Sunday, October 5, 2008

Water Bottle Success!

I've been searching for a new water bottle, made in the USA of course! And I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg, since I am notorious for needing to replace them.

So, I have to admit I was at Walmart the other night. I needed a few things, and it was the only place open. So I submitted.

The stars must have been aligned, because they had a cute pink water bottle for Breast Cancer Awareness, made in the USA, and only $1.50!!!

Of course I snapped it up. My search that has lasted several months is finally over! Yahoo! I'm seriously considering going back and buying 10 more, to use as replacements and gifts.

I am so proud that I held out, and finally found the right product. I'm not happy to give money to Walmart, but if they are going to carry things made in the USA, it definitely is worth an exception here and there.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fashion Success!

I am thrilled to report a successful shopping trip! I needed a few new items for the change of seasons, and I headed out to MacArthur center in Norfolk.

I started at Nordstrom's. Even though I was working with a limited budget, I know that I often have more success there than other chain stores with finding merchandise made somewhere other than China.

I have to admit, I love Nordstrom's. So I am happy to report that I found several pieces made in the USA, and even found a gorgeous necklace in the clearance section that was handmade in NYC! I purchased a shirt and the necklace, and then headed out to the mall proper.

Another store I've had a long time love affair with is J. Crew. Unfortunately, J. Crew had become the mecca of Made in China labels in recent years, so while I always covet the clothes, I don't usually buy them anymore. But things are changing! I found the cutest, and I mean the CUTEST, matchstick jeans that were actually made in the US! The stars were aligned this weekend, because they also fit like a dream. They are now a staple of my fall wardrobe, and I'm tempted to go back and buy another pair in a different wash. Thank you J. Crew for making jeans in the US! I also bought a few other pieces that weren't made in the US, but at least they weren't made in China. The store is still dominated by clothes manufactured there, but I'm happy to report a few other options are starting to surface.

Finally, I bought one item that breaks my rules. It's an exception I seem to have to make often - shoes. I have found over and over that good, quality shoes made anywhere but China are usually made from leather products. And shoes made from synthetic materials are made in China. I place more emphasis on avoiding animal products, so in order to buy shoes, I often let the China thing slide. So, I bought an exciting pair of Jessica Simpson pumps, made from all man-made materials. I got those on sale too - I love you Nordstrom's!

Finding so many items in one trip is amazing! And an entire outfit at once, from top to bottom including accessories! That's unheard of!

I had to share my success. Several days later, I'm still glowing from my retail therapy that managed to support USA manufacturing and my opposition to the animal industry. I wore my new ensemble out to dinner last night, and I felt like a million bucks!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I love phone calls!

Being married to a submariner, phone calls are the stuff dreams are made of. Our guys don't have Internet access, basic email is limited at best, and they surely don't have pay phones. So when the boat needs to make a quick stop, and they actually pull into port, a phone call is like a miracle - completely unexpected, and powerful enough to make you feel dizzy with joy.

So, when I received 4 phone calls in the last 14 hours, I was so giddy I could barely walk!

Being a Navy wife is tough, and being a Submarine wife is it's own breed of tough. Even so, I don't know how some of the other branches do it. I can't imagine staying behind while my husband was deployed, boots on the ground, for over a year. I know they get calls, emails, video chats, and instant messenger sessions, but I still can't imagine doing it. Just the same, when I get a call, and then they go back out to sea and back into communications black out, the green monster starts to rear it's ugly head. That's not the kind of green living I'm trying to achieve, so I'll do my best to stay on an even keel. Staying focused on my lifestyle goals is a great way to do that!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Even in Scotland...

I recently travelled to Glasgow, Scotland to visit my husband, whose submarine had pulled into Faslane for a short visit. I was excited about the idea of purchasing things made in Scotland. I don't know why I was surprised, but just about everything I came across in Scotland was made somewhere else, just like it is here in the States. Also, Scotland is VERY expensive.

It is a beautiful country, the land of my heritage. I had ideals in my head about what it would be like, so I found it very disappointing to see "Made in China" just about everywhere we went. I did find some yarn made of Scottish Wool. It was very pricey, but beautiful and worth it. I bought some local fudge, and of course some whiskey. I found a fantastic pair of sneakers - organic cotton, ecologically harvested rubber, and ethical employment of factory workers. I was so excited! I couldn't afford much else, since just like here, things that were made in country were much more expensive than their foreign made counterparts. The dollar was weak as well, so every purchase took a toll on my bank account.

In my small world, this was a good thing, because it forced me to shift my focus away from shopping, and towards the people, the experience, and of course most importantly, my husband!

I was excited to find that I could live a little greener while I was there. Our hotel room didn't have Air Conditioning or a fan, and public transportation was so convenient that taking a taxi or renting a car seemed absurd. Many of the stores and restaurants weren't running the AC. In fact, about the only unfriendly exchanges we had were when we inquired about it. It was obvious that the idea of running the AC in that weather was considered frivolous and unnecessary. Those conversations aside, Glaswegians as a whole were the friendliest people I've ever met.

While drinking at our favorite pub near the hotel, we found ourselves watching a golf tournament taking place in Michigan. Evidently had begun to snow in the middle of August. This turned the conversation to the fact that Americans only have themselves to blame for the epidemic of global warming. It was interesting and enlightening to hear how the locals viewed us in terms of climate change. I certainly didn't argue.

As happy as I was to get back home (I love sunshine), I realized how envious I was of how much easier it is to live green in Scotland.

My first attempt

OK, well maybe this isn't actually my first attempt. I think I created another blog a while back, on the advice of a friend, but didn't stick with it. Or maybe that happened twice, or three times. Regardless, this is my first attempt on THIS blog, and I'm committed to trying harder this time!

I've got some goals in mind this go 'round, so that should help. I want to blog about my experiences as a vegetarian who tries her best to not buy any product that is made of dead animals. I also avoid things made in China, because I feel strongly about how dominant the "Made in China" logo is in just about every store. I'll get into all the reasons why later on. I try to live green, buy local, and eat organic too. When you put all of those things in a pot together, it makes for a very interesting shopping experience. I believe it's worth it though, and while I may pay more for individual items, I certainly spend less money in total, since there just aren't enough options out there to be able to spend a lot.

I'm a Navy wife, and a homemaker. Luckily, this lifestyle gives me the time to pursue these choices. But living on a Navy income can make any lifestyle difficult, this one included. I'll be sharing my celebrations and frustrations as I explore the vegetarian/green/locally produced world, as well as talking about my life in general. I hope you find some things to help you live the way you want, or inspire you to make a change for the better. I also hope some like minded individuals with more experience in this area might share some tips. Check back often, and let me know what you think!