Greening up my Christmas Gifts

13 12 2012

One thing that I proposed myself this Season was to buy local. I really believe in supporting our community and getting local gifts is a way to reduce our carbon footprint, because of less transport.

Thought I started before Thanksgiving, it was quite an adventure. I could order a few things I liked from local vendors through Etsy, but for the most part it was a frustrated enterprise. I live in Pittsburgh and I found that a lot of the stores I was interested in were not open when I could go. I wanted to get some old books (reuse, recycle, and I love old books!!) but the store wouldn’t open till 11 AM, which is my child’s lunch time, so I came back empty handed. I wanted to buy toys in the local toy store, but being in the middle of the posh shopping area (though their prices are more than fair) I found no parking space blocks around, though I circled it over and over and over again. That made me decide to at least support USA companies, and I kept that resolution, but I ended up ordering baby’s toys through Amazon, which is a life saver if you think that sometimes the only time you have available is 5 AM…. or any time before 11 AM, for the case.

I did buy a few cheap made in who-knows-where things. I know, I know, but when I need to ship gifts for a bunch of people I appreciate back home in Argentina, I cannot spend more than a few bucks, and I needed to take advantage of my dad being here and going back home just in time for the holidays, so I sent them through him. But I restricted that to the smaller part of my shopping.

Being an artist, I designed and ordered my own cards through, the price per card (including shipping!) was spectacular and they do guide you well through the sizing of your image. You have to order in bulk, though, but you can always use the left overs next year. And you really do not need to be an artist, you can use a photo you like. But what really sold me was that I could use recycled paper with them. What a great way of greening my Christmas cards!

The Christmas card I made for my family and friends, also available for sale at

The Christmas card I made for my family and friends, also available for sale at

And for the rest of my list, those people who have been great through the year and you would like to thank in a way, even if it is with a small gift, I am making them popcorn. I got some cute bags, some Christmas sprinkles, and I will be putting my own time into making them pretty Christmas popcorn.

Lessons learned from this season: Next year I will plan better, probably start earlier, and find out the operation hours of the stores before I get myself there. Nobody said being green was easier, eh?

And you, did you find a way of greening your gifts? Were you successful at buying local?


Bloomfield Farmers Market.

15 08 2011

Since I was in the early stages of my pregnancy I was not able to exercise because of medical reasons. That was a bummer, since I was so ready to run a 5K being pregnant (yes, Pittsburgh zoo, I had my eyes on you!). That would have been so cool! Nearly 12 months later I still feel quite out of shape but finally I’m hitting the road and walking as much as I can, and to keep myself from routinely walking the same streets over and again, I decided to hit some of the numerous Pittsburgh’s farmers markets.

In the heart of Bloomfield, Thursday afternoons.

Two weeks ago I needed to go to the post office and since the office is in Bloomfield I took the opportunity to visit the Thursday’s market and introduce Ignacio to the greatness of buying local.

The Bloomfield Farmer’s Market meets on Thursday from 3:30 to 7:30 PM at Cedarsville and Friendship Ave. Across the street from the Groceria Italiana, a block from the heart of Bloomfield. The offer is quite diverse, there are pieroguies and kettle corn being made in front of you (and smelling so good!), a stand with herbs, several stands with produce, some organic, some not, there are flowers being sold, bread and pastries.

The produce looked great, some of the zucchini was about as long as my forearm! and the same for the eggplants, they looked great to make some yummy eggplant Parmesan! Because I am weak for cool stuff I bought some red okra, I had never seen red okra before! So I got some for my husband, who’s Cajun and has not had some real okra in a few years (it scored me some gumbo, yay!). Do you want peppers? They have them, all kinds. Fruit? Delicious! The peaches were just perfect.

But the bread! Oh, so good looking and delicious! The bread was something to consider, and at the same price that you would buy a sad and much smaller loaf at the

Look at the red okra, behind the green okra! And all those colorful tomatoes! By far my favourite display in the market.

supermarket. I did not get to try the sweet baked goods… I

am trying to go back in shape here! 😉

I might start to schedule my post office runs on Thursdays to take advantage of the market. And if you see me around Pittsburgh, with the baby on me, you know, I might be reviewing the next farmer’s market.