Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Grownup Noise Kicks Off their Tour Tonight in Cambridge

One of our long time fans and supporters of Green Leaf Reviewer, The Grownup Noise, is once again hitting the road and they open their summer 2010, coast to coast tour right here in their hometown tonight.

It’s their fifth tour but this year things will be a little different. As many of you who have been reading for a while know the band has toured for the past couple summers in a van who’s diesel engine was converted to also run on veggie oil. The band had a love-hate relationship with the van, which they lovingly named Lorian, but after far too many incidents last summer, she was officially retired.

But does that make these guys & gals any less responsible when it comes to touring? Heck no!

This year the tour, aptly dubbed the “Mom & Pop Tour”, will only feature three band members, who will all take turns bouncing around between instruments. It sounds pretty rad and high energy to me! The energy on stage unfortunately will not propel them all the way to California of course so they made some adjustments.

The band will be touring in a smaller mini van, and they even went out to procure smaller amps in order to reduce what is being toted around in it while on the road. They won’t be dragging a trailer behind them so, as they put it, “the band [is] focusing more on reducing rather than recycling” this time out.

They certainly care about their overall impact and do whatever they can to ensure their footprint remains as small as possible while they bring their fun grooves to the ears of eager fans. Yea for that!

They are touring the release of their new EP Shall We? and it really should be a rocking good time. I fully intend to get out to The Lizard Lounge on Mass Ave in Cambridge tonight to see the first show of the tour and highly encourage all of you to find the date closest to your town so you too can catch their act.

July 31st Boston, Ma. Lizard Lounge
August 3rd Montpelier, Vt. Langdon St. Cafe
August 8th Dayton, Ohio South Park Tavern
August 9th Chicago, Illinois Elbo Room
August 11th Minneapolis, MN Acadia Café
August 13th Denver, CO Walnut Room
August 15h Albuquerque, NM Atomic Cantina
August 16th Tucson, AZ Skybar
August 17th Los Angeles, CA Room 5
August 19th San Diego Winston’s
August 20th San Fran, CA Kimo’s Penthouse
August 21st Sacramento, CA The Naked Lounge
August 25th Portland, OR Ella St. Social Club
August 26th Seattle, WA Comet Tavern
August 27th Spokane, WA TBD

To read about the band’s former adventures with Lorian or their continued efforts to spread the word on veggie oil you can click here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Just Don’t Have It Right Now…

But I promise to get it back soon!

You’ve probably noticed that this is the first time I’ve posted in a few weeks and I truly apologize for that. It has really been one of those summers that I can not force myself to be inside any longer than I have to be!

All 3 H’s have been in full effect in Boston for the past 4-6 weeks -- Hazy, Hot & Humid -- and I have to confess, I am loving it! Summer is definitely my favorite season, with warm temps that mean no socks, plenty of time at the beach, the smell of salt air, road trips with Matt and wide open windows, it really is tough to beat.

The problem of course is that makes it very tough to concentrate. Then throw in: painting jobs for Chucka Stone Designs, completing the edits and beginning to query agents for my full length manuscript, some new sewing inspirations for my Etsy shop, writing an article every couple weeks for the EcoEtsy team blog, and the chance to see a good friend who just moved back into town.

All of the above equal time of course, so the thing that had to fall off the back end was writing posts for Green Leaf Reviewer. Sorry loyal readers but if there is one thing I know about all of you its that not only do you understand but most of you are out enjoying your warmest season too! That is awesome and I truly hope you all have a super fun time doing whatever it is you’re doing. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know in fact!

I do promise not to take the rest of the summer off, there will be posts here and there when something amazing, cool, awesome, fun, funky or loveable passes across my desk, but it will definitely be sporadic until September.

Here are some of the amazing things I’ve been lucky enough to experience this summer.

Enjoy the few weeks we have left and I’ll see you all on the flip side!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let’s Give Taza a Hand, Simply by Eating Chocolate

This morning I received an email from one of our very favorite Greenies, Taza Chocolate. Although the area I'm in has felt more like Palm Springs lately than New England in the past month, last weekend we had an inordinate amount of rainfall in a very short period of time.

The flash downpours caused, you guessed it, lots of flash flooding. It turns out that Taza Chocolate was one of the many businesses effected by this strong batch of storms. And in their brand new facility that hadn’t even yet opened.

The following is the email and photos sent to me and many others who might be able to help out just by buying some chocolate or merchandise. I’m calling on the GLR community to give a hand if you can, let’s keep Taza going strong as they literally rebuild. Oh and by the way, I love their chocolate so if you do buy some and don’t like it, shoot me an email and I’ll send you my address :-)

"Taza Floods - Please Support Us As We Recover

Today, Taza is reaching out to our wonderful, loyal fans and asking for support. If you live in the Boston area, you saw how much water dropped suddenly from the sky last Saturday afternoon. Traffic ground to a halt as streets flooded out just minutes after the rain began.

Around 3pm, Taza's Director of Manufacturing (i.e. Head Chocolate Making Guy), Mike Schechter, thought maybe he'd pop by our newly renovated, first floor chocolate factory for a quick look, just to be safe. He arrived to find Windsor St. more river than roadway. And once inside, he found water pouring unchecked into the factory via a breach in our building's front exterior wall, and bubbling up from the drains in the floor. The new chocolate production facility, where we'd turned out our first batch of Mexicanos just last week, was already sitting in an unwelcome lake several inches deep, and the water was still coming. He grabbed his phone and started dialing, letting any Taza employee he could reach know that it might be a good idea for them to come by the factory, pronto.

Now, 72 hours later, we're taking stock. A dedicated, non-stop weekend bail-out, mop-up, and salvage effort by many of our amazing Taza staffers, on their own time, has cleared the way for recovery and rebuilding to start. We've hacked out the bottom 16 inches of drywall on every wall in our entire facility, carted ruined office cubicles to the dumpsters, and relocated our laptops to apartments and cafes until we have a functional workspace. Our chocolate production capacity will be shut down for at least a week, and cash flow will be a big challenge as we find a way to finance the repair of the facility we just made a major investment in upgrading. The silver lining? Our stockpile of bars, Mexicanos, and other Taza goodies is still stored on the second floor of our building, and remains safe, dry, and delicious.

Taza has always been a scrappy crew of chocolate fanatics, and we're determined to get back to the important business of making excellent chocolate as soon as possible. You have all shown us terrific support and love over our first 3 ½ years in business, and we ask for your support now - if you can, buy some Taza Chocolate (we also think you'd look great in a Taza t-shirt). Shop our online store, come out and see us at the farmers' markets, or find us at your local retailer. With great customers like you, we're going to keep on making the Taza Chocolate you love, come hell or high water.

Watch video from Channel 5 about Taza and the Somerville flash floods here.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tradeoff Question

This week I am working at a client’s home doing their ceiling painting. Most of you know I run my own business in the realm of home decoration and I wanted to take on this project as it helps me to spread the word abut how even in my profession we can be more environmentally responsible.

I wash only once (at the end of the day), wrap rollers and brushes when possible (for use again later), retain as many materials as possible and scrape as much paint as I can out of the tools before washing them. Not to mention I use the lowest available VOC / odor, water based, latex paints on the market and cloth drop cloths instead of paper.

Moving a drop around during the day may take a few extra minutes than taping down some paper to the floor but I’d rather be the painter who works an extra day than the one who leaves a job with a whole bag full of waste!

But I feel like there is an issue with the way I get there.

Many people have heard about the traffic nightmare that is Boston during rush hour. To give an example, I live just three or so miles north of the city and in the morning it would take me roughly 35 minutes to get through downtown. Yeah, it can be bad.

The job I am doing is on the other side of the city, south, in Dedham. There are two main ways for me to get there: straight through the city on 93 south or a bit around the way west then south from route 2 to 128 south. Mapquest indicates that going 93 or 128 is only 26 miles.

But going 93 means I sit in traffic inside a tunnel while 128 is a wide open road.

Now mapquest also has another route that would get me there in 15 miles. Judging by the routes I would take, at that hour of the day I estimate my commute would be in the neighborhood of 1-1/2 hours.

So what is the best solution when the shortest miles means longer time in the car?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And the Winner of the Earth Divas Bag Is…

Judi! Hooray!

I only had 6 entries this time around so it was easier to write them out on slips of paper, shuffle ‘em around then pick and lucky number 5 was the winner! (Because there were seven comments but 2 & 3 were both the same person I omitted # 3)

So anyway Judi if you’d like I can certainly let them know to send you this bag that was your favorite…

Or if there is something different you’d like to try in their Fair Trade, hemp fiber bag line by all means let me know.

Congratulations and no need to get me your address, I think I better know where you live by now, mum! ♥love♥

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Publishers Going Green

I recently read an article that indicated of the 4 billion books published every year, only 5 - 10% of them make use of recycled materials. As a Greenie and a writer, it really got me thinking.

Most of you know that I wrote my first novel last fall. This book is about two days away from being able to be published (IMO mind you, no professional Editor has laid eyes on it just yet) but I’m wondering how and where I should market my piece of fiction.

Two years ago, one of our favorite musicians here at GLR, Jason Mraz, put out a photography book titled “A Thousand Things”. When it came out I thought it was super innovative for its use of sustainable materials in the paper (Forest Stewardship Council [FSC] certified wood free, chlorine free) and ink (soy based). Even the cover is wood free and, upon Jason’s request, all waste during the printing process was recycled.

Not bad! But how about for those of us who aren’t already a celebrity? When we put out our first book can we be as demanding of how it is printed or do we have to suffer as a tree is chopped down and deal with it because we don’t have any influence in the process?

Well that question is mostly rhetorical when it comes to me because if there is anything you all know about me by now it’s that I never rest quietly on what someone else says I should do! ‘Question, challenge then understand’ should be my motto in life.

So then the first question of course is: where do I begin?

Many publishers are thinking of new approaches to the questions of sustainability. For example, they may use standard tree pulp for their paper but it comes from sources deemed FSC certified*.

There is also a growing trend to offset their paper footprint in ways around the office. Chronicle Books has an Environmental Policy link right on their homepage where they talk about the Green initiatives in their office construction three years ago, as well as their support of various social and humanitarian charities through their staff’s volunteerism.

Another new movement cropping up among many publishers is the elimination of paper from their media. There are so many ways to publish electronically these days -- blogs, websites, pdf documents, even twitter! -- it is almost not necessary to cut down a tree just to put an author’s perspective out into the world.

Other publishers will plant a tree for each book printed, such as Eco-Libris. Because many of the publishers that partner with Eco-Libris print on demand (only print copies when an order is placed), it reduces the advance of materials in order to satisfy orders.

For me it will be easy enough to cross reference the publishers I find listed online with my Writer’s Market 2010 guide to publishers that I have in paperback form in my office already.

Since there is an environmental angle in my manuscript, it might not be a bad idea to start with those folks. After all, we will be on the same page when it comes to the printing process. No pun intended.

*read more about certification and sustainable forestry on the FSC.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Eco Fashion Friday Feature: Windy Hill Fibers Has A New Fan…Me!

Last Friday was my birthday and this year I didn’t want there to be any confusion about what I wanted from Matt so I just sent him the link. I had a feeling I would end up getting this gorgeous dress from Windy Hill Fibers!

Made from 100% organic cotton, this hand made frock (the Lily Sash Dress) is easily going to become the most worn item in my wardrobe this summer. With temperatures soaring into the very muggy 80’s & 90’s almost every day I have been on the hunt for comfortable, easy dresses that fit and look good.

Christine Vivian is the owner and designer behind Windy Hill Fibers, her Etsy shop was opened in September of 2007 and with a 100% positive rating that’s three solid years of good business! It is easy to see why. 

The dress is impeccably created, the stitching is straight and even and there are no gaps when the garment is on. In fact she didn’t just create a small/medium/large dress but took my measurements for the best fit possible.

I know Matt only put in the order a week or so before my birthday and that was likely a mad-dash rush for Christine but she was such a trooper to get it done so quickly without sacrificing on her quality!  (Thank you!!)

With prices that range from $50 - $135, each piece is moderate to high but I can not stress enough how much of a staple this dress is going to be for me. I’ll probably get Matt’s money’s worth by mid July!

Complete with darts at the bust line and a super generous length of sash to wrap around, or tie in front/back, the dress cinches itself to the perfect fit. She even used the cut off fabric as the bow for the gingerly wrapped package.

On top of everything else that makes Windy Hill Fibers so awesome, the shop is also a part of my team -- Eco Etsy!

Because Christine has such a strong eye on the planet through her use of organic materials and support of a fantastic Green team I am granting Windy Hill Fibers a three and a Half Leaf Rating!

Thanks so much for caring Christine, I hope to chat with you at a team EcoEtsy event one of these days! ♥love♥

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Life In Stages Blog Giveaway Winner Was Me (woo hoo!!)

My good bloggy friend Anna (Almost Precious on Etsy, My Two Cents at blogger) alerted her readers a while back to another bloggy friend, My Life In Stages, having a giveaway so I figured what the heck.

I almost never enter giveaways. Not only because I tend to not win most of the time but I feel like there are probably other people who could benefit far greater from the winning item than little old me. But this one was different.

I mean, do you see those beautiful cups and saucers in that picture up there? How could I resist?

Well I couldn’t, and not only was I the uber lucky winner but I found an item that I completely heart in Tracie’s shop too!

Let me first back up for a second and explain why I even entered in the first place. Matt and I live in a rental as most of you know. We are not allowed to paint the walls so we have to adopt our color infusions in other ways.

A while back I decided to refinish our second (or forth, not sure) hand kitchen furniture with a very modern feel -- espresso brown for the chairs and deep navy for the table. I wanted the kitchen to feel like it came out of a Pottery Barn catalog but with refinished older pieces and far less expensively.

The paint treatment was just the start of course as our dishes (that are close to 10 years old, chipped, broken and worn) were also going to be replaced. I wasn’t sure what we would do but I knew I was going to scour shops like Goodwill and Salvation Army for previously loved but not broken items.

Then like a beacon of awesomeness, there were the pictures on Tracie’s blog and I was in love! Strangely enough she drew my corresponding commenter number and wouldn’t ya know, it was my lucky number 11! Must have been fate.

I sadly have not yet had a chance to put these out (because my table is still not fully cured yet due to the massive humidity & I haven’t finished making the placemats from the fabric as seen in the photo) but I didn’t want to wait ay longer to tell everyone about the wonderful My Life In Stages blog or how grateful and appreciative I am that I was the winner of her first ever giveaway.

Thanks Tracie, I can’t wait to start sipping my evening tea from these very mugs!