Artist of the Month: Anne Ferrari of Vita Pulita

055_0The following post was written by Anne Ferrari, Owner and Founder of Vita Pulita, the first Herban Lifestyle Store Artist of the Month. During the month of December, Anne’s soaps will be featured at our new brick and mortar store in Fairfax, VA.

I was always fascinated by soap. As a child growing up in the Bronx, NY, I didn’t have many soap options, but I was still fascinated with making soap pretty. My holiday gift to my first grade teacher was an ordinary bar of soap on which I pinned a homemade pompom. The obsession with soap remains. It wasn’t until my good friend Mary Kearns shared with me that she had started making soap herself that I was finally inspired to give it a try. And once I did, there was no turning back.

john_jay_farmers_market

As a professor with a PhD in psychology, I am accustomed to using research in my work experience. This serves me well as soap ingredients need a great deal of research too. One customer of mine confessed that she didn’t worry too much about what she put on her skin as she believed that it was not absorbed by her body. Unfortunately, research on breast cancer and the use of parabens in beauty products shows us otherwise. Vita Pulita products never contain parabens, as they never contain artificial fragrances or colors. They are products that I feel confident using and sharing with my family. In fact, Vita Pulita was born of necessity, when my pregnant daughter could not find a safe yet still luxurious body butter. I whipped up a combination of unrefined shea butter, unrefined cocoa butter, rice bran oil, and essential oil. I still sell that body butter, and it is a customer favorite.

Although I am not an artist, one of my favorite things about making soap is making it beautiful. Many of us assume that” beauty” and “natural” do not go together and quite frankly, there are some colors that simply cannot be made naturally in soap, such as a vibrant blue. However, natural soap can be just as lovely, especially when one dives into her creative side. Check out my White Wedding Soap, Carrot Orange Soap with Cocoa, Black Charcoal Facial Detox Soap, Cupcake Soap or Pink Sea Salt Bar and see what you think. All of the colors and scents in Vita Pulita Soaps are from natural and healthy sources, such as plant essential oils and ground up spices. If a color or scent cannot be made using this method, then it will not be made.

14231

It wasn’t until recently that my father shared with me that his mother made soap in Italy from olive pomace left over from the farm. I was shocked, but not surprised. I was named for her after all (over the protests of my mother who did not care for the sound of “Anna Maria”), as I was born on the anniversary of her death. And I chose to name my company Vita Pulita, which means “clean life” in Italian, although I don’t speak Italian myself. Perhaps the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, would say that my need to “soap” is part of my family collective unconscious, inherent in me. It certainly feels that way at times.

You can find Anne’s products online at the Vita Pulita website, on Etsy and seasonally at markets in Westchester County.

Join Us on 12/1 for the West Elm + Etsy Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Market!

On Thursday, December 1st, West Elm stores across the country will be featuring gifts from local Etsy sellers, and Herban Lifestyle will be representing at Tyons Corner, in McLean, VA! At the Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Mart, guests will have a chance make a holiday craft with an Etsy team and support a local charity. The Capital Region Etsy Street Team (CREST) will be at the Tysons event, and handmade ornaments and gifts donated at the event will benefit Jill’s House, a Vienna, VA non-profit that provides respite for children with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Washington, DC area.

If you live somewhere other than the DC area, you can visit one of the other 37 West Elm locations to participate in the festivities, and contribute gifts and decorations to local charities chosen by each store. For more details, visit the West Elm website or RSVP on the Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Mart Facebook Event Page.

So, I hope to see you on December 1st, from 6pm to 9pm!

West Elm
7866 L. Tysons Corner Center
McLean VA 22102

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.

Sprint Unveils New Green ID App Pack

On Friday, Sprint announced its newest smartphone feature, Green ID Pack, which is available on select Android devices for their customers. The platform provides customers with apps and mobile content that gives them easy access to information on sustainable living, including content from Team Eco Etsy and Green America.

Using the Green ID pack, customers can customize their smartphones with eco-focused apps and widgets in a single download. The Green ID pack offers mobile content from Green America (who certified Herban Lifestyle as a sustainable business), EcoEtsy (of which Herban Lifestyle is a member), TreeHugger.com, the National Audubon Society and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Green ID pack is free to download with Sprint’s Everything Data plan. For more details, including a full description of the Green ID pack’s contents, see Sprint’s press release.

In celebration of the release of the Green ID pack, and my membership in two of the organizations featured in it (EcoEtsy and Green America), I am offering a Sprint Special Sale –a 20% discount in my Etsy shop or Herban Lifestyle online store! Just email a screen shot of your phone with either the EcoEtsy or Green America logo on it to: sales [at] herbanlifestyle [dot] com I will email you the discount code enter code SPRINTGREENID at checkout [Please note these revised instructions]. This offer is good for online purchases of merchandise (shipping and tax are not included in the discount) through May 31, 2011.

It’s Time for Eco Etsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Auction 2011

Today bidding opens for Team Eco Etsy’s  annual Handmade for Earth Day Auction, which raises money for non-profit organizations. The items for the auction were all donated by an incredibly talented team of eco artisans. This year, all proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity Japan to help the disaster relief efforts in Japan.
Team Eco Etsy’s Handmade for Earth Day Auction
WHAT: Handmade for Earth Day Auction sponsored by Team Eco Etsy will feature treasuries filled with eco-goodies that Team Eco Etsy members donated for different categories listed below. A bidder will be able to bid on as many categories as they want.

WHY: To celebrate and raise awareness about Earth Day, Team Eco Etsy proudly sponsors “Handmade for Earth Day Auction” and the proceeds from the auction is donated to a non-profit organization. This year, the proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity in Japan to support the relief effort, to help rebuild and to aid Japanese earthquake survivors.

WHEN: The auctions will begin today, Monday, April 4, 2011 and will end on Sunday, April 24th, 2010. The winners will be announced on Monday, April 25th, 2010.

WHO: Auction is open worldwide.

WHERE: All auctions will be posted on this site, where bidders can post their bids in the comment section for different assortments of eco-goodies.

For full details, and a list of contributing crafters, please visit the Team Eco Etsy website.

I have contributed 1 Lime in the Coconut Soap, 1 Beer Here Soap and 1 Solid Lotion (pictured above). Bidding for the Kids & Beauty auctions start on April 18th. Hope you’ll join in the fun. And please spread the word about this great event for a great cause.

Have an Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day!

Herban Lifestyle Bath Bonbons made with Fair Trade Cocoa Butter

This post was written by Katie Peige, Herban Lifestyle’s Sustainability Associate

This Valentine’s Day, you can show your love for the people in your life and your planet with eco-friendly gifts and experiences. Herban Lifestyle offers a range of bath and body products that are made with natural, organic, and fair trade ingredients, which you already know from reading this blog. But what about some other Valentine’s Day treats and traditions? Here are some ideas for gifts that are kind to you, your loved ones, and the planet:

• For cards, go paperless with e-cards or get crafty and re-make some cards out of old cards or magazines. Another fun option is to send a grow-a-note card that has seeds embedded in the paper so you can send a card and flowers all in one! Greenfield Paper Company offers a huge selection, as do several Etsy sellers, including girl*in*gear studio, who has some gorgeous plantable Valentine cards. Petco also carries them as does Capitol Hemp, and My Organic Market.

image copyright girl*in*gear studio

• Flowers travel long distances to get to us, often from South America requiring a lot of fuel. Together with the pesticides needed to grow them, cut flowers can have a very large carbon footprint. This Valentine’s Day opt for a potted plant or an organic, local bouquet of flowers. Check out the very sustainable Green Space for bouquets and plants.

image copyright Divine Chocolate

• Show your love for the world and your gift recipients by going with organic and fair trade chocolate this Valentine’s Day. There are many brands with exquisite products, like Divine Chocolate. Mmmm, it’s orgasmic! Remember to look for organic and local wines while you are at it!

Herban Lifestyle Fuzzy Valentine Soap

• Save water, bathe together! And bring some of our earth-friendly bath products to add some sassy fun to the experience.

• For date ideas, check out the Eat Well Guide to find local and sustainable restaurants in your area or head to the local museums and parks via the Metro system.

• Plan a staycation in the DC area, its all the fun of a vacation only locally and definitely screams green both for the environment and your wallet! Plus, there are many wonderful Smithsonian museums with free admission, all of which are Metro accessible.

image copyright Smithsonian Museum of American Art

• If you do decide to travel, check into a green hotel that seeks to reduce their water use and have a low impact on the environment. You can search for green hotels using the “Green” Hotels Association webpage.

• Give cco lingerie: feel sassy and sexy in organic cotton, organic hemp, organic silk, recycled fibers, or Lenpur, a material made from white pine tree clippings. It’s the gift that satisfies you and your partner and is available for men and women. Check out Treehugger’s guide to sustainable lingerie here.

image copyright EarthSake

• Sleep on organic cotton or bamboo sheets. You’ll sleep soundly knowing that your soft as silk sheets have a lower impact on the Planet.

• If this turns out to be one of the most important Valentine’s Day ever, spare yourself from conflict by purchasing responsibly sourced diamonds and fair trade metals. Or go vintage: A family heirloom or beautiful antique ring makes a very romantic statement.

And, of course, check out the Herban Lifestyle website for our fun Valentine gift sets that will really get you in the mood!

Please Vote for Herban Lifestyle to be the 2010 Craftiest Bastard!

This year, Herban Lifestyle will be a vendor at the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair, which will be held Saturday, October 2, 2010, 10am-5pm at the Marie Reed Learning Center at 18th & Wyoming in the hip Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC (the full vendor list is available online).

And as a vendor, Herban Lifestyle is automatically a contestant for the Craftiest Bastard Contest, being held by Washington City Paper and Etsy.

Votes may be cast online until Friday, October 8. Online voting is limited to one vote per email address. Anyone may use the various widgets provided to encourage others to vote. Votes may also be cast in person at the Crafty Bastards festival on Saturday, October 2nd. There will be ballot boxes located at the City Paper booths and other locations on site.

Please cast your vote here! Thank you for your support!

Crafty Bastards! October 2nd in Adams Morgan

I am looking forward to being a first-time vendor at this year’s Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair. Two years ago, I attended Crafty Bastards for the first time. Located in Adams Morgan, a lively, fun, quirky, personality-filled neighborhood of DC, Crafty Bastards in more than just a great arts and crafts fair. In addition to about 140 unique and talented artisans from around the country, the festival features live music, amazing food, craft demonstrations, hands-on DIY demos, and a BBoy Battle. I spent a long time watching the technically and artistically adept, gravity-defying moves by the competitors and standers-by.
And I, of course, spent a lot of money at the various craft booths! I recall being blown away by the quality and creativity of the artisans, and overwhelmed by the number of items I wanted to take home. For a sneak preview of the temptingly awesome products that will be for sale at this year’s Crafty Bastards, check out the vendor gallery.

So, if you are around, please stop by and check out all the awesomeness at the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair, Saturday, October 2, 2010, 10am-5pm at the Marie Reed Learning Center at 18th & Wyoming in the hip Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Here’s a video of the 2009 BBoy finalists.

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.