The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Donor’s Choose: more than just a charity December 28, 2009

Filed under: Cool sites,Tips — Alden @ 4:15 pm
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Isn’t it cute?? Last year for Christmas I donated to Donors Choose, a non-profit where teachers ask for donations so they can get much-needed supplies for their classroom. I donated enough for a whiteboard in Bud and Emily’s name, and this is what they got in return from the kids!


The best Eco-friendly Xmas gifts ever!

So, it’s finally happened. I’m officially the “granola-cruncher” of the family. The hippy dipster, the all-natural gal, the recycling radical. And it has paid off! Instead of getting gadgets and clothing, I got thoughtful gifts, ones that I knew hadn’t been assembled by a child in a developing country then sent overseas.

For My Darling arm warmers

My sister gave me adorable upcycled fingerless gloves from Etsy. She got them for my cousins too. So cute!

My mom got me a wonderful pair of Kate Spade shoes. Not exactly eco-friendly, but I’ll get a lot of use out of them! Don’t you agree?

From my step dad and step-grandmother? Donations in my name to Heifer International and Women for Women International. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing money that would have been spent on something I wouldn’t like (God bless them both, Nana and Steve know they haven’t got a clue about my style) is instead going to help a family and a woman out there who desperately need it.

From my wonderful boyfriend, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Julie & Julia, so I can whip up inventive recipes from the farmers market! (What’s that book next to it, you say? It’s This is Why You’re Fat. It’s a compendium of over-the-top American grossness in cooking that Scott got as a present. Ironic much?) My sister also made origami boxes from leftover paper from her summer wedding to put in our stockings. Now that is up-cycling at its most beautiful. Also in my stocking: a handmade Christmas ornament and vegan, cruelty-free lemon soap. It smells like meringue. I almost ate it before my Mom stopped me.

I gave my sister a scrapbook of her wedding that I put together from her leftover wedding ribbons and paper. Her husband got a beer-brewing kit from the Brooklyn Brew Shop. My step-grandmother got an up-cycled crocheted pin from the Christmas fair at Union square. And for my Mom? Well, she loved her orange sweater. “Where is it from?” someone asked her. “Oh, it’s probably recycled from organic wool or something,” she said, smiling. “Uh, actually it’s from Anthropologie,” I told her. “I just thought it looked cute.” Oh well, can’t be perfect!

My boyfriend’s present came too late and is sitting in my apartment in New York. So I can’t say what that is yet! And apparently his other present for me is waiting for me in New York too. He colluded with Vickie, the roommate, to get it set up. I’m totally baffled. What could it be?? Stay tuned….


A hippie’s dilemma: eco-friendly presents October 28, 2009


So you might have noticed lately that I’ve been trying to pare down my life a bit. I’m avoiding buying anything that isn’t necessary, which has served me well. (Exhibit 1: losing my umbrella but borrowing one from the roomie until I could snag one off the mom. Win!)

But now my birthday is creeping closer, and then a month later, Christmas. The whole point of presents seems to be either to ask for something you can’t afford yourself, to ask for something super boring you need, or to ask for something that you would never buy for yourself.

We all know the latter is always the most fun option. I remember reading a piece in Vogue a while back where the author said that you should always pick out something for a friend that is beautiful and a little impractical. “Skip the ever-useful black gloves and go for the baby blue!” she said. It’s an adorable thought, but goes against everything I’m trying to achieve. And with my luck, I’m sure I would get something expensive that I will never, ever use, but can’t get rid of because it would be insulting.

As for the second, boring option…it goes against my personality. And the first option, well, none of my friends make more money than I do, and I feel bad – after my sister’s big wedding this summer AND my graduation present – making my parents shell out for something extravagant.

Ok, so, what do I ask for? Let’s brainstorm stuff that doesn’t require a lot of resources but is fun:

  • Movie, concert, symphony, or show tickets
  • Entrance to an exclusive gallery opening or party
  • A spa treatment
  • four-wine
  • A delicious bottle of organic vodka, gin, or wine
  • il_fullxfull.93697757
  • Anything from Etsy earth
  • A homemade batch of organic cupcakes
  • ithacafinechocolates_2075_23155759
  • Fair trade organic chocolates
  • Dinner at a restaurant that serves  organic or local food
  • A wine tasting
  • A donation to a good cause
  • Or something that plays off a friend’s skill! (Elisabeth, I’m looking at you! <-awesome scrapbooker)


Raise your hand if you have, like, a bajillion t-shirts. I know you do. They take up a full third of all my drawer space. But I just can’t stand to get rid of any of them! They remind me of concerts and music festivals, parties, clubs and causes, field hockey, 10k runs, and Greek life. I must have at least 30 of them. So even if I didn’t do laundry for a month, and worked out every single day, I still wouldn’t run out.

Solution! I asked Mum to make a blanket out of them. I’ve been wanting a yummy blanket, and now I will have one that means a lot to me, one that reminds me of all my most funnest times in college and even high school. She’s already started crafting her plan of attack. (“I’ll get your sister to help me design it, and borrow Sharon’s surger…”) Win! (If you want to get a place to make one for you, check this company out.)

Now, what do I ask for from my boyfriend? Ah, I always pity the boyfriend who has to pick out a present for a girl. Senior year of high school, Scott actually yanked a handful of roses out of a plastic grocery bag and handed it to me. ::Sigh:: He’s a bit more mature now, but I have super-picky taste in jewelry and clothing, and he knows that. Hmmm, think Alden!

(Wow, I’ve been thinking for ten minutes here!)

Got it! Ok, so while I was home for a couple days, we knocked around the idea of  going to a rock climbing place in Maryland called Earth Treks. So this is what I want: an intro lesson to rock climbing, so we can spend the day together belaying each other up the indoor facility’s walls. (Yup, a girl can belay a heavier guy too!) After a hard day of burning calories (900 per hour, apparently) I want a dinner at a good, organic restaurant. That’s a low-impact, high-fun way to spend the day. Perfect.