Friday, October 31, 2008

Chew on This: Gum Tree is Opening!

How frustrating the constant and never ending search for green merchandise in our local stores. Many shops are carrying at least a couple eco-friendly products, but who has time to strip search the product labels of every item we pick up? As much as I love supporting my local economy, I find myself shopping online for most of my eco-conscious gifts and needs. It is much easier to find what I need with the help of those online directories.

So when I heard a shop dedicated to supporting local merchants and green products was opening just a mere few miles from my home, the giddiness overtook me. I was soon telling my friends, neighbors, doctors and yoga instructors. Everyone had to know about this! Yes, Gum Tree was the sweet refreshment I had been waiting for in my local shopping experience.

On Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, in a beautiful craftsman style beach house, Gum Tree is half eco gift shop and half organic cafe. The shop proves to all those weary of the "brown bag" eco product, that environmentally friendly can be as easy on the eyes as it is on the earth. Chic, sophisticated and with all the freshness of the near by sea air, you'll be able to shop for home, baby, and of course yourself. And once you've exhausted yourself, and possibly your pocket book (if you failed to resist the urge to buy everything!) then you can cruise just steps to the adjoining cafe and grab a bite.

Gum Tree opens tomorrow! Stop by for the grand opening. Support Green & support local business!

Gum Tree
238 Pier Avenue
Hermosa Beach, CA

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Will you be caught dead?

You may already be planning to hit up Oceanside's fifth annual street fair in celebration of Dia de los Muertos. While you are down there, take some shelter from the sun and head down Artist's Alley, between Pierview and Mission Ave, where the Oceanside Craft Mafia will be hosting it's first annual craft fair and trunk show in conjunction with the holiday. Plan on being wow'd by members' handmade products. Find original items including jewelry, pottery, hand made cards, baby goods, and much, much more. And, though it may seem early, time does fly and this is a great way to kick off your holiday shopping and support your local economy.

The Oceanside Craft Mafia's Trunk Show is Saturday, November 1st from 7 to 9:30 pm. The Trunk Show booth space is by reservation only and will feature drinks, appetizers, and of course fabulous hand made goods. For information contact Not down for the late night shopping? Find the same great vendors on Sunday, Nov 2nd from 10 am to 2 pm. Follow the chalk art and live music or just map it. Artist's Alley is located at 212 N. Coast Hwy, Unit D, enter through the alley, in Oceanside, CA.

The Oceanside Craft Mafia is a culmination of jewelers, paper crafters, potters and stitchers.  The group embraces the morals and creative achievements of the members of the Austin Craft Mafia (, who began the now national crafters organization.
In addition to offering moral support to one another, the OCM works together to creatively market their individual companies and products.  By pooling resources they are able to help one another become more successful in an inundated indie craft market.  It's as much about being a family as it is building business. They rely on one another to inspire, assist and care for one another, and always adhering to strict personal and business ethics.  
The real glue that brings this group together is the hope to personalize the consumer market.  We literally have the world’s market to shop from thanks to the World Wide Web.  But so many of our options are impersonal and mass produced.  The OCM supports hand-made and artisan products and believes strongly that they are better made and life enriching.

For more information about the Oceanside Craft Mafia and it's members please visit:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A New Bag in Town

Manhattan Beach City Council proved they were up for the eco-challenge when on July 15th they unanimously adopted an ordinance banning plastic bags! Manhattan Beach is the second city in the Nation to adopt the plastic bag which begins in February 2009. Plastic bags are often carried by the wind into storm drains and into the ocean where fish and birds mistakenly eat the bags thinking it is food and end up dying. Also, plastic bags end up in the trash where they take a very long time to breakdown.

Go Manhattan Beach! I'm very proud of you!

If you haven't already started bringing your own bags to the store the time is now. You can read my post on reusable tote bags.

For more information on the plastic bag ban in Manhattan Beach visit

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Not a Chinese Junk, Our Junk!

A friend recently sent me a link to a very interesting blog. It is the story of a raft named Junk, and made of just that, junk! Made from 15,000 plastic bottles, Junk, as I type this, sails from California to Hawaii with a strong message aboard: Recycle! There is more trash and plastic in the North Pacific Ocean now than ever. It never completely breaks down and pollutes the ocean and it's inhabitants with various chemicals. The 2 man crew of Junk recently reach the halfway point of their journey and you can follow them day by day on their blog.

To check them out and to learn more visit and spread the word. The more people who know of Junk and its message the stronger that message will be!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wear Your Ride Well!

I am very enamored with the new breed of eco-crafter. So much fabulous junk exists in this world and it is just begging to be re-fashioned. Alicia and Brad of Hi Octane Jewelry are no exception to this excellence in recycled craft.

The hot rod inspired jewelry Alicia and Brad create begins from drawings which they then make into molds. The final sterling silver products are divine! But from my view, that of the obsessive recycler, their best jewelry is made from old car parts. Using emblems from cars that now spend their golden years in junk yards and scrap heaps, they clean each old car emblem carefully. They then attach hardware to the emblem so it can relive its days of glory on the open road, only now, it rides around your neck! Each necklace is completely handmade, recycled, and finely finished. Really, what more could you possible want!?! So maybe your first love was a Mustang, or even a Buick (don't worry, I won't tell); what better way to commemorate the former 4-wheels of your heart than to wear a piece of it around your neck.

You can see all of Hi Octane Jewelry's designs on their site. But you may want to contact them to see what car emblems they have in stock.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Big Yellow Idler

Looking back, the yellow school bus provided pages and pages of childhood memories. I remember waiting in the freezing cold Colorado mornings for the bus to turn the corner so I could board and get the feeling back in my toes. I remember the windows that never quite went up or down all the way. And of course, the smell. Why is it that school buses always had that distinct smell!?!

The smell buses are better know for now are their emissions! But the EPA hopes to scrub the air clean of that. The National Idle-Reduction Campaign hopes to spread school to school and encourage bus drivers to turn off their engines while they wait for kids to load and unload in their masses. What better way to teach the future how to properly take care of the earth, than by showing them!

The EPA knows that idling buses are bad for the environment, a waste fuel and money, and are a cause for concern when it comes to the health of drivers, students and teachers. The catch is, that they need our help. They've provided all the tools you need to begin your own Idle-Reduction Campaign in your school district.

Just go to their website or direct:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Boho Cometh!

I always love when a great new green idea finds me and I don't have to go searching for it. Well, this was exactly the case when in my inbox I had a message about Boho magazine. I have gained a whole new respect for high fashion with this magazine that not only spotlights eco-designers, but prints its entire magazine on recycled paper with soy inks. Yes, yes. I think I'm in love. And, as you may have guessed, it takes more than outward appearances to impress me. That being said, Boho nurtures a woman's needs to be beautiful and eco-conscious inside and out.

For you fashionistas out there, you are probably already familiar with and it's founder/stylist Gina La Morte. As if she weren't already fantastic enough, she is adding to her resume Boho; the first American Magazine to be founded by a U.S. stylist, and the first fashion magazine to cater to Mother Earth by being 100% recycled. You go girl!

Boho Magazine hits newsstands on August 12th. 10% of the net proceeds of Boho go to environmental and humanitarian charities. For more info or to get a subscription go to

Thursday, July 24, 2008

This News is Good News..

No news is good news, or at least the story goes. I did however recently discover Grist; a news blog focusing on environmental news and seasoned with a sense of humor. That in itself is good news!

Grist covers all the same categories as your daily paper or online news source. There are discussions and articles on politics, lifestyle, energy, parenting, and even celebrities. I even found myself shamelessly reading an article entitled, "The Hot Rancher Speaks." And yes, he was hot! I tried to read his answers to very important environmental questions but found the pictures distracting.

Grist makes catching up on the news a more enjoyable experience and I will definitely be on top of the world issues now that I've hooked into their RSS feed!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

One Man's Trash....

I don't often make it down to Long Beach but I'm always down for exploring a new creative spot. A new shop opened by Lisa Hernandez definitely struck my curiosity. Modeled after the Scrap in San Francisco and the East Bay Depot for Creative ReUse in Oakland, The Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse is home to junk... and lots of it. To all you eco-crafters this is right up your alley. You'll find vintage junk, misprinted items, corks, bottle caps, and list goes on and on. The best part is it's cheap. A 20 spot could buy you bags and bags of stuff! This is recycling at its very best. If you are in the area, or even if your aren't, be sure to check out The Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse in the new East Village Arts District.

The Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse
320 Elm Ave
Long Beach, CA 90899
(562) 437-9999

For more press:


Press Telegram

Long Beach Green Guide

Friday, July 18, 2008

Shower the Way Mother Earth Intended!

I love nothing more than a nice long shower. But a lot of bath products out there defeat the purpose of my behind-the-curtain spa time with their additives, preservatives and such. I was lucky to meet Kasey Evick, co-owner of Biggs & Featherbelle, when I recently attended the Renegade Craft Fair. She and her sister, Kelly, have created an entire line of all natural body products; soap, lotion, lip balm. You know, all the stuff girls really dig. If we used this kind of soap growing up I wouldn't have fear the warning of a mouth be washed out!

You die-hards out there, myself included, will be glad to hear; not only are the products all natural, but you could practically eat their brochures and packaging with use of recycled papers and soy inks. I bought the cutest little gift set for my friend who was dog-sitting my boston terrier. Now, I find myself gazing longingly at their website. I know I won't escape the weekend without a purchase!!!

To fully grasp what I'm ranting about, visit their website:

Thanks Kasey & Kelly for making the shower a greener place!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mo' Money Mo'

The Maloof's hosted their first annual Maloof Money Cup over the weekend. The event was a huge success with great talent and the biggest money cup in skatebaording history! The show airs this Sunday, July 20th at 12PT/3ET. The title on your direct TV menu will say "skateboarding." That's right! Skating boarding on CBS. I can hardly believe it! Thanks go out to the Maloof's for giving skatboarding a proper platform on a national network! And props to WINDOWSEATpictures who always deliver top notch action sports programming.

To watch the trailer visit this link:

or catch more info on the event at:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Renegade: We heart you!

Wow! Renegade showed us how a craft fair should be! This weekend was fabulous. Alicia & Brad of Hi Octane Jewelry and myself (Leah of Peez & Ques) had a great time in San Francisco while participating in the first annual west coast Renegade Craft Fair. We arrived back in Oceanside last night around 4 am. It may be sleep deprivation, but I'd like to think this giddy fuzzy feeling in my head is the crafty high I'm still feeling from two days of creative bliss!

The vendors who joined us at the for the event were really quite outstanding. So much creativity, quality and attention to detail. There were handmade and naturalbody products by Biggs & Featherbelle, hand sewns satchels by Blissful, representation by the Los Angeles and Sacramento Craft Mafias and topped off with veggie burgers and vegan almond icecream! Really so much talent. If you haven't already, cruise by the Renegade website and browse its vendors' websites.

And, just when we thought we could love the Renegade event any more, they brought in the band. Not just any band...Mucca Pazza, a punk inspired marching band. By the way Mucca Pazza, I think we are all very curious what your rehearsals must be like. I'm guessing organized, fantastic chaos... you must You Tube that for us!!!

To all the vendors at Renegade, it was an absolute pleasure. You were all superb, and friendly to boot! I do hope to bump into you all again soon!

Enjoy these pics from Alicia and Leah of the Oceanside Craft Mafia:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Renegade: Finally Hittin' the West!

We are glad to announce the Rengade Craft Fair hosts its first annual "west side" event this month at Fort Mason in San francisco. To say Renegade's arrival to the West Coast was highly anticipated would be a gross understatement! Events in Chicago, and New York boasts hundreds of applicants and tens of thousands of shoppers! The San fransisco event is sure to hold its own with Renegade's recognition amongst crafters, artists and those who support handmade.

California is a big state, but if you are in San Fransisco, plan to be, or up for a flight or road trip, The Renegade Craft Fair will not disappoint. You'll find the Oceanside Craft Mafia representin' the O.C. Look for founding members, Alicia and Leah at their booth for HiOctane Jewelry and Peez & Ques recycled stationery. They'll be selling goods galore, but only in between trips outside to take in the amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge!

The San Fransisco Renegade Craft Fair will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13th from 11 am to 7 pm at the Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion. For more information check out

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Whole Foods to the Rescue

I've always been a fan of Whole Foods, but as of late, the organic grocerery chain has captured my respect. While trying to peddle my cards, I learned that Whole Foods tries to buy locally whenever possible. This led me to want to research the full scope of WF's do-gooding. They are not only a great source of healthful information, support the local ecomony, but also often donate to local charities. One example of this is their 5% days. They work with a local school or charity, pick a day at their store, and donte 5% of their net sales that day to the selected charity. For example, this Thursday at the WF's in Redondo Beach, CA, 5% goes to the Surfrider Foundation. To keep abreast of the 5% days at your local WF's, visit their website, choose your location and sign up for the Fl@vor's email list.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dessert with nothing in it...

I am believer that you are what you eat. It doesn't help that I have the Internet at the tip of my fingers and have found site after site discouraging me from feasting on trans fats, refined sugar and other flavorful delights. I am also an avid watcher of Martha Stewart. Laugh all you want, but I do love that woman! It was on an episode of Martha that I was introduced to BabyCakes NYC. Erin McKenna, Owner, chef and fellow allergy sufferer, made a batch of her allergen-free brownies. I tried them at home and was hooked..... for life!

I was recently in New York to scope out the Stationery Show. At the top of my list of New York to do's was of course visiting BabyCakes Bakery in person. With a steady line of customers, BabyCakes is a quaint little place. Only someone with dietary restrictions could relate to the joy I felt knowing I could order any cupcake I want. Vanilla, chocolate, banana, coconut... They were moist and flavorful, and were topped off great with a brownie! BabyCakes has an extensive sweets menu, but a girl has to limit herself!

There has been rumor that BabyCakes NYC may be coming to Los Angeles. We've plenty of cupcakeries here in LA but none that may boast vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free all in one cup cake. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would visit a West Coast BabyCakes shop. Come on! We're waiting!