Tue 21 Jan 2014

Go Green: New Year’s Resolutions

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Go Green: New Year’s Resolutions
You’ve heard it phrased a million different ways: essentially, green is the new black. 2013 brought us many new options for livin’ the green lifestyle. Whether you switched to a hybrid vehicle or didn’t get a chance to “go green” last year, there are lots of ways to easily transition to a more eco-friendly way of life.

Here are a few of the easiest, most impactful, and most affordable green ideas;

FOOD
Eco Friendly DietSurprisingly, what we eat has more impact on the environment than the kind of vehicle we drive! But how can we know what the most eco-friendly diet is? There is so much conflicting information out there!

Well, let’s take a look at the facts and see which foods are kindest on Mother Nature while also providing us with absolutely radiant health.

Surprise, Surprise: organic fruits and veggies always come out on top!

Want a planet and a body that are fit for a king? Focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, and slowly reduce your consumption of animal products and grains.

MEDICINE
Pharmaceuticals are wack, on so many levels. One of the quickest ways to take back control of your health and stop financially supporting chemicals as “medicine” is to go natural. Homeopathic Treatments are a powerful, natural way to heal just about any illness. Plus, they are far more affordable than prescription medicine and don’t have any dangerous side effects.

COUPON: Save 12.5% on homeopathic remedies from Forces of Nature using coupon code “tweetdeal2″ :)

BOTTLED WATER
our favorite water bottleYou already know what happens when you leave a water bottle in a hot car, right? If water bottles are proven to be that toxic, then why would you gamble your health by using them at all? You deserve a better bottle, bro!

The Mable’s Team upgraded our water bottles in 2010 and we’ve been pleasantly astounded by the results. Our VibesUP water bottles have a funny little coaster glued to the bottom of the bottle, which uses simple quantum technology to make the water easier to drink. But here’s the really weird part… we’re not sure how, but this weird “vibration raising” technology makes it so that our water bottles never smell. You know how often you have to clean reusable water bottles, right? Not with VibesUP!

CLOTHING
Recycled green goods Here’s a fun way to make a stylish and eco-friendly change: update your closet. When the time comes to replace any part of your wardrobe- from shoes to jeans to accessories- look for sustainable style. According to the Organic Consumers Association, “Cotton accounts for 50% of the world’s fiber needs, 24% of the world’s insecticide market and 11% of sale of global pesticides, making cotton the most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet.”

Thankfully, there are many great retailers of organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo clothing such as XYLME, and Blue Canoe. Amazon also has a growing selection of more affordable organic clothes, as does magical eBay

There’s a new company, Fashioning Change, that we’re really interested in, because they help us find eco friendly clothes based on our unique style preferences. Just choose your favorite style icons and designers, and Fashioning Change will match you up with gorgeous choices.

Plus, if you share the love and invite a friend to shop at fashioning Change, both you and your homie get $10 off.

Stylish. Safe. Sweatshop Free. Save Money. Give Back. It is our vision to help shoppers make better purchases and create bottom-up change in the fashion industry. ~ Fashioning Change

Another rad option is 10 Tree, which plants a whopping TEN trees for every item purchased. When people ask you how much your top cost you can be like, “$35, and it came with ten free trees. No big deal.”

10 trees planted with each item

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Upcycle?
Recycled green goodsThis is a broader concept that challenges how we think about every area of our lives. You’re probably familiar with the first 3 concepts, but “upcycling” is quickly gaining momentum in the handmade community. Etsy has a great article that discusses how everyone can learn to “repurpose” trash-bound items into something useful. Not only can you upcycle your own goods, but you can also purchase products that are made of upcycled or recycled material.

Feeling DIY? Upcycle That will keep you inspired all year long.

Have you decided to go green this year? We’d love to hear your experiences and tips; please leave us a comment!

New Year’s Resolutions

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Thu 16 Jan 2014

Take More Pictures: New Year’s Resolutions

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resolve to take more photos

Continuing our series of New Year’s Resolutions from the previous Get In Shape article, Take More Pictures is next. Most people enjoy looking at pics on Facebook, Picasa (or other preferred photo viewing option) and reliving some great memories. As much as I enjoy doing this, I often wish I’d taken more pictures during trips, events, and especially everyday pics.

Here are some reasons I didn’t take more pictures throughout the year and the possible solutions. Maybe you can relate?

Problem: Wrong camera
If you’re bummed about how your camera is too slow, too bulky, poor-quality pics, not enough features, low battery life, etc., then a camera upgrade is going to be a weight off your shoulders. How do you know which camera is for you? Common sense wisdom: evaluate what your needs are and choose the best camera for you. Read the specifications and other people’s reviews and pay attention to their details (e.g. Did it capture good in low light? Quick to boot up? Easy to navigate menu?) Also, start asking your friends about what they do and don’t like about their digital cameras. The Amazon carousel o’ magic below can also help you find the perrrfect camera.

Problem: Don’t get to ENJOY digital photos
Not everyone is computer savvy and can manipulate digital photos into works of art, or simply print one out to frame. You can buy your own printer and photo paper and try it on your computer, or you can visit a web site, upload some pictures and have them delivered to you in many different forms. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy my digital photos are to have them printed out in different formats and displayed around the house to become a part of my everyday life.
- ImageKind: They offer framed prints, canvas, posters, cards, laptop skins, water bottles, and other fun surfaces for your favorite photos.
- Snapfish (first 50 prints FREE!)

Problem: Forgot the camera
Okay, this one’s easy. You always remember to bring your phone with you, right? Make sure your phone has a good camera, so even if you forget to bring your primary camera with you, you have a reliable backup.

Problem: I’m not a good photographer
Yes you are! You just don’t know it yet. I promise, the more you take pictures and flip through them with your favorite software the more you’ll become aware of what looks good and what doesn’t. Besides, the point of the photo is to capture a moment in time, not to see who can take the “best picture”. Believe me, getting an oddly cropped/slightly blurry photo is still better than getting no photo. But if you feel you need some training, you can take a FREE digital photography class online. How easy is that?

For more choices and crazy-awesome digital camera deals be sure to check out eBay!

Now get out there and take some pictures!

New Year’s Resolutions

Photo Credit: Edwin Pijpe

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Fri 06 Aug 2010

Are You Searching for a Steampunk Costume?

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steampunk clothing
Until recently it’s been rather difficult to find Victorian era style clothing. Now it’s 2010, my friends, and retro clothing just got much, much older. The Victorian era style is coming back!

Mable’s guide to Steampunk Clothing is a great place to start when putting together your own custom costume.

Check out BuyCostumes for their Steampunk kits; if you’re just looking for a quick one-night costume.

Of course there is even the now famous Steampunk Emporium if you are looking for high quality everyday wear. They have excellent outfits ready to buy for many Victorian/Steampunk characters.

Where do you buy your Steampunk gear?

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Mon 12 Apr 2010

Mad Hatter Top Hats Burton/Depp Style

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Alice In Wonderland Movie - Mad Hatter Hat AdultLet me guess, you’re the kind of guy who needs the authentic Burton / Depp style Mad Hatter Hat? Not one of those fairy tale mad hatters full of bright colors and goofy faces. Right? right.

Well, you can take the hipper cheaper DIY route and make one on your own.

OR, you can have someone else make you a Burton style mad hatter hat custom sized to your tea lovin’ head.

OR, buy a ready made mad hatter top hat from the #1 costume shop online; with crazy orange hair, without hair (shown in picture), or even small cocktail party size.

Nothing goes better with the hat than the entire Johnny Depp style mad hatter costume. Remember the flashy orange eyebrows!

Can’t get enough Burton/Depp costumes? Fit yourself into a mysteriously wonky Willy Wonka costume or of course a Mad Hatter Costume.

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Mon 29 Sep 2008

Custom Natural Makeup from Pink Quartz Minerals

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Natural Mineral Makeup from Pink Quartz Minerals
Sometimes having too many options can be a little overwhelming, but when entering the Pink Quartz Minerals shop I feel like a kid in a candy store! Doree is a one woman DIY powerhouse who makes a variety of all natural makeup, but she always makes time to create any item to your exact specifications. What color do you want that lip balm? How opaque do you want the color? Want to add a flavor? An all natural sweetener? How about customizing the label with any text you want? Even cooler, these options are standard and there is never an extra charge for them. I have been loving my marshmallow flavored, stevia sweetened, deep rose lip balm for months and I’m actually excited to order a few more.

As someone who really doesn’t wear much makeup – usually some tinted lip balm or mineral foundation – my affinity for Pink Quartz Minerals might seem surprising. Keep in mind though that I’m a really particular shopper; I always know just what I want… and what I don’t want.

Natural Mineral Makeup from Pink Quartz Minerals Unlike most products out there, all of Doree’s handmade goodies are safe for your eyes, lips, skin, and face, which says a lot about how “natural” they really are. The ingredients consist of only 6 minerals (except the lip balms of course), and there are never any preservatives, chemicals, or animal-based ingredients. Everything is vegan friendly, and truly hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. I was visiting family recently and took a peek at the ingredients on my little sister’s sparkly lip balm set. Talk about night and day! There was a huge list of chemicals and it was petroleum based, too. Yuck! What bums me out is that makeup containing dangerous, junky ingredients is standard. Thank goodness for businesses like Pink Quartz Minerals who have integrity and create only safe and exquisite makeup items.

I also had the pleasure of trying the mineral foundation and the fabulous vegan kabuki brush. Both are amazing! I bought the sample kit to find the perfect shade for me, but you can also have a color custom blended. I’ve been asked so many times “Are you wearing makeup? Your skin looks so nice.” Could there be a better testimonial? During the visit to see my family, my mom tried the kabuki brush and could not stop raving. “It’s so much softer than the expensive one I bought and doesn’t shed all over the place either”. Since she doesn’t stop by this blog too often I’ll let you guys know that I’m going to order her a brush and sample kit, too :)

Unless you’re madly in love with your makeup and can identify all the ingredients on the label, I really encourage you to try some of the lovely handmade products from Pink Quartz Minerals. They’re safe, affordable, and bring out your natural beauty so you’ll look and feel like a million bucks.

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Tue 24 Jun 2008

Wardrobe Refashion 2008

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Wardrobe Refashion pledge We’re barely a week into summer and now feels like a great time to try something new. In an effort to inspire ourselves and create an entirely eco-fashion friendly wardrobe, we’ve decided to take the Wardrobe Refashion Pledge:

We, Mables.com, pledge that we shall abstain from the purchase of “new” manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 4 months. We pledge that we shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for ourselves with our own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. We pledge that we will share the love and post a photo of our refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftyness brings! Signed Lauren & Sean

So from July 1st – October 1st we’ll be sharing our adventures with creating, living in, and loving our “preloved” wardrobes. Honestly, being huge fans of vintage and reconstructed clothing, this won’t be a big stretch from what we’re already doing. We like the idea of making a commitment to it though, and sharing our journey with others. We look forward to trying out new refashioning techniques, scouring vintage clothing stores on eBay and better connecting with the sources of our clothes.

Are you interested in taking the Wardrobe Refashion pledge with us? You can sign up for 2, 4, or 6 month period and rest assured you will be in great company. This is the 3rd year and participation gets bigger each time. There are currently over 400 members in the Flickr pool! Whether or not you’ll be joining us in this DIY fashion adventure, what do you think of the idea? Could you avoid buying new clothes for a few months?

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Wed 06 Feb 2008

Handmade Valentines Day Gift Ideas

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Last year, the handmade revolution caught on like wildfire. Giving handmade gifts says so much more than any factory made item, and it supports independent artists, too. We scouted out some unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas that would make a loving and unexpected gift for your special someone.

funny, snarky, mean anti Valentine's Day cardsIt’s official: Etsy is the place to get handmade items year-round. They have a beautiful Valentine’s Day Showcase to make it easy for us shoppers to find those truly unique items.

Let’s begin with a couple anti Valentine’s Day gift ideas, because not everyone thinks hearts and candy on February 14th. The one of a kind creations from Snarky Cards make me genuinely LOL. Over the course of about a week, I’ve read every card to Sean, which prompts us to cackle with delight. (I almost wish I had more questionable relationships so that I would have a reason to use these cards. Almost.) They’ll send the perfect message to your ex, or anybody else you want to stick it to this V-Day.

handmade Anti Valentines Day SNARK bracelet This Anti Valentines Day bracelet from Ben can Dance Creations is similarly blunt and snarky. With such unmistakable missives as DIE, KTHX BYE, and U SUCK, your target will get the message loud and clear. A perfect piece of jewelry that says “I hate Valentine’s Day”, but is still super cute.

For those of you with more traditional- and functional- relationships in mind this holiday, here are our absolute favorite picks from the myriad of handmade cards on Etsy:

handmade Valentines cards
Handmade Valentine’s Day cards (from left to right) from Art by Nakisha, Twisted String, and picklehead.

Although Etsy is increasingly popular, there are still lots of handmade Valentine gifts on eBay, so be sure to check those out, too:

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Mon 17 Dec 2007

Last Minute Gift Idea: Turn Your Digital Photos into Gifts

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Free Shipping on Photo CalendarsJust last night I stood impatiently at the local Target Photo Center to get my digital photo prints and I asked myself “Why aren’t I at home in my comfortable pajamas doing this online? It’s probably cheaper too.” Guess what? It is cheaper, plus if this is your first time ordering, with the right timing, you can get your first 10-20 prints free.

If you’re like us you accumulate some good pictures from your handy digital camera throughout the year. Well now half the work of sending out photos, or creating some quick and easy gifts is already done. With just a handful of pictures you can create a 2008 calendar (the recipient would have to remember your birthday), photo books (great for long distance relatives), mugs, stationary, mouse pads, puzzles, and more. You know, the classic customizable products. All this can be done in a few minutes, resulting in quality gifts getting shipped directly to your gift recipient and you never had to leave the house. Double Gift Score!

Snapfish – Has some great gift options at low prices. They claim to be #1 and you get 20 free prints when you first sign up. FREE upgrade to Expedited Shipping at Snapfish! Select standard shipping upon checkout. (free upgrade valid 12/18 only)

SmugMug.com – More focused on photo sharing, and organizing, but has just as many options to print photos to gifts. This is a site for the photographer, amateur or pro, it’s a definite crowd pleaser.

Wallhogs – These guys are for your bigger wall covering posters, canvas prints, and vinyl. I’m talking up to 7 feet long removable vinyl wall decorations from one of your awesome photos! That’s a gift!

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Mon 08 Oct 2007

Save 10% at eBeanstalk: COUPON

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A few months ago I wrote about the clever developmental toy gift packages at eBeanstalk, and have been watching for sales or coupons ever since. They’re one of those companies that just doesn’t do discounts very often, so when they e-mailed me about a 10% off coupon that’s good for just 1 week, I jumped to tell you guys about it! They just started advertising on TV so you may have heard about them that way, but eBeanstalk has been offering educational, age appropriate toys since 2005.

Amidst the recalled toy controversy, it’s nice to know that some stores will never carry items with questionable or uncertain contents. There is a new message on their homepage that says “At eBeanstalk we are dedicated to a child’s development and learning, and we never compromise a child’s safety. Rest assured that NONE of the recalled toys from Mattel or Fisher Price have ever been sold at eBeanstalk. NOT ONE.”

COUPON: Save 10% off anything on the site. Expires October 15, 2007.

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Wed 30 May 2007

Developmental Toy Gift Packages

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e-beanstalk-gifts.gif

People tend to use the phrase “the gift that keeps on giving” metaphorically. However, eBeanstalk offers a more literal interpretation with their Gift Series, where your child receives a toy in the mail every 3 months matched to their stage of development. This idea is all kinds of brilliant!

  • For those of us without kids of our own, it can be a little tricky to select age appropriate toys for the children in our lives. You can skip the educated guesswork with the Gift Series: all the toys are hand picked by 5 child development specialists and 500 moms from around the US.
  • Same thing goes for parents or guardians who travel a lot or don’t get to visit very often. When you haven’t seen a child for a few months or when you look back on the development of your own child…they are a different child today than just a few months ago. Each toy is carefully matched with the appropriate stage of development, so you won’t end up with a gift that is too young or old for your child.
  • With the continual gift metaphor in mind, you can actually purchase a set of gifts that are delivered over time. This is the gift that actually keeps on giving.
  • Save time by purchasing a set of gifts all in one sitting. Never worry about forgetting a special date in the child’s development or having the gift arrive late.
  • If you’re the spoiling type (yes, you) then you’ll undoubtedly appreciate how easy eBeanstalk makes it to lavish gifts upon your wee ones. One purchase results in a whole years worth of gifts!
  • Best of all, of the nearly 500 quality toys available at eBeanstalk, every one is geared towards helping your child grow. Their Child Specialists identified the stages of development children grow through. They matched 7 core skills- Imagination, Education, Language, Dexterity, Locomotion, Emotion and Social- with the stages of a child’s development, and then categorized each toy accordingly. Ahhh, science: improving childhood playtime and development!

Also, individual toys are available for purchase too, if you’d rather buy a la carte.

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