Natural shampoo can come in a liquid soap form as well as a bar form. And Bruce, at Homebrew Soaps, makes an interesting one. I would be inclined to call it liquid soap, rather than shampoo, because it has a distinctly different texture than any other shampoo that I have used.
I am writing this week’s article from a hotel room in Toronto. Earlier, while I was waiting in a seemingly-endless line at the check-in desk, I had a few moments to peruse the hotel’s “environmental pledge”. It got me thinking; as diligent as we are to remain environmentally-friendly at home, it seems that many of us slip into bad habits as soon as we check into a hotel. How soon we forget that the little things, like leaving the light on when exiting the room and taking extra-long hot showers, can quickly add up. You probably don’t wash your bed sheets every day or use a fresh towel (or two) for each shower that you take at home, so why should you expect it elsewhere? I’ve compiled a few tips to help you “go green” and reduce your impact when you travel. Of course, I’ve also included a few eco-friendly, handmade items to make your trip a more pleasurable one, too. (Upcycled suitcase, above, by Get Ready, Set Go!)
Have you ever wanted to throw a dart at a map and travel to the spot that it hits? While that idea has a certain spontaneous appeal, perhaps a little more thought should go into not just the location, but the timing of your trip. Traveling during the high-season can mean a higher stress level for the traveler and for the destination itself. By shifting your travel plans to even just a month after a peak period, you allow the area to recover and rejuvenate itself. Plus, chances are that you and your family will get to see things that high-season visitors don’t and you will be get a more authentic experience. It’s a great way to get to see a culture at it’s relaxed and natural best. (Passport holder, above, by My Paper Garden.)
Eco-conscious travelers choose tour operators and facilities with strong environmental sustainability policies Before you book, do a little research and ask questions about the property that you intend to visit. If they have good practices in place, then they’ll be happy to brag about them! You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your hotel composts kitchen waste, or that they are taking actions to conserve water and energy. Ask about low-flow toilets, water-saving showerheads and earth friendly housekeeping, then reward companies that put these polices into practice by giving them your business. And, don’t forget to write home – recycled map stationary (above) by Dote.
As the old saying goes, “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”. While those little single-use shampoos and soaps are cute, they tend to generate more garbage than they are worth. Before you depart for your adventure, buy small, refillable containers to port your own toiletries. Not only will you reduce waste, you’ll be using products that you know are good for you, rather than leaving it to chance. Even better than bottled, the Lemon Basil shampoo bar (above) by Beautiful Soaps contains conditioning rose hip seed and neem oils and is 100% spill proof – perfect for the suitcase or backpack.
Whether you are hostelling or staying in 5-star comfort, you can always try to make a positive impact on the places you visit. By treating your home away from home with the same care that you treat your own, you help to ensure others who follow will be able to experience and enjoy it, too. We can all can make a difference, especially if we take the steps, both large and small, together. What else can we do? I would love to hear your eco-friendly travel tips – please comment and share them with us. (Travel journal, above, by Blue Toad.)
Syracuse is a great little university town! Nevermind, of course, that ne’er a day goes by that it doesn’t snow between October and April…
A university with killer academic programs and great sports means there’s no dearth of good spirits, great food, and even better design.
If you’ve been thinking to yourself that there is a holiday dry spell between the 4th of July and the end of August, you would be totally correct. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate here in the Seasonal Handmade column. In fact, celebration has been on my mind a lot lately. My husband and I celebrate our seven year anniversary this summer and we are thinking of going out of town for a romantic getaway. It is easy to prepare for any romantic getaways that you might be planning with the help of handmade sellers.
When I said the words “romantic weekend” to my husband, the first thing he thought of was a picnic. The great thing about a picnic is that even if you don’t have the money or time to go out of town, you can easily pack up some goodies and head to the park for an afternoon. If you don’t have a traditional picnic basket, you might try this picnic worthy bag from Sasaki Bags. I love baskets, of all sorts, but I think this might be the cutest picnic tote I’ve ever seen.
I am a big believer in having handy totes for different purposes. So, once your picnic is over, you might went to hit the town with your honey and do some antiquing. How about using this fabulous market tote from Sweet Possibilities to stow away your goodies?
Once you’re done shopping and having picnics, you may want to rest in your room at a lovely bed and breakfast. This gorgeous robe from Plum Pretty Sugar will have you lounging in effortless style.
And nothing spells romance like a good massage. This Divinity Bath and Body Oil from Spa Goddess will make your massage even more special with its soothing, relaxing, and, yes, sensual, scent. Start with the massage and see where the feelings of romance and relaxation take you.
One of the problems with staying in a hotel or bed and breakfast during your romantic weekend is that, for safety reasons, they generally prohibit the use of candles in your room. And candlelight is not just universally flattering, it also helps to amp up the romance. Fear not, you can use flameless candles, like this one from Nouveau Design and get the ambience of candlelight with none of the risk of going up in flames.
Really, you don’t need anything but you and the person you love to have a romantic weekend, but these handmade goodies will help you have a relaxed, fun, and stylish weekend away. See you next week!
When stress or boredom starts to take its toll on me, I ask my fella to “tell me something good”. More often than not, he rolls his eyes and carries on with what he’s doing. I don’t take it personally, though; who can be expected to think up “good stuff” on demand? This week, however, he surprised me with something good – an email containing a link to Hello Rewind’s t-shirt upcycling program. It was the first that I had heard of the fledgling organization and I was immediately impressed. Not only is it something good for the earth, it’s something good for survivors of sex trafficking in New York City.
Here’s how it works: you have a favourite t-shirt that you no longer wear, but can’t bear to part with. Rather than let it langish at the bottom of a drawer, you contact Hello Rewind and tell them that you want it made into a sleeve for your 13“, 15“ or 17“ laptop. You pay them 49 bucks and in a few days you’ll receive a prepaid envelope, which you fill with the aformentioned shirt and drop back into the mail. They stitch it up into a custom, padded sleeve and before you can say “upcycle”, it is back in your hands. Not only will your laptop be cozy and happy, you’ll be happy knowing that you’ve helped women get off the street and back on their feet. How cool is that?
Hello Rewind got its start as a simple idea – take an old t-shirt and make it into something new and usable like, say, a laptop sleeve. The social/rehabilitation aspect of the business came into the picture when the company formed an alliance with the founder of Restore, NYC; an organization which provides support and housing to women victimized by the international sex trade. Soon, the ball was rolling and the company is becoming a source of support, training and income for women trying to break free from prostitution rings. The young women, mostly in their 20s and 30s, are taught to make the custom laptop sleeves, paid a fair wage and given a safe and viable option to a dangerous and marginalizing lifestyle.
The $49 that Hello Rewind charges for the sleeves is, in their words, a “break-even” price. The money that they receive is spent on training and wages for the women in the program, materials, shipping and operational costs. If there is anything left after that, it is used to sustain the business itself. From the sounds of it, no one is getting rich over at Hello Rewind. Not financially, that is.
Check out the Hello Rewind blog for more info on their background and what they do. To read more about what Restore, NYC are doing to help integrate ex-sex trade workers back into society, visit their site.