Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eco-Couture Gowns

For many women, the thought of hemp and bamboo-based fabrics summons far too many images of a college dorm room. However, contemporary designers are beginning to incorporate these and other eco-friendly fabrics into their lines. One such designer is Adele Wechsler. This Toronto-based designer boasts three collections (and a fourth on the way) of “eco couture” bridal gowns that are made using certified organic hemp, vegetable dyed silks and remnant fabrics. Despite their eco-status, the gowns still embrace the luxury and ornate design of most other dresses though do so in a conscious way that will make any bride feel proud while walking down the aisle. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tea Tin Centerpieces

A chronic tea drinker, I’ve been collecting tea tins for years. The bright colors on the tins as well as the often-ornate designs completely inspire me. And because many such tea tins are also decorated with foreign lettering (such as those that I occasionally pick up at my local Asian market), they suddenly make me feel as though I’ve embarked on some exotic adventure. Once I’ve finished the actual tea, I usually find small uses for the tins around my house (I especially love displaying them on my white desk as storage for loose pens and pencils). However, used tea tins also double as beautiful vases. Simply wash each tin with warm, soapy water. Then, make a quick liner for each tin by snipping up an old plastic grocery bag. Don’t be too fussy when choosing your flowers. Stick with one type of flower for each bin and embrace the intentional color contrast for a stylish, eclectic feel. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bamboo Charcoal Body Bar

About a year ago, my boyfriend and I began purchasing bars of bamboo charcoal soap to keep at our kitchen sink. Because he is a chef, and because we are both constantly experimenting in the kitchen, we found that bamboo soap is a great kitchen staple. The soap is naturally anti-bacterial and because of its naturally occurring negative ionic charge, it eliminates icky food smells from your hands almost immediately. Fast forward to late January. While enjoying my coffee and browsing through the (endless) aisles of the NYC Gift Show, I met some (sincerely friendly) reps from the company EverBamboo who introduced me to their line of deodorizers and skin care products. Next time you are invited to someone’s home and are looking for an interesting spin on a traditional hostess gift, consider a set of the company’s bamboo charcoal face and body bars. The jet-black soaps are the perfect hybrid between classic and edgy with just a hint of masculinity. And since they are created using rapidly growing bamboo (i.e.: growth rates averaging 2+ feet daily), a natural deodorizer, your gift will be eco-friendly, too.

Photo: EverBamboo

Food for Thought

With a father who is a florist and a boyfriend who is a chef, it seems only natural that I am attracted to the idea of using food as a centerpiece. The next time you have guests arriving on short notice, don’t sacrifice a beautiful tabletop simply because of time. Instead, mindfully arrange food items you already plan on serving down the center of your table in lieu of a more “traditional” (and potentially wasteful) centerpiece. For an impromptu summer lunch or brunch, consider arranging small baskets or bowls across your table that are filled with fresh, brightly colored fruits and vegetables (purchased from a local farmers' market) that guests will pick on while enjoying easy conversation. Organizing an evening get-together? Keep things simple yet stylish at your next dinner party by embracing the casual feel of Tuscany. Forgo a formal antipasto plate and instead scatter drinking glasses filled with breadsticks as well as small baskets and plates of fresh, organic olives, tomatoes, Italian meats, etc. to substitute a more structured centerpiece.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We LOVE: DognBird's Beautiful DIY Artichoke Candle Holders!

Check out these BEAUTIFUL DIY artichoke candle holders, compliments of our friends over at DognBird. Be sure to check out their site for more info!

Photo: DognBird

DIY Favors: Mini-Terrariums

With all of the snowy days we’ve been having, I’ve been spending many hours indoors preoccupied with DIY projects that will help spruce up my apartment. This week, I’m working on a terrarium to set on a new console table in my living room. Though the terrarium I’m assembling is going to be in a container that is about 12-inches in diameter, I thought to myself this morning “wouldn’t a mini version of this be an adorable favor or self-standing centerpiece for a wedding or party?” What can I say: no matter how hard I try to avoid it, my mind, regardless of what I’m doing, always drifts towards the idea of a good party! A collection of small terrariums placed in the center of a table, along with perhaps a few soy-based candles, would make for a pretty and unexpected centerpiece for a dining table or for small pub tables during a cocktail hour. Already have your eye on a specific centerpiece style? Why not gather up your team of bridesmaids and spend a weekend afternoon together with a good bottle (or bottles) of wine for a terrarium-assembling get together? Place one mini-terrarium at every place setting as a beautiful living favor that will only add to the style of your tabletop décor.

What You’ll Need:
- A collection of clear glass votive holders and/or small rounded vases
- Sand
- Small river rocks
- A variety of miniature succulents


Fill each votive holder/vase with sand. On top of the sand, organize a layer of the river rocks. Then, securely place a selection of the succulents (preferably in varying sizes and colors) throughout the rocks (if needed, use toothpicks or thin needles to secure the plants). Once everything is in place, use a dropper to add a bit of water to your new terrarium (only a few drops are needed). 

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Bit of Inspiration

Appropriately, I came across this beautiful quote while considering some new party favor ideas:

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." -Meister Eckhardt

A Sweet Parting: Organic and All-Natural Candies

Send your guests away from your big event with a little something to help satisfy their sweet tooth. Many candy companies now carry organic and all-natural lines of chocolates, hard candies and gummies that will make inexpensive favors for any special event. One company in particular is Sweet Botanicals. Sweet Botanicals specializes in confections that are free from added preservatives and instead rely on pure plant extracts to give their candies beautiful colors and unique tastes. In addition to their hard candies, which are uniquely shaped thanks to the use of antique candy molds, the company also offers sour jellies, candy canes, lollipops and a sugar-free line – all made using completely conscious ingredients. Set one small container of these delicious candies at each place setting. With eclectic flavors such as fennel, rose, elderberry and (my personal favorite) “hangover”, they’ll serve double duty: a small, extended thank you to each guest as well as an excellent icebreaker. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring Favor Idea

Although I love winter, I have officially reached the point in the season when I have begun to spend hours each day dreaming about warmer months. I particularly love springtime, when everything is just coming back into bloom and the air is that perfect mix between cool and almost warm. These recent thoughts have inspired me to begin browsing for favors and decor that would suit spring affairs, which has led me to these: Garden Sprinkles. My mother first introduced me to Potting Shed Creations’ Garden Sprinkles last spring when she included them in a small gift basket, though I was recently reintroduced to them while browsing the company’s booth at the NYC Gift Show in late January. Each tin contains a blend of flower and/or herb seeds, which can be sprinkled through an already established garden or across a neglected patch of yard (I really liked the wildflower mix). Also, the tins, which are magnetized and feature colorful illustrations on their lids, can be reused as magnets. And at roughly $3.00 each, they'd make perfect favors to sprinkle all across your spring table setting. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DIY Favors: Tea Bags

Anyone who knows me knows I have an absolute obsession when it comes to tea. I drink several cups of green tea daily. I’ve been known to take baths infused with green and white tea. I spent way too many hours in college hanging out at this hip little tearoom, sipping as much tea as the staff would serve me. Hence, it’s probably no surprise that I find the idea of homemade tea bags to be an adorable favor option. By using an organic variety of loose tea as well as natural, unbleached tea bags, you and your team of bridesmaids can easily create inexpensive, unexpected, eco-chic offerings for your guests.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse: Birdcage Lights

Here is just another (beautiful and entirely romantic) example of how to reuse common items by repurposing them into something entirely new.
Photo: Dog n Bird

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unique Favors: Try a Cup of Tea

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting some individuals from the wonderful company Teatulia while browsing at the NYC Gift Show. Teatulia grows all of its tea using organic, sustainable and entirely responsible methods in a single tea garden in Bangladesh (in fact, the only USDA certified organic tea garden in Bangladesh). Their teas are excellent (I am a big fan of their white tea) and come in simple, yet pretty packaging, making any of their products a perfect hostess gift, small favor, etc. 
Photos: Teatulia

Simple Table Setting

There is something to be said for keeping things simple. However, these days, the wedding industry seems to embrace just the opposite of this, thriving on over-the-top extravagance and unnecessary detail. Here is an example of a beautiful table setting that embraces simplicity and comes away a little bit more chic as a result.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Easy DIY Centerpieces

Here is a super easy way to showcase some of your favorite stemware and assemble chic centerpieces at the same time. Rather than purchasing new vases or containers to house flowers, gather some of your favorite goblets, wine glasses and the like. Arrange glasses upside on your tabletop and display a large, fresh-cut and colorful bloom beneath each glass (no water needed!). Then, decorate the "bottom" of each glass with a decorative votive (preferably soy or beeswax) for a fun and feminine (and fast) tabletop!
Photo: Rachael Ray via DognBird

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shabby-Chic Table

Although in some cases, a sense of uniformity is not only appreciated, but necessary, consider breaking out of the mold when assembling the seating arrangements for your next party. Instead of opting for the traditional folding chair (which lacks style) or purchasing an entire collection of new chairs (which is both costly and has the potential to be somewhat wasteful), why not borrow an array of seating options from neighbors and friends? Although the chairs may not all be from the same “set,” you can still maintain coherency by using simple tabletop décor that is arranged around a neutral palette.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Unique Table Runners

I get very excited when I find chic examples of people reusing reclaimed materials in fresh ways. Here, vintage player piano reels are given a second life as adorable table runners. The interesting designs on the reels are certain to spark excellent conversation among guests!
Photo: 100 Layer Cake

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gifts of Love

Whether you are married, engaged, just starting a relationship, or a single girl out on the town, Valentine’s Day is an inspired time of year to share small tokens of appreciation with friends and loved ones. During the entire month of February, I’m known for handing out heart-shaped candies to nearly everyone who crosses my path and for hiding handwritten Valentine’s around my apartment for my boyfriend to stumble upon. If you plan on hosting an intimate V-day dinner for two, a lunch for your closest girlfriends, or any shade of cupid-worthy party this week, consider celebrating your love with some of the adorable gift ideas below (all of which would also serve as romantic favors or gifts for a wedding or any other special occasion.)

Keep love in full bloom by offering your Valentine a packet of seeds adorned with a personalized note.

Instead of heart-shaped candies, offer your guests these sweet, handmade soaps.

Why give a gift that will be thrown away? Give thanks to your favorite chef with a trio of patchwork potholders that she is sure to use for many months.

Enjoy a simple moment with a loved one while sipping a warm cup of tea.

African violets trimmed to resemble hearts are a quirky reminder of your love.

Any booklover is certain to cherish this heart-shaped bookmark, perfect for marking the pages of any great love story.

Recycle old ties by crafting them into feminine silk envelopes.

Cover all of your tasty Valentine’s Day baked goods in these lovely wax wrappings to make an even sweeter treat.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We Moved!

Woo Hoo! We're happy you've tracked us down at our new address! We hope this will be a more permanent home for us! Take some time to browse around. You'll find all of our old posts, as well as a few new ones, too. Also, you might enjoy our new archive system, which can be found at the bottom of every post, and ever so politely recommends you to past posts. Neat, huh? And when you're done browsing, please let us know what you think of the new site. Comments? Suggestions? Love at first sight? We accept all sorts of commentary (though humor is most appreciated).

We're on a bit of a hiatus for a few days as far as new posts go, but by next week, we'll be back on track to bring you lots of fresh, fun and contemporary tips for throwing excellent green events. There are some great things in the works. Everything from tips to help you plan your perfect Valentine's Day get-together to a round up of all of the wonderful (green) artisans we had the chance to meet last week at the NYC Gift Show.

Thanks for your support. Keep spreading the word!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vintage Glamour

When it comes to the most important element of any fabulous party, for me, it always comes down to one thing: the perfect outfit. Whether you are attending/hosting a wedding, a cocktail party or a luncheon, special occasions, in my opinion, nearly always call for a special party dress (or at the very least, a special accessory). Timeless Vixen boasts an amazing assortment of vintage dresses, many of which have a fun, flirty 1950’s feel and yet manage to come across as modern at the same time. Like most vintage clothing retailers, their prices vary, according to each piece. For those with thin wallets, browse their adorable and affordable day dresses. For those looking to splurge, view their gorgeous evening and wedding dresses. Either way, you are bound to end up with something completely unique, completely beautiful and completely green.

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