two sisters. one year. a new year's resolution.

Friday, July 15, 2011


in a convenience store, i saw sunflower seeds imported from china. seriously.

craft supplies were not a surprise. but, last week i was buying fabric ......... made in china. what the heck? i thought i was doing a good thing......... buying fabric to make a summer dress. instead of buying clothes, most likely made in china. so, what do you do with that? fabric made in china. blergh. there is no getting away from it.

what have you noticed?

happy friday.

Monday, June 20, 2011

crafty shmafty

i know we don't blog as often as we'd like. i could list off all my excuses, but you know they are all lame. :) i just haven't taken the time to write.

i do think about it often though.

i am still sticking to this resolution. i may have had a slip up here or there, but not on any major or intentional purposes................  i have put a lot of things back because of this. a lot. i have also spent a lot of time emailing companies online when i can't tell where their product is made. i have gone to trying to think of only buying things handmade, &/or from thrift stores.  sometimes that isn't an option though.

current wish list item ....... wellies. classic hunter wellington boots. of course, they are the famous british rain boots. i expected them to be made in london. or scotland. well. they used to be. they are now made in china. such a disappointment.

<div style='padding-bottom: 2px; line-height: 0px'><a href='' target='_blank'><img src='' border='0' width='400 height ='237'/></a></div><div style='float: left; padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px;'><p style='font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;'>Source: <a style='text-decoration: underline; font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;' href=''></a> via <a style='text-decoration: underline; font-size: 10px; color: #76838b;' href='' target='_blank'>Nicole</a> on <a style='text-decoration: underline; color: #76838b;' href='' target='_blank'>Pinterest</a></p></div>

what i really wanted to talk about though is michael's and hobby lobby and joann's......... these are staples to my existence. these are my happy places. stores full of opportunity and creativity. shiny, sparkly, soft, warm, pretty things........... and almost. everything. is made in china. ugh.

this was a late revelation. i knew all the crap at walmart or dollar stores was made in china. my plan from the beginning was to make more of my own things. refashion, reuse. right? well, only recently did i realize that most the stuff at michael's, et al. is made in china. if i can't buy my own craft supplies to make my own things, what am i suppose to do? 

it has forced me to use what i already have. that is a good thing. and kind of a fun challenge. projects i've had for years are finally coming to fruition. this weekend i wanted to sew. i decided to refashion several things. all the accoutremont's are made in china. well, most. i think the elastic i finally bought at joann's was made in brazil. jewelry? forget it. all the beads and clasps and earrings and hair clips, etc ..... are made in china. i can reuse a few other things for some of these supplies, but not in the quantity that i'd like (dare i say need?)

what about buying from etsy? i'm sure that, bottom line, the supplies are still probably coming from china. but, then, at least i'm buying from an individual crafter, right? but, if i buy from michael's i'm supporting my local community. of course, it's a major chain, so even that's limited. what is the lesser of the evil's? for now, i try to buy from etsy. some days, michael's or hobby lobby or joann's does win..... mostly because of convienence. and, if i do find things at thrift or antique stores, by all means, i'll buy!!

what are your thoughts? which is your lesser evil?

happy monday.

Monday, May 2, 2011

a few challenges....

vacation was 2 weeks ago. since then, time has flown by. sheesh..... where does the time go!? so, over the past few weeks my darling husband, rob, and i went to look for frisbees and a few things to play with outside. and, just like toys, almost everything in sports authority was made in china. i was ready to give up, until i did find one frisbee made in the usa. my next plan is to hunt down a used sporting goods store.

we are bringing frisbee back. we played three times this week. super fun! yesterday was only about 55* and a little misty (it has been a rainy 2 days). we still had fun.

i ordered a microfiber towel from manduka last week. overall, i think manduka is a pretty great company (trying to be eco-conscious).... it mostly sells yoga mats (amazing yoga mats, b.t.w.). we do hot, power, vinyasa yoga........the heat. the sweat. the stretch. having a microfiber towel is not an option. i ordered a full body (extra long) towel for rob and a hand towel for myself. no where on the website did it say made in china. but, alas, it is.

this brings up my current challenge. online shopping. i feel like i am intentionally being deceived by these people. it is almost impossible to find out where things were made if you are shopping online. occassionally, they will proudly say made in the usa. occassionally, they might say "imported." but, i'm telling you, usually, you have to hunt it down on their site or it really isn't listed anywhere. how can i make an informed buyer choice if i don't have all the information on the product i'm buying?? i use to think that if it didn't say it was imported, then that meant it was safe and made in the u.s. well, that is not true. and, i really feel like they are hiding this information. oh, it just drives me crazy. takes all the fun out of shopping.

now, with that little rant, let me also tell you about kd dance. they sell knitwear for dancers and are based out of new york. they are a fairly small company, but in the world of dance, are well known and well respected. i ordered a pair of knit leggings with a fold down waist. for yoga. i ordered through amazon. kd dance does clearly share that all their products are made right there in manhattan. now, that's what i'm talking about. so, my pants arrived, but were too big. i emailed the company and asked about exchanging them. they were awesome. they replied quickly to my questions. addressed how to make an exchange. asked for my measurements to be sure that the size requested would be the right size. and, i love them! my wardrobe doesn't have much call for knitwear, but, dude, i want to order more just to support kd dance. they even told me they keep their stock fairly limited and try not to over produce on their factory lines. so, they tend to have to make occassional custom orders. i'm sure that sounds ridiculous to the big fashion industry manufacturers, but bravo for kd dance. bravo!

bottom line..... shopping consciously is hard. you have to pay attention. i've been reading labels a long time watching out for harmful ingredients (first with food and now with beauty products), and now i'm watching for where it's made too..... as soon as i let my gaurd down, it's over. it'll have parabens or high fructose corn syrup or made in china or probably both. :) i've said it before, the best thing to do..... try not to shop. we have to make that paradigm shift to buy only what i need, not to shop as a hobby........ don't get sucked into the mall or even the chain super stores. if i don't see it, i won't miss it. if i can make it at home, i'm better off.

happy may! happy monday!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

broke the rules

last week was vacation. aahhh...... so nice.

hubby and i spent the week in sunny, a few days in san bernadino. a few days in newport beach. and a few days in oxnard at mandalay beach. it was a warm cool 75*.

i did not pack from my 33 closet. i'm sorry.

but, i did pack about half my things from my 33 list. i needed beach wear. it's different than saturday wear. turns out a high of 75* isn't exactly warm summer-at-the-beach-warm. i shoulda brought a friggin' hoodie. my cute little cardigan's weren't quite enough.

this is worth sharing.............. i was gone for a week. sunday through sunday. i had my small carry on luggage and my "travel" purse (we all have one of those........... big enough for a book. lots of pockets.). i had workout wear x 3 days. swimsuit. pajamas. skivvies. 3 pairs of shoes (2 pairs of flip flops. not real shoes.). toilletries. clothes to get me through the week. that's pretty light traveling. even my toilletires were pared down.

half my clothes. and my hubby's. unpacked the rest in the dresser.

i have to admit, it was nice traveling light. it was easy. and, no one noticed i wore the same sweater everyday. well, maybe they did.

now, i have post-vacation blues. back to work. a tuesday, like any other tuesday. :)

happy tuesday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The search for shoes

Shoes that are made in America are the Unicorn of the clothing industry. They don't exist. Okay that's not true, there are some leather moccasins and orthopedic shoes that are made in the US.

So what's a person to do who is trying to not buy anything made in China and also trying to make ethical conscious shopping decisions she won't feel guilty about but still needs cute shoes?
Start searching.

I love sneakers, like vans and keds.
However, all keds and all vans are made in China.

I found this adorable company named Keep. I wrote to them asking where their shoes are manufactured, and they wrote me back they are made in China but assuring me they were very involved in the factories over there with frequent audits and yadda yadda...
Of all the big shoe companies, New Balance is the only one who makes any shoes in America. What I found is that they make about 80% of their shoes in the United States, and the rest over seas. The shoes they make here, are mens. Okay, cool, atleast they are trying.

Toms are also outsourced to several countries. They do say on their website how they are dedicated to fair labor practices, and all that jazz. But that just isn't enough for me...

Then I found Osborn Shoes. A small shoe company who works directly with cobblers in Guatemala. Each pair of shoes is signed by the cobbler who made them, and they are beautiful. Buuuut they are $150, and I can't spend that much on shoes....unfortunately....not day....maybe...

There is also this shoe company named Terra Plana, who makes really cute shoes and uses all eco-friendly shoe materials. They are made in China, but they say they partner very closely with the factories there to ensure fair labor practices. But they are also more than $100....

So then after much more hunting, I finally stumbled upon The Autonomie Project. A website dedicated to "organic fair-trade fashion", and they had cute converse-looking sneakers made by a company named Ethletic. They are cute, they are fair trade, they are organic, they are vegan, they are made by a company dedicated to doing things better. I didn't have to go scrolling through the "about us" section of the website to try and find where the shoes were made and I didn't have to email or call the customer contact line because it wasn't even mentioned. It was there at the top of the home page, which means a little more to me.

AND THEN like a day after I saw them online and was debating buying them, I happened to stroll into Moo Shoes in the lower east side before work, AND THEY WERE THERE. So I got ot try them on, and I bought them. At $55 they were just barely in my budget.

So after much searching and searching and deliberating, I finally have a much needed new pair of shoes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


so, i've already realized that i didn't include any earrings in my project 333. i'm not going to change my 33 pieces. i'm just going to exclude earrings this time around. i have about 5 pairs of earrings that i routinely wear. and, of course, i will go through and select out  earrings i rarely wear.

i did have a dinner to go to on tuesday night. i have to admit, it was easy picking out an outfit. i usually moan and whine and try on 20 things and leave a pile in the closet and run 30 minutes late because i can't decide what to wear. this week has been un-seasonably cool. so, i wore my jeans (which are "nice" trouser style jeans) with a long sleeve shirt, my only sweater and my drapey grey cardigan. i think those are all of my long sleeved items. ooohh! and my scarf. really made a great outfit. dinner appropriate. and warm. it was kinda fun to know that's what i was wearing because that's all there was. now, ask me again in 3 months and see how i feel. i suspect i am going to love this! :)

happy day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

project 333

i first read about project 333 months ago. at least 6 months. i was intrigued. the idea is to wear 33 items in your closet for 3 months. the rest gets packed away. every 3 months, you can take stock and trade a few things out as needed for seasons or color change. but, bottom line, you have 33 items to wear for 3 months at a time. check project 333 for a full set of rules........ underwear, work out wear, school or work uniforms are not included, but accessories are.

i finally decided to take the pledge. i thought i'd try it for lent, which started over a week ago...... but, i will do it for 3 months, not just through the 6 weeks of lent.

i started cleaning out my closet last night. the first round was easy. there was a nice pile of things that i pulled out of my closet for being out dated or too big or things i hadn't worn in 5 years. the project continued today........ and, it's getting harder.

i am sitting on the floor of my room as i write this, because i'm stuck. i can't seem to whittle it down to 33. shoes and jewelry and sunglasses and scarves and clothes. for 3 months. i'm trying to approach it as if i was going on a 3 month vacation...... how would i pack? so, i thought blogging about how hard this really is might clear my mind a little.......

here's where i'm at... i know i'll wear....

  1. favorite jeans
  2. jean jacket (a "coley" signature piece) :)
  3. jean mini skirt. i wear it almost every saturday.
  4. brown boots. (to go with the mini. of course).
  5. long grey cardigan.
  6. black skirt (seems practical).
  7. khaki pants.
  8. sunglasses.
  9. purse. i have a pretty little beaded "carpet" bag that i have been using daily for years. why change now?
  10. red patent flats.
  11. brown heels. 
  12. green cardigan.
  13. white blouse.
  14. black tshirt...............
but, i still have at 50 things laying on my bed. i'm going to keep working............

ok, another 2 hours....... 

i am acutely aware that i have emotions tied to certain pieces of clothes. a few obvious one's..... the outfit i wore on our anniversary date. the dress i wore to my brother's wedding. the sweater my mother-in-law knit for me........ but, there a lot of everyday pieces  that don't have any deep meaning. yet, i sense a strange attachment (this doesn't include the guilt of getting rid of a piece that i know was a gift..... even if i don't wear or like it that much...... there is guilt...... i'm working on letting go of that.........). 

the closer i got to the final 33, the harder it was to make a decision. hm. 3 months.

my final count......

  1. favorite jeans
  2. khaki pants
  3. strapless denim dress
  4. turquoise a-line dress
  5. black skirt
  6. denim mini skirt
  7. mustard mini skirt
  8. white short sleeve blouse
  9. white tshirt
  10. black tshirt
  11. grey sleeveless shirt with black bow
  12. grey/white striped short sleeve blouse
  13. navy/white polka dot blouse
  14. red/white striped long sleeve shirt
  15. dark pink ruffle cardigan
  16. green cardigan
  17. light blue cashmere sweater
  18. navy crop jacket
  19. denim jacket
  20. long grey cardigan
  21. multi colored light weight scarf
  22. dark pink cuff bracelet
  23. blue bracelet
  24. metal flower ring
  25. sunglasses
  26. light blue/silver necklace
  27. little bird gold necklace
  28. beaded "carpet bag" purse
  29. brown boots
  30. brown heels
  31. brown dansko clogs
  32. red patent flats
  33. dr.scholls flip flops (pink)
i am not going to pack up the rest of my closet. honestly, it's too much work. i did clean out a lot of things from my closet and i made a space for my 33. i promise to be honest and not stray from my designated pack. i will also post pictures in my flickr account of what i wear............but, i should note....... i do wear scrubs to work, so there won't be daily outfits.....

happy day. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011


i went shopping a little over a week ago .......... at a mall. i don't mall shop like i use to. oh man, remember being 16 & thinking the. mall. was the coolest place ever. i'd walk every single store and spend hours there.... not necessarily spending money, just being there was cool. well, times change, right? my priorities are different. i like where i'm at and i like where i'm going.

we met at the mall mostly for conveience and to kill time. a couple of free hours in an afternoon amidst an otherwise busy weekend. but, i did need a few things...... so, we started at nordstroms. i do love nordstroms. i needed spanx. God bless spanx. and, thankfully, they are not made in china. they are made right here, in the u.s. who knew!? even better.

i also needed make-up. hello, sephora. i wasn't so worried that my make-up was coming from china...... although if i looked, i'd probably be surprised.......... with make-up, i do really watch ingredients. no parabens, no phthalates, no sodium lauryl sulfate, no petrolatum, etc. which eliminates most brands, even the good, high-end brands. sometimes this is really hard. i am a total sucker for packaging and pretty colors and cool slogans. i am easily distracted in sephora (actually, i am just easily distracted.). ok, ok.... focus. tarte does pretty well, but i have to tell you, it is hit or miss. i still have to read the labels. i did buy a lip stain pencil and i love it! and, it's made in america. bonus points again! bare minerals is pretty good. i use a lot of their eyeshadows. they have a prettty hip line out ..... buxom ....... i like it. i kinda keep checking to be sure that it's not too good to be true, but so far, so good. on this trip i bought buxom eyeliner and mascara. i have used their lipgloss in the past (although it didn't last long......). and just to note, eyeliner and mascara were also made in america.  another favorite company is korres. they are a greek beauty company, but clean "green" ingredients. i like their tinted moisturizer foundation.... which i bought on this trip too. i've used their face creams........mmmm..... there is a really pretty rose moisturizer. and i like their lip gloss. so, sephora was a success. i needed foundation and mascara and found a few extra treats. no parabens. no phthalates. and not made in china.

then, we browsed the gap. it wouldn't be a day at the mall without gap, right? oh, they had the cutest jacket .... kind of a trench coat with a ruffle. made in china. beautiful cashemere sweater. on sale. made in china. crazy cute jean skirt. made in china. dang it. i found a cute eggplant purple mini skirt on clearance. made in india. i'll take it........... call me trendy, but i love the mini skirts with knee high socks (with or without tights) and boots. :) so, the purple mini is a good purchase...... alas, the skirt was too big. when i went to exchange it, they didn't have the size smaller. i did find a nice white blouse instead. a good basic. made in india.

we browsed a few other stores..... talbots. ann taylor. banana republic. j.crew. lots of really pretty things. lots made in china. in fact, i kinda gave up.

so, lesson learned today.......... avoid the mall. most things are made in china. and, the mall stirs up the consumer in me. i'm just gonna stay away from now on. :)
happy thursday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

my efforts

so, here we are........... two sisters sharing our agenda for trying to lessen our impact on here's my story....................

over the past year or two, i have started paying attention to what i buy and what it means to the environment, to my carbon footprint, to global economics. i know it's just me and my spending habits are not going to have much impact on wal-mart's stock value or sweatshops in china......................... unless, we all become more aware of the impact our purchasing power can have.....then, maybe it will make a difference. right? one person can make a difference. so, this is me. well, this is us. two sister's trying to make a difference.

for lent, about 2 years ago, i gave up shopping. for 6 weeks, i only bought what was absolutely necessary. mostly food and some personal items. no clothes. no new craft supplies. no fun lip glosses. it turned out not to be much of a challenge. after that, i continued to just watch my spending. i didn't set strict ground rules for not buying new things, but i really questioned myself....... do i really need this? if it wasn't on sale, would i still buy it? do i really love it?

and, about the same time, my favorite boy and i started talking about dreams of living a sustainable lifestyle.... we have big on a farm. grow vegetables. have goats for milk. chickens for eggs. collect rain water. use solar panels and wind power. we aren't there yet. but, the dreams are and our plans are real.

i decided i would do what i could until then.
reduce. reuse. recycle.
use the library.
avoid harmful environmental ingredients/toxins.
eat seasonally / locally.
buy handmade. make handmade.
buy LESS. live with LESS.
and ...... not buying anything Made in China.

we have all heard the horror stories of the sweatshop labor and child labor that is used for all the cheap crap we sell for pennies here in the u.s. (and. sadly, i'm learning, it's not just the cheap crap....... some of it is the nicer things at my favorite "high end" stores too!!!). i am not going to be one to contribute to that. for one year, i promise to not buy anything Made in China. (well, i'll at least aim for 80% success rate)

i don't shop like i use to, but, i have already noticed applying this new rule has kept me from buying things. things i probably don't really need anyways. i have to admit, it can been disappointing............... super cute red couroroy skirt. at anthropologie! on sale. my size. made in china. blergh. there was definite temptation to buy it anyways. i didn't.

unofficially, other new year's resolutions support the same idea of living with less, having less of an impact, etc.................... specific examples?? i shop local when i can (avoiding major chain restaurants and stores). especially, try to buy food locally. grass fed beef from a local ranch. vegetables in season grown locally. buy used things when i can.......... i'll think..... could i find this at goodwill or a thrift or antique store? i also buy handmade when i can, although this usually results in internet orders (i heart etsy!!).... handmade clothes, gifts, bath & beauty products (including makeup). for bath & beauty products, this also means no harmful ingredients..... no phalates. no parabens. no sodium laurel sulfates. we make our own laundry detergent and counter cleaner. there are some name brand companies that are "eco-friendly" but, you always have to read the ingredient list. don't be falsly comforted by cute labeling and sales pitches..... lots of "green products" aren't really that better than conventional products..... blah blah blah..... be careful. know your stuff. research. and of course............. can i make it? or redseign it? can i live without it?

Monday, February 14, 2011

A year without China.....sort of

Happy New Year!
So, it's already February, whatever.
This year's resolution? Trying to not buy anything made in China. Yeah.....wrap your head around that one.
Do you know how much is made in China....A....LOT.

Inspired by an idea entirely my sisters, here is the chronicle of two sisters doing some serious conscious shopping all. year. long.
Because you know what, conscious shopping is hard.

Example A: needed a new broom and dust pan, went to Bed Bath and Beyond. Every brand of broom they sold in the store was made in China. They had 5 brands of brooms. Not one was made any where but China. So you know what I had to do, buy the broom and leave the store feeling extremely guilty. NOT COOL BED BATH AND BEYOND.

Example B: wanted to buy a journal for my man friend as a gift on from the Wise Men. He has recently gotten into fermenting foods, so I was buying him a journal so he could log his efforts and write about what worked and what didn't etc...
I went to Barnes and Nobles, only ONE of the journals they sold in the store was not made in China. ONE. Do you know how many journals they have for sale? They have an entire section of journals totaling atleast 20 different kinds. And only ONE was not made in China. The one I bought was a really simple and cute journal made in Italy.

Conscious shopping requires the time and patience to check every label for those 3 little words, "Made in China" and making the decision to keep looking or to not buy it.