halloween: treats only, please.
though i knew about the benefits of fairly-traded chocolate (it's fair trade month btw), i was jolted by an article i read in grist, which included this lovely statistic: "...the u.s. agency for international development estimated that about 300,000 children work in the cocoa industry in the ivory coast, ghana, cameroon, and nigeria." this area is responsible for "40 percent of the world's crop." how's that for ironic? here, have some halloween candy that was made by a slave your age for next to nothing ("often earning just $30 to $100 a year.").
most halloween candy is filled with refined sugar (which has its own issues that i won't begin to attack with this post), oils high in fat and of course, animal-derived ingredients, including gelatin which, according to peta is "...animal bones, along with hooves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, all bubbled together in a huge cauldron."
with childhood obesity at an extremely scary level (currently 30 percent of children are overweight, according to the american obesity association), how can i feel good about handing out sugar- and fat-laden sweets?
i want to avoid adding to the frenzy of consumerism (especially for kids) surrounding holidays, birthdays and celebrations. i've been working extremely hard this past year to make my own gifts, support independent artists and donate to causes instead of giving gifts. the panda that we "adopted" for our niece and the membership to best friends we gave her went over swimmingly.) i know homemade treats will end up in the garbage, so that's out.
don't get me wrong. i love halloween as much as anyone and, as this ideal bite newsletter puts it, i don't want to be "that house" on the block that gives out raisins instead of treats. (plus, my better half would totally veto that.) so here's what i came up with.
since i can't be responsible for what kids are allowed to eat and in the spirit of the holiday, i'm going to go with endangered species chocolate, a company that promotes ethically-traded, vegan chocolate. a set of three bags of dark chocolate with 24 pieces each is 12.75. this is actually cheaper than buying three 24 oz.-bags of nestlé crunch bars. though you can place your order in time for halloween by selecting fast shipping, but you can also find a store near you that carries the brand.
i'm also considering putting together a little tag inspired by this kit that showcases benefits of veganism and fair trade, though my better half's head may implode at the very idea since i haven't told him, but i'm also not carving my pumpkins because i want to eat them instead. how much activism can one household take? yin and yang, i tell ya.
- remember: fair trade does not mean it's organic and organic does not mean it's fair trade (from grist).
- list of vegan candy.
- what to do with non-vegan halloween candy.
- list of fair trade american chocolate brands, manufacturers, importers, distributors and european exporters.
- peta's halloween recommendations.
image credit: marthastewart.com.
- circle necklace. a stunning silver necklace by stockholm artist astrid björk. 98.
- marimekko postcards. unikko, one of my favorite designs by marimekko, in postcard form! i'm thinking "frameable!" 16 postcards, 16.50.
- earrings. simple, organic earrings by california artist rebecca godson. (can you tell i've got jewelry on the brain?) 100.
- bright cuff. talk about incorporating color into the ol' wardrobe. this'll do the trick. how cute is it?! 9.
- "the octonauts: the only lonely monster." i want to crawl into this book and live there. the end. check out the authors' adorable desktop wallpaper, too. buy a signed copy from immedium and get a free postcard. [via the small joys, who is actually friends with these amazing artists, lucky gal.] 15.95.
image credits: scandinavian details . one good bumblebee . finnishgifts.com . the octonauts . hip & zen
i'm doing it, by george: nablopomo or national blog posting month, where i'll be posting everyday in november. care to join me as i embark into writers' hell?
- camper boots. i just discovered the camper brand thanks to a heads-up by yvestown in the netherlands. aren't these boots awesome? 270.
- cookie necklace. i love the organic feel of this rena tom necklace, though for some reason, i don't feel like it's a cookie. 35.
- oilily sweater. with a furrowed brow, i was fretting that i'd have to put away my sweater coats, but then i saw that oilily (thanks again for reminding me about them, yvestown!) has one in their new collection, i sighed my relief. besides the pricetag, why, oh, why does it have to be made of mostly wool? 350. (if you're a kcrw fringe benefits member, you receive 15% off at their south coast plaza store!)
- vibrant bag. maybe i should just pack my bags and move to europe because it seems like all i'm attracted to are european designs, like this beautiful bag by kristy powell (and everything uli). £95.
- owl necklace. also, really obsessed with owl jewelry right now. is it the time of year? the skull pendant is really cute, too. 25.
photo credits: dutchbydesign.com . zappos.com . rena tom . oilily . copacetique
get to your happy place.
need a little lift? check out things to be happy about, where you will find — er — things to be happy about. the site is run by author dr. barbara ann kipfer, who has written 37 books, including "14,000 things to be happy about" and one i happened upon yesterday titled "instant karma: 8,879 ways to give yourself and others good fortune right now," which made me immediately want to go fill someone's parking meter. a taste from the site:
- a slumber party with twister, levitation, truth or dare, and popcorn
- the intoxicating smell of root beer
- writing a message in code
- always getting "carded" when buying liquor
perhaps you'll be so inspired that you'll get to your happy place and share your very own happy thought on the site.
for me, it's this musician who plays every weekend at the hollywood farmers' market, bringing an assortment of instruments so the kids can join in. his music is uplifting and the kids dancing around just make the morning so sweet. the act of simply giving what you're best at can't be beat.
hi, my name is.
further evidence that i am truly invisible? last night, our dining companion referred to me by the wrong name when introducing me to friends where we had drinks after dinner. and no, it wasn't a large dinner party. there were only six of us. and the name? not even close to my real name!
our hostess and i had a good laugh about it later, of course and my better half keeps encouraging me to use my "cloak of invisibility" toward the greater good: "you'd make a great spy!" on some level though, i'd still love to be that person that enters the room and completely captivates it.
instead, i'm "julie."
- superpowered necklace. i've wanted to order one of these pieces for some time now and finally have done. according to the incredibly charming and energetic artist, andrea scher, by wearing this necklace, i will acquire the following superpowers: it will protect me from harm, attract people to me and create magic in my life. she even blesses each one as it goes out the door! and if you're not a reader of superhero journal yet, you must go immediately and subscribe to her feed. through her writing and photography, she is a true source of inspiration for me. i had the happy opportunity to listen to her speak in the session, "is the next martha stewart a blogger?" and to meet her at blogher '06. 74.
- sheila fajl earrings. i got lucky and scored a duplicate copy of "lucky" received by my aesthetician's office. i found a pair of earrings in their lucky breaks section that i loved, but when i went to the site, i found these which i love even more. 70.
- handmade cosmetic pouches. are you like me and switch purses all the time? i needed a little pouch to make the job easier. i found angela liu, an artist at etsy (new favorite site, btw), who makes lovely bright pouches and other bags, including diaper bags, messenger bags, purses and clutches. she has many cosmetic pouches available or you can design your own. be forewarned: choosing your fabric can be daunting! 22.
- cheery umbrella. we've had our first sprinkles here in los angeles today and it got me thinking about my boring black umbrella. i'd much rather have this one by orla kiely, or pretty much anything else she designs. on sale, £45.
- organic cotton kimono for baby. you know how i love kimonos on kids (well and just in general)? can this be any cuter?! just add baby! with pants, 50.50.
photo credits: nubius design . superhero designs . orla kiely . angela liu/sanfranciscocrafts . jennifer kaufman
knitting for good.
the weather here is turning and that means it may be time for some indoor crafting. why not put those knitting needles (or if you're a hopeless knitter like me, your time or dollars) to good use?
- for the homeless: warm up america! foundation.
- for preemies: care wear.
- for troubled kids and teens: binky patrol.
check out an entire book devoted to charity knitting, "knitting for peace" by betty christiansen.
source: agrawal, meeta. "a knit in time...." life 6 oct. 2006: 4
- sweet ballet flats. it's closed-toe shoe time and these would do me just fine. 288.
- loungewear. it is also comfy sweat pants time, too. i never knew that penguin made such great women's clothes, too. 89.
- letterpress-edy goodness. new to me letterpress shop! i like their stuff even more since my favorite flower, the peony, is incorporated into this design. 5.
- artisan coasters. these make any cocktail party a little brighter. set of 16, 12.
- cute dog tag. if my dog would stop getting out of her collar and running down the street, i might consider giving this to her. 20.
photo credits: anthropologie . penguin . night owl paper goods . tenth and grant . george
in an ideal world, each of us heads out to the farmers' market once a week (or if you're me last week, three times) to buy our fresh produce. we engage our farmers and ask not only about their goods, but about their processes. how do you grow? are pesticides or herbicides used? if so, which ones?
unfortunately, in the real world, sometimes we travel or we just can't make it to the market. this summer, i was in lake tahoe and arrived a few days before their farmers' market took place, which was acceptable to me. i planned ahead and stopped at a natural foods store in reno to stock-up on some supplies. little did i know that i would be assigned the greens for dinner that evening. for 13. so off we went to the megastore, my lip curled slightly at the thought.
i would have benefited from this wallet-sized guide to pesticides in produce offered free by the environmental working group, dedicated to exposing "threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions."
the salad turned out fine. i ended up purchasing fresh butter lettuce (see no. 11) to which i added the hijiki and cubed smoked szechuan tofu i bought in reno (which my "natural foods-adverse" brother-in-law thought was gouda). not a bad result, but not one i'm willing to try again anytime soon. i prefer to know who brought my no. 11 into this world, thankyouverymuch.
get the guide (english and spanish).
this entry is cross-posted at eatlocalchallenge.com.
image from hollywood farmers' market.