November 30, 2006

November Wrap-Up

Geez, Louise - where did November go?!

We were busy compiling our Really Natural Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide, of course. We also found time to check out bamboo and Sugar Cane jeans, What to Eat.

It sometimes seems like everyone we know is having babies, which perhaps explains why we caught baby fever in the middle of the month. We were intrigued, entranced and fascinated by Fuzzi Bunz fleece re-usable diapers, Luna Lou baby blankets, and eco-friendly baby gear from Green Babies and Speesees. (Please, someone, pick up one of their lamb jackets for us. We'll even have a kid for it.

Finally, with Thanksgiving over and done with, we started to think about December, and with it, twinkly lights (LED, of course), warm hats (made from recycled soda bottles), and candlelight (of the rechargeable variety).

Oh, and have we mentioned gifts? More to come in December. Stay tuned.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 30, 2006

Candle, Candle, Burning Bright: LED Rechargeable Candles

philips aurelle.gif

My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - it gives a lovely light! - Edna St. Vincent Millay

I'm a huge fan of candlelight around the holidays. Heck, at any time of year. But I hate dealing with melted wax on my dinner table. And don't get me started about the time one of our dinner guests (who shall remain nameless!) set himself, and nearly the whole house on fire.

That's why I was excited to learn about the Aurelle Rechargeable Candles from Philips. They're kind of like our old reliable Candelas, only they come in pretty frosted glass vases and flicker like real candles. Plus, they're wind and water resistant, won't catch fire, and last for 10 hours on a single charge. Great for worry-free instant ambience - for your holiday decorating or as a gift.

Aurelle LED Rechargeable Candles are available from Philips.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 29, 2006

Bottle Caps: Fleece Hats Made from Recycled Soda Bottles

It's the end of November. Are your ears cold yet? Well, warm 'em up with one of Cagoule Fleece's bottle caps. Made from 87% post-consumer recycled fibers obtained from plastic soda bottles, the hats come in a wide variety of colors and styles. According to the Cagoule website, there are 2 one-liter bottles in every hat.

Available at Cagoule Fleece.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 28, 2006

Twinkle Twinkle Little LED Lights: Philips Garland LED String Lights

philips garland LED lights.jpg
Deck the halls with boughs of Philips Garland LED String Lights? Our friend Jay just wrote in to let us know he's picked up a few strings of these beauties for all his holiday lighting needs. What makes them better than regular old twinkly Christmas lights? Well, here are a few things:
- Advanced LED technology
- Bulbs are fade, chip, peel, and break resistant
- Cool to the touch when lit
- Ultra low power usage (4.8 Watts)
- Up to 76% power savings compared to super bright mini sets
- 25,000 hour average bulb life
- Connects end-to-end

led lights 2.jpgThe folks over at LED Museum published a sparkling review of the blue versions (pictured at right). Energy efficiency and twinkly lights in the window? We totally approve.

Available at Target.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 24, 2006

Holiday Gift and Shopping Guides from Around the Blogpire

Our editors have been hard at work coming up with the latest products to give as gifts this holiday season. Each of our different sites has their own holiday gift guide on various topics including: shaving, hdtv, gps, gaming, coffee and espresso, kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, and more.

Make your holiday gift giving easier this season by visiting the holiday shopping guides below, and get your shopping done online without the crowds and hassle of ever leaving your comfy couch or computer chair.

Electronics - TV and GPS

Tvsnob Gg

Holiday Shopping Guide from TVSnob.com

Gps Lodge Blogpire Gg-1

Holiday Shopping Guide from GPSLodge.com

Natural Products & Organic Living

Reallynatural Gg

Holiday Shopping Guide from ReallyNatural.com

Shaving

Shaving Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from ShavingStuff.com

Coffee & Espresso

Holidayshoppingguide1 Ssc
Holiday Gift Guide from SingleServeCoffee.com

Sse Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from SingleServeEspresso.com

Games

Criticalgamers Blogad Giftg

Holiday Gift Guide from CriticalGamers.com

Liquor and Spirts

Liquor Snob Blogad Gg

Holiday Shopping Guide from LiquorSnob.com

Kitchen Related

Holiday Shopping Guides Kc

Holiday Shopping Guide from KitchenContraptions.com

Thecookingnews Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from The Cooking News.com

Baby Related

Supercoolbab Gg

Holiday Gift Guide from SuperCoolBaby.com

Poker & Casino Related
Holiday Gift Guide from CasinoSnob.com

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

November 23, 2006

Origin of Speesees: Organic Cotton Baby Clothes

speesees.jpgStop the presses. The Cute Patrol has discovered a whole new species of adorableness. Or Speesees, if you will.

Speesees is a San Francisco-based company founded by Rachel Pearson, a self-described "cotton diaper baby" raised by hippy parents in the 1970's. Pearson designs some of the cutest baby t-shirts and body suits we've ever seen, and has them manufactured in India using Fair Trade practices and principles. What does that mean, you ask? Well, according to Pearson,

Our cotton is organically grown and handpicked by farmers whose families live biodynamically and receive health care. Once spun, knit and dyed with low-impact dyes, our cotton garments are sewn and printed in a beautiful, sweatshop-free factory in Southern India. Natural light floods the premises and our energetic team, including disabled members, work decent hours for fair living wages. An organic garden surrounds the premises.

lambjacket_oat_lamb_rt.jpgAn integral component of Fair Trade is that the local community benefits from manufacturing. The local elementary school in the village where speesees is manufactured is called Zari Pada. They have needs from water hand pumps to small shelves and racks for each classroom. $1 from every $100 earned from online speesees retail orders will go to buy these children various supplies to support a more conducive learning environment.

The designs, like Chik, pictured above right, are truly, totally and completely adorable and come in t-shirts, body suits or long-sleeved body suits, as well as cute little skull caps. We also LOVE Pearson's lamb jacket, pictured right.

Available at Speesees.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 22, 2006

Green Baby Top Tomato Romper

More eco-friendly baby gear. Can you tell one of us has a baby shower to go to next weekend? Green Babies' "Eat Your Veggies" line puts the crunch into organic cotton baby wear. Ring spun cotton with natural snaps on the crotch. Made in the USA.

green babies hat.jpgAdd a red veggies hat and it's a perfect holiday gift set. Or baby shower present. Whichever comes first.

Available at Green Babies.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 21, 2006

Luna Lou Recycled Cotton Baby Blankets

lunalou.jpgWhat can we say, we're in a baby state-of-mind this week.... And if we were shopping for someone's little someone-on-the-way, we'd buy them a Luna Lou recycled cotton baby blanket.

Designed by Lizabeth Sorensen, a writer, and her husband Dan, a drummer, and inspired by their daughter, the blankets are eco-friendly and heirloom quality, with vintage inspired owls and cupcakes. According to Sorensen and company:

Luna Lou Silly Scrumptious Blankets are a blend of technology and ecological responsibility. Our yarns are manufactured using a patented process that conserves our natural resources, land, water and energy. Cotton fibers and clippings normally disposed of in the country’s landfills are sorted by color, and blended before spinning so that no harmful chemicals are needed in the dyeing process. By selecting our products, you have helped preserve the environment for future generations and you can rest assured that your child is sleeping under a safe product.

The Retro Owl blanket (pictured above) reads "Up all night, Silly all day" and comes in fun colors like Zippy Yellow, Pinky Prep, Orange Crush and Pinky Punch.

The Cupcakes design (pictured at left) comes in Chocolate or Vanilla, and reads "I dream of cupcakes." Honestly, baby, don't we all?

Available at Luna Lou.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 20, 2006

Fuzzi Bunz Microfleece Re-usable Diapers

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Okay, you know you're in trouble when your husband starts sending you links to products like Fuzzi Bunz microfleece re-usable diapers. "But I saw them in Wired," he protests, "And they fit with your whole earth-friendly, reduce, reuse, recycle ethic." Whatever, man. You're sending me links about diapers.

That said, Fuzzi Buns do look pretty snappy (pun intended). They come with durable snaps that let you adjust the size to fit your baby's legs and waist. They're made with microfleece, which according to the site, "gently touches your baby’s skin, pulling away moisture and keeping your baby rash-free, dry, and comfortable." The outside layer is waterproof. And they come with a "patented, pocket-style opening" that acts as, well, a pocket, so you can stuff it with inserts or towels to increase the diapers' absorbency.

fuzzi buns2.jpgAccording to groups like the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment, the jury's still out on whether cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposables. They use more energy to clean, but take less energy to produce and create a lot less solid waste. And of course there are the parents who suggest that if less is more, none is best - and therefore advocate going the diaper-less route.

At Really Natural, we think it's up to you as a parent to decide what's right for you and your child. But if you're thinking about going the cloth or re-usable diaper route, Fuzzi Bunz deserves a top to bottom look.

Available at Fuzzi Bunz.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 17, 2006

Wekend Reading: What to Eat by Marion Nestle

whatframe.jpgWhat to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices by Marion Nestle is this week's weekend reading. Nestle is a professor of nutrition at the NYU School of Public Health. I guess you could say she wrote the book on food politics. (In fact, she is the author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, a 2003 book that started much of the conversation around food and health that's taking place today. )

Explaining the inspiration for the new book, published this spring, she writes

What to Eat is is a book about how to make sensible food choices. Consider that today’s supermarket is ground zero for the food industry, a place where the giants of agribusiness compete for your purchases with profits—not health or nutrition—in mind. This book takes you on a guided tour of the supermarket, beginning in the produce section and continuing around the perimeter of the store to the dairy, meat, and fish counters, and then to the center aisles where you find the packaged foods, soft drinks, bottled waters, baby foods, and more. Along the way, it tells you just what you need to know about such matters as fresh and frozen, wild and farm-raised, organic and “natural,” and omega-3 and trans fats. It decodes food labels, nutrition and health claims, and portion sizes, and shows you how to balance decisions about food on the basis of freshness, taste, nutrition, and health, but also social and environmental issues and, of course, price.

I cannot begin to tell you how much fun this book has been to research and write. It turned out to be as challenging a project as any I have ever undertaken, but also a lot more entertaining. Every time I walked into a supermarket, I discovered something new and often unsuspected. The most seemingly mundane products (eggs! bottled water!) led me to discoveries I had not even imagined possible. I found something astonishing—and often quite amusing—in every section of the store. I hope that you are just as amazed and amused reading this book as I was while writing it. I also hope that you put it to immediate use. Enjoy, eat well, and change the world (for the better, of course).

Available at What to Eat.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Fast Food Nation, The Movie

Fast Food Nation, the movie, launches today at theaters nationwide. We are big fans of Eric Schlosser's bestselling book about the fast food industry. The film, co-written by Schlosser and director Richard Linklater, is timed to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the publication of Upton Sinclair's groundbreaking book The Jungle. The story is a fictionalized version of the book, with a star-filled cast of characters including Wilmer Valderrama, Patricia Arquette, Bruce Willis, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, and Avril Lavigne.

We haven't seen the movie yet, but according to The New York Times' Manohla Dargis, it's the "most essential political film from an American director since Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11." You want fries with that?

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 16, 2006

Natural Salt Lamps Cure Allergies?

2005smalllamp.jpgMy husband and I traveled to Chile a few years ago and brought back a natural salt lamp because we thought it looked really cool. (Confession: He's a total Star Trek fan, and I think he thought it looked like something out of Quark's bar.) We spent a couple of Saturday's retrofitting it so it would work with U.S. electrical outlets. And voila: a lighting unit you won't find in the Pottery Barn catalog. Want one? Sorry, you'll have to travel to Patagonia, my friend. And just try explaining it to the folks at Homeland Security.

But wait! Isabella Samovsky from Natural Salt Lamps just wrote to introduce herself. Turns out, she sells a whole range of salt lamps just like the one we carted back from Chile, and she'll save you the trip. Samovsky travels the world to find her Solay Salt Crystal Lamps - bringing back lamps from the Himalayas, Persia and Poland.

In addition to looking cool - and adding some definite zen to your living room, the lamps act as natural ionizers, great news for folks with allergies. Isabella explains:


Remember the feeling of breathing clean, fresh crisp air in nature? environments like mountains, springs, water falls and forests. Those natural places have an abundance of electrically charged negative (healthy happy ions). Salt crystal lamps by attracting moisture from the air, release those negative healthy ions. Those healthy ions gently purify the air by neutralizing bacteria, allergens, dust, so you experience healthier , cleaner air. No ozone, no noise and no filters to replace. They last indefinitely for your well-being.

Not sure I completely understand the science of it. All I know is we love 'em.

Available at Natural Salt Lamps.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 15, 2006

How to Make Your Thanksgiving Dinner Sustainable

turkey2.jpgOkay, you've got your organic turkey. Looking for more ideas to make your Thanksgiving dinner sustainable? Shirley Gregory has these tips:

First, start with a local harvest. The first Thanksgiving featured a regional bounty of fruits, vegetables, grains and meats native to the 17th Century Plymouth, Massachusetts, landscape, such as deer, lobster, dried gooseberries, pumpkin (though probably not pumpkin pie as we know it) and rabbit. While that menu might not please the modern holiday crowd, you can celebrate your own area’s bounty by buying as many fixings – potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, apples, pumpkins, squash and more – at your local farmer’s market instead of at a chain grocery store, where much of the food is trucked from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Second, make the centerpiece of your dinner table a sustainably, humanely raised turkey. Check your local food co-ops or farmer’s markets, or search online for organic poultry farms in your area (be sure to start looking well ahead of time). And if you can find a heritage turkey producer (someone who raises historic American turkey sub-breeds, as opposed to the Large White variety that dominates industrial farms) in your area, all the better; people who choose these types of birds claim they are firmer, richer and more flavorful than standard turkeys.

Third, invest in a nice set of cloth dinner napkins. A set of four sateen-finish, organic cotton napkins might set you back $12 to $19 or more, but you won’t have to buy attractive paper napkins for the rest of the holidays … or the coming year. Even if you figure you spend only $2.50 every two months on ordinary paper napkins, that amounts to $15 for the year, and contributes a lot of waste to the environment as well.

Fourth, serve organic juices, milk, beer or wine with dinner, as opposed to standard beverages. Your local food co-op should offer a variety of organic beverages, and you can often find a few organic beers and wines at your larger grocery or liquor stores. Among the breweries and vineyards that produce organic beverages are Dogfish Head Brewing Co., Frey Vineyards, Silver Thread Vineyard and Sprecher Brewery, which also creates natural sodas.

Via Associated Content.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 14, 2006

Where to Buy Organic, Free-Range Turkey

turkey.jpgThanksgiving is approaching. Have you ordered your organic, free-range turkey yet? Our local farm stand is taking orders; so is Whole Foods. The question is this: What should you look for in your organic bird?

As you probably know, organic means different things to different people. There are a lot of buzz words flying around out there - cage-free, organic, antibiotic free, free-range, to name a few - that may or may not get you what you need. As Michael Pollan points out in The Omnivore's Dilemma, "free-range" may conjure the image of birds romping freely across green pastures, but the reality is it may still mean birds are packed tightly into confined spaces with only a small entry to the outdoors. Don't believe the hype.

Wholesome Harvest has a great breakdown of the different terminology, and what it signifies. The site makes a good case for why organic may be the minimum standard you should look for, and why "beyond organic" can be a better way to go.

Not sure what you're getting from your local grocery store when you buy an organic bird? Ask questions.

Want to buy your bird online? Here are some sites that can help you do it:

Local Harvest can help you find a local farm near you
Sustainable Table talks about heritage breeds of turkeys, and Slow Food USA has a list of farms that raise them
Wholesome Harvest is a coalition of over 40 concerned small family farms committed to "beyond organic" agriculture
D'Artagnan is selling organic birds on Amazon

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 13, 2006

Really Natural Holiday Gift Guide - Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift for Everyone

It's better to give than to receive. - Paul
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. - Churchill
Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me. - Supertramp

Yep. Deck the halls with boughs of evergreen, and potted holly plants. It's time for our holiday gift guides. Really Natural editors have scoured the Web (not to mention past and present gift guides posted by our fellow greenies over at The Green Guide, Treehugger, Grist, Co-op America, and the National Resources Defense Council) to come up with wish lists and holiday gift guides that will make your heart sing and help make the world a better place.

We'll be adding to these lists as the season progresses, so check back early and often. Happy Holidays!

For Her:

Green-knitwit-big.jpgKnitting Needle Bracelet from Australian artist and designer Liana Kabel. Made of recycled plastic knitting needles. $25. Ships from the Land Down Under and takes 1-3 weeks to get to the U.S. so order early.

Cashere Split Mittens (pictured above). Stewart+Brown cashmere is purchased and crafted in Mongolia by herders and weavers who continue to practice their centuries-old way of life. Available at Pangaya.

Recycled Magazine Evening Bag. Made in Brazil of recycled magazines. Looks a little bit like the Ecoist bags all the cool celebrity girls are wearing. Only it's even cooler. $72 at Wonders of the World.

Vintage Cotton and Hemp Lingerie. We're suckers for underpants. Honestly, who isn't?

Sugar Cane Jeans by Toyo. Vintage Japanese denim made with sugar cane fibers. Sweet! Don't like sugar cane in your denim? How about bamboo?

Green Toe Shoes by Simple. Know her shoe size? Green Toe shoes will tickle her feet. And the fact that they're designed for minimal environmental impact, using ingredients such as water-based cement, cork, jute, bamboo and crepe latex will tickle her heart.

Just about anything from Nest. This nifty little nonprofit web shop makes micro-loans to women artists and designers across the world, buys their goods and sells them to you, and uses the proceeds to make more micro-loans. Virtuous circle, indeed.

Tree-cycle Seatbelt Bags. Made of recycled seatbelts. I love you, baby. So buckle up.


For Him:

Solar Voltaic Backpack. Charge cell phones, PDAs, digital cameras, GPSs & MP3 players with this waterproof solar voltaic backpack.

Zia for Men Shaving Products. The man in my life raves about them. I like it that they're made using whole foods products and therapeutic-grade essential oils & herbal extracts, and that they're eco-friendly and cruelty-free (not tested on animals). The men's line is supposedly fragrance-free, but I think they smell terrific.

ductTri.jpgHow about a duct tape wallet? Buy one at the National Building Museum for $18. Or, make your own using the instructions on this site.

NoWet Green & Clean Car Wash, Wax and Sealant. According to their website, NoWet Green & Clean allows you to completely wash, wax, polish and seal any vehicle inside and out without water, saving 2,000 gallons of water with each 32 oz bottle. Because there's no rinsing, there's no run off of dirty contaminated water that pollutes our surface water tables. Plus, the product is bio-degradeable, VOC compliant and contains no petroleum-based products.

Cardboard Speakers by Muji. The name "MUJI" is derived from the Japanese phrase "Mujirushi Ryohin," meaning "No Brand Goods." Over the last 20 years, they have developed a worldwide following with a guiding philosophy that emphasizes innovative and simple materials, processes, and packaging. The resulting products are streamlined, environmentally friendly, and beautiful in their simplicity. Made of cardboard and electronic components. Available at the MoMA store.


Envirocycle Backyard Composter. Me strong man. Me make compost. The Envirocycle composter is the perfect urban composter. It produces quality compost quicker and easier than conventional composters by its rolling and mixing action which keeps the ingredients well mixed and aerated. The Envirocycle makes compost tea, a rich organic liquid plant food appreciated by gardeners everywhere.


For Baby:

Cheeky Baby and Mama's Belly shea butter creme and body oil. Available at Joli Bebe Boutique.

And for moms- and dads-to-be, allow us to recommendThe Complete Organic Pregnancy by Deirdre Dolan and Lexi Zissu. Great tips on how to make your home (and your pregnancy) safer by two journalists who were pregnant and figured it out for themselves.

Snuggly Organic Cotton Turtle. Take a 100% organic cotton shell, fill it with unbleached cotton clippings, embroider eyes for safety, and you have one of the most environmentally safe toys made in the world today. Hand crafted in Vermont, these animals are super-soft, adorable and best of all, machine washable and safe for all ages.


For Kids:

Organic Soul Rocker Kids Tees from JoMamaCo. For all those future punk rockers in the house.

A book about the child that you write and illustrate yourself. The joys from storebought toys and games can be fleeting. A gift like this is something your child will treasure and save forever.

Chew on This by Eric Schlosser. The author of Fast Food Nation dishes it up for kids. Read it together.


For Pets:

Recycled Cashmere Dog Sweaters from Deborah Lindquist. Spot deserves to be sexy. Woof. (Be sure to pick up one of Lindquist's matching sweaters or scarves for mom!)

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 10, 2006

Weekend Reading: Green House and Beyond

Hello Folks,

It's taking a while to get writing this morning - that's what a holiday (even Veteran's Day, evidently) will do to you. But hopefully it's worth the wait. I've got three - count 'em, three - books to recommend this morning, all from The Green House exhibit at The National Building Museum.

greenHouse.jpgFirst, The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design by Alanna Stang and Christopher Hawthorne. This is the companion volume for The Green House exhibit. It shows how buildings fit with their surroundings and how we can make efficient use of our personal space. It presents sustainable design principles through the refreshing examples that appear in the exhibit itself. If you can't make it to D.C. for the exhibit, or if you went and want to take some of its ideas home with you (in a more comprehensive and durable package than the exhibit handouts), this is the book for you.

green building products.jpgLooking to put the lessons from The Green House to use? These next two books may be up your alley:

Green Building Products contains descriptions and manufacturer contact information for more than 1,400 environmentally friendly products and materials from ag-fiber panels to zero-VOC paints. All phases of residential construction are covered, from site work to flooring to renewable energy.

green remodeling.jpgDon't have the budget to rebuild from scratch? Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time by David R. Johnston and Kim Master describes simple green renovation solutions for homeowners, focusing on key aspects of the building, including foundations, framing, plumbing, windows, heating and finishes. Addressing all climates, this is a great resource for conventional homeowners, as well as for architects and remodeling contractors.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 9, 2006

Bambu Veneerware and Utensils

bamboodinnerware.gifWe've blogged before about Bamboo Veneerware disposable dinner plates from Greenfeet, available at Amazon. The Green House exhibit featured these and more, including Bamboo utensils from bambuhome.

The plates and utensils are made from organically harvested bamboo, and according to the bambuhome site,

- Are stronger than wood, and will not scratch even your finest cookware - Heat and stain resistant - Safe to use on non-stick surfaces, does not impart or absorb flavors - Lightweight, strong and long lasting - Hand finished with top grade natural, food-safe wood oil

Thanksgiving dinner plates, anyone?

Available at bambuhome.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 8, 2006

Kitchen Scraps: Scrapile Dining Table

At least as interesting as the materials used to make the Glidehouse for The Green House exhibit were the furnishings found inside it. One of my favorites was the SCRAPILE dining table.

Brooklyn designers Carlos Salgado and Bart Bettencourt have developed a unique method of collecting and repurposing discarded scraps of wood from New York's woodworking industry, and created a furniture line as funky looking as it is ecologically sound.

Available at Vivavi.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 7, 2006

Green House continued - The Glidehouse

One of the best things about the National Building Museum's Green House exhibit was walking through Glidehouse, a pre-fabricated, modular house designed by Northern California architect Michelle Kaufmann. Kaufmann designed the house in 2004 and has been working with builders in the U.S. and Canada to sell variations on it ranging in size from 672 to 2,016 square feet.

According to her website, the house is designed "to collaborate with nature":

The design is based on basic sustainable—green—design principles. The house is designed as a series of shallow buildings to allow maximum natural ventilation. Through the use of the gliding glass wall and the opposite operable clerestory windows above the storage bar, breezes are maximized. Indirect lighting minimizes the need for electric lighting.

Depending on the location, the house can either have solar panels, a geothermal, or a wind generator system, or a hybrid system. The exterior walls are made of maintenance-free Cor-Ten steel, Galvalume, Hardi panels or cedar planks to blend in with the context.

Through the implementation of sustainable design and solar, geothermal, or wind generator equipment, the Glidehouse™ modular home provides owners with reduced, if not eliminated, utility bills. The Glidehouse™ could be situated in a rural area, and through the use of solar, geothermal or wind generating equipment, the Glidehouse™ would not need to be connected to electricity lines, therefore reducing the long term cost of ownership and widening the range of potential building sites.

A modular home also affords construction efficiencies, virtually eliminating waste materials that are normally associated with new home building. Construction impact on the new home site is also minimized through factory-based modular home construction

The slats on Glidehouse (pictured at right) remind us of Taylor Smyth's pre-fab Sunset Cabin, which we blogged back in August.

Pricing, which includes the cost of design, transporting materials to the site, and construction, starts at $132 per square foot, or around $200,000 for most variations. According to the Building Museum, that's $83,000 less than the average cost of a new American home in 2005.

Learn more at Glidehouse.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 6, 2006

The Green House Exhibit at National Building Museum

green-house.jpgHave you ever dreamed about living off the grid? Not in a creepy cultish commune kind of way, but in the "Hey, my 'green' house just got featured in Dwell" kind of way. In the "Jeez, I saw An Inconvenient Truth and want to help conserve the Earth's resources" kind of way. Yeah, me too.

Well, I found new hope for that dream last week at The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design, an exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The Green House builds off the growing popularity of "green" and eco-friendly design, and sets out show that houses can be green and stylish at the same time. Moreover, it sets out to demonstrate green and sustainable building techniques and materials in a way that makes them easy to understand and approachable for everyday consumers.

bamboo house.jpgWalking through the exhibit, I was both awed by what was possible if you decide to really "go for it" (read: money is no object), and what was do-able, if, like the rest of us, money is an object, and you'd kind of like to save yours, but still make some eco-friendly updates to your place.

The exhibit starts when you walk in the door of the Glidehouse, a highly green, pre-fab modular home designed by Northern California architect Michelle Kaufman. It includes energy efficient windows and appliances, and is furnished with eco-friendly materials, furnishings and household stuff designed to inspire and educate.

Well, I'm inspired. And educated. (At least more than I was when I started.) I'll use this week to highlight some of the coolest things I saw in The Green House exhibit, and to provide info on where you can go to check 'em out.

The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design runs through June 3, 2007 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 5, 2006

Sugar Cane Jeans - Yummy!

Think Undesigned's bamboo denim is sweet? Try jeans made from sugar cane. Tokyo-based Toyo Enterprise Company makes Sugar Cane jeans out of Japanese selvage denim spun out of cotton thread and sugar cane fibers. According to The New York Times' Elizabeth Hayt, who had a blurb on Sugar Cane jeans in this Sunday's Style section, the jeans are woven on slow shuttle selvage looms bought from American denim factories in the 1960's. The jeans come in three styles - Okinawa, Hawaii, and Edo Ai. After 40 years in Japan, they're now being imported to the U.S. And evidently, they smell as good as they look.

Available at History Preservation, and in select styles and sizes at Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 3, 2006

Weekend Reading: Organic, Inc by Samuel Fromartz

"Organic, Inc. tells how an $11 billion industry arose out of an alternative food movement, bringing backwoods idealists into the age of the organic tortilla chip. A juggernaut in the otherwise sluggish food industry, organic food is now a consumer phenomenon growing at 20 percent a year. But what is organic food? Is it really better for you? Where did it come from and why so many of us buying it?"

Samuel Fromartz says he set out to answer these questions when he wrote Organic, Inc. Fromartz, a business journalist whose articles have appeared in Inc., Business Week, and The New York Times, uses the book to tell the story of how organic went from a counterculture movement to a mainstream $11 billion industry. He talks about the history of the organic farming movement, how small scale farming was unable to meet the demand for organic and had to create an industry to do it, and the uneasy co-existence between organic and industrial food culture. The book is written from the perspective of an economist, but an economic who loves food. Which in our opinion, makes it worth reading.

Buy it at Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 2, 2006

Hugg It Out, B*tch

hugg125x125.gifSorry, Ari. And apologies to the folks at "Entourage." But the folks at Hugg are giving new meaning to the phrase "Hugg it out, b*tch."

Hugg, a new project from the folks at Treehugger, styles itself as the "Digg for Green." You, the reader, submit your green news to a queue of user-generated stories. And you, the reader, get to rate it. Or "hugg" it, as the case may be. Highly rated stories are those that get the most huggs from other readers, and get bumped to the Hugg front page.

Need a hugg? Go on, you know you want to.

At Hugg.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

November 1, 2006

Annie's Cheddar Bunnies - Like Goldfish, Only Better

We love it when someone takes a favorite food from our childhood and makes it better. Like Natural White Cheddar Cheetos. The Cheetos taste you remember, but made with real cheddar cheese. So while they may not be good for you, you can feel just a little bit better about eating them. (Okay, it's a stretch. But they're just so darn good.)

Anyway, we feel the same way about Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies. And this time, we think it's legit. Annie's are made with real cheddar cheese and organic wheat flour. They're made without hydrogenated oils (look ma, no trans fat!), and they're baked, not fried.

You can buy them in a large box or a tray of six 1 oz single serving snack packs (depending on whether you want to conserve packaging or control your portions). And bunnies are just plain cute.

Available at Annie's Homegrown.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Ooh, La La, Bamboo - Bamboo Jeans from Undesigned

Forget about Jordache or Sassoon. The hippest jeans on the block today are made of high tech fabrics like...bamboo?

Sean from Pangaya wrote in to let us know that they're carrying a stretch denim pencil skirt and jeans from Undesigned that feature bamboo and organic cotton. Both are indigo blue with black silk trim, and feature an outside pocket front and back. The jeans are cut long for a dressier fit. And the skirt just looks cool.

Available at Pangaya.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking
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