Sarah Bourke

Sarah Bourke

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Don't Leave your Father's Day Gift to the Last Minute This Year

Struggling to find a Father's Day gift for the beach-going, water-loving, outdoorsy type? Consider your problem solved-- meet Riz Smith, British brainchild of surfer and swim wear line Riz Boardshorts.

These boardies are crafted from 100% recycled and recyclable polyester. These shorts are digitally printed using water-based, earth-friendly inks. What's even cooler? Riz's shorts can be returned, recycled, and reintroduced back into the loop through the company's "Rizzcycling" program! When your dad is ready for his next pair, he can send his old ones back to be recycled into new polyester yarn.

But wait, there's more... Riz Boardshorts are dedicated to protecting the world and simultaneously giving back-- the first 1% of profits are donated to Surfers Against Sewage, a gallant UK based non profit organization that campaigns for cleaner coastlines.

This Father's Day feel good about giving your dad a present he'll not only love, but one that gives back to the environment. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reflecting On the First Week of Internships

It’s been a week. So… What is Green? What is Eco? Environmentally Conscious? Sustainable?

They’re buzzwords: words that simultaneously excite and fatigue, disenchant and intrigue.

            Before I started my internship, I knew next to nothing about “green.” I simply knew that I wanted to learn. The people I know in my life who are leading greener, more sustainable lifestyles were inspiring. And not just because it sounded cool. They were not only healthier and more active, but they were also far more thoughtful, passionate, and interesting than those people I know who cared very little about the environment. The people who we think of as green and sustainable are really passionate, active, healthy people who care about themselves, their families, and the environment. When it comes to the environment, I really don’t think that old saying “Ignorance is bliss” applies. The ignorant need to become aware that they are not only citizens of whatever country they’re from, but also citizens of the world, citizens of the environment: citizens of a world which so many inhabit and so few truly think and care about.  
Me? I’ve always been an outdoorsy person. I’m very active, love the fresh air and being outside. I love nature, I love the environment, and I love to learn about it; however, I’ve always felt like I haven’t known enough. I’ve never considered myself “green” or “environmentally-conscious” because, well, I wasn’t. Sure, I recycle and try to conserve water by turning the faucet off while I brush my teeth, but I always felt so superficial doing only those things. The funny thing is, I’ve never been that great at science in school. Chemistry, for example? Totally stumped me. I even struggled in my environmental science class my freshman year of high school. I mean I really struggled. But I found it incredibly interesting. So interesting that, even though I struggle in the sciences, I’ve declared Environmental Studies as my major going into college. Why? Because I want to learn. I want to be able to explain to people how important the environment is and how necessary it is for people to take the time to learn and educate themselves and those around them about the pressing, imminent nature of so many environmental issues. I want to be the first domino that falls deeply, deeply in love with the environment and all the issues surrounding it. I want to fall so hard that I knock someone else out, and the next person falls head over heels in love with the environment, and so on and so fourth. After all, that’s really how I came to love the environment so much—it’s all about passion. My parents both have a deep respect for the environment. My freshman year environmental science teacher is extremely passionate about it. High school peers of mine fell in love with the environment some time ago. The environment is something I love learning about, love thinking about, and love talking about. So, call this an internship of passion—passion for learning, for thinking, and for understanding one of the most precious, inspiring facets of life that exists: nature.

Awareness about E-Waste Benefit Gala 5.16.2011

Last night I made my way into the rainy city of San Francisco to attend the Awareness about E-Waste Benefit Gala for a few reasons-- to learn all about E-Waste (Electronic Waste) and support Afia President and Designer Meghan Sebold, whose launch party I attended in New York City a week or so ago. The Benefit Gala took place in Henry Denton's Starlight Room of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. It was a beautiful event dedicated to informing people about the harmful impact electronic devices have if not recycled properly. The event benefited local non-profits who are in the electronic recycling business, and/or do educational outreach about e-waste. The evening featured keynote speakers, members from San Francisco's political forefront, a few celebrities, and as I mentioned before, Afia Designer Meghan Sebold. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned all about E-waste and how to recycle electronics more effectively and efficiently. More pictures of the evening to come soon!

I had the luxury of borrowing Zem Joaquin's gorgeous pink eco gown for the night's affair. I've been working at Ecofabulous for just over a week now and I'm loving it. Having been offered a full-time summer internship with the company, I'm starting to learn the ins and outs of everything. The team of girls here at Ecofabulous is amazing, and I'm starting to really get the hang of things. My first task has been to round-up all of the products we'll be featuring weekly on Zem's List, a list of five or so products that Founder Zem Joaquin highly recommends for viewers on a weekly basis. Look forward to this week's Zem's List all about eco, fabulous office supplies. 

Please: Check Out and Like Ecofabulous on Facebook 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Afia Launch Party 5.5.2011: Conscious Culture and Fashion

Last night, fellow Ecouterrian Kestrel and I took an early evening stroll down Rivington Avenue to go check out the Afia Launch Party in Soho of New York City. Thank god I brought a camera, because the Afia Spring/Summer 2011 Collection was so much more than I could have predicted. This fair-trade, environmentally conscious fashion collection debuted at Guilded on Bowery. 

The Spring/Summer 2011 collection is bold, beautiful, and incredibly original. Principal designer Meghan Sebold wore a gorgeous, floor length dress she designed created out of traditional West African textiles by pattern makers in Chicago and NYC in partnership with the fair trade Dzidefo Women's Cooperative in Ghana. Meaghan's intricate, unmatchable designs are genius, and totally wearable anywhere this spring or summer--big city, small beach town, etc. 

I loved the line so much that I went back to Guilded earlier this afternoon and picked up an Afia dress for myself (see picture below)! An essential item for the warm California summer sun ahead. 

Check out the Ecouterre article on Afia, and please check out Afia on Facebook! The line is absolutely gorgeous. Pictures from the event to come soon--stay tuned. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Samantha Pleet Event NYC

NYC designer Samantha Pleet is officially a new favorite of mine. Her clothes are stunning, original, and simply put: amazing. Having met her last night at opening party held in her honor at Kaight, featuring her Spring/Summer Collection, I think it's safe to say that I'm in love.

Kaight is featuring Samantha's Spring/Summer Collection through the end of May in the store. Check out the Ecouterre article I wrote about the event. I was there last night and it's definitely something you don't want to miss out on. Stop by Kaight in the Lower East Side of NYC and check out the store as well as Samantha Pleet's designs.

My New Favorite Green Restaurant: Teany in the Lower East Side

Tucked away in a small space in the Lower East Side, Teany is a warm, cozy, green cafe owned by musician Moby. Teany serves fresh, delicious vegetarian and vegan fare ingredients and offers 98 different types of tea, all of which are either purchasable in the store or for the home.

Teany, Lower East Side

In terms of the tea at this adorable little cafe, The Teany Chino is to die for, it's absolutely delicious. For $3.50, you can enjoy a tea blend of roasted mate, almond bits, vanilla bean, cornflower blossoms, and sunflower petals steeped in your choice of lait.  Standout dishes include the Veggie Burger with Feta, The Faux Turkey Sandwich, and the Vegan BLT (for someone who hates bacon, this is très délicieuse).

Faux Turkey Sandwich

Check out the Cafe Menu online. If you're in the area, I highly suggest stopping in. It's a great cafe in a charming location with a wonderful menu and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Teany is the perfect place for lunch on a warm, spring day in New York City.

A Second Article Published on Ecouterre

Having a blast working at the Inhabitat Office in the Lower East Side of NYC today! Working with Jess and Kestrel has been great. Very excited for the Afia Launch Party this evening. If you're in the New York City area, come check it out tonight by RSVPing to the Facebook event

Check out my second article posted on Ecouterre!

What could be better than your favorite pair of denim jeans? Try a colossal 70-by-55-inch beanbag chair, clad in America’s No. 1 workhorse fabric. Design Public is offering a 25 percent discount—plus free shipping—on its extraordinarily oversized beanbag, made from 98 percent organic cottonand a smidgen of elastic for stretch. Good through Friday, the offer only requires you to mail your unwanted dungarees to Fatboy U.S.A. at 875 W. Sandy Lake Road, Suite 100 Coppell, TX 75019, where they’ll be passed along to peeps who could use a pair. Now if only Fatboy would also use preloved trousers in its wares—that’s the kind of feel-good comfort we’re looking for.

Also, check out my Twitter Page. Just created it today. I'm pretty new to Twitter, but I'll be posting throughout my internship. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Debut on Ecouterre!

Three days into my internship with Ecouterre and Inhabitat and I'm somehow on the website! Thank you Kestrel for the surprising, highly exciting news (Check out her fashion blog).

The Ecouterre website is amazing and extremely interesting (Please check it out if you haven't already done so).  The past three days with Ecouterre at Designers & Agents 2011 have been amazing--Looking forward to checkout out the Inhabitat offices tomorrow morning, as well as wandering around the streets of New York City with the girls from Ecouterre! Hoping to write a ton more for Ecouterre and Inhabit, so stay tuned.
Check out the article on Bloomingdale's Green Show Pop-up. 

Also, feel free to check out my bio on Ecouterre's website. 

My Eco-outfit at Designers & Agents 2011 NYC!

When I landed this internship with Ecouterre and Inhabitat in New York City, I never imagined being able to do the amazing things I've done over the past three days! This post features an eco-outfit I picked out for myself! Jill Fehrenbacher, Founder & CEO of Inhabitat and Ecouterre, asked the Ecouterre girls to go around The Green Room here at Designers & Agents and create an outfit. Little did I know, we'd be modeling shortly thereafter! I spoke with the designers and representatives from each respective "green" label, and learned a little bit about each piece and why it is "eco."

The eco-outfit I picked out consisted of the following garments:

Piece: 100% Brown/Neutral Alpaca sweater
Why it’s Green: This 100% Anja Alpaca sweater is produced in Peru by a local community of Peruvian women. This is a handmade sweater, and it’s not chemically treated—meaning that no chemicals interact with your skin if the sweater is worn for long periods of time! All of the materials used are 100% recyclable, and, finally, part of the sales of this piece go towards an organization called “Millenium Promise” that helps people in impoverished, rural communities worldwide.

·      DesignerThe Batallion
·      Piece: Black Skinny Jeans 

     Why it’s Green: These skinny jeans are made out of a eco-blend of fabric known as “tensil,” and 1% of the gross profit of the company goes towards the planet.

Designer: Koch
Piece: Red Silk Top, Printed Gold Foxes
·            Why it’s Green: This 100% silk top is custom-printed, and it’s US-made.


Why it’s Green: These gorgeous Tailfeather Designs earrings are sustainably crafted in Hawaii. The feathers are ethically sourced, and have naturally shed from the birds during the mating process. The feathers and gems found in the jewelry all come from sustainable sources, and each piece is handmade with love and care.

Rad, Original, Organic Socks by Rocknsocks

Newsflash! High socks are back, and they’re totally rad!

Misty Reilly, owner and designer of Rocknsocks, brings funky and fashionable eco-friendly socks to boutiques and natural food stores near you! Rocknsocks uses domestic manufacturers to produce the flashy, funky designs. The company uses a green material known as regenerated organic cotton for these sustainable slip-ons.

And, get this: Rocknsocks’ first public appearances? On wagons pulled by tricycles at music festivals! Misty finally took Rocknsocks on the road to Green Festivals, and ever since they’ve become immensely popular all over the US as well as in Canada. 

You can find Rocknsocks in boutiques all across San Francisco! For Marin residents like myself, hop on a bike or walk to Fairfax! Check out Good Earth Natural Foods for Rocknsocks, as well as some delicious healthy food

Check out the website for more information on Rocknsocks. These socks are definitely worth the whopping $13.00 investment! Personally, on a rainy day I rock knee high socks under knee high rainboots for a fun, fashionable look. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ECOALF: A Fabulous Hybrid of Environmental Design and High Fashion

Soft sleeping bag meets chic, high fashion computer bag; technological innovation meets sustainability and environmental design. Can you say harmonic coexistence? Hailing from Spain, EcoAlf holds as well-established reputation across Europe and comes to the US with a bright green vision for the future of fashion.

 EcoAlf undertakes the mission of joining innovation, technology, and sustainability in the world of fashion.

EcoAlf products are createdwith materials 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, grounded in the idea that sustainable entities start with the design of the product in fashion. Their non-conformist, innovative vision of an active, multidisciplinary urban lifestyle is both functional as well as trendy. What’s even more? EcoAlf respects the environment! EcoAlf seeks to develop a label through which design, quality, and environmental respect can coexist. As CEO Javier Goyeneche succinctly put it, EcoAlf is an ever-changing “result of continuous thought.”

D&A 2011: Green Room
Look for EcoAlf in July of 2011, with a nation-wide launch with Bloomingdales as well as specialty boutiques. Or, check out our favorite NYC Eco-boutique Kaight for EcoAlf pieces in the store maintenant! They're a huge hit here in the Green Room at D&A in NYC!   

May: National Bike Month!

It’s true; the biting winter air is no longer hindering possible afternoon outdoor activities; sure, it’s getting warmer; and yes, it is environmentally friendly to bike. But the truth of the matter is… it’s fun (among other things)! Winter seems to have sped by now that we’ve entered into the month of May. Even New York City is starting to warm up! 

National Bike Month is upon us, and highlighting the environmentally conscious month in the city that never sleeps is Bike Month N.Y.C., an annual celebration of bicycling in metropolitan New York City. Founded by Transportation Alternatives and the Department of Transportation teams, Bike Month N.Y.C. has gone a long way and covered much ground since 1990, when the idea was simply biking to work one day a year. Organizations like Bike Month N.Y.C. encourage residences in highly urban areas, like New York, to get outside and hop on a bike: it’s less expensive than a car, way better than sitting on the bridge in traffic during rush hour, eco-friendly, and fun! Bike Month N.Y.C. also makes biking to work or to school in a city of subways and taxicabs far less intimidating and far more accessible! NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, GreeNYC, and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene collaborate with Transportation Alternatives and NYC Department of Transportation each year to improve and promote biking.
So whether you’re in metropolitan New York City where you may think subway and taxicab governs supreme or San Francisco where, surely, you’ll get lost somewhere in the city, I encourage you (wherever you are) to get outside this month and hop on a bike! Bike to work, to the gym, to your local frozen yogurt store (like I do!), etc. You’ll feel great coasting through your neighborhood enjoying a bit of fresh air, feeling the warm breeze, healthily exercising, and knowing that you’re being environmentally conscious! 

Stumble Upon

The story of how I came across interning with Inhabitat, Ecouterre, and Ecofabulous is a funny one. Three weeks before my senior internship proposal was due to my senior dean at Branson, I found myself in a panic. I had no idea what I wanted to do for my internship, and I was having trouble coming up with ideas. I wanted to do something that involved working in the real world and interning with a company that works closely with the environment.

Babysitting late one Saturday night, I found myself flipping through the pages of a travel magazine, desperate to read something having just put the kids to sleep. I came to a page with an incredible image and story of a Yellow Treehouse RestaurantThe Redwoods Treehouse, located in New Zealand. The story was fascinating and it cited Inhabitat in the article.

I went home later that evening and typed Inhabitat into my search engine.
The website was fabulous! My immediate thought was, what a cool internship. I typed "intern" into the search engine on the website and came across an article from 2008 that said Inhabitat was hiring college interns in New York City and San Francisco. Although the article was from three years ago, and although I wasn't a college student, the idea of working with Inhabitat just across the Golden Gate Bridge, or even in New York City, sounded amazing. I emailed, simply stating that I am a senior at The Branson School, I am looking for an unpaid internship during the month of May, and that Inhabitat sounds like a wonderful, exciting company. Within an hour, I received an email from Jill Fehrenbacher, CEO of Inhabitat and Ecouterre, who was quick to mention that she went to Branson from 1990-1994! We set up a time to speak over the phone, and I quickly found myself doing an internship in New York City and San Francisco with her amazing company. She also suggested contacting Zem Joaquin, Founder and CEO of Ecofabulous. With her suggestion, I went ahead and emailed Zem about the prospect of interning with her. A week or so later, I was set up with the internship of my dreams-- working directly with Inhabitat and Ecouterre in New York City, and working with Ecofabulous at home in Marin County.