Happy Earth Day! In honor of one of our favorite holidays, we turned to two of the best green living experts – Lori Popkewitz Alper and Diane MacEachern – for simple tips to incorporate into our daily routine that can benefit the environment. Last week, we asked the thredUP community to vote on their top green questions – and now we have your answers!
Lori Popkewitz Alper, founder of the site GroovyGreenLivin.com has answers to our green questions on conserving water – especially when you have a large family, and on eating meat:
Do you have any tips on how families can conserve water?
Conserving water is a challenge for most families (I actually wrote a blog post on the topic!), but making small changes to your daily routine can have a big impact. Here are a few easy ways to conserve H2O:
- Install water-saving shower heads (and take shorter showers). Regular shower heads use 2 to 10 gallons per minute while water-saving shower heads use only 2 to 5 gallons. You can also cut down on water usage by turning off the shower after soaping up, then turning it back on to rinse.
- Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth and shaving. This could save up to 300 gallons of water per month.
- Don’t rinse the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. This could save up to 10 gallons of water per load.
- Fill your washing machine and dishwasher before running them. Try to squeeze in that last dish or fit that extra pair of pants into the washing machine before starting the wash cycle.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of clean water instead of running water from the tap.
Does eating less meat really help the environment?
Every year the average American eats 200 pounds of meat. That’s a lot of meat! Eating less meat does help the environment, and here’s why:
- Reduces your carbon footprint. The UN estimates that the meat industry produces nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
- Uses less water. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. More than half of all water used in the United States goes into livestock production. Livestock production is also a major source of water pollution.
- Reduces fuel dependence. About 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of beef in the U.S. (compared to 2.2 calories of fossil fuel for plant-based protein). Also, many of the animals aren’t raised locally meaning meat has to travel far to reach consumers.
Diane MacEachern, founder of BigGreenPurse.com and author of the book “Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World,” has tips for us on saving energy, eating organic and going green on a budget:
What are the best ways to save energy at home?
Heating accounts for the biggest chunk of most utility bills – and offers the most opportunity for money and energy savings. One simple fix is to caulk or weatherstrip your windows and doors. Materials for the average twelve-window, two-door house could cost about $25, but savings in annual energy costs might amount to more than 10 percent of your yearly heating bill. According to the Department of Energy, if every gas-heated home were properly caulked and weather-stripped, we’d save enough natural gas each year to heat almost 4 million more homes.
I have a blog post dedicated to energy-savings, and here are a few more simple tips:
- Plug electronics into energy-saving power strips
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs
- Wash laundry in cold water and wash full loads
- Use a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature
What are some easy and affordable ways to go green?
Going green is not just affordable, it actually saves you money! One of my favorite money-saving green tips is to buy “reusables”:
- Use sponges and dish towels rather than paper towels. One sponge may cost as little as $.99 and a roll of paper towels runs around $1.99, but one sponge lasts as long as SEVENTEEN ROLLS of paper towels! The seventeen rolls could account for as much as a $33 savings in paper towels.
- Find a water bottle that you love. Ounce for ounce, bottled water can cost as much as 10,000 times that of tap water because you’re paying for the bottle, the bottle cap, the label on the bottle, the energy to bottle and ship the water and the water itself.
- Buy in bulk. You pay nearly twice the price for the same weight when you buy small, individually wrapped servings of a product rather than the bulk size. This is true for laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, shampoo and soap as well as for snacks, soft drinks and even milk.
And of course, one of the greenest things we can all do, that will also save us money, is to consume less in the first place!
What are the dos and don’ts when shopping organic foods, and how can I eat organic on a budget?
Shop selectively, as some fruits and vegetables are grown with more pesticides than others. For example, apples, bell peppers, imported grapes, raspberries and spinach will likely contain more pesticide residue than bananas, avocados, broccoli and cauliflower, onions and pineapples.
Though organic food may be a bit more expensive, most people can afford it if they take a minute to look at how they spend their entire food budget. Being more aware of what we have in our pantries and our refrigerators could actually free up $20 or more each week for healthier, tastier organic food.
One tip to finding lower-priced organic food is to shop for what is in season. Buying organic strawberries in the middle of winter is guaranteed to put a dent in your pocketbook – so wait until late spring or early summer, when they’re readily available. Also, price compare the organic brands at your grocery store; usually there will be a cheaper alternative to gourmet organic brands.
By now you probably have your Easter dress and accessories laid out and ready to go. If you have little ones, their outfits are perfectly ironed. Your menu for Easter brunch is impeccably planned and everything on your shopping list has been crossed off.
No? Not even close? Okay, so if you’re anything like us, Easter kind of snuck up on you this year. Don’t freak out! There’s still plenty of time to make sure Sunday will be packed with yummy food and fun times with your family — and Pin-worthy photo ops of course.
For starters, think outside the box. While Easter traditions are great, try incorporating some new elements this Sunday to shake things up a bit. If you don’t want to spend money on Easter egg baskets, try making some origami bunny baskets. It’s a more affordable alternative and they’re much easier than they look!
As for the easter egg hunt, why not make your kids use their thinking caps to get to their sweet treats? Place a puzzle piece in each hidden egg — the puzzle will eventually tell them where the candy is hidden. If you don’t have any children joining your get together this year, decorating runway inspired Easter eggs could add some high-fashion flair to your Easter party.
On to brunch. To make things simpler come Easter morning, make one of your main dishes on Saturday. Try a blueberry french toast bake. The hardest part of the recipe can be done the night before and refrigerated. All that’s left to do in the morning is bake and add some fresh fruit!
Lastly, Easter doesn’t always have to call for a floral dress. Try pastel pants and a simple neutral top. Add some feminine loafers or flats, toss on a statement necklace to dress it up, and you’re good to go. You’ll still look Easter appropriate and you’ll be MUCH more comfortable running around with your kids, nieces or nephews!
Are you celebrating Easter this Sunday? Let us know how you’re “shaking it UP” in the comments.
The thredUP team works hard to make sure that shopping with us is always a beautiful experience, and if you’ve enjoyed browsing items on our iPhone and Android apps, you’re looking at the handiwork of Cydney Sinclair. A graduate of SF’s own Academy of Art, Cydney cut her teeth as a mobile designer at July Systems before joining thredUP, where she also works on creative projects in merchandising, advertising, and email. “My typical workday includes lots of sketching, note taking, and planning out designs,” she says. “I’ve always had a passion for all things art-related, but I’m really, really enjoying working in the field of mobile.”
Cydney’s a Bay Area native who grew up with a thrift-store-loving family, and has never needed to be sold on the value of buying secondhand. “There’s something about going on that scavenger hunt for cute stuff that really feels rewarding,” she says. A punk and grunge enthusiast in her teenage years, Cydney still incorporates small elements of alternative culture into her ensembles. “I like simple pieces, nothing too flashy, but I’m big into finding things with unique little details, interesting textures, or other unexpected elements.” Here are three fun outfits that define her style.
For the everyday: “I’m a pretty casual person at heart,” says Cydney, who enjoys kicking back, playing video games, and drawing in the apartment she shares with her “super-awesome hacker boyfriend” in Lower Nob Hill. Her twist on a tee and jeans has a military bent thanks to army-green skinny jeans, a fun graphic Zara top, funky Raen shades, and her new favorite acquisition, Steve Madden combat boots. You’ll also always find her in her silver Triforce necklace, a subtle reference to the Legend of Zelda games she grew up loving. “I’m a total nerd,” she says. “I never leave the house without it.”
For brunch: Cydney can be found nearly every weekend enjoying brunch with friends at Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, a bar in the Mission with a big back patio. Since SF weather can change on a dime, she always carries a light jacket, like this sleek Kenneth Cole Reaction blazer. If the sun stays out, she can ditch the jacket and show off her flowy turquoise Zara shell and gray skinny Lacoste jeans. As for footwear, Cydney is a sucker for a great statement shoe, like these wine-colored Aldo pumps. “I tend to gravitate towards simple pieces with a unique detail or texture, and I think the scalloped back of these shoes is just so cool.”
For a night out: Cydney, her boyfriend, and their friends enjoy trying new restaurants together, especially new sushi spots. For a more upscale night out, she relies on a wardrobe workhorse: the little black dress. This ’50s-inspired silhouette from Nine West will never go out of style. A Zara fan, Cydney just picked up two new favorite items there: pointy black ankle-strap flats with gold detailing (“I’m obsessed with them”) and a black-and-gold bucket bag. “I love this look because it’s so classic,” she says.
What are your favorite subtle details that make a piece sing? Let us know in the comments!
Last night’s star studded MTV Movie Awards was anything but typical when it came to style. Stars opted for more casual, edgier looks and strayed from their normal red carpet attire. But which looks stole the show? While Grumpy Cat was a serious contender this year, here are our 5 favorite fashion moments from last night’s show.
As Coco Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” And that certainly holds true for this Chanel number that the “12 Years a Slave” star rocked last night. While it may be a daring ensemble, we’re all about wearing something that will make you standout.
Jessica Alba never lets down on a red carpet — this Kenzo circle skirt plus Piece d’Anarchive top is perfection.
Leslie Mann added an element of surprise to her Juan Carlos Obando dress. Those orange, strappy heels add a playful pop to this summery look.
The british songstress kept it classy in an all white Giorgio Armani gown. We’re big fans of the cut-out detailing!
There’s never a bad time for an LBD. Mom-to-be Mila Kunis opted for an adorable Thakoon trapeze dress and black heels.
We’ve already talked about the benefits of shaking up your wardrobe for spring, but as you say goodbye to those winter clothes, it might be time to consider a refresh for your home as well. To get some tips for small, affordable changes that make a big impact, we turned to Bay Area-based designer Bianca Sotelo, whose blog A Fabulous Challenge frequently showcases her own gorgeous pad.
Bianca is proof positive that you don’t have to study art or interior design to create stunning decor. “I never went to school for anything design-related,” says Sotelo, who now works as an editorial manager for a San Francisco-based lifestyle brand. “When I got my first apartment out of college, I fell in love with interior design. My natural eye and passion for design lead me to start blogging, and has now allowed me to be in the creative field for a living. I love the freedom it gives me!”
1. Give your closet a fresh coat. Many of us turn to new wall colors when we want to spruce up a room, but sometimes-neglected interior spaces can also benefit from a little attention. Bianca loves this subtly elegant closet interior, done in stripes of beige and white paint, for its motivational purposes as well as its looks. “You’ll definitely be more apt to put things back where they belong when you open a door and things look great in your closet,” she says. Plus, if you’re already paring down your closet for spring, you have a built-in excuse to empty it out and refill it with only your favorite items.
2. Set the table. Do you have beautiful dishware that rarely sees the light of day? Don’t be afraid to put it out on the table. Not only will it make your dining table look more pulled-together and homey, it’ll prevent it from becoming a magnet for less-than-desirable decor. “If there were nothing on my table, there would be no end to the mail, chip bags and receipts that would be strewn all over it!” Bianca confesses. If you don’t have plates you adore, consider investing: Bianca’s modernist dinnerware comes from the very affordable CB2, or for a more shabby-chic look, consider sourcing some pretty (if mismatched) old china from flea markets or thrift stores.
3. Add a little art. “Nothing gives a space new life quite like an amazing piece of art,” says Bianca, who is currently coveting prints from Iceland’s Love Warriors. Even if you can only afford one piece, it can make a big impact. Everyone’s taste in art is different, which makes the Web a fantastic resource for finding works that speak to you. Little Paper Planes and Mammoth & Co. sell curated original prints in a variety of sizes, and Etsy offers a huge selection of everything from photographs to typography to paintings, often at affordable prices from emerging artists. And don’t be afraid to try your hand at art, too. “My friend, the artist Heather Day, has recently encouraged me to pick up my own paint brush and experiment with different materials,” Bianca says. “I’m loving the release it gives me, and it’s a fraction of the cost of art you’d buy in stores.”
What are your favorite affordable design tricks? Tell us in the comments.
To say we’re excited to bring you our X Collection is an understatement. We’ve been anticipating a designer only collection for some time now, and we’re stoked to be able to offer you carefully curated pieces from your favorite high-end brands.
It’s fun to see how some of our most-loved fashion bloggers are pairing their X Collection pieces with other items in their wardrobe. They’ve taught us a lesson or two in styling for Spring so we’d like to pass on their outfit inspiration to you!
Add a Pop of Color
Outfit Details: Marc Jacobs Dress from X Collection, TJMAXX Jacket, Lulu’s Bag, Shop other Marc by Marc Jacobs dresses here
TfDiaries’ Megan Zietz is known for making runway trends work for everyday wear. Taking notes from Spring RTW fashion shows, she likes to pair bright hues with harder touches like a leather jacket as seen here. If you’re looking for an easy way to transition your winter wardrobe to Spring, try a bright dress or bold stripes and pair them with a moto jacket. Once Summer rays hit the streets, you can ditch the jacket and pair the dress with strappy sandals for a more laid back look.
Keep Your Winter Whites
Outfit Details: Theory Sweater & Rebecca Minkoff Skirt from X Collection, Burberry Jacket, Valentino Heels, Celine Bag, Karen Walker Sunnies, Shop other Theory sweaters here
Neutrals and pastels are on-trend this Spring, so keep any white or beige sweaters from your winter wardrobe and pair them with an A-line skirt. Mixing textures is always a great way to give neutral tones more oomf and you can add a belt to accentuate the waistline as Oh So Glam’s Christina DeFilippo does here.
Mix It Up
Outfit details: Marc by Marc Jacobs Skirt from X Collection, Gap Sunnies, Joe Fresh Top, Topshop Rings, Shop other Marc by Marc Jacobs skirts here
Pattern mixing is a delicate art, and Emily Tozer of The Glam Files has clearly mastered it! While it can be a scary trend to try, there are some foolproof ways to mix the right pieces. For example, you can always start small. Try incorporating a patterned bag or scarf into some of your outfits. And don’t forget to keep colors aligned in the pieces you’re mixing — if you want to wear two multicolor prints, look for one color that’s in both.
Beige may have gotten a rap as boring and bland, but this year, it’s the belle of the ball– as are camel, sand, pale pink, and of course, white, preferably all at once. Neutral colors are one of the hottest trends for spring, and yes, it’s possible to wear them head-to-toe without looking washed-out or blending into the wall. Here are some of our favorite tips for creating neutral ensembles.
1. Mix shades and textures. The best way to avoid looking bland in a neutral ensemble is to keep things interesting within the limited color palette. In general, you don’t want to repeat the same texture twice, and repeating neutral colors should be kept at a minimum in clothing (it’s fine to have a more matchy accessory; more below). Lace, chunky knits, stripes, denim, silk: don’t be afraid to mix it all up! For example, this sand-colored Old Navy cami has a heathered texture that contrasts nicely against a crisp pair of white jeans from Lucky. A pale peach, striped Benetton sweater over the other two pieces brings in extra texture and a third gradation in color, differentiating the neutrals to the eye and making the outfit look less monochrome.
2. Pay attention to fit. Because neutrals draw a lot of attention to the body (unlike our favorite slimming pal black), it’s important to find pieces that fit you well. Many women wearing neutrals opt for classic, ladylike silhouettes like a blouse tucked into a skirt with a nipped waist, or a long tunic over fitted pants. Try this flowy sand-colored Nanette Lepore blouse over a pair of Bebe dress pants, or tuck a fitted Ann Taylor tee into a versatile white Calvin Klein pencil skirt. Take the colors in reverse with this knitted cream top and tapered Khakis pants combination.
3. Accessories are key. To keep the all-neutral look from getting too sloppy, feminine accessories are the way to go. Many women top off dressy occasion outfits with a trusty pair of nude heels, but they also look great in casual ensembles– try them with a pair of white skinny jeans or a more casual pale pink skirt. (For those who haven’t taken the plunge, this snakeskin Guess pair are great– and add a little bit of extra texture as a bonus.) A sparkly statement necklace like this one from BaubleBar keeps the look bright, but adds more texture and playfulness. And of course, a structured bag in white, brown, or light gray is always a good choice when you’re aiming to appear professional.
How do you pull off the neutral look? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.
With our shared passion for accessible fashion and transforming retail, Rent the Runway and thredUP have a few things in common. That’s why we’re thrilled to team up with them to offer you the chance to use thredUP credits to rent designer dresses and accessories for a fraction of the retail price on renttherunway.com. For a limited time, you can trade $25 in thredUP credit for $50 in Rent the Runway credit.
Don’t have any thredUP credit at the moment? No problem, just order a Clean Out bag to get started.
What’s not to love? Looks like you’re one step closer to renting that glam cocktail dress you’ve been dreaming about!
Limit one redemption per customer and valid for new RTR customers only. Only credits earned through the thredUP Clean Out service may be exchanged, and credits must be exchanged by 7/31/14. RTR will email you a unique redemption code for $50 towards the rental of your first dress of at least $75 or more. Offers take 2-3 weeks to process and can be redeemed immediately upon receipt. Emailed credit will go to the same email you have on file with thredUP. RTR credit must be redeemed by 12/31/14.
Katie Michelle Reyes’ blog Katie Did What has drawn attention for her self-described “California chic” looks and fun, effortlessly bubbly voice. It’s all in a day’s work for the freelance writer, who resides in Sacramento with her husband, Zack. Their family is about to welcome a third member, as Katie is pregnant with their first child, a boy who’s expected to arrive just about a month from now.
Adapting a stylish lifestyle to a baby bump hasn’t been easy, but Katie’s managed to pull it off– and has even found some outfits she can still wear once the baby arrives. “I’ve pretty much steered clear of the maternity section for my entire pregnancy, except for investing in a good pair of maternity leggings (a necessity!) and a few dresses. All it takes is some patience and creativity, and you can absolutely stay fashionable and keep your style throughout your pregnancy.” To help decode the mysteries of dressing for two, Katie came up with a couple of maternity outfits that will make soon-to-be moms feel like rockstars– and a post-baby outfit to wear on that first night back out on the town.
A casual day at home: When it comes to everyday maternity wear, Katie is a big advocate of the maxi dress. “They’re both flattering and super comfortable, which are two things that are very important when you’re pregnant!” She digs this casual black Ann Taylor maxi, which gets accents of laid-back cool from the addition of a Levi’s chambray top, flat gold Dolce Vita sandals, and Ray-Ban aviators. For a slightly more dressed-up occasion (or chillier temperatures), she’d switch out the chambray for this cable-knit pink Gap maternity sweater, which makes the look a little softer and more feminine. And for moms-to-be who are feeling especially bold, she suggests accenting the dress with a simple brown Loft belt right above the top of the bump, to show it off.
For a baby shower: Katie just had her own shower this weekend, and as she’s the first to admit, “I’ve got baby showers on the brain– well, let’s be honest, I’ve got babies on the brain, period!” For women who are about to become the guest of honor at a shower of their own, she recommends a loose, flowy dress with an empire waist, like this cheerful pink one from J. Crew or a ’50s-inspired emerald dress from French Connection, as a dressed-up, but still comfortable, option. Trendy Sam Edelman ankle boots are nice and flat, ensuring overworked feet stay comfy, while a flower crown adds a celebratory, bohemian touch.
First post-baby date night: While Katie can’t wait to meet her son, she knows she and Zack are going to need some solo date time to make up for the long nights of feedings and diaper changes ahead. So she chose an outfit that’s fun enough for a grown-up night out, but still adaptable to the realities of post-baby weight loss. “This flowy ASOS dress is glamorous, but still figure-flattering,” she says. “And I’ll finally be able to walk comfortably in heels again, which is an excuse to pick up this versatile Nine West pair.” A mirrored Natasha Couture box clutch completes the fun, yet still relatively covered-up look.
Have a favorite fashionista you’d like to see browsing thredUP? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll add them to our list of stylish recruits.
Did you come to thredUP through an article in a magazine, a post on a blog, or a TV segment? Then it’s Farrell Klein you have to thank. As our head of public relations, she spends her days giving lifestyle editors, technology reporters, TV producers, and national television contributors the skinny on how thredUP works, what our customers love to buy, and the benefits of shopping secondhand.
A New England native, Farrell is a nature girl at heart who loves hiking in the mountains with her fiancé, Brian. She’s super-close to her parents, grandmother, and three younger brothers, all of whom reside back on the East Coast, and her semi-bicoastal lifestyle needs a wardrobe that can do double duty for freezing Massachusetts winters and San Francisco’s somewhat balmier (though not quite summery) days.
Like many thredUP customers, she tends to invest in neutral staple pieces like a great pair of jeans or a gray sweater, then spices up her wardrobe with more colorful sundresses, silk tops, and printed pants. “I still haven’t quite parted with my New England style, but after two years on the West Coast, I’ve definitely become a little more San Francisco,” she says. Here are a few of Farrell’s favorite outfits that blend affordable and investment pieces:
At the office: thredUP’s office is pretty casual, and Farrell, like much of the staff, enjoys the privileges of SF living (namely, jeans at work). Her favorites are the toothpick jeans from J. Crew: “They fit like a glove, and have become my go-to denim.” Depending on the weather, she might layer a tank and an Anthropologie cable-knit short-sleeved sweater, or slip on her beloved dot-printed pink-and-white J. Crew blouse with a blazer. Either way, you can count on finding her in her latest investment piece: Frye Paige riding boots. “They were a worthwhile splurge; I’ve been wearing them nonstop,” she says.
Wedding planning: Farrell and Brian are tying the knot in Vermont this July, which has called for some bicoastal commuting in the chilly winter months! To stay classy in New England’s freezing weather, she relies on covered-up but still cute dresses like this Alice + Olivia number (“I love everything A+O”) which looks great with a pair of thick black tights and those trusty Paige boots. On top, Farrell indulges her passion for pink with an ASOS cocoon coat that has the dual benefit of being both fashionable and warm, thanks to its fluffy wool exterior. And when the weather’s really miserable, she can always resort to another bright shade to perk things up: a purple shade of skinny jeans or cords, which she wears under Hunter boots with collapsible tops that are “perfect for travel.”
Date night: Back on the West Coast, Farrell and Brian love to try SF’s array of restaurants, whether casual or formal. For a more laid-back meal, she loves pairing her preferred black J. Crew pixie pants with a boldly graphic sweater and (you guessed it) those Paige boots. When the occasion calls for getting dressed up, a lace v-neck cocktail dress by Reiss gets a boost from a chunky statement necklace and some patent flats. “Considering we’ve been ice climbing, mountaineering, and snow camping together in recent years, it’s always nice to shed some of those layers and get dressed up for an occasion,” she says. Oh, and a lint-roller has become a part of her “get-ready” routine, because of Oscar and Calvin, the two adorable orange tabby cats that she adopted a year ago (see them below, along with Farrell’s favorite olive green Barbour coat).
Work at thredUP is very different lifestyle than her first job in high-fashion PR, which she describes as a “true Devil Wears Prada environment.” Seeking some broader communications experience, Farrell shifted her focus to consumer branding and high-tech PR, working with clients like General Mills and Nestle Waters. That mix of fashion chops, consumer and tech branding expertise made her the perfect fit for promoting thredUP. “I truly believe in what thredUP is doing to make fashion so accessible to people nationwide, no matter what your shopping budget is,” she says. “It’s rewarding every time I read about thredUP in the news. It makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”
What do you invest in, and what pieces do you rely on thredUP to work into your wardrobe? Let us know in the comments.