Entries in Eco Tips (17)


ECO TIPS Flea Market Treasures

Rose Bowl Flea Market Treasures

This weekend, our Marketing Coordinator, Annalise, took an expedition to the Rose Bowl Flea Market and snapped some pics of the all the awesome wares.  People come from far and wide to Pasadena to visit the Rose Bowl Flea Market in search of a deal on everything from vintage boots to antique chandeliers to hand-woven rugs from Tangier. If you’ve never visited a flea market, you’re missing out on some seriously cool vintage goodies. Here are our tips for amateur flea market-ers.

Haggle, Haggle, Haggle: Don’t be afraid to bargain with the vendors. This is a flea market, not Neiman Marcus! If it’s the end of the day—bonus! Chances are, the vendor would rather give you a good deal on that vintage mirror than pack it back into his truck.

Do a Lap: OK, so you see a vase right at the entrance of the market that you can’t live without. DO A LAP! If you aren’t familiar with the items being sold, you might buy something that really isn’t as unique as you think it is. Once you do a lap of the market, you have a better sense of what is really one-of-a-kind and what is well, everywhere.

Take a Second Look at Ugly Ducklings: Oftentimes at flea markets, you’ll see a whole lot of outdated furniture that makes you cringe. But don’t run away too fast. Try to look beyond the chipping paint or the polyester upholstery. Does it have a good structure and design? You can get “ugly” pieces at amazing prices and turn them into gems with just a coat of paint or a trip to the upholstery guy. Plus, you’re creating something totally unique with a great story.


ECO TIPS Shopping

Even though I'm huge on reusing and recycling and going easy on consumption, I'll admit it: every once in a while, I love going shopping with my girlfriends, too. Apparently it's not just me. I just read an interesting article that says the female love of bargain buys comes from caveman/cavewoman days, when women were the family's gatherers and foragers, searching through forests to find the best-looking berries, and climbing into trees to snatch up the plumpest plums. That gives us a great excuse to throw our hands up in the air and say "Shopping's natural! We can't help ourselves!",  but showing love to Mother Earth means being aware of consequences. My solutions? Read on.

1. Buy Used

Instead of heading to the department store when something new strikes your fancy, first try to find it in a more eco-friendly way—from a thrift store, a vintage boutique, or on websites like Craigslist and Ebay. Most of my favorite clothes are vintage or used treasures. Buying that way makes it easier to create a style that's all your own, and keeps you from looking like you just stepped out of a store window. 

2. Sell Used

If you're over that pair of brown clogs or that purse you paid too much for, consider re-selling them to a consignment shop or on Ebay. If selling’s not your style, you can always donate your cast-offs to a worthy charity like Dress for Success, which provides professional attire to women for job interviews. Or have a clothing swap with a bunch of friends. Your rejects might be someone else's fave.

3. Share It

On the rare occasion when I rev up to cook a big meal for my family and friends, I often have the annoying experience of discovering, mid-soufflé or mid-marinade, that I don't have the right tool for the job. I finally figured out that instead of going out and buying something I wouldn't use for another year, I could check with a friend (or my mom, who lives down the street) to see if she has one. When we pool our resources, we usually find we have everything we need. 

4. Cast Your Vote

As I always say, when we buy we vote for what we believe in. So take a through look at who and what you're supporting. Look for companies that use eco-friendly materials and ingredients, and give back to charities. When you shop with your conscience, you're doing good for others by giving yourself a treat.   

With love,


Images Via: Lovely Clusters Forever Cottage Sadite


ECO TIPS Raising Eco Chic Babies

One of my favorite "quotes to live by" is a Native American proverb that says, "We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

When my first daughter was born, I became obsessed with that message. I wanted to do everything possible to make the world beautiful for my baby. Since Indi Joon arrived ten days ago, I've become obsessed again. I really want my girls to grow up loving and respecting nature. Here are the eco-warrior mama tips I came up with. I'd love to hear yours, too.

Teach the Birds and the Bees.

I grew up in a green household with parents who always recycled, and took my brother and me on nature hikes, and questioned where things went when we threw them "away." Their attitudes helped make me into the earth-mom I am, and I'm raising my girls the same way. Rumi doesn't get scared or grossed out when she sees a spider or a mouse or a bee, because she's never been taught to fear nature. I'm teaching my jellybeans to love all creatures, even if they're a little hairy and have eight legs. 

Grow a Garden full of Goodies

Believe it or not, one of Rumi's favorite foods is Japanese Shishito peppers. Luckily for us, they're super easy to grow in a hot, sunny climate like LA. We grow as many of the foods she loves as we can, so she has a first-hand appreciation for the benefits of doing-it-yourself in the garden. 

Read and Learn

There are tons of kids' books available that teach children to be good to the planet and kind to other people. One of my all time favorites is a book I had when I was a kid, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. "I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!" 

With love,



ECO TIPS with friends

This time of year is an amazing time to spend with friends. Picnics! Beach days! Hikes! Here are our eco tips for having a fun and green time together.  

1. Staycation Together

 Travelling with friends can be so much fun. Instead of traveling somewhere far away, plan a staycation together. It reduces your carbon footprint, and can be just as much fun. Plus, you don't have to lug any baggage through security! Book a few nights at a locally owned bed and breakfast and explore your city by foot. Or even better, find a great local destination to go camping. You'll have loads of fun discovering your own city, and spending quality time with pals.

2. Give a Green Gift:

We have a soft spot for handmade gifts. Try putting together something special for a friend using reusable or repurposed items. You can transform a plain canvas bag into a beautiful tote using fabric paints. String together a fun and funky bracelet using recycled glass beads. Wrap your present up in newspaper and secure with twine and you have a great green gift. Your friends will appreciate the thought and love that you put into it.

3. Be a Role Model:

It might sound cheesy, but we really do look to our friends for guidance. When together, try visiting restaurants that serve local, organic produce. Volunteer to carpool on the way to events. Encourage them to recycle. Give them a reusable water bottle. They'll start to see that what's good for you is good for them too.



ECO TIPS Kitchen

1. Clean Green!
Kitchens get greasy and grimy, but so many kitchen cleaners are full of toxic chemicals and disinfectants that just aren’t good for the earth.  I like to use all natural cleansers that you can easily find at the grocery store. I fill a reusable spray bottle about 3Ž4 full of white vinegar, and fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. I use this blend to clean everything from my countertops to the stove. If you need something a little stronger, halve a lemon and sprinkle baking soda onto the surface. Use the lemon like you would a sponge to rub the baking soda around the stain. Baking soda is naturally abrasive, so it will help remove any caked on grime you might have.

2. Unpackage you life!
I love the convenience of packaged salads and meals just as much as the next working mom. But pre-packaged food requires a whole lot of plastic, and a whole lot of energy. Not to mention, how sure are you exactly what's in your food unless you make it yourself! I know it might take a few extra minutes, but while you're making dinner for the family one night, chop a few extra vegetables to store in a reusable container for a great stirfry. Or, make a little bit of extra salad to take to work the next day so that you don't have to buy one at the market. 

3. Toss the Paper!
Paper towels are very convenient for cleaning messes in a snap, but they are so wasteful! Try switching to cloth or microfiber kitchen towels instead. They are soft, absorbent, and reusable. Just throw them into the wash with your other laundry and use again. Love paper napkins? Try some cheap and cheerful cloth napkins from Etsy! You may feel like they’re not worth the expense, but over time you’ll save money (and the earth) by not buying paper products.

4. Support the bees! 
All over the world, honeybee colonies are collapsing due to insecticides, disease, and harmful chemicals. We need these little guys to pollinate our food! While you may be afraid to start a colony of your own in your backyard, you can do your part by supporting your local beekeepers. Look for vendors selling organic honey at your local farmer's market. A big spoonful of organic honey in your green tea? Delish!

Do you have any tips for greening your kitchen? Do share!  



1. Pack an Eco Friendly Lunch!

When packing lunches for you and your family, say goodbye to plastic baggies which are super wasteful and can pose a threat to marine wildlife. Instead, pack snacks and sandwiches in these chic, eco-friendly containers by LunchBots. They are made of stainless steel so they are lightweight, durable, and resusable. 

2. Save paper!
The greatest waste of paper we face here at JMC is printing out handouts for meetings. While it's great to make sure everyone is in the loop, many of our printouts end up in the trash. Lately, we've been printing out half as many handouts, and everyone has been sharing. After the meeting, we send out the electronic file in case anyone missed out on getting a copy. Also, print on recycled paper!

3. Get a Plant Friend!
Plants are not only a great way to brighten up your office space, they also absorb indoor pollution, improving the quality of the air that you breathe for the majority of your day. Look for plants that are hardy and won't miss a day or two without watering over the weekend. Lemon Balm is one of my favorites to have in the office. It has a light, fresh scent and it's a very robust plant, so it will grow voraciously without much effort. 



Since Earth Day is coming up, I thought it was a great idea to kick off my new feature, Eco Tips! I'll be giving you some of my favorite tips on how to stay green. 

With the launch of Model Citizen, I've been in planes, trains and automobiles this week. So what better topic than travel, right? Here are my three tips for making your excursions easy and eco.

1. Pack Lightly! 
When I am traveling around the world, I try to pack as lightly as possible. The heavier the airplane, the more fuel it takes to get airborne. Plus, I am happier and more energetic when I'm not weighed down by my bags. To cut down on the bulk, I try to pack lightweight clothes like maxi dresses and cardigans that are in the same color family to make mixing and matching easy. I also try to limit the pairs of shoes I bring to three: one comfortable pair for walking and wearing on the plane, one elegant pair for fancy dinners, and a third pair I just know I can't resist bringing. If you're worried about running out of clothes, bring a travel size bottle of laundry detergent. You can wash your clothes in the sink and hang them to dry in the shower during the day!

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! 
Air travel can really  dehydrate your body. To make sure that I'm drinking enough water, I bring my favorite refillable water bottle in my carry-on.  It needs to be empty to get through TSA, but as soon as I pass through security I go to an airport restaurant and ask them to fill it. Then when I'm on the plane I ask my flight attendant to fill it for me again. It's a great way to keep track of how much water you're drinking. When you reach your destination, you'll be less fatigued and jet lagged.  

3. Think local!
One of the best things about traveling is getting the opportunity to experience new environments and cultures. Get out of the hotel and check out the natural wonders around you. Go to the beach, the forest, or the hills. Check out life beyond the city center. It will give you a new understanding of your destination. You should also try to eat locally when you're travelling to get the most out of your trip. If you're in a city with a food specialty, go check it out! If you're experiencing a new country, swap out familiar imported foods for local fruits and vegetables. And visit restaurants run by locals! You'll have an entirely new set of sensory memories to bring home with you, and you'll support the local infrastructure of your vacation spot.  

Photos from Simply Bloom, Klean Kanteen, and  Ika Bags

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