Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eco Swim

Teeki mix-and-match recycled plastic swimwear
UPDATE: Thanks to Meridith for introducing me to Teeki, a swimwear line made from recycled plastic bottles that's manufactured here in the U.S. Verrry cute stuff!

Emobi's "Bandeau Tie Top" bikin in Retro Purple

Why are eco-friendly bathing suits are so difficult to find? After some intensive hunting on the Web, we are proud to list a handful here that are not only eco-friendly in their own respective ways, but also super-cute. If anyone out there knows of other lines we've missed, let us know!

Emobi swimwear out of Australia. They do their own prints (which we love) and use environmentally-friendly, water-based dyes. You can order from them directly online or check for a retailer in your area here.

JUNGLEGURL is the brainchild of designer Natalie Golonka, a former model who travelled the world and collected vintage fabrics along the way. You can order a custom bikini in a wide variety of awesome vintage fabrics. Everything is made-to-order out of California.

Mikaela bikini by JUNGLEGURL, $195

Lina Rennell's pieces are ethically made, by hand, in California. Her swimsuits/bodysuits are carried by one of our favorite online stores, Beklina. We love these so much and would wear them just about everywhere!

Lina Rennell's "Shield" Swimsuit, $150 on Beklina

Fables By Barrie is for anyone lamenting the days of old-school beach glamour. Their range of swimwear is "designed, developed and manufactured in San Diego," and definitely inspired by the pin-ups of the past.

"Abigail" bikini by Fables By Barrie

Eco Swim by Aqua Green has a more conservative—but no less cute—line of swimwear basics. All their swimwear is made in the U.S. from recycled materials like water bottles, fishing nets and plastic bags. (Even their bra cups are made of biodegradable materials.) Another reason to love them: they're avid organizers of beach clean-ups. They've already hosted four in 2012 and it's only July! Shop here, but keep in mind most of their swimwear sells out early (a very good thing).

Eco Swim by Aqua Green one piece

Koru Swimwear also has a small selection of cute suits—and 100% recycled rashguards, which we are definitely buying. These suits have a dry production process: no water is used in the dyeing cycle, therefore there's no waste.
Koru's "Oamaru" pleated bikini top
La Isla is another impressive company—their factory employs head-of-household women in Columbia; they use Oeko-Tex certified fabrics; and they're extremely involved in global environmental charities. They'e got so many adorable swimsuits, it was difficult to pick which one to post here!

Some looks from La Isla—there's even more cute stuff online

Thanks to Ecouterre and TreeHugger for help with this list!

Monday, July 16, 2012

DIY Lavender Spray

photo by Janell Davidson
I've been using unscented laundry detergent for years now, and lately I've noticed that certain items never really smell clean. (Or is "good" the word I'm looking for? They are clean; they just don't smell like it.) This is especially embarrassing with guest linens. Lavender linen spray has been a sometimes indulgence that seems to help...but it's so expensive! A quick Google search revealed some recipes to try. Here's my favorite, adapted from Apartment Therapy:

—1 tsp. lavender essential oil
—Optional:1 tsp. vanilla or orange oil (to enhance the scent)
—1/4 cup grain alcohol (like Everclear or unflavored vodka)
—3.5 cups filtered water

Mix the oil/s and grain alcohol in a clean, empty spray bottle. (The alcohol is a natural disinfectant and works as an emulsifier, allowing the oil and water to mix.) Add the water to your spray bottle and shake. Shake before each use.

Some people seem to prefer a mix of oil and grain alcohol only—no water. Not as cost-effective, but apparently it dries faster.

I've got a garden full of lavender right now, and I'm currently working on a DIY lavender essential oil. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookie photo from Hemsley & Hemsley
For real! My friend Susan just turned me on to Hemsley & Hemsley, a U.K. Tumblr about "the art of eating well." So much to love—they are two lovely sisters whose Tumblr is full of amazing recipes "free of grain, gluten, high starch and sugar." Now I consider myself a heathly cook and eater, but one thing I can't turn my back on is baked goods. I love making and eating fresh-from-the-oven carbs too much. (Some things just aren't the same gluten-free, you know?) But I was intrigued by their almond meal/date/butter/chocolate cookie recipe. I love that there are only four ingredients—a cinch to make in a food processor. And I'll admit, the cookies are fabulous. They are not the same as old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies, but in this case, I actually don't miss the gluten so much.

Click here for their full recipe in British Vogue. I'm re-posting it below but with the measurements converted to U.S. as best I could.

Chocolate Chip Cookies by Hemsley & Hemsley
Ingredients (use organic ingredients where possible)
Makes 20-24 cookies

 —1/2 pound ground almonds (aka almond meal/almond flour)
—A pinch of sea salt
—½ teaspoon of baking soda
—6 tablespoons of room temperature butter (or coconut oil)
—100g of Medjool dates - about 11 of them
—**3.5 oz. (100 g.) bar of dark chocolate - Try Ombar or find the highest percentage of organic dark chocolate you can
(I used 3/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips instead—all I had on hand—and I recommend it. Add them to the food processor last and pulse them just a little so some get slightly broken up for extra melty chocolate flavor.)

Cooking Instructions

The food processor way
  • Put your bar of dark chocolate into the food processor and pulse with the "S" blade until the chocolate is roughly chopped into nuggets. Take out and tip into a bowl. (Skip this step if you're using chocolate chips like I did)
  • Add your ground almonds, baking soda and dates into the processor and pulse until the dates are broken down (add your extract/other flavourings now if using).
  • Put your butter in and pulse until a dough forms.
  • Tip your chocolate nuggets back into the processor and pulse a few times until distributed - you don't want your chocolate blended right in - although they would still look and taste lovely!
  • Scoop out 1 inch balls of the mixture, roll and flatten slighty into cookie shapes.

    By hand
  • Stir the butter on a low heat until just melted. Don't let it get too hot it will be hard to shape your cookies and melt your chocolate chunks. If in doubt, let it cool a little first.
  • Chop your dates (you could try raisins or date syrup instead) and place into a mixing bowl.
  • Add your ground almonds and baking soda and stir to combine.
  • Pour in your melted butter and mix well.
  • Chop your chocolate into small chunks and stir into the mixture.
  • Scoop out 1 inch balls of the mixture and form into cookie shapes as best you can. If it's too sloppy, chill the mixture for 10 minutes or so until it is more of a dough.

    Into the oven
  • Pop the cookies onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, leaving half an inch between each cookie.
  • Bake at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes depending on size - they should be crisp and golden on the edges
  • Remove from the oven and allow the tray to cool  - as tempting as they are (and the smell will drive you insane) they will be too soft to handle, and the molten chocolate will burn.  Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes, during which time they'll crisp up, before moving them onto a plate/into your mouth!
  • If the cookies last more than a few days you might find they soften up somewhat - just pop them back into the oven to crisp up again. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Listen: Dirty Projectors

The new Dirty Projectors record, Swing Lo Magellan, came out on Tuesday. Buy it here. Or stream it online at the New York Times first. Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle singing together is magic.

Such a great track: "Dance For You."