Tag Archives: sustainable living


Sustainable Fashion Brands: Beautiful in Every Way

Earth day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. What better way to show your support for Mother Earth than indulging yourself in eco-friendly luxury items.

This new breed of high-end designers are throwing out the ever so popular idea of the “granola and hemp” lifestyle and putting sustainable products on the market. Here are a few of the stylish sustainable fashion brands there.

avilanAvilan’s Storied Diamonds

The Avilan story began with a seed. This local company realized that it was time to improve the way the diamond industry operates and created the Storied Diamond. Since the diamond is the ultimate expression of love, Avilan buys and sells sustainable diamonds to maintain a deep admiration and respect for human rights and the environment. You can find out more about Avilan’s at avilandiamonds.com.


SUNO is a New York based, women’s wear label founded in 2009 by Max Osterweis in collaboration with designer Erin Beatty. With eye-popping prints coming from vintage African textiles, this line is really starting to heat up. Osterweis has considered Kenya a second home for quite some time and wanted to incorporate a line inspired by the post-election violence threatening to damage the economy and industry in Kenya. The business has evolved to include production in Kenya, Peru, India and New York. You can find more about the SUNO collections at sunony.com.

StellaMcCartneyStella McCartney

Stella McCartney isn’t just a vegetarian looking to make clothes; she is an environmentally friendly designer and has a line that uses biodegradable, raw and natural products to make her company more sustainable and ethical. Stella refuses to use leather, skins or any animal furs in their products as she want to lead by example in a sustainable industry.

In 2012, Stella reduced her carbon emissions, waste and water usage resulting from the production of products and services by 25 percent. You can find more on Stella’s creations at stellamccartney.com.

AutmnAle-1EE Cuffs

Veronica Gadea founded EE Cuffs in March of 2011 with a desire to create fashionable accessories that anyone could wear. Inspired by the environment to make “wearable art,” Gadea uses elements found in everyday life to craft these mesmerizing one-of-a-kind accessories. These cuffs can be found in the Washington D.C. Area and also online. From wooden cuffs with embellishments to vintage and recreated paper cuffs, you just can’t go wrong. You can find more of these exclusive creations at eecuffs.com.


Hearts is a Scottsdale based, eco-friendly fashion business with the hopes to “promote change from purchasing power.” By making this venture as sustainable as possible, owner Hart Cunningham looks to make his entrepreneur-generated-philanthropy mindset a worldwide success for the business itself as well as the environment. By seeking out fine artisans and craftsman, Hearts is able to market exclusive pieces while preserving the beauty of the world. You can learn more about the Hearts movement at hearts.com.


5 Easy Homemade Cleaning Products to Try

Observed on April 22 each year, Earth Day demonstrates support for environmental protection, evident in events celebrated in more than 192 countries in the world.

Being green and energy sufficient and producing less waste are solutions each person can adopt to protect the environment. In that spirit, homemade cleaning products are perfect, as they are easy to make and work just as well as general products found in stores. Here are five homemade products everyone can try:


dishsoapDish Soap

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoon

24-oz. squirt bottle (or empty dishwashing-liquid bottle)


2/3 cup liquid castile soap

3 tsp. vegetable glycerin

5 drops tea-tree essential oil

20 drops lemon essential oil

1 1/3 cups water

Instructions: Using funnel, pour soap, glycerin, tea-tree oil, lemon oil and water into bottle. Shake well to emulsify. Place soap beside sink and use on dishes and hands. This fragrant formula also will clean your kitchen counter tops beautifully.


showerShower Cleaner

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoons

32-oz. spray bottle

Rubber gloves



2 tsp. borax

1/2 tsp. liquid castile soap

½ cup distilled white vinegar

3 cups of hot water

Instructions: Using funnel, pour borax, soap, vinegar and water into spray bottle. Shake well to mix. Put on rubber gloves and spray surfaces, scrubbing with sponge as you work. Rinse with water.


glasscleanerGlass Cleaner

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoons

32-oz. spray bottle



3 cups water

2 tbsp. rubbing alcohol

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, for scent)

1/2 tbsp. liquid castile soap

Instructions: In a well-ventilated area, use funnel to pour water, alcohol, vinegar and oil, if desired, into bottle. Shake. Add soap. Shake well. Spray windows; wipe with newspaper.


polishFurniture Polish

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoons

Lidded 8-oz. plastic squirt bottle

Microfiber cloth (or clean, soft rag)


2 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 tsp. lemon oil (or fresh lemon juice)

Instructions: Using funnel, pour olive oil, vinegar and lemon oil into bottle. Shake well to emulsify. Squirt polish onto microfiber cloth and rub onto finished-wood furniture. Always go with the grain and evenly distribute polish. Remove any excess polish with a clean cloth.


greenspraybottleAntibacterial Spray

What you will need:


Measuring cup and spoon

24-oz. spray bottle

Microfiber cloth


2 cups water

2 tbsp. liquid castile soap

1 tbsp. white thyme essential oil

10 drops lavender essential oil

Instructions: Using funnel, pour water, soap and oils into bottle. Shake. Spray and let sit for 20 minutes. Wipe down surfaces with damp cloth.

For more information and recipes, please visit allyou.com. All photos and recipes are from allyou.com.

Feature Big Green 2011

Speaker: Melisa Camp ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Melisa Camp, Go Green Investments

Melisa Camp, Go Green Investments

Melisa Camp, “The Green Queen,” is CEO of Go Green Investments, Realtor with the GREEN designation, and Consultant on sustainable living. Camp is a LEED Green Associate working toward obtaining the LEED AP-Homes accreditation. She has served as USGBC AZ’s Residential Green Building Advocate since 2009 and educates and raises awareness with other Realtors, builders, homeowners, government officials, green professionals, and lenders & appraisers.

Camp has an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree in Business and Communication from ASU and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Phoenix, and she has started her Green MBA as well.

Some of her accomplishments include co-hosting LEED for Homes overviews, ReGreen workshops, a Green Home Tour, publishing two local residential LEED for Homes case studies, and speaking at the AZ Biz Green Forum. Camp is a member and volunteer for the Green Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and Habitat for Humanity volunteer. As a former teacher and journalist, Camp authors a well-followed blog, “Bring the Green” and is drafting a series of children’s books and seeking publication.

Camp is also working on the development of a green home class for Realtors. She is passionate about going green and teaching anyone who will listen. She has attended GreenBuild in Phoenix and Chicago as well as the Sonoran Green Expo in Tucson. In her spare time Camp plays competitive sand volleyball and is a stay at home Mother. Her energy is contagious to those around her and her motto is “What good is what I know if I do not share it with the world?”

Topic: Green Home Rating System in Multiple Listing Service (MLS): Systems that are searchable within the MLS and specific to the Phoenix area like LEED, NAHB, SRP PowerWise Homes, EnergyStar and Scottsdale Green Building Programs.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Room 158

BIG Green Conference 2011

BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sustainable Living - AZRE Magazine September/October 2010

Six Ways The Valley's Redefining Sustainable Living

The Sustainable Six: Redefining Sustainable Living in the Valley

It’s been a little more than a year since representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation announced they were teaming up to bolster community and economic development nationwide.

Like a band of caped crusaders, members of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (now the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities) pledged to help create greener, more sustainable communities through six guiding “livability principles” used to coordinate federal transportation, environmental protection and housing investments at their respective agencies.

At the time, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said, “It’s important that the separate agencies working to improve livability in our neighborhoods are all pointed in the same direction. We’re leading the way toward communities that are cleaner, healthier, more affordable and great destinations for businesses and jobs.”

Indeed, that sentiment, and the pot of federal money the Obama Administration has made available — including $1.5B in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants and $100M released in June for regional integrated planning initiatives — is proof the suburban landscape is changing.

While there is still much work to do, several Valley municipalities, along with organizations such as the Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the newly formed Livable Communities Coalition, are taking steps toward improving the livability of communities statewide, as defined by these guidelines. Here’s a look at the six principles and how Metro Phoenix stacks up:

1. Provide more transportation choices

While the Valley still has miles to go before we wean ourselves from our auto addiction, light-rail construction is a step in the right direction. Next, stop chasing federal highway dollars and, instead, use light rail as the bait to snare funding to create additional transportation options.

2. Promote equitable, affordable housing

This principle aims to broaden the spectrum and expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

3. Enhance economic competitiveness

In a January Arizona Republic editorial, ASU President Michael Crow outlined an economic-competitiveness strategy designed to “address long-term priorities, not just the current cycle.” Among other tactics, he called for an aggressive, coordinated strategy to tap out-of-state investment funding from a variety of sources for research, infrastructure and health and welfare. “Not competing to get the tax dollars we send to Washington each year simply makes no sense,” he wrote.

4. Support existing communities

Conventional financing and zoning code issues have become the bane of transit-oriented, mixed-use development and redevelopment efforts Valleywide. However, many municipalities are working to honor historic neighborhoods and update building and zoning codes to encourage adaptive reuse and infill projects. That action will contribute to community revitalization.

5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment

Regional planning and interconnectivity are more important than ever. Valley cities must think regionally, especially if they hope to snare federal dollars.

6. Value communities and neighborhoods

Valley cities such as Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler were beginning to create more livable, walkable communities before the housing market crashed. Now more than ever, development at the people scale, rather than large, single-use tracts, is needed to promote a sense of community.

Livability ranks high on the wish lists of companies looking to relocate. As the federal tide shifts in favor of sustainable living, we need to change with it. Even a place known for its Wild West sensibilities and love of private property rights can learn to adapt.

For more information about the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities and sustainable living, visit portal.hud.gov.

AZRE Magazine September/October 2010