USDA Workshop: How to Start a Community Garden

On Friday, August 27, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be holding an event that celebrates the benefits of community gardens. This workshop will teach you how to start a community garden. Like all their events, this is free and open to the public. You can learn more about the USDA’s People’s Garden and Healthy Garden Series in this blog post I wrote back in May.

Live Green Birthday Bash, August 26th

LiveGreen is turning 2 years old and they will be celebrating with a great party on August 26th at U Street Music Hall with live reggae by See-I, eco-inspired slam poetry and environmental artwork from Gemini Gallery.  There will be awesome appetizers catered by Java Green and Cafe Green, drink specials and door prizes from our great sponsors (including Herban Lifestyle!).

Tickets can be purchased online for only $15, or $20 at the door. And Live Green is offering you 2 months of free member pricing for their Greenbacks program. Greenbacks offers absurd weekly discounts on fun and useful green products and services. The prices are always great but the member prices are even better!

Use the code: lgparty2 to get tickets for $10 (if you’re already a Live Green member) or $15 for non-members.  Purchase them from the Live Green Greenbacks site before they’re gone!

Live Green Birthday Bash
Thursday, August 26, 6:30-9:30 pm
U Street Music Hall: 1115 U Street NW

Scenes from the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market

The weather was perfect on Saturday for the August Ballston Arts & Crafts Market. I was very happy since we got rained out last month. The market is always a lot of fun, well-attended, and full of great artisans.

My next door neighbor this month was the amazing Valerie Williams, owner of Holland Cox. A couple of years ago, Valerie left her lobbying job and now she dedicates all of her time to her beautiful, colorful fabric creations. My favorite Holland Cox item has been her eye masks, which are fashionable and practical. At Saturday’s market, I discovered her newest item, a Japanese obi-style, reversible, wide belt.

And Melissa Lew, whom I met at the 2009 Falls Church Holiday Craft Show, shared the good news with me that she will be displaying her jewelry in the Style Lounge at this year’s Emmy Awards. I have a maneki neko necklace that I bought from her, which I love. She combines Asian iconic imagery with clean modern jewelry designs for a uniquely beautiful look.

Jessica Blaszczak, the wonderfully energetic coordinator of the market, and owner of This Little Piggy, brought cascarrones with her to share with the vendors.

I introduced several new products at this month’s market. They were very well received. The natural herbal deodorant was a big hit, and will become a regular part of my offerings.

Guapo, who is a member of bLuGrnDesign, took a much needed rest after running around checking out all of the vendors as they were setting up. He is a regular attendee at the market, always keeps an eye on what’s going on.

Happy Lucky’s Tea House and Treasures: Serving Up World Change

On our recent trip to the West, we stopped in the city of Fort Collins, CO on our way to Montana via South Dakota. We didn’t spend much time, just enough to have lunch at Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing, which has a wonderful menu with fresh, local items and several vegetarian options. We wanted to grab some coffee for the road, and my eye was caught by an interesting looking store/tea house with an inviting looking name – Happy Lucky’s Tea House and Treasures.

This light-filled shop, housed in a former firehouse, had high ceilings, and beautiful exposed brick walls. Along one area, shelves were lined with tins labeled with all sorts of appealing-sounding tea names. Happy Lucky carries over 100 whole leaf teas. They also carry a nice selection of fresh baked goods from local bakers including galettes, scones, cookies and lemon bars.

I chose a very sensual smelling chocolate and cinnamon tea, and a gluten-free oatmeal bar to go with it. While I was waiting for my tea to brew, I looked around the light-filled, colorful space. Across from the cash register was a hand-written sign explaining why there were paper cranes in a basket and adorning the brick wall. The story of Sadako and the 1000 origami cranes has always touched me, and I thought of it the other day on the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

In the back of the store, there was a nice selection of fair trade handbags, clothing and accessories handmade in Cambodia. Several handbags and accessory pouches caught my eye, but I resisted since I already have an ample collection at home. All of the bags were very attractive and made with repurposed materials.

In reading some literature on a table in the store, I found out that the Cambodian goods are tied into the Happy Lucky mission to support fair trade and education – 10% of profits from the teahouse go to support education in Cambodia via a donation to Sustainable Schools International.

Sustainable Schools International works with poor, rural and marginalized communities in Cambodia to sustain their schools in ways that serve their children and support community needs. Kari Grady Grossman, who was working the counter at Happy Lucky the day I visited, is the Executive Director of Sustainable Schools International (formerly know as Friends of the Grady Grossman School).

According to the Sustainable Schools International website, “In March 2001 George and Kari Grady Grossman traveled to Cambodia to adopt their son. Their desire to leave a legacy of hope for the children left behind led them to American Assistance for Cambodia, a Phnom Penh based humanitarian organization that builds rural schools. They spent three months selling photographs on the internet to raise the $15,700 for a school to be build in their son’s honor. Their donation was matched by the World Bank and construction of the Grady Grossman School began.”

I love discovering businesses that do well, do good and have amazing products. Happy Lucky Tea House and Treasures certainly fits the bill. If I lived closer, I would be a regular!

Happy Lucky is located at 236 Walnut Street in the Old Town section of Fort Collins. If you are interested in finding out more, or hearing about their daily specials, you can visit their website, Fan them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter @happyluckys.

App Happy: Sustainable Shopping Guides for your iPhone

I have been a huge fan of Apple for many, many moons and have had several Macs over the years. When the iPhone was introduced, I thought it was the most brilliant idea ever. I love my iPhone. It makes transferring and transporting information on my Mac laptop super-easy, plus I love apps. I don’t have a million of them, but the ones I have, I use all the time.

So you can imagine how happy I was to learn that Herban Lifestyle is included in three different apps geared toward green shoppers: Find GreenCruelty-Free, and Organic Spa Magazine’s Skin Care Guide. Plus they are all free.

Find Green is GenGreenLife‘s guide to local green shopping sources. The GenGreenLife website is a wonderful source for green news headlines, job listings, and events, as well as tips for living a sustainable life. Companies listed on GenGreenLife have the option of being rated in terms of their environmentally and socially conscious practices. The ratings, from bronze to gold, are given based on each company’s environmental leadership, resource conservation, human capital, purchasing decisions, daily operations and overall sustainability practices. Herban Lifestyle has been awarded the GenGreenLife gold seal.

Cruelty-Free is published by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program. It lists over 200 U.S. and Canadian cosmetic, personal care and household product companies that do not test ingredients, formulations, or finished products on animals. And you can search by companies or by products, making cruelty-free shopping easy. Herban Lifestyle is honored to be amongst those certified companies.

Organic Spa Magazine’s Skin Care Guide provides a searchable list of the leading natural and organic beauty companies. This guide is published by Organic Spa Magazine, which is dedicated to helping people combine spa and wellness lifestyles with a sustainable and organic lifestyle. The magazine offers information and resources on how to lead a more balanced life and how to incorporate spa wisdom into your daily activities. Herban Lifestyle was listed in the July 2010 issue of Organic Spa Magazine, as well as in the Skin Care Guide app.