Opening a sustainable retail shop

Hi all, I've been busy.  I haven't been posting regularly because I've been working on opening up a retail shop in Berkeley!  I plan to keep you updated on the process and what opening a sustainable and eco-friendly retail shop entails.  So far, I have the location.  Now it's time for all the paint, furniture, fixtures, stock, etc. As if I'm not crazy enough, we're going to do it in two weeks.  I plan to have the shop open the first week of February.  I'll be selling local and organic flowers and plants, handmade recycled and sustainable gifts and eco-friendly cards. Our Grand Opening Party is February 4th from 6-9pm, come on down if you're in the bay area and check it out! In Green and Health, G&G

Green sweets and treats

A Hot Chocolate Favor

So it's getting chilly at night these days.  The time has changed, the days are shorter, and you've probably switched to flannel sheets like we have.  I know, I live in California, but we still get cold here. If you're getting married this winter, you may be considering a winter theme.  Maybe you're just thinking about the comfort of your guests on a chilly winter night.  Whatever the case, why not help your guests get cozy after the affair with favors of organic and fair trade hot chocolate? I love hot chocolate, hot chocolate with marshmallows, even Mexican hot chocolate.  With a few cookies for dipping and a movie to watch, I'm set for the night. There are a few companies out there providing hot chocolate made with organic and (so very important) fair-trade cocoa, but one caught my eye because of their willingness to share with their cocoa growers:  Now, their hot cocoa mix is not only well-intentioned, it's also very affordable.  Half of their profits are returned to the growers! Hot Cocoa small-1.JPG I'm not sure how it tastes, but I'm hoping to try it and get back to you.  Dean, if you're reading this, I'd love to taste a cup! The Gorgeous and Green Events wedding or party favor suggestion would be to find some small recycled paper bags and twist ties and measure out a serving of the mix for each guest.  Here I cut out some snowflakes from leftover white fabric I had and attached it to the front and used reused ribbons to accent. hot coco favor You could even go one step further and put it in a glass jar with some marshmallows so they can see the mouth-watering treat.  You could personalize it with a cute tag with your guest's name on one side and the cocoa directions on the other.  And don't forget to tell them it's not only organic, but fair-trade! In Chocolate and Health, G&G

My favorite Green Wedding in Melbourne, Australia

A Woodsy Green Wedding on Another Continent

I love the latest trend of woodsy-chic decor for events: ferns, elves and mushrooms.  It brings us back to nature, and in return, we plan our weddings and events to keep nature healthy.  Why not support our little friends, the elves, fairies, deer and woodpeckers? The photographer for this wedding contacted me, and although the event took place in Australia, I just had to post it.  Not only is it a beautifully shot affair, but the overall romantic and earthy vibe is really strong and ethereal.  The photographer is apparently the first eco-friendly photographer in Australia.  And besides her green life practices, she does some great sustainable business practices as well.  Check out what this Australian Eco-friendly photographer, Holly Cottingham, had to say: 1.  When did you start your green business? My business has been going for about 3-4 years, however only this year have I begun on the green route. 2.  Why did you? I changed my direction because I feel that we can change the world through our purchases. Also, I feel that using recycled paper is just a basic thing that we can      do with no extra effort, plus I was never really fond of the standard wedding albums. 3.   What are the ways in which you are green/Eco-friendly/sustainable? The ways that I am eco friendly in my business:
  • Paperless workflow – everything except business cards is online
  • Accepting direct deposit – most people have online banking now anyway and it’s easier for both of us, no more running to the bank!
  • Online proofing – there’s nothing worse than a huge amount of prints that you’ll never look at
  • Recycled paper –business cards are printed on recycled paper
  • Digital files – today the easiest way for people to show photos to friends is online
  • Eco matte photo prints – made from 100% post-consumer recycled waste though you wouldn’t know it, beautifully soft with little speckling
  • How are you green in other aspects of your life?
I started being green in my personal life before my business so there are quite a few ways that I try minimise my impact. I have a growing vegetable garden that I     am currently growing a variety of veges and herbs in. There’s nothing quite like just grabbing a handful of peas from the garden or a lettuce for a salad J I also         compost all of my food waste (I’m vegetarian so everything goes in the compost!). The rest of my vegetables I get from a local organic farmers market. I really             dislike going to the supermarket so it’s really great to just pop out on a Sunday morning and enjoy the markets instead. I also own a Sigg water bottle and take it with me everywhere. I cannot understand buying bottled water when we have just as good water at our own homes.             Lately I have been really utilising the library to get books from instead of buying them. There are so many that I want to read that it would cost a lot to buy them       all! I think the biggest way that I am eco friendly is that I no longer live a consumerist lifestyle. I always have a really hard think about if I actually need that new     product and usually don’t! Being green is great because it can save you alot of money too! 5.      If you could invent something to be more Eco-friendly or sustainable, what would it be? If I could invent something to be more eco friendly it would be a light switch that has a 15 minute timer on it so that after 15 minutes the light turns off. That is         definitely a downside to the CFL bulbs is that you have to think about if you will need that light on again within the next 15 minutes! 6.      What advice would you give to a green bride/groom about how they can be Eco-friendly in their wedding and future life together? The advice I would give to a green bride and groom for their wedding would be to plan a more simple wedding (which can be way more beautiful and personal           than the average wedding). Limit the miles that the food you serve has travelled. Educate your guests about the amazing local produce in your area. Choose a             venue that you can have both your wedding AND reception at – it saves time and energy for everyone in travelling and means you can spend more time with your     guests (it’s great for the photographer too, no rushing about like crazy!). Think hard about the favours that you give to your guests, do something more exciting         than sugared almonds (fruit, homemade jams, packets of seeds, small seedlings)! For their future life together, I would recommend for the couple to think about what ways they can minimise their impact. Not every action is possible for every          person but there are many that can be done with ease. Buy reusable water bottles, ride your bike more often (make a day of it, cycle to a park and then have a              romantic picnic!). Think about what produce you can grow – herbs and some vegetables grow really well even just in pots. Think about what you are supporting      with your dollars, shop responsibly! There are many many ways you can do your part. J

Here are some beautiful pics of the wedding itself:

australia walk

The happy couple

australia table

I love the simple citrus decor.  It's something I hope to include in a Gorgeous and Green Event in the coming months.  Yum!

australia house

The blooms from the tree are beautiful, and the overall sepia tones are so romantic.

australia cake

I love this little nature scene on the cake.  Those little forest people are so cute!

australia hug


Thanks to the photographer from

image001 and

In Green, Ferns, Elves and Health


Eco-Friendly favors: not your average grocery bag

The Stylish and Eco-Friendly shopping bag

I'm always on the lookout for stylish gifts that can be used as eco-friendly favors for weddings, birthdays or other events.  The reusable grocery or shopping bag hadn't quite made it into that category until I happened upon some great designs of the tuck-away-until-you-need-it bag by Roger La Borde.  You may be familiar with the line of great cards and stationary that is created by this company, but when I found their bags, I knew for sure I liked their style. You can see some pics of their designs on their website  Here are some examples of the tucked away bags that they design: rogerlb-bags

Not only are they fun and cute, they can be used over and over and when you're done you can tuck them away into a little pouch and they can wait in your purse or glove compartment until the next time you need a bag.  Pretty handy and Chic.


These would make great wedding favors or party favors for between $7 and $11 dollars a piece.  Or, maybe you're looking to treat yourself and the environment to some reusable style.  

In Green and Health,


Green Wedding in Santa Cruz

Local, Sustainable and Organic 

In November, we did a wedding for Heidi and Dave, who had chosen to do local and sustainable flower design for their wedding.  The wedding took place at the Chaminade, very close to their home in Santa Cruz.  I don't live in Santa Cruz, so I stayed at a local beach cabana with my husband under the guise of a surf weekend.  We brought our dog and all the materials I would need to craft 21 large table centerpieces of orchids, some cocktail arrangements, a table card arrangement and the wedding party's flowers.   Heidi originally wanted orange and purple flowers, but when we talked with Dave about his needs he asked that we not use very much purple, as in his Italian culture it was considered bad luck.  So out went the purple and in came the green, white and orange color scheme that I suggested.   I had seen some beautifully decorated rooms where the floral designer used potted orchids as the centerpiece, so I suggested we do the same because the plants could also be used as gifts for those who wanted to take one home with them.  I used willow branches, moss and glass vases with rocks to pot the orchids, and they looked beautiful in the room.  Around the centerpieces I added some moss and branches I had found from the sea and that had dropped from trees in the mountains.  We decided a slightly mountain-y feel would go well for where the Chaminade is located (in the Santa Cruz mountains).  The ceilings were bare and we needed some height in the design, so the tall orchid centerpieces did the job wonderfully. gg-med-heidi-tables We also wanted to add some color to the tables but didn't want to have to buy tablecloths or order special cloth so I found some elephant dung paper (paper made from elephant poo, tree free, recycled and biodegradable) that came in a dark orange that Heidi was fond of.  We used the paper at each place setting and used if for the tablecards and table numbers. gg-med-room-setup I snuck in a little purple with some of the green flowering kale for the cake table.  Throughout all of the tables we used floating candles and votive candles for ambiance.  The dinner was in the evening, so to create an atmospheric light without turning up the electrical lights made it feel very romantic.  There were a lot of windows in the room, so we also strung up some hanging glass votive holders in the windows, which also added a soft light and twinkling. gg-med-heidi-cake For the Bridal party's flowers, I used what was in season from some local flower growers.  Heidi wanted Calla lilies and flowering kale matched the color scheme, so we used them for the bouquets.   gg-med-heidi-and-girls I also used veriflora certified roses for some of the boutonnieres and for the Bridal Bouquet. gg-med-heidi-bouquet Overall, the wedding looked beautiful and the atmosphere during dinner was very romantic.  Using local and fair trade flowers made the wedding a conscious wedding, that matched the lives of the bride and the groom. For more information about green wedding planning and floral design, visit us at In Green and Health G&G
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