Affordable Eco: Fashion Finds Under $50

Hey everyone! It's been a little while so I apologize. I'm happy to report that I've survived Hurricane Irene (and an earthquake!). Lots of power outages and flooding in my area, but it looks like things are getting back to normal, including my blogging! So let's get started, shall we?

Like a lot of you out there, I'm a green girl on a budget. I'm always hunting for a good eco bargain. Finding sustainable fashion that's affordable is a bit challenging. But it's not impossible, I promise. So in order to prove this, I've put together some under $50 finds. I was going for a preppy surfer type vibe, check it out:

Bracelet: "Hemp Pebble Bracelet" by Design Spark - $27.99
Backback: by Baggu. Made of 100% recycled cotton - $32.00
Shoes: "Hemp Palisades Vulc" by Vans. Made with 100% sustainable hemp. Water based dyes and glues - $42.00
Sweater: "V Co. Logical Striped Sweater" by Volcom - $41.60
Scarf: "Develop a Crush Scarf" by Global Girlfriend. Handmade and fairly traded in India - $18.00

Let me know what you think! I want to try and turn this into a regular feature :)

Emerald - Fresh as a Spring Rain!

by Katy Green

Liz Taylor's Famous Bulgari Emerald Necklace

Did you know the birthstone for May is Emerald?

Well, if you were born in May you already know that but for those of you not celebrating this month, it's believed that Emerald brings wisdom, growth and patience. Did you know that Emerald is the traditional gift for the 55th wedding anniversary and it also believed that Emeralds are able to enhance the clairvoyance of their wearers.

Emerald History...
According to - eons ago in the Vedas, the holy scriptures of the Indians, claim these precious green gems consists of healing properties: 'Emeralds promise good luck"
If you warrant good luck an emerald may be the perfect remedy.

Natural Emerald

Biggest Emerald Ever...

Did you know that The New York Museum of Natural History contains The Patricia Emerald which  is one of a very few large, gem-quality emeralds that have been preserved uncut. Though emeralds have been found in several locations, including Siberia and the United States, Colombia is the world's major source of the minerals today.

Emerald Cocktail Ring -
Natural Emerald -Each stone is unique in it's size, shape and color making each ring a one of a kind.
Be weary of fake or composite Emeralds, the best way too tell if an Emerald is fake is by the following:

  • If the price is too low it may to good to be true most likely it is glass or crystal instead of an Emerald.

  • If the origin is from China is most likely fake. Most Emeralds are found in Columbia, India, South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe and North Carolina.

  • Examine the Emerald with a magnifying glass and if you see tiny flaws within the stone or irregular patterns, it is most likely real because a real Emerald is never perfect.

  • If you receive an Emerald stone as a gift and you have doubts take it to a trusted jeweler to have it appraised.

Retro Eco Hoop Earrings for Fall

by Katy Green

Apatite and Gold Hoop Earrings

They say everything "old is new again" or anything from the 80's is in vogue for this decade.

I love classic jewelry we are many people are inspired by items from the past either because it conjures up a treasured memory of a loved one or for nostalgic reasons or because it inspires a new interpretation.

If you are part of the eco-fashion movement then you believe in recycling old clothes and transforming them into new styles or wearing vintage clothes or buying natural classic pieces that you cherish for years to come and pass on to the next generation.

The perfect compliment to any wardrobe is a great pair or earrings.

Over the last several months, I have received many positive comments on the earrings featured below. I chose the Amethyst Hoop Earrings because of the positive energy it emits and I love the Red Coral Hoop Earrings because I wear them with many of my black dresses.

Click on the pictures of the earrings below to find out more about these beautiful pieces.
Did you know:  Amethyst comes from the Greek word meaning "without drunkenness" and that amethyst is believed to protect one from poison. Amethyst is used by holistic healers for problems in the blood and in breathing problems. Amethyst crystal clusters are used to keep the air and life force in the home clean and positive.

Red Coral and Gold Hoop Earrings
Did you know: Coral was once thought to be a plant. It is believed to prevent ill fortune, help in overcoming lethargy, and to dispel fear and panic. Dark Red in particular is suppose to stimulate the bloodstream.

A Little of This, A Little of That

Now that we're falling into our back-to-school routine, complete with our three-family-dinners-a-week, early evening bath nights, and fighting to keep C-Diddy (Beau's new nickname for Cruz) up past eight, weekends are as valuable as a precious gem.  We welcomed Friday and kicked off our weekend with steaks at Texas Roadhouse.  It was a special night, as Cruz ordered off the kids' menu for the very first time.  Instead of a smorgasbord of foods from our orders, Cruz got his very own plate of mac 'n cheese with a side of applesauce.  He loved it!

The rest of our weekend was filled with lots of this and that.  A busy day on Saturday, followed by a quiet Sunday.  Feeling blessed to be adopted children of God at Orchard Hill's The Gathering, and watching Beyonce reveal her baby bump on the VMAs.  An airshow picnic, a new pair of shoes for Cruz, and a raspberry peach pie from the Farmer's Market.  A clean fridge, a nap with dad, and a grandpa on a birthday saddle at the Texas Roadhouse.  

Yes, we had Texas Roadhouse twice this weekend.  And yes, Cruz had mac n' cheese and applesauce twice.  The funny thing is, I think I could eat Texas Roadhouse again tonight.  It's just that good.    

While Beau, Jordan, and my dad celebrated his birthday with 50,000 other people at the Waterloo Airshow on Saturday, we decided it'd be safer on Cruz's ears if he'd just go shopping with us.  And since he couldn't hang out with the guys and watch stealth bombers soar through the air, we spoiled him.  His very own peanut butter blossom cookie at the Farmer's Market, a new pair of Robeez from Peekaboo, and a grilled cheese panini at Soho.  After a stroll through my favorite street in town, we spread out a blanket and did a little plane-watching of our own next to a go-kart track and miniature golf course.  

Cruz barely napped on Saturday, but proved to be quite the sport.  We put Grandpa Curt on a saddle for his birthday, and by the end of the night, Cruz was ready to lay his head in his mac n' cheese and call it a night!  

After Sunday morning's church service at Gallagher Bluedorn, a performing arts center on UNI's campus, Beau and I decided our church should really consider worshiping there every week.  There's something so thrilling about pulling up to the parking lot and seeing literally hundreds of people 'gather' together to kick-off another school year with Christ as a focus.  The theme for the service this year was on adoption, and I left Gallagher Sunday feeling more than blessed to be a child of God.  

After church, we visited the fountain at the Union and held tight as Cruz attempted to pry himself out of our arms to take a swim.  His only distraction from the water was a group of college girls writing on the cement with sidewalk chalk.  He thought they were cute, so he waved!

Lots of fun this weekend!  Looking forward to getting an extra day next weekend!

Happy Monday and Happy Birthday to Grandpa Curt!  We love you!

Rina Mushonga een voorbeeld van een cross cultural kid (CCK)

Heb je de naam Rina Mushonga al gehoord? Zij is een Nederlandse/Zimbabwaanse zangeres die in India geboren is. Lees hier meer over Rina Mushonga: het beste van twee continenten. Rina is een third culture kid (TCK) maar ook een cross cultural kid (CCK). Een cross cultural kid heeft ouders afkomstig van verschillende landen of culturen.

Rina zegt "ik kom niet van één plek en mijn muziek ook niet".
"Ik verwerk zowel mijn Europese als mijn Zimbabwaanse achtergrond in mijn muziek"

Luister naar Rina:

Wil je meer muziek van Rina horen? Dan kan dat op

Er zijn veel meer mensen die een deel van hun jeugd in het buitenland hebben doorgebracht. Hier zijn meer voorbeelden van Nederlandse adult third culture kids (ATCK). Ik heb ook eerder geschreven over Ank Oosting en Jutta König. Haikaa is ook een artiest net als Rina Mushonga. Haikaa is geboren in Brazilië en heeft in Amerika en Japan gestudeerd. Vaak zie je dat mensen die een deel van hun jeugd in een andere cultuur doorbrengen ruim denkend zijn, creatief, inventief, and they "think outside of the box"! Er zijn meer voordelen wat betreft het opgroeien in het buitenland, maar er zitten natuurlijk ook nadelen aan.

Het lijkt er op dat het Rina goed gelukt is om de verschillende culturele componenten van haar jeugd te mengen in haar muziek. Is het jou gelukt in je leven? Zou je er misschien iets over willen delen? Voeg dan een opmerking toe. Ik wardeer het. Wil je meer over mijn verhaal lezen?

4 Months Old

Check out that chin and those hands
reaching for the camera!
Wow! I am feeling so out of the blogging loop lately! I went back to work for the first time in close to 4 months and boy has it shook my world up a bit! I plan on posting more about my life as a working mom in the upcoming weeks, but for now I've just got tons of fun pictures collecting dust on my computer here of my baby girl just waiting to be posted.  So here we go! 
This past week Avery celebrated her 4 month birthday! I love how I call it a "birthday," like there was a cake and gifts or something.  But really since she's our first child we do go a bit overboard each month and "celebrate" the best way we (or should I say I) know how: by taking lots and lots of pictures.  Anyways, you know the "birthday drill": break out the onesie, adhere the sticker, try to fit that headband on again, and start snapping pictures of the growing girl.  The highlight of this month's photo shoot was that we had two guests: Dad and then Grandma Karen.  Despite being two of her favorite people, she must of been feeling a bit camera shy as she held in her smiles. No worries though, there are plenty later on in the post! ( :

Miss Long Legs

Her 4 Month Stats
Now it had been awhile since she'd been weighed and measured, so this month we broke out the tape measure and scale and took her stats and the results were quite interesting! Let's just say she is one big girl! You can see her stats on our chalkboard (from this post) of weighing 16.5 lbs and measuring in at 28 inches tall, and those numbers are all fine and dandy, but when you chart them on a growth chart like this one... that's where the fun begins.  It turns out that her weight is in the 95th percentile. Now for those of who don't live your life surrounded by baby words and terms...95th percentile means that only 5% of babies of her age weigh more than her! What can I say, that girl likes to eat!

Now as for her height, she's not even on the chart! She's above the 100th percentile! She must be taking after her Dad on this one.  But at the end of the day, I don't really care about the numbers.  As long as she's healthy and growing, I'm happy! On top of this, it looks like my vegan diet is doing it's job of not only taking care of me, but also her! Yeah...go vegan!

Looks like a smile snuck it's way onto the photo shoot!

 Curious how she's changed over the past 4 months? Check out this little visual timeline...

Now aside from turning "4", we've been one busy little family this past month, let me share with you some of the highlights!

As I mentioned before, I went back to my job this month as an early childhood special education teacher, which meant I had to leave Avery for the first time since she was born.  I feel so lucky to have had the past 3 1/2 months to spend with her, but leaving your baby for the first time is never easy.  Luckily she's in good hands with my mother-in-law 2 days a week, and a friend of our family's that has a 15 month old the other 3 days. We both have adjusted fairly well to this new schedule and it really has made me enjoy the time I DO have with her.  As I mentioned before, I have lots I would like to post about this transition (pumping/bottles/etc.), but for now here's a pic I manged to get of her on her very first day of daycare.  Like that face? It's as if she's saying, "Oh Mom...why are you taking more pictures? Gimmie a break!" ( :  Get used to it girl! I even contemplated putting her diaper bag next to her, since she obviously doesn't have a backpack- he he! 

The Big Day
Also, we broke out possibly one of my favorite accessories of all time for Avery...skinny jeans! Enough said! ( ;

We've also been trying another new accessory this past week, called an amber teething necklace. And although they aren't for chewing, these necklaces are thought to help ease the pain that comes along with teething (read more here). These necklaces contain amber (which is a rock that used to be resin from a tree) and when the amber gets heated up by being next to her skin, it releases trace amounts of healing oils that can help relieve the inflammation and pain that accompany teething.  Seem like a choking hazard? You're not alone...many people wonder this. But I take it off of her at night while she sleeps or during the day when she naps.  Other than this she's pretty much always got someone watching her who could make sure the necklace is safe on her. Also, most amber necklaces are a golden yellow color, but I liked this darker color one, so that's why it may look a little bit different.

Styling in her amber teething necklace.
Now although it seems early for Avery to be teething, she loves to chew on things and has started drooling quite a bit...I call it "pre-teething".  So I'm hoping to start the necklace now and prevent any pain she may experience in the upcoming months.  I'll keep you posted on it's effectiveness when some little pearly whites start to pop up.  

Also this month, Avery and I went to visit Brandon at his skateboard shop, Dairdevil Boards.  It was Avery's first time there and she really seemed to like it.  The combination of all the bright skateboards and her Daddy were enough to make this little girl smile and giggle the whole time we were there.

Somebody likes skateboards!

Trying out a skateboard.

Cruising with Dad

Grandpa Frank and her Dad sure knew
how to make her smile!
Speaking of smiles...

And just some more fun summer styles...

First pair of sandals!
Now this past month has been full of buying all kinds of new gadgets, toys, and clothes around this green house since someone has been growing up.  No more just laying Avery in the bouncy seat, she wants to be up and looking around.  No more just watching me cook dinner, she needs something in her hands to chew on.  And no more size 3 months...we are up to size 6-9 months! 

Here is the first new toy we got, a Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper.  We call it the "jumperoo" for short.  It was about $80 and Avery seems to really like it.  My desire to get this was because Avery loves standing up (with support). In fact, she almost gets mad if you try and hold her like a baby.  So to save my arms from breaking off, in came the Jumperoo. I debated between this one and other jumpers and exersaucers, but after a trial run at Babies R' Us one day, Avery (and I) decided on this one.  Now although the crazy bright colors and music were a bit much for me, they really pulled Avery in and now she is hooked!

First time in the Jumperoo.

One downside to the Jumperoo is that there is a mirror near the "piano-like" station and when the light hits it just right, it shines a reflection onto our ceiling...which drives my dog Jilly crazy! She chases it and tries to get it, despite the fact that it's up on the ceiling. We call the light reflection "dementors" (a Harry Potter/The Office "Prison Mike" reference). Here's Jill on "Dementor Watch Duty".

Thanks for keeping us "safe" Jilly!

I can attach various toys to the clips...which she then chews on.

Not quite tall enough yet. Good thing for thick scrapbooks!

"I love this thing!"

Another fun toy that we've really been getting a lot of use out of is her Bumbo seat, which you can see I often put in the windowsill behind my sink in the kitchen.  She loves the eye contact with me and all the fun sights and sounds that come from having an up close and personal view of all the food prep, dish washing, and smoothie-making that occurs in our kitchen.  A must-have for the Bumbo seat: the corresponding tray. Not only does it give her a place to rest her hands, it also it a great place to put some toys and soft books to keep her busy...even though she just throws them off! 

Smiling at me while I make a smoothie.
A funny thing about the Bumbo seat is that her chunky little legs often get stuck in it, so when we try to pull her out, the seat comes up with her too.  I suppose this is a good thing because at least I know she's nice and secure in there, but it's a bit funny when you're trying to get her out and you have to pry the seat off of her! Anyone else have this problem?

Those legs are stuck!
Another purchase we made this month was to buy a new car seat for Avery.  This wasn't exactly my plan, but when I tried buying new bases (for daycare reasons), for our current car seat, I had no luck.  The company had already upgraded the seats and bases and no longer sold the one I needed.  So I decided to go ahead and just upgrade Avery to a bigger car seat, since she was about to grow out of her old one (only goes up to about 20lbs or so).  So I got her a Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat, which can fit a baby from 5-40 lbs when rear facing and up to 65 lbs forward facing.  That's what I'm talking about...something that will last awhile! As you can tell, she seems to like it.  We like to call it her "big girl car seat!" Also, in case you're wondering, the base is built into this car no extra bases were needed!

Big girl car seat.
Also, now that my mom and I are back to school (she's a teacher too), we really enjoy a weekly tradition we've had since Avery was about 2-3 weeks old: Grocery Shopping Saturdays. My mom started tagging along with me to the grocery store near the end of my pregnancy and since then we've really come to love the time to we're able to spend together each week. Now that Avery is here, our grocery days are even more fun (and a bit more tiring as well!). Thank goodness we make a stop at my grandparents house in between the stores to feed Avery, eat our lunch, and catch up with them. Here's some pics from a typical Grocery Shopping Saturday:

Great-grandma Sue holding
the "chewing girl".

Time for me to eat my lunch!

Great-grandpa's turn to hold her.

Ready to go to one last store with
Grandma Karen...while wearing
her Baby Banz sunglasses of course.
 Here's a few last pictures from the month...

Practicing standing.

Tummy Time in the backyard.
So that wraps up month 4 and I'm sure month 5 will be here before we know it.  Until then, stay green. ( :