An interview with a green photographerA few weeks ago I posted an interview I did with a local sustainable photographer here in the Bay Area. Her name is Kira Stackhouse and her website is nuena.com. Here is an image from one of her weddings featured on her blog: You can check out what she had to say about green wedding photography at The Knot's Green Wedding Website. I also gave some helpful ways to be sustainable when it comes to your photographer, no matter who they are. In green and health, G&G
Why did you decide to offer eco-friendly invitations?We opened Fine Paper Company in 1995 -- a large handmade and fine paper store, in Old Town Pasadena. We stocked 2000 different treefree papers. We also stocked some really groovy 100% post consumer recycled papers -- but most of those companies went out of business by 1999. I opened the store, because we wanted to introduce alternative fiber papers to the market. We were the first intense, specifically eco paper store in LA area. We were among the first letterpress printers and the first DIY go-to-place.
Poetica: vintage inspired invitation
How is your business Green/Sustainable?
Our green business policies:
Seedling: a plantable invitation with cosmo or marigold seeds
How are you green in your own life?
I have been shopping at farmers markets for 19 years now. Organic and mostly raw for most of my adult life. Vintage, most of my adult life.
Gorgeous and Green Events is a certified green business!It took a few months, well quite a few, mostly because I've been so busy. But we're certified. I hope to get the seal up on the blog and website soon. For information about Bay Area Green Certification go here: http://www.greenbiz.ca.gov/ Gorgeous and Green was already fulfilling most of the requirements and usually going beyond them, but there were still some things I worked on. One thing I do now is keep a tally of waste. I think it's really key to see how much waste, even biodegradable or recyclable materials, we are responsible for on a daily basis. Overall, I think it was a good step in the process of being green. I plan to continue to find new ways to act as a sustainable business and offer sustainable product. I've been sick this week, so I apologize for the short blog. In Green and Health, G&G
Useful Vendor Connections and Mounds of TrashThis Weekend I participated in the Green Festival in San Francisco. I donated some local floral designs, bridal bouquets, attended the event and helped with cleanup. It was fun to meet local vendors and vendors from afar, as well as listen to guest speakers and artists and take part in the massive recycling and composting activities after the event.
an arrangement I made (Gorgeous and Green Events) for a stage at the festival, I love the combination of red and lavendarIt sort of felt like a county fair with a green spin. I do love the fair and love shopping for stuff, but I did wish there was a little less focus on the retail side of things. I also noticed that although there were quite a few vendors and organizations who were very green and sustainable, many were not quite as green and it made the festival feel a little green-washed at times. I think for future events it would be great to have higher standards of vendors and possibly include more demonstrations and hands on activities, instead of such a main focus on retail sales. I think it is important to offer green and sustainable items for people to purchase or learn about, but one of the main tenants of sustainability is getting by with less. Living simply. And I would definitely like to see the festival incorporate this tenant a little more next time. For the most part, however, the experience was valuable. I met some other green businesses, learned a lot about recycling and trash and realized how much responsibility we all have in reducing our impact on a daily basis. Sifting through the festival's bags of trash, recyclables and compost made me realize how all of the little things we touch can add up to create something big. A big pile of trash that goes to the landfill, if we let it. Thankfully, I'm not willing to send piles of trash to the landfill and either are a lot of other green businesses. I hope to showcase a few this week in upcoming blogs, but here is a sneak peak at some of the folks I met:
Righteously Raw: raw chocolate bars, super tasty!
a bouquet I made for the Hemp fashion show and Conscious Clothing,who also make cute lingerie beside their wedding gown collection
Lydia's: A local organic and raw food company, who also caters!
Table Nectar: an organic and raw catering company
Cafe Gratitude: A great organic and raw food restaurant in the Bay Area
A water station at the Green Festival, I loved that they actually showed you where the water we were using was coming from:I hope to show you more from the festival in future posts. In Green and Health, G&G
The bride and groom were so pleasant to work with, and really excited about their big day!
Here the bride and bridesmaids are looking so cheerful. I love those long brown bridesmaid dresses.
I couldn't decide which peach was better, the more orang-y peach or pink-y peach, so I added a little of both as well as some really light peach-ish white roses.
Here's the cake, that had cream frosting that went perfectly well with my peachish white roses. There's the extra boutonniere and throw bouquet I made for the bride and groom... boutonnieres rarely make it through a full wedding and reception full of congratulatory hugs.
The bride and groom were married at a quaint vineyard in Livermore: Deer Ridge Vineyards. The Photography was done by www.schoenfeldt.com
In Local Green, G&G
Green Weddings and Green People in San Franciscowww.greenfestivals.org And no, we're not all eating granola. I like granola like everyone else, but I definitely don't see myself as "granola" just because I live green or sustainable. Besides, granola isn't a bad word these days. It actually is pretty tasty, especially homemade. Put it into a jar and you've got a great gift or "wedding favor" for your guests. Ok, so what will we be doing at this green festival? Well lots of talking, sharing and looking at new ideas and guest speakers. Check out the Schedule. Online you can download a guide to the festival that gives you all the cool info. It's huge and includes so many inspiring words, visuals and people. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- 450+ exhibitors and organizations in the Green Marketplace
- 45 minutes presentations and speakers on the sustainable economy, ecological balance and social justice
- how-to workshops in the Green Buiding Pavilion
- Hemp fashion shows in the Hemp Pavilion
- Music acts
- Food Demonstrations in the Soul Kitchen
- Green Social Media Demonstrations
- Organic food and drink
- Concerts and dance parties after dark: greenbash.com
So if your in or around the Bay, definitely come check out the SF Green Festival this coming weekend.
In Green and Health,
Tasha's DesignsI've slowly been coming across more green and sustainable invitation options out there in the sustainable event and wedding world. I am always impressed by small business owners who were startups turned artists, or vice versa. Maybe they were always an artist, but something in their life changed or they changed their own life's course and let their creative imagination and sustainable thinking run a business. It reminds me of my own story just a little. Here's a great small business doing sustainable designed invitations: Tasha Rae Designs. I asked the owner, Tasha Fontanes, to answer some of my green and catchy questions about her business and her life. Check out some of her designs, her cool story and how she works green into her business:
I like the play on the tree carving a couple might do, signifying the lasting commitment of a relationship etched into a old tree. Very Romantic.
this one's my favorite, mostly because of the large colorful flowers, kind of like in a kaleidoscope
1. Why did you start your invitation/stationary business and why did you decide to offer sustainable/eco-friendly designs?I started designing invitations as a hobby after I had printed my own wedding invitations. About a year into it, fate stepped in when I got laid off from my full-time job just a week before I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. So I decided to dive in head first and start my own business. I added earth-friendly invitations about 5 years ago when people were becoming more aware of the fact that we need to clean up our planet. The demand for earth-friendly invites has grown tremendously over the last 5 years and now I would say about 85% of my customers request recycled papers (and I try to talk the other 15% into using them as well!)
2. In what ways is your business sustainable?I offer a wide variety of recycled and earth-friendly papers, I reuse the packaging that my paper comes in to package my final products and I recycle ink cartridges through a program that sends money or school supplies to my daughter’s school. I also plant a tree at the end of each month through www.americanforests.org for each earth-friendly order. Another thing that is important in my sustainable business deals with the customers themselves. Instead of charging my customers for samples, I ask them to make a small donation to the charity of their choice. Amazing things can happen when you ‘pay it forward’. My business has thrived based on this idea so I am proof that it really works!
3. How would you define sustainable living?I think an important part of sustainable living revolves around the way you treat the people around you as well as the world around you. I am a firm believer in 'what goes around, comes around' and I try to apply it to all parts of my life. Whether it’s by recycling or just doing something nice for someone, so they in turn pass it on. If we all take care of each other and the earth, we will live happier and healthier lives.
4. What do you think is the biggest barrier in getting people to choose green wedding options including invites?I think sometimes people get stuck in old traditions or etiquette and have a hard time breaking out of the mold. Invitations do not have to be engraved to be elegant. Reply postcards are OK and cut down on paper waste. I tell people that recycled papers may vary a little and have some inconsistencies but this is what make them unique and beautiful.
5. What is the most un-green or unsustainable event or wedding practice that you can think of or have seen in your experience?Well – I think people are getting smarter about this now, but I would say a lot of people still waste a lot on useless wedding ‘favors’. I LOVE the new ‘greener’ trends... making a donation to a charity in lieu of favors, giving guests seed packets to plant or writing a personal note to each guest (on recycled paper of course!).
6. Let's pretenf for a moment that you could create one green/eco-friendly invention in your life (that worked, no matter how unbelievable) what would it be?I think since I am a work at home mom (my daughter is long out of diapers, but thinking back in time...) it would have to be a diaper that just disappears into thin air...you don’t have to throw it away or wash it. Just take it off the baby and poof it’s gone!
Since we've already received an invention for a sustainable diaper (which isn't surprising, since 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US, resulting in a possible 3.4 million tons of used diapers adding to landfills each year, a fact shared in a recent Time Magazine article in 2008) She emailed me an additional highly needed green invention:how about a solar powered robot that cleans the house! :)
In green, clean houses, and health,
A Festive and Fruitful EventI don't want to spoil it by posting some not-so-great photos of the event, so I'll stick to some of the floral displays I created in this post. But, I promise to follow up with some of the photographer's great photos of the event in the coming weeks, if I can sneak away with some. The Green Gala at the UC Botanical Gardens took place June 28th. The day was magical and not only were the people fun and the fashion show spectacular, it was also a great fundraiser for the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens! I donated my time and materials, as did many other vendors and artists: organic and sustainable catering from Amiee Alan Catering, Cara Mia Photography, organic wine from Quivira Vineyards and Winery, some great live musicians and the many local fashion designers who showed their creations. I was in charge of decorating the fashion show and auction area, in the Redwood Grove Amphitheater. So I decided to include elements from the gardens themselves as well as the fashion presented in the show. For some beautiful shots of the clothes and models in the show, do check out Cara Gardner's blog (the photographer). I asked designers to send me scraps if they could manage, and ended up with one large piece of handmade felted wool. Considering that it was summer, I was a little stunned at first. But, then the idea came to me. Why not run with the natural flavor of the material and the forest feel from the Redwood Grove, and make small nymph or hobbit satchels, just big enough to hold a few flowers? So I hand stitched the satchels together using multi-colored yarn and some of my own recycled material scraps from SCRAP (a wonderful place for the recycled and sustainable artist, or anyone with a creative streak). I must have made 15 different small wool bags, all in various shapes. I tied them around posts, stairways and redwood trees and filled them to the brim with locally grown, home-grown and organic garden roses, hydgrangea, fern, dahlias and irises. Here are some of them:
Here you can see the thick texture and natural feel of the fabric as well as the hand stitches I made on the ties. Those are actually scraps of material from some curtains I used to have.
Here is one of a couple larger bouquets I made for the sides of the space. I used some gorgeous fern that actually came from the gardens themselves. And tied some recycled cloths around the vases to add some bright color to the scene.
Here is another arrangement I made adding some bamboo, living and dried, to emphasize some structural art that a local artist created for the garden space. Her art was amazing, and I wish I had a good photo. Maybe next post. This photo isn't great either, but I hope to show you more pics when I get them.
The food was great, the wine was so yummy, the fashion was really creative and at times so beautiful and nymph-like. The location was absolutely stunning. Next year you'll have to check it out! Green Gala
In Green, and Raising Green for worthy causes,
An Interview with Earthly AffairA fellow blogger, and one of the go-to gals I have listed on GorgeousandGreen for green event inspiration, is Jennifer from Earth Friendly Weddings. Apart from her creative blogging skills, she is also responsible for Earthly Affair, a green invitation business. They offer two earth-friendly papers for their invites: One is a 100% pcw, using no new trees and the other is a cotton paper, FSC certified for responsible forest management and made of partially recycled content.
Take a look at some of the whimsical, romantic and clean designs they provide:Earthly Affair was created after the planning of my own wedding. While searching for invitations, I noticed a lack of truly earth friendly and stylish invitations for today’s modern bride. I decided to design my own invitations and that’s when the idea was born. Nearly one year later, we launched our site and started selling eco-friendly, customizable invitations online! 2. I noticed you recently planned your own Green Wedding, what did you do to make it sustainable and green? I have to admit, I didn’t start out planning a green wedding. Our plan was to keep the wedding fairly simple and as the planning process intensified, I became determined to make more sustainable choices. We held it at a beautiful and historic antebellum house in the city that also acted as a restaurant. Our ceremony and reception were both held there, so guests didn’t have to travel from one event to another. Apart from the flowers, all of the decor was either rented or available to us from our venue, reducing unnecessary waste. The one thing I purchased for decoration was a set of letters that spelled out “LOVE,” and even those were re-used for my friend’s wedding and they now reside as decoration in her home. I was hesitant about favors, but in the end I decided to create something that I thought people would keep. I spent hours researching and printing romantic quotes to put on little favor boxes, which we then filled with chocolate bought in bulk. Those were a big hit and most people loved them. 3. How would you define sustainable living? Sustainable living is respecting that which we depend on. I’ve always believed this and although it’s a somewhat cheesy outlook, I think if people took the time to realize how lucky we are to have such a beautiful earth, which is our home, there would be a lot less problems in the world. 4. What do you think is the biggest barrier in getting couples to choose a green wedding? A big barrier is the misconception that it costs more. In some cases, they’re right, but with a little extra work and patience, it doesn’t have to be. 5. What is the most un-green or insustainable wedding practice that you can think of or have seen in your experience? I’ve never witnessed any one thing, but putting sentimental feelings aside, the wedding dress is pretty unsustainable. Many resources go into making this overpriced jungle of fabric and then we only wear it once. I don’t have much room to talk though. I bought a brand new dress for my wedding and it’s still hanging in my closet. There is a conflict of emotions there because while I know it’s highly unsustainable, I fell in love with it and wasn’t able to let go. 6. Let's pretend for a moment that you could create one green invention in your life (that worked) what would it be? Would teleportation be green? I love to travel, but I know how horrible air and car travel is for the environment. Of course, the thought of actually being teleported is a different story, but the convenience factor is hard to deny. I wonder if we would run into each other mid-teleport and end up with someone else’s legs or arms… If you get the chance, do look at her blog and check out those lovely invitations if you're holding an event or wedding. I know they are doing a lot to be eco-friendly, and as a fellow greenie I can vouch for their strong values and sustainable methods. Take a look at some of the ways they are acting as a sustainable business:
- they offset co2 emissions resulting from our shipments and our business through carbonfund.org.
- they donate a portion of our profits to environmental projects.
- they recycle or reuse everything we can.
- they implement energy saving practices
- they compost and/or recycle leftover paper scraps.
- they reuse shipping supplies or materials.