Join Us at DC Craft Mafia’s Monster Craft Mash on 10/29!

[October 29, 2011, 12:55pm – the organizers of the Monster Craft Mash have announced that the show is being cancelled due to predicted snow in DC tomorrow. They will be organizing another Spring Fling in a couple of months, and I will be participating, so please stay tuned for more info!]

I hope you can join us at DC Craft Mafia‘s Monster Craft Mash! It will be held on Saturday, October 29th, from 11:00am – 5:00pm at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, at the corner of 15th St. and P St., NW, Washington, DC.

There is an amazing list of vendors, offering a wide array of crafty goodness from gorgeous jewelry, to beautifully designed accessories, unique home goods, exquisite paper goods, delicious bath and body products, and so much more.

For more information, visit the Monster Craft Mash Facebook page, or DC Craft Mafia’s website.

Getting my Green Geek on at the Solar Decathlon

The following post is by Katie Peige, Herban Lifestyle’s Sustainability Associate

This year Washington, DC hosted the Solar Decathlon for the fifth time since its inaugural competition in 2002. Since then, the competition has been held every two years, allowing students two years to take their proposed ideas and turn them into reality. Twenty college teams compete at the Solar Decathlon where have the opportunity to win several different contests including Most Affordable, Best Architecture, Best Engineering, and Best Communications. Teams ultimately compete for the top honor of winning the solar decathlon, which is determined by the team with the most overall points determined by diverse criteria. There is also the coveted People’s Choice Awards, which adds an additional layer of fun and really makes the students shine when they are giving the public tours.

I originally planned to hit the whole competition in a day but gave myself the backup day of Sunday just in case I could not get to it all. I am so glad I did. Saturday was a mad house and the lines were quite long, so after about two hours I only saw about four houses and I was starving (the venue ran out of food) so I decided to return the next day.

I am so glad I came back. I was determined to see all of the nineteen homes, an endeavor that took me about six hours over the two days. After six hours and two days the houses start to blur in your mind and it is hard to remember which awesome detail or technology went with which house. After a bit of review thanks to the handy dandy information the teams handed out, my people’s choice award went to Maryland.

Image source Treehugger.com

Rather than basing my choice on the engineering, I to admit that I picked my favorites based on which ones I could see myself moving into the next day. Maryland won hands down for my People’s Choice Award vote, mainly because I am from Maryland and have a serious affection for anything that promotes the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland’s house, dubbed Watershed, not only produces all of its energy but also has an impressive water management design complete with a green roof. Instead of all the water going down the drain and eventually to the sewers, the greywater (wastewater that does not contain biosolids such as feces or food) gets diverted to the greywater treatment wetlands where the plants break down the nutrients and remove pathogens allowing the now clean water to be used for plants elsewhere around the house. There are countless reasons why I love this house, there are so many cool features such as their interior design (complete with the taco bed/table) and amazing engineering features such as the Liquid Desiccant Waterfall system which absorbs humidity from the air. I highly suggest checking out 2011.solarteam.org to check out all the amazing features of Watershed.

photos of a taco bed

There are several design features I would like to highlight briefly for the other homes. I really enjoyed the small spaces and was inspired by how comfortable these small houses were. I was especially fascinated by the ways teams hid the beds (Murphy beds, taco bed/table/, giant drawer).  I loved Middlebury’s house and was very impressed since they do not have a school of architecture. All of their furniture was made from locally harvested Vermont wood or reused pieces such as a really cool old trunk that they were using as a coffee table. One of my favorite highlights from this house was the idea of having a greenhouse in your kitchen, so if you needed basil, for example, you could just turn around and pick some and throw it into your simmering pot. Appalachian State, the Solar Homestead, was stunning as well. It seemed to have the most space and felt very homey. My favorite part was the kitchen/living room area due to their clever way to cover up the kitchen. If you have guests over for movie night, just cover it up with a movie screen!

Greenhouse in the Middlebury kitchen

New Zealand’s house was drop dead gorgeous. The house is called First Light because New Zealand is the first country to greet the new day sun. One of my favorite features of this house is the use of recycled sheep’s wool (an abundant renewable resource for New Zealand) as insulation. Tidewater Virginia’s Unit 6, was super fun and well decorated. I loved the sliding bookcase that doubled as a bedroom door, and the students played it up pretending there was a special book you had to pull to reveal the secret chamber. Interestingly, Tennessee’s team used Solyndra’s solar tubes that collect light from every angel instead of the sun shinning directly onto a panel, pretty sweet technology, too bad Solyndra is now in the headlines for a scandal.

After spending two days at the Solar Decathlon, I was sad to leave – there was still so much left to learn! I was so jealous of these students, and it made me miss school terribly. By the way, I went to Arizona State University, and I was shocked that there was not one school represented from the sunny dessert areas such as Arizona or New Mexico. I am just going to cross my fingers that Arizona State will be at the next Solar Decathlon; I know I will be, I would not miss it for the world.

Join us at Crafty Bastards on 10/1!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been busy gearing up for this year’s Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Show in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC. In its 8th year, it’s one of the biggest craft shows in the country drawing an estimated 30,000 attendees. I am super honored to have been chosen to be a vendor. And it’s not only a great place to be a vendor, it’s also a dream-come-true for the shopper looking for unique, high-quality handcrafted gifts.

fuzzy soap display at Crafty Bastards 2010

It’s a huge show, with tons of great stuff to see and do – besides all the amazing crafts, there will also be DIY demos, food vendors, as well as the new Young & Crafty (featuring the wares of crafty kids 18 and under) and Crafty Food vendors (featuring home brew, preserves and pickles!). So, in order to maximize your time there, you can take a look at the vendor page to get a preview of the who will be selling what, then download the official Crafty Bastards vendor map so you can make sure you find all your favorites.

If you are in DC that day, please stop by Booth #88 and say, “Hi!” (If you are in the market for fuzzy soap, try to get there early, since we sold out of all 100 before the end of the day last year!) I hope to see you there!

Our New Brick and Mortar Friend: CARBON, DC

image copyright Examiner

The following post is by Katie Peige, Herban Lifestyle’s Sustainability Associate. We are kicking off a new blog series that focuses on the cool, sustainable shops that carry the Herban Lifestyle line.

CARBON, located locally in Washington DC across from the Woodley Park-Zoo/ Adams Morgan metro, starts off the series after our line debuted there with a day of demos on August 6th. I first visited CARBON in April for an SBNOW event. I was so impressed that I later mentioned it in our Mother’s Day blog post featuring places to buy cool sustainable gifts for mom.

CARBON opened its doors in 2004, offering comfortable and chic shoes. In March 2011, CARBON expanded its offerings to include eco-chic clothing, jewelry, handbags and more thanks to the new owner Katherine Limon. Apart from being a fashionista’s paradise, what excites me the most about CARBON is its environmental commitment, especially the fact that it is 100% wind powered.

Recycled silver cherry blossom necklace by Melissa Lew. Image copyright Melissa Lew.

Other sustainable aspects of the store include a commitment to showcasing the work of local artists and artisans. Recently, the photography of Max Landerman adorned the walls of CARBON, an exhibition that will continue through this month. And the jewelry of Melissa Lew really caught my eye with her Asian influence and spectacular cherry blossom designs. Katherine is gearing up for the fall so there was a huge sale for her spring and summer items including a 40% off sale on the shoes with the exception of the new inventory. There are many temptations in the store such as their handbags, jewelry, and restyled vintage clothing.

image copyright The Fashion Brewery

Be sure to stop by CARBON for local and sustainable fashion offerings and be sure to check out the Herban Lifestyle products when you are there! CARBON is located at 2643 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington DC 20008.

Join Us at DC Craft Mafia’s Spring Thing May 21st!


Herban Lifestyle is thrilled to be vending at the DC Craft Mafia’s Spring Thing on May 21, from 11am-5pm. The show will be held in the parking lot of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at the corner of P Street & 15th Street, NW in Washington, DC.

Over 40 amazing artisans will be exhibiting, including several of my crafty faves, including: Craftgasm, Namoo, Lil’ Fishy, This Little Piggy, Bette’s Bags, EHL Creations and Blugrn Design!

There will also be music, food, and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will be there from 11am-4pm with information and dogs available for adoption. There will also be an artist raffle with all proceeds going Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. It should be a great show. So please stop by and say hi! We’ll be at Booth #7.

For more info on the DC Craft Mafia and the Spring Thing, check out this great Washingtonian article!

Ballston Arts & Crafts Market May 14th!

We are happy to announce that we will once again be participating in the 2011 Ballston Arts & Crafts Market on May 14 from 10:00am to 4:00pm! It is held every Second Saturday from April through October, and is Arlington’s premier 100% handmade indie art market.

We will be vending along with many other amazing DC-area crafters (many of whom are Etsians), including: Bette’s Bags, BoxBoy Demented Decoupage, Brighter Day Beads,Fuzzy Ink, Grumpy Haters, Jen-A-Fusion Fashion Accessories, lolojane, Mary Ellen Larkins, Melissa Lew, The BumbleBee Studio, Warped & Morewarped and Yinibini Baby.

The kind folks at ArlingtonVirginia.com, Arlington’s Social Media Community, will be handing out FREE eco-friendly tote bags for the first 50 visitors. An from 12:00 – 2:00 pm, there will be live music by J-Guden and FREE yoga classes for the whole family will be offered in the square. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.

The market is super-conveniently located in Welburn Square (between North Stuart and North 9th Streets) across the street from the Ballston Metro.

Make Like a Tree and…Emit Zero Emissions

I recently had the pleasure of test driving the soon-to-be-released Nissan LEAF™, a fully electric car. It has great pickup, and a super smooth ride. And it is surprisingly spacious inside. My husband, who is 6′ tall, had plenty of leg room in the back, which is rare for a compact car. In addition to the creature comforts, this car offers lots of other advantages. Besides the obviously huge cost savings in fuel, you will save money on car insurance because, unlike regular cars, you aren’t toting around flammable liquids, and the engine has no moving parts to break down. Plus the break pads don’t wear out because the car slows itself down.

It can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge, and can go up to 90 mph. Because its maximum speed is 90 mph, which is plenty for most roads, this also reduces your insurance costs.

My husband was very impressed with the fact that it has 100% torque available at 0 RPM. I liked the fact that if something goes wrong with the battery, you don’t have to replace the whole thing. It comes in components (I think there are about 100 battery units within the battery case), which can each be diagnosed and addressed individually.

The battery charging stations are compact and fit easily into any garage. You can also use the same type of outlet you would use to power a washer and dryer, it just takes longer to fully charge the car. Already, companies like Kaiser Permanent, Whole Foods, Walgreens, and Cracker Barrel have plans to install charging stations. The car comes equipped with sensors that tell you where the nearest available charging station is!

There is also an App, which you can download and play with to see how the features work, even if you aren’t yet an owner of a Nissan LEAF™ . You can use the App to: check the level of your battery charge, begin charging, see when the battery charge is complete, see your estimated driving range, and even turn the climate control system on or off – on cold days, you can warm up your car from inside the comfort of your home!

Originally scheduled to ship in September, production has been delayed due to the recent catastrophic events in Japan. However, they expect to ship the first cars in December. The waiting list has been closed, but you can sign up on the Nissan website to be notified to be on the next waiting list. In the meantime, to find out where you can take a test drive, check the Drive Nissan LEAF™ website.

The cost for the LEAF™ will range from $32,700 to $33,700. However, with rebates and tax incentives, the actually cost can range from about $23,000 to $25,000. Not bad, especially considering the fuel cost savings in just one year.

On April 1st, the White House announced the green fleet initiative, which ensures that by 2015, all new vehicles purchased for U.S. federal agencies will be electric, gas-electric hybrid, or alternatively fueled. Given the wild fluctuations and rising gas prices, it seems that the electric car is an idea whose time has finally come.

Adams Morgan Very Cherry Pop Up Shop

From March 27 to April 16, you can visit the temporary art and retail spot, the Adams Morgan Very Cherry Popup Shop, featuring the work of several DC-area artisans, including Herban Lifestyle and my new alter ego brand, Snarkyama. Located at 2421 18th Street in the very fun and funky Adams Morgan neighborhood, the store will also have a variety of music, demos and other events.

image copyright Adams Morgan Main Street

The opening of the store was scheduled to coincide with the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  As a community event Cherry Blossom partner, the Pop Up Shop brings together a diversity of artistic styles including original art, photography, ‘green’ artisans, jewelry, sculpture, pottery and accessories.

The Pop Up Shop is open Sunday through Thursday, from noon to 9:00pm, and Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 10:00pm.

Please join us at Crafts on the Hill on 4/2

Please join us for the first ever Crafts on the Hill, which will be held from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the historic Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. There will be lots of great crafters, including Herban Lifestyle, Wunderaround, Phil Barbato, El Jefe Design., Woolarina and many more.

There will also be wonderful food vendors, a Kid’s Corner, live music, and henna tattoos! Admission is free and the first 100 guests will receive a goodie bag.

So, if you are around, please stop by Crafts on the Hill, North Hall Eastern Market, 225 7th St. SE, Washington, DC. Hope to see you there!