Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Eco-Elitist Tuesday Series- Cool Green Design

Short and sweet this week- check out the cool green design I've come across recently. The top is a really fun bowl or objet d'art made out of recycled glass by Phuze. They are called "goops" and they come in an array of awesome colors. Moving clockwise, the tray is made out of recycled paper by a company called Engage Green and for $14- I'm sure you can find a use for it. The baskets and lacquer bowls are made by Bambu- one of our favorite companies; although, we currently do not sell them in our store - we plan to in the near future. They are beautifully made out of 100% bamboo - fully sustainably, so useful and come in a multitude of fabulous colors!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sleepwear sale! 30-70% off- Eberjey & Elizabeth Cotton

Not much to say except that our sleepwear is 30-70% off! It's a great time to graduate from those ratty tee shirts and boxers!

Eberjey is a wonderful sleepwear line with fabrics that are cool-handed and ultra comfortable! The lace and details that they use are wonderful. Their product is a great value. We carry chemises, camisoles, pants and robes. Be aware- you'll never want to change out of your pajamas again!

Elizabeth Cotton makes beautiful, easy nightshirts out of stunning 240 thread count, Liberty of London fabric - the best you can buy. Coveted by Oprah and many others, these nightshirts are comfortable and classy! Click here to see more.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Series- The Eco-Elitist- What's up with the Polar Bear?

Polar bears. Simply beautiful animals. And huge. Adult males can weigh 880-1500 lbs with females weighing in at approximately half that size. They are, in fact, the largest carnivorous land animal on earth and live primarily on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. They are ferocious hunters despite their oh-so-cute and cuddly appearance, feasting on a diet of mostly seals. But, polar bears' existence is severely threatened. According to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), "Scientific evidence is overwhelming that the polar bear is in mortal danger as the Arctic sea ice it depends on for survival melts away." We need to protect this amazing animal. Researchers are predicting that by 2050, polar bears will be gone from Alaska along with roughly 67% of the world's total polar bear population. During the last 30 years, a chunk of Arctic sea ice, the size of approximately six Californias, has disappeared. As the world gets hotter due to global warming, the ice in these areas melt and it is melting fast! Some scientists say that the sea ice that the polar bears live on could be gone by 2040; some even say it will vanish by 2012!

The other, more deliberate threat, is the desire to drill in the Arctic. Bulldozers, oil rigs and inevitable oil spills will kill these amazing creatures. Certainly I would like to lessen our dependence on foreign oil but I'd prefer to do that by lowering consumption, not by drilling in the Arctic. Arctic drilling is not the answer. It would take approximately 10 years to extract the oil and refine it for use. Furthermore, the amount that we can obtain would only represent 3% of our daily consumption- not enough to warrant destroying precious ecosystems and wildlife. Besides, our addiction to oil is the heart of the problem and by fixing that - by changing habits, buying smaller cars or hybrid cars, and using more clean energy, we CAN reduce our consumption and that will eventually reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Recently, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar adopted a Bush-era policy that that allows for pro-polluter loopholes, further preventing the government from using the Endangered Species act to protect the polar bears. The NRDC is currently in court fighting to get the Interior Secretary to use the Endangered Species Act to help protect the polar bears from the melting ice AND the Arctic Oil Rush.

What can you do? First, try to reduce your "carbon footprint" to help slow the warming of the earth. There are some great, very easy suggestions at www.stopglobalwarming.org (Laurie David's site).

Second, go to the NRDC website, read more, learn more, sign their petition and donate money- they are fighting the tough fight and need everyone's support. We donate 1% of all our revenues to the NRDC every quarter. We believe that they are strongest organization that is actively fighting to make this world a better and healthier place with 1.2 million members, 400 attorneys, scientists and other professionals that advocate, support and help fight their causes. Take action!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Paloma's Nest in Martha Stewart's Weddings!

Caroline Colom Vasquez's (designer for Paloma's Nest) gorgeous ring bowl was featured in Martha Stewart's Wedding's magazine (summer 09) and we are thrilled! They featured a gold rimmed "palm-sized" bowl that is hand stamped with: "The Sun, The Moon, The Stars, For You." The rings can be tied to the top. What a modern and timeless piece for a wedding - one that the couple will have for years! I love Caroline's work. It is simple, sophisticated and her bowls make very special gifts. They arrive in a kraft box with her logo stamped on the top and are resting, gently in a delicate nest. We have 4 bowls, at approximately 3" in diameter, that are stamped with I love you, I miss you, Cherish and LOVE. The LOVE bowl at $54, approximately 8" in diameter, is a unique and truly special wedding gift. The Cherish bowl has a milagro symbol for miracle as does the LOVE bowl. They are perfect to send to a mom, daughter or a special friend and they are quite well priced at $24.00. Why not send a little love today?

Caroline also does hand stamping on wood, I have an inspiration block that she made with leftover wood pieces that is hand stamped with great advice that I truly think about every day.

Live Simply
Have Hope
Give Thanks
Smile Big
Be Good

We have sold out but can get more. Email me at jennifer@orangeandpear.com if you are interested. Click here to read more about Caroline and Paloma's Nest.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Series- The Eco-Elitist- my 5 favorite eco-friendly toys and gifts

Birthday parties. What's not too love? Balloons, junk food, cake, bouncy castles, magicians, goody bags - a child's dream. We have been invited to several recently so I always feel like I'm shopping for a gift. I have a few friends in my area with children's clothing businesses so I try to patronize them (like www.chickiddie.com) or I go to the local book store. Yesterday, I was in my favorite toy store in my area called the Darien Toy Box, started by Bill Jensen in an effort to offer well made, unique, educational and of course fun toys and he has a really terrific selection including some great eco-friendly toys. So of course, it gave me an idea for a blog entry. Here are my top 5 favorite eco-friendly toys for ages 2 and up.

1. Charlie and Lola- We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers

Charlie and Lola was created by Lauren Child in 2001 about two siblings- Charlie is the patient, helpful older brother and Lola is the energetic and very inquisitive little girl. These books are fun creative, humorous and great to look at and to read. This one is about recycling. It's a great starter for young children to teach them about the importance of reusing and not just throwing everything in the trash (or on the floor- which is where it all ends up in my house). There is even a great picture of them climbing up a huge heap of garbage bags (my nightmare). Check it out. Call the Darien Toy Box to order: 203-202-2992.

2. The E Racer made by Hape International is a beautifully made toy constructed out of bamboo and water-based paint and let me tell you these things go fast. Both boys and girls loves these cars. It is also very well priced - it ranges from $13.00-$19.00. You can call the Darien Toy Box for this one also, 203-202-2992.

3. The Trapecolo, also made by Hape is a creative play set that includes 180 colorful bamboo pieces that the child can arrange in a multitude of designs. It encourages imaginative skills, planning, understanding of basic geometry and symmetry. It is a great "quiet time" activity for 4 year olds and up (and it's quite beautiful to look at it also). It's also a nicely priced at approximately $27.00.

4. Now isn't this truly a 21st century toy? A recycling truck made by Green toys. These beautifully designed toys are actually made out of recycled plastic milk jugs and they are extremely durable. The packaging is all recycled cardboard and really easy to open. Who has struggled to open that awful toy packaging, cursing under your breathe, as you dig into the thick plastic and zip ties with dull scissors- all while a really anxious child watching you- it's terrible? Green Toys is simply a great company.

5. This Little Piggy's House- There are many great cardboard box houses out there but this one recently caught my eye because it has the chimney, mailbox, window box and dormer. It is quite fun and can be decorated by the child. It is definitely a more expensive toy at $49.99 but one that will be enjoyed! This company also gives 5% of their profits to feeding hungry children.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jonathan Adler- new salt and pepper shakers!

For years, I have admired Jonathan Adler's work. His pottery is organic, beautiful, modern and timeless- all at the same time. His fantastic sense of humor, wit and sometimes racy perspective all come through in his work. His spring collection this year was just fabulous- there was a ton of color, great graphic prints and lots of humor. I especially love his salt and pepper shakers because they are chic hostess, wedding shower, birthday or just anytime gifts and I was so glad that he offered a bunch of new ones in fabulously designed gift boxes! They are a great price at $48, right under $50.00. They are a perfect way to give a friend a piece of great design that is useful and will add a bit of humor to his or her meals. Many blogs wrote about how stunning his booth was at the NY gift show in January. To see some great images go to: Design Sponge or Apartment Therapy or Happy Mundane. Get a couple of these shakers, we offer free shipping over $75.00 and you'll have a great gift on hand when you need it. Check it out by clicking here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tuesday Series- The Eco-Elitist- Farmer's Market Season!

I love Farmer's Markets. I love the colors, the smells and I love that the fruit and vegetables look like they just came out of the ground or picked from a tree- not all waxed and polished like the supermarket variety. I love the act of leisurely perusing the plentiful bounty of these local farmers and and I love meeting them- they are often really great people. I always leave satisfied with my finds and the interesting conversations I've had. I always learn something new. It is wonderful to support farmer's markets for many reasons: you are supporting small(ish) farms and therefore small(ish) business - we love that, the fruit and vegetables do not travel too far to get to your market (as opposed to the strawberries that you buy in CT that come from CA) so less carbon is burned in travel, and lastly it encourages eating what's in season. Fruits and vegetables that are eaten in season simply taste better. Also, when you go to a farmer's market, you see vegetables or fruits that you don't usually cook or eat like kale or golden beets- it's a bit of an adventure. And then there are fresh bread, pies and cheese- you can buy for a whole week at a market. Bread can go right in the freezer and then taken out to thaw the morning you are going to eat it. Overripe fruits can be made into quick breads, muffins or pies. See this great article by blog author Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan of The Kitchn about a breakfast pie she made out of bruised apricots in Florence.

You can also go berry or fruit picking. It's a great activity on a beautiful day and a great thing to do with the kids. Check out www.pickyourown.org for some great locations where you can pick your own fruit. Check out the following festivals (found in Martha Stewart Living):

Marysville Peach Festival, July 17-19
Strawberry Festival, July 17-19
New Jersey Peach Festival, July 23-26
Strasburg Corn Festival, July 24-25
Blueberry Festival, July 26
Courtland Pear Festival, July 26

To find more information on how you can find a farmer's market's in your area. Check out this article. Have fun!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Designer Spotlight: Jaboneria Marianella- luscious soaps- treat yourself or a friend

Marianella Febres-Cordero, creator of Jaboneria Marianella, is simply a soap Goddess. I found her after seeing her soaps in several magazines - see press above- I just had to contact her. Inspired by the precious memories of making soap in her mother's kitchen with her sisters every Sunday afternoon in Venezuela, she decided to start a soap making business with her son David Foote, an artist and filmmaker in NYC. She handmakes all her soaps in her own kitchen, now in Dallas, TX. She uses coconut, palm and olive oil for their moisturizing qualities and essential oils and essences for fragrances. Everything is 100% natural. She is inspired by people she meets and her family experiences, she uses these experiences and memories to create very unique scents that linger pleasantly after you use them. She names the soaps in dedication to her loved ones who inspired the creation. Dama de La Noche is dedicated to her son and is created from the scent of a flower that only blooms at night and was ubiquitous in their garden. Coqueta was created in deference to her grandmother and reminds her of the colorful flowers that adorned her terrace in Venezuela and her grapefruit and vanilla preserve (dulce de toronja) - all of this is mixed with the essences of baby powder which sparks sweet memories of her baby sister on a siesta afternoon. Aura Elena was inspired by her mother's sad mysterious eyes, sweet as Oak Moss and Mulberry in addition to the memory of sipping coconut milk while admiring a deep navy December sky. Marianella also spent some time in Rome and created Aranciata which reminds her of evenings enjoyed on a bench with her sisters in Parco Degli Aranci while watching the sunset which resembled an Aurora Borealis. This soap is beautifully marbleized and looks like a stunning sunset. Lemonwood, which is my personal favorite, is imbued with aromas of wood, lemon and reminds her of her father and a stroll through the woods of Arrayanes in Bariloche with friends.

The individual bars are hand wrapped perfectly in chic, elegant paper. The pouches have 2 soaps - a 7 oz shower bar and a 3 oz hand bar and is delicately wrapped in a linen cloth and tied with a ribbon and a letterpress card with her logo- simply beautiful. The bars are stacked with colors that match the wrapping or marbleized for your visual senses. Enjoy a bar for yourself and give the pouch to a friend, mother, new mom or hostess. The beauty, the poetry, thought and passion that goes into making these soaps make them a special gift made by a truly wonderful person. Now through July 18th, enjoy 15% off, use coupon code: marianella.