1. Living sustainably includes taking action! I’m starting this new series to get the word out on political and social actions happening during the week. If you have anything to add, please sent it my way at elizabeth[at]thenotepasser.com.



    The Floating Library | September 6 - October 3

    The Floating Library is a pop-up, mobile device-free public space aboard the historic Lilac Museum Steamship berthed at Pier 25 on the Hudson River in New York City for September 6- October 3, 2014. The people-powered library is initiated by artist Beatrice Glow to fortify a space for critical cultural production by pushing boundaries under the open skies that are conducive to fearless dreaming. The ship’s main deck will be transformed into an outdoor reading lounge to offer library visitors a range of reading materials from underrepresented authors, artist books, poetry, manifestoes, as well as book collection, that, at the end of the lifecycle of the project, will be donated to local high school students with demonstrated need. 

    During this action-packed month, there is free public programming with over twenty roundtables, performances, art installations, and workshops that will shine a spotlight on maker culture, DIY politics, sustainability issues, and community engagement.

    Location, directions, and hours here.



    New York Cares

    New York Cares can always use volunteers and they have a wide range of opportunities available for whatever you skills or interests are. Normally, you must attend volunteer orientation before volunteering, but New York Cares Day Fall is coming up on October 18th and anyone aged 12 and up can participate. You can register now as an individual, a team, or to generate sponsorship. Read the FAQs here.

    Take part in New York City’s largest hands-on volunteer day by joining more than 4,000 volunteers to paint a brighter future for our city’s public school students. This year, volunteers will create murals, paint classrooms, plant school gardens, and engage school staff, students and families in service. By the end of the day on October 18th, 70 public schools in all five boroughs will be transformed.

    New York Cares Day Fall is also a fundraiser for New York Cares. With your help, we hope to raise funds to support our year-round volunteer programs which provide services for 400,000 New Yorkers in need.


    Brooklyn Free Store | September 19

    The Brooklyn Free Store is a project of In Our Hearts, a New York City based Anarchist network made up of autonomous collectives, projects, and individuals. It operates in Herbert Von King Park in Bed Stuy on Fridays (weather permitting):

    All are welcome to come and share what they have or just take what they’d like. There is no obligation to share or anything. These items and others are being shared in the spirit of community and mutual aid, please participate with that in mind and respect others.


    Presentation: History of Grassroots Environmental Activism in NYC | September 20

    Learn how community-based activism ignited social change and policy change and became a part of sustainable NYC, from recycling and composting to urban design. Hosted by The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, featuring a conversation and video screening by Wendy Brawer of Green Maps and Time’s Up! Environmental Organization. The presentation begins at 6:15pm at The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Spaces, 155 Avenue C (between 9th and 10th).



    People’s Climate March | September 21

    Upwards of 100,000 people are expected to join the People’s Climate March this Sunday, September 21 in what will be the largest demonstration for climate action in history. The People’s Climate March has been endorsed by over 1,200 organizations, including the nation’s largest environmental groups, labor unions, faith-based groups, and social justice groups including environmental and climate justice groups in New York City.

    Assembly Location: Central Park West, between 65th and 86th streets.

    • Enter on 65th, 72nd, 77th, 81st, or 86th street.

    March Route:

    • The march will begin at 11:30 am.
    • March down Central Park West and go east on 59th Street
    • Turn onto 6th Ave. and go south to 42nd Street
    • Turn right onto 42nd Street and go west to 11th Ave
    • Turn left on 11th Ave. and go south to 34th Street

    End Location: 11th Ave. in the streets between 34th Street and 38th Street



    Get all of the logistical details HERE. I’ll see you there!

    Also check out Ecocult’s Eco-Friendly and Cool Things To Do in NYC This Week.

  2. Living sustainably includes taking action! I’m starting this new series to get the word out on political and social actions happening during the week. If you have anything to add, please sent it my way at elizabeth[at]thenotepasser.com.



    New York Primary Elections | September 9

    In case you didn’t know, today is the primary election for the November races. Primaries have notoriously low turn outs, so get out and make you choices known. Find out what you are voting for:

    1. Look up your nine digit zip code here.
    2. Look up your nine digit zip code on Vote Smart.
    3. On the results page, click “See Upcoming Information Only”.
    4. Click through to find out more about each race and candidate.
    5. Get out and vote!

    View Cafeteria Man: Fighting for Healthier School Food | September 9

    "Cafeteria Man" is proof that it takes a collective effort to change a dysfunctional school food program from parents, teachers, administrators, to farmers, chefs and the students themselves.

    Meet Tony Geraci, then food-service director for Baltimore city public schools. A charismatic chef from New Orleans, Geraci leads the charge to replace pre-plated, processed foods with locally-grown, freshly-prepared meals. His vision includes school vegetable gardens, student-designed meals, and nutrition education in the classroom.

    Watch empowered students get involved with planting and harvesting their own vegetables at Baltimore school system’s 33-acre teaching farm, now a national model. See high school seniors develop practical job skills through a new citywide culinary vocational training program.

    Documentary screening will be followed by an all-star panel discussion with: Richard Chisolm, award-winning filmmaker, director of Cafeteria Man; Bill Telepan, Snail of Approval Restaurateur and Executive Chef Wellness in the Schools (WITS); Richard O’Brien, Director of Food and Menu Management at SchoolFood, NYC Department of Education; Kathy Lawrence, Director of Strategic Development, SchoolFoodFOCUS.

    September 9 at 7pm | The Whythe Hotel, Brooklyn

    Get tickets here.



    New York Cares

    New York Cares can always use volunteers and they have a wide range of opportunities available for whatever you skills or interests are. Normally, you must attend volunteer orientation before volunteering, but New York Cares Day Fall is coming up on October 18th and anyone aged 12 and up can participate. You can register now as an individual, a team, or to generate sponsorship. Read the FAQs here.

    Take part in New York City’s largest hands-on volunteer day by joining more than 4,000 volunteers to paint a brighter future for our city’s public school students. This year, volunteers will create murals, paint classrooms, plant school gardens, and engage school staff, students and families in service. By the end of the day on October 18th, 70 public schools in all five boroughs will be transformed.

    New York Cares Day Fall is also a fundraiser for New York Cares. With your help, we hope to raise funds to support our year-round volunteer programs which provide services for 400,000 New Yorkers in need.


    Brooklyn Free Store

    The Brooklyn Free Store is a project of In Our Hearts, a New York City based Anarchist network made up of autonomous collectives, projects, and individuals. It operates in Herbert Von King Park in Bed Stuy on Fridays (weather permitting):

    All are welcome to come and share what they have or just take what they’d like. There is no obligation to share or anything. These items and others are being shared in the spirit of community and mutual aid, please participate with that in mind and respect others.


    "Light Up the Future" Bike Ride and People’s Climate March Bike Bloc | September 13

    Bike Bloc is an open group dedicated to creating a massive bicycle presence at the People’s Climate March and in the streets during the weeks of action. We acknowledge that changing one’s personal carbon footprint isn’t enough to achieve climate health, so our cycling is a physical demonstration of our commitment to reject the fossil fuel industry and to demand clean renewable energy. We aim to engage the larger cycling community and city planning in a conversation about climate justice and to invest in bicycling to fight the global crisis with positive people power.

    When: Saturday, September 13th, 5-10pm
    Where: Corner of York Street and Jay Street in Bridge Park, DUMBO, Brooklyn

    Get involved:
    http://peoplesclimate.org/bikebloc/
    https://www.facebook.com/Bikeblocpeoplesclimate
    @bikeblocNYC


  3. Ahhhhh, vacation.

    I was in my home state of Florida for a simple and relaxing vacation. One of my favorite places to be is the beach and one of the loveliest beaches in the country is Anna Maria Island, a little strip of land on the Gulf of Mexico. My parents have a house there which they rent during most of the year (yay sharing economy!) The pool is salt water chlorinated and it’s landscaped with native plants that need very little watering. Rent it here!

    While it relies heavily on tourism, the local economy is thriving with entrepreneurs and markets. Everything we need is on the island, including transportation. This year, Nathan and I decided not to rent a car and relied on the (free!) trolley, walking, bikes, and a local taxi to the airport. There are various healthy activities to participate in on the island like swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and biking. Tons of sunshine (with the appropriate sun protection) ain’t bad either!


    My grandparents came to visit and my grandmother and I celebrated our August birthdays like we used to when I was growing up.

    The above photos are by Astrid Stawiarz.


    Anna Maria is home to a lot of wildlife like sea turtles and dolphins, and the entire island is a bird sanctuary. Oh, and jellyfish. Not all year, but they happened to be coming in at the end of our stay and on my last day, one stung me. It was a moon jellyfish, which apparently only very sensitive people can even feel the sting of. Which, yeah, sounds about right for me. Anyway, it went happily on its way, unperturbed by me or anyone else. A sanctuary for both humans and animals, I highly recommend taking your next vacation to Anna Maria Island! 

    And now, back to work!


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  4. Ahhhhh, vacation.

    I was in my home state of Florida for a simple and relaxing vacation. One of my favorite places to be is the beach and one of the loveliest beaches in the country is Anna Maria Island, a little strip of land on the Gulf of Mexico. My parents have a house there which they rent during most of the year (yay sharing economy!) The pool is salt water chlorinated and it’s landscaped with native plants that need very little watering. Rent it here!

    While it relies heavily on tourism, the local economy is thriving with entrepreneurs and markets. Everything we need is on the island, including transportation. This year, Nathan and I decided not to rent a car and relied on the (free!) trolley, walking, bikes, and a local taxi to the airport. There are various healthy activities to participate in on the island like swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and biking. Tons of sunshine (with the appropriate sun protection) ain’t bad either!


    My grandparents came to visit and my grandmother and I celebrated our August birthdays like we used to when I was growing up.

    The above photos are by Astrid Stawiarz.


    Anna Maria is home to a lot of wildlife like sea turtles and dolphins, and the entire island is a bird sanctuary. Oh, and jellyfish. Not all year, but they happened to be coming in at the end of our stay and on my last day, one stung me. It was a moon jellyfish, which apparently only very sensitive people can even feel the sting of. Which, yeah, sounds about right for me. Anyway, it went happily on its way, unperturbed by me or anyone else. A sanctuary for both humans and animals, I highly recommend taking your next vacation to Anna Maria Island! 

    And now, back to work!


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  5. modavanti:

Keeping Up With Sword & Plough
We here are Modavanti are so honored to share the product and story of  Sword & Plough with our customers.

    modavanti:

    Keeping Up With Sword & Plough

    We here are Modavanti are so honored to share the product and story of  Sword & Plough with our customers.

    Reblogged from: modavanti

  6. On vacation

    Hi all! I’ll be on vacation until September 4th. I’m not going to post, but you might see some changes going on around the site and in the Resources section. 

    I’m also spending time with family, reading, and relaxing as much as possible. 


    Views From My Grandparents’ House

    My grandparents are moving from their house in Florida after 37 years to Arkansas to be closer to family. Growing up, my house was a block from theirs and I spent a lot of time with them. This is a series of things I’m used to seeing at their house. See more on Instagram


    Ethical Writers Coalition

    While I’m gone, check out the site I designed and the cool new group I’m a part of: Ethical Writers Coalition. Add all of the members to your social media and reading lists because they are awesome!



    Fixing Fashion

    FIXING FASHION is on Kickstarter. Fund an industry insider’s expose of the global apparel trade, critically examining the best and worst of industry practices.

    As an 18 year apparel industry professional who has spoken out vocally against the social, economic, and environmental costs of the global fashion trade, Michael Lavergne has been deeply disappointed that few industry insiders have come forward to publicly address the real issues at the heart of the Rana Plaza tragedy.

    This project is a manifesto for the collective consumer, business, and civil society actions he believes are needed in helping us to rethink the way we make, market and buy our clothes in one of the global economy’s most lucrative and labour intensive sectors.


    Tears in the Fabric

    Tearsinthefabric.com is a multi-platform resource bringing together eyewitness testimonials, video, photography, journalism and campaign information surrounding the Rana Plaza factory collapse of 2013, as well as other materials relating to the international garments industry.

    Tears in the Fabric is run and curated by Rainbow Collective and OpenVizor and and all materials are free for non-profit use.


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  7. Today’s post is brought to you by Malorie Bertrand of EF Magazine. Malorie is a freelance writer, blogger, and stylist in Ottawa, Canada. If you like my blog, you’ll love finding out about cool fashion brands and sustainable beauty on EF Magazine! Follow her on a sustainable tour through Ottawa…

    Call me crazy, but I think it’s often quite hard to find a city’s shopping area gems. Don’t you agree? It’s easy to find the touristy spots — for Ottawa this includes Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, Chateau Laurier, the Byward Market and Sparks Street, to name a few. It’s equally as easy to find shopping malls, but if you want the quaint boutique or cozy cafe, you have to dig a little deeper or be a really good sleuth and sniff out the hot spots on various travel blogs. 

    So I’ve put together a short list of some of my favourite places to shop in Ottawa for Made in Canada, locally made, ethical, sustainable, vintage, you name it fashion. This isn’t an exhaustive list but these are my go-tos when pulling for photo shoots or buying for myself.

    Starting from east to west:

    Young Janes

    Young Janes is an adorable vintage boutique on Dalhousie Street, just east of the famous Byward Market. Dalhousie is a great little shopping district with the original Victoire Boutique location (more on that diamond to come), Workshop, Wunderkamer and now Isabelle too. Young Janes is a well-curated shop full of vintage finds that somehow manage to be contemporary and oh-so-wearable. Owner Mika and her husband used to live in the UK and she is as trendy as they come.



    Bread & Sons Bakery

    Bread & Sons Bakery is my go-to for scrumptious, vegan, chocolate oatmeal cookies or a refreshing cold, gazpacho soup. You might want to stop here on your way west. Hope on the 2 Bayshore bus on Bank Street and you’ll be at our next shopping destination in fifteen minutes! 



    Oresta Organic Skin Care

    Oresta Organic Skin Care is a well-established, locally owned organic spa and eco-beauty business with three locations in the city. Owner Oresta has designed each location with warm, wooden furniture to showcase a beautiful collection of hand-picked all-natural and organic skin care, body and makeup lines. My favourite place for a facial!



    Bridgehead Roastery

    Bridgehead Roastery is where the magic happens, for coffee that is. Bridgehead is a local coffee shop that has expanded to 15 locations, plus the new roastery space. The coffee is fair trade, organic, and strong, just the way I like it.



    Victoire

    Victoire is Ottawa’s boutique darling that has found much success. As I mentioned before, co-owners Katie and Regine expanded to this second location and most recently opened up a shop in Toronto on Ossington. Victoire is known for their pretty dresses and rockstar accessories, not to mention the retro decor and that timeless floral wallpaper. Here you’ll find a plethora of Canadian designers.



    Jasmine Virani

    Right next door is the lovely Jasmine Virani and her namesake store/studio. Jasmine not only sells pieces from her own line but a slew of other jewelry lines from all over Canada. Expect a lot of silver, gold, raw stones, and recycled materials.



    Twiss & Weber

    Twiss & Weber is the new kid on the block. I (gasp) have yet to actually go into the store, but I’ve poked my head in once and squished my face up against its windows a few times to take a peek after hours. Co-owners Laura and Tonia met through mutual hobbies of knitting, felting, and dyeing and five years later opened up shop to sell their own ethical clothing line. The shop also features accessories from other Ottawa-based and Canadian designers.



    AMH Style

    AMH Style is my favourite consignment shop in Ottawa. It is beautifully laid out with wall-to-wall fashions for all types at great second-hand prices. From high-end vintage to popular lines such as BCBG and Club Monaco, this shop is always my first stop.



    Green Tree Eco-Fashion

    Green Tree Eco-fashion is Ottawa’s first contemporary eco-fashion boutique and it has a loyal following of shoppers. I also pull from here for shoots a lot because owner Sara offers a lot of European and US lines I can’t find anywhere else in town. Green Tree also carries one of Ottawa’s only eco-fashion lines, Duffield Design, which offers beautiful, stretchy pieces that are lovingly hand dyed.



    Cafe My House

    After a long day of shopping, head back east on Wellington to Cafe My House for a delicious raw food experience. The ambiance is wonderful and I would highly recommend sitting outside in the restaurant’s private courtyard.



    Here’ a link to a Google Map of all of the places! 


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  8. Luva Huva produces beautiful, handmade lingerie using ethically sourced fabrics. Joanna Ketterer, the designer, wanted to create a lingerie collection that celebrated elegant feminine style whilst also providing a sustainable alternative to the often wasteful fashion industry. All of the pieces are handmade in the UK from locally sourced, vintage, and end-of-line fabrics wherever possible. Ethical fabrics such as soy, organic cotton, and bamboo, which are brilliantly soft and breathable, are also used in this beautiful collection.

    In a previous post, I covered ethical lingerie brands, including Luva Huva. Because of limited fabrics and editions, some ethical lingerie brands lack a wide range of sizes, but I’m happy to report that Luva Huva carries both larger cup sizes (A-D) and panties (UK 8-18). They sent me their Coraline Black Lace Triangle Bra and Brief Set to try out and review.

    As soon as I opened the small envelope from London, I could tell the the pieces were delicate, but extremely well-made. The lovely lace detailing is strong and the bamboo jersey is soft. This bra won’t provide much support, but it’s light and breathable, making it perfect under airy summer dresses; I’ve found that lighter bras make a world of difference in the summer months. For this reason, I am definitely taking this set on vacation! 


    I’m impressed with the fit, quality, and style of the Coraline set and would love to own more pieces from Luva Huva. They carry a wide range of sizes, colors, and styles which include pajamas, slips, t-shirts, bridal, and even swimwear. Luckily, they are having a huge sale online and, although they are located in the UK, shipping is amazingly only $7.95 to the US. Free recorded delivery is available on all UK orders over £50. You can also order from them via Etsy. Below are some of my favorite items (all on sale right now!)

    Click on the image to be taken to the item.


    FIND LUVA HUVA: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | 

    *I was gifted the lingerie set featured here by Luva Huva, but rest assured I only recommend brands I wholeheartedly believe in.


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  9. Ariana Boussard-Reifel and I kept running into each other. First at the Manhattan Vintage Show and then through the business equivalent of online dating, Google Analytics (thanks to this page). We finally gave in to serendipity and, after setting up an IRL meeting, learned that we also live in the same neighborhood. We’ve been paling around ever since! The bonus point of this story is that Ariana runs an exceptionally curated online vintage site called Mode Marteau (The Fashion Hammer, in English. That’s right. The. Fashion. Hammer.) That being the case, I of course get bummed by the exceptional items that do not fit me (or sometimes my budget), but taunt me from the pages of Mode Marteau. Below are some of my favorites right now. 

    Click on the image to be taken to the item.


    Also, let it be known that if you are not in NYC, you can purchase the goods online on the Mode Marteau website, on Etsy, on Reissued, on Threadflip. Promo code FRESH will get you 30% off the entire site right now!

    If you are in NYC, Mode Marteau is having a HUGE SALE August 14-16 at their DUMBO studio. I will, unfortunately, be on vacation. But you, you get all of the details below and go, go, go!



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  10. Summer requires us to use extra products to weather the outdoors, especially people like me with sensitive skin. Daytime sunscreen and nighttime bug repellant are staples for summer living. Below are my picks for clean and natural options so you can stay outdoors and avoid chemicals.


    All Terrain TerraSport Sunscreen 

    I mentioned All Terrain in my Guide to Clean Sunscreen and I’ve purchased it for my upcoming vacation. TerraSport offers natural broad-spectrum protection from both UVA & UVB rays, will not clog your pores, contains no animal derived ingredients, and is never tested on animals.

    Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen

    I also mentioned Babo in the guide and I’m interested to try out this clear zinc version. I think it will be great to use on my face. It absorbs quickly, won’t clog pores, and is moisturizing against wind, all without white residue!

    Real Earth Bug Away Balm 

    This solid bug balm by Real Earth is convenient for travel. It provides natural protection against mosquitoes, biting flies, black flies, gnats, no-see-ums, chiggers, and other pesky insects. And it’s safe for pregnant women, children and pets.

    Meow Meow Tweet Herbal Insect Repellant 

    Meow Meow Tweet’s Herbal Insect Repellant is powerful enough to combat prehistoric mosquitoes without toxic chemicals. Plant-based essential oils combine with natural skin toners to create a body mist that can be sprayed directly onto your skin, hair, and clothes. AND it’s packaged in an aluminum bottle with a biodegradable label!

    Prosperity Candle Citronella Coffee Tin 

    Keep the bugs away without chemicals! Made in a repurposed coffee tin, these soy-blend candles feature a wood wick for a long-lasting, wind-resistant flame. Prosperity Candles are artfully hand-poured by a woman earning a living wage; each candle comes with the portrait and name of the woman who made it, connecting candle lovers with candle artisans. Check out the 50% off summer sale going on now!

    Simply. Natural. Heal. Up. Balm 

    Even when we have the best preparation, sometimes bug bites and sunburn still happen. Heal up quickly and safely with this balm made with natural ingredients like lavender and tea tree. 

    Summer is in full swing and I’ll be on vacation in less than a week! I’ll be taking a break from posting, but I’ll be working on the Resources section to help you find more clean and ethical options.


    * This post contains affiliate links to Abe’s Market, a site I highly recommend for clean and ethical products.


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  11. I realize “get rid of” might sound a little aggressive, but rest assured I don’t mean in a Fahrenheit 451 manner or anything. Books represent knowledge which, as you may have noticed, I love to share freely; so I constantly get rid of books by swapping with friends or sending them to family members via media mail (the super slow and cheap choice). And as I become more of a minimalist, I also find myself parting with that growing stack of books I thought I’d read, but probably never will. I’d like to pass on to you some of the best ways I’ve discovered to share, swap, or donate used and unwanted books.

    Swap Through the Mail

    Swap sites are cropping up everywhere which is indicative of the new sharing economy. There are quite a few book swapping sites, but the following seem to be the ones most people are happy with. I haven’t used any of them personally.

    BooksFreeSwap: After joining and activating your free account you can list books or audiobooks you no longer want, along with their condition, and you will be notified when a member wants your listed title. The recipient pays shipping, you pack the book, print the prepaid label, and mail it. Create your own Wish List and you’ll be notified when the books are listed and available. In order to help support the community atmosphere at BooksfreeSwap, you must list 5 Items and add funds (minimum $10) to your account before you can receive a book from another member. 

    BookMooch: This site is completely free through a points system; in order to mooch books from others, you need to earn points which you use up as you get free books from other people. Entering in a book you own and want to give away gets you 1/10th of a point. Giving books away gets you 1-3 points. You can also give your points to the charities they work with. See more about the points system here.

    WhatsOnMyBookshelf: This one also uses points; for every 5 books that you register on the site you will receive 1 credit as a promotion. List your books and either write a description or use a commercial description. Members also control the categorization of books. Unlike a library or bookstore, the organization of books depends upon personalized tagging rather than traditional categories or numbering schemes. Other users request your book by redeeming some of their credits. You pay to ship the book, but it’s free to receive.

    Host a Book Swap

    My mom periodically hosts a books swap. They are really fun and easy to pull off:

    1. Pick a date.
    2. Send out invites.
    3. Everyone brings their unwanted books.
    4. Pile up the books and swap away (or take turns if you prefer).
    5. Get rid of the leftovers with one of the methods in this post.
    6. BONUS: Literary-themed refreshments! 

    Yerdle for Credits

    I’ve written about Yerdle* before. Their aim is to reduce consumption by promoting a sharing community, which certainly includes books. List your books (or anything) on Yerdle from the mobile app and receive points which you can use to get other stuff. This is a good option if you want something other than books for your books. The recipient pays the shipping ($2-4), you print the label, and then send it off. 

    Sell or Trade at a Local Bookstore

    I’m lucky enough to have the excellent Strand Bookstore and Westsider Books here in NYC. But many local used bookstores take trade-ins for cash or store credit. One more reason to support the increasingly rare local, independent bookstores.

    Donate



    If you’d rather just donate your unwanted books, there are many options available. 

    Thrift stores: Your local thrift store will gladly take and resell or recycle your books, so just drop them off!

    Shelters: Local shelters often take books as well, especially children’s books in the women’s shelters. Call ahead and ask for details.

    Reading Reflections: Reading Reflections was started by the family of Edith and Morris Mendelsohn. Read the story here. They accept all new and gently used books, both children’s and adult which are then donated to various organizations worldwide.

    Better World Books*: One of my favorite places to buy used books, Better World Books also accepts donations which they then sell (for charity funds) or donate to various organizations including The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and Room To Read. They even pay for shipping and the carbon offsets that are part of their triple bottom line. Donate here.

    Books for SoldiersYou need to register for the site, but once you do, you can help out the troops by sending soldiers the books they requested through the website.

    Book4Cause: Many of the donations from Book4Causes drives and donation campaigns go to Africa to support the Good Books for Africa program.

    Operation Paperback: Thisnonprofit allows you to send your used books directly to the troops. After registering with the site, you can request the addresses of troops overseas based on their requested genre. And if you’re concerned about the cost of shipping, it costs around $6 to send a box of 20 paperbacks.

    As you can see, there are numerous options for getting rid of books you no longer need or want. Fortunately, swaps and local bookstores are also good ways to replenish your stock. If possible, buy used books or borrow from your local library.

    How do you get rid of your books?

    affiliate link 



  12. Born and raised in northern Canada, Jennifer Fukushima trained in fashion design at the prestigious Ryerson University. She has worked under other Canadian fashion labels including Preloved, Peach Berserk, and Fashion Crimes. Her previous label, Paper People Clothing, was sold through retailers across Canada and the US for over 12 years.

    Jennifer Fukushima’s eponymous line focuses on high quality cut and sew knitwear. Wearable mosaics are created out of luxurious natural fibers and ecologically conscious blends. Working to keep the Canadian fashion industry alive, everything is designed and produced in Canada.


    As a designer and entrepreneur, I have made it my mission to source and produce locally whenever possible and to educate the public on just what goes into a garment.

    Jennifer Fukushima believes that fashion should always combine style, comfort, and function without compromising quality, craftsmanship, worker rights, or the environment.

    • Fabrics are sourced from across the globe, giving special preference to sustainably grown and manufactured goods whenever possible.
    • Natural fibers are selected for their comfort, quality, and resource renewability.
    • Select synthetics are used sparingly to provide increased strength and durability to natural fibers.
    • All garments are manufactured in Canada where workers are paid a living wage under safe working conditions.
    • Great care is taken during each step of the process from design to materials selection through to construction so that each garment can be enjoyed for multiple seasons.

    It’s quite possible that last winter wore out everyone’s warm clothes. If you need something warm and well-made, consider these unique pieces from Jennifer Fukushima. Keep reading for a discount code!


    You can all take advantage of a 10% discount online with the code THENOTEPASSER10. When you check out, use the code + opt in to receive marketing (I’m assured that they don’t send out many emails and you can opt out anytime). Valid from Aug 1 to Oct 31 2014.

    FIND JENNIFER: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | TUMBLR | PINTEREST 


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  13. I’m a minimalist. Well, aspiring anyway. I suppose it’s a natural extension of a sustainable lifestyle—having only what you need. I’ve been dabbling for a while with experiments like the 6 Items Challenge and paring down my beauty products; but I suspect that, like my vegetarianism, it will be a long process. Minimalism can take many forms, but I like this definition from The Minimalists:

    Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. 

    For many years now, my husband and I have lived in small spaces. Our apartments in China were always quite small and we didn’t own any furniture there. When we returned to the US in 2009, we had only suitcases, filled mostly with clothing. We started from scratch with furniture donated by my parents or found in thrift stores or on the sidewalk (I love finding awesome sidewalk stuff!) and we bought a bed and a couch. I think we have the right amount of furniture, but the amount of other stuff kept creeping up: books, linens, clothing, accessories, knickknacks. I come from a long line of hardcore organizers and I’d always been proud of my own skills. I can (and love to) organize massive amounts of stuff into tiny spaces where it is somehow still accessible. I even considered being a professional organizer. I thought this was a good thing (Thanks, Martha!), but then I read the article that started me on this journey, also by The Minimalists. In it, they state:

    No matter how organized we are, we must continue to care for the stuff we organize, sorting and cleaning our meticulously structured belongings. When we get rid of the superabundance of stuff, however, we can make room for life’s more important aspects.



    It was then I understood that my carefully organized stuff was still taking up my valuable time. And even though I enjoy organizing, I had to ask myself if that time and those things were adding value to my life. The answer: no. I decided then that I would start the journey of minimalism. The Minimalists website is a great place to start learning, specifically here. I’m still in the “getting rid of physical stuff” stage. I also have the desire to get my unwanted stuff to the most appropriate place, so I have stacks of books and piles of clothes in corners of the apartment; it’s annoying, but a necessary part of the process for me. My friend, Christina, has impeccable taste and a minimal aesthetic and is kindly helping me pare down my clothing into a capsule collection. Another friend, Lauren, is a constant inspiration of minimalism for the sake of the environment (zero waste, actually). I’m in good company and well on my way!

    What do you think? Could you be a minimalist? Are you ready to get rid of anything not adding value to your life?


  14. Today’s Vintage Bummer is brought to you by Lauren Koster of Undeclared Panache!

    After I read Elizabeth’s first Vintage Bummer column, I knew I had to get in on this! Like Elizabeth, I love browsing vintage. Sometimes I’m perusing Etsy for a dress to wear for a wedding and sometimes I am searching eBay for that specific Miu Miu shoe from three years ago that I still can’t get out of my head. No matter what method I’m using, I’m bound to come across some serious gems.  

    Caftans & Beach Bags

    Since the fashion set is starting to think fall, yet we are in the dog days of summer, I went with a few “buy now, wear now” styles. First up the caftan dress, one of my absolute favorite styles. There are an endless number of vintage caftans out there, from casual to dressy, embellished to plain, and at any price point; but the best part of buying this silhouette is that it’s sizing is virtually universal! It’s meant to be oversized and can be worn belted or flowy. Wouldn’t you like to spend your last beach days wearing one of these perfect cover-ups? And these beauties are only bummers to me because I already have an entire section of my closet dedicated to vintage caftans. Since I’m out of room, my bummer is your boon!

    Click to buy on Etsy.


    And second we have the perfect compliment to the caftan, the souvenir beach bag. So kitschy and Kate Spade-ish, this is a must-have accessory that is beyond fun to carry!

    Click to buy on Etsy.


    Don’t let Lauren’s finds get away! You can stalk more of her favorites on Etsy and all of her cheerful style, DIYs, and inspiration on her blog, Undeclared Panache.

    As always, see all of the vintage and secondhand resources in my Vintage & Thrift section. And if you’d like me to help you find something in particular or if you’d like to submit a selection for this column, please email me. I’d love to hear from you!


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  15. While walking in my neighborhood a few months ago, I noticed a chalkboard outside a shop advertising local and sustainable goods. I popped inside and found a well-curated boutique run by Sylvia Parker, a long time Upper West Sider and the knowledgeable proprietor of Magpie. Sylvia was kind enough to answer a few questions and let me photograph all the goodies in her shop. I also got to see her in action—giving recommendations, sharing the stories of items, and chatting with customers. In fact, I witnessed a man come into Magpie for the first time to buy a card and stay to recommend options for another customer looking for a housewarming gift. It was a friendly and cooperative effort and at the conclusion, gifts in hand, the woman exclaimed, “I always find the most amazing things in this store!”. The whole thing smacked of serendipity and all I can say is that if you need a special and sustainable gift, go to Magpie and you’ll likely leave with the perfect thing.



    Introduce yourself. Tell us a little about your background.

    I’m a native New Yorker—I was born on the Upper West Side. I attended college at Barnard and have lived here for more than thirty years after growing up in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, upstate New York, Connecticut, and Tennessee.  

    Before Magpie, I was a business and legal editor, but had always dreamed of having my own shop—work that would be more visually and creatively satisfying and also support artists, the community, and companies that were doing good work. No experience, though, which is what led me to apply for a position at the American Folk Art Museum (and their shop) which I had long admired. The director there, Marie DiManno, was a gifted retailer who became a mentor and was so generous in sharing her more than thirty years of buying and merchandising experience with me. Through four years of experience at AFAM, I learned enough to do a start-up gift shop for the South Street Seaport Museum and then opened Magpie in 2012. I wanted a location on the Upper West because I realized that so many small, independent shops were being forced out of business. I wanted to bring that back and also offer brands and products that customers couldn’t find elsewhere. It gives me great pleasure to support local artists and other small businesses.


    We are both Upper West Siders. Yay! Where are your favorite places to eat / play / hang out in the ‘hood?

    On Sundays, you’ll often find me at the local greenmarket and flea market at Columbus and 77th Street which allows me to indulge two loves: farm-fresh, local produce and vintage shopping. For walking and biking, I love the Hudson River bike path by Riverside Park and Central Park’s rustic mini-waterfall and bird feeders in the Rambles where you can talk to local birders about their favorite sightings. Also the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which runs interesting film festivals, including one now called Sound & Vision—can’t wait to see a movie about a Japanese trance didgeridoo player!

    New food discovery: the outdoor backyard garden at Bustan is a peaceful, pretty spot for weekend lunch. Try the soft egg burek (poached egg with spinach and truffle oil). And I can’t wait to try the new UWS outpost of Xi’an Famous Foods.  

    Although I’ve lived here for such a long time, there’s always something new to discover. People have told me that I need to visit The Lotus Garden, a hidden gem of a garden that’s only open on Sundays.

    [Note: I WILL become a key-holder at The Lotus Garden!]


    Have customers (or their inquiries) changed over the past two years with regards to sustainability?

    Definitely more knowledgeable; more and more customers are familiar with the concept of fair trade, for example, and why it’s important to support the fair trade community. I believe that merchandise still has to have functional and aesthetic appeal for customers, but the knowledge that a product is made sustainably of organic or recycled ingredients definitely gives customers an added incentive to buy.


    How do you choose which brands to carry in the store? How do you find new ones?

    I look for the beautiful, the whimsical, and intriguing—something that customers won’t find anywhere else. I also look for locally made or designed brands, and products that are handmade or made of organic or repurposed materials. If imported, I try to support fair trade companies and artisans as much as possible. Stationery and paper goods tend to be letterpress, handcrafted, or made of recycled paper.

    For sourcing, I attend trade and craft shows, including a giant week-long outdoor flea market in Brimfield in Massachusetts and the Renegade Crafts Fair in Brooklyn. In the shop, we have our own in-house designer, Laura Rodriguez, who has her own company and is designing stylish products for kids and the home. Local artists will approach me, which is how I’ve found some of our most popular artists, including Jennifer Elling who makes beautiful origami-like sculptures out of vintage books. My newest designer is a woodworker from North Carolina named Buzz Coren who makes amazing earrings and pins out of intricately handcrafted hardwood. 


    What’s your favorite item in the store right now?  

    Teenie sterling silver and gold fill rings for $22 from Lio & Linn, two young Japanese designers from Brooklyn. The rings are handmade, can be mixed and matched, and worn either above or below the knuckle. We literally can’t keep them in stock! 


    I rush into Magpie with a hostess gift emergency. Quick! What do you recommend I buy?  

    Meow Meow Tweet’s Tangerine Basil and Grapefruit Mint soaps are organic, handmade in Brooklyn, and adorably packaged in labels they design themselves. Also Sobremesa’s hand-embroidered towels from a four-brother fair trade workshop in El Tun, Guatemala.  

    You are the elusive New York City native! Is there any other place you wouldn’t mind living? Like, under duress?

    If put to the test, I wish I could revisit New Zealand. They have incredible natural scenery, including volcanic lakes and bubbling geysers; down-to-earth, welcoming people; and delicious wine and locally sourced food.  


    Where do you see Magpie and the sustainability movement going in the next few years?

    I hope that people will have the foresight to realize that the sustainability movement is essential if we have any intention of preserving what’s left of the world for future generations. The impulse to buy gifts, for oneself or loved ones, won’t go away; but I hope that people will come to do so in a more thoughtful way and realize that supporting a shop like Magpie can help them to buy something that is both beautiful and sustainably made.



    Find Sylvia at Magpie on the Upper West Side (488 Amsterdam Avenue) or online:

    WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST 


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