Bambootique Now At Ten Thousand Villages

Bambootique is thrilled to announce that Portland’s Ten Thousand Villages store just added our products to the store’s great array of fair trade products!  Ten Thousand Villages gorgeous store is located in the Pearl district at 938 NW Everett Street. They have an incredible selection of high-quality, high-end fair trade goods like housewares, rugs, furniture and of course personal accessories like Bambootique’s.  If you’re in Portland and doing some last minute Christmas shopping this weekend, make Ten Thousand Villages your shopping destination!

Oscar Albert Multi-Trunk Holiday Trunk Show THIS Wednesday!

Join Bambootique this Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 at the fabulous wine bar and bistro, Oscar Albert, for an evening of holiday festivities and shopping!

Where: Oscar Albert Wine Bar and Bistro, 4847 SE Division, Portland, Oregon

When: Dec. 2, 2009, 5:30-8pm

Other vendors include:

Missionary Chocolates – Woman owned, delicious!

Apolloni Winery – Delightful wines made in Oregon

Global Sistergoods – Woman owned, Fair Trade Importers

Flavour Pals – Scone mixes, woman owned

Muddy Waters – Can you say “chocolate facial”?

I hope to see you there!

Trunk Show A Success For Fair Trade, For Haiti

Bambootique’s Holiday Trunk Show ended a week ago today and I’m still walking on clouds!  Thanks to the more than 70 of you who attended, shopped, snacked, chatted about fair trade and just let me get caught up on your lives. For the first time ever the trunk show was also a fundraiser and, together, we raised more than $1200 for Haiti Foundation of Hope’s community health program! Each of you who shopped can be proud that not only did each purchase support women artisans around the world, but you also contributed to improved health in a remote, rural part of northern Haiti.  Thank you!

I also want to thank each member of my fantastic trunk show crew: My mom Nancy for baking great cookies and helping with Grace; my mother-in-law Florence for helping me tag piles of product;  and to my fabulous girlfriends who helped me with prep and staffed the weekend (Karin, Katie, Jill, Heidi, Megan, Lorie, Mary Lee, Kristin, Hanna, Connie and Bethany).  Thanks also to my wonderful husband Steve for doing all the heavy lifting and being my Guy Friday when things got overwhelming.

I also had some great contributors of fair trade samples from other like-minded companies including Kalahari Tea, Strictly Organic coffee, Numi tea, Divine Chocolate and World Pulse magazine. Thanks for providing great free treats for all our guests!  They were much enjoyed, I can assure you.

Did you miss the trunk show? Stay tuned this week for new posts with a few great ways you can still shop Bambootique in the Portland area in plenty of time for Christmas. And of course there’s always online at www.shopbambootique.com, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s never a line or a long search for a parking space either!

Who Will You Cross Off Your List This Weekend?

nov-056I hate to rub it in but I already have a closet full of Christmas gifts. We tend to keep the holidays pretty simple, buying small gifts that will last and have meaning. I shop throughout the year for our family and close friends, otherwise I’m a stress case come December.

You too can have a more relaxed December by getting some of your holiday shopping out of the way this weekend. Bambootique’s Fair Trade Holiday Trunk Show is THIS Saturday and Sunday at my home in Tualatin.  I’ve got hundreds of items to choose from, many brand new to Bambootique, including the addition of home decor items this year like placemats, coasters, trivets, and candle holders.  Other new items include scarves and handbags from India (the really cool kind with little mirrors!), beautiful Uganda beaded jewelry made from recycled paper (you’d never know it was paper), handmade Christmas cards and ornaments from Haiti, India, Honduras, Thailand and Cambodia, light cotton scarves from Guatemala, mosaic candle holders from South Africa, woven baskets from Rwanda, soaps from Zambia, hexagonal candles from Guatemala, new styles of bamboo purses and handmade stationery from Thailand, and even more.

So come, bring your friends, and make a big dent in that Christmas list. Not only will you be more relaxed come December but you’ll feel great about gifts that give back to artisans. On top of that 10% of all sales this weekend go to one of my favorite non-profits, Haiti Foundation of Hope.

What: 2 days of fabulous fair trade shopping for everyone on your list!

When: Saturday November 14th 10am-4pm
Sunday November 15th 1-5pm

Where: 17552 SW Shasta Trail, Tualatin, OR
(Bambootique owner Beth Sethi’s home)

  • Bring your friends!
  • Huge clearance section
  • Complimentary cookies and hot drinks
  • Play area for little ones while you shop
  • Free take-home samples of coffee, tea, chocolate and more!
  • 10% of all sales donated to Haiti Foundation of Hope

Questions? Contact me at beth@shopbambootique.com or 503-781-3244

Holiday Trunk Show Three Weeks Away – And You’re Invited!

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What: Bambootique’s 4th Annual Fair Trade Holiday Trunk Show

Two full days of fabulous fair trade shopping!

When: Saturday November 14th 10am-4pm
Sunday November 15th 1-5pm

Where: 17552 SW Shasta Trail, Tualatin, Oregon (Bambootique owner Beth Sethi’s home), 503-781-3244
View map

Who: You and all your closest friends, family and neighbors. Bring your girlfriends along to introduce them to everything you love about fair trade!

Messenger BagWhat: Two days of holiday shopping that makes a world of difference! This year’s trunk show features products from India, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, South Africa and more! Bambootique’s fair trade selection includes handbags, candles, scarves, skincare products, jewelry and handmade paper products, all made by women artisans in the developing world.  We’ll also have a fabulous selection of Christmas ornaments and nativities from Haiti, Afghanistan, Thailand and Peru.

Stuffed LlamasWe’ll have a fun play area to keep little ones busy while moms shop.

Other features of the show include fair trade freebies such as take-home samples of Strictly Organic Coffee, Kalahari tea and copies of The Conscious Consumer for every attendee. Plus don’t miss our incredible Clearance section, homemade chocolate chip cookies, fresh fair trade coffees and teas, and great music!

Haiti Foundation of HopeThis year Bambootique is thrilled to partner with Haiti Foundation of Hope to support their community health program in Terre Blanche, Haiti. 10% of all sales from the trunk show will be donated to HFH. There will also be a selection of Haitian arts and crafts of which 100% of sales will support HFH’s excellent work.

This event is open to the public so please come and bring your friends!

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Happy-Shoppers

Bambootique Part of Mercy Corps’ New Action Center

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Bambootique is thrilled to be participating in Mercy Corps‘ brand-new Action Center, scheduled to hold its grand opening this weekend, October 9 and 10. The Action Center gives visitors a peek into Mercy Corps’ worldwide relief and development work through hands-on interactive displays. It gives us all a chance we may not otherwise have to see how we can all participate in fighting global poverty. Part of the Action Center is a retail space selling fair trade and other ethically traded goods. That’s where you’ll find Bambootique!

After opening this weekend the Action Center will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Visit the Action Center’s website for more details.  And be sure to check out all the fair trade goodies available while you’re there!

Audited, Energetically

IMG_2189Last week we were audited and it was great! In fact, we initiated the audit. No, I’m not talking about inviting the IRS into my home. I’m talking about an Home Energy Review from Energy Trust of Oregon.  Signing up for a home review has been on my mental to-do list for months. I finally got around to it after seeing our very high August electric bill thanks to our heatwaves.

At no cost to us Energy Trust sent James to spend an hour at our home measuring temperatures, crawling in the attic, examining window seals and generally figuring out where we can improve our home’s energy efficiency. They scheduled it at a time convenient for us and, unlike the cable guy, gave us a tight one-hour window of James’ arrival to which he was perfectly prompt.

Here’s what we learned through the process:

1) Our 4-year old home is quite energy efficient.  We have great insulation, efficient appliances and insulating window shades that help keep our home cool in summer and warm in winter.

2) Our water heater temp was a tad high so James turned it down just a few degrees, from around 128 to closer to 124. So far we haven’t noticed a difference in the shower temp in the morning and he said even a few degrees difference can save a few dollars.

3) Our flat screen TV uses 25W even when turned off. This is equivalent to running 2 compact florescent lightbulbs all the time. That amounts to only about $2/ month but, during times when we’re gone for a week or two, it makes sense to unplug the TV.

4) Our laptop computers are the same, using about 25W of electricity when in sleep mode (the mode we generally leave them in when we’re not using them). Instead James recommended we shut them down at night or even if we’ll be away from them for an hour or two. That should amount to savings of a few dollars a month as well.

5) James switched out 10 regular lightbulbs to CFLs for us. For free. As I recall from the last time I bought CFLs, they cost around $5 each so that’s a good $50+ of free lightbulbs.

6) James also noticed we did not have low-flow water aerators in our sinks or showers. He offered us free water aerators but, since his didn’t match ours, we opted instead to head to Home Depot and pick up aerators for a few bucks ourselves that match our hardware. Again we should see savings of a few dollars on water and electric bills for reducing our hot water usage, without noticing a difference in performance.

7) Much to my chagrin I learned that unplugging the toaster and Kitchenaid mixer does not result in any energy savings. Zip. Zero. Nada.  How many seconds of my life have I wasted unplugging both appliances when not in use? Even worse, how much goodwill in my marriage have I eaten up nagging my husband to do the same?  He was delighted when James tested both our toaster and mixer to inform us that, when plugged in but not in use, they use 0W of energy.  Who knew.

James also found a few spots where the ducts could be sealed better and gave us names of contractors to follow up with. He introduced us to the tax credits available for solar power, something that might be worth investigating for anyone who knows they’ll be in their home for 10 or 15 years. There are a boatload of state and federal tax credits available that make expensive solar systems much more affordable.

While we didn’t find any major ways to knock down our energy bills, it was reassuring to learn we’ve already done most everything we can to be energy efficient. And those little things James pointed out to us will help us save a few dollars here, a few more dollars there, all which adds up both in our pockets and in caring for the planet.

Have you had an energy audit of your home? What changes did you make as a result? Did you end up saving money?

If you haven’t had a Home Energy Review, give it a try. If you’re in Oregon contact Energy Trust. Elsewhere check with your local utility companies to see if something similar is available in your area (or move to Oregon).

Beat That Heat Right Back Where It Belongs

IMG_1411Portlanders looooove to whine about the heat. Boo hoo, it’s over 100 today. But really, who am I to judge? I’m sitting in my nicely air-conditioned 75 degree house with an icy cold glass of Hansen’s Root Beer. Yup, I confess I am using the A/C. Not exactly the “green” way to cool off, I know, but I do draw the line somewhere (generally when  my fellow Portlanders start to really complain, which is when the thermometer hits around, say, 81 degrees).

Actually though, the heat doesn’t bother me all that much. Really, I mean it. Yesterday I worked out in it, so there.  Our heat here is a dry heat so there’s not that horrible Midwest stickiness that means you can never cool off.  My husband and I justify our A/C because when Grace was a newborn her bedroom, which gets direct afternoon sun, would be at least 10 degrees hotter than whatever the outside temperature was (think 104 degree day, baby sleeping in 114 degree room – I kid you not).  So we got it installed and now are so grateful we did when the mercury climbs up and up and up in August.

I do what I can to help the A/C along – shutting all the blinds and windows in the house, keeping off lights and appliances – and we open our windows up at night to let the cooler night air in, although that’s not really going to happen this week with nighttime temperatures close to 80 degrees.

I’ve done my share of time without A/C though, including 2 1/2 years of high school in Australia where ceilings fans were the extent of cooling mechanisms at both home and school.  That polyester green school uniform did not help the temperature situation either.  So for anyone who’s still reading and not rolling their eyes at my use of A/C, here are my scorcher survival tips when you just can’t be someplace air-conditioned.

  • Keep an icy cold water bottle or other beverage always close at hand (Hansen’s diet root beer does the trick for me, as does Japanese mugi-cha).
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Shave your legs (I swear it makes you feel cooler).
  • Take a cold bath (great place to do the above).
  • Have a fan blowing directly on you.
  • Eat cold foods – salads, sushi, and of course ice cream. If you’re already sweaty, greasy food makes you just feel worse.
  • Run in the sprinkler or jump in a wading pool with your little ones.

My fellow Portland bloggers over at Enviromom and Urbanmamas have some other great tips to keep your cool when the temperatures are blazing. What are you doing to stay cool on this hottest week of summer?

Excuse me now, I’m off to actually go outside…to go to the ice cream shop.

$3/ Month? For Kids I Can Do That

The Oregon State legislature just passed a whole slew of new taxes to cover funding gaps across the state. One that caught my eye (or ear actually, since I was listening to NPR) is an approved new tax on health insurance premiums to provide healthcare for Oregon’s uninsured children.  According to the story, the average privately insured Oregonian (such as my family) will pay $3/ month on top of their healthcare premiums. As my friend Jordan pointed out, that’s one latte from Starbucks.  Ouch.

So far there is no organized oppostion to the tax, which amazes me in this tax-phobic state. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love higher taxes anymore than the next person. Whether or not this new tax lowers overall health costs, as proponents for it argue, we should provide healthcare for all children no matter what it costs us. A society that denies a basic human right such as healthcare for its most vulnerable citizens is truly heartless but sadly, that’s what we have become.  It gladdens my heart to see an idea put forward that will ensure all kids, not just certain kids,will be able to get their basic health needs met. I for one can go with one less latte each month.

A Plug For Sunday Parkways

My daughter Grace and I played hooky from church yesterday and joined thousands of other Portlanders for July’s Sunday Parkways event in NE Portland. What a blast!  We parked at Wilshire Park, I popped Grace in the bike trailer, and we took off on the 7-mile loop of residential streets closed to all car traffic for the day. There were plenty of people to make it fun and lively but it was spread out enough that there were few traffic jams and we kept a good pace most of the time.

The loop connected three beautiful parks – Wilshire, Fernhill and Alberta – and at each park there was food, live entertainment, playgrounds and info booths from various companies and organizations.  Of course we made a beeline for the food booths. Grace and I shared a plate of Nepali noodles (delish!) and a peanut butter cookie. I ate more of the former, she of the latter.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a warm summer morning and I’m so glad these events are once a month in the summer. The next one in Portland is August 16th and will be through my favorite part of the city, SE Portland.  You can join in the fun by bike, scooter, skateboard, unicycle or by foot, basically any mode of transportation except car.  It’s a great way to explore the city in a way we don’t normally get to and discover in a new way how diverse and lovely Portland really is.

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