With the holiday season just around the corner, I decided to research on chic products with a good cause. It was not an easy task as many of the options out there are not very trendy or inspiring. After sorting through my options, here are some offerings that I thought stroke a balance between design and good cause. So give the gift that keeps on giving! Delight the recipient with great designs and get the most out of your gifting experience.

Fenchurch

Bottletop ringpull bag from fenchurch is handmade in Brazil from old ringpulls. It’s got a very creative design using recycle products and all the proceeds from the bag goes to the charity Bottletop. The organization funds training programs to grow employment in Salvador and health education projects for the youth in the village. It’s refreshing to find something that’s got a great design, good for the environment and makes a difference in the community.

Alex Woo

The Little Pink Heart Necklace by Alex Woo was created especially to support women’s cancer research. The pink, suede ribbon can be worn as a necklace or around the wrist and the silver heart is a statement of strength and love for those who have survived or are battling cancer. Net proceeds from the sale of the Little Pink Heart Necklace go directly to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund.

Mia Joie

Mia Joie is founded by a part-time writing professor and offers stylish handmade shoes for babies and toddlers. Many of their items are also eco-friendly using organic cotton, bamboo jersey, eucalyptus, felt made from 100% post-consumer plastic, and reclaimed materials and trim.  They are supporters of Giving Chirldren Hope with 10% of the sales proceeds going to the organization. Giving Children Hope is a non-profit organization that promotes family sustainability, economic independence, and self-sufficiency so that children may grow in stable environments.

WEE TIDINGS

WEE TIDINGS are mini greeting cards for any occassion. I especially like the Fresh Tidings line for the chic style. And as we become more environmentally conscious, using mini cards for a big message is the way to go! It’s also for a good cause, 5% of the profits are going to American Cancer Society.

Jacaranda Style

This weaver bowl is made out of three quarters of a natural ostrich egg shell. It’s polished and perched on three brushed metal legs and an eco-friendly product with the eggshells collected after the ostrich chick hatches. A portion of sales on JacarandaStyle is donated to the Ethembeni School for Disabled Youth in South Africa. Established in 1984, the school serves 300 physically disabled and visually impaired children from all over South Africa.

Body Shop

The Body Shop initiated a campaign Stop Violence in the Home in support of customers and employees to get active against domestic violence. Proceeds from the sale of every Daisy Soap are donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to support the effort.

Lush

Lush is taking part in giving back to the community through its Charity Pot Body Lotion.  100% of the proceeds from the lotion is going to organizations of choice for a good cause.

Too Faced

This Love Lisa Beauty Battle Box is a beauty kit that came out of an inspiration of Too Faced creator Jerrod Blandino’s sister,  who is battling skin cancer. Too Faced is donating 42% of the proceeds from the sale of this product to the Too Faced Cosmetics Love Lisa Grant (Jerrod Blandino’s sister), benefiting the Melanoma Research Foundation.

Reestore

Reestore offers home furnishings and accessories created out of everyday waste objects: reclaimed trolleys, reject barrows, space saving hanging chairs, stools with recycling capabilities. I love their design as it’s unique and chic with a twist.

Sephora

Sephora is helping to fight breast cancer with its collection of pink ribbon products. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to organization helping raise awareness and finding a cure for breast cancer.

Bonnie Marcus Collection

Bonnie Marcus Collection is a line of fashionable and eco-friendly stationery. Their stationery are printed on recycle paper and can be found in high end retailers such as Neiman-Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. When you purchase their products, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and other organizations promoting breast cancer awareness.

Babysoy

Babysoy offers newborn clothing created from eco-friendly soybean fiber. Babysoy is conscientious and green by using renewable natural resources as the raw material for our baby wear — which is the leftover pulp from tofu, soymilk and other soy products.” Proceeds from Babysoy products go towards Healthy Child Healthy World and Half the Sky Foundation.

SIGG (Swiss Engineered Water Bottles)

SIGG offers swiss made water bottles. SIGG bottles are manufactured in an ecologically-friendly environment and are 100% recyclable after a long product life. Its unique design is very stylish and has even partnered with ELLE Magazine in offering limited edition designer bottles in an effort to fight global warming. The campaign involved 14 major designers including Donna Karen, Anna Sui, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and more and their Signature bottles were auctioned off on ebay. All proceeds from the auction went to support StopGlobalWarming.org.

Although the bottles are no longer available, you can still get a customized bottle from SIGG. They are a member of 1% For The Planet, committing 1% of all sales to environmental causes. Another great way to save the environment and give back to the Planet.

FEED BAG

Lauren Bush, honorary spokesperson for the UN World Food Program, initiated the feed project to fight child hunger. “The FEED bag is a sturdy, reversible bag made out of natural burlap and cotton materials. The design of the bag was inspired by the big bags of food that I have seen being distributed to schools around the world. Besides being a cool bag, it is a tangible way to make a difference in the fight against child hunger. Every FEED bag sold will feed a child for a whole year in school!” This version of Feed Bag was designed for retail on Amazon.com.

Signorelli

Signorelli for the Cure Hat was designed for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I love the pink crystal gym on the hat that spells “love” and 100% of the proceeds from the sale will go to breast cancer research. This is just one of the many efforts that Signorelli had put its design into a good cause. 

CLARISONIC

The Clarisonic Skin Care Brush made it to this list for its chic pink design for a good cause. This limited edition pink brush contributes ($10) to fight breast cancer with each purchase.


I never had a preference for how I’d deliver my daughter as long as she comes out healthy. Since I was set to go with the flow, I didn’t give too much thought about the side effects of  Epidural. I just knew that I’ll try to bear with the pain as much as I can. After being 5 cm dilated and unsure if I’ll be able to hang on without pain killer, I decided to opt in for Epidural. The drug worked wonders, all the pain went away pretty quickly and I was able to deliver my daughter within 2 hours of pushing. Everything was a joy until the day after delivery. I started having a migrane like headache that seem to get worse when I’m in upright position. Without thinking too much of it, I went home with the headache. For the next two days, I was in misery while trying to breastfeed and recover from the delivery.


33 weeks into my first pregnancy, I found out that my little girl was already hanging low in my belly with contractions that resembled either a menstral cramp or tightening of the stomach muscle. I never liked taking medicine and being put on medication with a baby in the stomach was much concerning. Particularly, when I was feeling the side effect of the medicine (high pulse and discomfort) . Since I had no experience with the drug, I sought out online resources (babycenter.com) to learn from mothers who have had experience with the medicine. That was probably a mistake as the postings are generally extreme towards the negative and that just made me more worried. Although I knew the risk of delivering per-term is much higher than the medicine itself, it was difficult to swallow the pills to stop the frequent contractions. I decided to be conservative on the medication with the goal of delivering at 37 weeks. And sure enough, the day before my 37 week mark, I decided to stop taking the pill and active labor started 11pm. I delivered my daughter at 37 weeks exactly, thanks to the miracle drug. Now looking back, I’m glad that I stayed on the medicine so my daughter has a chance to develop full term.


Uniquely Chic

20Sep08

I’m starting this post as a way to share limited-edition chic designs out there in the market.  

Little Earth

Little Earth offers unique and fashionable purses made out of recycling materials, another great eco-friendly brand (woo-hoo!).  One of my most favorite is their limited edition Roller Dreamer Fender by Leo Espinosa.  It appears that they partner with contemporary artists to produce new and limited designs every season. Roller Dreamer Fender is shown below and with every limited edition style, only 1,000 is sold worldwide. The last I checked, it’s still available so check it out if you’re a fan too! 

Also take a look at Studio Espinosa for some really cool japanese inspired graphic designs and illustrations.

 

Anya Hindmarch

The infamous “I’m not a plastic bag” by Anya Hindmarch was a limited edition bag (I believe around 20K) that went on sale worldwide and was sold out within hours of its release. People lined up for hours and each customer was limited to one purchase, if they were lucky to even get to it. Since then, there’s been a lot of look alikes.

 

CLARISONIC

The Clarisonic Skin Care Brush made it to this list for its chic pink design for a good cause. This limited edition pink brush contributes ($10) to fight breast cancer with each purchase.


Baby Chic

10Aug08

While looking through maternity options, I’ve started to catch on name brand selections for baby clothing and accessories. There are some really high end stuff out there that I couldn’t resist to dig into and some you might already got a taste in the diaper section. And if you think having a baby is expensive … here’s how it could get really expensive.

GUCCI

Gucci offers a baby line but you’d need to be on the UK Gucci site to see the offering. It doesn’t seem like they offer much variety but the categories they cover are Diaper Bags, Shoes and Carrier. In the US, their carrier can be found on Saks and bags and shoes have more variety at Nieman.

CHLOE

Chloe has a collection for children but only available at select boutiques. In the US, Neiman is their carrier but offering is very limited.

DIOR

I first came across the Dior Baby product when visiting the Desert Hills (Cabazon) Outlet on the way to Palm Springs, CA. Like many other name brands, their kid’s selection is not featured on US website and after digging, I did manage to see it on their Japan site. In the US, they can be found on Neiman (ofcourse) and eLuxury.com. Dior seems to have a lot more options when it comes to accessories and clothing and I just love their design and packaging!


ARMANI JR

Armani JR is Georgio Armani’s fashion line for baby, jr. and team. Here are just some of my favorites from their baby line.

BURBERRY

Burberry offers a more comprehensive baby line relative to the other high end brands. Burberry baby products are sold on Saks Fifth, Neiman and their online shop or physical stores.

DOLCE & GABBANA

D&G also has a JR line that covers from new born to JR. They have leopard prints for their infant line which I’m not too fond of. Some of their baby designs are a little too adult like for me.

FENDI

Who knew Fendi also offers baby products. I’m surprised to see some of the varieties they offer from baby carrier to shoes to bottles. I’m not a big fan of their design but it’s definitely a surprise to see what they got for the baby category. (Check out the bottle carrier below)

BILL AMBERG

Although not a household brand name, Bill Amberg (a UK brand) offers premium baby accessories. Below are my favorite designs from their baby category and let’s just say they are also not cheap.

Aside from name brand baby products, there are some really cool designs out there worth mentioning:

Mia Joie

Mia Joie offers eco-friendly baby shoes in low quantity, making it a unique gift for new mothers. You can find their shoes online and they also sell to boutiques around the world. All Mia Joie™ shoes come gift packaged in an eco-friendly and reusable fabric bag.

 

Robbie Adrian

Robbie Adrian is a designer brand of organic baby blankets. Their blankets are made of organic cotton with colors from low-impact dyes, making it  luxurious and earth-friendly. It’s also among the celebrities’ choice. (Christina Aguilera for one)

I first saw the blankets at Little Piggy Wears Cotton in Santa Barbara. They offer high-end European and American products for newborns to age fourteen. Although I didn’t see a lot of cute selections, one thing I loved is their packaging!


With all the attention on going green these days, I’ve started to pay attention to reusable/recycled grocery bags during my supermarket trips. I’ve noticed that people are indeed becoming more environmentally conscious by replacing plastic bags with reusable bags/totes to carry their groceries home. However, among the bags that people are carrying, none were appealing. And that drove me to do some research on better options for those of us who are design conscious and look for better alternatives than a grandma shopping bag. Here are just some of the brands and styles that I’ve come across.

Envirosax

Envirosax produces some of the most stylish and trendy reusable shopping bags that I’ve seen in the market. Their eco-friendly reusable shopping bags are available as single items or as an assortment of 5 durable waterproof, lightweight bags held in a small pouch that fits in a handbag.

REISENTHEL

Reisenthel is a German brand that designs with form, style and function in mind. Their Carrybag is a signature item and have seem similar styles carried by Catherine Zeta-Jones in No Reservations. I’m not sure how easy it is to carry around but sure looks very stylish!

BEAU SOLEIL

Beau Soleil created by Anne Salvatore Epstein, is an eco-friendly brand focused on sustainability, fair trade and labor. Along with the use of organic raw materials, it aims to offer consumers environmentally healthy fashion choices without sacrificing style and design. The Beau Bag is among my favorite finds in the eco-friendly bags:

B HAPPYBAGS

b Happybags was created by long time proponents of “just saying no” to paper or plastic.

METHOD

Method was founded by Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, who set out to create home care products that are design and environmentally friendly. Although reusable bags is not their main product line, they sure did a good job with the design of the market tote. My favorite is the blue Method/HSN version which is sold on HSN.com.

JUICY COUTURE

Juicy Couture also has caught on the green trend by offering its go-green tote. I did get a little side tracked while surfing for their bag category when I came across the Flower tote. Not exactly your grocery bag but I can’t help highlighting it here. Thought someone would appreciate the unique design. It comes in apple green and yellow as well. And like all their other bags, it’s quite pricy even for the Go Green tote, which I’m not sure if it’s worth it.

FOREVER 21

Forever 21 offers some of the most economical and design friendly reusable totes. The i Love Green and Love Your Mother Earth designs below are sold for $1.50. The pink Car Canvas Tote Bag is based on an eco-friendly print design on a vegetable fiber canvas. The interior has pocket compartments so not exactly designed to carry grocery but a good option for the designed, green and cost conscious.

MyBag Fold-Up Grocery Bag

MyBag grocery bag was found on a UK retailer site. I liked the unique design concept (opens up and you get a plastic bag looking reusable bag) so thought I highlight it here. It looks like you can purchase it from the US but the shipping cost is quite high for international customers.

SEA BAGS

Sea Bags is a Portland based company that makes custom tote bags out of recycled sails. The totes come in three different sizes and offers customization on numbers. A medium sized bag runs over $100. Not cheap for a tote but does help support for a good cause.

CHAPEL OF DAWN

Chapel of Dawn is another brand that I’d came across recently that I thought had some cool stuff. I couldn’t find much info about them but believe that they are a Hong Kong brand. The two items below that I loved are the limited edition of the Chapel of Dawn Eric Elms Colette Tote (limited edition: 100 worldwide) and Chapel of Dawn Hello Kitty Tote. I’d also recommend checking out Colette’s website, it has some really cool product designs!

FEED BAG

Lauren Bush, honorary spokesperson for the UN World Food Program, initiated the feed project to fight child hunger. “The FEED bag is a sturdy, reversible bag made out of natural burlap and cotton materials. The design of the bag was inspired by the big bags of food that I have seen being distributed to schools around the world. Besides being a cool bag, it is a tangible way to make a difference in the fight against child hunger. Every FEED bag sold will feed a child for a whole year in school!” This version of Feed Bag was designed for retail on Amazon.

Anya Hindmarch

Since we’re talking about reusable shopping bags, we can’t get away with not mentioning the infamous “I’m not a plastic bag” by Anya Hindmarch. The bag was a limited edition bag (I believe around 20K) that went on sale worldwide and was sold out within hours of its release. People lined up for hours and each customer was limited to one purchase, if they were lucky to even get to it. Since then, there’s been a lot of look alikes and can even be found on Amazon. For something that was a limited edition, I question where the bags came from.


Chic Flavors

31Jul08

Great designs are everywhere and one of the areas that I’m starting to pay attention to is food packaging and design. Elegant and modern design in the food category is rare in the US as there’s a less appreciation for it when compared to Europe and Asia. Here are some brands that I think are doing great in their presentation: 

Richart Chocolate 

Richart is a French chocolate brand in the premium/fine chocolate category. They offer various flavors and personalization on the chocolate for a special gift or wedding favor. 

 

       

 

    

 

Sprinkles Cup Cake

Sprinkles Cup Cake is based in Beverly Hills and has been a popular and trendy spot for the locals. I really like the simple elegance in the presentation. The individual packaging is also a great option for wedding or party favors.  

  

  

Pinkberry

Pinkberry along with Red Mango are the pioneers in redefining the frozen yogurt experience. Although a new concept imported from Korea, Pinkberry has benefited from its Hollywood location with customers like Paris Hilton, to create buzz for the store. Since their opening, frozen yogurt stores alike are following their lead in not only the flavoring but the trendy experience associated with the taste. 


Fortnum and Mason

How often to you see an embossed pinkish purple packaging for a Tea can? Fortnum and Mason is a British brand focused on selling to the high end market.

FRANCIS COPPOLA

The Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine from Francis Coppola has a very chic packaging. “The grapes for our Sofia are grown in northern Monterey County where gentle breezes from Monterey Bay contribute to the long, cool growing season.”