that.

Apparently a lot of celebs like it too; Narine is well known in Los Angeles, where her facials have become must-have pre-red carpet treatments for fans including Kirk and Anne Douglas, among many others. The book features recipes for all seasons, all of which can be whipped up inexpensively in less than ten minutes. Got some honey and walnuts? Mix-up a sensual aromatic scrub for oily skin. Extra cottage cheese? Use it to lighten under eye circles. Almond oil quickly takes care of dry, cracked lips, rehydrating and making them mistletoe ready! From toners to moisturizers to masques and more, Narine’s recipes are fresh, fun, inexpensive, and come from natural botanicals.

Return to Beauty is available for $25 at bookstores nationwide; less at Amazon.com

Next up :: sex toys, vegetables, and chocolate!


Eco-rotic!

Chances are that you and the people on your gift list have never heard of Topco Sales, but if you’ve bought an "adult novelty product" in the last 30 years or so, you’re likely familiar with their products.

The leading manufacturer of "sex toys, adult novelties, pleasure products and personal care cosmetics," Topco Sales is the company behind names like Bottoms Up, grrl Toyz, X-Rated and My First. (Don’t pretend like you don’t know...)

It turns out that the company’s not only responsible for many of the pleasurable moans and groans you may have heard (or made), they’re also environmentally responsible as well. This year Topco announced a company-wide "Commitment to Green" initiatives, including extensive recycling, water filtration, solar energy usage, and a handful of other ways of reducing their carbon footprint. As far as gifts go, their line of Glass Sex Toys have become increasingly popular as more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental impact of "getting it on." (For some fun tongue-in-cheek info on this, check out this blog.)

You can find a selection of glass toys at 69AdultToys.com. For more info on the company’s green initiatives, click here.


STOCKING STUFFERS

Eat Your Vegetables... Then Put Them on Your Face!

When your mom told you that vegetables were good for you, she was likely talking about eating them, not putting them on your face. It turns out, however, that the same vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that benefit the body from within also do an excellent job of treating it from the outside.

The first skincare range formulated with active vegetable ingredients, the Vegetable(s) skincare line is pure, simple and nourishing -- perfect for eco-friendly folk looking to hold on to their youthful look!

Made with vegetable extracts - but withOUT parabens, perfume or phenoxyethanol - the products in the Vegetable(s) line are meant to nourish skin much like fresh veggies nourish the body. The lotions, serums, and such all smell delicious, and feel even better. In fact, you may be tempted to take a nibble, but try to resist!

For more info, go to www.VegetablesBeauty.com


An Eco-classic :: Updated and SUPER Strong...

I know what you’re thinking: "We’ve all got reusable shopping bags." Well, you don’t have this one -- and you should. Here’s why:

Weighing in at just 1.7-oz, Sea to Summit’s Ultra-Sil Shopping Bag is likely the lightest full-size reusable tote you’ll ever own -- and it’s certainly the strongest. Made from an environmentally friendly siliconised coated fabric, the Ultra-Sil is durable, water-resistant, and able to hold more than 285 pounds, yet it folds up into a 2.5" x 1" pack that not only easily fits in the palm of your hand, it can be clipped to a keying to avoid the "I forgot my bag in the car" moment. Perfect for grocery shopping, it’ll easily hold a few gallons of milk, multiple six-packs, or a week’s worth of produce from the farmer’s market.

Of course, that’s not all it’s good for. Given its strength and durability it also makes a great beach bag or makeshift gym bag, and it’s perfect for hikes, camping, and any other activity involving dirt, water, and the need to carry things. It’s spill, leak, and mess resistant, tucks into its own tiny pocket, and at just $18, makes a perfect (and budget-friendly) gift for anyone on your list.

The Ultra-Sil is available in gold, red, blue, green and gray. Go to www.SeaToSummit.com to find a store near you, or buy online at Amazon.com


Eco-friendly Vegan (and Delicious!) Chocolate

Although I’m a vegetarian, mention the words "vegan" and "chocolate" in the same sentence and you’re likely going to get the gay eye roll and possibly the say it to the hand as well. I grew up in Seattle, so even though I look fabulously "LA," underneath the designer clothes I’m a total tree-hugger. But vegan chocolate? Never liked it.

Until now.

I don’t know what the secret is behind Nicobella Organic Vegan Chocolates, and frankly I don’t much care. What I do know is that these little babies are some of the best damn chocolates I’ve ever tried, vegan or otherwise. About the only thing I don’t like is the fact that I didn’t get more of them.

A strong proponent of Fair Trade and sustainability, Nicobella partnered with Theo Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate (a Seattle-based company, coincidentally) to create their dark chocolate truffles. The partnership has resulted in fabulously rich and delicious treats that not only benefit you and your taste buds, but also the planet.

Each 6-piece assortment box contains one Blueberry Almond, one Ginger Green Tea, one Pumpkin Chai, one Sunflower Banana Butter, one Walnut Flaxseed, and one Pure Cocoa Bliss. We’d tell you our favorite, but if we picked just one we’d be lying; we love them all.

The six-piece assortment box is available at www.AbesMarket.com for $15.

Last page :: stocking stuffers!


Spa Quality, Target Prices

Given the insanity of the holidays, any gift that helps soothe raw nerves is going to be greatly appreciated. Here in (freezing cold and often wet) New England, we find one of the best ways to relax is by taking a long hit of that wacky tobacky, and listening to Enya! Of course if the herb isn’t your thing -- or not on the radar of whomever you’re shopping for -- we’d suggest another age-old method: A hot bath full of bubbles and at-home spa experience.

Since a luxurious spa vacation in Sonoma wine country isn’t in most people’s budget this year, bring the spa home with the all-natural, organic shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, shave creams and lotions from Sonoma Soap Company. Offering fabulously luxe products at bargain prices (nothing’s more than $10), the line of bath and body products make for perfect stocking stuffers -- or fill a basket and turn it into a gift of an at-home spa retreat. Most products are available in three subtle scents (as well as unscented), so there’s something for everyone -- and who doesn’t like a gift that pampers, nourishes, and relaxes? I’ll tell you: No one.

Sonoma Soap Company products are available at www.sonomasoapcompany.com


Skip the Plastic

By now, if you’re not bringing your own reusable shopping bags to the market, you’re either insane or simply an a-hole; reducing your carbon footprint isn’t a trend -- it’s an obligation. We know EDGE readers are environmentally aware, so we’re assuming your friends are too; now that they’ve got the shopping bag thing down, it’s time to help them take their responsibility to the next level.

The bags in the Reusable Produce Pack from 3B Bags are made of durable fine nylon mesh, machine washable, quick drying, see-through, and virtually weightless. Meant to replace disposable plastic produce bags, they offer an easy way to contain your fruits and veggies without adding pounds of plastic to landfills every year. Plus, at less than $10/pack, it’s an eco-bargain as well!

Available at www.3Bbags.com


Love Them Green Lips!

From big burly dads to pretty pretty princesses, Eco Lips has something for everyone, and all at affordable prices.

Not only are their lip and face protection products made with organic ingredients, Eco Lips balms and face stick are petroleum-, cruelty- and paraben-free and contain healing herbs and moisturizing vegetable oils. As if that’s not enough, the company also gives one percent of profits to environmentally and socially responsible organizations.

Eco Lips’ lines include Pure & Simple (balms so pure you can eat them), Eco Tints (organic balms with a hint of mineral color), ENERGY balm (with a hint of caffeine and green tea), Eco Lips Gold (99% certified organic, vitamin enriched), Bee Free (vegan), Medicinal (great for cold sores) and SPORT (a stronger staying formula with SPF 30). Grab a handful and start doling them out in everyone’s stockings!

Available at www.EcoLips.com


With gift guides for everyone from mom and dad to demanding divas, when it comes to holiday gift giving, EDGE has got you covered. You can read all of the EDGE Gift Guides here (Check back often; we’ll be adding new guides daily through December 10th!)

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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